Jay was the first total stranger to comment on this site, almost a year and a half ago, and it was through his Blogging for Books contest that I found online friends Anna and Suzanne and started to truly feel like part of a community rather than like the proverbial tree typing in a forest.
At around the same time, Kim responded to a comment I left on her site by writing a two-part essay on educational philosophy and the importance of respecting children as individuals. Not only was I wowed by her ideas--I still think back to those posts when I need to remind myself of what's important in my job--but I was totally, utterly flattered that she took my comment so seriously.
Jay and Kim invited me to my first blogger meetup party and got me to sing karaoke for the first time. They've graciously welcomed me, RW, and Mermaid Girl over for dinner, and gave my daughter a taste of life in a big family (she still remembers that visit and talks dreamily about Neve, the Nice Big Girl, every once in a while).
I've seen them do the same for other bloggers: draw them in, make them feel like part of something. There are periodic online discussions about "community" in the blogosphere, and to my mind no one has embodied that concept better than these two. I'm indebted to them personally and as a blogger, and I know I'm not alone.
In addition to all this community-building, Kim and Jay are both kickass writers; I'll miss reading their trenchant social observations and the funny stories about Neve, Jaxon, Veda and Luka. Recently, they've both gotten well-deserved paying blogging gigs, and it sounds like that's one reason they don't have time for their personal blogs any more.
It sounds like they're doing the best thing for themselves and their family, but I have to admit to a totally selfish disappointment when I read their recent announcements. It feels like the Bloggers' Treehouse Secret Club Hideout is closed.
All the best, Kim and Jay. Take care of yourselves.