Well, I used to love parades.
Before they took almost 2 hours and tossed more candy than we can eat in a month.
(Ok, well, more candy than I can eat in a month. My husband, however, is completely thrilled to have this giant bag of candy in our home because I've been working on clearing our house of all the junk. And on that note, I just finished eating about a dozen Tootsie Rolls. Those delicious, tiny logs of squishy, warm*, chocolate just happen to be my favorite. If they hadn't thrown those, I would have had the strength to toss the whole wretched thing into the dumpster. Since the Tootsie Rolls were in there, my saliva glands went into overdrive and my better judgment was chucked away for some over-processed plastic that may or may not even have actual food product in it.
Totally worth it.
My pants may not agree with that statement tomorrow.
*You may be wondering why I said warm there. Maybe you don't know this, but if you squish a Tootsie Roll long enough or keep it in your pocket, it becomes soft and malleable. That's when they taste the best. This might be just my opinion, but give it a shot. You might find out you enjoy pocket candy as much as I do.)
My city has a festival every year and the parade is usually the only part I attend. Why? Because the rest of it is pretty lame. I do like some of the events and the games, unfortunately, it's the over-priced food that gets me every time. We bought 3 corn dogs, 1 walking taco, 1 plate of nachos and played 3 games. $45 later, we decided it was time to head home.
Yes. $45 later. I could have purchased SO MANY BOOKS for that. We did come home with a teddy bear my son won...so there's that. So, $45 for a teddy bear and bowel issues from eating crappy fair food. Sweet.
Our parade is almost exactly the same from year to year. There are a few new additions that have extended the length of this amazing event, such as the multitudes of crowned royalty from every single pageant that takes place within a 100 mile radius and the oh-so-serious marching bands from the local high schools, trying to march in a straight line and play their instruments with sweat streaming in their eyes with the 100% humidity that is torturing our state right now.
The grand parade starts out with every fire truck that we have in our city. They line up, all clean and fresh from being recently washed, turn on the sirens and blast them until your ears bleed and dogs howl.
My kids usually scream and cry during this portion. Which is why I go. My plan is to use threats like this in the future: "Do you want me to call the fire trucks? I'll have them come here and blast those sirens until you all get along!"
(Just kidding! Kind of...my threats are cleaning related. Or I tell them I'm going to make something nasty for dinner, like tater-tot hot dish. Just that threat alone can have my kids in tears, making promises to be best friends forever. Nothing can band my children together quicker than having a common enemy. Me. And their combined hatred of my home cooked casseroles.)
We were also nervous about how well Declan would sit still for an entire parade, so we went there armed with some snacks, juice and electronic entertainment. We didn't need any of it.
Once those fire trucks starting crawling down the parade route, my kids sat entranced. Sure, they plugged their ears and checked to make sure no one else was crying, but never have they sat still or behaved so well, for so long.
I'm guessing it had little to do with the actual parade gaiety. I want to thank all the people that threw gigantic handfuls of candy at my children as to keep them gainfully employed for the entire 2 hours. Not only did my kids understand that smiling and waving was the way to achieve those fistfuls of sugary joy, but they fully comprehended that this was a battle against other parade viewers.
The second you heard the scattering sound of Tootsie Rolls and assorted suckers, my kids were out there like vultures attacking their prey. I've never seen them work so hard together. My oldest son, using his built-in military background, used tactics that can only be seen on battlefields during war time. He told which kid to go where, and when. He instructed them on when it was time to look calm and cute (using Morgan as our "adorable" factor- she had to be on the ball at all times, smiling and waving like it was pageant time and the judges were watching her) and he made sure that everyone had an area that was considered "theirs".
Morgan was a little fighter. I'm pretty sure she would make a great pickpocket, had I a need for one. She looks so sweet and innocent, you would never guess she was out there, plotting to steal that candy straight out from under your feet, while you're hunting for pieces further away (that actually happen to be wrappers she placed as decoys to distract you).
Declan wasn't the greatest help. He had a leash that kept him from reaching the "good" stuff and he kept eating whatever did happen to make it into his 5 foot radius, ripping the wrapper off and shoving whatever it was in his mouth before I could even blink. Declan ate 5 suckers before we eventually cut him off for good. Once you start shaking from too much sugar, I'm afraid that's probably enough for you. Even his eyeballs were vibrating and there was blue raspberry drool making its way down his chin.
Here are some pictures of our awesome Saturday:
Before the parade started.
They look so sweet and charming.
Kids nearby, be warned:
My kids will stalk and hunt you down for a Laffy Taffy.
They haven't had sugar in the house for a month now and they are desperate.
The first vehicles are coming!
Evan and Declan just plugged their ears.
Morgan just whined on my lap the whole time.
Until she noticed there was candy being tossed...
then she got over it.
Plugging one ear so he can wave with the other hand.
"I can't handle it! It's too loud...please toss suckers at my head?"
This is a picture of the military precision I was talking about.
There were kids on one side of us and their parents were calling out orders like drill sergeants.
I was scared, but my kids held their own.
I didn't raise no wimps.
My husband was thrilled to have all this candy in the house.
Along with the candy stash (that I slightly obsessively organized into categories before photographing), we even received tattoos, erasers, post-its, seeds to plant, whistles (right into the trash with you), necklaces, chap stick, a deck of cards and 3 chip clips.
(Woo-hoo on the chip clips! I think we fought parents for those. We all know what it's like to not be able to seal that chip bag properly and every parent was out there with their kids attempting to look discrete but trying to get their kids to pick them up. Chip clips didn't look like candy, so most kids wouldn't touch them. I scored 3 of those babies! My kids were like, "Can we eat them? What are they for and why did I waste all that effort grabbing something so stupid?" OK, they didn't say that, but I can read their minds.)
Seriously though. When did parades start throwing so much junk? We have enough candy here to last us until October. (Make that August...I forgot my husband could find the stash.) I came for the fun, not for the stomach aches and dental visits. But thanks anyway...although, I'm keeping the Tootsie Rolls.