Well, he showed up with a cute girl and I was thrilled. Except for the fact that he talked non-stop about another woman the whole evening! He had just spent a weekend down at Snow College, had loved every minute and could not say enough about the fun and crazy girl he'd met. Everything reminded him of something they had done and, quite frankly, it was pretty embarassing for me --not to mention the cute date.
I pulled him into the kitchen and told him that it was very bad form to wax poetic like this in another female's presence. But anyone who knows Josh knows that he isn't all that concerned with subtle social nuances, and besides, he was ga-ga-GONE.
Needless to say, I never saw the cute date again. But the red-hot firecracker from Snow College became my sister-in-law in record time. And, once I forgave the Halloween party awkwardness, I fell in love with her too.Christie is all that and a bag of chips. She is gorgeous, funny, smart, talented and very opinionated. She bakes, she sews, she decorates and she types faster than anyone I know. She parents beautifully, volunteers at church and school, trains for marathons and organizes like nobody's business...and all the while her husband is usually out of town.
Stie introduced me to the computer age. Back in the early '90s, she taught me about e-mail and, last year, after reading her witty mommy-blog for a few months, I got inspired to create my own. She is techno-gifted.
With our family all long-distance, Stie & Co. have most often been our closest geographic kin and we've appreciated their willingness to drive long distances to meet for Thanksgiving or a cousin reunion or to help with newborn twins. Christie's children are adorable and my kids' favorite relatives!
In the years I've known her, Christie has lived in six different states across the country. She makes friends wherever she goes and quickly finds herself knowing the territory like a native.
That's why I decided to ask her seven questions about starting over someplace new. How to live through relocation and thrive. Here are her thoughts...
1. You have lived in so many different places. What is your secret for making a new house feel like home?
The first step is a good coat of paint in every room. I actually feel like I need to "mark my territory," so to speak, before it feels like mine. I need to see my own personality in the decor and color is the fastest and cheapest way to do that.
2. What do you say to yourself when you walk into a room full of strangers?
I actually have to give myself a huge pep-talk before doing this. Even though we have moved all around the country and had to make friends so many times, I still revert to this shy, awkward person inside and worry that I won't be good enough. Extra deodorant also helps because I am always sweating a lot during times like these.
3. What are your top three suggestions for someone who is moving to a brand new city?
The first thing I would tell anyone is to go to church and get phone numbers of people who you think look like someone you'd get along with. Don't wait for people to invite you over - be proactive. People want to remember the new family, but (as we all know) life gets busy and sometimes things like that slip through the cracks. You have to go out and find your own friends. Don't wait for them to find you. Another great way to get to know a lot of people at once is to have a party or luncheon at your new home. Invite a whole diverse group and you will be so surprised at how quickly these ladies will become your new best friends. I think that's more than three...oh well.
4. How do you help your kids settle in to a new hometown?
I do the same thing for my kids that I do for myself. At church or at school, I am stalking the mothers and getting phone numbers. I take my kids to their new class and introduce them to any and all children I can get my hands on. Kids are more shy and reserved and will wait for the friends to reach out. But by letting everyone know that my kids are new, and "Oh, what's your name? This is McKay. He just moved here. What do you like to do? McKay likes baseball." It helps tremendously. Then, you have to actively engage the kids in playdates.
5. How do you keep in touch with old friends once you've moved on?
The best way (up until now) has been email, but the blog has brought so many close friends back into my everyday life. I love it! If your old friends don't have a blog, keep emailing them. Let them know what you've been up to and find out how life is going for them. Another great trick has been a once-a-year trip where a group of my old friends from Boston meet up in New York. I'm usually the instigator on it, and we've always had such a good time. You have to plan to keep people in your life, otherwise it's easy to drift apart.
6. What are some of your favorite ways to stay organized as you go through the upheaval of a cross-country move?
Your best friend in a move will be the garbage man. Go through EVERYTHING before you pack it up in a box and throw out tons of it. My rule is, if it hasn't been used in the last year, it's gone (except super sentimental stuff, of course). But hanging on to those old wedding presents or outdated clothes will only become cumbersome in a move because you've got to carry it in a box. Even if we've been settled in one place for a few years (WHICH HAS HAPPENED to us, believe it or not), I like to pretend we're moving once a year and go through everything and purge as much of it as I can.
7. How do you always seem to find a great circle of friends wherever you go?
The trick here is to not get stuck with the crazy lady of the neighborhood as your new best friend. Be nice to everyone, but hand-pick the people you think you'd like to get along with and invite them over. Call a few girls and go to a movie. Whatever you do, you have to make the effort. Waiting for people to come to you will leave you lonely and miserable in your new city. Get over any shyness and realize that people WANT new friends. People are always excited when you call and invite them over. Don't be afraid - JUST DO IT!
Great advice, Stie! Love you...