Category Archives: family life

First Day for Lexi

Today was Lexi’s stagger day, when she finally got to visit 1st grade. The whole class starts together Monday. It’s been a long week of anticipation, luckily, we had plans to keep us busy. Lexi cannot wait to be back in school. In fact, she wishes there was no summer break at all, just shortened days so she can still go to the pool.

Lexi is energetic, fun-loving and eager to learn. I hope that this year brings her both challenges and great joy. I pray that she would grow more and more gracious towards herself and others, and that her deep conviction would blossom into a great appreciation for Christ’s finished work. She is really excited about playing soccer with some girls from school and I hope their team helps them build real community, without excluding the girls who aren’t playing.

Happy First Day of First Grade, Alexine.

First Day for Kate

Today was Kate’s first day of third grade. This feels like a big milestone to me as I taught third grade while I was pregnant with her. It feels like it was just a short time ago, but those kids are now finishing up high school.

Eight is a strange in-between age. On the one hand, she has grown so much but on the other, she feels so little. She loves pop music but still plays with My Little Ponies.

Last year, I wrote a little prayer for Kate on her first day. I prayed through it again today, but I was coming from a different place. Instead of being the new girl, she is familiar and comfortable. That’s a good place to be, but also one that needs to be bathed in prayer. She is so excited for all this year will hold academically, but there will be challenges along the way. I am praying for enthusiasm to translate into diligence and interest into mastery. Happy first day, sweet Kate!

Kate is 8!

Happy Birthday to our sweet girl! I cannot believe she is eight years old. Kind, creative, and fun, I am proud to be her momma.

A little interview, for fun.

What was the best thing about being 7? All the fun things we learned in 2nd grade, especially about Ancient Egypt.

What are you most proud of learning? How to do flips off the diving board.

What was the best book you read? Tales from the Odyssey: The Land of the Dead by Mary Pope Osborne.

What is your favorite song? Call Me Maybe.

What is your favorite tv show? Phineas and Ferb.

What are you looking forward to about being 8? The 3rd grade chariot race.

What college do you want to go to? UNC or Rhodes.

Do you think you’ll get married when you grow up? Have any kids? Yes, I think I’ll get married and have four kids.

What do you want to be when you grow up? A singer-songwriter when I am young and then a librarian when I am older.

Words on Wednesday

Kate told me to come and take a picture of her. “I’m going to do a real dive,” she explained. She was confident that her first attempt at a pike would be successful. Wouldn’t you know, it wasn’t half bad, considering the board (no fulcrum) and level of experience.

I love watching my kids in the water, and seeing their moments of bravado. I hope Kate will always know how to throw caution to the wind and believe in herself. Shoot for the moon, little girl. You don’t know what you can do unless you try.

Joys, Great & Small

We spent the weekend in Colorado, watching a dear friend marry an amazing woman, exploring the Front Range and visiting with sweet friends. It was a weekend full of joy.

We returned to a messy, chaotic house and a million to-dos. But there were small joys, too: first swim of the summer, introducing Michael to the paleta place on Summer, a sunset so beautiful I wanted to chase it all the way to the Mississippi.

In spite of all of life’s disappointments, there is joy to be found. Sometimes we have to hunt for it, or cling to it for dear life. But there is light in the darkness. And for that, I am thankful.

Words on Wednesday

Yesterday one of Michael’s students posted this picture on instagram with the caption “Lexi ♥ school celebrity.” It was taken at a soccer game where Kate and Lexi found many laps to sit in, backs to ride on, kids to play with, dogs to walk and even iPhones surrendered to game on. We ended up heading to our favorite restaurant after the game as a family with four students and one parent and it was delightful.

On the way home, I asked Kate about her day, and she mentioned that during recess her teacher came outside to walk, and Kate had joined her. Her teacher asked her about what she thought about her first school year in Memphis and told her how much they all enjoyed having her. “How did it make you feel?” I asked her. “Mom, I have never had so much fun walking.”

Today they announced that Michael will be serving as one of the four house masters next year. When I picked up the girls, so many upper school students stopped me to say, “Tell Mr. Stewart congratulations!”

Westminster is a special place. I’m glad we’re a part of it.


– for new friends to share joyful potlucks with.
– for other new friends who encourage and challenge me.
– for forty days of Easter.
– for children who are patient with me and fine with dyeing eggs and getting new dresses “sometime during Easter.”
– … and who also help clean the house.
– for a husband who pitches in and does what I need him to, even when his to-do list is long.
– for new opportunities on the horizon.
– for hope.

Happy Easter. He is Risen!

So far…

February has not been great for reading and writing or for keeping up with life in general. Michael has been working day and night, seven days a week (go Mock Trial teams!) and I’ve had several migraines.

Quite frequently, the things I plan just don’t come to fruition. I am trying to learn again how to deal. My default is to withdraw, as if when I can’t do what I want, how I want to, I might as well not do anything at all.

Withdrawing leaves you in a messy house, feeling stressed out, with no accomplishments to look towards as an excuse.

I need small goals and the motivation to see them through. It sounds silly, but I’d probably do well to have a homemaking accountability partner. But “Did you scrub that toilet today?” conversations are just not that interesting so I probably would not keep up the accountability thing for very long.

It all circles back to my difficulty doing repetitive tasks, like folding and putting away laundry my children will just wear in two days starting the cycle again. Cleaning things that will just be dirty again is so much harder than any “real job” I’ve ever had. It’s wearying, and easy to get bogged down in the futility of it all.

So I sit staring at a mound of clean laundry, thankful for a gracious husband, a friend who shared dinner with us tonight and the new mercies that will come with the morning. Those mercies + the knowledge that our babysitter is coming over tomorrow might just propel me into action.

Did This Blog Peak in 2006? (and Other Insecure Questions)

I’ve been writing. Not everyday, but most days I spend an hour or more watching the cursor blink and choosing words.

The trouble is, I am not quite sure what to write. I finished a project that had me busy for weeks. With no deadlines on the horizon, I write for myself alone.

I keep thinking through different ideas in my head, hoping I am so compelled by one I can’t stop myself from writing it. Believing this drive will come, I wait.

As I do, I consider writing longer, better blog posts. In an effort to inspire myself, I decided to find some of my most popular blog posts to feature in my sidebar, perhaps shedding some light on my audience here (which has always surprised me.)

I knew that the advent of facebook and twitter had decreased my comment count significantly, but pulling up my posts ordered by comment count was overwhelmingly depressing. Pages and pages of posts with 20 or more comments five and six years ago, scrolling and clicking back in vain to find something current enough to feature.

The questions descend, like a flood. Why do I keep this blog anymore? Why do I write at all? Why can’t I come up with a marketable idea of what to be when I grow up? I’m a grown-up now, right?

Maybe this neurosis is the best sign that I need to keep on writing. Perhaps in writing I will find the answers that I long for, or more comfort in my questions.

Even in my insecurity, I know that people read this blog, even if they don’t comment, but I’ve never kept it for them, I keep it for me. It is a gift to have eleven years of life captured in blog posts. When I read them, I remember. Not just what I wrote about, but what I felt and what life was like, who I was. I am grateful for the time I have spent blogging and I carry on another day.

“Maybe next Christmas we’ll both be ok”

I’ve had a hard time putting away Christmas this year, which I usually do either Epiphany or the following day, with very little sadness.

Things feel okay at the moment, but tenuously so. As if one or more of us might fall off the wagon and hit another moving-related patch of big feelings. Leaving everything the way it has been was a feeble attempt to control the situation and avoid the chaos.

I took everything off the tree today (with a little help from the girls.) And by end of the weekend, it will all be put away. I do not fear the winter winds. I know that spring will come.


Life has been crazy this week. The chaos was dominated by two evenings cheering for WA basketball (quadruple headers.) But I also snapped some newborn photos for a friend, wrote, met an old friend for lunch passing through town, took lexi birthday partying and kate girl scout cookie selling…

We will chalk our door tomorrow. Epiphany is a season, right? Sometimes compromising is necessary for sanity’s sake.

Being busy makes me feel like we belong here. I have had a few really vivid Memphis moments lately. Watching Kate delightedly devour some ribs. Missing Memphis over the break. Seeing growth in myself and my family. And so we carry on, onward and upward.

a possibly impossible 2012 manifesto

in the new year i will endeavor to…

keep reading and write everyday
make a cozier, tidier home
have people over often
create lovely things, just because
eat better and exercise
make music

read with the girls
teach them handcrafts
say yes to my family
love michael better
write more letters, keep up with old friends

try new things
dream bigger
keep the faith

it’s not so impossible.

(title stolen from the lovely mollie greene.)