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!






Luke and Zoey's Second Birthday

Hi Everyone! Happy Tuesday!

Luke and Zo turned two on March 15th, which just happened to be a Saturday, and was also exactly one year since we moved into our house.

Last year, the moving truck was here and we didn't know anyone, so it was a super low-key one-year-old birthday for the twins. This year, I wanted to do something...nothing too crazy...but a little party for them. I promised my husband I'd keep it small...small ended up being about 25 parents and kids, which was perfect.

My parents were down, which was so wonderful. We did a 4-6 PM BBQ and a few decorations, including balloons, which my dad helped me with:

The kids opened presents from Grammy and Papa early in the day, so they could start the day with something special:

The other decoration thing I did...I have all these dreams of being crafty but almost no spare time in which to execute...but still, I wanted to do something for the kids and this was perfect because it was quick and easy and totally customizable. I got this idea from A Beautiful Mess Photo Idea Book, (really cool book, by the way) and it's essentially picking fabrics, tearing strips, and tying those strips to a length of clothesline. Added bonus: the kids asked for a "Trucks and Foxes"-themed birthday, and not only is it impossible to find both trucks AND foxes together (which I expected), but also unless you want to do some licensed character (eg, Hello Kitty, Spider Man, etc.) there are not a lot of decorative options out there was my experience (which surprised me). 

Anyway, my "Trucks and Foxes" banner:

My mom and dad and I took the dogs for a hike while the kids napped. Last snow of the season (I'm pretty sure) on the peaks: 

After naps, we changed the kids into new clean clothes and got ready to welcome guests. My husband did all the cooking (green chile cheesburgers for the adults, mac and cheese, per the kids' request, for the kids.) Which meant I was free to hang out with the kids...so nice...

A nice little mix of friends from the mom's group I'm part of, the library story hour we go to every week, a friend of my husband's from work and his wife and young son...I'm sensitive about posting pics of other people's kids on the internet, so no party guest pictures here...

And then, after dinner, the cake, which my mother-in-law made...she was bummed it wasn't perfect (it's the first thing like this she's done) but I think it's amazing and I LOVE that they got a home-made cake, and how cute is the little fox in the fire engine ladder bucket?!?

Love these pictures of our little family...

A couple of weeks before the party, we started talking with the kids about their birthday. Once we'd given them the run-down, we'd ask what was going to happen and they'd say, "Cake!" "And ice cream!" "And Grammy and Papa!" "And friends!" (All said at loud volume with great enthusiasm.) The cake and ice cream and grandparents and friends did not disappoint.

We opened presents at the end, which turned into total chaos with two two-year-olds...but what a lot of sweet and cool presents they got.

And I'm going to do a whole post on this playhouse that the kid's Me-Ma (Grandma) custom-made to fit over our dining room table...it's amazing...but for now, here's a little sneak peek:

So, great birthday all around. Took some energy and effort, but I had a ton of help as always, and it was really important to me to make it special. (And it was.)


P.S. Special thanks to my mom for most of these photos...


Luke and Zo: 23 Months

Hi Everyone! Happy Monday!

Luke and Zo's last month of being one-year-olds was pretty great, minus a few temper tantrums cropping up here and there and my overall exhaustion. (By the way, we really took it easy over the weekend, and yesterday was the first day I had some of my normal energy back, so I'm hopeful that things are getting somewhat back to normal.) 

Anyway, a few stories and pictures of the kids...

Here they are on the cement horses outside of Flying Star, one of our favorite places to go eat. Grammy and Papa were here visiting for their birthday for a few days...this was one of their first days here. Papa decided to walk home after dinner, after the kids were all strapped in their car seats, and Sissy got so upset, cried crocodile tears over her Papa leaving...it was all we could do to calm her down letting her know Papa would be back in time to give her a kiss goodnight before she went to bed.

We're getting into a lot of the kids wanting to do the same thing at the same time. We've been setting the timer for 5 minutes, after which it's the other kid's turn for the object of desire. Also been doing a lot of "eenie meenie minie mo" to decide who goes first.

Funny story: The kids are getting into super heros because, well, their dad is their dad. We got ONE stuffed Spider Man one day this past month, and there was a total meltdown at bedtime because both kids wanted Spider Man. I was telling my Dad about it the next day, and he said, "Well, that's a lesson for someone...either the kids about sharing or your husband about how many toys to buy." We went and got another the next day...mostly we just have one of each toy, but sometimes it makes sense (and saves our sanity) to have two. (We had the kids with us when we went to get another, and when Luke saw it he said, so excited, "DADDY GET MORE SPIDER MAN!" over and over, it was so cute. And it's funny, the Spider Men look exactly the same, but the kids can tell them apart. Sometimes I'll give one to Sis, for instance, and she'll say, "No, Luke's" and won't be satisfied until I find hers.

The occasional treat still happens at Satellite Coffee, another one of our favorite spots (although this happens a lot less often as my husband and I are trying to eat super healthy):

And always looking for birds in the morning...there are some that come to drink out of the dog's water bowl so there's usually one or two to see.

Speaking of dogs, there is still a lot of interest in where Dexter is. "Dexter come back!" Luke said to me this morning. 

And...what else...Luke is VERY cute with puzzles (and very good)...he tries each piece and says, "How about this one. No...... How about THIS one? No....... How about THIS one?" until he gets it right.

And the kids know their colors, and 1–10, and Luke the other day sang his ABCs start to finish and I was like, how in the heck do you know that? (It's their grandmother.) I'm not trying to brag about my kids, but I'm just amazed that any almost-two-year old can do this stuff. And I don't feel like we're trying that hard to teach them stuff...just integrating into our every day life, for example with colors, it's not a specific lesson, it's just me asking all the time, "What color is your juice?" (for example.) "What color is that car?" Etc.

Both kids are really, really into trucks.

Some cute things that Sissy says:

"Sissy happy!" (And Luke will say, "Luke happy too.")

"Sissy sad." (Luckily this is unusual.)

"Sissy busy!"

"Sissy by self!" 

This last one is her trying to do things like dress or eat all by herself. This gets said A LOT, as well as Luke with his version, which is, "My turn! My turn!" often said with a frustrated hand wave.

Neither kid likes their food cut up any more...I ask them, "Do you want this banana" (for instance) "cut up or whole?" And they always say, "whole." And if they ask me to cut it and I do there is total baby meltdown, especially on Luke's part...they don't get that you can't just put it back together.

Luke especially likes to come visit me while I'm working in my home office in the afternoons, and he's very polite about it, knocking on the door first. I keep him as long as I can until he gets too disruptive. One thing I'd really like to do is to have some toys and cool things in my office, that they can sit on the guest bed and play with and as long as they let me work, they can stay with me. Think that would be fun.

The kids have Ugly Dolls that they call Bat Bat (there's gray Bat Bat and Pink Bat Bat and Blue Bat Bat and Baby Bat Bat). One night after dinner there were Bat Bat Wars with Daddy, which involved the kids getting pelted with Ugly Dolls and running around laughing hysterically.

They have both outgrown most of their clothes. Eeking it out 'til spring/summer.

Luke especially loves to be outside. "Luke go outside and play ball!" he says every day. Sis is good if it's warn, but she doesn't like the cold, so often wants to come in when it's chilly out, which is challenging because Luke wants to be out and we need them together.

They like to eat their lunch outside too, which I also like because it minimizes the mess. Think there'll be a lot of outside meals with the warmer weather.

Sis has been making faces... "Sissy funny face!" she'll say and pull her mouth out at the sides and stick her tongue out. Or, "Happy face!" Or, "Cow face!" By the way, the kids aren't scared of cows any more. Or the big red bird at Red Robin, who used to make them cry.

Oh gosh, these kids are just an absolute delight. Love them so, so much. And this is changing the subject, but wish there were going to be more children for us, but I'm pretty sure that's not going to happen. It's OK, I'm so, so, so very grateful I have Luke and Zo...



Make the Ordinary Come Alive

Make the Ordinary Come Alive
Do not ask your children
to strive for extraordinary lives.
Such striving may seem admirable,
but it is a way of foolishness.
Help them instead to find the wonder
and the marvel of an ordinary life.
Show them the joy of tasting
tomatoes, apples, and pears.
Show them how to cry
when pets and people die.
Show them the infinite pleasure
in the touch of a hand.
And make the ordinary come alive for them.
The extraordinary will take care of itself.

William Martin



Little Cloud Park

One of the cool things we've discovered recently is a little park in the foothills, about 15 minutes from our house called Little Cloud Park. Our little routine there looks like this:

First, we go play on the bunny statue:

Then, we run back to the playground equiptment and play: (The only negative--this isn't the safest playground structure for little kids...close supervision is needed.)

Then: picnic lunch on a cute kid-sized picnic table:

Some other great things about this park are that it's fenced, it's nice and big, there are grass and trees and the mountains right there...so pretty. Also the three times we've gone we've pretty much had the place to ourselves.

There are also little BBQ grills so I think it will be fun when the weather gets warmer to go as a family and do a cookout.

Happy Thursday!



Grace in Small Things, March 17, 2014

Hi Everyone!

Sorry it's been kind of quiet around here...honestly, a lot going on and have been struggling a bit since Dexy died...and it's not about our dog per se...not really sure why...just a lot weighing on my mind, not sleeping well at all, lots of anxiety about all sorts of things right now for some reason, new work clients that I'm trying to get things running smoothly with, etc. etc. Went to the doctor today and am hoping I have something that will help with the sleep...that seems to be the place to start with all this. And a prescription to help with the anxiety if I need it, but I'm hoping sleeping better will make everything else more manageable. 

That said, wanted to take a minute to write about some of the good things:

1) So incredibly lovely to have my parents here visiting last week. So fun to see Luke and Zo with them...they have such a great relationship with my parents...

2) Made it to the gym this morning despite a somewhat sleepless night. Glad I went...

3) My big work project for the week seems manageable...wasn't sure that was going to be the case...

4) I have a new black sweatshirt that I LOVE that's kept me warm and cozy on this cool late winter day...

5) My mother-in-law's got corned beef and cabbage cooking up for dinner...yum...

Hope all is well with all of you!