Spotlight: REAL LIFE BEHIND THE BLOGGER
Hi, everyone! Myself and (Kris) Junk Chic Cottage wanted to do a regular feature on our blogs, something unique that hasn't been done before. So we came up with an idea to 'spotlight the real life behind the blogger' in a more personal way.
There is so much talent and inspiration in blogland, and we thought it would be fun to bring you a closer look at the person behind the blog.
Every week on Saturday we will spotlight a blogger and have them tell us a little bit about themselves and their blogs. You will be able to see and read about each of the bloggers on both Kris's and my blog.
Today's featured blogger is Jane from Blondie's Journal. Jane blogs about all kinds of different topics, but one of my favorite things to read about is her gorgeous 'vacation' lake home! (Do you detect a little jealousy there? Ok, I have to fess up...I'd LOVE a place like that! And while I'm fessing up, I wouldn't mind having those beautiful blonde locks, either! :)
Hi, everyone! I'm Jane from Blondie's Journal. I want to thank Susan for inviting me over for her Saturday Night Feature...The Blogger Behind The Blog. I admit I was a little hesitant to write a post, my followers can tell you that there is little you won't know about me if you visit my blog! I love to talk about my everyday life, my interests in cooking, gardening, decorating, reading and just about everything else under the sun. It's all a mixed bag at Blondie's Journal. So, I thought I would just focus on my life up until I joined the Blog World.
I started blogging over four years ago when I was on the hunt for something floral~like to hang over my mantel. Yep! That started it all! I picked up a copy of Romantic Homes magazine for the very first time to get ideas for this space and some of the online shops I visited had blogs, which led to other blogs, which led to me to brilliant idea to start my own! I jumped in head first. And it still amazes me that my blog had a little blurb in the Romantic Homes August issue...who would have thought?!
We'll start in my twenties (sorry, no baby pictures here). If you must know, I was a quiet and shy child that suffered terribly from asthma, I was rarely allowed to run and play like most children. So I read and wrote and drew pictures in sketch pads and had a lot of imaginary friends. In high school I took a lot of elective English and art classes and they were going to be my focus in college. However...I put that off for what I thought would be a year and well, life just swept me along.
I took a job in an office as an insurance adjuster, which was amazing since I couldn't even type! It was an interesting job, I had a lot of friends through the years that I worked with, and I even met The Husband, an attorney, through this job, so I have to thank that employment agency! Oh, and I will reveal for the first time in this post that The Husband's name is Al. Just for this post only, since I'm revealing so much! lol! So, I worked in this field right up until I had my first child eight years later.
I had a little studio apartment on the north side of Chicago and prided myself on my independence, after all, I had grown up surrounded by wheat fields. (Pictured above, me in front of my apartment). My real dream was to travel and I figured my best bet was to become a flight attendant. I applied and was interviewed by many airlines, but would never get called back. It may have been my height (I'm 5'2), or the fact I had asthma (is that even real air in a plane?). Or it may have just been that they didn't like me. Finally, I was hired by TWA, which is no longer in business, but alas, I had started to date Al (The Husband, as a reminder). So...I turned it down. I guess I was in LOVE!!
Actually, Al and I had been friends for a few years. He was a young attorney who's firm did legal work for our office. He was married then and had two small children, Jeffrey and Kevin, and he used to show me pictures of them that he carried in his wallet. Sadly, his wife of ten years died from breast cancer when their boys were just two and three. I was so very shocked and saddened by this news. Eventually, one of his law partners mentioned to me that Al was a little down and lonely and maybe since we had been great friends, I could cheer him up. So, we started doing fun things together; lunches, dinners, shopping and even more fun things with his boys. And then it turned romantic. In December of 1986, we were married! I wish I had more pictures, our puppy ate almost the entire wedding album!
Going from a working girl to a young mother wasn't the easiest thing I've ever done. We soon added Emily and Abigail to our little family and life hasn't slowed down since then. I do know that I developed a lot of the interests I have now while we were raising them. While Al worked long hours at the office and even Saturdays, I did all the lawn care...mowing, edging, weeding, fertilizing, it was something I could do and watch the children outside as well. Soon I started gardening and I haven't stopped. I also took a keen interest in cooking, I mean, if I had to make meals for the six of us, I wanted to have fun!
This was taken a few years ago but the four of them pretty much look the same. Jeff, top right, is 31. Kevin is 30, Emily is 26 and Abby is 22.
Many of you don't know I come from a large family...six girls and one boy! I wish I had a recent picture of my brother, John. He's the oldest and lives in southern Indiana. He visits a couple of times a year. We girls are about 2 1/2 years apart. We love dressing up! lol! This was Halloween, 1985 with Mom and Dad. I am the Flapper Girl.
I don't get to see them much, they live in the western suburbs and I live right in Chicago. I do have some great memories and pictures of our holidays and get-togethers! From left to right in birth order starting with the youngest: Chrissy, Yvonne, Moi, Lynne, Nancy and Leslie.
In 2007, we went from six to five. I know many of you have seen the picture of my sister, Leslie, on my sidebar. She passed away that fall. This is her on the bottom as we recreate our cheerleading days. Many of you have asked about her. Well, she was terribly funny, very good natured, beautiful and smart. She loved all the things I do now except cooking! She loved crafts and she was always into changing the decor of her home, well ahead of the trends. I'm sure she's be a great blogger right now. But it was tragic to all of us. She went to the E.R. after having days of limpness in her hand and arm. Hours later she was diagnosed with advanced cancer in her brain, lungs and spine. She died six weeks later. The picture on my sidebar is of her just a few weeks before her diagnosis. She didn't look ill at all. Cancer pulls the rug right out from under you. We will never get over our loss.
You all know that Milo and Layla are the light of my life, but before them came Shadow. He was a puppy when we got married and was our family dog during the kid's early years. Shadow was a befitting name, not only for his shiny black coat, but he actually followed me everywhere. One time we went for a boat ride without him and he ran along the shore and then jumped in, swimming to follow us! We loved him with all our hearts, but we sadly had to put him down when he was 11 for a myriad of health problems. It was the hardest thing I've ever done, but I stayed with him and the vet so I could hold him.
We also had a Dalmation, Sparky, for several years. Here he is with Abby when she was about two. He was a wild beast but absolutely lovable. We were however, relieved when a fireman friend and his family offered to take him. Peace was restored to our home!
In addition to birds and the occasional turtle from the lake, we had a bunny. It's hard to see in this picture, but Emily is actually reading the book The Hungry Bunny to Abby! Bunnies are stinky and messy and have very little personality, so he didn't last long either.
In 1991, after staying in rental cottages on various Michigan lakes for our summer vacation, we took the leap and bought our own lakehouse. This is what it looked like that first winter.
This is it now. It's been a long road of happy times and hard work. I do get my fill of country life there after having been away from it for so long. The kids learned to swim, water ski, fish and just about everything else you can do on the water. In the winter they snow skied and ice skated.
And Al and I both love to garden, when we aren't arguing over plants and fertilizer, watering and weeding. We both have competitive natures.
We like to travel, nothing fancy. Small to mid size towns all over the country. I think our best time was in Martha's Vineyard. We'd go back except there are so many other places we want to see!
We explored the island in this cute little jeep when we figured out we'd probably get run over on bikes!
Not sure where this was, but this is what we love to do on vacations or anywhere we go. It's great that we both enjoy scouring around antique stores and going to flea markets.
I'm going to wind this up if you haven't stopped reading already! Son Kevin got married two years ago to Mary Clare. The happy couple live a few blocks away.
And Emily married Mike just this past May. They have a house just a few blocks away, too! Yay! Jeff has a very successful job and just bought a home that he is renovating from top to bottom. And my little caboose, Abby, is just about ready to graduate college.
And then Emily brought home this scraggly little girl, Layla, and it was love at first sight. They're the best of friends. And yes, they like the dining table!
So, Al and I continue to enjoy our time at the lake, even if the children are only up just once in awhile As Al gets closer to retirement, he's seven years older than me, we spend longer weekends there.
I don't think I am ever going to adjust to an empty nest, my best memories involve those four darling, frustrating, funny, lovable kids. But I know that the most special person I could ever have in my life is staying behind with me. And I see a lot more adventures to come! And you know, he had me at..."Don't take that job with TWA!"
Thanks so much, Susan. I loved my walk down memory lane! And anyone that's reading, I'd love for you to visit me at Blondie's Journal!
Jane, thanks so much for sharing more of your personal story with us!