Cheer Up Buttercups is a one-stop “shop” for issues concerning child development, lactation, sleep training and nutrition. No matter what challenge you are facing, we support parents from the newborn stage through the early childhood years.


[team_horizontal_nd color=”green” icons=”yes” title=”Allison Reyna ” description=”Co-Founder, Nutritionist
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[team_horizontal_nd color=”yellow” icons=”yes” title=”Brandi Brucks” description=”Director, Potty Training Consultant, CPST (Child Passenger Safety Technician) & Behavior Specialist” image=”2488″ icon1=” icon-eye” iconlink1=”||”]
[team_horizontal_nd color=”green” icons=”yes” title=”Allison Reyna ” description=”Co-Founder, Nutritionist

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As a mother of three young children, Allison has become humbled by the experience of raising her children in a healthy, loving environment, working in a field she loves, while also trying to maintain her sanity. MORE INFO…

[team_horizontal_nd color=”yellow” icons=”yes” title=”Brandi Brucks” image=”2488″ icon1=” icon-eye” iconlink1=”||” link=”||” description=”Director, Potty Training, Child Passenger Safety & Behavior Specialist”]

Brandi did not discover her true calling until she worked as a nanny after having moved from Boston to Austin. As a nanny, Brandi was able to use her skills and talents by working directly with children in low ratio settings, and has seen true change take place. MORE INFO…

[team_horizontal_nd color=”violet” icons=”yes” title=”Paula Kovach” description=”Sleep Consultant” image=”2887″ icon1=” icon-eye” iconlink1=”||”]

Paula has been passionately working with children for over twenty five years. She has been in the central Texas area for nearly ten years as a nanny manager and sleep trainer. MORE INFO…

Allison Reyna – Co-Founder, Nutritionist

As a mother of three young children, Allison has become humbled by the experience of raising her children in a healthy, loving environment, working in a field she loves, while also trying to maintain her sanity. She has had to rely on the expertise of professionals in her community when overcoming challenges with her children such as sleep, behavior, and potty training issues. Her experience raising her family, isolated from her own, was the impetus behind starting Cheer Up Buttercups.

Allison has had her own private nutritional counseling and wellness company for the past 7 years. She has counseled individuals and families, conducted group workshops and cooking classes, and spoken at a number of large companies such as Capital One, Frito-Lay, Whole Foods, and State Farm on various nutrition and health related topics. In 2013, she was the recipient of the Austin Birth Awards for Best Nutritionist.

She believes in eating clean, unprocessed, natural foods as a way to reach optimal health and wellness. She attended the Institute of Integrative Nutrition in NYC and is certified through Columbia University’s Teachers College. Prior to joining the staff, she worked at Whole Foods Market for six years, most recently as an In-Store Educator and Trainer. Allison holds a B.S. from Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs and a graduate business degree in accounting from the University of Texas at Austin. Allison has always possessed a passion for healthy living. Her own personal struggle with cancer catapulted her passion even further when she realized our food really is our medicine.

Brandi Brucks – Director,  Potty Training Consultant, CPST (Child Passenger Safety Technician) & Behavior Specialist

Brandi did not discover her true calling until she worked as a nanny after having moved from Boston to Austin. As a nanny, Brandi was able to use her skills and talents by working directly with children in low ratio settings, and has seen true change take place. She has witnessed first-hand how things like behavior redirection and sleep training can change a family and create a harmonious home. She has had great success in working with families who have had children with varying degrees of Autism, and helped create a knowledgeable, understanding and enriching home.

Brandi specializes in potty training children as young as 21 months up to 4 years old. She has had amazing success using her intensive potty training method that she has cultivated over the years. She has worked with children with various ages and abilities, in many different types of settings, and enjoys the challenges of helping each family reach their specific goals. She also excels at correcting sleep issues with children and is able to help establish healthy sleeping habits.

Brandi graduated from Simmons College in Boston, MA with a Bachelor’s Degree in English and a minor in Early Childhood Education. She also has a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education from Simmons. She recently became a CPST (Child Passenger Safety Technician), and is looking forward to helping families learn how to keep their children safe in the car by properly installing their car seats.

Paula Kovach- Sleep Consultant

Paula has been passionately working with children for over twenty five years. She has been in the central Texas area for nearly ten years as a nanny manager and sleep trainer.

Growing up in Tyler, TX she always had a love for being around babies and children. As the youngest of three girls she was always the first to help with her young nieces and nephews. After receiving her Bachelors in Fine Arts from Stephen F Austin State University she moved to the Netherlands. There she earned a second Bachelors in Early Childhood Education from Regionaal Opleiding Centrum in Leiden while working with young children as a Preschool Teacher. This only furthered her wealth of experience to include studies into different cultures of parenting styles as well. She believes that schedules and sleep lead to healthy, happy children and well-rested homes.

Since returning to the United States she has been working as a nanny manager and sleep consultant for over ten years. During this time, she has cultivated her own unique sleep program and works cooperatively with families and children in a variety of ages and situations to find success. She has found a new joy in helping families find peace and harmony through consistent sleep habits.

Ruth Phy – Postpartum Doula, Early Potty Training

Since 2008, Ruth has been supporting families as a birth and postpartum doula in central Texas. She feels passionately about helping women and hopes no woman has to go through motherhood without an understanding and loving support system. As a mother of two, Ruth understands the types of struggles a mother will face while trying to raise young children.

With her first child, she found it very difficult to breast-feed, and had no other choice but to use commercial infant formula. Her son began developing, allergies, intolerances, ear infections, etc., until the day she took him off the commercial formula. With her second child, breast-feeding just wasn’t an option, so to avoid the formula roller-coaster she went on with her son, she chose to give her daughter a home-made infant formula. She attributes her daughter’s healthy immune system largely to the quality nutrition she received from the Weston A Price home-made infant formula. When breast milk isn’t an option, this is always her first recommendation to clients, and can obviously attest to its benefits.

Another challenge Ruth had to face in the first year of motherhood was her postpartum mood disorders, including OCD. She was determined to get her son out of diapers as soon as possible, and even though she was told it wasn’t possible to potty train her 15 month old, she was willing to give it her best shot. When she began the process of what she later learned was called Elimination Communication (or Elimination Control), she had little hope and felt very detached from her son. Through the process of learning his elimination routine, she was not only able to potty train, but grew closer to him than she had ever felt before. She felt they had been able to grow together during the process and was able to learn more about him and his budding personality.

Kristine Kovach – Lactation Consultant, IBCLC

Kristine Kovach has been a Board Certified Lactation Consultant in private practice and varied clinical settings since 1999.  She has worked at Seton, Seton Northwest and Southwest, as well as at Mom’s Place and at the newly opened LRMC in Lakeway. She has helped over 10,000 nursing families achieve a workable and enjoyable nursing experience with confidence and peace.

She has trained physicians, RN’s and dieticians statewide through the Texas Department of Health in best breastfeeding/baby friendly practice, and has worked with the wonderful DadLabs crew to reach papas-to-be in helping their new families feed and succeed.  Her initial career was in Deaf Education. She began teaching mothers to breastfeed their infants in a special WIC program using her sign language skills.

During her experience nursing her daughter and son, she began to realize that though nursing is meant to be natural, it also calls into play a unique combination of art and science, as well as a little humor and a lot of faith. Kristine’s philosophy (as a formula fed infant who adores her own mama) is that guilt and pressure have no place in our development as parents.

Kristine has been a featured lecturer at the UT School of Nursing for the past 4 years, and has also, in 2011 and 2012, received finalist status in the best educator category of the Austin Birth Awards. The recent novel The Gap Year by local author Sarah Bird was based in part on time spent observing Ms. Kovach on the job.

Belinda Rico- Lactation Consultant, IBCLC

Belinda has led prenatal Breastfeeding classes and post-partum support groups in many settings. She has been a Board Certified Lactation Consultant status since 2006.Her expertise ranges from normal newborn nursing concerns to complex NICU challenges. She currently works in the neonatal department at Seton Hospital’s main campus.

She completed a 5 year apprenticeship at Austin’s Mom’s Place clinic, which serves WIC and Medicaid families. There isn’t a Breastfeeding concern Belinda will find insurmountable. She proudly nursed her own seven children including one set of twins.

Laura Lamb- Lactation consultant, IBCLC

Bio & Pic coming soon!

Janixa Ramos – Post Partum Doula (day & evening)

Janixa is from Puerto Rico, and with all her family and friends being far away, she completely understands the struggle of raising a baby without any supporting relatives. Because of the wonderful support she received from her midwife and support team during her pregnancy, she was inspired to become a doula herself. She offers unconditional, nonjudgmental support through the path into motherhood, providing physical and emotional care for the family.

Janixa completed her training as a Doula by DTI (Doula Training International). In addition, she is a certified yoga teacher through “RYS 200 Yoga Alliance” and is also bilingual, speaking Spanish and English fluently. She also has volunteered her time through GALS (Give Austin Labor Support), supporting women and their families during their pregnancy, labor and postpartum time.

Lori Strong- Sleep Consultant

Lori Strong is a certified infant and child sleep consultant. After working hard to establish healthy sleep habits for her two children, Lori began helping her friends and family do the same. She became certified through the Family Sleep Institute because she wanted to combine her passion for teaching and helping others with her mission to help tired families get the sleep they need.

Lori was an elementary school teacher and reading specialist for 8 years. She graduated from Colgate University with a BA in English and Elementary Education and received her Masters of Science in Education from S.U.N.Y. Cortland. She is a member of the International Association of Child Sleep Consultants and works with expectant parents and families with children from birth to age 6.

In 2013, Lori won the Austin Birth Award for Best Sleep expert.


Bio and pic coming soon!

Kristina Juarez-Bridges- Post Partum Doula (day & evening)

Bio & Pic coming soon!

Brenda Marlin– Post Partum Doula (day & evening)

Brenda has been a doula since 2003. During both of her experiences of pregnancy, birth and postpartum she witnessed the power of a community of extraordinary women. It changed her. She was called to be a part of a profession that gives support to new families. It gives her a way to give back some of what she got. Through her time as a doula, and in her personal journey as a mother, she has realized that letting go is essential to moving forward. When we let go, we are transformed. During her birth and postpartum care, Brenda uses deep listening and gives lots of love to help parents negotiate their path to parenthood. In working with each family there is a new opportunity to create light and bring joy; she cherishes the chance to help new families find their strength and voice. The nurturing she offers families is compassionate and non-judgmental.

She was trained by DONA International and Birthing From Within. Prior to becoming a doula, she had a career in international development and worked on projects to improve the lives of women in Latin America through leadership training.

Rachel Smith – Personal Trainer

Rachel is ACE certified. She has worked at various country clubs in Austin including Westwood and Lost Creek. For the past 5 years, she has been in private practice focusing on individual and group classes for women, including pre- and post-natal. She is a swim instructor and was a Master Swim Instructor at Westwood Country Club for 3 years. Rachel also conducts on-going classes geared for young children to get them to have fun outdoors (and exercise without realizing it!).

Rachel believes that the body is meant to work as one unit. She trains the body in a manner that will perfect functional movement. She prefers working outdoors as much as possible, whether it is your backyard or a nearby park.

She will help you achieve your fitness goals without the use of traditional weight machines, instead using your own body weight, medicine balls, resistance bands, and kettlebells.

Karen Shopoff Rooff – Personal Trainer

Karen is a Cooper Institute Certified Personal Trainer and Certified Pre/postnatal Fitness Specialist. Her career was born out of her passion for teaching and with gratitude for the benefits she has reaped from leading a fit and active life. Karen is committed to helping others become models of wellness as we strive to make Austin the fittest city in America. Often quoted in articles and blogs, Karen loves to share her knowledge of and experiences on the wellness journey.

As the mother of three children, Karen understands the significant role exercise plays in achieving a sense of balance. Pre/postnatal fitness is a topic that inspires her; guiding other women along their fitness path during pregnancy and the postpartum period is an honor. Using fitness to cope with the realities of motherhood is paramount in her work, and she is adept at finding ways to integrate exercise and fitness into daily life.

Karen has completed two ultramarathons, nine marathons (including four Boston Marathons), numerous other road races, and countless playground obstacle courses.

Jessica Johnson- Potty Training Expert, Behavior Expert, Love & Logic Facilitator

Jessica graduated with High Honors and as a member of Phi Beta Kappa from The University of Texas at Austin in 2002. She has a Child Development Associate certification and 12 years of experience as a preschool teacher, working primarily with toddlers and two year-olds. For the last four years, she has taught Love and Logic group parenting classes at schools and churches around the Austin area. She has attended workshops with parenting experts from across the country including Jim and Charles Fay, Leonard Sax, and Tina Payne Bryson. She and her husband have two children of their own, a 10 year-old boy and a seven year-old girl, who have very different personalities and require different parenting approaches.

One of her favorite parenting quotes is, “Parenting is hard for everyone, especially if you are doing a good job.” She truly believes the language we use with our children is integral to our effectiveness as parents. The majority of the time we can only control ourselves, so it is imperative that we have a tool-box of skills and words to handle difficult situations. All of this and more can be learned through either of the Love and Logic curricula: Early Childhood Parenting Made Fun! (targeted for parents of children age six and under) or Parenting the Love and Logic Way (targeted for parents of children of all ages).


Bio and pic coming soon!

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