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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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Tuesday Travels: Carnival Fun

Having allergies to pollen or poison ivy or whatever it is this kid’s got is not much fun.  To avoid exacerbating the condition, we’ve kept him cooped up indoors for most of the week.

But, two year-olds need to expend energy. Outside. Often.

So, we thought a great way to boost his spirits and get his mind off of itchy skin was to check out a couple of rides at the Dogwood Festival carnival.If we rode any more rides than that, we’d break our bank account.  The prices were comparable to a full up theme park, without nearly the amenities.

But, it was local, not very crowded, and it was fun.

Check out Steve’s cool toes on his Vibram Five Fingers shoes.

Calvin was a little timid at first.  He just wanted to snuggle with his Daddy when they did a few rotations on the ferris wheel.

But after they got going, his face lit up in a huge grin (even through puffy and red eyes).

I love the vibrant colors on this symmetrical shot.  Plus, my two favorite guys are smiling at me.

Since this rather benign ride was such a big hit, we decided to use our remaining tickets for something a little more racy (yet still safe and appropriate for a two year-old).

After gaining his approval, we attempted to try out Calvin’s first roller coaster ride: the Dragon Wagon.

It was literally a roller coaster for little kids.  However, it was surprisingly faster and jerkier than it looked.

The entire time, Calvin was shouting “Whee! So fast, Mommy!”  In fact, he wanted to go again, and again.  He was feeling brave enough to try several other rides.  However, we were out of tickets.  Two rides was enough for his first carnival experience.

We’re SO relieved our son likes roller coasters.  So relieved!  Whew!

The carnival is in town for another week.  So, take out a small loan, and go have some fun with your family!

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.

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?

If You Give a Mom a Muffin …

I found this on another blog (chickaustin) and just had to share. It’s funny, but so true at the same time.

If You Give A Mom A Muffin

If you give a mom a muffin,

she’ll want a cup of coffee to go with it.

She’ll pour herself some.

Her three year old will spill the coffee.

She’ll wipe it up.

Wiping it up she’ll find dirty socks.

She’ll remember she has to do laundry.

When she puts the laundry in the washer,

she’ll trip over boots and bump into the freezer.

Bumping into the freezer will remind her

she has to plan for supper.

She will get out a pound of hamburger.

She’ll look for her cookbook.

The cookbook is setting under a pile of mail.

She will see the phone bill which is due tomorrow.

She will look for her checkbook.

The checkbook is in her purse

that is being dumped out by her two year old.

She’ll smell something funny.

She’ll change the two year old’s diaper.

While she is changing the diaper the phone will ring.

Her five year old will answer and hang up.

She’ll remember she wants to phone a friend for coffee.

Thinking of coffee will remind her

that she was going to have a cup.

And chances are… if she has a cup of coffee

her kids will have eaten the muffin that goes with it.

– author unknown

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!

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?

Wordless Wednesday: Happy Boy Outside

Lora’s Story

It’s officially spring now, and so many of my friends are hatching chicks! My good friend Lora and her husband Eric are expecting their first child any day now (she’s currently about 36 weeks pregnant). It’s their first pregnancy, and they are expecting a baby boy (yay, boys!).

Breaking the News: We found out together. There was a suspicion as I took out the garbage and almost threw up. After that, we both looked at each other and said – maybe we should check to see if we’re pregnant. We were both excited!

Birth Plan/Prenatal Care: We don’t really have a birth plan, per se. I am pretty open to whatever I end up needing to do. I love the idea of a hospital in the event that there is a conflict – everything is there to help. Also, it allows us to be in a different place, without a lot of clean up. Birthing somewhere other than my own space feels less stressful to me. I like the idea of spending sometime somewhere else and then bringing the baby home and getting settled. We have gone through an OB who works with Martha Jefferson Hospital, and it’s been fantastic. We’ve enjoyed all of our doctors, and we feel very cared for.

Healthy Measures: I eat healthy and avoid too much junk food and the basic things you’re supposed to avoid – like mercury seafood and too much caffeine. I’ve also tried to exercise and get rest.

Wise Words: Some of the best advice I’ve received is this: Pregnancy is difficult and beautiful. Fluctuating emotions and feeling sick is normal. Be patient with yourself and with your spouse. Read about other people; stay in community. Eat what your body tells you it wants.

Memorable Moments: I’ve learned that hormones are extremely powerful. Loving your body is important because your body morphs so quickly. Getting a lot of women to speak into your experience is very good – it helps you feel less like you’re losing your mind and that many people have gone before you.

Talk, talk, talk, talk about what you’re experiencing. Take a birthing class; it helps to have an experienced third party speaking to you and your partner.

I cried a lot in my first trimester. I was a giant ball of hormones. One time I got a call from a friend asking me how I was doing. It was late, and my husband was getting back from a wedding (he’s a wedding photographer). He got home at 9, and I wanted a corn dog. We drove 45 minutes to Waynesboro to get me a corndog and I cried the entire way about how nice my friend was to call and see how I was doing.

Forever Changed: I have been so amazed at how profoundly a body can change. It has really challenged me to think about beauty – what it means to be comfortable in my own skin, despite how it looks or changes.

Being pregnant has also helped me understand the permanence of bring a person into the world.

Lastly, it has challenged me in regards to abortion – understanding more fully the psychological impact it must have on women to abort – especially after feeling the baby move around – kick, have the hiccups, response to sound and light. It has made me more empathetic to young women who find themselves pregnant in a precarious situation.

I look forward to meeting him and watching/experiencing him grow. I look forward to seeing what his personality will be, what things he will like to do, the thoughts he will have about life, etc. I’m looking forward reading and understanding what it looks like to raise up a child. I look forward to be challenged in my own selfishness and coming to realize how intensely my attitudes and behavioral patterns impact someone else’s formation.

PS We always try to give credit where it’s due – the photos included in this post were taken by Sarah Cramer Shields of Cramer Photo and Lora’s husband (and daddy-to-be) Eric Kelley of Eric Kelley Photography.