Dear Stefan

my darling boy,

I’m glad you are so happy. Your letters make me laugh and feed my heart for days. But by Tuesday night I’m starved for news of you.

One week until you leave for Russia! I’m sure you are more than ready to go. Your big meeting at the Marriott Center this Sunday has been splashed all over the internet. Supposedly President Monson is making some big announcement. What is there left to announce? Nine year olds going on missions? The church website says anyone interested in missionary work is invited, so I’ll be driving down after church hoping to catch a glimpse of you with my camera and long range lens.

We’ve had a happy busy week. After moving the chicken coop, we ordered a new playset for the garden area. I know, I know, we just took that playset out three years ago, but it was WRONG. Mary was only six years old and she’s missed the swings and slide ever since. Ben argued against buying a new one for two reasons: a. he doesn’t think we should ever spend money and b. everyone is growing up so quickly.

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Ben and I are looking in opposite directions these days– he’s excited for everyone to grow up and get married and I want to hang onto the little children still at home. Yes, our play set years are numbered, but I am desperately clinging to playing pretend, searching for fairies and twirling until you’re too dizzy to walk.

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As a grand wondrous Father’s Day gift, Xander and Hans determined to assemble assemble the entire play set all on their own. You would have been so proud of them– Xander up before dawn, arranging the pieces, Hans reading aloud the instructions, both of them glorying in using dad’s drills and saws and wood clamps, Gabe and Mary begging to help in any way at all….and then drifting off into more interesting pursuits. I don’t think the boys realized the enormity of the job until they were halfway through– they must have put in 30 hours each. But it’s done and it’s lovely and Dad was oh-so-happy to NOT take part.

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We did our best to spoil Dad on Father’s Day. The attached video, croissants and chocolate for breakfast, a new pizza peel and electronic thermometer (although Dad calls them a spanking paddle and laser gun).

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Grandpa Fritz and Grandma Maria joined us for dinner (pizza, of course) and Xander interviewed Grandpa Fritz with some new sound equipment.

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In the middle of dinner, in typical Lehnardt fashion, the boys decided to build a giant bow and arrow out of sprinkler pipes. How do these things happen? I’ll never know. One minute we’re talking like normal people and the next they have a saw and a rope and are balancing pipes on lawn chairs. Amazingly, it worked pretty well, shooting the pipe across the yard and over the trampoline. Of course, just shooting a pipe wasn’t enough and they had to light napkins on fire and shoot those too.

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Father’s Day can be tricky, so many of are fatherless and much of the world wants to pretend fathers don’t matter. I know I don’t need to tell you how lucky you are to have a father who adores you, who adores me and stands as an example of honor and sacrifice. I love the way he’s always allowed you to be yourself– he’s never tried to make any of his children fit a certain mold or fulfill his childhood dreams. He just wants you to be YOU and to be happy. Actually, I must say (on a less serious note) the new Superman movie featured two awesome fathers. Kind of a perfect movie for Father’s Day weekend. I loved the movie, loved the symbols of Christ (so many it was almost overplayed) but Clark Kent reminded me so much of you I cried through the entire first half.

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But don’t worry, I’m not crying all the time. We’re laughing a lot, eating Mile High Raspberry Pie (sorry about that) and talking in bunny voices at every opportunity. I’m sitting at the kitchen counter right now (at 11:22 pm) with Hans and Xander on my left working on family history, Gabe on my right wrapped in a blanket, all eating bowls of delicious Golden Puffs. Cute Hans dressed all in plaids and argyle for his date playing croquet tonight and, wow, I just overheard an apology for a moment of impatience while building the playset. Life is good. Oh so good.

Hugs and kisses and lots of love,


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June 23, 2013



  1. Noémi Kereki

    June 19, 2013

    That was great! Like a movie. 🙂

  2. Adri

    June 19, 2013

    A new playset is a grand idea! Kids use them longer than they like to admit to wanting to use them. Plus, grandbabies will come someday!

  3. Chocolate on my Cranium

    June 19, 2013

    How is that boys move from one idea and expand it to something bigger, more explosive, or dangerous? I guess women do it in some respects too with all the fluff of decorating and planning events and such. All I know is when my husband and his brothers get together, watch out! Last time it morphed into blowing up an old dishwasher.

    Can I “like” Adri’s comment? She’s right. Grandbabies will come someday and that playset will get used all over again.

  4. Anne Marie

    June 19, 2013

    This post made me so happy today. Thank you. You gave this hormonal mama a real boost. Just seeing what is possible in a family is so inspiring. I love your accepting and loving style of parenting. Those words of “by Tuesday I’m starved for news of you”…so beautiful.

  5. Kit Linkous

    June 21, 2013

    great work, hans and xander! we are ready to come break in that playset!!! And that is so great that they’re working on family history. I can’t think of a better interview subject than Fritz–got teary-eyed remembering my interviews with my grandparents before they died. Priceless.

  6. lawdy

    June 21, 2013

    i love this, especially the insert of your newest elder at the end!

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