July 30, 2009
I will say that I met Kate in person in late April 2009 at a local book signing and was disheartened to see the sadness in her eyes. Little did I know what she was going through at home during that month (this being just a few weeks before the "announcement" episode aired). She seemed a combination of very stressed and very sad. She was not the chipper & happy individual that we had all watched in earlier seasons. I could very much tell that she would rather not be there that day, but felt the commitment to her contractual obligation. On the spur of the moment I tried to think of something to say to her when I walked up to get my book signed during the Meet & Greet. I asked, "Are you having a good day?" to which she looked up at me surprised that someone had broken the silence of the room. She hesitated for a split second and then gave a forced cheerful answer, "Um yes!" (What other answer can anyone expect from a question like that in such a situation?) Five weeks later, as I learned more about all of their ongoing family trials, I kicked myself pretty hard for not saying something more significant such as, "I'm praying for you and your family" (which I already was).
Jon & Kate have professed in the past that they are Christians. The show featured them going to church on one episode and their old house was decorated with scripture verses on handwritten index cards posted around the kitchen. According to their own testament, just about the only time they left the house when the sextuplets were infants was once a week to drive an hour to church. Jon's odd behavior as of late is really not that different from many other Christians I know... I can tell you about the sins of a lot of people I know. I can't explain them or justify or condone them, but I can pray for those people. And that's where the Jon & Kate Prayers: Power of Prayer blog entry comes in... I urge you to click on the link below to read exactly what I wanted to say myself. In fact I wished I could just copy this guy's content and cite it here, but I'll avoid the plagiarism and let you read it on his site.
Jon and Kate Prayers: Power of Prayer
The prayer blog has also garnered international attention as well... a writer for the Vancouver Sun wrote an article about Rick Garner's site entitled, "Jon & Kate should go on a date. With God."
July 18, 2009
Morrisville Outlet Mall
Pleasant Valley Shopping Center
6270 Glenwood Ave.
Raleigh, NC 27612
Next door to Kirklands
Chatham Kids Consignment
Chapel Hill, NC 27514
Hayes Barton Baptist Church, Raleigh
Greenwood Forest Baptist, Cary
July 16, 2009
My 19-month old daughter insisted that we watch this video no less than 13 times, after which she finally got enough of it. (After 8 times though, we had to go find her baby doll so it could watch too.)
Kudos to Evian for pulling off a creative concept involving so many babies! :-) Check out the "Making Of" videos to see how they did it.
Uh oh, my daughter's asking to watch it again now...
July 1, 2009
It seems that zoo officials took matters into their own hands when the general population of Thailand was recently hit with "pandemonium" after Thailand's first successful captive panda birth. The country's national symbol is the elephant, but the Thai people have focused their attention on the country's most famous little black & white mammal and apparently the zookeepers are not happy about it. So in turn to draw attention back to their charges, the elephant keepers doused their giants in watercolor-based paint! View more photos of this incredible sight here and here. HT to Damon for letting me know about this!
June 17, 2009
January 4, 2009
Last Friday (January 2nd), a LA Times article reported the following: "Barring a reprieve, regulations set to take effect next month could force thousands of clothing retailers and thrift stores to throw away trunkloads of children's clothing." On February 10, 2009, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act will go into effect which mandates that all products sold for children age 12 and under be tested for lead and phthalates (chemicals used to make plastics more pliable). This includes clothing! Perhaps the best article I read to explain all of this is at The Simple Dollar. There is also good discussion over at BabyCheapskate and TheSmartMama.com.
New clothing manufactured after February 10th will be tested and have some sort of approval rating seal or certificate. BUT... what about used clothing and products? I am a huge advocate of consignment sales as well as stores like Kid to Kid or Once Upon a Child. I participate on Freepeats regularly too. But the owners of these sales and stores do not have the resources to spend on expensive tests. Nor is that even a reasonable feat for local consignment sales - which have hundreds or thousands (or even hundreds of thousands!) of items dropped off in a short period of time right before the sale opens to the public. A law forbidding the sale of used items & clothing would put these sales out of business! An unverified source I read online said that the penalties are stiff: $100,000 per violation and up to 5 years in jail! The enforcers are going to be State Attorney Generals and the CPSC.
When a consumer buys an article of clothing or a toy for their child, part of the item's purchase cost is justified by the item's resale value. I know that my child will wear that clothing or use that toy for less than a year, but I expect to get some return on the item's value by reselling it at a later date. Essentially this law will eliminate this possibility for everything I already own, which causes an immediate permanent reduction in my wealth. Because of that, I will buy fewer products which helps to slow the economy. This action is contridictory to the objectives which Congress is trying to pursue to stimulate the economy during our current recession.
And this comes at a time of "economic hardship"... that's all we hear about on the news these days. I want to know - is the Congress considering the families who can't afford to buy their children brand new clothes every few months when the seasons change and their kids have grown an inch? If the economic crisis is hitting America so hard, wouldn't the number of families in this category be increased right now already?
This feels almost like a destruction of property rights or a devaluing of the currency. My goods are worth something on February 9th, but come 12:01 am that night, they suddenly lose their value. I believe that the CPSIA will cost many American families much more money than any economic stimulus check has ever benefited them.
What about the environmental impact? According to the LA Times, "Those [products] that haven't been tested will be considered hazardous, regardless of whether they actually contain lead." So whether or not they are actually hazardous, millions upon millions of brand new toys and clothing will be tossed into landfills. Might I add that all of the "non-earth-friendly" plastic toys will surely sit there in the landfills for many years to come, whether or not they are even dangerous. Too bad they couldn't have been used and played with in the meantime! This law doesn't allow enough time for current used products to be properly tested.
Now in general, I think it's a great thing to mandate the levels of lead in children's products. In fact I have often wondered why it wasn't mandated before with all of the crazy Chinese product and toy recalls in the past couple of years. HOWEVER, today is January 4th, and even though preliminary research shows that this issue has been around for at least 3-4 months, this is the first I've heard about this law which is to take effect in only 36 days!
What happened to "being green" and recycling and not wasting products unnecessarily? Freepeats, Freecycle, eBay, and Craigslist have become an integral part of my life, along with millions of other Americans, and I take pride in knowing that I am helping to avoid excessive waste by buying and selling items instead of tossing them out when I no longer need them or always buying them brand new.
My heart goes out to the owners of local consignment sales like Twice as Nice. Stores like Goodwill probably will not go out of business, mainly because they do not specialize only in clothing for under age 12, but have adult inventory as well. Yet I can't imagine not having local resources like Kid to Kid to help me save money on used clothing and toys. I think the law needs to be amended before being passed, so that only products manufactured AFTER Feb. 10th are subject to screening. Used products should receive a longer "shelf life" for at least another year, to allow adequate time for testing and screening to be performed.
It's not that I want my child wearing lead-filled clothing or playing with toys full of phthalates. But I also don't want to see a bunch of perfectly good items - items which people paid hard-earned money to buy - go to waste and then be replaced with costlier versions of the same thing. I think there can be a better balance than the current proposal set forth, and I'd like to see that bill be amended to allow for the resale of used items.
If this whole issue upsets you, the best course of action is to contact your local Congressman and Senator at these links below. I know I will!
What do you think?