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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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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.

West Coast Highlights

For a teething 5-month-old, Calvin traveled so well. It was a lifesaver to have Steve with me to help keep him entertained. But, most of the time people sitting next to us were extremely accommodating. When nursing, his long legs would often bump up next to the person next to us. If I was sitting in the middle, that meant that at least half the time, that person wasn’t Steve.

While checking in at the airport in Lewiston, Idaho, another passenger in line wanted to hold him while I was digging out a pen for luggage tags. I saw my grandmother walking up toward us. And, I said aloud “I’ll let grandma hold him”. The nice woman from Louisiana who’d offered, opened up her arms wide and said, “oh goody!”. But, I corrected myself and said, “his real grandma” who swooped him up with hugs and kisses. But then, of course, Calvin was the center of attention and my grandma got to brag on him to the nice woman who wanted to hold him.

While at his great-grandparents ranch in eastern Washington, Calvin enjoyed looking at the fish and waterfall, and he had fun checking out Mema’s chickens.

Calvin was the center of attention. He showed off his cool tricks: smiling super bright and big for anyone who held him or spoke to him face-to-face. That smile will light up anyone’s face and mood! He also hit a couple of milestones while we were there: he got his second tooth (bottom left incisor), and he was finally able to roll from his back to his belly. After he did that once on his own, he’s been doing it non-stop.

Aside from hugs and kisses, he also had to be subject to family traditions and torture for babies: we just HAD to get a photograph of him in the Native American papoose. My sister had been photographed in it as a baby, so of course, all the great grandchildren must be photographed in it as well. He was a little long for it, but we made it work. Then, he tried to sit up (the papoose isn’t made for babies to sit up) until we distracted him enough to play with the beads dangling from it. Calvin’s great (x4) grandmother was from the Cree tribe in the Quebec area of Canada. It’s possible that there were more Native American relatives on my grandmother’s side, but that wasn’t ever recorded.

Calvin attended his first Sabbath School and enjoyed the interactive Bible story about the shepherd and his lone lost sheep. He was the youngest child, by several months, but he had just as much fun as the older children.

We got a picture of almost every relative who held Calvin while he’s still little. I anticipate our next trip out west, he’ll be running everywhere!