Friday, January 30, 2009

CPSIA victory! sort of...

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This press release from the CPSC says it pretty clearly, I think.

From the read of it, most of the businesses I was concerned about will be granted a stay of execution, er, that is, a stay of testing and certification. This doesn't mean that they don't have to fulfill the requirements, just that they don't have to prove that they fulfill the requirements. This is not unlike previous laws that just say that products need to meet minimum requirements. This is do-able.

This is good news on many fronts-

- The CPSC can now have just a little bit of time (one year) to get their act together to create clear(er) and more small-business-friendly regulations and rules.

- The one year stay give congress a chance to amend the law.

- Most importantly, the one year stay gives the rest of us a chance to make sure our concerns are heard frequently, loudly and clearly. That's where the "sort of" part of the victory comes in. They've given a stay, but it is clear that those of us who are concerned about the CPSIA need to make our voices heard about our on-going concerns, and make suggestion on how to mitigate the economic impact on tens of thousands of small businesses.

I do hope that it's not too late for some businesses. I've still been reading news stories about businesses planning to close. Hopefully, they'll hear the news, and be able to restore their business to full running, banking on the idea that the CPSC will make some reasonable interpretations of the law, or that Congress will amend the law.

Now is the time to write thank-you notes, and to repeat the concern we have already expressed!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

pregancy update

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Many weeks after my last photo update, I have 2 photos to update you with!

Here I am sometime after 30 weeks.

And here I am again, sometime after 30 weeks.

Wow! What a difference! Or at least, what a difference better posture can make... in the first photo, I actually stood up straight. In the second, well, that's my normal posture. No wonder people keep thinking this baby should be due any time now. Nope. We've got most of the third trimester left.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Cookie Day!

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I'm going to try to get to Jefferson City on February 10 for Cookie Day. I've gotten the fliers, and seen the pictures of previous cookie days, but I think this is the first time I have a realistic chance of going.

What is cookie day, you ask? It's an event sponsored by Friends of Missouri Midwives. A day when supporters of midwifery and home birth get together at the state capitol to share cookies with our state senators and representatives, share the word about the benefits of having midwives legally free to practice in our state, and an opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals.

I figure that since I like to bake cookies, and I've apparently become a little bit of a political activist (perhaps to the irritation of my friends and family), I can go and spend some time sharing my baking talents and words.

Oh, AND! Jennifer Block, the author of Pushed: The Painful Truth About Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care will be the guest speaker for the event. I just finished this book, and I think it is a fantastic read. It's not a book about homebirth, although homebirth is discussed. It's a book about the realities of the maternity care system that most Americans experience. Although I didn't receive the worst of the typical American hospital experience, I can certainly attest to many things in the book that captured my experience in during my first childbirth. So, needless to say, I'm enthused about the prospect of hearing Jennifer Block speak in person.

So, if you're interested in taking a trip to Jefferson City, or even just making cookies to send down to the Capitol, let me know! I think it'll be fun!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

toddler reading lists, and more

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Here's a collection of thoughts and happenings in our household:

I perhaps I should be pregnant more often. Or at least, in the third trimester with my due date approaching faster than I'd like. I've been plowing through some tasks that I have to do every year for summer youth camps, and they're getting done much faster than previous years. I've also been making headway on a variety of other personal projects. Unfortunately, I think the to-do list grows faster than I take items off the list!

Jude has been on vacation for the past month or so. We spent much of the first half traveling, then we spent last week working on our taxes, sorting, throwing away, and generally making an effort to find the backs of closets, the bottoms of boxes, and the surfaces of desks. Hopefully, if he's home for another week, we'll unearth even more mysterious items and lost information than we have recovered in the previous week.

I've been without a camera to document my growth for a while. Hence the lack of photo updates. Eventually I'll return with photographic documentation that I have indeed moved farther along in my pregnancy.

I saw Elizabeth get mad today. I'd seen some foot stomping and fussing before, but today, she pushed her trike over on its side. Perhaps I need to watch my behavior a bit more! Not that I push trikes over, but I sometimes set things down forcefully (throw) when I get mad.

We've also been watching a lot of Taylor Swift videos on YouTube. It's a pleasant change from MetroStation's Shake It. When I put on some of the videos, Elizabeth exclaims, "SONG! There she is!" Although, it sounds more like "SHONG! A-shay-es!"

Elizabeth has also begun requesting books by name. Or at least, the name she calls them, which is typically a key word from the story that she has picked up.

Her standard request list:

ButBown (Nutbrown) AKA "Guess How Much I Love You"
Sam - "Kiss Good Night"
Poop - "You Can Go To The Potty"
Guy - "More, More, More Said the Baby"
Pocket - "There's a Wocket in my Pocket"
Fish - "One Fish, Two Fish"
Bears - "Three SnowBears"
Cookee (Turkey) - "Blue Hat, Green Hat"

Saturday, January 17, 2009

where have all the children's products gone?

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I'm walking through my local Wal-Mart, in the baby section. Yes, I'm a pregnant lady cruising the aisles of cute baby gear. Except. There wasn't much baby gear. I realized that there was more light and space there than usual. I looked up. The top shelves were empty. I looked down. The cribs and mattresses were being sold at less-than-usual prices. There were 3 play yards on the shelf. Not 3 models, like usual, but just 3 ready to sell. There was one infant car seat in a box, of the 3 on display. There was lots of empty shelf space. And I realized that I'm already seeing the impact of the CPSIA (Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act).

I've had friends tell me that their Target's clearance aisle has multiplied, and is full of toys. Not just the Christmas cast offs, but the regular stuff they keep in stock all the time.

I've seen signs in consignment shops and thrift stores, saying they are not accepting children's items, even after the supposed "Clarification" by the CPSC.

Shops on Etsy and Ebay are clearing out items and closing, because they simply can't comply with the law. It's too expensive to test those custom handmade items.

I first encountered word about the CPSIA from my friend Trent over at The Simple Dollar. His post was about the issues facing resellers. But, I came to understand that there's more to the law than face value.

It affects everything intended for children 12 and under. Toys, clothes, books, custom items, educational materials, furniture, new, used, existing inventory... I found an article over at that really lays out who it affects. You should definitely take a look at it.

Needless to say, I'm upset that I will have a difficult time finding handmade and custom products for my children. Like certain cloth diapers, wooden toys, the matching "Little Sibling" shirt that goes with Elizabeth's Big Sister shirt (I have to wait to find out if baby is boy or girl, but by that time, the custom shirts might not be available, due to the CPSIA. And the cost increase? Not pleased.

So, I've been doing lots of searching for information. I have hope that at least the law will be put on hold until they can sort out the regulations, and find viable alternatives for small businesses. I think the financial burden on small-scale manufacturers is too great.

I'm not looking forward to the likely price increases in children's products. I'm not looking forward to seeing thousands of at-home and small businesses that will suddenly be out of business. Yes, some could choose to continue to operate illegally, but, many people don't want to be running an illegal operation. I don't want to face the choice of participating in an illegal industry, even if I believe the law is wrong.

So, I've been making efforts to contact my senators and representatives about my concerns. I've been on voting this issue up in the hopes that maybe President-Elect Obama will have a chance to see the concerns before the law goes into effect February 10. I've contacted the CPSC to express my concerns as a consumer. And meanwhile, looking for good deals as manufacturers big and small sell off their products that don't comply with the law (which is not to say they have lead, just that they can't prove they don't have lead and phthalates, because they can't afford to test their items.)

Here are some websites and blogs that I've found to be interesting reads. They cover a small sampling of the industries affected, and the concerns of manufacturers, retailers, and consumers.

Cool Mom Picks - an excellent summary on the impacts on the handmade toy and clothing industry. Also lots of links to other articles on the the CPSIA.

National Bankruptcy Day - a site specifically about the CPSIA, so named because of the thousands of people and businesses that will likely go bankrupt if this law remains in effect as currently understood.

Publishers Weekly - a look at the CPSIA from the book publishing perspective. It inventory in stock, bot just items manufactured as of February 10, 2009.

Boston Phoenix - and article about potential impacts on libraries.

Fashion Incubator - Generally, this site deals with the apparel industry, but it has grown to cover more. The forums are an especially interesting read.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

a day of firsts

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Several firsts happened today -

- The lowest temperature on record since I've lived in this house. -11 degrees.

- We lit a fire in our fireplace. This required rearranging the entire living room, as the couch had previously been sitting in front of the fireplace. Very aesthetically pleasing, and made for a nice warm room!

- I saw my midwife without a toddler in tow. It's nice not to have to chase a little one while visiting your health care provider!

- I've not had my old, but nice Canon 10D in my posession. I sent it off this week for some much needed work (spots on the sensor, focus issues), and was frustrated when I realized I couldn't do my weekly pregnancy photo.

- Homemade pizza - I've enjoyed my neighbor's pizza, and helped make it, but I'd never made a homemade pizza on my own before. Jude seemed to like it, as did Elizabeth!

It's nice to have accomplished some of these thing before I turn 30. I've only got about a week and a half left.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

welcome, new year! (even if it's a bit late)

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I'm finally back at the computer with some spare time. It's been a busy few weeks!

So, I think an update of sorts is in order, to justify my absence.

Jude, Elizabeth and I took of to visit some family in the North East in mid-December. We had a fantastic time, with sub-zero temps, snow, and ice. It may sound like I'm being sarcastic, but really, it was fun. I enjoy cold weather, especially when I'm pregnant. I managed not to slip on any ice, but Jude had a slippery adventure down a sloping, ice covered sidewalk while carrying a large plastic bottle filled with water. He got a little wet, but came through relatively unscathed.

Elizabeth discovered that playing games on the Wii is fun. She constantly asks for "Cow? Bowling? Fish?" which are games found on WiiPlay and WiiSport. It seems to her like everyone except us have a Wii - she played on 3 different consoles over the course of just a week. Too Bad, though. No gaming consoles in my house (at least none that we are going to purchase.)

I had fun talking and doing a silly "walk a mile" video. It cracked me up. But at least I got some exercise in! And, I was happy to see that the healthier eating provided by my sister-in-law managed to keep my pregnancy weight gain in check. Lesson learned, and trying to incorporate that into my life at home!

We were on the road home over New Year's Eve. That's the first time in close to 10 years that I haven't been surrounded by a youth group on that night. And what did we do? We all (E included) stayed up late, ate pizza and Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream, watch the Ball drop in NYC (on CNN) while in the Eastern time zone, texted family in the central time zone saying things like "You are so last year," and then finally falling asleep.

We finally got home, only to turn around and leave to go help Jude's sister and her husband move and visit the Grandma and Grandpa (and the aunts and uncles still living in their home). We then proceeded over to my parents house (the Nana and the Papa) where we spend a couple days visiting with family, fixing on the truck, and picking up some items for Elizabeth and Baby 2. And so now, we are home, trying to sort out our Taxes while Jude has some time off. And accomplish whatever other tasks we can fit in.

And that's what we've been up to.
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