This weekend was a great reminder for me that we CAN go out as a family and have everyone behave, listen, and have a good time. Joe's aunt and uncle sent us money for the kids' birthdays and told us to go do something fun with them. So we decided that this weekend we would take them to dinner and a movie. Yesterday, after Brooke woke up from her nap, we headed out to Toys'R'Us so the kids could do some "window shopping". It was actually a lot of fun, even for me. Joe took the boys to look at the things they like and Brooke and I scoured the "girl" aisles. It's so fun watching Brooke run around checking everything out. She's actually very good about not ripping everything off the shelves and if she does, she puts it back (and will even put things back or straighten things up that she didn't get out or mess up). I think we got some good ideas for Christmas.
We decided on Olive Garden for dinner. I was a bit leery about this because of it not being one of the most kid friendly restaurants (compared to say, TGIFriday's or Red Robin). But Joe suggested it and it is hard for me to NOT want Olive Garden's yummy food once it is mentioned ;-). They told us it would be a 25 minute wait and we decided that wasn't too bad. I think it was probably only about 15 minutes and other than hearing "I'm huuuungry" whines a few times, the kids were rather patient. We were seated and got out the crayons and coloring books to occupy them while we waited for our food. There was no fighting. Everybody sat still in their seats for the most part. They used inside voices. Ate well. It was SO nice. Even the waitress complimented the kids on how well-behaved they were and gave us coupons for free kids' meals (with the purchase of an adult entree) for next time we go! You have no idea how good that felt (okay, if you are a parent, you probably do!).
We had some time to kill before the movie started, so we went to TJMaxx to look at more toys. It made me think about how much of a treat it was to get to look at the toys while we were out shopping when my sister, brother, and I were kids. We never got anything unless we had birthday money to spend or something like that, but we just loved to look. I need to remember this when I'm out with the kids and they ask to look at toys. Usually I just want to get what we need and get out, but is it really going to kill me to let them look at the toys for 10 minutes? No. I NEED to loosen up and try to see things from their perspective more.
(As I am sitting here typing this, the kids are watching Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakel. Our kitten, Crosby, just walked over near Brooke and as she is leaning over petting him, she's telling him, "Thank you for coming." She is a trip.)
We went to see Puss In Boots. When we go to a movie, seating is very strategic. Usually it goes Brooke, me, Ryan, Joe, and Cole. It's just better if the kids aren't seated next to each other....I'm sure you can imagine why. Joe's mom met us there, so she sat next to Ryan with Cole on the other side of her and then Joe. Ryan is not a big "movies kid". He has his favorites (all the Toy Story movies, Cars, Alvin and the Chipmunks 1 and 2, and Despicable Me) and if it's not one of those he is usually not very open minded about it. Right after Puss In Boots started, he told me he wished we watched a movie at home instead. A couple minutes later he was asking for his DS. After asking a couple more times, I told him if he asked again, he wasn't getting it at all today. The movie started out slow, in my opinion, but it did pick up and after about 20 minutes or so he seemed to really get in to it and enjoy it and he stopped complaining. I didn't love the movie, but it was pretty good and the kids definitely liked it. We are all really excited for Chipwrecked next month! There was a preview for it last night. It looks funny....and how can you not love the Chipmunks??
Anyway, all that to say that it was a really great day. Of course, there was the occasional whining and the kids picking on each other, but it was rare. It gave me hope that someday it will be more of the rule rather than the exception. And it reminded me of all the things I once looked forward to about being a mom.