What’s New

Birthday girl

I almost began this post with an image from a recent maternity session, but then realized that it—along with the title of this post—would probably give you the wrong idea. So I’ll save that photo for later.

Things are good and bad here in Sharkeyville. J.P. and I went to Disney World with Character Builder and her family recently. That’s CB’s daughter above—she turned five while we were there, and was very excited to wear her new Cinderella dress when we had breakfast with the princesses on her birthday.

Vacation was lots of fun. As you may know, WDW is J.P.’s favorite place on the face of the earth. And it was fun to experience it through the kids’ eyes. For a blow-by-blow recap (and tons of photos), click on over to J.P.’s place.

I’ve been experiencing a little flurry of activity with my photography biz. I did two maternity sessions in March, and have already completed one of the newborn sessions. Now I’m just waiting for the little girl below to arrive so I can go spend some time with her.

So that’s the good stuff. Unfortunately, there’s some not-so-good stuff too. I know Character Builder has been planning a post about this, so I *think* it’s okay to mention it here. Last month, her nine-year-old daughter went flying off her scooter and got a concussion. As part of the treatment and diagnosis process, they did a CT scan and discovered a cyst on her brain. It’s not life-threatening, but she will need surgery this summer to drain it. UPDATE: Read the full story over at CB’s.

And speaking of surgery, it sounds like my mom may be in for some more. We learned yesterday that her ovarian cancer has returned. We’re waiting for the results of her CT scan to know the full extent of it.

So if you have some extra good thoughts or prayers that you could send along on my family’s behalf, we’d really appreciate it.


Happy Easter!


Happy Easter! It’s 7:19 PM as I begin this post. Better late than never, right?

My day started at 5:00 AM, as J.P. and I had to sing and I had to play my clarinet at the 7:00 and 9:00 services.

He put the ham in the oven and set it to come on at 8:00. Thankfully it did, and it didn’t burn the house down (Hi Blurry! 😉 ). Our friends arrived around 1:00, and we ate. And ate. And ate. Everything was delicious. The glaze on the ham—brown mustard, brown sugar, bourbon, and crushed ginger snaps—was unbelievable. And also very, very sticky. We have the blackened pan to prove it. Note to self: next time, use a disposable pan. Update: Apparently, we’re slow learners around here. (Read the last few sentences.) I thought that sentence sounded familiar!

As we were finishing up dinner, our 8-year-old guest headed out into the yard to hide eggs for three-year-old M and almost-two year-old J. Then the rest of us went out, and the kiddos had a blast hunting for them.

Now I sit here with J.P., his mom, and Maggie snoozing all around me. I’ve nearly succumbed to The Nap several times myself. But right now I think I hear some leftover ham calling to me from the fridge. Because apparently I didn’t eat enough earlier.

Happy Easter everyone!

Happy Easter!

Wishful thinking?

Harbinger of spring . . . I hope!

This was the scene at our house today. This guy was one of about 30-40 robins who was* feasting on the fruit/berries on the trees in the backyard. Come on spring!

*Did you know that “was” is correct here? Since the subject of the sentence is singular, the verb needs to be singular too.

Busy weekend

No, the image above isn’t me! She’s the subject from my first-ever maternity photo session on Saturday. I didn’t go to bed until about 3:00 on Saturday morning, and I was awake at 6:30, an hour before my alarm went off. Do you think maybe I was a little nervous about this? I bet I hadn’t taken 50 photos since the newborn session I did on December 15, and I was feeling a little out of practice. And then there’s the fact that I was tearing the house apart in search of my battery chargers at 11:30 the night before. Yep, prepared and organized—that’s me.

But it turns out my worries were for nothing. Mom-to-be was gorgeous, and she and Dad were up for anything. We did some natural light shots, and then brought out the studio lights and props—the parasol you see above, booties, blocks, and some little beaded heart coasters I got at Target (you’ll see those at the end of the post). It’s really different to work with subjects who do what you ask instead of running the other direction! I really had a blast with them!

Saturday afternoon brought another session, with this handsome boy:


The rescue called us a week ago, asking if Maggie might like a little brother. I couldn’t believe it, but J.P. actually considered it! But we talked it over and decided we should remain a one-dog household. So Buddy needed some photos for Petfinder. It was definitely easier working with the mom-to-be! I only got two good shots of him, but I suspect that’s all it will take for someone to snatch him up.

Then I had a rehearsal with my trio from church, and we went out to dinner with the neighbors on Saturday night. Seriously, Saturday involved more activities in a single day that I’ve probably had in the entire last month! And now you know why I never update here—I have nothing to talk about!

I can’t leave you without sharing my favorite image from Saturday. After I spent so much time focusing on Mom-to-be, Dad was feeling a little left out. So we did a shot that included him too . . . .
True Love

Friday Feast

What? Did someone say it’s not Christmas anymore? All right, all right. I know I’ve been falling down on the blogging job a lot in the last several months year or so. Usually it doesn’t matter too much, but I can’t stand coming here and still seeing Christmas on January 11. Mags is cute, but it’s time to push her down the page.

The question is, what should I write about? I don’t have any original ideas, but I recently stumbled across a meme site called Friday’s Feast. The site says, “Pull up a chair and dig in! Friday’s Feast is a meme of five questions cooked up by the chef each and every week. Enjoy!”

I thought it looked kinda fun. Let the digging in commence!

What is your middle name? Would you change any of your names if you could? If so, what would you like to be called?

Hey, wait a minute, that’s three questions right there! I guess it’s like a real restaurant—if you have an appetizer, you’re full by the time the main course arrives.

My middle name is Marie. It’s my mom’s middle name, and it was her mom’s too. When I was a kid I didn’t like my first name, but now I guess it’s okay. Even though I didn’t like it, I wouldn’t have changed it. But I know a kid who did just that. His name was Stacy, and he didn’t like having a girl’s name. So in about sixth grade, we came back from summer vacation and he was Steve—he’d legally changed it.

If you were a fashion designer, which fabrics, colors, and styles would you probably use the most?

A fashion designer? ME? Um yeah, right. Let’s see . . . I would design non-shrinking jeans that are long. I have a really hard time finding jeans in the first place, and then I’m afraid to let them go through the dryer so I’m always pulling them out. I hate hanging up wet clothes, but I hate flood pants even more. Also, Sharkey Jeans would not cause normal women to have muffin tops, and they wouldn’t have that horrendous gap at the back of the waistband.

What is your least favorite chore, and why?

Hands down, it’s putting laundry away. I don’t mind washing the clothes, and I don’t even mind folding them. But putting them away? Gah! Mostly it’s because J.P.’s side of the closet is crammed so full of stuff that there’s nowhere to put anything. I counted 38 polo/golf shirts one day last fall! Also? I think he has more shoes than I do, and stepping over/on them to get to the drawers and clothes bar is a real pain.

Where are you sitting right now? Name 3 things you can see at this moment.

I’m sitting in my usual spot on the couch, with my feet up on the ottoman/coffee table. I sit here so much that the couch now has a semi-permanent ass imprint. I see:

  1. Maggie sleeping in front of the fire.
  2. Conan O’Brien on the new HDTV that J.P. bought with his year-end bonus.
  3. The Christmas decorations that need to come down this weekend.

See? the blog isn’t the only place where Christmas has worn out its welcome.

Posted in Memes. 8 Comments »

Merry Christmas!

When I wrote my Christmas post last year, I thought I was busy. Turns out, I didn’t know what busy was! The photography business is nutty this time of year with last-minute orders. And today I got calls from two different people who want to buy a total of four gift certificates for sessions in the new year! A good problem to have, to be sure.

Good thing we got our cards done early. Now if we could just get them addressed and in the mail, we’d totally be in business! In fact, that’s what I should be doing instead of writing this, so I’ll make this short and sweet.

Thanks for stopping by here all year, even when I haven’t been the most faithful blogger. J.P., Maggie, and I hope you and your family have a very merry Christmas, and a happy, healthy 2008!

Merry Christmas from the JoyPeaceWonder Dog!

***Let’s see those pet photos! If you posted one, leave a comment so we can all stop by your site and visit!***

Pass the cookies


Welcome to the third annual blog cookie exchange! Lovely Susie is the hostess with the mostess, and she does a fine job every year. Be sure to stop by her place to say hello.

Do you think they’ll let me stay at the party if I don’t have any cookies to exchange? Yesterday I baked a cake to take to a holiday party, and I thought it would be perfect for this event too. However . . . it didn’t exactly turn out as I’d planned. Even J.P. said it wasn’t one of my better efforts. So alas, I’m afraid I can’t offer you much to eat. But there’s plenty of eggnog in the fridge—please, help yourself!

You know how sometimes you have to invite people over in order to motivate yourself to clean the house? No? Maybe that’s just me. Now I know that the principle also applies for blog people. Until about 10:30 last night, we had absolutely no Christmas decorations up. And then I remembered you were coming by today, so decided I’d better get moving.

For the last few years, I’ve been asking my grandma about her Advent calendar. She made it herself from a pattern many years ago, and I remember it hanging in their house when I was a kid. She didn’t know what had happened to it, but she did manage to dig up the pattern and send it to me. I knew she must still have the calendar too because . . . well, you’ll see in the next part of the post. And I knew she’d give it to me if she could find it.

When we were in Minnesota for my grandpa’s funeral, my dad and his brother were cleaning out my grandparents’ house in preparation to put it on the market. We grandkids enjoyed going through some of their things, reminiscing about when we were young and they’d have all five of us stay overnight. And what do you suppose I found? It was in a box with other Christmas decorations, and the box was marked, “1991 – Didn’t use. Don’t bring down (from attic) again.” Yes! I was so excited!

Advent calendar

There’s an ornament for each day, plus a set of candles for each of the four Sundays in Advent. And there’s a big sequined star that goes on the top. I think it’s SO much better than the ones you can buy in the stores. But after hanging all the little ornaments on it tonight? I totally understand why it’s been up in the attic for 16 years. The pins she used are literally only about 1/2″ long, and it’s a HUGE pain to get them through all those layers of felt! Perhaps I’ll have to invest in some longer pins.

Remember that part above where I said I knew she’d still have the Advent calendar? Well, here’s how I knew . . .

Read the rest of this entry »