Blog a la Cart

Red Rat Snake

I had to fly home early from South Carolina for a whirlwind work weekend. James and the girls stayed south, and it sounds like they had some fairly interesting encounters in my absence. I can’t say that I am sorry to have missed seeing a Copperhead firsthand.

While four days alone in my own home has been somewhat liberating, I am so ready for us all to be back together. I miss my babies!

16/52

16of52in2015_blogalacart_sunny-1

16of52in2015_blogalacart-1

“A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2015.”

Sunny: Her love affair with the water continues. She’s mastered back flips under water, and I’m nauseous just watching her.
Kaki: This vacation was revolutionary in terms of her comfort with the water. She used to be quite timid about jumping in, and would never put her face under. Now she leaps in with abandon, fully submerges, and surfaces beaming. We have such a fun summer ahead of us!

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

15/52

15of52in2015_blogalacart-1

15of52in2015_blogalacart-2

“A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2015.”

Sunny: Bubbles. Bathing suits. The simple things that make life so sweet. It’s been a very happy April break.
Kaki: Purple. All day. Every day. 

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

Currently Gawking

These are the kind of dolls that I want my children to play with.

Kimmy emailed me this link and simply said: You will love this.

Holy cow, she was right.

The Quest for a Big Sister

photo 2

photo 3

IMG_0007

Sunny: “Olivia, can you be my big sister and can I keep you forever?”

I would say that our reunion with the mom and daughter of the family Kimmy and I nannied for in Southern California was more than a success. The girls fell in love with Olivia instantly, and vied for her attention and affection throughout our dinner rendez-vous.

When we lived in Ventura, Kimmy and I answered a Craigslist ad for a babysitter for a 6 month old baby boy and 4 year old girl, and an unbelievable friendship and melding of families was born.

This family was such an intimate and significant part of our lives for the two years that we lived in Ventura. In fact, my final months nannying for them, I was pregnant with Sunny. A decision that was very much inspired by my experience caring for their son. Kim, the mom, empowered me to really take ownership of my pregnancy and birth experience. She is the reason I believed in my ability to have an intervention-free birth (assuming all was healthy and well during the labor/pregnancy), and she modeled work/family balance beautifully through those early years of parenting children. James and I very much modeled our own work structure off of the example of their family. It is truly remarkable to think about the profound impact these people had on our lives, and how much they influenced our own family and future. I am forever grateful for the forces of the Universe that brought us together. Our paths were meant to cross. They are our west coast family.

I found pictures from a grand LA adventure that Kimmy and I took Olivia on in celebration of her sixth birthday. It’s wild to think about Sunny’s upcoming sixth birthday, looking at the kind, mature, thoughtful, nearly-13 year old Olivia. Ah time! You pesky cliché you! I realize Sunny will be hitting the teen years before we know it.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Kim and Olivia were in NYC for a work trip slash spring break adventure, and so we decided to all meet half way between VT and the city for a dinner and get together (they had never met Courtland, and seen Sunny last when she was 16-months old), and as James reflected during our icy, snowy, messy ride home, Man, that was SO worth it. 

Yes, indeed, it was.

IMG_0013

IMG_0011

photo 1

Easter // 2015

11102739_876075429120954_8205707698368279165_n

This weekend, we headed to Cape Cod to celebrate Easter with Momar and Doda, and Auntie Kimmy and her beau, Jake. We arrived bearing embroidered eggs that James and I crafted side by side last week. Oh yes, even James embroidered. It’s a time consuming project but the results are fairly fantastic. Somehow, I did not document this most recent batch with the dSLR camera, so the iPhone snap above will have to suffice.

easter2015-1

^^Kaki rocked bunny overall extenders courtesy of my 80s-childhood. So brilliant!^^

easter2015-2

^^Sunny enjoyed Momar’s extensive American Girl Doll collection.^^

easter2015-3

easter2015-4

^^There was racing around the back yard and hysterical facial expressions.^^

easter2015-5

^^Lots of visiting and snuggling and giggling. So much giggling.^^

easter2015-6

easter2015-7

^^We dyed eggs with some natural dyes from our local food coop. The colors were far more brilliant than I’d predicted. We let the girls color on the eggs in crayon before dying.^^

easter2015-8

easter2015-9

11110572_877456768982820_7075693058018491100_n

^^While chilly and windy, the sun was shining all weekend long (which was not the case in Vermont), so we enjoyed an outdoor egg hunt…

easter2015-15

easter2015-21

easter2015-20

easter2015-19

easter2015-18

easter2015-17

easter2015-16

^^… and time strolling an empty beach on Sunday. On Saturday, we spent lots of time visiting and playing outside, and then all headed to see Cinderella and swoon at the wonder of her blue ball gown.^^

easter2015-13

easter2015-10

easter2015-11

easter2015-12

easter2015-14

^^We snuck in some family portraits, too. And the minivan proved her worth during her inaugural Cart family road trip. It’s like traveling in a space ship. So much room. So much ease. I heart minivan life. And I am not ashamed to admit it.^^

14/52

week15of52_2015_blogalacart-1

week15of52_2015_blogalacartkaki-1

“A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2015.”

Sunny: The storm door at Momar and Doda’s house has proven to be the most entertaining element of our visits to Cape Cod. Unrelated? I would like those overalls in my size. hashtagflowerpower
Kaki: A stroll on the beach post-egg hunt.

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

Spring Skiing // 2015

IMG_0389.JPG

Sunday was a ridiculously sunny and clear March day. While the air has been cooler than I’d like this time of year, I will never complain about full sunshine and blue skies. We decided to spend the afternoon skiing given the abundance of snow still in our midst. We braved life on the mountain with a three-year old in the name of glorious spring skiing and a taste of the fun to come next year when Kaki learns to truly ski on her own. She’d never been on skis (heck, Sunny’s first time was in January), but she’s eager to do whatever her big sister is doing, so the Cart family loaded up in the mini van and headed 45 minutes north to a wee little mountain for some family fun.

IMG_0395

Kaki was psyched. Note the ski leash strapped like a fanny pack around her waist. That thing was a life-saver.

IMG_0398

IMG_0418

We warmed up with some runs on the bunny slope. And let me just say that these Magic Carpet lifts are far more civilized and less traumatizing than the rope tows of yore. I mean, just check out that climate controlled tent around this particular lift – no inclement weather or harsh winter wind will disturb one’s ride up the slope. Which is mildly comical to anyone who grew up skiing in New England.

I am admittedly a little sad that my children won’t have horror stories of their novice skiing years with rope tow rides gone awry. Kimmy and I have a pretty fantastic tale of a T-bar ride in the Alps gone horribly wrong. The fall was caused by a rousing albeit distracting rendition of Les Misérables’ seminal “One Day More” being sung at full volume by yours truly. And why, yes, I do still enjoy singing musical theater to pass the time during chairlift rides. I can only hope Sunny and Kaki take up the mantle.

Anyway…

Sunny buzzed up and down the Bunny slope without issue or parental chaperone, while James and I got Courtland used to sliding around on skis, and riding down the mountain either between our legs or with the support of the ski leash. Sunny was eager to ride the chairlift to a more challenging hill, and so off we went…

IMG_0405.JPG

IMG_0417

Kaki threw a fit when Sunny and I headed up the mountain. Girl’s got a serious case of FOMO. So James and I decided that we’d venture up with her as well, given that she was “skiing” with heavy parental monitoring and it’d be more fun to stick together.

I will always remember that first chairlift ride up the mountain with Courtland. She was awe-struck and wide-eyed. “Mama, it’s like we’re FLYING!” She proudly waved and yelled at every passing skier below. After settling in to the ride, she was gazing around, swinging her skis back and forth, when she finally turned to me and whispered, very earnestly, “Mama? Where are we going?”

James and I cannot stop asking one another this very question at every opportunity.

It was priceless. She had no idea why we were soaring in the air, despite her insistence that she HAD TO GO ON THE CHAIRLIFT LIKE SUNNY!, and it was such a classic childhood query of wonder and cluelessness. When we arrived at the top, she immediately declared that she wanted to take her skis off, so that took another 5 minutes of negotiation before we were all ready to head down the mountain.

IMG_0419

IMG_0410

IMG_0413

At the end of the day, James and Sunny went even further up the mountain with some friends who happened to be skiing there as well. I stayed with Courtland as my thighs and ass could not take such a lengthy ride downhill with a three-year old saddled between my legs, and we stuck to the shorter trails we’d been tackling most of the afternoon.

Sunny skied, a la her Doda, with her tongue hanging out the side of her mouth, a sign of their intense concentration. I fear it may fall off from frost-bite if she doesn’t get that habit under control.

She did great, but had a fairly epic fall in the final moments of the last run of the day. It was a big tumble and I saw her land face first. Kaki and I were watching from the lodge, and it took James a solid 20 minutes to comfort her and get her moving again. Apparently when James reached her, post-fall, she informed James that she had broken her head.

Thank heavens for helmets.

IMG_0415

But it was nothing a little après-ski hot chocolate couldn’t remedy.

And a video of Kaki’s inaugural ski. I look forward to documenting her learning next year when she actually takes some lessons, but we’re off to a good start! Vermont winter survival 101 in full effect!

13/52

week14of52_2015_blogalacart-2

week14of52_2015_blogalacart-1

“A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2015.”

I haven’t been using my camera much during the weekday, and by the time Sunday morning rolls around, I’m reminded that I need to capture a portrait to mark the week. These images were snapped during a lazy Sunday breakfast before a glorious afternoon skiing as a family of four (more on that later). Both girls were bathed in morning light in our dining room, eating their scrambled eggs. I love the way the light captures each of their moods in the morning. Although they were seated side by side, the light played so differently with the camera for each image. Sunny, hazy and soft and still coming in to focus. Kaki, crisp and alert and bright.

Sunny: Slow to warm up in the morning. Like her mama. Dazed and sleepy and fragile. We just need time to acclimate.
Kaki: As her Auntie Kimmy commented during her most recent visit, “Give that woman a stage!” Our storyteller. Our ham. Our jokester. Our performer. She who wakes with a smile and enough energy to power Manhattan for at least a year.

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

Currently Reading

We can’t control a lot of things in this world. We can’t stop advertisers from Photoshopping images. We can’t stop the fashion industry from preferring skinny models. But we can control the words that are coming out of our own mouths. And when women question whether their bodies are good enough, they may well be causing other women to do the same.

A follow-up to my post yesterday. A reader and friend shared a link to this Fat Talk piece in the NYT. Drives my point home far more eloquently. And with data.