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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?

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.

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?

Books on Birth and Parenting

I have to say that when I was newly pregnant (tired, at times emotional, nauseous, etc.)  perusing the long aisles in the bookstore for helpful books seeming like a daunting task. Friends and family came to the rescue and recommended books to read and among the many that I read I’ve narrowed it down to a few that I recommend as “must reads” for new and expecting moms.

Keep in mind that part of my journey to motherhood included a home birth, but these books are wonderful even if you are questioning the typical medical model and want to read more about natural birth, or if you planning on a hospital birth or a birthing inn and want to minimize the number of interventions you and your baby receive.

Ina May’s Guide to Childbirthby Ina May Gaskin. I’ve been lucky enough to hear her speak and Ina May is a wonderfully candid and even humorous person to listen to. This book is full of wonderful and affirming birth stories written by mothers. She also has a new book out titled “Ina May’s Guide to Breastfeeding” which I’m looking forward to reading.

Birthing from Within: An Extra-Ordinary Guide to Childbirth Preparation by Pam England. This book was on my own mother’s shelf and she recommended it to me. I can tell you that while I was in labor this was the single most helpful book. It encourages you to protect your birth space, contemplate your expectations about labor, and truly enter in to the process of birth. I can’t do it justice!

Diary of a Midwife – The Power of Positive Childbearing by Juliana van Olphen-Fehr.

The Business of Being Born (film documentary by Ricki Lake) Also available streaming on Netflix! While I was pretty sure from the start the home birth was for me, Edward took a little more convincing. This movie sealed the deal. It’s a wonderful documentary on the differences between hospital and home birth.

The Happiest Baby on the Block: The New Way to Calm Crying and Help Your Newborn Baby Sleep Longer by Dr. Harvey Karp. Have a fussy baby? A colicky baby? Want to know the basics of soothing a newborn? I highly recommend this easy read – and I recommend you read it before baby’s arrival to smooth the process of becoming a parent. After baby arrives you may be too tired to read anything for a while! I think Edward especially benefited from this book, since this was the first part of parenting he could really take part in.

You may notice there aren’t a lot of parenting books in this category. In part, this is because we haven’t had any real issues and Lucien is only ten weeks old. This is also in part to the fact that when I asked my other parenting mom’s what books I ought to be reading, they promptly replied “burn them all! There is already too much guilt involved with motherhood to be reading books that will make you feel guilty for what you’ve done or haven’t done.” I guess ignorance can be bliss, but I’ll probably find myself at the library or on Amazon at some point.

YOUR TURN: What books have you found helpful in your quest for parenting advice?

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?

Snow Daze

Yesterday was entirely spent indoors.  Except for my husband who shoveled the driveway and sidewalks every two hours or so.

I thought about taking Calvin outdoors to play, but we got sidetracked building dinosaurs out of Duplo® blocks, mixing pancake batter, playing “hiding” and other fun games.After I created a “Mickey Mouse” from buckwheat pancakes and frozen blueberries, Calvin asked about Doofy and Donald Duck…naturally.  He did have fun eating the eyes, nose, and ears, and announcing every part that he devoured like a dinosaur.  I’ll admit, the pancake mouse looks an awful lot like his breakfast bear.  Oh, and he refers to pancakes as birthday cake since his first taste was on his 2nd birthday…so sweet!

Meanwhile…

Calvin snuggled under a quilt on the living room floor with his Daddy.  While staring up at the ceiling, he pretended to star gaze….pointing at imaginary constellations.  I think he misses going camping.

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My stir-crazy son is sick and tired of being stuck inside.  All he wants to do is play outside with a soccer ball, build a snow boy, play with kids at the playground, and run around with his head thrown back while the beautiful ringing of giggles escapes from his mouth into the crisp air.

I can’t help him with everything on his wish list, except for the snow boy…and only then if the snow conditions are just right.

Today, while dusting off several inches of snow on my vehicle, Calvin “helped” his Daddy shovel snow off the driveway.  He tromped around the drive and the yard until his cheeks were rosy pink.  I don’t know if he’s gotten all of his pent-up two-year-old energy out of his system, but at least for the first round of the day, it was a great joy for him.

To warm up after getting wet and cold from the snow, we enjoyed  a fabulous tea party complete with blueberry lemon tea and raisins.  Joining us was Mr. Bear.

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If you’d love some great snowy day craft ideas for Valentine’s Day, check out these great ideas from SuzySaid. We’re going to make the conversation heart wreath.

YOUR TURN:  Are you experiencing some winter weather?  What are you doing on your snow day?

Stay warm,

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