Cheers for in-home date night

photo-299There comes a time, when you have 4 small children, when it feels like they completely take over your life.

This weekend had elements of that. Saturday featured swim lessons in the morning, as it usually does. My husband takes the 3 big kids to the Y, leaving at 9:00 a.m. and returning around 11:30. This is kind of my “me time,” except that I’m caring for a 2-month-old baby. This Saturday I was making sure he had napped and was fed so I could be on time for birthday party #1, for 3-year-old twins, starting at 11:30 a.m. at the local firehouse. My husband met me there with the other kids. We all stayed for a bit (we’re friends with the parents and several other people who were there). Then he took our 7-year-old to get his hair cut, while I stayed with the baby, 3- and 5-year-olds. When the firehouse party ended at 1:30 p.m., I packed them up and drove to a gym for party #2, for a 6-year-old boy. My husband took the 7-year-old to party #3 for an 8-year-old. We left party #2 and got home around 4. We relaxed for a bit (well, with baby-feeding and the like), got the kids dinner, and then I took the 3 big kids to a night hike organized by a local nature preserve. I’d sort of thought this would be one of my “anchor events” for the weekend, but while the kids enjoyed it, it wasn’t my favorite. The boys kept wanting to run ahead (into the dark snowy woods). The 5-year-old was downright hyperactive from two birthday parties, and I had to haul the 3-year-old through the mud and snow.

So when I got home at 8:15 p.m., I was ready for some grown-up time. We shuffled the kids up to bed (the baby was already asleep). Then my husband and I cooked this dinner, pictured here: lobster tail, mashed potatoes with chives, asparagus with hollandaise sauce. We could relax with wine, catch up (we hadn’t seen each other all day!), and then go sit outside on the porch under a blanket and listen to the snow melt.

This will be food week on the blog. We’ve eaten at a lot of great restaurants over the years (like French Laundry!). But I’m glad we also both know how and like to cook. It wasn’t in the cards to go to a restaurant this weekend. A 9:00 p.m. in-home romantic meal was doable, though, even if the weekend was otherwise consumed by the kids.

In other news: Actually, the weekend wasn’t 100 percent consumed by kids. I managed two other grown-up fun things: reading fiction for an hour each day (Adeline, by Norah Vincent, which I’m enjoying as a Virginia Woolf junkie), and going for a 5.5 mile run Sunday morning along the river — with a blog reader! It was so fun to meet up and get a cup of coffee after.

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