I'm Erin Jo. I'm thinking, writing, dreaming, mothering, loving, living, praising, BLESSED to be Fiona to my Shrek and Mommy to my four amazing kiddos.



Shrek is "like an onion with many layers" but has a heart of gold. He's my husband and my friend, and we just get better all the time.



Lily is my first baby and only girl. She's smart, funny, tall and kind. Keeping up with this girl is a challenge and a joy. She's terrific!



Max is one part ogre, two parts lover and all boy! Our little man has a temper but gives the best hugs of anyone I know!



Colby is as ornery as he looks. He flirts shamelessly, even with strangers. He's all mouth and curls and the loudest by far.



Luke is the baby of the family, but holds his own. He's happy and adorable. And he's a terrible sleeper. =)

A Self-Portrait

Well. It’s been a long day. A long three days. I’d like to write, but I’m just not so sure I need to demand anything else out of this tired head.

Instead, I’m going to recycle something I wrote about 18 months ago (so I’ve had another child, etc.) Some of you have read this already. To me, it still feels like it really describes me, which means it must have all been true in the first place.

In a phrase, These Are My Reasons.

1. I grew up on a truck farm (peppers and tomatoes). It was a hard job but it gave me tremendous respect for my family and a kick-ass work ethic. I made minimum wage “plus a dime” ($4.35). All subsequent jobs have been incredibly easy and lucrative.

2. I was very close to my paternal grandfather, Bernard Strahler, who owned the big farm mentioned above. I’ve called him “the man of my life” and “the last American cowboy.” I was holding his hand when he died in the spring of 1998, and I still miss him.

3. I’ve been through a lot in my life. There are things I wish wouldn’t have happened, but they have played an integral role in who I am today. I am a very calm and centered person, and there isn’t anything I can’t handle now. After you’ve seen hell, life can be easy. You just have to decide to step away from hell.

4. I started writing in a “serious” journal the day after my 12th birthday. I’m now on journal #65. This time-consuming and simple hobby has taught me how to be my own best friend, and how to recognize and accept life lessons and the ebb-and-flow of life. I’m proud of my writing, and it’s very cool to celebrate my journal anniversary the day after my birthday each year.

5. My earliest memory of my husband is watching him play basketball his senior year for the rival high school. I was only 12 years old and sitting with my friends in the “junior high section!”

6. My husband has taught me how to slow down a bit in life, that I don’t have to run around the house like a chicken with my head cut off all the time. I firmly believe that we get better and better every day. I love you, baby!

7. I have two children –Lilith Jane and Maxwell David — and am currently searching for names for Baby #3, due in June.

8. I always knew I wanted to be and would be a mother. I love motherhood and wouldn’t trade it for the world.

9. I come from a family of strong women. We’ve been nicknamed “The Maggots” for our swarm of activity and noise, but a couple of us decided a couple of years ago (over wine) to change it to “The Magnets,” because we stick together and when one of us falls down, the others pull her back up. I love these women dearly and wish we treated ourselves to nights out together more often.

10. I truly believe that my mother is an earth angel. She is such a wonderful person. She deserves the world.

11. I’m the second of four children, and I am very close to all of my siblings. We span seven years, but it was commonplace for all four of us to show up at the same parties and places growing up.

12. Family is the most important thing in my life. I have given up places, jobs, opportunities and trips for my family, and I don’t regret a single decision. Life Lesson #1: It’s not the places, it’s the people.

13. I have an amazing group of friends from college — actually from before college — that I still rely on today. There are four women and four men in our group, and we’ve always called ourselves “The Bitches.” It’s been nearly 15 years, and I am convinced our friendships will go to the grave.

14. I used to get together much better with men than with women, at least in groups. I think that’s leveling out a bit, as I now have more girl friends than boy friends. In high school, I consistently raised hell with the same four guys. Because of them, I bought and still own my own slingshot.

15. I firmly believe in God. I thank Him daily for good health, wonderful family, my home, my children and for giving me a sister, and I pray that He “helps us all to love one another better.”

16. I work part-time in the Scripps College of Communication. I love my job. It’s very busy and fulfilling most of the time. I love that working three days a week keeps me in the loop but also allows me to be the primary caregiver to my children.

17. I love coffee, pasta, cheese, mushrooms, tomato products, A&W root beer (especially with beef jerky) and cheap wine.

18. My favorite place in the world is Lake Tweet, a part of the old family farm now owned by my uncle who’s a mere six years older than me. I’ve spent countless weekends there. Now that I live in “town” and have children, it’s more important to me than ever. We spend nearly every weekend there from about April to October. We have a 30-foot camper that is truly our second home. If you’re around, come out and join us for a campfire!

19. One weekend we aren’t at Lake Tweet is the third weekend in July, when most of my camping family and friends are at Jamboree in the Hills. JITH is a blast! I’ve been going to Jamboree since 2001, but missed 2006 and will likely miss 2009 due to having a newborn about a month old. Ah, but I’ll be back, old friend, I’ll be back.

20. I’ve always loved my name, my birthday and, for the most part, my body. I feel like all of these things are uniquely me, and all have served me so well for more than 30 years.

21. I’m a huge country music fan, but I also LOVE the Indigo Girls. I’ve seen them in concert six times, and I’m not much of a concertgoer.

22. I would say my biggest fault is not being patient with people. I have a low tolerance for laziness, selfishness, stupidity and shallowness. Sorry.

23. All four of my grandparents died fairly young (all between the ages of 55 and 72) of various forms of cancer. While I try not to dwell on it, I am keenly aware of my genetics, and I live my life to the fullest.

24. EXCEPT I haven’t yet written a book. I truly hope I get my act together on this one.

25. While I’ve been typing this, my unborn baby has been doing acrobatics in my womb. My husband just got to feel it for the first time. Life is good, and I am BLESSED!

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