Blog a la Cart

Month: January, 2012

Currently Playing

We’re back. We survived four days of travel with a five month old and four days away from our precious first born. Seeing Sunny yesterday was magnificent. She’s even more grown up than when we left. How did that happen?

I asked her if she had fun at her playdate on Sunday morning and she responded, “Yes, Mama. Esmé’s house is pretty amazing!”

Oh sweetheart, you’re pretty amazing.

It’s going to take a couple days to readjust to life back home, catch up on laundry, work, sleep. Okay, who are we kidding, we’ll never catch up on sleep. But I can dream!

In the meantime, I lovely little jam to kick start everyone’s Monday morning.

Currently Reading

Tom Piazza’s “Why New Orleans Matters”

And all across the city, in living rooms and dining rooms and corner bars, in dives and high-class parlors, in dens and on porches and in bedrooms, in the Ninth Ward and the Seventh Ward, Mid-City and Back o’Town, Carrolton and Irish Channel and Broadmoor and the Garden District and Gert Town, the French Quarter and the Bywater and Faubourg Marigny, everyone is saying the same thing: thank you for this beautiful day, thank you for one more day, thank you for this beautiful food, thank you for this wine cooler that my brother-in-law brought over, thank you for this bed because I can’t stand up, thank you for passing the potatoes, thank you for everything, thank you, thank you.

It’s a powerfully touching and genuine portrait of New Orleans written by a fellow Eph who I’ll be dining with in The Crescent City this evening.

It’s overwhelming reading his words, just as it’s overwhelming to walk this city’s streets, a juxtaposition of joy and sadness, spirit and despair. Such culture. Such flavors. Such music. All with the weight and aftermath of tragedy and trauma. I feel lucky to navigate her streets once again, sharing them for the first time with James.

To keep up on our adventures pictorially follow along on Twitter and Facebook

And if you Instagram, find us as @igalacart and @billsvilledad.

I’ll end by saying that I cannot recommend this book enough: for those who are from New Orleans, for those who live in New Orleans, for those who have been or are planning a visit, or for those who merely wish to understand why we’re fortunate to call her one of our own.


Wool and The Gang

As you read yesterday, James and I are burning the midnight oil. Very literally. But that of course has not stopped my crafting compulsions. My fingers yearn to knit, y’all.

Did I honestly just write that? I did. And I meant it. Because I am an unabashed knitting nerd of late.

This weekend, after the kids were in bed and James was holed up reading applications, I turned to marathon episodes of “Private Practice” and a sweater kit from Wool and The Gang (they are my current obsession, btdubs). Why go to bed at 9pm like a wise and pro-active sleep-deprived adult when I could stay up knitting until midnight, right before the baby awakes for her first of many nightly feedings? Because reason and sleep deprivation do not coexist. Those two states cannot possibly exist in tandem. It defies logic, which is the hallmark of sleep deprivation.

The good news is that I have this cozy, bomb diggity sweater to show for my poor judgment (plus, I’ve never knit an adult-sized piece of clothing, so that’s pretty nerdy cool). The bad news? I now have photo documentation confirming (as though it required confirmation) what a hideous process it is to grow out one’s bangs AND that my roots are in desperate need of some blonde luvin’.


I pounded this project out in two days, thanks to the ginormous needles it required. Seriously, my biceps are killing it right now.

For whatever reason this sweater compels me to flex. It’s something about the chunky sleeves that make me feel like a super strong football player. I’m totally channeling Tom Brady (because I love him (YES I DO!) and he’s the only football player I can name off the top of my head. <Sigh> Way to let embarrassing confessions fly!).

If you’re not a knitter, you can purchase a Ready to Wear version of this sweater here.

Now, off to New Orleans! Alas, I did not pack this sweater because it is essentially the size of my suitcase. And, as I am traveling with the Reverse Peristalsis Extraordinaire (Miss Courtland Whaley herself), I did not want to be responsible for having to hand wash this shit in a hotel sink when it inevitably would get hosed with regurgitated milk. To be honest, I doubt it would even fit in a hotel sink. Size efficient, it is not. Awesome, however? Hell yes.

Photos: Courtesy of James W. Cart

The Dark Side

I’m there right now. The dark side. A place filled with anxiety and guilt. It’s fueled by extreme lack of sleep. Side effects include covered in lies Twitter whines and ugly crying. It’s a yucky place. I hate this place. So I’m writing this to help claw my way out.

Some facts. Addison has a fever. Courtland is teething and congested and generally out of sorts. James is working 60 plus hours a week because on top of his part time work for the College, he reads for Admissions and he’s got a towering stack of files that he’s been tackling before our departure for New Orleans tomorrow morning. (Those files are not exactly travel friendly. Nor is it advisable to travel with Admissions files for other obvious reasons).

And, I, well I’m still adjusting to working full time while interrupting my day to breastfeed. And I’ve been on kid duty in the evenings so that James can get his reading done.

We are crazy with sleep deprivation. Cray-cray. Living in crazy town. What other obnoxious, hip slang can I use to describe this state of affairs? Oh yeah, bat shit. To the max.

Last night was the worst night we’ve had in a while. At some point during the evening, James and I each managed to sleep in the three different beds this house has to offer. Separately, of course. At 3:30am I found myself curled up alone on Addison’s 4ft toddler bed sobbing into The Sleep Sheep because I couldn’t get the baby to stop crying, Sunny was fitfully thrashing with fever in our bed with James, and I was on the verge of loosing my mind. I may or may not have yelled at the baby to JUST SHUT UP! before storming dramatically out of the guest room and hurling myself onto the toddler bed. I needed a time out. In a big way. Sometimes it’s better for parent and baby to have those time outs. To walk away. Even though it makes me feel like the shittiest parent on planet earth. When you start trying to argue with a 5 month old, you’ve reached a certain low and need to get yourself out of there. Fast.

So into the toddler’s room I retreated. Angry. Guilty. Overwhelmed. Exhausted. I set my alarm and went back to check on the baby after 20 minutes. She was of course sound asleep and when she awoke this morning, I was met with sweet baby smiles and coos. She seems none the worse for wear. But I can’t help but feel pitiful. Defeated. This parenting shit is the hardest thing I’ll ever do.



I wrote the above first thing this morning while breastfeeding. Now that I am recharged thanks to coffee and a shower, I have some perspective and things of course seem a little less dire. It’s not quite so dark. But I feel that it’s important to share nonetheless, to remind my fellow parents that it’s okay to have those moments when we are at our wits’ end. When we need a time out. Take that time out, because when you tag back in and are greeted with smiling chubby chipmunk cheeks, you’ll actually be able to enjoy the sunshine that they provide.

The James Files

Received the following email from James while at work. It was a forward from BJs Wholesale offering up BIG SAVINGS FOR THE BIG GAME, including…

ELECTRIC PIGS IN A BLANKET MAKER!!!!! at $20 I’m tempted to get that little bundle of health…although I don’t know where to buy mini-weenies….that’s fun to say.

God I love that man. Even after one of the worst nights on record with our sleepless, restless kids, he can make me laugh. A covered in lies post is coming, but I thought I could kick things off on a high note.

Currently Gawking

Skin rugs. Made from stuffed animal skin. Genius!

Kids as cultural producers thanks to colorful stickers and Yayoi Kusama.

More chunky knit inspiration.

Week 23

As you saw yesterday, Kaki has found her toes. And boy are they delicious. So delicious that Sunny thought she’d take her sister’s lead and nom her toes as well.

We finally have some snow around these parts so we’ve been teaching Sunny to sled and bundling Courtland like the abominable snow baby. Remember this snow suit from when we first moved back to New England? Yep, it’s back in full effect!

James, Kaki and I are off to New Orleans on Wednesday as I have work meetings, James has never been, and Courtland is boob-dependent. Sunny will be hanging here with the pups and her Tine and then her Auntie Kimmy. We’ll see what Courtland thinks of the Big Easy. I’m preparing my belly for some muffuletta, beignet, fried Southern goodness. <drool>

Courtland: 23 weeks
Addison: 32 months


We had fun with toes during this morning’s Weekly Growth series shoot. Nom nom nom.

Photos: Courtesy of Ashley Weeks Cart

Role Modeling (part II)

Earlier this week we had friends over during the bedtime routine.

Since James wanted to spend time with said friends, he skipped the whole lie-down-with-the-demanding-toddler-and-rub-her-back-until-she-caves-to-the-unconscious.

Which meant we suffered through an hour’s worth of protests and hysterics at the hand of one very disgruntled two year old who has become accustomed to Daddy’s back rubs at bedtime.

You see, James has created a beast. A back rub dependent monster, if you will. You thought I was the back rub tyrant. You are mistaken. Addison Weeks Cart has taken up that title thanks to some serious enabling from her father.

You’d think that after nine years of being with me that he’d have known better than to duplicate such a monstrousity in the Cart household.

Alas, the back rub beast is here. And she was less-than-pleased that her father did not want to devote a full hour putting her to sleep by the presence of his hand on her back.

After many a failed negotiation and attempt at compromise between father and daughter, I threw myself into the mix.

I perched myself on the end of Sunny’s bed and asked her why she was so upset.

Her response:

I want Daddy to rub my back because I can’t rub my own back. My back isn’t going to rub itself.

True that, sister. There’s no arguing with that kind of flawless rationale.

Sorry, James, she’s really learned from the best, huh?

Wookie The Chew

Sunny’s “Stuffed Animal of the Moment” (as it tends to shift on a biweekly basis) is a small, classic Kanga from my childhood. We have no idea why she’s taken such an interest in her. She’s neither read nor seen Winnie the Pooh, although we fully intend on making those stories a part of her childhood. Nor has she been exposed to kangaroos in any other capacity. Although, we’ve now showed her a myriad of videos of kangaroos to help explain what Kanga is. I’ve even perfected my kangaroo hop.

Regardless, she takes Kanga everywhere. And heaven forbid Kanga escape her clutches in the middle of the night, we all suffer the consequences. Seriously, just look at my hairline of gray for proof.

Man, I so wish I were kidding.

Semi-related: Today Kimmy sent along a link to artist James Hance’s print series titled “Wookie The Chew.” Given that we grew up in a Star Wars loving household, a household where my father told us bedtime stories with the assitance of a Yoda hand puppet, complete with Yoda voice imitations (Why else do you think my dad is called Doda by his granddaughters?), my heart swelled with geektastic happy at the sight of these prints.

The illustrations are extra special because all proceeds go to help offset the costs of the artist’s seven year old daughter’s medical treatments. You can purchase prints here.

Images: Courtesy of James Hance