I am a self-identified Suburban Princess and I adore all things that allow me to maintain my status as a full-time working, home-owning, wife, mom and 80’s sitcom emulator. I know it’s ridiculous, but that’s how I grew up and I’ll be damned if my little girl isn’t going to have the best I can give her. Hubs and I have been knocked down so many times we perpetually wait for the other shoe to drop. We keep on recovering though and this past weekend all our struggles were given a holiday. For those of you who choke on anything remotely suburban or Stepford-esque, consider this your trigger warning.
In all my years of living in a cute little 1980’s housing development in Northern Virginia, I have never experienced the ultimate suburban event: The Neighborhood Block Party. I remember there being a Dine-Around during the holidays that Daddy always grumbled about and Mama complained about and not-so-secretly loved. There was never a big BBQ or anything going on like with the Huxtables or Sesame Street. Last weekend my suburban dreams came true when we received an unexpected invitation to…wait for it…OUR NEIGHBORHOOD BLOCK PARTY!
My husband presented this shabby black and white Xeroxed flyer to me as if it were made of gold and would ease every woe. He was so right I couldn’t stand it. I almost peed my pants I was so excited. I have no idea why I wanted to participate in something like this so badly, but you couldn’t have stopped me from going if they were handing out gasoline and told me they would set me on fire. My heart was bursting with love and gratitude for slopping into such a wonderful neighborhood and praying we can afford to live here forever. I NEEDED this party.
Once I calmed myself and switched into my usual event planning mode, questions, anxiety and fear set in. What the hell actually happens at a block party? What do I need to do? What the hell am I going to wear? GASP! What the hell is Miss O going to wear?!
It was a week before the party, so we had plenty of time and RSVPs were requested for Friday with the party held Saturday afternoon, 2:30 pm -5:00 pm. The location was super convenient being in one of the cul-de-sacs just down the hill and two streets over from ours. It was a pot luck, OF COURSE!, and there would be a decorated bike and stroller parade at 4:00 PM. I’m sorry? What?! A DECORATED BIKE AND STROLLER PARADE. Fan me now, y’all, I have died and gone to Stepford.
I freaked out for about a minute over what to cook and landed on Mama’s Chicken Over Rice recipe (someday, folks, someday). That’s when it hit me that I have never decorated a stroller, let alone been in a whole parade for them. I started to twitch when I realized there was zero guidance on what that really meant and didn’t know anyone in the neighborhood well enough to find out. Well, first impressions are everything, right. This girl got to work STAT.
The flyer said we were gathering to welcome fall, so at least I had something extremely vague to work with which is always helpful. I went through a few ideas that were more Halloween than fall, but it got me going. The winning idea hit me much faster than I thought it might and I couldn’t believe how simple it was. We had gone apple picking the weekend before, so I probably had it close to the surface anyway. I would make my baby’s red Zippy Inglesina into an apple picking bag!
Since I am not from New England and didn’t grow up with this annual family fun-fest, apple picking is a relatively new experience for me, although I probably can’t really say that anymore. Apparently, it’s a hell of a good date, too, so Hubs and I have been going every year since we moved up here. He is a New Englander by birth, which I do not hold against him, and he assures me this much interest in apple picking is normal. It also results in half the season’s baking quota for the state. I have made so much apple crisp it’s ridiculous and have learned to make some pretty good applesauce if I do say so myself. But I digress…
As It turns out, it is surprisingly easy to turn a stroller into a bag of apples, which is marvelous, because I only had a week worth of evenings to do it. Hubs was a great help and cut out the apples, which was no small feat. I think his fingers are still sore from the scissors. I think he secretly enjoyed being apart of the whole thing, too.
I usually have pretty high expectations for things like this and the image in my head far exceeds the reality I can produce, but I have to say I was pretty happy with the result. Miss O loved it and wouldn’t get out of it after her test run, so I took that as a good sign. If you find yourself inspired to try it out, I posted a tutorial here.
We had such a good time at the party! It was glorious chaos with kids and parents everywhere. Miss O decorated cookies, painted a mini pumpkin and ate more than her share of cupcakes. We met lots of neighbors and two of Miss O’s future classmates at our elementary school. The parade was an absolute riot. We had the only stroller and I may have gone a tad overboard in comparison to the streamers decorating the bikes, but everyone loved it and Miss O had a blast riding in it. She waved like a pro, too. I can’t wait until next year!