Thursday, June 26, 2008

Win a Babywearing Collection!

I just have to give a little babywearing testimony here. After 9 months hit and Jacob became more mobile, I thought our babywearing days might be over. But on moving day last Saturday, once the movers got there and things got going, Jacob got a little crazy running around, and I really needed my hands free to help direct and pack stuff. So I found our Babyhawk mei tei (an Asian style baby carrier that uses straps--see photo from last summer) and tied him on my back! Jacob was having the best time peeking around my shoulder at everyone, and lasted about two hours riding around behind me while I carried (light) stuff up and down stairs and maneuvered throughout our tiny apartment. He loved the view, and it totally saved me from chasing around a toddler while trying to move.

So, if you'd like to win an Essential Babywearing stash with FIVE carriers, enter the contest below at Along for the Ride! They have a great selection, and I've had my eye on a Beco Butterfly for a few months now. The buckles are much easier and quicker to use with a wiggly "widdle waddler," or at least so I've heard. But all these carriers are fantastic for different stages, and I still use my Hotsling sometimes if I just need a hands-free short trip. If you do win, especially if you're new to babywearing, you could try them all and giveaway the ones you don't want to use! Just sharin' the babywearin' love!

Win the Essential Babywearing Stash from Along for the Ride (one Beco Butterfly, one Hotsling baby pouch, one BabyHawk Mei Tai, one Zolowear Ring Sling, and one Gypsy Mama Wrap)


Monday, June 16, 2008

N.T. Wright + Stephen Colbert = ???

Interesting. N.T. Wright is on the schedule for this Thursday's episode of The Colbert Report (scroll down to 6/19).

Interesting, indeed.

UPDATE: You can watch a video of this phenomenon here at Comedy Central.


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

PCA Colloquium on the Sacraments

As part of the PCA's 2008 General Assembly, a colloquium was held to address the question, "What do the sacraments actually accomplish in their administration?"

Participants included Will Barker, Ligon Duncan, Jeff Meyers and Rob Rayburn. The papers presented can be found here, and Jeff Meyers has posted audio of each presentation on his blog.

Good stuff.


Strawberry Shortcake 2.1

As part of a complete modernization, Strawberry Shortcake's losing her old look, and her faithful sidekick is getting the axe. Her furry, cuddly Custard the Cat is being replaced by a cell phone as Strawberry's favorite thing to interact with regularly. Now she's hip. With it.

Read the entire article detailing the reinvention of Strawberry Shortcake and other beloved cartoon characters.

When I was little, I had a complete set of Strawberry Shortcake dolls, and I loved the TV show. I remember the little pink plastic cat Custard had such a sweet smell, like whipped cream. I don't imagine the cell phone will smell like anything. And I don't remember Strawberry Shortcake and her friends having any affinity for candy, as mentioned in the article. Desserts, yes, but not candy. I thought that was the point: Blueberry Muffin, Raspberry Tart, Apple Dumplin'... who doesn't love a good baked dessert?!

Hey you, faithful readers -- are you saddened by any of the changes that have been made to your favorite childhood characters? Perhaps this is one reason not to let your kids watch TV shows -- so they won't get attached to the characters and become upset when someone tries to update them 20 years later.


Saturday, June 07, 2008

VBS Madness

If you are wondering why I haven't posted anything this week, I was helping out with Vacation Bible School every afternoon at our church.

I was the designated "Craft Lady" and had a fantastic time! I tried to encourage individuality instead of cookie-cutter craft projects, and I think I succeeded on that front. I don't think any parent can be disappointed when you can definitely tell that your children made something all by themselves! Though it did offer some interesting artistic interpretations...

The first day was crazy as usual, but the insanity was compounded by the fact that Jacob was running a mysteriously high fever which lasted most of the week and then quietly went away. Thankfully, my mom came on Wednesday so he could take a nap in the comfort of home and familiar surroundings. On Thursday, he ate three full meals, took two long naps, and slept 8+ hours at night, so we knew he was finally back to normal.

Despite Jacob's infection-fighting trauma, the week was actually quite relaxing and enjoyable, especially the kids' wacky conversations, the copious amounts of glue, the last-minute scrambles, the shoot-from-the-hip explanations, the sugar rush at snack time, and the time chatting with the other adults. I remembered why I wanted to be a teacher in the first place, and am actually looking forward to running a Kids' Club again soon, though I do think a few hours a week is my limit on interactions with large groups of elementary children that are not my own.

I did find out about a disturbing recent VBS trend which makes me even more proud of our church: apparently, in all of the other churches in our community, they charge a fee for VBS! Our church is the only one that offers it free. That's right, elsewhere parents actually have to PAY to send their kids to a VBS program! (One large church in the ATL area even asks the volunteers to pay to help cover costs!) Perhaps, if you are charging for VBS, you are spending too much time on the outward appearance and not enough on the heart. Just sayin'.

VBS is first of all an outreach. Sure, some kids from the church will come, but I think it is mostly a way to get families in the community involved with a local church and hear Christ preached. In fact, at our VBS, over 80% of the kids were from outside the church and most of them probably don't attend anywhere regularly. So why would you ask someone to pay to hear the gospel? I just don't get it.

Well, at least some things never change:

1. The awesome ladies in the kitchen who make all the cool homemade snacks! Their creativity amazes me: the "Paralyzed Man" made out of a cupcake with pretzels for arms and legs, and the cups of pudding with a brownie boat and little Teddy Graham people to represent Jesus and the Disciples when he calms the storm. Oh my goodness how cute is that?

2. The cheesy kid songs. I know I still remember songs I learned in church and at VBS. I hope these kids will, too. And hey, they get to take home a CD with all the songs on it! Reinforcements or parental torture? You decide!

3. Stretching a bit to make the crafts/activities fit the Bible story or theme. Okay, so sometimes that seems kind of lame, but as an English teacher, I think of all those glue-laden, glittery art projects as symbols-- tangible created objects to represent grander themes about The Creator. Same with games and other activities. Hopefully these kids will remember the story behind the symbols when they admire their creations.

I thought I'd share a link I've been enjoying of all the funny VBS-themed posts over at Stuff Christians Like. A little levity for those of you who either just survived VBS week or still have it looming ahead of you.

Oh, and one final tip:

If, for some reason, you have to write someone's name on a craft project, make sure that you don't accidentally smear the still-wet glitter glue drawings when you flip it over. No matter how hard you try to fix your mistake, it won't be right. And you might make a little girl cry. And when asked "What is a sin?" the little girl may answer "A sin is when the teacher messes up your craft project." Fellow VBS volunteers, you have been warned!