Dear Ben

dear wonderful cute Benji– How is my darling boy?
Is Italy getting cold? The weather here really changed in the last few days. Your brothers haven’t adjusted and are still wearing shorts and t-shirts. But Mary– oh Mary has been planning her “first day of cold” outfits since August. She is gleefully donning her furry vest and sparkly leggings but still, STILL won’t wear the cute jeans I bought her from Zara.

OK, I’m lame and haven’t written on the blog in almost two weeks so I just sent you a bunch of cell phone photos while sitting in Xander’s orchestra concert. We had eleven, ELEVEN after school events today so I’ve been running from one thing to the next all day (trying not to rush Xander’s teacher when he gives just a few more tips on how to get that scale just right and Mary is going to be late for gymnastics).  We really are doing too much– the ‘ideal mother’ on my shoulder is giving me a good finger shaking right now– but everything is good and worthwhile and besides, cross country is over, soccer only goes for a few more weeks and the school musical will end soon too (then we will be down to reasonably crazy).

 Maybe my excuse for not blogging is UEA weekend? We tried, we really almost went, on a trip to Southern Utah, but once again, in true Lehnardt/homebody style we found too much to do– both fun and work– at home. Dad took Friday off and we managed to hike, swim, eat at Normandy and watch a movie (Pride and Prejudice– Hans’ pick since he’s reading the book right now) all in one day. 
Your super-mature siblings started out the weekend by getting into my Nursery Playdoh. Oh! but they were naughty and opened several cans at once (which is expressly against Nursery rules). Yesterday in church, little George opened the orange can and gasped, “Someone mixed the colors!” Sadly I had to confess it was Xander and Mary. I told my Nursery kids starting in December we will mix colors with wild abandon and I’ll buy fresh Playdoh for the new year.
Mary and I are working on a new video–I’ll send it soon.
On Thursday we took the little Linkous kids to Thanksgiving Point. Kit is SO pregnant. She’s such a little person and has those ten pound babies. In fact, before I write to you again, her little baby will be in her arms. We loved playing with her kids but WOW they are a ton of work. With Hans, Xander, Gabe and Mary helping it was just fine, but I can’t imagine how Kit could do it on her own. They just each want to go their own way and get hurt and lost and eat trash off the ground. 
Honestly, I was completely amazed by Hans and Xander– they are so incredibly patient, playing with the little ones and acting like there was nothing they’d rather do on a rare day off. And you know what? I think they were exactly where they wanted to be. Of all the kids. I think Hans will surprise you the most when you come home. He looks completely different but is so so nice. I am amazed by the way he handles his schedule (three APs, West Side Story, Track, piano, ultimate frisbee, french horn, scripture reading and still has a social life). Actually, he’s a lot like you.  🙂

Our main motivation for a trip south was to take our bees to a warmer clime. But it just became too complicated– nowhere to put them, how to transfer the hives etc.– so we moved them fifteen feet over to the sunnier part of the garden then wrapped them in tar paper to keep out the wet and warm the hive.

The silly bees spun and swarmed around the hive’s old location for days. We read somewhere that when you move a hive a short distance you should only move it a few inches a day– um, yeah, if you had no other life that would be practical.
I shot a lot of video over the weekend and I’ll make a video ASAP. Really, truly. I promise.


On Saturday, we held a cousin Halloween party with Jack, Kristan, Anna and– get this– Anna’s fiance, David. Yep, she’s getting married sometime this summer, whenever the wildflowers peak and wherever they are most spectacular.

Now, it’s really, truly awful of me to introduce David with this photo ( but I was too busy to pick up my camera much)– 
 He doesn’t usually wear dresses, but the beard is real (Gabe tugged on it, so we know). His willingness to participate in silly skits is a good sign, don’t you think? I value silliness. And yes, Jack is really that tall.
 my only photo of Anna. Told ya’ I was lame.

While their skit had an actual plot and dialogue, your brothers’ skit looked like this:

yep, even Stefan and his roommate came to the party

For Dad, the highlight of the party (besides donut-on-a-string and cupcake decorating) was the opportunity to play with dry ice. He ran to the store halfway through the party just to get more.

Even better with the spooky floating hands (thanks for the tip Lisa).

What else? Stefan seems really happy at BYU. In fact he seems to hardly miss us; which is just sad. But he’s busy and studying and his roommates are fantastic.

Off to tuck in the little kids.

Take care of yourself; be happy. Eat gelato.

love and kisses,


November 5, 2012



  1. Annie

    October 29, 2012

    Ah, your family is one of the hyggliest I know. I think of you often! xo

  2. Lisa

    October 30, 2012

    Ah…I would love a letter like this from home and I’m sure Ben does too!

  3. Cath

    October 30, 2012

    I’m just thinking how beautiful it is that you let us peek inside your life, hear your words to Ben, see your family in action. It is such a lift for me. And silliness is essential. Can’t wait to see the video! xoxo

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