shortly after bella was born, marty declared we would be a family that ate together. if you're wondering what happens when marty carves something in the tree like that, well,
after fourteen years, if everyone was in the same zip code, i could count on both hands and feet the number of times this family did not eat as a full complement. dinner is typically at six and lasts, functionally, for about twenty minutes. there is usually some sort of sweet (e.g. oreos, chips ahoy, tastycakes, or on special occasions ted drewes custard) at the end. on nice spring days we eat on the front porch on a folding table. most nights there is a question of the night. and we tend to have a decent variety of foods served. marty's long-standing rule is everyone must try at least one bite of everything. after your taste test, if you don't like it you can have something else. that something else must include a protein. if you spot a child with a sweet without witnessing something proper eaten, marty will ask, "before you eat that, what was the protien you ate?" science teacher and all.
i still remember when marty pointed to the stands and made this mandate almost fifteen years ago. i contemplated contesting it because it seemed like it would prove inconvenient and maybe even annoying at times. but now, seeing what has formed, i can name it one of our home's finest assets.