This past week Dawn Ann and I celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary. I had arranged with my parents to take Bryan and Amy overnight for Friday night. I told Dawn Ann that she was being kidnapped on Friday.
I had to work Friday morning, but was able to get away by about 1:00 pm. The kids were out of school for the UEA (Teachers Union) conference. I stopped on my way home to pick up a few goodies for the activities I had planned. We dropped of the kids at mom and dad's house at about 2:30 pm.
Neither one of us had eaten lunch yet, so we went to McGrath's Fish House (our favorite restaurant) at the Gateway shopping center in Downtown Salt Lake City. We had our favorite dish, Crab Cakes. During our meal, Dawn Ann reminded me that we usually talk about the status of our relationship and what things we might be able to do to improve. To which I corrected her by saying: "You mean what things can I do to make things better!" Hah! Busted! I caught her in her fiendish trap! She blushed a little, and said, "Well yes!, Exactly!"
I discussed a couple of areas in which I could, indeed, improve upon. Then I tried to turn the tables on her, and ask her what things she would like to work on.
Her reply: "No Fair!"
After lunch (an early dinner really) we paid a visit to the LDS Museum of Church History and Art. Currently, the church is celebrating the 200th anniversary of the birth of Joseph Smith, the Prophet. Many of the exhibits and displays have a Joseph Smith Theme. One of the more interesting Joseph Smith exhibits contained some copies of Book of Mormon manuscripts, some of which were written in Joseph Smith's Own Hand.
Another exhibit included 50 Biblical Etchings by Rembrandt. The prints from the etchings were wonderful, and very finely detailed. The process of making the etchings on copper plates was also fascinating. If you click on the link above, you can go on a virtual tour of the Rembrandt ehxibit, including a section on how the etchings were made. The Rembrandt etchings are also featured in an Ensign Article (October 2005 issue.)
After visit the museum, our feet were getting tired, so we headed went back to the car. I still hadn't told Dawn Ann what was coming next. I had hoped to get to Cummings Chocolates before they closed, to get some Chocolate Dipped Strawberries. But, as Maxwell Smart might have said: "Missed it by that much"! We arrived at 6:37 pm. The store had just closed at 6:30! Oh, well, maybe for Valentines Day!
I had packed our swimming suits and towels in the car. So our next stop was the Hot Tub and Swimming pool at our local Fitness center. It wasn't a particularly romantic location, but it was nice just to relax in the "Adult" hot tub (which of course included its own private Life Guard/Chaperone, as well!)
After stewing in the hot tub for about half an hour, we needed to cool off. We visited the indoor competition swimming pool, which had very few people in it. We had a nice time swimming, and dancing together in the pool, in kind of our own water ballet. Near the end, there was only the two of us, and one other person swimming laps in the pool. This time we had two lifeguards watching us (although one of them was having a hard time staying awake). Finally, Dawn Ann yelled out, "Hey you, wake up!" She teased them a little bit. We learned that if everyone left the pool, that they could go home. So we told them that when the other person was through swimming laps, we would leave too. A few minutes later the lap swimmer left, and we returned to the hot tub for another 10-15 minutes.
We had a nice time at the pool. Ordinarily when we go there, we have two kids to look after. Plus they want to show off for us too -- "Look at me mom!" or "Check this out dad!" They're cute, but its nice to just have some time together in the water.
After the swimming pool, we went to Dairy Queen for ice cream cones -- one of Dawn Ann's favorite treats.
At this point, I would like to have completed my kidnapping caper by going to a hotel for the night. However, with the UEA weekend, our regular dog kennel was completely booked. (I hadn't decided to kidnap my sweetheart until a day or two a head of time. We previously had considered going to St. George to visit grandmas and cousins there, but elected to stay home instead). I checked into other kennel's, but you have to produce all kinds of documentation (the dog's immunization history, etc) to go to a new kennel -- and they wanted it a week in advance. So we didn't have anywhere to keep the dog overnight. Grandma can't take the dog because of allergies, and besides, she had her hands full with two kids! So we went home instead, and spent a nice, quiet evening together.
One anniversary tradition we have, is Pepperidge Farms' Milano (Orange chocolate flavor) cookies. It was one of the treats I bought on the way home from work earlier in the day. On our wedding night, we stayed at the Little America hotel in Salt Lake City. I had purchased a bridal suite package there, which included Milano cookies. We enjoyed them then, they have become a regular part of our annual anniversary celebration ever since. (That and purple bath oil beads -- but we won't get into that right now, shall we?)
It was nice to be able to sleep in as long as we wanted. It was a reminder of our newlywed days in our apartment. No kids, no yardwork, (and a very short honeydo list too!) Those were the days when we could just sleep in on Saturday mornings: just lie there and talk without interruptions and distractions. We would get up when we felt like -- sometimes even before noon!
We went over to grandma's and picked up the kids and learned about all their adventures. Then our Saturday returned back to its regularly scheduled program. (Shopping, housework, laundry, etc).
Dawn Ann and I actually have several anniversaries: There is our Wedding anniversary, of course, on Oct. 18th. Then there is the day we met, St. Patrick's Day on March 17th, (I'lve always considered it my lucky day ever since! -- Even though I'm not Irish!) Then there is the day we got engaged, July 23rd. Then add in Valentines day, on Feb. 14th, and you can see that I have a lot of occasions to remember my sweetheart.
On each of these days, I always have a few moments to pause and reflect on what a wonderful blessing Dawn Ann is in my life. I am so thankful for her, and how she fills my heart with love. I'm thankful for the hand of the Lord (and my sister Jeannette, and the Visiting Teaching Program) in bringing us together. I'm thankful for the covenants we made in the temple as we were married. And I'm thankful for the two children she has blessed our home with. I'm thankful that she is my love, my companion, my sweetheart, and my best friend.
Thank You, and Happy Anniversary Honey!