Ollie’s Mickey Mouse 1st Birthday

Thank you, Front Sight, for sponsoring this post, Ollie’s Mickey Mouse 1st Birthday. I was selected for this opportunity by Front Sight; the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Oliver Hayes turns 1!

Oliver Hayes is one year’s old! I cannot believe it and I feel like I’m saying this on repeat. This year just flew by and we had an amazing time celebrating this weekend!

Around here, we are Disney people. So I knew long before Mr. Ollie was born that I wanted to have a Mickey Mouse themed birthday party for his first birthday (and maybe every party afterwards). I wanted to keep the decorating simple so we could enjoy our time and worked bit by bit over the past month to keep that famous mouse in the details.

Oliver Hayes turns 1!

Oliver Hayes turns 1!

Oliver Hayes turns 1!

Oliver Hayes turns 1!

Oliver Hayes turns 1!

Oliver Hayes turns 1!

Oliver Hayes turns 1!
Oliver Hayes turns 1!
Oliver Hayes turns 1!

Shirts | Banner | Chalkboard | Cake | Ears

One thing I really wanted to was have the best matching shirts for us. Knowing us, we’ll be rewearing these in the parks over and over for years to come. I found Front Sight on Etsy and instantly fell in love. Over at Ellie ‘n Ollie, we have opened up our own magically inspired tee shop; however, we don’t design matching shirts for the whole family. Front Sight was just the perfect place to have my whole theme come together.

Front Sight created a coupon code just for you for 15% off of their products at their Etsy shop through August 31, 2017. The coupon code is BAHORICH17. So if you are looking for the best birthday tees (or park tees) for your family to match, look no further their Front Sight!

Also, in celebration of Ollie’s birthday, I have partnered with Front Sight to giveaway a full mommy, daddy, and baby mouse set! Hop on over to our Instagram to find out more about the details!!

Oliver Hayes turns 1!

Oliver Hayes turns 1!

Oliver Hayes turns 1!

Oliver Hayes turns 1!

Oliver Hayes turns 1!

Oliver Hayes turns 1!

Oliver Hayes turns 1!

Oliver Hayes turns 1!

Oliver Hayes turns 1!

Oliver Hayes turns 1!

A Letter to My Little Boy

His one year old photos are so adorable. #olliehayes

Little Mister Oliver Hayes,

I’ll never forget the day you were born; we had no clue what we were getting ourselves into. We waited and waited for you and you very much decided to come late… and honestly, you’ve been running us late since you got here. You came in the world with a bang, making sure that you were the center of attention. You took extra care to make sure you arrived safely and a few extra days to make sure you were healthy. Those were such long days and all we wanted you to do was come home.

The day we got to bring you home was amazing. We felt such an empowerment from being parenting. You immediately fit right into our lives as if you were always there. You quickly became the heartbeat of our home. You cried a lot at the beginning as you were trying to figure out this crazy world, but day by day you grew into the most perfect happy, healthy, and easy baby. We could not have pictured it any better.

I spent countless hours nursing you, playing with you, taking you on walking, and just holding you. We had the best quiet time together in the middle of the night each night were it was just you and me as the rest of the world slept. It honestly was my favorite time.

We found the most perfect babysitter for you who loved you like her own and you quickly became the center of her world as well. You grew, became a world traveler, and became incredibly fun. You became my little sidekick. My favorite Target co-shopper. My little buddy. I have learned so much from watching you learn about the world. You have taught me how to savor moments more. You keep me on my toes and inspire me. You make me better.

I will never forget the first time you took your first steps and how it made my heart smile. Or the time you stood at the front door, repeating “dada” over and over while your dad mowed the yard. I will never forget the days we spent in the hospital just hours before Christmas morning hoping and praying that they had fixed your intestines and you would no longer bleed. How helpless you looked in that hospital gown and in your little bed… or how quickly you bounced back and learned how to crawl all in one swing.

We made it through your first year, baby Ollie, and you are such an incredible joy. I cannot wait to see what you are going to do for this world and what an adventure you will create.

I love you.

Mommy

Perfectly Packed :: Daycare Bag

Perfectly Packed Daycare Bag

Dusty and I both work full time; however, since my job allows me to work from home (which is awesome), many folks ask me, what do we do with Ollie? Can’t he just stay home with me? As much as I would love this, the reality of conference calls and a screaming baby (or even a happy baby playing) is that they just do not mix. We searched high and low, interviewed a lot of daycares and other options, and ended up with an amazing lady who runs an in-home daycare.

When he first started going at 12 weeks, he was the only little one in the house. Since then, she has taken on two more kiddos and Ollie just loves playing and entertaining both of them. I love the fact that he is spending his days in home with a family that loves on him. I also get the luxury of keeping him home with me on Fridays. I try to keep most of my phone calls during the week on the days that he is at daycare and work a bit longer hours Monday – Thursday. I still work on Friday with him here; however, a lot of it is reserved to nap time and I am lucky enough to be able to make up some of the work in the evening and on weekends as well.

It is a balance. Having Ollie stay home with me on Fridays always looks different from week to week. Last week, I still managed to have a ton of calls and meetings on my Friday. So we went for a drive, he slept really well, and I chatted with my coworkers. This week will be a bit more traditional, and Ollie will play a bit in his playroom while I’m on a call or two that is scheduled outside of his nap time. This allows me to work a bit while he naps as well.

With that being said, I am so grateful for a daycare that is close to our home and always me to work my full time gig. Getting ready for daycare however can sometimes be stressful. I suddenly found myself with another “to-do” in the morning beyond my typical roll-out-of-bed, grab coffee, check email. I know loads of mothers out there have to get out of the house and goodness gracious, bless all of them. I am not a morning person and just the standard feeding a baby, packing a diaper bag, and changing clothes is about all I can handle before coffee. I am so thankful for my husband that does drop off every morning so I can start working as soon as they are out of the house. Time in the morning can go by so fast if you do not have a plan, so I am excited to share with you how we perfectly pack our daycare bag.

I know loads of folks have a separate bag for daycare on top of their traditional diaper bag; however, since Ollie is right around the corner and my days are so flexible, we did not really need the “what-if” bag up until recently. This is the bag that you keep extra things in for what-if scenarios. Extra outfits, burp cloths, diapers, etc. It stays at our daycare and we restock it when needed. For us, our daycare just tells us when she needs more diapers or wipes and we make sure there is one extra outfit in the diaper bag at all times as well. Any “extras” are just communicated on a daily basis. If he needs anything the day of, I typically just run it over and drop it off (which has only happened once).

Perfectly Packed Daycare Bag

So this is what is in our daycare bag:

  1. Diapers
  2. Wipes
  3. Diaper Rash Cream
  4. Sippy Cup
  5. Formula
  6. Blanket
  7. Sunscreen
  8. Bugspray
  9. Extra set of clothes
  10. Bib
  11. Extra Snacks

Perfectly Packed Daycare Bag

So what do you think? To all my other working mamas out there :: Did I forget anything? What tricks do you have to make packing for a day at daycare easier on you and your kiddos? Let me know in the comments.
Perfectly Packed Daycare Bag

Perfectly Packed Daycare Bag

Transitioning to Solids with Earth’s Best Organic

Thank you, Earth’s Best Organic, for sponsoring this post, Transitioning to Solids with Earth’s Best Organic. I was selected for this opportunity by Earth’s Best Organic; the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Transitioning to Solids with Earth's Best Organic

So Ollie is officially eating solids now. He actually has for awhile. Honestly though, it took a bit. You see, Ollie is a runt. A 2 percentile kiddo. A little nugget. And although I love aspects of it, it is really rough. People feel free to tell you how much your kid needs more milk, how you don’t feed him enough, and in other words, how you are basically a terrible mom.

None of this was true though. I produced plenty of milk. He ate until he was full, and he was a happy, active baby. Nevertheless, I was excited to start solid foods. I was hoping that it would relieve some of the criticism of having a runt child, but it didn’t. Ollie did not like pureed foods. I was devastated. We tried a whole load of them from homemade avocados mixed with breast milk to wonderful organic Earth’s Best peas and carrots and apples. We tried for three weeks every night introducing new and different foods, the same food, doing everything the books said. Nothing worked.

Earth’s Best Organic Baby Food comes in three stages and I just loved their awesome lineup of organic foods for Ollie spanning stages 1, 2, and 3. Their foods have a vast range of fruits and vegetables to suit even a very picky baby, with Stage 1 options like sweet potatoes, peas, carrots, apples, bananas, and prunes. These were what we started baby Ollie with… but nothing worked. I started to think that it was not necessarily the taste (because honestly, I tasted them and they were pretty yummy), but the texture.

Transitioning to Solids with Earth's Best Organic

Transitioning to Solids with Earth's Best Organic

So we attempted Earth’s Best Organic Stage 2 options which are even more diverse, including even some exotic fruits and vegetables, fruit and veggie blends, and fruit and grain blends. These Earth’s Best products are all organic, which that means no additives, no preservatives, and even no added salt or sugar. These are some of the best on the market and we have been consistently impressed with the quality and taste like I said before. Highly recommended, yet still no luck.

Again the criticism started. How he was seven months old and shouldn’t he be bigger? How hard are we actually trying to get him to eat baby food? Why would he not eat baby food? What were we doing wrong? He was definitely interested in what we were eating, but he just would not take the food we were trying.

So we slowly started giving him our food from the table. Soon enough, we thought we were pretty much doing what the cool kids call “Baby Lead Weaning”. I’m not making fun. I did a bunch of research and we aren’t really doing BLW; however, we were giving Ollie only table foods and he’s really been a great eater every since. He loves table food and loves to eat… and still a runt.

Transitioning to Solids with Earth's Best Organic

But then I was posed another problem. Baby food. I bought loads of Earth’s Best Organic baby food along with a few others, trying to get him to like this kind or that kind. What do I do with it? I tried to give it away here and there, but now that Ollie is almost one years old we still have quite a bit. So I brainstormed and came up with two great ways that Ollie is eating all his purees and having a blast while doing it!

1. Baby Food “Ice”

As we learned, Ollie didn’t dislike the taste, but he hated the texture. I bought these great chocolate candied molds (in cool shapes and sizes) and freeze his food into bite-sized pieces. They are great to weave two or three of these in with a meal and it makes sure that he gets a varied a foods during dinner!

2. Baby Food Popsicles

It’s been a long time since I have made popsicles, but I found these great full sized popsicles containers to squeeze Ollie’s food into. He’s obsessed with ice cream so now while mom and dad have a snack, we can distract him with his own “popsicle” too — just carrot flavored! He is just as happy as can be as we are loving him eating a more healthier option than us!

So if you are having trouble with your little one eating baby food, don’t despair and keep trying. Go with your gut but allow others to help too! You have this momma!

5 Tips for Reading To Your Baby

5 Tips for Reading To Your Baby

One thing I knew even before Baby Ollie was born is that I wanted to make sure that reading was important in his life. Beyond the developmental components that reading to a baby delivers, reading was a big part of my childhood and I knew that I wanted it to be just as important in my little boy’s life. Additionally, being in the learning and development world, I know that readers tend to become lifelong learners and leaders, something else I wanted to promote for my kiddos.

In 2014, The American Academy of Pediatrics states that literacy promotion in the household is an essential component of primary pediatric care and advocates for reading to newborns.

Reading regularly with young children stimulates optimal patterns of brain development and strengthens parent-child relationships at a critical time in child development, which, in turn, builds language, literacy, and social-emotional skills that last a lifetime.

So why would we not want to read to our little ones? Sometimes it’s just plain hard to make sure that it is our daily routine; however, I have found 5 easy tips to make sure reading is a part of Ollie’s daily life in hopes that he will love reading for the rest of his years.

5 Tips for Reading To Your Baby

5 Tips for Reading To Your Baby

Tip #1: Make it Part of Your Bedtime Routine

My absolute favorite time to read-aloud is right before nap or bedtime. It is a great way to tell Baby Ollie we are ready to bed and it is time to calm down. Plus I love the extra snuggles before we all go to sleep. Our nighttime ritual is typically bathing, lotion, pajamas, reading, and then feeding. We alway sit in the same rocker in his room with the lights dimmed and read by his bed stand light.

Tip #2: Read While You Wait

I always keep a few books in our diaper bag so that when the moment arrives, we have them on hand. They are great to pull out at a restaurant or at the doctor’s office to keep us company and include a unplanned story time in the moment. I also make sure that they are the type of books that I won’t get too upset if they disappear at a sitter’s house or at daycare. These two books with received free at his pediatrician’s office and they are perfect!

Tip #3: Sing and Read

You have a captive audience during bath time, so use these moments to play with language. Babies love songs and rhymes so sing the stories that you have learned from reading. This will allow just another time in the day to have your baby connect story, and song, to a pleasurable experience. Baby Ollie loves baby time and sometimes we will tell stories through his bath toy characters. This allows his to soak on more language and connect with words over and over.

5 Tips for Reading To Your Baby

5 Tips for Reading To Your Baby

Tip #4: Repeat, Repeat, Repeat

I stumbled upon this article the over day and just fell in love with it. I know some parents hate reading the same book over and over to their kids as they grow into their toddler years; however, it is actually super beneficial. By repeating the same book over and over, it helps your children develop a better vocabulary and word recognition, pattern and rhythm, fluency, comprehension, and confidence.

Right now, we are reading one book a season every night as part of our bedtime routine. Pippin the Penguin is the most adorable rhythmic story about a penguin in the snow… perfect for winter and we’ve loved it so much we have continued it into summer. No judgement here. Ollie sits in my lap every night and holds his own Pippin as we read. As summer continues along, we will find a new book to read over and over every night. I look forward to our “bed time book” may more than even he does at this point!

Tip #5: Play with Books

Keep your baby books in your home where your baby can reach them and encourage them to play with books. We have books on a reachable shelf in his nursery and in his play room. I try to keep an assortment of board books for him to explore through and, of course, chew on. The nicer books with paper pages and ones that I want to keep nice are on high shelves but still visible in each space. Right now he loves turning the pages on his own!

Weaving stories into baby’s routines each day will help create a future reader and lifelong learner. Run, grab a book, and read to your little one today!

Summer Bucket List with an Infant

Summer Bucket List with an Infant2

If you remember way back in January, I chose a word to live by in 2017 — Savor. It is a daily reminder to myself that I need to slow down, pursue less, and enjoy the moment. Savoring isn’t about making the most of the year in a more is more type of way. Savoring is more about sitting and dwelling on the moment, specially to appreciate it.

To savor is to have intentionality with time. To see what is happening and make a mental, physical, and emotional decision to enjoy. To collect the moments in time that are occurring right in front of me and allow myself to receive the happiness it provides. To delight in my child’s laughter and find pleasure in the warmth of a hug from my husband.

I love lists. I make them whenever is possible; however, I almost stayed away from a summer bucket list. I did not want to push the calendar full this summer. I did not want to cram ourselves with unrealistic expectations or desires that inevitably we would fall short. But then I remember that the little things that I can savor in can make our summer and I want them to evolve around three things: community, water, and food.

I did not come up with this on my own honestly. I stumbled upon a Today Show clip which lead me to this article and of course, it was the brilliant idea of one of my favorite author’s, Jessica Turner. But who cares? I love the idea… and although Ollie is not old enough yet to shout out his requests, I can ensure that our summer will be great and we can do things to make this an amazing time to savor. So here is our summer bucket list.

  1. Play in the sprinkler
  2. Splash in the pool
  3. Wear some shades
  4. Enjoy some ice cream
  5. Go to the park
  6. Catch fireflies
  7. Look at the stars
  8. Visit the zoo
  9. Color with sidewalk chalk
  10. Host a neighborhood barbecue
  11. Be amazed by fireworks
  12. Plant a garden
  13. Splash in a puddle
  14. Go to the drive in theater
  15. Visit a farm
  16. Blow bubbles
  17. Go on a hike
  18. Celebrate Ollie turning one!
  19. Throw an outdoor dinner party
  20. Enjoy a backyard campfire

Summer Bucket List with an Infant

11 Months Old

Eleven Month

It takes a village to raise a little one… and Mr. Ollie Hayes, you are no different. Mom and dad left for a full week this month and thank goodness for our friends and family that love keeping you. You love everybody so it is easy. You joyously go into their arms and giggle and smile at all.

You have eight teeth now and are really working hard on your molars… so hard that you keep getting ear infections. You also may be allergic to the seasons changing. Don’t worry, we all are. It’s no fun.

You can walk and dance and you love doing both. The other thing that you love doing is opening up cabinets, which in turn required us to baby safety lock all of the cabinets in the kitchen. I thought I could get away without doing it… and alas, you win again. You walk around with a ball in one hand and a book in the other. I love it because it makes me think that you are equal parts of your father and me.

You have started sleeping really poorly at night for your first time in your life. If you could knock it off, we would appreciate it; however those ear infections, weaning, and teething are not necessarily helping you any. It’s okay though. You’ve learned quickly that we love cuddling with you in our bed…

You give the best kisses, all open mouthed and slobbery. But you have started biting too. You can’t be a biter so we’ll work on that. You still love food and are so happy. I love that you are my little one Mr. Ollie. I love it.

I miss my little buddy this morning lots. Even if he was a tornado in every room he visited yesterday. 😂 #olliehayes

"I believe all of life is shot through with God’s presence, and that part of the gift of walking with him is seeing his fingerprints in all sorts of unexpected ways." @sniequist #olliehayes

So if he's standing here banging on the glass and yelling, "Da da da..." do you think he's ready for @dustn_b to come home? #olliehayes #daddysboy

The men in this family just can't hang. #olliehayes

month eleven: what I hope I never forget

how you can finally walk and you walk everywhere!

how you meow at Lucy when she meows

how you can eat an entire adult-sized meal while maintaining your petite-sized figure

how much you work at matching up your shapes in your toys

how much you love ice cream

the joy you get from being outside

your first week away from mom and dad

how happy you get on the phone when you hear our voices

your second and third ear infections

how much you love in cuddle in bed with us

Shop Small :: CinderEllie Designs

Thank you, Cinder Ellie Designs, for sponsoring this post, part of the 2017 Shop Small Spring series. I was selected for this opportunity by Cinder Ellie Designs; the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

CinderEllie Designs

It has officially been one week since we have returned home from Disney. Life hits us, of course, the moment we got back. Ollie has gone from baby steps to running, literally. We had our anniversary to celebrate as well as Mother’s Day. And our refrigerator went out! I know life is full of ups and downs but this week we were just full!

Thankfully, I have a ton of Disney things still on my mind to keep the magic in the air. One is our final shop in our Shop Small Spring series, CinderEllie Designs. Her flowy tank was just perfect for our waterpark day at Typhoon Lagoon! I absolutely adore it. The color is something that I don’t have a lot of so I keep finding myself grabbing it from my closet as a top that’s a bit different than my normal routine. I love the glitter print as well!

If you are heading down to Disney, use the code “springfling17” for 20% off at her shop through the end of the month! Also, head on over to our Instagram page today for a special giveaway with her and Ellie ‘n Ollie, our new magically inspired tee shop!

CinderEllie Designs

Here is a little bit more about Ashly, the owner of Cinder Ellie Designs:

How did you get your shop started?
After leaving the classroom in January 2016, I found myself a little flustered. I’m a creative person, and my house was always cluttered with projects that I couldn’t wait to start. I am truly blessed with a patient man for a husband because he is always supportive and must have known I NEEDED a creative outlet. I started making my daughter shirts with the machine I had once used to make bulletin boards and activities for my students.

In August, my former student and babysitter asked me if I had thought about selling shirts. I laughed at her and asked her what she wanted me to make her. I made her a few shirts, and her comment sparked my interest into researching the possibility of opening my own shop. It was kind of a snowball effect of me making things for her and her family which turned into more requests from more people. I quickly needed a way for my friends and family to easily reimburse me for the things I made. At the end of the month, I jokingly created an Etsy page.

In September 2016, I launched my Facebook page and uploaded a few designs to my shop. I feel incredibly blessed to have done so well in such a short amount of time. CinderEllie Designs has been an incredible creative outlet while also helping me stick to our budget (most of the time) and helping out with a little income.

What is the hardest part of owning a shop?
The hardest part of owning a shop is the fact that I want everyone I reply to via message on Etsy to be absolutely ecstatic about their experience with CinderEllie Designs–regardless of if they order a product from me or not.

I have said yes to rush orders I probably should have said no to because I empathize with my fellow procrastinators. My husband gets asked countless times each week for approval of each order I ship out. We once spent 30 minutes on a shirt that had an odd layout- scrutinizing it to ensure it was absolutely centered. I just want to make sure everyone has a great experience with CinderEllie Designs, and the perfectionist side of me comes out in full force with each order.

What is one thing unique about you?
I am great at making little-bitty pieces of paper. That was actually what my dad warned my husband about before we got married. Since I was little, I have always loved crafting. With crafting comes messes. And tiny pieces of paper. I got in trouble in Kindergarten because I thought the grass we were cutting out of construction paper for a picture we were making would look better cut a different way. I stayed in from recess that day. Give me a pair of scissors and a hot glue gun, and I can conquer the world.

What is the best part of owning a shop?
The absolute best part of owning CinderEllie Designs is making someone’s event even more special. I have helped announce pregnancies, celebrate birthdays, and coordinate outfits for magical vacations. I love that I am a part of so many happy milestones in complete stranger’s lives. That probably makes me weird. Or creepy. But it’s true. I also love that CinderEllie Designs gives me a creative outlet, and I have complete ownership of what I do in my small business.

How did you get your shop name?
My daughter’s name is Ellie. When we are being silly, I’ve always called her CinderEllie. Her favorite Disney princess was Cinderella for a time, and she went through a period where she would hide her left shoes (only her left shoes). When I opened the Etsy shop, I knew most of my designs would be inspired by her loves and interests. I immediately knew CinderEllie Designs would be my Etsy shops name for this reason. She’s a strong-willed, spunky little girl. Could there be better inspiration?

What is one way that you keep organized?
Organization something I am still working on. Like I said, I literally opened this shop almost as a joke. I have envelopes for each month of the year. I also use Etsy to keep my current orders organized. My husband is also amazing at creating spreadsheets, so he helps me keep up with inventory and numbers.

How do you balance family life and work life?
Sometimes I completely fail at the balancing act, but I try to keep designated days/nights for CinderEllie Designs. I also have pulled many late nights so I didn’t miss out on anything in Ellie or my husband’s life. Other times they go on Daddy-Daughter dates so I can focus on getting orders out. I travel for work part-time, so I’ve had to get a lot better at using the Google Calendar app on my phone to keep track of where I’ll be each day and what days I will be fulfilling orders. I also recently moved my workspace to a room that is not directly attached to my house. Having a designated, separate space for home and CinderEllie Designs has helped with my family/work/CinderEllie Designs balancing act immensely.