Monday, October 8, 2012

We Went to a Restaurant

All five of us went out to eat at a restaurant together.


In a year.

Not only that, but I was so proud of us the second time it happened that I had a Chipotle worker take our picture.  That's right, people, we're talking fine dining.

{I am Super Mom! I travel with scissors to cut food, and a suction cup placemat!}

Anyone who mistakenly thought we were somehow "doing it all" (not that anyone ever did) now knows that we're not.  Eating out is not yet a regular part of our life with kids.  Even snacks we almost always bring with us on outings, rather than relying on finding something on the fly.  I am quick to point to Georgia's allergies as the primary reason we don't do it more often, but the reality is that for a variety of reasons we probably wouldn't eat out all that much more anyway, even without allergic reactions to worry about.    

Joe and I have date nights and go out to eat on our own sometimes, which is divine.  As a family we occasionally order take-out for convenience, basically limited to two choices for ease of allergen avoidance: pizza, or Chipotle.  Oh, and every once in a while, Joe and I will feed the kids something simple before bedtime and then order forbidden take-out for ourselves, like Thai or sushi. 

Even with those exceptions to our routine, though, it blows my mind to think about the sheer number of snacks and meals that we (mostly I) have purchased ingredients for, prepared, served, eaten, and cleaned up from in the last year alone (not to mention the over a thousand that my body physically produced).  No wonder I sometimes get weary of it.  Let's just say I was really looking forward to the school year starting for the simple reason of outsourcing some of the meals and snacks!  No one's buying hot lunch at school, of course, but at least a few of the crumbs my kids generate are now falling on someone else's floor.

{Heading into our first restaurant meal as 5 solid food eaters, in Florida, a few days before Aunt Sara and Uncle Vake's May wedding.}

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{Not pictured: me.  But I promise I was there!}

Oh, what the heck.  Since we're on this day anyway, how about a few gratuitous pictures of Georgia and June practicing being flower girls?  I loved these matching sailor dresses.

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So, how often do the rest of you eat out?  Am I freaking out the childless among you who are considering parenthood?  Don't worry; I think most families have a record better than ours.  Maybe next year we'll be a little more adventurous.


TomT said...

So cute - all of your babies eating in a restaurant!! And the girls are SO BEYOND cute in matching outfits on the boardwalk.

Angelique said...

Our #5 is now 3 years old and we rarely eat out as a family. If we do the meals usually ends in heart burn and indigestion (for me).

Maggie said...

I think this is sorta funny because I don't know if we're just completely insane or if somehow we didn't realize it was so forbidden to eat out. But here goes.

We eat out about twice a week. Typically Friday or saturday night and then usually grab lunch on the fly either saturday or sunday. And, yes, we eat anywhere. Sometimes it's pizza, lots of times it's a real restaurant. I don't know, we just like it.
I like the ease of not having to cook (or really just clean up) and Mike is a restaurant goer in general. Yeah, sometimes the kids meltdown, but not too often and there's always other families around us so it feels normal.

Kate said...

Maggie - you're not insane, nor do I think of it as forbidden. Quite the contrary, I think it's great practice for kids to actually get out there and practice waiting and working on their table manners. (Joe worries more than I do about our kids magically turning into gremlins upon setting foot in a restaurant. That part I am not so concerned with, because I trust that they will behave, or else we will leave. Knock on wood, they have a good track record for behavior in public and usually save their worst meltdowns for home.) I do think overall that I might be a happier person if we ate out more often, so that is my long term plan. With three under age five, though, it was a tough year. Plus, I guess I have to admit that the allergies are more of a hindrance (mentally) than perhaps my post suggested. I hope to get to a place where we no longer feel eating out is not worth the hassle or risk. I know the kids would love it, too. Maybe that should be one of my New Year's resolutions for 2013?
In the meantime I will continue trying to make myself feel better by thinking that we're eating a little healthier and saving a little money, although I don't know if either of those things is even true. Even if true, we'd probably still gain net happiness by dining out slightly more often, considering that once a month would be a major leap forward at this point!

Sherie said...

If not for the allergies, I'd call you a wuss...if only to make myself feel better about eating out with our kids at least once and sometimes three times a week...since birth for all of them. With 3 under 6 years old, it is sometimes a hassle, but sometimes it is all I can do to not stare down that wretched broom we have to sweep the tornado after every meal, and so eating out wins. But we also let them have chocolate milk when we eat out as a special treat, but if we eat out 3x per week, is that really special? Our braggy part is that we almost never order off the kids menu. We split meals with them or do apps rather than steady diet of nuggets & fries.

jessica said...

1. Super Mom indeed!
2. I take groups of kids on field trips...but this is a different story. Impressed.
3. Yes, you are freaking out those of us childless kids who may or may not end up having kid/s.
4. That is SO much cooking!
5. Bobby and I rarely actually eat in a restaurant, but take out probably about twice a week on the weekends.
6. I love the restaurant experience and trying to teach Bobby to love it too...
7. Sailor dresses and gold sandals-adorable!

Sarah said...


We eat out way too much. Dom’s an out eater and with just one kid in tow, it’s not too bad. We too order off the big menu and take home the leftovers. It’s good exposure to lots of different foods, and also excessive exposure to sodium, filling up on chips, and generous servers that sneak desserts to the little one. One of the things I love about living in Houston is LOTS of eating on the outside patio which means less guilt when Mia’s ranting about and leaves half of her food floor. She started refusing the high chair/booster seat months ago and the other day she was under the table within minutes and then tracked down the waiter to ask for more bread. We’re still not very good about teaching table manners (and Dom and I readily admit we could use a few lessons ourselves) – I guess we figure she still gets a free pass at 2, but I’m sure we’ll pay for it later. My friend Johanna minimizes restaurant time by ordering off the menu immediately while her husband drives the kids around, then she texts him when the food’s arrived. Did I mention she has four boys?

Sarah said...

P.S. Am I the only one that requires three tries to enter the cryptic word in Google? Those things are getting impossible to decipher!

Danni said...

Cute pictures!!! Eating out with kids sounds like a PITA so I don't blame you. I don't think it much matters -- the goal is to keep these kiddos alive and progressing through life. Stuff like how often you eat you seems irrelevant regardless of whether it's never or all the time (unless you're generating obese kids of course).

By the way, I am unable to prove that I'm not a robot. So sad.

katandkarl said...

1. Sailor dresses = OMG.
2. Eating out = at least 4 times a week, usually w/ both kids. We have a problem.

Kate said...

We are all robots! GAAAAH!

Danni - I don't think it's relevant in some kind of moral judgment sense - one way of doing things isn't inherently better than the other. But I do think it is relevant from the standpoint of how one's day to day life *feels* after an entire year of almost never taking the family out to eat. It's a hell of a lot of cooking to never go out. And cleaning. And I know there is work involved in going out to eat with kids, too, (can be a PITA, like you said), but I think I need to get out there more. I've certainly left myself lots of room for improvement in 2013! : )