I got 2 surprise care packages this week, and both just made my heart happy. Julie from Jaybird Quilts reached out because she had a Quilter’s Planner she wasn’t going to use, and she asked if I’d like it (obviously YES, because I can’t get enough planners).
We went back to Lancaster July 1-3, but this time it was three generations of women heading to Kitchen Kettle Village. I do love it there, although after our second stay in the Inn at Kitchen Kettle Village I’m a little grossed out by the infrequently-washed carpets. It was much worse this time, I may have to rethink things for our next visit.
This is what we got ourselves up to.
My mom, Hannah, and I went back to the Metropolitan Museum of Art on Monday. I was off for Rosh Hashanah, and the museum was closed. So Meredith took us around for another couple of hours to see some more things and get some fun photos of Hannah.
They were tending to a lot of things when we there, so we still didn’t make it to William the hippo. And the Arms and Armor room, always one of my favorites, was also tricky to get to. But we saw lots of sculpture, European paintings, and I made lots of docents and guards nervous when I spread Hannah out on the floor to take some photos. I mean, how many kids get pictures of themselves in the empty Met? I’m pretty sure I was horribly embarrassing, and my mother told me my mission for the day was clear–Hannah photos. I swear we looked at art, and that’s why we went, but I’m also all about preserving cool memories. So here are my favorite photos from the whole day. The Hannah photos are towards the bottom, I really did appreciate the art.
I’ve been obsessing about what Hannah will be for Halloween since we arrived home from the UK and I started seeing Halloween stuff appearing in stores. I’d been thinking about it vaguely before that, but it really kicked into gear once we were home. And I was feeling really competitive about it. I think I’ve just always assumed, long before I even knew we were having a baby, that I would make my children’s costumes while they’re young. But I couldn’t find any patterns that I even remotely liked, and inspiration just wasn’t coming.
So I got a little fanatical about finding The. Perfect. Store-bought. Costume. Pottery Barn Kids sent me an email announcing their costumes were in; so did Old Navy. A friend from grad school, Rebecca, told me to check out Chasing Fireflies, and then the next day I had their catalog in the mail (how do kids’ catalog companies know when you’ve had kids?!). I’ve been making Adam nuts about it for days; the second he mentioned he would consider dressing up as a family, I started discussing whole family costume options nonstop. After all, this is a guy I’ve never seen in a costume of any kind in almost a decade together. It was too tempting. And too much to think about. And too overwhelming. If I couldn’t find something great to make Hannah, I’d make something for us. If Hannah went as a banana, Adam and I could wear ice cream-colored t-shirts and khakis, I could knit us each cherry hats, and we could be an ice cream sundae! You can see where this was going.
Adam asked me the other night who I’m competing with when I admitted that my costume hunt was getting a little out of hand. I was completely incapable of making a decision because the whole family needed to be themed (and at least partially homemade). I realized just this morning that it’s my mom I’m competing with. When we were little, she was a single working mom who handmade gorgeous and elaborate Halloween costumes for us. I remember the Sister Bear costume (of Berenstain Bears fame), the Garfield costume, all the crazy stuff she came up with using things around the house (the Mop Monster was an often-used Carney family classic). She was always so crafty and creative, and that’s who I’m competing with. I just always assumed store-bought costumes weren’t made with love in every stitch, like when your mom makes you something (and they aren’t, really). I remember being really proud to show up for the elementary school parades in these crazy getups that she’d imagined, sometimes with only days to spare if I couldn’t make up my mind that year. I thought she was amazing and perfect. It was such a great feeling to have a mom like that, and I really wanted to give that tradition to Hannah.
But let’s face it, life is short. And my maternity leave is about to end. And there are 500 things on my mind at the moment. And, frankly, the store-bought costumes look way cooler than anything I could make right now. I didn’t want the good costumes to sell out while I futzed around making everything harder. I think Hannah will grow up knowing her mom is crafty and feeling that homemade love in a million other ways than just her Halloween costume. Maybe this realization will even help me finally make her a quilt, rather than just obsessing about making the “perfect” one. Because, if I’m honest, for all the love I felt in those costumes I also remember taking the headpieces off halfway through trick or treating because I was hot. Or whining that something was itchy. Or forgetting important bits at home right before the parade. Nothing is “perfect,” but that doesn’t mean it’s not wonderful. So this is what I’ve ordered for Hannah’s first Halloween costume: practical (she’ll wear all of it without fuss), funny, and adorably offbeat:
Hannah, my mom, and I packed into the car and headed into Manhattan to the Metropolitan Museum of Art today. It’s the first Meredith Monday of summer 2012, and I plan on taking complete advantage of Mere’s access this year, mwah ha ha. There are rumors that the Met will start opening 7 days a week later this year, and if that’s the case this will be the last summer that we can take over the museum together when it’s closed. So Hannah and I will definitely be going again (and I think my mom is on board for another round, too).
This is second only to watching the Thanksgiving parade balloons blown up as my favorite New York City thing to do. I even took my fancy camera and borrowed Adam’s favorite lens. I’ve been to the Met when it’s closed a few times now, once or twice in grad school when I took a class there and then a couple of times with Meredith. And she is by far my favorite buddy for this kind of stuff. An empty museum, time with a great friend, and lots of art. It’s like being in From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler but without the hiding and pesky brother.
We took it easy today since it was Hannah’s first visit, and I think we got it down to a science. At the museum by 12 & out of the museum by 2, we avoided traffic on each end and basically avoided an overtired baby. And we didn’t keep Meredith away from her office TOO much. We went through the Costume Institute’s Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations. Baz Luhrmann directed several vignettes starring Miuccia Prada (as herself) and Judy Davis as Elsa Schiaparelli, just talking to each other about fashion. I loved the juxtaposition of their philosophies and Schiaparelli’s clear influence on Prada’s clothes. Very cool, and of course my mom commented several times, “I bet I could make a knockoff of that!” No photos allowed there, but Hannah loved the clothes. Or she loved getting out of the stroller while Meredith carried her, not sure which. Either way, this exhibit was incredible.
Hannah is keeping me busy, which is why I’m lucky if I blog once a week these days. I’m sure this blog will get more attention as we get into our groove more and more, but honestly right now it’s just way too much fun snuggling and playing with her in the rare moments when she doesn’t need to be fed, changed, or soothed. The days are just packed, as Calvin and Hobbs would say.
And exhale. This week was crazy, but now I’m back. As of yesterday I am 6 months (24 weeks) pregnant, I can’t believe how fast it’s going.
My mom and Laura Ann threw me a baby shower last Saturday. It was at my house, so I knew about it. My mom originally booked this really cute tea shop in Red Bank, but they went bust over the summer without telling anyone. I saw one of the owners working in the Easy Spirit store at Jersey Shore Outlets, go figure. So anyway, since we’d picked the weekend and some of the British folks had already bought plane tickets, we decided to have it at my house. And it was so lovely, I had an amazing time!
It’s now 8 in the morning a week later, I’m wide awake, and I decided to start posting the photos. So forgive me if I’m slightly delirious and mushy, it really was a great day. My mom and her accupuncturist found the caterers, and they were great. Perfect Blend out of Trenton, they cater tea parties. The ladies were so nice, the food was amazing, and they left the kitchen cleaner than it was when they got there.
I only used my point and shoot for photos, but I did get a few shots of the day. My living room was taken over by pink balloons and tables.
And the caterers transformed it.
Laura Ann brought my FAVORITE cupcakes from Sugar Sweet Sunshine. I could’ve just eaten these all day.
The Reeve and Carney (my maiden name) families have more than a tiny obsession with burgers. Remember last year when Adam and I painstakingly recreated In-N-Out Burgers? So a few weeks ago, when my brother strongly recommended we all check out Zinburger in Clifton, we headed up to North Jersey to give it a chance.
The last weekend in April I went to a Bed, Breakfast and Quilt weekend with my mom and my Aunt Jackie in Wildwood. It was at the Adventurer Inn, which is a crazy retro shore motel in Wildwood Crest, right at the edge of the boardwalk. I love doing crafty stuff with my mom, and this was the first crafty retreat I’ve done with my aunt. But I’m always unsure of what these trips will be like, if I’ll be the youngest person there, if I’ll have fun. I am almost always the youngest (next to the occasional small child), but I learn a lot from the ladies and come back with tons of inspiration and tips on technique. But I do wish retreats and quilt shows were inhabited with more modern quilters. Right now NYC (an hour away) and Philly (1.5-2 hours away) are the closest places I can go to meet quilters like me, and I wish I knew more like-minded crafters in general. I wouldn’t trade the time with my mom for anything, but I’d love to see more diversity in the groups.
Anyway, I digress. I did have a great time, and I even got to see what happens when retired quilters get drunk. I also got an exceptional amount of work done, and I loved having the dedicated time to sew. And to harass my mom with questions. Aside from finishing Sandra’s quilt (which is now delivered), I started and finished this charity quilt top:
AND I found a use for this Moda candy bar, full of fabrics that just aren’t quite my thing (more on that later):