Thursday, July 13, 2017

DIY with mama saigh: Pool noodles.

They're a buck at the dollar store, and they're more than just a pool floatie. A pool noodle can be turned into so many different things, and I was asked to show some of these clever ideas on The Jason Show this week. Check out the video from my segment for even more simple ideas!



POOL CHAIR FLOATIE


Our adorable neighbor, Kate, floating in the DIY pool noodle chair.
You'll need two pool noodles for this project, as well as 7+ zip-ties and a mesh laundry bag (all found at the Dollar Tree).
Start by cutting one pool noodle in half , leaving you with two equal parts. Then, make a half circle with the full pool noodle, and use zip-ties to secure one of the half noodles to the full noodle, on both ends. With two more zip-ties, secure the other half-noodle on top of the ends of the full pool noodle. This is the base for your pool noodle chair.

Next, remove the string from your mesh laundry bag, and fold the bag in half (length wise). Drape the bag over the lower, shorter pool noodle, and then secure the ends of the bag to the curved side of the full pool noodle, using zip-ties.

Cut the excess plastic off the tip-ties, and VOILA! A pool-chair floatie for $4.

PONY PARTY FAVORS

This is an easy, practical, and adorable party favor to send your guests home with. All you need is a pool noodle (for each pony), ribbon/rope, ribbon for pony's mane (curled with scissors), googly eyes (or eyes you can print off Google images), and some party hats. You can make these party favors look like unicorns, or ranch horses. Just use your creativity! For our daughter's 6th birthday party in August, we're sending each kiddo home with one of these gems!

CAR/MARBLE RACES

Marble/Car Races.

KID'S PLAYING-CARD HOLDER

Cut a 3/4 to 1-inch piece off a pool noodle, to form an "O". Using a sharp knife, slice a length-wise slit at the top of the piece. This will be where you insert the cards. This is a great way for little hands to be able to hold a hand of playing cards!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Review: Nucleus

We were so excited when we were asked to review the brand new Nucleus system: A home intercom system that works on wifi, and connects families all over the globe using a mobile smart-phone app. We have a 5.5-year old (going on 15) who is consistently asking for her own cell phone, and while that isn't an option, we thought that the Nucleus system could be a "happy-medium".

So, what exactly is the Nucleus system?



Nucleus is a video monitor that you set up in any rooms in your home. They can be used as video security when you're not at home, a home intercom-system, baby monitor, and a way for you and your family to connect face-to-face at your convenience. You give access to anyone you'd like, and set the security level at your discretion.

We received three monitors and set them up in our 5.5-year-old's bedroom, the family/rec room, and main floor of our house. Setting these devices up was super simple, and our kids were excited to get involved too. I just followed the step-by-step instructions on the monitor, typed in some codes, hopped on our wifi connection, and TA-DAH! I then sent our access code and Nucleus app link to our kids' grandparents, aunts, and uncles, so they could download the Nucleus app on their smart phones, and have access to our Nucleus systems. Basically, our daughter could video-call these family members from the Nucleus device in her room, whenever she'd like (although we are able to set the security and privacy for the monitor), and these family members can video-call her Nucleus monitor in her room whenever they'd like. We are able to set the monitor on "private" at night, or whenever we didn't want her using it. Each contact/person has their photo next to his/her name, and connection is made with the press of a button. As parents, we have complete control of the security and privacy of these monitors.

Linna and Jimmy making a Nucleus video-call.

I loved having these systems in our home when I was working full-time for six weeks outside the home. During this time, we had some amazing in-home childcare, and our Nucleus systems allowed me to connect with my home and kids at my convenience/discretion. As an "admin", I would set the systems to ring before they automatically connected, or enable the person at home to answer the device before it connected. Our kids could video-call me as well while I was at work, which they did often (and I loved seeing their little faces). We did, however, run into a "mishap" one day, when my daughter decided to video-call me on her Nucleus, after our nanny had told her that she was supposed to be in her room having a "quiet time". As a result, we ended up taking the Nucleus out of Linna's bedroom until she could earn it back... Which she has.

Overall, I love having the convenience of monitoring our kids when they're in another room (especially the toddler, as he's into EVERYTHING), and monitoring our home when we're away. Our family members like having the ability to video-call the kids, without having to call my phone first. It gives our oldest a little slice of independence, while I'm able to monitor it all. I know that kids these days are getting cell phones at younger ages, but there is not a chance that our soon-to-be 6-year-old is anywhere near ready for one. Every once in awhile, we'll get really crappy video clarity on both ends, but this is due to us living in the boonies, where we have a very slow wifi speed. We're working to get a better one.

Our Nucleus on our main floor.

We haven't done this yet, but Nucleus can connect with Alexa (Amazon's cloud-based voice service) to give you news/weather updates, play music, and control other smart devices in your home. I need to get on that one, STAT! While the cost of a Nucleus system isn't "cheap" ($149+), you can try it for up to 60 days with easy returns. There's no "monthly fees/costs" involved once you've purchased your devices, as they just run off your home's wifi. It's totally worth giving it a try, because you really don't have anything to lose!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Jimmy says "no way".

At 19 months old, this kid is surprising us every day with new words and phrases. Here's Jimmy's latest...


Friday, June 16, 2017

DIY with mama saigh: Dollar-store hacks.

Man, this blog sure has been neglected with me working full-time over at The Jason Show. Between "mom-ing", working, and trying to keep my sh*t together, I haven't gotten to take much time for myself.

But today, I'm back on-air with a fun segment featuring dollar-store hacks!


My family and I got to spend some time together this past week, prepping for this segment. While you can find everything from party supplies to pregnancy tests at your local dollar store, I've put together some easy DIY projects that can help organize your home, and keep the kiddos entertained.


Yep, this was our food pantry BEFORE I found these little plastic gems at the
Dollar Tree. Open food boxes and packages in complete disarray, annoys be beyond belief.
But now, the little snackers in our family can see their options before they more things
around, and turn our food pantry into total chaos.
After many failed Pinterest projects over the years, these little animal book-ends are
a Pinterest win! I found a couple plastic giraffe toys at the Dollar Tree, and super-glued them
onto a small piece of wood that my husband cut for me (from spare wood we had in the garage).
Then, I spray-painted everything white, let it dry for a day, and gave it one more coat. TaDa!
These book-ends look so sweet in a nursery, or a child's bedroom. Total cost: A little over $1!

This is my friend's baby girl, Emeryson, wearing a pair
of Dollar Store leggings that I made in 10 seconds. I found these retro-looking
tube socks at the Dollar Tree, and just cut the foot off of them to create baby leg-warmers.

For two years now, my jewelry has been a tangled mess, inside one box on my closet shelf.
So, I picked up a couple white plates and a candle-holder at the Dollar Tree, spray-painted the candle holder white, super-glued everything together, to create a sleek-looking jewelry tray for my bedroom dresser. You can also use the
clear-glass plates from the Dollar Tree, along with the clear-glass candle holder, to create
an antique-looking, tiered party-tray for your next get-together!


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Favorite things: Convenient, on-the-go snacks for kids.

We are seriously never home. With two kids and busy schedules, our kiddos are regularly eating in the car, or on-the-go. Since it's difficult to get my kids to stop and refuel, I'm always looking for energy-packed, dense snacks that are packed with healthy-calories, and easy to take on the road. Here are a few of my favorites for our toddler and kindergartner...

1. Bananas: Cheap, dense/filling, healthy, and no packaging or ice-packs necessary.

Make bananas FUN by dressing them up, or writing
a message on them for your kiddos!


2. Smoothies in The Original Squeeze: We are loving Chef Marshall O'Brien's Mood Boosting Smoothie, and Blueberry Smoothie with Flax Seed. I put the ingredients in our Magic Bullet, blend in the morning, and take them on-the-go in our Original Squeeze Pouches. While these snacks/meals need to be chilled if not consumed right away, they pack healthy calories/energy, and keep my kiddos fueled. I give our toddler smoothies in the Spill-Proof Spout, while our kindergartner stays mess-free with the Original Squeeze Pouch's Free-Flow Spout.

We love putting smoothies in our Original Squeeze Pouches!


3. CLIF Kid Zbar: My kids think these are a treat, as they come in a brownie, chocolate chip, and oatmeal icing flavors. These bars are made with whole grains, and are loaded with carbohydrates, making them a dense and filling snack. We buy these bars in bulk at Costco, which keeps them affordable.

4. Mini Babybel Cheese + Pistachio Nuts: Again, we buy these items in bulk at Costco, to keep them affordable.

Our toddler LOVES these calcium-packed cheese snacks!


5. Disposable Food Pouches: When it comes to a quick and convenient snack, our kindergartner is completely happy with the inexpensive/generic, organic applesauce pouches from Costco (Kirkland brand). But when I want to pack as much nutrition, healthy calories, and energy as possible in these convenient little pouches, the Plum Organics Grow Well DHA, Muscle, and Tummy pouches (90-100 calories per pouch), and the Beech Nut Breakfast-On-The-Go, and Banana, Blueberry, and Avocado pouches (80-90 calories per pouch) are my go-tos.


Thursday, May 11, 2017

Mama saigh is going back to work.

I've been keeping my "big" news under wraps for a few weeks, but now, the cat is FINALLY outta the bag! Starting May 22nd, I'll be joining The Jason Show over at FOX 9, during their national test throughout the month of June. For six weeks, I'll be a full-time working mama, returning to my TV roots.



Am I excited?! Oh, HELLS yes!

After the birth of our first kiddo, I left my job at Twin Cities Live (KSTP) to be a stay-at-home mom. I worked at TCL ever since the show first went on the air in 2007, and it was the best job I've ever had. Leaving my family at TCL was one of the most difficult decisions I've had to make. However (at the time), it was the right decision for me, and (most importantly) my mental health (I suffered from postpartum depression after our first baby was born). Since then, I've always had a strong desire to return to my career in television.

Me, E-Ries, and Em, back in my TCL days. These two are still shining stars on the show!

For the last five-and-a-half years, I've been the stay-at-home mom for our two kiddos (Linna and Jameson). While it's been the most exhausting, challenging, and stressful job of my life, my decision to become a stay-at-home mom allowed for the opportunity to move our family to Singapore for three years (2012-2015)... And what an incredible experience that was for me, Papa Saigh, and Linna!

Me and Linna in Asia.

But now, five-and-a-half years, and two babies later, I am SO excited to have the opportunity to go back to the grown-up world that I've so desperately missed. And, for six weeks (this isn't forever... or is it...?!).

I seriously feel like I'm going on a six-week "vacation" (FYI, stay-at-home-mamas, you know it's time to go back to work, when you start to view work as a "vacation"). For YEARS, I've never been able to understand why some women are able (and WANT) to dive back into their careers, post-baby, while leaving their baby/kids in childcare.

Trust me when I say that "I GET IT" now.

A). Stay-at-home-mom life is a luxury (for those who want it), but it's NOT for everyone.
B). Kids are as*holes, exhausting, and COMPLETELY unreasonable.
C). Money is nice.
D). A job/career is an "escape" from the real-life known as children/family.

All of the above have me leaping toward this opportunity at The Jason Show.

My work-hours at FOX allow me to pick up our kindergartner every day after school, and spend my afternoons with both kiddos. While I'll have to be up and at the studio before the birds even start chirping, it's the perfect "trade-off" for me and my family. This opportunity couldn't have presented itself at a better time, and I am SO ready to dive right in.

Am I going to miss my kids?

Honestly?! No. (LOL - Don't judge me!).

While I'm sure part of me will miss my little monsters when I'm at work, you will find me skipping (proudly) out the door at 5:30 a.m. on Monday, May 22nd. I have been incredibly lucky to be a stay-at-home mom for the last five-and-a-half years, but there comes a time in every mom's life when she has to do what is right for her. My passion for telling stories and producing TV segments, has been calling out to me for a while now.

And this time, I'm answering.

This is going to be a HUGE transition and learning-opportunity for our family. While we have amazing care-givers for our kiddos while mama and papa are working, I'm sure both Papa Saigh and I are in for many major challenges.

We have NEVER experienced life as two, full-time working parents. While this is how the majority of households in America run, it's a brand new world for our family.

We're going to tackle it together.

I am so thankful to be a part of the incredibly talented team at The Jason Show (thanks, Jeff & Carl!), and even more thankful to my husband for supporting me in this adventure.

Stay tuned, because WHO KNOWS where this opportunity might lead...


Monday, May 8, 2017

Ticket giveaway: A year with frog and toad.


We're giving away 2 tickets to the Children's Theatre Company's performance of A Year with Frog and Toad! This show runs through June 18th, 2017. Here's how to enter for your chance to win...

1. Share our giveaway post on our Facebook page.
2. Comment on this blog post (below) with your first and last name, and city you currently reside in.
3. Comment on our giveaway post on our Instagram (@melissasaigh) page, tagging three friends who you think would like to see the show.

Complete all three to better your odds of winning! One person will be randomly selected to win two tickets to a performance of A Year with Frog and Toad at the Children's Theatre Company in Minneapolis. The tickets can be redeemed for any performance with available seating. Entries must be received/completed by 8 p.m. CST on May 9th, 2017. The winner will be announced on our Facebook and Instagram pages, as well as on this blog post. Good luck!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Jimmy says "baby owl".

I feel like Jimmy went through a language "explosion" when we were in Florida last month over spring break. And his words just keep on coming at 17 months old. This morning, when I got him out of his crib, he picked up a stuffed owl and said "baby". I replied, "Yes Jimmy, that's a baby owl. Whoooo-whooooo!". Sweet Jimmy then said, "Baby owl. Whoooo!".

And, melt...


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

April 2017 vlog.

Just in case you're not follwing our InstaStories (@melissasaigh on Instagram), here's a video montage of my vlogging from the past few weeks...


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Spring break in florida.

What does every Minnesotan look forward to after three months of winter?!

Some fun in the sun.

This year, during our kindergartner's school spring-break, our family of four headed down to Florida for a little visit to Walt Disney World. My parents have a house near Fort Myers, so we stayed with them for a few days too. We soaked in some sun at their pool, hung out at the beach, and took on Disney's Magic Kingdom during the peak spring-break season. The word "peak", isn't big enough to describe that craziness that is Disney World during spring break. Let's just start there...

The 4 of us in Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom.

Linna and Jimmy with their Nana and Bompa. Jimmy's face says it all.

While we had an absolutely magical time when we took our then 3-year-old daughter Linna to Disney World in December a few years ago, this year's trip was not the same experience. Don't get me wrong, the Magic Kingdom is spectacular. However, in my opinion, it is NOT a fun place to visit during spring break. It was over-crowded, hot, and those two things don't boast well with a 16-month-old who has an agenda of his own.

This was Jimmy's first visit to Disney, and while we loved having our family together, it was a little overwhelming and stressful having the toddler with us. He wanted to get out of the stroller and run around, but the streets and sidewalks were packed with sweaty, crabby, and stressed-out parents pushing strollers, chasing their toddlers, and rushing to their next hour-long wait in line. I'm pretty sure that Papa Saigh and I were in the same "hell" as many of the other parents during our visit, judging solely by the distressed looks on their faces. We knew that this was PEAK season at Disney, but holy sh*t.

When you decide to take the plunge and bring the kids to experience the magic of Disney World, you go into it knowing 3 things...

1. You're going to spend $$$.
2. It's going to be a long day(s).
3. You're going to wait in long lines.

However, if you go to Disney World during spring break, the above mentioned are even more intense.

Much more intense.

My dad, Linna, and the Magic Kingdom fire chief. My dad is
the fire chief of our hometown of Hopkins.

Linna in front of Cinderella's castle.

Mama + Papa Saigh with Linna standing in another long, hot line.

Even if we wanted to spend the money to sit down for a decent meal in an air-conditioned restaurant in the Magic Kingdom, we had to wait an hour or more with our name on a list... And that's only IF the restaurant had room for customers outside the existing reservations. We saw so many people sitting on the ground under the hot sun, choking down a hot dog, or some other over-priced fast-food. Plus, we spent over $30 on bottled water, as the drinking fountains inside the Magic Kingdom were either not working, or dripped out warm water. To Disney's credit, they do allow you to bring your own food and drinks inside the Magic Kingdom. However, it was pretty disappointing to not be able to experience the amenities of Disney World, even when we wanted to drop the $$$.

How do people do Disney on a budget?! I'm guessing they don't go over spring break.

On a positive note, our 5-year-old had a wonderful time during her second visit to the Magic Kingdom. She ate cotton candy, rode some of her favorite rides, and even rode her first roller-coaster! Linna is pretty apprehensive when it comes to thrill rides, so we were shocked when she decided to ride the Barnstormer TWICE with her dad (this is a great "first" roller coaster for kids, by the way). The enjoyment we got out of this Disney visit, was seeing the excitement in her eyes with each of the new things she got to experience. Both of our kids even stayed up to watch the fireworks over Cinderella's castle at 9 p.m. We decided to watch from the front of the Magic Kingdom, so we could try and beat the rush to the ferry at the conclusion of the show. Thankfully, we made it on one of the first ferry boats, so we were able to get on the road back to our hotel by 9:30 p.m.

(Linna's first roller coaster ride EVER!)

Since we rented a car and drove from Fort Myers to Orlando, we decided to stay at a resort off the Disney Property. The Wyndham Orlando Resort on International Drive was a great fit for us. My parents and sister came along to Disney with us, so we stayed in a family suite with the kids, and booked an adjoining room for my parents and sister. The family suite was PERFECT for the four of us! The hotel staff had a travel cot set up for Jimmy to sleep in, and Linna slept on the bottom bunk of the bunk beds in the room. Although Linna and Jimmy were passed out by the time we arrived at the hotel, they were so excited when they woke up to see the bunk-bed area, which even had a separate TV just for them. In the morning, the kids played on their side of the room, while Papa Saigh and I laid in bed watching the Today Show. After a little breakfast at the hotel's restaurant, we put on our swimsuits and spent some time in the pools. This resort has two great pools, and neither were busy during our visit. This was a much-needed change of pace after the craziness that was our Magic Kingdom experience. The Wyndham Orlando Resort was affordable, quiet, and a good fit for a stay off the Disney property.

(Video of our stay at the Wyndham Orlando Resort.)

The rest of our vacation was spent at Fort Myers Beach, shopping at the Miramar Outlets, a Twins game, and soaking up some vitamin D at the pool. Traveling with two little ones isn't the easiest thing, so the beautiful Florida weather made up for any stresses during our spring break. It sure makes me look forward to the end of our winter, so bring on spring!

Linna and Jimmy in Nana and Bompa's Beach Wagon.

Our sassy 5-year-old at the pool in Florida.

Jimmy found his heaven on earth, with all the tennis balls on the tennis court
at my parents' house in Florida.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Traveling with kids.

When it comes to traveling with little ones, I've done my fair share. Over the past 5 years, I've survived multiple "single mama" flights back and forth from Singapore to Minnesota (19 hours of travel "bliss"), domestic flights with both kids, and I spend more than enough time in the car every day with my littles. I've experienced mid-flight diaper blowouts, toddler meltdowns at the airport and on planes, both kids screaming in the car at the same time, and countless "Mom, I'm bored" moments.

Traveling with kids kinda sucks.

While we can't always leave the little rascals at home, I've learned to just try and make traveling with the kiddos as painless as possible. This week, I shared some ideas on The Jason Show, in hopes of helping make your next trip with the kids a little bit easier...



1. Use a Plastic Bag to Turn your iPad or Phone into a Hands-Free Screen




2. Car Organizers from Skip Hop



3. Cordless Headphones from LilGadgets

Having a carry-on packed with electronic attached to a tangled mess of wires, STRESSES me OUT! Cordless headphones for plane and car travel are a must when traveling with kids. These cordless headphones by LilGadgets are volume-limited, so they're easy on kids' ears. Fully-charged they give kids 12 hours of listening, and kids can mo
ve freely up to 30 feet away from their entertainment device. It's always a good idea to get your younger kids used to having headphones on, BEFORE you get on a plane (I unfortunately learned this the hard way).


4. Use Shower Caddies from the Dollar Store for Back-Seat Organization




5. Pack Snacks, Treats + Surprises in Pill Organizers from the Dollar Store




6. Pack Grab + Go Snacks 

7. Activities + Games from Target's Dollar Section + The Dollar Store


I like to pack each activity, craft, or game in its own Ziplock bag, so I don't have
small pieces floating around in my carry-on.


8. RideSafer Travel Vest as an Alternative to Bulky Car Seats

We've been using our RideSafer Travel Vest for the past two years, and it has been a life-saver.
We used it when we lived in Singapore, and had to rely on taxis to get around. It's so much more
convenient than lugging around a bulky car seat when we travel by plane. It's also great for carpooling!


9. The Ultimate Travel Stroller: Austlen Entourage


(This stroller is insane. With a one-second expansion, storage capacity of
150 lbs., and over 30 configurations, the Austlen Entourage is life-changing. It
can be a single or double stroller, and we love the Jump Seat option for our
5-year-old. Can you imagine trips to the grocery store without having to use a shopping
cart, or getting through the airport without renting a baggage cart?! I'm in stroller heaven!)

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Thursday, March 16, 2017

DIY with mama saigh: Get ready for spring.

It might not seem like it, but spring is officially FOUR DAYS AWAY! It's time to start thinking about your outdoor garden plans, and liven up your home by adding a little green to your decor. Here are some easy ways to start getting ready for spring, while getting the kids involved. I had so much fun sharing these ideas on The Jason Show this week.



GROW SEEDS IN JARS


Our kindergartener LOVED this project, and it's so easy! Let your kiddos pick out the seeds they want to watch grow, and "plant" them in a mason jar using wet paper towels. You might need to help the kids situate the seeds, so they're pressed up againsts the glass. Keep the paper towels wet, place the seeds in some sunlight, and watch what would actually be happening to a seed underground. Have your kids record the seeds' progress in a journal, so they can see and understand the process of growing healthy food.


EGG CARTON SEED-STARTERS


Green house from IKEA.

Egg cartons are an inexpensive and easy way to get your outdoor garden started, indoors this spring! If you don't have empty egg cartons at home, you can pick them up at your local Fleet Farm. Make sure you poke tiny holes (we used a safety pin) in the bottom of each seed holder for drainage. You'll want to use a good Seed Starting Mix, as your tiny seeds need nutrients to grow. We planted two seeds in each pod, just in case one of the seeds decided not to sprout (make sure you remove one of the plants if both seeds decide to sprout, to avoid a tangling of roots). You'll want to keep the soil VERY moist (we watered every day), and place the seed starters in an indoor place where they will get plenty of sunlight. You can cover each egg carton with plastic (cut the top of the carton off), to create a greenhouse effect, or get a small greenhouse like this one from IKEA for $19.99. Once your seeds start to grow, you'll need to transfer them to your outdoor garden, or another container that will allow its roots to expand. Don't forget to label each carton with the type of seed, as well as date planted.


LADDER HERB GARDEN


We bought this ladder plant stand at IKEA for $39.99, and then picked up some rosemary, basil, cilantro, parsley, and mint plants at Walmart. We used the same Seed Starter Mix to plant each herb in the plant pots. This herb plant ladder adds so much green and life to our dining room, and we always have fresh herbs to use in our cooking.


SUCCULENTS IN LARGE VASES



Succulents are a "fail-proof" plant that can add life and color to your home. They don't need to be watered very often, and they don't need a lot of sunlight. IKEA has a great selection of inexpensive succulents that we use in our home. We planted two small succulent plants in a large vase that we also found at IKEA, using a succulent soil mix that we picked up at Walmart. Succulents don't like their roots sitting in water, so start with a layer of pebbles on the bottom of the vase, and top with soil. Finally, plant the succulents in the soil, and lightly water when the soil starts looking dry.


SUCCULENTS IN MASON JARS


During the holidays and long winter months, I love having candles all around our home (out of the little ones' reach, of course!). But, when spring rolls around, I love the feel of fresh plants and flowers around the house. However, I tend to neglect plants, and they end up dying. In an effort to add some color to our home, I replaced a couple of the candles on our candle holders, with succulents planted in mason jars. These wide-mouth jars that I found at Fleet Farm work perfectly for the size of the small succulents from IKEA. Just follow the same steps as the succulents planted in the large IKEA vases, to create these little beauties.


BALLOON EGGS IN APOTHECARY JARS



I use my apothecary jars from Jo-Ann Fabrics all year round. For Easter this year, I filled them with some DIY balloon eggs and spanish moss. The balloon eggs can be made using pretty much any type of yarn, string, etc. I used a twisted twine from Fleet Farm for this project, but if you prefer more vibrant spring colors, you have a lot of options with this project! First, blow up water balloons to the size of the egg you'd like. Next, soak your yarn/thread in liquid starch (I soaked mine for about 15 minutes). Then, just start wrapping your yarn/twine around your balloon. Once you're done, let the balloon eggs dry for at least 24 hours (it will feel hard when it's dry). Finally, use a sharp object to pop the balloon and remove it, so you're left with a beautiful decorative egg! Use them around your home to add a little Easter flair!


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The struggle is real: Raising a one & five-year-old.

Last week, I was on the phone with one of my mom friends during our semi-regular, 4 p.m. FaceTime happy hour catch-ups.

Yep, this is what my "happy hours" are made of these days.

We were sipping wine and talking (ok, b*tching...) about our first-world, stay-at-home-mom problems, as our 4 children played, whined, yelled, complained, and interrupted our conversation every 2 to 3 minutes. We both have children around the same age, with close to 4 years between our oldest and youngest, so we always find ourselves having a conversation about the "challenging" ages and phases that our kids go through.

As I vented to her about my "week from hell" (our 15-month-old spiking fevers following his vaccines, teething, not sleeping, Papa Saigh's DIY bathroom renovation - the list goes on and on), my friend reminded me of the "living hell" that was her life when her youngest was 1, and her oldest was 5.

Her kids were 1 and 5 when I gave birth to our second child (Jimmy). After Jimmy arrived, I was having an extremely difficult time figuring out my new life with our then 4-year-old and a newborn, and was later diagnosed with having postpartum depression/anxiety. I remember asking her if this whole "mom of two" gig ever gets any better/easier. I was desperate to see a light at the end of a very dark tunnel. At the time, she didn't know that I was dealing with PPD, so she gave me a very honest answer to my question...

"Oh Melissa, it only gets harder".

I wanted to die.

How could it get any more difficult that THIS?!

Just an average car ride with my 5-year-old and 15-month-old.

She told me stories about how her then 1 and 5-year-old were constantly fighting, not sleeping, whining about the other sibling, etc., and how she struggled to get through a normal day.

Cut to a year later: I've overcome PPD, and figured out my new "normal" as a mom of two. But now, my kids are at those difficult ages that my friend was telling me about.

And... it's f*cking hard.

Our 5-year-old wants the same attention, personal space, and privacy that she had prior to becoming a big sister. If she's not fighting with her brother over a toy, complaining about him being "annoying", agitating him, or shutting a door in his face in order to get some privacy, she's doing things she knows aren't right, just to get a reaction/attention from us. The 1-year-old is starting to learn about sharing, having patience, and using his words when he wants something... All while teething, and not feeling well following his 15-month vaccines.

Our home has become "Meltdown Central"... And I feel like I'm constantly yelling (pretty sure I said I'd "NEVER yell at my kids"... BEFORE I had kids).

Yeah, I've totally become a "yelling mom".

I struggle to get the 5-year-old to her after-school activities, as the 1-year-old can't seem to go anywhere without having a public meltdown. And while I'd love to sit and enjoy our daughter's dance class, piano lessons, etc., I'm constantly chasing after the "beast" that is our toddler.

Then... there are the car rides.

Oh, the f*cking car rides.

Jimmy can't get through even the shortest car ride without whining, crying, and/or screaming. During the rare moments he is actually quiet, he's either smushing food into his car seat, or dumping his juice all over himself. Next to him is the 5-year-old, demanding radio-station changes, needing a snack, trying to tell me a story, asking a million questions, complaining about and teasing her brother, etc.

A dash-cam video of my facial expressions during these epic car rides, could be its own reality show.

There is always a light at the end of the tunnel.

As I sit here and complain about what seems to be the never-ending, hellish phase that we're currently in, I know that I will seriously miss this sh*t someday. This phase isn't forever. It isn't permanent. And, let's be honest... Things could be SO much worse. My kids are just being kids, testing boundaries, and adjusting to THEIR new "normal". It's my job to help them navigate through these new emotions and transitions.

Papa Saigh and I chose to wait 3 years before we tried for a second child. Some parents have their kids back-to-back, and some decide to go the "one and done" route. No matter how you slice it... Parenthood is tough. Every age and phase our kids go through has its magical moments, as well as the overwhelmingly sh*tty moments... Moments that are enough to leave the strongest parents in tears.

Tough times are temporary.

But so is the magic.

One day, all of these moments will become "the past". Our babies will grow up, and we'll be left with only memories of these moments... The moments that are their childhood.

I'm so not ready for the reality of that day.


When I started writing this blog post a week ago, I was in the thick of what seemed to be a string of sh*tty moments. I was focusing on the "struggles", and failing to see the magic that are my two, growing kiddos. My babies are turning into independent little humans faster than this mama is ready for. If I continue to "just make it until bedtime", I'm missing out on all the magic.

So now, I'm choosing to live in the moment... Embracing the highs, as well as the lows. Sure, this is easier said than done, and it's only a matter of time before I'm going off on my next "mommy rant". But, bottom line...

I will never get these moments back.

So, mamas... Let's embrace ALL OF IT.

The good. The bad. The ugly.

But, when you find a fellow mama struggling to embrace "the ugly", come to her rescue with a bottle of wine, and an open ear. Thank you to all the incredible moms who have come to my rescue over the last 5 years.