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21/52

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

Sunny: Our Six Year Old.
Kaki: Our Lilac Fairy.

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

Sock Obsession

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I’ve been on a sock knitting kick of late (which is def not my usual style as I’m an instant gratification kind of gal. Not just in knitting. But in life. So perhaps this new obsession is a sign of maturity? Maybe? Question mark?)

I have done a poor job of documenting my sock creations, but this is the fifth pair I’ve made. My first three pairs were top down (I followed this pattern), and then I learned the wonders of toe up knitting AND knitting both socks simultaneously, and my life has been forever changed. This pattern taught me how to knit toe-up on two circular needles, and this pattern taught me how to knit two socks at a time (what a joy to finish the pair together! No more second sock syndrome for this lass!) My mother received a pair for her birthday in April, my fairy godmother a pair just because I adore her, and then this purple pair is in the spirit of all things Williams (as I gear up for my crazy Reunion season). Courtland selected the yarn and it is a delicious cashmere, which means no machine washing (I tend to lean toward machine washable yarn for socks, because, ya know, the stink. But I couldn’t resist the purple-loving demands of my three-year old).

I finished these socks last week and have already begun another pair. They just seem like such a meaningful, personal gift – but also a useful one – you can guess what I’ll be doing this holiday season for all my loved ones!

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Details about this pattern and yarn in my Ravelry projects.

Our Lilac Fairy // 2015

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Two years ago, I shot this series of images of Sunny when our lilacs were in full bloom. She wore her inaugural Ella Dynae costume, a gift for her fourth birthday. Now that Courtland is nearly four, she’s taken to wearing the costume, especially since purple is her favorite color. Sunny suggested that we pick a slew of lilacs and stage a photo shoot of Kaki dressed as The Lilac Fairy. She took on the role of art director, and while Courtland wasn’t as interested in being “buried in lilacs” as Sunny had insisted two years prior, I love the way her cheeky personality shines through in these images.

Now I just need to decide which one to frame and hang alongside my favorite snap of Sunny as The Lilac Fairy.

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And a snap of Sunny as she directed Kaki mid-shoot… I clearly have no fun with these girls.

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Kaki’s Songbook

Just one of her many made-up songs that she performs on a daily basis – over breakfast, in the tub, on the way to school, swinging in the backyard, at bedtime, sitting on the potty, during story time – our budding performer. Always looking to make us smile. I am obsessed with this kid.

Now she is six.

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“When I was one,
I had just begun.
When I was two,
I was nearly new.
When I was three,
I was hardly me.
When I was four,
I was not much more.
When I was five,
I was just alive.
But now I am six,
I’m as clever as clever.
So I think I’ll be six
now and forever.”

- A. A. Milne

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Many thanks to FGM G and her ridiculously awesome cake skillz (what wondrous things did we do in a former life to deserve a friend like this woman in this one?!), and for a small group of Sunny’s favorite adults for descending on Cartwheel Farm for pizza and ice cream so that our newly minted six year old would feel celebrated but her parents would stay sane. Grateful for friendships that require little fanfare and just a whole lotta love. No grand rainbow birthday party this year.

But it was a special day of present trails (leading from Sunny’s bedroom down to the kitchen table – a happy throw back from my own childhood), copious supply of bath bombs (her current obsession thanks to the girl I nannied in LA who got her hooked on LUSH. Thank heavens for affordable bath bombs via Etsy and a six year old that couldn’t suss out the difference), and so many new books that were merrily read in the hammock. This kid felt the love from all facets of her life, and we are forever grateful to all those people for loving our daughter so brilliantly. If only she could stay six now and forever.

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72 Months

My darling Sun Bun,

Happy SIXTH Birthday, sweet girl.

For the first time, you are able to read this letter to yourself. You may need some prompting here or there. Like when I say that you are EXCEPTIONAL. Or SPLENDIFEROUS. Or SUPERCALIFRAGILISTICEXPIALIDOCIOUS. (Actually, you’ll probably nail that last one, as Julie Andrews has made a strong appearance in the Cart household this year. Sound of Music and Mary Poppins helped us survive the onslaught of negative 20 degree days this winter).

Your world has positively exploded since you’ve conquered the written word. Street signs. T-shirts. Posters in storefront windows. Words on the computer. I can see the look of pride and confidence on your face as you explore this new skill that gives you greater understanding of the world around you. Literacy is so empowering. And while I’ve always known that, it’s been profound to witness that impact firsthand.

Of late, bedtime routine includes you reading aloud to your sister a series of 3 or 4 books before Daddy or I read to you both. It is one of the most heart-meltingly endearing scenes to witness your little sister cozied up by your side as you read to her without pause or hesitancy. (It’s outstanding how smoothly and easily you read through the pages – what a gift to have it come so painlessly (spoken from a woman who couldn’t read until the second grade!)). Just yesterday, Courtland and I returned home from some errands to find you perched on the front porch with both dogs at your side, book in lap, curated stack at your feet.

Mama, I’m reading the dogs some stories because it makes them happy.

You have absolutely no idea just how happy you make me, my darling girl.

This weekend, you swung in the hammock, reading quietly to yourself as though you were a contented adult, enjoying the restful pace of a Sunday afternoon, blissfully engrossed in your Beatrix Potter series.

As you may suspect from these reflections, Kindergarten has been a huge success. A year of so much learning and exploration. New friends. New school. New adventures. And your adaptable, easy going personality has made the transition seamless and happy, something for which Daddy and I can take very little credit. You are remarkably flexible and content, and it has made this year a joy for all.

Most notably you, who has informed me that you love school so much that sometimes you wish you could go to school on the weekend, except that you wish you didn’t have to wake up early, because that’s the worst part of school.

Spoken like your mother’s daughter. You and I are comrades in morning contempt, and that has been solidified more than ever thanks to your school bus’s early arrival.

Daddy knows to wake you early and pile you in bed with me, and we lie around moaning and groaning and stirring to life while Daddy makes coffee and walks the dogs and your sister happily staggers around the house singing an array of her made-up, silly songs, cheery morning person that she is. I am sorry to have bestowed this hatred upon you, though I do love sharing the morning grumps with a fellow night owl. I can only imagine what the high school years have in store…

This year your love affair with the water grew to mermaid levels, and you learned to ski with much enthusiasm. You presented at an Odyssey of the Mind competition and danced in The Nutcracker to the nostalgic and adoring tears of your grandparents and auntie. This coming weekend you’ll perform again in your end of your recital dressed as Minnie Mouse in yellow tap shoes (so stinking adorable). You’re learning the violin, and can do addition and subtraction in your head. You love rainbows as much as ever (nearly every page of your journal at school includes a rainbow in your daily drawing) and I’m endlessly inspired by the tenderness and care you bestow upon your sister, your dogs, your whole family.

We so adore parenting you, my love. I cannot wait to see what this year has in store. It just gets better and better.

Happiest Sixth Birthday.

143 Mama

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P.S. You were born on a Monday, and so this birthday has special significance for your mama who was thinking about that Sunday evening of labor as I sat on this Sunday evening writing your birthday letter. What an incredible six years it’s been since that night of eating carbonara, watching “The Wire” and feeling the earth tremble beneath our feet in a typical LA earthquake on the eve of your birth.

20/52

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

Sunny: She becomes a six year old on Monday. I will forever associate the scent of lilac and its purple blossoms with her arrival into the world.
Kaki: Sunny styled her hair. And she was surprisingly pleased with the result.

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

Around the Farm // May 2015


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Life lately has been blissfully spent outdoors. Grass under bare feet. Coloring en plein aire. Swinging high as the sky. Flower picking. Sand between fingers. Grass stained. Giggle-saturated. Life is good-ness.

James and I have been steeped in yard work, and while during said clean up I often find myself grumbling and wondering why on earth I spend my time in this way, the satisfaction I feel afterward? The way I lounge in the kitchen gazing out on our property? Or drive backward up our road to leisurely survey last years plantings (hooray for perennial flowers bursting to life, and blueberries and strawberries and raspberries and ASPARAGUS! that survived their first hard winter)? Or spend my morning walk with the dogs breathing in the tranquility and beauty and budding life? Or sway in the hammock under flower petal flurries? Well, it makes all the sweat and mess well worth the effort.

I do so love our little piece of the world.

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^^Penelope pig turning our garden clean up efforts into a cozy bed.^^

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^^Frisbee and smoothies and swinging, oh my! And bologna tongues. Lots of pink bologna tongues.^^

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^^Inspired by a recent heat wave, all of the flowering trees blossomed en masse. It has definitely been the most beautiful spring in recent memory. This weekend, it was literally raining flower petals all Sunday and I couldn’t get over how surreal and dream-like our lives felt on account of the scenery.^^

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^^And lots of napping in the sunshine. Penny is an expert.^^

Hancock Shaker Village // 2015

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More images from my birthday excursion to Hancock Shaker Village, because so much cute! So much floral! So much love!

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19/52

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

Sunny: The trees are killing it this week (I don’t think our apple, cherry and plum trees have ever been in bloom simultaneously and it is outrageously magical); and so, we enjoyed a sunny Mother’s Day of flower petal showers.
Kaki: Climbing trees, looking and acting like a kid about to turn four. She’s grown up so much this year. Fewer tantrums. So much more language. Still as spirited as ever, but much more reasonable and even-keeled than a year ago.

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