Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Mommy sleepovers.

Our group (from left to right): Clark, Arleigh, Lilah, Nolan, Bri, JJ, Taylor, Jamie, Jake, Mama Saigh, and Linna

I have some of the best mommy-friends ever. You know you surround yourself with good people when you actually look forward to having sleepovers with these ladies AND their kiddos. I have three girlfriends that I spend a lot of time with when we're in Minnesota. I met Bri about five years ago when I was working at Twin Cities Live (I produced her segments), I met Arleigh about 10 years ago when we competed in pageants together, and I've known Jamie since college. When I would produce children's fashion or maternity segments on Twin Cities Live, I would often ask these girls and their cute kiddos to be my models. This is how we all started hanging out together. Between the four of us, we currently have seven kids who have basically grown up together. The oldest is Taylor who is almost five, and the youngest is Jake who is seven months old.

Our first sleepover about a year ago at Bri's house.
Linna and Lilah making ice cream sundaes at our sleepover last night.

I love this photo. THIS is how real parents do sleepovers.

Linna, Clark, Baby Jake, Taylor, and JJ cuddled up to watch a movie.

It's not very often that you find a group of moms that completely click like we do. There's nothing pretentious or fake about these girls. They are REAL. Our conversations are real, and we're very honest with each other. We feel comfortable showing up to our playdates in dirty yoga pants, and rarely wear make-up around each other. I look forward to being back in Minnesota, so we can have our sleepovers at one of our houses with all the kids.

This sounds crazy, right?!

Beautiful Taylor, the cat, and the pajama twins Lilah and Linna.
Linna set up her beauty shop during the sleepover.
See all the sprinkles on the floor?! Letting a 2 and 3-year old control the sprinkles wasn't the BEST idea.

These sleepovers are therapy for me. The kids play, and the mommies drink wine and chat. We did our first sleepover about a year ago, when most of the kids were still babies. We had four baby monitors and the same amount of pack n' plays set up in Bri's house. Sleep was one thing we went without. This time around, the kids are older, and the moms are a little more relaxed. Jamie hosted last night's sleepover at her home in Woodbury, and her husband Tom even hung out with the girls (while babysitting the kids - thanks Tom!). I made a mousakka, Jamie made chicken nuggets, tater tots, and movie snack-packs for the kids, and if I told you how many bottles of wine were consumed... CPS would probably be notified. But that's the beauty of these sleepovers... It's a REALLY fun happy hour, and no one has to drive home! See, we ARE completely responsible parents.

Honestly though, if you have a group of mommy-friends that you completely click with... try a mommy sleepover. The hard work that comes with parenting, deserves to be rewarded!

Monday, November 24, 2014

GIVEAWAY: Magic fairy door.

Our 3-year-old Linna, checking out her Magic Fairy Door.
 *** Congratulations to NORI STAUPE-HART! You're the winner of a fairy or elf door from the Magic Door Store. Please email us ASAP (minnesotababyinfo@gmail.com) with your phone number and full mailing address, so we can verify and get your prize shipped out to you. Thanks for participating everyone, and stay tuned for another giveaway coming up VERY SOON! ***

Isn't this little magic fairy door the cutest thing you've ever seen? We ordered this tiny door from the Magic Door Store while we were in Singapore, in an attempt to get our 3-year-old to stay in her bed at night. When the magic door arrived, we set it up on the wall (it comes with easily removable sticky tack) and told her this:

"If you stay in your bed all night long, little magical fairies will come into your bedroom while you're sleeping and leave you presents outside their magic fairy door!".

Linna was completely memorized by the idea of tiny fairies living just beyond the magic door, AND our plan worked (for the most part)! She'd go to sleep at night without a fight, and wake up in her bed so she could find presents outside the fairy door. I'd leave anything from a small cookie on a small plate, a couple fruit snacks wrapped up in paper and ribbon, but the present I'd leave was usually food. Our magic door also came with a tiny bottle of "fairy dust" (glitter) that I'd often sprinkle around the door as well.

We love our Fairy Door SO much, that we've decided to team up with the Magic Door Store's founder to give one to one of YOU! Here's how to enter for your chance to win:

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

2. Share our Facebook and re-tweet our Twitter post of this giveaway with your friends and followers. Limit one Facebook share and one Twitter re-tweet per person please. Each share/re-tweet will count as an entry. 

All entries must be received by 8 p.m. on Sunday, November 30th. One winner will be randomly selected to win a Fairy Door or Elf Door from the Magic Door Store. This contest is open to all areas of the world, and our winner will be announced on this blog.

The founder of The Magic Door Store is a mom of two, and her company is headquartered in London. You can get a Magic Fairy Door or Magic Elf Door for under $25USD (20EUR), and it will be shipped to you all the way from England, just in time for the holidays! The doors come in a variety of colors, and accessories are sold separately as well.

Friday, November 21, 2014

My biological father died today.

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

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

I'm just going to write.

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

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

They never came.

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

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

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

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

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

Rest in peace Scott T. Boyle.


Your daughter Melissa

Monday, November 17, 2014

3-year pediatrician check-up.

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

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

Duuuuurrrrrr... Come again?!

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

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

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

Linna's 3-year-old stats:

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

Sunday, November 16, 2014

FOX 9: Top holiday toys for 2014.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Linna’s first haircut.

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

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

Linna’s baby hair.
She sat so nicely.

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

Where did our baby go?!

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

Book Giveaway: I can change the world.

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, November 2, 2014

My brother's zombie wedding.

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

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



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

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

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