Blog a la Cart

Bambinos! Tidy Table Tray

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A year ago, James’ mother gifted us two Bambinos! Tidy Table Trays for each of the girls. They have become a nearly permanent fixture on our kitchen table, as they make meal times (and the corresponding clean-up) a breeze. I was excited to learn that they’ve launched a Kickstarter to expand their line further so that the tray is even more like a plate. I highly recommend these trays to any parents of young children. There are only 5 days left in their campaign, so I encourage to jump in and support this little biz (and be one of the first to receive the new tray design in your household).

Details here.

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Tourist

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My phone is filled with a trillion and one photos of the positively glorious fall foliage happening ’round these parts. This fall has been crazy beautiful. It’s always an insanely awesome time of year here, but the colors of the foliage are more intense and vibrant than ever before. The oranges in particular are causing me to throw my car over to the side of the road and snap photo after photo like I’m a tourist in my own home. No picture could ever properly do it justice, but here are a few snaps that give you a taste of what this part of the world looks like during its best season.

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^^My morning commute. So dreamy.^^

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^^That orange tho…^

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^^Red headed beauty.^^

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^^This property is for sale and I ride by it every day on my way to work. Anyone have a spare $10 million?^^

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^^And this magical sight is a spider’s web one moody morning in the parking garage by my office. Truly, a work of art. Mother Nature is killing it.^^

Two Babies

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This weekend, Sunny and Kaki awoke early Sunday morning, but instead of waking me and James, they headed downstairs, fed the dogs, and entertained themselves with elaborate vacations to the beach (their make believe is a something to behold these days). Eventually they did emerge in our bedroom and Sunny greeted us with the following:

Sunny: Mommy. Daddy. Courtland and I have decided that we’d like you to have a baby. I would like a brother.

Kaki: Yeah. I want TWO babies. A brother AND a sister.

And while that’s a lovely request, James and I explained that it wasn’t quite that simple.

At the end of the day, the jury’s still out as to whether we’ll expand our family further. It’s pretty amazing to have two children that not only wipe their own butts (mostly) and sleep through the night (mostly), but who can entertain themselves and have family meetings and make requests for brothers and sisters. Looking at these photos of the two of them together it’s hard to imagine that I’ll ever want (or need) more than this.

But the thought of Courtland as a big sister is pretty dang heartwarming…

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Henrietta

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Meet Henrietta. She briefly visited our flock up at the barn before heading to the home of one beloved one year old (Kaki’s FGP’s 2nd daughter, Lila). We celebrated Lila’s 1st birthday on Sunday, and I realized that I had yet to gift that sweet child something handmade from her Auntie Ashley (whereas her older sister, Brie, has received a number of hand knit sweaters from your truly). It was time for Lila Bean to have something especially made for her. I decided to avoid a sized item, as I know she’ll get to wear the hand-me-down sweaters I made for Brie, so I thought a barnyard plush with love from the critters of Cartwheel Farm might be an appropriate (albeit ridiculous) choice.

One of my wedding clients this summer gifted me this amazing Barnyard Knit pattern book, and so Henrietta was a great excuse to dive into that book and give one of the patterns a try. Admittedly, it does appear that Henrietta is sporting testicles on her face, but when taken on the whole, it is a fairly accurate representation of a chicken’s wattle. I’m looking forward to creating a whole flock of silly knit farm animals to compliment our live brood.

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For more details on the project visit my Ravelry page here

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“A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014.”

Sunny: This weekend we attended a baptism and a 1st birthday party. These occasions were a good excuse for fancy. Sunny in particular accessorized for Sunday’s fête. I love all of the hair ties used as rings.

Kaki: Ruffled underpants were arguably more exciting than the party dress!

More details about The 52 Project here. To view all the portraits in the series visit here.

Making Mothers

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Birth is not only about making babies. Birth is about making mothers–strong, competent, capable mothers who trust themselves and know their inner strength.

In the wee hours of yesterday morning, I had the privilege of once again watching life enter this world. It continues to amaze and inspire and humble and positively blow my mind and feed my soul. I may be physically exhausted but emotionally I am anything but. I first met this beautiful family when I did their maternity shoot in late August on the site of the newly renovated Clark Art Institute. (I urge you to visit, it is holy wow! See below for a taste of what I mean). I am severely backlogged in photography projects, so it’ll be nearly a month before I share my capture of their journey more fully, but oh how very energizing (despite what the dark bags under my eyes may suggest).

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Welcoming…

This afternoon, I’m headed to Albany to help welcome a sweet baby into the world. It’s been awhile since I’ve captured a birth, and I am looking forward to the immense love and intimacy and inspiration that is central to such an experience.

In the meantime, do take a visit over to The Beauty of Being Born. It’s been quiet around those parts, but I recently shared a new birth story that is sure to give you all those amazing feelings as well. Here’s the story of Maxwell’s welcome to the world.

All Things Purple

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Before being sidelined by stomach bees, I had a very full (and I mean that both physically and mentally, in both the rewarding and exhausting assumptions of the word) work weekend. On Friday night, I attended an outstanding dinner in honor of the new library at Williams College (for my Eph readers, do watch the video for a taste of its awesomeness), and in honor of our annual Bicentennial medalists. Kristen Anderson-Lopez ’94, one half of the duo that wrote the Academy-award winning music for “Frozen,” was among this year’s medalists. I had worked with her on a program for Williams in June, and of course was thrilled that she was to be honored in this capacity for her talented AND progressive songwriting.

Semi-related story: For the dinner on Friday, I braided my hair back primarily because I was too lazy to wash it and so it was dingy enough to hold a decent braid. When I emerged from the bathroom, Kaki stopped dead in her tracks and declared adoringly, “Mama, you look like Elsa!” (The highest praise from a preschooler). Upon greeting Kristen at the dinner a few hours later, her first words to me were, “Great Elsa braid!” (which is arguably the highest praise of all coming from one of the character’s creators, however unintentionally).

And finally, I encourage everyone, particularly my fellow Ephs, to watch (or read) this speech from Ethan Zuckerman ’93 at Saturday’s Convocation. It is hands down the best speech I’ve heard at one of these ceremonies. It will leave you feeling moved and inspired in all the ways one hopes such speeches do. And for the Eph audience, you’ll get in a few laughs at Lord Jeff’s expense.

This is something the college does very consciously, for the simple reason that who we know is going to help determine who we are. I don’t mean this in the narrow sense that, if the person sitting next to you founds the next Facebook, maybe you’ll get some stock options. I mean it in a much broader sense: that who you know, who you care about tends to determine how you view the world, what you pay attention to, and ultimately will shape your path through the world.

Like the library, like the internet, the class of 2015 is too big to know. But if the challenge of a really great library is not just to explore what you already know, what you already care about, the challenge is the same, to challenge yourself to expand your picture of the world by expanding who you know and who and what you care about.

– See more at: http://www.ethanzuckerman.com/blog/#sthash.W3lZBNsL.dpuf

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“A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014.”

Sunny: In the wee hours of Friday morning, Sunny came down with a nasty stomach bug (that subsequently made its way through every member of the Cart family. At one point yesterday afternoon, we were all laid out in our beds writhing around in discomfort with a trail of laundry and saltines in our wake. It was disgusting, and yet, there was camaraderie in all the misery and bodily fluids.) Friday morning as I left for work (still holding on to the naive hope that I would be spared such intimacies with the porcelain throne), I peeked into the bathroom to say goodbye to Sunny who was pitifully looming over the toilet and, in between vomiting, expressing dismay that she couldn’t go to school. I know that her current adoration of school may wax and wane as the years go by, so I am enjoying it while I can.

Kaki: She was the last to succumb to our gastrointestinal ailments, and arguably the most resilient of all. She couldn’t understand why we were refusing her food and water, as they were causing almost instant regurgitation. “Mama, I would like macaroni and cheese.” Not a chance, kid. She also endearingly describe this sickness as “stomach bees” (which caused her great panic initially when I explained that Sunny had a stomach bug, and she cried out, ‘OH NO! SUNNY HAS BEES IN HER TUMMY!’ After calming her from this alarming visual, she later asked me, “Mama, do I have bugs or bees in my tummy? I don’t remember.” Three sure is adorable. Crazy, but adorable.

More details about The 52 Project here. To view all the portraits in the series visit here.

Airbnb // Austin, Texas

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Back in April (ha! April! That’s feels like decades past and yet, that’s how long this post has been sitting in my drafts folder) James and I traveled to Austin, Texas for one rocking Southern wedding (no really, the groom is a rockstar, the bride, a Southern Texas belle). We decided to give Airbnb a try for our lodgings, and picked out this adorable airstream situated on the property of a family with a flock of chickens, dogs and a potbelly pig named Fern.

It was like Cartwheel Farm gone Texas.

Perfect.

The decor was charming and fun, the animals a riot, the kids a delight, and the hosts truly incredible humans. They have a number of foster children in their care, along with two adopted daughters. They began hosting on Airbnb as a way to supplement their income and allow one of the moms to stay home with the children. They have hearts of angels, and such a warm, interesting, joyful environment in which to raise and nurture these children that might otherwise be left behind. We loved our stay. And would encourage you to consider this affordable yet inspiring spot if you’re visiting Austin. (More details here).

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Thanks, Marcy and Meredith for such a memorable visit!