Hello!

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!

XOXO

 

 

 

Tuesday
Jul222014

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. :)

XOXO

Monday
Jul142014

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...

XOXO

Tuesday
Jul012014

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!

XOXO

Tuesday
Jun242014

Day in the Life: June, 2014 Edition

Dear Luke and Zoey,

I love documenting your days...it seems like each is the same, but looking back just a few months (and forward too, I'm sure, if I could look forward) it's amazing how much things change.

You are potty trained now, almost completely, and start the day getting out of bed and going potty. Lately you've been up WAY before it's time to get up. We're trying to have you play quietly until 7 AM.

Daddy puts his lunch together in the kitchen and you love to help:

And then out to the driveway to say goodbye to Daddy. You hate to see him go:

We come back in and have breakfast, usually outside at your little picnic table:

And then stories (most often a stack of library books) and play time. You've both got the drawing pad Zo has in this picture. You love them.

You brush your teeth while Mommy showers in the morning:

And then "Dump Trucks" (a few 3-to-5 minute videos for kids featuring construction equiptment) on YouTube while Mommy gets dressed:

Here's your room with the toddler beds in it. Next comes getting you dressed and picking up a little:

I wish the playroom didn't always look like this, but it pretty much does:

Cleaned up bedroom and playroom:

Then there's usually some sort of housework...today it was changing the sheets and towels, putting laundry away. It's hard to make the bed with two toddlers who want to "get lost" under the sheets. But I just let this take the 1/2 hour it takes vs the 5 minutes it would take me on my own:

Swimming before lunch. We don't always get to go in, but it's nice when we do. Grandma came in with us today...I take care of you most mornings, but sometimes she hangs out with us too...

And then lunch, and stories read to you by Grandma while I prepped dinner. Luke, you fell asleep at the table which is NOT typical, but with toddler beds and potty training you haven't been sleeping...there is a lot of catching up to do!

You guys nap until 2 or 3 PM, and after that I work until 5 PM and Grandma takes care of you...you play and read and go outside. Usually I pop out and spend a little time with you here and there but this day I couldn't. Also, we almost always go back out to the driveway to greet Daddy as he gets back home from work, but this particular day it was my best friend's birthday so I was talking to her, plus my turn to make dinner...so you got to greet Daddy in the house:

Dinner with the family and then baths. You guys love bubble baths, although every night you say, "It's not shampoo night!" hoping it's true (and 2 out of 3 nights it is.)

You guys are two years old, so meltdowns happen. This is the only picture I got of one in progress, but I remember as I was taking pictures throughout the day how when there was screaming and crying and flinging your body on the floor I wasn't capturing it. It's over things like not getting the toy you want (which is what is happening here.) Or me putting on shoes in the bedroom not the playroom. Or putting a shirt on head first not arms first. Etc.

Anyway, after baths into your PJs and some time in your bedroom/playroom with Mommy and Daddy. You both also get to pick out a new pair of underwear after baths, which you love to do:

Zo, towards the end of our play time you ran in and yelled, "I made a mess!" and we went into the bathroom to find your hair elastics all over the floor. The house in continual disarray is just part of having toddlers, I know...

Toothbrushing, some playing in the playroom, and we haven't settled into a new nighttime routine yet but there's some combination of stories and rocking/singing and finding toys to go to bed with etc.

Then some time before you actually fall asleep (although that is smoothing out as you settle into your new routine). 

Each day with you is so precious, little ones. Love this time together.

Love,

Mommy

Friday
Jun202014

Potty Training/Toddler Bed Update

Hi Everyone! Happy Friday!

As those of you reading along know, 2 weeks ago we did the super-intense 3-day potty training with our 2-year-old twins. And transitioned them to toddler beds, as part of the method entails them being able to get up and go potty in the middle of the night. Here's how I feel about it 2 weeks out:

 

  • The first 3 days were a lot. Absolutely exhausting. If you're thinking of doing this, try to have help, even if it's just someone to run errands/do meals/etc. I had help and still...exhausted...
  • I was EXHAUSTED for about a week afterwards. Just now starting to approach normal. Part of this I think is the messed up nature of our sleep routine at this point (see below), but part of it is the physical, emotional, mental strain of doing the potty training. I didn't know it would be as hard as it was
  • I'm pretty confident in saying that Zo is 100% potty trained. Luke's got it too...I think there has been 2 daytime accidents this week. Zo has wet the bed at night once since we started. Luke's about every other night. Not sure how to fix this. Or deal with it...right now we're just changing the sheets in the morning as diapers have been banned from the house. He is young for potty training, I know. We'll get there
  • Cribs-to-toddler-beds...essentially the kids' entire sleep schedule got upended. We're starting to get it back but kids are not napping predictably like they were, and when they go to sleep is about an hour later and they are getting up 1–3 hours earlier than they used to. We're trying to institute "quiet time", where they don't have to sleep but they do have to play quietly after their bedtime at night and in the morning before 7 AM. (Although I'm up when they're up, which can be as early as 5 AM.) And honestly, they do much better as far as getting some sleep when Daddy is in charge...not really sure what to do about that...

 

Transitions, you know? Nothing stays the same. I will say if I had to do it all over again I'd probably do it the same way. Would have been good to know ahead of time how utterly exhausting the whole thing is, though.

Thoughts?

Hope everyone has a nice weekend! Thanks for spending some time here this week.

XOXO