Child-Friendly Coffee Shop


Today I’d like to introduce you to a charming coffeeshop and a friend of mine.  Kirby and I met through a Meetup group Atlanta Bible Studies.
We started chatting after a Bible study once and discovered we both enjoy creative work. She is a graphic designer and has designed for several magazines
as well as sells from her Etsy shop Sugardime Studio. We talked about how we enjoy our work, but find it difficult to manage all the aspects of a business.

This summer we started getting together ever other week to work on our business plans and talk about our inspirations.
Sometimes we spend more time talking than working which is fun, too. Whether we’re quietly working side by side
or bouncing ideas back and forth these regularly scheduled times to work on business together have become so helpful and motivating.

Atlanta’s many locally owned coffee shops have rich character and delicious coffee.  These meetings have given us a chance
to branch out from the Starbucks on every corner and really taste Atlanta. Often we meet for a few hours on Steve’s day off of work, so that I can be child free.
One day I needed to take Paxton with me, so I looked around for a child-friendly coffee shop.   

Hodgepodge Coffeehouse was a great spot for us.  It is very mom friendly with a corner dedicated for a play area with a fun selection of toys.
The Monday morning we visited Hodgepodge there was an art class in process as well. The coffee shop is big enough that if someone
wanted a quiet corner for reading or a deep conversation, they could easily find a space distant from the children’s corner to find quiet as well.

When I walked into the next room to use the restroom, I found a bookcase full of books that made me wish
to come back again with Steve and curl up on couches with a cup of coffee and a good book.

For the Love of Pushing Boundaries


The boys were spellbound as they watched a documentary on SHARKS this afternoon.

Sharks and whales have been Zachary’s favorite animals for the past six months. He’s been devouring

books about sea creatures and we’ve been learning even more interesting facts about them this year in science.

As they were soaking up information, I was swooning over the sweet moment

of the boys’ complete absorption and their cozy togetherness.

Photo Details

Our house does not have very much natural light which bums me a lot since I am largely inspired by light.  

I’ve had to use my flash so much more than I like to because sometimes there simply is not enough light.

I’ve been challenged recently to use only available light, and have been pushing

the boundaries on what are considered acceptable settings.

Camera Settings

:: ISO 3200  ::  59mm  ::  f/2.8  ::  1/50  ::

You can see I was stretching it, but I do love pushing boundaries.  Normally I wouldn’t try a shutter speed of 1/50 for children, but the boys were so tired

and so absorbed that they were sitting still.  I felt as though what I was getting was good, but because it was so dark and just to be sure I added a little fill flash

with my external flash. It did brighten the image, but I still prefer the first shot which uses only window light.  Using natural light only

gave the photo more dimension because there is more play between shadow and light. The flash, even though bounced at an angle, gave a flat feel

to the photo. Notice the difference below with natural light only on the left and natural light + fill flash on the right.

Which look do you prefer?

If you found this post helpful, you might also enjoy reading about how I chose photo settings for an outdoor portrait made during winter play.


Snapshots: Beltline Interaction

You’re five years old and you are becoming

more independent every day.

You love being right by my side,

but some days you want to walk alone, to make your own choices.

This is good–an important part of growing up.

This evening you ran ahead of us

then came running back toward us to tell

us about the things you had seen.

You noticed a dog walking toward you and vacillated between

wanting to reach out and touch it, and being a little afraid.

The world is wide.

There will be more dogs, and you know what?

You are so right to be both cautious and brave.

You will grow to be a man who checks facts and  prepares carefully.

You will also be a man who isn’t afraid to reach out and

experience life even when it takes you out of your comfort zone.

Five looks good on you, little man.

Pajama Party

Level Up Youth Group put on a fantastic pajama party.  There was a dance competition, sing off, and a crazy sock contest.

There were cheers and lots of laughs.  The friendship and support for one another was a beautiful thing to see.   

The Lone Jazz Player

In May our family enjoyed an evening at the Atlanta Jazz Festival in Piedmont Park




As we walked back to the train station we passed a solitary street musician.  The festival was fun, but this scene seemed to fit the tunes.  I could have made a portrait of him from the sidewalk, but I liked the feeling of seclusion the blurred leaves in the foreground gave to the player. When I first noticed him he was alone.  I played with the light and composition until I had what I liked then waited for the action I knew would come. The headlights and walker in the background add to the feeling that while the rest of life is busy with activity the jazz player is alone.

I call this The Lone Jazz Player.

:: ISO 1250  ::  50mm  ::  f/2.8  ::  1/100  ::






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