Festival of Spring- Holland in Haymarket

Last month we took a short road trip to Burnside Farms in Haymarket, Virginia to walk through wonderful fields of tulips. Prior having childen, my favorite subjects to photograph were flowers. I just love their vibrant colors, different shapes, and varied textures. Since tulips are one of the first flowers to bloom in the spring, they have a special place in my heart. The blooming of tulips means the beginning of warmer weather and the promise of summer to come.

I enjoyed strolling among the tulip fields at the Festival of Spring. The boys humored me and even cooperated for a few photos. DSC_1032DSC_1071-EditDSC_1043DSC_1045DSC_1046tulipsDSC_1040DSC_1033-EditDSC_1052UntitledDSC_1095-EditCatch the Moment 116-365

Keeping Baby Warm

If you know me well enough or have followed my blog for a while, you know that I love baby gear. One of my favorite past times is checking out the latest baby gear at my local stores and online. When I learned about the company, Little Lotus, I immediately started making a list of my expecting friends who would I would love to purchase a unique baby gift for. The Little Lotus product line includes two designs, a sleep bag and a swaddle blanket. Both blankets were designed with NASA technology to keep babies at the perfect temp, so they rest better.littleLotus_04022015-6420

Not only are these blankets a safe way to keep baby warm while sleeping, each purchase of a blanket goes towards providing a baby in need will be helped by the Embrace warmer, as way to extend a ‘warm embrace’ to less fortunate moms and babies all over the world. The Little Lotus blanket features a signature print, which was inspired by Touch Our Future, and features the hand tracings of mothers and babies helped by the Embrace warmers.

The signature print of the Little Lotus products was inspired by Touch Our Future, and features the hand tracings of mothers and babies helped by the Embrace warmers.04_04_2015_LittleLotus_S_CIFO_029-Edit

Little Lotus just launched a Kickstarter Campaign and have been covered in Newsweek, Fox, Parents Magazine, and The Bump. You can support the initiative by pre-ordering products at a special discounted price on Kickstarter, now through May 29th, 2015.

Be sure to support this great initiative and pre-order your Little Lotus blankets today!

Giveaway Item

One lucky winner will win a Touch Our Future silk scarf, which is valued at $200. Isn’t it just gorgeous? scarf

a Rafflecopter giveaway

5 Reasons to Cloth Diaper

5 reasons to cloth diaperI’m still going strong with cloth diapering.  As Ryker turns two I’m looking toward starting potty training- shudder.  I’m not looking forward to that battle.  Today’s guest post about cloth diapering is from Melissa Stevens.  Welcome Melissa!

It should not be denied that cloth diapering is gaining momentum nowadays. I wanted to try cloth diapering for my baby and I am so happy with the results. So, I could not wait to tell you my experience when it comes to cloth diapering. I listed all the benefits of these kind of diapers and I hope it will be useful to you.

Cloth diapers save money

Before I actually started using cloth diapers, I did some math and was shocked! Cloth diapers are much cheaper than disposable diapers. I added the cost of washing to the cost of cloth diapers and it turned out that even with this additional cost, cloth diapering is cheaper. For that money you can buy a new toy for your child, which I do regularly since I started using these diapers. I wash cloth diapers at home which also saves money. One advice: do not use bleach if you want to wash them at home and try making your own laudry detergent.

Disposable diapers are toxic

One of the most important reasons why I decided to use cloth diapers is the toxicity of disposable diapers. I really did not pay attention to what disposable diapers are made from before I started researching in order to compare the advantages and the disadvantages of the both types of diapers. I was shocked! There are so many toxic chemicals in them. On the top if it, my baby was diagnosed with eczema not so long after birth and the doctor told us that there are no cure for this disorder. However, he told us that it can be controlled. After the eczema, disposable diapers kept irritating my baby’s skin and I knew I had to change everything around him, so getting rid of the disposable diapers was the first thing on my list.

Organic cotton

In contrast to disposable diapers, you can find manufacturers who make cloth diapers of organic cotton. Organic cotton is one of the gentlest materials your baby can be in touch with. I was using clothes and other baby things  such as baby blankets and swaddling bags made of organic cotton since the doctor told me it is highly recommended. Especially if your baby has sensitive skin. You may think that organic cotton diapers are not durable and anti-bacterial, but they are.  Since we use organic cotton diapers, we have itching, rushes and redness under control. In addition to organic cotton, I heard that there are diapers made of natural hemp. I have not used it yet, but I will definitely buy them in the future.

Cloth diapers are not difficult to use

At first, I thought that changing cloth diapers would take too much of my time and it would be much easier to use disposable diapers. However, I found so many cites which explain how to change a cloth diaper. After a few tries, I mastered it. Knowing all the disadvantages of disposable diapers, learning how to change a cloth diaper is not much to ask when it comes to the health of your baby. If you are beginner to cloth diapering, I recommend all-in-one diapers.

Cloth diapers are eco-friendly

As you may guess, disposable diapers are one of the major contributions on landfills. Just count how much diapers your baby uses per month. I found that disposable diapers make up from two to three percent of total waste. In addition, disposable diapers have plastics inside them and you know that plastics is not compostable. Even though there are compostable diapers, they can take a year to break down. I must say that I use line drying whenever it is possible in order to save energy.

I hope I have persuaded you to at least try cloth diapering. However, I am sure you will not stop using them once you try them on your child.

 Melissa Stevens is healthy lifestyle and environmentally friendly living enthusiast. She is interested in practical solutions for simpler and more convenient life, and she likes sharing them with  others. Mother of one cute boy, proud owner of two Labradors and a cat, vegetarian for years, and in her spare time she is engaged in crafting, housekeeping, organizing family life and travel.

My Imperfect Mother’s Day

Ever since becoming a mother, I have looked forward to mother’s day. A special day that honors the hard work I put into raising my kids. My first mother’s day in 2009 I was a proud mom of a three-month-old. His steel blue eyes could pierce a hole in my heart. We celebrated the day with a relaxing brunch out. As a couple with a three-month-old, it was easy. He was calm, relaxed and even slept while we waited to be seated.first mothers day

Six years and three kids later, mother’s day looks a lot different. Instead of a calm brunch out we chose to stay home. Adrian cooked a delicious brunch, while the boys ran around like frat boys on the last day of spring break. Thankfully we managed to get all three to the table and eat together.DSC_2117 After brunch, I opened my mother’s day cards from my husband and the boys.  Xander’s homemade Kindergarten card I have dreamed about since becoming a mom was perfect in every way.  His backwards letters and phonetic spelling made me tear up.  His sense of pride and love poured out of his little body as I read it.  

The boys then continued to run around in circles, screaming, fighting, and giggling. Typical happenings in the Stavish household. This scene continued all morning and into the afternoon, leaving me exhausted and a bit frazzled.DSC_2127

Due to a broken washing machine, we traded in our family day out for a divide and conquer kind of day. Adrian hauled 5 loads of laundry to the laundromat, while I wrestled with the boys. While Adrian was at the laundromat, a woman asked him if he was giving mom the day off. He wasn’t sure how to answer, because with three kids there never is a day off. There is always something to wash, a meal to make, a fight to break up, or tears to wipe. Even when I have the chance to break away from the madness for a bit, my mind is still racing with parenting worries. Did I play with them enough today? Did I give them enough hugs and kisses? Did I let my impatience get the best of me?

This Mother’s Day I felt inpatient all day long. I woke up with an unexpected amount of grief for the loss of our angel baby. It hit me hard and the day was filled with tears and longing. This day, on the day we celebrate mothers, I felt a bit annoyed with motherhood. Annoyed that grief was stealing my happiness on my day. Sad that our fourth child will never make me a homemade Mother’s Day card. 

I’ll admit, it was hard for me to get motivated to do anything yesterday. We didn’t get dressed until 2 pm and finally managed to make it out of the house at 3 pm. With the temperatures in the eighties, it would have been the perfect day for a trip to the beach. The thought of packing for the beach, driving there, unloading, and being on lifeguard duty for my three busy bodies was all too much to deal with on a day where grief was winning. I did not have the mental strength for such adventures, which is very unlike me.

Instead, we took a very short drive for ice cold treats from Rita’s Italian Ice. Sadly this is the first mother’s day I did not get in a picture with all of my boys. I did not have the energy to set up my timer and corral them into a group hug. Instead I managed to capture the short few minutes of happiness. DSC_2154These photos do not show the real story behind our trip for Italian ice. The two full cups of ice that fell to the ground just seconds after each kid was given their cup. The tears of disappointment that followed. The six-year-old that incessantly kept stealing bites from his little brother’s cup, just to make him mad. The mom who lost her patience at the six-year-old and threatened to just drive home.DSC_2158DSC_2141

DSC_2150 DSC_2143I did not feel the need to capture the imperfect moments on this mother’s day. Already feeling my spirit squashed I needed these images to fill my soul with good motherhood memories.  

On this imperfect mother’s day, I needed a little bit of perfection.

On this imperfect mother’s day, they continue to show me that imperfect motherhood is okay.  

They continue to love me.  

They continue to laugh and giggle.  

They are my perfect.  DSC_2157DSC_2148

If you live in the Southern Maryland area and need a motherhood break head to Rita’s Italian Ice this summer.   Be sure to like them on Facebook for their latest news and offers. 

I was provided with a gift card to enjoy Rita’s Italian Ice in Waldorf, Maryland. No other compensation was provided. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Washington, DC Cherry Blossoms 2015

It’s been nearly two years since I was able to get down to the cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin until this year. The timing is always awful- middle of the week, bad weather, someone is sick. This year I was determined to get down there, with camera in hand. In a strange twist of fate and after waiting three very long and emotional weeks, I started to miscarry just as peak bloom occurred. While new life was blossoming around me, the small and treasured life inside of me was not.

The peak blooming period for the cherry blossoms only lasts for a few short days. In my heart, I needed to see the blooming of the trees more than I can describe. Thankfully the worst pain of my miscarriage passed early Monday morning and the horrible sickness that followed did not begin until Tuesday morning. By the middle of the day on Monday, I had a surge of sudden energy. Almost similar to the surge I felt after the birth of Xander, Noah and Ryker. So, mid afternoon on Monday, Ryker and I made our way down to the tidal basin.

After a 45 minute drive and a 25 minute train ride, we were engulfed in sweet scents of petals. The crowds were ample, but I was almost comforted by them this year. Unlike in years past, I welcomed the distraction. Ryker was entranced by the doggies and stopped to pet nearly every one that walked by. His sheer excitement and the way his little legs carried him when he spotted another “doggie” will be something I won’t forgot.

Best of all, the sunset that evening was nothing short of spectacular, as the day that will forever me one of the worst days of my life came to an end.

This year I am thankful for the images I captured while the sadness from the loss of my precious child swept over me. DSC_0604DSC_0633DSC_0601DSC_0629DSC_0596DSC_0626DSC_0599DSC_0593DSC_0619DSC_0610DSC_0607-Edit

“For the rest of my life, I will search for moments full of you.”