Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Game Night During Pregnancy


I think it's easy for people to feel bad for the sick pregnant lady – and sometimes I’ve felt bad for me too – but I also feel bad for Chris. Almost every night for six months, I would cy on the couch next to a bucket, and Chris would clean up the many dirty dishes I left lying around the house that day. I didn’t really leave the house until May. I am not exaggerating. Virtually every single night of 2014 has fallen under the Quiet Night at Home category. And Chris was perfectly healthy, but he joined me in my fetus-imposed house arrest because he is the sweetest. After weeks of the same, sad routine, we started trying to bring a little light to the pregnancy darkness.

We love playing games together. Chris prefers games that require a little strategy, which rules out a lot of classic two-player board games like Candyland: The Best Game Ever. And at this stage in my life, I prefer games that I can play mostly lying down, which rules out games like Guesstures: My Favorite Game to Play with Chris.

So here’s what we’ve been playing:
Air Hockey on the iPad
Bananagrams / Speed Scrabble
Carcassonne on the iPad
Jenga
Pictionary
Scattergories
Scrabble
Settlers of Catan
Trivial Pursuit
Would You Rather

Anyway, I want to add Boggle and Catchphrase to our collection, but I’m looking for suggestions for other two-player games that we’ll be able to play after the wee babe arrives and we officially become Quiet Night at Home people.

britt

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

"You look beautiful"

I have not been great at taking weekly progress pictures, but this is a 32 week picture from my instagram 

My whole life I thought pregnant ladies looked freaky. Almost without exception, I believed every one of them was a puffy, star-bellied-sneech-shaped alien. Obviously they were not the problem – they were goddesses, glowing with miraculous, life-giving glory – but my own fears surrounding pregnancy and labor fueled this belief for roughly 25 years. Then my friend Lexy got pregnant and wrote about teaching her students to say, “You look beautiful,” to those obviously carrying a child. That’s it. Not, “Awww, you look so tired!” or “Wow, you look so big!” or anything except “You look so beautiful.” 

Reading her post was like receiving a Get Out of Jail Free card because, to me, talking to pregnant ladies actually felt like a super awkward jail. My previous conversation strategy was simple: completely avoid talking to all pregnant ladies, at all cost, no matter what. I was sure that any other solution would require an intricate flow chart based on some complicated equation from a calculus/birthing class that I never wanted to take. But now I knew the trick, and it was even simpler than my existing strategy. So for over a year, every time one of my friends got pregnant, whenever I saw her, I told her she was beautiful.

Then, somewhere along the way, I started believing it. I stopped being terrified of pregnant ladies, and I started genuinely seeing beauty in pregnancy. I think the most astounding part of this paradigm shift is how it happened A) so naturally and B) completely by accident. Anyway, I am most grateful that it happened before I got pregnant myself; otherwise this post would be written about my progress in intensive therapy.

britt

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

4th of July Playlist


picture from John Thatcher 

We invited some friends over to play games for the 4th of July (one of my favorite 4th of July traditions) and I joked that I was going to make a special mix tape. Then I really did make one. I always overlook the playlist, but I’m so impressed when other people put effort into this detail for their dinner parties or whatever else.

This is a mix that’s mostly folksy, mostly late 1960s/early1970s – and, to me, most of these songs are perfect for the great American road trip or singing around the campfire in a national park.

britt

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Hippie Tree


My parents and sister came to visit a few weeks ago when my mom had a last-minute education policymaker’s conference in Tiburon. I didn’t think I would get to see them while I was pregnant, so it was a really nice surprise. I wish I could say I was the best host ever, but that would be an enormous lie. I can, however, truthfully say that family took really good care of me while they were here even though I did absolutely nothing to deserve it.

We went on two minor excursions while they were here: one old-time favorite (Ike's and the Pulgas Water Temple), and one new adventure. Our new excursion together was in Tiburon, where my mom’s conference was. Tiburon is pretty charming. It’s right on the water, and it has a really old-timey, small town (admittedly, an incredibly wealthy small town) feel to it. Like, as you’re walking down Main Street you can smell the buttered popcorn for the matinee at the teeny movie theatre and the waffle cones being made at the ice cream parlor. Darling. We had lunch out on the bay at Sam’s Anchor CafĂ©, and then drove up into the hills.



The quickest path to the Hippie Tree is a fire road right across from 100 Gilmartin Drive, and it’s a five-minute walk from the street. There is an incredible view of both downtown SF and the Golden Gate Bridge. I can’t decide if it’s my favorite view of San Francisco, but it’s completely unique compared to any of the overlooks of the city that I have been to so far. We had the place to ourselves most of the time. It was beautiful and peaceful, and it’s a memory with my family that I’ll always love. My dad found a geocache, we took some pictures, AND when my parents helped me I eventually lifted my pregnant body up into the swing, which was fun. 

britt

p.s. A BIG thank you to Lauren for tipping me off to this place a few weeks ago. I'd never even heard of this place before.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Plum Sorbet

Our neighborhood was a Santa Rosa plum orchard in the 1940s, and last month we discovered that one of the trees in our backyard is a plum tree. It is so old that one of our neighbors thinks it might be from the original orchard. I don’t know if that’s true, but I do know our tree makes the sweetest, most delicious plums I’ve ever had. Whenever I eat them I hear William Carlos Williams saying, “They taste good to her, they taste good to her, they taste good to her.”





Our tree is almost empty now, but most nights for the past couple weeks Chris and I have been out picking a few dozen plums while the sun sets. It’s been one of my favorite things we’ve ever done together.

After a few harvests we had hundreds of plums and no idea what to do with them. I made one small batch of chocolate plum jam, but we packed most of them into lunch sacks and gave them away. Also, over the weekend, my sister and I picked a few plums together and juiced them to make a plum sorbet.



Plum Sorbet

We started with about 25 plums, and my sister and I crushed them by hand, removing the skins and pits as we went. We strained the fruit through a sieve until we had 1 quart plum juice. This juice is pretty sweet so we only used a half a cup of sugar, but this is a judgment-free zone if you decide to add way more than that. I stirred in the juice of half a lemon (probably two tablespoons). We poured everything into the ice cream maker, and let it run until we had a nice, sorbet texture, then we let it set in the freezer overnight.

It’s definitely a minimalist recipe, so the sorbet tastes exactly like a fresh plum, “so sweet and so cold.”

lovelovelove,

britt

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Cabo

Our trip to Mexico did two important things:
     1. Let us nap during the day
     2. Strengthened my resolve to have our family picture taken with a mariachi band

We stayed at the Hyatt Ziva in Cabo, where we were relaxed and filled with pineapple. There were nice pools, beaches, tacos, fruit. It was your standard beachy resort vacation EXCEPT on one of the nights there was a party on the beach with a mariachi band and then fireworks. I love mariachi bands so much. One of our longest running jokes is how bad I want to take a family picture with a mariachi band.

view of El Arco de Cabo San Lucas



View of the party from our hotel room

I originally thought we should do this with a marching band... and we would stand in the middle of them? But Chris informed me I was being crazy, and I could never talk him into that. But if we have a Cinco de Mayo party or something? And happened to take a picture with the mariachi band? Okay, it’s weird, but it’s happening. Also? I’m not totally crazy here. Somebody at J Crew had a similar idea not that long ago. Sure it’s a jazz band, so it’s not the exact same thing, but it’s close enough. We’re doing it. 

britt


^^ same ^^ same ^^

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Chicago Botanic Gardens

omg those midwestern skies

February 2010 was the winter of the Snowpocalypse in Washington, D.C., and I swear the sun hadn’t shone in three hundred years. On a couple especially dreary Saturdays I would buy a Good Stuff strawberry shake and walk through the miserable cold over to the National Botanical Gardens. I sat by myself in the orchid exhibit and hummed “Here Comes the Sun” (like a crazy person) while I finished my shake. It was humid and warm, and for a few minutes I pretended it was summer

I love botanical gardens because they always remind me of a bright spot in that “long, cold, lonely winter.”

Anyway. We visited Chris’ brother in Chicago over Memorial Day weekend. We always love spending time with Megan and Jeremiah - they are so funny - and lucky us, they’ve been members of the Chicago Botanic Gardens for three years.

Three of the five Chicago Perrys

Hannah and Jeremiah walking through my favorite tree tunnel


Those gardens were definitely a highlight of our weekend together. The grounds are enormous, and the variety of plant life is incredible. There was so much color and life and it smelled amazing. I especially loved the arid desert greenhouse and the vegetable gardens. I had a giant stupid grin on my face the entire time we were there.

britt

p.s. This is my favorite picture from the trip because I love Zeke's little hand covering his face. He didn't like to have his picture taken... yet somehow I snuck him into all of my pictures. Worst aunt ever.