Blog a la Cart

Baldersnäs

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And now, the Swedish countryside! As I’ve poured over these images, editing and processing, I’ve been reliving all the joy and splendor of this place, these people, the experience. It was, truly, once in a lifetime.

We journeyed west via train to the provence of Dalsland, the ridiculously picturesque, bucolic Swedish countryside. The wedding festivities for the weekend were hosted at the Baldersnäs, a historic estate with guest rooms and guest houses and lakes and farms and traditional craft markets. It was as though Swedish folklore had exploded before our very eyes.

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^^The interior of the mansion was the stuff of a Brontë novel. I tried to capture the details so Momar could properly envision its majesty.^^

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^^The grounds and shops and cafés and farm buildings were similarly charming and captivating. We were able to find traditional Swedish gifts from straw ornaments to rod iron candle sticks to embroidered linens for our family.^^

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^^We were particularly obsessed with the wood stove heated hot tub right outside our lodgings for the weekend. I insist that one of these be constructed on Cartwheel Farm, alongside a sauna and outdoor shower. (Hey, one day! Maybe!)^^

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^^We were welcomed with Swedish lollipops and a note from Maja & Lars informing us that Friday’s supper would be hosted on a boat, complete with a tour of the local lakes.^^

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^^Before boarding the boat, we headed down to the main lake on the property, where we would later find ourselves sauna lounging and swimming at seven o’clock in the morning following the all night wedding festivities that took place Saturday to Sunday. It was the stuff of a fairytale.^^

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^^The happy bride and groom welcomed us aboard the Dalslandia, our vessel for the evening.^^

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^^We traveled through a series of locks, and moved from one lake to the next, which was quite the experience.^^

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^^We snapped pictures in the gorgeous golden light of the late evening sun. And feasted on a freshly prepared meal primarily sourced from Maja’s mother’s garden. Monica prepared all the food, including smoked salmons and abundant salads and quiches. We were completely floored that the mother-of-the-bride would go to such a great effort for her guests the day before her daughter’s wedding. The food was beyond… and it was just the first taste of all the culinary extravagance that was to come.^^

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^^When the boat returned to land, we headed down to the sauna where Kimmy and I sat giggling like silly Americans among 25 Swedes drinking vodka and sweating it out in the sauna. They lived up to our wildest stereotypes, and it was even more awesome than we ever could have imagined. We retreated to bed “early” (i.e. 2am) to rest for the next day’s celebrations.^^

Currently Playing

Of late, these three songs run on repeat chez Cart. I particularly love “All About That Bass” and the fact the singer is a native Nantucketer slash Cape Codder.

And I will forever and always love me some T.Swift. And her choice of centering the video around dance? Girl knows the way to the Ulmers’ hearts!

Sunny knows every word to this song. And sings it with gusto. Daily.

Now go, enjoy, and dance your face off!

Taste the Rainbow

I’ve been madly processing my July wedding in preparation for heading to a wedding in Maine on Saturday. In an effort to avoid drowning in thousands of wedding photos, I’m trying to put each wedding to bed before the next. Oof. Thus, limited posting in this space. But I couldn’t resist sharing these two iPhone snaps documenting Sunny’s adventures with our garden haul. That kid’s mind sure make me smile. The horse in particular blew my mind – who knew cucumbers and peppers and beans and tomatoes and basil could be so inspired!

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Gladdy and The Big Sea

A certain water dog was finally exposed to ocean swimming. While a fear of the “waves” and seaweed initially gave her pause, James carried her out into the water and showed her that it was safe and fun and SWIMMING IS THE BEST! After that, she couldn’t get enough of it. Here’s to another ocean-loving Ulmer-Cart!

33/52

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

Sunny: I suspect that she may start growing gils at any moment. This summer has turned her into a fish. She played and played and swam and swam in the ocean, and even purple lips and goose bumps couldn’t motivate her out of the water.
Kaki: Casual nose-picking. Such is the life of a three-year old. (She was very excited to sport her anchor dress during our weekend’s Cape Cod adventures)

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

Stockholm // Day 4

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Our fourth and final day in Stockholm came at the very end of our trip. We took a train west to Dalsland for the wedding, which I’ll recap separately, and then returned to Stockholm for one final evening before an early morning flight back to the States. We returned to the city mid-day after a morning train ride, and were graced with more stunning weather. We were so fortunate to have the most beautiful, sunny, humid-free environment for our travels. We decided to spend our last evening down by the water front in the Gamla Stan neighborhood (the old town).

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^^We first popped into a bakery and finally sampled Princess Cake – something Kimmy has been eager to try ever since she sailed with a Swedish scientist through the Panama Canal and had this pastry described to her in great detail five years prior. Princess Cake is a traditional Swedish pastry consisting of alternating layers of airy sponge cake, strawberry jam, pastry cream, and whipped cream, topped by green marzipan and a pink marzipan rose. It was a lovely, light summer dessert. Hopped up on sugar, we were ready to hit the streets for some final sightseeing.^^

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^^Finally a photo of the two of us together in Stockholm!^^

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^^Check out the Vasamuseet in the background (the red building with the tall ship masts).^^

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^^Sweet lord this city is attractive and nautical. Swoon! We ate our final Swedish meal on the outdoor terrace of the Grand Palace Hotel. We were channeling Momar, big time. This was the view during dinner.^^

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^^We walked all over the city prior to dinner on a hunt for the perfect Rodebjer kaftan. One of Maja’s wedding guests rocked one during the festivities, and we were obsessed. Alas, none of the flagship stores in Stockholm had any in stock, so I am patiently waiting to make the investment once our bank account has recovered from this trip. Such an easy, breezy, classy look. This was the one we saw firsthand. ^^

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^^We also had fun exploring the T-bana (subway) stations and all of their wild art and decor.^^

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^^Officially wiped from the week’s adventures, we watched our final Swedish sunset from Lassemaja’s stunning apartment view. Farewell, Stockholm. Hejdå Sverige!  We most definitely will be seeing you again.^^

Currently Reading

As someone who grew up in a Star Trek loving household, I was particularly moved by this blog post:

To that end, we’ve tried to make our literary dramatis personae more closely resemble the people of Earth. We’ve tried to include more people of African, Asian, and Southeast Asian ancestry than were seen in the televised and feature-film stories. We’ve tried to incorporate characters who hail from many cultures and viewpoints. We’ve tried to imagine a future in which people of all faiths have learned to live in harmony with people of other creeds as well as those who prefer to lead purely secular lives. We’ve tried to depict a future in which people’s gender identities are no longer limited to some arbitrary binary social construct, but rather reflect a more fluid sense of personal identity.

Sister, Sister

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This weekend, my oldest friend and her two little girls (and their Papa) joined us for Courtland’s birthday celebration. I just love seeing our girls spend time together, as it is a reminder of our own childhoods, as we and our two little sisters grew up together and remain close to this day. How special that we should each have our own pair of daughters that can play and grow up side by side. We may be a state apart, but I know that these four girls will come to see one another as extended family just as their parents have.

A Very Berry Birthday

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The weather could not have been more cooperative for our gathering for Courtland’s Third Birthday. We had both sets of grandparents, my sister, out of town friends from childhood and college, and two friends that live in town and their families over for the celebration. It was an afternoon spent lounging on the lawn of Cartwheel Farm, eating food and enjoying the company of some of my favorite humans on Earth. James and our girls camped out in a tent in our backyard, as our house was bustling with overnight guests. I’m still coming down from the high of having so many people I love altogether to celebrate our second born. It was also tremendously fun to get our growing broods of children together. So heartwarming to see everyone’s beautiful families.

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^^Courtland woke up from her nap just as people were arriving. Like her mother and big sister, she was slow to warm up post-sleep. Sunny did her best to cheer her up for a few pre-party photos in their frilly dresses.^^

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^^Auntie Kimmy won their hearts and attention with bubble wands. Then Courtland spilled the entire bottle down the front of her dress and turned herself into a frothy, bubbly mess. This was the beginning of her dress’s decline. By the end of the day, she had completely shredded the tulle and had berry stains all down the front. It was fun while it lasted, Momar! Girl sure knows how to show a party who’s boss.^^

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^^There were so very many delicious babies in attendance, and so, there was so very much baby snuggling. Doda, in particular, got his baby fix.^^

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^^There was present opening…^

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^^There was singing of Happy Birthday, and blowing of candles, and consumption of berry-covered Angel Food Cake…^^

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^There was swinging on swings and giving friends a hand swinging on swings…^^

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^^There was enjoyment of new presents…^^

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^^And, lastly, there were hilarious attempts at capturing all of the pint-sized guests together. So much chub. So much cute. I can only hope that they attempt to recreate this series in 20 years.^^

Gladdy is One

Happy first birthday to this ridiculous canine.

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She adds just the right touch of laughter and comfort to this family of ours. We are so lucky she was born just as our Ursa was getting ready to leave us. Gladden has kept that wonderful flat-coat spirit alive while bringing her own snuggly, goofy personality into the fold. And so we celebrated the day with fresh whipped cream and birthday crowns. Naturally.

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