"Do you wanna go to Red Robin?"
The Loy family in Bellingham, WA are our dear friends. We met them when we lived up there for two years before we moved to China, while Aaron was in grad school.
The Loys have four amazing children. When we first met them all those years ago, Morgan, the oldest, was three, and Hannah was two. Sydney was a newborn and Carter, their now eight-year-old, wasn't even thought of yet.
"Do you wanna go to Red Robin?" was our favorite phrase in those days, because the older Loy daughters would ask us that question in their cute, high-pitched toddler voices. Red Robin was our "special" place to go with the Loys.
To this day, when we see a Red Robin, Aaron and I look at each other and grin. One of us then inevitably says: "Do you wanna go to Red Robin?" in a tiny Morgan-and-Hannah-Loy voice.
So, it was with nostalgic excitement that Aaron and I looked at each other after the Disney On Ice show on Saturday and said, "Let's eat lunch at Red Robin!"
Our kids had never been to a Red Robin. We don't eat out much these days (quite a contrast to our eating habits in China, where food and restaurants were CHEAP). Red Robin and other chain, sit-down restaurants like it are in the Tri-Cities, where we go occasionally, but not a lot.
It was quite a treat to pull up in front of Red Robin and walk inside. We ordered burgers and pop and kid's meals. We loaded up on steak fries covered in Red Robin special seasoning dipped in liberal amounts of Ranch dressing.
I walked away from a very messy table (and an even messier floor where Sophie had thrown all her unwanted food) with a sense of being very pampered. That's how you feel when you haven't eaten out in awhile: you notice yourself being spoiled.
Loy family, if you ever read this, just know we think fondly of you, especially when we eat at Red Robin. We think of those happy days sitting with you around the table when we were clueless newlyweds. You made parenting look so effortless, we couldn't wait to have kids of our own. And we didn't wait, obviously, because eight years later, here we are with FOUR of our own.
So, here's to Red Robin. And family. And steak fries dipped in Ranch dressing.
Red Robin ... Yum.