Blog a la Cart

Month: June, 2013




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

Sunny: Watching her papa out in a canoe. Ever the cautious first born, worrying about his safety.
Kaki: Throwing rocks. Making trouble. But boy, do I adore that wavy mess of blonde.

We’re on vacation this week, hiding out at James’ parents’ cabin by a lake in the Poconos. I’m anxiously awaiting the arrival of Sunny’s FGPs’ baby boy, and will be headed further south to The District upon his arrival. In the meantime, we’ll be lake loungin’ and s’more makin’. Follow along through Instagram @blogalacart. And I’ll have stories about Sunny’s adorable new hairdo soon. She looks so grown up, and I may have shed a tear or twenty in the salon when it all went down.

More details about The 52 Project here. To view all the portraits in the series visit here. We’re officially half way through the year. Wild, eh?!

My Mother’s Attic // 6


The woman in the photo above is one of my mother’s best friends from childhood. She’s pictured with my dad’s college roommate the morning of my parents’ wedding in June of 1974. Her name is Polly, and she died suddenly and tragically just a few months after that picture was taken due to Eastern Equine Encephalitis. I grew up learning all about Polly, my mother speaking fondly of her beautiful friend whose life was taken far too young. It was with bittersweet enthusiasm that I discovered that the dress I planned to alter for this month’s remake over on New Dress A Day was in fact a dress of Polly’s that my mother had saved these forty years.

The full story is up on Marisa’s blog here.


Sunny Ballerina


This past Saturday, Sunny performed in her inaugural ballet recital.

And, man, I have so many FEELINGS on the subject.

We enrolled her in dance this fall as I have so many fond memories of a childhood, and later collegiate life, spent dancing. It was one of the first age-appropriate extracurriculars available to us, so we went for it. We adore dance, particularly ballet, in my family. Kimmy and I both grew up learning from Boston Ballet’s school and I remember long hours huddled backstage with friends, playing round after round of Quack-Diddly-Oso, standing in the wings, admiring the “big kid” ballerinas and wondering at the magic created on stage. While James was not a dancer, he too was a performer. Both of us in high school plays, he in the marching band and in church choir, then later in a college a capella group.

As we discussed our choice to enroll Sunny in class, James and I realized that, more than anything else, we want both of our daughters to know that unbelievable high that comes from performance. That rush of adrenaline, and confidence, and pride that happens when you stand before a crowd (even if that crowd is just your mommy, daddy, and Bitty Baby) and perform. When you take that risk and open yourself to the vulnerability and exposure, but also the joy and pleasure, that comes from performing. We cannot guarantee that our girls will find the same happiness that we did through performance, we can at least expose them to the possibility and see how they respond.

And so, hello Beginner Dance I. Sure, the class was akin to herding cats to the tunes of Raffi, but Sunny seemed to enjoy herself and so we obliged in signing her up for the end-of-year performance. One hundred dollars later (I know, right?!), our daughter was turned in to a bubble gum pink, sequin coated, tiara wearing “princess.” Every time I heard a parent or staff member refer to the gaggle of girls as the “little princesses,” I had to resist the urge to hang myself by one of Sunny’s pink satin gloves.

I hate it. I love it. I hate it. I love it.

They were so sweet and adorable and excited. And yet, I hate it, I love it, I hate it, I love it.





Every part of me cringed when I saw the costume, and then the make-up, and then the detailed directions for hair for a group of FOUR YEAR OLDS! And yet, I delighted in standing backstage, hours before showtime, French braiding hair and helping to direct “practices,” surrounded by fellow moms (because dads weren’t allowed backstage and OH MY GOD, the strongly worded letter coming from a one James Whaley Cart who took Sunny to the dress rehearsal and then was forbidden from going backstage with a then terrified and tantruming preschooler. Yeah, some things need to change before we continue with this particular dance school). The whole experience was an exercise in paradox.

I love it, I hate it, I love it, I hate it.


And then this troop of tutus pranced around the stage, and waved to their adoring families, and giggled, and wiggled and I wept like I was beholding a professional production of Swan Lake. I now understand exactly why my mother attended every single performance of every single show, play, ballet, or performance we were ever in, regardless of age or skill.


I stood with two moms while the girls had their pictures taken, and muttered out loud, I love it, I hate it, I love it.

And they both turned and looked at me and said, Exactly.



The three of us decided to also enroll the girls in a local karate class come fall, not necessarily as an antidote, but a compliment, to the frills and gender-norm adhering realities of our experience this year with dance. We want them to continue to dance, but have some balance and varied experiences. Sunny already did a preview day at the karate school and thought the whole thing was pretty dang exhilarating, especially getting to knock her teacher on his ass.

While I cannot deny my affinity for a tutu-wearing bun head, I want to be sure that my daughter knows she’s so much more than a pink princess.



At My Finest

Yesterday evening, I received a text from a local acquaintance informing me that she’d received an email from with me in labor all over the content. Yes, you read that correctly. In labor. As in about to squeeze a human being out of my vagina.


That statement was not in the least bit shocking or embarrassing. There have been photos of me in labor on the Internets since May of 2009, and I was merely concerned that the photographer who snapped those pix was getting properly credited.

(Fortunately, yes, she is).

I’ve written about birth photography before, but as a reminder, we had a birth photographer present for Sunny’s arrival and she did the work for free in exchange for my permission to use the images to promote her work. So, four years later, some snaps of me (and a series of other women who I assume had a similar arrangement) are pictured in Vine’s recent newsletter about what to pack in your hospital bag.

I was about to make some sarcastic crack in my text reply to Tracy that I was “so glad to be pictured at my finest all over a heavily subscribed national newsletter.” But I paused, recognizing that I actually do think that those images capture me, maybe not at my finest, but certainly at my strongest, at my most powerful and brave. Why poke fun at documentation and a life experience that is some of my proudest, most important to date (and I imagine it’ll be that way for life)?

You can click on the pic below to see the full guide and array of other images from Sunny’s birth used within it. Inspired once again by these photographs, I took a pause to revisit the full experience and was again humbled and awe-struck. I will always be grateful for this photography. It never ceases to amaze.

Screen shot 2013-06-26 at 11.49.13 AM


First Wendy Davis shows our country what it means to be a total badass. And I was on the brink of tears as I explained to Sunny this morning that one brave, brilliant woman stood up and did something remarkable for all women (and people) yesterday. And that we don’t need superheros when we have people like Wendy demonstrating that human beings have the power to stand and talk without food or a potty break for 13 hours while protecting something they believe in. Sunny agreed that she did sound like a superhero (I assume mostly because of the no potty statement – because, damn, I agree – and I’m going to hold off on my diatribe about the kindergarden-esque “rules” for how a filibuster works because, what the fuck?) but regardless, I was so moved to be able to share Wendy’s heroic story with my own children, a reminder that one person has the power to do quite a lot. That we all can and must be active players in the political process. She inspired many to do just that last night.

And now DOMA and Prop 8 are trashed.

I’m just sitting at my desk, weeping. America, you surprise me sometimes.

I was prepared to be disappointed. I was prepared to be frustrated.

And now I’m just brimming with all that hopey changey goodness that creeps in every once and awhile, and I delight in what this means for my daughters, for their peers, for the next generation that will be a part of a country, still imperfect, but making strides toward something better.


I’m cyber-open-mouthed kissing everyone, seeing rainbows, and rocking my pink kicks with pride.

Currently Gawking

A touching and beautiful reminder created by fellow Eph and total rock star, Toby Cosgrove ’62, President and CEO of the Cleveland Clinic.

Brew Ha Ha

A dump of photos from our Father’s Day adventures in the neighboring town of North Adams, MA a few weekends back. And by adventures, I mean coloring, consumption of yogurt, and running around the MASS MoCA campus. Yeah, it was a really good time. I feel so lucky to call these people mine.













Cover Dog

Orvis is hosting a fundraiser for canine cancer through a photo contest. Given how near and dear this issue is to our family, the fact that James is Orvis obsessed, AND it’s an Eph business, we’ve submitted Ursa’s close-up to the contest. We would love your support. Please vote for our strong, brave girl here. Thank you from our entire pack!


Photo: Courtesy of Kate Drew Miller

Where’s Bunty?

And by Where’s Bunty?, I mean, Where in god’s name has that damn hen laid her eggs?

Shall we play a game of “I Spy”?

We shall!

I spy with my little eye, four days worth of eggs… no where near the chicken coop.


But rather, buried in the garden, next to our house and kitchen garden beds. At least 100 meters from the barn and coop. Last week it was in the feed bucket of one of our horse stalls. There are no horses, so why not monopolize a feeder that is sitting vacant?


This is the ongoing Bunty Egg Saga. Upon discovering her hiding spot, she promptly changes laying locale rather than just giving up and submitting to laying in the cozy array of five nesting boxes we’ve established for the flock up in the safety of our barn.


Much like how the girls prefer to roost on the kids’ swingset rather than on their sturdy branch roosts we’ve installed in the coop.


Oh these silly birds. They free range all over our property – and the neighboring road and fields – and I can’t help but adore their presence as it provides daily amusement (I dare to you watch a chicken in full sprint and not keel over with laughter) and really sets the country, farm vibe that James and I are going for. Great ambience, those hens. Oh, and their eggs are pretty outrageous, too.

Hanna loves nothing more than to play round after round of tag with them. They torment her by lingering nearby, and then she lumbers after them, catches them, pins them to the ground with her chin, and then releases, to resume the activity all over again. The hens could easily escape her antics by hopping the fence (a feat they do constantly to get between our house and their coop) and yet they remain with Hanna as they must get some enjoyment out of the game. What that enjoyment is, I know naught. I can only assume it’s the vision of Hanna, full googley-eyes and bologna tongue, lurching around the yard in pursuit. It is almost as funny as their full sprint waddle.

Regardless, we’re a year in to this backyard poultry adventure, and enjoying it immensely. Chicken ownership is indeed as rad as I’d suspected. And even James agrees. And we’re still happily married.* Now that’s a win for all.

*James once told me the only reason our marriage might fall apart was if I purchased chickens. And hey, look! 12 months since that fateful day, and we’re still hitched. It’s a good thing my hunch that chickens were a totally awesome addition to the household played out in reality, eh? Or James just loves me a whole heck of a lot more than he suspected.




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

Sunny: Anxiously waiting backstage before her first ballet recital. I’m so proud of her.
Kaki: Sweet girl collects flowers for Mama during her daily walks in the backpack with her Papa. 

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