Sunday, March 27, 2011

Why I Love Being a Mom

As I emerge from the cocoon that I wrapped around myself this winter, I am really trying to live in the moment and enjoy what my life has to offer.  The biggest part of my life is my family.  In the past I have been a true "working mom" who sent my kids to daycare.  I traveled all the time and Dave and my mother did most of the heavy lifting when I was out of town.  Now I am fortunate enough to have an opportunity to work from home and to be with my kids when they need me. 

Over the last 18 months I have gotten to be the one to get them off to school and the one they come home to at the end of the day.  It is when they come home that they talk the most.  They are still excited about what happened at school, or at least still remember.  I get to hear about their friends or the people causing them grief. 

I get to be the one to get them dinner.  It is not always something I cook, but it is at least something I have control over.  Inevitably it is something that they don't like, but at least I know they had the opportunity for nutrition, and it is me that gets to hear the complaints. 

Dave is in charge of homework.  He deals with it better than I do and has the patience of a saint.  We are the ones that are developing their minds and are active participants in making them educated, productive people. 

At the end of the night we get to be the ones to tuck them into bed.  I get to snuggle with Ryan and hear him tell me how his eyes just won't stay shut so he should be able to stay up with us.  Dave gets to be the one to scratch his back because he does it better than I do.  I know it won't be that much longer before he goes back to read in his room like Colin does and I am really trying to be present in the moment and enjoy it instead of thinking of the book I want to read or the dishes that still need cleaned.

I love their sense of humor and the ironic things they say.  I love that Colin was just telling me that he found a Tom wrench when he really meant an allen wrench.  I love that Ryan thinks the Goodyear Blimp follows cars to see if they need new tires, not that its hanger is near our house.  I love their innocence and seeing them start to understand the world around us. 

The best part of being a mom is having two boys that think that I am doing a good job even when I know I should be doing it better.  The love that we share is amazing in its depth and all it encompasses.  I love that Dave and I share in it and that he is as invested in it as I am.  He is down in the trenches with me doing the day to day stuff that makes parenting so hard, and I am not alone. 

Saturday, March 26, 2011

An Angel in my Pocket

My Uncle Joe always believed that people who had died could still come back and visit him.  We had long discussions on this topic when he would come to my house on the holidays.  When he was in the hospice center and I could not go to visit him as often as I would have liked, I gave him a little charm about the size of a quarter with an angel on it.  It was an angel he could put in his pocket or on his table to remember that I was with him in spirit if I could not be there in person. 

When Uncle Joe died I got the charm back and promptly lost it.  Every so often the charm will show up when I am least expecting it, and in places that I am sure I would have noticed it, like on my kitchen windowsill or on my dresser where I put my wedding ring every night.  It usually comes around the holidays or his birthday. 

The past couple of months have been really hard on me.  It has been a horrible winter with constant cold and snow.  I am affected by Seasonal Affect Disorder, and I had spiraled down a black hole and was really having a hard time seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.  Out of the blue Ryan came out of his room and wanted to know how much this weird coin was worth.  It was the angel in my pocket. 

I have two choices here.  1.  Accept that Ryan took it since it is shiny and looks like a quarter.  Much like a greedy raccoon, Ryan will take anything that glints in the sun or could somehow be used as currency, or 2.  think that Uncle Joe came to see me to let me know that spring is coming and I need to hang in there to feel warmth on my face once again.  Guess which one I am going with?

Did I mention that it was my 40th birthday? 

Saturday, March 19, 2011

March Madness

The other night Dave asked if I wanted to go to the high school basketball playoff game.  Our local boys team had made it into the Sweet 16 and he wanted to take the family to support our team.  I really did not want to go so I said "no".  If the choice is to have the house to myself or maybe call one of my friends for a cocktail or to go to a sporting event where I don't know anyone playing and it is a school night, the choice seems like a no-brainer.  Dave couldn't believe that I wouldn't want to go to the game.

To make a long story short I ended up going to the game.  While we were there, Ryan inevitably got bored and started to use me as his own personal Barcolounger, whined about how he was STARVING TO HIS DEATH, wiped his nose on my shirt because he didn't have a tissue, etc.  He couldn't understand why everyone had to cheer SO LOUD.  It was hurting his ears!!!  On top of this, the game was a nail biter the whole way.  It ended up going into overtime when the other team took a last second shot to tie it up.  After four more minutes our team ended up winning by three when we blocked their last second shot to prevent their win.  By the time it was over I was exhausted and on the edge. 

I don't like suspenseful movies or books.  I would prefer to not have to deal with  Ryan in a confined space when I am not in control of the environment.  I don't understand why Dave would think that I would enjoy myself.  It was a good thing that I was belted into my seat and the car was moving when Dave asked if I wanted to drive four hours to go to the next game this weekend.  I thought he was joking.  Does this man that I have been married to for nearly 15 years really not know me at all?  Has he lost his ever loving mind? 

This time I said "no" and there is no amount of passive aggressive convincing that will change my mind.  I am stopping the madness right here and now.  I will not be going to another game unless my child is playing, and if it is a game like that one, there will be some sort of tranquilizer involved. 

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Line in the Sand

It has become increasingly clear to me that I am not in control of this house.  I have been taking the path of least resistance and it can't go on any longer.  The inmates are running the asylum.  Ryan must be placed back in his rightful place and that is at the bottom of the food chain.  Well, Max is really the bottom, but you get my point.

Dr. Phil always says when dealing with kids you have to find their currency. Ryan's is snuggling before bedtime.  It serves two purposes.  1.  He gets my attention, and 2. It allows him to put off his bedtime for an extra 1/2 hour.  I have decided that for each time I have to count to three he loses 5 minutes of snuggle time and if he runs out of that he has to go to bed earlier. 

This is the second night since we enacted this rule, and the second time that he has gone to bed with no snuggling.  Last night he was incredulous that I would do such a horrible thing.  It was as bad as when I let him cry himself to sleep when he was 4 months old, but with adding him yelling such horrible things as, "YOU ARE SUCH A MEAN MOM", and  "YOU DON'T LOVE ME ANYMORE!"  Tonight he was crying and using my shirt as his tissue when he passed gas on purpose.  This is quickly becoming my biggest pet peeve and it is such a sign of disrespect.  It was at this point that Dave took over, and that is bad news for everyone involved. 

My sister has a collection of hate mail from her kids.  I guess I should count my blessings that Ryan can't spell yet.  It is time to take back the night from my little terrorist, but Oh My Goodness, it just might kill me. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Boundaries

My anxiety level has been through the roof.  I feel like I would like to crawl out of my skin and nobody has been safe around me.  Dave and my mom have been doing everything they can to take any irritation out of my way, but this is no way for me to live, or for them to have to live.  I don't like the feeling of being out of control and holding on by a thread.  I deserve better, and I know they do, too.

Today I started to take back my life by starting private yoga lessons.  My yoga instructor told me that I am a natural.  One of the things we talked about was setting healthy boundaries.  This has always been a problem for me because I am the nurturer.  I am always the peacemaker, and the one to try to take care of everyone else.  It has become apparent to me that I am not doing a very good job of taking care of myself, let alone anyone else.  Something has to give, and lately I have been dangerously close to having that be my sanity. 

I tend to take the path of least resistance.  Ryan pushes me to my limit on everything.  By the end of the day I feel like all we have done is fight.  He takes pleasure in the fight because he gets my attention and usually ends up getting whatever he wanted in the first place.  When AJ* came over today that was the first thing she noticed.  Between Ryan and Max jumping all over the place it was obvious to her that I was not in charge.  When she said that I was offended until I realized that she was right.  It is time for a new revolution.  If I can't control Ryan when he is five, how do I expect to do it when he is 15? 

This is not going to be easy for me, and I am sure it will not be easy for some of the people around me.  If we all work together I think it will make for much healthier relationships in the long run.  Ryan, among others, is in for a rude awakening, and God please grant me the strength I will need to correct habits that are 5 years in the making. 

*Names have been changed to protect the innocent

He's in the Band

Tonight was Colin's second band concert.  He plays alto sax in the 5th grade band and they did a great job.  They played  four songs and I did not recognize any of them.  This might be because they were songs that I had never heard of, but it also might be because he has not practiced at home since the last concert in December.  I suppose I should be embarassed by this, but I have picked my battles and this is not one of them.  Maybe we can revisit this decision after he finally learns his math facts. 

Monday, March 14, 2011

Amazing Power

There is nothing that can support life or destroy it like the amazing force of water.  As all the snow melts and we have almost continuous rain, the rivers are flooding.  To see the water go rushing under the bridge I am driving over is kind of unnerving to say the least. What is usually a docile, lazy river is now an angry beast. That is nothing compared to the Tsunami that decimated Japan this week.  It is truly shocking to see an entire section of a vibrant country wiped off the map in a matter of seconds.  Cars thrown around like toys and houses shattered like toothpicks.

With no water disaster also strikes in the form of drought and famine.  Every Christmas we are reminded of the famine in Africa that resulted in the music community coming together to create "Do They Know Its Christmas Time".  Water is not something you can take for granted.  Clean water is life itself. 

There are no words to help those that are affected in Japan.  The devastation is total.  I wish I had something profound that I could say or do that would help the situation, but I really don't.  Though I wish it was more, all I can offer are my prayers, and I am giving all of them to those that need it most.  God bless.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

So Far, So Good

So far turning forty is not so bad.  The day started off kind of rocky when Ryan threw up.  He had tried to tell me yesterday that he didn't feel good but I made him go to school anyway.  He tried to tell me that his stomach hurt too bad to color, cut or paste.  He made it through the day and later in the evening told me that he was just making it up.  Well, karma caught up with him and he really is sick today. 

The day progressed and we got our long awaited furniture delivered.  Our old furniture was very pretty with a lovely floral pattern.  I loved it every day for the 14 years that we have had it.  Alas, all good things come to an end and we could no longer nurse it back to health.  Our recliners that went with it were a complimentary cranberry color but the fabric was splitting on the seat and the arms.  My neighbor has constructed some covers for them, but the footstool part was starting to go.  At 4:00 this afternoon, the La-Z-Boy Maverick collection was delivered and I am loving it.  We have two recliners and a couch that has two reclining sections so everyone can have their own area without having to touch each other.  This is huge for the boys who routinely end up wrestling to the death for a good spot on our old couch.  I have had to give up fashion for comfort as this couch is chocolate brown, but I seem to do that a lot these days.

Finally, we went to dinner with Ann and Bob.  It was so nice to have a good dinner with people that know everything about you.  Ann has been with Bob for over half my life and they have seen me at my best and my worst.  We went to one of my favorite restaurants and had some great food and drinks, good conversation, and an all-around good time.  If we keep this up, 40 is going to be just fine. 

Friday, March 11, 2011

Birthdays

As my birthday draws near I have been reflecting on my life so far.  The one theme that keeps coming up in my thoughts is my family.  This is not really any big surprise as they are the foundation for who I have become.  The cornerstone for that foundation is my mother.  I think she should be honored on my birthday because she had to do so much to get me here. 

It is really hard for me to express what I feel for my mother.  She has a heart as big as the ocean and her generosity is really unmatched.  It is such a cliché to say that she would give you the shirt off her back, but she has done that and more for me my whole life, and I wish I could tell her how much I have appreciated it.  Aside from material things, my mother has set a great example for me on how to be a strong, independent woman.  She showed me that I need to give back to my community, not just with money, but with my time and talents, too. 

My mom had four girls in a little less than six years.  She stayed home with us until I was in the first grade.  She was a teacher and got a job in the same school that I went to, so even though she was a working mom, she was still with me every step of the way.  Don't get me wrong, she was not a helicopter parent, but she has always been my safe place to land. 

My mother was not my friend when we were growing up.  We often disagreed on just about everything, and when Laura went to college I was really scared about how I could live in our house without at least one sister as a buffer.  There were rules and expectations that were non-negotiable.  In fact, I can only remember one time that I was able to effectively argue a point and genuinely change her mind about a situation.  Now that I have kids of my own I get that it was not her job to be my friend.  Even though it would have been easier for her to give in, it was her responsibility to raise me to be a responsible adult, not an indulged one.  When I got to be about 25 and was getting married she started to be my friend.

Now when I see my mom with my kids I see the best of her.  She has patience on a whole different level.  She has more time to do the things that she enjoys instead of what she has to do to get through the day.    It gives me hope for my future when I am having some dark days.  Hope that my kids will understand why I am the only mom that won’t let them do the latest thing that everyone else’s mom does.  Hope that one day my kids will get to a point where I can treat them as a friend instead of a parent.  Hope that my kids will finally see the best in me. 

I love you, Mom! 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Car Conversation

The boys and I were driving home tonight and they kept fighting.  I convinced them to play the quiet game and made it five merciful minutes before Colin forgot and talked.  The rest of the way home we played the alphabet game and when we finished that we started to play the rhyming game.  It started innocently enough with boat and coat, hat and cat.  As we were turning into the driveway Ryan said Wham and Bam. 

I am so happy that the game ended there.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Feet Part II

In an effort to placate Ryan and maintain my sanity, I went to the Stride Rite store and got him 15 pairs of socks that will meet his requirements as appropriate footwear.  While I was there I also picked up a couple of pairs of sandals because Stride Rite seems to be under the delusion that it will eventually warm up enough for us to need said sandals.  A girl can dream. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Feet

My kids both have a problem with socks.  Namely, they do not like to wear them.  Today it took Ryan 30 minutes and six pairs of socks until he found a pair that did not budge on his toes.  I am not entirely sure what that means, but it is very upsetting for both of us. 

They come by it honestly from my father who is very funny about what kind of socks he wears.  Growing up we had two baskets of socks.  One for the girls and one for Dad.  There were four of us and one of him and his basket was twice as big as ours.  He specifically liked the Gold Toe brand and had different weights for the different seasons. 

Colin has been funny about foot coverings since he was a baby.  He has always had very large feet so the cute decorative shoes and socks were never an option.  When he was old enough to voice his opinion we would have to buy his shoes a season in advance and leave them out so he could get used to them.  The first time he had to wear sandals he cried and then told me he couldn't wear them because they were broken.  When I finally did get them on his feet he didn't want to walk in them because he could see his toes. He would only wear Stride Rite socks for years and it was a true crisis when they did not make them big enough for his rapidly growing feet.  I have spent a ton of money on socks that he refuses to wear because they are just not right.  They can not have a color on the bottom like grey or blue, only white will do.  They can not have the extra cushion on the bottom, and they must absolutely not have a seam on the toes. 

Ryan's preoccupation is relatively new.  I think I am going to get him a new stock of socks and weed out the ones that are "budging".  The money will be well spent if I can avoid another morning like I had today.  I am also thinking of taking up yoga so I can practice being in a zen state while my boys are actively trying to make me crazy. 

Monday, March 7, 2011

Charlie Sheen Part II

Back in high school I had a good friend named Sharon.  I have always respected her and enjoyed her company.  After writing my blog on Charlie earlier this week, Sharon left the following comment on my Facebook page: 

I have a sister-in-law who is bipolar, so this Charlie Sheen thing hits very close to home. It makes me so very sad, because if he is sick, as some are saying, he has no self-awareness or control over his behavior. I am so glad the kids are now safe as they certainly shouldn't be in his home. But I feel embarrassed and sad that he is a spectacle on TV and for the comics. I keep thinking what if this was my sister-in-law acting out on TV for all to see and mock her behavior. Charlie needs help. And once he's down from this mania he needs to take personal responsibility to continue to get help to control his illness. In the meantime I only have compassion for him, his family, and mostly his children.

Sharon has always been one of the most compassionate people I know.  She has made some very valid points, and as someone that suffers from anxiety and depression this also hits close to home with me.  My post was intended to talk about my parents and what their reaction would be if that was me or one of my sisters, but it is important to realize that this is not just affecting Charlie, but hundreds of other people.  Today CBS has announced that Charlie has been fired, effectively ending his show.  There are literally hundreds of people employed by that show who are now out of work.  I can only imagine how his family is feeling watching their loved one spiral out of control knowing there is very little they can do to help.  Hopefully his children are in a good place and are not scared and confused with being displaced from the home they have known. 

Charlie has tested negative on multiple drug and alcohol tests but this does not mean that he is not in danger.  I don't think his behavior is funny, but shocking.  It is impossible not to watch it like a train wreck.  I have been actively trying to ignore the story but every day it gets more and more erratic. 

We have seen this kind of behavior in the past from other celebrities.  I never thought that Brittney Spears would pull herself out of her downward spiral, but with the help of her family she seems to have surfaced again as someone that can handle life's pressures again.  Robert Downey, Jr. went to jail for his drug problems and has resurfaced as one of Hollywood’s great talents.  There is hope for Charlie yet if he can realize that his behavior is that of a crazy person and get the help he so desperately needs. 

I hope that Charlie can pull himself back from the brink and rejoin his family and see how wonderful life can really be.   Also, thank you to Sharon for reminding me that Charlie is a real person with a real problem who needs our prayers and compassion. 

The Cat in the Hat

This past week was Dr. Seuss's birthday and Ryan's preschool, which I love, had a party for him.  They asked each kid to bring in their favorite Dr. Seuss book.  In a quest to define his favorite book we read all that we own.  I had no idea how many of these books we own.  I had also forgotten that each of these books are REALLY LONG AND HARD TO READ OUT LOUD.

I have never been a fan of "The Cat in the Hat".  As I was reading it again I remembered why I keep hiding it on the bottom of the stack.  Lets start with the fact that the mother leaves two very young children home alone for a whole day with nothing but a goldfish to watch them.  Then they had to have left the door unlocked because a strange cat came into their house and proceeds to destroy it with things like cakes with lit candles and rakes.  What about Stranger Danger?  What about Fire Safety?  What about a Human Babysitter?  Finally, this book encourages you to lie to your mother.  I am sure this is a behavior that I don't need to encourage as my kids do this enough without any encouragement. 

I will now get myself a life and put this book back on the bottom of the pile where it belongs.  I much prefer  Sam-I-Am and his Green Eggs and Ham.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Charlie Sheen is Crazy

I have lived my whole life with the fear of disappointing my parents.  They could yell all they wanted and I was pretty much immune.  They could take things away from me, and I could deal with it, but it I got the look from either one of them it would make me die a little inside.  As I am approaching 40 years old this week, it is still something on which I base my life.  It has kept me out of a whole lot of trouble over the years. 

With this being said, if I or any of my sisters or our kids were acting like Charlie Sheen right now, my parents face would be frozen in the look and their tone of voice would never recover.  I believe John Stamos said it best when he tweeted that he had not been approached to replace Charlie on "Two and a Half Men", but that Martin had come to him to replace his son.     

At first I thought it was just for publicity.  I was sure he wanted to shame his company into paying for the people that were out of work for his craziness.  Then he started in on his tiger blood and how he was a warlock.  He was not high on drugs, he was high on Charlie Sheen.  His sound bites are endless from all the press conferences he held over the last week. 

What I don't think he counted on was losing custody of his kids.  I was shocked to learn that he even had custody of his kids in he first place.  Good Lord please help these kids if Charlie is the better parent in this situation.  Bob and Max will have a special place in my prayers for a long time to come.

This is another one of those times that I thank my lucky stars to have the parents I do.  You can all rest assured that once this blog makes me rich and famous that I will not go on a press tour ranting like a crazy loon.  I am quite sure that would earn me the look like no other. 

Saturday, March 5, 2011

State of the Blog Address

I can't tell you how excited I am about this blog.  It is almost three months old and has had 1000 page views.  I have reached readers in about ten countries.  I have to think some of them are accidents as they have only had one hit, but I think I have a legitimate Canadian reader!  (Hi Canada!)  If I can get the comments section fixed I might be able to hear what some of you have to say.  In the meantime, please feel free to drop me an e-mail at onethirdacrewoods@gmail.com.  I am very interested in feedback and comments. 

I started this as an outlet for my creative energy and as something to cross off my life list.  I didn't think anyone besides my family would read it.  While I am quite sure that most of the page views have been my family and friends, I know that some of them are people that do not know me.  I hope that means they like my writing.  I am surprised by how much I am enjoying it and how I look at my life as content for my blog.  There are so many things I wish I could blog about but can't.  I am really respecting the privacy of my husband and kids.  This is kind of unfortunate because there have been some really good things I think you would have enjoyed. 

Next week I officially turn 40.  So far this year has been pretty good.  Here is to hoping that the rest of it follows this path. 

Thursday, March 3, 2011

My Not-So-Mini Mini-Me

Dave and I have ten nieces and nephews.  Miss Lauren Quinn is our oldest and is now 18.  She has been our experimental baby.  I was only 22 when she was born and I had just graduated from college.  She was the first baby that Dave had ever held as we started dating when she was four months old.     Lauren was born in September, a week before my sister Laura got married.  With the wedding and new baby, Mary Beth had taken the week off work, and Ann was recovering from the whole experience.  It quickly became clear that the four of us were no match for this baby and we were in way over our heads.  We tried to give her a bath and she cried so hard and loud that one of the neighbors came over to see what was wrong.  I can't tell you how many hours I have walked her around holding her facing out as she refused to cuddle.  As she has gotten older we have tried a ton of things with her, and the rest of the kids have benefited from what we have learned.

As the Little Miss has grown, it has been like watching myself grow up all over again.  She is an intimate meshing of my heart and soul and I wish I could shelter her from the inevitable mysteries and disappointments in life.  She was a shy child and full of angst just like I was.  Watching her make it through middle school almost brought me to my knees as that was not such a great gig the first time around.  I felt like I could read her mind and feel her every emotion.  She has grown to be someone that I am so very proud to call my niece. 

Lauren is the daughter that I will never have.  I get all of the benefits of having a daughter without having to do all the hard work.  In the fall Lauren will be going to college.  There are so many things I want to tell her.  There are still so many things she needs to learn.  I am the luckiest aunt in the world because I get to be a part of it, and I get to watch her blossom into who she is going to become.  I want to thank her parents for letting me ride along on this journey.  It has meant the world to me.

I love you Lauren Quinn!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Toy Story 3 stuff

Colin wanted to start a blog but we started with a guest post.  He wanted you to see things from his 11 year old point of view.  Did I mention how much I love this kid? 

My name is Colin, and I am Kate's first born son.  Last Sunday I purchased the Toy Story 3 video game for the XBOX 360 with all my birthday gift cards, and I think it's realy fun.  Days later, my brother Ryan comes over to me and starts yelling that my mom said that I had to let him play, so I show him how to play and I give him the controller.He was okay for it being his first time.  I guess he liked it so much, he liked it more than STAR WARS, and he REALY likes STAR WARS.  I think his favorite part is riding Woody's horse Bullseye to Zurg's space port.  He is always saying how he is afraid that Zurg's zurgbots will come and attack the town he made in TOY BOX mode, which is where you can be a sherif in the old west.  Now he plays with a Woody stuffed toy thing and a blanket that came with it, and now he's watching the TOY STORY 3 movie.  I guess I should be happy I got him excited about something, but I don't feel that warm and fuzzy feeling that people say they feel.  Last year my school librarian said he felt the warm and fuzzy feeling whenever we said good afternoon loud enough.  Yesterday, our cousin William came over to babysit us and he played my TOY STORY 3 video game, and he played for a while.  After an hour, Ryan looked like he was going to explode with anger.  He started yelling at William who finaly handed over the controller.  When William said it was time for bed, I thought Ryan was going to argue, which I thought wasn't a good idea because our mom said William was in charge, but he surprised me by just going to bed.

THE END!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

My Insprations - - at least for blogging.

I started reading blogs about five years ago when I stumbled across them from a radio station website.  It opened a whole new world to me and showed me that some of the things I was feeling were valid and I was not alone.  I wanted to share some of them with you so you can see who inspired me to write my own blog.

http://www.suburbanbliss.net/  Melissa Summers lives in suburban Detroit and was the first blog that I read.  She has two kids and a husband and a troubled past.  She was the first person I had ever read that was brutally honest with her feelings about motherhood.  It was refreshing to see that there was someone besides me that thought that it wasn't always rainbows and butterflies to be a mom. 

http://www.dooce.com/  Heather Armstrong is one of the original bloggers.  She started writing 10 years ago when she had left the Mormon church and was working in Los Angeles.  She has since married her soul mate, had a child, a nervous breakdown, another child and a ton of things in between.  She was one of the first people to be fired from her job for what she wrote in her blog and it is now referred to as  being Dooced when you are fired for what you write on a blog.  She was one of the first people I read that was open about her anxiety and depression and let me know that you could have these issues and still be a functioning member of society.  She is also one of the few people that can blog professionally and support her family. 

http://www.nothingbutbonfires.com/  This is written by Holly Burns who recently married her long time boyfriend.  She was born in England but has lived all over the world.    She is funny and insightful and has a whole different take on life.  She is someone that I would like to hang out with if I was in town.  She is currently a travel writer and lives in San Francisco with her husband Sean. 

http://www.notesfromthetrenches.com/  Chris Jordan has seven kids and has recently relocated to Austin, TX from the New England area.  I can usually relate to something her kids are doing, especially Miles who is the same age as Ryan.  Six of her kids are boys and one is a girl.  Most times after reading her blog I wonder how she can keep it together with seven kids and I struggle with two, especially since she has home schooled until this past school year. 

I have learned a lot about blogging and life from these ladies and hope to meet them at some point in my life.  I am not really sure what I would do or say, but I am fairly sure it would generate some cringe worthy content for this sight.