Archive of ‘Parenting’ category

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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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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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!


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!


No more diapers

Well… it’s almost 7pm and no accidents today… Which would normally have made me jump for joy. But as I got Little Lue out of her bath I ignored my instincts to do things “differently” and instead indulged in the routine that I had been avoiding for the last few days… I wrapped her up tight in her towel, the way you would wrap up a newborn, and carried her to our bed. I laid her on her back and unwrapped her from her towel, dried off her little body…

And then she remember what had always been next.

She asked for her diaper.

This is the exact reason why I was not drying her this way the last few days. But oh goodness, my soft heart missed wrapping her up like a baby burrito and unwrapping her on the bed like a little Christmas present. I craved it.

Before unwrapping her I would usually carry her around wrapped up and joke with my husband “Look at this little newborn” (which is quite comical when you have a 29lbs toddler). Sometimes I would stand in front of the mirror and bounce her… And just gaze at us… My little baby girl…

She’s hardly a baby anymore…

I had to explain that she was a big girl and she wears panties. She objected several times asking for her diaper. *Insert sound of my soul being crushed here.* I had to distract her by getting her some cute pj’s. It was HARD not to get emotional over her asking for that diaper. Not that I wanted to put one on her, but because I would happily turn back the clock a few months, just to relive it all one more time… Dirty diapers and all…

Where has the time gone?


Rainy day pottery class

Monday came around again and we headed over to the pottery shop once more. Little Lue still don’t really seem to get the concept of staying at a table LOL!!

She did enjoy playing with the little clay animals that Miss Kelly Lever made for her, although was quite concerned when the heads kept getting ripped off. I attempted to teach her how to smush them back on, but I guess mommy was better at it since she kept handing me the amputated limbs.

We also got to paint a lovely peace sign mug. And yes, I do mean we, because Little Lie painted about an inch of the cup before she decided she was done. Mommy decided to add a heart and embellish a bit more of the mug. I guess we can call that one a collaboration.

Oh well.. At least we didn’t have an accident! She was dry all morning! Good job, Little Lue! She’s been doing so great… Still no accident free days, but we’re getting closer and closer.


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…




Lazy Sunday

Well… maybe not that lazy…

I was hoping we would catch the Air Show today as we didn’t check it out yesterday, but alas, my husband (who is active duty himself) has had an overdose of military experiences and watching jets fly around destroying ear drums wasn’t exactly his idea of fun.

Instead he decided to pull out the vacuum and mop and work on a little spring cleaning. Needless to say I wasn’t exactly thrilled at his choice for Sunday activities. Regardless, I decided to rearrange Little Lue’s play room. We recently acquired a used slide from some neighbors. It turns out it is a bit larger than I was expecting. But I was still determined for it to be an indoor slide. Lets face it, we wouldn’t use it much at all if it were outside (we have no fenced in yard).

So the day was a little slow…

In the afternoon after Little Lue was up from her nap, daddy was washing the car and you can guess who wanted to join him on all that splashy fun! Little Lue had fun watering the grass and swinging the water hose around, but the sun was still high and it was HOT!

We brought out a beach tent to try and mediate the situation.

Inside, the princess was excited to find her play room looking “new”. She quickly gravitated towards all the new (read switched out) toys. I think she was most excited about some staking cardboard blocks that had been put away for a few months (she has a nasty habit of chewing on card board, which is why this set is missing two of the smaller blocks!).

So that’s my Sunday! Not much action at all… Just you know… Domestic bliss LOL.


Oh yeah! How about an update on the potty training? It’s going well. Only two accidents yesterday, today we’ve had 3… Not bad, I think. Little Lue is getting better at letting us know when she needs to go and we are getting better at spotting her cues. Hoping for an accident free day in our near future. I will have to be putting up her cloth diapers one of these days… Right now they are living in a laundry basket, clean and unused.















Today I am a proud mommy!

So a couple of months back I started to notice that my Little Lue had been waking up dry! This came as quite the shock to me, really. She still nurses (yes, 20 month olds still nurse people 😉 ) in the middle of the night so I didn’t expect her to start waking up dry until she was done with that; guess again! I was so proud and excited that I went out and got her little panties. Not just any panties, but Disney Tinkerbell panties! (Tinkerbell was the new word at the time after watching a couple of the movies on Netflix). I knew she wouldn’t be able to resist Tinkerbell and I thought I would give this “potty training” a try.

Before you say she was way too young, let me just throw out there that Little Lue has been pooping in the potty for months! That’s right, she already knows how to poop in a toilet. So I already had part of this battle won!

Well… As I excitedly introduced the panties to Lucy she immediately learned the word “panty” and was very excited to try them on. And then… 2o minutes later, she peed. And the fun was over.

From then on whenever I changed her diaper I would ask her if she wanted to put on her panties. She would always say no. I often mentioned them as I went to the bathroom (what? you don’t pee with your kids? weird…) and talked about how big girls wear undies and pee in the potty.

I just put it out there and waited.

Well, yesterday finally came the day when Little Lue pooped in the toilet as usual and then promptly asked to wear panties.  I then recalled that morning when after peeing in her cloth diaper she seemed very upset and kept saying “agua” (water in Spanish) and pulling at her diaper. Maybe things had finally clicked?!

I of course ran to get her the Tinkerbell panties. I showed them to her to make sure she was sure what she was asking for. Without any hesitation she put them on and quite proudly announced she was wearing panties; pointing at them and showing them off to me.

So that’s how we were thrown into potty training! Not my choice, but hers. We are now running back and forth from the bathroom, cleaning up accidents, washing more undies than we have (you know those little diaper covers from dresses? They make great back up undies LOL), but Little Lue is still happily and proudly wearing her undies! Hasn’t ask for a diaper at all!

Momma is PROUD.

So proud I decided to urgently sew up some mama-made undies (did I mention I’m running out of clean ones?! lol).

Hubby (my little barista) made me some coffee that totally sums up how I feel. :)




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?!







Lunch with daddy

Every now and again we give ourselves permission to go out for lunch during the “work week” instead of our usual lunch at home.

Today was one of those days, and we decided to head over to Kennedy Cafe. They serve Mediterranean cuisine as well as a few other random options, like Italian, and even burgers I think. Our side of the menu is a tad smaller than their huge selection, but it’s still a great place with great food and awesome friendly service. It’s also relatively inexpensive (which is a big deal here in Key West!).

Today we enjoyed the humus with home made bread (we always get extra bread, YUM). And I had the stuffed shells (do not be fooled by the small plate, it’s difficult to finish after all that bread and humus!). Little Lue picked at some rice and beans, and daddy had some spinach somsas (DO NOT ignore the sauce on the side, so good haha)… And if you don’t know what a somsa is, sorry, no pics, hubby ate it too fast! lol Next time!

Little Lue behave moderately well… Ran around the relatively empty restaurant for a little while (so grateful that this place is pretty spacious) and then settled down in the high chair once there was food to play with eat.













A little time at the Park

While I love how words add to the mood of some images… These truly speak for themselves.

The images were taken on a cool evening at Higgs Beach Park, the new one/sandy one. I love it’s sweet shade from the pine trees that grow on the edge of the be beachy shore. It’s such a lovely park. And this child, she really does take my breath away.

Ah, Little Lue… Your spirit is such a ray of sunshine. Dedicate these to the family who misses you so much.








The mommies of Key West

So last Saturday we were visiting our favorite potters and I came upon the this bit of brilliantness, my child is old enough to take pottery! Well… You know… Toddler pottery.

What? You never heard of it?!

Yes, there is such a thing if you find an incredible teacher, fortunately Kelly Lever is an incredible artist, potter, teacher and mother! AND she just happens to be a wonderful friend of mine who immediately said yes to taking on some tiny potters.  So I rallied the mommies and to my surprise (why am I surprised, though?) 4 other moms decided to join us!

So come Monday morning I excitedly ride (my bike! shoot, I will have to post about that one soon… ever heard of a bakfiets??) to Key West Pottery where slowly my friends trickle into the studio.

For about the first 5 minutes Little Lue excitedly stamped the clay, poked it with stick tools, and picked at the fun dough like substance… And then… She was done. I spent the rest of the time chasing her around the studio/gallery. Fun times. Some how I managed to get her to hold still and trace her hand in clay as well as paint a tile (sort of), but hey… At least everyone else’s children were happily working at the table.

Still… Lots of fun and we hope to be back again next week for another try!



















Those tiny sweet moments

For some reason this small moment really caught me off guard. Little Lue was asking for a small square tile (the size of a coaster) which has her feet stamped on it. I was a little hesitant, as this is a keep sake and relatively fragile, but I decided it would be ok for her to handle for a few minutes as I watched.

The tile was a gift from our close friends who own a pottery shop in town; Key West Pottery. They are the most spectacular couple and family and enormously talented. I will probably talk about them more later. Anyhow, this little tile was their gift to us. They had us stamp Little Lue’s tiny feet on the tile, she was just about 2 weeks old… And while she wasn’t the tinniest newborn (8 lbs 6 oz… and nope, I didn’t tear!) she was still my tiny little lady.

As the now fully toddler Little Lue held this tile I felt myself tearing up. There she was lining up her foot to the little foot prints. Her foot is now larger than the tile. She kept saying “zapato” (“shoe” in Spanish). Just took her sweet time investigating this item. You could almost hear those wheels turning in her head as she compared the small foot print with her own. I wonder if she knew they were hers. Could toddlers have memories of their infant days? Womb days?

Needless to say I couldn’t resist the urge to grab my camera and try and capture a small portion of this moment.

This is really what photography is about for me. I think poses are cheesy. Beautiful, yes, but still… Just poses… Capturing little moments that I want to burn into my eyes and heart, those are the things I want to photograph… The moments I know I won’t be able to truly recall.




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