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!

Funny Friday: Let’s Go to the Mall Everybody!

June 15th, 2012 | Posted by Bryn in SF - (Comments Off on Funny Friday: Let’s Go to the Mall Everybody!)

The TV show How I Met Your Mother showed this during one episode when it’s revealed Robin, a.k.a. Robin Sparkles, was a teen pop star in Canada in the mid-nineties.

Marshall: [Looking at Computer] This is the 90s, why does it look like 1986?

Robin Scherbatsky: The 80s didn’t come to Canada til like ’93.

This is the full original video from the show:

And this is the lovely, amazing “Just Dance” version for Wii:

My most radical friend Mandy and I may have danced this in front of a large group of people… complete with open-mouthed smile the whole time.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Funny Friday: Lunchtime Song

June 8th, 2012 | Posted by Bryn in Funny Friday - (Comments Off on Funny Friday: Lunchtime Song)

“It’s peanut butter jelly time, peanut butter jelly time!” – Remember this?

I sing this song almost every day with my kids at lunchtime. Yes, it’s a little weird and kind of annoying. Like me. Enjoy.

Have a great weekend!

Funny Friday: Honest Trailer

May 25th, 2012 | Posted by Bryn in Funny Friday - (Comments Off on Funny Friday: Honest Trailer)

My honey and I discovered these Honest Trailers on Youtube this week and couldn’t stop laughing.

FAIR WARNING: This video is a bit racy and contains a bleeped out f-bomb and another cuss word. Parental discretion advised.

Let’s Talk about Cloth, Baby: The Wash Routine

May 24th, 2012 | Posted by Bryn in SF - (Comments Off on Let’s Talk about Cloth, Baby: The Wash Routine)

Before I was a mother, few things scared me more than having to change a #2 diaper. My gross-out threshold has gone way up since having children, even more so since I started cloth diapering. More on that later.

Probably the most important thing about using cloth diapers is being able to get them clean. REALLY clean. If you don’t, your baby can end up with rashes or infections or just general smelliness.

When I first started with cloth, I thought that any old “free & clear” detergent would be fine — like Dreft, because that’s what we use for newborn babies’ clothes, right? WRONG!

I washed my first set of pocket diapers in Greenworks free & clear detergent from Wal-Mart, and my daughter proceeded to get horrendous rashes after only a few hours. So I researched. And researched. And researched. (This is something I’m good at… or I just waste a lot of time reading the same stuff over and over. Whatever.)

I came across Rockin’ Green detergent at the suggestion of a friend (Thanks Amber!). First I had to strip all the old detergent buildup out of the diapers by washing them on hot several times with some dawn dish soap. After “rockin’ a soak” or two, diaper rash was no longer an issue for my little gal. Phew!

That was my experience, but what are the “rules” for washing cloth diapers? There are more than you think.

Choosing the Right Detergent

As you can tell from my story above, it is extremely important to choose the right detergent for your cloth diapers. You can avoid diaper rashes and help your diapers last as long as possible.

So far, I’ve only tried two different cloth diaper detergents (besides the horrible Wal-Mart one):

  1. Rockin’ Green – This is a dry detergent (most liquid detergents aren’t good for cloth diapers) that is made from only biodegradable ingredients and are scented naturally. They have several different types to choose from depending on where you live and what type of water you have–Hard Rock for hard water, Soft Rock for soft water, and Classic Rock for in-between water. They also have a product called Funk Rock that is supposed to battle ammonia smells (which happen sometimes after you’ve used your diapers for awhile – it’s a result storing urine soaked diapers in too tight of a container for too long… or at least that’s what happened to me!).
  2. Soap Nuts– Yes, that’s right – soap nuts. There are a few different brands, but they are all the same thing. These “nuts” are from the Chinese soapberry tree and are completely natural and biodegradable. They have worked extremely well on my stinky ammonia diapers and get all of the stink and stains out every time. “But Bryn, really? You put nuts in your washing machine?” Yes! They look kind of like giant raisins except with a bit harder texture and you put them in the included canvas bag and throw it in with your wash cycle. It doesn’t have any suds, but it works!

Other cloth diaper detergents that friend have recommended include:

  • Bac-out
  • Country Save
  • Charlie’s Soap
  • Powdered Tide

The other good news is that you can use your cloth diaper detergent on regular clothes as well. They are especially great for getting super soft newborn clothes super clean with a natural detergent that won’t irritate that teeny baby velvety skin.

The Wash Routine

Now that you have your cloth diapers and your detergent, the first step is prepping (pre-washing)–which may consist of one hot wash or boiling your cotton diapers. Click here for more info on prepping.

I have a top load washing machine, which is much easier to get diapers clean than a front loader. If you already have a front loader, you can still use and wash cloth diapers in your own machine, but you may have to follow a slightly different routine. If you are thinking of purchasing a new washing machine and want to cloth diaper, a top loader is the way to go. My high efficiency top loader is still able to soak diapers when needed and use the Super size even with only a few items, but a low H2O washer may have trouble with this. But don’t take my word for it, do your research and figure out what’s best for you!

Here is my regular wash routine:

  1. Rinse out #2 diapers in the toilet as needed before putting in the wet bag (You DO NOT need to rinse out #2 diapers of babies who are exclusively breastfed, it will all come out in the washing machine.)
  2. Put all diapers, covers, inserts, and the wet bag in the washer.
  3. Full wash cycle on COLD with no detergent on largest load size possible so that there is a LOT of water (this gets out any remaining particles from soiled diapers)
  4. Add detergent and do another full wash cycle on HOT with a cold rinse and an extra cold rinse.
  5. Now that it’s summer time, I do ANOTHER quick rinse with no detergent (I take out the Soap Nuts bag) just to make sure they are good and clean. This really seems to help with any stinkiness going on.
  6. Dry microfiber inserts and cotton flats in the dryer on medium for an hour.
  7. Hang dry covers, pocket diapers, and wet bag. Drying PUL (the waterproof material) in the dryer on a regular basis will wear them out quickly.

From time to time (like once every two months), I “strip” my diapers, meaning scrubbing clean diapers with a drop or two of dawn dish soap and washing and rinsing on the hottest setting possible over and over and over until there are no more bubbles.

An alternative to stripping is doing an overnight soak with Rockin’ Green. See the instructions here.

See? It’s not so bad! You can do it!

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Stay tuned for more posts on cloth diapers. There is so much to know, and any cloth diapering mom loves talking about it! If you have any questions that you’d like to see answered in future posts, please contact me.

For more information on which diaper is right for you, see Let’s Talk about Cloth, Baby: Getting Started
For information on prepping your new cloth diapers, see Let’s Talk about Cloth, Baby: Prepping

Let’s Talk about Cloth, Baby: Prepping your Cloth Diapers

May 24th, 2012 | Posted by Bryn in SF - (Comments Off on Let’s Talk about Cloth, Baby: Prepping your Cloth Diapers)

No matter what type of diapers you chose, it’s a good idea to pre-wash them because you want only the cleanest fabric possible next to your baby’s sensitive areas.

What is prepping?

Depending on which type of diapers you purchase, you may need to “prep” (pre-wash or boil) your diapers to achieve maximum absorbancy.

Why?

  • Unbleached flat and prefold diapers are made of natural cotton, and this cotton contains natural wax, which needs to be stripped off before the diapers will be really absorbent.
  • When many flat or prefold diapers are brand new, they are pretty stiff in texture, and they will continually get softer and fluffier with each wash.
  • These diapers will also shrink in the wash–flats look like tablecloths when they arrive, but they shrink to a manageable size after a few washes.
  • Any type of diaper you purchase may have been sitting in a warehouse awhile and may have a little dust in the fabric.

How?

Synthetic fibers–such as microfiber inserts–just need one hot wash with a cloth-friendly detergent, and you’re good to go!

Natural fibers–such as cotton flats or prefolds–will need to be washed at least 3-5 times on the hottest setting possible.

An alternative to all those wash cycles is to boil them, like this:

This method also works for stripping diapers after they’ve been used for awhile and are retaining smells.

Pocket diapers, All-in-One diapers, and diaper covers–follow the manufacturers instructions, usually just one hot wash.

For more information on which diaper is right for you, see Let’s Talk about Cloth, Baby: Getting Started

Make-a-List Monday: A Smack in the Face

May 21st, 2012 | Posted by Bryn in Faith | Make-A-List Monday - (Comments Off on Make-a-List Monday: A Smack in the Face)

Some days I just need a smack in the face. That’s what this list is. I found this over the weekend and cried because I know I am not as humble as God wants me to be. I believe that He puts

things like this in my life (even on a blog!) to remind me of what’s important. To shake me awake from my routines, to dump a cold bucket of water over me spiritually. Maybe Mother Teresa’s words can be your wake up call this morning too.

I’ve blogged a little bit about humility before, but I’m no expert and have a lot of work to do on myself.

I found this list via Pinterest on Truth & Charity –  The post “The Humble Pie Challenge” is based on Mother Teresa’s words. Head on over there for some amazing reflections on this list and how each part applies to the married vocation. Mother Teresa was incredibly humble and loving, and her entire life is an awesome role model for all Christians today.

Mother Teresa’s Humility List

1. Speak as little as possible about yourself.
2. Keep busy with your own affairs and not those of others.
3. Avoid curiosity.
4. Do not interfere in the affairs of others.
5. Accept small irritations with good humor.
6. Do not dwell on the faults of others.
7. Accept censures even if unmerited.
8. Give in to the will of others.
9. Accept insults and injuries.
10. Accept contempt, being forgotten and disregarded.
11. Be courteous and delicate even when provoked by someone.
12. Do not seek to be admired and loved.
13. Do not protect yourself behind your own dignity.
14. Give in, in discussions, even when you are right.
15. Choose always the more difficult task.

I wish all of you peace on this Monday morning, and Happy Birthday to my little Peach!