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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




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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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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Record Snowfall

We’re having a record snowfall in Virginia.  At present, we have 22 inches of snow accumulation in our backyard…and counting!

Here’s our street, 12 hours after the snowfall began last night.  Obviously, the plows haven’t made it to our street.

Steve and our neighbor drove around in the 4-wheel drive truck to help folks who were stranded, and to transport hospital personnel who were stuck at home.  They also dropped a woman off to a local nursing home to care for her mother since the nurses weren’t able to make it in.

When Steve came back with our neighbor Tim, I had a huge pot of warm butternut squash soup waiting for them.

Calvin was eager to check out the snow.  So, I bundled him up in 5 layers of clothing, and let him tromp around in snow as high as his chest.You think this is a lot of snow?  First notice Calvin’s height…his boot hits just below his Daddy’s coat line.

Yep, it’s a lot!

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Eat Pancakes – Help a Widow and Her Children

You may have heard about the University of Virginia medical student, John Jones, who recently died in a spelunking accident in Utah over Thanksgiving.

John Jones passed away at the tender age of 26, leaving behind his young widow Emily who’s now the sole parent for their 14-month-old daughter Elizabeth.  Emily is also expecting her second baby in June.

Friends to this family are rallying together for a memorial fundraiser to help this family continue.  Visit www.johnjonesmemorial.com for information on how you can donate to help this family.

If you live in Charlottesville, join the Pancake Fundraiser this Saturday, December 19th at the Applebees on 29 North to eat your fill of breakfast and donate to the memorial fund.  During this Christmas season, let’s shower this family with love and support from the people in their community.

Breakfast Pancake Fundraiser for the John Jones Memorial

When: Saturday, December 19th, 2009 from 7:30 AM – 9:30 AM

Where: Applebees on 29 North (next to Toys R Us); 571 Branchlands Boulevard, Charlottesville, Virginia 22901

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Playground Fun

Calvin’s physical skills have advanced considerably since the spring, when I first took him to the big kids playground.

Initially, he was a little timid.  He’d NEVER go down the slide without Mama or Daddy.

But, he’s almost two, and things have changed with this little climber…Climbing at the Playground (19 seconds) from drgarnecki on Vimeo.

Once he ascended the ladder, he announced greetings in English and Chinese.

Nei Hao (10 seconds) from drgarnecki on Vimeo.

Just in case you’re not a video fan, here’s a couple of my favorite snapshots from this afternoon.

tunnel editPeering at Mama in the tunnel

swing2 editGetting Daddy kisses on the swing

slide2 editSerious slide fun

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Health Happy Round-Up: Backpack Safety

health happy round-upWelcome to a weekly series on Traveling with Baby, Health Happy Round-Up which focuses on multiple aspects of wholesome living and optimal health for the entire family.  Each weekend, Traveling with Baby will share some insightful news, recipes, and tips to help you consider fresh new perspectives on wholesome and happy health.

Back pain only happens to adults–right?  I mean, I don’t recall kids telling other kids about headaches and how much their backs were hurting them when I was a kid.

In chiropractic school, we learned a key point:  It’s very unusual for children to experience head, neck, or back pain.

Adults, yeah well, that’s par for course from driving in cars (the average American adult experiencing a car accident at least once every 4-6 years), sitting in desks in poor posture, and just not taking care of overall health and posture.  j0439398

But, children.  They’re not supposed to get neck pain or low back pain.  When that occurs, it should be a red flag that something is wrong.

According to a recent article by the American Chiropractic Association (ACA), a recent and troubling trend has found that:

young children are suffering from back pain much earlier than previous generations, and the use of overweight backpacks is a contributing factor, according to the American Chiropractic Association. In fact, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that backpack-related injuries sent more than 7,000 people to the emergency room in 2001 alone.

The article by the ACA goes on to cite studies of backpack-related back pain in children in France and Italy.

j0439539But there’s hope!  Learn smart tips on ways to make backpack carrying safe for your children by reading the rest of the article from the ACA here.

For more information on backpack related back pain in children, read the abstract published by the Scoliosis Research Society, “Backpack Use as a Risk-Factor in Children’s Back Pain“, as well as the abstract “Back Pain in Adolescents Using Backpacks“.

Interestingly, both abstracts note that females tend to have more backpack-related back pain compared to males.

These trends are disturbing, and I don’t want to sit around while the kids in my community continue to over stuff their bags with too many books and chronically wear away on their posture.

What have I decided to do about it?

Well, I’m glad you asked!  First of all, I was asked by Scholastic to provide my expert opinion on my top 3 choices for children’s backpacks and reasons why.  My choices will be available in the September issue of Parent and Child Magazine . . . so, don’t miss it! For the record, I did not receive any compensation or products for review when writing my opinion on backpacks.  I’m familiar with the brands and styles, and there were key features regarding backpack safety, ergonomics, fitting, and weight-distribution that weighed in on my decision.  If you e-mail me, I’d be happy to share my top recommendations for backpacks with you!

back to schoolSecondly, my practice, Spinal Health & Wellness, is partnering with Whole Foods for their Back to School Taste Event on Thursday, August 20th from 4-6 p.m. to provide healthy recipes and after-school snacks.

  • I’ll be on site to help children with backpack fitting and sizing.
  • I’ll also help them determine the max amount of weight they should carry in their backpacks.
  • Take home some healthy and yummy snack recipes
  • Try out great snacks throughout the store
  • Whole Foods is also providing free re-usable lunch boxes to the first 100 school-aged children to come to the event.  What a sweet deal!
–By Dr. Dolly
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