Ellie in Matilda Jane Paint by Numbers

I was pretty excited to get an email from Matilda Jane Clothing requesting that we review an outfit!  The outfit arrived yesterday but when we finally got out of the house, it was way too late!  Then this evening, the heat index was over 100 degrees which is rare here and crazy for September!  But she rocked it…for ice cream.

We’ve owned a few MJ pieces but this is our first full outfit.  I am most impressed by the extremely soft but obviously high-quality materials.  Ellie is hard on clothes.  Like really hard.  This is stuff she could wear!  I love the color scheme for this Paint by Numbers collection too…very fall-feeling jewel tones.  I always prefer richer, brighter colors to pastels.  She’s wearing the Atmosphere Dress, Plum Kitten Cardigan and Arrow Wood Bennys.  So much of our life in the fall revolves around corn.  Brian’s unpredictable but always demanding work schedule really runs things around here…and pays our bills:

When she tried it on for the first time, she struck this pose…

And sometimes…sometimes when you get to Dairy Queen for your reward ice cream…there’s a classic car show!

Thank you Denise & Matilda Jane for the opportunity to enjoy this outfit…and for the excuse to get this sweet girl out for some pictures (and ice cream!).

No words for that one.

our project ten: september 2013

This is my first Project Ten post over here.  Please browse the others at my business blog:  http://www.nancylarystudios.com/category/project-ten/.  I have the honor of being in a great group of photographers that post monthly (monthly-ish) with daily life images.  The idea is that we take a photo-an-hour for ten hours and post them on the 10th of the month.  That’s the idea anyway, I tend to take a few liberties with the “rules”.

Puppy day!

The kids and I have been lobbying for a puppy for quite some time.  I said I really wanted a puppy before summer 2014. Yesterday I took the kids to an adoption event for our local shelter Pet Refuge.  We met an adorable, sweet little lab mix named Lola.  I was just asking for the drama when I took them there but I did it anyway.  I understand the value of adopting a pet from a shelter.  I do.  There are so many pets that need homes.  But the shelter-rescue route has not felt like the way we wanted to go.  In wanting this dog, I wanted it to be an exciting thing for our whole family to go, choose a tiny puppy & bring it home weeks later to begin our new chapter together.

Brian has been resistant; stating hard facts like “We already have a dog.”  (true.  an 11 year old jack russell terrier who has been a better pet in his old age than he ever was before.)  and “Look at our house.  A puppy is the last thing we need!”  (true.  i’m a terrible housekeeper.  we have three kids, a dog, two guinea pigs and a fish) and “A big dog would scratch the hell out of the new floors  you say you want.”  (true.  hopefully he won’t be big enough to do damage.) and so on.  He’s also said that he doesn’t want one over 50 pounds and that it has to be non-shedding.  He’s pointed out dogs that he likes & we’ve done a little research together.  A little.  I’ve done boatloads on my own.

When we came home yesterday, we had a very grown-up, married people conversation.  I said, “There are two adults in this marriage and I’m one of them.  I’m ready to take on a puppy.  There has to be a way you can agree.”  That’s all it took.  He was ready to cave.  I spent the rest of the day looking up breeders I’d researched, making appointments to visit, inquiring about current and upcoming litters.  He was surprisingly tolerant, even when I was crouched by his chair unwilling to take a break while the iPad charged.  Late last night, I found a local breeder with puppies born at the end of May.  I talked to her early this morning and she was less than thrilled.  She’d thought the listing had expired and was considering keeping the last puppy of the litter.  We talked later made an appointment for a visit this afternoon.  It went well and we ended up with the very most perfect puppy imaginable for us.

He has the best temperament we could ask for.  We’re calling him Max for now but Brian is really pushing for Baxter.  He keeps repeating a line from Anchorman and rolling his eyes when it’s obvious I don’t remember what he’s referring to.  He has remarked several times about the size of this puppy’s paws.  I am acknowledging that he’ll get tall but stay lean and around 60 pounds.  Please let him stay under 70 pounds…please!  One of my favorite parts of the day was getting out the big, old carrier we used for our yellow lab.  Her blanket was still in it.  I thought to myself, “He kept this.  He was planning on another dog all along.”  That Brian, he’s absolutely my other half.  Sometimes it’s annoying that he’s so level-headed and grumpy but he balances me out better than anyone else ever could.

Enough words?  I swear these project 10 posts are never this wordy but I’m in crazy dog lady overdrive!

In the last two, Ellie is wearing a Matilda Jane outfit that we need to reshoot tomorrow because it got way too dark tonight.

Please continue on to see what my friend Kirsty has been up to.  I can pretty much promise she won’t have boring dog adoption story narrative to wade through:  http://kirstylarmourblog.com/?p=4057

kati - WOW Nancy! Congratulations on your newest family member! He looks like a Baxter to me. In fact I had a dog named Beauregard Baxter. Being from the South where almost everyone has two names, I nicknamed him Beau-Baxter. xx

Ellie in Matilda Jane Paint by Numbers » Oh Lulu Blog - […] that we review an outfit!  The outfit arrived yesterday but when we finally got out of the house, it was way too late!  Then this evening, the heat index was over 100 degrees which is rare here and crazy for […]


This is my first Film Fridays post at this blog.  There rest are here:  Nancy Lary Studios.  I’m looking forward to sharing more here & leaving the business blog for … business blogging.

I’ve been trying to ignore the cost involved with shooting film.  I know it’s making me a better photographer and helping me move forward, not to mention getting me to shoot my kids more often.  I even shot a whole roll of 120 on the Pentax 645 at Krispy Kreme, where I used to practice so often.  This was Portra 400:

I also “burned” a roll of Ektar which I ended up loving…a lot.  I’ve heard the color described more than once as “punchy” and heck yeah it is!  I had to bring the red down quite a bit but I still love the color in the skin:

Manual focus is still a struggle.  But it’s worth it.  I shot images of me with each kid on that white background that same day.  I ended up with no less than FOUR MILLION images and had to cull down to TEN for a project.  Then there are these.

Then there’s the sun.  THE SUN, people!  I was able to shoot in full sun without freaking out about blown highlights and whatever else.  So much of our happy happens out in the sun.

Please keep on surfing to see my friend Jessica’s film images from this month:  http://thegagglephotography.com/2013/08/film-fridays-august/

karyn - i love both rolls! and your manual focusing is pretty darn good to me!! which lens did you get for your kit?

jessican - Ok I love this new blog – super cute. And Krispy Cream – awesome! The Ektar tones – so super rich.

Jenny Owens - Oh wow Nancy, these are so cool and love your new blog!

Nancye50 - It’s a 75mm 2.8, Karyn. Thanks!!

heidi - These are all so pretty! Especially love love love the Krispy Kreme ones!!! I need to take my camera there-great windows, but ours is always so crowded!

Is this what you had in mind?

This morning, Lulu was asking me some really hard-to-decipher questions about when she has kids someday.  I wasn’t really sure what she was wondering or trying to ask.  She might have just been talking out her a$$.  Somewhere along the line of the conversation, we agreed that I’d watch her kids while she went to her job as a doctor.  She was asking about “my job” and I said my job is being a photographer and taking care of the kids.  “What do you do to take care of the kids!?” she asked.  Uh.  I take naps & make mac ‘n cheese.  Really.  What does she think I do?

This has always been on my mind as a mother.  I did not ever envision myself as a “housewife”.  I worked at least part-time until we moved to Indiana.  At the end of our time in Iowa, I really only went in to work as an Occupational Therapist once a week or every other week, and I worked at home 4-6 hours per day from home.  My kids knew I had a job.  Their mom had a job.  She went to college and got a degree and got a job.

My vision for adulthood included a fantastic career and full-time day care.  I had a boyfriend in high school & early college that alluded to his very different vision of me staying home and being the kind of amazing mom his mom was.  That had honestly never occurred to me.  Why the hell would I not have a job?  A friend in OT school said she planned to stay home with her kids.  I remember thinking, “Then why are you here?”.

I’ve always had a drive to earn a paycheck, sometimes to a fault.  Through high school & college into my early career, I tended to continue to take on hours and extra jobs until I was totally overwrought with stress and exhaustion.  Then I’d cut back and let it build back up again.  As we continued to have kids & Brian continued to advance in his career, I was able to get that under control.  Somewhat.

Lily has one year of preschool left after this one.  I can’t help but think forward to “this time next year”.  I don’t know what my plan is for when she goes to kindergarten.  So far, I have the first day planned:  put all three on the same bus, shed a tear, make a cup of coffee and buy a puppy.  I’d like to think the next day, I’ll put a deposit down on a beautiful studio space.  The studio will have white couches and the puppy will never pee on them.  In thinking about “this time next year”, I’ve allowed myself to admit that stay-at-home-mom wasn’t what I had planned. It’s okay to think past pinning meal ideas & carpool.  When I am able to do the actual work of running a photography business & to do it during regular-people daytime hours, I’ve really enjoyed it.  I’ve realized that I do like having a job & I do think it’s important; not just a “side thing”.

Make no mistake about it, I’m doing what I want to be doing & what I feel is right for myself and my family.  There’s no doubt about that.  But on days that I struggle with all of this motherly and wifely work, it helps to remember that I get to do this my way. Sometimes I feel bombarded by this ideal of motherhood and childhood being these magical mystical things that we are supposed to approach as some sort of monumental, never-been-done-before undertaking.  Not so; not in this house.  Sometimes that mystical magic of the everyday is more everyday than magic and that’s totally cool with me.  That’s actually more fun and happy for me.

I really hope that my girls grow up with career aspirations.  I hope they know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that they want to go to college and are driven by the desire to work at something.  And I hope they know the value of making that something work with being a mother.  I hope they know that my college education enabled me to run a household, work outside the home and run a business from home.  Maybe someday I’ll get to be the one to take care of their kids when Lily’s off being a doctor and Ellie’s being an artist.

The kid has no interest in art right now.  She says that’s what art classes in college are for.  Duh.




Brandi Graves - Umm. When you get that studio…the one with the white couches…can you rent it to me sometimes and add “landlord” to your job list?? ;). I still take on too much and overextend myself until I am stresses and exhausted…how’d you stop doing that???

Nana - She hasn’t totally stopped doing that. And for the life of me I don’t know where she gets that.

Here comes the sun…streaming in upon a turkey grease haze.

So tonight after dinner, I was sitting alone at the table.  The other places had either been cleared or (in Lulu’s case) abandoned.  The kids were going apeshit.  Brian was doing the dishes.  I was pretending I was having a glass of wine after a nice dinner.  But really it was the rest of my watered-down diet Mountain Dew after a chaotic & loud dinner of turkey burgers.  I caught a glimpse of the light coming in the window and took this picture:

I carefully chose a filter (kodachrome in Alt Photo) to highlight the beautiful rays streaming in.  I even showed Brian my pretty picture.  A few minutes later, he was getting ready to take Ellie to the store to get ingredients for salsa that she’s taking to a Daisies meeting tomorrow.  He walked into the living room and pointed out that the beautiful haziness was in there too.  “Oh,” I said, “…it’s from grilling the turkey burgers.”  Nice.  I had posted turkey grease haze on Instagram.  I even hashtagged it “#herecomesthesun”.  So I turned a few fans on & opened a few windows.  Turkey grease haze happens.

Brian and Ellie came back & got to work making the salsa.  I thought about how nice it is that, even though I handle a lot of the day-to-day kid stuff, he always happily takes the opportunity to jump in and do his part with projects like “everyone bring a snack related to your heritage” when asked.  It was enough for me to grab the big camera:

Then I was like, “Wait, turkey grease haze…” & got a few of Lulu bouncing around on the couch:

So what’s the point of this story?  It’s this:  When life gives you turkey grease haze, sometimes the best you can do is call it pretty light, photograph it and reflect on how spring is coming.  It doesn’t hurt to crack a window & maybe light a candle.

Spring really is coming though.  And it’s really nice that there’s some light after dinner.

Amy Allen Clark - I love this and your sunny outlook on turkey grease haze. You are a breath of fresh air, my friend!

Nana li ca - She gets that from her mother. lol

Kay Pickens - Love all of those. Ellie’s smile making salsa. Lulu’s impish grin from the couch. Even the turkey haze 😉