I throw a mean block party, if I do say so myself. I can't take credit for the perfect weather - 72 degrees, light breeze, no bugs, blue skies - but I do take credit for postponing when the thunderstorms rolled in Saturday. We put a sign on the garage asking people to come back the next day and huddled inside, counting the many bags of hot dog and hamburger rolls.
Fotunately, Sunday dawned as previously described. Our neighbors were wonderful, hauling over tables and chairs. Chris started up the grill just in time for lunch and "Cheeseburger in Paradise" played as he flipped the burgers. We received six entries for our inaugural Pie Baking Contest, and I carefully placed the baker's names in security envelopes. After burgers and hot dogs, along with lots of salad and fruit, everyone was excited to try out the cotton candy machine. Chris became quite expert at whirling fluffy blue clouds and the kids demolished them quickly.
The early afternoon started with a bike parade around the block. I used the bullhorn to make sure everyone knew we were starting. Jonathan quickly ditched the tricycle for Olivia's motorized Gator and he and Alex drove around and around on the sidewalk for a good hour. The inflatable waterslide was also a huge hit. There were twenty kids climbing up and sliding down, over and over, as parents grinned and calculated exactly how long their tired children would sleep in the next morning.
Alex was too little for the waterslide, but enjoyed splashing in the puddles. He would periodically drift back to the tables for more food. Early on, I tried to police his intake, but after telling him "no more Tootsie Rolls" I found him with half a cherry Roll in his hand - paper still on. After that I let him loose. Jonathan would run over to bundle up in a towel for a minute, then run back for more sliding and Capture the Flag. The water balloon toss and free throw shootout were nice diversions.
Chris was a pie judge along with two other men from the neighborhood. They really enjoyed tasting each slice and the kids quickly demolished the remainders off their tasting plates. The Red White and Blue Pudding Pie won the rotating trophy rock and most of the pies were eaten quickly. Alex pulled up a chair and was carefully devouring a slice of Double Crumb Apple long after the rest of the kids were back on the slide.
Then we sat around for a few hours, drinking beer and sodas, chatting, and laughing at the kids. We'd go over to graze on salsa or watermelon now and then. The weather stayed perfect. Alex snookered most of the girls into pulling him around in the wagon and Jonathan got the older kids to pick him up for airplane rides and piggybacks.
When dinnertime rolled around, we realized we still had lots of food, so we started the grill and cotton candy machine going again. People who had left for a softball or soccer game came back to find we had barely moved. Alex found the leftover half of the winning pie, which was filled with fresh blueberries and strawberries, and stood on tiptoe to shovel it into his mouth, one handful at a time. We asked him what he was doing - he mumbled "Licious!" through a mouthful of pudding and kept eating until the pie pan was clean.
Everyone pitched in to clean up and we then moved next door for a bonfire. They had to go get a second bag of marshmallows when it was discovered that most of the first bag had disappeared down Jonathan's throat. The kids had a conga line and a dance party, and Jonathan climbed up on the deck railing to sit next to Drew, looking cool as he managed the stereo. Alex finally had had enough - he was covered with scrapes and chocolate - and Chris took him in for a bath and bedtime. I stayed out long enough to toast a marshmallow for Jonathan's first s'more, then carried him home. He said "Mommy, we spent the whole day outside! I'm so happy." I asked him if we should have another block party next year. He lit up and said "Tomorrow?"