I'm Kristen. Mom to Luke and Zoey, two-year-olds extraordinaire. Trying to keep a foot in the advertising world (I freelance part-time as a writer/creative director out of San Francisco and Boston). Recently relocated to Albuquerque, NM for my husband's job (I love it). Trying to do the creative stuff I did before babies, but it's hard. Hoping to be an outdoorsy/backpacking/ snowboarding/surfer girl again someday, but fear that may be in the past. Really, just trying to embrace change and find balance--and to be grateful for all the things big and small that are good in my life.

Welcome and thanks for stopping by!






Buck Up Buttercup Has Moved! 

Hi Everyone!

Sorry for the somewhat long silence over here...I've been updating my blog and have had some technical issues to work out.

SUBSCRIBERS: I have a new space and think you need to re-subscribe to keep me in your feed. Sorry for the hassle and I truly hope you follow this blog to it's new home.

Subscribe to the new blog.

Or just visit www.buckupbuttercup.net. (Same URL that used to be attached to this space.)

Hope you enjoy the update! I've been wanting something fresh for a while, and something that makes it easy for me to post a little every day vs big posts occasionally.

With love,




July in Pictures and Stories

Hi Everyone! Happy Wednesday!

July has been so good to us.

There's been Sis reading on our bed...she loves magazines...and her pink sparkle cowboy boots:

Lots of swimming in our backyard pool:

The kids laying blankets down on the floor of their room, standing on them, and saying, "I'm wake boarding!":

Some alone time with Sis out and about...she brought her stuffed pig, who of course had to be strapped into the car seat:

Picnic breakfasts at the park (at which, apparently, according to the kids, there is a tiger that lives under the playground structure. There's also a camel that lives in the bushes):

Packing up of baby things (hard, but ultimately good)...there may be more kids in the future for us, but the door on me being pregnant has been closed I'm pretty positive at this point...it was time to let this stuff go...

Cute girls in hats:

A Sunday morning trip to Rebel Donut...yum:

A pensive boy:

A girl who has been loving dressing up in Mommy's shoes:

And Luke, who loves to play on our bed, especially when I'm trying to make it. The other day he wrapped himself in the sheet and said, "Look, Mommy! I'm a corn dog!":

And so many thing that I don't have pictures of.

Like a yummy peach cobbler from our neighbors over the back fence served with ice cream and Zo giving me some of hers and saying, "I feed Mommy ice cream and make everyone happy!"

Zo saying, "Yippie!" with great enthusiasm to most plans.

Rocking and singing to the kids before bed. They like me to sing "Rock-a-bye Trucks," the lyrics made up but suggested by the book "Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site"...goes like this (sung to the tune of Rock-a-Bye Baby):

"Rock a bye trucks, at the construction site.

There's no more work, because it is night.

You've got your blankies and teddies, and your night light.

And tomorrow's another day, happy and bright.

Luke saying, "I want to do it myself!" and having to start things over, eg if I carry him to the bath it's not enough for him to walk next time, he has to run back to the kitchen and walk back by himself right then and there.

Luke falling asleep anywhere but his bed.

Zo saying, "Oh my gosh, Bubs!" (I love that she calls Luke Bubs.)

Luke brushing Sissy's hair, and her sitting peacefully while he does it.

Sis saying "Enough!" just like I do when I'm tired of some behavior.

Luke talking about things making a racket when they are noisy.

Sis saying, "I like it!" at top volume when she finds out we're having cupcakes and ice cream as part of my birthday dinner. 

Luke with the near-constant litany of, "What's that, Mom? What's that? What's that?"

The kids doing stuff to keep each other out of time out, like I'll say to Luke (or Zo), "If you don't pick up that thing you threw on the floor you are going to time out!" and the other twin will hurriedly pick it up.

Me wrapping them in towels, and when I say "wrap" they think of the "Bad Kitty" book, in which the kitty's owner brings home a buffalo burrito wrap from the store. And another book that has a water buffalo in it. So now getting out of the bath is followed by a "water buffalo burrito wrap."

Daddy calling us all dirty hippies after coming back from Lake Powell not having had a bath for over a week. Sis now says,"I'm a dirty hippie!" after meals when her hands and face have food on them. Luke says: "I'm not a dirty hippie! I'm a little boy!" and "I'm not a dirty hippie! I washed the stink off!"

Sissy during a rainstorm covering her stuffed cat, Fuzzy Britches, with a flyer that came in the mail (like she saw people doing over their own heads with newspapers, etc.)

Me and now the kids using the phrase "You are cup cake--(or whatever)--ready!" eg, "You ate a good dinner, therefore you are cup cake ready!"

Finding Sis sitting on our time out bench one day.

"What are you doing?" I asked her.

"I covered the dog with cream cheese, so I put myself in time out!" she said.

(And sure enough, around the corner comes the dog, face covered in cream cheese.)

Luke waving his fingers and calling them sparkle fingers.

The kids and their dad and I snuggled in bed watching Sara and Duck (which I love. The kids also love Thomas the Train's show, which I unfortunately hate.)

The kids playing "Tackle Tackle" together on the bed.

Sis saying about Luke, "We are best friends!"

Also in July, a college and San Francisco friend of mine (a whole group of us from college ended up in the city after), with two daughters, ages 2 and 5, was lost in an accident, not unlike how my brother died. We'd been out of touch but other friends I'm very close to were very close to her...and I know her sister...I've just been feeling a lot for them...and been feeling the loss of my brother acutely...

August is going to be a whirlwind, with a college friend of mine getting married in San Francisco (I'll also see other friends, and meet my new clients while I'm there as well), a work trip to San Diego, a work trip for my husband as well and my parents visiting at the end of the month. Looking forward to it all...

Life is just full of life right now...



Lake Powell Vacation

Hi Everyone! Happy Tuesday!

Wanted to share some of our Lake Powell vacation from a few weeks ago. Kids and I and my parents and my brother and his family, we went on the houseboat of an old family friend with his family, and a fifth family joined us as well. It was a great group. Unfortunately, at the last minute my husband couldn't be with us. We were soooooooo disappointed about that.

Kids and I drove from ABQ to Page, AZ on the 4th of July. It's desert and Indian reservations the whole way. We stopped and had a picnic at Petrified Forest National Park. Kids did great once again with the car ride:

Met my family in Page and got on the lake for the fireworks and some swimming for the cousins. Kids were so happy to see their Grammy and Papa!

We spent that first night on the houseboat in the Marina. I had a little cabin with a queen bed I shared with the kids. Everyone else slept on the upper deck of the houseboat, which was much cooler, but I felt safer with the kids in the room. Fun to wake up with them in the mornings! The first morning we woke up and saw some of the other kids outside our window on the dock and Luke said, "My friends are still here!" All the kids on the trip were older but so incredibly sweet to the twins. Luke and Zo loved hanging out with them. They were constantly saying, "Where are my friends?" (People were coming and going on the boats a lot to water ski, wakeboard, etc.) or, "I want to play with my friends!"

Here's Luke with his Uncle Ben driving the boat out to the side canyon where we spent the week:

And here we are where we set up camp. It was beautiful:

Miss Zo with Bailey, her cousin, and "Gugie," her stuffed pig. Bailey and some of the other girls did Zo's toenails (and Luke's too, and mine too) a tropical blue with white butterflies while we were on the boat. Kids loved having their toes painted.

Here's Luke with one of the boys, searching for shells:

There was a pinata for the kids one night...such fun!

And Luke with his cousin Bodie and one of the other boys...the boys were playing music for him...too cute...

We left the kids behind one day and went to Rainbow Bridge, my mom and dad and brother and his family. And had chocolate/vanilla twist ice cream at the marina after, which was such a treat!

Oh, and swimming...Luke and Zo had life preservers on and learned to maneuver just great in them. We must have gone swimming five times a day. I've never seen Luke so happy. He'd say, "Mommy! Mommy! I'm swimming like a jellyfish!" (I'm guessing the moving of his arms and legs reminded him of the tentacles of the jellyfish we have seen in the aquarium?) And Zo one day kicking around in the water yelled out, "I LOVE IT!" We'd go for a boat ride and swim off the back of the boat, or just as often off the back of the houseboat:

And there's so much I didn't get pictures of. Like the 10,000 games of Uno everyone played (Luke and Zo often on someone's team). The great breakfasts and dinners. The napping with the kids in the afternoons, which was Heaven. The kayak rides with my mom and dad, during which the kids searched for the perfect stick (Zo always found hers quickly, Luke had to examine stick after stick after stick before finding THE ONE). Glow sticks for all the kids one night. The cranes we saw boating and especially kayaking when we could get up close. The playing in the sand the kids did off the back of the boat. The late-night motor boat rides. The last night with a full moon when it was like someone shone a spotlight on the canyon. The long leisurely talks with people I love...

Oh, and Luke wanting to go off the very high slide...I (actually my dad) did get a picture of that: 

(I was in the water to catch him. Such a brave boy!)

Such an amazing trip. Thank you to everyone who made it so special. :)



Grace in Small Things, July 14, 2014

Hi Everyone!

Just back from a little over a week on a houseboat at Lake Powell (just above the Grand Canyon). Amazing time with family and friends. Pictures and stories to come, but in the meantime, a few things I'm grateful for:

1) Sleeping in my own bed again...isn't that the best? (+ A/C after many days of over 100 degree heat...we could jump in the lake to cool off, but still...)

2) Clean clothes (vs ones simply rinsed out in the lake...I was especially short on clothes for Luke...)

3) Washing my hair for the first time since I left home

4) It's my birthday week this week! Have plans for a sushi dinner and cupcakes and I have a little money saved up to splurge on a new outfit (or maybe two)...excited!

5) Kids slept late this morning (7:15 AM definitely counts as late around here) and I didn't yet know how crazy this work week was going to be, so some time to sip coffee and write in my journal this morning...ahhh...can't remember the last time that happened...



June in Pictures and Stories

Hi Everyone!

I love June. I can't believe it's over.

Lots of mornings at the playground this past month...our summertime favorite is shaded and has sand so we can bring our sand toys. It's also almost always deserted, which is bad in that how are we supposed to make new friends? but good in that the kids have the place to themselves. Often we'll pull up and Luke will ask, "Are there friends?" and I'll tell him, "No, it's just us. But it's fun to be just us." 

The kids seem like they are getting pretty advanced as far as playground equipment. I'm cautious with heights but otherwise trying to stand back and let them play. Here's Sis on what she calls the "swing mushrooms," which are unstable little platforms you have to grab with your arms to go from one to the next: 

The kids are so fun to watch together...I think that's the best part about having twins. In theory I'd like to spend individual time with each of them, but in practice they are almost always together, with me or someone else.

One cute thing that's been going on is I've been telling Sis if she doesn't want her brother to tackle her to say, "No." So she often says, "Tackle tackle no!" But sometimes she'll lay down on the floor and say, "Tackle tackle yes!" and let her brother tackle her and they both laugh like crazy. It's super cute.

Here they are engrossed in one of their games:

Daddy got them a wooden (Thomas) train set this month. Here they are setting it up in the living room. The kids LOVE it.

A couple pictures from the botanical gardens. We go there/the aquarium/the zoo a few times a month:

Luke giving me high fives (this is huevos rancheros at El Modelo, a Mexican restaurant we've discovered. So good):

The day we first went to El Modelo we also went to the Rail Yards Farmer's Market, where Luke was loving the live music. Must get that boy out to see more live music:


One day last week, both Sis and Luke were pretending to go to the grocery store (Sis in my shoes).

"I'm going to the grocery store to get food for Kitty! See you later!"

As I've mentioned, the toddler bed/potty training shift has also resulted in crazy sleep patterns, although things are getting better. My best friend sent us this "dinosaur" as Luke calls it, that turns green and beeps at 7 AM so the kids know it's time to get out of bed. This thing has been great:

Toddler beds mean they don't necessarily sleep in bed, however (this is the floor of the playroom):

Other cuteness this month:


  • Luke to me when I had to leave the kitchen to go back to my office to work: "Bye Mom! See you next time!"
  • Luke doesn't like to be kissed. "I don't LIKE regular kisses!" he says. But he will do "air kisses"
  • I have been singing "Rainbow Connection" to them, but they watched a show on TV called "Rainbow Horse" and now the song is by request "Rainbow Horse Connection"
  • Sis: "I need to act crazy!" (followed by running around at top speed in circles)
  • Sis: "I'm an astronaut!" (their imaginations are crazy active right now)
  • Luke (after I asked him to do something he didn't want to do): "I can't do that. I'm busy!"
  • Luke: "I don't LIKE asparagus! It makes me sick! Then I'll have to go to the doctor!"
  • Zo: "I want to wear my rainbow happiness shirt." (Her pink shirt with the ruffled rainbow on it)
  • Luke regarding spicy chips: "Hot chips burn my teeth!"
  • Both kids are super snuggly and lovey right now
  • Almost every day we see Daddy off to work in the driveway and then welcome him home at the end of the day...it's so nice... 
  • Both kids say the following daily and it is the best thing: "[Fill in the blank] makes me very, very happy!"(eg hugs, me making them lunch, trash trucks, etc.)
  • Luke has been saying, "Thanks, Mom!" when I do things for him
  • Zo has been saying, "I love you, Mommy" unprompted


And some not-so-cute things:


  • Luke seems to be either huggy/lovey or shoving his sister or other kids...there is no in between. Same with super happy or having a meltdown, which is true of Zo too
  • Zo is whining about Luke doing something to her a lot
  • In general, the kids will only let me brush their teeth when they are laying down. (I think toothbrushing is my least favorite part of having a kid. It's never straightforward)
  • I find both kids playing in Zoey's bed a lot (which is super cute in a way, but also--ugh....go to sleep you guys!)


Life is never dull with the twins!