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.















The best Fish Sandwich in Key West

We hit this place probably once a week. It’s just that good. Eaton Street Seafood Market isn’t the first place you might think to head over on your lunch hour, but let me tell you, you’ve been missing out.

Fresh locally caught fish are on display on the counter, as well as shrimp, lobster, crabs, you name it. If it swims and it’s in season, they got it! And you know it’s the real stuff because you walk in that door and there’s no mistaking that fresh fish smell. Not the bad kind, but the kind that makes your mouth water if you are the seafood inclined.

So back to lunch. You walk up to the counter, check out the fish on display and point to whatever looks most appetizing. And just like that they grab that exact fillet you asked for, cook it to perfection, and shove it into your sandwich.

We keep coming back because each and every time (we always get a different kind of fish) we bite into that sandwich my husband and I always a agree “This is the best fish sandwich I’ve ever had!”. Little Lue particularly enjoys the “chips” that they serve with the food, “platanutres” (plantain chips)!

You really can’t beat fresh fish like that. Oh wait, and did I mention this is totally on the affordable side? Granted price depends on your choice fish. But when we’re talking about the “best fish sandwich I’ve ever had” made fresh right on the spot you might think spendy… Not really!

There isn’t much space to sit and eat. There’s a bar with a few stools inside, and some nice benches outside in the shade. A large planter in the middle that serves as an impromptu table. This is a great place to get your food to go, or just relax and enjoy a nice outdoor informal lunch.

Oh yeah! And try the smoked fish… It’s soooo good! It’s like the fish version of beef jerky. haha


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Last night I got to participate in an awesome event put on by my incredibly talented friend, Adam J Russel. Adam is the owner of Key West Pottery where he and his wife Kelly Lever (remember her?) create, showcase, and share their amazing “Honest Works”.

For the past 3 years Adam has been working as a potter, a craft that is self taught for him. You really would have never guessed this from his incredible work including functional pottery like mugs to giant topical fist sculptures.  He was traditionally trained in painting, and this event was his first painting show since he moved to Key West after his Artist Residence here with TSKW (who wouldn’t want to come back?!).

When I asked him what this collection meant to him, he talked about how learning pottery outside the traditional classroom made him appreciate a different kind of learning process and connection to his craft. And while truly enjoying his pottery work, painting is what he does, and he hadn’t painted in far too long. This collection is not only “new” because it was just created, it is also new because the creative process was new as well. Something more in tune with himself, a better connection; hence the title, Lisen.

Here’s a little snippet from the event FB Page.

“Working exclusively in clay for the past few years has taught me how to listen. To hear the vernacular of my surroundings, without trying to didactically relay some big idea. Returning to my painting easel with this more direct, open approach to making art has been a happily messy release. In this body of paintings I’ve been able to stay loose while making a celebratory, dripping wet, colorful lather of assertion” -Adam J Russell

Listen brought in a great crowd of art gazers, friends, families, and even a few pooches! And I must mention that the food was amazing, the music on spot; these people know how to party!


Don’t forget to check out the Gallery at the bottom!



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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?!







How did I come up with “camera latte”?

Where did the name “Camera Latte” come from? Well let me tell you!

Every Tuesday morning Little Lue and I go to Music Together, and when we get out of class we got into the habit of catching a mom coffee date with the other moms/kids who went to class. We would walk just one street over to Sippin, a little internet cafe. One fabulous morning I decided to try a blended caramel latte, and I was hooked! I don’t even have to put in an order anymore, I walk in and they already know to put my latte together with my usual butter croissant.

So when I was thinking of a blog name I wanted something that would represent those sweet and fleeting “adult” moments that I enjoy with other moms where we sit at a coffee shop and sip on some joe and pretend we can relax just like everyone else. Granted these moments are being cut short by the crying babies demanding to nurse, or the toddlers that now try and dig stuff out of the recycling bin. But you know, in our imaginations we are like the those sitting across the table from us… Reading their kindles, surfing the internet, and just soaking in that adult time.

Originally, I was going to name the blog “Caramel Latte and a Camera”. A bit long, I thought, but truly captured what I wanted this blog to be. When my husband asked me about the name as we were working on setting this up he simply suggested “camera latte”. Genius! I can’t believe I didn’t come up with it myself! He gets the credit for that one. :)

So today I decided to snap a few shots of my source of inspiration. I think I scared the barista as she squealed and hid when she realized I was photographing her making some coffee hehe… Perhaps next time I shall ask first! Whoops!









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!



















Lunch at The Cafe

So today was kind of a slow day; no library, no play date, no music class. The husband was out for the day and I was left home alone bored for far too long. So that means I needed to take myself out and Little Lue out for a date!

Of course there is no place better down town than The Cafe! It’s this awesome vegetarian restaurant (they serve fish and shellfish as well) and OMG their food is AMAZING. Like seriously, none vegetarians come here on the regular because it’s THAT good. It’s not like most other places I’ve been with so-so ridiculously healthy food. It’s just really GOOD food that happens to be mostly vegetables.

Little Lue was quite annoyed to see that our destination was not in fact a park, but we settled in our favorite table by the window. She happily played with the salt shaker and sugar baggies (err what do you call those things? Coffee sugar? Ummm… IDK whatever lol) which was a particularly spacial treat for her, as I usually snatch them away before she can reach them. But alas, today I don’t care. And she happily spills the salt and pepper all over the table. Fun times. I’m too busy planning our fabulous meal and digging for my camera.

Ended up ordering a cup of creamy tomato soup for Lue, and a peanut sauce stir fry. SO GOOD. Little Lue surprised me but chowing down (a rarity when we are out, she prefers to eat at home) on the soup, crackers, noodles from my stir fry and even some broccoli from my plate.


We took the carrot cake to go in hopes to share with daddy later in the evening.

A heavenly meal, with great servers, great company… Ahhh My day just got so much better!









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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