Sunday, January 11, 2015

Linna's first week at dulwich.


Linna in her new school uniform.
Last week, our 3-year-old started nursery at a new school in Singapore. Although we absolutely loved her former school (Pasir Panjang Church Hill Kindergarten), we wanted to get her on a calendar similar to the American school calendar, and we wanted her to start going a little longer days. Dulwich College is a British school with a 400-year tradition, and a top international school in Singapore that practices a dual language model (English and Mandarin). We were thrilled when Linna was accepted to Dulwich, and it's an opportunity she just wouldn't get back home in Minnesota.

The school is very "proper" and traditional, but modern and brand spankin' new (they just opened in Singapore in August 2014). Everytime I walk into the school I feel like I'm stepping into Downton Abbey (one of my favorite shows). Everyone at the school is so polite, and they all speak with these beautiful "posh" British accents. Linna's teacher, Miss Wallace, reminds me of Anna Bates from Downton Abbey. She's incredibly sweet, and just like an English Disney princess. Linna absolutely LOVES her! There are about 16 kids in Linna's class, which is a big change from her former school, where there were just five kids in her class. There's also an assistant Mandarin-speaking teacher in the classroom as well. Linna is in the "Early Years" school, which Dulwich refers to as DUCKS (Dulwich College Kindergarten Singapore). The classroom is bright, airy, and there's hands-on learning around every corner. There's also a bathroom right inside the classroom with toilets and sinks designed just for these little ones. I can see why Linna loves being there!

The biggest changes with Linna's new school is the start time, transportation to and from school, and the distance the school is from our home in Singapore. Linna's former school was a 15-minute walk from our house, so I was at the school every day to drop her off and pick her up. Now, I have to put our 3-year-old on the school bus (which is more like a school van with seat belts, thankfully) every morning, and she takes the bus home as well. This was a huge struggle for me. Linna is ONLY 3 years old, and I still look at her as my baby! I've really had to learn to let go a bit and put a lot of trust in people I barely know (after I got their full names, phone numbers, and background, of course). That's difficult for any Mom. Linna is on the bus for about 25 minutes in the morning, and then a half-hour in the afternoon. The school bus has a driver, as well as an "Auntie" (a woman dedicated to the care of the children), which I really appreciate. During the first week, we had some frustrating glitches with Linna's bus routes/schedules, which left both of us in tears. As we start the second week of school, I'm hopeful that everything has been sorted, so we can start the week out on a positive note.

Dulwich has swimming as part of the school's curriculum, and
swimming day happened to land on Linna's first day of school.
How cute are the school swimsuits and swim caps?!

Linna and another student working very hard on the first day of school.

She was completely wiped when I picked her up after her first day.

Quite possibly the biggest change of all... our super early wake-up time. I've been so spoilt having a good little sleeper, and Linna and I rarely wake up before 9 a.m. Now, we are up at 7 a.m. every morning to get ready for school, and be outside waiting for the school bus at 8 a.m. Linna is completely wiped when she gets home from school around 1:15 p.m., so she's in bed by 6 p.m. every night. We've dropped her nap during the school week, but she did take a 1.5-hour nap on Friday after school last week. We also have her napping on the weekends if we plan on having her up past 7 p.m.

Linna and her teacher, Miss Wallace.

On the way to catch the school bus with "Pingu" (class mascot).

Linna's first "homework" assignment: "What I did this weekend".

Although I am struggling a bit not being at Linna's school every day, I am enjoying my kid-free time. Linna's new school is located waaaaaay up in the northwest part of Singapore (close to Malaysia), and since we don't have a car here, it gets expensive taking a taxi to the school and back home. I'm planning on picking Linna up from school at least one day a week, so I can get to know the parents and teachers in her class. Everyone has been just wonderful so far. Most importantly, Linna absolutely loves her new school. She's shed a few tears getting on and off the bus during the first week, but she's completely happy once she's at school. Linna's teacher even let Linna take home the class mascot ("Pingu" the penguin) during the first week of school, when Linna was having a hard time getting on the bus to come home. Such a sweet thing to do! I am really appreciating the communication from Linna's teachers as well, and I feel like I know what goes on in the class each day.

Onto week #2!

My baby taking a well-deserved nap after a full week at a new school.

GIVEAWAY: Prenatal massage from indigo organic.

While I was visiting my in-laws in Mankato, MN over the holidays, I made another stop at one of my favorite salons in SW Minnesota. I've had a couple fantastic hair cuts and styles, and incredibly relaxing massages at INdiGO Organic, so I always find myself going back. Plus, I can pick up some healthy snacks for our 3-year-old in the shop that's connected to the salon. The owner, Shelly Bartlett, is a good friend of mine through the Miss America Pageant system, and her staff at INdiGO Organic is always very friendly and helpful. Did you know they have a certified organic deli too?! The deli will be under construction in January 2015 in order to keep up with the demand in SW Minnesota, but look for it to open early this year! They'll have soups, teas, juices, coffee, sandwiches, etc., and EVERYTHING will be certified organic. This makes me incredibly excited to get back to Mankato when we're home this summer!

*** To celebrate the amazing growth of INdiGO Organic, we're giving away a 60-MINUTE PRENATAL MASSAGE to one of you!!! ***

There's two ways to enter for a chance to win:

1. "Like" the Minnesota Baby Facebook page, and share this contest post with your Facebook friends (you must click "share" under the INdiGO Organic contest post on our Facebook page).

2. Comment on this blog post (below) with your first and last name, along with the city you currently reside in.

Two simple ways to enter, and if you complete both ways, you'll double your chances to win! You must enter by Sunday, January 18th at 8 p.m. (CST) to be eligible, and this contest is only open to US residents. One winner will be randomly selected to win a 60-minute prenatal massage at INdiGO Organic in Mankato, MN (valued at $60). The winner will be announced on this blog. Good luck everyone!


MORE ABOUT INDIGO ORGANIC:

INdiGO Organic is a clean air salon, offering salon and spa services as well as a lifestyle shoppe featuring USDA organic food items and lifestyle products. They incorporate eco-friendly practices to protect the future of the earth. They exclusively use Intelligent Nutrients hair and skin care products for salon services (free of sulfates, parabens, silicones, ethyoxylates, PEG, pthalates and synthetic fragrances). Every aspect of their salon is based on organic practices, designed to nourish the inner and outer beauty of their clients.

1541 East Madison Avenue
Mankato, MN 
(507) 386-0021

Thursday, January 1, 2015

One more year in singapore.

Happy 2015 from our Minnesota Baby in Singapore!
Since it's the start of a brand new year, I thought I'd update everyone on our family's plan for the coming year. There has been a lot of change and questions in our personal and professional lives over the last few months, and we finally have some answers.

1. We've decided to extend our stay in Singapore. When we initially "moved" to Singapore, we signed on for a 3-month visit. That 3 months turned into 2 more years, which would be wrapping up this coming March. However, due to another fantastic opportunity for Papa Saigh's career, we have decided to extend our stay in Singapore until March 2016. Our decision to stay was not easy, as we have really been missing our family and friends back in Minnesota. But for now, we need to focus on Papa Saigh's career and soak up another year of exciting opportunity for our family here in Singapore. Linna and I plan on coming home for a long visit this summer, and the 3 of us plan to be back home in Minnesota for Christmas.

2. Our 3-year-old starts college next week. Ok, not really. But Linna has been accepted into one of the top international schools, and will start at Dulwich College in Singapore on Tuesday. We are so excited about this change, as Dulwich has a fantastic Mandarin immersion program, and the school calendar is similar to the American school calendar. Dulwich is a British school with a 400-year tradition. This school offers swimming as a part of their curriculum, which is very exciting for our little fish. This opportunity is one that Linna wouldn't get back home in Minnesota, so we are taking full advantage. Although we have nothing but good things to say about Linna's first nursery-school experience in Singapore at Pasir Panjang Church Hill Kindergarten, we are excited for Linna to be able to attend longer days at school (8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.), so she's prepared for the full days that start in August. More about Linna's new school to come!

3. Will there be a Baby Saigh #2? We're working in this:)

As you can see, there is a lot of change going on with the Singapore Saigh family. It's important to go into the new year with a positive mind-set, no matter how much we miss everyone back home. We are so thankful for the opportunities we've been given over the last few years. We are incredibly lucky, and I am so excited to see what 2015 has in store for us!

Stay tuned...

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Linna's first bicycle.


I love my daughter. But her inability to pedal, look up, and steer at the same time seriously tests my "outstanding gift" of patience (FYI, Mama Saigh = Subpar patience). I am so thankful for our 3-year-old's Auntie Lisa and Papa Saigh, for giving Linna the basic lessons in bicycle riding... because frankly, I'm not cut out for this. We went back and forth between the idea of having her start with a balance bike (the latest trend), or a "regular" bike with training wheels. We decided to get her the bike with training wheels, so we can get as much use out of it as we can. I'm sure balance bikes are amazing, but balance bikes and bikes with training wheels cost $150+ in Singapore. I can't justify spending WELL beyond what we'd pay in the US, for not one... but TWO bikes.

She's 3.

Luckily, Papa's Saigh's parents (MeMaw and PeePaw) wanted to buy Linna her first bike for Christmas. So, I randomly found this bike on sale at Giant (my worst Singapore super-store nightmare) for under $100, and it came with a basket, tassels, and a bell... DONE. Bikes at Toys R Us in Singapore cost close to $200!

Seriously?! She's 3.

(She's stopped... which is the ONLY reason she's looking up.)

MeMaw and PeePaw Skyping in fromMN, while we do the big bike "reveal".

Anyway, Linna loves her new bike (thank you, MeMaw and PeePaw), and it was so fun to see the look on her face when we gave it to her on Christmas morning. I'm hoping that MeMaw and PeePaw are planning to fly to Singapore to teach her to ride it.

Side note: How cool it the GoPro?!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Our first gopro video.

My parents got Papa Saigh a GoPro for Christmas. You can thank them, or shun them for the amazing videos to come. Here's video of Papa Saigh's first time using his new GoPro with our 3-year-old...



Thanks Mom and Dad for the fantastic gift!


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Linna sings songs from disney's frozen.

Sure we're a little tardy to the party on the whole Disney's Frozen fad, but our 3-year-old is currently obsessed with EVERYTHING Frozen. She sings "Let it Go" and "Do You Want to Build a Snowman" all day... every day. It's pretty much her "Shake it Off" replacement. Her other favs at the moment... "Bang Bang", "Black Widow", and "Animal". I blame this on our spending almost two months in Minnesota driving around listening to the radio. I know, I know... Mom of the Year! Hey, at least we're over Barney:)





Friday, December 12, 2014

Santa in singapore.

Today, I took Linna to see Santa in Singapore. Papa Saigh is in the Philippines for work, and he HATES Singapore malls on the weekend, so I thought I'd check this one off our list while he's out of town. This is the first time we're spending Christmas away from home, so I thought we'd show Linna that Santa comes to Singapore too. The last couple years, Linna has wanted NOTHING to do with sitting on Santa's lap. Last year, at the Macy's Santa Breakfast, Linna let me hold her while she talked to Santa. This year, she was SO excited to see Santa, and she even brought him a treasure map. She's such a character! She walked right up to Santa (who wasn't Asian, much to my surprise), sat on his lap and told him she wanted more Calico Critters (her lateset obsession). I'm hoping Santa doesn't listen, because she has a room FULL of Calico Critters, thanks to Uncle Scotty, Aunt Holly, and my Mom and Dad. Linna also thought it was pretty spectacular that Santa remembered her name when we walked by him a second time to say goodbye... AND Santa knew how to pronounce her name (most people in Singapore call her "LEE-Nah" instead of "Lynn-ah"). This was a very quick, but magical experience for both of us!

Linna and Santa at Tanglin Mall in Singapore.

Unlike in Minnesota, Tanglin Mall (where we went to see Santa) pretty much makes you buy a photo package in order to sit on Santa's lap. They don't allow parents to do their own photography, but Mama Saigh rolled video anyway. I bought the cheapest photo package (two 4X6 photos for $19.95), and I admit that the elves did a great job getting a good photo of Linna on Santa's lap. I took a pic of the pic they took, so I could post it on here:)



Waiting in line. So happy we got there early because
the line was SO long after we got through.