Thursday, June 28, 2012

Getting linna's passport.

Yesterday, AJ and I took on the daunting task of getting Linna her first passport for our move to Singapore in August. Since AJ was having to leave work during the day in order for us to get Linna's passport, we didn't want this to be a long, frustrating, or difficult process. So, before we left I did a lot of research on what we needed to bring, and after reading some helpful blogs and websites, I found out that we needed the following in order to get an infant a passport to travel internationally.

1. Her social security card
2. Her birth certificate
3. Both parents present with photo IDs
4. Passport photo of the baby (or have one taken on site)
5. Fill out a DS-11 Application for US passport
6. Finally (of course) the baby must be present

Linna's first passport photo.

We decided to go to the Ridgedale Service Center to apply for Linna's passport because it's close to our home, and they do photos on site. I know we could save money by taking the photo ourselves, but the hassle of trying to photograph my squirmy baby myself, in front of a white backdrop, with the specifications they require, it just wasn't worth it to me. We'll pay the $20 and skip the hassle. They also have the application for a US passport available there too.

I called the Ridgedale Service Center the day before, to make sure we had everything we needed. We did NOT want to have to go to the service center twice. Heck, we didn't even want to go once. It is both my husband and my idea of hell. When I called, the person on the other end of the phone told me we were all set. Good. Off we go!

First of all, when I arrived at the help desk to get a number in line, the lady looked at me like I was crazy (maybe I am, but that's neither here nor there). I know what she was thinking... "where's your husband?". My husband was driving from work, and I know how long the wait is at the service center, so I thought he could meet us around 15 minutes after we got there and had the form all filled out. NOPE, he needed to be there for me to even GET a number.

Second of all, the lady told me we needed checks. Excuse me?! Checks?! A. who writes checks anymore, and B. why do we need checks?! Neither my husband nor I were carrying the check book. So, I had to call my husband to quickly drive to the house, get the check book, and meet us at the service center. Of course this delayed us by a half an hour, and we were closing in on nap time! Total frustration. Oh and P.S., Hennepin County Service Centers do NOT take VISA credit or debit cards. I know. WTF?! This is something that could have been mentioned to me when I called to check to make sure I had everything in order to get Linna's passport ordered.

Once my husband got there, needless to say, we were both so aggravated. What was supposed to be a semi-easy process was turning into a nightmare. However, once we got our number in line, we only had to wait about 10 minutes. The man who processed our passport application was so sweet. He brought us over to the photo area, and had AJ hold Linna up and off to the side, so she could be in the photo all by herself. Linna's reaction was priceless. She just looked as us like, "what the hell are you doing to me?". But, she looked into the camera and we got a cute little shot of her face... and Papa's hand (but that's ok).

We had to write two separate checks because the application goes through two different agencies (so we're told). The total was about $140. We'll receive the passport in about 4-6 weeks (but the guy that helped us said we'd probably get it sooner). Even though the process was frustrating at first, it's the first step and story in our adventure to Singapore!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

We're moving to singapore.

It's official, the Saigh's are moving to Singapore! At the end of August, Papa Saigh, Linna and I will be packing our bags for a three-month adventure overseas for Papa Saigh's job. This trip has been in the works for a couple months, but my husband just called to tell me that his company made the plans official today.

Although I am thrilled about this opportunity, I'm sad to leave family and friends. My parents and in-laws are very excited for us, but they are so upset about not being able to see Linna for three months. That alone breaks my heart. This is such an awesome opportunity that we could not say no to. Linna isn't in school, and we're all going to learn so much living in another country. It's going to be tough because I'm used to having help with Linna. My parents live about five miles away, and my in-laws are just over an hour away. It will be really difficult being away from our family, but how could we say no to an opportunity like this?!

I must admit that I didn't even know where Singapore was until we learned about this potential trip (pretty pathetic huh?!). It's time for this mama to start doing some research! We need to get Linna's passport, figure out living arrangements, etc. It's so crazy to think that Linna's first flight will be an 18+ hour flight to the other side of the globe!

We'll be gone through November, so we'll be back for Christmas (hopefully Thanksgiving). This is going to be such a great experience for our little family of three, and YES, I will of course be blogging about our entire experience.

Minnesota Baby in Singapore... HERE WE COME!!!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Sisterhood of the traveling ovaries.

Brittany and her daughter Emerson in the hospital.
Last year, one of my best high school friends, Brittany Peltola, told our group of girls that she was pregnant. We were all SO excited for her. She was 29-years-old, married to the guy of her dreams, had purchased a home in the Twin Cities, and life couldn't be going any better for her. At just six weeks into her pregnancy, Brittany had an ultrasound so she could see the baby's heartbeat. Yes, she got to see the baby's strong heartbeat, but the doctors also found something of concern... multiple cysts on her left ovary.

Me, Brittany, and our daughters at Emerson's Baptism in June 2012.

At about 16 weeks pregnant, Brittany underwent surgery to have the cysts removed. What they found in her ovary was a tumor... a cancerous tumor. At less than 20 weeks pregnant, Brittany had not only undergone surgery, but she now had to decide if she would undergo chemotherapy during her pregnancy.

Emerson in the hospital.

Brittany was diagnosed with an Immature Teratoma and made the decision to fight her cancer while pregnant with her first baby... a girl (they found out the baby's gender shortly after her diagnosis). Because of the chemo, Brittany lost all of her hair. But what she didn't lose was her determination to fight Ovarian Cancer and win! She continued working full-time, completed Baby Peltola's nursery with the help of her husband, and even found time for a social life. If anyone can do it all, even while fighting cancer, it's Brittany.

Brittany and tiny Emerson Victoria.

At just 31 weeks pregnant, Brittany underwent an emergency C-section and delivered a 3 lb. 2 oz. baby girl named Emerson Victoria. Baby Emerson spent weeks in the hospital, but in April, Brittany and her husband Max got to bring Emerson home. Today, little Emerson is a beautiful, happy, healthy, 8 lb. 10 oz. perfect baby girl (she literally looks like a doll)!

Supporting the fight against Ovarian Cancer is something that Brittany is very passionate about. This September, her family and friends are participating in the Minnesota Ovarian Cancer Alliance "Silent No More" Walk & Run for Ovarian Cancer. My husband, daughter and I are thrilled to be on Brittany & Emerson's team called the "Sisterhood of the Traveling Ovaries".

Perfect little Emerson.

I know times are tight for so many of us, but I am hoping to raise at least $1,000 to go toward the fight against Ovarian Cancer. No donation is too small. Even if you can give $5, you're helping us reach our goal. In 12 years, MOCA has awarded more than $3 million to 50 ovarian cancer research projects in Minnesota, thanks in a large part to the success of the Annual Silent No More Walk/Run.
If you're able to donate, please visit the my DONATION PAGE and make a donation in honor of Brittany and Emerson. If you'd like to particiapte in the walk/run, join us on Saturday, September 8th at Rosland Park in Edina!

Check out Brittany's personal blog.

Check out more information on the 13th Annual Silent No More Walk/Run.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Conversations with linna.

It only lasts about 15 seconds, but it seems like Linna needed to get a lot off her mind during this lunch conversation with her mama. I wonder what she was trying to tell me. Must have been a really funny joke. Maybe she'll remember to tell it to me when she's older.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

We got a pool.

Well, we got a pool in OUR price-range anyway. This little blow-up pool is the best $5 Target purchase I've made this summer so far! It's so small, but big enough for Linna to hang out in during the hot, muggy, summer days we've been having. She loves splashing around in the water, throwing rocks in it, or just sitting in there for a cool soak. The best time for pool-time play is after her meals, since she's always covered in food. She's naked in these photos because... well, why not?! Babies love to be naked, and what better place to have them to a naked poop or pee, than outside! I blurred out "private parts" because although I love a naked baby, I know not everyone thinks it's "appropriate". I took a few "tushie" photos too, but we'll save those for Linna's baby book;)

This Minnesota mama is lovin' inexpensive, summer "poolside" entertainment!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Skylar luna pajama giveaway.

(VIDEO: Linna dragging herself around in her Skylar Luna jammies)

We love all of our blog followers so much, that we're giving not one, but TWO of you a set of organic sleepwear from Skylar Luna! All you have to do is follow our blog (you can also follow us by email) for your chance to win. The "follow" button is to the right of your computer screen. We'll randomly select two winners on Sunday, June 24th. Thanks in advance for following our blog, and good luck!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Deserving the title "dad".

Papa Saigh and Linna.

This year, Father's Day is a little extra special, as I get to watch my husband celebrate HIS very first Father's Day! Linna is so lucky to have a very involved, loving, nurturing, and dedicated papa. The role of a dad is so important in the life of a child, but it's a title that's earned, and not simply handed to a person.

Me and my dad on my wedding day. 10.2.10.

Time to get a little personal (as if this is the first time I've done that)...

Many of you might not know this about me, but my biological father left my mom, younger brother and I when I was three years old. I know who he is, I've seen photos of him, but I have never had a relationship with him, as he chose to leave my mom to raise two kids all by herself. The only memories I have of my biological father are disappointing. I remember when I was five years old, I told my mom I wanted to talk to my "dad". Although hesitant, she let me call him. Over the phone, he promised that he was going to send me a bag full of stuffed animals and toys. I was so excited about getting this delivery that I waited every day for it to arrive. It never came. I was so disappointed. Thinking back on it now, I think my mom knew he was just going to disappoint me, so she was hesitant to let me call him. I'm thankful she made that choice, so I could understand the kind of a person he really was.

Papa Saigh and his dad, Marty.

My mom never received child support, and worked her butt off to give my brother and I the life she felt we deserved. My mom put both my brother and I through private school, was at all of our sporting events, dance recitals, pageants... EVERYTHING! She is an amazing woman and I could not have asked for a better mom.

Growing up without a dad when I was little was really tough. Barely any of the kids at my school lived in a single-parent household. I remember when I was about six years old, our Girl Scout troop had a father-daughter dance, and my Aunt Laura took me because I didn't have a dad (thank you Auntie Laura)! It was so "embarrassing" for me to be the only girl there without a dad, but my aunt did make the night very special for me.

The day my husband became a dad. 8.8.11.

When I was around 10 years old, my mom met a man named Dale. Our little family of three started spending a lot of time with him. At first, I was not very accepting of this guy trying to come into our family, but as time went on, I feel like I started to appreciate him. He and my mom were married when I was about 13 years old, and soon after, my mom had a talk with my brother and I about calling Dale "dad".

As a teenager, this transition was so incredibly awkward. I was supposed to start calling my mom's new husband "dad"?! How was I going to explain this to my friends? The last thing a teenage girl needs to feel is different from her friends. But the more time that passed, I started to see how big of a role Dale wanted to play in my life. He was at all my dance recitals, pageants, after-school events, would pick me and my brother up from school if we needed him too, and he always introduced my brother and I to other people as "his kids". He never referred to us as his "step-kids". He did everything that my friend's dads did (sometimes more), so why wouldn't I call him "dad"? After my sister Paige was born, both my brother and I decided to take my dad's last name, so it would finally be official that all three of us were "The Specken Kids".

Papa Saigh and his bug.

Although my brother and I aren't my dad's biological kids, he's the only man in our lives who has earned the tile of "dad". He's been there for our family through thick and thin, and my brother and I have always simply been "his kids". It takes a very special man to take on two kids that aren't biologically his, and I really feel like I am so blessed to have the dad that I do.

When our daughter Linna was born, I remember looking at her with tears in my eyes, and asking my husband how a man could ever look at their child, and chose to walk out on him or her. The thought just doesn't make sense to me. I could never imagine my husband ever leaving us the way my biological father did. Linna is the love of Papa Saigh's life. He lives and breathes for her, the way my dad lives and breathes for his kids.

No mother should ever have to raise her kids alone, but it's also important for moms to give their child/children a positive male role model. Just because a man plays a part in the creation of a child, that doesn't make him a dad. It takes a committed and loving man to EARN that title.

I guess you can say that I've "lost" a father, earned a dad, and have gotten to watch a man become a dad. My daughter and I are so lucky to have not one, not two, but THREE very special dads in our lives (my dad, my father-in-law, and my husband). All three of these men have EARNED the title "dad", and they are three of the most amazing guys I know.

Happy Father's Day to all the deserving dads out there, especially Dale Specken, Marty Saigh, and AJ Saigh!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

10 months.

Now that's she's learned how to crawl, our little 10-month-old is a speedy little thing! There's nothing this little girl won't get into. If I turn my back for one second she either has something in her mouth that she found on the floor, or has crawled off to discover something new. So far, I've found a Mike & Ike in her mouth (at my parents' house after my sister's graduation party - there was a candy/desert bar), and a tinfoil wrapper that she found in our closet from a piece of candy (I'm blaming my husband for that one - it was on his side of the closet)!

I've already begun planning Linna's first birthday party! It's unreal to think that we will soon have a one-year-old. Seriously, where does the time go? Her invitations have been ordered, some decorations have been purchased, but I'm still thinking of ideas for activities. She's only going to be one, so I shouldn't go overboard, right?!

Loving spending the summer at the pool.
In the last month or so, Linna has become very attached to her pink blanket that she's been sleeping with. We call it her "snuggles". If you ask her where "snuggles" is, she looks around for it, and the second you give it to her, she curls her whole body up and snuggles right into it. It's so cute! One night I had put "snuggles" in the washing machine, and he hadn't been dried yet before bed. I tried putting Linna down without her "snuggles"... BIG mistake! I had to quickly throw it in the dryer, and take it out after 15 minutes so she could go to bed. Yep, "snuggles" was still damp, but Linna had her "snuggles" so she didn't care:) Thanks Auntie Julie G. for giving us Linna's first best friend! Finger crossed that we never lose this thing.

Playing with one of the cool toys at ECFE.
Now that swimming lessons are over for the season, we signed up for a Baby & Me class thorough ECFE (Early Childhood Family Education). We are both in love with this class! ECFE has so many great learning toys that we don't have at home, as well as things Linna can crawl on, learn, and explore. We're really finding that we have a little investigator and explorer on our hands!

So difficult to get her to sit still.
Linna also has quite the little palate! She is a lover of pretty much all food, including salmon, tilapia, blueberries, eggs, and anything with olive oil and herbs on it! She had some of my Uncle Joel and Miss Amy's chili at our cabin over memorial day and LOVED it! It had a lot of spices, beans and meat in it, and she gobbled it right up. She's also eating green smoothies, freshly-squeezed veggie and fruit juice from our juicer, and as you saw in my last blog post, Linna had her first taste of ice cream on LIVE TV:) We're really trying to limit or keep Linna from eating junk food at this age, because A. there's no need for it, and B. she's going to have lots of treats when she gets older. I know people have so many different opinions about giving kids sweets. Yes, I know sweets won't kill her, but if she's not even "asking" for sweets and junk food now, why would we introduce her to it? As Linna gets older and becomes more curious about the things her mom and dad are putting into their mouths, it's really made us more cautious about our food choices. We just want to keep Linna eating healthy foods for as long as we can, and all we ask is that other people respect our parenting choices:) This is something I never understood until I had my own baby.

Hanging out with MeMaw at Auntie Paige's graduation party.

I'm still pumping and bottle feeding, so Linna hasn't had to have any formula. My plan is to feed her breast milk until she is a year. It's been a challenge, but I'm so glad I will hopefully reach my goal. AJ and I are going to Chicago for five days at the end of July without Linna, so I think I'm going to wean myself off pumping before the trip. I have enough of my breast milk stored (frozen) to get her to a year, if I stop pumping before we go to July. Right now, I am REALLY looking forward to having my bubbies back, but I do wonder if I will be emotional about stopping breast feeding. We shall see!

Linna still isn't pulling herself up onto things, but she will take steps if you hold her hands. Just today though, she started starring down (or up) the stairs (yikes)! She loves standing up on things, but just isn't ready to pull herself up, unless she's holding onto our hands. It's amazing how anxious I was about getting Linna to crawl, but now that she's on the move, I'm missing her days of immobility!

Here we go...

Linna's hair is getting so long, and she babbles ALL the time! I would love to know what she's actually trying to say:) She gets SO excited to see her grandparents, especially her Grandpa Specken and Grandpa Saigh! She literally looks like she's convulsing when she sees Grandpa Specken, and when she sees Grandpa Saigh (AKA PeePaw), she stares in awe of his mustache.

This little bug is growing up MUCH too fast! Slow down Linna. Mama wants to keep you little forever;)

Monday, June 11, 2012

First taste of ice cream... on LIVE TV.

Linna and "Uncle" John Hanson hanging
out backstage before the show.
Today, I was on TWIN CITIES LIVE showcasing some custom Father's Day gift ideas, and as always Baby Linna came with me to the studio! Usually, if she's not modeling in my segments, she sits in the studio with one of TCL's fabulous interns. But today, John Hanson (co-host of TCL) decided Linna needed to hang out with us during the segment.

One of the gift ideas was custom ice cream by eCreamery, and while Elizabeth Ries (co-host of TCL) tried some of the ice cream, she decided Linna needed to try it too. Little did Elizabeth know, Linna has never had ice cream before! So Linna got to sample her first ice cream on LIVE TV:)

WATCH THE VIDEO OF THE SEGMENT (it happens toward the end of the segment - during the ice cream talk).

It's so funny that this happened because I remember all of the times I would feed other people's little babies food, not knowing that their parents hadn't introduced solids yet. Linna has been eating solids since she was about five months old, but we haven't given her any "junk" food yet. What better way to sample her first ice cream than by having one of TCL's hosts feed it to you!

In case you're wondering, I am in no way upset with Elizabeth. She (like me before having a baby of my own) had no idea that Linna hadn't tried ice cream yet:) I thought the whole thing was rather funny, and the look on Linna's face after she tried the lemon-lavendar ice cream was priceless! What other baby gets to say that they experienced one of their "firsts" on LIVE TV?! Thanks E-Ries for showing little Linna all of the delicious treats life has in store for her:)

Friday, June 8, 2012

Last swim class of the season.

Linna with her classmates after their last class of the season.

Miss Lorrie giving Linna her
completion certificate.
On Wednesday, Linna and I had our last swimming lesson in our spring session at FOSS. I cannot say enough good things about Foss Swim School in Chanhassen! From the staff, to the parents and kids in our class, we've had a blast over the last few months. Linna has turned into a complete "water baby", and she now loves spending time in the water at the lake and in the pool. She actually loves water poured over her head, and would probably splash around in a pool all day if we'd let her. Even bath time is a joy for Linna. This summer is going to be filled with many days at the pool and the cabin, so we're looking forward to watching her love her time in the water!

At the end of class on Wednesday, her teacher Miss Lorrie presented all the kids with a little certificate to show that we completed the class. This will go right into her scrapbook! This summer I will miss walking into the Foss door every Wednesday to all of the smiling faces of the staff, parents, and kids. We're excited to get back into classes this fall. Although we didn't graduate from Baby Backfloat 1 class, we've definitly noticed a big difference in Linna's water comfort level. Thank you Foss for a great experience!

This "after class" photo says it all. Dorrel is tired, Morgan is just being her cute
little self, and Linna is crying for her "Ba" (AKA bottle).

Drying off after class.

We have a crawler.

Yesterday, while we were at a pool party at my friend Bri's parents' house, Linna started CRAWLING! She's been taking two "crawls" or "steps" for a few weeks, but as I was telling the girls about this, Linna just started doing more! As soon as we got home, I got some video, and told AJ. He told me that she had done it yesterday too while I was out shopping, but he wanted me to see it "first". Looks like we BOTH got to see it "first":) She may not be quick, but she's officially on the move!

Here's her "former" crawling style...