Blog a la Cart

Category: Inspiration

XXVIII

Hi, Mom,

It’s that time of year. Your dining room table is covered in envelopes and stamps and pens and ribbons and tissue and gift bags. We’ve got Santa’s workshop humming along chez Cart. The holidays are going to forever be mixed emotionally with your absence. I carry such nostalgia for the happy memories of Christmas’s past of which you played such an intimate roll. It’s difficult to imagine how we continue to spread joy in the face of such loss. And yet, we do. In fact, with even more resolve, and intention, and love. For we are more acutely aware than ever of how much there is to lose. How much there is to celebrate. How important it is to give thanks and be present.

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In your honor, we created another family holiday card, wishing peace and gentleness to all. This year has been challenging for our entire nation, for the whole world, and the individual I grief I feel is one facet of many complex experiences and communal heartache we’re weathering as a country. In these past two years, I have learned to carry the world with more gentleness, to lead with more kindness, and to try, even on the darkest days, to celebrate light, and joy, and love.

As always, Minted had a simple yet beautiful design that spoke to this message I wanted to share.

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Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.

I had a peace sign necklace made from pieces of your jewelry collection following your death, and this card is one more nod to the peace I seek in a world so very different than I ever could have imagined.

We miss you desperately. I wish you were here, sitting around your dining room table, sipping champagne and stuffing envelopes as “The Nutcracker” plays in the background. But we carry on thanks to memories of your vibrant, lion-hearted spirit

143 Your Ashley

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XXII

Hi, Mom,

It’s hard to believe that you have been absent for all these moments. And yet, look at all this love… you are so clearly a part of that.

143 Your Ashley

IX

Hi, Mom.

For over a month, I’ve been plugging away on a sweater for your grandson. I’ve become enamored of this bubble stitch from a bonnet pattern, and decided to incorporate it into a sweater for Sanderling. It was my first true foray into pattern design, and I was extremely nervous that all that time and effort might have been for nothing if things went awry. I know you would understand zero percent of this given your utter disinterest in knitting (thank goodness your mom took it upon herself to teach me), but you were always such an admirer of the pieces I produced (and on the receiving end of many, even my earliest, less successful projects).

I wanted to share Sanderling wearing the finished product so desperately with you. I wanted to hear you “ooooh” and “ahhhhh.” I am really so dang proud of what I created. It fits beautifully, just as I’d envisioned and hoped. And I was yearning for a compliment from you.

You would have loved it.

143 Your Ashley

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Sanderling // Three Months

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My beguiling Three Month Old,

You are our ray of sunshine. Our cheeks hurt from smiling back so unabashedly at your constant stream of open-mouthed, rapturous grins. You are on the brink of the giggles and that is only going to amplify the joy and happiness you so readily bestow upon our household. Your bath time routine of stomps and splashes and coos with Daddy and PINK HIPPO! are arguably the zenith of your joy each day. In the face of our grief, you are our balance. Our light. Our anchor. And you radiate that light outward to those we greet in public – the baristas, pharmacists, colleagues, friends, teachers, yogis, darling elderly gentlemen, are all so smitten with your sweet smiles of connection and contentment.

This precious ensemble arrived from a beautiful French knitwear company, Miou Kids, and I can hardly stand how adorably that bonnet magnifies that round, squishy face of yours. Those bally cheeks (just like your Momar’s)! That dimple! It makes your smiles all the more irresistible. If it isn’t already glaringly obvious, I am positively taken with you, my darling. There isn’t a moment that goes by that I don’t feel humbled with gratitude and love for your presence in our lives.

Your easy-going nature continues, as you have (for now) mastered sleeping through the night. You go to sleep with ease at bed time. In fact, I often lay you down still awake, and you merrily suck your thumb (we hear great slurping down the hall) until you drift off to sleep. We then don’t hear from you again until the following morning. If a wet diaper or a hungry belly awakes you before 6am, a quick change and/or nurse session is enough to welcome another 2-3 hour stretch of sleep. I cannot fully articulate what a gift this has been, for all of us. To be rested. To not have to stress about long bedtime routines, or prolonged middle-of-the-night feedings, or restless, sleep-deprived children and parents is particularly welcome during a time when life feels so hard and confusing. Thank you for that gift.

While I know that your daddy and I are far more relaxed and comfortable now that this is our third crack at parenting a newborn, it’s also a testament to your adaptable, laid back personality. It makes carting you around to all of your sisters’ extracurriculars, school performances, appointments, rehearsals, shows, etc. a breeze – not to mention the slew of activities and errands you find yourself running alongside your mom and dad daily. Securely discovering your thumb this month has certainly helped you manage self-care when needed. You’ve recently shown a tendency to blow out your diaper mid-errand, so we’ve gotten very skilled at stripping you of poop-soaked clothing in the mini-van. But if that’s the most challenging hurdle I have to face with you these days, I’ll take it. Baby poo stained car seats and all.

We’ve survived the fourth trimester, my friend. Two bouts of mastitis (the engorgement from your epic sleep stretches is to blame for last week’s infection, but again, tough to complain given the reason), a slew of challenging milestones in the wake of your Momar’s passing and your mama’s adjustment to life postpartum unmothered – but we did it. And I can’t imagine having weathered these three months without you curled up against my chest, a puddle of drool beneath your chin, and sweet sighs emitting from those lips that suck on air as you dream. You are an ever-constant reminder to remain in the present. To soak in the current moment. And revel in the love and comfort and gratitude it brings.

How I wish your Momar could see how much I am positively delighting in you. But I like to think of her as your guardian angel, and I trust that she knows, even if it’s just in the security of my own heart.

143 Mama

Shop Sanderling’s gorgeous hand knit outfit from Miou KidsCotton Overalls in Teal; Cotton Moss Bonnet in Sea Foam ; Crochet Booties in Sea Foam

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19/52

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“A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2016.”

Sunny: Our seven year old. She wanted a pool party for her birthday, but our local pool doesn’t open for the season until early June. So instead, we’re taking a family trip to an indoor water park near Lake George. And all spending the night in a hotel room together. Here’s hoping Sander keeps up his awesome sleep habits – or it may be a very drowsy day at the park! Wish us luck!
Kaki: Changing a diaper, tongue out for concentration. The girls are so eager to help us care for their brother, and it’s a reminder of just how lucky we all are to have one another as family.
Sander: Tummy time champ. Enjoying those bugs as much as both of his big sisters did. That play mat was gift from Momar, of course, when Sunny was a baby.

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

18/52

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“A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2016.”

Sunny: So proud of her new pair of TIE sneakers. While it makes getting out the door a considerably longer process, she is so dang thrilled to be able to tie her own laces.
Kaki: THE HILL ARE ALIVE… with the sound of Kaki. (Hot dang we live in a beautiful place. So grateful to have this in our backyard, especially these last few months. Walks among this scenery have been therapeutic for all of us).
Sander: Not at all aligned with his sisters’ portraits, but an adorable snap that features his budding mohawk and the fact that he is already busting out of 6 month clothing at the age of 8 weeks. 

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

17/52

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“A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2016.”

Sunny: On a sunny Saturday stroll before a week of rain and grey and yuck.
Kaki: Not thrilled at the prospect of a long walk, but she quickly turned around that pout after a few minutes of running in the sunshine. “Mama, this WAS actually a fun walk with our WHOLE family!”
Sander: Looking very very milk drunk, but showcasing a hat from my knitting extravaganza before he was born.

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

16/52

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“A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2016.”

Sunny: Obsessed with using our phones to text her auntie and Doda. Given that she’s practicing her writing while texting, we tend not to mind, though we often find her huddled away in a bedroom sending messages when we least suspect it. She even arranged a playdate with friends of ours, unbeknowst to us. Ha!
Kaki: This one has grown leaps and bounds in her mastery of letters. She loves to spend time before stories studying the words on the page and identifying all the letters.
Sander: Snuggles with his Doda.

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

15/52

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The celebration of my mother’s life was held in the town where she raised our family, a beautiful, coastal village on the South Shore of Boston. Before driving back to Vermont on Sunday, we had a picnic at the beach where I grew up going as a child.

“A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2016.”

Sunny: She can never resist the pull of the water, even if it is positively frigid.
Kaki: She’s learned to write her letters, so she spelled out MOMAR in the sand for her grandmother.
Sander: My little squish. So fair and blue-eyed for all that bright sunshine. His first glance at the ocean.

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

14/52

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“A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2016.”

Enjoying some April (snow) showers. Oh life in Vermont! On the upside, the girls got to finally use their sonic sleds from L.L. Bean, gifted by their great-grandmother this winter. And Sander was able to properly put to use his cozy bear bunting from Momar. (Thanks for the snow day, Mom. It was beautiful.)

Sunny: Snow Angel #1
Kaki: Snow Angel #2
Sander: Snow Angel #3

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

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