Wednesday, August 26, 2009

photo overload: best weekend ever!

my husband really loves me a lot, and this weekend he treated me to a "lauren's ultimate weekend". if you know me well, then you probably know that i am a huge fan of the artwork of eric carle. this year marks the 40th anniversary of "the very hungry caterpillar", and also eric carle's 80th birthday. i've wanted to visit his museum of picture book art for a few years now, and when i found out that he would be there, doing a book signing, i figured this was the ideal time to make our way up for a visit. so we rented a car, packed up the family, and headed to amherst, massachusetts.

we left the house at 6:45 am, and spent all day saturday on the road. it took us a total of 15 hours to get to ma from nc. including two full hours to get across the george washington bridge, and past new york. yuck. with what seemed like non-stop construction, and awful traffic, the drive took much longer than we had expected. and we were all exhausted by the time we made it to our motel. but malcolm did surprisingly well during the long drive.

my early morning, sleepy-eyed baby

alanna and i decorated the car for the drive

sunday we spent the first half of the day at the museum. what a beautiful place! it was totally worth the drive. and i'm really glad that i had the opportunity to go (thank you husbandito!)

alanna and malcolm on the museum grounds, while we waited in line for the doors to open

good thing we arrived a bit early, because they cut off the line at just over 500 signatures

these butterflies were created by children from all over the country/world, to celebrate the caterpillar's anniversary

the kids and i, while eric carle was signing our books

i got to show him my tattoos, and he really enjoyed seeing my leg. while he spoke to me about my artwork, a staff member took this photo of us, and i stole it from their facebook page (thanks kristin). i will admit that i was pretty emotional. i have been in love what this man creates for such a long time, and it was a bit overwhelming to be able to actually speak to him, and show him how his artwork has truly touched me... so much so, that i will have it on me for the rest of my life. it was pretty amazing to be there and to be able to shake his hand. i got a little teary eyed, so i'm glad that i don't look like a complete idiot in this photo, haha.

even the bathrooms were cute!

alanna and malcolm being creative in the art studio

the museum shop... i went crazy in there, haha

danny picking the caterpillar's nose (of course)

getting ready to leave :(
...but we had an awesome time!

there are three galleries in the museum. one featured eric carle, with many old original pages from some of his first books, and photographs of him as a child. it was a great exhibit. another featured illustrations from the world of pooh, by e.h. shepard. there were lots of very detailed original paintings of winnie the pooh and friends. it was really cool to see them up close. a few of them made alanna and i laugh out loud. and the third gallery featured the artwork of tomie depaola, which i'm not too familiar with, but the paintings were very nice. cameras were not allowed, so i don't have any photos of the galleries. the exhibits do change, but if you are ever in the area, i would absolutely suggest checking this museum out!

after that, we drove a few miles to the dr. seuss memorial sculpture garden in springfield, ma, the city where theodor seuss geisel was born. we loved it there too. maybe next time, we will be able to check out the springfield museums too.

the yertle the turtle statue had this quote by it: "and the turtles, of course... all the turtles are free- as turtles and, maybe, all creatures should be.”

the lorax statue had this quote next to it: "unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. it's not."

that evening, we had dinner in northhampton, ma with some old friends of mine from salt lake city. melissa and murray now live in connecticut, with their adorable daughters, june and olive, so they drove up to meet us for some grub. i left my camera in the car, but i wish i had snapped a shot of olive talking to and tickling malcolm. she is 5, and she just loved him. he looked like he was love drunk too. it was pretty darn cute.

my sleepy boys, early monday morning before the long drive home

danny was nice enough to let me stop at ikea in virginia on the way back to raleigh. i love browsing there. we bought the kids a few things, and it was a nice break from sitting in the car. malcolm liked being able to run around, and climb on things for a while.

danny emailed me this photo from his phone, with this caption: "This is what Danny and Malcolm look like after a hard romp through Ikea. Broken, beaten, and shells of the men they were before they entered the gates of purgatory, haha." yep, he is pretty funny.

he also caught this priceless shot on the drive home, haha. alanna is gonna hate this photo in a year or two.

the trip was fabulous. we all had a great time. even the 1,430 miles of driving in 3 days wasn't too bad, and malcolm was really good in the car, which made things much easier. we spent some awesome quality time together as a family, which is important to me. and we all got some individual ipod time, which is always nice, because music soothes the soul. it was a much needed family getaway to end the summer right

here are a few of our souveniers:

crayola made a special "the very hungry caterpillar green" crayon for eric carle, in honor of his birthday. they gave these little packs out at the museum. i will put it in my collection.

all the great stuff i bought in the museum shop

the museum shop has a very extensive collection of children's picture books, and lots of other great illustrated fiction books. it could take hours looking through them all. danny found these two gems, so we brought them home:

h.g. wells "war of the worlds", illustrated by edward gorey! and george orwell's "animal farm" illustrated by ralph steadman (same guy who illustrated "fear and loathing in las vegas" by hunter s. thompson). pretty cool finds, i think.

i can't wait to go back... hopefully... someday :)


  1. you guys looked like you had so much fun!

  2. Amazing.
    One month and you will be here! yay!

  3. Your vacation looked great. I am jealous. How cool, once in a lifetime. I was thinking the other day about seeing you at the drum circle when you were pregnant with Alanna. How time flies!

  4. wow,wow,wow,wow - what an awesome, COLOURFUL trip you had...xoxo

  5. that is one hellofa weekend. wow. how did you managed to fit SO much in aha

    looks like you had heaps of fun!

  6. What a lot you managed to pack into one weekend! Great photos!

  7. aww your trip looked amazing!! you are so lucky to have met eric carle...he looks like such a cute lil old man too! it was great reading your blog...i loved it!