Dinner for eleven

As I have mentioned before, we eat dinner together every night.  During last night's dinner, several thoughts passed through my head that I thought I would share.

First, I think everyone is in a growth spurt.  (Well, the children, that is.  J. and I don't need to have growth spurts.)  It used to be that if I cooked two pounds of pasta, it would give us plenty for dinner and also some leftover for lunch the next day.  The past couple of times we've had noodles, there has barely been enough to satisfy everyone at dinner, much less have any left for another meal. Actually, leftovers in general have been few and far between.  I'm afraid the bad news is that it is time to go from doubling to tripling when I make dinner.  (Or depending on the recipe, to go from tripling to quadrupling.)  It makes me think of the picture book, The Seven Silly Eaters.  There is a line in it about the children growing, but their appetites growing with them.  I need bigger pots and pans.

Secondly, it occurs to me that we don't have calm and sedate dinners.  They tend to be loud and boisterous, with many people trying to talk at once despite our reminders not to interrupt.  I am glad that everyone has things they want to share, but I do wish the volume could be turned down a bit sometimes.  In order to keep a rein on the chaos, we have the 'no singing at the table rule' (which is often broken, sometimes even by the parents who made it), the 'no knock-knock jokes at the table rule', the 'no touching your feet at the table rule', and the 'no touching your hair or face because the babies will copy you rule'.  Our topics of conversation cover a huge range, and we've been told by people joining us for dinner that they can be fairly unusual.  It all depends on what someone has read or heard that day, for example the story about parasites J. heard on the radio or the book B., M., and I read (Farm City) about raising pigs on scraps from dumpsters in the inner city.  And with all that talking, dinner takes a while.  We will be at the table for anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour an a half if there's dessert.  No wonder K. sometimes falls asleep if he hasn't had a nap.

Thirdly, I want to learn more about Elizabeth Fry.  For our family devotions after dinner, we have been reading through volume 2 of Hero Tales.  One of the people in this volume is Elizabeth Fry.  I knew a very small bit about her, mainly that she worked with women in prisons.  But reading the brief stories about her makes me want to find out more.  For instance, did you know that she gave birth to eleven children and that she wrote a small devotional book for mothers to encourage them during the busy years of raising young children?  If I find a good biography, I'll let you know.

There you have a small snapshot of dinner at the big ugly house.  At least it's been a while, maybe even a whole week, since we've had to remind someone not to use the tablecloth as a napkin.


sandwichinwi said…
If you're looking for a children's biography, the Trailblazer series has a book about Elizabeth Fry. It is The Theives of Tyburn Square. My husband and kids have generally enjoyed the Trailblazers series.

I love the description of dinner at your house!


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