Saturday, February 13, 2016

GIVEAWAY: I see me personalized book.

Our 4-year-old daughter Linna has a few personalized I See Me! books, and she absolutely loves when we read them to her. When she was a year old, Linna and I did a photo and video shoot for I See Me!, and were featured as one of Minnesota's families that loves books by I See Me!. Today, Baby Jimmy joined in on our love for this local company, as he received his first personalized I See Me! book. It's the 15th Anniversary Edition of "My Very Own Name", as I See Me! is celebrating 15 years of books this month. "My Very Own Name" was the first book that this Minnesota company released, and it has sold over a million copies.

I See Me! has also partnered with United Through Reading, and will donate a portion of their proceeds to this organization during the month of February. United Through Reading is dedicated to uniting US military families who face physical separation, by facilitation the bonding experience of reading aloud together.

With the help of I See Me!, we are giving away a personalized 15th Anniversary Edition of "My Very Own Name" to one of you! Enter for your chance to win by commenting on this blog post with your first and last name, as well as the city you reside in. For an extra chance to win, you can share this post with your Facebook friends by clicking the "share" button on our Minnesota Baby Facebook page. Entries need to be received by 8 p.m. on Friday, February 19th. This contest is open to US residents only, and the winner will be announced on this blog, and our Facebook page. Good luck!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Kindermusik with friends' "imagine that" class.


Linna getting to test out the accordion.
I am so sad that Linna's first session of the Imagine That class at Kindermusik with Friends has come to an end. Every Tuesday morning, our 4-year-old looked forward to her 55 minute class with Miss Kim. Linna has been doing Kindermusik classes since she was a baby, and we even found a Kindermusik in Singapore. But, the Imagine That class was our first "drop off" class.

Some days, I would actually drop Linna off and go run a few errands while she was in class. But most days, I would sit and enjoy the company of the other moms while we watched our children play musical instruments, pretend they were dinosaurs, or have an imaginary picnic in the park. Miss Kim is so incredibly wonderful with these 3 1/2 to 5-year-olds, and can keep their attention for the almost hour-long class. She is so engaging and had the kids' imaginations running wild!

Linna loved bringing the Kindermusik backpack filled with activity books and musical instruments that we received when we signed up for the class. We also received two CDs that Linna loves listening to at home in her bedroom. The class runs 16 weeks, and at $255 a session, it works out to be about $15 per class. That's a pretty fantastic deal when you consider that it's almost an hour-long, engaging class that you can drop your child off at. Plus, they get to take home literature and activity books, CDs, play-sets, instruments, etc.

The Imagine That class taught our 4-year-old how to use her imagination, with music as a thread, to compare, explore, and express herself. She also learned problem-solving skills, and we've definetly noticed how creative her imagination has become. I can't wait to get Baby Jimmy into his first Kindermusik with Friends class, and Linna into another Imagine That session. We made some great friends in this class that we're looking forward to getting together with for playdates!


Playing in the leaves this fall in their Halloween costumes.


Kindermusik with Friends has classes going on right now, for newborns up to age 7. Your first class is always free, and if you join in the middle of a session, your fees are prorated.

560 Market Street 
Chanhassen, MN
952-215-4877

Monday, January 11, 2016

Shutterfly app: Free unlimited prints.

After we got back home from traveling over the holidays, I noticed that my iPhone and iPad were running slower than normal. When I checked my photo storage, I saw that I had over a thousand photos from Christmas, Baby Jimmy's first few weeks, etc., just sitting there taking up space. I needed to delete these photos, but print them off before doing so.

Lucky for me (and the wallet), Shutterfly currently has a promotion running, where new and existing Shutterfly customers who download the free Shutterfly app can get FREE, unlimited, 4x4 and 4x6 prints (for a limited time only). I downloaded the app to my iPhone, ordered prints of all our holiday  fun (about 100 photos), and even some prints from my Instagram and Facebook pages. I did have to pay for shipping (7-10 business days), but the photos will be shipped straight to our house, so I don't have to run to a photo center to pick up my prints in the freezing cold. This is especially important to me, having two young kids to bundle up, and take in and out of the car.

Linna, Jimmy and Santa: Just one of the 1,000+ photos I had on my iPhone from the holidays.

I'm now just waiting for my prints to arrive, but it really was super easy to do. Plus, I feel super organized having done this. You can download the Shutterfly app to your Android, iPad, or iPhone. Happy photo making!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

7 weeks old: Baby jimmy smiles.

Melt my heart, baby boy. These little moments make all the sleepless nights, sore boobs, and craziness, worth it. He's starting to "talk" too...

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Medela freestyle double electric breast pump.

If there's one thing I spend more time doing than anything else these days, it's pumping. Since having Baby Jimmy six weeks ago, I've decided to exclusively pump and bottle feed, just as I did when Linna was a baby. For some women, nursing is the best option, but I prefer the convenience of grabbing a bottle out of the refrigerator or diaper bag. Plus, I'm still giving my baby all the nutrients and antibodies he needs from my own body.

Since I pump every three hours, and want to make this breast-feeding experience a successful one, I got my hands on a Medela Freestyle Double Electric Breast Pump and Easy Expression Bustier. I saw an Instagram of Kourtney Kardashian wearing hers, and loved that the pump clipped right onto whatever she was wearing. Not only can I be hands-free while pumping, but I'm not attached to a wall outlet. I seriously walk all over my house when I'm pumping, and half the time I forget that it's even on. It's honestly the best breast pump I've ever used. It has a 2-phase expression technology, and the pump is so small and lightweight. It has a backlit digital display that allows me to customize the strength of the pump's expression. I currently pump at a level 6 for 10-12 minutes, every 3-5 hours, and am pumping about 8 oz. of breastmilk during each session. I have saved SO much milk in the freezer!

Kourtney Kardashian using her Medela Pump.

My Medela kit came with a black bag, cooler set, extra bottles and nipples, and of course the pump itself and all the needed accessories. I got the hands-free bustier separately. The only inconvenience I find about pumping, is having to wash the pump out every time I pump, as opposed to just sticking a boob in my baby's mouth when he's hungry. But let's be honest, breastfeeding isn't easy for every mom, and sometimes it just doesn't work. While the Meleda Freestyle Pump isn't cheap, it's much less than I would spend on quality formula to feed my baby over the next year. Plus, pumping helped shrink my uterus back down pretty quickly, and I love that I'm burning an extra 500 calories a day by pumping. I pump in the car, in bed, and can chase after the 4-year-old when I'm pumping. This pump is one of my "must-have" products, especially for moms with multiple children.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Baby jimmy: The first 6 weeks.

 
Jameson on the night before he turned 6 weeks old.
I'm sitting down to write this, after spending Christmas with our incredibly helpful family on both sides. I've had a few days to catch up on sleep, and watch our kids enjoy spending time with cousins and extended family in Minnesota and Iowa.
Now, I reflect.

To say that going from one to two kids is "tough", would be a major understatement. These past six weeks have been six of the most challenging, exhausting, and emotional weeks of my life. I am still figuring out my "groove" as a mom of two, which has come at a time of SO much change in our family. We've been living in a constant construction zone, as we're remodeling our house. We moved back to Minnesota from Singapore. Papa Saigh started a new job, which has him traveling and working long hours. All of this, on TOP of welcoming a newborn into our family.

The past six weeks have been anything but easy.

While I'm loving every baby snuggle, and I'm trying to savor every precious moment with our new baby boy, I struggle with how to "manage" the 4-year-old. Linna turning four, came with a whole new set of challenges. She's seriously like an emotional teenager, with the energy of a puppy. I now know what it feels like to be called "the most horrible mom in the world", have a door slammed in my face, and be screamed at in public... By a FOUR YEAR OLD! The "f*cking fours" (as I've heard that this age is referred to) have turned our angelic, happy, and sweet girl, into a challenging little human. She knows EVERY one of my buttons, and pushes them often. On more than one occasion, Linna has sent this sleep-deprived and hormonal mama, running to the bathroom in tears. Add my leaking, sore boobs, and a crying, poop-exploding newborn into the mix, and you can see why I'm typically seen looking like a walking zombie.


Linna, pushing her baby brother in the Doona carseat/stroller into school. I don't know
how I'd survive without this thing, having two kids.

So tired, but so cute in their Hanna Andersson Christmas jammies on Christmas Eve in Iowa.

My loves.

The stress of the holidays, our home construction, pumping my massive boobs every three hours, trying to heal my nether-regions, driving the 4-year-old to preschool and her overwhelming number of activities, keeping on top of the laundry, house cleaning, grocery shopping, cooking, etc., all started to get to be a bit too much for this mama to handle. I started taking my frustrations out on Papa Saigh, who I should be looking to as my teammate. My patience with the 4-year-old was slim to none, and I found it difficult to even enjoy my baby boy. I felt so much guilt for not being able to give all my attention to the 4-year-old, as that is what she's used to. I needed some help before I went down the postpartum depression path a second time, and had to surrender to the realization that I can't do it all.





While I still struggle with asking for and accepting help, I've been leaning on family a lot to help with Linna. I've realized that when she and I are together for too long, we don't enjoy our time together. I don't know what it is about age four, but it's just not my favorite age. I'm so thankful to my mom for driving Linna to and from preschool some days during the week, and taking her back to their house for some grandparent time. Linna LOVES going to her Nana and Bompa's house, and this time spent apart has been really good for both of us. I can spend that time enjoying Baby Jimmy, while Linna enjoys time with other people. I'm still struggling with the "guilt" I feel when I need time away from Linna, but I know it's normal. We also hired a cleaner to come to the house every two weeks, which has been a BIG help. I'm a complete "neat freak", so I'm slowly (VERY slowly) learning to not sweat the small stuff when it comes to everyday messes and organization. Again, another big struggle for me, but I need to let our kids be kids, enjoy my time with them, and worry about the messes later.

I've had a meltdown or two with Papa Saigh, and have had a few ugly cries while laying in bed with the four-year-old, or Baby Jimmy. These cry-fests come out of nowhere, but I feel so much better when I just let it all out.



Mama Saigh wearing Baby Jimmy while organizing our disaster of an unfinished basement.

Papa Saigh and Jameson relaxing.

Though the last six weeks have been pretty chaotic, Baby Jimmy proves to be the most easy-going little guy. His big sister was the exact same way when she a baby, which I am SO thankful for. I need to remind myself every day how lucky I am to have a 4-year-old who absolutally loves her baby brother, and a baby boy who just goes with the flow. I'm learning to relax when Linna wants to hang ALL OVER her baby brother whenever the attention is on him. She really is the best big sister. However, I am beyond ready for kindergarten to start in August:)

At six weeks old, Baby Jimmy is sleeping four to six-hour stretches at night, and eating about three to four ounces whenever he's hungry. I'm pumping and bottle-feeding him, as I did with Linna (my kids just don't like to eat straight from the source, I guess). At two-weeks old, Jimmy was 8 lbs. 10 oz., and he'll have his next weigh-in at his two-month pediatrician visit. He's an absolute tank, and loves to eat, sleep, and poop, so I'm guessing he's around 12 lbs. We've started transitioning him to the Bassinest when he's sleeping at night, but he's been sleeping with me in our bed, while Papa Saigh sleeps with Linna in her bed. There have been a couple nights where Linna has missed her mama at night, so I sleep with my two babies in our bed. While I love having my babies in bed with me, I hate that Jimmy wakes Linna up when he gets up around 4 a.m. to eat. She wants to help me with the baby, and gets super upset when I tell her that she needs to go back to sleep. There's been a lot of Mama and Papa Saigh playing musical beds over the last month. Baby Jimmy is also still sleeping a lot during the day, and grunts a when he sleeps at night (he's a gassy boy). Linna goes to bed at 6:30/7 p.m., and I go to sleep with Jimmy around 10:30/11 p.m. Whenever he gets up to eat (usually around 4 a.m.), I pump while I feed and change him, and he usually falls right back to sleep until we all wake up around 7:30 a.m. (Jimmy sleeps in until about 9 a.m. or so). Over Christmas, I took advantage of my in-laws offering to wake up with Jimmy, so I could sleep with Linna and Papa Saigh.

I can honestly say that I was SO much more stressed out as a new mom when Linna was a baby, but I've relaxed about some of those stresses when Jimmy was born. I don't freak out if I don't pump EVERY three hours, I don't stress about every rash Jimmy gets, and I've become less of a helicopter mom with Linna (I've had to because I don't have time to be). Going from one to two kids forces a person to let go of a lot of things, which has been a big struggle for me. While I eventually want to go back to work, I'm still trying to figure out how to get to that point. I honestly don't know how working parents do it. I'm so thankful to have a husband that works his ass off to provide for our family, allowing me to be home with the kids.

Jimmy's first visit with Santa. Linna is a pro!

Both of my babies in the same pose at just a few days old.

I'm sure that with time, things will become "easier". But right now, I count down the minutes until "wine-o'clock" and bedtime. Let's face it, sleep is hard to come by these days, and when I find time for it, there's a million things I could be checking off my "to-do" list during that time. I learned quickly after having Linna that sleep is incredibly important, so I'm taking every bit of help that's offered to me these days. Papa Saigh and I are trying our best to take time out for each other, and appreciate what each of us is doing for our family every day. Again, not an easy thing to do when emotions are running high, our house is in a constant state of construction, and there's two little ones that need our attention. I just have to keep remembering that before we know it, we'll have two grown kids, and we'll be wishing for just one more newborn cuddle, or funny 4-year-old story. They grow up way too fast, and I need to remind myself to live in the moment, and just let go and ENJOY the craziness.

PS, please send food... and wine.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Schoola.

I found so many great options for both kids!
Now that our 4-year-old will soon be entering kindergarten, I've been on the prowl for deals on school clothes, and ideas for school/class fundraisers. Recently, I was introduced to a program called Schoola. It's an online shop that recycles brand-name women's and children's clothes, with $2 of every $5 spent going to fund school programs. They recently launched a baby and maternity collection, and they even offer new-with-tag pieces for sale. These pieces are 70% off retail, with 40% of the proceeds going to help the Malala Fund.

After searching through their online site, I not only ordered brand new Tea collection clothes (quality, simple, comfortable children's clothing) for Baby Jimmy and Linna, but I also found some other great name-brand pieces as well. Plus, I love that the money spent is going to help fund school programs. Since I just had a baby and am still "between sizes", I'm not quite confident ordering clothing online for myself, but this site looks like it has a lot of great options for women. I'll definitely be suggesting Schoola as a fundraising idea once Linna starts full-day school in August!

Video explaining how the program works: https://www.schoola.com/how-it-works