Actually, let me go back even further... when we lived in Melbourne, Matthew and I dined out very frequently. We had enough pocket money left over from work, rent, and saving for our Vancouver move, that we could afford to have dinner and even drink wine during dinner. We would do this maybe 3 or 4 nights a week.
...I know, right?
For various life reasons which include the astronomical cost of living in Vancouver, we have reduced our dining out experiences over the years we have lived in Vancouver. One of the major changes we made was to re-imagine our concept of "Date Night" (dinner) to "A Date" (brunch or coffee, i.e. not just at night). Two advantages of this conceptual re-imagination:
1. You don't have to wait for the evening to go on your date.
2. You don't have to order wine with your meal, and in fact it is discouraged.
Bonus: It elevates a simple lunchtime meet-up or quick coffee in between activities to the status of quality time spent with each other.
(I should disclose in the spirit of honesty that this reduction of dining out has NOT corresponded with an improvement in my cooking. We are still eating on rotation the same five meals that I can confidently not ruin. It's on my long-range personal improvement goals list. Note to self: write a blog post about long-range personal improvement goals.)
Anyway, back to the story...
Last week my very dear Aunty Lorraine, who has been like a second mother to me while we have lived in Vancouver (and even before that), celebrated a big birthday. Cousin Carolyn was in town, and bravely organised a big family dinner in Aunty Lorraine's honour, at a fancy restaurant locally. Back when the invitation was issued, I just rsvp'd for all of us (babies included) and thought nothing more of it. So we hadn't been to a restaurant since the babies arrived. So the dinner was after baby bed time. What of it? There were family members at this dinner who we hadn't seen in months, and literally everyone else was going. And it was a special birthday for a very special family member. In short, unmissable.
...Flash forward to the day of the dinner: all day I had mounting anxiety about timing the feeding of the babies so that we could squeeze in a full feed before getting to the restaurant, so that the babies would sleep through it. This resulted in me rather enthusiastically feeding them more than they usually eat. This resulted in George projectile vomiting all over my good friend's mum, who was visiting (from Australia!!) for afternoon tea and to meet the babies. This resulted in us being an hour late to dinner.
But you know what? We got there in the end. As the birthday was a large party, we were seated in the back of the restaurant with no other patrons (well it was a Tuesday night). The babies were blissfully sleeping during our entire meal, under Gramma's lovely hand-knitted shawls that we used as car-seat canopies.
The food was delicious (truffle risotto! smelled like a rustic weekend vacay), and the birthday cake was a fruity whipped-cream vision. And the Aunty Lorraine looked radiant.
|L-R: Emily, Brian, Leslie, Dan, Mum, Eileen, Gramma, Dad, Lorraine, Carolyn, Eric, Matthew, me, Eleanor, Bryerton|
I think we will not go out to dinner again in the next couple of months. But it was good to know that it could be done.