Monday, January 12, 2009

How Many Children Should You Have?

I randomly stumbled across this blog post last night while I was having a nice bout of insomnia, and I love this little gem of a quote:

"I do think we need to quit thinking in terms of 'what can I handle' and think instead 'how can I be stretched.' We tend to make decisions in this arena based in fear, not in faith...and then that is no real decision based in the Lord at all."

Does This Count as a Belly Pic?

Late Christmas
Originally uploaded by Steve Bremer

It's not the traditional pose, but here I am last week (around 30 weeks along) with my son in his Jolly Roger diaper celebrating our late Christmas.

You see, we were supposed to fly to Kansas City this year to spend Christmas with my grandparents and aunts and uncles, and my parents were flying out there to meet us. Well, as it turned out, Seattle was hit with the most snow it had seen in 10 or 20 years or something crazy like that. And it didn't just snow. It snowed and stayed cold and the snow stuck, and then it snowed more. And then it snowed some more. The poor Seattle airport just couldn't handle it. Our flight was canceled, and there wasn't anything to rebook us on until after the 25th, from Seattle or Portland. So we stayed in the snow.

Christmas was not a total loss, as we were able to use the barely-plowed freeway to travel south and stay with Steve's parents. So we weren't alone and desolate without a tree or anything.

So, this picture was taken after the New Year when all the gifts from KC made it up to us. For some reason, every single toy Ethan got from my side of the family (save for some clothing, a truck, and wooden blocks) makes noise. A lot of noise. Now Ethan loves music and pushing buttons and making noise so these toys are perfect for him, but I can't help but wonder if someone in my family is trying to slowly drive me insane from listening to Elmo say, "LET'S JAM!" repeatedly over the course of the day. I won't even talk about the Fridge DJ, because it scares me that I've sort of gotten to like the songs that it plays.

What else has been going on here? Well, I made preserves for the first time ever last week! Satsuma marmalade to be exact. My triumphs are that 1) all the jars sealed like they were supposed to and 2)it actually tastes like marmalade! It doesn't hurt that all the jars look really pretty too. Steve has ordered a batch of strawberry preserves for my next round of canning. Making homemade jam turned out to be super easy and exciting in that I-hope-one-of-these-glass-jars-doesn't-shatter-all-over-my-kitchen sort of way, and the I-hope-that-I-don't-burn-myself-with-this-really-really-really-hot-orange-puree sort of way. Fun!

I still have two months left on the pregnancy front and in some ways that doesn't seem long at all, and in other ways it seems very long indeed. I did manage to sort out Ethan's old newborn stuff and get a stash of newborn diapers ordered, so I feel pretty good about being ready in that sense. Being ready to go through labor again and then have two children under two? The jury is still out on that one. I am quite excited to meet this new little guy though, and looking forward to seeing brothers grow up together. It's strange for me to think that all I know about raising my children I learned from Ethan, and while basic day-to-day baby care will be pretty much the same, I will have to get to know this new little guy from scratch. A totally different person. The mind boggles. :)

Sunday, January 11, 2009


I need to do a general what's-going-on-around-here post, but I had to get this out of my system first! I promise to do an update this week!

If you enjoy buying or selling children's items from places like Etsy, HyenaCart, thrift stores, flea markets, used book stores, or even visiting the children's section at your local library and haven't heard of the CPSIA, now is the time to read up!

To sum up, in response to last years problem's with lead in toys imported from China, our wonderful Congress sped a bill through the legislative process that has since been signed into law by President Bush. This law mandates that any item made for children under 12 has to be tested and certified to fall within new lead limits. Sounds pretty good, right? We don't want our kids to get lead poisoning, right? Except that the law is retroactive and applies to clothing, books...anything made for kids under 12. Think about what that means when you think about everything your children own and where you bought it from. Used items, new items, handmade items from small businesses run out of someone's home -- all of it has to comply with this law.

I'm not a fear-mongering alarmist, so I do not think the government is going to go around fining and arresting consignment store operators or trying to shut down public libraries (in fact the CPSC has pretty much said they won't), but I do see at least two significant issues here (aside from the increased prices on children's goods that we are going to see as a result of expensive testing):

1) Some small business owners hear the government saying that they aren't going to enforce the law on them, so they won't feel the need to change their business practices based on that assurance. However, some store owners will feel ethically bound to adhere to the law, regardless of the wink wink they are getting about how they don't have to worry about complying because the law is just for the big manufacturers and not for small thrift stores or used book sellers. So someone who feels duty bound to obey the law of the land is going to shut down their business because of their own moral convictions, no matter how much the government assures them they don't have to worry about enforcement. And lets be clear: the CPSC says that they won't actively seek to enforce this law on certain businesses, but they still maintain that those businesses do have to comply, and if they don't and are found out they can still be prosecuted. Which leads to this other problem over here...

2) Maybe the government wants to get a search warrant for someone's house for some unrelated crime, but they can't because they don't have the necessary evidence or probable cause. They find out that someone in that household is making and selling stuff for children on Etsy without proper lead testing or certification. Now they have a legitimate reason to execute a search warrant on someone's home based solely on the fact that they are sewing or whittling children's toys. I'm not a tin-foil hat type of person, but I don't think this is something completely without precedent.

There are many facets of this that I'm glossing over, but it is just a prime example of the way our government operates. We have congressmen and senators passing bills without even reading them and doing some basic critical thinking about how these laws will affect their own constituents. Of course no lawmaker (aside from Ron Paul, God bless him) wants to be seen as the heartless one who voted against stricter lead standards for children's products, because the media would rake them over the coals (or they would have if they had been paying attention to this issue), so instead they have passed a bill that makes absolutely no sense and is impossible to enforce gets signed into law and now something has to be done to fix the situation.

The Deputy Headmistress over at the Common Room has a good sum up of everything here (start at the bottom posts and scroll up to go in chronological order).

If you feel compelled, please write your legislators and tell them what you think.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

Our White Christmas
Originally uploaded by Steve Bremer

From the Bremers to you!