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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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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.


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.


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!

Exploring Spring

A couple of my favorite photos from today.  Spring is in the air!Sunburst of yellow broom


Bee pollinating a daffodil

Tuesday Travels: Umi Shoes {Review}

Welcome to Tuesday Travels, a regular series at Traveling with Baby featuring ideas for local day trips and  travel tips for families with kids-in-tow.  You’ll also find get-up-and-go related product reviews and giveaways.  I enjoy hearing about your traveling adventures, too.

Calvin’s Umi Shoes

At 28 months of age, Calvin’s tested a fair share of baby and toddler shoes from an assortment of brands.  From an experienced shoe-testing mama, what I like most about Umi is their commitment to the environment by using recycled packaging, and the non-toxic materials used in the manufacturing process–two things that are mighty high on my list.  Another plus is their commitment to safety and quality by running each pair of shoes through twenty quality checks.  That’s right…twenty!

Calvin’s tested the Major from Umi’s spring line of shoes for boys.  He likes the Major’s colorful brushed leather (amber-tan-chocolate) with contrasting royal blue top stitching. The Major style is also available in cognac/navy/stone–a great color combination for local UVA Cavaliers fans. Of his many shoes, Calvin often asks to wear his Umi’s.

As a mom, I like the durability of the shoes.  He can scrape them against gravel or kick a soccer ball, and they still look unscuffed and pretty darn new.  That type of top leather resiliency is unique in the world of soft and supple children shoes–especially when they go through the ringer from rough and tough boys.  If you’re looking for shoes that will last until your child goes through another growth spurt, Umi’s have the best durability construction that my son has tested in any shoes to date.

Is there room for improvement?  Sure, just like in any shoes, there’s always something that could be a little better.

As much as I love the quality of the hook and loop closure, the thickness of the straps makes it tough to loosen or open up the toe box enough to slide in a foot.  I really have a mild wrestling match with the shoe every time…so there’s little hope that my little guy will be able to slip them on by himself.  Also, as much as I love the durability of the shoe, there’s a trade-off with a more rigid rubber sole.  Compared to other toddler shoes, when my son wears his Umi’s, I can hear him plod around on the floor because of the stiff sole.  There’s less pliability for a gait pattern that encourages a child to roll the foot from heel strike through toe-off.  Instead, it’s more like the entire surface area of the sole strikes the pavement simultaneously.

Umi’s shoes for boys: overall

Overall, great, solid construction with a comfortable insole, and an upper that will endure the adventures of boyhood.  However, I’d love to see Umi develop a more flexible sole to assist young walkers with proper gait pattern instead of using a stiff, rubber material that actually inhibits proper gait development.

Lucien’s Umi Shoes

These were Lucien’s first shoes, so they have sentimental value. While he won’t take his first steps in these, and he will probably outgrow them before I can believe it, I will cherish these shoes from his baby days love after he has finished wearing them.

It took me a little while to even open the package – but once they came out of the box, I couldn’t help but put them on. I’ve taken him out and folks are exclaiming over his cute “sail” shoes in tan/chocolate.

I love these shoes for their soft materials and thoughtful details. When I first put them on I noticed little details like the tag in the back to give a helping hand to mom’s trying to gently maneuver the shoes onto little baby feet. Another thoughtful touch was the elastic that surrounds the top of the shoe around the ankle – allowing me to stretch open the mouth of the shoe to fit my son’s little, square baby feet in without pushing too hard. There is also a fair amount of flexibility in the sole as opposed to the toddler shoes which have to be more durable, and I found myself rubbing the tops of his shoes throughout the day because the leathers are so soft.

Another detail that I enjoyed, and this one purely fashionable, was the sole of the shoe – which has a playful design.

The moment I saw the appealing packaging and the size of his tiny shoes, I thought “what a perfect gift these would make for a new momma!” I’m looking forward to sharing Umi’s with other moms (and I know plenty) who will be having their children soon. I have many baby showers in my future and the cute packaging, complete with handle for easy carrying, invites me to drop a bow on top and take off to the party. While we both reviewed shoes from their boys collection, they have a lovely assortment of shoes for girls as well.      

Exclusive for Traveling with Baby readers
Readers of Traveling with Baby, will receive 10% off of fun footwear for thier little ones for spring with coupon code TWB315 valid March 1-15, 2010.  For more news on Umi, and additional savings, became a fan on Facebook.

YOUR TURN: What are the top features you consider when shopping for shoes for children?

*Two pairs of shoes were provided for the purpose of this review. Read the full disclosure policy.

Ice & Fire

This weekend, we saw some pretty snow and ice.  This is the view from our backyard.

Here’s a close-up of one of the Dogwoods covered in snow.

Don’t you just love the contrast of the fluffy snow with the stunning blue sky?  The sky wasn’t quite so blue all weekend.  We did have another blizzard, after all.  In fact, most of the weekend the sky was impermeable gray with big chunks of white fluffy stuff falling everywhere and fast.

Our street looked like this:

Gray and white and black…the only color is the red brake light on that gray car.

The other side of our street perked up a bit with the blue skies on Sunday.

Just a bit.

Still a ton of ice on the trees and power lines.  We still have power, but heard that over 20,000 homes were without it…still.

To top it off, only 4 houses down from us, a brick house blazed on fire.  There were at least five fire engines, a ladder truck, paramedics, ambulance, police cars, and other red trucks with flashing lights.  Here’s the street view today…slight contrast from the weekend.

The ladder is raised on the ladder truck…can you see it between the trees?

Thankfully, none of the residents nor their dog were injured.  However, the house is probably toast…no pun intended.

Meanwhile, I was blocked in my driveway due to the massive fire hose lying in the middle of our street.  So, I couldn’t make it to the office for my afternoon patients.  They kindly rescheduled for tomorrow.

No civilian vehicles were allowed to travel in or out of our street for hours…the street is still barricaded almost 4 hours later.This is the view from our driveway…a little boy’s DREAM. Calvin and I walked up and down the street admiring the fire engines and waving to the firefighters who really liked his monkey hat.  Calvin even ran into Firefighter Steve whom he met when he toured the headquarters station last summer.

Word is we’re getting four to eight eight to twelve (ugh) more inches of snow tomorrow.  I’m kinda hoping and praying summer gets here STAT…that would be great!

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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!


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.


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.


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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Wordless Wednesday




More running


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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