Stavish Southern MD Summer: Greenwell State Park

Ah…summer is here. Xander finished his first year in elementary school (sob), Ryker turned two, and Noah is…well Noah- crazy, irrational and full of redheaded spunk. I am excited to spend the summer with these boys. Now that Ryker is big enough to explore the beach without eating fistfuls of sand or doing a faceplant in the water, beaching outings are easier than they were last summer.

This summer we have plans to explore all three counties of Southern Maryland.  We started knocking things off our bucket list last weekend when we put our toes in the sand at Greenwell State Park. The beach at Greenwell was clean, secluded, and perfect for my three to get lost in summer fun. I loved that the water was warm and the shoreline stayed shallow for quite a distance.

In addition to a beautiful beach, Greenwell also has nature trails, historic buildings, a small playground, picnic areas, bathrooms, and a horse barn. Greenwell State Park Southern MD Bucket list-2

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Wecome summer. I am looking forward to making more local memories in our home state.
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Follow our summer adventures on Instagram at mindistavish #SoMDStavishsummer. Please share your family’s summer adventures on Instagram using the hastag #summerhappy and follow the Happy Mamas on Instagram for your chance to win a super awesome summer gift card.

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Second Birthday Letter to Ryker

Dear Ryker,

I am shaking my head and wiping away the tears that are falling, while I sit here and write this.  I am not sure how we got here so quickly- your second birthday.  It feels like I was just planning your first birthday party.  Time can slow down anytime now!  Ryker Second Birthday-3 Ryker Second Birthday-4

This year has been full of emotions for your mama.  You have grown so much, learned more than I could hope for, and scared me more than you will ever know.  This year you have had your share of sickness, including ear infections and bronchiolitis.  Worst of all you experienced your very first (and hopefully only) helicopter ride, after you stopped breathing.  Since that episode, you have had several more of these breath holding moments, each one as scary as the other.  Let’s not do this anymore, okay? Ryker Second Birthday-5 Ryker Second Birthday-7

One of the things I have enjoyed the most about watching you grow over this year is your language development.  Around 20 months you starting putting 2 words together.  Now at 2 you are often speaking in sentences.  Sometimes you amaze me with the words you know!  Ryker Second Birthday-6 Ryker Second Birthday-2

As you grew from a baby to a toddler, your brothers really took you under their wings and showed you the way of “toys”.  You love Darth Vader, Elmo, Mickey Mouse, trucks, cars, and hockey.  Recently you have started to demand “stroller” when we are outside, but still love to be carried on my back in a baby carrier too (thank goodness!). Ryker Second Birthday Ryker Second Birthday-10We are still nursing right when you wake up in the morning and at bedtime.  During the weekeneds, you nurse to go down for your nap too.  You are finally sleeping through the night (for now!) and love to take nice long naps, as well.  Ryker Second Birthday-9

Your brothers enjoy playing with you, even though sometimes they may seem annoyed that you are taking their toys and trying to interrupt their play.  Xander enjoys picking you up and tickling your belly.  Just the other day he said, “I miss Ryker being a baby.  He was so cute.”.  I just adore the way he loves you!  

Ryker, you make me smile even on my saddest days.  Your huge smile and big brown eyes are perfect in every way.  I love your arms wrapped around me in big hugs and the way you light up when I pick you up.  Thank you for being amazing.DSC_3574

Happy birthday sweet boy.  

Love,

Mama f

Two: He’s a Big Kid Now!

I was provided with the Sip & Spin straw cup to facilitate this post. I did not receive compensation and all opinions are my own.DSC_3571Ryker’s birthday has come and gone.  Suddenly my little baby is a full-blown toddler.  He has opinions, thoughts, and speaks in full sentences.  Who allowed that business?  Around 18 months, he began to show all the signs of toddlerhood with full on throw myself on the floor tantrums.  Those have not stopped and have just escalated.  

Most of the time I just roll with his tantrums.  Eventually they too pass and he is off onto something new and exciting.  When it’s 6 in the morning and he is throwing a fit over not getting “gummies” for breakfast, then I just want to crawl back into bed.  It seems Ryker takes after Noah and already has quite a sweet tooth.  Unlike Noah, most of the time Ryker can easily be distracted by a drink in one of his favorite cups.  On any given day his favorite cup may be different though.  It is my job to be the detective and figure out just what cup Mr. Ryker wants.  In the heat of the tantrum moment, this is not an easy feat.  DSC_3568

Lately Ryker has been demanding his “monster truck” cup, the Sip ‘N Spin by Nu Spin Cups. The Sip & Spin straw cup is made from a safe, soft FDA grade silicon straw and is free of BPA, phthalates, PVC, & nitrosamines. My favorite feature of the straw cup is that it is valve free, which promotes developmentally appropriate oral motor skills for speech sound development and swallowing patterns. The Sip & Spin is easy to clean, as all of the parts come apart and are dishwasher safe. DSC_3574

The cup contains a disk inside the lid which spins like a pinwheel, motivating kids to suck from the straw. This is perfect for straw cup training! It is also a great way to encourage kids to stay hydrated, particularly in the hot summer months. DSC_3577

If you have a tantruming toddler clinging to your legs while you try to make dinner, you might want to grab a few Sip & Spin straw cups. They come in two different designs, a monster truck and butterflies with flowers and will be available this August. For the latest news like nuSpin Kids on Facebook and follow them on Twitter. You can also check out their videos on YouTube.

Miscarriage: The Beast of Grief

Amy Cornwell necklace to honor my miscarriageGrief is a funny thing in a not so funny and utterly impossible way.  It can pop up at anytime for no reason or for every reason imaginable.  Sometimes I just want to shove grief off a cliff and pretend it never happened.  Pretend I don’t have anything to grieve anymore, no more tears to shed, and no more heartbreak to feel.  

Except, this is reality.  I wake up each and every morning reminded that I still am a mom to an angel.  My little angel, Autumn Stavish has been gone over 2 months now.  Gone doesn’t really seem like the right word, since I never got to meet this little angel.   All I have left is a pee stick, an ultrasound, and four paper 4 leaf clovers I cut out to announce my pregnancy to my husband.  Baby #4, the lucky charm, was supposed to be the end to our story of building our family.   Sadly the end was not what I hoped for.   

Just days after I found out I experienced a missed miscarriage I shoved all these mementos into my night stand drawer.  Angry and hurt, I just couldn’t bear to look at the reminders that held all these empty promises.  It’s still just too painful to fully process.

Those first weeks days after my miscarriage were emotionally draining.  I went through the motions of caring for my amazing little boys and stumbled through work.  I had no motivation or creativity to plan and execute Noah’s 4th birthday party.  I stopped cooking home made meals.  I just did not feel like me.  

Two months later I have good days and I have bad days.  I’m starting to see through the fog again.  I’m creating.  I’m writing.  I’m laughing again.  This journey of healing will never be complete.  There will always be an empty, lost part of my soul.  Grief will always find a way in.  In the words of my doula that has been such a great source of comfort through all of this, “here then gone again.  shallow then deep.”.  

So here I go wading through the waters, coming up for air, finding the way.  

If you have suffered a miscarriage what helped you swim through the grief?  

Thankul for Pediatric Emergency Medicine

The Walmart gift cards and information have been provided by P&G.

Last November I experienced the worst moment in my six years of motherhood- the day my sweet baby Ryker stopped breathing. This awful experience required a mediflight to our local children’s hospital, Children’s National in Washington, DC.Screenshot 2015-06-22 23.46.32

Flashing back to the dreaded helicopter ride that I wish upon no parent.

As I sat in the helicopter watching the DC metro area pass below me, my mind drifted of thoughts and visions of the worst possible scenarios. A large brain bleed, a hemorrhage, paralysis, loss of speech, wheel chair bound, or worse. Tears streamed down my face. So many things to worry about in that vacuum in the air.  I’m not the praying type but at that moment I pleaded with the higher powers to please look over my baby and keep him from any harm.  

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Upon arrival at the hospital the emergency room team of doctors worked rapidly on my baby.  I was in such a state of shock that I hardly remember all the details.  Reading back on my post I am reminded that I watched my boy as the team performed several procedures on him, including a head CT and cspine x-ray.  I do not recall any of this.  

It’s been nearly 7 months since this awful day.  Ryker has had a few more of these episodes where he cries from pain, stops breathing, and passes out.  They are terrifying to say the least, but I now know what to expect.  Now that he is two I’m hoping he has outgrown them.  Time will tell. ryker love

Children’s National is a Children’s Miracle Network Hospital (CNMH). Did you know that one in 10 kids in North America is treated by Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals each year. This includes the 16,000 children that are treated in emergency rooms. Even more astounding is that every hour, member hospitals provide surgery for 97 children. infographic

Walmart and Pampers are donating $200,000 to CMNH in June of 2015.  Please visit Walmart-CMNH for more information on how you can donate to this cause. Also, part of your purchase of participating Pampers will go toward CMNH.

Walmart Gift Card Giveaway

In celebration of this amazing partnership to help children, I’m hosting a $25.00 giveaway to Walmart, which ends on 6/29 and is only open to U.S. residents. Good luck!
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