No, Pro-Life Doesn’t Just Mean “Pro-Birth”

January 27th, 2017 | Posted by Bryn in Catholic | Faith | Kids - (Comments Off on No, Pro-Life Doesn’t Just Mean “Pro-Birth”)

The actual women’s march was today – the March for Life. You didn’t hear about it on the Today Show, but it’s actually much bigger than any of the Women’s Marches this past weekend.

Feminists claim to support all women, to be marching for the rights of all women, especially those on the fringes of society. The problem many of us have with feminism is that it’s being shoved down our throats that we’re being treated unfairly even though this is THE best time in history to be a woman, in the country where we enjoy the most rights. Everyone has struggles and may experience discrimination in some ways, but are these struggles occurring SOLELY because we’re women? Highly unlikely.

The most frequent puzzling thing I’ve read in the comments sections of these pro-life vs. feminist articles is the claim that pro-life people aren’t really pro-life, they’re just “pro-birth” and don’t care what happens to babies after they’re born or to the women affected, and that pro-lifers want to force women to have babies, etc.

My first thought is, where did they come up with this claim? Where are their statistics to back them up? In an online conversation with a self-proclaimed “feminist”, I asked her those exact questions when she made the above accusation. And her response was that pro-life supporters are opponents of Planned Parenthood, so they’re inherently unsupportive of women and their babies.

What?!

Planned Parenthood doesn’t actually provide prenatal care, and NOT supporting Planned Parenthood has nothing to do with supporting women and their babies. Being in favor of defunding Planned Parenthood means that we would love for more babies to be saved from this abortion factory. I’ve heard many claims that Planned Parenthood is the only place for low-income women to receive healthcare, but again, where are the statistics on that? There are thousands of other real health facilities all over the country to provide basic healthcare for men, women, and children.

When pro-choice people say that we’re only pro-birth, they fail to take into account the thousands of Christians that adopt and foster children in their own homes, volunteer their time at soup kitchens and food pantries, donate clothing, toys, household items, and more to charitable organizations that give these things away for free to the needy, and donate BILLIONS of dollars per year in this country alone to help the poor with housing, healthcare, childcare, etc. The Catholic Church and other Christian organizations have done more for the poor in the history of the world than any other organization. For example, Catholic Charities USA (just one of the many, many Christian charitable organizations in the United States alone) was #9 on the Forbes list of 100 Largest US Charities last year. So how does this make us “only pro-birth”?

As pro-life supporters, we are called to a higher form of social justice. When we see that the dignity of the human person is threatened (in any situation, not just abortion), we have no choice but to speak up. We are called to be active in our communities and to help the poor and marginalized in our society. Which is why hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children marched today.

I saw many photos of people and their pro-life signs today, and one sign said, “1/3 of my generation is missing.”

Photo Credit: March for Life Facebook page

One third. This is completely heartbreaking when you really think about it. I was born a little more than 10 years after abortion was legalized in the United States, so I wonder how many people were missing from my kindergarten class, from my high school graduation, from my life.

The genocide that is abortion needs to stop. We need to be part of the culture of life that supports women in need, supports children and their parents, and truly believes that life is sacred from conception until natural death. It’s our duty and our responsibility as pro-life supporters to show others that this kind of world is possible. What will you do today to show that you’re truly pro-life?

Advice for President Trump from our Kindergartners

January 24th, 2017 | Posted by Bryn in Catholic | Faith | Kids - (Comments Off on Advice for President Trump from our Kindergartners)

My six-year-old curly-haired daughter is in kindergarten this year, and she’s part of a fantastic class in a fabulous school with loving, wonderful teachers.

On inauguration day last week, her teacher asked the kids, “What advice would you give our new president?”

If this question had been asked to a group of adults, I’m sure the sound of crickets would have followed. Or complicated stances on complicated issues. One or the other.

However, these kids know what’s important in life and prove that the simplest advice can be the very best.

Here’s what they had to say:

1. Please follow rules.
2. Always tell the truth.
3. Be nice to people.
4. Love others with your heart.
5. Care about all people.
6. Look at others with loving eyes.
7. Do what God wants you to do.
8. Help the poor.

We will pray for you every day.

Each of us would do well in all aspects of life following this simple wisdom.

They are a super group of kids led by a loving, Christ-filled teacher and learning about what’s truly important in life. Thank you to our teachers for loving and guiding our kids every single day.

Nine – and halfway there

August 3rd, 2016 | Posted by Bryn in Faith | Kids | SF - (Comments Off on Nine – and halfway there)

I recently came across the Huffington Post article titled “To My Daughter, At Halftime.”

While the author here is giving her 9-year-old child advice and wondering how the next nine years would go, it left me struggling for breath because my boy is nine today, and I’m kind of in disbelief.

Nine, as in halfway to eighteen.

Half of his years under my roof gone in a blink.006_19

Like all parents (I assume), after the shock of imagining my baby in college, I start to wonder:

Have I taught him enough? Did I read to him enough? Have I hugged him enough? Have I loved him enough? Have i prayed with him and for him enough? Have I shown him enough grace? Enough to sustain him when I’m not with him every second?

I’ve lost my temper, yelled when I should have explained calmly, lost patience when I’m interrupted, had too great of expectations since he’s the oldest, and once or twice may have even said, “go play or I’ll make you clean something!”

But one thing I do know for sure. I love that boy fiercely. My heart grew bigger the day he was born.DSC_0656

Sometimes the burden of motherhood seems like too much pressure to be perfect all the time, and I’m not even close.

I may never  be “enough” for my kids, but God is. He’s there every step of the way, even when I can’t be with them. He loves them even more than I do. So I can choose to worry, or I can choose to trust.

When I asked him the other day how he wanted to celebrate, if he wanted a party with all his school friends, he simply said, “I want to go on a date with just you and me, Mom.”

I’ll take that while I can! Pretty soon he won’t want to be seen with me in public.

Pretty soon he will be listening to music I don’t understand and reading books I’ve never read and making me prouder than I ever thought possible and more disappointed than I ever thought he could.

He will have great joy and great heartache in these next nine years, and I’ll be there as much as he’ll let me. I’ll be learning even more about letting go and letting him spread his wings and fall on his face and take responsibility for himself, all while being close enough to guide him when he really needs it.

Oldest of five, surrounded by siblings on his birthday

Oldest of five, surrounded by siblings on his 9th birthday

Although I’m still praying the the next nine years don’t pass by quite so quickly, it feels like kind of a big accomplishment that we’ve made it this far. I’m praying I can trust more and worry less.

Oooh were halfway there… and livin’ on a prayer.

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*(We try once a month or so to spend time with each of our kids individually, and call it a “date” – I’ll explain more later!)

It’s like drowning…

August 19th, 2013 | Posted by Bryn in Kids - (1 Comments)

It’s been awhile since I posted on here. I had a lot of trouble when I migrated my hosting, and I lost my entire database – which means: there are a lot of posts that I spent time and energy on that are gone into the internet black hole forever. So that was a bummer.

I had a hard time deciding if it was even worth it to start again when I found most of my lost posts on my wordpress.com site and a few others on my email. So here we are. Still not back to where I was, but not all is lost.

So what’s up with me?

We had an extremely busy summer that went by way too fast. My honey and I directed a Teens Encounter Christ weekend, which was absolutely amazing! It’s so awesome to see youth changing their hearts and turning toward Christ. More on this later.

My big boy TT starts first grade tomorrow, and little Peach starts 4-year-old preschool. Our little Vanilla is now two years old and is hilarious. Two’s really aren’t terrible. We also had another baby since I last posted on this blog. She’s a four month old, fifteen pound, little ball of sunshine.

I know you’re thinking: what’s it like having four kids?
Right after I had her I watched Jim Gaffigan’s Mr. Universe on Netflix and saw this:

It’s funny because it’s true! 🙂

I have been trying since she was born to get a good picture of all four of them together, but I didn’t realize how hard that’d be. Here’s what happens when I point the camera at them:

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The last one’s not horrible. They’re cute kids, but come on!

I know this is just a mish mash of a post, but I’m hoping to collect my thoughts a little better now that we’ll be on THE SCHEDULE of the school year.

Have a great day!

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!

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 - (1 Comments)

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.

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!