Our unexpectedly great lunch outing

The reason I’m able to be a stay-at-home-mom is a double-edged sword. My husband, Mike, has a great job, but it’s pretty demanding. Twice a year I basically become a single parent for about 4-6 weeks, while he works 12-14 hour days, 7 days a week. About five weeks into this past season of single parenting, my husband surprised us by coming home early on a random Friday. At 11 a.m. he texted me and asked if I wanted to go out for lunch – of course the answer was, “YES.” Followed quickly with a “HOW?”

Next thing I knew, he was walking in the back door with a fistful of flowers and I nearly passed out on the couch from an overload of shock and happiness. He announced he was taking me and our son Eli to Sea Salt, an outdoor restaurant right in the middle of a park, and going on a walk around the nearby waterfalls as soon as Eli woke up from his morning nap.

I was so excited I immediately started packing up our baby gear and as soon as Eli was awake, we were out the door.

A lunch date with DaddyOn such a beautiful day, we were not the only ones with this idea so the lines were long and service was slow at the restaurant. To keep Eli at bay we fed him about half his weight in Cheerios and water. I had only wished I had brought enough Cheerios for me to do the same. But as the adult, you have to be the patient one, right? Sometimes being an adult is super annoying.

After lunch, we walked through the park to see the waterfalls and chase our own shadows.

Playing in the park with Daddy

One of Eli’s favorite things to do while exploring our backyard is pick the yellow dandelions and 1) Eat them or 2) Hand them to me. (Which makes me feel pretty good that I never even had to teach my son that giving flowers to Mom is a nice thing to do!)

Before we knew it the perfect afternoon was over and Eli was cashed out in his crib in the nursery while Mike cashed out on the couch before he needed to go back into work for another shift. I went outside so I wouldn’t disturb my boys, making a mental note to pack more Cheerios in the diaper bag for wonderful surprise lunch outings like today.

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The Challenge: Get Rowdy With the Rest of the Crowd
I took my baby to a pub #rookiemoms

The day before Mother’s Day was a glorious day on Long Island; not knowing if the weather would hold up the next day, I decided it would be best to do the activities I wanted to do on my special day Saturday instead: go out to lunch and walk over to the playground to push Weston on some swings.

Huntington is a town full of family-friendly restaurants and pubs, so I decided this was a perfect opportunity to complete Rookie Mom’s challenge #30, Stumble Into a Family-Friendly Pub. Now, Heather and Whitney claim, “Bars that serve food also service babies. Many of them have noise levels that will enable your family to blend right in….Pull up a high chair and get rowdy with the rest of the crowd.”

I wasn’t sure whether to believe them or not, so I went into this challenge a bit skeptical, but with an open mind.

We decided on Meehans, a restaurant and pub in town, which has just undergone gorgeous renovations. One of these upgrades was to open up the entire front of the restaurant, so you could sit inside, but essentially, be outside as well. This was the perfect blend of atmospheres for my inquisitive, people-watcher son. He could sit out of the sun while watching the cars, trucks, and people go by. We moved some chairs around to make room for the high chair, and even though we were quite loud and galumphing, no one complained or gave us nasty looks!

Hitting the Bottle (baby-style)

I took my baby to a pub #rookiemomsWe sat down, and the boy hit the bottle–the formula bottle–while we ordered burgers and iced tea. A baby boy around the same age as Weston sat down at the table next to us; our son was overjoyed to have a buddy and waved, clapped, and shouted to him. I didn’t bring any food for him to eat, but I ordered avocado on my burger, and had the patient waiter double my avocado. When the food came, we let Weston munch on a sour pickle, while I mashed up my avocado for him to eat. It wasn’t overly loud in the restaurant, but loud enough to cover the sound of the bottle and toys dropping over and over, as well as Weston’s excited screeching. When he started to fuss, we took him on our laps, and as long as he could watch the other baby and cars, he was entertained and let us eat.

So, We Got Rowdy!
Hitting the bottle at a family-friendly pub #rookiemoms

People tell you when you’re nine months pregnant to go out to dinner as much as possible because it’s not the same with a baby….and sure, it’s obviously not the same. I like to think of eating out with a baby like eating-while-on-a-boat. It’s not necessarily the most relaxing journey ever, but it’s doable, with some juggling, lots of quick hand maneuvers, and picking the right place to eat. It was a lovely Mother’s Day lunch, and it was so special because we didn’t have to stress about being quiet, Weston sitting in his seat the whole time, and not throwing toys.

Heather and Whitney were indeed right: getting rowdy with the rest of the crowd is actually more enjoyable and relaxing than boating against the rough waters and trying to be the perfect dinner patrons.

What challenge are you working on?

[Photo credit: Olivia Howell -- all rights reserved]

Rookie Moms Challenges -- weekly adventures for moms and babies

Find more baby activities with the 52 weekly rookie mom challenges.

If you’re already participating, use hashtag #rookiemoms on instagram or twitter so we can cheer each other on.

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Activity #29: Upgrade your own “crib”

August 25, 2014

You probably did nice things to your baby’s room to get it ready for him. How about your own bedroom? Make a small change that will make you happy in your sleeping space. Move a piece of furniture, hang something on the wall, or get rid of a clutter pile. (I didn’t say clean up […]

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Activity #291: Let your baby ride the family pet

August 22, 2014

Someday, your baby will be a man. Or a woman. When that time comes, your pet will fit into your kid’s lap. But for now, isn’t it super cute and funny to take pictures that really show how teeny weeny your little one is? Make sure to follow common sense tips for pet safety, but […]

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I took a postpartum yoga class {Rookie Moms Challenge #7}

August 21, 2014

Thanks to Rachel Martin for this guest post. During first introductions, another mom in my Mommy & Baby yoga class said bluntly of her very young baby, “We needed to get out of the house.” #truth Our little short stack, Evie, is a little older than three months, and I sure wish I’d jumped into […]

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I bribed my picky eater with toy dinosaurs for 2 weeks

August 20, 2014

Professionals recommend bribery Inspired by an NPR/Freakonomics story about bribery in which an economist gives each of his four children the opportunity to earn “a lot of money” for eating fresh fish in Hawaii every day during their vacation, I decided to try to bribe my preschooler with trinkets to try new-to-him foods. After all, […]

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What I learned from the #30×30 closet remix challenge. Spoiler: I am a lazy sweatpants wearer.

August 19, 2014

My sister lives 500 miles away, and therefore, we don’t see each other much. I stalk her through twitter and Instagram to know what she’s up to on a daily basis, and the big things, like a business trip to the Cannes Film Festival (she has a film industry job), I learn via phone calls […]

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Activity #28: Pack a picnic and roll in the grass

August 18, 2014

The challenge for the day is to take advantage of a warm afternoon and feed your family outside; it’s time for a real live picnic. It is so much easier to clean up Cheerio crumbs when I can just shake my blanket into the grass and leave the rest to the bugs. I like to […]

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Instagram vs. Real Life for moms

August 14, 2014

Inspired by a very funny recent post on Bustle, a few of us wanted to share the maternal version of What I instagrammed vs. What was really happening or my entire life is a lie. For better or worse, we could go on all day like this! What you saw from @mommyprojectSD Trend setter. #babystyle #skinnyjeans […]

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Dressing up as Olaf, Anna, and Elsa: FROZEN costumes for kids

August 13, 2014

I know it’s early for Halloween, but some of these have just hit the market, and I don’t think there’s any reason to wait. Why should kids only wear their costumes once per year? Who doesn’t want to be Elsa every day? Or at least wear it at your own FROZEN birthday party! Here are […]

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Another crazy experiment in potty training

August 12, 2014

Ugh. We are not THERE yet. We are so close. In fact, 12 months ago, I thought we were super duper ticking-time-bomb close because my not-yet-two-year old was so interested in pooping in the potty. Fast forward a year and he’s still quite interested in #2 because he gets to trade $h1# for candy. But peeing […]

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Summer Fun Giveaway

August 11, 2014

What’s all this Back to School nonsense? Stop trying to end my summer! August isn’t half over yet and we still have a lot of water play to get into. Today we have a giveaway for those who don’t have a care in the world about school starting. We are thankful to the folks at […]

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