Tuesday, April 30, 2013

20 months.

Had to bribe her with a cookie to take this photo.
Linna is turning into a little lady right before our very eyes. Every day, she amazes us with how smart she is (I'm sure I'm the only parent that says this about their kid, right?!). She is starting to put two-word sentences together, learning her shapes, and how to count to three. In the last month, she went from calling Mickey Mouse "Moose", to actually being able to say the full name "Mickey Moose". So cute. Thanks to Barney, she's starting to recognize shapes too. She definitely knows what a triangle looks like, but as of now, squares and circles are "triangles" too. Linna will randomly point at an object, say what color it is, and most of the time she's right! Yesterday, she pointed to the pole on the bus and said "pink", and the pole was actually pink. Sometimes, everything is "yellow" to Linna, but other times she knows what color she is talking about. She has also learned the answers to the following questions...

1. What does a cow give us? (Milk, or as Linna calls it "Milt")
2. What is a bird's nose called? (Beak, or as Linna calls it "Beet")
3. What is an elephant's nose called? (Trunk, or as Linna calls it "Trunt")

Every morning when we go into Linna's room to get her out of bed, she excitedly says "hi" with a big smile on her face. She then proceeds to point out all of her "friends" in her bed, and has to tell us each of their names (i.e. Barney, RoRo the dog, her pillow "Bear", her owl blanket, and of course "Snuggles". When we take her out of her crib, she runs into our room, jumps into bed with us, and points out our eyes and noses. It goes something like this...

"Nose." - Linna
"Yes, that's your nose." - Mama Saigh
"Mama." - Linna
"Yes, Mama's nose." - Mama Saigh
"Papa." - Linna
"Yes, that's Papa's nose." - Mama Saigh
"Linna." - Linna
"Yes, that's Linna's nose." - Mama Saigh

(Linna says the colors of her ice cream. I was actually very surprised by this one.)

This happens every morning. I think she just likes to reaffirm that she knows these things. The girl loves being right, and who can blame her. She also points to things, says what it is, I tell her she's right, she says "hi" to the object, and then walks up to it and goes "mmmm...mmm...mmmm" and kisses it. So weird, but SO funny! It's things like this that I never want to forget.
AJ took this picture of Linna, when they were at the park
together. She's totally owning her little strut.

"No" is a big part of Linna's vocabulary too. Usually when we ask her something, he answer is "no", whether she really means "no" or not. When I know she's doing a #2 in her diaper, I say "Linna are you pooping?", and her response is "No", even though I know she's making a poo. I then ask, "Do you want to go poo poo on the potty?", and her immediate response is "No". We're not sure if she's really not ready to start potty-training, or if this is just another thing she says "No" to. Time will tell I guess.

Although Linna has pretty much been a 7:30 p.m. to 8 a.m. sleeper, with a three-hour nap in the afternoon, this past week she has been playing loudly in her crib from 7:30 p.m. to about 8:30 or 9 p.m., and she's shortened her naps to about an hour and a half. I know, super stressful, right?! Haha. With Linna, I have learned that she goes through phases. Sometimes these "phases" stick, but most of the time they last about a week. This happens a lot with eating too. She'll go days without eating anything, and then turn into a little piggy. I am hoping this sleep change is just a phase, because I've really enjoyed the three hours of peace and quiet in the afternoon. Linna has also started making us chase her around the house before bedtime. When we say it's time for bed, she starts laughing, and runs off to hide. You'd think it would be annoying, but it's seriously the cutest thing. I can't get enough of her smile.

Temper-tantrums are also becoming a regular occurrence in Linna's world. We're really working on not "giving in" when she has a tantrum, and actually get down on her level to figure out what is wrong. However, sometimes she has a tantrum for a completely ridiculous reason (i.e. not being able to buy a huge bag of candy at the grocery store). I've learned to simply walk away and ignore these tantrums. Yes, I'm the mom in the store that walks away from her screaming child. Get over it. I refuse to let these tantrums become the way she tells us that she wants something. Sorry Linna, not happening.

(Linna's new nightly giggle session. She really cracks herself up.)

We're also starting to teach Linna how to share with other children. THIS has been one of the most difficult lessons she's had to learn, and most of these "lessons" end in tears. Linna becomes very territorial about certain things (i.e. sunglasses, and her airplane toy - so random), and it's a nightmare to get her to share these things with other kids. Yesterday, Linna's friend Marc (the 3 1/2-year-old boy in our condo who speaks mostly German) came over, and they played together so nicely. But the second Marc wanted to take Linna's airplane toy, the tears ensued. There was NO reasoning with her, so I made her sit in our room to play by herself. She simply wanted the toy all to herself. I know that sharing is a tough lesson to learn, but we will get there soon enough. We're also working on NOT hitting. This past month, I've noticed older kids picking on Linna. I hate this. She's been pushed over and hit on the head, which totally breaks my heart, but these are things little kids do. It's not ok, but it's a form of communication. It seriously pisses me off when other kids hit, and now my kid is one of the "hitters". Linna JUST starting hitting other kids this month, and I think it is her way of telling kids that she doesn't want them near her. She doesn't know how to verbalize it yet. She learned how to hit from other kids, so now she's doing it. Woof. When she does it, I simply tell her "no, we don't hit", and then show her a "gentle touch". When I see her hitting another kid as her way of saying "don't come near me", and tell her "no hitting", and then show her how to tell the kid "no" (instead of hitting them). SUCH a tough lesson!

Love this face!
On a more positive note, Linna's hair is really getting long, and her "baby mullet" is finally filling in. She has adorable little curls in the back of her hair when she sweats, which I refuse to cut:) Linna loves spending time in the pool every day in Singapore, and we've slowly started removing the floaties in her swimsuit, to get her closer to swimming on her own. She really LOVES the water, and can even swim 3-5 seconds with her face under water! She's also getting very comfortable not being near Mama Saigh, which poses a problem in public places, when she will simply disappear. If she finds something interesting, she goes to check it out, whether I go with her or not. The other day while I was paying for groceries, and I turned away from her for two seconds, and when I turned around... she was gone. My heart sank into my stomach, as I thought someone took her. In a matter of seconds, Linna and another little girl had literally ran about 50 feet down toward the other end of the mall. How she got that far, I have no idea. I now miss the days when she was attached to my hip!

AJ and I have been catching ourselves a lot lately, just looking at Linna and realizing how old she is getting. It's crazy to think that in just a few months, we will be the parents of a two-year-old , who may be starting every-day school in September. It's times like this when I wish we could keep Linna this age forever!

Some of Linna's "Favorites":

Shows - Bert and Ernie's Great Adventures, Barney, and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse
Foods - Yogurt, French Fries, Sweet Potato Pumpkin Pancakes, PB&J Sandwiches, Bananas, Mango, Nuts, Crackers, and Cheerios
Toys - Chalkboard, Blocks, ABC Bath Toys, and Balls
Words/Sayings - "Thank You", "Hi", "Baby Bop", "BJ", "Ernie Bert", "No", "Help", "Oh No", and "More"

Monday, April 29, 2013

2013 mother's day gift guide.

It's the most wonderful time... of the year!

Ok, the holiday season is great too, but when it comes to being a mom, MOTHER'S DAY takes the cake. If you're looking for a great gift for the mom or mom-to-be in your life, we have some excellent ideas, and they include both Minnesota and Singapore!

The Gift of Beauty

Aviva Massage at Estheva Spa

Whether you're treating your mom to a surprise massage on Mother's Day, or letting her pick the date, the Aviva Massage at Estheva will have her feeling like royalty. I experienced the Aviva Massage at Estheva a week before Mother's Day, and I felt like I was in heaven. It was 105 minutes of pure relaxation. Yes, I said 105 minutes. That's more than an hour-and-a-half of peace, quiet, and relaxation that any busy mom deserves (and needs)! If you're like me, and always want your one-hour massage extended, this is the massage for you. As part of Estheva's Mother's Day Promotion, they are adding a 15 minute complimentary calming therapy on TOP OF the 90-minute full body massage that you'll be treating your mom with. I have never experienced a 90-minute massage before, so my Aviva Massage at Estheva was a real treat. From the moment I walked in the doors of the Raffles Hotel location, I was treated like royalty. Everything about Estheva screams luxury, and they have even received a few "Best Of" awards from Harper's Bazaar. If you really want to give your mom the gift of luxury that she will never forget, book her an appointment at Estheva, and check out the other Mother's Day promotions they're currently running.

Spas for Mom in the Twin Cities (I am a personal fan of both):

Ivy Spa Club in Minneapolis
Zen Experience in Edina

Clarisonic PLUS

I have been in love with my Clarisonic for years, and use it every day. So when I heard that there was an even better model out there called the Clarisonic PLUS, I got my hands on it ASAP! The Clarisonic PLUS Sonic Skin Cleansing System features three speeds for the face, and a body mode for cleansing areas of the body needing extra care and attention. This spectacular device has gotten rid of my blackheads, and removes every inch of makeup off my face. One day, after a television appearance where lots of makeup is necessary, I washed my face with a washcloth and face wash. Then, I used the Clarisonic PLUS, and the amount of makeup left on my face even after washing with a washcloth and cleanser, was unreal. In about a minute every day, mom can have fresh, clean skin. It's the gift that keeps on giving!

Manicure/Pedicure Places in Minnesota (still looking for a great place in Singapore):

Nails on 8th in Hopkins - I have been going to this place since I was 18, and I am always happy when I leave. This place has very reasonably priced manis and pedis, and what mom wouldn't be thrilled to be treated to getting her nails done?!

Kim Nail and Spa in Mankato - My sister-in-law introduced me to this place, and at Kim Nail and Spa in Mankato you get an excellent mani/pedi for a great price. They have a cute area for the little princesses to have their nails done too!

For the New Mama

Mommy and Me Handprint Set from Pearhead

This is the perfect gift for the new mommy! So many moms (like me) become overwhelmed when the new baby arrives, that they forget to do special things like capturing the tiny baby feet and hand-prints. While our babies grow so quickly, it's easy to forget how little they once were. It's wonderful to be able to look back and reminisce on all the baby moments. The Mommy and Me Handprint Set allows mom to capture her own hand print alongside baby's hand print, in an adorable wall canvas. The kit comes with the canvas, non-toxic paint, tray, and paintbrush. Once mom and baby's hand-prints are on the canvas, your little one will have enough paint left over to paint additional works of art for mom when they're ready to show off their artistic talents (or even for dad on Father's Day)! At less than $15, this is an affordable gift option. This is just one of the many ideas they have for moms, moms-to-be, and grandparents too! Click on the following links for a list of Pearhead retailers in Singapore and Minnesota.

For the Food Lover

Cookies by Tank Goodness

Holy yum! We had some delicious, warm, Tank Goodness cookies delivered to our home last week, along with some ice cold milk. Talk about making a person's day a little brighter! Instead of sending your mom flowers that will die in a few days, send them some warm, freshly-baked cookies that they will really enjoy. Tank Goodness cookies are all about sharing the love, because they come in a box with enough cookies to share with family, co-workers, or the kiddos. We always talk about making freshly-baked cookies in our house, because we love the smell and obviously the taste, but having the work done for you so you can indulge, makes cookies that much more enjoyable! The chocolate chip cookies by Tank Goodness are absolutely amazing. These a a very convenient gift idea for mom, when other family members aren't the best bakers!

Sunday Brunch

If you're like me, you actually want to spend Mother's Day with family. Yes, I want a few hours of kid-free peace and quiet, but I want to be in the company of the two people who make my world complete. This Sunday, my husband, daughter and I will be celebrating Mother's Day at my favorite luxury family-friendly Sunday Brunch at Shangri-La's The Line in Singapore. I'm obsessed with this spot, as they always go above and beyond. It is a bit of a splurge experience, but if you're wanting to treat your mom to a Sunday Brunch fit for a queen, make a reservation at Shangri-La Singapore's The Line Restaurant. Check out the Waterfall Cafe, and The Rose Veranda at the Shangri-La as well, for more Mother's Day options including a high tea!

Brunch Spot in the Twin Cities - Check out the Sunday  brunch options at Crave at the Galleria, West End, and Mall of America. I can't get enough Crave's delicious selections, and I'm sure your mom will agree!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Sunday school.

Checking out a chart that is written in Chinese.
For those who know Papa Saigh and I, you know that we are not "religious" people. Papa Saigh comes from a Methodist family, and I come from a Catholic family. Both of us went to church every Sunday when we were young, we were married in a Catholic Church, and I went to a Catholic School growing up. Although we have nothing but respect for our parents' and families' beliefs, as a couple and as individuals, we just aren't "religious" people. I believe in God, Papa Saigh isn't quite sure, but both of us believe in being good people, and raising our daughter to be a good person as well. We don't go to a regular church on Sundays (we haven't for years), but our parents often take Linna to church back home in Minnesota. As both of us come from pretty "religious" families, some may wonder what happened to me and Papa Saigh;)

My husband and I feel it is important to give our daughter to opportunity to explore different religions. Living in Singapore, we have friends from many different religious backgrounds (Christian, Baptist, Buddhist, Muslim, Jewish, etc.). Within a block of our home in Singapore, there is a Presbyterian Church, Church of Christ, Baptist Church, and a Mosque. All of these people from different backgrounds and faiths are what make Singapore a diverse and educational place to raise children. For the most part, people here are open-minded, and that is the kind of people we want to surround ourselves with, as we feel we are pretty accepting people.

This morning, we took Linna to her first Sunday School at Pasir Panjang Hill Brethren Church. I went to Sunday School when I was little, and I remember it being nothing but fun. I learned about God, sang songs about Jesus, and made friends. I remember the church my mom took my brother and I to when we were growing up, as being very slow and boring, and I feel I learned more in the "fun" environment that my Sunday School teachers provided. I still remember my Sunday School teacher, Mrs. Krowzack (she was so nice).
Getting a snack from her teacher.

We chose to bring Linna to Sunday School at PPHBC because we have some German friends in our condo that send their 3 1/2-year-old son to the Pasir Panjang Hill Church Kindergarten, and they have nothing but positive things to say about their experience there. Since Linna is 20-months-old, we feel she's a little too young for every day nursery-school, but thought it would be good to bring her to some type of school once a week. This will get her comfortable with the thought of being in a classroom environment, without mom and dad there. I looked at the church's website, because I honestly had no clue what "Brethren" meant, and after seeing that the "mission" of this church is basically to be a community of good people doing good things for others, we decided to check it out.

The people of this church were so welcoming, and nothing about our experience felt "forced", as our experiences with other churches have been. A very friendly woman walked us to the Creche room (children's room), where we met Linna's "teacher" Angeline. Angeline did a great job at keeping Linna busy, while we made our exit. Linna could have really cared less if we were there or not, because she was already having so much fun playing. While Papa Saigh and I haven't been to church in a really long time, we decided to sit through the 1.5-hour service, as it's right outside the door of Linna's "class"... just in case:) Although we didn't love the idea of siting through a church service, it ended up being pretty cool, and we enjoyed the upbeat music. Linna stayed in the room, and was happy as can be for the entire service! When her teacher opened the door at the end of her class, Linna walked out, looked at us and said "Woah!" excitedly. I'm hoping this means she had a good time!

I am very thankful that my mom was able to put my brother and in Catholic School, through the 8th grade. I made some great friends, and have some good memories of my school days. While I don't necessarily agree with all the teachings of the Catholic Church, I respect those who do. Since we're doing all of this for Linna's benefit, I guess a little church time for Papa Saigh and I can't hurt... and I'm sure it makes our parents very happy. For me, prayer is a form of meditation, and a way to talk to God (whoever that may be for to the individual praying). I feel prayer is a good thing, as it brings a sense of calm and peace to many people. Although I should probably do it more often, I pray because I am thankful for all that I have in my life. We want our daughter to learn/know how to pray, whether that be praying with her grandparents at Catholic Church, or with our neighbors at an Islamic Temple. We want her to grow up being accepting of all religions. Religion is the practice of various beliefs, and who are we to say which religions are "right" or "wrong". When Linna is old enough to decided what religion (if any) she wants to practice, Papa Saigh and I will be right there to support her. Who knows, maybe we will actually become the church-going people our parents set out for us to be. You never know...

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Mommy and me brunch.

Last Sunday, while AJ stayed home because he wasn't feeling well, Linna and I decided to get out of the apartment and headed to brunch on Sentosa. We had made a reservation for the three of us to enjoy the Sunday Champagne Brunch (I'm a sucker for Sunday brunches in Singapore) at The Terrace restaurant at The Sentosa Hotel. I heard from a friend about the peacocks that wander around the grounds, and I knew our little one would enjoy that. This brunch is served from 12 - 3 p.m., so it's more like a lunch... a very BIG lunch. The timing made things easy on me since this is right around Linna's nap time, and she sleeps very well in her stroller:)

Linna's nap time = Mama Saigh's champagne time!

Delicious seafood.

This is just one of the food spreads.

Linna checking out the peacocks at The Sentosa.

Before Linna decided to take a little snooze in her stroller, she dined on a variety of fresh fruit, some cheese and crackers, and she even tried some of the Indian food. Oh yeah, she had a good amount of chocolate from the chocolate fountain too. She couldn't get enough! And then she found the desert room. It was like taking a glimpse into her personal heaven. She sat so nicely in her highchair while I went to get her food from the variety of tables they had set up in and outside the restaurant. About a half hour into our brunch, Linna decided to take a 1.5-hour nap in her stroller. Yes! Time for Mama Saigh to "enjoy" her champagne brunch.

Now THIS is how to enjoy a champagne
brunch on a Sunday in Singapore!

It was difficult deciding where to start on my food journey, as there were so many options. There was all kinds of seafood, sushi, an outdoor barbecue station, a cheese and charcuterie room, meats, Indian food, fresh fruits, and desserts (which happen to be in a separate room). A desert room is pretty much a dream for anyone with a sweet tooth! They have a build-your-own cesar salad bar, which was pretty cool because you get to mix your salad toppings in a big chilled bowl, and then pour the salad onto your plate. Your salad will be just the way you like it. I also tried some oysters, roasted duck, and of course the Indian food outside. They had so many delicious curries, it was hard to pick which one to try first. And of course, I had a little Sunday fun of my own, while enjoying a few glasses of champagne. The servers never left my glass empty, which was very much appreciated. Taking taxis everywhere in Singapore does have its advantages:)

There were many families enjoying brunch with children of all ages. The Sentosa Hotel brunch has a special kids’ buffet, as well as an activity room equipped with Wii games, pizza making, and other games. I didn't take advantage of this because Linna slept so peacefully in her stroller, but for any parent with a busy child, this children's room would come in handy. There is plenty of space in the restaurant for the little ones to walk around, in case they get bored at the table with the adults. Although there were a few couples enjoying brunch without kids, there were plenty of families with little ones and older children there as well. This is a very family-friendly brunch spot.

After I stuffed myself with delicious, fresh food (and champagne), I walked with my sleeping tot in the
Delicious breads and cheeses.
stroller, to the yard where peacocks were wondering about freely. One of the peacocks had his gorgeous feathers all sprawled out, which I later found out is part of the peacocks' mating ritual. Linna woke up just in time to catch a good viewing of the beautiful peacocks, which were only about three feet away from us. They were so close, we could have touched them! Linna loved watching the peacocks from a distance, but when I tried to put her on the wall to take a photo, she wasn't too pleased with me. I did catch a good photo of the back of her head, as she watched the peacocks. The hotel grounds were beautiful, and I was so jealous of all the guests using the gorgeous pool. This must be a fabulous hotel for those visiting Sentosa. Maybe we'll look into staying there when we have family visiting us.

This was such a relaxing afternoon with my favorite little lady, and although we would have loved to have had AJ along with us, Linna and I enjoyed spending some quality time together:)

Monday, April 22, 2013

Look mom, no wings.

Since she was 13 months old, Linna has been able to swim on her own, with the assistance of water-wings/armbands of course. We put her in swimming lessons at FOSS Swim School in Chanhassen, MN when she was seven months old, and she learned how to swim with armbands before she learned to walk. We've tried letting her swim without the armbands before, but at 20 months old she obviously can't swim without some kind of assistance. This morning, I decided to take Linna's armbands off, and put her in a Splash About FloatSuit to see if she would be able to figure it out. We put her in the FloatSuit before when she was around 14 months, but she wasn't strong enough to figure out how to keep her feet under water and her head out of the water. Today, Linna has almost completely mastered the art of swimming without her armbands, with the assistance of her FloatSuit. I took a couple of the removable "floaters" (adjustable buoyancy system) from the suit, and after a few tries, she was good to go!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

An "english" mama's american accent.

This is my friend Steph from England, who I met within the first week we moved to Singapore. She's the mom (or "mum" as they say in the UK) of Linna's friends Max and Lottie. Steph is VERY English, but she can do quite the impression of how she thinks Americans speak. She sounds like Chandler Big's girlfriend Janice from Friends?!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Linna rides a scooter.

Linna riding the scooter with her bestie Lottie (assisted
by their helper Lin, of course).

Living in Singapore, I've learned that it's pretty much required for every family to own a scooter. Well, not really, but almost every kid in Singapore has a scooter, and when the parents see how much fun they are and how easy scooters make getting from point A to point B, the parents end up getting an adult-size scooter for themselves. Our German friends at our condo bought one for their three-year-old son Marc, so naturally we decided to let Linna try it out. Marc's scooter has three wheels and a pull-rope to make it easier for the little ones to learn how to scoot. I think Linna's getting the hang of it, minus her fall at the end. Oops. Time to look into getting a scooter for Linna!

She's a maniac.

Tonight while we were waiting for our dinner (yes, we get take-out a lot in Singapore because it's cheaper, tastier, and easier than cooking food at home), Linna decided to do a little performance in front of the restaurant. "She's a Maniac" is something her Papa taught her, and I think it's pretty cute...

Monday, April 15, 2013

Shake your tail feathers.

Pretty, isn't he?!
Linna, remember that one time your mom let you watch two peacocks have sex, when you were a 20-month-old?!


PLEASE tell me there is another idiotic parent out there who did NOT know what a "courting" male peacock looked like.


Yesterday after Linna and I had brunch at a hotel on Sentosa, I saw a peacock with its gorgeous feathers sprawled out. So naturally, having never seen a peacock with its feathers up like this before, I raced over to see it with Linna. We both watched as this peacock shook/vibrated its tail feathers at another peacock. We took photos, captured some video, and I kept repeating (out loud) "Oh Linna, isn't that pretty?!", as we watched the two peacocks "communicate". Another spectator stood along side me and asked one of the hotel workers near us what was going on. I overheard the worker say something to the man in broken English, followed up with "... the sex".

The sex?!

That's right, the hotel worker was explaining to the man that the peacocks were getting ready to have sex.

Awesome. I just let my one-year-old witness her first mating ritual. Thank goodness she didn't realize what was going on, because AJ and I are not prepared to explain the "birds and the bees" until Linna is at LEAST 34-years-old;)

Well, Linna took her first steps in Singapore, so why not add "watched her first animal mating-ritual" to the list?!

Oh to be a naive American in Singapore! At least we captured this "first" on video, right?!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Throwback thursday (linna says "bye bye").

How was she ever this little?! It's videos like this that make me want to have another one...

Drilling... loud, f-ing drilling.

Make it stop mom!
I now understand why people drink during the day. As I write this, my 20-month-old is listening to Barney at the loudest possible level on the television, as we have workers drilling, hammering, pounding, etc. in our building. This isn't regular on-and-off drilling. This is CONSTANT, vibrating, LOUD drilling, that sounds like it's coming through our walls. My nerves are seriously shot, and I can't even hear myself think. This drilling makes me want to rip my hair out, then walk over to the workers and scream in their faces! My kid can't nap, as she probably feels like monsters are coming through her bedroom walls and ceiling. And just as we think they may have possibly stopped drilling... the hammering begins. It's enough to drive a person crazy!!!

Yes, I understand that if the workers don't work, the work does not get done. And yes, I understand that the world does not revolve my child's nap schedule. I GET IT. But seriously. These workers have to take a lunch break right?! And if they do, why can't they all go together and give us ONE HOUR of QUIET?! I have complained to management, and I was told the drillers take a lunch break from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.


My kid has been woken up two days in a row now from her nap because of the drilling. A half-hour nap doesn't cut it. Not for Linna, and definitely not for me. I've also been told that the work shouldn't take more than a month.

A month?! Seriously?!

(Please excuse the fact that our TV is on the floor. We just moved in and some furniture hasn't arrived.)

If I have to deal with this noise for a month, I WILL start drinking at noon, I may become a chain-smoker, and the world may run out of sedatives because I have taken them ALL.

I'm slowly losing it.

End mom rant.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

No more burnt tootsies.

Linna and her new Keens outside the pool.
Where would I be without the solicited advice from my fellow moms?! Stressed out and clueless, that's where. The other day, I asked other parents on Facebook what type of footwear they used to keep their children's feet from burning at the pool, beach, etc. We had a couple incidents earlier this month in Singapore, where Linna and her two bare feet wondered onto some HOT ground at the pool. The outcome seriously had a lasting impact on her. Linna's burnt tootsies made her terrified of the ground outside any pool, to the point where she refused to walk without shoes on. Even if I put her bare feet on cold ground and told her to walk to me, she would simply stand there crying, saying "carry" (she wanted me to carry her), and "hot". As my Singapore mom friends will vouch for me, watching this was heartbreaking.

So I set out on a mission to find my little lady some footwear for the pool and beaches we frequent in Singapore. I started out buying a pair of cheap pink Croc-type shoes that Linna actually liked. They were $5 at a mall here in Singapore, and Linna wears them everywhere. The problem with these shoes is that I have to take them on and off Linna's feet as she gets in and out of the pool. Not something I wanted to do long-term.

After I posted my pool foot-wear question on Facebook, a couple moms told me to look at Keen footwear. The moms explained that their children wear their Keens in and out of the pool, and that they last a really long time. How have I never heard of these shoes?! After hearing one mom say that she simply throws her kids Keens in the washer/dryer when they get dirty, I had to try these shoes out for myself. I ordered Linna a pair of the Keen Seacamp CNX (one of the newer designs). I ordered them in a size bigger than she wears now, so she has time to grow into them, instead of growing out of them right away. At about $50 a pair, I want to get as much wear out of them as possible.
Linna and her new Keens in the water.

Linna can literally wear her new Keens anywhere! It took her a couple dips in the pool to get used to having the Keens on her feet while in the water, but now she doesn't even notice them. It's such a stress-relief to know that she can get in and out of the pool without burning her little feet. I mean, if you could have seen her little face when she was terrified of the hot ground at the pool, you'd know that $50 for a pair of shoes is well worth it! When we leave the pool, I simply put the Keens out in the sun to dry. We will be bringing these shoes to our family cabin in Minnesota this summer too, so I don't have to worry about Linna taking her shoes on and off while she's playing in and out of the water. Toddlers are much too busy for that. I also may or may not have gotten myself a pair of the Haven CNX Keens, since I forgot my "walking" shoes back home in Minnesota, and we do a LOT of walking here in Singapore. They are super comfy, and it's like wearing a sock instead of a shoe!

Thank you to all of the fellow moms out there, who gave me advice on what type of shoes to get to deal with our "burnt tootsie" issue! Now I know what to tell other parents who are dealing with the same thing:)

Monday, April 8, 2013

Breakfast with sesame street.

Oscar, Linna and Mama. Look at Linna's face!
This past Saturday, AJ and I made all of Linna's dreams come true, by taking her to have Breakfast with Sesame Street characters at Universal Studios in Singapore. If you know us, we're at every Sesame Street event we can find (our first being Sesame Street Live), as our one-year-old is obsessed. I have never seen Linna's eyes so big, and her excitement level was through the roof!

Since the breakfast was at 9 a.m., and Universal Studios doesn't open until 10 a.m., we were some of the only people in the park that morning, as we walked to our breakfast spot. We felt so "VIP"! We were greeted at the door by some friendly ladies dressed in Sesame Street attire, and they gave each of us a gift bag with an Elmo plate inside. Linna loved it! As we walked into the doorway, Linna got her first glimpse of Cookie Monster. From a distance, she was very excited as she waved and said "hi" over and over again. However, the closer we got to the "larger-than-life" Cookie Monster, the closer Linna clung to me. Instead of pushing her to meet all the characters right away, we decided to sit down to have breakfast. This way, Linna could observe and decide how close she wanted to get to her favorite Sesame Street friends.

Breakfast greeters.

Tons of food.

Linna's dream birthday cake.

There was so much to choose from at the breakfast, and much of the food was made specially for the kids. There was pancakes with Elmo's face on them, cupcakes with the characters faces as the frosting, PB&J sandwich bar, fruit, etc., and of course food for the adults. They even had a vegetable curry, so Mama Saigh was very pleased (I'm totally on a curry kick)! Linna sat and ate her breakfast, while waving at the characters from a distance. Elmo, Cookie Monster, Oscar, and Abby Cadabby did a really nice job of respecting Linna's comfort level too. They would act so silly when Linna would cling to Mama and Papa. Eventually, Linna got comfortable enough to give her Sesame Street friends a high-five, but that's about as close as she would get. The characters were so great about giving all the children one-on-one time, taking photos and goofing around, and I think Linna liked simply observing that.

Watching the Sesame Street characters sing and dance from Papa's shoulders.

Tried to have Elmo sneak up behind Linna for a photo,
but she saw him. Haha! I love Elmo's expression.

Our little Cookie Monster (or should I say Cupcake Monster?!).

Best photo we could get with Cookie Monster. She did give him a high-five though!

After breakfast, we went to the Sesame Street store next door and got Linna an Elmo shirt. It was really hot outside, so we actually took Linna's romper off and let her run around in the t-shirt and her diaper. We walked down the street to find all the Sesame Street characters dancing to music, which Linna of course loved. AJ put Linna on his shoulders so she could watch. We also tried to go on the Sesame Street Spaghetti Space Chase ride (which is actually the first of its kind in the world), but Linna was too little to ride it. Although we were a little bummed, Linna had no idea what was going on and she was happy just seeing all the Sesame Street characters in the streets of Universal Studios!

As we got closer to the afternoon (Linna's nap time), AJ and I decided to take turns going on a couple rides! It can't be ALL about the kid, right?! We each went on the Battlestar Galactica ride (I went on the blue ride, and AJ went on the red ride). OMG, this was such a fast and thrilling ride! AJ said it wasn't bad, but I think it is the "scariest" ride I have ever been on. Don't get me wrong, we both had a blast, but talk about twists, drops, and turns! It was incredible. AJ then went on the blue ride that I went on, and I went on the Revenge of the Mummy ride. The Battlestar Galactica was much faster, but the Revenge of the Mummy ride was a roller coaster ride in COMPLETE darkness! Holy scary.

Meeting some ladies in the Sci-Fi area of Universal Studios.

Keeping her friends at a distance.

Toward the end of our day, when it started to rain.

Linna was the only person in the street while it rained, and lots of people were taking photos of her.

We wish we could have stayed all day, but it started raining, and we decided to get Linna home for a nap. I would love to go back for an "adult night", and have Linna with us during the day. Time to find a babysitter in Singapore!

Silly girl.

So random, but isn't this the cutest set of twins you have ever seen? We
saw them as we were leaving Universal, so I asked the mom if I could take a photo.
I know, I'm super creepy;) But honestly.

Easter weekend at singapore's shangri-la hotel.

AJ, Linna and I in the pool at the Shangri-La Singapore over Easter weekend.

We're usually with our families on Easter, but this year is a little different, as we're in Singapore for the next two years. We obviously can't be back in Minnesota for every holiday, and although I would have loved to have been surrounded by family over Easter weekend, it's tough to beat a weekend at the gorgeous Shangri-La Hotel in Singapore!

Linna loved our BIG bed.

Shangri-La Singapore's Splash Pad.

Fresh fruit daily after our rooms were cleaned by the staff.

For the past few weeks, we lived in a tiny temporary apartment in Clarke Quay, before we moved into our new place on the West Coast. In order to keep us all from going stir-crazy in our 350 sq. ft. space, we decided to take a weekend "stay-cation" here in Singapore. We booked a room in the Shangri-La's newly renovated Garden Wing for two nights, where we could enjoy the pool (something we did't have at the temporary apartment), good food, and a little "family of three" time. From the moment we walked the Shangri-La's red carpet, and into the unbelievable foyer, we knew we picked the right place! The air inside the Shangri-La smelled so clean, sweet, and spring-like. I couldn't get enough of the scent, and I later found out it was actually the Shangri-La's signature scent called the "Essence of Shangri-La". I wonder if they bottle this scent for the public to purchase???

Linna checking out and saying "hi" to the koi.

Huge, gorgeous, fresh floral arrangements all over the hotel.

When we checked into the hotel, the staff greeted us with fresh flowers. Our room was very spacious, and there was plenty of room to set up Linna's portable crib, which the hotel actually set up for us. We had a balcony overlooking the gorgeous pool too! We felt so "fancy":) AJ and I (and Linna too) could not get enough of our big soft bed. After sleeping on a pretty uncomfortable and small bed at our temporary apartment, this was a much-needed treat. We spent so much time in the hotel's pool, and Linna even learned a new pool "trick" during our stay. She can now jump off the side of the pool all by herself! Being the little fish that she is, she loved the big pool, as well as the baby pool and children's play area (they have a great splash pad type thing for the kids). Every time we would walk down to the pool from our room, Linna had to stop to see the koi swimming around in this beautiful oasis, that includes a waterfall! She would have jumped in to swim with the koi if we would have let her.

Linna and Papa.

Our little fish.

On Easter Sunday, we took Linna to the Shangri-La's Easter Sunday Brunch Buffet at The Line restaurant, as well as the Easter Egg Hunt afterwards. I cannot say enough about this brunch! Our jaws must have been on the floor the entire time we were there, because it was incredible. Pictures don't do this buffet any justice. The food options went on and on and on. They literally had every type of food you could ever imagine: Indian, Chinese, salad bar, sushi, SO much seafood including oysters and crab, plenty of meat options, ice cream, chocolate fountain, fresh fruit, satay, deserts... the list seriously goes on and on. The entire buffet was spread throughout the entire restaurant, and it was like something you'd see in the movies, or in your biggest food fantasy. The food looked artificial, it was so perfectly presented! All of the children's eyes were SO big when they saw the ice cream area, deserts, and chocolate fountain. Linna tried a variety of new foods at the brunch, but her favorite was anything dipped in the chocolate from the fountain (of course). The hotel also sent a handmade chocolate bunny to our room for Linna on Easter morning! If you're in Singapore and you want a taste of one of the best Sunday brunches the city has to offer, make a reservation at the Shangri-La.

Easter Brunch at Shangri-La Singapore.

What chocolate?!

The Shangri-La is known as one of, if not THE best hotel in Singapore. It's not an inexpensive place to stay, but you truly get what you pay for. As a part of our room package, we had a complimentary breakfast buffet every morning at the Waterfall Cafe, as well as a complimentary evening cocktails from 5-7 p.m. in the Garden Wing Lounge. The breakfast included freshly squeezed juices, coffee, pastries, fruits, yogurts, meats, eggs, and you could order off their set breakfast menu as well. We walked away incredibly full after each breakfast, and we weren't ready to eat again until dinner time. The complimentary evening cocktails included "snacks", but the snacks were delicious enough to serve as our dinner. They are smaller portions, but they have plenty of options, and you can always go back for more. Also, the complimentary cocktails were GOOD drinks, such as mojitos, martinis, beer, wine, cosmos, etc. They even have the famous Singapore Sling on the complimentary list of beverages. Between the food, service, amenities, and location of the Shangri-La, you really do get what you pay for! Besides eating pizza and some fries (and a couple cocktails) by the pool, we really didn't spend any money on food.

Linna finding an egg during the Easter Egg Hunt.

As with all the "larger than life" characters she meets, the meeting
with the Easter Bunny did not go well.

Easter Egg Hunt at the Shangri-La. It was SO hot outside!

It was such a drag going back to our temporary apartment, after spending a relaxing and fun weekend at the Shangri-La. This is a very family-friendly hotel, without being too "kiddie". The service was spectacular, and the staff knew the three of us (including Linna's sleep schedule) very well after the first couple visits we had from them at our room and around the hotel. We have friends here in Singapore, who have their parents stay at the Shangri-La when they come to visit, because it's a very central location, and the perfect place for everyone to hang out during the day. I completely understand why families want to stay there. As we travel around Asia over our next couple years in Singapore, we will definitely be looking at staying at Shangri-La's Hotels. The Singapore Saighs had the prefect Easter weekend "stay-cation", even though we were thousands of miles away from our families.

We hope everyone had a great Easter!

Linna sitting in a "big girl" chair during breakfast.