Neighborhood Block Party & Nursery Beginnings

On Saturday, Joe and I got to attend our first-ever neighborhood block party. We got the notification flyer before even moving in and didn’t know quite what to expect, but it turned out to be quite an experience.

Early in the morning, our neighbors roped off the ends of the street with American flags and biohazard tape — whatever was lying around, I guess! I wish I’d taken a picture of this, but unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to snap any photos the entire day. But there was loads of food and refreshments, inflatable pools and water balloons for the neighborhood kids, and even a professional DJ who came by to play music in the evening.

And it was a wonderful opportunity for us to meet some of the neighbors. Not all of the households on the street turned out for the block party, but everyone who did was extremely welcoming and friendly. Joe and I appear to be one of the youngest families on a block full of middle-aged folks and retired people with grandkids, and everyone seems excited about the prospect of a new baby on the block — already we’ve gotten a bunch of offers for babysitting, and we hear there’s even one woman across the street who runs a small daycare service out of her home.

We also got to see the inside of a few of the other houses, including our neighbors who recently remodeled their kitchen — and since the layout of their house is almost identical to ours, this was pretty inspiring for what we could eventually do way down the road. Here’s the gist of what they did, applied to the floor plan from our virtual house tour:

Potential future kitchen remodel?

They actually knocked down a brick wall and then expanded their kitchen into what used to be an enclosed back porch, making it big enough to accommodate a giant luxurious island with several barstools. No doubt a very expensive and complicated project, but it was really interesting to see that something like this could be (and had been) done on a house very similar to ours.

Anyway, the block party also featured a raffle with various prizes — kids’ toys, bowling tickets, jars of candy, etc. We ended up coming home with this adorable rocking lion for the nursery:

Rocking lion for the nursery.

We didn’t actually have the winning raffle ticket, though — our neighbor’s son down the street was the one who won it. He’s a pretty amazing 12-year-old who reads at his grade level despite having down syndrome, and is generally just a great kid to be around. After winning the rocking lion, he graciously decided that he wanted us to have it for the baby.

Currently, the rocking lion is the first and only thing we have for the nursery, and even though it’ll be a year or two before Baby Hart is old enough to play with it, it might be fun to use it as a jumping-off-point for a decorating theme. Maybe zoo animals, or a jungle safari sort of thing.

Of course, we should probably start focusing on the “important” stuff for the nursery, like getting a crib and all that. It’s hard to believe that there’s only 15 weeks to go with this pregnancy, and we’ve barely gotten started!


  1. What a wonderful neighborhood for your family! This really makes grandmama feel good. You’ll be gathering lots of ideas for kitchen remodeling over time — it’s great to see what others have done!

    And what a sweet child to give you the rocking lion! It’s so cute!

    Which bedroom will be the nursery? Is there a bedroom upstairs? Have fun!

  2. Madagascar!! (Let me know if you like that theme, I can look for baby presents)

    It does sound as if you got the perfect neighborhood. But then, they just got some good new neighbors, too!

  3. A safari type theme, eh? How about the Lion King? Simba, and Mufasa on an accent wall? Just throwing some ideas out there…. probably didn’t throw them far enough…

  4. Thanks for the comments! We’ve decided to turn the front bedroom into the nursery, since we’ve already commandeered the back bedroom for sleeping purposes. The upstairs does have one tiny, sort of half-finished room, but on a whole the attic isn’t finished or insulated, so it’s not really usable as living space at the moment. (I should try to post some pics eventually though!)

    As for the nursery theme, I think we’re leaning towards a general jungle / animals / wildlife sort of thing without focusing on a specific movie or group of characters — hopefully that sort of approach will allow plenty of freedom to mix in different things as we continue working on it. :)

  5. How cool that you got to meet your neighbors and what a great way to do it! Now that they know you, they can help watch out for the house when you are away. A daycare right across the street is very convenient, too. That was so sweet of the 12-year-old to give his prize to you! I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a rocking lion before. It’s adorable! I agree with your mom about The Lion King accent wall. Sounds wonderful!

  6. Thanks for the kitchen idea! Opening the kitchen to the mudroom and making it into an eating area would be a great improvement for down the road, although we may need to beef up the insulation in there beforehand — we’re not 100% sure if it’s as well-insulated as the tandem room, even though they’re both part of the same back porch addition. Definitely worth looking into though!

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