Thursday, February 17, 2011
Before I dive into an event that happened last summer, flashback style, I really want to make sure that y'all read the post that I wrote yesterday. I know that some of you only stop by here on Fridays for the link up and trip down memory lane, and thats totally okay, I welcome you however you come, but- its an important post, and it would mean a lot to me if you read it?
It was in the 80s today. It was so warm (and perfect, and beautiful), that I got sunburned. We set up the sprinkler in the back yard, which the kids have been terrified of until today, took our clothes off (okay well not all of them, and not me), and ran through the water. There were bees, and crickets, and ... it is still February, right? Wasn't it just snowing last week? There was some kind of blizzard and we were trapped inside for 4 days?
Well todays visit from summer, reminded me of last July. The smell of sunblock and bbq.
Something that I guess I've kind of stopped talking about so much, is our food intolerances and allergies (add carob to the list of can't-have's btw). Until this past summer, would you believe it if I told you that we hadn't been out to eat in well over a year? That means nobody had cooked for us, other than each other, in something like 430 days. Can you even imagine? ...it was sad.
So then I met this really rad lady, named Marlene. I don't remember exactly how it was that she had found my blog, but we talked a little bit here and a little bit there, and it turned out that she was the manager for a restaurant here in town (Red Robin, yummm). She asked me more than once, if we wanted to come in, and assured me that her and her staff would shut down the dang place if they had to, in order to serve us a meal that wouldn't kill us (because believe me when I say that a single grain of wheat is the death of me). And while at first I was nothing but "no thank you"s and "maybe some other time"s, come Christopher's birthday, after a whole lotta convincing- I really did want to take him out, and more than that ...I just didn't want to cook for once, haha.
So we set up a time when she was working, we got the family all together (Eleanore didn't even know what a restaurant was), and we went out to eat.
Marlene was amazing. She had literally given her staff a pep talk. More than once I think. They had a game plan. A game plan, you guys! A special table for us, special menus for us, and when it came to cook our food, they brought out specially sanitized cookware, and shut the kitchen down in order to make me salmon that was surely untouched by anything else.
At the time, I was hugely pregnant with Evelyn, and had been having contractions all day. The anxiety of eating somewhere other than my own kitchen, food that somebody else had made, was enough to keep the cramps coming steadily. I almost thought I wasn't going to be able to go in, I was so stressed out about the whole thing.
But y'all- it was awesome. If theres anybody in Abilene Texas reading this, with food allergies or without, Red Robin wins. Nobody else in this town (or in this world, even) would have gone through so much trouble just to give our family a break at dinnertime. Nobody.
We have family coming into town next month, and I'm anxious to go out again. Even though we know we can go there now, its still such a hassle. Not only for us (I don't know how other families do it, because we just don't travel well), but for all of the folks that have to cater to my "if I eat this I'm going to die" requests. Next month when Christopher's Dad & Brother come to town, we're totally going. I can't force them to eat our crazy everything-free diet the whole time they're here, and I have to admit, I've been dying to sit in a booth and watch my kids sip happily from their fun bendy straw plastic restaurant sippy cups.
I didn't take too many pictures when we went, I spent most of the time trying to explain to the kids what the hell we were doing (seriously, neither of them know what eating out is, it was so confusing for them), but I did manage to sneak a few in, between spilt ice water and ketchup artwork.
Charlie sucking from a straw for the first time.
I taught Elie how to hold a crayon the right way.
And then these ones are my favorite...
I know that for most people, going out to eat is no big deal. You do it once a month, once a week, whatever. But for us, the family who has 8 billion different food allergies and sensitivities, each one different from the other- its epic.
To this day, Eleanore still asks me if I remember when we went to Red Robin, haha. Because its right up there with the Dallas Zoo, and if given the chance, Disneyland.
So heres what we do. Every week we dig through our memories- old cell phone pictures, polaroids from 1986, something that you pulled out of a dirty shoe box- and we flashback to it. We show it off, and we write about it. We take ourselves back to that place, with as little or as much detail as our hearts are willing to share. Scan it, upload it, copy and paste it from your livejournal (remember those?)- display your memories in whatever way works for you. And then grab out button way down at the bottom of the page there (or link back old fashioned text style), add it to your flashback, add your link to our flashback, and if you've got an extra minute- maybe browse around and read some of the flashbacks left by others. Its just for fun. And really- memories are too precious to be left in an old dirty shoe box.