Where are you from originally?
Maine. My husband and I are both from small coastal towns just outside of Portland. We love visiting as much as possible and highly recommend others put it on their travel list. There is a reason it is known as Vacationland!
What made you choose New Canaan or Darien over other towns in the area? How long have you lived in your town?
We loved growing up in small towns that valued family, education and the outdoors. Our top priority was providing a similar environment for our children.
We were unfamiliar with the various towns within commuting distance to Manhattan so we visited playgrounds when our first daughter was just 12 months old. We went to nearly every small town in Westchester and Fairfield County, and after our visit to Cherry Lawn, we decided Darien was where we wanted to raise our family. During our initial playground visit we met so many families and witnessed interactions that demonstrated such a strong sense of community. The time has flown by and I can’t believe it has already been 5 years!
How many kids do you have and what are their age(s)?
We have two little girls who couldn’t be more different! Lily is six and is our animal and nature lover. Claire is three and a half and loves all things baby and princess.
What are your favorite things to do with your kids in general or in town?
We spend countless hours enjoying the outdoors year-round. This past winter we enjoyed sledding at Waveny, ice skating and skiing at all the nearby mountains. Nature walks in Selleck Woods and Cherry Lawn are particularly beautiful in the fall and spring.
As we head into the summer months you will see us at Pear Tree Point Beach where we hunt for hermit crabs, collect rocks and build sand castles. I love the quiet of Pear Tree and look forward to many lazy afternoons with our daughters there this summer.
What are your favorite events or favorite season in New Canaan or Darien and why?
The Darien and New Canaan Nature Centers host wonderful family events throughout the year. We attend nearly all of them and really love having these incredible resources right at our fingertips. I am so proud to be part of a community that has family events nearly every weekend. A huge thank you to the volunteers that make the events possible and the donors who support both of these wonderful organizations.
Which are the best spots for beauty and pampering in New Canaan or Darien?
Oh how I long for a leisurely spa day! Sneaking away for more than an hour or two is tricky so I take solace in regular pedicures and manicures at Posh or Dolce (depending on which side of town I am on). I don’t have to schedule them in advance and I feel refreshed after just a quick stop. I almost always add a chair massage while my nails are drying which maximizes my relaxation even when pressed for time.
What’s your favorite restaurant in town for a family date? Night out with friends? Romantic evening? Why?
I love South End in New Canaan and 1020 Post in Darien – I feel like whether it is a ladies night for cocktails, a family dinner, a large group celebration or romantic evening both of these restaurants accommodate our needs and we always have a great time.
Mom Note: South End and 1020 Post are louder than other restaurants in town so your kid’s noise often goes unnoticed!
What is your favorite kid-friendly recipe?
I am constantly asking friends for new ideas and love recipe sharing. I am not a very talented cook so everything has to be quick and relatively simple to make, to be added to our rotation. My good friend Laney runs the blog Life is But a Dish (IG @lifeisbutadish), which is my go to for inspiration and menu ideas.
During the winter we love comfort food – My husband makes an incredible Lasagna and Chicken Parmesan that the girls love and we always make it in large batches (perfect for easy left-overs). Turkey Bolognese and Chicken Pot Pie are also popular in our house during the colder months and are super easy to make. Here are my go to kid-friendly recipes: Turkey Bolognese Recipe, Chicken Pot Pie Recipe
As soon as it warms up we grill as much as possible – less clean-up for me and super easy prep. Chopped vegetables and whatever protein looks good at Whole Foods, seasoned with salt & pepper and olive oil and tossed on the grill!
One thing that doesn’t change with the seasons is Taco Tuesday. I switch up the fixings and make a little taco bar. Whether we have beef, chicken or fish, everyone enjoys dinner this night of the week year-round.
I also have these healthy pumpkin muffins in our house every day. I have them for breakfast and the girls love them for snacking. I add mini chocolate chips to make them especially kid-friendly! Baked Pumpkin Oatmeal Muffin Recipe
What has been the most difficult age with your children to date? What helped you overcome the challenges at that time?
Parenting is one of the most challenging endeavors one can take on and every age has wonderful and challenging parts. A friend of mine passed along the “Rhythms of Growth Ladder” that shows how children mature and move through “Smooth” and “Stormy” times throughout childhood and adolescence. I have watched my daughters move through each period and gained comfort knowing that other families were weathering the “stormy” phases just as we were – one day at a time.
What is one piece of advice you would pass along to other moms? What was the best advice your mom gave you?
I grew up in a household with two working parents. I learned from a very young age that life isn’t really a balancing act but more of a compromise. You can’t be everything to everyone all the time, so make decisions about what is important to you and move forward.
If I could give one piece of advice to other moms I would beg them to stop feeling guilty. Make the right decision for you and your family and let the rest go.
Are you involved in a business venture, a local organization, a creative endeavor, or in the corporate world? Please share!
I just launched a children’s outerwear line, MerriMane. I have worked with many local moms in the launch of this company – from styling, the fit and even the colors – moms in Darien and New Canaan have all contributed! If you check out our website (www.merrimane.com) and Instagram (@merrimanekids) you will see the adorable faces of many local kids too ☺
How has this community been instrumental in getting you to where you are now?
Any mom with young kids moving to a new community has so many things to figure out. Choosing the right school, finding local doctors, caring for a house – it was all incredibly overwhelming for me. Having a strong community and resources like “New Canaan & Darien Moms” helps work through all of these challenges. I am a firm believer in “it takes a village” and this is a village I am so happy to be a part of!