Hi! I'm Kelly Manno, a photographer based out of St. Louis Missouri. I started this blog back in 2006 to document my weekly photography adventures and before I knew it...people were actually reading it. Check back often for a peek at recent sessions or a funny story about my kids. If you would like to learn more about my photography services, visit my Kelly Manno Photography website.
Thanks for stopping by.

April 15, 2014

~ Cue the Sh*t-fit ~

So I gave up Facebook for Lent,  yes,  I'm sure Jesus is super impressed…during that time some funny things happened that I wanted to share but couldn't,  one of them being the most epic public sh*t-fit you've ever seen by this darling.   More on that in a minute...
Sometimes I need to do a better job of remembering I have 2 very different girls,  I fall victim to the prey of a busy schedule and it's easier,  for my sake,  to just throw Libby Lu in whatever activity Luci is doing because they happen at the same time.

About one year ago Luci (her older sister) started figure skating.  She fell in love with it.   She loves to perform and her dance class only had one recital per year and that just wasn't enough,  so we quit ballet and went with skating.

Figure skating has been a perfect outlet for Luci because she can do as many shows and competitions as she wants.  

At her first figure skating competition and she won first place!   The other 3 girls who skated before her ALL skated to Disney songs,  so I was a little worried knowing she was going to go out there and shake it to Pharrell Williams - but she did really good.   She had the crowd clapping' and a smile on her face.  Luci loves the being center of attention and she's great at it. 
This time around,  I signed Libby Lu with Luci for skating class because their age groups skate at the same time.   They had an end of the year show last weekend.   The theme was the Olympics and each performance was a nod to different countries.

Luci got Canada,  and she skated along proudly to some weird Canadian song I hope I never hear again.  Things went off without a hitch. 

Libby Lu got Japan,  hence the Kimono belt and hat.   I was a little worried about Libby Lu and her performance because she is a bit of a free spirit and not exactly a performer.  But my husband said she did awesome in the dress rehearsal,   knew her routine well,  and since she is only 4 her coach gets to skate out there and do the routine with her.
(Photo courtesy of Brentwood 40 South News)

Libby Lu's name was announced on the microphone, as she skated out from the big red curtain she looked happy and smiley so I wasn't really worried.

She takes her starting position,  the music begins…. and cue the Shit-fit. 

Yes,  a Shit fit of epic proportions,  at center ice for the whole crowd to see,  set to the sounds of some beautiful Japanese string quartet. 

Now you should know that a figure skating audience is a lot like a bowling,  or a golf crowd.  They sit fairly silent, with the occasional organized gasp when someone falls,  or the polite golf-clap to reward a well landed jump, …so not exactly what I'm used to but I'm learning.

We've all seen the dance recitals where one little girl is too shy to do her routine,  or goes off the script and does her own thing.  But this was different.  Libby Lu lost her mind out there. 

Turning her back to the crowd, crossing her arms,  stomping her foot,  flailing her arms and skating for her life to escape the grasp of her desperate coach.   Everytime her coach would catch up with her and try to guide her back to the routine it was like watching one of those Alligators with a rope around it's neck going into a death roll. 

At one point my husband hauled ass from our seats in the bleachers, to the open door on the side of the rink,  just incase the teacher needed help getting the little a-hole off the ice. 

It was 2 minutes of sheer chaos.  All while the orchestra music played triumphantly in the background. 

It was like watching a train wreck that you couldn't take your eyes off of,  except imagine your own little evil spawn driving the caboose.  

Thankfully the audience went from complete horror and confusion to hysterical laughter.   Which just gave her brother and sister the green light to hoot and holler and cheer her antics on.

Have you ever seen the end of the movie "Little Miss Sunshine" - where the little girl starts her stripper routine and the family goes from being completely embarrassed to joining her on stage?  Yeah.  Pretty much like that.


Those 2 minutes seems like 2 hours.  

When she was finally carried off the ice the only explanations she gave us was "They played the wrong music" and "I wanted to do my other moves" - I didn't argue with her,  she is 4,  so I gave her a hug,  asked her if she had fun,  and then bought her some popcorn.

We drove home in silence,  except the pouring rain on the windshield , completely exhausted from our long day.   I thought our embarrassment would be contained to the people who were within the walls of that ice rink,  and my mom,  who I called to tell of our horror.

So imagine my surprise the next day when this was in the local Brentwood news publication.

Yeah,  here is a close up of that.

 Oh Libby Lu,  you have a personality as wild and crazy as your hair.   You are bossy and loud,  stubborn and impatient,  and just when I'm about to lose my cool with you,  you do something completely hysterical,  and usually inappropriate,  and I fall in love with you even more. 

Someone once said to me "You parent the child you have,  not the child you wanted" - I don't think you are going to be a performer like your sister, and you don't ever have to be.  I love you so much. 

March 25, 2014

~ Brittany & Phil ~ By: Kelly Manno Photography

Brittany was sort of the little sister I never asked for :)  Growing up, our moms worked together at my parents house.  Which meant she often came to our house after school.   Even though we had a 7-8 year age difference we still got along,  she would hang out in my room and let me braid her awesome hair.  She still has awesome hair,  those are not extensions ladies!!   
We lost touch over the years but bumped into each other at the local bank a few months ago and Voila!  I'm shooting her wedding this August!!!  I don't know if I'm more excited to actually shoot the wedding or hang out with her family who I haven't spent time with in years.   Congratulations Brittany and Phil!  Can't wait for August. 

March 19, 2014

~ Lucy Who? ~

I have 3 close friends who are about to have a 3rd baby,  I can't help but be excited for them because 3rd babies come with a lot of love,  but they also come with a lot of obstacles. The world is made for a family of four,  once you become five you no longer fit at standard dinner tables,  hotel rooms,  or cars.

People quit giving you parenting advice because they assume you're either crazy or you've figured it out by now.  You're 3rd child will spend a good deal of their first years half naked in just a diaper because you haven't sorted through the tubs of death in your basement to find the correct size they're currently wearing. 

I also have this funny rule that once you go past 2 kids only your very close friends and family can keep your kids straight. 

My husband is guilty of this himself.    When we're spending time with friends who have more than two kids I need to give him the "reminder" talk before we get out of the car regarding which kid has what name.  And he still forgets.

I am never offended when someone mixes up my girls,  I don't blame them,  I did a pretty good job of confusing everyone. 

When I was pregnant with Luci I couldn't decide what to name her,  I had it narrowed down to Luci or Libby Lu,  at the last minute we went with Luci and sometimes called her "LuLu" as a nickname.

Then I blinked and got pregnant again,  I was too exhausted to be creative to I just recycled the name I didn't use for Luci.   So then I had Luci,  and Libby Lu. 

And here is where things get really messy.   
This is Lucy Lu.  
The actress who had her name way before my girls were born.  LOL   People will often call one of my girls "Lucy Lu" - I never correct them,  because the truth is I can't keep it straight half the time. 

As my girls get older they are getting closer and closer to the same size.   They also have the exact same hair color.   The tell tale sign between the two is the curly hair.  Libby Lu is always the one with the curls and Luci has straight hair.  But please don't apologize next time you mix them up,  they've learned to answer to any half-ass attempt at their names. 

For the record we also have a dog named "Susie" which sounds just like "Luci"  when you're calling one of them from across the house or in the backyard...they both come running.

One more time for review.  

January 30, 2014

"Tales from my iPhone..."

Happy 2014 Everyone!

So, the blog has been a little vacant lately.  There are a couple of good reasons for it.

1.   "Facebook killed the blogging star" - this blog used the be the only place I could share my recent work,  or a funny story about my kids.   But now,  between Facebook, instagram, and twitter I feel like I'm barfing my life all over the internet and there isn't a whole lot to share over here,  and sometimes, even I'm sick of talking about myself. 

2.  This whole "Mommy-blog",  or "internet author" thing has gotten out of control.   And I don't ever want to get lumped into that.   I'm a photographer,  not a writer.   This place sort of bridges the gap between the two.

 But have you looked at your Facebook feed lately?

"7 things to never say to your child or you will ruin them",  "Problems only people with big butts understand", "Never put a lemon in your water again", "Leave your child in a rear-faced carseat until they are 13 years old" - I seriously cannot take it anymore.   What did we do before all of these "expert" articles on how to live our lives?  Walk around like neanderthals grunting at each other?  

Want to know what not to say to someone with a tail and clubfoot so you don't offend them?  Look it up on Huffington Post,  I promise it's there.  

I'm officially on social media burn out.   But yet I feel chained to it like a slave because I do enjoy seeing what my friends all across the globe are up to,  watching their kids grow or professional dreams come true.  That part is fulfilling.    But learning why I should lift weights with my vagina?   Yeah,  I'll pass. 

And for the record,  if I read one more piece of crap column that says letting your girls dress up like a princess,  wear pink,  or telling them they are pretty, is going to scar them for life I will find you and beat you with a Rapunzel high heel.

(My inner snarky girl takes a bow)

3.  And finally, every time I sit down to write I just feel like I want to talk about my Dad.  It's starting to feel like a long time since I've seen him.   I keep counting in my head "I haven't seen my Dad in 4 months" and then my chest starts to ache and my eyes start to sting.   And when I start to think about the future and what it's going to feel like when I haven't seen him in 1 year,  or 5 years or 10 years it makes me feel like I'm drowning.   I'm trying not to be over-dramatic,  you're suppose to bury your parents,  but not when you're 35 with 3 little kids who thought he walked on water.  My God this is hard.    I miss my Dad,  everyday.  One of my friends described grief like trying to climb Mount Everest without and training.   She nailed it.

Enough sadness and snarky-ness.  I will start my first blog of 2014 the only way I know how…

Talking bragging about my kids,  that's what us moms do, right?

We're gonna call this "Tales from my iPhone" because this is just a bunch of random crap from my phone.

We will start with Luci.   Sometimes when I look at her it's like I gave birth to myself.  Except she is way cooler.  We have the same face.  Even when sleeping.   I find myself randomly warning her about the ups and downs of being her mothers clone - "Your gonna have a double chin,  but at least you'll have big boobs"  - she just looks at me like I'm crazy. 
She just finished a killer soccer season,  she loves to play,  and loves to win.   She also went to a cheerleading camp.     At the end of the day, all the parents gathered to watch the performances and then they said they had an award to give out. 

A "Most Spirited Cheerleader" award to one girl, among all the grade levels, who showed the cheerleader spirit all day, was always smiling and helping others and demonstrating the best cheerleader attitude"  - they got about one sentence in and I knew my little over achiever had it in the bag.   She was so excited.  She got a crown, a megaphone, and pom pons.   Mommy got a head so big it barely fit out the door.  Luci continues to be the little mommy and peace-keeper in our household.
And, even thought I rolled my camera bag over Whitey Herzog's toe at the last event,   Mike Matheny and his charity organization have kept me on board as their photographer.    I love being a part of that team,  being around the Cardinals,  and helping raise money for people that need it.   At our last event there was an extra ball left over that none of the players had signed for auction and the boss handed it to me and said "Here,  go get this signed for your kid" - As a professional I could never ask for something like that,  no matter how much Rocky begs, so it was really special to be able to bring this home.  Thanks Matt Holiday ;)

Speaking of Rocky,  we are full swing in Hockey season.   We are having such a great year,  here he is spending a little time in the penalty box.   He's a good player and doesn't spend much time in there,  but when he does Mom runs over and embarrasses him by taking a picture. 

The big kids were in a Kohls print ad over the winter.

And then Luci was in this little bitty,  local commercial,  where you only see her for 2 seconds,  and it turned into this giant media story.   I got a text from the lady who books all their shoots and it said "Turn on Bill O'Reily quick your daughters going to be on" -  I thought "What in the world could she be talking about?" - and sure enough,  there was sweet Luci on Bill O'Rielly.

Here is a link to the segment,  it picked up quiet a bit of steam and was also featured on FOX and ESPN.

This was my exciting New Years Eve Party.   I always set my clocks one hour ahead on New Years,  so the kids can watch the New York countdown live on television,  then at 11:00 they think it's midnight,  celebrate,  then go to bed.   And Mommy is on the couch with a glass of wine a roll of cookie dough by 11:15.   But these losers didn't even make it to my FAKE midnight.  I walk out of the room for 5 minutes and come back and they all look like this….at 10:30…..  My girls, My mom and my dogs!

Speaking of my mom I've been spending a lot of time with her lately,  came across this old photo of her,  and a recent one of me.   Pretty uncanny huh?
Oh and then Libby Lu,  can you believe how big she is?   Jimmy says she and I are a bad influence on each other because we both stay up late and then sleep in until 10am.  Last week he walked in on us eating easy-cheese in bed and watching Ice Cube on Arsenio Hall at midnight.   I figure she has the rest of her life to be on a schedule.  But right now she is 4,  and I am in my slow season, so we are a perfect pair.  But if she ends up screwed up I will totally take the blame. 

We just celebrated my brother Chris' birthday (please ignore the homeless-person look,  I've been begging him to cut his hair and shave for months) - but anyway,  I ran to grab his cake and I just grabbed a blue-one because it looked the most like a boys cake,  after she wrote his name on is and handed it back to me I looked again and it was a princess cake!  LOL  I laughed so hard putting it in my car.  

The Sparkle Fairy….I KNOW HER!   For real,  have you seen the adorable Sparkle Fairy commercials?   That's my best friend since we were 10 years old.  She moved to New York about 12 years ago and has shot plenty of other national work and commercials,  but this one is really cute and I wanted to share.   Everytime it comes on my kids know it's really Tracey under that blue hair and not a real fairy,  they think it's a big secret that no one else knows.   But I love her and I am always proud of her so I thought I would brag on her for a minute. 

Here's an old random college picture,  aren't we cute?   Love you Tracey. 

December 23, 2013

~ Our Christmas Cards ~ 2013

Life isn't any fun if you take yourself too seriously.  

  2013 was a trying year,  our house was hit by a tornado and we lost my Dad.  

But there were good times too,  and we have to choose to focus on those.  At the end of the year we are still Team Manno, as we tell our kids,  we can get through anything as long we have each other and a sense of humor.   So Merry Christmas 2013,  from us to you. 

Fun Facts about our Christmas Card :

I actually drove to the studio with my bra on the outside of my shirt, praying I didn't get pulled over.  

I didn't let my husband shave for a week,  and he was instructed to show as much chest hair as possible.  

The picture doesn't do justice to Luci's hair,  it was 1980's huge,  and she is wearing Lee press on nails.

We wanted Libby Lu to make a mean face,  but she wouldn't do it.

Rocky is just reading the articles….yeah right!

Despite many rumors that it was my brother,  or my mom,  that is the real Santa in the photos,  my kids asked him to be in our family Christmas Card at their Santa shoot this year and he said yes.

I wouldn't stop at the gas station with my bra on the outside of my clothes to get the 40oz,  the cigar, and the naughty Magazine,  so I called my husband and made him to do it!

Originally Rocky was going to be reading a playboy,  Jimmy made me settle it down a bit. 

It took us about 8-10 takes to get this,  Luci nailed her shot on the first one and was irritated that the rest of us couldn't get it together as quick.

The 5 of us laughed harder shooting this silly card than we did all year.   Kind of makes up for some of the crappy stuff.   Merry Christmas to you and your family.   See you in 2014!