Monday, July 29, 2013

Maybe a Little Introduction is in Order?

I realized this evening, that I threw myself into this blog with our vacation - not exactly the almost hippie-ness that the title suggests.  So, I figured that I'd backtrack a bit tonight - after all, this blog is about more than our weeklong vacation, right?

Hello there!  Welcome to my blog, The Almost Hippie Mama!

This is me - with a 3 year old growing off my shoulder
Why almost?  To be fair, I never heard of people referred to as crunchy, or chewy, or creamy -- until I reentered the online parenting community in 2009.  Yes, reentered.  I did the mommy groups and got my weekly emails years before, when I was pregnant with my first child.  However, there's a nine year gap between my children - and that gap meant that I'd moved on to PTAs and Girl Scout meetings when I found myself revisiting those mommy-to-be sites.  
And this time around saw me a bit more open-minded in my parenting approach.  With my first, I wrinkled my nose at anything not mainstream*.  She wore Pampers almost exclusively (I was never able to get a good fit with other brands - or they'd fall apart on her bottom, which was nasty.), and cruised around in her travel system.  I did try a sling with her as a newborn, but had no idea what I was doing - by the time she was 10lbs, I thought she was too big/heavy.  She was a Gerber baby, going from cereal, to purees, to those microwaveable toddler finger food meals.  Cow's milk at 12 months, carseat turned forward at 20lbs. Yep, I was mainstream mommy.  She went to bed in her crib every night.  
* I did breastfeed exclusively for six months, and let her lead the weaning process at 22 months. But that doesn't seem crunchy to me, even now.  Especially now?

Then, just after that first year, I was a single mom.  And, while a lot of those things continued, I found myself letting her take the lead - it was up to her if she wanted to nurse.  She wanted to sleep in mommy's bed and that worked for us.  As I became more comfortable with the whole parenting alone thing, I slipped away from those many mommy sites, and the judgements that they contained.

Mamahood pt. 2 was not expected - but I entered those baby sites with some anticipation.  What did I find? A lot of the same, with a lot of drama.  But I also found this subset of mamas within the communities who really spoke to me.  In the nine years between children, I'd gone back to school, completed my BA, been accepted into grad school, completed one MA, and was at the tail end of a second MA.  I was all about the research.  And these mamas - sanctimommies, their detractors labeled them - spoke to me. 
These mamas opened up all new ways of looking at parenting to me - babywearing, cloth diapering... and in immersing myself in these groups, I learned enough to make the decision to try them.  Thus the Almost Hippie Mama was born. 

Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of mainstream things that I do.  I'm addicted to my Diet Coke and can do hefty damage with my Target Redcard.  I love taking my kids to Disney World.  But I do try to balance my materialism with as much natural (for lack of a better term?) living as we can manage.

The result?  I'm a still single mama to a now 12 year old daughter, the muffin, and a three year old son, the cookie.  I like baked goods - the chewy/crunchier, the better.  I also teach composition at local institutions of higher learning.  The kiddos and I live with Violet Whey, our VW beagle, and Grandpa (my dad).  Our summers usually focus on our home garden and playing at the local amusement/water park.  The rest of the year tends to focus on school (my teaching, the muffin's attending).  
Throughout it all, though, we are determined to enjoy as many adventures as we can!
Muffin & Cookie looking out over the Chesapeake Bay, July 2013.

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