Friday, November 6, 2015

Finally! Finally!!!!

After what seemed like a nearly eternal waiting period, I am delighted to announce the arrival of :

Elliana Claire
November 4, 2015 @ 2:36 am
{7 days past EDD}
7 lbs. 12 oz.

Our hearts and hands are full of all the sweetness of this brand new person.  I'll mostly just let the pictures speak for themselves. If you would like to meet Elliana or hear more details about her arrival, please drop by the house. :)

The midwives check out Elliana's vitals. We rejoice in the gift of a healthy, robust little girl!!

Cassie meets Elliana upon waking up in the morning. I can't wait to watch these little sisters interact in the coming years!

Big Brother-pleased as punch!

I still can't believe that all these monkeys call me "mom". On another note: It must be pretty amazing to kiss your pregnant mom good night and wake up in the morning to a pretty baby sister. :)

Grandma and Cassie get Elliana all ready for her first day's hard work being such a sweetie

Tired Daddy makes many important phone calls to the relatives.

Grandpa Lehman meets Elliana 

And Cassie somehow wiggles her way into nearly every picture, always touching her baby sister.

Last moments of adoration before heading out the door to school

"I just can't wake up"

It's absolutely amazing how quickly and easily one little person has become the center of the universe for our entire household. We can't get too much of this newborn sweetness.

And now I'm off to enjoy the quiet house and some newborn snuggles because I know just how fleeting these moments are...

Friday, October 30, 2015


{if you're expecting a baby announcement in this post, I'm  very sorry to disappoint you. There are no specifics to announce at this point besides the fact that baby and I are at 40 wks. and counting}

The definition of a miracle is, according to

noun mir·a·cle \ˈmir-i-kəl\
: an unusual or wonderful event that is believed to be caused by the power of God
: a very amazing or unusual event, thing, or achievement

Miracles happen every day. 

Following are just a handful of miracles that I have witnessed in the last few weeks:

1. A little brother grows up into a fine, godly, handsome man.  Whoever thought the youngest in a family of 7 would eventually find his way into adulthood and become a peer of sorts?!? And would not only pursue becoming a teacher but develop as an amazing artist on the side?!? Of course all 6 older siblings attempt to take at least a measure of credit for this littlest brother who is standing head and shoulders above us. 

2. My 5 children sit down in a lovely  spot and ASK to have their picture taken together. I don't know how many times I have bribed, coerced or tried tricking them into a nice, happy sibling pose only to have them all mad at me in the end.  They posed themselves. Looked at me. And smiled genuine happy smiles.  The only bummer is that this picture is going to be outdated in hopefully just a few days when baby #6 joins the family.

3. In 5 minutes flat, we got some great shots of this little active one year old. His mommy said, "I don't know if I should even try to get pictures of him because he NEVER sits still."  Good job, Jayden!!!  It was very thoughtful of you to cooperate so nicely since I would've had a hard time chasing you around the yard this past week. 

And to add to the amazement, this little dude can whistle on command. Cutest trick ever!!!!

4. THIS! THIS! The Lord has granted me amazing grace in these last weeks of pregnancy. What an incredible honor to get to participate in this miracle with the Creator of life!!!

photo source:

5. These little people can still make me grin ear to ear even at 40+ weeks pregnant!!! From my previous experiences of going overdue this is a big deal!!!

6. My dirty house (thank you, dry wall dust) was miraculously  transformed by 3 amazing ladies in just 3 short hours. I have no pictures of the cleaning crew or my clean house. {I know how to take pictures of dirt, but I'm not sure how to take pictures of clean} Love that moves a person to this kind of service is another entire miracle of its own.

And coming up very soon....

I anticipate sharing the miracle of a new person entering my world....

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

of tanks and bunkbeds

A tank attacked my boy's bunk beds today.

I mean, my boy's bunk beds demolished a tank today.

Ok. What I really mean is I changed the sheets on my boy's bunk beds today.

Whomever it was who came up with the concept of a bunk bed really was quite clever!! What a great idea for maximizing small sleeping spaces for multiple persons.

I am fairly confident that this a fore mentioned clever person was NOT a woman and surely not a woman who was in her 8th month of pregnancy.

 I did just a little research and didn't find much  solid information about the origin of  the bunk bed.

It seems that we can thank the ancient Egyptians for, at least the idea and concept of bunk beds.

Bunk beds have been used for years in sailing vessels and the military as well as college dormitories.

So while I admire this clever person with his clever idea, I wonder if he ever thought through all the implications of maintaining a bunk bed.  

Especially a twin stacked on top of a double mattress with walking space on one side of the bed only.

{And what about pregnant women??}

Of course, maintaining a bunk would have been much easier before the day of fitted sheets.  

Maybe we should go back to the whole bed roll idea. 


So. I have this love/hate relationship with this clever person that I do not know at all. 

I would like to thank him for his ingenuity and goodwill towards large families.

And since he was so clever, I would like to ask him to come up with a slick maintenance package for his invention. 

Even in my frustrations with changing sheets  on bunk beds, I find myself very mesmerized by all the varieties and designs of modern bunk beds.

In fact, I dream of having some of these bunk beds in my house full of kids someday AFTER I learn of a better sheeting option or AFTER my kids are old enough to do a full sheet change on their own or AFTER I am through this child bearing stage of my life and AFTER I have a home with bigger bedrooms to house such amazing beds.

After which my home will likely not be filled with my own children but grandchildren!!!

Now would that be a party.....a sleep over with the grandchildren in these darling bunk beds!!!??!!!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

hasty words

No kidding. Less than 60 seconds after I hit 'publish' on my former post, I heard that terrifying"glug-glug-glug" sound.  My 2 year old was trying to pour a gallon of milk into a 4 oz juice cup. Things got a little out of hand very quickly.

If I was the kind to cry easily, I would be crying my eyes out.

Instead, I'm laughing.

Thank God for a bucket of soapy water and a rag.

We live and we learn.

summer reflections

Wow. It seems like just a couple days ago I was thinking about and adjusting to our new summer schedule.

Tomorrow my three oldest head back to the classroom.

They are very excited.

I am too.

It's been a good summer for all of us,

It has been an exhausting but super satisfying summer for me as a mom.

I don't know if you remember the lessons that I learned from my husband?!?

Well. I do really feel like the 3 strategies that I listed in that post were the secret to our summer going well.

It's hard to see growth in yourself and in your family because it all happens so s.l.o.w.l.y.

But just this past week as the children and I were processing 2 bushels of peaches, I realized that life with 5 children has changed significantly for me in the last several years.

Somehow (thank you, Jesus!!!) we've moved from playing in bins of flour and throwing eggs in the hallway and writing on walls with permanent markers to being a productive little cleaning, gardening, cooking, painting, baby-sitting crew (with lots of quirks of course).

It's humbling and altogether beautiful for me to realize that I am being transformed even as my children are growing. It's not about me doing all the training and them doing all the changing.

As I reflect on our summer I can see that we were all growing in grace together.

I stand back and say "Bless the Lord!"

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Summer Activities

I think these are supposedly the dog days of summer.

You know, when you feel hot and lazy and the grass turns brownish and doesn't need to be mowed every other day.

When the novelty of summer vacation for the school kids has kind of worn off.

When mom isn't quite so super motivated about her own chore list or making yet another chore list for the kids.

Although some of the above statements are at least semi true about life around here, it sure doesn't feel like we've hit the lazy dog days of summer.

There is more life and activity and hard work happening around here than what I can keep straight.

After a day or so of dirty demolition work we see the addition to our house taking shape. Cheers!
*Framing credits go to RJL Construction. **All clean up effort credts go to the Stoltzfus family.

Little Lady is busy growing 

Lotsa pool play

A fun but very intense week of vbs

Super fun weekend with the Lehmans at a cabin in Ohio celebrating Dad & Mom's 40th anniversary.

{We also spent 2 different weekends with Amos' family, both of which I failed miserably to capture on camera.}

Ice cream socials with family, neighbors, friends

And what have I been doing in the midst of all this activity???

Well...just the normal - Cooking, Cleaning, Laundry, Refereeing (times 500,000,000)

And, oh yes, I am also in the full time business of baby growing this summer