Friday, November 21, 2014

My biological father died today.

Photo courtesy of my Uncle Mark Boyle's blog. My biological father is
on the left, Mark is in the middle, and my Grandpa Joe is on the right.
Under "normal" circumstances, a human being would be devastated to have to say or write the words, "My biological father died today". Call me cold or even heartless, but when I found out this afternoon that my biological father passed away, I really didn't feel anything. The entire situation is just… weird.

I'm writing this blog post because I feel a sort of obligation to myself to at least try to put into words how I feel. This blog has basically been a diary of the last four years of my life, and I find it sort of therapeutic to just spill my thoughts into actual words that I can look back on. So... here I go.

I'm just going to write.

I haven't seen my biological father (Scott) in 30 years. I don't know how old he is, I don't know if he remarried after he and my mom divorced, and sadly, I don't have any good memories of him. He left my brother (Scotty) and I when we were babies, and my mom was forced to raise us on her own. He never paid my mom child support, and caused my mom a lot of stress when they were married. The last and really only memory I have of my biological father, was when I was about five years old. This memory is still very vivid. I was mad at my mom about something that she wouldn't let me do, so I told her that I wanted to call "my dad" and go live with him. I remember my mom picking up the phone, dialing a number, and handing me the phone in anger, saying, "FINE. YOU call him."

I couldn't understand why my mom was so angry, because on the other end of the phone I had my biological father telling me how much he missed me and my baby brother. He asked me if I liked stuffed animals. I said yes. Without hesitation, he promised to send me a bag filled with stuffed animals, and I happily hung up the phone. I waited for those stuffed animals every day for a month.

They never came.

Growing up, I had a really hard time understanding how the person who helped create me, wanted no involvement in my life. Sadly, I later learned that my biological father is/was a drug-addict and alcoholic, who basically lived homeless for much of his adult life. He lived life chasing his addictions. It was his addiction that had him wondering the streets, and virtually unreachable when his mom (my Grandma Joni) became ill with, and eventually died from lung cancer. He didn't even attend her funeral.

Fortunately, we've remained close with my biological father's side of the family (my Aunt Laura, my Uncle Mark, and my late Grandma Joni). They've respected my brother and my wishes to not have contact with our biological father, but I'm grateful that they kept us updated with the prognosis of his illness. My biological father spent much of his adult years connected to a colostomy bag, after his organs started to rebel against his many years of drug and alcohol abuse. He lost his almost life-long battle with addiction, and died of liver cancer just about a month after being diagnosed.

Although I feel like I've had my own closure on my relationship with my biological father, my heart hurts for my Uncle Mark (his brother), Aunt Laura (his sister), and my Grandpa Joe (his dad). I know they are all hurting, and my thoughts are with them. While I've spent so many years feeling angry toward my biological father, and while there are still questions I have that will never be answered… I am thankful for him. Without him, there wouldn't be a me, or my brother. Part of me feels sad for him. It's sad that he never took the opportunity to embrace the gift of being a father. He missed out on two amazing weddings, and the birth of his beautiful grandchild. It's incredibly sad how addiction can take over, and cause a person to be absent from so much life and greatness.

My Aunt Laura once told me that while my biological father was a sh*tty dad, he was an amazing brother. The tragedy in this entire situation is that my brother and I never got to know "that" guy. But I think my brother and I got the good end of the deal, because we have an incredible step-dad who loves us like we are his biological kids. HE is our Dad, and always will be. I am so incredibly thankful that my Dad (Dale) decided to enter our lives, and help shape us into the productive members of society that I feel my brother and I are today. I'm also thankful for my mom. SO thankful. While she kept us from the hurt and pain that would have been the life with our biological father, she kept us connected to his brother, sister, and mom who are still a part of our lives today.

Anyway. It's always sad when someone dies. But, what's even more sad is the sense of loss my brother and I felt growing up, knowing our birth-father wanted nothing to do with us. Part of me wishes the entire situation would have been different, but that same part of me is thankful that is wasn't.

Rest in peace Scott T. Boyle.

Love,

Your daughter Melissa

Monday, November 17, 2014

3-year pediatrician check-up.

Photo left: 2-week-old Linna. Photo right: 3-year-old Linna. Both photos taken in the same pediatrician's office!
Three months late, but at least we got her in before she turned 4. Today, Linna had her 3-year pediatrician check-up in Minnesota. Even though we moved to Singapore, we kept the same pediatrician that she's had since day one, simply because we love Dr. Freehill. Linna got her flu vaccine (nasal) today, but wasn't due for any other vaccines (yay, no shots!). She's coasting right along the middle percentile range for weight, height, and BMI, and she got to have her blood pressure, vision, and hearing checked today too. This was Linna's first hearing-test since she was a newborn in the hospital, and to be honest... I'm not exactly sure how it went. The nurse told Linna to say "beep" when she heard a "beep" sound in her headphones, but I think Linna was too shy to tell the nurse when she heard the beep. I'm hoping it's not because she can't actually hear. I'm not too worried, but still following up in the morning.

The most shocking thing Linna's pediatrician told me today is that Linna has a heart murmur. WHAT?! A heart murmur?! This news was followed up with, "It's not something you need to worry about.".

Duuuuurrrrrr... Come again?!

Photo left: Linna just one day old, getting her hearing checked. Photo right: Linna at 3 years old having a hearing test.

Linna's pediatrician explained to me that she heard an extra sound in Linna's regular heartbeat pattern. She referred to it as an "innocent murmur", and apparently it's pretty common in young kids, and they usually just grow out of them. She told me that she was not the least bit concerned, and she was only telling me about it in case we are overseas and another doctor tells us that Linna has a heart murmur. The pediatrician wanted me to simply be aware and not shocked (like I was today), which I completely respect. But you can bet your bottom dollar that I Googled the sh*t out of "3-year-olds and heart murmur" when we got home from the doctor this afternoon. I often say that I have my M.D. from the accredited World Wide Web "Institution" (which most moms have, right?!), and my research tells me that 90-percent of kids age 4 to 7 with a "normal" heart, actually have an innocent murmur. She should outgrow it, and there are no extra precautions we need to take, no restrictions on her physical activities, and it's actually best to expose her to and encourage regular exercise to ensure a healthy lifestyle.

Funny how a super scary word can freak a mom out, and end up being absolutely nothing to worry about. But, we still worry. Oh the joys of motherhood...

Linna's 3-year-old stats:

Weight - 33 lbs. (63%)
Height - 38 in. (58%)
BMI - 16 (64%)
Blood pressure - 80/42

Sunday, November 16, 2014

FOX 9: Top holiday toys for 2014.



Mama Saigh is back on The FOX 9 Morning News on Monday, featuring the top holiday toys of 2014. We'll post the video of the entire segment as soon as it's available. Here are links to each of the products featured in the segment...

- LeapTV by LeapFrog: http://www.leapfrog.com/en-us/products/leaptv.html

- Zoomer Dino: http://www.target.com/p/zoomer-dino-boomer/-/A-15342141

- LeapBand by LeapFrog: http://www.leapfrog.com/en-us/products/leapband

- Kidizoom Watch by VTech: http://www.vtechkids.com/brands/brand_view/smartwatch

- Frozen Apparel and Toys by JAKKS: http://www.jakks.com/disneys-frozen.html

-  FurReal Friends Get Up and GoGo My Walkin' Pup Pet by Hasbro: http://www.hasbro.com/en_US/shop/details.cfm?R=F99394D7-5056-9047-F5AA-484D3A8308D9:en_US

- Calico Critters: http://calicocritters.com/

- Disney Junior Doc McStuffins Get Better Talking Mobile Cart: http://www.toysrus.com/buy/favorite-characters/disney-jr-doc-mcstuffins-mobile-cart-90345-37705826

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Linna’s first haircut.

After months and months of throwing the idea around, we finally decided that it’s time to cut the 3-year-old’s baby mullet. She’s never had a haircut. We’ve been growing her hair out for three years, in hopes of it all just growing into one long mane of beautiful golden-brown locks. That never happened. Linna’s Auntie Lisa (Papa Saigh’s sister) has been hounding us for at least a year to get Linna’s hair cut, so we thought she’d like to come along for the adventure while we were all in Minnesota. Thanks to Danielle at Raydiance Salon in Mankato, MN for being patient with all of us during this big change. We LOVE Linna’s new look!

Before haircut: The long stringy mullet. 
Bye bye baby mullet.

Linna’s baby hair.
She sat so nicely.

Almost there.
SO cute. She’s such a little lady now!

Where did our baby go?!

Lollipop after haircut.
Playing at the park with Auntie Lisa in her new do!

Book Giveaway: I can change the world.


I See Me! is proud to announce the newest addition to their line of personalized children's books, "I Can Change The World"... And we're giving a personalized copy to one of you! Here's how to enter for your chance to win...

1. Post a photo of your child's beautiful smiling face to the I See Me!'s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest pages, using #ShareYourSmile. If you post a photo on more than one of these social media site, you'll increase your chances of winning (one entry per social media page post).

2. Comment on this blog post with your first and last name, and the current city you reside in. Limit one comment/entry per person on the blog.

All entries must be received by 8 p.m. on Sunday, November 9th. One winner will be randomly selected to win a personalized copy of I See Me!'s new "I Can Change The World" book. This contest is open to all areas of the world. The winner will be announced on this blog.

With this title, I See Me! hopes to empower children to make a difference in the world with the simplest of deeds.  Participate in their #ShareYourSmile movement by posting a photo of your child’s smiling face to their social media channels. For Facebook, post your child's photo on their wall using #ShareYourSmile. For Twitter and Instagram, all you have to do is post the photo using #ShareYourSmile. For Pinterest, pin your child's smiling face to our #ShareYourSmile board. When your photos are shared, I See Me! will spread the love by giving $5,000 back to the Scary Mommy Nation Thanksgiving Project to help feed the hungry.  Plus, when you post a picture you'll receive an email with a code good for 20% off  an I See Me! order!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

My brother's zombie wedding.

Our daughter Linna as a zombie flower girl.
On Halloween night, my baby brother married a spectacular lady, in a FULL ON zombie wedding in Minneapolis, MN. Our 3-year-old was a zombie flower girl, Papa Saigh was a zombie groomsman, Mama Saigh was a zombie bridesmaid, and all the guests were dressed in Halloween costumes. My mom and dad walked down the aisle as Glinda the Good Witch, and the Mayor of Munchkinland from the Wizard of Oz. It definitely wasn't your typical or traditional wedding, but that made it completely memorable. Other than our wedding, this was THE BEST wedding we have ever been too!



Local media including KARE 11, KSTP, and the Star Tribune covered the wedding, with KARE 11 even going LIVE during the ceremony. My brother Scotty and his wife Holly even made the front page of the Star Tribune's Metro Section!

http://www.kare11.com/media/cinematic/video/18276839/minn-couple-throws-zombie-themed-wedding/

http://kstp.com/article/stories/S3607123.shtml

Photo of Scotty and Holly on the front page of the Star Tribune - Courtesy David Joles, Star Tribune.
Linna unfortunately came down with a slight fever the day of the wedding, so she spent most of the day resting at the hotel with my in-laws. However, she made it down the aisle with a small smile on her face, and held it together during the ceremony. We were so proud of her, and she was the cutest zombie flower girl I've ever seen! Her handmade flower-girl dress by Had&Harps went together perfectly with her handmade shoes by Bitsy Blossom, and black custom fascinator by The Damask Baby. The bride Holly got Linna a cute animal print shawl to wear for pictures too. Linna received so many compliments on her outfit at the wedding, and we were extremely happy with the quality of these items we found on Etsy!

Here are some photos and video from the ceremony and reception...

Parents of the groom, Jane and Dale Specken - Photo courtesy David Joles, Star Tribune.
Super cool pumpkin carving of the bride and groom - Photo courtesy David Joles, Star Tribune.
Bride and groom, Scotty and Holly Specken - Photo courtesy David Joles, Star Tribune.
My dad as the "Mayor of Munchkinland", with his brother "The Pope".
Mama Saigh with sister Paige, mom, and brother Scotty getting ready for the big wedding.
The zombie groomsmen - Papa Saigh, Nate, Scotty, Tommy, and Heath.
Our little zombie flower girl in her fascinator by The Damask Baby.
Linna's shoes by Bitsy Blossom.
My brother Scotty (the groom), Stay Puff Marshmallow Man, and my Aunt Jen as Superwoman.
Mama Saigh and Cousin Carly.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Horseback riding in the country.

When I was younger, you couldn't get me to spend more than a day in the rural areas of the Midwest. Although we have family from rural Minnesota, I'm a city/suburb girl, born and raised. These days, I dream of owning and fixing up an old country house on a farm in Minnesota, raising chickens and harvesting food for our family. I know... who am I, right?! Not sure we're going to find this in Singapore;)

Babe, Niki and Linna.

Feeding the horses. This is one thing Linna would NOT do.
This past weekend, Linna and I spent the weekend at my in-law's house in Mankato, MN. While we were there, the wife (Niki) of one of Papa Saigh's best friends (Al) called me to see if our 3-year-old would be interested in seeing some horses at a farm just outside of town. Heck yes she would! So we all piled into the car on a Sunday afternoon to drive out to the farm. It was a very windy and chilly day, which made the experience that much more "authentic". Linna did ride a pony once before, as well as a ride on a smaller horse that was led by a walking trainer, but she's never actually taken a ride on a horse like she did at this farm last weekend with Niki.



Huge tractor.

Chickens and roosters with fancy feet.
Niki showed Linna how to brush and dress a horse, and helped Linna warm up to "Babe" while she was still a little apprehensive. When Linna watched Niki climb onto the horse, we asked her if she wanted to go for a ride. We were shocked when she said yes, as she'd been a little scared of the horses when we first arrived. Showing absolutely no fear, our 3-year-old climbed onto the horse for an impromptu ride in the country with Niki. Linna couldn't go fast enough, and she didn't want to stop. My anxiety level was on the rise during the whole experience because I know how unpredictable horses can be, and Linna wasn't wearing a helmet. Plus, Babe only has one eye (yes, I'm a judger). I tried my best to relax and just let my little girl have fun, and she loved every second! Looks like we have a budding equestrian on our hands. Thank you Niki for showing Linna how "real" kids live in rural Minnesota.

Love this photo! It looks like it's out of Horse & Hound magazine. Haha!

Ain't no shame in Mama Saigh's ugly frightened-face:) Feeding horses is so weird!

Papa Saigh's Mama (MeMaw), Linna, and Papa Saigh's best friend Al watching the horses.