Author Archives: Bryn

I’m baaaack.

October 10th, 2012 | Posted by Bryn in Kids - (Comments Off on I’m baaaack.)

For some reason the title of this post reminds me of the little girl from the Poltergeist movies – you know, “They’re baaaaack.” Creepy. She’s one of the reasons I never watch scary movies. Ever.

It’s been over a month since I’ve posted anything of substance on this blog, so it’s about time to give all my excited fans the 411 on what I’ve been up to… crickets.

Anyway, TT is doing much better at school, and he’s now on a soccer team with kids from his school. School was a bit rocky at first, but he loves it and is learning so much already! His mother also stopped crying on the way home from dropping him off every morning, so that’s a plus.

 

Peach started preschool and dance (yippee!) and is loving both. A three-year-old in a little leotard and tights just makes me smile.

 

Vanilla is still such a sweetie and is talking up a storm. Peach taught her how to climb out of her crib last week, so that’s been… interesting.

 

In other news, my honey got himself a deer last night! I’m so proud of him!

 

As for me, I’ve had some design projects in the works. I’ll be updating my portfolio and launching a new website within the next month, so stay tuned for that!

Happy Wednesday everyone!

First Day of Kindergarten – Letting Go

August 22nd, 2012 | Posted by Bryn in SF - (Comments Off on First Day of Kindergarten – Letting Go)

There are sadder things than dropping your beloved child off at Kindergarten for the very first time. Right? 🙂

Today is the day I have been dreading for five years. Yes, it’s only a half day today. And yes, it’s JUST Kindergarten, but this momma’s heart is feeling more than a little sad this morning. I waited until I got out into the parking lot to make my ugly cry face (you know you all have it), so only a few other moms had to endure it.

TT did absolutely wonderful all morning. He was so pumped up when he was getting ready, and he called his dad and said with a smile, “Today’s my first day of Kindergarten, Dad. Can you believe it?”  We took pictures, he rode his bike for a few minutes, then it was time to pack everybody in the van and get to school.

I asked TT on the way there if he was nervous, and he wasn’t. We still had a little talk about how sometimes it’s hard trying new things, but we have to be brave. I drew a little heart on the palm of his hand before we left so if he gets sad at school, he can look at it and know that Daddy and I love him, and that God is in his heart so he doesn’t need to be sad or scared.

The girls and I walked him into his classroom, and after an initial hesitation, he breezed in and hung up his backpack like he’d been doing it his whole life. I took a few more pictures (yes, I’m THAT mom), and then we had to go. Thankfully, there are little windows outside his classroom so I peeked in a couple times to see that he was already playing and laughing with some new friends. Sigh. What a little man.

My girls think I’m crazy because as soon as we were in the parking lot, a little sob I’d been holding in all morning escaped and my ugly cry-face made its appearance. I didn’t see any other moms crying – somebody tell me I’m not the only one…

Anyway, after crying the whole way home and even after we got here, I’m feeling a little dazed.

One thing I can tell you for sure about the first day of Kindergarten:

Letting go is hard. Really hard. I’m forever grateful that God gave me a healthy, smart boy who wants to go to school, but a little piece of my heart is broken because Kindergarten means he’s not my little baby boy anymore. It took everything in me not to turn the van around and say, “Screw this. I’ll just homeschool you.” Letting go has completely filled me with mixed emotions: excitement, joy, sorrow, and nervousness.

It seems like just one minute ago we brought him home from the hospital and he was up all night and slept all day, and everyone said, “It gets easier.” Now I think that’s a lie all moms tell themselves. It doesn’t really get easier, parenting is still difficult in a different way.

Even through all of this brokenheartedness of letting go, there’s definitely still joy.

Falling on My Butt

August 17th, 2012 | Posted by Bryn in Kids | Our Crazy Life - (Comments Off on Falling on My Butt)

After five years and three children, there are days when I think, “I’ve got this whole parenting thing pretty much figured out.” Then almost immediately, I fall right on my butt. Sometimes literally.

Earlier this week, we went to the pool with friends and were getting ready to leave – dangerously close to naptime – and Peach, my three year old daughter, decided she wasn’t going to “come here” when I called her, so I ended up chasing her around the baby pool – my first mistake. I was just going to grab her up and dry her off so we could get going, but it gets slippery around there, and I ended up on my butt with several other moms asking if I was okay and saying how awful that looked. Great. Come on, Peach.

After the whole falling-on-butt thing, I was just ready to go home, then of course V. did a #2 in her swim diaper. Is there really anything more gross? Probably, but nothing that I could think of at that moment.

Friends are a good thing, especially those that understand the frustration that can sometimes accompany wrangling several small children. Mandy swooped down, handed me a baggie to put the swim diaper in, and said with a smile, “Wow, that was a pretty intense five minutes, huh?” Through the frustration, I remembered right then – they are just kids, and I am the adult, and this is all kind of funny in a way…

Then there are days like today, when everything my kids say is hilarious and I can’t stop quoting them… Does this have to do with the fact that my kids are miraculously perfectly-behaved today, or is their mother taking things more lightly? Makes me wonder.

The quality of life my kids have on a day to day basis depends on MY attitude. Yikes. I recently read (on Pinterest, of course) a quote that jarred my world.

 

I know it’s true because I can still hear my mom’s voice when I’m making tough decisions or daydreaming or whatever. Sometimes quotes from her just randomly pop in my head without even trying.

As summer winds down, I’ve been spending some extra time snuggling my soon-to-be kindergartener just a little tighter and trying – always trying at least – to be patient with all three of my maniacs. If I can’t be patient and loving, how will they learn to be patient and loving of others?

I’m realizing that these years go by much, much too quickly. Soon these littles will all be in school all day, then in high school, college and out of my reach. In the blink of an eye they’ll be out of the house. I’m going to miss this.

Today I’m going to take a deep breath, pray for patience, and realize that what I’m looking at RIGHT NOW will be one of my favorite memories when I’m eighty.

Cousins

August 6th, 2012 | Posted by Bryn in Kids | Our Crazy Life - (Comments Off on Cousins)

Growing up, I had the most cousins of all my friends. My dad is one of 9 and each of them is married and has 2-4 children, so you can imagine how that number can large quickly. Most of them lived in our hometown, so we saw each other a lot and were good friends. One of my uncles had a river camp, and one time we got inside inner tubes and rolled down the levee (which is a giant sand hill that keeps the water in the river when in floods – for all you city folk). We also swam in the creek at South Park several times, burnt each other with illegal fireworks, caught frogs and fish in the pond in Grandma’s back yard, fought, played, and cussed at each other in secret (sorry Mom!).

Anyway, I always wanted my children to grow up with cousins who could take them a bit out of their comfort zone, have crazy good fun, and learn from each other. Then reality hits: I still live in our hometown, but my brother and two sisters live in three different time zones, the closest (Little Sister) being a “quick” 7.5 hour drive away. Big Sister is the only one who has kids, and they are a mere 8 hour drive away. Even though these cousins might not see each other too often, our little ones love each other and had a great time on this most recent visit.

The three boys took a trip to Pops’ farm and got to swim in the pond, pick tiny pumpkins, fish, and pee outside.

Pictures of the girls to come soon!

You Don’t Know You’re Beautiful

July 14th, 2012 | Posted by Bryn in Faith | Kids - (Comments Off on You Don’t Know You’re Beautiful)

This video just makes me happy.

It also reminds me of the beautiful children I’ve been praying for over the last few months in orphanages around the world. The website Reece’s Rainbow was set up to match special needs orphans from countries who reject these children with loving adoptive parents. Children with HIV, Down syndrome, and other special needs are on the margins of society in many countries, the forgotten children. Many of them have significant medical issues, and many have issues that are easily treated here in the United States. These kids need love most of all!

Although we are not ready to adopt right now, these children have all worked their way into my heart and into my prayers. These children–and ALL of us–were created by God, and they deserve to be loved and cared for by a family, not just by nannies and those paid to watch them. Can you imagine being a child with no one to smile at you, no one to give you hugs, kisses, and gentle motherly love? Some of these faces truly break my heart because these children would be thriving if they had loving parents, instead of spending their entire lives in cribs in mental institutions or simply being let out onto the street at the tender age of 15 or 16.

I pray for these children because that’s all I can do right now. But I believe that prayer can work wonders, and faith can move mountains. I read somewhere–Faith isn’t wondering if God can, it’s knowing He WILL.*  I also hope that getting these children’s pictures out to many different people will help them find their parents more quickly!

These children don’t know they’re beautiful.

(Click on their photos to view their profiles on Reece’s Rainbow)

Ivan

Jarod 15H

Alina B. 15H

Victoria 16G

Jacob

Holly 25C

Beckett 15H

Deacon

Pray with me.

Almighty Lord, we give You all the praise and thanksgiving. You are our Lord and Savior, our light and our salvation, and all praise goes to You. Lord, you see these children even when the rest of the world forgets or they get hidden away. We don’t understand why some children are so loved while others are totally abandoned, but we know that Your love is perfect, and that You’ll have mercy on these little ones. We are crying out to you on behalf of these little ones and all others in similar situations, including unborn babies who have been aborted. Open the hearts of those who are able to adopt to bring home these beautiful children and give them the love they so need and deserve, according to Your will. Be with the children while they wait, and shine your love upon them in all circumstances. Amen.

 

 *If you know where that quote came from, let me know and I’ll give the person credit where it is due.

Funny Friday: Farmin’ and I Grow It

July 13th, 2012 | Posted by Bryn in Funny Friday - (Comments Off on Funny Friday: Farmin’ and I Grow It)

This video has been viewed over 5.6 million times, so I’m sure you’ve seen it, but as a Midwestern girl whose dad owns a farm, I had to share.

Enjoy!

Water, water, water, water, water! Love this!

Have a great weekend!

The Power of Prayer – for Baby Logan

June 28th, 2012 | Posted by Bryn in Faith - (Comments Off on The Power of Prayer – for Baby Logan)

Andrew and Laura Mays received a beautiful gift when their son Logan was born in March. He is a wonderful, smiley baby who happens to have Down Syndrome. From the little time I’ve spent with him, I can tell that he is truly a blessing and that he brings light to the lives of everyone around him. Logan is also blessed with parents who show Christ’s love in their everyday lives. This morning, he is undergoing open heart surgery. Here’s what Andrew had to say on his CaringBridge site:

…Everyone has told us that handing him over to the doctors is one of the hardest things you’ll ever have to do and they were definitely right. We know he needs the surgery. We really didn’t have the option not to do it, but it doesn’t make this day any easier. Handing him over makes you appreciate all that time that you’ve had with him and it’ll definitely make us appreciate all the days ahead much more…

…As always, thank you for the prayers. Today’s the day we need them the most.  We love you all.

Pray with me.

Almighty Lord, you are our merciful Father, our loving Daddy, our Creator, our Savior. We praise you and thank you for all that you do for us, especially for blessing the Mays family with Logan. Lord, please guide the hands of the surgeons, be with all of his doctors and nurses so they make the right decisions for him. Keep Logan’s tiny body strong as he goes through the surgery and as he recovers. Keep his family in the palm of Your hands and give them the strength and peace to know that You are with them through it all. Lord, heal Logan’s physical heart so that he can continue to show his spiritual heart to everyone around him.

Our Father, Who art in heaven
Hallowed be Thy Name;
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil. Amen.

 

Logan’s parents have set up a website for him on CaringBridge. To receive updates or to check on how Logan is doing, please visit his CaringBridge website here and read the journal updates his parents are making periodically. And please keep praying for this extra sweet little boy.

Photo credit: Logan’s CaringBridge website. No copyright infringement intended.

Let’s Talk about Cloth, Baby: FAQ’s

June 26th, 2012 | Posted by Bryn in Kids | Living Simply - (Comments Off on Let’s Talk about Cloth, Baby: FAQ’s)

Why do you cloth diaper your kids?

I first decided that cloth might be a better option when I found out I was pregnant for the third time in less than three years. My 2 1/2 year old at the time was just barely potty trained, and I knew my 11 month old would still be in diapers when we had a newborn in the house again.

When I was using disposables and diapering my first two kids, I spent about $100 per month just on diapers and wipes, and by the time #3 came around, I really was just sick of spending that much money on something we throw away.

I also really like to simplify things. You may think, “well, if cloth diapering is not as convenient as disposables, then how is this simplifying?” It’s simpler because it saves us money and because there are no more emergency trips to the grocery store for diapers. Plus, cloth diapers are so super cute, and I love the look and feel of them.

How do I know which type of cloth diaper is right for me?

When I first started cloth diapering, I purchased several different types and figured out just by using them which ones I liked best. For more information on types of cloth diapers and how to get started, visit Let’s Talk about Cloth, Baby: Getting Started.

everything birth

Isn’t cloth diapering really gross?

Yes. At times, it is really gross, but disposable diapers are gross, too. You get used to it.

You can cut down on the gross factor by purchasing a diaper sprayer, which attaches to your toilet and sprays a jet of clean water on your soiled diapers to knock the excess poo off. Otherwise, you’ll have to swish soiled diapers in the toilet (unless your child is exclusively breastfed) – which is what I’ve been doing for the past two years because I’m too cheap to purchase a $50 sprayer.

Plus, when your child starts eating more and more solid foods, the poo becomes more solid and kind of peels off into the toilet after a few shakes. Make sure your child gets a healthy, balanced diet–it makes for less-gross diapers.

You think you can’t handle it the first time, but after that, you just get used to it.

 

Isn’t cloth diapering hard and inconvenient?

Sometimes. It can be inconvenient when on vacation, but if I’m gone for the day, I can bring a little wet bag for the diaper bag and it’s as easy as disposables–maybe easier because I never have to find a trash can. My husband and babysitters have learned to stuff pocket diapers and put the dirty ones in the wet bag. The only real inconvenience factor is the wash routine, but even that’s negligible if you have your own washer and dryer at home.

I do use disposables from time to time if we are going to be out all day, or if V. gets diaper rash, or if I’m just not keeping up on laundry.

So yes, it takes a bit of extra effort, but it’s not so bad.

 

Cloth diapers are expensive! Is it really worth all that cash?

Yes, cloth diapers are expensive, but they can save you money and stress in the long run. I never ever have to worry about running out of diapers and having to send the hubby to Wal-Mart late at night while trying to comfort a tired baby who just wants a clean diaper.

As far as costs go, companies like Bumgenius and FuzziBunz offer starter packages that run between $300 and $500. This seems like a crazy amount to spend on diapers, and this is one of the more expensive routes to go if you are cloth diapering. However, these nice name-brand diapers will last through more than one child, and using disposables for ONE KID from birth to age 2 (and most kids aren’t fully potty trained by the time they turn two!) is around $1,600*!!

everything birthYou can also find good deals when a new version of a diaper comes out – I bought six Bumgenius 3.0 pocket diapers for under $10 apiece on clearance right after the 4.0 version came out, and two years later they still look brand new!

Don’t be afraid to try an “off-brand”. A lot of cloth diaper forums will tell you they just aren’t worth it because they aren’t as sturdy as the more expensive ones, and that is true to some extent. As long as they aren’t filled with polyester, I’ve had reasonably good luck with the less expensive brands I can find online, such as Kawaii and Nubunz. Many moms also make a living by sewing diapers and selling them online, so you may have good luck with some of those and support a fellow mom as well. One thing to note – I find that even though my cheaper diapers aren’t my favorites and may stain or look worn out more quickly, they still do the job just fine.

How many cloth diapers will I need?

If you are cloth diapering a newborn, the bare minimum is about 24 if you want to do laundry every day and a half. If you are starting cloth diapers when the baby is a bit older (2 months and up) a good choice is the one-size diaper that will last until potty training, and 24 should be enough to do laundry every two days.

If you are just wanting to try cloth diapering, buy one or two diapers and some samples of cloth-friendly detergent, just to see if you like it.

 

What if my baby gets a diaper rash?

Most zinc oxide based and lanolin based diaper rash creams (such as Desitin or A&D Ointment) will ruin cloth diapers. Okay, maybe not ruin them altogether, but you’ll have stains and a super tough time getting it out, so the “normal” diaper rash creams are not recommended for use with cloth diapers at all. If your baby does develop a bit of a rash, coconut oil works wonders. It comes in solid form, usually in a jar, and you can get it at some health food sections in grocery stores or online.

It’s also important to figure out why your baby got the diaper rash. Sometimes it may be due to something they ate, and sometimes they just need to be changed more often to keep moisture away from the skin. On occasion, your baby may be having a reaction to your cloth diaper detergent or to the wipes you are using. Check Let’s Talk about Cloth, Baby: The Wash Routine for more information on cloth-safe detergents.

 

Where do I put soiled cloth diapers before I’m ready to wash them?

You can use a wet bag or a wastebasket with an easily washable cloth liner. I prefer using a wet bag because it takes up less space and has a handle so I can just hang it in the bathroom.

When you are on the go, you can use a small travel wet bag to keep the stink and wetness away from everything else in your diaper bag.

What is this “wet bag” you speak of?

It’s called a wet bag, but the bag part is actually dry. It’s a layer of PUL (the waterproof material) on the inside and covered with a layer of fabric on the outside so it’s pretty. It’s where you store your dirty diapers before you wash them. Mine has a handle, so I hang it in my little laundry room and it zips to keep the stink out of my nose.

The “old way” to do it is to fill a bucket with water and put dirty diapers there to soak, but I’m not about to have a disgusting bucket of poop water hanging out in my bathroom, so I use the wet bag method.

Won’t poop get inside my washer?

Uh… yeah. But washers are made to clean things. With enough water to swish around, you’d be surprised that your washer can clean the diapers so well and itself be sparkling clean after all those rinses. Be sure to check out my wash routine for tips on washing cloth diapers.

 

Don’t cloth diapers leak?

No! Modern day cloth diapers actually hold leaks much better than any disposable I’ve tried, especially for those up-the-back poops in the newborn days. There are many different types of cloth diapers, and all have waterproof covers that hold in leaks very well. Just make sure whatever is soaking up the pee is very absorbent–Chinese or Indian cotton diapers or microfiber soakers have always worked well for me.

**Gerber cloth diapers from Wal-Mart or where ever WILL NOT work as well because they have a polyester core, not cotton. These are not even worth the small amount you’ll pay for them.

 

If I’m using cloth diapers, should I use cloth wipes too?

Sure, it’s no harder than using disposable wipes because you just throw everything into the wet bag and then into the washer with your cloth diapers. I never bought the expensive super-soft cloth wipes that they sell at all the cloth diaper stores online. I just bought a bunch of baby wash cloths from Wal-Mart and Big Lots and used water with them. I also still use disposable wipes as well.

 

What about using cloth at the babysitter’s or at daycare?

Most daycare facilities will use whatever you bring. As I mentioned before, it’s not much different than using disposables except the dirty diapers go in the wet bag instead of the trash.

You’ll have to check to see how comfortable a babysitter or in-home daycare provider is with cloth diapers. Chances are, if you show them how easy it is, they’ll quickly adapt too.

My kids only go to babysitters on occasion, and a lot of times I’ll just use disposables with babysitters, especially with teenagers or when they have a lot of young children to look after.

 

What other questions do you have about using cloth diapers?

If you would like your question added to this list, please comment below or contact me here.

*According to http://www.realdiaperassociation.org/diaperfacts.php

Funny Friday: True ecards for Moms

June 22nd, 2012 | Posted by Bryn in Funny Friday | Kids - (Comments Off on Funny Friday: True ecards for Moms)

My friend Tara posted the first one on her facebook page this week, and it made me laugh out loud because it’s so true! I found the rest on someecards.com. Laugh with me:

On that note, have a great weekend everyone!

The Gift of Faith from my Father

June 18th, 2012 | Posted by Bryn in Dad | Faith - (Comments Off on The Gift of Faith from my Father)

My good friend Susan wrote a post on her blog today about earthly fathers and our heavenly Father. Her thoughts and excellent writing always get my mind working. Here’s what she had to say about how we relate to God based on how we relate to our fathers here on earth:

I have read numerous books about Christian parenting since having my daughters. A common theme in many of these books dealt with how we view our “Heavenly Father” based on the perception we have of our “earthly father”. For example, if your dad was an angry father, you may see God as angry and  hostile. If your dad was gentle and loving, you may see God as calm and peaceful. If your dad abandoned you, you may view God as unavailable. It makes complete sense.

This really hit me because just yesterday I sent my own dad a text with this message:

Hey Dad, …I want to tell you happy father’s day! …You have had a bigger impact on my life than you’ll ever know. Thank you so much for the gift of faith and for just being you.

When I was a really little kid, I can remember specifically wanting to marry somebody like my dad when I grew up. It was obvious that he and my mom were still so in love, and he always took us kids fishing and to the park and swimming in the summer and sledriding in the winter. Plus, we always went to church and prayed before meals.

As I got older, I didn’t always get along with my dad. When I was a teenager we’d butt heads all the time, but I never for one second doubted that he loved me.

When I was in high school, my parents each went on a Cursillo, which is a Catholic retreat based on letting the Holy Spirit lead you to a closer relationship with God. After they got back, I thought they were a bit strange because they were talking about God all the time and praying spontaneous prayers at other times than before meals. What was that about?

A year or two later, at the encouragement of both my parents, I went on a Teens Encounter Christ (TEC) retreat, which is similar to Cursillo, except geared more toward young people. I came home from TEC on a “faith high” and felt like I could conquer the world and all the bad things in it just with my new found faith. Although the real world can sometimes disillusion you after a retreat like that, I had so much support at home and felt comfortable and excited to talk about my experiences with my family.

A few months later, a few of my good friends made the same TEC retreat. One friend had a wonderful time on the retreat and seemed to have developed a real relationship with Christ, but her parents said she was “weird” when she came back, so she never made another of these retreats again. That was the first time my teenage brain registered that what our parents think has an incredible impact on our actions, feelings, and relationships.

I went back to feeling like I really wanted to marry someone like my dad, and being forever grateful that my dad and I have a great relationship that has impacted my faith so much.

Fast forward 12 years to today – I AM married to man much like my father… in obvious ways like they both do construction work and kind of look alike (Creepy, I know). But more importantly, they are both excellent, involved fathers, loving husbands, and live their faith in God every day. It’s easy for me to have a wonderful relationship with Christ because of these men.

Thank you, heavenly Father, for the gifts of my dad and my husband.

Happy Father’s Day to all of you fathers out there, especially Dad and Tyler!