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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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Wordless Wednesday: 4 Generations

Almost wordless. I wanted to just write a short note to explain the significance of this post. I think this picture will be very special to Lucien in years to come. Here he is with his daddy, granddad, and great-grandfather (who is in his late 90s).

I have a very similar picture from my own childhood and I am the only child who has it (my great-grandmother passed away before any of my siblings were born). This will likely be the case for Lucien as well, so while he didn’t really seem impressed on the day, I do hope that he’ll appreciate the significance down the road.

Aren’t we lucky to have these photos as a lasting memory? I think so.

He is Risen!

Easter traditions really vary from one family to another, I’ve found – although I do think either a ham or lamb supper unites us all. This year we celebrated the resurrection of our Savior and baby’s first easter together with my family. We had an Easter egg hunt, but we always include a few numbered eggs … a dozen to be exact. Those eggs have special meaning as they’re resurrection eggs! It brings meaning to the traditional egg hunt since it tells the story of Christ dying on the cross to save us from our sins, and then rising again. The kids aren’t disappointed about not having a candy filled egg – they’re thrilled to be able to participate in the story.


Your turn: What are your Easter traditions?

Lucien at 4 Months

This past week was a big one for Lucien, and in many ways a big one for me as well. He’s growing so quickly, I can hardly believe it. I had always heard moms talking about this but now that I’m experiencing it, I know what they mean!

On Monday Edward was holding Lucien and I came over to say hello and he reached for me! He has started showing a preference for mommy and daddy in the last two or so weeks, but this was new. I can’t express how loved it made me feel. Tuesday, I went to get him out of the car and he was reaching for the dangling toys attached to his car seat – just reached out and grabbed them as if to say “I’ve been looking at these for a while and today is the day I make them mine!”

Wednesday we had our 4 month checkup with Dr. Gelburd. We found out that he has grown three inches in the last 8 weeks and he’s in the 90th percentile for length and the 75th for weight (flip flopped from his last appointment. No wonder he has already grown out of almost every 3-6 month sleeper we have!). Can you imagine growing at a rate like that?

Thursday was my favorite day of last week, and it wasn’t for anything that happened during the day. Lucien cried during the night and as I went to pick him up from his crib to nurse him he put his arms around me and gave me a sort of hug around my neck – so happy to that I had come to get him. When I took him back to my bed we just sat there in the dark – just the two of us – snuggling for a few minutes. It was beautiful being alone together (Edward was asleep) in the wee hours of the morning. I’m starting to realize how quickly those feedings will be over.

Your turn: What are some of the moments you’ve enjoyed most about being a mommy? Did you enjoy those night time feedings?

Extreme Parenting

We went a few weeks ago for our 6 week check up with our midwives, Brynne and Deren of Mountain View Midwives. I have posted before on my birth story about how much we loved and appreciated our home birth experience.

Our midwives have always taken the time to talk with us, let us make our own decisions, and are so supportive of the mothering process in general. This visit was a simple check up and there wasn’t anything pressing to talk about – Lucien has been growing, eating, and sleeping well (he is in the 75th percentile for length and the 90th for weight, and is sleeping about 6.5 hours at a stretch during the night now that he is 10 weeks).

While at our visit, Brynne and I got on the subject of parenting types. We have taken Lucien with us everywhere  from a very early age. We went to a bridal show at three weeks, a wedding vendor Christmas party at 5 (with an impromptu dinner out with friends afterwards), we’ve been home over the holidays to stay with family, and the list goes on! While I imagined holing up with my little newborn over the winter months, that was not our reality – and I don’t really regret it.

When I mentioned how on-the-go we’ve been she said, “I’ve seen two extreme types of parenting that work well for people – the first is the schedule parenting. These parents have baby home at a certain time, do bedtime a certain way, etc. and that works well for them.”

Then, she said, “On the other extreme are the “rock band groupie” type of parents. These moms and dads take baby wherever they go and baby eats and sleeps whenever and wherever and these parents are happy too. The parents who languish in the middle are the ones I see who are struggling and unhappy.”

Thank goodness we had this conversation! I had been feeling a little guilty that we weren’t part of the scheduling crowd. How wonderful to be given the freedom to call ourselves part of the “groupie” parents who chose this lifestyle because that’s what works well for us. We have changed diapers in restaurant booths and nursed in public places, and that works well for us – we have a happy, healthy boy to prove it.

YOUR TURN: What parenting style works well for you? Are you finding yourself in the middle, and is that working for you and your family?

27 Months

My Dear Calvin,

Today, you are 27 months-old.  You’ve endured quite a bit of upheaval in your short life, thus far.  Learning how to relax and fall asleep in different places and getting your entire home turned upside-down this past week has been altogether uncomfortable and stressful.

However, you’ve been a true trooper.  Your Daddy and I are so very proud of your flexibility and cheerful attitude.  Thank you so much for contenting yourself with your books.  You don’t have as much landscape to spread out and creatively play with cars and trucks, but you’ve adapted well to a tiny section on the cushion of the couch.You were so excited when I told you that you were going to sit in Daddy’s chair at the dining table.  Fun for you, but truly it was the obvious choice since there weren’t any other seats at the table where anyone else could sit–they were full of blankets, pillows, and other things that needed to remain off of the rainwater-soaked carpet.  Since your Daddy and I could handle eating our meals standing up, we thought we’d let you enjoy sitting at the head of the table for a week.

As cool as that experience was to you, nothing topped sitting on the couch for dinner time (the only place in our home where the 3 of us could sit together to enjoy a meal).  We enjoyed last night’s messy pasta dinner while you were allowed to watch Chased By Dinosaurs on the Roku.  We’ve never done dinner theater with you before, but this week has been pretty much a pain in the rear for all of us.  At the very least, we could do something fun and spontaneous to make up for the fact that you haven’t had access to your room.  Neither you nor we know where everything is located during this upheaval from the flood, but we’ll figure it out soon enough.

Our hearts were full of joy to see you devouring your food and your eyes sparkling at the digitally animated dinosaurs.  You were so proud of yourself to be able to pull your dinosaur boots on your feet–a first for you.  Every time you slip them on, you clap your hands together and a grin lights up your entire countenance.  Then, you exclaim, “All by self!” and stomp your feet around impressively.

Yes, my dear, you are growing up so quickly.

Once it warms up a little, and this 8-12 inches of snow is done falling, we’ll go outside and construct another snowman–your most favorite thing about winter.  We’ll even let you wear your beloved dinosaur boots.

I can assure you that this won’t be the last time in your life that your belongings get misplaced and disheveled.  It’s not the last time you won’t know what to expect for tomorrow, but regardless of what other unsettling circumstances occur in your life, you will always be loved and cherished very fiercely by us.  We will pray for your peace and protection, and that the God of heaven and earth will bless you beyond belief with grace and love.

With all my heart,

Mama

Calvin the Choo Choo

Books.

Church.

Amen.

Jesus.

Poop.

Juice.

Elebunt.

Toes.

What do these words have in common?  They’re particularly interesting to my son, and he’s added them to his vocabulary in the past few days.

I’m interested to learn what he’ll add next.

Also, if he’s asked a yes or no question (unless it pertains to whether or not he’d like some sort of food), his answer is always “No” with a shake of his head for added emphasis.

He’s particularly fond of communicating in sign language in conjunction with verbal communication.  Yet, I think it’s funny that he’ll speak in sign when no one else is around to see or “listen”

Same concept when he’s asked a question.

“Calvin, how old are you?”

Delayed response.  He turns and walks away with his back to everyone.  Slowly, he holds up his index finger.

We’re still working with him to say his name.  When asked his name, he just points to himself.

I was told that young children sometimes have a different name that they call themselves than their given names.  I asked Calvin what he calls himself.

For some reason, he always answers that question with “Choo choo.”

–By Dr. Dolly
Twitter me: drdolly

Caws and Hrucks

Calvin’s been fascinated with cars and trucks and anything wheeled for quite some time.  He’s sorta been saying “hruck” and pointing to his toy trucks for the past few weeks.  Today, however, he added a new vocab word.

As we walked through the parking lot, someone drove by.  Calvin pointed to it and said “caw”.

I got excited and responded, “Yes!  That’s right!  Car.  Good job.”  His smile was wide, and he was pleased with his discovery.

As we walked toward our vehicles, I pointed out the Honda and said, Car.  That’s Mommy’s car.”  Then, I pointed to Steve’s pick-up and said, “Daddy’s truck.”  I repeated the pointing and identification once more before we headed home.

On the drive home, Calvin pointed out every car at every traffic light.  He either said “vroom, vroom” or “car.”

Once we got home, he began playing with his toy trucks.  Then, suddenly he stopped and pointed at the window and said “hruck” and smiled.  I looked and saw that Steve’s truck had just pulled into the driveway (remember, we’re in a basement apartment, so our windows peer onto the driveway).  Even though he was only able to see the wheels and the bottom of the truck, he was able to identify it.

Now, if he could only say “I need to go potty,” then things would start to get much simpler around here!

Backburner…

…is the current location of this blog.  I know there are some of you out there eagerly anticipating Calvin’s latest adventures and photos of his quick sprint through babyhood.  Never fear…I’ll get to it…just as soon as life steps into a manageable rhythm.

Lately, all we’ve been able to do is get up really early, head to work with Calvin in tow, and just get things up to speed at the practice.  Once the end of the day rolls around, one of us drives him home to get his belly full of dinner, then we start the bedtime routine, only to begin everything anew the next day.

Grocery shopping? Errands?  That’s all shoved off until the weekend, as long as the weather’s nice and we’re all caught up.  Chances are you’ll still find us putting in hours at the practice getting familiar with practice management software, SOAP notes software, installing equipment, and dragging Calvin around with us.  At the rate we’ve been going, we’d get the practice set up fully functional by next month.

Fortunately, we were rescued by Steve’s parents.  They spent the past week with us, mainly, playing with Calvin in the mornings.  He was happy, we got a lot of stuff done, and now, we may be on track to be set up by the end of next week.  How awesome is that?

Latest Obsession

On a recent trip to a wholesale club, Calvin’s grandma found some irresistable and heavy duty Tonka trucks: bulldozer and dumptruck.  She said she circled them several times and he kept pointing at them, so she just HAD to get them for him since she knows he loves trucks.  She put them in the cart, and he twisted around and grabbed onto part of the truck for dear life so it wouldn’t leave his site…he did this all the way to the parking lot.

When we got home, he was busy putting toys into his trucks to drive ’em around.  Later on, Daddy put Calvin in the dump truck and wheeled him around!  I’ve never seen a bigger expression of glee in his face.  The only draw back is that he immediately tried to step into the dump truck by himself while hanging on to the dining table…that doesn’t work very well on something with wheels.

I wish I had photos of him with his trucks and his dancing chicken, but the camera’s been at the office.  So, no photos of Calvin this past week.  But, I’m going to make a concerted effort to photologue this next week of cuteness.

Another First

I even gave him his first haircut today…with no before and after photos to show for it.  Not that we would’ve had time.  We could barely pin him down long enough for me to trim the hair behind his ears which keeps tickling them.  That was it, just a couple of “snips” and his curly locks were gone.  I cried.  Then, I salvaged the precious strands of silk in a plastic bag made to hold extra buttons on clothing, then I secured it to his baby book.

As for an update on his milestones…he’s got a mouth full of teeth.  I have a hard time counting since he gets pretty antsy about it.  But, I’m pretty sure I saw at least 14 teeth, possibly 15.

Gotta Give Him Credit

I spent a little time at the mall this weekend totally getting some amazing deals at the winter close outs on clothing.  Heck, for the prices I was paying on stuff, you’d pay the same at a second-hand clothing store for something that’s second-hand.  So, I was just stoked to find business apparel that the stores were practically giving away.

Calvin joined me in his comfy BOB stroller ride.  It was a great place to store shopping bags and to keep all of our winter coats and accessories stowed away.  Calvin amused himself with raisins and he trusty sippy cup.

When he got really bored in a particular store, he chucked his sippy cup.  I didn’t hear it drop, or I would have picked it up sooner.  As I spent a few moments giving Calvin affection and attention, I noticed his sippy cup was MIA.  I looked around beneath the stroller, and I couldn’t find it anywhere.  So, I asked Calvin, “where is your sippy cup?” as if he would start talking and explain exactly where it was and how it got there.  This is the way I’ve always talked to him, and I do believe that one day he’ll respond in pretty good English.  Until that day, he usually just smiles and me or points at what he wants and says “Dah” or “Duh”.  But today was different.

Immediately after I asked him the question, he pointed straight ahead.  I thought to myself, yeah…right…he’s playing another game and pointing at something he wants.  So, I went with it…I turned around to look at what he was pointing at, and no kidding.  There it was.  His sippy cup.  It had rolled down the aisle about 20 feet, and he was pointing right at it immediately after I’d asked him where it was.

I was amazed.

I responded, “yep, you’re right.  There it is!”  And he responded with a knowing glance and a smile that seemed to say, “I told ya so!”

Holiday Haven

Back-to-back-to-back-to-back holiday parties followed by dinner parties and lots of family time.  Hey, we were snowed in with record amounts of white precipitation, what else were we going to do?

img_4257Steve, Calvin, and I truly enjoyed visiting family in eastern Washington.  There were some travel headaches to work through, but we did love our time there.

Calvin spent his days chasing Lily (the 2 pound Maltese puppy) and Spooky (the black-furred and green-eyed ‘fraidy cat).  If he wasn’t chasing critters around the house, then he was running circles around the kitchen island getting chased by his Daddy and Uncle Tommy.  If we weren’t quick enough to watch him, he’d be rummaging through Lily’s food or scavenging through the utensils in the dishwasher.

If we were cooking, we’d supply him with his own colander and wooden spoon so he could “cook”, too.  He preferred to turn it into a drum.  After all, everything makes a really cool sound when you beat on it.  Clapping hands, smacking counter tops, stomping shoes on tile–they all have a nice “clank”, “thud”, or “bom” which delight a curious 13-month-old.

Calvin was the joy of most of the holiday parties.  He’d rip the bows off gifts at the exchanges or find endless amusement with the discarded wrapping paper.  That big, tall green pokey thing that shimmered with lights and sparkly breakables?  Now, that was an instant magnet for Calvin’s curiosity.  He called it a “tee”.  Anytime he’d see a lit up tree, he’d point and name it the “tee”.  Yes, my son thinks all things tree must be lit up like Manhattan.

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There was one heckuva lights display downtown.  It included a roaring outdoor fire, Christmas music, and a lit up train engine where you could climb inside and pull the rope to ring the engine bell.  Here’s a couple of my favorite shots from our 2-hour venture looking at Christmas lights.

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Calvin wasn’t able to call everyone by name, but he certainly knew who they all were.  If there was a new face in a house bustling with 20 people, he’d scout ’em out, look ’em over, and then greet ’em with a big smile and wave as if to say, “Hi! I’m Calvin.  Welcome!”img_4183

In the photo above, we participated in an annual white elephant gift exchange which was preceded by a nice smorgasbord of appetizers and goodies.  While folks were seated and enjoying their food, Calvin went up to the gentleman who had the broken ankle, and he “stole” his wheeled foot rest.  Hey, it’s got wheels on it, therefore, it must be a truck that needs to be pushed around!  Thankfully, the gentleman was a good sport.  By the end of the night, he and his wife let Calvin stand on top of it while we finished out the gift exchange.

Later in the week, my grandmother handed Calvin an object from the kitchen.  I don’t recall what it was, but that’s beside the point.  She told him to take it to “Papa” (the name I gave to my grandfather when I was Calvin’s age).  He immediately walked into the living room and handed it to him.  He may not be able to say “Papa”, but he knows WHO he is.

Calvin’s favorite Christmas gift was a loud and annoying stuffed chicken that sings and dances to “The Chicken Dance“.  If you pull on its neck, it’ll squawk and gag and continue it’s little two-step.  Mr. Calvin squealed with delight, and began dancing along and clapping his hands to the beat.  In fact, when we were stranded in Minneapolis airport and he was truly bored with the terminal after so many hours, I’d start to hum The Chicken Dance tune.  Suddenly, Calvin’s eyes would light up, and his smile widened and he’d start be-bopping up and down and clapping his hands.  Who’d ever thought that such a silly polka song could provide hours of entertainment?

With so much snow, we definitely had time for some snow angels and major sledding.

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When it was too cold to go outside, we had plenty of fun inside eating homemade goodies, putting together puzzles, playing cards, and being entertained by Calvin and Hadley.img_4416

img_4206If it was just TOO much to continue to chase after a 13-month-old, I’d strap him into the mei tai and give everyone a break.

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The waterfall in my grandparents’ backyard was beginning to freeze into giant stalagmites.  My cousin Tommy was instructed to break ’em off so the water could flow freely to continue with aerating the pond for the fish.  Even though it was destroyed, the waterfall was still immensely beautiful in the snowy landscape.

We got a shot while seated behind the waterfall from both perspectives.

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img_4308Finally, I’ll leave you with one final shot.  Calvin continued the family tradition by bathing in the old fashioned Kohler red tub (complete with claw-footed legs).  I was a young girl when my grandparents went to market to pick it up.  There are definitely photos of all the grandkids getting their bathtime in that good ol’ tub.  And now, we have the great grandson during the nightly splashfest.

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All wonderful vacations must come to an end.  We were reluctant to leave our dear family and return to Charlottesville.  It’s an awfully long ways away to the other side of the country, but at least we have wonderful photos, memories, and the lovely convenience of e-mail and phones to keep in touch.

Posted by Dr. Dolly

Birthday Cake

Calvin’s first go at cake (gluten-free spice and carrot cake with cream cheese frosting)