There must have been 70+ people there including adults, children and dogs!
I took the kids to the cinema in the afternoon (to see Brave which was great but a bit scary - big bears, teeth bared, fighting!) and this was the scene I arrived home to. There was a bouncy castle set up on our front yard for the little kids (and then we hosted the firepit at the end of the night), there was badminton set up next door, a volleyball net over the road and basketball on another. So by 7pm there were people spread all over the court.
Everyone brought a dish of food and drinks so there were cool boxes scattered about the grass and quite a spread in one of the houses. Grilled hot dogs and burgers, chicken, chips 'n dips, cookies, big slices of watermelon and strawberries.
We all made our way over to the baseball pitch behind our house around 8pm for the softball game. The older kids had been playing a game of kickball which seems to be a cross between baseball and soccer and usually played at school when there is a big group of kids. The women (and men who were too chicken / tipsy to participate) settled down on the bleachers, beers in hand to watch as the men and older boys warmed up on the pitch by throwing the softballs to each other in 2 lines. They had to divide themselves into 2 teams and it was like watching male birds compete for the females' attention, puffing out their chests, stretching out their muscles and waving around a whole load of testosterone!
To be honest I have no idea on the rules of softball. I believe it is similar to baseball but with a bigger ball. Kids start to learn baseball by playing t-ball where they hit a ball off a stand then move on to softball (the ball is anything but soft but is an easier target as it is bigger) then on to baseball. I know lots of 4 year old kids (boys and girls) who play t-ball every week.
I am not afraid to ask the neighbours to explain things to me but to be honest I was just enjoying watching my kids watch the game. Most of the younger kids stood out on the pitch so they could try to catch the homeruns. I was quite fearful for mine who were playing behind the pitch as it wouldn't take much for one of those balls to knock them off their feet! Toby got hold of a baseball then a softball and was loving throwing it to me as we watched the action. Our close friend scored a home run so Toby high-fived him in celebration.
They played for over an hour so we got to see a beautiful sunset whilst we were there:
After the match (no idea who won!) we took the kids to the playground. As were leaving at about 10pm the kids started to cry that they didn't want to go home but were very pleased to hear that the party had moved onto our driveway! Tobes only lasted a bit longer though he had a great fighting spirit and needed convincing to go to bed.
He was fascinated by the volley ball, badminton and softball. I think he will be big into sports as he gets older. He has fantastic hand to eye co-ordination, is very strong for his age and can jump really well (feet together and can go pretty far!). Of course I would say he was amazing but a few people have commented too so watch this space.... T-ball here we come!
Poor Jeremy had been up for such a long time by this point (since 1am US time as he had flown back from the UK) and I really needed to go to bed and I had a long run with my run camp at 7am this morning but there was more fun to be had and if Charlotte was still going then we would too. So we had s'mores round the firepit and chatted to the neighbours who had gathered round with their chairs and beers. I don't even know half of the people who were there but we got to meet a few more of them and it helped us feel more welcome here.
However, strangely for us, our landlords were there on a home leave trip from Australia so it was a little uncomfortable going in and out of our / their house. It reminds me that we don't belong here, that this life is just temporary and who knows what the future holds.
But we are living for the moment and loving it!