I gotta say, we live in a pretty cool neighborhood. Not "hip" or "trendy," but as parents of a toddler, really NICE. While I'd only consider us friends with a handful of people, there are many more that we are acquainted with, and plenty others that we don't know but are nice enough to stop and chat. We know most of the dogs in the neighborhood (Benji, Gypsy, Guiness...), and their owners don't mind stopping to say hello and let Natalie give the pooch and pat and let the pooch give her a nice lick which she loves. There's a handful of elderly ladies who do laps around the block at various times of day, and if we're outside, they always want to say hello to Na and tell me how adorable she is and how much she's growing. We even have a piliated woodpecker couple that has taken up residence in the phone pole outside our house. That's something not every neighborhood has.
Deb across the street is now one of my best friends, and our girls love each other and love to run around. Thankfully our neighbors don't mind a toddler or two in their yards. Especially Bob who lives next to Deb, since the girls have some infatuation with doing laps around his driveway to his walkway and around the front gate and back to his driveway again. If you are 2, this is tons of fun. Mrs. Smiley got the girls each holiday gifts, she's recently widowed and has lived in this neighborhood since it was built in 1955. We bring her cookies. The neighbors on the other side of Deb have a 10 year old and a 7 year old, who think our girls are the coolest. And our girls think those two big kids are rockin. We have a date tomorrow to go do chalk drawings on their driveway. McKenzie (she's 10) even made the girls easter baskets this year. Next to us, before they moved to NC, was Katie and her family. She was a local La Leche leader, and thank God for her, she got me through some rough times in the begining. Even bachelor Matt who lives next to us on the other side doesn't mind a toddler in his yard, especially since Natalie likes to stalk his cat who is outside on nice days. The cat doesn't even mind either. Next to Matt is Fernando and his extended family - Natalie plays with his granddaughter when they come to visit from Philadelphia. Fernando fixed our outside AC unit (the big fan thing next to the house) when it broke. In August. With a 6 month old. After Jim had been out of work for 4 months. He wouldn't take any money over cost, so we made him banana bread. And most recently? Mary who lives a few houses down in the other direction works for the county parks and rec department. Two of the parks have little trains that run on tracks through the park. It's a couple bucks a ride per person. If you are 2 (or 43 in Jim's case) the train is the coolest way to cap off a saturday at the park. Mary just gave us a book of free tickets that will last Jim and Natalie most of the summer. Natalie is going to draw Mary a thank-you picture.
I'm a big fan of community. I can't wait for Na to start at the co-op nursery school in the fall because it is just an awesome community of parents dedicated to the school and learning. We're currently kind of so-so about our church (long story), but haven't found another place to go because the community of people there is so great, it's keeping us put for now. It's nice to know that if something awful happened, they would pull together and be there to help, especially when you don't have family in the area. It's nice to know that I think our neighbors would be there, too. Maybe not to the same extent as the church, but we'd probably get our yard mowed or have some meals show up on our doorstep or things like that. And I'd be happy to do the same for them.