Blog a la Cart

Month: December, 2013

Ringing Out 2013

Our evening will consist of tutus and rainbow wings and painted nails and Bitty Babies and Gladdy snuggles and popcorn and movies and sparkling cider.

Not a bad way to say farewell to 2013 and welcome 2014. Happy New Year to you from our household filled with “rainbow fairybird butterflies.”






You Are Stardust

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If I may recommend one children’s book that was published this year, it is hands down You Are Stardust. Such a stunning portrait of life and how we are all, simply, nature. I get the chills just reading it to my children.

The illustrations (which are three-dimensional dioramas by artist Soyeon Kim) only enhance the beauty of the book’s message.

I highly recommend that you add it to your children’s library (or the library of a child whom you love).

No surprise, this is my favorite page.


Like fish deep in the ocean, you called salt water home. You swam inside the salty sea of your mother’s womb. Salt still flows through your veins, your sweat, and your tears. The sea within you is as salty as the ocean.

Merry + Bright // 2013

The most special moment of Christmas 2013 came from James.  When Ursa passed, I wrote a story about her that I read to the girls at night. My gift from James this year was an illustrated version of the story with drawings by Sunny. After a scavenger hunt around the farm, I was led to where Ursa now rests to open the book.

“This is the last clue, go ahead and smile. But you’ve still got to walk – not quite a mile. Christmas is grand together, but someone is missing. Let’s say Merry Christmas to her. I think she’ll be listening.”

Talk about hashtag feeeeeeelings! It was amazing and emotional and *SOB!* I wasn’t kidding when I said that holidays are complicated, feeling-filled beasts as adults.

ANYWAY! You’ll note in the photos that the majority of our Christmas was filled with lots and lots of snuggling. Especially while watching old school versions of Rudolph and The Grinch Stole Christmas.








^^And visions of tennis balls dance in her head. Such a retriever, this one. ^^


^^Even Penny got into the spirit of the holiday. Festive!^^



^^James drank egg nog straight out of the mason jar in which our neighbor’s gifted said ‘nog thanks to Kimmy’s Mason Jar sippy cup gift.^^


^^And there was lots and lots of coloring and stickering and reading. Something at which their Auntie excels.^^


^^My second favorite moment also occurred where Ursa now rests. We decided to go caroling after unwrapping was complete, but since we have so few neighbors, we sang to both Penny and then we hiked up to Ursa’s grave and sang to her. In all of our jingle bell finest.^^




^^And of course we frolicked in the snow that came on Boxing Day.^^


Overall, another lovely, intimate Christmas together on the farm.


Cartwheel Farm in Gingerbread

We’ve been steeped in family time. My parents and sister departed Saturday afternoon, and then we had two waves of friends come through for a visit. I took the girls to FROZEN for the third time yesterday. (They are obsessed. You should see the family sing-a-longs that happen on the hour, every hour, chez Cart. We’ve got the entire score memorized. And I must say, I love that the movie has female leads, and that the message is ultimately about the power of sisterly love. An awesome deviation from the hetero-romantic Disney norm. It’s not perfect, by any stretch of the imagination, but the music is wonderful and the overall message is good. So I’m picking my battles.) James is just beginning his busy work season, so while he hides up in the office in the barn buried in essays, the girls and I have been doing lots of movie watching, and costume trunking, and generally lounging around the house.

We have zero plans for New Year’s Eve (like the parents of preschoolers that we are). I imagine that James’ and I will count down to midnight working on our yearly photo video to wrap up 2013. Last night I spent two hours paging through images, and only made it to April. I’ve got lots more to sort before James can begin to work his montage magic. Last year we took 10,000 images. This year? 20,000. Granted that includes the work I was hired to do, but still pretty overwhelming. Poor sweet computer. She is running on memory fumes. (And yes, I have invested in external hard drives because, duh.)

All that is to say, I’ll be sharing some images from our Christmas before fully closing the books on this year. First up? Our Christmas Eve Gingerbread House bonanza! I love that James made the dough, my dad constructed a gingerbread house modeled after Cartwheel Farm, and Kimmy worked her decorating talents while I helped as sous decorator. Kimmy created a Graham Cracker house for Sunny to decorate, and Courtland tackled gingerbread men. And Momar supervised. She is the Queen Supervisor. It was a wonderful way to spend Christmas Eve Day with my family, huddled in our tiny kitchen over gum drops and icing. Truly a team effort.























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

Sunny: The “zip-O” line (as she calls it) has been a big hit. James made this joy happen for the girls on Christmas day.
Kaki: While we didn’t have a white Christmas, we had a white Boxing Day. We’ll take it. My cheeky two-year old loves her new snow gear!

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


A couple of images that I love that didn’t make it into the post on New Dress a Day. Thanks to James for shooting the looks.






My Mother’s Attic // December


My final post for New Dress a Day is up. Definitely the most special project of the series – and by far my favorite images. Enjoy!

Christmas 2013


Love & Joy from our family to yours.



Many thanks to Minted for the joyful holiday cards.

Missing My Bear…


Christmas just isn’t the same without her. As we get older, holidays become more complex. I took a moment to reflect on my eight Christmases with Ursa, sinking into nostalgia and grief.

But now, back to epic Gingerbread house building. Doda and Auntie Kimmy are in the heart of recreating Cartwheel Farm in sweets. And I want to remember this moment, all of my family huddled in our tiny kitchen over gum drops and bowls of frosting. How lucky I am.

My Sami People


I have an obsession with all things nordic and Scandinavian, so when I spotted these coats in a vintage shop, I called my mother and she made some Christmas magic happen. I now have two of my very own Sami People! The girls looked like whimsical Christmas elves on our trip to Northampton to see Santa’s Trains. We stopped and shot some photos of the sisters in their festive get ups. It was a misty, moody afternoon, which made for a wonderful contrast against that vibrant red.

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Wishing all who celebrate a very merry Christmas! I’ll be curled up on the farm with my family (sister and parents included). Time for lots of hot chocolate and cookie decorating and champagne and pomegranates and caroling and boeuf bourguignon and pajama lounging and laughter. Mostly laughter.