About Me

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I'm a child of God, wife to Charlie, mom to three beautiful girls, daughter to Dennis and Susan, and friend to as many as I can meet. (In that order.) Welcome to my bloggaroni. :) Follow me on Twitter: thatsmykimjay / Go to my site: www.kimjay.com

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

True confessions...

This photo was taken in Williamsburg a couple of years ago. It was interesting to me that The Lord's Prayer was printed on a
paddle right along side the vowels and other grammatical knowledge to learn. A paddle. The Lord's Prayer on a paddle. Seriously. They were not necessarily about the touchy feely "devotional" time that we are now, were they? They got it done, or else!

Well, it's been like a week or so since my "priority time" started last week. Wanna know how many days I've done it? That was it! That one day. It is so hard in the mornings - giving up that naptime. There is so much to cram into that 1 1/2 - 2 hour window. Shower, work, exercise, cleaning, etc, etc, etc.

So, now what am I saying? All those things are more important to me than God. Ouch. I hope it's not true, but seriously, if it weren't - wouldn't I be skipping through the house on the way to my lovely priority time?

I know in my heart that once I get in the habit of it, I will eventually RUN to get my priority time with Christ everyday. It's like working out. People who have made a habit out of it, can't wait to do it. Then, they talk about it making all of the rest of us feel guilty, or making us feel that it's impossible to ever be that way ourselves.

So, what am I doing? Blogging. Ha! Guilt. Fatigue. Guilt. But, think of all I could get done right now! Guilt. I know God doesn't want my time out of guilt. He doesn't want to beat it into us with a paddle. But, maybe the guilt is a good tool to get me into the habit, that will get me back into the relationship? Good theory, huh? I actually think it is. So, guess I'm off to pray and read and love.

Here are the lyrics to one of Sara Grove's songs. She is MY FAVORITE artist ever. She sings what and where I'm feeling in my walk with the Lord as if she follows me around. Enjoy:

Past The Wishing
By Sara Groves

I’m standing at the foot of this mountain
Wishing so bad that I could touch that sky
But in the time it takes to make my wish
I never take a step and I never try

wish that I were closer to Jesus
But not enough to get me out of bed
For an early morning prayer before the
Rushes of my life take me instead

I'm past the wishing
Past the wishing
Past the wishing

I'm gazing in these deep well waters
Where the pennies of my life have all been cast
I’ve decided I am going to save my money
To do something that lasts

You've shown me my man of Macedonia
You're calling me further on
And I'm tired of saying it's a nice idea
I wish it could be done

I'm past the wishing
Past the wishing
Past the wishing

I don't wish that I could go I am going
I don't wish that I could be I am being
I don't wish that I could do it I am doing
By the grace of God I am doing.

I'm past the wishing
Past the wishing
Past the wishing

Friday, June 26, 2009

I need a zip-file to hold everything I want to do today in...

Wouldn't that be freakin' awesome? If we could compress all the things we want to get accomplished into a small amount of time? I feel like Lucille Ball in the candy factory today. I'm at the point where I'm figuratively eating all the candy I can as it comes down the conveyor belt so that I can catch up, but it's just getting worse and worse. Sigh. Big breath.

Anna is at Wendy's today. I love that woman! I don't know what I would do without her. So, today this is all I want to accomplish:
  • Finish the wedding edits
  • Finish the edits from photoshoots from last Friday, Monday, and Wednesday
  • Get some prep-work for my mom's 60th birthday dinner tomorrow done
  • Go to the pool and spend time with the big girls
  • Clean out my office
  • Shop for Anna-Grace's (Wendy's daughter) birthday present
What to do? What is the priority here?

I have to say, I know the wedding is huge - and would be great to get it done - but one of these items above is blaring at me with pangs of guilt. Going to the pool with the big girls.

Since Anna was born, we have all sacrificed - as I have made it plain with my constant complaining and angst. The big girls have coped better, however, and I feel so overwhelmingly convinced that I need to slow down, put some crap on hold, and love the heck out of them before they slip away. Here's what THEY have dealt with:
  • Mama hasn't been able to jump in the car and go shopping - as easily as before - so therefore, not as often.
  • We don't go to the pool much, and then not for long because the Peanut gets sooo hot sooo quickly.
  • Anna's bedtime is 8:00 - and she is the lightest sleeping baby on the planet - that means we ALL have to retreat to our rooms so early that we don't spend as much family time together anymore. We used to play games together all the time - no more.
My poor little Brady-Lady, although 11 years old, is really missing Mama-Time. She needs me to just hang out with her so badly. I know Morgan needs me, but she is so grownup-ish now that she is naturally valuing her own independence and space. But, Bradyn. She is on the verge of all that - and I'm really going to miss her little-girlness. She still wants to play in the woods, still plays hide and seek with her friends, still goes to the pool to play - not get tan. I know all too well how fast it will be gone. She is the age Morgan was when Charlie met her. Morgan seemed so grownup so fast after we met. Hold on, Bradyn, Mama's on her way!

So, I guess to the pool it is! Gonna go squeeze myself into a bathing suit (gag) and grab a towel. Woo hoo! At least when I go to bed tonight, I will have that warm, toasty, sun tanned feeling to snuggle in with my frantic thoughts with.

Go grab your kid right now and do something fun. Nobody will remember anything else you did today. And, that's the truth.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Budding photographer....

I was proofreading my website last night, and reading about how I used to dress up my friends and brothers and make them let me take their "portraits" with quilts for backdrops and all kinds of poses. Made me wonder if I could find those pics - and I did!

This morning I emailed my friend Kristie, and my brother Jared (who is now an investment banker - note the polo shirt at age 7), to get their permission to put their pics up. My brother replied, "Go for it. But the purple Members Only jacket era is fair game now." To which, I replied, "When was it not?" To which he replied, "Good point." Anyhoo, haven't heard from Kristie and I'm hoping she doesn't come over the bridge and murder me in my sleep, but I'm posting them anyway. Maybe to make her feel better, I'll add one I took of myself on a tripod with the old self-timer. Pretty rough.

Kristie was my very best friend when we moved to Bartlett. It was a tough time for me. In elementary school I was pretty popular. Had a boyfriend in fourth grade that everybody had a crush on. Have no idea how that happened. But, when we moved, it was a whole new ball game. I knew nobody. And, I was edging into that icky, gawky, icky, icky, gawky age. Everyone around me was growing boobs, wearing all the right clothes, and not being geeky. Not me. I read that book, Dear God, it's Me, Margaret, by Judy Bloom. I did the exercises, "I must, I must, I must increase my bust." Nothing. Kristie and I hung out all the time, and truly I think her friendship and my Daddy's admiration saved me from a lot of trouble!

So, one night she was spending the night and we had an idea. Ha, ha! Or, maybe it was MY idea. Poor Kristie. What a sport. These were taken with my Canon EOS, 35 mm camera in 1983! Too funny! I was all excited because it had a built-in light meter and I didn't have to tote around my dad's old meter like a nerd. Oh, those were the days. Then, when I added the Vivitar flash on the shoe mount - THEN I knew I was bigstuff! The funniest thing, is my little sticky-note titles on the album. Enjoy!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Out-takes from the most challenging photo-shoot ever!

Well, I can say that because the subjects were my kids! It was really more comical than anything. My sister-in-law and I wanted to get the grandchildren (all girls) together to get a nice photo for my mom for her 60th birthday. To the left - one of the "keepers." But, bless their little hearts - we had our odds against us from the start.

First, we woke up to a big, dark cloud, hovering over what seemed like the entire city of Memphis. Then, I'm sure it felt like 140 degrees outside. Which, Saturday week ago was hot, but at least it wasn't this past Saturday!

Then, the mud. It had rained for forever, it seemed, before this day and the farm was a swamp! None of those cute belly-shots in the grass for this day! None of the lay-down-in-the-grass and look up at the sky pics! No, especially because we had them all in white dresses! Finally, two toddlers. 'Nuff said. I don't think there is one single image where everyone was looking at the camera, much less smiling! Poor Charlie and Jennifer were desperately keeping the crackers coming and acting a fool behind me.

Even with all that - these photographs are priceless to us. Each one of these precious little girls are so unique and extraordinary in their own way. Even Lucy and Anna are beginning to show their wonderful little personalities! Just thought it would be fun to share the "out-takes." Enjoy! :)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Tied for First Place...

Man, oh man. God outdone himself on this one! My prayer, for a godly man to help me raise my girls. A man like my Daddy.

Now, as anyone who knows me, knows...it takes quite a man to hold up to the Dennis Roaten standard. I'm sure there are those who will argue, but my Daddy is it. He is the man. That man pretty much brainwashed me into believing I'm the smartest, most beautiful, most talented, and generally the best at anything and everything. So, if you privately think I'm cocky, or boastful, or anything like that (and trust me, I know some of you do, and I know who you are) - it is purely his fault. And, it's okay. I mean, seriously. If you knew me as a pre-teen, redheaded, bucktoothed, anorexic looking little freckled face child - you would be amazed I came out of it with any self-esteem at all. I would like to introduce Exhibit A:

For those of you who have emailed and thanked me for being vulnerable - well, this is the toughest one yet! I'd pretty much rather be stung by a million wasps than to let anyone see this pic, and well, dang it. I just put it on the internet! Yikes.

Anyway, back to my Daddy. You see, I think when he looked at this little girl, he truly believed I was the most beautiful thing on the planet next to my mom. And, he still looks at her "that way" - you know that makes us kids wanna gag. Somewhere between my first and second marriage, I think I started to see that I may not be this ugly little girl anymore. Enter, Charlie Jay.

When I logged on to christianmingle.com, on February 16th, 2006, I had been on for 10 measley seconds. I barely had my profile finished before I got that email. That sweet, amazing, family tree-changing, email. At first, I thought great, already got a weirdo emailing me. But, whoa. When I saw that picture of him, my heart started pounding. (I'm fanning myself even at this moment.) What I didn't know right then, was how wonderful that moment was - that moment when God said, "Kim, meet Charlie. Charlie, meet Kim. You both have been praying for each other for years, and today is the day!"

I won't bore you with all the romantic-ness that ensued - although I seriously could write a book! But, I will tell you that this man and our story is as close to the story of Christ's love for all of us that you can get. You see, I was a single mom, not exactly swimming in money, not exactly Miss America, not exactly a brain surgeon. Charlie, well he was well-educated, single for 42 years, let's face it - he is HOT, and had a very successful career in IT (Information Technology - not the word "it".) We came from two very different worlds. Somehow, someway, he seemed to have seen something in me and my girls that he wanted in his life. He fell in love with me, fast! And, he even told me so before we even met in person! Now, if you know him - that is NOT like him. He's not the mushy-gushy type. He proposed to me and my girls one year later. Took on my children (two girls, both in the thick of hormonal discard), my debt, my "baggage", my past. All, for nothing in return. Seriously, he never asks anything of us for himself. Well, except for the occasional tv to turn off, or shoes to pick up.

I kept wondering as we dated, "Why on earth is this guy so goo-goo over ME?" I thought surely there had to be a catch. There must be some seriously scary skeletons somewhere. Nope. He adores my girls. He did from the minute he met them. So much so, that every time he heard them call their dad, he was so jealous. He wanted that for himself. Then came Peanut. I cannot imagine life without that child. I often wonder what in the world I would have ever done without her in my life! I couldn't imagine loving her as much as Morgan and Bradyn. I'm so glad Charlie gave me this wonder of a baby.

He is the absolute best father for my girls you could imagine. He spends an inordinate amount of time explaining things to them. Like, if it were me on whatever subject, I would have said those words, "Because I said so!" way before he would. He teaches them. He is on teaching mode nearly 99.9% of the time. Anything. He enjoys seeing them understand how the world works, such as money, business, relationships, anything!

Okay, I guess I should stop the gushing. It is getting gross. But, it is all true. And, I guess the moral to this love story is, no matter where you are in life - no matter how low you think you are - how much you have given up on love, or family, or faith, or whatever it is you are desperate for - God is there. He is ready and waiting to give you the best. You may just not be ready for it. I mean, I had to suffer through years of marital storms, a divorce, singlemomhood, before I was ready for Charlie. I'm glad I waited. Or, I'm glad God kept my gift a surprise!

Tied for first place in the best Daddy competition: Charlie Jay and Dennis Roaten. Happy Father's Day, Charlie and Daddy. I love you more than words could blog. You are my world and my best friends.


Friday, June 19, 2009

Advanced maternal age. Ack.

On August 16, 2007, two months and one week after we got married, I took a pregnancy test. Although I had taken dozens of these before, not believing the positive results twice in my life, I still had to call the daggum 800-number. One clearly visible pink line, and one, not-so-confident faint pink line. Boy, if that faint little pink line knew the little girl it would represent, it would have stood up on that stick, donned a stove-pipe hat and cane, and sang, "Hello my baby, hello my honey, hello my ragtime gal!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You're pregnant with ME, mommy!"

I was sooooo excited. I was in fact, SO excited, that although I had planned all sorts of romantic, cute, clever ways to tell Charlie and the girls, as soon as Charlie walked in the door - before he could even put down his briefcase, I blurted out, "I'm pregnant!" No, "Hi, honey, how was your day?" No, I went straight for the main point. We did it! What a dinner conversation we had!

My excitement came to a temporary, screeching, halt at my first doctor's appointment. "ADVANCED MATERNAL AGE." I'm sorry, WHAT did you say? Huh? I'm only 37! I'm still young! I dated 20-somethings before Charlie! I may be ADVANCED in somethings, like say, using my toes to pick up stuff, like doing the Cameron Diaz "butt-thing" my kids are always bragging to their friends about, like knowing how to use power tools. But in AGE?!?!?!?!?!

Man, oh man. What a downer. Pregnancy was certainly different this time around, but I certainly didn't think it warranted a nasty name-calling like I got during every pre-natal appointment for 8 months! And, man, the day of her birth I must have heard it every hour on the hour!

So, this past Wednesday night, when Charlie came home from work, me and Peanut were upstairs in my office - I was attempting to work. He yelled up, "Hello? Where's my sweetie and the Nut?" I answered him and swooped up Anna to head downstairs to greet my man. Then, @#$@^!!!!!! Ouch! A pinch in my neck. Ugh, I thought as I neared the top of the stairs heading down, I'm gonna have a crick in my neck! Well, by the time I made it to the bottom, I was afraid I was going to drop my sweet little Nut.

Not going to bore you with the complaining and medication and rest and shiatsu massage chair attempts to save my back. But, dang it! As I was in the car last night, my mother driving me to the massage therapist because I had taken a muscle relaxer and couldn't drive, it slammed me in the face. Those three freakin' words: ADVANCED MATERNAL AGE. Yeah. NOW, is the time I think they should apply. Now is when it is really hitting home. That although yes, I am still young in relation to others in life, I am in fact, an older mom.

I go to bed much earlier than I used to. I have way less energy, patience, and stretch in my belly-skin. I do wonder, as I think I've already said before, "What the heck was I thinking?" But, I have to say, Anna may still be getting my best. I have chilled out quite a bit from my anal-retentive twenty-something self. Life has made me more forgiving and less judgmental. I do let most of the "small stuff" go. I do know that if my kids go crazy one day, that it could possibly be their own decisions and not necessarily a result of something I did wrong as a parent.

So, take that, doctors! "I am of advanced maternal age, and I'm proud!" AMA mothers unite!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Why I won't give Charlie a camera at the next wedding...

Because then, you're processing photos one day, and BAM! A pic of your big behind right there in your face! Ha, ha! We shot a wedding last week and I'm STILL processing images. I am new to the photography biz. No way around it. I shoot way too many pictures. The problem with that is, each one is a little bit like a child. I have a hard time choosing between them. This wedding I just shot - I have culled them by HALF. And, it's still way too many.

So, this couple, Greg and Sarah - they were so sweet,
funny, and just fun to hang out with. I
went to school with her step-mom, and after a little nudging, agreed to do their wedding. I met Sarah and Greg one day in Arlington for their engagement gig. It is so encouraging to see a young couple that truly seem to be right for each other. After life happens to you awhile, you start to get a little tainted towards those things you dreamed about as a little girl. You see those fairy-tale notions you had growing up from a whole other perspective. How nice to be included in their experience! How nice to go back to that fairy-tale time in life, watching young people in love!

That's really one of the biggest parts about my job as a photo-girl that I love the most. I get so excited when someone calls me for a photoshoot! Not just because I'm still a newby and am amazed that someone wants to pay me to do this, but also because it is so fun playing and laughing with the little ones. Making cool new friends. Being a part of the big events in their lives. I'm totally serious, here. I'm not just saying it to sound all nice and stuff. It's true!

I'd much rather be out photographing than here in my office trying to process photos with Anna hanging on my left arm trying to get up here to get in the action. It is nearly impossible to even begin to process a session unless she is asleep or not here. And, it does get a little monotonous.

All that being said, I do love the process of transforming just normal photographs into pieces of art. Photoshop is an amazing thing. My dad, in his darkroom back in the day, would never have dreamed of what would be possible with a computer. He used to set up our bathroom at home as a dark room, replacing the bathroom fixture's 60 watt with a red bulb. Locking the door to keep my little brothers from letting the light come in and expose the whole piece of photopaper. It just seemed so cool and amazing. Although he was explaining what was chemically happening, it still seemed like magic to me. First to expose the negative onto the magic paper, then the unforgettable smell of those chemicals, watching the image just appear on the paper! Wow! It truly was amazing. He sees what I do on Photoshop and is just amazed. But, really, he was the REAL artist.

Although fun, the whole photo process was messy, an ordeal, and didn't leave much room for error. I love me some Photoshop! In the words of Kip Dynomite, "I love technologeeeeeeeee."

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Alright, alright!

No whining today, I promise. Well...

Today began at 5:45 a.m. Peanut crying in bed. I must admit, I was not happy. And, these words came out of my mouth, "It's gonna be another one of those days." Sometimes I can kinda tell that she is just fussing and will go back to sleep. Sometimes I can tell she is just hungry and wants a bottle. I thought that was the deal, so I got up, got her a bottle, and headed for her room. Put her in my bed with the bottle and changed her diaper while she held it herself. Charlie mumbling, "My little Peanut," in his morning stupor.

Okay, she's dry, she's fed. This is where she normally goes back to bed and sleeps in. Only, not this morning. She threw a tantrum the minute we stepped foot in her room. But, sometimes she does that. So, I put her in bed with her pacie and she threw it across the room. Ugh. Seriously. It's 6:00 a.m.! She refused naps yesterday. I'm so tired.

The poor kid was incapable of knowing what she wanted. Everything was making her mad. As I was feeding her, she grabbed the pacie in her lap and put it in her mouth. Then, got mad because I wasn't feeding her. Then, got mad because I took the pacie out to feed her. "Boy," I thought. "It's gonna be a wonderful day." Okay, a bowl full of oatmeal. Tantrum. Pacie. Tantrum. Blanky. Now we're getting somewhere. Finally, after some oatmeal and a few minutes of constant whining, she gets down, grabs her blanky and pacie and lays on the floor. That's it, she's going back to bed and so am I!

Cripes. Back in my cozy bed at 6:30 a.m. and dang it. No sleep. More of the bad mood creeping in. So, I did something that is against my nature in every way. I got up. Yes, Kim Roaten Jay got up out of bed before anyone else in the house, made a pot of coffee, and are you ready for this? I got my Bible out! Let that simmer for a minute.

For those of you who do not know me, I am probably the worst morning person on the planet. I get personally offended when preachers talk about how you should do your "Priority Time" in the mornings. That Jesus did it, and so should I. Seriously. The guilt of this problem plagued me for many years, especially when I worked for the church.

But, I did. I perused the shelf full of devotionals, Bible studies, and books with "deep thoughts" and landed on Max Lucado's study of 1 Corinthians. Opened it up and started it. We'll see how this goes. I used to be that woman. That woman who, although I didn't do it first thing in the morning, did in fact have a daily time with God. The time in my life where I clung to that priority time the most, ironically, was right before the split. I knew in my heart it was coming and was so stirred internally all the time. That priority time got me through and God spoke to me as close to audibly then as I have ever experienced.

So this morning, after the crappy day I had yesterday, and the green funk I feel like I've been in for so long - I actually had a decent idea and followed through with it! Freaking amazing. So, I'll keep you updated on my progress back to the woman I once was. Pray for me.

Love to you all today!


Monday, June 15, 2009

What a difference two years makes...

Man. Two years ago, I was all excited. Felt all cute, and skinny, with my new handsome husband. Even before that, after I was separated from my ex, I lost a ton of weight (not the healthy way) and got a little make-over and felt like I was finally crawling out of the stay-at-home-mom cave I was hiding in. I was in the dating scene - ever so briefly before I met Charlie. It was an attention overdose. And, I was high as a kite.

My kids were pretty much self-sufficient in the day-to-day activities such as feeding themselves when they were hungry, dressing themselves, cleaning their rooms (in theory, at least.) I was enjoying them more and more as the little people I saw God growing them into. The summer after we got married, just me and the girls in Richmond, was so much fun! Wanna go to the water park? Grab your suits and jump in the car! Wanna go shopping at Short Pump? Let's go!

What the heck was I thinking? A baby? I had it made in the shade! I might as well just committed to babysitting a litter of puppies everyday for the next five years! PLEASE....DO NOT take me the wrong way. Seriously. I am not taking away the miracle that Anna is, nor the joy she has brought to my life. She is absolutely precious! It is not Anna that I am complaining about. It's the lifestyle.

Things I miss about my life, let's say, three years ago:
1.) My own house. My own dirt. My own schedule.
2.) Uninterrupted, guilt-free, long showers.
3.) Using the bathroom alone.
4.) Jumping in the car to meet a friend at Starbucks.
5.) Going to movies with my daughters.
6.) A man planning a date, asking me out, and then trying to impress me.
7.) The luxury of having time to shave my legs.
8.) The ability to jump, cough, laugh, walk, or dance without peeing.
9.) My body (and I thought it was yucky then.)
10.) Weekends alone.

Now, my mom will inevitably get a hold of this blog and probably make me feel really guilty about whining or complaining and not seeing the joy in every detail of my life. But, if you're listening mom, at least I'm not cussing like Linda's daughter! So, be thankful. :) Even now, as I write this, the guilt rubs.

Every day is a struggle against wanting to lay down and cry, wanting to be thrilled with my life, wanting to be a good wife and mom. But, dang it, I just don't have the energy! There's gotta be other women out there like me. God has given us the world! But, we are just too busy, or tired, or frustrated to enjoy it. And, those judgmental moms out there say to themselves, "Well, she just needs to let some stuff go and savor every minute!" What? I've already let go of showers, clean toilets, and bathing suits.

My dear, sweet Aunt, with wonderful intentions commented to a status update I had on Facebook. This is a perfect example of what I'm talking about. My status update involved the fact that I knew I should let Anna cry it out, but it was soooo hard. She told me to "spoil that child" don't let her cry, love her cause she might be my last. I knew where she was coming from and I love her. But, she had no idea that I was letting her "cry it out" because I wouldn't let her play in the toilet! This is what I'm saying. It is so exhausting being a mom. You want to be all happy all the time, but the fatigue grabs you by the throat and cuts off your oxygen. You do and say things you never thought you would.

Agh! This photography blog is no longer a photography blog, is it?

Have a wonderful day! And, for those of you with older children - take them to the pool! Why? Because you can! Here is a "Then" and "Now" pic for your enjoyment!

Then Now

Saturday, June 13, 2009

I'm a Photographer!

Almost a year ago, my new husband shoved me into the photography business. Well, okay, maybe I was a pretty willing subject. I have wanted to be a photographer my entire life. My Daddy was a photographer, after all, and I definitely knew I wanted to be just like him! Well, okay, he was a photographer in college, and has been a banker ever since, with a little bit of woodworking on the side. But, he has always - as long as I could remember - talked about his work at the photography studio of Nadia Price Strid. (Who, by the way is now known as the first commercial female photographer in Memphis, and her work is on tour around the mid-south.)

So, I did the banking thing - HATED IT! If I ever have to ask anyone about their financial needs again in my lifetime, it must mean we are starving. I don't know how my dad has done it this past 35+ years. My ex-husband left me just after I started in the real estate field thinking I would be able to support myself and our two girls with my new degree and new career. He didn't think about the fact that I had no personal insurance through real estate, nor a steady income. So, off to the bank my father retired from and the bank my brother works at now. Thought maybe it was in the blood and I'd be good at it. I was pretty good, but seriously hated it every minute I was there. I'm a pretty good salesperson, but selling debt was just not for me.

So, I got married two years ago June 9. Two months later, I find myself pregnant (semi-on purpose.) Now, newly married with two girls already for my new husband to support, I felt the pressure (whether internally or externally - I'll never tell) to provide my share. But, now I'm pregnant and will soon have a small baby to take care of. Although Charlie had no intentions for me to work, I felt I had to do something. I had never thought of photography as a means for bringing in an income other than "on the side". Charlie had the idea to do photography great-guns.

Yikes, what a can of worms we opened! Websites (www.kimjay.com), lab printers, lenses, Nikon vs. Canon, lighting, backdrops, props, advertising, clients, business cards, forms, taxes, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Little by little we have navigated this strange new "photography scene". Bless his heart, every time I turn around, he's surprising me with a new camera, or a lens, or anything I happen to mention - sometimes before I'm even sure I want or need it!

So now, at the prodding of several "followers" on Twitter, and a few Facebook friends, and some of my former loyal family-blog followers - it's the photography blog. It's a whole weird new thing that you evidently need to have - to be an "in" photographer these days. I honestly can't imagine anybody caring enough to "follow" me on here, but here goes.

My best friend growing up, September Hamilton Hogan - her sister is now one of the most popular bloggers - EVER. (www.dooce.com) Heather Hamilton Armstrong is like freaky-famous now. So weird. Used to carry her and my baby brother around like they were our baby dolls. She has kind of made her deal around the fact that she was raised Mormon and has come out of the closet - so to speak - and is painfully and brutally honest about the real deal of motherhood. She has made a killing doing it, too.

When asked about whether he thinks I should blog about personal stuff - even if it meant the truth about him to the world - he thought with his wallet as he most often does. "Hey, if I can quit my job in a few years to manage your blogging self like Jon Armstrong, you say whatever you want!" Don't think that's where we're headed - I'm not as funny or talented as Heather. Or any other blogger for that matter.

I just want to give you a glimpse into the life I have. God gave it to me, and though it has been a crappy road sometimes, I've managed to come through pretty darn amazingly. Welcome to my blog.