Tuesday, January 9, 2018

My Word of 2017

This specific picture was taken by a guy I went to high school with, Matt Longmore, and he posted it on Instagram while he was a student at Oxford in 2016. Last January I asked him to send me the original, and it has hung on my refrigerator for 12 glorious months. 

Last January we moved into our spanking new apartment on January 1, ready for a new year, a fresh adventure, and an improved life. Then, consistent with the luck we had in 2016, we were all puking within 24 hours. I usually love goal-setting and planning for the future, but last January it wasn't on my radar. Then Chris looked across the bathroom at me and said, “2017’s word of the year is ‘healing.’” I had never chosen a word of the year before, but this had the simplicity that I needed right then. So “healing” it was.

I like to have visual anchors for my long-term goals, and the moment Chris suggested “healing,” I knew exactly what my reminder would be. Above is a picture of the Divinity School at Oxford. It was built between 1427 and 1483, which makes it (a medieval building! and) the oldest teaching hall and earliest examination hall at Oxford.

But if it looks familiar to you, as it did to me, you probably know it better as the hospital wing at Hogwarts.

All year, this picture was a calm, beautiful reminder that our home was a safe, even magical place to heal. We didn’t have skele-gro or Madam Pomfrey, but by going to therapy and exercising and being gentle and kind to each other, we were working magic in our home.

Like everyone, our healing processes are ongoing. This picture will stay up on the fridge, but it will be next to 2018’s visual anchor: a chocolate chip cookie recipe.

b perry

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Our first discussion on charitable giving

A picture from college - a time where charitable donations (both from my parents and from BYU) were essential to my actual survival

I think it’s important to talk about charitable giving. I know sometimes I hold myself back from these discussions because many people are uncomfortable talking about money. However, this is one of the things I’m grateful for, and it’s one of the things I’d like to share this month.

It’s just a small story that will hopefully keep pearl clutching to a minimum.

A few years ago when we were driving home for Christmas, Chris and I started talking about charitable giving. We had just paid off my student loans, and we lived in this tiny, frightening studio apartment. We weren’t financial titans, but we both wanted to start giving back.

The way I remember it, we talked for hours about so many things: the scholarships we received in college, specific examples of people who helped us along the way, where we could set up annual or monthly donations, if we wanted to sponsor a scholarship at BYU someday, or if the tithing we pay to our church really counts as “charitable giving.”

We each picked one organization. I don’t remember what Chris picked (though I think it was our local food bank), but I chose to donate to KDFC, our local classical radio. I listened to it every day, I believe in supporting the arts, and Google had a matching program so our donation would double. So with every paycheck we sent a whopping, very generous $2.50 to KDFC. 

Obviously with this donation we became Beacon-Level Patrons of the Arts.

It wasn’t a landmark donation, certainly, but it has proven to be a landmark moment in our marriage. And frankly, as the Good Samaritans of the Modern World, I think it’s important I acknowledge a few things: $2.50 is what we could do, so that’s what we did, and I was sincerely grateful we could do it. 

We still give, and I’m still grateful.

b perry

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

A season of thanksgiving

Last month I noticed that every third picture on my Instagram account is unintentionally and very consistently a flower post. I do not know why this happened, except that this year I have been trying to be more intentional about seeing good things and curating beauty in my life. And now it is November, a season for thanksgiving, so I want to spend this month being grateful for those good, beautiful things. After a rough few months of natural and manmade disasters, maybe you are looking for some good things too.

First off, I am grateful for the beauty of nature, and I am especially grateful to live in a place where it is easy to be outside. About a year ago I read In The Shadow of Man where Jane Goodall wrote this:
For those who love to be alone with nature I need add nothing further; for those who do not, no words of mine could every convey,  even in part, the almost mystical awareness of beauty and eternity that accompanies certain treasured moments.
I am grateful to live so close to so much beauty, where even though I am not alone, I know the kinds of treasured moments Jane Goodall is talking about. I love having the ocean, lakes, mountains, and forests so accessible for my family. I love it here, and I'm grateful to be here now. 

Tell me what is good in your life right now? Please. These are the things I want (need) to know. Books, recipes, baseball games, restaurants, sheets, idk, tell me all the things. I want to talk about it. 

b perry 

Thursday, October 12, 2017

The Most Romantic Dates

It’s been a few months since I talked about our date nights! Unless you’ve seen my constant Instagram stories, then you’re like, “OMG, please stop pushing your love in my face week after week after week.” You want to slap me.

Well clearly we need to discuss this again.

So here’s a quick update. Our babysitter is single/dating, so we go on weeknight dates so she has the weekends to herself. Chris and I take turns planning, and here’s list of my top three recent favorites. 

1. Roller skating 

Ha. It’s too ridiculous to call this romantic but I’m gonna. We have been intending to visit our roller skating rink for years, but we finally had to prioritize it when I found out the rink was shutting down. 

We were practically the only people there who had to rent skates; I’m pretty sure the fifty other patrons (including WEE CHILDREN) were preparing for the Olympics. I skated with the grace and confidence of a newborn deer, but Chris is secretly amazing at roller skating! It’s so embarrassing to say this, but it’s exciting for me to see him be surprisingly good at something new. What can I say? I am attracted to competence, even roller skating competence.

2. Bike picnic 

We live by a wildlife refuge, and I’m not saying it’s breathtaking beauty, but I think it’s a great place to live. One night we rode our bikes to the grocery store, bought a bunch of chocolate and cheese, and had a picnic on the reserve, looking over the bay. I was cold, and Chris gave me his jacket. It was a romantic in the most ordinary way.

3. Neighborhood walks 

Saved the Most Romantic one for last. Chris and I have always gone on neighborhood walks together. The summer after we got married, we took Sunday walks through neighborhoods where Chris used to live or work. He had lived here for like eight years, so these walks lasted almost four months.

Then, a few months ago, Chris drove us to a neighborhood I’d never been to before. It was this tree-lined neighborhood where -- I swear to you -- kids rode their bikes alongside their puppies, grandparents walked hand in hand, a flower-fragrant breeze filled the night air. Chris put his arm around my shoulders and said, “I think I’d like our family to live here.”

For me, there is something so magical about imagining your future together, so that night began a walking series where we started to walk around neighborhoods where we could buy a house someday.

Now, I don’t know what the future holds for the Perry family, but someday I might fall into a diamond mine and buy a home in the Bay Area.

b perry

p.s. Tonight we were going to go roast marshmallows at the Ritz Carlton in Half Moon Bay, but the fires! I can’t believe these fires… Stay safe everybody.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

I got a job!

or: The story of how I filled out a W-9 for the first time in many years

This weekend I sent in my paperwork to be an independent contractor with a company in Utah to do copy writing for their creative team. It is the smallest job, and other than you, dear Internet, I haven't really told anyone. But I’m still super excited, and here’s the whole story.

Before I had my perfect babies, a woman at church was telling me about how she just started an administrative job at a middle school. She said she always knew she would eventually go back to work, she just didn’t know when. Then, when her youngest daughter was in seventh grade, she looked around her house one day and thought to herself, “Oh, I’m ready to start working again.”

That conversation has been immensely comforting to me over the years. When I was in law school, I did not imagine myself staying home with children. I wasn’t crazy about watching kids, and I liked legal work, so I figured if I got married and had kids, they would have a nanny. Then, of course, I had kids, and here I am blogging while they nap, so what did I know? After that conversation, I have not stressed out about when I will go back to work because I really believe that one day I’ll look at my life and feel like I'm ready.

Anyway, I had a tiny bit of that feeling earlier this year. I told Chris and my friend Whitney that I was thinking about freelance writing. A few months later Whitney sent me a link to a job opening, and she said I would be great at it. I applied. They hired me. So this is a success story in women helping women! Female empowerment. Hashtag feminism.

Anyway, I'm not practicing law, but I am using that BA in English! Woohoo! Also? Please share your work from home advice. When do you squeeze that in? Do you have a babysitter? How do you also exercise and go grocery shopping? We’ll see how this goes.

b perry

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Eight picture books I *love* to read

One blessed day in my eighth grade drama class Ms. Morrel asked us to give a dramatization of any picture book we wanted. I embraced this assignment with a devotion approaching religious fervor, and I anticipated that my performance of The Princess and the Potty would remain the greatest dramatic reading of all time. And then, sadly, my talent remained in obscurity for twenty years.

Fortunately, bringing two children into the world allowed me to fulfill my hitherto secret lifelong ambition of becoming a universally beloved picture book performer. Of course my wee babies love to read together, but I’ll admit I am not “universally” beloved because, as you would expect, my husband is intimidated by my truly overwhelming gifts.

All this is to say: these are books that I love reading because I love animated narration.

Favorite books to read with Zoe - 15 months

Favorite books to read with Jack - just turned 3

please please share your favorites. we are never not checking out books from the library. 

b perry 

Wednesday, September 6, 2017


A few years ago I read one of Billy Crystal’s memoirs. It has an essay about his daughter’s wedding, and I’ve been thinking about the closing paragraph lately.
They say the father of the bride gives his daughter away, but after searching my soul that day I knew that this wasn’t really accurate. For in truth, when you’re a father, at each milestone along the path, you’ve been giving them away piece by piece, little by little, their whole lives. 
Jack went to preschool this week. No, I don’t have a unique perspective on first day of school pains. And no, I’m not the only mom crying on the first day of school. But Jack and I have spent virtually all of our waking hours together over the last three years, and preschool feels like I’m giving so much away.

In the days leading up to the first day I distracted myself with back-to-school gifts for his teachers (Clorox wipes and fun pens), and what we would pack for his snack (apples, hummus, crackers), and what he would wear (see above). But when I finally dropped him off, it was a great time for me to have a short cry and really embrace the beginning of a new phase.

Growing up is hard and wonderful, and I’m so happy that I get to do it all again with these babies.

b perry