My Noonday Why

It’s been over a year since I’ve written here. Sometimes I’m not drawn to share. Sometimes I’m very drawn to share but only find the words coming in my head when I’m laying in bed or sitting at a stoplight. But this one has been brewing for a while. Since January or February at least. That’s when I applied to be an ambassador for Noonday Collection. I’d been invited to a show back in Indiana right when we moved here. I thought, “Dang, this is cool. I’d love to be a part of it…but no, not right now. Maybe when I get my shit together.” Never in my life have I changed so much in two years as I did 2014-2016. Well whatever, that’s probably not true but let’s stop with the math, okay? Things change and a lot of change happened in that time, okay? And no, I do not have any type of any shit together at all.

Let me clarify that I’ve always been a supporter of “those home sales things”. I haven’t had a lot of parties but I’ve ordered. A lot. As a self-taught, self-employed, self-starter photographer, I get it. I like supporting women building something and building that something from their own home with their kids underfoot. I’ve made it clear that I don’t like when lines are crossed with aggressive, invasive marketing tactics. That holds true. And that is a big part of why I hesitated before I began with Noonday. Me? Sell things? Right. I passive-aggressively marketed photography for almost 10 years via word of mouth, so uncomfortable with overt marketing. Like I’m going to be hitting up my friends and friends of friends to have jewelry parties! As if.

Then I read more about their involvement with adoption. They’ll give 10% of a show’s sales towards an adoption (sometimes it’s more) when it’s designated as an adoption show. That’s cool. When I saw it wasn’t just for international adoption but for any type of domestic adoption, that was the thing. I’m adopted. It’s never been a big issue for me. My parents raised me as the apple of their eye. They said the right things about me being adopted. I didn’t grow up with yearnings for someone to answer questions because I really didn’t have any. The connection to adoption families is still there.


The bigger piece of Noonday though is that it’s fair trade. Artisans all over the world like mamas in Uganda are rolling paper beads with their company, African Style, to send their kids to school. Mamas that couldn’t otherwise even send their kids to school are being paid a fair wage to make these pieces. When I got my first Noonday order, I opened it and thought about how there could be a mother all the way across the world rolling that thing up and thinking about her kids. We’re all moms, wanting the best for our kids. At the time, I was feeling pretty alone. Not to get too pathetic here, but I cried every time Lulu played the Barbie record she got on our last day in Indiana. It was Barbie singing Carole King’s “You’ve Got A Friend”:

She got it on this day in Goshen when we had amazing pizza and were uncharacteristically affectionate and shopped for records like it’s just something we’d always be able to do together :


Aside but not really aside, Stacey (camera right) and I met when I was so very pregnant with Lulu. We were at the library (it was McDonalds; Dirty Don’s as she calls it) & I totally unloaded on her, a complete stranger, about having just moved to South Bend and a baby coming and so forth. She stood up to leave (maybe before she’d originally intended) and I thought, “Damn, is that little chick a little pregnant too??”. She was.  About three months behind me, and she had her own business to complain about but she didn’t. We awkwardly met a few times at the actual library (no really, the library with books, not chicken nuggets) and became friends but not like down-n-dirty-all-shit-aside mom friends until Andy (camera left) came into the picture as a mutual friend which also included McDonalds but I’ve probably already strayed too far….

I WAS SAD AND LONELY, OKAY?? I know what it feels like to need to feel like I got a friend. Winter, spring, summer or fall.

So one evening early 2016, I went to apply as a Noonday Ambassador and couldn’t get my password to the website to work. Even asking to request a password reset. Even adding the Ambassador kit to my cart. No-go. “It’s a sign. I’m not supposed to do this. I’m supposed to keep looking,” was what I thought. It was a Friday night, a typically antsy time for me. I’d rather be hosting a big Happy Hour Playdate than stewing at home alone with kids on a Friday night. So I browsed around. What did I want to do with this little bit of energy I’d found? I hadn’t set any type of New Year’s Resolutions on purpose. I wanted to see what came my way. What about the community outreach place I’d applied for and even interviewed with over a year before? COPE. That place. That place is the type of local agency I could see myself working with. When I talked to them before, I’d basically backed out during the interview as I realized how low the pay was and that I’d have a hard time paying a sitter during summer for what I’d make there. But the position was open again. I shot off a quick email to the executive director, with whom I’d become acquainted through volunteering a little.

Monday came. I felt less antsy and needy. But I got an email from Noonday stating I’d been accepted as an Ambassador and confirming my initial Ambassador Sample order. I also got an email from COPE saying that if I wanted to interview, I needed to do so soon because the board was going to vote later that week. Things fell into place, like, for real. I met with my Noonday coach who ended up being a fellow spouse at my husband’s company. We connected and she reminded me that this isn’t about jewelry parties. It’s about working outside your circle, be that particular circle your neighborhood circle or your worldwide circle. My world grew a little. And I interviewed at COPE again but this time went for it. Both entities are a stretch for me, but it’s what I’m doing. That’s the thing about change. It’s so hard. But it opens doors for choices you didn’t think you were allowed to make before the change occurred. Omaha Nancy is doing photography and Noonday and COPE. Please let me know if you’d like to talk more about any of those endeavors:

Wrapping up the Autoimmune Protocol Diet

I think it’s probably technically over but since I reintroduced a few things, cheated many times and decided what I’d want my plan to be going forward, I stopped counting. I’m really glad I did this. I’m glad I was relaxed about it. I still don’t feel like I have major issues with any specific food, be it grains or dairy or nightshades. Since those things are thought to sometimes contribute to inflammation, I’ve learned that I’m good without them for the most part. Finding “standbys” as I referred to in the previous post has been huge for me. If I have easy Paleo-ish/Perfect Health Diet-ish things on hand for myself, it takes the guesswork out of eating and cooking. I think avoiding sugar will be huge for me in the long run too.

A few people have asked how much weight I’ve lost and the answer is: Not much. Maybe 5-7lbs. In accepting that I’m majorly limited physically, I also accepted that weight loss for the sake of weight loss isn’t a challenge I get to take on right now. I’ve learned so much about adrenal function recently. All the years of late nights and the rush of creativity totally screwed me and likely burned my adrenal system out. Four months on steroids last year was probably major insult to major injury. I’m good continuing to take it easy, wearing muumuus and walking for exercise at least for now.

I’m looking forward to cooking more with eggs, potatoes and rice. But in addition to the favorite recipes I mentioned last time, I made a few things from Pinterest, learned to enjoy sauerkraut and made a few things from The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbookincluding the Fig Energy Bites (for which no figs were used), the shredded beef and mango salsa. I really used to think my favorite foods had black beans & corn but as it turns out, I’m just as good with avocado & lime! I made cabbage with bacon  and sauerkraut for myself more than once and Brian even had to have some.

In other news, it’s spring which means: swimming, soccer and crossfit. The Lary kids are on the MOVE, people.


Ellie hadn’t played soccer in a few years but wanted to play last fall. She had to play up to U9 which was a huge challenge. With good intentions, I’m sure, they stuck her with the same girls this spring. She was a foot shorter than the shortest girl on that U10 team so we asked to move her down. She was so excited to recognize a name on the roster. Kenzie! But no, Kenzie switched teams too. Gah! Since moving, the kids are so much more social and not at all tolerant of being the “new kid” in activities or signing up for something without a friend. I wanted them to form bonds, right? But here’s Ellie, a stranger on a new team of girls from other schools. She’s doing it. She’s hustling and learning and being brave. I told her how proud I was of her and she truly appreciated hearing it. Sweet Ellie.

Mornings and the Autoimmune Protocol

Week 12 prompt for the Ordinary Everyday project was “Mornings”. Most people shot their families and kids getting ready in the morning. But the most significant thing about mornings for me right now is my Coffee Jam. The Constitutional. I drop the kids off and spend an hour or even more sitting, drinking coffee, reading, social media, journaling, devotions and music. Coffee wasn’t part of my mornings until the last year. I went straight to soda, man! I’ve cut so far back on soda that I don’t even consider it in the morning. I’m quite sure that most of this year would have been spent napping and looking at Facebook if it wasn’t for coffee. So I’m sticking to it.


Today, March 31, marks nine days on a sloppy version of the Autoimmune Protocol version of the Paleo Diet. I’ve spent a lot of time reading up on diet since last year. Like a lot-a lot. My South Bend doctor told me not to try diet changes or lose weight. This new doctor said I could work in more veggies and fruit. I’ve dabbled a lot with Paleo recipes, sometimes getting on a pretty good streak but never committing to a serious change. The main reason being that I don’t (didn’t) feel like I have a terrible issue with any certain food (except apples and strawberries, wowza). I haven’t been having any GI symptoms. I’ve been feeling good overall. A major breakthrough occurred during the crazy cookie cupboard time in February when I was outside, so cold and lifting cookies for hours at a time. I was taking Epsom salt baths every night. And I wasn’t getting the sicky chills & aches I had been getting the evening or day after overdoing it with exercise. Aha! Magnesium! I bought a bottle of capsules. I told friends. “Magnesium. MAGNESIUM!!”. Suddenly I was capable, focused, rested and wonder of wonders, not a total bitch all afternoon and evening! What would I conquer next? A DIET, of course.

The Autoimmune Protocol is an elimination diet, meant to be temporary and restrictive in order to identify issues when foods are added back in. It’s a version of the Paleo Diet which excludes grains, dairy, sugar & refined foods and legumes. It is a diet of meats, eggs, nuts, fruits and fruits & vegetables. The Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) further eliminates eggs, nightshades (potato, tomato, peppers and seed-based spices like paprika), nuts and seeds (including cocoa and coffee). Neither allow sugar or alcohol or artificial sweeteners. The idea is that you cut all this out for a time and methodically trial foods for reintroduction. I’ve committed to a 21-day elimination but am allowing coffee and wine. Those allowances technically screw the pooch on this being a true elimination diet at all. The idea is that you avoid all potential irritants and inflammatory triggers, track your symptoms, or lack thereof, and then reintroduce to figure out which foods you can trust long-term. In addition to failing it from the start with the coffee (1 cup per morning) and wine (I’ve had two glasses so far), I face the additional caveat of having to eat fairly low-fiber. White carbs have been my comrades this year; salad being the enemy. We know fiber as being good because it gets in your guts and cleans things out…like a scrub brush. My guts can’t tolerate the scrub brush action. I’ve eaten the occasional side salad, roasted veggie or fresh fruit but the thing where you go buy out the produce department to start eating healthy doesn’t do for me anymore. I’ve felt so defeated looking at recipes in the past when thinking about really changing the way I eat. Even flipping through the beautiful Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook. Please, for the love of pete, do NOT expect me to make any diet food ever that is not photographed well and presented nicely in the recipe, whether it be hard copy or internet version. Just don’t.

So after a restorative, relaxing spring break spent in Missouri at the farm where I rode the 4-wheeler, did yoga, ate, drank and slept:


I decided I was up for a challenge for a few weeks. I pinned some recipes, outed my efforts on social media and am giving it a go!

I pinned a bunch of do-able recipes. Dishes I’d want to eat myself, not worrying about pleasing the rest of the family. I don’t like to short-order cook but I also don’t like picking a recipe just for no one else to eat it, let alone enjoy it. I told Brian he’d probably have a choice each evening of sharing whatever I was having or easy kid food. He’s been great about it.

My favorite things so far have been Carolina Style BBQ Pork from My Big Fat Grain Free Life. A neighbor kid said while it was cooking, “MMmmmm, it smells like chili and cinnamon in here!” Yes child, it sure did, and my kids didn’t like it so it’s been breakfast almost every day since. My other favorite was Avocado Chicken Salad. I’ve seen it on Pinterest a ton (usually really heinous pictures, might I add) but hadn’t tried it. Well, it’s a new staple. I’ll make it at least once a week and am planning to try it with tuna as well. I’d heard a podcast by Chalene Johnson on which she said many healthy, fit people eat a fairly restricted combo of safe foods. They eat a well-balanced diet but usually have a few standbys. That clicked with me because I like a good standby. Something easy and trustworthy to fall back on in the midst of the other eleventy-billion recipes and food images I subject myself to daily. This is #1 on a current list of 1 for good standbys right now.

I’ve used #nelaip on Instagram every day. Let me tell you, I have not rocked this thing. I’ve cheated at least once a day but not even in a moment-of-weakness-bad-choice kind of way, but an intentional decision to eat something “forbidden” by this diet. I had lasagna Friday night as well as a regular beer. I’ve had ice cream. Twice. The biggest, maybe even HUGE, thing I’ve learned is that I’m a sugar junkie. Like WHOA sugar addiction. I’m still letting that set in and trying to process it. If all I get out of this is an easy dedication to mostly-Paleo eating, I’ll have won the jackpot. Actually, long-term, I see myself settling more into the framework of The Perfect Health Diet. They finagled the Specific Carbohydrate Diet and Paleo into a nice mesh and allow what they call “safe starches” like white rice and potatoes. I can dig that.

Nana Linda - i am so proud of you. Great work. And so agree on the pictures of the food.

Amy - I’m so proud of you for trying this and I hope it helps you figure out those trigger foods. I’m glad coffee and wine made the cut though because that would have been TORTURE!!!

Ordinary Everyday Week 10

I’ve shot every week, I swear!

This week’s theme was “Go | Motion”. We flew kites. And it was fun. A million years ago, sometime after Lulu was born and before last Sunday, I took Bradyn and Ellie to fly kites at Knollwood. It lasted about 27 seconds. Ellie basically let hers go, gave me the finger and got back in the car. Bradyn tried but there was anger and frustration. Sunday we freaking flew some kites for real.


After this, I was driving to the store  (alone, during the day, because I can) and thinking about how our family is changing. We continue to come into our own as our kids aren’t babies anymore. Not only are we past naps and diapers, but we’re almost past having someone that can’t keep up. Lulu still has strong limitations in just age-appropriate stamina. But we all have our own limitations. Brian doesn’t like too much social time. Ellie gets overwhelmed and overstimulated. Bradyn needs time to regroup at certain times. I have a little of each, I guess. But it’s easier to plan things and dare I say easier to relax when we’re all together.

Just watch. I’ll be making a summer bucket list in no time. Nah, I’m just shitting you. That’s a little much, don’t you think?

Ordinary Everyday Week 4

Yeah. Week 4. What’s a stronger word for “streak”? Because I’m on one, baby!

This week the theme was “responsibility”. We’ve all worked hard to carve out a chore system around here. Lulu barely has anything to do and usually falls on the floor in a heap of tears over anything but putting the silverware away. Ellie will quietly do what she’s asked. Half-ass. She slinks away before finishing much of anything. Bradyn has his good days when he really works hard and not-so-good days when he reacts more like Lulu does. I’ve been accused of treating him like “an indentured servant”. He cleaned toilets until he was doing it with a smile. We have a lot of toilets.

The thing that popped into my head for this theme was how well he is doing house-sitting for our neighbors. He goes everyday to take the mail in & check things out. He was very particular about what shots I was taking (as if I could capture the garage code in an image). He didn’t want the whole world to know they were gone (despite the fact that they’re posting vacation images on Facebook). He definitely wouldn’t let me take even one carefully-framed shot inside. Good for you, buddy! I can respect that. So I’m only posting this one image and not the other set.


All three of my kids are somewhat aware of social media. I don’t post an image without permission. I try to filter my Facebook status posts through their eyes the day they get a Facebook account and scroll through my page. I’m not quite sure why this approach isn’t more of the norm.

I’m also an advocate of allowing kids access to social media at a young age if they’re ready. This is embarrassing but I admit to letting Bradyn have access to an Instagram account before he was ready. The app magically cloud-downloaded to his iPod when he was 7. I showed him and said we’d talk more about it. I envisioned him sharing pictures with grandparents. I think it was a babysitter night. I hadn’t even followed him or allowed him to follow anyone, but just listen to what this kid did. Ellie (5 years old) was dancing around and lifting her shirt up. She knew he took a picture of her. They both thought they were just playing. BUT HE POSTED IT IMMEDIATELY TO INSTAGRAM. My children. Felons at 5 and 7 years old. They both got talking-to’s. Bradyn was allowed an actual Instagram account on his ninth birthday. We talked a lot about it before the day and on the day. He posted a profile pic he had carefully planned out. Not even an hour later, a girl in his grade made a mean comment about the profile picture. He brought it to me and we talked about how to handle it. It’s been like that ever since. I know that this was the way to go for him. He is learning and is young enough to be willing to talk to me about it. I’m glad. He’s a good egg.

Nana Linda - He IS a good egg.