Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Linna's first time playing tee-ball.

We recently signed Linna up for a kids' sports program in Singapore called Ready Steady Go Kids.

She has a blast every week learning how to play new sports, and this past week she learned how to play tee-ball.

This is video of our 3-year-old hitting the ball the first couple of times. We've never introduced her to this sport, which happens to be a Minnesota favorite, and I think we'll need to start practicing a bit at home:)

PS, how do you determine if your kid is a "righty" or a "lefty" when they're using things like baseball bats, golf clubs, etc.? I can decide if she's just a kid trying to get the hang of a new sport, or if she's having trouble hitting the ball with a bat right-handed.

Either way, it's too cute!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Linna sings "jesus loves me".

Our 3-year-old's nursery school in Singapore has been rehearsing for their end-of-year concert in October. On the way home from school today, Linna started singing this song. We aren't "religious" people, but Linna does go to a local church school in Singapore (it's affordable, close to our home, and Linna loves it there). I can't get enough of Linna's cuteness as she sings "Jesus Loves Me", and I'm pretty sure I'll be a blubbering mess at the school concert in a couple months.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Ok, you can pee yourself.

Linna (after the pee incident) playing with her pal
Brae from Australia at the Interlace in Singapore.
My 3-year-old and I experienced a "first" together in Singapore today. Remember when I said I would NEVER be that mom who encouraged her kid to poop in an airline seat? Well, I feel like I came pretty close today.

After school, we were waiting for the bus to take us to a friends' place for a swim/play-date (it's literally a quick 10-minute ride), when Linna said, "I have to go pee pee Mama." Normally, this kid has SOLID bladder control, but at this point she was dancing around like she was going to explode. According to the app on my phone, our bus would be arriving in 3 minutes, and there wasn't a restroom in our close proximity. I calmly told my 3-year-old to "hold it", just as I've said to her a million times before. Normally, she can, but this time, I watched the pee start to trickle down her leg. I knew I had to think fast.

"Alright, sit on the curb and pee... in your clothes... it's OK.", I told my 3-year-old, as I looked around to see if anyone was watching, while sweat streamed down my face.

For a split second, I seriously thought about holding her over the garbage bin so she could relieve herself... but that might draw attention to the situation. For a moment, I wished she was a boy so I could quickly put her in the corner, and block her public display of urination from those prying, JUDGING eyes. However, even the failure to flush a toilet is illegal in Singapore, so I can't imagine what type of death sentence we'd receive for my 3-year-old's public urination.

As I searched through my backpack for something... ANYTHING that could help me in this situation (I'm still not sure what I was looking for), a mom with an American accent walked by and asked, "Can I help you with anything?". Trying to look like I have my sh*t together while frantically searching through the backpack for ANYTHING absorbent, I stood up and exclaimed, "Oh no, I'm fine! But thanks so much!". Thinking back on this now, I'm sure she saw my sweaty, disheveled, and frantic state, all while watching my 3-year-old with pee dripping down her leg. Thank you random, American woman... I now wish I would have asked if you had a spare diaper.

With little time to react to the situation, I told my 3-year-old to sit on the curb to relieve herself. That's right Singapore... I am an unprepared mom without a "helper", and my kid peed on your sidewalk! I'm so sorry.

I watched as our bus came around the corner, and within 30 seconds I removed Linna's pee-soaked school uniform, and threw on her hooded towel that I had in the backpack.

That's right, my child pissed on a sidewalk in Singapore, AND walked onto a public bus wearing only a towel. I wish you could have seen the looks I received as I put Linna into her swimsuit on the bus, while trying to stuff her pee-soaked clothes into my backpack... ALL while pretending the whole situation was completely normal.

When we finally arrived at our friends' place, I explained the situation to my fellow mamas here in Singapore, and it really brought me back to reality. This sh*t happens all the time, and as a parent you just have to roll with the punches. However, I'm still 110% convinced that I would never encourage my child to poop in her airplane seat. I promise.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Throwing a birthday party for our 3-year-old in singapore.

Princess balloon centerpiece for Linna from THAT Balloons.
This year, our Minnesota Baby turned three years old in Singapore. So, we decided to host a birthday party for Linna at our condo. If you know me at all, you know that I love going "all out" when it comes to parties... especially when it's a party for my kid. This was my first time planning a birthday party for Linna in Singapore, and it's not as easy as it was organizing her birthday parties back home in Minnesota.

No car.
No Target.
And no family here to help with the planning, and/or party itself.

However, we do have one thing in Singapore that we don't have back home in Minnesota... A POOL! And since Linna is a little fish, we decided to plan a pool party for her third birthday. After doing some searching online and talking to a few other moms here in Singapore, I found a company called Kids Pool Party Singapore. It's a team of children's party-planners and swim coaches that will come to your pool, and provide entertainment and games for kids' pool parties in Singapore. Fantastic!

Everyone starting to get into the pool for some fun with the Kids Pool Party Singapore crew!

Ball toss in the pool!

Since we had kids at Linna's party of a wider age-range (infants to 7-years-old), the staff at Kids Pool Party Singapore worked with me to plan appropriate games and activities for all the kids. They showed up with a TON of pool toys, floaties, boats, etc., and the crew entertained the kids and parents in the pool for an hour. We sang songs, played ball-games, did obstacle courses, and the kids loved going for rides in the big inflatable boats. The crew was SO great with all the kids! I loved that I didn't have to worry about buying, inflating, and storing a bunch of pool floaties, and professionals did the entertaining for me. After the party, they made sure that the pool area was exactly as they found it when they arrived. I would use this company again in a heartbeat, as everyone seemed to have a great time. Plus, they put me in contact with a coach named Garett Lee at Little Swim School, who teaches baby swimming lessons in Singapore. We've been looking for a swimming coach/school here, that can work on swim strokes with Linna. We'll see how that pans out!

Balancing on the floating mat and jumping through hoops!

This was a fun activity for all the kids at the party!

*** Get 10% off a Kids Play or Super Kids party package from Kids Pool Party Singapore,
if you book by November 30th, 2014 and mention "Minnesota Baby". ***

We also booked OG from THAT Balloons for the first hour of Linna's birthday party, after we saw entertainers from this company working at an Easter Sunday Brunch that we took my in-laws to this year. OG made some pretty amazing balloon animals and toys for the kids, and I was incredibly impressed with the princess centerpiece he created out of balloons for Linna. It was so cute to watch Linna's little friends all dressed up in super-hero and princess costumes, running around with balloon swords and balloon animals. With the crazy expensive cost of helium-inflated balloons in Singapore, I'd much rather have a great entertainer MAKING balloon animals for Linna and her friends! The balloons ended up all over our condo, looking like great decorations anyway:)

OG from THAT Balloons giving two little princesses their balloon animals.

Birthday girl Linna and her balloon dog.
OG in action, making balloons for the kids.
(Sorry, but Papa Saigh held the phone the wrong way when recording.)

I decided to make/prep all the food for the party myself, and went the "simpler" DIY route. Cheese and jam sandwiches (not together) for the kids, and a chicken cashew pasta salad for the adults. We also served veggies with hummus and ranch dip ('Merica), an assortment of fruits, popcorn in bags for the kids, trail mix (peanuts, raisins, and M&Ms), lollipops and marshmallows, and just bottled water and juice boxes. Simple items, but it meant me prepping/chopping in the kitchen for 8+ hours the night before the party. My biggest headache was the birthday cake. I found a picture of a princess cupcake/cake on Pinterest that I knew I couldn't mess up, as long as I could successfully bake a few dozen cupcakes, and frost them. The cupcakes (from scratch) turned out as good as one could expect from a beginner, but my homemade frosting attempt was a major FAIL. I attempted the White Cloud Icing recipe that I found on Pinterest, and instead of ending up with a beautiful fluffy icing... I created a liquid catastrophe. I have no clue where I went wrong with this recipe, but it's nothing a trip to the store (reason #185 I miss having a car... and a Target down the street from my house) and a few tubes of store-bought frosting couldn't fix. By the time I was finished putting frosting on the last cupcake, I was just about ready to collapse from exhaustion after all the work I did for this two-hour birthday party... for my 3-year-old.

Birthday party food.

Birthday sign that Mama and Papa Saigh made for Linna's party.

Princess cupcakes.

Goodie bags for Linna's friends with popsicles and candy inside!

My wonderful neighbors Simone and Eva, and my new
good friend Marian. Don't know what I'd do without these ladies!

Linna, her school pal Emilia, and Emilia's sister Victoria. Darling princesses!

Overall, the party was a huge success. Linna crashed for an afternoon nap after the last party guest left, and I think she survived the day on candy, cake, and juice. I know this because of the vomit incident she had while we were swimming with friends later that afternoon:( A good lesson on the importance of limiting our sugar intake, I guess.

Cute gift from Dolly, Brian, Clare and Casey!

Singapore friends.

Some of Linna's pals that we met at our first condo in Singapore.
Happy, sugar-filled birthday girl!

Thanks to all of our friends in Singapore who came out to celebrate our little 3-year-old! Linna received so many wonderful gifts, and it was really nice being surrounded by our "family" here in Singapore on this special day.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Linna's final thoughts as a 2-year-old.

I can't believe that we have a 3-year-old. Well almost. Tonight, before Linna went to bed, I sat down with her to have a little chat. I wanted to capture her last moments as a 2-year-old. I asked her simple questions about her current "favorites", and I just love her responses. FYI, Linna was born on August 8th, and since we're in Singapore, we are celebrating her birthday on Singapore time (Singapore is 13 hours ahead of Minnesota). Technically, when we wake up on August 8th in Singapore, it's really only nighttime on August 7th in Minnesota. This is great because we get to celebrate everything twice:)

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Letting linna out of "the cage".

First night out of "the cage". So excited!
Is it just me, or do other parents refer to their child's crib as "the cage"?

Ok, I sense your hesitation to answer "yes", but I use this word in the most humane way possible... I swear. And yes, "the cage" is a term I use among our adult friends... not with our daughter. So please, put your calls to social services on hold. Thanks.

For almost three years, our daughter hasn't tried to climb out of it, stick her head through it, and we have successfully kept all of her limbs in tact... SO, "the cage" has been her safety-nest for naps and bedtimes. About a week ago, I decided to give her a little bit of "freedom" and convert her cage into a toddler bed.

Dun dun DUN.

I probably could have had a little better timing, as I decided to do this while my husband was out of the country for work... BUT, after countless nights of my daughter calling out for me to retrieve items that have fallen out of her crib, it was time to give both Linna and I a little freedom. 'Merica!

Linna has slept in a "big girl" bed before at my parents' house in Florida, and she did really well. On the eve of setting Linna "free" from her cage, I took the advice from a friend to make it very clear to our almost 3-year-old, that she is NOT to get out of her bed, or she'll have to go back in her "cage".

Before we get into how it's going with Linna in her "big girl" bed, let's take a quick look back and reminisce of her "caged life"...

Linna's first "cage" at our very first house back in Minnesota.
Happy 1.5-year-old Linna in her "cage", after a 3-hour nap.
(Video of 15-month-old Linna throwing everything out of her crib.)

First proper "cage" in Singapore, after sleeping for months in a Pack N' Play.

Ok, now that we've got that out of the way, here's how Linna's first night out of "the cage" went...

Mama Saigh: "Linna, you are not to get out of your bed until the sun comes up, or you'll have to go back in your crib. BUT, if you have a bad dream, or you need something, you can come into Mama and Papa's room. OK?!"

(Linna happily snuggled into her bed, I exited her room, and quickly turned on the video monitor... only to see her getting out of her bed and walking out of her bedroom. Damn. I guess my instructions WERE a bit confusing.)

Mama Saigh: "Linna, what are you doing?"

Linna: "I had a bad dream."

Really Linna?! Well, this IS your first night of freedom kiddo, and your mama CLEARLY needs to work on the delivery of her "rules"... so carry on girlfriend.

Linna's "excuses" went on for a good hour. She was SO excited when I took down the front of her "cage" earlier in the day to create her "big girl" bed, but I guess that novelty had worn off. After lots of tears on her part, and frustration on my part, I demanded/asked her if she needed to go back in her crib. Her response... "YES!".

Dammit. That was SUCH a stupid "threat", when I can't exactly reassemble her "cage" by snapping my fingers, and the GOAL of all this is to get her to LIKE sleeping in her bed.

Linna - 1
Mama Saigh - 0

Night #1 was spent with Linna sleeping in her bed, while I sang her to sleep and rubbed her back. I celebrated this accomplishment with a glass (or two) of wine (this was supposed to be a detox night after a long, boozy weekend). Linna stayed in her bed all night, but I didn't get much sleep because I kept checking the video monitor. I was waiting for her to fall out of the bed, stack up a bunch of her toys and climb to the top of her closet, or stick her finger in a light-socket... or something. Thankfully, there was none of that, and she slept until 8 a.m. She wouldn't get out of her bed until I went into her room to say "good morning". THIS is reason #1,207,347 why I love you Linna Jane.

Night #2 went MUCH better at bedtime, and she slept from 7:15 p.m. until 8:30 a.m. Woot WOOT!

"Good Morning!"

It's now been a full week without "the cage", and it's going better than expected. Today was the FIRST morning that Linna actually got out of her bed on her own to come into our room. She usually just stays in her bed until I stand in the hall and call out to remind her that she can FREELY get out of her bed and walk into our room on her own. I think this is hilarious, as we got rid of her "cage" to give her some freedom, and she doesn't even take advantage of it. I guess she's the product of a "caged life", huh?!

I probably should have committed to my hesitation of getting rid of "the cage" a bit longer, because now that she's tasted freedom, I'm sure there's no going back. It's pretty cute watching her wake up in her bed and hesitantly put her feet on the floor, only to crawl right back into bed. It's like she's testing the waters before her big escape! This morning, I watched her get in and out of her bed and walk over to her bedroom door a half a dozen times, before actually making the courageous decision to make her big exit and entry into our room. Damn our kid is cute.

I love watching our little girl grow up, but I have a feeling I'm going to be missing "the cage" sooner rather than later. There's always baby #2 to look forward to "caging", right?!

No, I'm not pregnant.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

First trip to bangkok.

Arriving in Bangkok!
Papa Saigh has been working in Bangkok this month, and it's our first experience having him away for weeks at a time for work. Although we miss him while he's away, it's a great opportunity for us to visit the other countries that he's working in. So this month, Linna and I took our first trip to Bangkok, and we'll be heading back later this week for another (and longer) visit!

Bangkok is in Thailand, and it's just a two-hour flight from Singapore. I'm used to flying 19+ hours by myself with Linna, so this flight is easy-peasy! We stayed at the Radisson Blu Plaza Bangkok in Sukhumvit (area of Bangkok), which is the hotel Papa Saigh is working in. The hotel is brand new and GORGEOUS! The floral scent inside the hotel makes me want to stay there forever, and the service we received as guests was phenomenal. We were saluted by the guard at the front gate every time we left and returned to the hotel, and the staff made sure all of our needs were met. I seriously felt like royalty staying at this hotel!

Every morning, we enjoyed a breakfast buffet in the hotel's Twenty-Seven Bites restaurant. These breakfasts were about as nice as the fancy Sunday champagne brunches we've experienced in Singapore, only MUCH less expensive. They had dozens of Thai, Indian, and Western dishes, but my favorite part about the breakfasts were the "young" coconuts. They were cracked open by a chef with a huge knife right in front us, and the coconut water and "meat" inside was mouth-watering. Linna, on the other hand, wasn't too pleased. She preferred the chocolate croissants and cereal:) I'm seriously looking forward to our trip back to Bangkok later this week, JUST so I can sink my teeth into those little gems!

Delicious "young" coconuts at the hotel. Linna preferred other menu items:)

Terminal 21 in Bangkok.
View from our hotel room.
Linna loved shopping... haha!
Super comfy and cute outfit I found for Linna at Terminal 21,
by a Thai designer. Just $12USD. Going back for more!

Papa Saigh also surprised me with a couple in-room Thai massages, while he took Linna to the hotel's pool. If you've never had a REAL Thai massage... GET ONE! The massage therapist stretched and bent my body in ways I didn't think were possible. It was like a yoga session without having to use my muscles! Linna loved the hotel's pool, Papa Saigh loved spending some quality time with his little lady, and Mama Saigh got some relaxing "kid-free" time... A win for all involved!

Papa Saigh and I also hired a babysitter for Linna one night so we could go to dinner. We were the first people to EVER eat on the balcony at the hotel's Attico restaurant! The view from this balcony is amazing, as it's up on the 28th floor. Since Papa Saigh sampled some of the dishes at this restaurant prior to our visit, he made suggestions on what to order for dinner. We each had a different gnocchi dish, and they were fantastic. On a couple evenings, we ordered room service for dinner, and the hotel's Pad Thai dish is one of the best I've ever had. Now you see why I didn't want to leave, right?!

Date night with this stud at Attico at Radisson Blu Bangkok.

Shopping in Bangkok is SO much cheaper than in Singapore, so we hit up two indoor shopping centers, and one outdoor market during our visit. Terminal 21 and Siam Paragon were my favorites, as they were air-conditioned and very clean. I think we spent about 45 minutes at the Chatuchak Weekend Market, as it's not very stroller-friendly, and it was SO hot and stinky! Linna slept in her stroller during our Chatuchak visit, but her face was all red and sweaty, so it was hard for me to enjoy my time there. I guess I'm more of an indoor-gal in these types of situations.

Linna and Papa Saigh chillin' at the hotel's pool. Gorgeous day!

Papa Saigh and Linna sleeping in one of our "cloud" beds at Radisson Blu in Bangkok!

The coolest guard ever at the hotel!

Bangkok's power-lines stress me out!

Taxis are also inexpensive in Bangkok, but traffic is awful! I heard that the train system is another cheap (and faster) way to get around Bangkok, but they are NOT stroller-friendly, as you have to climb lots of stairs to board and exit (no lifts/escalators). Terminal 21 is walking distance from the Radisson Blu, but Linna and I took a taxi to Siam Paragon, where we spent an afternoon at Kidzania. This place was SO cool... especially for the older kids. Kidzania is basically a village just for kids, where they're taught different jobs and skills. It's set up like a mini-town, with everything from a hospital and fire station, to a pet shop and restaurants. Kids are taught how to do various jobs such as parcel delivery, dental work, sushi making, and even working at a newspaper! Kids get to wear uniforms, work a variety of jobs, where they can earn money and even open their own Kidzania bank account. Linna spent most of her time up in the toddler area (for kids under age 4), where they had a huge play-kitchen, sand pit, ball pit, and a balloon artist to entertain the kids. Most of the "jobs" outside the toddler area are targeted for kids age 4 to 15, but Linna took a fire-fighting course which kept her attention for all of five minutes:) She enjoyed running around though, and I think it will be more her speed in a year or so. Rumor has it that there will be a Kidzania opening next year in Singapore, and one is also coming to the US!

Kidzania in Bangkok. At the entrance, every kid is given a security bracelet that staff
can scan to track and locate each child throughout the "city".

Linna and another little girl in the Kidzania Toddler-Area's Kitchen.

Some kids being taken around in an ambulance, while they "worked" at the Kidzania Hospital.
Too cute! They had a fire truck that came through every half hour or so too, with little
firefighters-in-training on their way to help put out a "big fire".

Tiny sushi makers in a Kidzania restaurant. 
Linna training to be a firefighter at Kidzania in Bangkok.

While Bangkok is very busy and stinky (often smells like poop), it is such a fun place to visit. It reminds me a lot of Manhattan actually. Some of our friends that we met in Singapore recently moved to Bangkok, so we got to visit their new place while we were there too! Clare and Roger have three little boys (Baby Ethan was just a couple days old when we visited), and they have lived in countries all over the world. They are "SERIOUS" expats, and some of the most down-to-earth people we've ever met!

Mama Saigh and our friends' brand new baby!

We are really looking forward to spending more time with them during our upcoming visit to Bangkok. I'm also hoping to see more of Bangkok, including the floating markets and temples. Papa Saigh will be working during most of our visit, so Linna and I will venture out on our own. Here's to adding more stamps on our passports!

See you again soon Bangkok!