Friday, May 21, 2010

Happy Hour Playgroup: Kickoff Summer 2010

Gordon and I really moved to Somerville on a whim.  We looked at houses/condos/townhouses in a number of communities in and around Boston: Somerville, Cambridge, Arlington, Medford, Milton, Sharon, Canton.  We made offers on at least eight places.  Truth be told, we ended up in Somerville because it just happened to be where we found a place that worked for us - oh and an offer was finally accepted.  I guess by the end we had narrowed the search a little to communities that were more urban than suburban, but I still think it was largely chance.

And boy - do I feel like we lucked out by ending up here.  We really love Somerville.  There are just so many great things about living here - especially with small children.  I could write a whole post about how awesome it is (and probably should!) but for now I want to talk about the biggest perk: the people that we have met here.

Lily was born just a few months after we moved into our new place and I was at home for six months.  I started going to some "new mom" meetings at the Cummins school run by the Jewish Family & Children's Services.  I attended the group pretty regularly for about 5 months and met some women there who have become close friends.  I also joined the "Somerville Mom's Yahoo Group"  - an email list that was born out of these JF&CS meetings years before I knew anything about post-partum hair loss, swaddle-mes and mei tais.  The email list was, and still is, a constant source of great information, support and community building.

Eventually, through my involvement in these two groups - although I don't remember exactly how - we got invited to the first "Happy Hour Playgroup".  I believe it was all started by Stephanie - a woman who has pretty much singlehandedly built a great little community of parents and kids around her.  Seriously, she also deserves her own post.  Anyway - the idea was born at a meeting Stephanie organized to discuss baby-sitting co-ops and the like.  Our friends Kristi and Ted hosted the first one in November 2007.   The intent was to have a get-together in the evening on a Friday so that working parents could join as well.  The at-home folks were already getting together often enough for daytime playgroups, but working partners (usually the Dads) were just not finding the same type of community.  The early Happy Hours were a huge success and they continued - the group taking on a life of it's own.

This summer Stephanie decided to take it up a notch (in pure Stephanie-Style) and got everyone to sign up ahead of time to lead a weekly event.  Instead of just having snacks and beverages we've been doing potlucks in people's backyards, on decks and in the great public spaces Somerville has to offer.  Gordon has become a sort of unofficial photographer at the events and I've finally decided to start documenting them here.  So after far too much ado - here is my first Happy Hour PlayGroup (HHPG) post.

We kicked off the summer of 2010 with a potluck held at the Somerville Community Growing Center (another of my favorite S'Ville spots) hosted by Diana, Robin and Lauren.  Sadly I missed the event because I was in Houston for STS-132, but Gordon and the kids were there.  I heard it was a rocking good time and these pics seem to confirm that rumor.

Lauren and Jonah 

Lily watching from the tree


Stephanie and Nancy

Sylvie looking like her Mom

Marlena and Demirese

Lily S. hanging out

 Quinn getting a lift from Demmy

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