Making Friends


Making friends with other new moms is very important to a life well lived with children. It gets easier to meet fellow soldiers as your kids age, which is unfair because you need new mom friends the most in the first year. The months before the baby can interact and respond to you can be isolating, thus you need backup. 

It’s also REALLY nice to have friends with babies at the exact same age, as everything changes in three week increments with infants. If you are very fortunate, you might meet people before you have the baby, and then you can exchange kind, commiserate emails at the hospital and desperate texts re: diaper cream brand and pesky doctor appointments.
However, I think it is hard to meet people ahead of time because you’re distracted in that certain pregnancy-distracted way. Or at least I was.

Here are my steps to building your new tribe of friends, follow them to the letter:

1/ Identify baby-hangout spots in the area a sidewalk everyone walks with strollers in the morning, parks with baby swings, libraries with song circles, a pool with infant swimming lessons, churches with nurseries during the service, coffee shops….It’s not well publicized but all “baby activity classes” actually just exist for parents to meet each other. But just attending the event isn’t enough, you also have to…..

2/ Be more outgoing than you’ve ever been before Size up anyone with babies around the same age, and sit down next to them. Stop by their blanket in the park and laugh that you both seem to be on the same schedule, geez  I wonder why… Turn around in line and begin to chat up the fatigued caffeine-seeking compadre. Pick from any number of the million current similarities in your life and strike up a conversation. Don’t be afraid to act interested and eager because you are. People like interested and eager friends, so this is a handy attribute you can already claim.

The most important step! Never walk away from a pleasant exchange with a new mom without a way to contact her. You could easily not run into them again for several weeks and you’ve already established that they are: 1/ breathing 2/have a baby 3/speak the same language as you. Text them on the spot with your name and your baby’s name.
Do it like so:
 “Hey, let me grab your number so I can text you next time I’m headed this way.”
“Let’s trade numbers just in case we want to walk and get coffee sometime?”
“Hey, what’s your email, I’ll just email you right now so we have it.”

In some ways email is better than a cell phone number because it’s a little easier to stay organized on email, and write each other notes. If you ask for an email, you usually end up getting your new friend’s full name too, which is convenient.
If you want to casually mention I’m @______ on Instagram, well, all the better in my opinion. But I’m a big fan of social media, and I totally get it if you want to keep your child off the internet, as they say.

Last tip, then go get ’em!
If you meet a mom from your area who is a little bit ahead of you, baby’s age-wise, ask her what her favorite class or activity is in the area, and ask her if there is a local mom’s email or listserv group to join.

drawing of me and the girls by Joe

backyard surprise party

balloonslight bannerfoodforallpunchladiesbeer arrivalwatermelon guestswhiskey

Last week a few friends threw a surprise party for our friend Birgit. It was such a treat to plan a summer party for a good friend, anticipating the surprise and writing clandestine emails behind the scenes. The evening was all about enjoying the love for one another in the air.

My friend Megan’s decorating was a testimony to the power of a few twinkle light strands and helium balloons. That, and the wonder of a warm summer night in a tiny backyard framed with towering evergreen bushes.

We bought far too much alcohol and there was plenty of food and old friends that went to grad school with Joe but now live in different cities. We put Joan to bed almost immediately, in a pack n play in our friend’s front bedroom, but Lux and her pal Haruka played the party until 10pm. It’s fun to have them at an age where they don’t turn into pumpkins at 7pm.


My contribution was a quadrupled recipe of the basil strawberry shortcakes from Bon Appetit. They were really, really good. The biscuit recipe is a great one. Biscuits are only ever good when made with heavy cream and then, they are amazing. The recipe has you mix creme fraiche into the whipping cream. I bought too many cartons, so Lux has spent the week dipping her pretzels into our extra creme fraiche. Joan has had many spoonful as well, because the girl is ever-underweight and we’re just trying to keep up!

Up North

A few things I love from our time in the Traverse City area earlier this month. In the summer in Michigan everyone talks about going “up north” for vacation, even if it’s just a 30 minute or so drive north. I love possibilities in that phrase. Traverse City is a quick flight from Detroit, so it’s really quite easy for us to fly in from Boston. My parents have rented the same house for 17 years, so though it doesn’t feel like home, it does feel nostalgic and comfortable. I’m taking the girls back next week for just a little bit more vacation, lucky us!

gl1glen_havengltacosRoadside tacos, recommended by this fanatstic guide to the area on Megan Gilger’s blog.glboat_museumglpineconePine trees grow through the center of this ice cream spot.glevening

When Lux was four weeks old, we flew to Michigan as usual for my family’s vacation. There was some weird complication with my c-section healing up and the doctors told me I couldn’t swim to avoid further infection. Immediately it was the only thing I wanted to do. I could imagine the cold water enclosing around me as I dove down, my feet flipping halfway out of the water like dolphin fins. Being denied that freedom just that one time has made me so grateful for the opportunity to jump in ever since.

glen lakeglchocolatemy mom’s chocolate sauce on the stovetop in the eveningsglcake glcolorsglmorningsearly mornings with Joan, vastly improved by good coffeeglmixedMy brother and I went to see Chef at the Traverse City’s State Theatre on Free Popcorn Wednesdays. A cute foodie movie in a beautiful theatre, lovingly restored and volunteer-run!glpizzagldrinksThere are wonderfully casual wineries in the area to visit and more vineyards are being planted all the time (somewhat replacing the cherry tree orchards).glcherriesMy dad is obsessed with the ‘pizza bread’ from this market.glthefourth



the play mat


Here’s an easy Montessori hack, no purchase necessary: the play mat. I’d read about this idea–a small rug or mat that the child knows is their go-to space for all toys and projects. It supposedly can inspire ownership of space, tidiness, and project completion. But with just the three of us kicking around, it seemed a bit restrictive to demand Lux use a mat constantly, and ultimately an unnecessary extra purchase.

Enter, troubled waters: Even though Lux stopped napping around 2.5 years, I quickly realized that we still needed an hour break in the afternoon. She was often refreshed after the hour, most of which she spent talking to herself and play acting. We pressed on with “quiet time” with some difficulty. Joan naps in the girls’ room which leaves our room for Lux, and I could tell she felt like a misfit in the space there. (I asked for ideas here, and you all gave some great ones!) Despite my enticing books-on-tapes and quiet-time-only library books, she resisted it and we quickly found ourselves arguing over it every day.

Enter, a solution: a crisp blanket like this quilt, freshly laid out in front of a table papered and set with colored pencils. This has been successfully designated as Lux’s “work station.” The official labeling and the act of setting it up every afternoon has helped ease her into quiet time! hoorah. I make a point to clean it up directly afterwards, and at other times in the day she will ask for “her work space.” So I think we’ll try rolling this thing out on demand next. Any of you using this technique?

wafers and things


+ I’m very refreshed from my vacation. I didn’t make dinner for two weeks! Thank you, Mom. And I hired a babysitter for three hours a week.

+I keep listening to this coffee song by Sylvan Esso. Reminds me of the first time I ever heard Feist, way back when.

+ I’m experiencing a Necco revival. Oddly satisfying with their dusty minty flavor.

+ Conde Nast Traveler has gotten so good since Pilar Guzman took over the editorship. I love paging through it each month. Totally worth the $12 subscription fee. Though opt-out of that crappy travel bag that comes with a subscription, if you can!

+ While on vacation in Michigan I was able to do some freelance copywriting. I’m going to spend most of that money on a case of interesting white wines to savor and enjoy in this muggy heat. One hobby supporting another hobby is my ideal scenario!

+ I used an amazon affiliate link for the first time when I wrote about that water pitcher we like so much. And I gotta say, it was very satisfying to see that 31 people bought it. Influence! People like my advice! Water pitchers in every kitchen across the nation!



Longest Shortest Time, continues


I gave money to the kickstarter of the  Longest Shortest Time podcast awhile back, but I did not expect her forthcoming episodes to be so, so good. Rewriting your birth story? So important, so powerful. The one about a late term, stillborn birth? Possibly the most beautiful thing I’ve ever heard over headphones. I was weeping, obviously, but I’ve thought of that episode every time someone has mentioned a death to me since. It changed the way I thought about mourning. The one about how to talk to other moms without boasting? Kindly discusses a difficulty I brush up against every time I hang out with other moms. INTERVIEWS INA MAE AND COMPLAINS?? Amazing. Did not know that was possible in this life.

This is very cool stuff happening over there, in 30 minute increments. Well worth your time.