Lately when Emma has been getting all her smileys on her responsibility chart for seven days in a row, she has been asking for simple things that involve one-on-one time as her rewards. Baking something out of her fairy cookbook, having movie night, and so on. We have loved it because a.) We get special time with her, and b.) It's all free.
This last time was different. She wanted to either go bowling or go to IHOP and make a smiley faced pancake. The last time we all went out to IHOP was a year ago, and it did not go well for the twins and I. The story on that one is HERE. I was personally rooting for bowling.
Somehow, she decided she wanted both. And somehow, through batting her eyelashes at her Daddy, she was told we could do both. And she wanted the whole family to go.
Friday night was the big night. The boys and I met Marty and Emma in town, since it was a school day for her. I wanted to go to Old Navy first since they had their jeans on sale for $19 and I was sick and tired of wearing maternity pants. Unfortunately, just having three kids was not as easy as I had hoped, and we did not leave the house till almost five. My wonderful hubby met us at the mall and he stayed in the van with the kids while I ran in and got jeans, saving us oodles of time. However, we did not get to IHOP till 5:45.
I knew it would be best if we got settled and ordered as fast as possible, to get our food fast and get out of there. The older kids got their menus, which had coloring activities on the back, but no crayons. When I finally got the attention of our server, I was told they ran out of crayons. Really? How does a kid-oriented restaurant run out of CRAYONS? Deep breaths.
Like the good tomboy-who-always-wanted-to-be-a-Boyscout-because-their-stuff-was-always-so-much-cooler-than-the-Campfire-Girls-who-darned-socks, I am "always prepared" and I keep crayons in the van. Along with everything else in there the weight helps give me traction in the snow. At least that's what I tell myself to avoid thinking about what the 500 pounds of Cheerio crumbs does to my gas mileage.
Anywhoo, we got the kids (somewhat) happy coloring, and tried to keep them relatively quiet until our food came. About ten minutes later, our server, while walking by our table, suddenly remembered he had not yet put our order in. More deep breaths. Luckily, the people around us seemed to like our family and were smiling at the kids. The food came and the kids were very happy. Overall it was a successful dining adventure, and the server was actually very nice, great with the kids and apologetic about forgetting to put our order in.
On to bowling. We got to the bowling alley at seven. Bedtime around here is eight fifteen, so we knew we were pushing it. The bowling alley was packed, we got the very last lane available. But it went great! Drew slept through the whole thing, Grant was very well behaved, sitting in his chair until his turn without complaining or trying to run around. Emma was excited but well behaved, and Ben was crazy. Really, really crazy. He was having a good time, but whenever it was his turn, Marty would take him up and help him throw the ball, then Ben would try to take off running to the left. Every time. I was glad that the people on the lane to the left was another family, and they didn't seem too ticked off.
Emma tripped on the little step-up to the lanes, and hit her chin. Ben slipped in his shoes and hit his head pretty hard. Other than that, no injuries or crying. We managed to keep them all together and happy all evening. For those who do not have four kids, that might not seem like a really big deal, but trust me, it is. It went a long way toward letting us realize that we can take all our kids out places and survive.
On the way home, Grant kept saying "Bowling ball fun!" Although it came out as "Bow-ing ball bun!" And Ben, whose feelings were still hurt by the floor coming up and whacking him in the head, kept saying, "No bow-ing baw!" They never agree on anything.
It was a jam-packed weekend, but I will have to fill you all in later. Check back later today for Not Me! Monday!