While date nights are important for a marriage - and something Jeremy and I have not been good at carving out time for to this point - I confess that family date nights have become a very special part of life.
It's Friday night, and we have got into a habit of getting take out to relieve me of cooking duty. With Levi's early bedtime it can be hard to eat out for dinner, but tonight Jeremy called to say he would be home a little early so we made a plan to go out for dinner as a family. It would delay Levi's bedtime until about 7.30pm, almost an hour after he would usually be down, but he had naped well and if he is eating and in public he generally rises to the occasion.
We headed out to Red Robin, not the healthiest choice but close by, fast service, and somewhere our loud little guy will be more than tolerated :) In was a loud evening, no one even blinked when Levi expressed his excitement over his balloon or squealed with delight when his meal arrived. Nor did anyone give us the stink eye when we left quite the mess under our table - and compared tot he families around us, we were a dream in that department: :)
I was actually pleasantly surprised by the kid meal options available. We are just starting to hit the point where Levi needs his own meal if we eat out. Usually he just has bites from our plates but his growing appetite is starting to leave one of us, usually me, with a hungry tummy. We are also often faced with not wanting to spend money to buy him regular entree, but when the "kids meal" options are mac and cheese, chicken nuggets or pizza it can be a necessity. Honestly, it's no wonder that there is such an issue with childhood obesity in this country when there is no expectation that kids will eat real food and only offer them junk. At Red robin however, there were a lot of options that included pasta and tomato sauce and grilled chicken. You could also pick a side, which could be carrot sticks, steamed broccoli or fruit salad as well as the obligatory fries.
We got Levi the pasta with fruit salad and he chowed down. Pasta is his favourite! He made a glorious mess but our server was so gracious about it.
In a totally hyppocritical move, Jeremy and I had burgers and fries - and we did share a couple with Levi after he pleaded, but he was content with his meal :)
It was a lovely evening, a truly enjoyable time together. Eating out is finally getting less frantic. If Levi is eating, he's happy. And J and I can actually have a conversation as well as engaging our bubs, who is eager to talk and join in the conversation. I'm just drinking in this time of us being a family of three. It's beautiful and sweet and a dream come true. I can't believe this is actually my life. I know it will be an adjustment when our little lady shows up, I'm sure there are many more sweet moments ahead but for now I am drinking it in.
[Sidenote: I read this article this week about how kids are healthier when they eat the same food as their parents, even if they don't eat together. It basically says that when parents make a separate meal for their children, they often resort to unhealthier options like processed or frozen foods. So far, Levi eats what we have for the most part, mostly because I am lazy, and this means I am only cooking one meal and then can reheat for him or for us depending when I cook. Levi eats much earlier than us because he goes to bed so early.]