Monday, January 27, 2014

"Why Are We Doing This!?!"


There are moments where I feel like our intentions are good but then I think, "what in the world were we thinking?!?"

To celebrate gotcha day we ventured out to a restaurant as a special treat...a fancy restaurant. The kids had all requested Mcdonalds but mommy quickly vetoed that request. There must be more to life than the golden arches and mommy is sick and tired of eating salads out of plastic bowls that have a plastic cover.

We had grand plans to go to another restaurant where it was advertised that "kids eat free." Upon arriving at that location we found out that they were closed...they must have seen us coming.

We quickly chose another option. We got there and the kids were coughing, shivering from having been out in the cold, everyone wanted their moose hats put on that very minute and in no time there were five chalkboards scattered across the table to "color on" (with those kinds of stats it meant that in a matter of two minutes the table was covered in chalk.) Every few minutes Sam or I would have to run a child to the bathroom. Not to mention trying to communicate to the kids what their options were and then having them decide on something that they would be happy with. I mean after all the kids meals were SEVEN dollars (we discovered that upon opening the menus!) You ARE going to be happy about what you choose so...choose wisely

I found myself thinking right away, "WHY ARE WE DOING THIS?" Everyone was falling apart and we were the loudest table in the place. Sam was on a bathroom run and I tried to come up with some quick plan to settle the bunch.

"What is your favorite color?" I asked the older four who were still present. They all answered at once. 

"What is your favorite thing to eat?" This time I told them to answer one at a time.

"What is your favorite thing to do at home?"

Ok, it is quiet...keep going Sarah. Think of more questions!!!

Um, "What is your favorite place that you have EVER been to before?" I said enthusiastically. 

That is right about the time that Sam returned. "Hey honey, let's play a game" (as I nod to him in a way that communicates...just go with it!) How about I tell you a question that I asked the kids and then give you an answer and you have to guess which kid said that. We'll play the kids against daddy and see who wins. 

Those chalkboards suddenly came in mighty handy.

What proceeded was giggles and laughter and the kids saying over and over, "how did daddy know that?" 

The final score was kids 5, daddy 10. 

It was at that moment that I knew...this is why we are doing this. It wouldn't have mattered that we were at a "fancy" restaurant or if we were at the golden arches or at home eating rice and beans. What mattered was taking the time to be together as a family. Really BE together and enjoy the moment of realizing that their daddy knew them so well.

What questions would you ask your family while sitting around the table? 

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7 comments:

  1. A friend shared this on Facebook after we had this conversation around the table. I thought these were great questions to ask about the future: www.allprodad.com/tools-and-resources/build-relationships/dreams-conversation-starters

    Here's one on what's going on in their lives: www.allprodad.com/tools-and-resources/build-relationships/kid-conversation-starters

    Sam

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  2. This is an awesome tip. Your family is lucky to have you so great at thinking on your feet:)

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  3. I found your story through Pinterest, with your family picture staring back at me that mirrored our own and your title, which I have thought many times, I had to check it out. Turns out your reason behind your title is a bit different than mine when I'm asking myself! Mine is about guilt over money spent and perhaps being more prepared at home for nights when the last thing I want to do is make a meal for 7! Anyway, I thought I would say good job and also encourage you for the future. Our family is blended and big- with two different parenting styles that merged through marriage less than a year ago. My stepdaughters had been neglected by their mom and were pretty wild when they got to me! Our first outings at restaurants were hard, on us and our servers and the other patrons. My 3 girls had been taught the preciousness of others, which meant that in public they were asked to behave as if in someone else's home- calm, respectful, etc. But boy, throw them all together and everything went out the window! It took time, but my husband and I never gave up, we kept the bar set where we thought it should be and allowed the girls to reach up to it.

    Today, we go out as a group of 7 and hardly ever have anything but minor issues with our clan that ranges from 3-9. We focussed on voice level, sitting instead of running around or standing on benches, being happy with either choices of food or not, and being patient while waiting. Your choice of a game is right on, conversation is not only a great distraction, but a rare opportunity in a busy family's life to be forced to focus on each other! For us, what was once taken for granted is now appreciated as a treat by all the children, being able to go out to eat together. Strangers too have a lot of appreciation- for the quiet meal they came for and were able to have and just the simple joy of watching children interact with each other and parents in a healthy way. Win win, for sure! So, KUDOS to you guys, really :)

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for your encouragement and for sharing your beautiful story!

      ~Sarah

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  4. I love this post! My kids are all almost grown up now (youngest is nearly 15) and we have always tried to take them to eat out now and again. I think it's great to teach them how to sit for a whole meal, use a knife & fork properly, choose from a menu, tell the waiter what they would like etc.
    We have a load of games we play when we have time to fill. "what does xxx like best?" - what does dad like best, going to the gym or going for a run? What does mum like best, tea or chocolate? that sort of thing. Everyone guesses than you reveal the right answer. Just be prepared to be asked some very weird combination questions!
    We play word tennis, when you pick a topic like Star Wars or The Olympics and just take turns to say connected words without hesitating or repeating any.
    Who am I? is a restaurant/car favourite and The Story game when you say just 3 words each and get annoyed when the next person messes up your story!
    All good games for all age ranges, then I used to resort to rock paper scissors when I got desperate!

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    Replies
    1. Julia,

      You are so right that these are great teachable opportunities for our kids and I love all of your game ideas! :-)

      ~Sarah

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