Saturday, January 30, 2010

Ummm... she's just too cute.

This morning she was so happy being with me while I made grits for breakfast, on this very chilly snowy day! Then we went to book club together, then we picked up Daddy & went to look at/buy a table, chairs & hutch in Shelbyville (45 min. away), then we went to a friend's 1st birthday party, and then we made dinner together (hummus & falafel from scratch!). She's been such a little trooper!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Family Heritage Idea

Eowyn got some really cool Christmas gifts this year, such as the Bitty Baby doll that looks like her, from her Great-Grandparents Presley! Heheh it was really funny to see her stare that "other baby" down! But the coolest gift that she got is much cooler; so cool that I wanted to share it with you all,because you might want to try and make your own!

For Grandpa's birthday last year, Ryan & I got a blank scrapbook, and wrote one or two questions on each page-- things like "What do you remember about your mother?," "What kinds of chores did you have as a boy?," "How did you come to know the Lord?," "What honors have you received throughout your life?," "What famous people have you met?" and "What is your favorite book?" You get the idea. We basically asked Ryan's grandpa all sorts of questions about himself, his tastes, his courtship of Grandma, his childhood, his schooling, his travels, and his spiritual journey. Grandpa is a pretty quiet guy, especially in large-group settings, so it's not every day that we get to hear these sorts of things from him. Well, he worked really hard, and had it finished in time for Christmas! He'd not only answered every question and filled in most of the family tree we'd put in there, but he even found relevant family photos to include! Ryan & I read the anecdotes with amazement and delight! Despite us learning that Grandpa's least favorite subject in school was English, he is an excellent writer, and some of the stories in there are just plain hilarious! We cannot wait to tell Eowyn all about her great-grandfather in his own words, and give her more of a taste of life during his lifetime. It's been such a success that we'd like to repeat it with Eowyn's other grandparents and great-grandparents. How much family history is lost just because we never think to ask? We're so busy in our own day and age that it's easy to forget about past days and ages, times that are past and gone, but not very far away at all.

So Grandpa, thank you SO MUCH for your hard work... Eowyn will LOVE IT!!! :)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Picture Book List

A friend recently asked me for a list of fun books for little kids, and here is what I came up with (in no particular order):

Guess How Much I Love You
Good Night Moon (Margaret Wise Brown)
The Little Engine that Could
The Gingerbread Man
Mike Mulligan & His Steam Shovel
Little Toot
The Little House
The Owl & the Pussycat
We're Going on a Bear Hunt
All of the Places to Love
any/all of the Eric Carle books (The Very Busy Spider; The Grouchy Ladybug; The Very Hungry Caterpillar; Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?; etc)
The Kissing Hand
any of the "Carl" books, ex. Good Dog, Carl or Happy Birthday Carl... about a black Lab & baby girl-- very few words, and very very funny!
Where the Wild Things Are
Make Way for Ducklings
The Story about Ping
Go, Dog, Go! (and all the Dr. Suess books!)
Moo Moo La La La
all of the Don & Audrey Wood books (The Napping House, etc.)
I Love You, Goodnight
Good Night, Gorilla (also almost wordless, but hilarious!)
books of fairy tales & fables & myths
Owl At Home & Frog & Toad Are Friends (Arnold Lobel)
Owl Babies
The Littles & their Friends
Knuffle Bunny

Also wonderful:
The Jesus Storybook Bible (Sally Lloyd-Jones)
The Big Picture Story Bible (David Helm)
Most of All, Jesus Loves You (Noel Piper)
The King without a Shadow (RC Sproul) set of Bible stories in 4 volumes with awesome simple pictures that I can't remember the name of...

As for where to look, check out the used books online at Amazon-- go to for a complete price comparison. I get lots of mine at Goodwill for 50 cents, or at the peddler's malls around town.

Gianna Jennsen and Haitian Orphans?

One of the most persuasive people I've ever heard speak on the topic of abortions is Gianna Jennsen. She doesn't get loud and in your face, or get graphic and guilt-tripping. She does bring up the Gospel, standing up for what is right, and expecting to face difficulty. Her whole life has been difficult-- she's got to live with several extensive disabilities due to the fact that her birthmother tried to abort her. I find her incredibly encouraging. I just found out that she is going to be speaking TONIGHT at U of L! Any of you in the area who want to come, get information here.

I will be posting a report on the actual talk, providing my own precious baby lets me go and hear something! It will be interesting to me to hear/see how the recent loss of life and devastation in Haiti affects our nation's attitude towards the loss of life in our own land. It's impossible to deny that the people hurt by the earthquake are people, no matter their age, rank or serial number (to borrow the phrase). Pictures plastered all over the news push their suffering undeniably in our face. And so many of us want to help. I pray that those people ARE helped, and that by their suffering we comfortable Americans will be reminded that there are those who are defenseless and helpless here, too. Not in the face of an earthquake, but in the face of neglect, doubt and inconvenience. Maybe the suffering we see in others will remind us just how precious life is. As Horton said "a person's a person, no matter how small"-- whether they live in Louisville's West Side, Haiti, or a woman's uterus.

If you want to do something, either about the suffering and loss of life in Haiti, or the suffering and loss of life due to unplanned pregnancies & abortion here in America, my father is running the Boston Marathon in order to raise money for Bethany Christian Services, an organization that provides an incredible range of services for women, children, and families in dire straights. Infertility care, domestic & international adoption, orphan care, foster care, crisis pregnancy counseling, family counseling, pregnancy and pre-natal care, special-needs adoptions, abortion alternative awareness... they do it all, and they do it lovingly and thoroughly. They already had a ministry presence in Haiti, and now are using that to channel help and hope-- both physical and spiritual-- to those in Haiti, especially the most helpless. If you want to donate, please do one of the following: you can donate under my dad's name (go to and click on "Sponsor a Runner" and click 'Bart Thompson'), or through their Haiti Relief & Recovery Initiative. You could even do both at once!

Well, my own little one is calling me now... she definitely is her own little person!!

Monday, January 25, 2010

How Do they Do it?

Random thought of the day: I've been getting Southern Living and Family Circle for free as a promo thing, and it's nice to have something easy to read... to get good ideas. Some of the op-ed pieces are really funny, too. But sometimes the authors really blast their neighbors, or family members, or even their own spouses, and I just wonder... do they not tell their families that they're writers? Do they honestly think that their mom doesn't read every thing they write? Or maybe they all use pen-names... I especially wonder this when at the end of the piece it says something like "so-and-so lives in Ritersville, GA, with her two children and a dog." I've thought this while reading memoirs, too. Do they just trust that the people who were so mean to them or with whom they so disagree would never pick up anything they'd write? Random, like I said... but I do wonder!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Let Us Highly Resolve

This year, I've tried to have 1 personal New Year's resolution, & 2 that practically affect our family. (not that the personal one doesn't, but you'll see what I mean):

1. more regular prayer
2. more of a seasonal diet
3. a more orderly home

1. More regular prayer- "Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving." (Col 4:2); "do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God." (Phil. 4:6)-- in our church covenant, we vow not to "neglect the great duty of prayer"- this phrase keeps coming to mind... I was especially convicted of the lacking in my prayer life while we spent so much time with our families over the holidays. Here we were folks we love so much and so seldom see, and it struck me that I hadn't been actively praying in preparation leading up to my time with them. It's not that I don't expect God to be working, more like I have forgotten that I could be a part of that working if I wanted to be, and by His Spirit's prompting, I DO WANT TO BE!! In order to help myself be more "thorough" about prayer, you could say, I've started assigning different people to different days. The idea is that [eventually] I'll just have to think about what day it is and be prompted to pray for specific members of my immediate family, close friends, and missionaries. In the past I've picked specific verses to pray for different people, and I think I want to dig out that little journal and start that up again.

2. More seasonal eating-- "And God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years," (Gen 1:14); "He [God] made the moon to mark the seasons; the sun knows its time for setting." (Ps. 104:19) In the psalmist's consideration of the Lord's marvels (sung so exuberantly by Fernando Ortega in "Creation Song"), he lists the seasons. It really is amazing, when you think about it, to consider how we get to enjoy distinct periods of temperature, precipitation, harvest, and planting. Even in places where it's springy-summer all year round there are seasons of rain and dry. There's a rhythm to the world, and I have to believe the joyful Creator intends it for His children's joy. It's really well-designed, too; in the summer, when we are prone to dehydration, fruits grow full of water: melons, tomatoes, cucumber; in the autumn, fruits that tend to keep easily, such as gourds, apples & nuts, grow and we have them over the barren winter. Our ancestors also had low-tech ways of preserving food which actually add nutrients to the food or makes it more digestible; fermentation (pickling), drying, boiling and preserving. So here at Szrama Clan KY we'll be trying to do better about eating in the natural rhythm of things. It'll be a fun dance to join in. Not that we won't cheat of course-- Ryan's birthday is far from the middle of strawberry season, and we definitely will have strawberries then-- but generally we'll be trying to eat things that either grow during that season, or can easily be kept fresh until that season (grains, legumes, & animal products sort of "grow" year round, in my does chocolate, of course). Anyway, it will be fun and will keep us eating a varied diet for sure!! I'm sure you will hear about this experiment as the year goes on!!

3. More of an orderly home--"Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality." (Rom 12:13); "She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. (Prov. 31:27) As so many wives & moms know, one of the biggest obstacles to hospitality is a messy house... for a whole host of reasons, the least of which is not finding a place for your guest to sit. :) I want our home to be a "Homely House;" a place where pilgrims and seekers alike can come in and get a little respite from a world that does not know peace or love true beauty. I would love for the order and peace of our home to remind Christians of Heaven and even hint of it to non-believers-- something they glimpse here and not in other places. I want it to be a place where my husband and children can find refuge and be secure. It is said of Mrs. Edith Schaeffer (wife of the famous Francis Schaeffer) that as many students were saved through her cookies as through her husband's teaching. :) So... I want to be better about keeping this place clean and organized. Hehehe I don't want Eowyn finding nasty stuff to eat, either, now that she's starting to pick stuff up and eat EVERYTHING. I'm getting help in the form of a simple chore schedule (Nicole, you could make me one with stickers if you want), and the website Again, I'm sure you will have updates about this throughout the year!

Well, those are my "new year's resolutions!" Feel free to share your own in the comments!
"To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. (II Thess 1:11-12)

Saturday, January 23, 2010


Eowyn has lately been SO much more vocal, happy, and expressive!! We love it!

Harry Potter & Anne of Green Gables?

I was longing for a bit of literary criticism over my morning waffles, and found this article comparing Anne of Green Gables and Harry Potter, two heros of series I've really enjoyed and which have had lasting impacts on me. The reason I enjoy reading these sorts of articles is that it makes me take a step back and say "huh! I never thought of that!" and then feel really smart as I think about whether I agree or not. :) I've always been a "big-picture" person, wanting to ascertain factors and causes and themes-- these sorts of articles, which always bring the authors greater views into the discussion-- help me do that. Anyway...

In book club this month, we're reading Rebecca, by Daphne du Marier. So far, it's one I'm really glad I bought! (thank you, Half-priced Books! that store) I read an article about it when I first picked it up, to see if I'd like it. The article compares it to Jane Eyre. I think the comparison is warrented, and interesting to consider. So if you liked Jane Eyre, go get Rebecca!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Surprise, Suzanne!

My former co-worker Suzanne turned 30 today, and her husband Rocky organized a surprise party for her at Carraba's, an Italian restaurant (which has a gluten free menu and only uses olive oil!!). We had a great time!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Happy Monthiversary!

While musing about our evening plans earlier in the afternoon, I blurted out. "Tonight's our monthiversary!" (Yep- 2 years and 5 months) Ryan congratulated me on my knowledge of the date. I then reminded him of my Starbucks gift card from Grandma and it was a date. We left after dinner and enjoyed our mochas, speed Scrabble, a darling baby who was sweet enough to fall asleep and let us talk... and of course, talking. :)

I love you, sweetheart.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Diaper Report #2

Eowyn is now 3 1/2 months old, and at 3 months weighed 13 1/2 lbs... no idea how much she does right now, but basically she is a lot chubbier and longer than she was at my last diapering report.

-- Daily use: infant size 4x8x4 unbleached prefolds, fastened with a snappi, covered in a medium Bummis Super Brite cover.
*prefold: I bought factory seconds for $11/dozen at So far they have been WONDERFUL!! I do use a diaper doubler (homemade: usually 1/2 a 100% cotton washcloth, or a whole one folded in half), and a fleece liner (again, homemade-- just strips cut the length of a prefold). The extra thickness keeps messes absorbed nearer the middle of the diaper (less likely to seep out), and the fleece wicks the moisture away, and is easier to clean off.
*I like the Super Brites better than the Super Whisper Wrap because they have leg gussets as well as fastening with velcro (nice exact fit every time)
-- While out-and-about, overnight, or for childcare: small Fuzzibunz pocket diaper, double-stuffed. Just like disposables, except they get thrown in a bag, not a trash can. I usually use 2 of the inserts that came with the diapers (newer dipes have microfiber inserts; older ones come with cotton I think-- I received a huge stash as hand-me-downs from my Aunt Virginia). In a pinch I've folded 2 of the low-quality prefolds I also inherited and stuffed with those. The double-stuffing is imperative.
-- I do also use Bummis Super Whisper Wraps, and Indisposables brand fitted prefolds, given to me second-hand. I do NOT recommend the Indisposables if you are building your own stash. They are soft enough, etc., but they don't absorb well, and some are wearing out alarmingly quickly. Reviews at seem to indicate this is relatively common, mainly because they are filled with polyester rather than cotton... So it may be that my distaste for fitted diapers should be limited to the brand I have! I'm happy w/ pre-folds now, so I guess we'll never know. :) The Bummis are great. They dry quickly, fit moderately well (snaps), and show no signs of wear so far. Now if only they had leg gussets...

Others used:
-- I was just given a Kawaii Baby one-size pocket diaper (available at which came with 2 microfiber inserts. I am thrilled with the fit of the diaper, the price looks amazing... the only thing I don't love about them is that the microfleece layer next to Eowyn's skin seems to hold stains worse than Fuzzibunz diapers do. Time outside in the sun helps, though. A great diaper to get if you are starting your stash!
-- Eowyn had a blowout at friend's house and I needed to borrow a diaper cover. My friend lent me a Thirsties cover, and I LOVE IT! It has leg gussets, velcro... It just feels less sturdy than the Bummis covers I have. Not sure how it would do long-term. If I was buying my own stash, I'd probably get at least 1/2 of these, though!

Tricks & Tips learned:
-- diaper sprayers are WONDERFUL. You totally could pressure wash a sidewalk with ours, lol.
-- when using diaper covers, the maxim "a cover is only as good as the diaper it covers" totally is true! I thought my diaper covers were absolute trash until I tried using higher-quality prefolds, and all of a sudden had NO leaks at all, ever, for hours. The cover will only be as good at holding junk IN as the diaper is at absorbing it! So... INVEST IN QUALITY PREFOLDS!!
-- make sure you tuck everything in. Facilitated diffusion means that moisture will travel to every bit of dry material it can reach-- if the teensiest part bit of diaper is sticking out of the cover (maybe in back where you didn't see it), it WILL get the clothes all wet! I found that tucking in the leg gussets of the fitted prefolds around her legs helped with leakage too.
-- making your own phosphate-free powder laundry soap is soooo easy!! (this is the recipe I use, plus I add a bit of OxyClean or its organic counterpart) I tried an all-natural coconut-based soap with wonderful results. It made my cost a little bit higher than if I'd used Dial or Ivory, but I liked knowing that it was less toxic and more "natural." Once my stash of Borax, OxyClean & Washing Soda run out, though, we are going to try soap nuts!! Talk about all-natural: they GROW ON TREES!! I'll keep ya posted.
--g-diapers: Eowyn outgrew the smalls we had, and we liked them while they lasted. I used the disposable inserts on trips. They worked especially well on her when she was little! We'll probably use them the first 2-3 months on our next one, too.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Everybody Loves Blocks!

The girls were SO excited when I pulled this toy out. We think Eowyn will love it, too!

And... what I was doing the whole time:

Old Friends

The past few days, we've seen a bunch of friends from Ryan's high school/college days-- Josh & Jessica R. and their twins Caitlyn & Ally, and baby Sarala; Jerry & Jessica C. and their girls Jenna & Jocelyn; and Mike J., Ryan's partner-in-crime from Little Flock Baptist (oh the stories, the appaling stories I have heard...). It's been so much fun! We had several nights of 6 under 4 running around our living room, board games, a crazy dance party, and lots of laughs.
Eowyn & Uncle Mike

Matching hairdos! :)

Josh's 3 girlies

Ryan reading a bedtime story

Josh & Jessica, concentrating during Carcasonne

Our game in progress

They both had to do their hair before this pic



Me with my dance partners

Chili, Games, and Snow Cream

Bunk beds

Ryan enjoying his snow cream

Jerry & Jojo

I think the title says it all... neither of the other couples had made snow cream before, so we did NOT pass up the perfect opportunity to treat them. Snow has to fall for quite a while to be safe enough to eat in the city (2 hrs. to clear the air of pollutants, and then enough snow after the 2 hr mark to make a full batch). We made egg-nog flavored and vanilla flavored, with chocolate syrup on top and cinnamon mixed in. Yummy!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

More on Vaccines/Autism in General

For any interested, here's another article on vaccinations... I like this article because it connects the problems with the CDC vaccine schedule with not only genetic factors but also dietary factors (especially the lack of nutritive fats in our cultural diet). When we vaccinate Eowyn we will do so only when she is in optimum health AND taking natural forms of vitamins A, C, E and D in large (safe) doses (ex. cod liver oil, coconut oil, raw milk, liver, bone broth, and lots of fruits & veggies!). For the vaccinations that occur while she's still nursing, I'll be taking those doses for her so she gets them via milk!

A quote to give you a taste of the dietary connections in the article: "This improves cognition, but they [children reacting badly to immunizations] are still physically ill. When these children get the MMR vaccine, their vitamin A stores are depleted and they cannot compensate for blocked pathways. Lack of vitamin A, which has been called "the anti-infective agent," leaves them immunosuppressed. They lack cell-mediated immunity. T cell activation, important for long term immune memory, requires 14-hydroxy retro-retinol. On cod liver oil, the only natural source of this natural substance, the children get well."

Another on a multi-disciplinary approach to autism: "We must direct all of our resources and efforts to establish multi-disciplinary centers to treat these children. Insurance companies should pay for evaluations, both medical and psychiatric, and treatment. These children are physically ill, immunosuppressed with a chronic autoimmune disorder affecting multiple organ systems. Funding to look at etiology of autism, to identify children at risk prior to "autistic regression," and to prevent this disorder is imperative.

Implementing vaccine policies that are safe for all children should become our first priority."

Still researching...
-- Eowyn's Mommy

Monday, January 11, 2010

How About the Facts, all the Corny Facts...?

My friend sent me links to both the real ads, sponsored by the corn industry, and these spoofs, which make the point pretty well. What point? That some facts presented as all the facts is in fact a misrepresentation of fact. Take the example of Nazi-ism. (Always a good one for every logical extreme, I know.) Watch with caution, and take with a dose of salty common sense:

Real Ad:


(i wonder if they made the popsicle change colors on purpose)

As I'm learning, nutrition is NOT just about the calories!!

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Still Alive!

We are still alive & well, just digging out from under layers of suitcases, etc. Here is a photo album of our doings & goings-on. For now, that will have to suffice. :) We had a lovely Christmas, New Year's, and time with all of our family. My sister Nicole's wedding was wonderful, God-honoring, fun, and beautiful. I miss everyone so much now!!

We came back to a full house, as our friend Jessica & her 3 girlies are staying with us-- Josh flies in tonight. I've also started back to work, full-time this week since I'm subbing for another teacher. YIKES it's been exausting. I am so glad I won't usually be working this much. Thankfully, the Lord sent a snow day today. After a shower I think I'll go to bed. It's still snowing here... tonight we're gonna make hot chocolate & snow ice cream!