Sunday, March 31, 2013

19 months.

Little Linna is growing into a young lady right before our eyes! This month, we hit a few bumps in the road when it came to Linna's eating habits. A couple weeks ago, I seriously thought Linna was going to waste away, because there were days that she wouldn't eat anything but a single banana. Also, Mama Saigh made the mistake of letting Linna's milk sit out too long, and when Linna took a sip, she gave the cup back and said "no". I couldn't figure out why she wasn't drinking her milk... then I tasted it. SO gross! Now Linna won't drink milk. I even had to throw her Elmo cup away (the one that she drank spoiled milk out of), because every time she saw it, she thought there was bad milk in it. Poor girl! Even if she would watch me pour orange juice into the Elmo cup, she would not take a sip out of it. Woof. I feel like I tried everything to get her to drink milk again. I switched the cup, bought milk boxes (like juice boxes), etc., but she is just over milk. This weekend however, I bought some whole chocolate milk along with whole milk, and poured a little bit of the chocolate milk into a glass of the regular milk. I told her it was chocolate. She drank it. Success! Kind of.

Linna is back to eating semi-regular meals, but a mom is always going to worry when her kid doesn't eat. I know if she's hungry, she will eat, but I still worry. You should see the look on AJ's face whenever I start talking about Linna's eating. He gets so annoyed. One of Linna's favorites right now is chicken and rice, and she eats that with a veggie most nights. However, we have been struggling to get her to eat her veggies. I know I should mix it up a bit, but when I know she'll eat the chicken and rice, it's just easier. Oofta, I've totally turned into THAT mom. She's not wasting away, and she still has chunky thighs, so it's time to stop worrying, right?!

(Playing with her baby on the patio of our temporary apartment in Singapore.)

(Doing her back-float kick at the Shangri-La swimming pool in Singapore.)

Linna is also starting to put two word "sentences" together, sometimes three. Her new sayings are "I don't know", which actually sounds like "I doe-ing", and "help you", which I believe means "help me". She repeats everything, and I beam when she points to an object and can say what it is. She's learning new words every day. She also still loves to swim, and has learned a couple new "tricks" at the pools here in Singapore. AJ got her to start jumping into the pool, and she will kick her legs when she's doing a back-float. She is such a little fish, so thank goodness we're back in Singapore, where she can swim every day.

Linna and her pal Lottie. Why the serious look ladies?!

She's still doing three-hour naps, and sleeping from 7:30 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. She literally walks to her bed when she's tired and asks us to put her in it. She'll have an "off" day every now and then, but for the most part she is a really good sleeper. Linna loves watching Barney, Sesame Street, and her new favorites are Winnie the Pooh (she calls him "Pooh") and Mickey Mouse (she calls this "Moose").

Other than that, Linna just loves being a kid. She's constantly running around, playing with her toys, and making messes. She still drools ALL the time, her hair is getting really long (and shaggy), and she's enjoying the hot weather in Singapore. We miss everyone back home in Minnesota!

(Lovin' the Singapore life.)

Friday, March 29, 2013

Jumping into the pool.

This weekend, we are staying at the gorgeous Shangri-la in Singapore for a little "stay-cation", and today in the pool, AJ got Linna to do this...

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Mama's kitchen helper (throw back thursday).

This is quite possibly my favorite video of Linna (and AJ's favorite too). I shot this when she was about three months old, when we were in the kitchen making dinner. Yes, I have my infant in a Bumbo, on the kitchen counter. Whoopsies! Learn from my mistakes, mkay?!

I can't get over how fat, yet little she was! She's so wobbly, full of smiles, and I love that she doesn't have a neck;) Man time flies. How was my now 19-month-old, EVER this little?! Thank goodness for "Throw Back Thursdays"...

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Real pizza in singapore.

Margherita Pizza at Extra Virgin Pizza.
Since we've lived in Singapore, the one thing we really haven't been able to find is GOOD pizza. You know... the kind you'd find at a cafe in Italy. Not greasy Pizza Hut pizza, but crunchy/chewy-crust pizza, with fresh tomato sauce, and REAL mozzarella cheese. Well, as of yesterday, the Saigh ladies found what we've been looking for!

Today is the grand opening of Extra Virgin Pizza at United Square. They have another location at Asia Square, which I hadn't been to before. Linna and I grabbed lunch at this new spot, and it was worth the trip from Clarke Quay (where our temporary apartment is in Singapore). The first thing I noticed about this restaurant, is that it's extremely family-friendly, without being "kiddie". By family-friendly, I mean it's loud enough were if your kiddo has an "episode", it's really not a big deal. And by "kiddie", I mean it's not like a McDonalds. Plus, they have happy hour special, including wine, beer, and spirits for the adults. Ok, I guess I'll go;)

Just waiting in line to order her pizza.
They call lines "queues" here.

Linna and one of the servers. They are
really good with kids!

Skirt Steak Salad. Yum!

Lunching with my bug.

During our visit, Linna and I shared a Margherita Pizza and a Grilled Skirt Steak Salad. Oh, and Linna got a freshly squeezed orange juice, while I sipped on a glass of red wine. They have a great deal, where for $15, you get a Margherita Pizza and a soft drink. Trust me Minnesota friends... this is a GOOD deal for pizza in Singapore. The pizzas are a pretty good size too. Although I'm sure my husband could finish one off in no time at all! They also have a BOGO (they call them 1-for-1's here) happy hour on drinks from 5-8 p.m.

By the time Linna and I finished the salad (I ate the majority of it), I was seriously full. But not full enough to turn down the yummy-looking pizza. This pizza was seriously the kind of pizza I have been looking for in Singapore. It was SO good, but I was a good wife and took the rest home for AJ.

Mommy juice.

This family-friendly pizza joint is in a great spot too. United Square is a mall packed with stores and activities for kids and parents. It's actually known as "The Kids Learning Mall". I only wish it was closer to our new apartment. Either way, I will be taking AJ back so he can eat this delicious food HOT, instead of out of the refrigerator. Next, we have to work on getting them to deliver to the West Coast... OR, just open up a restaurant there:)

Monday, March 25, 2013

Gmax reverse bungy at clarke quay.

Yep, they did it! I was much too chicken, but my friend Steph from the UK, and her helper Lynn, rode the Gmax Revese Bungy at Clarke Quay Saturday night. Max, Lottie, Linna, Geoff, myself and AJ got to watch it all happen too! You couldn't PAY me to go on that thing, but AJ says he will try it once his family is in Singapore, so they can go on it with him. Lynn LOVES thrill rides like this, so she didn't need any convincing, and Steph decided to take the plunge with her. Max (Steph's 2-year-old son) wasn't too thrilled about his mom being shot into the sky, and he was much happier when she was safely on the ground. The Gmax Reverse Bungy is something that draws a lot of attention at Clarke Quay, and it only took Mama Steph a couple beers to get up the courage to give it a try:) Would you try it?!

Check out the video of the big launch below...

Friday, March 22, 2013

Singapore fire station visit.

Linna on a fire truck in Singapore with Papa.
Every Saturday from 9-11 a.m., most of the fire stations in Singapore have a FREE open house for the general public. So this morning, we went with the Legg family to check out the Central Fire Station near Clarke Quay. My dad is the fire chief back home in Hopkins, Minnesota, so going to explore the fire stations here in Singapore has been high on our list of things to do.

Just chatting it up with two Singaporean
fire fighters.
I thought this event was going to be really busy, but I would say there was only about 50 people there. So, all the kids got a lot of "hands on" experience. Just like the Hopkins Fire Department does for their yearly open house, the Central Fire Station in Singapore brought our their fire tucks, showed kids all the fire gear, and even let the kids help spray water out of the big fire hose. Kids could climb up into the fire trucks for photos, and they even passed out little plastic fire hats. We didn't get any for Max, Linna, or Lottie, because the fire station only had like 20 hats to pass out, and we didn't get to them fast enough. Major bummer!

It was crazy to see the fire fighters put on all their fire gear, as it's like 95-degrees outside currently, and they put on just as much gear as the fire fighters do in Minnesota. I get hot every day in Singapore when I'm wearing shorts and a tank top! The ambulance vehicles are also kept at the fire station, and we got to see one go on an actual call, as well as a fire truck responding to a call.

Since it was seriously like a hundred degrees outside, we all decided to go look at the old fire trucks and gear in the Heritage Gallery, where it's air conditioned. Inside the Heritage Gallery, they have all sorts of equipment from the late 1800s, to today's modern equipment. I so wish I would have taken my mom and dad to this place, because my dad would have been in his personal heaven! There is so much of Singapore's history in this gallery. It's definitely worth checking out.

Cool truck! Like how they don't have doors?!

My dad said he is going to send the Central Fire Station some Hopkins Fire Department shirts, so we got him a shirt and badge while we were in the gallery. Minus the heat and humidity, we all had fun checking this spot out in Singapore, and agree that it is the perfect Saturday morning activity for the whole family!

Hard to see, but that's a fire fighter going down the fire pole.

Can you imagine how hot this guy must be?!

Snackin' in a fire truck.

Max up on a fire truck.

I wonder if it's even possible to get all three of these kids in a photo,
where they are all happy and looking at the camera!

Fire fighters going on an actual call.

Linna, Max, and Lottie in front of Central Fire Station in Singapore.

Not sure what this is, but it's old and inside the Heritage Galley.

Playing with the fire trucks AJ got them.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Jurong bird park.

This morning, Linna and I braved the heat and ventured off to Jurong Bird Park in Singapore. Not only did we tackle the heat, but we decided to save a little cash by taking the MRT and bus there. It took us about an hour to get to the Bird Park (only takes about 15-20 minutes by cab), but hey, I saved us like $25! We weren't in any rush to get there, so it was worth it to save some money. We just hopped on the Purple Line at Clarke Quay, transferred to the Green Line at Outram Park toward Joo Koon, then hopped on the #251 bus at the Boon Lay stop, which took us right to the park. Although it wasn't a short trip, it was super easy to navigate.

There is SO much for the little ones (and adults) to do and see at Jurong Bird Park. Linna and I walked around the jungle paths to look at flamingos, ostrich, pelicans, penguins, and even a bald eagle! Every bird we saw, Linna would say "bird", and then "more". All of the colors of the birds were beautiful. We brought our stroller with us, and the Bird Park is very stroller-friendly. We got a nice workout in from walking up and down the hills, but for about $5, you can hop on the tram that will take you all around the park. You can even rent strollers for under $10, and wagons for about $15. Even though I had Linna, the camera bag, and another bag, along with our umbrella stroller, people were very helpful getting us on and off the bus (you have to collapse your stroller before getting onto city buses in Singapore). On the way home, this Asian guy (he was the grandpa of one of the kids on the bus) actually picked Linna up and helped her onto the bus because she wasn't moving very quickly, while I brought all of our belongings onto the bus. At first thought, it might seem weird when people do that, but when you're all by yourself in 100-degree weather, with a kid and multiple belongings, any assistance is greatly appreciated!

Yes, I'm holding birds on a stick. Sorry it's blurry.
After checking out all of the birds around the park, we tried to catch the High Flyers Show, but we missed it because I started walking the wrong way. They have two High Flyers Shows (one at 11 a.m. and one at 3 p.m.). I wish we could have stayed until 3 p.m. to catch what is said to be a pretty cool show, but nap time was slowly creeping up on us. We decided to end our morning at the Bird Park with a little lunch, and some playtime at the Birdz of Play water-park. Yes, this water-park is inside Jurong Bird Park, at no extra cost to visitors! A word of WARNING though... DO NOT let your kids walk onto the grounds with bare feet! It's extremely HOT because of the sun, and we learned that the hard way (I should have read the sign). Linna's hot little tootsies put the kibosh on her having any fun inside the water park, which is such a shame because there was SO much to do for kids of all ages. She just couldn't get over the "hot feet" incident.

We had a really good time at Jurong Bird Park, and I'd like to bring AJ back so he can experience it! It's definitely one of things you "have to do" in Singapore. After a quick and not too expensive (under $15) taxi ride back to our apartment in Clarke Quay, Linna is napping quietly... most likely dreaming of all the colorful birds she saw today.

My Advice to Jurong Bird Park Visitors:

1. Take public transit if you're not in a hurry to get there. You'll save yourself some $$$.
2. Bring your swimsuit and wear light clothing. It's HOT! You can cool off in one of the air conditioned exhibits.
3. Bring cash. The place we bought lunch had a $15 credit card minimum, and our lunch was only about $10.
4. Bring water... lots of water.

Penguin feeding time.

Pretty birds.

Ostrich. I think this was Linna's fav.

Storks. They carry babies to mommies in their beaks.

Pay attention to the signs.

I may or may not have given her a chocolate donut.

Asians love taking pictures with Linna.

On the bus. "Don't worry mom, I got this."

Jurong Bird Park Deal Through March 2013:

This deal is for parents in Singapore (sorry Minnesota friends), with children age 3-12. Flash the coupon below when purchasing your tickets to Jurong Bird Park, and you get a FREE child admission with the purchase of an adult admission. This $14+ savings is only valid March 16th - 31st, so enjoy it while it lasts!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Fort canning park.

Linna (19 months) checking out Fort Canning Park.
Just a few blocks away from our temporary serviced apartment in the Clarke Quay area of Singapore, we have discovered a gorgeous jungle-like park. One morning, Linna and I took the stroller to go check it out, and we ended up walking around for a couple hours because there was so much to see.

Gorgeous trees.
Steph with Max and Linna checking out the fish pond.

If you're looking for a park/walk-area that will give you a good work-out, Fort Canning Park is the spot for you! The park is located on a hill, and is actually one of Singapore's most historic landmarks. Although there are numerous flights of what seem like endless stairs for you to get a good work-out on, there's only one way to get the stroller up the hill... and that's to push it up a big, steep slope (amazing butt workout)! My friend Steph and I took our kids (Linna, Max, and Lottie) this past weekend, and while I pushed my 14-pound Maxi-Cosi Mila Stroller up the hill, my body ached just watching her push her heavy double-stroller with two kids in it. I'm sure she got a little bit more of a workout than I did;) I wish I would have grabbed a photo of this scene, but if I would have taken a hand off the stroller, Linna would have had one dangerous and crazy right toward the bottom.

So. Many. Stairs.
When you reach the top of the hill, you're surrounded by lush, tropical greenery, and you literally feel like you're in a rain forest in the city. There's fish ponds for the kids to check out, a spice garden, beautiful flowers, and even an archaeological dig going on! If you decide to leave your stroller at home, you can get a good workout by walking/running up and down the stairs, or by using the workout-type equipment along the trail. I couldn't figure out how to get to the top of the hill with our stroller, so that climb will have to wait for a child-free visit. However, even mid-way up the hill, you can catch beautiful views of churches, and other religious worship sites. If you plan on visiting this FREE site in Singapore, be ready to get your sweat on... because it is tropical and HOT up there!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Our new home in singapore.

After what has seemed like endless days searching for an apartment in Singapore, I am happy to say that we have found the place we will call "home" for the next two years!

We went back and forth on the decision to live in our old condo (Caribbean at Keppel Bay), but we actually decided to live somewhere else. So many of our friends (and Linna's little friends) live at the Caribbean, and it has an amazing pool, playground for the kids, and lots of moms who stay home with their kids. However, it is VERY expensive (and overpriced if you ask me) to live there, and since our purpose of being here is to go back to Minnesota with money saved for a down payment on a new house, we decided to live on the West Coast of Singapore.

Linna and her new buddy Mark from Germany.
Our new condo is called Luxe Ville, and it is amazing! It's a 10-15 minute bus ride to Harbourfront (AJ's work), as well as the Caribbean. It's a much smaller condo community than the Caribbean, as Luxe Ville only has about 50 units, and the Caribbean has hundreds. Our pool is smaller than the Caribbean's, but it has a more "secluded/private" feel. The best part is that our new condo is BRAND new, and it's almost double the size of our old apartment. We'll have thee bedrooms, so Linna will actually have a playroom, and three bathrooms. We're just about a five minute walk to West Coast Park, which has a playground, beach, etc., and our surroundings have more of a "neighborhood feel" than the Caribbean did. We even made friends with a German family, as their apartment is right by the pool. They have a three-year-old son named Mark, and they have TONS of kid toys on their gigantic balcony/patio. Linna and Mark play very nicely together, and Linna even had a big meltdown when we had to leave the new condo yesterday. Mark only speaks German, so maybe Linna will come back to Minnesota speaking Mandarin, German, and English:) One thing we did sacrifice was having a bathtub, so Linna had better get used to taking showers!

It is crazy expensive to live in Singapore, and apartments/condos are no exception. The two bedroom, two bathroom, 800 square-foot apartment we lived in at the Caribbean ran about $5,400/month in rent. Unreal, right?! We got our new apartment, which has almost double the space, for $4,000 a month. Still crazy expensive, but we got a pretty good deal... for Singapore that is:)

We are so excited to get new furniture in the apartment, move in (April 3rd), and have visitors! We are slowly starting to feel like Singapore is our new "home". Thanks Chris Chua with SRI5000 Real Estate for helping us find this place!

Guest bedroom.

Master bathroom. No tub, but oh well.

Linna's room. We aren't buying her a proper crib in Singapore, as
we are waiting for her to "graduate" to a toddler bed

Guest bathroom.

Kitchen. They close kitchens off in Singapore, so you don't
have to air condition it. Different huh?!

Our "yard". This is normally the are where a helper would stay. We don't have
a helper, so this is a third bathroom outside, along with the washer/dryer, and a place
to air dry our clothing. It's right off the kitchen.

Dining room. Plain, but we're working on it.

Balcony. Love this area!