7.31.2009

Sweet


During the day, he's all play...but after a nap or before bed,
I always hear, "Mama, sit and cuddle wittle bit?"


I love my sweet boy.

7.30.2009

Baby Xander

I told you I'd post a photo as soon as I got one, so here he is! Our NEWEST nephew, Xander Sieh!


Sarah says he's such a sweet, content little guy. Look at ALL that mohawk-able dark hair! He looks a lot like his brother when he was born (yes, blonde Malachi's hair was this color at birth!) We'll see what we get. For now, it looks like the 1/4 Mexican in him is coming out pretty strong!

Love you, Xander!

Spooky Things

Cameron's new favorite game is to walk up to me (tiptoeing sneakily) and whisper, "LISTEN Mommy!" Then I whisper back and ask what it is, and he responds, "It's a [fill-in-the-blank] bear, lion, dinosaur, dragon, spider, etc. It's so SPOOKY!" He's really into suspenseful things right now, I hope my playing along with this game is not traumatizing him. He really seems to enjoy it!

Here's how our conversation went yesterday:

Cam: Oh Mommy, listen!!
Me: What is it, Bubba?
Cam: It's berry spooky.
Me: Listen, what is it?
Cam: [Whispering very quietly] It's....fruits and veggies!

The truly scary things in our day :)

7.28.2009

What I'm Reading



INCREDIBLY good stuff. Not a light read by any means, but such amazing truth. I'm only on chapter 3, and I give it my full recommendation!

7.26.2009

Yes, No

Here's what we've been up to lately!
Thanks Janel @ Team Sullivan for this cute photo idea!!

YES, Cameron sometimes gets out of bed before naptime is really over.

NO, Elly doesn't mind her tan lines.
Or running around without clothes on...

YES, he loves chocolate cake as much as his Momma.

NO, he won't hold still to let you take a picture...

YES, our Mom only lets us play with the safest toys.

NO, Elly did not share any of her M&M's with me this weekend.

YES, Cam & Chi were mistaken for twins a couple of times.
My pregnant belly and I got some interesting looks...

NO, Mom, the soup isn't done yet!
Chi's was "meat and potatoes" and Cam's was "cheese and peas."

YES, it's tough holding your own with these two boys...
but somehow, Elly managed ;)

A New Nephew!

As of 2:58 this morning, Caleb and I are once again proud uncle and auntie! Cameron and Elly, even at their young age, are "big" cousins again! Eric & Sarah (Caleb's next-oldest brother and his wife), welcomed Alexander Joseph Evan Sieh into their family today. He weighed 7 lbs, 14 oz, and was 20.5 inches long. He will be called Xander (pronounced Zander) for short.

Baby Xander is welcomed home by his two older sisters, Ashley and Jocelyn, and his older brother, Malachi. Malachi was actually staying with us for the weekend, so he headed home with Grandma today to see his brother for the first time! He saw a pic of him and kissed the phone...precious!

Word is he has a full head of dark hair and dark-ish skin...can't wait to get my hands on him! Something about "getting the call" and the anticipation of a baby's birth is like nothing other, isn't it?! I'll post pics as soon as I get them!

This puts the Sieh cousin tally at 9, with #10 (our little boy) coming in November! So much fun. Congrats Eric, Sarah, and family!!

7.24.2009

Boy Oh Boy

After our ultrasound on Tuesday, we are happy to announce that we are most certainly having another little BOY in November! We got to spend a great deal of time in the u/s room, because the little guy was such a wiggler that is was very difficult for them to see all the anatomical things they wanted to see.

We saw A LOT of his hands, which he always seemed to be pushing in front of the camera, as if to say, "back off!" (A bit reminiscent of his sister, who straight up gave us the finger...but anyway...) By the end, though, he settled in perfectly to show us exactly what we needed to see, and as he appeared to be drifting off to sleep, he curled those sweet, teeny little hands under his chin JUST LIKE Cameron does when he sleeps (and just like I do)! I managed to withhold my tears until then!

Our u/s tech was the very sweetest older lady, she repeatedly told us how cute Cam & Elly were, and how cute the baby was (I'm quite sure she says it to everyone...but, I've also had ultrasound techs with poor bedside manner, so I very much appreciated her)! Nonetheless, the pictures we managed to get of baby boy were some of the worst (show off-wise) that I've had of all 3 kids. They were quite dark, and due to his squirminess, we didn't get many clear ones.

She tried to get some fleeting pics of the hands, and we have the gender-determining shot, though I don't exactly feel right slapping that one online!

Here's his sweet little profile, even though it's a bit dark.


Little stinker! We love him so much! During the ultrasound, Cameron touched the screen and said, "That's baby brudder! He SO sweet."

**********************************************

It has taken me awhile to post this info because, quite honestly, I've been overwhelmed with emotions this past week. On Monday, one of my dearest friends found out she and her husband had lost their baby at 9 weeks. On Tuesday, our college friends had to say goodbye to their 1-week-old infant, who went to be with Jesus. Things like this overwhelm me and shut me down. I don't know what to say or what to do, besides cry and pray.

God is faithful, God is good, this I know. But that doesn't stop my heart for aching for either of these families. Such unimaginable pain they experienced in a week (and many to follow) that I experienced such great joy.

My first-mentioned friend put it so well in a note she wrote on Facebook:

Proverbs 13:12 "Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life." I must emphasize that our HOPE has been deferred, NOT destroyed. Our HOPE can never be destroyed for we put our HOPE in God as the Psalmist says in chapter 42. "Why so downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God" (Ps.42:11). One day, one beautiful day that is beyond anything I can imagine or HOPE for, God will allow this longing that He has given us to be fulfilled. Then we will experience the joy of new life. Until then, though it is not easy, we will not waver but will find our strength and HOPE in Christ Jesus.

It is the courage of both these couples that blesses and amazes me. Whatever roller coaster you may be on - from the horrific to the daily grind - there is only one Hope, one Constant, that can sustain, protect, and endure. I assure you, He's enough.

Part-Time

It has been awhile since I posted - we had our ultrasound, but more on that later! In faster-moving news, our 14.5 month old is super close to being a walker!! I don't say that my kids are "walking" until it is their preferred mode of travel...so for now I wouldn't say Elly is walking, but she very well could if she wanted to!

She usually chooses to crawl if she needs to keep up with Cameron or run away from me when I'm trying to change her diaper, so it's still an option. However, she's been standing up in the middle of the floor spontaneously and wobbling around ALL DAY today! So, I think that within a few weeks Miss Elly might go to work walking full-time!

She gets really proud of herself whenever she does it...sometimes she falls down just because she is looking around to see if she might have an audience to clap and cheer her on!!

Here's a video of our lil' chickadee in action:

video

7.17.2009

Simple Salsa

Have you ever made your own salsa? If you haven't, especially if it's because you found it too intimidating, I've got a recipe for you! It made a salsa mama out of me!

Our Sunday School teachers from our first two years at CVC, Carlos and Mary, always brought this salsa to get-togethers. Mary said she wasn't a good cook, but this was one thing she could handle. Now, I like to cook, but I'm short on time and energy, so my ears always perk up when I hear someone speak of a simple recipe... :)

To execute this salsa, all you need is a food processor (I've made in a blender, too), and the ingredients. It's not the chunky salsa consistency that some prefer, so probably not quite authentic, but it's SO easy, tastes bright and fresh and can stand up to any Mexican restaurant's "house" variety. Enjoy!

Simple Salsa

1 - 14.5 oz can of whole peeled tomatoes
1/4 - 1/2 white onion, roughly chopped
1-2 jalapenos, roughly chopped, seeds removed
Cilantro (I usually use 1/2 - 3/4 of a bunch)
Juice of 1 lime
Pepper, to taste
Garlic salt, to taste

Pour peeled tomatoes (and juice, if thinner salsa is desired) into food processor. Pulse until tomatoes are beginning to chop, but not completely pureed. Pour into medium sized bowl. Follow the same process with onions, jalapenos, and cilantro, chopping all to desired consistency before mixing with tomatoes. Once all ingredients are incorporated, add the lime juice, salt and pepper to taste. (Regular salt is fine if you don't like garlic or the garlic flavor is getting too strong).

Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours! This is a smaller recipe, I'd (at least) double it if you're making for a crowd. This is also fantastic to combine with avacados and make a delicious version of guacamole.

Note: If jalapenos are too much for you, try boiling them before rough chopping (for about 5 minutes). It reduces the heat factor a bit. As for me...I like 'em spicy!! I'm also a cilantro fanatic, so I probably use more of that than the average person would.

7.16.2009

The BayBay


pregnancy due date

Tomorrow I will be 22 weeks pregnant. 22 weeks along...with my THIRD baby. I still sit down and try to soak it all in sometimes, completely amazed at God's timing and goodness to our family. I don't have as much time as I did with Cameron, or even Elly, to even think about being pregnant. In a lot of ways, this is a good thing - I have to put all systems on "bypass" when I'm too tired, hungry, or puffy to keep going :)

Last month at our family reunion, my nephew came up to me, put his hands on my belly and said, "Aunt Michelle, you have such a big bay-bay!" I think I was about 17 weeks at the time. Oh, dear child, this is NOT a big baby. Check back in a few months, and I'll show you scary-big.

I'm to the point now where my belly isn't the only thing growing, my legs and backside are following suit. (WHY???!!) I am already resigning to the reality of little to no sleep at night, because I can't get comfortable. My wedding ring fits once every two weeks, and it's a struggle to get it off again. Stretch marks have begun (each of my children gave me their own unique, precious version of these beauties).

Even with all of the less glamorous aspects of pregnancy hitting me full force, I'm still in awe of the process. The beauty and wonder that is carrying a child that God has created - a precious little spirit that He has entrusted to YOU. Making your babies big siblings. Seeing ten tiny fingers and toes, sweet little lips and a perfect little nose. THESE things are on my mind more now than they were the first two times around.

I think most people know that when I say God has blessed us with children, I mean He has truly blessed and (perhaps) taken us a bit off guard with how quickly they've come into our life. I can think of no greater blessing (and sometimes, no greater challenge), than the gift of life, of a growing, loving family. After trying other ways, I can confidently say I'd much rather leave the planning for our family in His hands - He doesn't really mess these things up!

We have our major ultrasound next Tuesday. First and foremost, of course, we want a clean bill of health. We're also hoping for a really clear shot of baby so we can continue to plan and prepare, but per a previous u/s, we're pretty sure it's a boy. Another point for the Lord, He knows we're nearly fully prepared for a baby boy in the winter! I'll definitely post the ultrasound pictures when we get them!

Cameron and Elly are both CONSTANTLY kissing my belly, laying their head down and talking to the baby. I swear he kicks the most when he hears his siblings, especially Cameron (this was the same with Elly). They are going to be the most fantastic big sibs. I can't wait to see them each interact with the new baby. Cam is always asking me to shove a ball in his shirt so he can have a "baby brudder" too.

My latest cravings have been more on the sweet side than the previous salty. Actually, more on the carb side in general. Cookies, cake, pop...I've been able to resist MOST of them. Another perk to having two babies already, I can't completely indulge and pig out...I must share!

The baby weighs about one pound now. Can't wait to see you next week, little guy!!

The belly at 21 weeks.
Water-retaining face, hands and feet excluded. :)

7.13.2009

Pumpkin Pies In July


See, I told ya!
The sweetest, most kissable babies I've ever seen!

7.12.2009

Thoughts On The Big P.T.

The big P.T.

You know, potty training? Have you tried it? NOT fun. I've just spent six days in a potty-soaked stupor, trying to encourage my 2 1/2 year old son to make use of the handy dandy disposal system we call the toilet. I came in armed with cute underwear for tiny buns, mountains of M&M's, stickers, an econo-sized jug of Resolve, and plenty of determination and enthusiasm.

Alas, I've been defeated.

Cameron is interested in using neither the potty chair nor the toilet, and he is also now scared and sneaky when it's time for him to relieve himself. We didn't do pull-ups, we did straight underwear for what surely could've been 3 weeks. I washed sheets, underwear, shorts and mattress pads like it was my sole occupation, and I scrubbed the most obscure corners of carpet where the little potty monster would escape to and do his dirty work.

It apparently took me all of six days to fully grasp the fact that Cam is simply not ready to make this step. He does not get bothered by dirty or wet underwear. He gets scared when he hears his deposits go into the toilet and wants to be held. He runs away from me whenever I approach him because he fears I will run him to the bathroom for another try.

Accepting the fact that it's not quite time yet was certainly hard(est) for me. I wanted to be a great, encouraging mom...a cheerleader, supporter, and ever-patient saint who gently guided my son in the ways of the toilet. I feel most of all like I failed Cameron, so it was hard for me to resign to being done for a little while. I don't like to leave projects unfinished, and I HATE giving up on something I've set out to do. I'm an athlete, a competitor, a coach. I don't like failing.

But, it's not time. It just can't be time! And if you can't train 'em, at least come up with entertaining antics to keep yourself from sitting down and rocking yourself to sleep on the cold tile floor :)

Here are a few of my observations:

Most sweets, carbs, and definitely all fats should be removed from the home during potty training. I am pregnant and tending a little more toward these things than normal...but I'm pretty sure I gained 5 lbs. from the stress.

Your nose starts to trick you. I kept asking Caleb, does this smell like pee? Every inch of absorbent material is a possible accident spot. Urine on the brain!

Also, after this week, the smell of Resolve carpet cleaner = puke.

Potty training makes everyone cry. Brother (EVERY TIME), mom, and sister. Maybe I'll just have Elly train Cameron?

Instead of the "potty train," I propose a re-naming to the "potty plane." Takeoff always makes you nervous, there will likely be much turbulence along the way...and there is always a chance you might crash :)

This time, this mommy's potty plane/train/automobile crashed and burned. Here's to the next try (and perhaps some counseling...)!

7.09.2009

Sugar & Spice


"Divas are not made, they are born."
- Fiona Apple

7.08.2009

Did You Know?


At five minutes and six seconds past 4 a.m. today, it was
04:05:06 07/08/09.

Fun, random facts that lift me out of the dreary fog of pregnancy and potty training... :)

7.07.2009

Best Combos

My friend Mrs. B. posted such a cute blog the other day that I decided to borrow her idea and post one of my own! It's similar to the "favorites" concept - my best combos. Thanks, Mrs. B.!

Brother + Sister + 17 months apart
An intense relationship that most often results in lots of love :)


Texas Toast croutons
+ chicken, romaine & caesar dressing

The perfect ingredients for a fantastic summer supper.


Daddies + tickles
Because nobody does it better!


Ice cold Coca-Cola + popcorn
Perfect for movie night or ANY night...


Sieh babies + blueberries
I'm glad they're such an apparent "super food,"
because Cam & Elly LOVE them.
See?


Caramel Frappuccino + solo grocery shopping trip
Two percent milk, of course. Nothin' light about it.
My favorite kind of "mommy time."


Beautiful flowers + thoughtful husband
+ no apparent reason

Enough said :)


Fun, huh? What are your best combos?

7.06.2009

She's Got The Look

Elly Mariah is my little princess - she's a determined, strong little lady...but still a lady through and through. She loves to sing, try on necklaces, dress herself up and (try to dress up) her brother, pick up toys and put them in boxes and pretend to talk on the phone!

As far as looks, Elly has inherited pretty much ALL of Caleb's genes. Dark skin and dark-ish hair, longer face, brown eyes, height, etc., etc. However, her expressions quite mirror her Mama's. One she is especially good at is the "Mom Look," the look you all know, the stern, raised eyebrows, don't-break-the-stare, "do that one more time and you're in for it" look.

I give it to her, she gives it back. We have numerous staring contests...usually they end in one of us laughing. Oh, Lord help me through the teenage years!

Here is Miss Elly beginning to give me one of her "Mom Looks."

Come on, Mom, make my day!
(How can I not laugh?!)

7.05.2009

Independence Day

I hope you all had a relaxing 4th of July! We had a rainy, cloudy day, but I was overcome with emotion (always) as we celebrated. We hung out at home all morning and watched the rain come down, then headed to Denny's for lunch --right on the parade route in Apple Valley -- and satisfied MY pregnancy cravings (a sandwich with a juicy tomato - Caleb's order; pancakes - my order; and bacon - Cam's order).

We exited the restaurant and watched just the beginning of what looked to be a fantastic parade because the kids were getting tired. Tears came to my eyes several times as the flags were presented by various groups, marching bands played familiar patriotic anthems and both current and retired soldiers waved and received applause. I am so very thankful for those who founded this country on Godly principles, those who have fallen and still fight to defend that freedom, and for my true freedom in Christ, without which my other rights and privileges would be far less rich. I am truly blessed.

We ended the evening with a dip in the pool (it was COLD but Caleb kept them moving), and burgers and hot dogs on the grill with baked beans and corn on the cob. Angel food cake and strawberries for dessert. A fun, fulfilling family day.

I didn't get many pics of our day (I am coming down with a cold - five THOUSAND times worse when you're pregnant), but I thought it was fun to compare shots of the kids from 2008 to this year. Funny how much they change...

Happy Independence Day!

Elly, July 2008 (almost 2 months old)

Cameron, July 2008 (1 1/2 years old)

Elly, July 4, 2009.
My little firecracker!

The duo, mesmerized by Mickey Mouse.

7.01.2009

What's In A Zoo?

Caleb had the day off on Monday, so we made our way to the [free!] Como Zoo in Saint Paul. Cam has been really into animals lately, especially ones that say "RAWR!" (Lions, tigers, bears, etc.) This zoo doesn't have TONS of animals, but was perfect to appease Cameron without wearing this pregnant mom down too much!

Of course, Cam was enthralled by the tigers, but also loved the fish, monkeys, zebras and giraffes. When we ask him now what he saw at the zoo, he'll list of three or four animals (some of which were NOT actually at the zoo), then he'll say "and da BIG poops!" Apparently the large piles of giraffe and zebra dung on display made a huge impact on him! Leave it to the boy to remember POOP.

Elly had fun riding around on Caleb's shoulders and enjoying her goldfish snacks and apple juice - my kind of girl :) All in all, it was a super-fun family day! We'll be heading back soon!!

Watching the seals eat their afternoon snack and do some tricks!

The best view of the zoo is from Daddy's shoulders.

Cam's FAVORITE stop of the day...
Poor guy just paced and paced along the same path!

Telling me what the tiger says..."RAWWR!"

Super Girl and her sidekick :)

Superfan

'Tis [apparently] the season for Cameron videos. Here, he uses his incredibly perceptive little brain to name almost half of the Minnesota Twins lineup off our 2008 calendar. I'm so glad he's learning the important things in life... :)

video

Just in case you can't understand the players' names, they are: Joe Nathan (on cover), Justin Morneau, Joe Nathan (in calendar), Michael Cuddyer, and of course JOE MAUER! I can't tell if he knows them by their numbers or the way they look (or, perhaps, he just has the order memorized, although he can point them out on TV, too)!

The things you learn during Daddy time!!

Greater Things

I think most of you Iowa bloggers (any maybe even some Minnesotans) know about the fatal shooting of Aplington-Parkersburg Head Football Coach Ed Thomas last week. He was an incredible man, one of Caleb's coaching role models, and outspoken about his faith. Last May, the A-P community was hit with a devatasting tornado that flattened a majority of the town. Thomas was a huge leader in the school and town re-build.

One of Thomas' former players has been charged in the shooting. I heard someone say that as he was being arrested for another crime the week prior to the shooting, he said something about doing the "devil's work." I'm certain this is a situation the devil wants to turn into a hopeless, dark disaster...but I know that the Lord works in the midst of these tragedies to bring life and healing.

The funeral was full of past and current A-P football players, as well as players and coaches from neighboring communities. When someone lives their life for God in the way Coach Thomas did, the devil doesn't have a foothold! People knew what he was about, what he stood for. He was a fantastic coach, but that wasn't where his HOPE came from. I still get overcome with sadness for the A-P athletes and Coach Thomas' family and friends...but this man has set up the framework for greater things to come even as a result of his absence. Because his hope, drive and passion came from an eternal source.

I heard this song (God of This City) on the radio for the first time the day after the shooting. I love Chris Tomlin's lyrics, always, but this song especially caught me. I think it can apply to so many situations...large cities full of poverty and disaster, mission fields with a deep need for Jesus, etc. But Parkersburg has now suffered a natural disaster and the murder of one of their town's "pillars." YET - God has even greater things in their community. I can almost hear Coach Thomas speaking this to his players and community - urging them to believe and engage. You must listen!

As an athlete from a neighboring community, I'm sure I only knew a fraction of what this amazing man stood for. But because his roots were so deep in Christ and his community, I can't help but be driven and inspired by his work and his legacy. A coach, friend, father and grandfather whose life was, perhaps, cut short by earthly standards, but whose ministry will continue far beyond his physical passing.

Sports Illustrated wrote a fantastic article, you can read it here. My thoughts and prayers continue to go out to all involved in this situation. As a former athlete and a current coach, it has been on my heart constantly.

The June 29 edition of the Waterloo Courier states that there is a sign on I-57 in Parkersburg that reads, "God has a plan for us." - Ed Thomas.

Addendum to this post: My college friend, Alicia, let me know that "God of This City" was not written by Chris Tomlin, but by a band called Blue Tree. Actually, she interviewed them! Read the story behind this impactful song on her blog, Virginia Living. Thanks, Alicia!!