Monday, February 13, 2017

Sweet Book Dedications

In law school I developed an interest in book dedications. The first page of my Contracts or Torts textbook would have a few words to the author’s wife (and yes, they’re mostly written by men), and I laughed a little. “Oh this giant treatise is for ME?! Honey. You shouldn’t have.”

Even if it’s a textbook on the Federal Income Tax, it’s not without some romance that this thing - this somewhat monstrous thing - that you’ve created, you want to dedicate to a person you love. It’s something like a tiny Valentine.

That said, last Valentine’s Day I wanted to blog about my favorite book dedications. I don’t read many legal texts these days, but I do read ahecka lot of picture books. So I’ve had one glorious year to sift through hundreds of picture book dedications. I’m prepared to definitively state that my very favorite book dedication in the last year is… a pirate book. Pirates of the Sea! by Brandon Dorman. Admittedly not very Valentiney, but Jack loves it because we sing the whole book to the tune of “A Pirates Life for Me.”

I assume the book is dedicated Dorman's three sons, but the way he writes it is too tender.  “For me three swashbucklin’ mates: Sourpatch Sam, Jolly-Cheeks Jackson, and Mighty Max. Ye be ME treasure.”

Anyway. That’s the best pirate Valentine I ever read.

b perry

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Our Most Delicious Winter Tradition

Or: A bolognese recipe from your non-Italian non-Grandmother

My unmercifully handsome husband eating eggs and toast by candlelight last year

A few years ago I put in a stupid amount of much research into the “perfect” bolognese recipe. I watched how-to videos. I compared classic and lazy bolognese methods. I looked at maps of Bologna, Italy. Finally, this being a pre-Trump America, I thought about traveling to Italy instead of moving there forever.

I tinker with the recipe every time I make it, but I think this weekend's batch was our favorite so far. Anyway, I didn’t realize until now, but I have made bolognese every winter we’ve been married.

I save some of my favorite traditions for winter. All that darkness and (relative) cold can be a bummer, so I try to do things to make things more cozy. I light candles around the house at night and share way more candle-lit dinners. We usually have more movie nights and game nights. We break out the Martinelli’s more often and have special toasts at dessert. And I make bolognese.  I love bolognese.

Do you have any non-holiday, cozy, cold weather traditions? I would sincerely love to hear them.

b perry

Saturday, January 7, 2017


It’s a tired cliché, but 2016 was a difficult year for me too. I’ve whined and joked about it plenty, so I’ll just say now that last year also brought me miracles. This absolutely perfect angel baby is one of them.

As Chris loves to say, Zoe casts a spell on everyone who meets her. It's not just that she's beautiful (which she is), or that she's happy all the time (how? does she not know her surly parents?), it's that she has such a presence about her. From the first day of her life, she has been a tremendous, unstoppable force of peace.

Zoe was the best thing that happened to me last year, and I'd swim through that seemingly bottomless cesspool all over again for her.


Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Family Pictures

As I mentioned last week, Rachel (of Rachel Takes Pictures) came to our house and captured our life at home like it really is. Okay, I’m wearing makeup, but everything else is accurate. It's a little too accurate: there is a bed frame on our front porch, a vaccuum on our back porch, and I barely fit into any of my clothes.

Here's a glimpse of what it's like at the end of the day when Daddy comes home.

After spending hours looking these perfect pictures of our imperfect life, I decided to make our family photographs more of a priority. Chris and I have been married four years, and we’ve hired a professional photographer four times. It hasn’t been one photographer per year, but we end up with a couple “family pictures” every year even if we didn’t hire someone.

I like the idea of having a system, but I don’t think I could commit to one thing for the next few decades. I know some people have the same photographer every year, and they take the family pictures in the fall. There’s such a warm, loyal feeling about that. But also? I want to get our family picture taken in Hawaii. And one year I want to have everyone wear the loudest plaid patterns I can find. Oh, and I want to have a family picture with a mariachi band (a marching band was my first choice, but Chris vetoed that). How cool would it be to have your family portrait painted one year. And obviously I want to try out an editorial-style studio shoot sometime.

It would be amazing to have your regular family photographer every fall in addition to the madness described above, but $$$$$$$$$.

What is your system for family pictures? Do you have a system? Have I put an abnormal amount of thought into this?

b perry

Wednesday, November 9, 2016


This morning I woke up thinking, “Thanksgiving is in two weeks.”

And I know this is technically a “blog” but this isn’t a post about Thanksgiving traditions or Thanksgiving crafts or Thanksgiving recipes or Thanksgiving etiquette. So I should rephrase. I woke up this morning crying, and thought, “Thanksgiving is in two weeks. This holiday already makes me feel pain about the suffering of my Native brothers and sisters. What will I be thankful for this year?”

I’m sad and disillusioned today. The sky is falling. But I’m a rich white lady with a very easy life, so of all people, I can get a jumpstart on the thanksgiving. Today I am most thankful for my husband and my children. Rachel, of Rachel Takes Pictures, came to our house last weekend to get a few pictures of Zoe in her Halloween costume. There weren't going to be pictures of anyone else... so this is what the rest of us looked like. Imperfect. Well, not Chris, he’s got his life together, but I sure as shooting don’t.

I’m not expressing gratitude as a way to “move on” from all this political discussion because retreating from this nightmare is privilege, a luxury that many marginalized people do not enjoy.

I’m just trying to say that Thanksgiving is in two weeks, so I can find some peace and love and gratitude in my broken heart this morning. And for as long as I can, I’m going to listen, to donate, to reach out, to let that glimmer of peace and hope expand, to fill me, until I can arrive at my dinner table in the spirit of thanksgiving.

b perry

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Five Favorite San Luis Obispo Moments

Right before we go on vacation, always, I think I'm a genius. I research, I have options, and I truly believe that the vacation will be perfect. Not in that "hopeful and optimistic" way, in that "pride cometh before the fall" way.

Chris and I hoped San Luis Obispo would be the perfect place for a family vacation before the holidays, and it ACTUALLY WAS the perfect place for a family vacation. Now, a super picture-heavy collection of my five favorite moments.


1. Arriving at The Madonna Inn 
We chose San Luis Obispo because I have this theory that while we're traveling with little kids, I need to optimize for the place where they sleep. The most important things for me are 1) the kids need their own sleeping space and 2) there have to be kid-friendly activities on site.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

No More Sunday Dinners

there are stickers on the table, and it's old sourdough, but come over for french toast

During pregnancy (with all the pukes and exhaustion) I don’t really see anyone because we don’t get out much, and we rarely host. So at the end of both of my pregnancies, one of my top priorities was to get back in touch with friends I hadn’t seen for the better part of a year. My default invitation is dinner, but with two adorable children in my life, dinner feels like a herculean task. Menus. Cooking. Cleaning. I didn’t want to do it. And I didn’t for over two months.

Then, inspired by the cats, I decided I didn’t need to make dinner to invite someone over. You don’t even need food. You can just go on a walk together. You can play cars in the living room. But food is also pretty great, so I started inviting our friends over Sunday afternoon snacks. We’ve had root beer floats, or chips and salsa. Or -- and I’m not suggesting this, I’m just saying it’s happened before -- you can text them at 9:30 at night to invite them over for Costco muffins and salami. Then, because they’re your friends, because they’re good people, because they don’t judge you for this kind of stuff, they immediately text you back with a, “Hell yeaaaaaaahhhh.”

Have you sat down and shucked a pomegranate with someone you love lately? I’ve done it three times in the last two weeks, and I highly recommend it. The pretense of dinner isn’t what makes time with your friends so wonderful; It is your wonderful friends.

b perry

p.s. Five Rules for Hosting a Crappy Dinner Party (and Seeing Your Friends More Often) I read this article when I was a few weeks into my Sunday Snacks routine, and it resonated with me because I also gave up on dignified dinner invitations, and I’m seeing my friends more often.