The Sound You Hear

I had this beautiful idea of sharing our dinner time routine with you. 

This post was going to be full of advice and encouragement. I was going to brag about how no one ever complains or disagrees at the table. There is never a spill or a mess. Everyone loves everything I cook and cleans their plates every night. They rush to help cleanup and ask what else they can do to serve.

And then I woke up.

Because dinner time at our house is wild. 

It's loud. It's messy. It's crazy.

Sometimes my two year old will not eat a bite. My daughter argues over the Ketchup bottle. My son spills his apple juice. And it's likely that someone will burst into tears.

There are noodles on the floor. Kids getting up and down and conversation without limits. 

If you listened, you might hear whining, crying, laughing, talking, smacking, chomping and chewing. 

I used to get so frustrated during dinner. I compared our noisy dinners to my picturesque idea of perfection. But not too long ago, it dawned on me to enjoy the boisterous, messy occasion. To laugh at the spills and capture the moment.

Because I know I will look back on this time and miss it.

Now, it's not a free for all. I do have some dining standards:

  • Don't like what's on your plate? Try it. Take a bite, you might like it.
  • Kids set the table and clean up the table.
  • Play with your food (as long as you eat it too).
  • We don't miss dinner for play dates or TV time (ever). We make eating together as a family a high priority.
  • We don't lean back in our chair, but if we do, we laugh if someone falls out.
  • We can talk about anything at the table, as long as we respect each other.
Sure, I can find many things at dinner time I'd like to change. But I need to focus on the good: I love that we are together. I love that we have ample choices of food on our table. I love that I have the ability to clean it up (and that my hubby is a huge help). I love that my kids will try new foods. 

I love that the sound I hear is my family

Food for the Soul:
Sarah said, "God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me." Genesis 21:5-7


TeriLynneU said...

Inspired post! Love this and so very true. I had a similar epiphany when I was spring cleaning DD's room ... so important to treasure these moments for they will too soon be ended.

CanCan (Mom Most Traveled) said...

This make me feel better. Although we do need to work towards our kids remaining in their seats in between bites....

Kristi_runwatch said...

Love it!! I tend to be slightly too up tight, so God really stretches me through my children! :)

Tara @ Feels like home said...

Those are great rules! I love it. My (only) daughter is 2, so we have a ways to go in the family dinner department, but we still all sit down together. I think that routine is vital.

Bridget said...

This is good. Dinner at home, together, is big for us, too, but I spend A LOT of dinner nagging about manners. I think I need to lighten up a bit. Thanks!

(J loves making those tortilla faces, too!) :)

Kris said...

Omg. I'm such a goober....and a nag too apparently. Thanks for an inspiring post.

The Stylish House said...

Great post! We sit down together for our evening meal as much as possible. The tv gets turned off and it is a nice way to share the events of the day. It is not gourmet, but there is lots of love. ~Cathy~

Megan said...

Such a great post! said...

Nicely said Krista! Way to focus on what is really important.

Emily said...

1000 amens to that!

Shannon said...

"We don't lean back in our chair, but if we do, we laugh if someone falls out." EXCELLENT.

FeeBeeKay said...

I lurk, but wanted to comment today! I loved your post especially this morning - it is so full of real life and joy. A friend of mine reads a chapter of a book of her son's chosing every night after they have all eaten to round the whole thing off, and her older children still won't miss coming home for dinner because of it! FeeBeeKay

A happy heart at home said...

Great post! It's wonderful to have everyone around the table.


Patti said...

Thanks for sharing!

One of the things my kids enjoyed (more when they were younger) were officially declared "no manners meals" sometimes held in conjunction with "no utencils meals". When given the freedom to have no manners, it was amazing to see how many dining rules they knew & would freely break at this time. My husband throwing bread at the kids, "passing it out" is a memory they still refer to. And the NMM held at my daughter's slumber party. What a hoot!

At other times I could remind them, "This is NOT a no-manners-meal" and they knew how to straighten up.

Pam said...

Lovely post. We never used to eat dinner at the table together. It used to always be in front of the TV. That really bothered me. So, a few years ago we began making dinner together AT THE TABLE a priority. I'm so glad that we did. It really is a wonderful bonding time.

Staci said...

It sounds like you are really setting some great habits in your household that your kids will remember forever.
Dinner time is my favorite time of the day too no matter how chaotic it is.
mom to 18 month old twins and a 14 yr old

Alicia said...

I'm so happy to hear that our dinner table is not the only crazy one! With four children ages 3 to 9, it is loud (really loud!) and messy but I wouldn't trade it.

Beach said...

LOVED this post....cause it sounds like dinner time at our house too.
:) Heather

~*Michelle*~ said...

Great Scripture......and great family values that you hold high!

Embrace the chaos is my motto....


New momma said...

What a great reminder! Thanks for sharing this.

Sharinskishe said...

Totally awesome post! So true it hits home with us too. We definitely ARE NOT THAT FAMILY most days.

Thanks for your inspired works of telling life with words. You are an inspiration to a lot of people.

Have a great day!

Brandi said...

Yes, you are so right. My boys are noisy in everything they do. So noisy that I feel like my ears are bleeding half the time, but I just have to take a step back and think about the fact that I better embrace it and enjoy it because one day, sooner than I want, it will be quiet.

Wendy said...

That is so awesome. What a great family tradition you are building!

Jenny86753oh9 said...

Dinner is a source of many migraines for me. And I only have 2 kids! I've been trying to "get over it", but this is definitely one of the work in progress things with me.

Banteringblonde said...

This is great - I sometimes get overwhelmed by the volume of noise at our table but I should really appreciate what it means!
I also have a - you don't have to like it but you do have to try it rule!

Michelle said...

i need to relax more and let my family play with their food.

do you have suggestions for manners?

grannyann said...

Talk about a noisy dinner, try two teenage girls, a 5 year old boy, mom and granny! My daughters husband eats in front of the tv (which I disapprove of but not mine to say). What a hoot, sometimes I am glad I only eat with them on Sunday evenings.

Stephanie said...

I always struggle with dinner time. I make it a priority for us to be sitting at the table and eating, but my husband is never home b/c of his job and by that time of day I'm running a little low on longsuffering. I do enjoy listening to the kids talk although we have a 'one person at a time' rule just b/c it's hard to hear anyone when they all talk at once. To be completely honest I long for the family meals that everyone talks about and sometimes just get sad that Dad's not there.

Lady Pamela said...

Even though my kids have long ago grown up and have homes of their own, I always enjoy reading about your family. Enjoy them, they are precious.

nicole said...

God bless you! I love this! You are SO right. I get so tired of all the outrageous seriousness of the dinner table stuff. What are our kids going to remember? Is it more important to know which side of the table your glass/fork/salad goes on or how much they enjoyed & loved sharing meals with their family???!!!!

Thank you, Kristen!!! God is good!

Fresh Mommy said...

It's just great to have a family dinner time... with all the good, bad and the ugly it might bring, it's still family time. Wonderful!


We are THAT Family said...

I just wanted to add that probably 3 nights a week, I tackle good manners. So, it's not that I don't try :D I just don't want dinner to become another time of discipline in our house and find it's more effective to talk about smacking or standing while eating when dinner is over or at another time entirely!

speckledpup said...

sweet post girl.
well said.

Maddy said...

Yup. Pretty noisy around here too.

Elizabeth said...

I love this. It sounds just like my family at dinner time! We have 7 kids, and dinner time often feels like feeding time at the zoo to me! You are so right about finding humor, and I too, am glad that the sound I hear is my family. I'm going to be starting something on my blog called Family Fun Fridays, starting tomorrow. That would make a good entry!

angie said...

I LOVE this post! Thanks for the reminder - tonight I will attempt to look past the smacking sounds that drive me CRAZY : )

Rebecca said...

Great perspective. Dinnertime can be so frusterating. We have a lot of utensil tossing at our house it seems.


Angie said...

Oh boy, I needed to read this tonight. We had milk spilled twice, one daughter fell out of her chair and many tears were shed, and the other daughter was showing us how different animals eat. Meanwhile the 9 month old was making a huge crazy mess in the highchair (we'll give him a little grace for that). I think I need to lighten up and laugh about it all instead of making sure I close the back door before yelling at them so the neighbors don't hear. Dontcha think?

My only thing is, if they get away with stuff at home, they think they can when we're out at restaurants too. What do you think about that?

Kristine said...

Yesterday we had a fly buzzing around our dinner table. Of course, the boys started talking about how flies throw up on their food before eating it. (*gag*) Yeah, we *are* THAT family!

Peggy said...

GAAAAAA!!I just had a baby so I'm placing full blame for these tears on my being a big ball o' hormones but I loved this post.Thank you!

skyesofblue said...

Definately enjoy it while you have it, they grow up so fast. Each day is a blessing, food on the floor, spilt juice and rules to be followed.

deb said...

i'm glad i stumbled on your words... love the dinner table that is full of real life!

Cardamom said...

Oh, I needed to read this tonight! I have 9 children. Through a variety of circumstances, our meals have gotten, um, noiser, and less structured. Yes, there's all the little manners that need polishing, but tonight as I listened to the 4 different conversations that were overlapping - it dawned on me that these were just child versions of very animated table talk. There was goofing off, jokes, stories from the day, plans for tomorrow, and so on. And, when people come over, my children tone it down a little (but not much) and our guests still want to return! Thank you thank you thank you. It's so easy to miss the tree for the leaves...

Anonymous said...