For Moms

We all know at least one Elastigirl who virtually springs back into shape quickly postpartem. Here is a website for moms who are insecure about their body image. An excerpt gives you an idea of what the site is about:

It is my dream, then, to create this website where women of all ages, shapes,
sizes and nationalities can share images of their bodies so it will no longer be
secret. So we can finally see what women really look like sans airbrushes and
plastic surgery. I think it would be nothing short of amazing if a few of our
hearts are healed, or if we begin to cherish our new bodies which have done so
much for the human race. What if the next generation grows up knowing how normal our bodies are? How truly awesome would that be?

-The Shape of a Mother


Harsevoort Sinterklaas

...where I forgot my camera, so I'm directing you to Lisa's Place. Heehee.

Thanks for the pics, Lis. And thanks for the gifts, Pietermans! I'll be posting a video of him on his rocking horse! :)


An interesting article by The Soft Landing:

Get Your Phthalates Cheap for Christmas at a Store Near You Fire Sale on Toxic Toys
Your friendly neighborhood retailer wants you to stock up now so they won’t have to suffer so darn much under the burden of the recent phthalate ban. The CPSC has given them one last chance for a reprieve by extending the ban implementation deadline. Fantastic - now they can unload those toxic toys on unsuspecting parents looking for a great deal on Christmas presents during these tough economic times.

The Squeaky Wheel
As my Grandpa always said, “The squeaky wheel gets the oil.” Toy makers are complaining that it’s nearly impossible to know which products contain phthalates, so they would have to spends $1,000’s in testing the toys on their shelves. Why, sometimes they don’t even know what materials are used in their products because they aren’t labeled (insert high-pitched whining inflection here). That’s kinda the point here - label this stuff already!
USA Today reveals how this sneaky change is taking place:
… legal counsel at the Consumer Product Safety Commission says that the phthalate ban doesn’t necessarily apply to toys made before Feb. 10. In a letter written Monday, the commission’s general counsel says the law lacks a “clear statement of unambiguous intent.”
Retailers and manufacturers may sell off their existing inventory of dolls, sippy cups and other children’s products, according to the letter from the commission’s general counsel, Cheryl Falvey. Neither stores nor toymakers are obligated to label which products meet the new standards and which don’t.

And the squeaking continues . . .
The Washington Post points out that chemical companies such as ExxonMobil, which manufactures the phthalate most often found in toys, have also argued that banning the compounds could force toymakers to use substitutes that pose greater risks. The article goes on to note that several alternative chemicals used to make toys for the European market have been found to be safer than phthalates. The chemical makers are also complaining that the safer alternatives are not as cheap or versatile as phthalates. Are you kidding? I think the health of our children is slightly more important than your deep pockets.

Tips for Safe Christmas Shopping
So how will you be able to tell which products are safe? You won’t. We recommend you handle shopping this year by following these tips:
Avoid soft, squeezable plastic teethers, rattles, duckies, plastic books and other toys. Wait to buy these items until the ban actually takes effect on Feb. 10, 2009.
Only purchase products specifically labeled as phthalate-free, or better yet, as PVC-free. Remember when we talked about how PVC Free = Phthalate Free? Just don’t forget that it doesn’t work the other way around: phthalate-free does NOT mean PVC-free.
Go with USA Today’s recommendation and buy from responsible retailers who do their homework, like The Soft Landing


It's been a while...

A little while ago Stu and I decided to have some ice cream after dinner. Naturally, Callum loves to have what we have so I gave him a bite. From the look on his face, I guessed he wasn't expecting ice cream! So I said, "Cold, eh?" to which he replied, "Coh..." The next morning I gave him his juice cup right out of the fridge at breakfast time. He grabbed it with both hands, then looked up at me and said "Coh!" I was surprised that he learned a new word overnight! It never ceases to amaze me how quickly he learns.

Don't you hate it when you grab your camera to capture something cute, and then they stop doing whatever it was....I'm still waiting for him to pick up his little stuffed cow rattle and wave its tiny arm and say "Bye!"

Exploring Light

This past weekend we went to my parent's place to help clear out the basement for pending renovations. I forgot to take any "before" pictures, so...here are the after...

"We're all here!"

"Can I help?"
First snowfall (that actually stayed) happened on Saturday after lunch and continued overnight. It was pretty the next morning...
How's this for a Christmas Tree? :) These windows are a perfect height for a curious boy. A new discovery, and a new word! Snow!

On Sunday we visited my cousin Tanya and her family. It's been a while since we hung out with them. :) Cassandra and Callum had a lot of fun playing together! He missed his buddy when she went to bed. He stood calling "TaDANda!!!" when her mommy took her down the hall to get ready for bed.