our giant adventure

i am kristin, he is joe. we are the giants, welcome to our adventure.

What our marriage vows look like in action, lately:

When I cook dinner and clean up after dinner, you let me watch The Craft and don’t make fun of me when I get legitimately scared.

When I forgive you for failing to respond to any of my texts/emails during the day, you forgive me for STILL not officially getting my name changed on my driver’s license.

When I make you coffee in the morning even though I don’t drink it anymore, you kiss me gently on the forehead and tell me I’m amazing (even though being nice at 7am is really hard for you).

When I promise to always forgive you when you say something you don’t mean, no matter how harsh or insensitive, you promise to try to call yourself out before I call you out. And when you promise to forgive me for all the thoughtless things I sometimes say, I vow to try my hardest not to be thoughtless.

Lately, it looks like stretches of days where I can barely muster a smile. And days where our love is what carries me through. It looks like trying to be healthier, together (last night you said you liked kale!). Its you never giving up hope, and then forgiving me for when I do give up hope again and again. It looks like my loud wavering faith, and your quiet unwavering faith. 

I love being married to you, Mr. Giant.

🎶 I choooooose yooooou 🎶  (a short love song to Honey & Rye’s last bacon apple cheddar scone) #sarabareilles #ichooseyou #honey&rye (at Honey & Rye Bakehouse)
This fall has been damn near perfect. #lake sylvan #blackhills #latergram

First Week Teaching the Kiddos!

I’m still kind of basking in the afterglow of my first week teaching acting to our kiddos through my arts mentoring program. I was a bit nervous about how well the kids would respond to a no-holds-barred acting class. Last week we did a seated art activity and the reaction was iffy. The kids got bored pretty quickly and some of them obviously had energy to burn after sitting down for most of the day. Last week we had one boy who didn’t speak directly to anyone the entire class and seemed really withdrawn. The kids are mostly 11-12 years old which can be an iffy in-between age. Anyway, all of my experience taught me to be nervous about the ice-breaking acting class… needless to say, these strong resilient kiddos exceeded my expectations.

We were able to bring the kids to an area of the residential facility that is teachers only, so they were already excited and felt special. I met with my co-mentors ahead of time to emphasize how very important it is that they not be self-conscious in front of the kids. They were all great and even though none had ever taken acting classes they were all eager to get on board. So, to start we are playing this goofy game (called “the shakes”) and all of the mentors were just being totally weird and goofy and the kids were really giggly at first, but as we picked up speed they all just committed and started having fun! Relief flooded me as I saw the spark alight in their eyes. Here were adults getting on their level and having fun with them. Good, clean, safe, fun. They relaxed and made fun of us and made fun of themselves.

We moved on to other games, and in a huge triumphant moment the boy who had not spoken at all last week came out of his shell and really dominated the games. He kept looking me in the eyes, for reassurance, or to giggle over another child’s actions, or just to smile. I am telling you, he did not look me in the eyes ONCE last week,and I sat next to him the entire activity. He even won the only elimination game we played yesterday! He thanked me sincerely with a big grin when I told him that he has natural instincts for an actor.

The kids were attentive and responsive when I explained how each “game” relates to being an actor, but they really just loved having permission to be physical and goofy and not be told to, “be quiet! sit down! no running!” It felt like a special gift to give them permission to just be goofy kids.
Towards the end of the class one of our students asked me if I could stay, so I would be there when they woke up in the morning. I told them, that while I could not stay that I would come back every Thursday because hanging out with them was the highlight of my week. The child looked downtrodden and said, “Why does everyone have to leave?”

When I heard this sweet child ask that question, I felt God moving in my life. Big time. I took a deep breath, swallowed some tears and did my best, saying, “Just because people have left before doesn’t mean they’ll always leave. We are here because we want to be. Every week. Sometimes people only get to be in your life for a little bit, but that doesn’t make you any less important.”

I prayed for all the kids in my class last night, and for all of the kids in the facility. They have a tough life to be such little guys, but I am so privileged to get to be a small spot of happiness/fun/silliness in an otherwise far too stressful environment. This has to be so much of why God put me here on earth. I know this in my heart.

Can’t wait for next week!

Highlights of the trip include but are not limited to these four beautiful breakfasts. Every morning we mozied downstairs for fresh coffee and orange juice. The lodge where we stayed is a bit famous for delicious breakfasts (included in lodging!). I mean….

Day 1: Veggie frittata (tomatoes, peppers, onions) over a beautiful breakfast salad with spinach, pineapple, and cucumbers. This was wrapped up with a dessert of peach blueberry coffee cake - to die for.

Day 2: Fresh baked buttermilk biscuits with scrambled eggs, ham, stewed tomatoes, Vermont cheddar, and creme fresh. This was served with another gorgeous salad. Dessert (because all breakfasts ought to have desserts, dammit) was a baked bear with caramel glaze and ICE CREAM. FOR BREAKFAST.

Day 3: (my favorite) Two baked eggs over cheese and veggies (in the ramekin). I am dying to recreate this for people who will enjoy it! The runny yolks weren’t Joe’s favorite. This was served with amazing caramelized bacon, and a fresh potato hash complete with homemade bison sausage. There was a small side of gorgeous tomatoes and avocado. Dessert this morning was fresh-out-the-oven blueberry muffins.

Exceptionally hard to say goodbye to vacation. But our bed, on our noisy block, in this beautiful city, feels great. (at the giant loft)
Just the right amount of bad. #badlands  (at Bad Lands)
Went off the beaten path (and about 80ft up some rocks) and found a sacred little spot. #custerstatepark #needlehighway  (at Custer State Park.  Custer, SD)
🙋from Custer State Park! This herd of bison also say hi! #custerstatepark #needlehighway  (at Custer State Park.  Custer, SD)
Crazy Horse in all his glory. Humbled to be here so close to Indigenous Peoples’ Day.