2.28.2009

Grandpa Love


This Grandpa guy is lots of fun!
Elly and my Dad last weekend in Iowa. :)

Recent Library Favorites


But Not The Hippopotamus
By Sandra Boynton


Cute, light, fun and witty. Cameron can finish the phrases in this book and we read it daily. We also recite it at lunch, in the bathroom, etc., etc. This was a birthday gift from Great Grandma and Grandpa. Only a handful of chew marks from sister so far...


Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
By Bill Martin, Jr.


This is a classic, I remember reading it to my younger siblings when they first started school. It's quite catchy (I still have portions of the book memorized!) It's a long story for Cam to make it through, and he gets a little anxious to get the pages turned at the end, but he likes to point out all the letters and the colors.



Blue Hat, Green Hat
By Sandra Boynton


After the success of Hippopotamus, we went searching for more Boynton selections. I found this one in the board book bin at the library, so I snatched it up! Cameron can read this entire book because it's so simple, and basically describes what the characters are wearing.


Mommy Mine
By Tim Warnes


A precious book, very simple rhymes and great illustrations of animal babies and their mommies. Cameron loves looking at all the animals and this book helps him identify the meanings of some less-common adjectives.

All receive two thumbs up and 4 cookies (stars) from our budding book critic! ;)

2.27.2009

Friday Fill-Ins

These are cute, thanks Mrs. B. for the idea! :)

1. I'm blessed, I'm thankful, I praise.

2. Why do I have chips and not dip? :D

3. How does this weather work, anyway?

4. Every morning, I put socks on my feet.

5. I consider myself lucky because I'm able to stay home with my children.

6. One day we’ll see what the Lord has next for us.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to family time, tomorrow my plans include cheering on Caleb's basketball team, and Sunday, I want to take a nap! :)

So Manny And His Sidekick

Did the title of this post confuse you? :) Cameron is a faithful viewer of the Mickey Mouse Club and Little Einsteins on the Disney channel...but one show he hasn't latched onto is Handy Manny. It's on before or after some of the shows we have DVRed, so he sees the intro and hears the song. Caleb frequently comes home from work with a pen behind his ear, and somehow Cameron remembers that Manny does the same thing!

I'm quite sure he can say "handy manny," but for whatever reason, he chooses to say "so manny," probably because he hears the expression "so many" fairly often. Anyway, it's one of those Cameronisms that I really don't want to correct because it's quite precious. Whenever he finds a pen, he asks for help putting it behind his ear and the transformation happens. I caught it on video yesterday! :)

video

In other news, Elly is a full-force crawler! It took her a matter of weeks to go from army crawling and scooting to getting up on her hands and knees and really moving! This has a lot to do with her personality, and I expect walking is not far off for us. She's already trying to pull up on the furniture! Go Ells!!

Cam couldn't resist making an appearance in this video, too...

video

Have a fantastic weekend, everyone!

2.24.2009

We Are Family

In 2008, both sides of our extended families updated their family pictures. It's funny how quickly pictures can become inaccurate...both the Siehs and Beichleys have or will have new family members before 2009 is over! Just wanted to share a few pictures of our wonderful families who we love so much!

The Sieh 18 (baby Isabella was in Yanury's tummy!) Seven grandkids and counting...Eric and Sarah are expecting in August! This was taken on July 6, 2008, in the heart of Elly's colicious days. Just look at her! My, how we've changed even since then! Left to right, front row and back, we are: 1.) Ashton, Cameron, Adrien, Jocelyn, 2.) Ashley, Yanury, Mom (Liz), Dad (Rodger), Michelle, 3.) Josh, Eric, Malachi, Ryan, Elly, Caleb, 4.) Sarah & Kristina.

The Beichley clan. This was taken the day before Thanksgiving 2008. My siblings and parents are all quite photogenic, so I was happy that our family cooperated and was all looking at the camera (Elly is even quite pleasant...not a smile, but let's take what we can get!) Laura marries Brett on June 6, so that's when this pic becomes obsolete! Left to right we are: Michelle, Elly, Caleb, Cameron, Dad (Randy), Jay, Mom (Susan), Sonya & Laura.

The Sieh girls. My lovely sisters- and mom-in-law. This was the day when my precious niece asked me if I had another baby in my tummy. Ouch.

The Beichley sibs. Can you see the resemblance? :) There were a few versions of this pic, one where we're holding my brother Jay up (and I am struggling mightily) as he lay across our arms. They're pretty hilarious. Another nice memory...Jay forgot his picture attire at college so he's wearing a shirt borrowed from my father-in-law and pants and shoes from a generous friend!

2.23.2009

Lunch

My lunch today:

Pepper jack cheese, Club crackers and green grapes. YUM.

Today is a bit of a crazy day. We were gone (and on the go!) all weekend, and now we're getting back into the swing of things and the babies are catching up on sleep. Caleb works open to close today, so we're having a pajama day and throwing together whatever we can find for meals! I was pretty happy with what I scrounged up for my lunch!

Happy Monday, everyone!

2.19.2009

A Short List

The list is short...it's something I've not experienced up to this point. I'm talking about the scant selection of foods my Elly will eat. She's exceedingly picky, something Cameron NEVER was. She would eat anything I shoveled out of a baby food jar a mere two months ago, but now the diva has returned! :)

Here's the synopsis:
bread (at least it's wheat)
mac n' cheese
bananas
cheese
graham crackers
turkey (lunchmeat variety)
tortillas (only when filled with cheese)
baby cereal mixed with juice
peaches (only sometimes)
yogurt

If I would've posted this same type of thing when Cam was starting table foods, the list could've gone on for miles. Now I'm finally experiencing the (probably more typical) toddler liking "white" foods only. Notice, no veggies on that list, only two fruits. I try, she gags.

Ah well, persistence, persistence. She'll have to learn to like more than this, or she won't survive in this house (I am so thankful my parents made me a well-rounded eater, and I pray I'll be able to do the same for my children). Hopefully it's just a jag. Here's the snacking Miss E herself:

Being choosy, yet strangely irresistible at the same time...

2.16.2009

Must-Haves

I am a sucker for TV shows, magazines, websites, etc. when they feature their "Top Ten Must-Haves" or "Best of the Year," or "Our Favorite Things," etc., etc., etc. I'm not sure why, but I just love seeing what other people love! I was thinking this morning what the "must-haves" in our household are.

Here are a few I came up with (these center mostly around our children...):

Huggies diapers: Since my babies tend to be of the tall(ish), skinny variety, I need a diaper that compensates for length and fastens tight. It drives me nuts that Pampers and Huggies have a corner on the diaper market and can charge almost double what the generics cost, but they really are worth it (and sales and coupons help). Cam and Elly both use these for overnight to avoid wet sheets, and I almost always have Pampers/Huggies for them until they're done nursing. All you mamas who've changed a breastfed diaper know why you need them to be as leak-proof as possible! :) Cam uses generic during the day, but only Huggies for us at night!

Texas Toast croutons: I am a crouton lover! It's strange, but since college I simply cannot have a salad without a tasty crouton to top it off. These are the BEST. They come in a variety of flavors, but my favorite is Cheese & Garlic. They're big, crunchy, and soooo flavorful. Try them, you'll love 'em! (Super Target just started carrying these!)

Suavitel fabric softener:
Detergent comes and goes (whatever is on sale ends up here), but I get the econo-jug of Suavitel from Sam's Club, because I L-O-V-E the smell. I really enjoy clothes that smell "just washed" for weeks and weeks, and this does the trick. Yum.

Carter's onesies:
Again on the tall baby point: until 12 months, my babies wear a lot of onesies. The Carter's brand are cute, durable and nice and long. It seems that some other brands get too short too fast, and others were always too wide for Cameron. I'm pretty sure we have more babies to come, and I know that these onesies are an investment that younger siblings can re-wear.

Vaseline Intensive Rescue lotion: It works for the Sieh 4's skin woes (We've all got very dry skin, mine especially made worse by cold weather and constant diaper changes). We have a bottle in the bathroom and I use it after every wash. Plus, it's unscented as not to offend the men of the house :) Reasonably-priced and great quality.

JIF peanut butter:
There's nothing like it. I know, I know I'm going to find some Skippy-lovers and Peter Pan-pushers, but I'm a JIF mom for life. Choosy moms choose JIF. ;)

Pace picante sauce:
I'll take a shortcut and buy generic if it's in a recipe...and if I have extra time I'll make homemade...but for setting out with chips, Pace picante sauce is our absolute favorite.

Asics running shoes: With two kiddies around the house, a new pair of running shoes is definitely a luxury, but when I do renew my kicks (and I find that my joints will tell me when it's time), I won't change my tradition. Ever since my freshman year of cross country, I've been an Asics DS Trainer girl. I've had almost every color (white/fill in the blank) you can imagine, as I used to buy two a year. There's something so fun about getting a brand new pair! The good part is, I don't have to fret about the decision, I just ask for my size!

Just a few of my must-haves! As you might have guessed, I'd love to know...what are yours?

Trying Out Coborn's Delivers

I've never really considered trying a grocery delivery service. I figured, they must find a way to turn a profit...and how could they do that besides over-charging for their products and doubling the gas price it takes them to deliver?

But, there is a first time for everything. I got a $20 off coupon in the mail, plus a free delivery code advertised on KARE 11, so I thought I'd get online and browse. The service I used is the former Simon Delivers, now called Coborn's Delivers. I looked around, and very quickly realized that most prices are indeed inflated to compensate for the convenience factor. However, I found some fantastic sales that were just as good, if not better, than those I would find at local grocery stores. The $ off coupon I had made those sales even sweeter!

Before long, I'd planned meals for the next two weeks, including meat, dairy, dry goods, and fresh fruit and vegetables (and even some "lazy foods" for lunches), and my grand total was $108.34. I used a few manufacturer's coupons, and then used my codes for $20 off and free delivery ($5), bringing my total down to $81.34.

Our grocery budget is fairly tight (we try to keep under $240 per month), so I was quite pleased with what I got for the money. Now, we're only feeding 3 mouths at best (Cam and Elly count as one at a good meal), so we can swing it. I don't mind buying generic, and I'd say almost half of the items I purchased were not name brand. But I will say, on this shopping trip, I got better deals that I could have at the Super Target + Cub + Rainbow trip that I usually navigate, and it came right to my door at 10:30 this morning!

All the fresh food that I bought (meat, vegetables, etc.) has a use-by date of February 22nd, which I thought was very reasonable. Some of the meat was on super-duper sale, so I'll freeze part of it. The delivery man was friendly, and even waited for a minute at the door while I changed Elly's aptly-timed blowout (oh, the pleasures of sweet babies...she's sick, so she gets a break). I had trouble using one of my coupon codes at checkout (on Saturday) and I emailed the "help" option...they emailed me right back and were able to help me complete the order. Overall, I'm very satisfied.

My mixed feelings come only because I know I'd never pay a $5 delivery fee, plus prices that are consistently at least 15% more than regular store prices, just for this service. I know many of you moms are with me on this one - I actually QUITE ENJOY my trips to the store...precious alone time - and the fees involved just don't trump sales, coupons, and the relaxation I get from shopping around. However, they do have very, very good sales on select items. If I got another round of coupons, I'd definitely consider doing this again.

If you're living in the Twin Cities and in the market for a grocery service, I highly recommend this one! You need to be short on time and willing to spend a bit more money than you would at the store, but time is money and as I said, they do have some very, very good sales on everyday grocery basics and even some novelty items (the sales change every few days).

Just thought I'd share my new experience! I felt kind of strange when the big bright truck drove up to the house today...like "why do I deserve such service??!" Haha! Fun.

2.13.2009

It's Tradition

I made Valentine's frosted cookies today. I've done so every year Caleb and I have been married, always making a large heart for each family member (only Caleb and I for the first two years), and more small, decorated hearts. This year, I made my largest batch of "big hearts" ever, four for our immediate family and one for Uncle Jay. I also made large hearts for Anna's family (see below for Anna update)!


I took a picture of Elly's heart because it was the ONLY one that came out with the text looking even remotely close to the way I wanted it to. My frosting got too warm and started to get really goopy and sloppy. Good thing my audience is a). not picky and b). largely two and under.

Cameron and Elly got frosted cookies for snacks today -- not something that happens very often. They gobbled them up and asked quite nicely for more!

We make these cookies a few times a year: pumpkins for Halloween, a wide variety for Christmas, hearts for Valentine's Day, and shamrocks for St. Patrick's Day. I once made a whole batch of basketballs with names on them for Caleb's basketball team...because I thought "I would love a delicious basketball cookie after a game"...but he promptly told me that young men didn't have quite the same affection for labeled, orange cookies, even if made with lots of TLC. Haven't done that since. :)

I managed to complete this whole project during a 2-hour tandem naptime, so I'd like to thank my cherubs for making it all possible! I'm actually excited for the day when they can help...

Happy Valentine's Day!

Anna update: As of this afternoon, Anna was making progress and being weaned off the oxygen mask to regular room air. Thanks for your prayers, please keep praying as she is incredibly weak and still has a long way to go to recover. Praise God for her healing thus far!

2.12.2009

Happy Birthday, Laura!

I have decided that I'm going to blog about each of my immediate family members on their birthday this year. I like to share with everyone why I love them so much! Today is my sister Laura's birthday. She is four years younger than me, living in Kansas City and planning her June wedding to her high school sweetheart. Two summers ago, she came and lived with us while she completed her internship. I missed her before that, but I've missed her even more since.

Here are a few of the very special things about my next-youngest sis:

We are a lot alike. We have the same sense of humor, look alike in many ways, get annoyed at (and a kick out of) the same commercials, etc.

We are also quite different. I'm a push-over, she's stubborn. I'm a wimp, she's really, REALLY tough. I'm a morning person, Laura...not so much! :)


Laura is a fantastic friend. She is one of the sweetest people you'll ever meet. To know her is to love her.


She LOVES caramel frappucinos, just like her big sis.


She has a degree in Merchandising, and works at Crate & Barrel. She's incredibly artistically and organizationally talented.


Laura strongly dislikes cooking. Her fiance Brett enjoys it, so I think they'll make it. I am thoroughly convinced she would (will be) a great cook if she tried. However, I know she'll have a fabulous kitchen!!


She endured a lot of bossing around from me in her childhood, and she still loves me. She can take on a lot with lots of grace.


She's a truly amazing aunt to Cameron and Elly. She loves them to bits and pieces.

She's brave. And strong.
I admire these traits about her so much.

She's a good driver, and drives a manual car better than most guys can!


She's trendy and cute. Always!

Laura, I hope you had a beautiful birthday. Our lives wouldn't be as rich without you in them. You are such a special person and I love you very much!

Sonya, Laura, Michelle. August 2007.

Sonya, Michelle, Laura. August 2008.

Eating Pillows

I can't help but laugh out loud as I post this...today Cameron came up to me and said, "Mama, eat dittle (little) pillows?"

OK, he has tons of Cameron-isms, most of which I've picked up on (and perhaps, on occasion, even encouraged because they're SO DARN CUTE, anyway)...but for the life of me, I couldn't figure out what he meant. Little pillows? Had he been chewing his way through the night?

Finally, he dragged me over to the pantry and showed me this box:


We both had a good laugh, although he didn't know why he was laughing! He got a few extra bites for being so precious. You've gotta admit...they do look like little pillows! Oh, how I love my sweet boy!!

[Awww]arded

It made me say "Aw!" this morning when I saw that both Mrs B. at She's Star Crossed and Miss Jordan at The Arnold Family had tagged me for this award:


"These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award.”

Well, bust my buttons! Thanks! I just love blogging...it's been a great way to reconnect with faraway friends who I'm unable to see often, to keep up with those that I live nearer to and still don't see enough, and even to get to know fantastic people who I never would've had the pleasure to otherwise (Jordan)! ;)

I'm awarding some of my blog friends:
Erica @ Claessens Family
Jamie @ Why Not One More?
and...I'm re-giving (not re-gifting) it to Jordan and Ashley, even though they already got it once. Because they deserve it. And it's my post. I get to choose. :)

Here's to you, fabulous friends of the blogosphere! Keep on doing what you do...you're an encouraging spot in our cra[sieh] days!

2.11.2009

Requesting Prayer For Anna

Hi Friends,

I am writing today to ask you to lift up my friend's little girl in prayer. Her name is Anna and she's had a horrible few weeks filled with fevers and sicknesses. She started with 105-106 degree fevers and trips in and out of the ER, and now she's been diagnosed with pneumonia and RSV. She has a pre-existing heart condition and athsma, and hasn't been able to keep her oxygen levels up where the doctors would like them.

She's in ICU, on oxygen, and fighting hard. Little Anna weighs 25 lbs at 3 years old (she was a preemie and a twin), and has already lost a couple pounds. She has a twin sister and older brother at home, and as you can imagine, her parents are both exhausted and torn to pieces seeing their baby so sick.

Please pray for a complete healing in sweet Anna, that the Lord would mend what's broken and protect her little body from the onslaught of sicknesses she's fighting. The whole family just needs strength, health and protection. Thank you so much!!

2.07.2009

Baby Deja Vu


Elly, almost 9 months

Cameron, almost 9 months

2.06.2009

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Today is my Dad's birthday. Since I have a blog now, I can go beyond telling him how wonderful I think he is...and tell all my friends and family online, too. My Dad is the best. I know, I know, everyone thinks their Dad is, but he really is an all-star.

He was born and raised on a farm, and as you would expect, he is an incredibly hard worker.

He spends hours and hours in the hog building and the field (in season) each week, and never complains one iota.


He's usually up before the sun, and always up before the rest of us.


He rarely misses my siblings and my concerts, sporting events, plays, etc., etc., etc. This sometimes meant he had to go back to work after the evening event.


He is an amazing spiritual leader for our family.


He is probably the most disciplined person I know -- my ability to discipline myself is a direct result of what I learned from him.


He's incredibly selfless. In all my life, I've never seen my Dad go to the store and buy something for himself (except maybe some peanut butter cups or Twizzlers)... :)


He loves Dairy Queen. If ever we're on a road trip, you can bet we'll find a Dairy Queen along the way and stop for a Blizzard, a strawberry shake or a cherry dipped cone. YUM!!


He's excellent at making conversation with people, making them feel welcome, included and accepted.


He's always been a good athlete and supported us in all our athletic endeavors. I remember him taking us to the softball field on Sunday nights and hitting us fly balls, that was my favorite! He'd also run with me and make me "finish hard," (sprint at the end), and never let me look behind to see how far away he was. In all my races, I've always tried to finish hard, and I've never looked over my shoulder, not once!


He made me learn how to change my own tire. (Wasn't thankful at the time, but now I am). ;)

He strongly encouraged me to work in the hog building with him. If nothing else, it gave me a greater appreciation for what my parents (and grandparents) do to earn a living. Plus, how many girls could say they had processed pigs (I'll spare you the details) in their freshman orientation class in college? Not many...


He's an awesome Grandpa to Cameron & Elly...and he's already playing the same games, reading the same books, and doing the silly things I remember him doing with me as a child.


I could go on and on. I will always look up to you, Dad. Thank you for all you've taught me, and all the sacrifices you've made for us over the years. I love you! HAPPY (#??) BIRTHDAY!!

My Dad (Grandpa B) with Cameron, Spring 2007

2.04.2009

Had I Only Known...

...That the potty chair would be used for Hot Wheels storage, an odd-looking hat, or mixing up tasty batches of make-believe soup, among other things...I probably wouldn't have unveiled it so soon.

...That the "Keep Warm" setting on my Crock Pot actually meant "Continue Cooking Perfectly Done Pot Roast and Veggies Into A Boiling Oblivion"...I probably would have turned it off before we went to visit Caleb at work. Ah, well. The babes and I eat anything!

...That digging "burgers" out of Cameron's nose would become so very rewarding for him and cause him to shove his fingers up at every given opportunity...I wouldn't have made it seem like such an achievement every time he blew one out.

...That my daughter had ESP and would gag just by touching a green bean, not even tasting it...I would've done a better job of disguising the nutrition.

...That Caleb was going to use the 50 cents I gave him at the basketball game to buy Cameron a sucker and send him into an all-out, sugar-induced frenzy at 7:45pm...I most definitely would NOT have given him a dime.

Just wanted to share a few jewels from this week. Hindsight is always 20/20, yes? :)

All You Need Is Love




2.02.2009

Monday "Coffee"

Ok, it's not caffeinated, but here's a little Sieh baby cuteness to get your week started.

video

Elly scoots! And isn't she just adorable in nothing but a diaper? She is quite good at saying "Ma Ma," but of course as I recorded, decided to declare "Ba Ba" instead.

Caleb's brother and his family visited this weekend. They are so much fun, and the kiddos have a ball together. This is Cameron and cousin Malachi ready for church. They're only two weeks apart in age...buds for life.

Drink up! ;) I needed
lots of real coffee this morning, how about you?! Have a blessed week!