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    Chiropractor Mama Dr. Dolly and professional photographer Elisa B. share about adventures in intentional and natural parenting while living in Virginia's beautiful Blue Ridge.
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For the Running Enthusiast Mom: Running Gear {Review}

Did you know that Elisa and I recently ran in our first 5k since each of us had a baby.  Hats off to Elisa who is less than 5 months postpartum.  You go girl! I’ve had 2 1/2 years of “recovery” since Calvin was born, but I just haven’t had the gumption to sign up for a race…until now.

Looking fresh-faced pre-race

For the record, Elisa and I both agree that races should offer a race award category for moms with small children.  Because the lack of sleep, on call 24/7, and breastfeeding support of a little one is one heck of an endurance wear on a woman…who will then attempt to run a race. Whew!

Elisa and I RAN. We ran for ourselves. We ran for our guys. We ran for each other. We ran for autism.

The Race for Autism 5k, supporting the Virginia Institute of Autism, took place on Saturday, April 17th.  We had perfect weather and a gorgeous spring day for a route near McIntire Park in a lovely neighborhood in Charlottesville.

Out of 465 runners, we finished 290 and 291 with a time of 34:54.  Not bad for a couple of mamas who didn’t even train for this event with running (and who were pretty sleep deprived).

Elisa’s been working out at ACAC on the elliptical trainer and taking some of their aerobics classes.  I did a month of Crossfit’s On-Ramp class plus some kettlebell squats and uphill sprints on my own, but neither of us ran much prior to the race, and we certainly didn’t run 3.1 miles since birthing our sons.  We felt pretty exhilarated afterward because we finished . . . respectably.For the race, I wore my new Mizuno’s Wave Elixir 5′s (courtesy of Mizuno USA). I’m going to make a confession–I only wore them for a few hours of walking a couple days prior to the race.  I didn’t adequately break them in (not something I’d ever do or recommend).  Guess what.  It didn’t even matter.My feet felt comfortable, supported, and blister-free.  Perfect amount of arch support, mid-range control, and adequate room in the toe box.  I felt as smooth on the downhill as on the uphill climb.  Plus, they’re really pretty with the silver and red accents.  Mizuno Wave has been my running shoe of choice since I used to run 3 to 7 miles a day several times a week before I became a mom.  It’s still my go-to shoe for running. LOVE it.  Super light (7.7 ounces) and super ride.

The Mizuno Wave Elixir 5 retails for $95 – $105, and they are available at most running shoe retailers and Amazon.com.

Thanks to GoLite who creates high quality performance wear that’s easy on the planet.  Simple and clutter-free (gadget-free) is their philosophy.  I love so much of what this company stands for, and I was thrilled to wear GoLite’s Tilly Jane running skirt for the event.  It was my first running skirt.  I’m never going back to running shorts again. Ever.

I always felt like running shorts would get bunched up and awkward while running.  Not so with the Tilly Jane.  This stylish and svelte running skirt features a hidden boy short with quick-dry material in the event you need some modesty while you’re doing warm-up squats prior to your run.  Plus, there’s a dandy hidden pocket to stowe your lone key or I.D. while running.  It’s totally comfortable from breathable fabric that moves with you and doesn’t ride up.  Plus, I think it looks way more cute than shorts during a workout, and it’s definitely way more feminine.  Not that I’m overly concerned about those things.

The semi-fitted Tilly Jane is available in X-Small through X-Large.  Three colors are available: Black/granite (what I’m wearing), granite/jade, coral/granite. The Tilly Jane is made from recycled polyester, elastic, and Minerale materials, and it retails for $60 on GoLite and Amazon.com.

GoLite also equipped me with a hydroclutch.  Think cycling water bottle with a reflective hand-grip for runners.  So, you don’t have to actively “hold” the water bottle while it’s strapped around your hand, and you can bring your water with you.

Thinking there would be at least one water station along the race route, I aptly left my hydroclutch in my vehicle to avoid being encumbered by one more thing.  It was a mistake.  NO water along the race route.  I was dehydrated from a long and sleepless night ameliorating a vexed and poison ivy-stricken toddler–so, having my hydroclutch would have been a life saver.  Or at least a breakfast saver (if you catch my drift).  Next run, I’m not going without my hydroclutch.  It’s available on GoLite and Amazon
for $15.

Note: I received a pair of Mizuno Elixir 5 shoes, GoLite water bottle, and skirt for the purposes of this review.

Sad Heart

Nothing makes me more sad than when my little guy is under the weather.  Lately, it seems that he’s been under a string of things.  Part of the fun of a developing immune system in a small child.

Just over a month ago, he and his dad were down with a stomach bug.  A few days later, he had an allergic reaction (possibly to some food) that resulted in a very difficult night with a bad croupy cough.

About the time that went away, spring allergies hit with a fervor.  My son got more than a runny nose and watery eyes, he ended up with a full body rash.  After talking with several people today who grew up in central Virginia, it seems as though he probably does have some form of poison ivy.  It’s all over his face.  Only a few days ago, his eyes were completely blood shot.  He looked like a little bloodhound.

He’s on the mend, but it’s taking a long time.  As B.J. Palmer said, “Healing takes time.”

So, forgive me if I’ve been a little behind with regular columns…I’ve been sticking to my first priority and taking care of my little one–even in the wee hours of the morning when the itchy skin is at its worst.

Please lift up Calvin in prayer.  I’ll get back to posting about some more fun aspects of parenthood in the near future.

A Mom’s Holiday

I’m not talking about Mother’s day.  I’m talking about working moms taking a day to do something creative and fun with their kids and other working moms.

That’s exactly what my friend Jennifer Hamlin and I did on Wednesday.  It was a spontaneous sort of an adventure that began with a trolley ride to the UVa where Calvin and I met Jennifer and a room full of women for the monthly CVille SheBlogs meeting at Para Coffee.

(By the way, my little sleepyhead did not want to get out of bed this morning.  When I told him he needed to wake up so we could take the trolley.  He sat upright and said, “Get dressed!”  He was rarin’ to go from that moment forward!)

After our meeting Jennifer and her daughter asked us if we wanted to join them downtown at the Virginia Discovery Museum.  Since I was sans vehicle, I said we could meet them downtown, but we were going to ride in on the trolley.  Instead of looking for downtown parking, Jennifer and her daughter hopped on the trolley and joined us.

We window shopped and admired pretty things like a live finch and plant-shaped candles at Caspari.

I wasn’t used to taking leisure time to “look” at things I would never buy.  Okay, online window shopping aside.  But, we simply walked and took our time and had a relaxing day with our precious children.

With a little muscle, we turned the merry-go-round carousel, and then we spent a few hours in the Discovery Museum (if you visit once with a member, your April membership is free for your family!).

Calvin and I haven’t been to that  museum before, and it was surprisingly cool.  Not too big, and not as small as I thought.  It was just right. Calvin’s favorite features were the train table and the live honeybees.  I think we may decide to join as members.

After running themselves ragged from so much fun, our kiddos were about to collapse in fatigue.  But, not until they had one more go on the carousel.

Then, we hiked to the other end of the Downtown mall to Marco & Luca’s for a tasty and inexpensive lunch of dumplings.

Dumplings were a huge hit!  Look at that boy go with his kuàizi (a.k.a. chopsticks).

All four of us rode the Trolley back and we said goodbye.  I could have done some house cleaning, but I snuggled up with Calvin for an afternoon nap followed by more playing in the backyard and a walk down to see train tracks.

That was just the day off I needed.  No work.  No computer.  Just a lot of smiles, laughs, time away from things that always need to be done.  It was the perfect day.

Stuffy

I’ve been burning the midnight oil, the candle at both ends, and I’m plumb tired.  So tired, that I think overworking myself has caused me to get a little run down.  Nothing like the full-force of allergies to say, Hey!  Slow down!

It all started on Monday when my son and I enjoyed a lovely day by eating our lunch outside in a courtyard surrounded by beautiful blooms and singing birds.

Shortly after we walked back to the office, I started to sneeze and get a runny nose.  Within a few hours, I had full on sinus congestion and zero capability to breathe through my nose.

I could not wait to get home and relax.

—————————

That night, I was miserable and groaning with little sleep and a lot of drippy nose and stuffy head.  They were the worst sinus allergies I’d experienced since I was a teenager living in the Ragweed pollen capital of the world in central Texas.

Calvin was pretty miserable, too.  He crawled into bed with us and was restless.  When he woke up the next morning, his eyes were red and puffy. Poor little guy!

All I wanted to do was stay home and sleep and do nothing but snuggle with my son.  However, I had a full patient load for the day.  So, I dropped off Calvin with a friend for the morning, and then I headed to the office to hang out for eight hours.  An eight hour day isn’t a terribly long work day.  But, when you’ve got the worst allergies, eight hours feels like twenty plus.

I may or may not have had a tissue crammed up and hanging out of my nostril to absorb the run-off snot.  And no, there is no photo.

Thankfully, another chiropractor was able to fit me in during the late morning to adjust my inflamed spine and to work on my horribly stuffed nasal passages.  I felt well enough afterward to continue with my day (even though I still wanted to go home and crawl in bed and rest).

——————–

So, to sum up my afternoon:  Calvin woke up early from his nap because he was too hot.  Sweating profusely from too many blankets.

He said, Hair wet.  Take a shower.  Wash hair.

Not only did I have two hours of patient care remaining, but I had a miserable little guy who wanted my full attention.  When one patient was finishing up, Calvin kept saying, All done. Bye bye!

That’s code for: Please, leave now.  I want my Mommy all to myself.

He said this for the next patient who came in.  I tried to add in some training.

Calvin, we don’t say those things.  That’s not being a good little host.

Futile.

Especially when a two year-old isn’t feeling well.  Forget manners.  It’s all about being direct and expressing your needs.

My heart was torn.  I wanted nothing more than to cuddle my little guy and get him home.  Yet, I need to focus on patients when I’m at work, whether or not I’m feeling well, and whether or not my son agrees.

I looked at the clock all afternoon hoping my husband would get off work early to pick up our son.  No such luck.

————————-

Being a working mom is hard with little ones who want constant attention…especially when you have a job where you care for people who need constant attention.  Also, it’s tough when your babysitter is on spring break for days that are super full.

God bless friends like Elisa who can help out in a pinch.  God bless chiropractic care and homeopathic remedies that actually work to relieve allergies.

Note: I still have residual symptoms from my allergies, but they are seventy-five percent better.  Because I’ve been run down and working so much that I regretted not having fun outings with my son, I more than made up for it today. (More on that later…)

By the way, while all of that stuff was going on, Angie Bremont of CVille Entremom announced the winner of the First Annual CVille Entremom of the Year.

*photo from Little Miss Pip via Flickr.

Resurrection Day in Charlottesville

It’s been one of those weeks where I’ve had more on my “wish I could do list” than was truly realistic.  Well, the list was realistic, but other events in real life kinda came up.

I had to keep shoving things off until tomorrow.  And then, tomorrow came, and well . . here we are–it’s Resurrection Day!

My husband is in the kitchen happily preparing our lamb roast.  He makes a scrumptious lamb roast!  The aroma of the roasted rosemary and garlic is so mouth-watering delicious.

My son has already biked through the lawn . . .Picked pretty flowers . . .

(that I arranged into a centerpiece with two small glasses) . . .

Had a pretend tea party, read several books, and he peeled all the paper off of his crayons. He stopped for a few moments to taste homemade hummus and carrots and a pitted date (an ingredient in the raw peach cobbler).

Even though I need to catch up on some serious sleep from the past two weeks, I was able to finish cleaning my floors, and the surprise of the evening was that I did indeed finish making my son’s first bow tie.

It was the first thing he wanted when he awoke this morning. Mommy!  Bow tie!

I started to make one from a lime green dragonfly print with a contrasting brown bias tape, but the extra work involved on that project just meant I needed a few more days weeks to complete.  So, I decided to create a brand new one (sans bias tape).

The finished one is a great complement to his sweater vest, don’t you think?

Thankfully, I practiced the bow tie-tie method on Calvin’s stuffed Snoopy at least 10 times, so I could quickly do it for a restless toddler this morning.

Apparently, I wasn’t fast enough.

Calvin kept tucking his chin to his chest saying “All Done!  Off!” But, I persisted, and he was more than pleased with the final outcome.  He called himself dapper.  Indeed he was.

After church, he didn’t want to change into more comfortable clothes (a.k.a. I didn’t want to deal with grass stains on his white shirt).  But, he did sneak in a few kicks in the backyard before I made him change.

It was also a great opportunity for a family photo shoot (long overdue since last fall!)

Happy Resurrection Day from my family to yours.  We’re so thankful for the Lamb who bore our sins and rose again to conquer death, disease, and destruction.  Enjoy this special day with your loved ones!

Wordless Wednesday: Inbound Spring

Spring is almost here, and we’re pretty thrilled about it. . . enjoyed some sunshine today by playing soccer and “chasing” each other in the yard.  Heavenly!

Want to know what it’s like to live in Virginia?  Check out Tina’s post on Little Tots/Big Ideas.  She interviewed little ol’ me about Virginia. You might recognize us in the photos.

Good Morning, Saturday

This past weekend our sleep was a little rough. We’re starting to go about 8 hours between feedings, but Lucien is rousing/fussing a few times during the night, which means mommy is rocking the babe in his bed or giving him a pacifier. He’s 14 weeks, and in the 90th percentile, so I know he’s not hungry during the night – he’s just used to nursing!

I feel like we’re on the cusp of getting some serious sleep, but while we’re going longer between feedings it doesn’t mean catching more zzz’s … yet! Saturday morning was lovely though, since we got to sleep in. Lucien nursed at 7am and fell back asleep. I was tempted, tired as I was, to get up and start my day but as luck would have it he (and we) got to sleep until 9:30! I snapped these pictures just before he woke up.

Your turn: What do you do to encourage healthy sleep with your children? How old were they when you started to try for a full night of sleep?

Wordless Wednesday

Running

Sliding

Swinging

More running

Balancing

Enduring a Flood

Very quick and brief interruption in the fun Valentine’s Day Gift Guide that’s currently in progress…

If you’ve been following my updates on Twitter/Facebook, then you may already know that we got a lot of rain on Sunday evening.  I mean, 2 inches isn’t a ton of rain, but considering we’ve already had the leftovers of 23+ inches of snow recently melt means there’s not a lot of other places left for rain to absorb into the ground or drains.

Add all that to the fact that we live in a basement apartment means that we woke up to completely soaked floors Monday morning.  The floor was sooo wet that a few of the blankets on our bed were draped over and touching the ground—acting like a sponge and absorbing the moisture leaving me with wet sheets and blankets.

Calvin woke up and when his feet touched the ground, he was completely weirded out.

“Mommy!  Floor messy.  Feet wet.”

Later, he stomped around the muddy indoor puddles while wearing his shoes over his pajamas.

My husband and I dealt with the mess by moving furniture around and doing a ridiculous number of loads of laundry. Not only did our sheets and blankets sop up water, but so did our dirty laundry hampers, rugs and mats.

————————

We’ve been juggling duties at work and dealing with this upheaval at home.  All the while, Calvin’s handled it with extraordinary resolve and resilience…I admire his adaptability!

He knows his room is off limits since his bed is covered with his soft toys and an industrial strength fan blows the carpet in roiling waves.  So, he just keeps to our room and pages through books on our bed or flips through them on the couch.  Those are the only two places in the entire home where he has the liberty to play.

More than half of our dining table and chairs are covered with stuff that needed to be kept off the wet flooring.  So, we’re down to one chair at the table where Calvin sits at meal times.  Meanwhile, I’ve been sitting on the hard plastic beverage cooler, and Steve cleared off room for 1 person to sit at the couch.

Home, sweet home.

—————–

It’s truly by the grace of God that I’m not freaking out.  When things get absolutely ridiculous beyond belief, all one can do is completely roll with the punches.

—————-

After spending a full day at the office on Monday, we came home where I wanted to relax.

But wait!  I had to make the bed that had been completely stripped and used as Calvin’s reading area throughout the day.

Note: It is extremely difficult to make a bed when 1) you have a freshly bathed child sitting on it who can’t go anywhere else without getting his feet soaked with muddy water and 2) you have no where to put the clean bedding while you’re in the process of putting different parts of it on the bed.

Making the bed is usually a task that doesn’t require much thought nor take much time…Monday night, it probably took me 30-45 minutes to figure it out and deal with a young child who made a bit of a mess on one of the freshly washed blankets.

——————-

It’s Tuesday night and we still have the loud fans blasting and whirring beneath the carpets–dehumidifiers and heaters working to absorb the excess moisture.  We’re still down to 1 seat at the dining table, but the entire couch is cleared off where the three of us can fit.

Apparently, we’re hosting a group Bible study on Sunday afternoon as well as a week of visiting in-laws.  Yet somehow, I really won’t feel bad if we have to reschedule Bible study and post-pone receiving guests for a few more days.  It’s not exactly a hospitable and relaxing environment. I mean, it smells like the inside of a sweaty gym shoe in here.

But ya know what?  We’ve been through a similar indoor flooding experience before…about 8 years ago.  So, going through it a second time isn’t quite as unnerving, although still just as inconvenient.

On the bright side, 1) we’re all safe and healthy; 2) we have a warm and dry bed; 3) it isn’t the middle of summer where mosquitoes and mold multiply by the nanosecond and 4) our blessed son is handling all these changes so well that it’s really making things very easy on us.

Truly, God is good to us.

He’s blessed us with beautifully kind friends who’ve even offered to open up their homes to us.  I’m so grateful for their compassion and hospitality!

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Snow People

During a blizzard, it’s been pretty rad getting realtime temp and snow level updates online and via Twitter from others in the Charlottesville community.  I’ve been following @cbs19weather and @nbc29 for the latest during the storm, and after the fact to hear about road conditions and more.

My husband’s been out and about every day in his 4×4 truck, but I’ve been at home with Calvin.

We’ve ventured outside to build a snow boy. (Calvin was particular about the name).

And today, we went on a walk around the block today to see the neighbor’s chickens.

Along the way, we helped an elderly lady who’d stumbled in the snow while trying to shovel her sidewalk (and avoid the ticket the city threatens to give starting tomorrow).  We also found a very large UPS truck that couldn’t quite make the turn in the snow…since the city hasn’t been able to plow all the secondary streets (yet, they’re going to fine city residents who don’t shovel their walks…makes perfect sense).

Side note: 30 minutes later, the UPS truck was still stuck…even with 2 employees shoveling around the tires and 6 other neighbors pushing…Steve “towed” them out and pulled them downhill.

A recent tweet from @nbc29:

There is a hidden benefit to a snow storm like what Charlottesville experienced this past weekend: it has kept crime down. http://ow.ly/OIoW

That’s pretty awesome.  Even more awesome is seeing this place act more like a community when everyone’s going through a similar hardship.

  • Folks with power and running water offered to house friends who were without
  • Over 1000 people with 4 wheel drive volunteered to shuttle hospital personnel to work, family members to care for their parents in nursing homes, and help stranded motorists
  • Neighbors shared snow shovels, and some even shoveled snow for their neighbors
  • Neighbors shared food with one another

This place started to feel like Christmas a little early…not because of the hustle and bustle with shopping, pretty sparkly lights, or guys dressed in red suits with white beards…but because people in this town cared for one another when there was a freakish snow storm that made this place feel like it was a little less modern and convenient.

Neighbors acted a little more neighborly.

Although nature’s storms bring lots of havoc and residual problems, I do like that time and time again, they usually cause communities to knit together a little tighter as we pick up the pieces after the fact.

May your home be warm, and your loved ones be by your side this Christmas…that’s all that really matters, anyway.

Merry Christmas!

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