Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween in singapore.

My little angel.
Even though we're half way around the world, there was no way we weren't going to celebrate Halloween with Linna this year! Where we live, there are people from all over the world, and some of them don't celebrate Halloween. However, many people do, so one of the moms in our condo put together a Trick-or-Treat event for all the kids. There was a huge turnout, and although they do things a little differently here, it was still so much fun!

Linna, Max and Lottie, with all the trick-or-treaters in the background.


Singapore angels.

All of the kids and parents dressed up and walked around to the Halloween decorated BBQ pits on our property to get their treats. Since Linna doesn't get candy or sweets on a regular basis, this was a big treat for her! My friend Steph picked up some little costumes for her kids (Max and Lottie), and got one for Linna two. Max (two years old) went as a little devil, and Lottie (10 months) and Linna went as little angels. They were so precious! We brought two costumes for Linna from home (a frog costume and a strawberry costume), but they were both way too hot for her to wear outside in the 90-degree heat. It's a little different than the chilly Halloweens we're used to in Minnesota!

She was in heaven!

You can tell she doesn't get to have sweets often.
Sugar coma!

Auntie Lisa came trick-or-treating with us!

Linna got to have some chocolate, sugar, and cookies tonight, and the best part was that her Auntie Lisa got to go trick-or-treating with her! I'd say this was a very special Halloween.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Peek-a-boo or headache?!

She started playing peek-a-boo with a blanket at around 10 or 11 months, but these days she plays peek-a-boo with her hands... or does she just have a headache... or is she stressed out?! Hard to tell, huh?! Sorry about the dishevelled hair. She just finished her breakfast...

Monday, October 29, 2012

A french holiday evening in singapore.

With only a couple weeks left in Singapore, AJ and I decided to take our little family of three out for a fun evening in this very family-friendly city! We hadn't been to Marina Bay Sands, so we headed there last Friday night for dinner at Au Chocolat, and to watch the Nutcracker on Ice.

There are SO many options when it comes to finding great food at Marina Bay Sands, but a lot of these restaurants are REALLY expensive and not very "baby friendly". We heard about Au Chocolat from a friend, and decided to have dinner there because they said the food was outstanding and very reasonably priced. These friends were NOT joking around!

My dinner: Pacific Crab Cakes. Nom!

Think she's a fan of the Frozen Hot Chocolate?!

When we walked into Au Chocolat, we saw so many delicious-looking chocolates, ice creams, and candies, all made in-house by their chefs and chocolatiers. Running over-head, is an adorable choo-choo train that Linna stared and pointed at all evening! Au Chocolat is a French-Inspired Bistro, but it is very "American-friendly". To start our evening, AJ and I ordered the truffle fries and french onion soup. I am STILL raving about the truffle fries! I have sampled truffle fries all around Singapore (they are one of the most delicious types of french fries I've ever eaten), and Au Chocolat has THE BEST truffle fries. They sprinkle a little sea salt on the hot fries, and at $15, I would have been satisfied having these fries as my meal. The french onion soup was also outstanding, and was served in a cute little crock pot.

French Onion Soup. Nom!

Linna's dinner: Stuffed French Toast. Amazing!

For our main courses, AJ had the Steak Frites, I had the Handmade Pacific Crab Cakes, and we ordered Linna the Stuffed French Toast (which was the size of her head). The three of us couldn't get enough of not only our dinners, but each others' dinners, so we ended up sharing everything! If you've ever been to Singapore, you know that restaurant food prices are either REALLY expensive, or really cheap. There aren't a lot of "middle of the road" options that give you good value for your money. Au Chocolat is that option we had been looking for! Both AJ and I had delicious, filling, dinners for around $30 (yes, in Minnesota that price is kind of expensive, but it isn't in Singapore).

Singapore's BEST Truffle Fries.

AJ's dinner: Steak Frites. The salad even had a chocolate balsamic dressing. Nom!

But why stop there! We were at a restaurant known for it's mouth-watering chocolate dishes, so we HAD to try their famous Frozen Hot Chocolate. WOW! The serving is large enough for a few people to share, and isn't too sweet. It was such a rich chocolate, with a refreshing cooling effect from the icy slush. It's very similar to the Frozen Hot Chocolate at New York's Serendipity. They have so many desert options to choose from. We even watched with our jaws on the floor as the table next to us dug into their Tower Cake (6 layers of what looked like chocolate heaven). By that point, however, we were completely satisfied with our meals. We're planning on going back to Au Chocolat when AJ's sister and brother-in-law are in Singapore this week!

Just us girls before the show.

After dinner, we walked over to the Marina Bay Sands Grand Theater to watch the Nutcracker on Ice. It's HOT in Singapore, so we needed something to get us ready for the cold Minnesota weather we'll be flying into next month:) This ice show was unlike anything I've ever seen in Minnesota. In Minnesota, ice shows are performed at a hockey-type arena, so the audience is above and looking down at the ice rink. At this show, we were in an actual theater and the stage was made completely of ice! Instead of actors singing, dancing, and walking around on stage, the Nutcracker on Ice performers were actually ice skating on stage. It was pretty cool!

Linna and her Papa doing their own ice moves
during intermission.

Linna enjoyed every second of this performance, and for a 14-month-old to stay interested for more than an hour, that says a lot. She loved the Nutcracker music, and the performers sparkly costumes. Her favorite part of the show was when the "mice" came out and skated around, and she couldn't get enough of the actual Nutcracker character! She kept pointing and saying "ohhhhhhh" and "whoa". She danced along to the music, and her eyes were glued to the performers' every move. I am really looking forward to taking her to some kind of ice show when we're back in Minnesota.

Although it was a late night for Linna (she crashed as soon as we got into the cab to head home), this was a night out in Singapore that the three of us will never forget!

Linna's new swim gear from splash about.

Linna in her Splash About Happy Nappy
Swim Costume. She looks like a little old-fashion
lady swimmer!
Living in Singapore basically means that Linna and I live at the pool. It's SO hot here ALL year round... something we're not used to in Minnesota. When we're spending every day at the pool, we go through way too many disposable swim diapers, and it can get REALLY expensive. So I did some searching online, and found a company that makes a reusable/washable swim diaper and swimsuit all in one called a Happy Nappy Swim Costume (outside the US people call diapers "nappys", and swimsuits "swim costumes"). The company I ordered this from is called Splash About and they are based in the UK.

For under $25 (USD), I got Linna an adorable pink and orange Happy Nappy Swim Costume. Previously, she had been wearing a little purple reusable/washable swim diaper/nappy I got at Mother Care (the UK version of Babies R Us) in Singapore, but we really needed another option when we're spending every day at the pool. Plus, I wanted something that protected her skin from the sun a little more. This Happy Nappy Swim Costume holds in poop better than ever! I'm always concerned about Linna doing a #2 in the pool, but NOTHING gets through the Happy Nappy. They are made of a stretchy neoprene, and finished with a soft, snug fitting, deep bands of fabric with a high rubber content to keep all poo inside, and NOT in the pool!  I wish I had ordered a second one of these little suits for Linna to wear at our cabin next summer in Minnesota. Right now, there's a couple of these suits on clearance/sale for like $15 (USD), so you could have the suit shipped to you for about what it would cost to find a cute suit in Minnesota.

I also ordered Linna a cute little Float Suit and a Float Jacket. I got the Float Suit in hopes of Linna learning to swim without her armbands (water wings). At 14 months, she's a little to young to be without the armbands, so we'll save both the Float Suit and Float Jacket for next year at the cabin. She did have fun in the Float Suit while using the armbands though! I have some "mom friends" here in Singapore who have older kids (two and three years old) that wear the Float Suit and Float Jacket, and some of those kids are excellent swimmers!

Linna enjoying her Splash About Float Suit. Love the navy blue and white
polka dot print. We kept her armbands on, but next year I think she'll be ready
to go without!

Splash About ships pretty much anywhere in the world, and their shipping prices are very reasonable. I couldn't find the products I ordered in Singapore stores, so I just ordered them online. There is a store in the US that sells Splash About products, so you can have them shipped from there as well. We are pretty big fans of our little swimmer in her Happy Nappy Swim Costume!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Finding a balance one year after baby.

Am I happier now than I was a year ago when I was working full-time? Good question. A little over a year ago, I was working full-time in television, which I had been doing for the last seven years of my life. So, having a baby (a "surprise" baby to be exact) really shook things up a bit, and had me making some tough decisions that almost put me in the hospital.

During my entire pregnancy, I "toyed" with the idea of not going back to work and becoming a stay-at-home mom, but I could never quite wrap my head around the thought of leaving a career that I had worked so hard to build. However, when Linna arrived and I looked into her eyes, it changed everything. I was literally sick thinking about leaving my tiny baby and going back to work. The thought of putting her in daycare stressed me out, to the point of going "crazy". When Linna was about a month old, I was diagnosed with having Postpartum Depression, and my lack of sleep and stress that this decision was causing me, landed me in the doctor's office. I had a nervous breakdown and almost had my husband take me to the hospital.

Fun crew at my old office. I miss my TCLers every day!

Almost all of my co-workers came to our wedding, and even put together
a special little song and dance for AJ and I. AMAZING friends!
One of many work happy-hours.

After a few weeks of being on some medication (I took an anti-anxiety prescription for 2-3 months), I was finally able to think with a clear mind again. AJ and I went over our finances, weighed the pros and cons, and we both decided to have me stay home and raise Linna. I decided to focus on this blog, and create my own "brand". Being a mom is "what I do", and it's kind of a cool "club" that I feel like I was welcomed into after having Linna. Writing about my life as a mom is something I have that is completely MINE, and I'm able to continue my career (although not full-time) while staying home and raising Linna. Do I make as much money as I did working full-time? Haha, not even CLOSE! But we make it work.

However, "finding a balance" is becoming more and more challenging as Linna gets older, and I'm finding that work-at-home moms are some of the hardest-working women out there! Being a mom is a job in itself, but I think it's really important for ALL moms to have "an outlet" outside of raising children. For me, Linna and my husband are my number one priorities, but it's also important to make time for ME. I find my outlet to be writing (my blog/website), doing TV appearances, and being in the company of good friends. I blog about and research kid and family-friendly products/services when Linna is napping or asleep at night, and let's be honest, I'm a mom so I'm constantly "researching" when I'm out and about or just chatting with other moms. I've found a way to turn "being a mom" into "who I am", and I love it.

A moment that changed my life forever: August 8th, 2011.

I'll admit that when I go out for drinks or dinner with friends who aren't moms, it's tough to establish a common ground. I am a mom. It's what I do, it's who I am, and therefore, it's what I talk about. Yes, I love talking about fashion, new restaurants, drinking, traveling, television, and what's going on in the world, etc., but somehow or another, my conversations always revert back to my family. Love it or hate it, it is who I am. I can sit here and try to tell you that being a mom doesn't "define" me, but guess what, it does.

I make it a priority to spend time alone with my husband, friends, and family, without Linna, and I think it's very important to have my "girl time". These days/nights don't happen as often as they used to, but I make time for the important people in my life. If I lose friends because I have a kid and my lifestyle no longer fits their... well, that's unfortunate, and I understand... but such is life.

There are days where I miss rolling out of bed, putting on cute clothes (let's be honest, those days were few and far between when I was at TCL - hehe), getting in my car (BY MYSELF), and going to work with ADULTS who don't sing the ABCs all day. I miss turning away from my desk and having a conversation with my co-workers, then making plans to go out for happy hour after work. I was a free woman back then! Yes, there are days where I seriously contemplate putting Linna in daycare and going back to work full-time, but I always go back to how much I would miss out on in Linna's life. Yes, I'm missing out on fun work conversations, being a part of a big project/segment with a rewarding outcome, and fun happy hours after work, but having a kid changed all that, and it happened for a reason. If I was working full-time, we wouldn't have been able to pack up and move to Singapore for three months, which has turned out to be an amazing opportunity! I'm sure Linna's grandparents are wishing I was still working though, right?! ;)

Night out with my girls in Singapore. See, moms can still have fun!
All the girls (old and new) from my TCL family, got together to "send me off"
to Singapore. So much love, so much fun!

Some moms NEED to go back to work, and working makes them a better mom. Some need to go back to work for financial reasons. I totally understand and respect that. But I've chosen to be the one who stays home and raise our child, and I'll do whatever it takes (tightening our budget, working a PT job, etc.) to make that choice work.

Yes, I am happier now than I was a year ago, but it's a different kind of happy. It isn't my NOT working full-time that makes me happier. It's my daughter who makes me happier. I really don't know what we ever did without her (well, yes I do, but you know what I mean)! When people say that a baby will change your life, they aren't kidding. Even when I'm covered in poop or Linna's uneaten dinner, or sitting in my yoga pants and tee-shirt wondering if I've showered that day or not... YES, I AM happier being a mom:)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Peek-a-boo with grandpa via skype.

Linna just started doing this yesterday...

Experiencing a wheelchair-accessible lifestyle.

No, I'm not pulling a Kim Kardashian and comparing my having a child in a stroller, to knowing what it's like to live day-to-day in a wheelchair. However, my car-less lifestyle in Singapore, is quickly making me realize how difficult daily life can be for people in wheelchairs, and I empathize with them.

In Minnesota, I have a vehicle, but in Singapore I have my two feet, a 14-month-old, and a stroller. Therefore, we need to follow the wheelchair-accessible signs everywhere we go (a stroller isn't going to walk itself up a flight of stairs). Linna and I walk (she "strolls") everywhere, and when we need to go a distance, we take the SMRT or a taxi. I have yet to get on a bus, as you need to fold up your stroller when you board, and I'm not sure how I'd do that by myself. It's unbelievable how many buses don't have lifts for people in wheelchairs, how many public places don't have wheelchair-accessible signs clearly marked, and how far "out of the way" people have to go using these wheelchair accessible routes. According to the SBS Transit website (they own 75% of the scheduled bus market share in Singapore, with 3,000 buses), to date they "run 130 wheelchair accessible bus services". SBT Transit says that by the end of 2012, they would have 2,050 wheelchair accessible buses, and all will be wheelchair accessible by 2023.
When I am on my own with Linna, we can't use escalators, so we have to look for elevators (they call them "lifts" in Singapore). AJ and I have taken Linna on an escalator when she's strapped into the stroller in "urgent" circumstances, but people in wheelchairs don't have this luxury. When I say "forced" to use the escalators, I mean that there were too many able-bodied people using the elevators. I never really noticed it in Minnesota, but people in Singapore literally push their way in front of other people waiting for elevators... even in front of those people waiting in wheelchairs. I wonder if people realize that the people they are "pushing" in front of don't have the luxury of using the escalator, or if those people are just plain rude!

"Parents of the Year" taking our 14-month-old on
the escalator, as there were too many "able-bodied"
people waiting in line for the elevator/lift. So dangerous!

The other day, Linna and I were waiting to get off a train behind an older woman in a wheelchair. When the doors opened for us exit, the people waiting to get on the train literally pushed their way onto the train, before passengers could safely exit. I was SHOCKED! They almost trampled over the woman in the wheelchair, to ensure that they got a spot on the train. The train wasn't even crowded, so the people outside the train could have CLEARLY waited the extra five seconds to let this woman (and everyone else) off the train, and I guarantee they would have all gotten a comfortable spot on the train. Linna and I then walked to the elevator, and as we were waiting, the woman in the wheelchair from the train, came and waited in line along with us. I gestured for her to come in front of us to wait for the elevator. As we were waiting, two able-bodied people (a man and a woman) who weren't carrying anything heavy, didn't look ill, pregnant, etc., walked right in front of the woman in the wheelchair. At this point I had enough and looked at them both and said, "EXCUSE ME", and made it clear that this woman and myself were getting on the elevator before them. We had been in line LONG before they had been.

While discussing these situations with some of my "mom friends" at the pool today, one mentioned the Kiasu attitude of many Singaporeans. Kiasu means "fear of losing", and this attitude/lifestyle was actually encouraged by the Singaporean Government through the early 1970's. The Government said that they would make a success of Singapore through hard work, and that if you wanted to get ahead, it was up to you. Today, this is still the attitude of many Singaporeans. On numerous occasions I've found that some people will actually keep walking straight toward you on a narrow sidewalk, expecting YOU to get out of THEIR way. In one way I look at this as "I am a visitor in their country, and I should adhere to their ways". But on the other hand, there is such thing as common courtesy, and this lifestyle is just plain RUDE! It's not the "Minnesota Nice" that I'm used to, and in my opinion, "Minnesota Nice" goes a long way.

I'm sure that in the past, I have been one of "those people", and I really regret if I was ever "that person" in one of these situations. It's hard to empathize with people until you've walked a mile in their shoes. Living in Singapore has fortunately opened my eyes to what people in wheelchairs go through day-to-day. Even though this was only a glimpse, it's enough for me to change my ways. Not everyone has two working legs, or able to get around as easily as I can.

Just something to think about.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Linna builds, we clap.

Do you think Linna enjoys being praised?! At 14-months, I think she's ready for the stage. Everything (even block-building) is a production, especially if she hears Mama's anticipation of saying "YAY!"...

Friday, October 19, 2012

Kid's shoes that drive me nuts.

Kids toys can be extremely annoying. They make animal noises, play loud "happy" songs, and often make repetitive sounds that are about enough to drive any parent completely nuts. However, children learn from these noises, sounds, and song, so as parents, we just "deal with it" and learn to tune the noises out.

BUT, whoever thought it would be a good idea to put one of the most ANNOYING squeaky sounds into a child's shoes, has to be completely INSANE! Today, I was taking my daughter to music class, and while we were in Singapore's MRT (train system), I heard this persistent squeaky noise. I thought it was just a kid playing with a squeaky stuffed animal, but no. I turned around to find a little girl walking behind me with a loud SQUEAK to each and every one of her tiny steps. That's right, everywhere this little girl walked, she squeaked (and yes, I turned around to take video).

Who may I ask does this squeaky shoe invention benefit? If child's parents weren't moments away from tearing their hair out, I sure was! For what reason would you ever put your child in a pair of shoes that make this persistent squeaking sound?!

I can tolerate those kid's shoes that light up when they walk. I actually think they're kind of cute. But the shoes that squeak. Ugh. They must have been invented by terrorists.

Please tell me that this is NOT a Minnesota thing.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Linna says bye.

Linna is all about saying "hi", but she really loves saying "bye". This is what she does every morning when AJ leaves for work. She gets a little grouchy in this video because she's all done with her breakfast, but she must have said "bye" a dozen times...

Remember when she just started to WAVE "goodbye"???

Little india.

A couple stops after Chinatown on the "Purple Line" of the SMRT, you will find Little India. We visited this little gem one evening when my parents were in Singapore a few weeks ago, leaving the baby at home with her Papa. Tonight, I was craving some curry, so Linna and I went on a search for it in Little India. Did we find a delicious curry?! Oh yes we DID!

Gold and jewels in the street markets.

Sign above the streets.
Much like Chinatown (only better in my opinion), Little India is a happenin' little night spot that's waiting for tourists to come and explore. When we first got off the MRT and hit the street, I was like, "Where is all the "Bollywood action?". As we walked a couple blocks further, we were greeted with bustling shops filled with brightly-colored fabrics, and sparkly merchandise. This was my kind of place!

Flower garlands.

Every street market we walked down, we found people making fresh, hand-made flower garlands that were absolutely gorgeous. I thought this was a "Hawaiian thing", but the flower garlands are one of the oldest surviving Indian traditional offering. We could smell the delicious curries and spices that the restaurants and shops were cooking too. I wanted to eat the air.

Instead of "Where's Waldo?", this is "Where's Dale Specken?"

When I visited with my parents, the first shop we stopped at had the beautiful fabrics with hand beading and crystals covering every inch. You could literally purchase a traditional Indian Saree in any style, fabric, texture, or color you can imagine. I found one that was a turquoise color with crystals covering it, and it was priced at about $180. I didn't think it was a bad price, but I decided not to get it for "practical" reasons. My mom and I, however, did find some beautiful dresses for Linna. I first thought "PAGEANTS" when I saw the dresses, but they really are darling and unlike anything I've found in the US. At $20-ish a piece, we bought two for Linna, and they literally fit her body like a glove. I'm hoping she doesn't grow out of them by the time we get home so we can have some photos taken of her in the dresses, and maybe where the red one for Christmas:)

The place we got Linna's dresses.

As Linna and I walkeded up and down the streets looking for a place with good (and not spicy) curry, we finally stumbled upon this little restaurant called Lagnaa on Upper Dickson Road. The only reason we stopped here was because there was a lovely woman out in front who came to ask us if we had questions about the menu. I told her we wanted a good chicken curry that wasn't spicy. She said, "Try the Butter Chicken Curry". Done.

Linna hanging out with one of Lagnaa's servers.
The man behind them is from Scottland.

I may or may not have gotten a little excited about the food
before I realized I should take a photo:)

This dish was probably one of the best curries I've ever had! It was so flavorful, and not at ALL spicy (I don't do spicy), but you can get the dishes to any level of "spicy" you'd like. Linna also had some of the chicken curry, but she REALLY loved the Papadum, which is a crispy bread made with lentils. The Papadum came with a mint dipping-sauce that was to DIE for. The nice woman who helped me select my meal also recommended their Lime Juice to drink. OMG yum! It was so refreshing, sweet, and ice cold. Linna sat so nicely in the chair next to me (they don't have highchairs because the restaurant can only fit about 25 people), while the ladies in the restaurant entertained her, and I devoured my delicious food.

Spice-level chart at Lagnaa.

"Mom, these Papadum are the size of my head!"

If anything brings us back to Little India, it will be this food! Not the Dengue Fever warnings all over the place...

These were everywhere in Little India. Yikes!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

14 months.

It's getting more and more difficult to take these monthly
photos. She can't sit still! Cookie bribery works well.

Another month has passed, and until yesterday, our little bean wasn't walking. However, she did take a few steps on her own last night! We may or may not have had to bribe her with a cookie, but we're making progress:)

Since moving to Singapore, Linna has been around kids almost every day, so she's had colds on and off for the last two months. I kind of know what it's like to have a child in daycare now, although I know she could be coming down with much worse than just a cold. We've actually been dealing with an outbreak of Hand Foot & Mouth Disease in our condo complex in Singapore, but thankfully Linna hasn't gotten it.

It's so fun to see Linna interact with other kids. She's starting to speak to them in her baby gibberish, and I'm always trying to figure out what she's trying to tell them ("give me my toy back", "hello friend", etc.). She's learning how to share, what she should do when another kid takes the toy she was playing with, and how to "toughen up" (she's been bonked over the head with toys by a few kids in our play-groups).

Her vocabulary is quickly expanding too! Linna can say "yes", "ball", "baby" (this sounds more like "ba-bay"), "woah", "hi", "nigh nigh", "Bompa" (grandpa), and of course "mama", "dada", "papa", "nana", etc. Mostly though, she speaks in gibberish.

At her friend Seb's 3rd birthday party in Singapore.

Standing on her own.

Linna learned to feed herself with a spoon about a week ago. She loves bringing the food up to her mouth by herself, and if the spoon isn't working, she just uses her hands. Last week, we stopped giving Linna her bottle, and haven't had any problems with it so far. Linna eats three meals a day, plus snacks and water/juice, and an 8 oz. sippy cup of milk before bed. I put a little orange juice (I squeeze an actual orange into her water, because oranges are cheaper than "real" orange juice in Singapore) and prune juice in her water to keep her "regular" too. Her favorite food right now is yogurt mixed with a banana and granola, which is a great dish for self-feeding. She is eating SO much more than she was just a few months ago!

Linna is still taking two naps a day (sometimes one long nap if we're out and about), which I find makes her SO happy throughout the day. For a couple weeks, we got a little off schedule, and I realized how different Linna is without her naps. She's just a kid who needs sleep! She'll sleep about an hour and a half during each nap, and then sleeps from about 7:30 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. When we first moved to Singapore, she was waking up in the middle of the night to be coaxed back to sleep, but thank goodness that has stopped.

Hangin' with Papa.

Pool time.

Linna loves building with blocks, swimming, dancing to music, reading, and watching "Super Why" and Elmo on YouTube. She also enjoys taking everything she can off shelves and out of drawers. Linna is also very friendly, as she needs to wave and say "hi" to everyone we pass at the mall or on the street! I find myself wanting to ring people's necks when they don't wave back to her;)

Since Linna is slowly but surely growing a mullet, we're thinking about cutting her hair (just a trim) to shape it up a bit. It's so hard to part with her baby hair, but this mullet is getting out of control. We'll see if Mama and Papa Saigh can "grow a pair" and take Linna to get her first hair cut.

GLUED to her music class teacher.

We are very excited to get back to Minnesota, so Linna can see her family! She hasn't seen Grandma and Grandpa Saigh is almost three months. Very excited for the many reunions she'll have in November. The holidays will be pretty special this year:)

Think she'll be running by 15 months???

Monday, October 15, 2012

Linna's first steps.

The day has finally arrived. Linna has taken her first steps! The video is short, she looks like a little old lady with her butt sticking out, but she is definitely starting to walk. Here we go...


Singapore Sam and Linna in Singapore's Chinatown.

If you want to sweat more than you've ever sweat in your life, feel extremely frustrated, lost and out of place... go to Singapore's Chinatown with a your child in a stroller. If you actually want to enjoy your experience there, go in the evening.

A few weeks ago, Linna and I hopped on the MRT, went two stops (about 3 minutes) from our apartment near HarbourFront, and we were in Singapore's Chinatown. We decided to go during the day, which was much too hot and muggy, but since we were there, we decided to explore.

Narrow walk-ways that are difficult to pass people
in with a stroller.

Loved the buildings where the shops are.

I pushed Linna around in the stroller through the street markets of Chinatown, and we found a lot of good deals. Postcards are SUPER cheap in Chinatown (like 5 for $1 or $2), so we stocked up, and I also got Linna a cute little Chinese outfit! The street markets weren't very packed with people since we went on a weekday, but it was so hot that we had to take our flushed little cheeks into an air conditioned store to cool off.

Inside this supermarket we stopped in to cool off, we saw all types of Chinese herbs, foods, drinks, etc. EVERYTHING is written in Chinese (obviously), so if you don't read the language you'll be lost just like we were. There's definitely a language barrier in Chinatown, so I didn't even bother to ask questions about the things I saw in the stores. I did find a bag of dehydrated pears for $4, so I bought them for Linna's snacks. She LOVES them!

Chinatown in the day.

Chinatown at night.

I looked everywhere for REAL Chinese hot & sour soup, because someone in Singapore told me that it's the best in Singapore. If you know me, I LOVE hot & sour soup! I asked everyone that I saw in the little food shops if they had it, and everyone looked at me like I was crazy. I had to wait until we went on our Babies at Sea Cruise to find hot & sour soup, which was worth the wait because it was AMAZING!

There's also a hawker food center and market as soon as you step of the MRT. There, Linna and I found some delicious lychee tea. It's a cold tea that is sweet, only $1, and a perfect refreshing treat after a long hot day. I've tried finding this tea elsewhere in Singapore, but failed. I guess I'll have to keep going back to Chinatown!

Chinese outfit I bought Linna in Chinatown for $15.


When my parents were in town, the three of us visited Chinatown at night while AJ stayed home with Linna. I'm not sure if it was my time spent away from Linna, or the fact that we went to Chinatown at night, but this experience was MUCH more enjoyable. Plus, seeing all of the streets lit up with gorgeous lanterns and lights was incredible. My mom and I even watched a stray cat chase after (and catch) a cockroach in a dark alley.

Chinese woman making tea bags.

The food and market complex right off the MRT stop in Chinatown.

A lot of people will say that if you've seen one Chinatown, you've seen them all. I have to say that Singapore's Chinatown was different than NYC's Chinatown (the only other Chinatown I've been to) because Singapore's is much "cleaner" and smaller. I never feel "safe" in NYC's Chinatown, but I feel very safe in Singapore's. The sellers in NYC's Chinatown are much more annoying and pushy when it comes to getting you to buy something. In Singapore's Chinatown, they literally ask once and then leave you alone. If you're looking for good deals on things like postcards and little souvenir gifts, or just want to people-watch while enjoying a cold lychee tea, then Chinatown is a place to visit in Singapore. Just remember to go during the evening if you want to stay cool:)