Last night was National Night Out, when neighborhoods are encouraged to hold block parties. The last three years I've been the one to file the form with the city requesting cones to block off the street for the evening. Erik and the neighbor boys wrote out about 12 invitations before Erik got sick and the neighbor boys went camping. So some neighbors received handwritten invites and some got computer printed ones. They boys helped me deliver the invites last week.
A fire engine with two firefighters came by and the kids got to look around the engine and ask any questions of the firefighters. McGruff the Crime Dog came by with a police officer and three 'explorers'. [I guess explorers are high school students who are interested in becoming officers. They participate in this sort of community event. Probably don't go along on 911 calls, I'm guessing!] My kids are deeply ambivalent about McGruff, but Erik was willing to give him a high five. A police officer on a bicycle came by later. His job is to bike around alleys after dark, looking for people breaking into cars. That was quite interesting to hear about. He said his goal is not to be seen. When he sees something suspicious, he'll radio in to the patrol cars, who will park on either end of the alley. Then he bikes up to the suspect. He said he can often get within a couple feet before the person even knows he's there. If the suspect tries to run, the patrol cars are right there to stop him. Erik wore his police jacket last night, so the officers thought that was pretty cool.
I had some paper airplanes for the older kids to fold and fly, and some cardboard ones for the younger ones. I also put out bubbles and sidewalk chalk. The kids decorated the front sidewalk and it's fun to look out the window and see the designs. At one point yesterday afternoon, Erik and Adin were outside and had been quiet for long enough that I was a little concerned they were up to some mischief. I peeked around the side of the house, thinking I might catch them with the hose, but they were innocently drawing on the sidewalk!
It was fun to see neighbors last night. We often don't run into them other times during the year and it's always nice to re-connect.