Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Mother's Day 2017

I wanted to follow up last week's post with my favorite pick from this year's Mother's Day pictures by Rachel (more here). If you felt like you were finally free from the emotional baggage of Mother's Day posts, I am genuinely sorry to ambush you.

So many people carry so much pain on Mother's Day, and I never know what to say to respect everyone, so I usually say nothing. But this year I did a four-second Instagram story, and I'll say this here: I love these two babies, and I feel no greater honor than being their mother.

b perry

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Mother's Day Traditions

We have a few Mother’s Day traditions, and one is taking a special Mother’s Day picture of me with our kids. I like to find a big flowery spot and I spend five minutes making Chris profoudly uncomfortable being my Instagram husband. I posted about it on Facebook a couple months ago, and then (and you have to understand this NEVER happens to me, so I was very excited) a few people actually asked me about how I choose traditions. Anyway, I wanted to talk about it here.

There is only one rule for a Perry tradition. Perry traditions are flexible. They’re are easy to throw together last minute and still be meaningful, but they can also be bedazzled. Flexible traditions have a little grace if you miss a year or celebrate a little late. Flexible traditions are less stressful because they accommodate the life we have, even when we don’t have much money or if we’re very sick. When Chris and I got married I had six-figure debt from law school and he was working at a startup. Then with my pregnancies I spent 18 months exhausted and disgusting. What I’m saying is, our annual traditions had to adjust to times of plenty and times of hardship.

Yes, it would be delightful and maybe even ideal to throw an extravagant party every Christmas or to spend every Flag Day in Bali. Maybe someday we’ll have traditions like that, but not yet.

Did you have Mother’s Day traditions growing up? I think most people have really great Christmas traditions or birthday celebrations, so I LOVE hearing about those. Do you have any other favorite holiday traditions? Maybe you do something extra special for Valentine’s Day or the Fourth of July? Do your traditions kind of form organically or are you purposeful in your planning? This is one of my favorite subjects, please share, I would love to hear more about this!

b perry

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Tricks for Date Nights In

I had to find a substitute babysitter a few months ago, and -- I swear to you -- I called TEN YOUTHS. Ten. I asked TEN kids if they wanted to get paid twenty bucks to sit on my couch and watch our 4k television while our children were 100% asleep. Woof. 

We have a weekly babysitter set up for the summer, but until then I've been trying improve our date nights in. My sister-in-law, Hannah, is the queen of making simple things feel special, so I asked her for some ideas, and this is what we came up with together:
  • Call it a date - Turns out, making homemade ice cream together can be a super fun date night if you just call it that in advance. 
  • Mail an Invitation - A couple years ago I rented Guardians of the Galaxy and mailed a postcard-sized movie poster to Chris' office. It's a silly thing, but it made us both excited for a movie night on the couch.
  • Dress up - You know that scene in Beauty and the Beast where Mrs. Potts sings "Tale as Old as Time"? THAT WAS A DATE NIGHT IN YOU GUYS. Sure, their house is a castle. True, I have not yet achieved Emma Watson's level of insane good looks... I'm just saying that putting on a fancy dress can be a game-changer. Do your hair. Wear some makeup. "Just a little change, small to say the least," etc. It worked for Belle. 
  • Get outside - Lounging in the hammock in your backyard or even hopping out on your balcony for a small treat can be a fun escape. 
  • Decorate - Hannah puts out flowers, lights candles, plays music, arranges the furniture to make the space feel different, and just does her best to shake things up. When we played Scattergories last weekend I brought out a couple strands of Christmas lights, and it was cheesy but I still loved it. 
  • Include Themed Elements - Hannah is really good at making movie nights fun by adding themed food and decorations. Tomorrow is Star Wars Day ("May the Fourth" be with you), and I think I'm going to make some edible light sabers while we watch The Force Awakens. 
  • Date Night Cologne - Saved the best for last! In March I picked up a Penhaligon cologne for Chris, and he wears it for our date nights. It is intoxicating. I cannot otherwise describe what this smell does to my brain without being indelicate. I never would have expected a smell to make such a big difference for me, but having that scent around for our date nights at home brings the most unexpected romanticism. 
What am I missing? Do you plan special date nights in or are they more spontaneous? How have you drawn the lines between your regular nights at home and a Date Night in? And HOW the FREAK do you find babysitters? 

b perry

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Pampering, for the Unfancy

One of the few pictures that includes my v fancy pedicure. Picture by Rachel

In December I turned 30. It’s common for birthdays to carry a little baggage, but they never have for me. I usually like to have a big party and set new goals. I set one goal: write 30 letters to 30 people (more on this later), but I didn’t feel up for a party.

I didn’t feel like myself - inside or outside. Zoe turns a year next month, and I am finally starting to feel like myself again, but back in December? Yikes… Then there was my sneech-shaped body. You would think being sick for the better part of a year would make you super skinny, but from all appearances, my body did not so much suffer from nine months of nausea as it rejoiced in it. My arms and chins and love handles really threw themselves into the celebrations.

Anyway, I was doing my best to feel better on the inside, but I decided if I couldn’t feel beautiful on the inside, I wanted to feel beautiful on the outside. When Chris asked what I wanted to do, I said I wanted to wear a pretty dress, have a nice dinner, and maybe get my hair or makeup done. Then we were out of town for my birthday, and we decided to postpone.

But the best thing happened! We spread out all the pampering. In January I rented a fancy dress to go to the SF ballet. In February I got my very first pedicure. My friend gave me a makeover in March. The whole thing has evolved to something way better than one day of overindulgence. My friend, Amanda, called it the Year of Fancy, and I went with it.

No, I never had a pedicure, because deep down I’m just a little Idaho spud. My usual choices for pampering are hilariously, gratuitously unfancy. I lean towards sweat pants, artificial flavoring, and movie marathons. But I’ll tell you what, pedicures aren’t bad.

I know we can’t all afford to be fancy all the time, but do you do “fancy” things when you need a pick-me-up? Have you had your hair blown out? Do you get massages? Have you tried bath bombs!?! Do you collect artisanal dark chocolate? Do you go the symphony or the opera? Do you prefer fine dining? Do you stay at boutique hotels? WAIT WAIT WAIT: Do you do fancy things because you are actually fancy on the inside?!!!

Ooo-bee-doo. I wanna be like you-hoo-hoo. You’ll see. It’s true. Someone like me can learn to be like someone like you-hoo-hoo.

 b perry

Thursday, April 20, 2017

When is an annual membership worth it?

In 2016 we got a membership to the SF Zoo. Admission is $20 per adult, so a $100 annual membership was a no-brainer since it’s a twenty minute drive, the whole family can go, and it features most of Jack’s favorite animals and a train.

I never considered getting a membership anywhere else until last month when we went to Filoli. In addition to the palatial estate and the beautiful gardens, there are rocks and trees and lizards and a peacock and giant, sprawling meadows. I knew I made the right decision the first time we came back as members. The grandmother docent wrapped a wristband around Jack’s tiny arm and smiled, “Hello sweet boy! You can run and run and run, and there is nothing here that you can break!”

In this phase of life, that is the most desirable description for any location on earth, do not @ me.

Members get a discount for guests, so we have brought a friend almost every time we’ve gone. It’s been delightful. We’re trying to save money right now, and there are so many incredible free options in our area, but the whole experience has made me more open to the possibility of memberships at other places.

Even if you don't have kids, do you have memberships anywhere? Museums? Parks? Botanical Gardens? How do you decide if the cost for membership is worth it? Did you have memberships to cool places growing up? Are you glad you had those experiences? Please inform.

I am interested.

b perry

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Dating My Husband

When Chris and I were engaged I told him how much I wanted to have a weekly babysitter for our future children, but I didn’t actually implement that plan until our fourth anniversary. Last February, my favorite girl started coming over after Jack went to sleep, and Chris and I went out almost every week for four months.

I should have kept a list of our nights out, but I didn’t. We took a class at REI. We went to Stanford volleyball games. We signed up to volunteer at the food bank. We rode our bikes to taco trucks. Nothing crazy. But what we did was irrelevant because just going out (even to the movies, even to dinner), just doing something together was exciting and rejuvenating. It brought an indispensable intimacy to our marriage.

As parents of young children our lives are built around structure and control. That predictability brings its own incandescent happiness, but mixed in with that wonderful (inescapable) repetitiveness I need novelty and surprise. I want habit and adventure, routine and excitement. I still want to have moments of reckless abandon.

So for our fifth anniversary SINCE WE’RE NOT HAVING ANY BABIES I’m planning a whole year of weekly dates. But I’m writing them down this time because it’s fun for me, a clinically obsessive list-writer. So far, we’ve gone shopping for silverware, had a romantic dinner in Half Moon Bay, and this week will be our first date night in.

So since I’m planning at least 52 of these dates, please tell me: What’s the best date you ever had? What are your go-to favorite date nights? How do you make a date night IN feel extra special? How do you find babysitting? Who plans your dates? I want to hear how you’ve figured this out because... I have not figured this out.

b perry