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

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

You're Only Three Once

Jack turned three yesterday. omg.

There’s so much I want to write down and remember, but I’ll just tell you the thing I’ll miss the most about having a two-year-old: developing language skills. For a few months he called backhoes “cocos.” And if something was “bloken” he would ask me to “fickit the blinds” or “fickit the van.” He loves to sing, and I love the names he has for songs, like, “By The Dawnzer,” Which is “The Star Spangled Banner” (“By the dawn’s early light”). Last week at bedtime he looked up at Chris and said, “Oh! I have an idea! It’s called juice!”

Language skills are tricky, but it’s so cute to hear him figure it out. Plus, the better he gets at communication, the easier it is for us to be happier together. Being two was hard sometimes (for both of us), but every day he gets sweeter. And Zoe will be two in nine months, so I’ll get to do two again soon.

b perry

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Paint the Town

My boys went to Idaho for the eclipse last week, and I had so many ambitious goals. After one day of painting the town, Zoe started teething, and I decided to make the week more about her than me. We walked, ate ice cream daily, and when Zoe slept I read four books (1927, At Home, A Man Called Ove, and To Kill a Mockingbird) and cleaned the crap out of my house.

It has gotten me excited about Jack starting school in September, which I was dreading. Now it feels like a chance for me to have more time with her, instead of SOUL CRUSHING SORROW of sending my first baby to school.

b perry

Wednesday, August 16, 2017


If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook or Goodreads or if we have ever spoken in real life I hope you already know how I feel about Charlottesville. I cannot stop thinking about it. I’m reading To Kill A Mockingbird this week, and spending quality time with Atticus Finch has felt like an appropriate retreat from the news.

And speaking of social media, you know what’s helping me to really process and grieve in this madness? In January I followed a few people of color who are active on Twitter. I’m not saying this makes me some kind of humanitarian, but it has helped me find places to donate, and it’s been incredibly helpful for me to hear and see non-white perspectives on current events and history. For me, it is easy to feel insignificant in the face of pernicious evil, but I have been trying to listen more and to amplify the voices of others.

So if you want to start small, Janan Amirah is my current favorite tweeter. Her likes and retweets have referred me to a lot of other great accounts too, like her tweet yesterday about Well-Read Black Girl. I recommend adding her perspective to your feed.

I also recommend not being a freaking Nazi.

b perry

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Color Factory Experience

The first time I remember hearing that you were supposed to spend your money on “experiences,” I read it on a blog post by Jordan Ferney of Oh Happy Day and, more recently, of Color Factory fame. A few months after her blog post, I read the results of the Harvard study that money can buy happiness if you’re buying experiences. All these years later and malls are shutting down because Americans are shifting their spending from retail to, yes, experiences e.g. dining out, girls weekends, and *bing* the Color Factory.

That Atlantic article says, “Laugh if you want, but these sorts of questions— what experience will reliably deliver the most popular Instagram post?’ —really drive behavior.” So I’m no different from the rest of America: I had to go to the Color Factory because it is “San Francisco’s Newest Instagram Hotspot!” and I’ve been drinking Jordan Ferney’s sweet, sweet Kool-Aid for a decade.

I woke up on Saturday at 6:00 AM like it was Christmas Freaking Day. The entire thing was just as magical as the internet makes it look, and seeing it through Jack’s eyes was twice as nice. We spent a little over ten minutes completely alone in the confetti room, and his excitement was barely contained in those glass walls. But he hated the disco room (“Too dark! Too scary!”), and I thought he would love the giant yellow ball pit, but he was terrified. He preferred the tiny yellow ice cream cone.

This month I’m going to have a week alone with Zoe, and we’re going to spend a couple days exploring their neighborhood map (murals, temporary tattoos, private dance parties) because I have a fever, and the only prescription is more Color Factory experiences. If you’re at all interested in joining me for that, then you should TELL ME because I want you in my Instagrams too. ;)

b perry

p.s. Jack's absolutely favorite part of the entire experience? Riding the “trolley” just like Daniel Tiger.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

What goals are you working on right now?

Gretchen Rubin (of Happiness Project fame) wrote about how even after you stop going to school, September remains “charged with possibility and renewal.” I just registered Jack for preschool this week, so I am definitely in the mood for some goal setting. This week I finished two books, I officially weigh 35 pounds less than I did in February, I hired a calligrapher for our Christmas card, and yes, I am perfect. ;) The momentum feels so good! The point is, when I set my August goals this weekend I wanted to talk about one my current goals: fancy Sunday dinners.

In October I said I wasn’t hosting any more Sunday Dinners with friends. Sunday snacks worked just as well with the added benefits of getting to see my friends more and never doing dishes. Unfortunately, this life philosophy also resulted in never cooking anything on Sundays. We spent all day scrounging for food, and Chris just starved. So I decided to make our Sabbath more holy (and happy) by really cooking a serious Sunday dinner.

Because we eat salad for dinner on weeknights I figured I could muster the strength to cook once a week, especially if it would make our Sundays more special. After the kids start napping, Chris and I cook and then eat together. The house is quiet, there are sides to the main course, we drink fun juices out of fancy glasses, and it really does make our Sunday better. I feel closer to Chris, I love the time searching for recipes, and I love cooking. The post from October notwithstanding, it has been a great, slow, simple, rewarding goal for me right now.

Do you have a favorite goal you’re working? I want to hear.

b perry