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    I'm Janica, a Houston-based portrait photographer, and this is the JBO PHOTO blog. Here, you can check out my recent work, get the scoop on jbo photo sessions, and find out more (probably a LOT more) than you ever wanted to know about the day-to-day adventures of my quirky family.

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I don’t know about you, but when MY brother and sister-in-law are in town from London and the volcanic ash from an enormous Icelandic volcano leaves them stranded in town with us for an unknown amount of time, the obvious way to deal with the situation is to play badminton!  Lots and lots of badminton!

The battles were intense.  Team Yellow and Team Big were both in it to win it.

David AKA “Make him RUN”  and a delighted Parker (who insisted on tucking in his shirt despite his mother’s mortification)

Steffi “The Graf”

and Matt “I giggle when I’m sporty”

Bailey did not participate in the badminton festivities.  Instead, she and Nana played a rousing game of Hide and Poop.

(Bailey did both the hiding and the pooping.)

Privacy, if you please.

A quick diaper change later, the gal was back to normal.

You know, relatively speaking.

The inevitable equipment failure finally brought the game to an end, but I can tell that this is just the beginning of a long, long Boles badminton tradition.

So David and Steffi, the very next time volcanic ash wreaks havoc on the European sky…it’s rematch time.

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Kimberly CooneApril 22, 2010 - 12:13 am

Your blog makes me laugh out loud. I found this from my wedding photographer when she posted a link to your Nacho Ordinary Target Trip. If I need a laugh I now know where to go. P.s.
Your Daughter is a cutie! I’m sure you already knew that though.

Nacho Ordinary Target Trip

Today, we had to go to the grocery store.  Now, I’m not talking about the kind of trip where you breeze in and grab a dozen eggs, some Altoids, and a magazine for poops and grins.  No, my friends, this was going to be EPIC.  I have fed my  children chocolate chip cookies for breakfast three days in a row, and their lunches have consisted of raisins and some slightly questionable cheese which offered no visible expiration date.  (I checked, OK?)  One could argue that such grocery expeditions are not best had with two children  in tow.  ”But Janica,” you ask, “why not tend to the grocery shopping on one of the two mornings when both of your children are happily tucked in  preschool?”  Because, you childless smartass, those precious 8 hours a week are not directed towards such sensible, productive activity.  I  have hot baths to take, webs to surf, and a seeerious amount of Project Runway to catch up on!  Mind your business.


And besides, I had a plan, and that plan was the snack bar!  Without  fail, each Target trip, Parker and Bailey beg, whimper, and plead for their own share of neon yellow popcorn or a cup of the ever-revolving,  soda-flavored sugar bomb known as the Icee. And without fail, I refuse, mumble something about high-fructose-laden-junkery, and we hurry past.  But today, I knew I needed to pull out the big guns. I knew I needed a distraction. I knew I needed…nachos.  (washed down with 100% fruit juice, mind you, I have some integrity.) The kids, undoubtedly thrilled with their good fortune, dove in without hesitation, and as they munched happily in their seats, I charged towards the produce.

The shopping went swimmingly.  My children faintly reeked of msg and  partially hydrogenated oils, and our red plastic chariot was filled to the brim with our dearly-missed staples. (yogurt! bananas! tampons!) I  triumphantly steered to the check out line and began unloading.

It was then that I started to realize that something was amiss. Parker was dutifully placing items on the conveyer belt, but Bailey was NOT on all fours,  pawing wistfully through the inevitable display of Little Pet Shop figurines which gives children the opportunity for one last-ditch whine for  overpriced crap/treasure.  No, Bailey was still seated in the cart.  I took it as a sure sign of maturity and continued to (anally) unload the cart.  All the frozen goods together, boxes lined up tidily along the back, produce grouped alphabetically – and then I heard the whimper.  Which quickly turned into a moan.  Which escalated to an all-out sob.  I’m not big on letting my children wail in public, so I quickly scooted around to her to see what could possibly be causing such distress.  My frustration instantly turned into concern when Bailey slowly looked her glassy eyes up to mine.  Her cheeks were flushed with fever and her chubby little arms hung limply in her lap.

“My tummy huuuuurts”, she slurred pitifully.

Egads.  We were SO close to getting the heck out of there.  I (gently) slung her over my shoulder and returned to the task of cart-unloading with newfound vigor and speed.  The cashier was fumbling awkwardly with the reusable bags that I provided (“So wait, do you want them in the plastic bags first?”) and we were only about halfway through the cart.  Bailey let out a little cough, and I couldn’t help but notice that it sounded a bit…um, wet?  My keen observation was confirmed by the sudden spread of warmth on my left shoulder.  I quickly surveyed the damage.  Yep, a little of Bailey’s tummy juice was evident on the back of my shirt, but it wasn’t major.  I figured we could still scurry out of there without much of a scene.

Well, Bailey isn’t one for subtlety, bless her, and the eruption that soon followed ENSURED that we were, in fact, the very center of attention at Target check-out aisle 12 (and 11 and 13, for that matter).  Time sort of stood still for a few moments.  I was vaguely aware of Parker’s husky little voice squeaking in horrified excitement, “Bailey did a frow up!  Bailey did a frow up!” and I was definitely experiencing the warm seep of nacho-fragranced vomit as it slid down my cleavage and took no detours as it began to settle in the crotch of my pants.  The miserable creature in my arms, however, demanded my immediate attention, so I forced myself to assess the situation.  Folks, it was grim.

Baiely and I were both literally drenched in vomit and so was the surrounding area, including the poor cinnamon bagels that had not yet been liberated from the cart.  I tossed a few “for the love of God HELP ME” looks to the surrounding faces, but only one young Target employee came forward to offer assistance.

Bitch handed me a napkin.  ONE, sandpaper-ish, 4×6 inch, single-ply napkin.  I didn’t know whether to tsk-tsk her poor soul for being such a raging idiot, or to simply deliver an upside-the-face slap.  I defaulted to option 3 and instead offered my blubbering gratitude as I dabbed at Bailey’s face.

These people were worthless, but I knew I could handle this.  I took a deep breath and started handing out orders.  Parker was to finish the cart unloading.  Cashier #1 was to stop gagging and to scan and bag, scan and bag, scan and bag.  I then turned to the Napkin Princess and asked if she could kindly grab me the closest, cheapest shirt that she could find, size medium, if you please.  She redeemed herself slightly by enthusiastically bolting towards the women’s section.  Meanwhile, I stripped Bailey down from her stench-soaked clothes and used a baby wipe to give her an impromptu sponge bath.

My “here’s a single napkin” friend soon returned, waving a white tank top in the air.  ”It’s only $8.99!” she squealed, obviously pleased with herself.  I yanked off the tag, handed it calmly to the cashier, and asked her to please excuse us while we took a moment to tidy up in the restroom.  Once the kids and I were in the safety of the handicapped stall (don’t judge), I peeled off my devastated shirt, gave myself a baby wipe bath of my own, and threw on my brand new (only $8.99!) tank top.  Well, “threw on” sort of insinuates that there was an ease to the motion.  Folks, my moist torso and this (grossly mis-labeled) size medium shirt were NOT a good match.  I grunted and wiggled and tugged and then stepped out of the stall, quickly glancing in the mirror.  Now I will admit, 99 out of 100 times, the sight that met my eyes would have brought me to my knees with laughter.  But on this 1 in 100 kind of day, humor was escaping me.  Not only was this naval-revealing garment plastered to my body, but it was completely see-through. Transparent.  I’m pretty sure the gal washing her hands next to me was actually counting the freckles on my abdomen as she rinsed.  Did I mention that it was red bra day??

Naked baby on my clearly exposed hip, the wet badge of puke on my crotch, and clutching the hand of a completely bemused five-year-old, I slunk out of the bathroom and returned to claim my cart.  I threw down my credit card to finally end this forsaken transaction.  An angel in a blue cardigan had witnessed the entire incident from afar and had arranged all of my bags into a new cart and was eager to help us walk out to the car. The end was in sight.

As I tucked the children into their respective car seats, I profusely thanked the blue cardigan lady and was fully prepared to throw my arms around her in gratitude, but I think her stank tolerance had been exceeded because she vanished just as suddenly as she had appeared.  I slammed the rear gate shut, climbed into the driver’s seat and let out a shaky sigh of relief.  Mercifully, our ordeal was over.

I threw the car into reverse when, without warning, another sob burst forth from the back seat. Oh NO, Parker was going to get sick, too!

“Parker, baby, are you OK?” I asked worriedly.

“Mom…Mom!” he sputtered, “I just REALLY wanted those bagels!!”

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Stephenie DameApril 14, 2010 - 11:22 pm

OMG!!! I cannot believe you made it on your own I think I would have sat and cried until someone helped me LOL!!

robin cornettApril 15, 2010 - 5:00 am

Oh, Janica, thank you for finding your funny bone about that and sharing it with us! I’m howling with laughter over here. I hate that it happened to you, but man, do you spin a good yarn!

BrandiApril 15, 2010 - 6:51 am

Holy crap, Janica! That totally sucks but I’m over here, cracking up!! I’m glad you made it through!! I hope Bailey is feeling better.

Christina MontemurroApril 15, 2010 - 7:21 am

Oh you poor thing. There are no words.

MollyApril 15, 2010 - 7:31 am

So that’s going to be your new fav shirt, right?

AllysaApril 15, 2010 - 7:46 am

Oh, Dear, Dear sweet Janica. You are a treasure.

Amy @ Muddy BootsApril 15, 2010 - 8:01 am

Janica, this post had me in absolute STITCHES! Seriously. I have tears in my eyes. I’m totally going to post this on FB and Twitter. A post like this DESERVES an audience. Super well written.

TiaApril 15, 2010 - 8:27 am


This was the best thing I’ve read EVER.

I’m so sorry to hear of your awful trip to Target, but thank you SO much for writing about it. You’ve totally made my morning. Ya know, in a mom-to-mom sort of way, hah.

Suzanne ShermanApril 15, 2010 - 8:54 am

Best thing I read all morning! You poor thing. Glad you held your composer on the napkin girl it will come back to bite. Hope Bailey is feeling better…and Parker got his bagels.

Karen ParodiApril 15, 2010 - 8:57 am

Oh, I hate to say it, but I did warn you about the nacho cheese. Sigh.

JuliaApril 15, 2010 - 9:20 am

Oh you are awesome! You need to write a book.

AmandaApril 15, 2010 - 9:32 am

Oh My! From one mom to another, I absolutely feel your pain … and I’m laughing my butt off at the impossiable situation. :)

Best thing I’ve read ever!

AlyssaApril 15, 2010 - 10:33 am

Oh my. I had a similar experience with my son Parker at Whole foods, only he threw up all over the cart full of food that we were in line to pay for and he had eaten salmon, rice and broccoli for lunch. That day is burned into my memory, filed under “horrific”.

I have a similar picture of the see through tank top/red bra, only it was my Halloween costume (I went as Amy Winehouse). Bless your soul, you’ve earned ice cream and a bubble bath!

AlisonApril 15, 2010 - 11:04 am

I am dying over here. That is hilarious. And sad for you, but seriously… your way with words is awesome. I hope your baby girl feels better soon *hug*

JillApril 15, 2010 - 11:11 am

Oh Janica, that’s hilarious.

crystalwaterdancerApril 15, 2010 - 11:19 am

Janica… Have I told you lately that I love you? Cause I do. Moments like this, no matter how cringy, beg to be shared. Thanks for the giggle. I’ll try and remember it the next time my cashout apocalypse happens.

MeganApril 15, 2010 - 11:20 am

you are laugh out loud funny!! seriously, i would by your book!!!

LisaApril 15, 2010 - 11:48 am

I cried laughing while I read this to my hubby, thank you so much… sorry for your, er, misfortune, but I’ve been in similar situations (x4 minions) and you handled it much better than me!

Jo VonnaApril 15, 2010 - 11:49 am

Janica, I always love reading what you write. You are such a witty gal. I am no glad to know you. HUGS!

betherlyApril 15, 2010 - 12:39 pm

Such a strong motherly spirit! Yay for you surviving all of that (and then blogging about it).

RachelApril 15, 2010 - 12:41 pm

Oh man. I’ve had something similar happen a few times. The worst (for me) was at the Lego Convention. DS1 (4.5 at the time) wasn’t feeling great so he was up in the MT on my back, and we were heading at warp speed for the exit. We were almost there when he started to vomit. All over me, and the floor. I grabbed some napkins and started trying to clean up the hotel’s floor when he barfed again. and again. and finally someone said “just go, we’ll get maintenance” So I ran out of there with my sick boy. Found my bewildered hubby (he had been walking ahead of me, lost me in the crowd and missed the whole thing) and retreated to the car to try to clean up.
DS was soaked, and all I had was spare undies. I dried him off with some spare cloth dipes and he rode home naked. I wasn’t willing to ride home topless so I put one dipe between my shirt and my back and one between my shirt and the seat. Thank goodness for cloth- I will never be without towels of some variety in the car again.

KarisaApril 15, 2010 - 1:11 pm

OMG, I was chuckling at the story (while at the same time feeling incredibly sorry for you, of course!!) but when I scrolled down to the picture I seriously burst out laughing. LOVE the tank top, you sexy mama. LOL. Hope Bailey is feeling better!

ShannonApril 15, 2010 - 1:52 pm

These are the stories that should be read to high school students in Sex Ed. :) Love you Jan. Sorry you had a rough day and poor Bailey….but hey, you got a great story out of it! Your writing was AWESOME here too….had me rolling on the floor.

RachelApril 15, 2010 - 2:20 pm

This week, we got the keys to our new house and we drove over one afternoon to take a small load of stuff before The Big Move this weekend. I pulled up, turned off the van, and Eve got out, standing woozy and pale on the sidewalk. While I knelt to ask her what was wrong, our next-door neighbor came over for our first meeting. She smiled at Eve’s blonde curls and Minnie Mouse voice and asked “And who might YOU be?”

Eve responded by vomiting onto our new front lawn.

I am now reminded that it could have been much, much worse. One napkin?? Karma, bitch, it’s gonna getcha.

HeatherApril 15, 2010 - 3:24 pm

Oh my gosh, Janica. There are no words. But thank you for sharing. If it is any small consolation, your story was the most hilarious thing I have read in a long time.

AmandaApril 15, 2010 - 9:15 pm

Darlin’ … would that we all had your fortitude and humor.

MeganApril 15, 2010 - 9:19 pm

Oh, this had me in tears! Wow. Thank you for the big laugh, though I’m sure I wouldn’t be laughing it were me.

patsyApril 15, 2010 - 9:44 pm

OMG, I do not even know you and really do not know how I came upon your blog but being from the south the only thing I can say is “bless your heart” ! Been there done that sister but with a handicapped child. I won’t bore you with the boring details but again…”bless your heart” is all that comes to mind. LOL.
FABULOUS work by the way!

DanielApril 15, 2010 - 10:32 pm

This has to be the best story of all time! Your story telling had me living the pain and irony with you!!! Thank you, what a gift you have!

Nicole@BugaboosCreationsApril 16, 2010 - 6:10 am

Seriously sorry you had such a rotten day but my goodness girl you write it so well!!! Thanks for Sharing!

leah a.April 16, 2010 - 7:45 am

omg, that totally sucks!! i am lmao here and i feel really bad about it. i love your storytelling ♥

Donna McCaskillApril 16, 2010 - 8:33 am

This is suitable for publishing! I did laugh but it brought back SOOOOooo many memories! I had this experience! So exhausting! Just want you to know had I been there I would have helped you! People can be such inconsiderate idiots! You do have to laugh about these days…or never leave the house again…..I am proud of you! You are a great mom!

CarrieApril 16, 2010 - 9:08 am

That’s the funniest thing I’ve read in a long time! I can picture this every step of the way. You have a way with words!

JudyApril 16, 2010 - 9:17 am

Oh Janica, only you. This will be one of those priceless moments….someday. You are wonderful that you can find humor in all of this…….and Moms of little ones, both past and present can certainly identify with you. Thanks for sharing and “making our day”. Oh, by the way…..love that tank top and the red bra. What a combo!!!

CandyApril 16, 2010 - 9:50 am

Oh Janica, been there done that, honey. And you’re right. At the time it happens, you are always confronted with the biggest idiots out there. But you made it through and now that’s another badge of honor on the Mommy Sash. Thanks for sharing, I’m going to go change *my* pants now b/c I wet myself laughing.

GranbobApril 16, 2010 - 9:59 am

Does Matt realize all that he is missing??? Oh…I think that most every husband/daddy that I know has missed that part. You have a way with words! I love you and hope no one else gets this stupid stuff!!!!!

HONKApril 16, 2010 - 11:19 am

oh my heavens Juicer!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WOW! I am not sure I know what to say other than I have had many of these moments myself. I swear that there is just something about the forsaken “TARGET outings!” IE: HONK’s shattered arm and NO help, screaming for 45 stinking minutes! HELLO??? Yeppers, that was in the parking lot of Target…and they never caught that one on video?? What? We need to see if there is a “bloopers site” for Target incidents!
You do realize that some “WT’s” find the whole red bra w/white see through tank sexy…right? You crack me up! I am so glad that we are related…I think! LOL! You are a GREEEEEEEAT Mommy and Matt is really missing out! He owes you big time after that one! HA!

LeonApril 16, 2010 - 4:23 pm

Holy smokes… I think I’ll go home early today just to help my wife with the kids. In your honor. :)

beckyApril 16, 2010 - 4:38 pm

That is one of the funniest things I have ever read! You should write…..

NatalieApril 16, 2010 - 10:56 pm

Oh my… that made me laugh until I literally cried. Amazing.

BeckeyApril 16, 2010 - 11:21 pm

Oh you poor thing. I can’t even imagine what you went through, you handled it AWESOME! Way to go Super Mom! And awesome red bra, you should wear it all the time.

CrystalApril 16, 2010 - 11:42 pm

Thanks to my husband for insisting I read this. He was laughing just listening to me laugh myself into crying. Being a mom and having experienced public fiascos makes this all the more funny. I’ve had my insane mommy moments, but this one? Oh this takes the cake. Many thanks for your heavy dose of wit! Made my whole day…

SherryApril 17, 2010 - 3:49 pm

You are flippin HILARIOUS!! You are so good at composing yourself in such situations!

LindaApril 17, 2010 - 6:28 pm

Oh, I’ve had something similar happen, except I only have one child. At the time it sucks, but later, you laugh. I laughed so hard I almost cried at your story.

CarolynApril 17, 2010 - 7:46 pm

I have not laughed this hard in a very … long … time. My husband is dying to know what has got me howling in the living room.

SamApril 17, 2010 - 9:45 pm

I had to LOL at this. I had a very similar experience. This will make you laugh later and share that you earned this badge with honors.

StephanieApril 18, 2010 - 10:13 pm

LOL… literally… that was hilarious. Thanks for sharing!

KeeliApril 21, 2010 - 10:33 am

Janica, You possess an amazing talent for illustrating the moments in life that leave the rest of us speechless! I’m sharing this with everyone I know. We’re still long overdue for getting together.

Jamie CordellMay 3, 2010 - 7:34 pm

I just had an awful 2 days of motherhood with my 4 and 1/2 year old, and my friend, Candy had posted this on facebook about a week or 2 ago. I laughed hard the first time. I found myself reading it today again for a great laugh. It worked. Thanks for sharing your writing talents and ability to see the humor in things. Us “up tight” moms could use it.

MelMay 22, 2010 - 3:08 pm

Was this my life? TFS. It’s so nice to know I am not the only one! LOL!

KimMay 28, 2010 - 11:55 am

I read this story a month ago and found it very funny! I thought of it again today as my daughter peed on the floor on Target!

The Smyth Family

If I told you that it only gets cuter from here, would you believe me?

See?  Told ya.

Little Miss Claire is 100% squeezable doll-baby perfection and I just can’t get enough of her!

Kelly + Dan = adorable chilren.

(and P.S. aren’t Dan’s eyes AMAZING?)

So why not give it another go?;)

What’s that about pregnant women and a “glow”?

Baby, you got it!

Quiet, peaceful…for a brief moment, anyway.

Enjoy your cozy time in there, baby brother.  Won’t be much longer…!

Superstar big sister.

Claire likes her snacks.  I mean REALLY likes her snacks.  Snack bribery proved to be a very successful method for getting Claire to sit down.

But there was no stopping the constant shovel of goodies into that eager little mouth!

Now, Kelly has told me that Claire is a Daddy’s girl.  I don’t doubt that this is true, but there is also an obvious Claire/Mommy love connection going on.

Just look at Kelly and her Mini-Me!  Precious!

Dan, Kelly, and Claire, what a treat!  Perfect weather and a perfectly agreeable toddler makes for a perfectly lovely photo session.

Very best wishes for the arrival of baby brother. The only thing better than a Smyth Trio is a Smyth Foursome!

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chrystalApril 2, 2010 - 7:12 am

What an adorable family. That is too cute!

Stacey PotterApril 3, 2010 - 9:25 pm

Oh my goodness!! Gorgeous!!

JanuaryApril 15, 2010 - 11:42 pm

A friend told me about your site b/c of your story about the Nachos(which by the way you write very well and had me laughing at your misery)..I’ve been there!

But wow, your photography is amazing! Wonderful work! :)

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