Last week a letter arrived from Nana Mickey and Papa Louie.  There was a check included with the instructions to take the family out for a “fun” dinner.  Jac and I looked at the calendar, saw our school kick-off looming and began to make plans.  It dawned on us that it had been a long time since we had dared take them to a REAL restaurant that wasn’t MacDonald’s or Perkins or something of the like.  Should we risk it?

There was a constant countdown for a week. It’s Philip’s secondary feast day, August 28th, and he was stoked.  We went back and forth about how to celebrate.  I was all for going out as it meant someone else would do clean-up and dishes.  I lobbied for a trip to Hill City and the Alpine Inn while Jac preferred a Chinese restaurant in town. What to do, what to do . . .

We spent yesterday in a mad dash of preparation before supper.  The hats that I had vowed to start 2 weeks ago had not gone anywhere beyond the confines of my head.  There was a mid-wife appointment 45 minutes out of town.  There was work and lunch and oh yes! the kids.

I was still putting binders together and lacing crowns as we raced to Hill City.

We had announced to the troops at 5 to get on some nice clothes and get ready because we were taking them somewhere to celebrate.  Oh, the questions!  Oh, the suspense!  Oh, the ever-loving requests to wear their crowns!

We arrived at the Alpine, gave strict instructions about what is and is not appropriate behavior in such an establishment, and  put in our names. Thirty minutes was the estimated wait.  Jac took the kids for a stroll through town while I held down the fort.  On their return, we donned our crowns and took the back to school pictures.

You better believe we made quite the parade marching to our table.

The Alpine only serves filet mignon, an iceburg wedge and a baked potato for adults and kids can choose between hotdogs and fruit or noodles and fruit.  You’d think that would make decisions quick . . . The kids each ordered for themselves and were mostly patient while we waited for our food.  We conducted interviews and wrestled with Gemma to pass the time. When we thought we were full, we turned our minds towards dessert (because that’s what you do) because where the Alpine lacks for diversity on the entree it makes up for it with the dessert menu.  We ordered 4 with the pretense of sharing.  Max and Philip ate until they were a little green and requesting help.  We assured them no one would force them to finish their dessert.

It was a late night followed by a slow morning.  It was unclear if they had enjoyed themselves until after breakfast when the questions were non-stop from all 4 of them about when we would and could return and how much they liked everything.  We’ll call that a success. Let the school year begin!

St. Augustine, pray for us!

*Thanks Nana and Papa for the treat.  We wished you were with us!*