I'm actually a beginner as well. I've been shooting since the summer and love it....although, it's a far more expensive hobby than my previous one (guitars).
I definitely recommend you look into getting the 50mm 1.8 when you can. It's a very cheap lens (you can grab one used for $80, new for 125) that will totally open up a world of night photography....I took a bunch of pics in Disney last October with the 50mm 1.4 and I gotta say, the extra aperture helped tremendously!
Where you able to get any more info on Kids Nite out?? I really think you and your hubby would enjoy it. While I am not a Military Wife, my husband works for the NHL,and often travels with the team, so he is gone during game nights and on the road every year from Sept. to whenever they get kicked out. Could be late June. We love the opportunities for adult only time when we can!