Blog a la Cart

Category: James

Disney on Ice

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A few more snaps of our weekend excursion – complete with light-up wands, overpriced concessions, and happy kids. We capped off the evening with Japanese Hibachi, a first for the girls. They found all of the chef’s tricks and pyrotechnics awesome. It was no trip to California, but it was a dang good day.

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Baa-ble Hat

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Oh this handsome fella of mine flashing some Blue Steel (or perhaps just a look of annoyance as I aim the camera at his mug). Our homestead would be at a loss without him.

I cajoled James into posing with his Christmas gift, The Baa-ble Hat (which granted he’s been wearing quite some time as I finished it in November and let him have at it). When I saw the Baa-ble Hat on Ravlery, I just had to make one. And I adored the pattern so much, I whipped one up for myself as well (Merry Christmas, me!). I learned how to more skillfully fairisle knit, and it is just so endearing and apt for our life on Cartwheel Farm. If we can’t have fiber animals right now (oh that pesky third baby), we may as well wear them on our noggins.

It’s a free pattern – so get after it, folks!

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Sunny has taken an interest in learning how to use the camera, so after school yesterday, we played around and she grabbed some photos of me in my Baa-ble Hat. I added the Alpaca Pom for a little flair – James politely declined the addition of a pom pom to his.

I adore these photos, particularly the one of me grinning. This is how I envision myself when I’m at my most comfortable. My most “me.” No pursed smile or attempts at looking “good” for the camera. No self-consciousness or awkwardness. No posing. No make-up or glitz. Just me as me, smiling casually at my daughter as I coach her through how to focus on my eyes and then hit the shutter.

When James saw the photo he said, “It’s clear that you’re completely at ease with her. Even more so than you are when I take your picture.”

The beauty of the parent/child relationship played out so simply with the click of a button. I’ll cherish her first portrait forever.

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Week 30

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I was feeling super self-conscious about my lack of maternity bathing suits and thus my selection of ill-fitting attire for this trip to South Carolina. I put this one on and immediately started bemoaning the stretch marks, and outie belly button, and saggy boobs when James stopped me mid-pity party: “That body is going to bring a human being into the world in 10 weeks. You should feel proud and awed by how badass that is.”

Touché feminist spouse. Keeping shit in perspective and reminding me of what I want my daughters and all women to feel about their bodies, in all of their many shapes, sizes, and stages.

Appropriate that Courtland (age 4) nabbed this image on my phone as we were getting ready to head out to the pool. She was once again the mirror that I needed.

SQUIRREL!

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Oh the things we do for our children! We’ve been in full on craft mode chez Cart in preparation for both holiday gift giving to the girls’ teachers and loved ones, and for various activities at school. Last week, we found ourselves crafting interpretive Ginger Bread people representative of the Cart family for Courtland’s school project complete with ribbon and glitter and sequins and fabric and yarn and… let’s be honest, James and I were probably more into it than the kids.

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This week, we were asked to come into Sunny’s classroom to talk about one of our family’s holiday traditions. Sunny insisted that James share our family’s “squirrel tradition,” which began during his father’s childhood. For whatever reason, each of the Cart kids have a toy squirrel that they hide deep in the Christmas tree every year. The goal is for other members of the family to find your squirrel. It’s a silly, simple game, but one of which Sunny is particularly fond. To accompany said explanation, we decided to make each kid in the class their own squirrels. On Sunday, we went on a hike through a local forest for acorns and mini-pine cones (great fun for Sunny and Kaki), and then James and I laboriously hot glued 20 squirrels for the kids in preparation for today’s visit to the classroom. The first graders’ contribution was to draw faces on their respective squirrels. They didn’t seem to mind the excessive glue.

And so here is our squirrel army pre-visit to the elementary school. I know that I am going to miss this stage in my life so very much one day, however silly and trite it may seem. These are the kinds of moments and experiences that I’ll carry with me and cherish long after my children require help with a hot glue gun.

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Cart Family // Fall 2015

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These photos arrived in my inbox at the start of a week all about gratitude. Very fitting indeed. Many thanks to my dear and talented friend Kate Drew Miller for capturing our family in our beautiful Vermont town during its best season. I mean those views from Kate’s property! *jawfloor*

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T

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Today the world lost a wonderful storyteller and historian. Our family lost a beloved (great) grandfather.

I am grateful to have spent time with T this weekend, as he sat next to his wife of 50 years in the home his own father built, and to have had a chance to say “I love you” and “Thank you.” James lived with his grandparents every summer for over a decade, and so T in many ways was like another parent. T taught James how to shoot one hell of a round of trap, to fly fish, to play a mean game of Skittles and an even fiercer game of Backgammon, and to love the outdoors in a way that has shaped our very lifestyle in Vermont.

My first time meeting T over a dozen years ago, he mixed me my first true Dark n’Stormy during a cocktail hour in his Bermuda home, and yikes, I couldn’t keep up with his 1-to-1 ratio of ginger beer to Goslings rum. I still can’t. He and his wife welcomed me into their family so unconditionally and warmly, and were like second grandparents to a woman who lost hers at a younger age. James is so much the man he is today because of his grandfather T. And I feel exceptionally fortunate to have known him and had him in our lives for as long as we did.

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I can’t help but look at these images and reflect on how lucky my girls were to know their Great-Grandfather. These last two images were taken this 4th of July, the last time we saw T as we’ll remember him. We miss his ascots and storytelling and stiff Dark and Stormies and love of wildlife and history and family already.

Halloween // 2015

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SO MANY FEELINGS! It was another festive Halloween thanks to Auntie Kimmy’s presence, enthusiasm and creativity. We pulled off another team costume, inspired by Inside Out. While not nearly as popular and recognizable as last year’s Frozen, I think we nailed the spirit of our characters. Courtland wasn’t as in to the Trick or Treating this year, but the pumpkin carving, house decorating prep and the candy, cider, and roasted pumpkin seed consumption proved a highlight.

Introducing…

Inside-Out-Characters

JOY! (played by Sunny)

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DISGUST! (played by Kaki)

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ANGER! (played by James)

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SADNESS! (played by Ashley and The Gummy Bear)

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FEAR! (played by Kimmy and the most awesome set of expressions)

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Nailed it. hashtaglovemysquad

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Holiday Card 2015

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The holiday season is on my mind as I’ve been knitting and creating gifts for loved ones. Which means it’s Holiday Card season as well, and time to pick this year’s card design. As in years past, I’ve teamed up with Minted.com to create our family’s holiday card, and in exchange for helping us select our card, you get a chance to win a $125 gift certificate to Minted. Bring on the holiday cheer!

I LOVE this image I snapped of the girls the other day during a weekend walk near our home. It’s so classically Vermont, and the girls look so dang joyful.

We also met up with our dear and talented friend slash photographer Kate to snap some Cart family images last Sunday, so there is a chance I’ll switch up this year’s photo. I won’t see Kate’s pix for a few more weeks though, and wanted to get the ball rolling.

This year, I was particularly thrilled to learn that Minted now has a letterpress holiday card option (I’m a sucker for purdy letterpress), and I’m also intrigued with the foiled designs (gold and silver feel so appropriately festive this time of year). I’ve selected some designs with these options. I’d love to know what you think!

As I mentioned last year, one of my favorite things about the Minted site is the ability to upload a photo and then preview all of the holiday photo cards at once with that particular photo (select the “Find It Fast” button in the top right corner). It’s a quick way to get an idea of which cards work with a particular image. Then, of course, you have the ability to personalize and customize further. AND, Minted offers FREE recipient address printing, which, I ADORED last year and fully intend on using again this year.

These are my favorite designs for this particular photo – please tell me which one is your favorite!

Details about the $125 Gift Certificate and how to enter below.

1. Holiday Swirls (letterpress)

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2. Textured Pine

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3. Gilded Brush

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4. Sparkling Frame


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5. A Beautiful and Wonderful Life

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6. Color Field

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To enter to win a $125 Gift Certificate to Minted:

• tell me what your favorite holiday photo card design is from the selection above for our family

• for an extra chance to win…
‘like’ Minted and Blog a la Cart on Facebook, then come back here and tell us you like us, you really like us! in the comments

• for you Instagrammers, another chance…
follow Minted and Blog a la Cart on Instagram, then come back here and tell us that you’re digging our snaps

Make sure you enter a valid email address in the email section of the comment box so I can contact you if you win! The winner will be chosen Monday, November 2, 2015  at 5pm EST. Open worldwide. Total Value: $125

Below are cards from the past four years, since we started printing and sending Cart Family photo cards.

2013

2012 2011

This. Is. 32.

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If James and I are to consider the purchase of the new Prius our anniversary gift to ourselves (I feel like such an adult with two fully functional vehicles produced within the past three years), then these window shades are James’ birthday gift.

We are officially grown-ups, with the installation of black out shades and dependable vehicle ownership as the hallmarks of this new phase of our lives. We’d installed CellularWindowShades.com first in the girls’ redesigned bedroom, and then in the Closest-Slash-Office-Turned-Nursery (as we prepare our compact living accommodations for Cart Baby #3). The final step was to complete installation in all bedrooms, so both the guest room and our bedroom received new shades for “James’ Birthday.” This has actually revolutionized sleeping in both bedrooms, as these rooms have skylights, and given that our bed sits directly under one of these skylights, we’d become accustomed to rising with the sun (or just being disturbed with the sun and then grumbling at the morning light). To be able to turn the rooms into cozy darkness any time of day (especially with my fierce 1st trimester nap needs) is remarkable. James and I have both been sleeping so much better, and these shades are insulated, so they helped keep the heat out during the last heat wave, and will keep our house much warmer this winter. And they look pretty darn great in each room.

Winning all around.

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And the animal print guest room (unsure how that theme arose, but apparently we had plenty of animal print on hand with which to decorate).

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Purchased from CellularWindowShades.com. We used the top down/bottom up, cordless, black out shades in CANVAS in our bedroom with the skylight shade in CANVAS as well. And we used the color LATTE in the guest room.

09.06.08 // 7 years

Still smiling this big and loving this hard seven years later. What a weekend that was. What a life has been built in its wake.

143, James.
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