Today I ran and didn't feel like I was going to die... I take this as a sign that I am steadily gaining ground on level 2 on the kirstin-fitness-levels scale.


they grow up!?!

Monday, as I was subbing for a class of fifth graders (many of whom I had as second graders not that long ago), it hit me... kids grow up.

Sometime not that too far into the future, Burke will be in a classroom, with a teacher. I can't even fathom that right now. It makes me wonder... what kind of kid will Burke become? Will he be the student with a thousand questions? The quiet one that really takes some investing just to get to know? The one with a gigantic vocabulary and an imagination to match?

It also makes me so thankful for right now... days full of baby babble floating up from my back seat and laughs and snuggles because he's not too big or too cool yet. I am excited to see what kind of student Burke becomes... but for now, I'm glad that we're not there yet.



Jordi and I used to fight. Alot. In our prime (high school, probably... maybe junior high?), there was definitely door slamming, yelling, word slinging and there were even some all out brawls (one incident involved the throwing and breaking of a snapple bottle). For the most part, I can't remember what we were fighting about (clothes? friends? school?), but I am pretty sure the fights were largely a petty collision of selfish preferences.

I'm more than a little bit embarrassed that I ever treated Jord so poorly (so much so that I was tempted to 'edit' the severity of our fights), especially since I consider her to be one of the Lord's greatest and most precious forms of provision for me. However, I also consider my relationship with my sister a small (but oh so poignant) example of the Lord's slow and steady sanctification in each of our lives.

You see, we don't actually fight anymore, me and Jordi. There is no more door slamming, definitely no more yelling, the word slinging has all but dissipated and (thankfully) the broken snapple bottle was a one time thing. I credit this transformation solely to the gracious 'smoothing out the rough edges' (or sanctification) of the Lord.

When I was in Lubbock last week, Jordan mentioned that she's thankful for long-term friendships like ours because they are a tangible example of where we've been and also of what the Lord has done in us. In the many times that I get discouraged about whether I am still the same old selfish punk kirst, I can look back at our relationship and see that I am not. I still have miles and miles to go, but I'm not at the starting line any longer. Thank the Lord!


decorating resources???

I think I've mentioned my tumultuous relationship with the month of February before... I just can't get behind the idea of constant cold and gray. Throw in the fact that snow is no longer a novelty item like it is in December and top it off with the idea that the glorious, summery light at the end of the tunnel is still too far away to catch a glimpse of and you have one sad and gloomy girl (as a side note, there has not been one spring break that I can remember that I haven't tried to finagle my way to some warm beach). To make things worse, this month of blah seems to last forever to me!

To combat the terrible attitude that this month invariably illicits, I am redecorating. Or, more accurately, decorating. Remodeling and getting our house into working order has taken all of my creative decorating juices for the last few years, so much so that we still have boxes of picture frames, vases, a collection a maps and artwork, etc., downstairs in the now finished basement, but hardly anything on the walls in our house.

This is where I need your help. I am trying to almost entirely use stuff we already have around here (like I said, a multitude of frames including a couple large ones, some maps and artwork we've collected in our travels, and some vases, candles, etc.). I do also have a limited budget ($100 total) to work with courtesy of my husband who has come to hate this month as much as I do, but not because of the cold, just because of the mood of despair that descends on me around, oh, february 1st. My decorating style is apparently a mix of rustic revival, vintage modern and french eclectic (see pictures above) according to sproost's mystyle quiz. Now what? Do y'all have any cheap tips for redecorating/repurposing? Are there any fabulous websites out there to help a girl like me simultaneously use the stuff I have to make our house feel more like 'us' and also get through this awful month? I can't wait to hear your recommendations. :)


guarding and restoring

A couple weeks ago, mom and I went to Bride Wars. Very fun. There's a part in the movie where Emma (Anne Hathaway) is called out for wearing the same dress to a wedding that she wore to some sorority formal. Her best friend Liz (Kate Hudson) valiantly defends her, though, and all is right with the world. Which made me start thinking: a best friend to defend you against the storms of the world is way better and more important than a room full of ok friends, especially if the ok friends don't have the grace to cover over some of your rougher edges and not-so-sparkling moments.

I want to be this kind of friend, y'all. The kind that guards other people's reputations, upholds people during storms and restores people after their missteps. If you've hung out with me recently (or ever), you know that there are a multitude of moments where I need your grace. I need you to say, "Sometimes kirst says things that sound harsher than they need to," and "Sometimes kirst talks too much, just babbles on and on really," and "Sometimes Kirst and Adam have some serious work to do on their marriage/finances/views of politics/theology, but we won't give up on them." Hopefully I can do the same for you, too...


25 random facts

a random pic to accompany the random facts

I was tagged in facebook to make a list of 25 random facts... I thought I'd put them on here as well.

1. I believe that pomegranates are totally worth the work.

2. I started skiing when I was 3 and still love it. There is nothing like the feeling of skiing fast on a clear day. Oh yeah, and I hate skiing in freezing or really windy conditions. On those days, I opt for the lodge with a cup of cocoa instead.

3. I love the smell of bleach... and windex... and pine sol (they remind me of my house growing up).

4. In all of our remodeling adventures, I almost always do the tiling. My perfectionistic tendencies make tiling the perfect job for me (though, it probably takes me twice as long to finish a project as someone without the crazy compulsive need for even, aligned grout lines).

5. I have a running list of craft projects that I'd like to make 'when I have some extra time.' Most of them are for my nieces or for my house.

6. When I was little, I thought that heaven might be a little like snuggling into clean sheets in clean jammies after a bath. When those three things align in my life now (clean sheets, clean jammies, clean self), I still call it a 'heaven night.'

7. I like to organize small spaces... closets, cabinets, drawers. Everything being neat and tidy makes my life feel more neat and tidy.

8. If I had an endless supply of resources, I would travel. And travel. And travel. Oh, and buy lots of craft tools (a fancy sewing machine that embroiders, a screenprinter, a C&P letterpress [because since I have an endless supply of resources, I probably have room to store a huge printing press, right?], perhaps even a loom?). And also adopt a bunch of kids (maybe I could find them in my traveling and traveling and traveling).

9. I haven't paid for toiletries, frosting or barbeque sauce in over a year... the joys of coupon shopping.

10. I call Adam the "joy stealer" because on a weekly basis, he dashes some crazy plan of mine to build my own letterpress or adopt a group of eight siblings from Ethiopia (to be fair, most of my plans require a little reigning in) .

11. I love most things domestic: cleaning, cooking, hostessing, baking.

12. My husband makes me breakfast in bed sometimes. And when I go out of town, without fail, I come home to a clean house and a clean car. Love that!

13. I'd love to live overseas, but I'm not sure I ever will.

14. When I work out, I intend to use that time to pray. However, I spend alot of the time calculating the percentage of how much time or distance I have left compared to how much I've already finished. Especially if I'm on a treadmill.

15. I write Adam's papers.

16. My ideal temperature is around 85 degrees. I love the beach, the pool, hot showers, hot tubs... anything warm.

17. Speaking of the beach, I think I could live in Hawaii (or any other place near the ocean that has consistently moderate-to-hot weather). People always tell me that I'd miss four seasons and snow and winter, but I strongly disagree.

18. Iced tea with limeade is a comfort food to me. Also, my mom's chocolate chip cookies (half the sugar, double the gloriousness).

19. I loved my job teaching third grade in a low-income area, absolutely loved it. And I love being at home with Burke. My 'professional' life right now (mostly at home, but occasionally subbing at my old school) is as close to perfect as it gets.

20. I have a passion for diet coke with extra vanilla from sonic. I could drink it every day. Twice.

21. Besides Adam, my siblings are my best friends in the world. They live life with such sincerity, humor and passion. I consider myself blessed beyond measure to know them well.

22. My current top five travel destinations are: eastern europe, thailand/india, new zealand, isreal and ecuador.

23. I sing and dance all day long. In fact, I change the words to actual songs in order to match whatever I'm doing at the moment. Oh, and I can't hold a tune for the life of me... poor Burke. Our life is kind of like a musical, but not one you'd want to watch except for the comic value.

24. I like the idea of both coffee and beer, but don't like the taste of either one.

25. I get full really quickly, which means I usually eat fairly small portions. Unless I'm eating sushi, which I can put away like you wouldn't believe. At our favorite Japanese food restaurant, I usually opt for 'all you can eat' because our bill will reflect my massive sushi appetite either way.


a sign of what's to come?

Who knew the untold hours of occupation to be bought with two rolls of ribbon, a (capped) sharpie and a paper cutter. Burke was absolutely enamored with the ribbon... he twisted and curled and wound it all the way around himself as many times as possible. And then, still entirely wrapped in ribbon, he tinkered with my paper cutter and sharpie for another hour or so. I am certain that this is the beginning of a beautiful relationship between burke and all things crafty... when I told Adam that, he said he's not so sure. :)



I used to think that a day would come when I would graduate from the 'leaving family blues.' I'm pretty sure that was wishful thinking, though. It's so weird- I am simultaneously so thrilled to be home and in an absolute funk of missing jord and her fam.

Burke and I had a great time in Lubbock... I am always so encouraged when I spend time with my sister and her hubbie. They are wise and insightful and thoughtful and terrific about caring for people and hilarious to top it all off.

Jordi put some pictures of our trip on her blog... check 'em out. :)


like trying to catch a fly with chopsticks

This week, I have acquired a new appreciation for our annual ludwig family christmas pictures... Every year growing up, we'd grab a friend (or a tripod and a camera with a timer) and set out to take a photograph where all six of us didn't have our eyes closed, were smiling and looked fairly decent. There are some notable exceptions (in the family pic of 1989, my eyes were puffy from crying - I'm almost certain it was because I was being a disobedient punk and got in trouble), but most years we pulled it off.

I didn't really realize the magnitude of this feat until I had burke. See, I have just one baby and our digital camera offers me the luxury of endless chances to catch that 'perfect shot' without the cost of developing film. All of this going for me, and I still rarely get a great picture of him. Add his cousins keadryn and sayla to the mix and it becomes a comic impossibility. Even just getting three babies to look your way involves a ruckus of clucking, singing, dancing and hand motions. And then the glances are so fleeting and not at all simulataneous, causing a drastic reduction in my standards for 'a good picture.'

Thus, I have been in Lubbock for five days, taken 109 pictures and the one at the top of the page is our best one yet (both sayla and burke looking at the camera and kead being sweet to burke!). On the other hand, the number of pictures with one of the babies crying, hitting someone, trying to smash someone else's heads into the mattress or grabbing someone else's hair, is plentiful. See below for a fabulous illustration of several of these phenomena wrapped into one candid photo.


back on the menu planning bandwagon

I hate being bossed around. I think that's the reason I've been such a miserable failure at menu planning in the past. Every time I try to sit down in advance and write down what I'm going to make each night for the next couple weeks, I feel suffocated. Like the "lemon chicken with pasta and broccoli" under Monday in my planner is being forced upon me. Yep, I know, I am the one who wrote it in there... I feel bossed around nonetheless. And what if we don't feel like lemon chicken that Monday night? Then what?

So lately I'm trying a new thing. Instead of getting out my planner and penciling in a couple weeks worth of meals, I've been buying the ingredients for several meals that I want to make. Then, when Monday morning rolls around, I have three or four choices to make for that night's dinner, thus alleviating the stress of my bossy planner.

It's only been a couple weeks, but the regime change has been a positive experience so far. Even better, we've tried some fabulous recipes lately! If you're wanting some easy, healthy, yummy (and cheap!) recipes, check these ones out:
noodles with lime-peanut sauce (we added chicken to the mix... delight!) from cheap healthy good
lemon chicken on pasta from five dollar dinners
shoestring fries with garlicky dijon mayo by cooking light (we had these with hot turkey sandwiches one night and burgers another night... glorious!)
sara moulton’s orecchiette (er, macaroni) with broccoli and chickpeas (with a healthy dose of extra red pepper flakes) also from cheap healthy good
spicy sweet and sour chicken (I used all frozen veggies, canned pineapple and whichever of the vinegars and soy sauce varieties I had around and it turned out great) from cooking light


aussie fabulous

Last weekend, we celebrated Australia Day in style- shrimp on the barbie, little australian flags (and big ones, actually), old cricket matches playing in the background, summer attire... The Christensens moved back from Australia to Denver over a year ago and threw an awesome shindig to honor Peter's homeland!