Dear Winnie


Our Winston turns 6 tomorrow!!  I blinked and he grew up so fast, and now he's nearing the end of Kindergarten.  I want to enjoy every moment because I know I'll blink again, and he'll be off to college. 

You know what's funny?  I was telling a friend last night how when we left the ultrasound, (and had just found out we were having a boy) I immediately started crying.  My mind went to the craziest boys I knew.  I thought of loud, rough, crazy boys with a million times more energy than I knew I could handle!

I honestly cried for days because I just didn't feel cut out to be a "boy mom."  Then our Winston West showed up.  He was born on my grandmother Mary West's birthday, which was just TOO perfect because my middle name is West, and we had already chosen to use West for him as well!  So an April 14th birthday was just the great start we needed.   

He has proven me wrong in every way.  He is a kind, gentle, sweet boy and I am so proud to be his mom.  He has a great sense of humor (which is a Dunbar requirement) and makes me laugh constantly.  Sometimes when I am tucking him in and we're snuggling in bed, we have the best time and just laugh so hard together.  He also is the sweetest little care taker when I'm not feeling well or am sad.  I don't know what our family would do without him!

Photos by Tiffany Redmon Photography





This is big news...really big.  We are packing it up this spring/summer and moving BACK TO SEATTLE!  In case you're wondering why, here's a little back story.  We got married 12 1/2 years ago, hopped on a plane, and literally never looked back.  After our honeymoon, we flew straight to DC, where we lived for 2 years before moving here to North Carolina.  It was fun and scary and new and exciting and we wanted an adventure, to stand on our own and start a life together.  It was never easy, but we made it to where we are now.  

It's been a crazy 10 years in North Carolina.  We bought our first home, had two kids, and have been insanely busy raising them ever since.  I'm so proud of what we have accomplished being on our own out here.  I've always liked the fact that we didn't need to depend on anyone but ourselves.  No family, no backup, no babysitters, just US, but about a year ago, we woke up one day and said, "why are we here again?"  Things stopped making as much sense.  We have started missing our lifeline.  Our families, dearest friends, the ones you just can't duplicate no matter how hard you try, (and believe me, I tried for 10 years!)

Living here has had it's ups and downs.  I love our house.  I love the kids school.  I love the southern architecture, the beaches, heading to Charleston or Hilton Head Island.  We'll have those wonderful memories, but if I'm being totally honest, it just wasn't enough.  I have never felt like I truly fit in here.  I just don't feel like I fit the mold and try as I might, it just became too much.  The older I get, the more I just want to breathe, and be myself... you know?  I just feel like I can do that on the west coast more easily for some reason. 

With that being said, please remember to always be kind and open up to those around you who may be "new."  I always tell this to my kids, but I feel like us grown ups need to hear it too.  If you've never been the new kid in town, then you won't quite understand, but please try to.  Even if you have your group of 5 women who do everything together...make room for a 6th.  I'm begging you.  I've felt worse as an adult than I ever did as a child when it comes to fitting in.  I don't think it's always intentional, but man, it still hurts to feel excluded and like you're different.  Like I've said before, it is important to surround yourself with all kinds of people!  Everyone can bring something different to your life and help you become a more understanding and accepting person.  I will remember this as well as I continue my journey from here on out.

I DO have my people though.  The ones who for some reason reached out to me even when others didn't.  For you all, (you know who you are) I am forever grateful.  Thank you for making me feel loved and not excluded.  For loving my children.  For inviting us for holidays when we were alone.  For leaving Tylenol on our doorstep when we were sick.  For supporting my blog.  Taking my pictures.  For dancing with me.  For watching the kids so Tim and I could go on a date for our anniversary.  I am so so grateful for you all and it will be very hard to leave you, but I truly believe those kindred spirits will be in my life forever.  

Lastly, thank you to my husband.  For everything.  For this amazing life together.  For being my partner in life and helping create the most amazing kids.  For picking me up when I fall, and wiping my tears when I cry.  For celebrating the victories.  For cracking jokes at inappropriate times.  For supporting my blog and my dancing.  I am so grateful for you and can't wait to start our next chapter together...there might be a few more tears in between but I promise you we'll make it!

Photo captured by Tiffany Redmon Photography



My take on the holidays


I find myself feeling the same way about the holidays as I feel about most other areas of my life.  Less is more.  I know some people love to rush around shopping, visiting Santa, going to the polar express, shopping for all those perfect gifts, but you know what?  Somewhere along the way, that stuff started meaning less and less to me.  I'm a home body.  I like staying in our pajamas until noon, watching Home Alone with the kids, and just BEING TOGETHER!  When did it get so out of hand with all of the rushing around and gift buying?  Perhaps always but I was just too young to notice. 

I haven't gone to the mall in months, we haven't taken pictures with Santa or sent out holiday cards, and that's okay.  Part of the reason this year is that we've been so sick.  Between sinus infections, two back to back flu hits, and my dislike of rushing around, we choose to just stay home.  The kids have a few presents already wrapped, but I'm honestly not worried about it.  I want them to grow up and look back on Christmas as a time we spent together...watching movies, playing "Sorry", driving around looking at Christmas lights, baking cookies.  I just don't care about the other stuff.  Hopefully they'll look back fondly at the things we did and not feel like they missed out on something.  HOPEFULLY.  We are going to the Nutcracker while in Seattle, which I am thoroughly looking forward to, but that's about it.  We'll snuggle and hang out with grandparents and love each other hard...because isn't that what it's supposed to be about anyway? 

Hit pause for a second and ask yourself if you need to be doing everything you're doing this week.  I choose simplicity, to be damn grateful for my (almost) health, my husband, my kids, our home, and that fact that we get to fly home in just a few short days and see family and our dear lifelong friends.

Happy holidays, friends!  Take it easy, enjoy every moment, and wear whatever you want and feel good in!!!!  XOXO

*Pictures taken by the truly beautiful and talented Tiffany Redmon