09 December 2008

It's the End of the World as We Know It

Wording taken from Handmade Toy Alliance:
The issue:
In 2007,
large toy manufacturers who outsource their production to China and other developing countries violated the public's trust. They were selling toys with dangerously high lead content, toys with unsafe small part, toys with improperly secured and easily swallowed small magnets, and toys made from chemicals that made kids sick. Almost every problem toy in 2007 was made in China.

The United States Congress rightly recognized that the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) lacked the authority and staffing to prevent dangerous toys from being imported into the US. So, they passed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) in August, 2008. Among other things, the CPSIA bans lead and phthalates in toys, mandates third-party testing and certification for all toys and requires toy makers to permanently label each toy with a date and batch number.

All of these changes will be fairly easy for large, multinational toy manufacturers to comply with. Large manufacturers who make thousands of units of each toy have very little incremental cost to pay for testing and update their molds to include batch labels.

For small American, Canadian, and European toymakers, however, the costs of mandatroy testing will likely drive them out of business.

  • A toymaker, for example, who makes wooden cars in his garage in Maine to supplement his income cannot afford the $4,000 fee per toy that testing labs are charging to assure compliance with the CPSIA.
  • A work at home mom in Minnesota who makes dolls to sell at craft fairs must choose either to violate the law or cease operations.
  • A small toy retailer in Vermont who imports wooden toys from Europe, which has long had stringent toy safety standards, must now pay for testing on every toy they import.
  • And even the handful of larger toy makers who still employ workers in the United States face increased costs to comply with the CPSIA, even though American-made toys had nothing to do with the toy safety problems of 2007.

The CPSIA simply forgot to exclude the class of toys that have earned and kept the public's trust: Toys made in the US, Canada, and Europe. The result, unless the law is modified, is that handmade toys will no longer be legal in the US.

And from me:

Here is the act: http://www.cpsc.gov/ABOUT/Cpsia/cpsia.html

The CPSIA is intended to keep harmful materials like lead and phthalates out of items made for children, including toys, clothing, bows, bedding, etc. The reality is the law was passed without considering the ramifications on small business owners, the WAHM cottage industry and hobby crafters. It will also likely negatively affect websites like Oompa that import European toys or Craftsbury Kids that sells high end items sold in low quantities.

The way the law reads, any item intended for children under 12 will have to undergo lead testing. This will be done not for each individual toy, but for toys made in batches. So if a company produces 1000 toys from the same batch of ingredients, only one will need to undergo testing. If a WAHM makes a batch of only 2 toys (or 1 for that matter, like I do) then 1 will still need to be tested. Testing is to be conducted by a third party testing facility.

For items like clothing and diapers, while the law doesn't read this way, it does appear that if a WAHM gets her fabric from a tested source and has a certificate verifying that fabrics testing, she will be able to use that material and sell it without having to test the item itself. This, as far as I know, applies to clothing and diapers. Toys are likely to have higher standards. No one is exactly sure how you get these certificates yet...there has been some talk about how bolts of fabric from fabric stores will have numbers on them, but I'm unsure if the number is enough, if you need the tag or if you need a sheet of paper. I'm also unsure if you will be able to photocopy your certificate and send it on, say if you were reselling fabric, or if you have to get originals from the fabric manufacturer.

No one is sure how this will affect fabric already produced. It seems like any materials that do not have this certificate will not be able to be used so come February 10th, WAHM's would need to throw away their fabric stashes, or at the very least would not be able to use it for items to sell.

Some people have talked about selling toys as collectibles that are not to be played with by children, but there have been some reports about a section of the law saying that if an item is identified by whatever percentage of people as being intended for a child, then it doesn't matter what the tag says. There is also talk about what constitutes 'durable' materials and if toys or diapers may be exempt on that basis.

Handmade Toy Alliance is an excellent resource page for this issue. There are links to forums where crafters are discussing this, to the Fashion Incubator blog as well as form letters to send to representatives and a list of changes the Handmade Toy Alliance would like to see made so the cottage industry doesn't shut down.

Everyone keeps telling me to stop freaking out about this, but I can't. There are some huge ramifications to this depending on how it plays out. Worst case scenario is pretty ugly, IMO. Toys on the shelves on Feb 9th would have to be thrown away and new toys would have to replace them unless they can prove they are lead and phthalate free. This goes for all clothing as well. Toy and clothing prices, as well as prices on raw materials will likely rise. The entire crafting industry could be shut down. Ten of thousands of hobby crafters and small business owners would be finished. Less money circulating, fewer options for our kids.

Best case scenario is that it becomes MUCH, MUCH harder for WAHM's to make items and as I've been reading, quite a few will likely just close up shop. I may have to, depending on the hoops I need to jump through and what the official ruling is on materials already purchased. I have a couple hundred yards of fabric sitting in my sewing room, plus countless notions, and if I can't use them, I can't afford to keep going. I don't have an issue selling on the down low to friends, but I couldn't keep going publicly.

The whole thing just reeks of FAIL. I have been SO happy to see the changes occurring. People moving towards buying from small businesses, supporting local crafters, buying organic and handmade, one of a kind. Moms able to stay home and be with their kids, but still help out with bills, environmental consciousness, and now all of that is threatened. I have tears in my eyes thinking about it.

I have a number to call to get specific questions answered, but right now the CSPC is really backed up (big surprise) so I haven't gotten through.

Many are hoping that the gov won't be able to keep up with regulating this. As it stands now, all clothing should be labeled with fiber content, but almost nothing you buy on HC, Etsy or eBay is labeled and the gov doesn't really give a shit. This could certainly happen with this new law too.

The best thing we can do at this point is make our legislators aware that some exemptions need to be made. Use the form letter from Handmade Toy Alliance or write your own. But do write, and write everyone who represents you, even if they're a local rep because they may be able to say someone who is a state rep, etc. Write President-Elect Obama at change.gov. Make noise and hopefully this will clear itself up so that WAHM's can keep going. You can find your senator here and your congressperson here.

02 December 2008

Here comes Santa Clause (flying by at 45mph) right down Santa Clause Lane

Friday we went to the Santa Parade in downtown Peoria. The weather was BEAUTIFUL so it was the perfect day for a winter parade.

At over 20 pounds Oz is too heavy to hold for too long. Plus he was super slippery in his snowsuit so the sling came in handy!

The stuff nightmares are made of.

No pictures of Santa though. He came flying through at the end of the parade going by so fast that we hardly got a chance to see him (seriously, they were speeding to catch up to the rest of the parade). Carter didn't care since he doesn't know who Santa is, but some of the other kids were disappointed. Carter still has candy left from it, would Tootsie Rolls still even be in existance if it weren't for parades?

thanksgiving day

I was going to continue being a bitter bitch, but since, in general, I'm totally effin' awesome, I'll go ahead and post Thanksgiving pictures.

Making apple crisp

Chasing Chico

Having milk

The delicious food Andrew made for us all

Oz feeds himself pears

After dinner stroll to get kick start digestion

Carter steals my pie

27 November 2008


Thanks for all the Thanksgiving invitations. Y'all are awesome. /sarcasm

Really though, it's becoming clear that most everyone in our family thinks we're awful. No one seems to want to spend time with us. I know we don't get home as often as our parents would like, but we do try to make as many trips as we can fit in and get to everyone's house when it works out. I keep this blog so everyone can read what we're doing. I installed the webcam so everyone could see the kids more and yet Andrew, Carter, Oz and I seem to be so awful that we weren't invited anywhere, nor, as of now at least, have we received any phone calls. Yes, I know, the phone works both ways, but we were sort of waiting to see if anyone would bother with us. And so far, no one has. Can you feel my bitterness seeping through the computer?

I guess, I don't know, I've tried hard to make connections with all my family, in-laws, extended family and my family of origin and I never feel like a fit. Everything that I think and most things that Andrew thinks just seem to be different from the way everyone else does everything and what everyone else thinks about things. People think we're rude or thoughtless, that we're trying to be jerks, but that's not at all what we're doing. I don't know, somehow we just ended up on a different wavelength than everyone else. I guess that's why Andrew and I get along so well.

What's my point? I'm not exactly sure. I'm just annoyed that so much of what we've done over the past 9 years has been misconstrued, misunderstood and unappreciated to a point where we're the black sheep and outcasts of all of our families. It's hard to find the will to keep putting forth effort when no one seems to like you.

26 November 2008

Andrew's Christmas List

Money for Tattoos. (Need to finish my sleeve and also get an Oswald tattoo)

Car Service Ramps. Like This

Wheel Chocks to go along with the ramp. (Safety First :)

A shop light that has a retractable cord and a magnet to hang it.

Oil Filter Strap Wrench.

Torque Wrench at least 35 ft pounds. Sometimes they list it as inch pounds so divide that by 12 to get ft pounds. I'd rather have the click kind, but a beam type would be OK too, they are cheaper. 1/2" drive preferred.

Bluetooth Cellphone Earpiece.

3-4 gigabyte MP3 player. Don't really care what kind, just one that has decent reviews for usability.

150 gigabyte or larger External Hard Drive

These hockey stick blades http://cgi.ebay.com/NEW-TWO-TPS-R2-Tapered-Wood-Blades-Messier-Sr-LH_W0QQitemZ300253391935QQihZ020QQcategoryZ79774QQcmdZViewItemQQ_trksidZp1713.m153.l1262
This ebay store is really the only place I know that sells them.

18 November 2008

Oswald's Christmas List

Thirsties fitted diapers size medium

BumGenius diapers

Block books from Crocodile Creek (here and here)

Soft soled shoes, size 6-12 months (I like these and these or these)

[s]Jazzy toes variety pack[/s]

Other than that Oz doesn't need much else. We still have Carter's toys from when he was little and we're pretty good on clothes for him. He's growing so fast it's hard to predict what he'll wear in the late winter/early spring. Right now he fits perfectly in 6-12 month clothes, but when they're listed as just one size instead of a range he wears 12 months. In jeans he wears 18 months. If you're going to buy him clothes I'd go for 12-18 month size (that's what we'll be buying him when he needs clothes again). Packer and Badger apparel is always appreciated.

Both boys could use more placemats as it's so much fun to switch it up. We LOVE these ones from Crocodile Creek. Carter already has the Natural World ABC's and Construction placemats.

On the "Is she 'effin serious?!" list:
Wheely Cow and Bugs
Svan Scooter

Stephanie's Christmas List

Love Actually (with Hugh Grant)
Mermaids (with Cher)

The Twilight Series by Stephanie Meyer Someone got these for me I believe
ON CD: Harry Potter's books 1-4 read by Jim Dale

I have a wishlist with my local Close to My Heart consultant. Andrew can give you her email if you contact him.

Gift certificates to:
Mosaic Moon
Sock Dreams
Lands End
Joann Fabrics

11 November 2008

Carter's Christmas List

We have been truly blessed this year in that we have been able to spend time with family and friends regularly, that the house is in good shape and that we are all in good health. The boys have plenty to play with and cute clothes to ruin while they do so. We aren't in need of anything this holiday season, but we do have a few wants.

Carter is truly a child of nature. He is spirited and full of energy and is grounded by time outside. I've been struggling with this all year because as anyone reading this knows, I hate outside. However, I am trying to honor his needs by taking us outside more and finding things we can enjoy doing together. In addition I am trying to bring nature in to us as often as possible. This, coupled with my fear of plastics, leaves our list fairly natural in nature. I understand that the things I'm listing here are probably not what you were hoping to see on this list, but they are what I think will serve us best in the next year.

--a walking stick (we go on hikes relatively often and he could use a stick to help him with the hills. He's roughly 36 inches tall so a stick around that height would be good for him

--wood to build a fort (scrap wood and branches that may have fallen at your house. I think he would very much like to create a little wooden fort to sit and play in while in the back yard.)

--a nice wooden abacus (this one is nice

--threading games (like this or this)

--a few wooden bowls (like this)

--Not Blocks (here)

--art supplies ([s]like this[/s] or this or these)

--neato puzzles (here or here or here. The puzzles need to be at least 16 pieces)

Sites I like:


So, like I said, a bit unconventional, but hopefully you will see the beauty in these toys. If you have the chance, this months issue of Mothering Magazine has a few wonderful articles on toys, plus a great toy guide. If you do see some super cute clothes you think he has to have, he's wearing a 3T. Of course, Packers and Badgers stuff is appreciated since we can't get it down here. Current interests include: trains, tractors, all heavy machinery (excavators are his favorite) and dinosaurs (triceratops is his favorite).

It's getting late so I suppose Oz's list will have to wait until tomorrow.

10 November 2008

I swear

christmas lists are coming soon.

Picture Dump

Coloring on my pumpkin

He kept wanting to put the seeds back in the pumpkin.

Dov Charney, Pedro, Napoleon Dynamite and Bellatrix Lestrange

Wearing my boots.

Webcam Awesomeness

So we got a webcam and it's awesome. The idea is that Carter and Oz can talk with all of their loved ones who live far away on a regular basis. We tried it out tonight with Oma and it was pretty cool. Auntie Heather just got her webcam today and tomorrow we'll hopefully chat with her! We're using Skype to talk as we couldn't figure out the webcam option on Yahoo!IM. So, if you want to talk with us, get a webcam, get a Skype account and you'll be able to chat live with the boys!

22 October 2008

Auntie Heather Visits

Heather's visit was wonderful. I'm so glad she was able to come down. I wish she had chosen to move here because we'd really love to have her all the time, but for some odd reason Peoria wasn't appealing to her so we'll have to settle for visits.

Carter is enamored with her. All he wanted to do was play with her and be close to her. We were able to do a few fun things in the time she was here; AP meeting , corn maze and apples, breastfeeding support group, shopping and a few games of Hoopla.

I really hope she's able to come visit again soon, but I have a sinking feeling that it's going to be a few months before we see her again :(

In the autumn every leaf becomes a flower

09 October 2008

More Wisconsin Visits

Oz with Uncle Rob and Emily

Playing with his big kid cousins, Jack and Nicklas

With Grandma Suzanne

He likes to be in his underwear.

We visited Oshkosh and Appleton in September to celebrate Patti's retirement from the awfulness that is working. Patti is Andrew's aunt and I actually think she like working so I may be projecting some of my own feelings here. Either way, it was a lovely weekend. We stayed in Oshkosh with Auntie Heather and got to spend a great day with Patti and Tom at the Appleton Children's Museum (of which I seam to have no pictures of even though I'm pretty sure I took pictures). Her retirement party was nice (the food was awesome!) and it was nice to see the Lawson side of the family. Carter loved playing with his big kid cousins and, of course, he loved Tom.

Tis the Season

It's only a few short months until Christmas and if you're as awesome as me you've started your shopping already (I'm actually almost done. So does that mean I found some really awesome stuff early on or you're all just getting random shit I found?). If you're looking to buy the boys clothes, Carter is wearing 3T in both shirts and pants. We can always use jeans, but have plenty of windpants for now. Plain white or basic colored long sleeve shirts are always useful too. We only have one piece of Packer's gear and one piece of Badgers gear so both would be appreciated. Oz is wearing 9-12 month shirts and 12 month or 12-18 month pants. He's mostly wearing knit wool pants this winter so shirts are best. He is also in need of sleepers ASAP! So if you've got money just sitting around goading you to spend it, head on out to the store and get him a few in size 12 months. He'll appreciate having some that fit.

03 October 2008

I should be sleeping, but instead I'm updating

It's hard to say what's going on here. I haven't really had any desire to update. Things are busy, busy, busy for me. The AP group is taking a lot of my time right now. I love it, but many things are going undone. The house seems to be a disaster all the time (could this be because I live with three men who feel no need to pick up after themselves?) no matter how often I pick it up. I've been having quite a bit of trouble sleeping. You'd think with that extra time I'd be getting all sorts of stuff done, but I mostly waste the time watching reruns of Stargate and playing spider solitare. High score is currently 1201.

Carter is going to school three days a week. We had a rough transition in the beginning. He was very sad the first few days. I heard reasons like "I don't want to go to school cause I just love you" ....wait, did I post this on the other blog? Livejournal is down right now so I can't check. Oh well, you'll just have to listen to it again. Anyways, school is going great now. He really likes playing there and he's doing all sorts of arts and crafts project that lazy mommy never does with him. While Carter is at school Oz and I are running errands, sleeping or trying to clean up the house. Mostly we're sleeping though.

I'm not finding nearly enough time to craft. I'm doing a fundraiser for the AP group in November which means I need to make quite a bit of stuff before then. I have some stock built up, but nothing that I really want to have there so that means I really need to get on sewing. I've also had a few people ask me to knit for them so I really need to get my shit together. What I really need is a day to myself. I wonder if I can find someone to watch the kids for me one day. Maybe I can kick Andrew out of the house on Sunday.

We had allergy testing done on Carter. He kept getting this gross rash on his face which we determined (through amazing memory recall I my part) to likely be watermelon. I met with the allergist to see if this made him susceptible for other allergies and to confirm this allergy. We did the skin prick test and had no reaction so we did the patch test. He had little bits of cantelope and watermelon, along with a number of other common skin allergens, placed on his back and covered with tape. 48 hours later we took them off. Melon allergy is confirmed. He's also allergic to black rubber and a few weirdo chemicals. These are contact dermititis allergies so he's not going to get asthma symptoms from them, but he will get a rash. We also realized that he gets a rash from bananas. So I guess we're avoiding those things from now on.

Oz is growing, growing, growing. He's weighing in at over 18 pounds already and he's outgrown his carrier car seat. He's rolling over (and using it to roll around the room) and moving backwards (and constantly getting stuck under furniture). He's bringing toys up to his mouth to play with them (well suck on them) and he's just a big ball of smiles. The past five months have just flown by.


k1 p1

Some evenings progress in a way that actually allows time for me to knit. Well time to knit before 11pm that is. It looks peaceful and idyllic, but really, it's hard to knit with a baby on your lap.

a series in black and white

They sleep.

Just chillin' in my jeans with my fat belly.

Little boys like fancy underpants. And messes.

Yes, those would be man boobs.