I have read in multiple places that the most strain in a marriage comes when your children are teenagers and toddlers. I think we are in trouble since we've had both teenagers and toddlers in the house for multiple years....and will for several more years as well. In fact, once May comes we will have 4 teenagers in the house! Sarah is ecstatic about hitting that special birthday. As for Jay and I, well, we'd rather have them stay little forever.
We have not been blessed with the best sleepers. Half of our kids were good sleepers. It appears that Kate will be joining that group.(Thank God! I prayed every day of my whole pregnancy for a healthy baby that sleeps well!) I have not slept an entire night since Peter was born 10 1/2 years ago. Peter has had major sleep issues that have finally gotten better in the past 2 years. Luke is such a joy during the day, but night comes and it's a whole other story. He wakes up at least once or twice a night crying(sometimes more)...for water, for me, and sometimes for no apparent reason at all. I don't do well with letting kids cry it out...and unless I want the entire house awake in the middle of the night that method wouldn't work anyway!
Jay and I are definitely in a time of life when we have to actively schedule time to be alone together. Weeknights that aren't busy with sports or activities are nice since we get to all have dinner together. By the time clean up is done and baths are given and the younger kids are in bed, one of us is usually falling asleep on the couch! At least Mike, and sometimes Andrew, stay up later than we do, so it's almost impossible to have alone time. Every once in a while we will rent a movie together...if it's a "chick flick" it will usually drive the teenagers from the room!
The weekends are filled with projects and family time. Trying to get a conversation together is tough because all the kids at different times want to talk or play...and we want to give them that special attention. So, every 6 weeks or so, Jay will take a weekday off and we will get a babysitter for Luke so we can spend the school day alone together.(With Kate, too, since she's nursing but she naps a lot:) It's nice just to have time to talk about things uninterrupted. It's also nice to talk when we are fully awake! We go out for lunch together, too. It's just a really great way to re-connect and give our marriage the attention it needs. I don't want to become one of those couples who, once their kids leave the nest, look at each other and realize they don't know each other.(Although, by the time all of our kids reach that stage we will have been married for almost 40 years!)
SO..........I endorse a kid free date day....and a good night sleep! The last two nights Kate slept for 7 hour stretches! Now I just need to work on Luke!