Archive of ‘Friends and Family’ category

The Sunday Stroll

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Nothing says end of the week in the Hernandez house like a Sunday stroll.

You know the drill, Little Lue gets all buckled up in her bike bench, mom and dad grab the helmets, and away we go.

This Sunday morning we decided to go to Sippin, and we were happily surprised by how empty it was. It’s quite difficult to go anywhere these days with Little Lue as she is getting quite unpredictable when it comes to restaurants. So an empty restaurant is a welcomed sight; less people to upset by the ornery toddler. Although it seems no one has noticed the floor tantrums, or given much thought to a little head pocking around the back of the register because Little Lue is always a welcomed and cherished customer at Sippin. I love that place.

After breakfast it was off to our favorite park on the corner of Whitehead and Caroline St. We only stayed a few minutes and then decided to wonder around down town.

I was kind of leaning towards riding the Conch Train again, but decided against it as I think that stuff is free for locals for the month of June. (Anyone want to double check for me??)

We just walked around the boardwalk and wondered into the Art Museum. Did you know that’s free for Active Duty Military and family? (it may be a temporary thing, but still nice that it was free! Go check that out!).

Back outside we had the pleasure of sitting in some shade  by an adorable puppy! Her name was “Coqueta” and she certainly lived up to her name. She was so cute and friendly. Where can I find more puppies to take pictures of?!!?!

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Conch Train!!

Ok, so what started out what sounded like a totally dorky idea turned out to be so much fun!

My good friend Kelly has a lot of connections with the city’s Conch Train Tour so she suggested we go on a ride as a play date. I thought it would be a great idea since Little Lue loves rides and this train definitely looked like a ride! It just so happens that it “rides” around town hehe.

Turns out that the tour was 90 minutes long (split into a 50 minute portion and another 2 smaller portions, divided by short stops). I was a tad nervous that this would test Little Lue’s attention span, but it actually worked out great! It was 90 minutes of sitting *mostly* in the same place and just taking in the sights. And the information about the history and architecture of Key West was really cool too.

It was really nice and the girls LOVED it. Little Lue was excited all morning because I kept telling her we were going on the choo-choo and she couldn’t wait to get on the train once we got to the “station”.

Little Lue and Miss O got to check out the engine and even pulled on it’s bell! They got some cute little engineer paper hats, but the little stinkers wouldn’t keep them on.

Oh! And at the little gift shop we got a cute little train whistle. I also grabbed some popcorn to maximize toddler compliancy for the remainder of the ride.

It was great. I kept joking with Kelly that I’d pay to ride it again… me in one car with my Kindle, and the hubby and Little Lue in another… he he he

 

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What a let down…

When you realize you’ve accidentally deleted pictures you were going to blog. :(

I had some fun shots of another yummy restaurant in town, but I guess I will have to post about Goldman’s another day. I accidentally deleted the pictures. I thought I had already saved them on the computer, but I guess not; weird.

So instead all I have to share today are 3 pictures for going to Bay View Park yesterday. I was wanting to take more pictures with so many friends there, but Little Lue was not having the greatest time (there seemed to be a lot of drama revolving around this fun wagon she wanted all to herself lol) so it was kind of hard taking pictures while I really needed to be paying attention to her… Ahhh that thing called parenting I have to worry about every now and then 😉

Here are some beauty close ups of Little Lue and one of her dear friends. :)

Side note, goodness just look at those eyes!!!! <3 <3 <3

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Oh look, it’s ME!

So Little Lue and I got to enjoy a little pool action at a friend’s house yesterday. It was supper fun and a huge relief from the increasingly hot weather we’re getting down here.

I brought my camera along to take some pictures of all the little ones in the pool, but it turned out that I never once brought it out. I was so nervous about having Little Lue in the pool that I just couldn’t justify pulling out the camera. And after a few times of her getting dunked under water (with me or another adult right there, I’m pretty sure I made the right choice!).

But luckily, someone did pull out their camera and took a few pictures. And when she posted them on FB I just yearned to edit them LOL.

So I asked for the pictures and I’m so glad I did!!! The pictures were all super cute and I seriously have so few with me actually in them. It was fun to edit them and see myself through Camera Latte Vision 😉

Thank you so much, Kelly, for taking the pictures and sharing them with me!!!

before and after- pic by kelly maatta

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Bella!!!

Remember that gorgeous family I got to shoot a few weekends ago? Well, we got together again for dinner as they wanted to invite us for a meal, kind of like a “thank you” for the pictures I had done for them, but really it was just a great excuse to get together! To my surprise their daughter Bella (what an appropriate nick name 😉 ) was wearing a dress I had made her for birthday. It was really nice to get to see it on her, I don’t always get the pleasure unfortunately. So It was kind of a special treat to just get to watch her play and twirl in it. And yes, of course there is twirling at restaurants, silly!

Bella’s mom excitedly told me how her family LOVED the pictures and that when they visit they wanted to have me shoot them all together. It was really nice to hear the pictures were appreciated. We will see if that gets to happen as my move date starts to get closer.

Well… Since there was an ADORABLE bench calling my name. And Bella was wearing my adorable dress… You KNOW I had to take some pictures!

I had to sit on these images a few days because as you may know, my desktop was frozen. But as soon as I got the new computer all set up they were the first images I decided to edit. And WOW what a difference my new screen has made!! It’s like I was editing blindfolded before!! hahaha I also got to work on my new logo/watermark :) So here it is for the first time… New an improved Camera Latte 😉

(((Poop… the logo got chopped on the vertical pictures… working on it!! lol at least it’s just the web ones with the bigger logo :P)))

 

Oh! And for those interested in my sewing CLICK HERE for my FB Page and HERE for my Etsy shop. It’s been a while since I posted new items/dresses, but just keep and eye on it 😉

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Thank you, Papo!

I’m going to share a few random photos taken a few hours before Nana and Papo had to get on their air plane and fly back home to Puerto Rico. I know their time here is precious to them (and Little Lue!) so here are a few moments captured.

After I finished editing the pictures, I kind of wanted to go back and re-do them in black and white, but alas, my desk top died this morning. So no photo processing for me :'( I have a replacement desktop already ordered and on it’s way (should be here by Monday) so yay for computer upgrade, and BOO for  having to wait so long to post again. :/

I hope you enjoy these pictures mostly of Little Lue and Papo tinkering with some vintage Tinker Toys we had ordered off eBay.

If you’re wondering about the post title, “Thank you, Papo” it’s because Little Lue keeps repeating it over and over as she plays in an inflatable ball pit they had brought her. It’s pretty cool that she remembers who brought it for her.

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Paige’s Birthday Party!!

Happy Birthday little Paige!!! She is 5 years old this week and I was invited to capture part of her special day as the Birthday Girl.

This was definitely an interesting experience. For one, I was shooting with the 35mm, which is still a very new lens for me so in all honesty I was terrified the entire time of ruining all the pictures LOL. But I knew that using it would help me build confidence with it. What better chance for it to prove it’s worth in an indoor setting where highlight and space was limited, right?

Also, trying not to trip over children and chairs was especially difficult. I must say, I must definitely work on my grace as a photographer LOL!!!

Little Lue got to come along with Nana. She had lots of fun painting, smacking the pinata, and running around with all the big kids. Good thing I brought along a baby sitter, because there is no way I could have shot the birthday while watching her!

I thankfully picked up a few new tricks after a few days of reading up on editing and how to speed up the process. Somehow I managed to edit 167 images in about 3 hours! Not bad! (specially considering I started with 400+ lol).

I’m quite pleased with how these turned out :) I hope they are enjoyed and treasured for many years to come!

Here are some favorites, and as always check out the gallery for more!

 

P.S. If you see pictures of your little ones that you would like, please feel free to message me and I will share a copy with you. :)

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Celebrating 1000 blog views!!!

I’m so so so very excited to see that I have some loyal readers here! I’m the creepy blogger constantly checking her stats to see how many people are coming in here to check out my posts and pics and I can see that YOU keep coming back for more. And that feels GREAT! I love knowing that you guys are enjoying Camera Latte as much as I am.

So in celebration of hitting 1000 views (YEAH!) and the upcoming all sacred Mother’s Day, I’ve decided to host my first back to back mini session. I’m inviting 3 mothers and your beautiful kiddos for a short 20 minute photo shoot. I will provide 5 edited digital images for you to share and enjoy, totally free, a gift from Camera Latte to your family for supporting my blog. And yes, you are supporting Camera Late just by coming by and checking it out as often as you do!

Big big thank you to all my readers! Definitely feeling the love and I want to send it all back to you!

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A happy accident

My parents are in town! Which means Little Lue is one happy little lady as she LOVES her Nana time.

Of course I’m excited to capture some happy family moments. However, today I was testing out another new lens 35mm 1.8 (again, eBay addicts anonymous, hun?) and I’m not sure why, but as I was shooting I was hating on all the images. I thought they weren’t sharp enough compared to my 50mm and I just wasn’t feeling it. And to top off my frustration I realized I had been shooting in the “wrong” settings. I have my User settings on the D700 set up so I can easily switch from indoors to outdoors. Anyhow, long story short I was pretty peeved when I realized my mistake.

Needless to say I wasn’t exactly looking forward to editing these  images…

And then… a magical thing happened… I opened these pictures and my jaw literally dropped. I LOVED the pictures. Love love LOVE them!

I’m not sure how to explain how pleased I am with these. <3 I can only PRAY I can repeat this “mistake” and capture more of this!!

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My First Family Session

So Camera Latte has bought me some attention from friends and family and I have had a couple of people ask me about taking some family pictures for them. Last night was my first go at this experiment. And I think it went well!

After about 30 minutes of picture taking, I came home with about 200+ images. WOW! So yeah, I definitely over shot it, but it was a good learning experience. I guess I was so nervous about missing the moment that I was photographing EVERY moment. LOL Next time I will take it easy on the clicker hahaha.

Well… let me just say that going through and editing 200 images is no cake walk haha. About 3 hours later I had selected, edited, and given my blessing to 33 of the pictures taken. Every time I learn something new about photography and what it would be like to be a professional photographer I understand more and more how much work goes into every single image. One great picture, easy… 30 great pictures… much more time consuming LOL

I hope non of this comes across as me complaining! This was super fun and I hope to do it again 😀 I guess I just have a greater appreciation for what photographers actually DO, that’s all!

So who was the lucky guinea pig?

This is Melanie and her beautiful family. (Can you see why it took so long to select pictures?! These people are gorgeous!)

Melanie, thank you so much for contacting me and asking for some pictures. It was really great to be able to give this a try, thanks for the opportunity to experiment. It was a great learning experience for me and I hope you enjoy the images that I caught for you. :)

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Babies and Editing

So today I got to play with little baby Andrea! Somehow it took me forever and a day to come visit with this gorgeous little creature, but we finally got together. And goodness me, was I missing out on a complete cuteness explosion!

Little Lue got to play with baby Andrea’s big bro… and boy was that fun! Sure, sharing still isn’t yet mastered at this age, but it was fun to see them truly interacting running around the house and checking out all the toys.

Now… Of course I had to take pictures! However, with a cloudy day and indoor lighting, it was a bit difficult to really get some good ones. So I guess I decided to over compensate with some funky editing. I admit… I might have gone a little crazy with it LOL… But I’m just experimenting :)

Gia, I hope you enjoy the pictures!

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Egg Hunt

Yesterday a few friends got together and decided to throw a belated Easter Egg Hunt party.

It was really great to have one of those “just for fun” parties. It makes me feel like I live in such an awesome community of moms who enjoy just getting together for no particular reason.

Everyone brought a dish, a few moms brought and hid eggs, others brought kiddie tables, and tada! Instat party.

Part of the fun was getting the little ones all dressed up and have our friends at Filda Konec Photography (click link for their pics!) take pictures. Let’s try and not get sentimental here, but some of us are moving this year (including myself :( ) and we really wanted some cute group pictures.

Honestly we were so worked up about the baby cuteness that I think we missed something…. A great group picture of the MOMS!!! Ahhh!!!

What a great excuse to get together again. 😉

Here are a few favorites, but check out the gallery at the bottom for more!

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The Mommy Mobile

Some time ago I came across a blog called Car Free with Kids. I became fascinated with the idea of ditching my car and only walking/bicycling to where I needed to go. I was also introduced to this fantastic looking contraption called the “bakfiets bike”.  This cool bicycle has a big cart in the front with a bench for your children (yes! more than one!) to ride in. I mean, how amazing is that?!

At that time Little Lue was still a chubby little rolly polly and bicycling really wasn’t much of an option. So for a long time I just daydreamed about my imaginary fantastic bicycle and all the adventures we would have riding around town.

Well, imagine how excited I was when my husband decided to find said fantastic bicycle and have it shipped to me for this past Christmas! Seriously, I had not been that excited about Christmas gifts for YEARS.

We are very fortunate right now to live in a fabulously tiny island called Key West. Everything is within a 5 mile radius, so I really can (and easily) bicycle everywhere. We go to the library, park, coffee shop, post office, music class, the pottery shop, sometimes we even venture the grocery store on this bike. So for the past few months I’ve enjoyed this fun little ride (which gets a lot of attention where ever it goes!) and so has Little Lue.

And while we are still not “car free” we are definitely “car light” and tend to only use our cars on the weekend. (Even my husband walks/bikes to work!) And if you’re wondering, yes the bike is pricey, but when you add up the gas we’ve saved. Honestly it’s probably already payed for itself!

And I LOVE this bike. It’s just such a fun thing to ride on and enjoy with Little Lue. It’s easy to just get out the door and go. And it’s not just where we’re going, actually riding there is an activity in itself (as opposed to the bored cranky toddler in a car seat).

Bicycle commuting is definitely not just for the child free!

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Family in town

We had a quicky visit form my in laws this week. We were supposed to spend a few days up in Orlando with them but things got complicated and we had to cancel the trip. But of course they couldn’t  miss a chance at seeing Little Miss Lue while in state, so they drove down to Key West for one night to spend a little time with us.

It was hard pulling out the camera when we were busy enjoying our time together, but I still managed to grab a few images.

Our visit consisted mostly of indoor play, a visit to our favorite ice cream shop Flamingo Crossing (BEST ice cream EVER, will post about this place soon), and a delicious breakfast at Croissants de France.

It was kind of sad that it was such a short visit and we couldn’t join them in Orlando, specially since this was probably their last visit here to Key West… It’s hard to believe we will be moving this summer… Oh gosh, let’s not talk about that!

On to the pictures!! <3

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The dirty dishes in the sink

This morning I woke up to a huge pile of dishes in the sink… The same dishes that were there last night, same from yesterday’s lunch, and breakfast, possibly dinner from the day before. Eww. Totally unacceptable, but it happens probably a couple of times a week.

And before I go off on a tangent of “why” this happens (i.e. my excuses) I’m just going to admit that it does happen. And relatively often in my home.

And… it’s NO. BIG. DEAL.

A couple of friends texted me early in the morning for a play date. I had been planning on a morning of cleaning (including said dishes) but instead I chose to open the door to my home as wide as it could go. And just ignore the dishes in the sink.

I could have excused myself from meeting them… But alas, a day without a play date is a day where mommy gets cranky and sick of being inside. It’s a day where mommy starts to lose her patience a little earlier in the day because domestic life can be quite trying even with the easiest of children. It’s a day where Little Lue is bored and extra needy. A day where she’s not tired at nap time and might even miss her nap.

In short, all the grand plans of kitchen cleaning, laundry folding, vacuuming and general cleanliness are some how foiled.  And momma is left with a sense of complete and utter failure, a still messy house, and a not so pleased husband.

So play date it is!

As my daughter and her friends proceeded to destroy play in the house. I found myself forgetting about the dishes and instead admiring my relatively organized playroom, my miraculously dog hair free floor (rare); I’m kind of feeling like I got this!

And then of course a friend just happens to wonder into the kitchen to return an empty glass of water. She can’t even figure out where to put her cup down. And I feel that ripple of shame burning through my body.

But why? Why do we torture ourselves like this? After all, they must have dirty dishes at home at SOME time during the day, too. This wasn’t a planned play date, why would anyone expect my home to be magazine worthy at any given time. I would never expect the same of anyone else. Honestly, I doubt my friends expect it either, so why do we expect it of ourselves?

Yet we do this self shaming constantly.

Frantically cleaning toilets, hiding piles of laundry, rushing to pick up toys, spraying air fresheners or lighting candles, and any other last minute quick clean up that we can manage as we make our guests wait at the door just 30 more seconds in the name of… well… what exactly?

What is this that we are trying to accomplish?

Because it seems to me that these notions of a perfectly maintained home are a bit… fabricated. I always have dirty laundry, or dog hair to vacuum, or dishes to wash, or clean laundry to fold, or dressers to dust… Because that’s the thing about clean up, it’s constant and repetitive. As soon as my kitchen is spotless, it’s time to pull out the barely-dry-from-washing pans and put them back to work at dinner.

So lets stop shaming ourselves over our daily lives. Perhaps dishes are my weakness, my battle, my sour spot. Perhaps you have a different battle that is continuous and humbling, because let me be honest here, I have many (that pesky dog hair is my other nemesis)!

After my friends started to pick up to go, and the kids were all yawning and rubbing their eyes from a morning hard at play… I knew the rest of the day would be “easy”. There is nothing more easy than a played out kid.

Nap time came around and the dishes did get done. The destroyed played in living room was put back in order. The play room too was arranged once again to it’s “organized” form. And for about 20 minutes the house was feeling pretty tidy!

And then… Little Lue gets up and it’s time to play again.

There will be more dirty dishes to wash, more toys to put away, more laundry to wash and fold. So lets stop pretending like we don’t live in our homes. It is OK to have a little mess here and there (or you know, everywhere) when you have little ones to care for. It’s HARD to keep up with them, and I only have ONE (boy do I have a LOT to learn!).

Excuse yourselves, mothers (and fathers and caregivers). Your house is LIVED IN and there is no reason to expect it to be spotless at any given time. And unless your mother in law is visiting your home, I think you are very well excused to leave perfectionism at rest and enjoy your day and company stress free…

 

Speaking of in laws… They should be here in a few hours…

 

GAHHHH!!!!!! THE DISHES?!?!!?

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The cutests kids I’ve ever met

These pictures are from yesterday at the park. I wasn’t planning on taking pictures really. Yesterday my mission was the coffee shop. But… as we strolled into the park on Truman Annex (On Whitehead and Caroline St.) in the morning hours I just couldn’t deny the fabulous colors produced by the sunshine coming through the trees… Ahhh, I seriously love this park… It’s usually empty, the play ground equipment looks brand new and it’s pretty much the perfect size for a toddler. High enough for it to be a “big kids” play ground, but close enough to the ground that I don’t get all jumpy and nervous when Little Lue is hanging off the sides of those ropy ladders.

And my goodness, with kids like these how could anyone resist snapping a few shots?!

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