Time for a playroom update! We are moving along with styling and organizing this space. If you follow me on Instagram, you will have seen we purchased some shelves and organizational bins for Lilly’s books and toys! We might add another set of these items to the other side of the window, but we are waiting a little while longer to see if that’s needed.
We gave Lilly a kid kitchen set for Christmas and she was also gifted a set of table and chairs. So far she is loving both items and we are having so much fun playing tea, making toast, and learning our food groups.
My next step in bringing this room altogether is to begin shopping for some artwork! As of now, I don’t have a “theme” for this room. I just really want this space to be a collection of items that we love and that are inspiring.
I’m taking my time looking for artwork that stops me in my tracks. One piece I did purchase months ago is a beautiful watercolor from Bittersweet Farms, a nonprofit I used to work for that serves adults with autism. Bittersweet Farms has an art therapy program and one of the artists painted this piece. I instantly fell in love with it and I finally had the time to hang it up.
One of the aspects of my life I haven’t really talked about on this platform is my role as both a career woman and a mom.
I read and hear about the challenges and joys for working moms and stay at home moms, but I never really hear much about us part-timers. I consider myself both a working mom and a stay at home mom. For those that don’t know, I work part-time (three full days a week) in public relations. I do all the PR, marketing and social media for my city (suuuch a fun gig!).
I’m soooo fortunate to be able to work part-time in an amazing job that is two minutes from my house. And I’m equally fortunate to be able to stay at home with my sweet baby girl two days a week.
Although this setup works great for us in this stage of our life, being a part-time working mom and part-time stay at home mom definitely presents its own challenges though.
One of the biggest challenges is feeling like you aren’t giving enough of yourself to either your job or your family. When I’m at work I feel like a chicken with my head cut off, running all around trying to play catch up and stay ahead. I have that same feeling on my days at home, trying to juggle quality time with L but also trying to get some basic household chores done. I often feel anxious that I’m not doing enough on my days at work and vice versa on my days at home.
Some weeks I work over my regularly scheduled hours, which means less time for my family and that is always really hard on me. (Thankfully I have a stud of a hubby who picks up the slack and takes care of L, the dog and the household.) And then other weeks (like this one), my family demands more attention and I have to give less at work.
Another big challenge of being a part-time working mom and part-time stay at home mom is finding time for myself. It’s really important for me to be fully committed to my job and to be fully present at home. That leaves very little time for me and that wears on me over time. And I’m definitely someone who loves my me time and my hobbies.
But this arrangement definitely has its plusses. For one, I get to spend two days at home every week, just me and L, which is amazing. And, on the flip side I get to do work I love, in a city I love, with some pretty stellar human adults. I get my dose of motherhood and my dose of adult interaction every other day and for me, that’s perfect.
We spend a lot less on childcare since I’m home twice a week. Childcare is ridiculously expensive and I feel for you families who spend a fortune on it when there is no other option.
I have more time to blog and produce creative content with this arrangement. When I was working full time I only had time on the weekends to write blog posts and take pictures. Now I can work on some of my blogging during L’s naps and on the weekends.
I also get to spend more time with my family on my days at home with L. In the summer that means going to the zoo or swimming at my parents with my siblings and nephews. In the winter that means shopping with my mom or going to the aquarium with my nephews. I’m definitely one who needs my family close and to see them often so I’m grateful we are in a position where I can do this.
This is definitely a topic I love to talk about, so please reach out if you have questions, comments, etc. Whether you work full time, part-time, or stay at home, all of us are doing the best we can with the resources we have and all of us mamas are in this together.
“Hold her a little longer, rock her a little more, read her one more story, you’ve only read her four. Let her sleep on your shoulder, rejoice in her happy smile. She is only a little girl for such a little while.” – The Paper Heart Family
SO. MANY. FEELS.
Our baby girl turns ONE this week and I’m a mix of excited and emotional. I’ve been busy planning her party and making sure it’s extra special, but at the same time, I’m wondering where in the heck did the time go?!
This past year has been hard. But it’s also brought more joy and love that we even knew existed. We’ve grown so much and learned so much and are better because of our sweet girl who teaches us about life every single day.
As I reflect back on these past 12 months, there are so many things I want to share. But gosh, where to begin. I’ve learned so much this year. I’ve learned that my body is insanely strong and and resilient and that sleep deprivation sucks, but it only lasts a little while. I’ve learned to lower my expectations – basically about everything. It’s very hard for this controlling, perfectionist to sometimes let things go. If the dishes don’t get washed, fine. If the laundry never gets folded, fine. If I only shower once a week, fine. If there is dog hair everywhere, fine. None of these things matter, but what does matter is that I have a healthy, safe and happy baby.
I think one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is to be present and appreciate the season. Lilly always seems to remind me that sometimes I’m glued to my screen way too much. Because of this, I’ve learned to put down my phone and really enjoy the moments I have with L. And if I’ve learned anything this year, it’s that time goes SO FAST. So be present and enjoy every second with your loved ones.
I was an anxious, over thinker before having a baby, but now my fears are tenfold. Motherhood comes with a whole slew of fears that I never even knew existed. In the beginning my fears were all about SIDS, making sure she was getting enough breast milk, and how she would adapt once I went back to work. I worried about her development (physically and mentally) and worried that she was where she needed to be. I worried about transitioning her from nursing to bottles and how she would do with formula (that is a whole other post).
My fears continue to change, but they are always there. I worry about her sleep and if she’s getting enough. I worry about the new foods we are introducing to her and how she will react to them. I worry about her falling and hurting herself now that she’s on the go. I worry that she will eat something she shouldn’t. I worry that we are giving her enough new experiences and exposing her to enough new people. I worry that we will forget to teach her important life lessons and that she won’t be prepared for the real world. I truly worry about it all.
Through all of these worries, I pray and hope that we will raise her to be a kind, caring, confident, and accepting person.
I would say the greatest triumph this year has been my ability to better adapt to change. Before L, I hated changed. I would drag my feet and worry until I was blue in the face to avoid change. Becoming a parent makes you have to embrace it – it’ll sure be a long and bumpy road if you don’t. L has definitely taught me time and again that she is always ready for growth and becoming more independent far sooner than I am. If I don’t adapt to her changing, then I’m going to miss out on a whole lot.
If you’ve made it this far, you are a gem. This has been a post full of emotions and I cried more than once writing this. Motherhood is messy, chaotic, and challenging, but it’s so much more than that too. It’s beautiful, rewarding and full of so much love.
L has completely changed our lives and we can’t imagine things any other way. We absolutely adore our sweet, giggly, independent, loud, assertive, smart, and beautiful girl. She sure makes life a whole lot brighter.
So cheers to my sweet girl and her FIRST BIRTHDAY!!
You guys know how much I love supporting local businesses, so I was thrilled when Angela from Pineapples and Parties reached out to do a giveaway!
Pineapples and Parties is a local event planning and decorating business that specializes in attention to detail. From weddings to showers to parties and fundraisers, Angela does it all!
She also provides budget analysis, day-of coordination, event design, gift baskets, favors, florals, full event planning, guest list creation, holiday decorating, partial event planning, timelines, to-do lists, and vendor selections.
Pineapples and Parties celebrated their ONE year anniversary this summer! In celebration, I’m partnering with Angela to give TWO of our followers a Pineapples and Parties t-shirt, tote bag, and a $50 gift card to Pineapples and Parties for a future event!
Head to my Instagram for the giveaway details and to enter! (For those that live out of town, you can still enter to win and Angela will work remotely to help you plan an event!)
There is nothing I love more than an easy outfit. Being a mama has very much toned down my fashion-y ways and I prefer to wear styles that are classic, simple and easy.
Cue the t-shirt dress. I’ve been wearing a variation of t-shirt dresses for a couple of years now, but the classic shift one from J.Crew Factory is the best. It comes in several variations of stripes (of which I have several) and colors. The fit is perfect – snug enough to feel good but flowy enough to move and chase after a crawling baby quickly.
I also love the length. Because I’m only 5’2” many dresses are too long on me and I end up having to hem them. The J.Crew Factory style is the perfect length for my petite frame.
I love that with any t-shirt dress you have options to dress it up or down. I love throwing on a baseball hat and Sperry’s and calling it a day, but I also love adding a sparkly necklace, statement earrings, and some cute flats and dressing it up a bit for date night or work.
I’ve rounded up some other favorite easy dresses and linked them below.
This post is in no way endorsed or sponsored by J. Crew Factory. All opinions are my own.
Nothing gets me more than nautical baby items. And when it’s locally made, it’s even
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!
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!)
“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.
p.s. You can shop my sweater by checking out this post and you can find the nursery details here.