December 23, 2019

This Isn't Goodbye...

I'm sure you've noticed that this space has been pretty quiet for quite some time. It's 2 days before Christmas, so I won't get in to all the reasons I haven't shown up, but I do want to be honest.
There's been a lot that has happened in a short amount of time, things that don't seem like a big deal until you think about all of them and the toll they've taken on me daily. Some days just getting out of bed and getting moving is tough. 
I'm thankful that overall it was a relatively quiet year These last few months have been crazy which has led to my blogging silence and writing simply hasn't been on the forefront of my mind. The last time I sat down to read a book and chill out without a cell phone in my hand was probably when the temperature was in the 60's. I haven't been the best to myself- between mental health, my eating habits and beating myself up about all the things I've been lacking -so it hasn't been easy to write.
I honestly don't know how so many of you do what you do every day. I say this all the time, but women amaze me. Juggling a ton of household duties, appointments, careers, children and families, etc...but I cannot keep up lately. I had this heart to heart with Chuck months ago when I thought I was done blogging and we both ended up with tears in our eyes. Dream Big and Buy the Shoes has always been such a happy place for me- somewhere to turn to and open up my heart, a place to share success stories and occasionally failures and the thing is- it's given me SO much more than I ever expected. Friendships with women across the country, confidants at times I've needed them most and something to be really proud of. I continued to blog after that discussion with my husband and then one day I was done again. For some reason, it's been really difficult for me to come here and I'm not sure why, other than all the things going on in life that have taken up my time.
I'm not sure what 2020 will bring for Dream Big and Buy the Shoes, but I don't want to promise something that may not happen or make goals that aren't realistic. I do hope to fall back in love with it all, because this space has always been one that brought a smile to my face and it breaks my heart that it's been the opposite of that as of lately.
Occasionally blogging and sharing a recipe, some thoughts on my mind, a great book...I see all of that in the future, but I don't know to what degree. In the new year I want to focus on being better to me- health-wise, mentally, physically. I really need to make the changes that I strongly start and then let go by as life gets too busy, so I hope that in realizing that with making a better me it will be better for those around me, that I stick to it. It's not that I need to lose 60 lbs. or plan to make meals at home 5 nights a week- I need to make healthier decisions day in and out when it comes to mind, body, and soul. 
This has been a lot of rambling, but I felt like it needed said, as so many of my wonderful blogging friends have checked in in on me lately. I appreciate all of you more than you know, and thank you for your friendship and kindness. I cherish those of you that support Dream Big and Buy the Shoes through reading, commenting, sharing links and sending love- it truly means so much to me. 
I'm wishing you a very Merry Christmas with those you love. The holidays can look very different for many people- but the holiday is about the love and thankfulness you hold in your heart. I hope that you have a wonderful season and very Happy New Year. xoxo!
November 1, 2019

Friday Favorites: Links + Loves

Happy Friday! Another busy week has come and gone, with Halloween and all the excitement around the dressing up and Fall fun it flew by!
Photo by Andrijana Bozic on Unsplash
Do you still dress up for Halloween or attend any costume parties? Bella has now dressed up 4 times and is loving her costume this year. She picked it out by herself, and it cracks me up to see her running around in it. We still have one more event tomorrow and we sure got the most out of her costume this year with all her events-LOL. Here's some pictures of our busy bee in action at the Children's Museum last weekend...

Here's some great things that I've enjoyed recently:
Kathleen shares some great recipes, and these bell pepper nachos are a nice healthier alternative to Taco Bell ;) !

Nadine shared a WONDERFUL post about parenting, patience and working moms. Seriously, everyone needs to read this! I am so happy she shared it and admire her honesty.

This light festival is coming to Pittsburgh and looks AMAZING! I am so excited to check it out. Have you ever visited something like this?

A very important post from Sierra, as we wrap up breast cancer awareness month. A reminder to be diligent about self exams and to listen to your body.

I  hope you have a wonderful weekend, stay warm- the temps are supposed to start dropping here!
Do you have anything fun planned?

October 30, 2019

2 Years With Bella Charles

Two weeks ago today, Bella Charles turned two. I shared a letter to her on her birthday here, but also wanted to give an update on what she's in to...just as I did month by month as she grew. 
I shared an update at 18 and 21 months as well, and will do this from time to time since it's fun to keep track and note what she's up to! I also decided to share her 2 year pictures we had done earlier this month for her birthday and some updated family pictures. Ethan was a little hesitant to take more than just family pictures, but the minute they sat down together I teared up- they are just so cute and I can't believe how quickly our babies are growing!

Loves: This is nothing new, but she LOVES her big brother Ethan. Their bond and relationship is so special to watch. He always makes time for her, loves to make her laugh and she lights up the minute he walks upstairs from his room. Bella lives to be outside- she loves running, playing with her water table, the playground, swinging and sliding, kicking a soccer ball and I have a feeling Winter is going to be a little rough. I'm not sure if she will enjoy the snow, but I know it's a lot of work to get the little ones all bundled up for a few minutes of fun, but we will see! I am picturing many visits to the museum and other fun places to keep Bella busy soon. Bella enjoys coloring and can say "color' pretty well and loves to sit at the kitchen stools and be artistic! She LOVES her babies, her Cabbage Patch dolls and now has 9 of them-they go from room to room with them and she kisses them, hugs them, feeds them and gives them a pacifier too- lol.

Not a Fan Of: Bella cries when it rains and she can't play outside. She has become a bit more clingy the past few months, so when she's in an unfamiliar situation or we are visiting someone she hasn't seen in a while she grips on to me and is a bit hesitant. She has learned the word no ;) which is OH SO FUN! and says it even when she means yes, LOL. But overall, minus the few toddler tantrums she has for who knows what, she's pretty easy going.

Sleeping: Knock on wood, no sleep regression or teething lately. I can't remember the last time Bella had to come in to our bed and after writing this I may regret saying that. Actually, the night before her birthday I was so tempted to go get her from her crib and snuggle her to sleep. She naps well still, usually just one long one per day around 11 am and sleeps great too. We pushed her bedtime back a bit earlier since she was a little sleepy still in the mornings and it has helped, although the nights at home sometimes seem so short!

Eating: Bella will try anything and I've learned how unpredictable toddlers can be. Some days she eats as much as Ethan and other days she picks at her plate. She's not the biggest fan of some textures like ground beef, but LOVES sauces...ketchup, Chick-Fil-A sauce, BBQ..she loves dipping! I try and sneak some new things in here and there to see if she will eat them, and most of the time she will, but other times she isn't in the mood. She eats really well overall and still drinks her milk 3 times a day in addition to meals and snacks.

Stats: We had her 2 year check up last Friday and Bella is 26 lbs and 13 oz- in the 52nd percentile and 3 feet, 1 inch tall in the 94th percentile! The doctor was very pleased with her progress and she is steadily growing. Hard to believe where she came from compared to where she is now! She won't have another check up until she's 3...crazy to think.

Bella has learned how to: do wheels on the bus, sing along, touch her head, shoulders, knees and toes, jump (which is one of her favorite things to do- she randomly just jumps around the house), blow kisses- it's the CUTEST thing and she will say byeeeee in the cutest voice that has a little twang to it and blow you a kiss! She says a lot of new words and is learning new ones all the time, it's difficult to figure out sometimes but super cute once we do. Bella loves doing puzzles and it's wonderful to watch her learn how to put things in the place they go and if it doesn't match up she says, "no, no no!"...and once she completes the whole thing she throws her arms up and squeals, "yay!". Just this past weekend she started saying light and fishies (she loves to walk to the big fish tank when visiting my Gram at the nursing home). I have to keep better notes since it's so long between updates, but she seems to be learning new things and growing up with each passing week!

What else Bella has been up to since our last update: Bella enjoyed her first visit to Chuck E. Cheese with Mommy and Daddy one random night when I wanted their pizza- she had so much fun playing games and winning prizes, we've been to the pumpkin patch a few times and a fall festival too! Bella attended her first birthday party for a friend-they actually share the same birthday, just 365 days apart! My brother and sister-in-law gifted Bella some Build A Bear gift cards so we went recently and holy cow- the cuteness! She took quite a while choosing her animal, but ended up picking a very fun kitty with cupcake scent inside who meows. She didn't want ANY clothes for her, but picked out the stroller and pushed her around the mall as we left. She loves it so much and enjoys pushing her animal around the house :) A great idea for an "experience" type of gift that she really loved! We started music class again and Bella loves playing with the instruments, running under the parachute and the bubbles at the end of class- if you have a Kindermusik class in your area and are looking for something to do with your little ones, I highly recommend it! Actually, my Dad and Stepmom gifted Bella her most recent session of classes- another idea for an experience gift list! We celebrated her birthday with a party, dinner with friends on her actual birthday and she was so spoiled with love and memories with family and friends. It's been a fun end of Summer and start of Fall and we're looking forward to another busy season with our girl Bella!

Thanks so much for reading and keeping up with our little babe, it's so fun to watch all the changes!
All images by Abbey Lynn Photography.