Tag Archives: Ollie Hayes

Learning with an Infant with Smiling Tree Toys

Thank you, Smiling Tree Toys, for sponsoring this post, Learning with an Infant with Smiling Tree Toys. I was selected for this opportunity by Smiling Tree Toys; the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Learning with an Infant with Smiling Tree Toys

As Ollie is learning and growing, we continue to try and be intentional with his development the best we know how. Life is all about balance with the good and bad; however, with Ollie’s health and learning, we want the very best for him. When I looking for great things to gift Ollie for his birthday, I knew that a letter puzzle would be the perfect thing as we grow into his second year of life.

When I found Smiling Tree Toys, I just knew that their products just resonated our family’s beliefs. Smiling Tree Toys isn’t just a family business; it’s a defining part of their family. They keep the personal, the passionate, and the eco-handmade touch in every aspect of Smiling Tree Toys. From sustainably harvested American hardwoods, to their homegrown organic camelina oil/beeswax finish, to natural cotton drawstring bags made-in-the-USA, they ensure every aspect of Smiling Tree Toys is respectful of and gentle on mother earth and they wouldn’t have it any other way.

Learning with an Infant with Smiling Tree Toys

Learning with an Infant with Smiling Tree Toys

Their wooden name puzzles are a timeless and classic gift that Ollie is loving to play with and learning in the process! Made of natural maple letters, it contrasts with the walnut base, and it is something that it honestly going to last him a lifetime! They also give back which is another way of our intentionality reaching beyond just our little home. Smiling Tree Toys donates to Peace Corps development projects in honor of every purchase. How neat is that?

Our Spell Well Name Puzzle is so well made and sturdy. It will honestly ask a lifetime. I know it is something that we are going to continue to use as Ollie further develops his eye and hand coordination, learn letters, and spelling of his name. It was the perfect gift for his birthday and I am so glad that I found Smiling Tree Toys.

Looking to get your little one a great item for his or her upcoming birthday? Use the code “BAHORICH15” for 15% off their Spell Well Name Puzzles this weekend only! Also, use #SMILINGTREELOVE to tag your Smiling Tree moments on Instagram to enter their monthly giveaways!

Learning with an Infant with Smiling Tree Toys

Learning with an Infant with Smiling Tree Toys

What I Learned the First Year of Parenting

What I Learned the First Year of Parenting

Last week it happened. Mr. Oliver Hayes turned one. His birthday weekend has came and gone… it is such a blur.

Over the next month, expect a whole lot of sentimental posts as I reflect on the past year of this family. I may be a slight mess. You would expect this normally from a mom that is getting ready to have a one year old, but I was so consumed with finishing a few projects at work and getting the house ready to host folks for his party, I did not reflect enough for my soul. I know parenting is different for most. You can read a ton of blog posts, books, and articles on what you should do and what you shouldn’t do. Living all of this is totally a different story. So here’s my account of what we learned during our first year:

Labor was not that bad. There are parts, but the actual pushing was not it for me.

Breastfeeding is laboring. It is a commitment and you have to believe in yourself.

A baby needs very little, not a registry full of items.

Swaddles are amazing.

So are pacifiers, and in hindsight, we would have given one to Ollie a bit sooner.

The first three weeks of parenting is a complete blur.

Do not be ashamed of loading your baby up in the car so that they will go to sleep.

Walks around the neighborhood are also the best for this.

Always have an extra, extra change of clothes, especially during the “blowout” phases.

You will laugh a lot.

You will feel overwhelmed.

You will cry.

All of this is okay.

Start a bedtime routine on day one and stick to it.

Don’t get too wrapped up in percentiles and developmental milestones.

Trust your gut on food, weight, milk, and the rest. You honestly do know best.

Summer babes do not need shoes. Figure out shoes when it gets cold outside, but don’t worry about them before then.

Take advantage of cuddle time.

If you have a local Children’s Hospital, go there first. Don’t mess with the regional one down the street (you’ll just get transferred).

Baby giggles are the best.

You will end up baby-proofing your life, not just your house.

Nothing is better than the snuggles.

Soak up every moment. The days can sometimes be long, but the year is so fast.

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!

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!

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

10 Months Old

Ten Month

Baby Ollie, I don’t know what to say. Each day you are growing into a little person and so much less like a baby. We are starting to wean you which honestly breaks my heart. You are getting better at taking steps and are up to eight teeth now. You eat solid foods like a teenage boy and I cannot keep up with how fast you crawl. Please. Stop. Growing.

Baseball season. We are ready for you. #cardinals

Dude hates the sun, loves the bunny. #olliehayes #easter

Ollie meets baby chicks. 🐥 #olliehayes

I got myself some fine looking men. #olliehayes

A pretty satisfying Easter if you ask #olliehayes 🐰🐣

Always so deep in thought and Mr. Observation. #olliehayes

month ten: what I hope I never forget

This little boy turned 10 months yesterday! He's eating like a horse, taking up to 6 steps at a time, and really loves climbing the stairs (and giggling all the way up when he knows he's caught and in "trouble"). He has six teeth, working on his seventh, and does not sit still. #olliehayes you are awesome.

how hard you are working at walking

still more teeth (up to seven now!)

how you still love so much the color yellow and sucking on your two middle fingers

your little circle scoot on the floor to turn around

how well you can throw a ball

how much you eat and eat and eat, and don’t gain hardly any weight

your first easter day

our trip to louisiana

how much you adore your daddy

how much you are enjoying being outside