Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Expanding the Tribe

I've been feeling a surge of social and creative energy the last two weeks that has me feeling all rosy and glowing on the inside despite the nasty gray weather. After the holidays I just needed some down time to chill out at home, and having The Cold Virus That Never Ends certainly helped with that. We took time to finish reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, watched movies, played games, did science experiments, and I finished up some knitting projects. We went to the beach that one weekend, went to Chuck E Cheese with my friend Kate and kids, and hung out with our small group on Monday nights, but besides that, we didn't get out much. Okay, so maybe that was enough for one month. :)

Nonetheless, my mood changed a couple weeks ago, and I've been dreaming up all kinds of new projects -- and meeting new people at the same time! I met another local crunchy mama, Robin, through, and we chatted a bunch online. We're going to meet at a La Leche League meeting on Friday. The group is just getting started again after the last leader left to work in a hospital as a lactation consultant, and it's being held at The Mothers' Cooperative, a new local natural parenting shop that another cool mama opened in September.

I finally went to check it out last week after chatting with Robin, and realized I'd met the owner last spring at a homeschooling park day. We were both six months pregnant at the time! I have talked about opening something like Louise's store for a long time, but didn't have the drive to work that hard. I am SO thrilled that she did! We talked at full-speed for two hours while the boys bounced the birth balls around the classroom in the back of the store. That got me thinking about renewing my childbirth educator certification and figuring out a way to do classes or start up a birth support group. I'm still working on that.

Last week I also decided I wanted to get a Family Fun Night started at church to connect all the young families who tend to disappear as soon as the service is over on Sunday, rushing home to feed hungry kids and get toddlers down for naps. We are blessed to have close friends at church who we've known for a long time, but there really isn't anything to invite new people to. The Purple Flowers' house is pretty packed when we all show up for Wii Knit, and our house isn't much better when it's our turn to host. So, I've got a Movie Night on the calendar for March, and now we just have to get a flyer made and start getting the word out. I'm excited that this is something I can invite everyone to because it'll be in the parish hall, so there's plenty of room!

Then last weekend I found out about the LIFE is Good Unschooling Conference in Oregon. And I actually cried. I'm such a dork. But the thought of having a chance to hang out with not just one or two, but dozens of people who have the same crazy perspective on parenting and life that I do -- and in Oregon, where so many of my happiest childhood memories took place -- was almost too much. So, UberDad said I have to go. Even though it means driving up with the three boys by myself because he can't get time off from school to go with us.

Fortunately, the Purple Flowers want to go, too! That'll make it extra fun, and much easier for me to think about juggling everybody's needs, 'cause I'll have an extra pair or two of hands around when needed. And really, there will be lots of moms with babies, and I know everyone there will be helpful, because they've all been there. I know I won't connect with everybody, and I'm even a little nervous about not measuring up to my own expectations in front of people, but STILL. It's pretty darn exciting.

And I've met ANOTHER semi-local Christian unschooling mom, Jenny, through the conference list! She lives near Kate, so I'll probably stop by on our way to Kate's house next weekend for her son's birthday party. Plus, Jenny's a La Leche League leader, so she's going to try to make the LLL meeting at the Mother's Cooperative on Friday, too!

It's really such a small world. And I'm so glad to finally have the energy to expand my tribe a little. With half of my closest friends either working full-time outside the home or living out of town, it can be hard to stay connected with everyone. But I'm really trying to make time for my nearest and dearest, and also be open to gathering more kindred spirits around me.

I hope there'll be room in that classroom for everybody on Friday, because I swear I'm inviting every breastfeeding mom I know. I even met someone at Trader Joe's today and invited her! She was wearing her baby boy in a beautiful sling, so I had to ask her about it.

I'm so excited about having so many crunchy moms together at one time, I can hardly stand it.


Tammy said...

Good for you Amanda!! I hope all goes well for you.

Laura said...

How exciting Amanda! :) (i'm late in reading this I know)

I am going to the Living & Learning conference in September (it's a 14 hour drive, but I just don't care!)- the thought of being surrounded by people who get it is just amazing!

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