Sunday, December 30, 2012

Those Beautiful Stewart Girls



A Trip to the Mountings

 I do believe I have some catching up to do on this blog! I will do what I can, when I can, I promise!

Early in December we got a special treat. One of our friends, who was also a PT classmate of Spencer's, got married, so we had a wonderful excuse to head back to the mountains of NC (or, as Claire calls them, the "mountings") to see some dear friends. We were so excited to stay with Brent, Amanda, Ivy, and Hayley for the weekend!

Ivy and Claire got right to work making gingerbread houses. Here they are looking for some inspiration on the internet...

 Getting to work...

The finished products!

I couldn't believe how much baby Hayley has grown since we last saw her. She is an amazing story of God's grace!

  Hayley and Averi Kate played well together!

We had a great time, and Claire asks every day when she can go and see Ivy again. I am so thankful for friends in Christ, who stay near and dear even when we are far apart!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


Sometimes, Claire confuses words, like this little number I heard coming from the next room this afternoon...
"Salad night, holy night..."

Sometimes she confuses consonant sounds, like when she tried to tell me that the dog was barking...
"Mom, Huley's barfin for me."

And then other times, she is just plain funny...
Me: Claire, wait! Don't put your food in your mouth yet. We need to thank God for the food!
C: (absently, looking around, playing with her food) God-er-father, God-er-father, aaarmen, aaarmen.
Me: Claire! Honey, when we talk to God, we need to think about who we are talking to and what we are saying. What do want to say to God right now?
C: God-er-father, aaarmen, aaarmen
Me: Honey, you aren't saying anything. What do we want to say to God?
C: I don't remember.
Me: We want to tell Him thank you! What are we thankful for right now? What has God done for us?
C: He died for us...?
Me: Yes! He did! And He also has provided us with this food that we are about to eat...
C: God-er-father, aaarmen, aaarmen
Me: Claire!!!  Think about what you are saying!
C: (muttering) I know there's an "armen" in there somewhere.

Saturday, December 8, 2012


Averi Kate is growing up TOO fast! She has changed so much in the past month. Here are a list of all her accomplishments just in the last few weeks...

She said her first word!!! Was it "mama"? No. Was it "dada"? Nope. It was "dog." It actually sounds more like "guh" but I know for a fact it is "dog." EVERY time she sees or hears a dog she starts exclaiming, "guh! guh! guh!" Her verbal skills have also suddenly expanded to include "mama" and "bye".

Along with "bye," she has started waving as well. She waves at anyone who will look at her! She has also picked up on the sign language for "more" and uses it whenever she sees something that she wants (usually food).

And speaking of food, her appetite has increased as of late and has also expanded to include lots of new flavors, including both black and green olives.

 We are getting the inclination that AK is going to be a handful. She has recently decided to start crawling and pulling up on furniture, and she is getting into everything. She also puts anything she can get her hands on immediately into her mouth. Oh my. I will say that even though she was a happy baby before, she is much happier now that she is mobile.

The other day someone turned the vacuum cleaner on in the next room. The loud noise startled both girls, but while Claire jumped a little and looked at me, Averi Kate jumped and simultaneously dove into the living room to see what was going on. I really thought she was going to be a timid child, but time might be telling a different story...

On a completely different note, for breakfast yesterday Claire had oatmeal w/honey and cinnamon, and a side of black olives. That is something I just don't want to forget.

Monday, December 3, 2012


One thing that we are trying this year as a family is to spend the month of December with a little more intentionality when it comes to preparing for Christmas. With Claire the ever-moving-and-talking 3 year old and Averi Kate the always-active-and-sometimes-fussy 9 month old, this "preparation" or advent celebration lasts for approximately 2 and a half minutes each night. But hey. Small steps.

So what we are trying this year is to follow an advent plan called the "Jesse Tree". This plan takes small snippets from Scripture, starting with creation and then following down through the lineage of Christ, each day to paint a bigger picture of God's plan of redemption throughout the whole Bible.

Each night of December we are reading either a portion of Scripture or a corresponding story from one of our storybook Bibles while Claire colors a paper ornament representing that particular story. And while Averi Kate struggles to jump out of my arms and chase the "guh! guh!" (translation: "dog! dog!")

Is any of this sinking in? Is it sticking? I might be tempted to think not, like when we bow our heads to pray and Claire gets miffed because we are not singing "God our Father." Or when both girls are acting insane the whole time Spencer is reading. Or when we ask Claire what praise song we can sing to Jesus at the end of our Bible story and she says, "Old Macdonald!" But then there are the times when she says something profound that makes me think, "Wow. She is taking in everything." And there are the promises of God not to let His word return void. And there is the grace and power of the gospel that works in and through our stumbling through 2 and a half minutes of trying to sit still enough to listen. And then I know that it really is making a difference.

So...happy Advent!

Meet Ellie

 Santa came to our house the other day. He left a package at the front door.

Inside the package was an elf.

Meet Ellie the Elf. Santa also left a letter to explain...

Dear Claire and Averi Kate,

Well, well, well, two of my favorite children!

First off, I have to tell you that I think you both are very special. I know that you are filled with love for each other, love for your parents, but most importantly, you are filled with love for Jesus! I love Jesus too, and He lives in my heart, so that makes us all especially special!

I had to let you know something very important. You know that whole naughty and nice list that you hear people talking about? Well, the truth is, that’s really not true. I don’t have a naughty and nice list. Because I know Jesus, I also know a lot about grace and getting what we don’t deserve. I know you know all about that! Like when you make the wrong choice and when you choose to sin, Jesus gives you grace and loves you still! And sometimes I know that your mom and dad give you grace too…like when you deserve to be disciplined but they give you another chance!

I know that kids are not perfect. I know that you girls are not perfect. But I know that Jesus loves you all the time, and I do too. So you don’t need to worry about being on my naughty or nice list. I will come leave you some special gifts on Christmas, just because I want to be loving and generous like Jesus is!
To help you remember about grace and getting love even when you don’t deserve it, I wanted to send you a very special treat for this Christmas season. I thought you might enjoy a little visit from a very special friend of mine…

This is Ellie the Elf.

She is a dear friend of mine, but she tends to be a bit naughty. I have explained grace to her many, many times, when she choose to sin and be a stinker. I have told her that this is why Jesus had to come…to rescue her, because she has sin in her heart. She is beginning to learn, but I thought that if she stayed with you for the Christmas season, then you might be able to teach her some more about the way Jesus loves us even when we sin. I know that you both are learning that you get to love and obey God because He first loves you so very much. I love Ellie so much and I want her to understand and believe Jesus and know that her heart can make good choices too because Jesus loves her so very much!

One important thing about Ellie…She stays quiet all day but she loves to play at night while everyone is sleeping.  That’s usually when she can get in some trouble, so you’ll have to watch her carefully!

When I told Ellie that she was coming to stay with you, she jumped up and down in excitement!  I hope you have fun together. I’ll be back to pick Ellie up on Christmas Eve, when I come to drop off some surprises for you! 


Ellie has made a couple of messes since Santa dropped her off, although the first thing Claire did when she got her was to adamantly claim, "Ellie is not going to make a mess. She is going to sleep with me!" But we are having fun learning about how we all make messes, and we need help to clean them up - help from a Savior!

***I must give credit where credit is due! I got this idea, as well as the letter (with some personal modifications) from this website. Thank goodness for Pinterest!!!