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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.

Heather’s Story

Heather is a good friend of mine, and is pregnant for the first time. She’s about 33 weeks along and expecting a little girl named Noel Virginia (I can’t wait to meet her!). I asked Heather to share some of her thoughts on pregnancy, and she was happy to oblige. I’m hoping to follow up in a few months when she is a new mommy!Finding Out: I took a pregnancy test a couple of days after I’d been feeling totally different (SO SLEEPY) and just had a feeling that something was up. With 3 positive tests, it started to sink in that we were going to have a baby! My husband got home from work that evening to find me sitting on the couch waiting for him. I can only imagine what look I must have had on my face, whatever it was prompted him to ask me “What did you buy?!” (hahaha). When I told him what that look really meant he was teary eyed and speechless for a few minutes…. it took a little while for the reality to sink in for both of us, we’re extremely excited to meet our baby girl!  


Birth Plan/Prenatal Care: After looking at our options and doing some research my husband and I decided to have our baby at home. Noel and I have been receiving excellent care from our midwife, Liz O’Shea. I’ve been going to see her every 4 weeks for a visit since I was 12 weeks along, we start going every 2 weeks until she’s born this week. We’re coming close to the end… I guess I should say the beginning! At 36 weeks she’ll come by for our home visit, making sure everything is set up and ready for our little girl’s arrival. 

 Healthy Measures: I’ve been watching what I eat – making sure I’m getting plenty of protein, not too much sugar (sometimes you just HAVE to have it though!) plenty of veggies, drinking pregnancy tea, and taking my prenatal vitamins. Exercising, drinking plenty of water, and trying to stay as low stress as possible. My hubby has been a huge help in reminding me to care for myself and our daughter!Wise Words: I’ve been so blessed to be surrounded with other mothers who have been encouraging me and keeping me focused on what I need to do for myself and my daughter. The advice just keeps coming and I’m doing my best to soak it in and apply it! What have you learned so far? I’ve been reading plenty of books on natural pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, and caring for your child’s health, just to name a few – Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, by Ina May Gaskin, The Thinking Women’s Guide To a Better Birth, by Henci Goer, Ina May’s Guide to Breast Feeding, by Ina May Gaskin, How To Raise a Healthy Child in Spite of Your Doctor, by Robert S. Mendelsohn. I’ve also watched, The Business of Being Born, and Orgasmic Birth, along with various other videos provided by our Bradley Method class. The Bradley Method – Natural Husband Coached Childbirth – was a 12 week class my husband and I just finished with. They’re really big on nutrition, exercise and informing you of all of your options for making the best decision for your family. It was a lot of fun for my husband and I, and it really gave him a lot to think about and prepare for her birth. P.S. Everyone must read this just for fun!! – Belly Laughs: The Naked Truth About Pregnancy and Childbirth, by Jenny McCarthy 

 Memorable Moments: The first 16 weeks were filled with nausea and being exhausted. After that 16 week mark it was like flipping a switch, I felt SO much better! If you had asked me then if I’d plan on having any more children I probably would have slapped you! Now though my thoughts are completely different, I haven’t even met her yet and I know that this is TOTALLY worth it. Aside from some aches and pains of a growing womb and child I feel wonderful. Although I do have my moments of feeling fat and pudgy, I get over feeling sorry for myself when I remember that my extra fat storage is good for my little girl and in time it will be gone.  I think I’ll miss feeling and watching her squirm around inside of me, but I’ll get to hold my baby, so I think that will make up for it! I am looking forward to my next pregnancy … somewhere down the road of course. I think I’ll be better prepared for all of the little changes that occur during pregnancy and not freak out when something completely normal happens. For example leaking colostrum way before I thought it would be an issue – that was a weird sight to see, but totally normal.  I can’t tell you how many times in these past few weeks I’ve opened a door into or walked into someone with my stomach. Or seeing that tight space that before pregnancy would have been a piece of cake to squeeze through, then going for it only to get stuck! Also my nephews must think that my big round belly is a target for them to jump at – they do a good job of keeping me on my toes!   

PS For a complete sneak peek from Heather’s maternity session click here.

The Most Unwonderful Time of the Year…for Traveling

j0438374On December 17th at 5 AM, we set out for a long trek across the country with our one-year old in tow.  God bless the flight attendants who were willing to hold our dear one and prevent him from continuing to yell out of sheer boredom.  Steve and I were just plumb tuckered out from waking up at 3 AM, and our little guy didn’t fall asleep until the last hour of the 5 hour flight across country.  Gee thanks, buddy.

We ended up with an “internet special” on airfare, purchased kindly by the relatives who hosted us for holiday fêtes.  That special meant that we would end up traveling on 4 different airlines round-trip and that we’d encounter 6AM departures on the initial leg of travel each day.  That “special” also meant we’d hop from multiple cities on the way home without even a hope of a direct flight home.

But, it’s for Christmas!  We could deal with anything . . . even weather delays . . . right?

After traveling to the northwest multiple times and encountering traveling woes on each trip, you’d think I would have learned my lesson by now.

Slight annoyance, but not a deal-killer was the U.S. Airways policy to charge for EVERYTHING on the 5-hour cross-country flight.  Want water?  Expect to pay $2 for an itty-bitty bottle.  Didn’t get your water at the airport before your connecting gate?  Tough luck, better have cash on hand to shell it out for the precious H2O on board!  Peanuts and pretzels?  $3 or $5 per pack, depending.  Seriously.

Our connecting flight gave us 5 minutes to RUN to our gate before we boarded our cross-country flight.  So, no, there was no time to buy water.  We did plan ahead and purchased cheese sticks and bananas to get us through the long travel day.  Calvin never went hungry, and he still loves bananas, but that’s all he ate the day we traveled!

Finally, when we were at Sea-Tac airport awaiting our final flight to Spokane, WA, we were delayed.  Just as we were about to taxi to the runway, an elderly gentleman got out of his seat and high-tailed it to the lavatory.  The flight attendant scolded him to get back to his seat or we’d miss our only go at take-off, but he said he HAD to go or there’d be problems (our take off had already been delayed over an hour, so we weren’t on time anyway).  So, instead of just letting him get his business done (we still had an awful long way to taxi), the attendant called the flight deck to tell them what was up.  So, flight deck pulled to the side of the taxi way to make sure everyone was buckled.  Then, the flight attendant muttered under her breath…loud enough for those of us in the back to hear, “Great!  Now we just missed our only chance to go!”

She said that because weather was already sketchy and Spokane was having some weather issues.  Before long, they told us the Spokane airport had closed and we were returning back to the gate.

Everyone groaned.

We were told to hang out for the next 30 minutes before they’d decide what to do next.  We asked about getting a direct flight into the city where we’d have to drive to from Spokane, but they weren’t ready to let us off the plane.  Seriously!

Finally, we all re-boarded, and took off.  They had plowed the runway at Spokane, and our flight deck was hoping to get us there within a window of time before more snow piled up.

We landed safely.

The entire cabin erupted in applause and sighs of relief.

Once on the ground, we realized why there was such a plight.  There was a TON of snow everywhere.  Major roads in Spokane had been closed.

My brave uncle and aunt picked us up in their large and heavy SUV that could face any winter blizzard, and that’s exactly what we drove through to get home 3 hours later.

I’ll post about the exceptionally wonderful Christmas parties, joyous time with family, and precious memories with Calvin in a future post.  But, I do want to mention the return trip.  I think that sealed the deal for me to avoid winter travel from this moment forward…for the rest of my life.

We had a 6AM departure from Spokane.  Do the math for arriving at least 1 hour early to the airport plus road travel, and we might as well leave from the house at midnight to make it happen.  Instead, my grandparents put us up in a nearby hotel with my aunt and uncle.  We’d take the hotel shuttle to the airport in the morning and catch our flight.  Sounds perfect?  It was a good idea.  Found out the next day that the roads to Spokane were closed for 2 hours due to weather.

That lovely winter weather accumulated 5 feet of snow in 3 weeks in Spokane.  There was snow plowed into the medians and sidewalks.  Cars that had parked overnight at the hotel for travel were plowed in with 8 foot WALLS of snow.  It was intense.

On December 30th, the Spokane airport was extremely busy at 4:45 AM.  Packed out.  It took us FOR-EV-ER to get through security.  There was no consistency to how the various TSA folks were scanning IDs and boarding passes.  The only thing to note is that one line had 3 people checking IDs, and the line we were directed to get in had only 1.  Hmmm…THAT makes sense.

As I walked through the metal detector with Calvin strapped to me in the mei tai, the TSA nob told me to get rid of his pacifier.  Calvin would’ve stayed peacefully asleep amidst the noise and bright lights if he could’ve had that.  Even after we separated out our shoes, coats, liquids/gels, and laptops, they STILL needed to scan through my carry-on one more time.  I guess the raisins and bananas didn’t scan well.  I have no idea, it just took for freaking-ever.

Some people like to travel without carry-ons.  They feel less encumbered.  I’ve traveled often enough to know you’ve gotta keep a few basic essentials on you, because you may get stuck in an airport for longer than you expected, or you may end up stuck somewhere without your luggage.  We encountered BOTH.

We ended up stuck in Minneapolis International Airport for 9.5 hours, when it was only supposed to be 3.

We were switched from one airline to another because otherwise we may not have made it home since weather was also supposedly sketchy at Chicago International (our NEXT supposed connection).

Finally, after one tired baby struggled through the final flight (after his numerous times flying–this was the one time he had difficulty clearing his ears), we ended up back in Richmond at 1:30AM Eastern.

Unfortunately, our luggage made it back before we did through a different airline carrier.  We could see all 3 of our bags locked behind a glass wall.  No one at the airport had the key to the baggage office for United airlines, and we flew in on Northwest for the last leg of our flight.  We could either wait at the airport another 3 hours for someone to help us at 4:30 AM, or we could drive BACK to the airport later.

With tired baby after 21 hours of traveling, we drove 1.5 hours home.  After we woke up, we spent close to 2 hours dealing with the worst customer service of all time on the phone.  Neither Northwest nor United would ‘fess up as to who was responsible for getting our luggage to us.

Finally, after being a squeaky wheel, United put in my request which was submitted to Northwest who was indeed responsible for getting us our luggage.  It was delivered to us at home by 10 pm on December 31st, free of charge.

In the future, I think I’ll stay put for the holidays.  It’s much nicer to visit eastern Washington in the summer months, anyway.  Calvin loved the holidays with family, but I think the long flights and long time in the airport were wearing on him [and us].

Hope y’all had a wonderful time with family and friends.

Happy new year!

Pumpkin Boys

We had a weekend full of fall festivities, and very little napping.  Even so, Calvin had a blast, and we’re all going to catch up on sleep this week.

Weekend recap:

We met our dear friends from Richmond who have two adorable boys for some apple picking at Carter’s Orchard in Charlottesville.  We navigated some steep, muddy trails in the good ol’ Bob stroller and found some Fuji love.

The boys had fun in the pumpkin patch.

Calvin even sat still long enough for a family shot:

Immediately afterward, we ventured to the All Saints Festival at Trinity Presbyterian Church.  Calvin was a little too little for most of the games, but he did have fun splashing in the rubber ducky tub, pole “fishing” with magents, and doing the bean bag toss (which he’d rather hand to the lovely young lady than toss at the targets).  It was a great festival, but it had nothing related to anything regarding church history.  I hope they add some of the rich history of the Reformation as part of the festival next year.

We didn’t stick around for the band or the square dancing since our little man decided to forgo all of his naps for the day–which meant he needed an early bedtime, especially after all the apple-picking, pumpkin patching, bean bag tossing fun.

The best 2 costumes I saw at the festival: the hand-made shark costume (totally a crowd pleaser!), and the adorable toddler who was a skunk with the fluffiest tail ever.  Calvin’s costume?  Well, can’t you tell from the photos above?  He went as an x-ray!

Traveling Update

It’s been a few days since I posted, but I haven’t even been online since Thursday.  We found out that Steve’s grandmother passed away, and we packed up a few things (okay, a LOT of Calvin’s things) to get on the road Friday afternoon to spend time with his family.  We’re currently in Pennsylvania, and we’ll attend the viewing and funeral in the next couple of days.

It’s amazing how much healing and love a baby provides in the midst of heartache from the loss of a loved one.  With his contagious smile and never-ending energy, to quote our friend Chris Rice,

Calvin’s a non-stop fun machine.

I’ll provide the good Calvin digs later next week.  So, stay tuned.

Weekend Update






Calvin – 8 months

Something amazing happened this past Sunday, Calvin turned 8 months old!  I told Steve it was a milestone and we needed to sing to him.  In true Steve-like fashion, he exclaimed, “I’m not going to sing Happy Birthday to him!”.  Thanks for playing.  Anyway, I usually sing “Good Morning to You!” to Calvin to the tune of “Happy Birthday”.  So, it’s familiar.  He loves it.  Smiles, tries to sing along, all that good stuff.

Look at his face!  That’s no baby face.  That’s a little boy face.  With plenty of chubber cheeks for me to kiss.  Milestones just before he hit 8 months: he’s crawling on his hands and knees like crazy.  He’s climbing whenever he gets a chance and trying to stand himself up.  Childproofing just took on a whole different level of safety standards.  Whew!

As of 2 weeks ago, he had 7 teeth, 5 of which came in all at once: SEVEN!  THAT’s why sleeping was such a problem for poor baby boy with painful gums.

His hair is finally growing longer and not falling out, except for that little bald spot on the back of his head where he sleeps.

Whenever we drink from a glass, he wants to drink from that glass, too.  I really don’t think he’s thirsty, because he never drinks THAT much from his sippy cup.  He just wants to be like Mommy & Daddy.  We DID let him try organic, tangy, lemonade at the farmer’s market.  Boy, did he love that.  And unsweetened yogurt.  First few tries he made a sourpuss face as in, “WHAT did you just put in my mouth!”.  Then, he liked it…loved it…craved it.

Calvin digs bananas, sweet potatoes, green beans, apples, pears, squash, beefy stew, yogurt, and now lemon juicey ade.  Small palette, but we’re slowly expanding it as different things become available in season.  We tried goat cheese.  He didn’t really know what to do with that.

So, on Sunday, Calvin’s 8 Month birthday, we toured the gardens at the University of Virginia.  He loves going outdoors and looking at leaves swaying in the breeze, flowers, and birds.

We also took some photos of the Rotunda.  No better time to tour the UVa Grounds than on Sunday.  No classes in session–just quiet, peaceful sidewalks, beautiful architecture, and an unforgiving sun.

We also found some beautiful and fragrant magnolias.  I LOVE the south, and I love magnolias.

What a Wonderfully, Perfect Day

We started out the day bright and early awaking to a playful baby boy who couldn’t wait to stretch his legs and get rompin’.  After breakfast, we took a vigorous walk to the City Farmer’s Market which offers the tempting smells of freshly made donuts, potted plants and flowers, hand made wares, and gobs of farm fresh produce.

Steve picked up his paycheck and we used it to purchase some free range eggs, pesticide-free monstros yellow squash, raw-milk goat cheese (chevre), a rosemary plant, a donut (for Steve), and green tea with mint (for moi).  We used the remainder of the cash for grass-fed beef from Steve’s employer.  His boss’ wife gave us Korean bim bop (cooked sushi with steak…so yummalicious).

After our family venture, we headed back to our apartment so Steve could head out to his boss’ farm to work for the day.  I was left to entertain/nurture Calvin, and he and I had a really fun day!

Since he sorta got his morning nap in the stroller, he wasn’t about to take one in his bed.  So, we played with his blocks.  After lunch, we tried for nap number –Calvin got his much needed rest for 2 hours while I was able to 1) catch up with a friend on the phone 2) complete my outline for an upcoming bank business loan proposal, and 3) blog/e-mail/facebook/linkedin/twitter.

Next, Calvin and I went to the public library which is located exactly 1/2 mile from our apartment complex.  I made some photo copies before sending some business forms to the IRS.  Since it was pretty freakin’ hot outside–mid 90s, I decided Calvin could use a fun dip in the pool.  After lathering him with sunscreen and putting him in his too big washable swim diaper, we headed downstairs.  Every single lounge chair and pool chair was occupied–the watering hole was uber popular on a hot Saturday afternoon.  But, there wasn’t a soul in the pool.  Calvin took no more than 1/2 a second to start splashing and kicking like a frog.  I supported him under his arms and he floated and swam around with me for a good 30 minutes.  We are the ONLY people who live on the Corner by the University of Virginia with a wee one.  Yes, we stick out like crazy, but it’s Calvin…he’s cute, he smiles and laughs at people, so they LOVE him.  And, the pool was no exception.  He got cute girls to smile and flirt with him…and boy did he flirt back.  I even heard a guy on a lounge chair exclaim that he never thought a baby in a pool could be so much fun.  Yes, Calvin was oblivious that he was providing exceptional poolside entertainment for the sunbathers.

After swimming, little man was hungry . . . and dinner wasn’t happening for at least another hour.  So, I shared some organic, whole milk yogurt with him, and for the first time, Calvin got to try a fresh fig.  He gobbled it up.  Well, slurped it up is more like it.  Then, he was content enough to take nap #3 . . . which gave me enough time to blend up his organic sweet potatoes and put ’em in ice cube trays.  I hoped to start my dinner before Calvin awoke, but that was just too ambitious of a goal.  I swooped in to rescue screaming baby because, well, it was time for him to sit on the potty (yes, he DOES let me know . . . and if he poops in his diaper, it’s truly my fault).  After we took care of THAT, I put him in a sling so I could finish up dinner.  As long as he was hanging out with me, he was certain he wasn’t missing out on anything fun.

After dinner, Calvin and I played again (blocks, walking with assistance, and I was the hurdle for his crawling obstacle course).  Then, bath time, baby grooming time, storytime, and bedtime.  Whew!  Once that was done, I was able to clean the entire apartment before Steve got home at 9pm.

When Steve walked in, he was carrying a cooler full of Korean spicy beef noodle soup, more bim bop, and frozen dumplings from his boss’ wife.  YES!  He told me he and his boss spent the day working on the farmland of one of the bandmembers of Dave Matthews Band.

And, at this very moment, while I type, I’m listening to a live acoustic act playing outdoors at the frat house deck literally 200 yds from our balcony.  I thought it was someone’s radio cranked really loudly to Garth Brooks.  But better than that, he was singing Johnny Cash covers, “Sweet Melissa”, “Brown-Eyed Girl”, “Sweet Caroline”, and the female vocalist was doing covers of Stevie Nicks.  Can’t think of a better day.  Totally fun, productive, relaxing, and full of great food and time with my family.  Sweet.

Wind at My Back and Sun on My Face

Things are going VERY well now that we’re here in Charlottesville, the land of Wahoos, green living, sustainable farms, great family fun, and beautiful weather.

Today, we ventured to the City’s farmer’s market to check out the fare.  Well, it’s definitely not like the farmer’s markets in Florida where prices were a bargain and the produce was better compared to your main grocery chains.  This farmer’s market was hopping with tons of booths and patrons.  I think everyone there had their own reusable Whole Foods market grocery bags or wicker baskets to take their finds home in reusable style.  There were several varieties of lemonade and mint tea, herbs and flowers, jams and jellies, homemade donuts, jewelry, crafts, paintings, and free range beef and poultry.  I’d call this an upper-end yuppy type of farmer’s market where it’s cool to be seen there, and cool to buy things that are healthy/good/natural/local and definitely more expensive than the average chain grocer.

Actually, we can’t wait to return next week to buy donate to a farmer for some free chevre (raw goat’s milk cheese).  I also want to get my hands on some rosemary, German thyme, tomato, and mint plants for a great summer garden.  Oh yes, we can garden soon.  We’ll be renting a basement apartment 5 weeks from now, and there’s a backyard for us to toil in for some wonderful garden produce!

While at the Farmer’s Market, Steve was interested in a booth with grassfed beef from a sustainable farm.  In short, Steve got 2 jobs today.  He’s going to tryout for an arborist position where he’ll actually use harnesses and ropes to climb trees for pruning, brush clearing, etc.  Then, on Saturdays, he’s going to work as a farm hand at a sustainable farm with grass-fed cattle.  He’s totally leaping head first into the Charlottesville way of life!

Meanwhile, my checklist of items that I need to accomplish in order to start-up a new practice is getting marked off slowly, but surely.  Now that Steve has a job, Calvin will be with me all day long, regardless of whether or not I have business appointments.  Hey, it’s who I am . . . Calvin’s mom.  He’ll be with me at the practice and as I’m getting it started.  Family practice.  It brings a whole new meaning to the term.

place to live – check

job(s) for Steve that enable us to meet our budget needs – check/check

ability to grow food in a garden – check

vehicles in working condition – check

my chiropractic practice getting launched – check in progress, but it IS progress!

Calvin spends time with both of us everyday – check

We’re thankful for prayers of the saints on our behalf and for the abundent blessings of our heavenly Father.

Death is Painful

While on the road to Virginia today, I received a call from my mom that her mom (my Amma) passed away yesterday.  I was overcome with sadness while trying to keep my eyes dry so I could navigate the interstate.

It wasn’t a big surprise since she was diagnosed with 3rd degree lung cancer about 6 weeks ago.  I’d been receiving health updates from my cousin’s husband who’s an M.D. in the hospital where she received treatment.

I wish we could have traveled to Taiwan so that she could meet Calvin, but that was not an opportunity we could pursue at the time.  My grandmother was able to meet her other American great-grandchild, Calvin’s cousin, Jonah.  I know that was very special for her.  And, my mom brought some great photos of us with Calvin for her to see.

My grandmother was a beautiful, educated, and petite asian woman.  My mom stands tall for a Taiwanese woman at 5’2″.  My grandmother was significantly shorter than my mom.  She had a masters degree in Japanese, and spoke it very well . . . in addition to Taiwanese.  I only saw her a few brief times in my lifetime, but each time, she was so kind and loving.  I adored her.  I miss her terribly.