Last year Rob and I began the tradition of picking apples at a local apple orchard. I was nine months pregnant when we went last year (no joke, Lilly was born about two weeks later!!).
We both come from close knit families with strong family traditions and it’s been a priority for Rob and I that we start creating our own family traditions. It’s important to us that we continue these traditions and share them with our sweet girl.
If you want to pick apples in Northwest Ohio, the famous MacQueen’s Orchard is where you want to go. MacQueen’s Orchard is a local family farm that has been around for over 55 years. Apple pickers can enjoy the orchard’s state of the art cider mill, pick apples, and enjoy warm apple cider with homemade donuts. It is truly a gem of Northwest Ohio and a great place to bring your family and friends.
Exploring the orchard this year was so much fun (and much more comfortable for me). The temperatures were actually a lot chillier than we anticipated, but the cool air made it feel a lot more like fall. L was absolutely fascinated with picking apples and tried to eat all the apples we gave her (with two teeth you aren’t going to get very far eating one).
One of the greatest joys of parenting is watching her experience new things. L is such a curious child and we love watching her process all these new experiences. We love watching her learn and grow every single day. What an honor and a blessing for Rob and me. We are certainly enjoying and cherishing these sweet memories.
Tell me your favorite fall family traditions in the comments below!!
Nothing gets me more than nautical baby items. And when it’s locally made, it’s even better!!
Erie and Anchor is an Ohio based company that sells unique nautical products. It’s a lifestyle brand designed for anyone who loves to live and play on Lake Erie. From cozy sweatshirts, to lightweight tees, to canvas totes, baseball hats, and wine tumblers – Erie and Anchor has something for everyone!
Launching just over a year ago, Erie and Anchor is committed to supporting the Great Lakes. For every purchase made, 5% of earnings are donated back to Lake Erie to help support water quality and research. The family based company is passionate about ensuring the lake will still be a place of enjoyment and relaxation for decades to come.
One of my favorite products that they sell is the Erie and Anchor Deluxe Baby Box! It’s PERFECT for anyone who loves all things nautical. The box contains an organic anchor blanket, a sweet onesie with the Erie and Anchor logo, a wooden anchor teether, and a navy organic cotton binkie clip (boy) or nautical striped headband (girl).
L and I had the best time trying out each of the products in the box! The blanket is so soft and durable. It’s the perfect size for a baby but also big enough that she can still use it as she grows. We also love the wooden anchor teether! Baby girl is already starting to teeth so it’s the perfect toy for her right now.
And how adorable does she look in the cute onesie and matching bow! Definitely makes me ready for warmer weather and trips to the beach! L is just now wearing 3-6 month clothes and she has plenty of room to grow into this onesie over the next few months.
I’m so thrilled to be partnering with Erie and Anchor to offer all my readers and social media followers FREE SHIPPING on any Erie and Anchor purchase with code NORTHCOAST. This is a great opportunity to purchase some locally made Ohio products, support a family business, and give back to Lake Erie!
Happy New Year!
I hope you all enjoyed a joyous holiday season filled with family, friends, lots of laughter, good food, and too much wine.
Many people create goals or resolutions at the start of each year. I’ve never really been one to get into making new year resolutions so unlike most bloggers, I don’t have any resolutions to share. However, I do have dreams and aspirations for this little blog of mine [I’m still here too] and one of those ideas is to inspire others in any way that I can. Whether it be through fashion, home décor, or sharing my experience as a new mama, I hope to connect with a community of like-minded creatives and spread a little more positivity throughout the world.
One of my favorite topics to talk about as of late is how life has changed (for the better!) as a new mama. One topic that has been on my heart for the last couple of weeks is maternity leave. For those of you unfamiliar, I have been working for the past five years at a local non-profit that provides services to individuals with autism. I oversee the marketing, which in non-profit language translates into all the traditional marketing, social media, graphic design, and public relations. I love the work I do and the mission of the organization.
That being said, I also love being a mama! I’m due to return to work next week and I’m completely devastated about having to leave my baby girl. In all honesty I’ve really been struggling with having to leave L (if anyone even asks me about my leave I tend to burst into tears). Although I’ve been fortunate enough to have 12 full weeks off, I feel very strongly that the maternity leave in our country is completely unrealistic. Leaving a newborn after just three months is far too early. A baby changes SO fast and it’s so unfair that a mother (and father) must return to work so quickly and miss out on so many developmental changes. I fully advocate for at least one year of maternity leave for all mothers in order to be able to care for and bond with their baby.
Unfortunately, we don’t have the option for me to be a stay at home mom at this stage in our life. The past few weeks, and this week in particular, I’m having to really find ways to be at peace with going back to work. I’m sure other new mamas have similar feelings about returning to work after spending so many precious moments with their babies, so I’ve compiled a few ways in which I’m coping in the hopes that other new mamas will find ways to feel a little more at peace about having to return to work.
Support System – Having a strong support system has been a game changer for me. I am one that has always worn my feelings on my sleeve and it helps me so much to be able to talk about and voice my insecurities, worries, and fears. I’m so blessed to have such an understanding, patient, and loving husband. He is my rock and if it weren’t for him, I’d be a complete hot mess. [I rocked a Dad bod before being a dad, now I’m a real hunk] It also helps that our families live in the same city as us and have been tremendously helpful these past few months. A few family members will even be helping us out and watching L, and that makes a huge difference in putting my mind at ease!
Yoga – I’ve been practicing yoga for almost three years now. I started yoga as a way to harness my anxiety and it has become a way of life. The mind, body, and spiritual balance is just incredible and I’m grateful for each time I step onto my mat. I was able to continue my practice into the third trimester of my pregnancy. However, it did become increasingly difficult towards the end of pregnancy and it’s taken nine weeks postpartum to finally get back on the mat. I’m making a point to do at least a twenty-minute practice each morning to help center myself and ease my anxiety of returning to work. So far it’s helping and enabling me to think a little more clearly and positively.
Something New – Now this may sound superficial, but one of the ways that is helping me to get back to work is knowing that I have a new outfit and new handbag for the first day. I know this sounds so silly, but having something to look forward to on a day that I know is going to be insanely difficult actually helps spur some excitement. I also printed out a bunch of pictures of L that I’m bringing to the office to hang up all around my desk. It’s the little things that count here people.
Being Present Now – The last way in which I’m trying not to let my anxieties and worry get the best of me is by being present now. With all the social media and distractions nowadays it’s increasingly difficult for people to be present in their own lives. I’m making a point to get off my phone and completely focus on her when she’s awake and ready to play or cuddle. (She’s of course napping as I write this). I’m committed to enjoying every.single.moment with my sweet L. By being completely present, I can put my mind at ease that I’ve done everything humanely possible to make the best of this next week and enjoy all the baby cuddles, smiles, and giggles.
I would love to hear suggestions from all you mamas (and dads!) about how you have transitioned back into work after being on maternity leave. Hopefully some of the ways in which I am coping will inspire some of you and make the transition just a little bit easier.
As always, thanks for stopping by A Dash of Solt!
Shannon [and Rob too!]
p.s. These pictures were taken at Maumee Bay State Park – a local gem of Northwest Ohio with access to Erie Beach (one of my favorite places to take pictures and get my water fix!)
SHOP THE LOOK
“A baby will make love stronger, days shorter, nights longer, bankroll smaller, home happier, clothes shabbier, the past forgotten, and the future worth living for.” – Anonymous
Words that were never more true. So many emotions have emerged these past few weeks as we have welcomed our sweet little bairn (Scottish word for baby for those that are not familiar – I’ve been watching too much Outlander) into this world. We have experienced fatigue like we never have before. We have felt immeasurable joy and pride in seeing mini versions of ourselves. We have experienced anxiety and despair while trying to calm a screaming baby. But most of all, we have felt love so great it brings us to tears.
Obviously when you bring a new human into the world, many things change. We have had to completely adapt to a new way of life (which we were anticipating, but it doesn’t make it any easier). There are so many things we have learned over these past few weeks and we want to share our experience with others, in the hope it will bring other new parents some hope or comfort. And hopefully this post will help anyone thinking about starting a family.
No Sleep. – This one is obvious, but you really don’t understand what it means until it happens. It LITERALLY means NO SLEEP. This has been by far the hardest adjustment for me. I’m an in bed by 9pm kind of girl who never pulled all-nighters and would beg my friends in college to leave the bars at midnight so I could go to bed. I need at least nine hours of sleep to function. Whelp, not anymore! I’ve lost count of how many all-nighters we’ve pulled in the past seven weeks.
The first week was by far the hardest. No one tells you that babies aren’t born with a built in circadian rhythm (aka, they don’t know night from day and have to learn that). That first week Miss L would not sleep at all at night, and definitely not in her bassinet. The only place she would sleep was on mom and dad. We would have to take 2-3 hour shifts holding her so the other could sleep. It was really rough.
But, everyone told us things would get easier, and it does. Each week Miss L adds on a little more sleep in between feedings. We are now up to 4.5 hours between feedings which means I can get more than an hour or two of sleep at a time. YAY!
Breastfeeding is really hard! – This was as big a shocker to me as the lack of sleep. I knew I always wanted to breastfeed, but I had no idea how hard of a job it would be. The first few weeks you are feeding that baby every two hours and it takes 30-45 minutes for each feeding. That gives a breastfeeding mom just over an hour to try and eat or take a shower or sleep or do just about anything.
Breastfeeding is also really painful at first. Your breasts are not used to being used like that, so you are constantly sore and in pain. Around week 4 I finally felt comfortable again and at week seven I actually enjoy feeding my sweet babe. I’ve come to realize what a blessing this special time is with her and I love the bonding that happens between us.
(p.s.Breastfeeding makes you extremely thirsty! I recommend all mamas who are going to breastfeed to have a glass of water next to you at all times!)
Baby is just as scared as the parents. – Realizing that being born into this world was just as shocking for L as it was for us really helped to center us when she was upset. Many people don’t realize that for a baby, this is a whole new world, filled with unfamiliar sounds, smells, and faces. It’s a shock to their system (remember they’ve been comfortably cocooned for nine months) and it takes them awhile to become adjusted. The first couple of weeks when she would cry,I would always try and remember that she was just as scared as me and that definitely helped me to cope better and comfort her better. My mom sent me this piece a day or two after she was born and I still cry so hard when I read it. It’s so painfully beautiful, but it has helped SO much when trying to comfort L.
Set a routine earlier than later. – Setting a routine for L is something we JUST started doing. I am reading the book Secrets of the Baby Whisperer by Tracy Hogg and one of the ideas that has really stuck with me is putting baby on a flexible schedule as soon as possible. Tracy calls it the EASY method – Eat, Activity, Sleep, You (time for Mom). Babies need to be taught what is expected of them and they like a structured schedule. When I started implementing this idea about a week or two ago, I saw a huge change in how much more content baby (and mom!) have become. That being said, I’m also a huge advocate for figuring out what works for you and your family. There are so many books, ideas, and opinions coming at you from every direction and it’s really important to pause, listen to your baby, and implement things that work for your lifestyle.
Two products we have loved. – I thought it would be fun to share some of the baby items that we have come to love and use on a regular basis. The first item I highly recommend is the Boppy pillow. We have two of them (one for the nursery and one for downstairs). We use our pillows every single day (hubby even naps with them!). They make breastfeeding so much more comfortable, plus as baby grows you can use them to support their back when they begin to sit up on their own.
Another product we use daily is our rock n’ play seat/sleeper. L LOVES this seat. It has a vibrating function, as well as the ability to rock. I’m convinced she gets some of her best sleep in this seat. Plus, it folds up super easy and so traveling with it is a breeze.
We could talk all day about our experience the past few weeks, but we don’t want this post to be too long. Hopefully what we have shared will help other new parents or expecting parents. At the end of the day, having a baby is the most challenging but the most rewarding thing you will ever do. We can’t imagine life without our sweet L and cherish each day with her. She is such a blessing and a gift and we are so excited to embark on this new adventure with her.
I’ve been wanting to write a post for the past couple of months that talks about maternity clothing. I’ve always loved fashion and over the past nine months I’ve enjoyed exploring different maternity styles. Pregnancy can get really uncomfortable at times and investing in a wardrobe that is comfortable and stylish is so essential to feeling your best while your body goes through new changes.
When I first found out I was pregnant, I was at a loss of what “maternity” pieces I would need and how much I would need. I probably went a little bit overboard with my purchases early on, but having pieces that are flattering and comfortable have made all the difference these last few weeks. To help out some other new mamas-to-be out there, I’ve rounded up some of my favorite pieces and what I think every new mama needs in her maternity wardrobe.
- Leggings – Hands down the BEST purchase I made while pregnant. Maternity leggings were one of the first items I purchased and I’ve definitely worn them into the ground. I invested in a thicker black pair as well as a thinner, cropped pair in navy. Both have been essential in helping me feel comfortable, but also stylish when paired with a tunic or oversized sweater.
- Fitted Tees – Fitted tees were a later investment that I wish I would have purchased earlier. I purchased two short sleeve ones from Target, two short sleeve from Gap Maternity and one long sleeve one from Gap Maternity. I would definitely invest in several of these – they are comfortable and make you feel like a million bucks, especially during that sweet time of your pregnancy when your bump is super cute (weeks 20-36).
- Tunics – Even without being pregnant I love a good tunic paired over leggings with boots or flats. Early in the pregnancy I was able to get away with wearing a ton of non-maternity tunics. Once I hit the 3rd trimester though, the non-maternity ones just looked unflattering and so I invested in four maternity tunics and I’m so happy I did! They are so flattering for your bump and are a dream to wear. Throw on a scarf or tassel necklace and you will look like one stylish mama!
- Fitted Dresses – This is a piece I didn’t invest in until late in my 2nd I bought my first fitted dress for my baby shower and from that point on I was obsessed. Fitted dresses hug you in all the right places and flatter your bump. I ended up purchasing a fun short sleeve one and a classic navy one. I regret not investing in several more, particularly some striped ones. Pink Blush has the cutest prints so I highly recommend purchasing a few!
- Maxi Dresses – Having been pregnant throughout all the warm months, maxi dresses have been essential to my wardrobe. They are SO easy and so flattering. I invested in two maternity ones and had an old empire waist one from J.Crew and I probably wore all three on a weekly basis. Plus, it’s easy to size up one or two sizes for maxi dresses if you want to shop some trendy ones from Forever 21, H&M, or even LOFT.
- Maternity Hoodie – My mom gifted me this gray maternity hoodie from Old Navy for my birthday in September and I’ve literally been living in it every chance I get. It’s insanely comfortable and looks so cute when paired with a fitted tee, leggings, baseball hat, and keds. It’s definitely my weekend go-to.
- Maternity Nightgown – I’m a huge fan of nightgowns and always have been. I highly recommend investing in several maternity nightgowns (some can even be used for nursing post baby). Eventually t-shirts will just not fit your bump right, so a maternity nightgown is where it’s at for a comfortable night’s sleep.
One non-maternity piece that has been essential to my pregnancy has been the swing dress from Old Navy. This dress style is amazingly comfortable and has so much room as your belly grows. I’ve worn the same four swing dresses throughout my entire pregnancy and I’ll still be able to wear them next summer.
One piece I did not include above are maternity jeans. I did invest in a pair from Gap Maternity, but truth be told they have not been my favorite piece. Many other mamas I’ve talked to swear by maternity jeans, so I think those are personal preference and it depends on where you buy them.
My favorite places to shop for maternity clothing has been Gap Maternity, Old Navy, and Target for basics, and Shop Pink Blush for fun dresses and tops. I’ve also heard from other mama-to-be’s that H&M has great, inexpensive pieces.
Hopefully this post helps some other new mamas out when it comes to deciding what and how much to buy for your pregnancy! I’ve linked a few pieces I bought above in my recommendations and below!
We can’t wait to introduce you all to our sweet baby girl in a few weeks!
Fitted Tees: Gap Maternity (multiple colors) | Target (multiple colors)
Tunics: Target – 1, 2, 3, 4 (similar)
Fitted Dress: Shop Pink Blush | Old Navy
Maternity Nightgown: Shop Pink Blush
This little labor of love has been my favorite design project to date! Regardless of gender, I knew I was going to have a blue and white nursery (it has to match the rest of the house, right?!). I also knew it was going to be a nautical theme. [I was SHOCKED]. When we found out we were having a girl, my inspiration tilted slightly towards a more preppy, classic look and a little less nautical (no worries – there are still plenty of nautical elements). [The little mermaid would find it comfortable.]
I spent countless hours on Pinterest, Pottery Barn, Wayfair, and every other design and home décor website researching the details. I knew I wanted an accent wall with wallpaper. I also knew I wanted mostly all white furniture. Once I picked out the major furniture pieces and narrowed down the wallpaper, it was easy to pick out the other details.
For the wallpaper I chose this pretty watercolor floral print from Spoonflower. I kept going back and forth between this print, a peony floral print, and sailboats. The striped rug from Wayfair actually made my decision because the large floral print was just too busy against the stripes.
The gallery wall came together better than I could have imagined. Three of the six pieces I already owned (the two anchor prints and the original sailboat painting from my favorite local artist, Michelle Brunner). My parents gifted us the adorable whale print when we told them we were pregnant, the seagull/sailboat print I picked out from Pottery Barn, and the sweet seascape with the little girl was an original painting we bought on our babymoon. All the pieces just complement each other so well and I couldn’t be happier! [Nothing on this wall is nautical, right?]
When I decorate, I love to use pieces that are meaningful. The stunning Lilly artwork was created by one of my best friends who is an insanely talented, professional artist (check out her website!!). The ship wheel was gifted to us at our shower from one of my coworkers who loves to collect antiques and the Lilly letters were made by a good friend of Rob’s family. I love that each piece has a special story and I’m so excited to share these stories with Lilly.
It’s been such a joy to share this design process and reveal with you all. I’ve linked some of the details of the nursery below. We can’t wait to share this special space with Lilly in just a few short weeks!
Shannon and [Rob]
BABYLETTO CRIB | CHANGING TABLE | ROCKING CHAIR | WAYFAIR RUG | NAUTICAL MOBILE | SPOONFLOWER WALLPAPER
CRIB SHEET | GREY SHERPA BLANKET | PINK BASKET | LILLY PULITZER PINEAPPLE BLANKET | ELEPHANT SOUND MACHINE | LITTLE SAILOR WALL ART
A few weeks ago my sisters threw me the most adorable and memorable baby shower! It meant so much to Rob and me to have a full day of spoils for our sweet baby girl. Our hearts are bursting with happiness and we are still completely overwhelmed by all the love for Baby Lilly.
I requested the shower to be at Perrysburg’s Carranor Hunt and Polo Club. This is one of my favorite historic places in Perrysburg. The interior decorating reminds me of all the cute pubs in Scotland and England. It’s very early Americana and I absolutely adore it (seriously google image the club and you will see how cute the interior and exterior are).
It’s no surprise that the shower was nautical themed! How cute are those diaper cakes?! My mom found these oversized whale, sailboat, and anchor decals and they are so fun! All of the details from the cookies, to the games, and nautical décor were so perfect. I literally cried when I walked into the room and saw how cute everything looked.
I was completely overwhelmed by everyone’s excitement! Seeing as this is our first baby, we have been lacking on the baby supplies. Our friends and family went above and beyond to make this day special and equip us with the baby essentials.
Thank you to everyone near and far who attended the shower, sent well wishes, and were with us in spirit. We are so grateful to each and every one of you and we can’t wait for the world to meet Baby Solt!
Shannon [and Rob]
PINK BLUSH DRESS | JACK ROGERS SANDALS | J.CREW EARRINGS (SIMILAR)| KATE SPADE WATCH | HUBBY IS WEARING ALL J.CREW FACTORY AND SPERRY SHOES!
With less than four months until Baby Solt’s arrival, it’s time to begin planning and organizing the nursery! Regardless of gender, I always knew I would go with a blue and white nautical theme. Now that we know it’s a girl, I’m excited to have some fun with nautical inspired decor!
My goal for the nursery is to keep things bright, classic, and preppy [and expensive]. Using a blue and white color palette will keep things classic, but not too serious. [Cause we don’t want a serious baby!] My mom has already spent the past few weeks painting the walls a bright white (thanks Mom!) – they were brown before – a color not in my palette. The white walls did exactly what I wanted and brought such a fresh, new look to the room. [Kim made the walls great again]
I’ve had my heart set on hanging wallpaper on the wall where the crib will go. For weeks I’ve been going back and forth between three prints – nautical sailboats, modern florals, or preppy peonies. [I hear those are the most well endowed peonies.] After lots of trips into the nursery to stare at the samples during different times of the day, I’ve finally decided on the preppy peonies! I think this print will be so pretty for a little girl’s room. It will add the perfect amount of preppiness and color to the walls.
Target and Pottery Barn Kids have SO MUCH preppy nautical décor (in heaven). From anchor lamps, to Lilly Pulitzer sheet sets, to sea faring art prints, they have so many cute pieces from which to choose. I’ve included some of my favorite registry items below!
A full nursery reveal will happen in a few weeks! I’ll be sure to post some pictures – I’m so excited to share the final design with you all!
Preppy Nautical Sources
Shannon [and Rob]
This past weekend we threw a gender reveal party for our parents and siblings and announced that we are having a baby girl! We are so excited to welcome sweet Lilly Marie to our little family in October!
We can already tell she is going to have a strong willed personality! When we went for our 20-week ultrasound and anatomy scan, the feisty little thing had her legs crossed and her foot covering her genitals so the technicians could not 100% confirm she was a girl. [I have never been so proud of my unborn child.] We were sent to an ultrasound boutique that has higher end technology. After much movement on my end, this classy babe finally uncrossed her legs enough for the technician to confirm that she was indeed a female!
It’s been so much fun the past few days picking out cute outfits, adding girly items to the registry, and planning our party! I didn’t sleep for probably four nights in a row because of excitement. I wanted a nautical theme for the gender reveal (who’s surprised?!), which wasn’t that hard considering I already have tons of nautical décor around the house. My favorite piece though was this super cute boy or girl sign I found on Etsy.
I made a Target run the day before the party and picked up the striped napkins, plates, and straws in pink and blue. Rob and I made cupcakes the morning of the party and filled them with pink icing. I had my heart set on whale toppers for the cupcakes, but after trying four different stores I sadly gave up on that idea. The nautical water dispenser and monogrammed ice bucket were both wedding gifts and worked out perfectly for the party!
Rob and I wanted to find out the baby’s gender and then surprise our families. We bought a bunch of pink and blue balloons for decoration (and to throw them off if they were trying to guess), along with a giant black balloon filled with pink confetti. It was so fun when we finally popped the balloon – keeping the gender a secret was the hardest secret to keep!
Now that the gender reveal is done, it’s time to start on the nursery! I’ve been putting together an inspiration board that I will be sharing with you all soon!
Shannon and [Rob]