Wednesday, August 19, 2015

How to make & maintain friendships? Be the perfect host!

I took my children to their first day of school this morning. I am so sad that summer is over! Where did it go? Now we are back to structured bedtimes and drop-offs, tutoring schedules, soccer practice and games, cheer practices and competitions, endless homework packets... I am so not ready! I don't think my daughters are either but it's time to slap on that happy face and let's do it and make it THE BEST YEAR EVER.

Morgan enters high school (in Utah, it's three years, not four). She went with a friend and let's hope it all turns out fabulously. It's quite strange, to be honest, my tiny little girl now older and hanging out with friends, getting in their cars and driving up the canyons for star gazing. And much more... A week ago, I went to the basement to find three girls and five boys hanging out. William told Morgan this was all allowed with some rules so they were all fine. Still, hello, when did this happen? And she is driving with her driver's permit. Yikes. Time flies. Last Friday, she went to a high school football game. William and I showed up and found her sitting in the stands. "Morgan, hi!" we shouted, waving. "We love you!" She seriously wanted to crawl under the bench. We thought it highly funny.

And then there's Siena who is growing like a weed. She is just an inch shorter than her sister and they now wear the same size shoe. Dear heavens. And if you hear her speak, you'd think she was 30 years old. This morning while eating breakfast I quizzed her about our summer. "If your teacher asks you what you did this summer, what will you say?" She stared at me blankly. Oy vey. "Ok, let's start with the five new states you visited. Go!" After some coaching, she got it right: Oregon, Washington, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. "What new country?" She got that one right-- Canada. And what are some of the fun things we did? "Hid from wild alligators, swam in a lake in Canada, watched fun street performers in Victoria, went up the big ferris wheel in Seattle and watched them throw fish at each other, did fireworks all day on 4th of July, went to the slavemart, hung out with Julie and Shane and caught frogs at the lake, went surfing, and went to Disneyworld. Oh, we went swimming a lot and stayed in a haunted mansion in Savannah.... Wow, not bad!

Here is my latest on Divorced Moms. This is how you make and maintain friends. Or at least one way! Enjoy.


Becoming The Perfect Host (A Fab Way Of Keeping Friends)
by Lizzy Smith                    
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August 17, 2015
Fotolia_83594720_XS.jpgAs divorced moms, more than ever, we need friends and support structures. And that can mean reconnecting with, or making sure we stay connected to, people we love. Whether a few miles away or in another country, having friends means that we aren't lonely and that we have all kinds of social options for keeping the blues at bay.
I've never taken my friends and family for granted. And once I got sick and split from my abusive husband, those ties became more important than ever. In the throws of illness, sadness and chaos, I began to fully realize how many people loved and supported me. There were times that I was seriously blown away by the outpouring of love and support I received from others. I became almost obsessed with becoming the best friend, daughter, sister or neighbor I could be. I wanted to make sure that I gave back that love.
I also reconnected with those I had lost touch with. One such example was my former colleague, Stephanie. We worked together some 15 years ago. We reconnected on Facebook and weeks later, she sent me a message announcing that her employer was relocating her to Buenos Aires and she could tell from my posts that I loved to travel. She invited me to visit. Really? Days later, my fiancĂ© and I purchased plane tickets and the next thing you know, Stephanie and I were catching up in person in South America. On that same trip, we took the ferry to Montevideo, Uruguay and stayed with my aunt and uncle for several days. We just got back from Florida where my future sister and brother-in-law hosted us in their beautiful home in Jacksonville. And then there was Seattle hanging with Cristina and Ryan… I could give more examples, but you get the point.
I love having friends spread out around the globe and when I get invites to visit, I rarely say no. Not only do I get to save money on our travels, but I love reconnecting with people I love. One of my favorite trips ever was a week in Paris just blocks from the Yves St Laurent flagship store and a personal tour guide.
And then there are the invites to barbecues, pool parties, and dinners. Getting out and being social is the best pick-me-up I could ever fathom.
In my recent experiences (and there have been many), I have noticed some universal traits of really great hosts, which I try to emulate when I have visitors in my own home. Becoming a great host is an art form and it takes practice. It means making your guests feel comfortable, welcomed, and well taken care of. Anticipating their needs and even incorporating great conversation skills are essential.
As I get ready to host some big gatherings over the next few months, I’ve started running through what my hosts have done to make me feel so welcomed. Here they are:
  1. Give your overnight guests a private (and clean) space of their own
    Even if you must relocate your children to a shared bedroom for a few days, or the basement, give your guests a quiet, clean, private space to call their own. Put fresh linens on the bed and pillows, and straighten up. If possible, and if your guests are staying for more than a night or two, try and clear up closet and drawer space for them so they can unpack.
  2. Stock up the bathroom
    Make sure there is shampoo and hair conditioner, and fresh soap in the shower. Put out fresh soap (or fill the soap decanter) at the bathroom sink. Put out clean towels and washcloths for them to use. It also makes sense to keep extra toothbrushes, toothpaste and other bathroom necessities in case they forget theirs. These don’t need to cost a lot of money—go to the Dollar Store and pick up a pack of four toothbrushes for (you guessed it) under a dollar for the set. Always make sure there is extra toilet paper that is easy to find and bathroom air freshener.
  3. Stock the fridge
    I don’t think it’s necessary to spend a ton of money but it is important to have some basics, like coffee and cream, fresh fruit and cereal, and snack items. When your guests arrive, show them the fridge and make them feel comfortable helping themselves.

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