Blog a la Cart

Month: April, 2013

A Pile of Rocks

Pictures have been my goto in this space, but Ashley flew away with the camera so it’s been me and an iPhone 4S. Here are some magic moments worth sharing atop Sunny’s favorite pile of rocks. Courtland looks up to her so much, and it’s one of the most amazing, heartwarming, inspiring feelings to see how they play and interact with one another. We’d be so lucky to find someone we respect and admire as much as they do one another… Thanks for that Ashley.

Vom. I know.

2 pics from my IG feed – click for more.

Sisters enjoying a sunset


Champions of the world


Addishly or Ashison?

Just in case you think there’s been no Ashley in the house for a week, let me replay a recent conversation. Looking forward to having her back, but it’s incredible how much of her never left…

Scene: Children at table snacking on crackers. It’s midday, the birds are chirping, there are Rainbows outside…and inside, all is right with the world. James is in the background looking through the fridge. He finds something and begins working with it on the kitchen island.

Sunny: Daddy, what are you doing?
James: Putting some frosting on a cupcake.
S: Oh, yum! That’ll wil be delicious…..but, daddy, you can’t eat that cupcake.
J: Oh, yeah? And why not? I thought you might want a bite.
S: We don’t eat cupcakes until we’ve eaten some real food.
J: … Ah…. Yes, you’re right. I’ll put it away.
S: Yeah, Daddy… Daddy?
J: Yes, Sunny.
S: Why is your coat on the chair?
J: Just a minute, I’m trying to get this in the fridge and there’s some stuff that’s —
S: Your coat shouldn’t be on the chair. It should be hanging in the closet.
J:…Yes, Sunny. You’re right. Again.
S: You should hang it now, so you don’t forget.
J: ….You’re so thoughtful…
J: One sec, kiddo. I’m just hanging up the —
S: Your computer does not go on the kitchen table. Kaki might get crackers and cheese on it if you leave it on the table!
J:….Thank you, Sunny.




“A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013.”

Sunny: Two birthday parties yesterday resulted in balloons and other goodies coming back to Cartwheel Farm. Sunny, who’s probably run 3 miles inside our house by 8:30 this morning, pauses for a moment to display this one.

Kaki: Who’s been sick all week has a strong affinity for her antibiotic and its dispenser. After she’s sure that there’s no more medicine to be had, she proudly parades around the house with the dispenser giggling and flailing in search of a doll who might enjoy their own medicine. Inevitably, it’s discarded in a deep corner of the playroom; it’s an accomplishment every time we’re able to find the syringe again.

More details about The 52 Project here. To view all the portraits in the series with explanations as to why I’ll be capturing the portraits in the early morning, visit here.

Many thanks to James for this edition while I’m abroad.

My Mother’s Attic // 4

April’s edition of My Mother’s Attic is up on New Dress A Day.

I realize that this is more of a facelift than a remake, but I couldn’t resist the opportunity to restore this dress from my mom’s years living in Paris for my own European adventure. Full post here.

mma-april-11 copy

Sweater Dress


I made Sunny this sweater dress for Christmas. Given her love of blue and pink and, most of all, pockets, I thought she’d be thrilled.

Not. So. Much.

It was received with grimaces and no amount of guilt, and then bribery, could change her feelings. This seems to be a recurring theme. I spend an appalling number of hours creating something handmade for my daughter, and she turns up her nose in disgust. YAY MOTHER/DAUGHTER RELATIONS!

For whatever reason, the passing of time has dulled those feelings of dislike, and Addison opted to wear the sweater on our excursion to Hancock Shaker Village this past weekend. And it was a smart move given that it was a beautifully sunny, albeit bone-chillingly cold day. Here’s hoping we see more of this interest in mama’s handmade knits. Primarily so I may continue to justify my outrageous yarn budget.





There is no pattern for this project. I made it up as I went along. If there’s interest, I can try to recreate it on Ravelry. Details live here

Baby Animals

This post needs very little introduction. This weekend, we visited Hancock Shaker Village to see the baby animals. And, well, I mean… I just… I expect two lambs to greet me upon my return to the farm, JAMES. It’s just too much cute in one experience… you may start farting rainbows. You’ve been warned. And if you are anywhere remotely near the Berkshires in April, do not miss this opportunity. Seriously. babyanimals-blogalacart-2
























The Swedish


Today, I cash in on my 30th birthday present and head overseas to celebrate with my spirit person. We haven’t seen each other in nearly four years. We are long overdue. Maja was an exchange student from Sweden my senior year of high school. Our mutual connection to all things blonde, six foot, and loud instantly bonded us. She is now a Swedish fashion designer, and is responsible for my absolutely stunning wedding dress (see lower right image for proof of her amazing work). She, too, turned 30 this April, so we are celebrating the milestone together, over much vodka and minimalist Scandinavian design. Skål!

I’ll be in Stockholm until next Tuesday night. In the meantime, send calming, nay tranquilizing, thoughts to my children so that James survives the next eight days with his sanity intact. I’ve given him full reign of this space, so we’ll see what kind of mischief he can get himself into while I’m otherwise disposed.

Many thanks for all the birthday love, and I’ll see you in a week! Puss puss!


Hello Thirty! I’m greeting you with a big, sloppy, open-mouthed kiss!

It’s a funny thing, this welcoming a new decade. A few year’s ago, I would have predicted that I would be rocking in a corner weeping to mark this milestone. But a few year’s ago, I would have also predicted that on this day I would be a single woman living on the beaches of California.

My my my, how life is anything but predictable.

I was talking with a family friend about how comfortable I was with the new pronumber (totally a thing, right? Like pronoun, for numerals) that I’d be attaching to my age this month and that I was surprised by the relative calm, even excitement, I felt for the decade ahead. She responded that she always knew that her life was just as it should be when she welcomed birthdays with ease. If you’re content, why would you panic at the passing of another year?

And it’s true, I feel unbelievably lucky to be living the (unpredicted) life that I do. I never in a million year’s would have expected any of it at this stage in my life, and yet, I cannot possibly imagine it any other way.

This past decade was THE DECADE OF MAJOR LIFE EVENTS. Literally, James and I tackled nearly every major life milestone in our 20s. Heck, we met at the man’s 20th birthday party – so it began the moment we entered it. Education? Marriage? Home ownership? Children? Check! Check! Check! Check!

There is something so liberating about closing the books on that wonderful whirlwind that categorized our 20s and entering a new decade with zero expectations besides a better appreciation and awareness that life is joyfully, heartbreakingly unpredictable. I have no major goals. Or bucket lists. Or any sort of cliché agenda for my 30s. Beyond learning how to make a quilt and witnessing the birth of a child (from another body besides my own), I demand very little from this decade.

In fact, as I’ve been approaching my birthday and reflecting on the past thirty years, I keep circling back to the day that it all began, and thinking about my parents, specifically my mother, and what an amazing and remarkable thing happened on April 22, 1983. Now as a mother myself, I recognize the significance of birthdays for both the celebrant and the mom of the celebrant. My birthday is my mother’s Birth Day. And that is a more powerful thing than most of us acknowledge. On both Sunny and Kaki’s birthdays, I can’t help but be transported back to the day that they arrived, the day that we worked together to bring them into this world, and reflect on what a wild, weird, wonderful thing human life really is. (God, I do love me some alliteration).

So today, on my Thirtieth Birthday, I want to say thank you to my own mother for being strong and brave, especially on that day thirty years ago. Thank you for bringing me into this fragile, beautiful, incalculable world so that I could one day know the power of birthdays and a mother’s love, and wish you, mom, a Happy Birth Day.

Here’s to another unpredictable decade!




“A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013.”

Sunny: When she awakes, she immediately heads downstairs and feeds the dogs and then lets them outside for their morning constitutional. She’ll draw colorful pictures of fences, spiders and Australia (all of which are various blobs and scribbles on paper. I do not understand the symbolism, but it’s magical regardless) in her playroom until we emerge from slumber. When we appear, she and James head up to the chicken coop to collect eggs and on her way back to the house, she pauses over our recently emerged bed of chives and plucks a few herbs for consumption. Preschoolers are indeed a wonderful thing.
Kaki: Blowing kisses from her favorite perch in the house, the computer chair. The kid is of her generation, wielding the mouse with far greater ease than her grandparents. 

More details about The 52 Project here. To view all the portraits in the series with explanations as to why I’ll be capturing the portraits in the early morning, visit here.

Oh, Daffodil


Oh, hey.

This fucking week, eh?

I’m currently saddled up next to Addison who was sent home from school before lunch after unloading breakfast all over the classroom and herself. Upon arriving home, she bestowed the same gift of stomach bile on me and the front lawn (Hey, better than the living room. Look at me looking on the bright side!). I’m glued to streaming coverage of the mayhem happening in Boston while Sunny’s swaddled in dog towels watching marathon episodes of Dora. Whatever gets us through.


Despite the sadness and terror and disappointment of this past week – if you have not yet read Gabby Giffords’ op-ed in the NYT, please do so immediately – there have been some bright spots on these otherwise darker days. Literally.


We had the foundation of our sunroom secured. Probably the least glamorous or interesting home improvement project on our epic house TO DO list, but James is sleeping better at night knowing that the north side of the house is no longer at risk of spontaneous collapse. Kaki celebrated its completion with a frolic on the porch attached to the room, a preview of summer activities to come.


We’ve spent our evenings playing on the swing set and in the garden. We’re loving all this fresh air, the longer days, and the greener scapes. The kids have been helping us plant and prepare this year’s garden. We have a full blown green house going in our downstairs bathroom. Hello farm fresh tomatoes! Nom nom nom.


Daffodils have been sprouting up everywhere I look and that, above all else, has kept my spirit lifted. A sunny reminder of new life despite hard, cold winters. Flecks of color against the grey days and moods.


Best of all, this weekend we’re headed to Hancock Shaker Village for the Baby Animals Tour. If anything can turn a frown upside down, its time spent cuddling piglets and lambies and calves and ducklings.

Happy weekend everyone. Stay safe and hug your loved ones, even those of the pukey variety. 143