August 27, 2011 : Mary Chris Jaklevic

August 27, 2011 : Mary Chris Jaklevic

“I think if you were to ask most of these kids what their favorite day of the year was, block party would be right up there with birthdays and Christmas.”

-- my neighbor Amy Tillotson

6:27 a.m. Six-year-old enters parents’ bedroom and asks, “Is it time for the block party yet?”

8:45 a.m. Bounce house arrives. Street barricades go up. Gas grill fires up for pancake breakfast.

9:00 a.m. Adults convene on sidewalk with Dunkin’ Donuts Box O’ Joe. Discussion topics: the perfect weather, school starting, what a great idea it was to have a wine raffle this year.

10 a.m. Kids’ activities: Decorating crowns. Building catapults.

10:15 a.m. The newest neighbors, a Pakistani couple, introduce themselves. More discussion: perils of raising teen-agers in the era of Facebook, where to get a cheap massage.

11 a.m. Water balloon toss. Husband stocks cooler with juice boxes and Miller Genuine Draft.

11:30 a.m. Super Soakers emerge. Nine-year-old dons bathing suit in preparation for “water wars.”

11:37 a.m. After an altercation with another child, 6-year-old declares this the “worst day ever.”

Noon. Hot dog lunch.

12:02 p.m. Surprise milestone! Six-year-old retrieves bicycle from garage and spontaneously masters riding her two-wheeler.

1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Basketball throwing contest. Football kicking contest. Doggie massages. Face painting. Author takes nap.

3:15 Six-year-old is starting, stopping, turning and racing on the bike. “Hey, Mom! Check out ME!”

3:31 p.m. Six-year-old has first wipe out. Minor scrape. Major sobbing. Note to self: Buy her a better helmet.

3:45 Attendance climbs to about 80 as kids from other blocks arrive. Juvenile strangers ask to enter our house to get a Popsicle or use our Wii. “Stinky feet odor” permeates bounce house.

4 p.m. Adults chill over Sudoku, cribbage and book discussions.

5 p.m. Resident balloon twister David Lyons shows up in his trademark baggy orange suit, prompting kids to form a long line.

6 p.m. Still to come, five more hours of activity: happy hour, bean bag toss, bonfire, s’mores and clean-up. I’m betting tomorrow morning will be verrry quiet around here.


About the author: Mary Chris Jaklevic lives with her husband and two kids on one of the most rockin’ blocks of the rockin’ suburb of Oak Park, Illinois. She also blogs about her furnace-free house at

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    Cool report, Mary Chris. Your 6 y.o.was charming when she told us y.d. that she had taught herself how to ride on Sat. Didn't know till I read your report of the "worst day ever moment" how adaptive that was. Good on ya. Russ Burck

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