Michael’s first valentines

I finally had a chance to use my Valentine’s Day inspirations pinterest board for Michael’s first Valentine’s Day party at his daycare!

There are so many great ideas out there! I especially liked the fish bowls, tic tacs, and chips.

However, since many of those at daycare (including Michael) aren’t eating solids, I went the route of age-appropriate toys instead.

And… voila! Amazing valentines!

These valentines are DINO-riffic!

These valentines are DINO-riffic!

I combined a few of the dinosaur valentines I found online and designed one perfect for “our” (Michael’s, but he doesn’t know what he’s doing yet…) needs. Download the template here. I added these dino bath squirters from Amazon.

The final product

The final product

I hope you have a great Valentine’s Day!

Thanksgiving {2015}

With the excitement of the holidays and a newborn who isn’t fond of napping, my posts are a little delayed these days. But, without further ado, some photos from this year’s Thanksgiving extravaganza.

First, we’ll start with our little turkey. Michael sported a Babies ‘R Us onesie and was a champ. He met my extended family, in town from California, and even decided to nap a wee fit, obviously exhausted from the festivities.

Our little Thanksgiving turkey

Our little Thanksgiving turkey

Not knowing how much time we’d have to prep a dish for the celebrations, we brought appetizers. I was able to find the time (no more than an hour required!) to prep not one but two platters.

I took inspiration from my platters from 2013 and 2014 and created an antipasti tray and vegetable platter.

Thanksgiving antipasti tray

Thanksgiving antipasti tray

Thanksgiving vegetable tray

Thanksgiving vegetable tray

The “turkey heads” are easy to make. Start with a smallish lemon with a bit of a stem nub. Then, whittle a carrot beak and glue it, a “hat” and some candy eyes onto the turkey with super glue. Hats can be anything from a radish top, broccoli, cauliflower, or something inedible too! Once you have your hat, make sure both of the surfaces are dried off, to the best of your ability. This will help the glue stick.

Thanksgiving platter turkey "heads"

Thanksgiving platter turkey “heads”

The trays are easy to create as well. A quick trip to the store a couple of days before the holiday will suffice, with about an hour of “construction” time the morning of the holiday:

The antipasti platter: 

  • Cured meat three-pack from Costco
  • ~1 lb Beecher’s Flagship cheddar cheese (Costco)
  • A wheel of brie (Costco)
  • Trader Joe’s new four-olive medley
  • Marinated mushrooms (Trader Joe’s)
  • ~1 lb of reduced fat smoked gouda (Trader Joe’s)

The vegetable tray: 

  • 1 head of broccoli
  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 1 bag of baby carrots
  • 1 orange pepper
  • 2 cans of whole baby corn
  • 1 can of asparagus
  • 1 heart of celery
  • A couple of tomatoes
  • Not pictured: Fat-free sour cream with the Hidden Valley Ranch powder packet mixed in. (My favorite veggie dip!)

Here is a photo of the table, with my Aunt capturing the spread from a different angle. It was fun having such a large group (19 people!) to celebrate the holiday!

Our Thanksgiving set up

Our Thanksgiving set up

I also put my new modern calligraphy skills to use (did I tell you that I recently took a class with some girlfriends and discovered a new talent!?) and made place cards for the dinner. Don’t they look nice? I’m so impressed with myself– and clearly very humble!

Place cards by me!

Place cards by me!

I hope these inspire you to make a meat and cheese or veggie platter next Thanksgiving. Now I’m off to help Christmas explode all over our house! Photos to follow!

Baby must haves from a first time mom


Now that I’ve been a mom for two whole months, I’m full of advice and helpful tips. I’m also taking tips and advice, so don’t hold back!

We thought we were ready to be parents, but in reality, we didn’t know the half of it.

Prior to Michael joining the world, we spent a lot of time researching products, browsing reviews online, and discussing needs with friends. Then he joined us and we figured out what works and what doesn’t for our little man.

First and foremost, you need a camera! We use both a digital SLR and our phones and have thousands of photos of our sweet little man!

Phone apps.

MammaBaby. I’ve had some friends make fun of my obsessive tracking of dirty diapers, sleep, and nursing timing, but when you’re this tired — or at least I was — this app is your brain. Plus its so nice to wake up and look at the sleep timer without trying to do math!

Anything white noise. We downloaded a white noise app to an old phone and it really helps Michael sleep. In fact, I think it helps us sleep too, when he’s in our room.

Pandora. I don’t usually use Pandora, but I’ve found that Michael likes music and the Baby Mozart channel plays some really fun classical versions of rock songs. Have you heard of Rockababy? My favorite is the Michael Jackson favorites.

Facebook and Instagram. You’ll never be so caught up on everyone’s business as when you’re up every couple of hours scrolling through the updates.

Pinterest. You won’t have time or energy for the crafting and party planning that you once did, but someday you will (at least I hope) and I will have a lot of great ideas stockpiled and ready for that time!



We love our Fisher Price Rock ‘n Play. We had a bassinet at the ready for Michael to use to sleep in and he hates it. We’ve tried putting him down in it three times all with negative results. The rock ‘n play keeps him him snug and slightly upright, so his breakfast/lunch/dinner stay down. While we have the vibrating option, we don’t turn it on very often. In fact, it seems to bother him more than anything else. All of the sleep training books we’ve ready have actually said that this is a good thing.

Sleep training books. Plural? Yeah, you read that right. Sleep deprivation is horrible thing and after one night of nursing for six hours and actually sleeping for two hours in an eight hour stretch, you’ll reach out to everyone you know with an infant and buy several recommended books from Amazon in the wee hours of the night. We’re reading On Becoming Baby Wise, 12 hours by 12 weeks, and Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Baby, and whatever else folks recommend!

We also learned that a “witching hour” is a real thing and our guy experiences one from 9 p.m. – midnight quite often. He just won’t go to sleep! We try to get him good naps throughout the day and put him down in the 7 p.m. hour. Hopefully he grows out of it sometime soon. I think staying awake with a baby who is nonstop fussy or asleep with his eyes open is more exhausting than waking up a couple of times at night! It was nice to know that we weren’t alone and that this stage too, will pass.

Swaddle Me Velcro swaddles. Michael has mixed feelings about swaddling, he really prefers his hands be out to flail about, but these Swaddle Me outfits came in handy in the first week or so that we swaddled. We also got this Halo outfit that we’ll be using once transition him to his crib. We’ll be using it more as a sleep sack though, so his hands will be out.

Nightlight light bulbs. Or a dim-able lamp works too. We swapped out the light bulbs on a few lamps in Michael’s room and in our room. The low lighting is needed as we rock him to sleep or check on him in the middle of the night.



Brest Friend. A nursing pillow was a must have for the first month and a half of Michael’s life. We tried both the Brest Friend and the Boppy pillow. While the Boppy is great for propping him up (mainly during our many photoshoots), I preferred the Brest Friend for nursing. Plus Brandon gets a kick out of saying “Brest Friend.”

Pumping bra. You can cut slits in a sports bra (thanks, Pinterest!), but I really enjoy my Simple Wishes pumping bra. It allows you to go hands free while pumping, so you can multi-task and do things like chop veggies, or blog or something at the same time!

Steam sterilizer. I used the microwavable bags for awhile and then I bought this Munchkin microwavable steam sterilizer for bottles and pumping supplies. I love it! It’s also important to have a drying rack for your bottles. We have this one, since we use Dr. Brown bottles, but I think they’re all created equal and any one will do!

Premie bottle nipples. In the early days, Mr. M would guzzle from his bottle too agressively and would choke a bit. We switched out the nipples that came with the bottles with the premie-sized version. He’s back to the normal size ones now, but these were great for slowing him down a bit.



Diaper Genie. Whoever invented this thing is a genius! Dirty diapers go in and an easy to handle baggie comes out! It resembles a weapon of some sort, but we haven’t battled with it yet.

Vaseline. We put a bit of Vaseline on M’s “bathing suit area” after diaper changes and it keeps things fresh! Beyond the $1 difference between the two tubs in the baby section at Target, the “baby” version has a pink label and has a baby powder scent.

Shout! This is a must for babies. When the occasional blowout happens (often), a few squirts of Shout! takes the stain right out. We keep a bottle by M’s laundry hamper and will until he’s mobile.

Two changing pad covers. Sometimes little boys pee on you when you’re changing them. Sometimes they pee on their changing pad cover. For this very reason you need two covers. At least.


Other stuff.

Boba wrap. This thing. We were pretty intimidated by it: 18 feet of elastic fabric that you’re to wrap your baby in for hands-free wearing? Without him falling out!? Yeah, right. We watched several YouTube videos and finally got the hang of it, and Michael loves it. We put him in it, walk around, and he usually calms down and more often than not, falls asleep! The latest trick that helps combat that witching hour: wrap and strap up the kid and vacuum! Who would’ve thought?! He loves it and it knocks him right out!

Jack (the cat) and Michael both love the Boba wrap!

Jack (the cat) and Michael both love the Boba wrap!

Beco Gemini carrier. This carrier is great. It requires no “infant insert” like the Ergo carriers and allows the kid to face in or out and ride on my front, back or side. It turns out we were using it wrong initially (thanks, Megan!) and it’s great for walks inside or outside of the house. It’s still a little tricky to unlatch when you’re solo, but I’m getting the hang of it. It also is very comfortable for Brandon to wear.

Michael's Beco carrier

Michael’s Beco carrier

Blankets. We love, love, love the four-pack of Aden + Anais Classic Swaddle Blankets my good friend Traci gifted us. We use them as blankets, as a car seat cover, nursing cover, as a burp cloth, the list goes on. They’re really great and versatile.

Baby monitor. We opted for this model from Infant Optics and we really like it! We like that it’s a closed system and the imaging on the screen is very clear. However, when it’s on and near our computers, our wifi gets spotty. It also randomly loses signal and makes a loud beep, which of course could wake the baby you’re spying on. So that’s annoying. But overall, we’re fans!

Pacifier. This thing is a plug for our occasionally crying son. We have four and have them everywhere. He’s also recently discovered his thumb, which is great for self-soothing.

Diaper bag. You need one if you want to go anywhere! The Skip Hop bags are great. Lots of pockets and reasonably priced.

Car seat. Obviously, it’s a must. (At least if you want to leave the hospital!) We opted for the Maxi Cosi based on friends’ recommendations. We’ve been very pleased with it.

Stroller. I love our stroller for “momming it up.” We have the City GT Mini and I love it. It has a narrow profile, so I can visit most stores freely (Fireworks: widen those aisles and I’ll go crazy inside! Until then, I can only window shop!) and is lightweight and very easy to handle by myself. We have the attachment to place the car seat in the stroller, but the one downside is that you can’t use the stroller’s rain canopy and the car seat at the same time, a bummer for moms on maternity leave during the rainy season in Seattle. Make sure you get the “GT” and not just the City Mini, for the all-terrain tires! We also have the parent console (a must!) and hooks, which are great for shopping or holding his diaper bag.

"Momming it up" in the University Village with most of the gear I've listed here!

“Momming it up” in the University Village with most of the gear I’ve listed here!

Exercise ball. You know that ball you use to do crunches on? It’s also great for bouncing your screaming child to sleep! Have one of these on-hand, especially for the early days. And then when you’re abs re-emerge, you can resume crunches! Or not.

We have so many other items that we have yet to try out– I’ll try and keep this list updated as I find more items that are new baby “must have’s”!

For now, here is Michael at his one-month photo shoot:


And his two-month:


{Halloween 2015} BOOze bags and ghost onesies

Last year I wrote about BOOzing people. It was a great idea that I promptly forgot following the drafting of that blog post. Whoops.

However, I re-discovered the idea as I was perusing Pinterest recently. (Thanks, middle-of-the-night feeding for Baby M!) BOOze bags would be the perfect treat for the University of Washington tailgate that we hosted with our friends Parker and Stephanie on Halloween: booze as they walk to the game and snacks for the route or inside the stadium.

I also pinned this pin and thought nothing of it (I pin a lot of images!) until Stephanie asked if I was planning on making a costume for my little guy. With that comment, an idea blossomed!

My onesie inspiration

My onesie inspiration

I decided that I would use the above image as a guide to make some super cute ghost onesies for our little guys. (Stephanie and Parker’s son was born in June and while they’re not friends yet, he and Michael will be BFFs before too long!)

I had the onesies on-hand and spent a whopping $2 on fabric puff paint. Using the above images, I freehand outlined the ghost faces with an ultra-thin point Sharpie and filled it in with high-gloss puff paint. I pre-washed the onesies, but have not (and may not) wash them again, as I’m not sure how the puff paint will launder. I’m sure there is some guidance somewhere on the internet!

Ghost onesies for the boys

Ghost onesies for the boys

Since we were co-hosting the Halloween tailgate, ghost onesies would be perfect for an appearance at the tailgate and some of our own “BOOze bags.” (Unfortunately with an 8 p.m. kickoff — 8 P.M.!!!! — the boys were not able to show up in their costumes.) However, they still wore their new onesies and we still made the BOOze bags!

BFFs in their spooky outfits

BFFs in their spooky outfits

I found mini bottles of Jim Bean “Ghost” Whiskey (on sale!) and Fireball (also on sale!) and put them in cellophane bags with orange Kit Kats (my favorites!), fun size Snickers, mini Reese’s cups, Starbursts, and suckers!


The finished product: BOOze bags!

The finished product: BOOze bags!

Pin this for next Halloween and don’t forget about BOOze bags like I did!



Michael’s 1st Halloween {2015}

Baby Michael was born just in time to celebrate his first Halloween in style!

I originally wanted him to be a Cookie Monster, but there weren’t costumes in the itty bitty size that I needed. (We did end up receiving a toddler-sized one as a gift, so be on the look out for our Cookie Monster next year!)

Late night breastfeeding is conducive to lots of Pinterest browsing and I found this adorable glow-in-the-dark skeleton outfit on sale. $8 for a costume? Done.

Skeleton baby & skeleton head wine!

Skeleton baby & skeleton head wine!

I also made this ghost onesie for Michael. (More on that in a future post; hopefully this week)

BOO! It's Michael!

BOO! It’s Michael!

You’ve also already seen Michael’s pumpkin bib. It was a gift and was perfect for Halloween and his six-week Facebook photos.

Michael's 6-week photo shoot

Michael’s six-week photo shoot

Finally, his Waldo outfit came together by happenstance. I was going through Michael’s outfits, saw the red and white striped onesie and his blue pants and voila! I added a red electrical tape stripe to his hat from the hospital, along with a yarn puff. The only item I needed to purchase were pipe cleaners for his glasses. $1 total. Cheapest– and cutest– costume yet!

Where's Waldo... er... Michael!? I found him!

Where’s Waldo… er… Michael!? I found him!

Look at those specs!

Look at those specs!

Which costume is your favorite? I like them all!

We tried putting Michael in an actual pumpkin too, something I’ve always wanted to do with a baby, and it was an extreme failure. We were all laughing as much as my sister was. Everyone except Michael. Maybe next year?

This looks so easy on Pinterest...

This looks so easy on Pinterest…


Halloween preparations on Megan’s Island {2015}


Man, this baby vacation is flying by and I’m not doing nearly the amount of fun festive crafting and blogging that I had hoped I would be! I had grand plans of decking the house (and the kid) out for Halloween, but I’m nowhere close. Alas, he’s worth it — and I followed through on decking him out!

Michael & Beary Goldberg: best friends!

Michael & Beary Goldberg: best friends!

BOO! It's Michael!

BOO! It’s Michael!

First things first, I found a bottle of wine for Halloween: the 2013 Dearly Beloved Forever Red. There are many bottles out there and this one matches Michael’s skeleton costume the best, so I had to have it. Plus the price was right at under $10.

Skeleton baby & skeleton head wine!

Skeleton baby & skeleton head wine!

I’ve seen lots of Halloween-y wines at QFC and Trader Joe’s, and here are some wine-specific candy pairing ideas I found this year. If wine isn’t your thing, VinePair had some great Halloween Candy/alcohol pairings last year. Read my post here.

For a festive dinner, I’ve been scouring Pinterest during middle-of-the-night feedings and have settled on a “scary” lasagna. I opted for this “Cheesy Brussels sprout lasagna” with a scary face topping. I’m hoping it looks like this, but without the red sauce:

Scary lasagna!

Scary lasagna!

Last year we made a zombie meatloaf (this is awesome, delicious, gluten-free, and quick and easy, if you need an idea!).

Turkey meatloaf zombie

In 2013, we made squid ink pasta with “brain” sauce.

Spooky Halloween Pasta | Megan's Island Blog

For more Halloween ideas, check out my Pinterest “Halloween Inspirations” board. So many great ideas that you could even do on short notice for this year!

DIY clay animal busts

A few months ago I received a large rhino head by accident from Zulily. (It was supposed to be pair of raven bookends for my Dad’s birthday…)

Maddie isn't sure what to do with this surprise delivery

Maddie isn’t sure what to do with this surprise delivery

Of course I wanted to spray paint the head white and the horn gold and hang it in the nursery, but Brandon put the kibosh on it pretty quickly. (He likes the natural coloring of the rhino.) I’ve kept my eyes peeled for an additional rhino or other animal busts on my trips to Marshall’s and HomeGoods, but never found anything that I had to have.

I spend a lot of time on Pinterest and Etsy and stumbled across several great items, but they were all more than I wanted to spend, so I decided to make my own!

I looked everywhere for Crayola Model Magic, which apparently doesn’t exist anymore. So, after intense staffmember consultation and debate, I landed on DAS modeling clay from the University Bookstore. I also bought several unfinished plaques from JoAnn’s (similar to this one, the in-store selection is hit or miss and I lucked out).

The sculpting reminded me of my childhood and high school art classes and I really enjoyed it. Some of the ideas came from my head, while some came from the internet. I sculpted the busts around foil balls (so they were lighter when hung) and followed the instructions and let them air dry for several weeks. (Mainly out of laziness.)

Once they were dry I spray painted them a glossy white and Brandon used leftover stain to make the plaques a uniform color. I used ample hot glue to adhere the busts to the plaques– and voila! they were beautiful! I originally tried to adhere them with super glue and that didn’t work out. Hot glue was the way to go.

My clay animal busts

My clay animal busts

To finish off the projects, I hot glued a “D” hook on each plaque.

Hanging the busts

Hanging the busts

Here they are in relation to the nursery wall. I’m really pleased with how the nursery turned out. And look at that little two-week old Michael! He’s grown so much since then!

Michael and his friends, showing off his clay animal busts. (Sort of)

Michael and his friends, showing off his clay animal busts. (Sort of)

Happy crafting!



Introducing Michael Carl

Without further ado, I’d like to introduce my one-week-old son, Michael Carl.

"Hello, world. I'm Michael."

“Hello, world. I’m Michael.”

Megan's Island's newest resident

Megan’s Island’s newest resident

Michael was born at on Tuesday, September 15, 2015. He’s a prompt fellow and I started the laboring process on his due date, approximately 22 hours before he made his grand entrance into the world. 

He weighed in at 7 lbs, 15.3 ounces and measured a lengthy 21.25 inches.

Michael's favorite position: sleeping soundly during the day

Michael’s favorite position: sleeping soundly during the day

Bath time was a success!

Bath time was a success!

This way to the gun show, ladies!

This way to the gun show, ladies!

Nice to meet you!

Nice to meet you!

For many, many, many more Michael photos, check out my Instagram.

When will Baby Michael join us?

I’ve officially started my four-month “baby vacation,” having wrapped up my last day of work on Friday.

This is the view from my office now. Not too shabby!

My new "office" view (from the deck and living room)

My new “office” view (from the deck and living room)

We hit the 39th week of pregnancy today and now I’m wondering… when will Baby Michael join us?!

Here's last week's photo. He's been dropping!

Here’s last week’s photo. He’s been dropping!

I had friends and family place their best guess as to when he’ll make his debut and so far, five guesses are out of contention. I originally guessed today — I mean, laboring on labor day is so fitting, right? I also have a lot of holiday birthdays in my family, so this would work well — and then I thought for sure it was going to happen last weekend — which it obviously didn’t. Who would have guessed that the predictions of a full moon (yes, I’m having a werewolf), changes in the barometric pressure (from hot and sunny to stormy in a day!), combined with two days of Indian food including eggplant and dancing at a wedding, would be wrong? Apparently little Michael.



According to this article, it’s possible that I’ll be right? Of course, anything is possible. There are too many variables to know for sure. We’ll see where the day and week take us! We’ll welcome Michael whenever he decides to grace us with his presence!

2015-9 Birth bell curve

This could be telling us something…

So, now I ask you. What do you think? I’d love to hear your guesses. Whoever guesses correctly will get something… not naming rights, but maybe something else? Tell me what you’d like to win too!

Three cheers for Michael giving me a bit of a staycation and then making his timely debut!