ONE happy camper!

Our little man turned one in September and we celebrated in style: a rustic, outdoorsy, glamping style. Here are all of the details of our big party.

ONE happy camper!

We rented a picnic shelter space on Megan’s Island, in between two large fields and adjacent to a play structure. It was a pretty sweet spot. The only thing that would make it better would have been an infant swing, Michael’s favorite thing to do at the park.

The birthday boy

We opted for the Sunday before Michael’s birthday, which also ended up being the Seahawks home opener. We managed to squeeze the party in between Michael’s morning nap and 1 p.m. kickoff.

Food. We kept the food simple with 12 feet (FEET!) of Subway sandwiches, personal bags of chips, Aunt Nancy’s quinoa salad, and goldfish cracker packets and applesauce pouches for the little ones.

12 feet of sandwiches

Drinks. Since it was at a park, and 11 a.m., we decided to make Michael’s party nonalcoholic. We had a delicious hot cocoa bar and juice boxes for the kids. We offered toasted marshmallow syrup, mini marshmallows, and chocolate chips to customize their ideal cocoa.

Drink station: hot cocoa bar!

Dessert. I made these s’more cookie bars but the real star of the show was the Costco cake. Thankfully Costco makes a cake that was perfect for our party. We got the “over the hill” design minus the over the hill language.

Cake!

We had such a wonderful time celebrating our little guy, ONE happy camper!

ONE happy camper!

A couple of other favorite photos from Michael’s big party:

Cake table & Michael’s weekly photos

52 weekly photos of Michael with the same bear in the same chair

Warming himself by the fire

Snuggles!

More snuggles! Also: the pants that inspired the party!

Post cake chocolate coma

Valentine, you’re out of this world! {2017}

I had the pleasure of turning my Pinterest board into reality last week to make Michael’s preschool valentines. I know I’m biased, but I’m pretty impressed with the final product. (I really liked last year’s valentines too!)

You're out of this world, Valentine!

You’re out of this world, Valentine!

Space ducks: unite!

Space ducks: unite!

These valentines are super easy to make, relatively inexpensive, and don’t include sugar, so they’re good for kids of all ages:

  1. Buy these astronaut and space alien rubber ducks from Amazon
  2. Print out this sheet of valentines on cardstock.
  3. Add your name on the bottom and cut them out.
  4. Poke a hole.
  5. Attach the tag to the duck.
  6. Tie a bow, trim the edges. Voila!

Here is Micheal working on his valentine “mailbox” at school. He’s a crafter in the making! (And, yes, they call him “Big Mike”!)

Michael working on his valentine mailbox

Michael working on his valentine mailbox

Michael turns one!

Last week we celebrated a very special holiday on the Island: our sweet baby Michael turned one!

Happy birthday Michael!

Happy birthday Michael!

It’s been a crazy, wonderful year. We’re so excited to watch our little one grow into a boy!

We celebrated with cake…

Baby's first cake: Praline Dream from Bakery Nouveau. Delicious.

Baby’s first cake: Praline Dream from Bakery Nouveau. Delicious.

Cake? Yes, please!

Cake? Yes, please!

"Oh yes, this is good."

“Oh yes, this is good.”

"How have I not had this before?! It's so good!"

“How have I not had this before?! It’s so good!”

"I. Love. Cake."

“I. Love. Cake.”

"Best day ever!"

“Best day ever!”

And a balloon wake up…

Balloons!

Balloons!

Channeling his inner Bill Clinton...

Channeling his inner Bill Clinton…

And birthday pancakes…

Best morning ever: pancakes, whip cream and sprinkles!

Best morning ever: pancakes, whip cream and sprinkles!

And a special cake from daycare. He loved it all. What a great week!

More birthday cake!

More birthday cake!

"Candle? I prefer the cake"

“Candle? I prefer the cake”

The happiest one year old that I know!

The happiest one year old that I know!

 

My new favorite thing: Chatbooks

Have you seen the app Chatbooks yet? It’s one of my new favorite things and I can’t stop singing their praises.

I discovered Chatbooks on Instagram through a sponsored post, while I was on maternity leave. I had nothing but time on my hands (at least when the kid was nursing, he wasn’t very good at sleeping reliably…) so I clicked on the ad and discovered a very reasonably-priced, creative, and super easy stocking stuffer idea. This would also make a great Father’s Day gift, which is coming up in a few short weeks!

Simply put, Chatbooks is an app that allows you to upload photos and create 8″ x 8″ softcover books.

My favorite option from Chatbooks: auto books. I’m rather prolific with posting of Michael photos on Instagram and I’ve set up my Chatbooks book by simply using a hashtag on the Instagram photos I want to include in my book.

IT’S THAT EASY!

Every 60 photos, Chatbooks emails me to review my book and three days later, it prints and ships! …And I’m working on volume nine. NINE. (That’s more than one per month!)

I’ll bet you’re glad I finally filled you in on my overuse of the #babymichael hashtag on Instagram, right? Now you know!

My Chatbooks. Book #8 should arrive soon!

My Chatbooks. Book #8 should arrive soon!

Accidental blog hiatus

Whoops! It’s been awhile since I’ve blogged. Being a working mom is a lot of work and sadly my blog-writing time has dwindled. I’m very sorry for this hiatus and I figured I’d show you what I’ve been up to.

I hope to get back to it soon, so please keep checking back! Thank you for reading!

Baby Michael: Month 1

Baby Michael: Month 1

Baby Michael: Month 2

Baby Michael: Month 2

Baby Michael: Month 3

Baby Michael: Month 3

Baby Michael: Month 4

Baby Michael: Month 4

Baby Michael: Month 5

Baby Michael: Month 5

Baby Michael: Month 6

Baby Michael: Month 6

Baby Michael: Month 7

Baby Michael: Month 7

2016 Super Bowl party

Brandon was born in Colorado and as a result he grew up watching the Broncos. (We even cheered on the Broncos when they played the Seattle Seahawks in 2014.) He knows everything about the team and will root for them every chance he gets. He was offered that opportunity a few weeks ago during SuperBowl 50.

We held a SuperBowl party and went all out– as all out as we can with an infant at home who’d not big on napping. Thanks to Michael’s four-month sleep regression, we had the “pleasure” of waking up at 5 a.m., an hour earlier than we had intended, which worked out perfectly for the brisket. Brandon was able to get it into the Traeger an hour earlier! (It’s all about looking on the bright side, right?)

Here’s the party breakdown.

Our Super Bowl 2016 spread

Our Super Bowl 2016 spread

Menu:

  • Beef brisket (smoked for hours by Brandon)
  • Baked beans (we were going to make them from scratch and then we saw them for sale at Costco: So. Much. Easier.)
  • Superfood kale salad — this kit is available at Costco and is so easy to put together. It’s delicious too!
  • Veggie platter
  • Blue tortilla chips with seven-layer dip (pre-purchased, so worth it!)
  • Half time pepperoni pizza. We bought this ginormous pizza at Costco. It took me mere minutes to rearrange the pepperonis and cut a string cheese as the laces. (Photo below!)
  • Desserts: orange and blue browned-butter Rice Krispie treats and the most adorable and delicious sugar cookies you’ve ever had from my friend Robin (she also made the beehive cookies at our gender reveal last year)

And of course some photos:

The most amazing Super Bowl cookies ever. I wish I could make these myself!

The most amazing Super Bowl cookies ever. I wish I could make these myself!

Orange and blue Bronco Rice Krispies treats

Orange and blue Bronco Rice Krispies treats

Football pizza

Football pizza

Our Peyton Manning prayer candle. Worked spectacularly this year!

Our Peyton Manning prayer candle. Worked spectacularly this year!

Super Bowl bingo was a big hit-- it combined commercials and the game.

Super Bowl bingo was a big hit– it combined commercials and the game.

Our little fan watching the pre-game

Our little fan watching the pre-game

How I watched the game: wearing a wee one, with a {plastic} glass of wine.

How I watched the game: wearing a wee one, with a {plastic} glass of wine.

World champions!!

World champions!!

Michael's new super bowl ring. Tastes like VICTORY!

Michael’s new super bowl ring. Tastes like VICTORY!

We've got Bronco spirit!

We’ve got Bronco spirit!

Hopefully we get to have another successful SuperBowl party next year! This little guy has his game face on and is ready!

Game face = ON!

Game face = ON!

{Read about our 2014 Super Bowl party here.}

Birth announcements

Baby announcement

Our very special delivery!

Michael recently celebrated his five-month birthday and we celebrated by finally getting his birth announcements in the mail! A few months later than I had hoped, but, that’s how things are these days. As I was preparing to send out Baby Michael’s birth announcements, I did some research and stumbled across something great: you can get a welcome note for your new child from the President and First Lady! Send them an announcement or submit the information online.

It’s super quick and easy to do and look what came in the mail the other day:

A welcome note for Michael from President and Mrs. Obama

A welcome note for Michael from President and Mrs. Obama

We also sent an announcement to Mickey and Minnie Mouse. (We haven’t received anything back yet!) If you’re Catholic, you can send an announcement to the Pope for a blessing. Find all of the details on Parents.com.

And since I’m people who knows people, Mayor Ed Murray, the mayor of Seattle, proclaimed Michael’s birthday as a “day” in the city of Seattle. This proclamation is amazing:

Michael Carl Szerwo Day in the City of Seattle

Michael Carl Szerwo Day in the City of Seattle

I worked for the Seattle City Council when Brandon and I got married. The Council members proclaimed our wedding day a “day” in the city of Seattle too! Mark your calendar to celebrate Michael Szerwo Day this year: only 6.5 months to go and at the speed time is flying by these days, it’ll be here before we know it!