Caleigh Elise

Our sweet baby girl finally decided to make her debut – 10 days late! Whew! We are so thankful that Ang had a much healthier pregnancy this time around and that we’re now a family of 5!

Without further ado, meet Caleigh Elise Mitchener!
She was born August 31 at 4:55am. She weighed in at a hefty 9 pounds and 22 inches.
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It’s a Girl!

sanda-0124Big news! Baby #3 is a girl! We are so excited for this new addition to our growing family!

Ang and baby are doing well as of now. At the last sonogram, the ultrasound technician said baby girl’s got a head full of hair! Ang’s blood pressure is continuing to rise slightly. She’s also taking even more iron supplements to try to get her iron level up before giving birth, but we’re keeping an eye on things as we get closer to having the baby. We’re still looking at an August 21st due date.

It won’t be long now! Bring on the diaper changes, sleepless nights, cuddles and coos!

Now to think of a name…

Table for Five, Please

Surprise, surprise! The Mitchener family is growing by one!

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We’re praising the Lord that our third little munchkin will arrive sometime in August. God’s timing is always perfect. We are already excited for all the adventures this new little life will surely bring to our family.

It looks as if we will be heading back to the States for the birth. With Ang’s history of preeclampsia, we honestly feel most comfortable seeing the midwife who delivered Leyton. Our plan is to extend our August furlough a bit as Angela won’t be allowed to travel after being 8 months pregnant. Ang and the boys will leave for the States in early July, and Scott will join a couple weeks later.

We’ll head back for another checkup here in the DR in a few weeks to find out the gender and make sure baby is still developing properly. Prayers appreciated as we prepare for the arrival of Baby Mitchener #3!

An Eventful Christmas

What an excitement-filled Christmas! I cooked my first turkey, Noah gashed his head open, and Leyton threw his brand new train cars in the toilet after a tiny tiff with his brother.

We are so thankful for the time to relax, laugh, and celebrate together. We’ve loved watching the boys come to a fuller understanding of what Christmas is truly about. (Well, Leyton is still learning. But we’ve all got room to grow, right?) Noah is starting to repeat the Christmas story. The other day, we headed to the Capital to pick up some packages from our family. Noah asked where we were going, and we told him that there was another gift or two coming for him. He said, “Mom, we don’t need a LOT of presents.” Love my growing boys.

I still don’t feel quite right not being in the same room enjoying the hours with friends and family, but I remember that God has so richly blessed me. He’s been teaching me lots about feelings and how they play into my walk with Him. As much as it’s not about the gifts, neither is it necessarily about the other comforts or traditions or “normal” that I associate with Christmas. I’ve been contemplating on Luke 14:26 and Matthew 10:37 recently. To follow Christ means I have to be willing to give up those things (like family) that I hold so dear – even when it hurts, even when I don’t like it, even when I feel like I “deserve” to have our parents and siblings close by. I’m thankful that He walks with me through the hard times (and that He gave us Skype so everyone doesn’t seem so very far away.)

More than anything, I’m thankful that God sent His precious Son to this world as a little babe. Talk about an eventful Christmas! What did that first night look like for Mary, Joseph, and the shepherds? It’s incredible to think that Christ willingly laid down His throne to be born in a humble manger. Why? So that He could one day take a heavy trip to an old, rugged cross to pay a sin debt. For my boys. For my students. For my family. For me. What good news! What a Savior!

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March in Pictures

Here’s a look back at March in pictures.

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A chilly morning truck ride to Lima for school*
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Harvest season has been in full swing for several months now. Carts line up at the weigh stations in the morning, waiting to unload their sugar cane.*
My college roommate came down for a week!
Rockets
Kindergarten learned about outer space and made name rockets.
Visitors
Lots of visitors this month. Scott even came out for a day of fun!
Letters
We wrote letters back to a class in the States who sent down some Christmas goodies for our room.
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Our love for reading is growing!
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Stacy brought a super cute mosaic craft for the kids.
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Recess fun – Estefani and company
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The class hasn’t stopped asking for Chicka Chicka Boom Boom since Brett’s glorious rendition of the book.
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The students continue praying each day. Edward’s sweet smile never goes away, even with his eyes closed!
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The kids are beginning to control their bodies – an accomplishment that will never be seen on a report card, but it’s such a huge deal!
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“He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands” with Katie and Anllelo
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Beautiful, giggling girls from 3 different bateyes.*
My two cuties enjoying a Sunday afternoon at home. *
And last but not least… my two cuties enjoying a Sunday afternoon at home. And yes, one is pantless.*

Beautiful reminders of God’s faithfulness and blessings.

*Photo credit: Rachel Roberts

A Different Christmas

Christmas was a little quieter this year. No big family gatherings. No giant spreads of food. No expensive gifts under the tree. It was a different kind of Christmas.

We battled with loneliness more this year than last. Thankfully, we were able to Skype with our parents and give a few virtual hugs. We loved our Christmas Eve visit from the Simos family with their scrumptious cookie delivery. (The cookies didn’t last more than 24 hours – oops.) We also spent some fun nights playing games with the Clines.

We didn’t have our typical turkey-and-potatoes Christmas dinner, but we did enjoy a yummy breakfast casserole for Christmas brunch. (New tradition in the making?)

The boys had a ton of fun opening up their little presents. Funny how the 75-cent bouncy balls and small cups of Playdough were their favorite gifts. They haven’t quit playing with them since Wednesday.

Overall, we loved the slower pace of the week – the time to breathe, love on our boys, and reflect on Christ’s great love for us.

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The boys hanging with Dad by the tree
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iPad fun
Noah's new favorite job: dishes duty
Noah’s new favorite job: dishes duty
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Leyton loved “rearranging” the tree lights and ornaments
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The remains of the delicious Simos Christmas cookies
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A Christmas nap
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The boys “stocking” gifts of fruit snacks, M&M’s and goldfish crackers.
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Breakfast casserole
The bouncy balls were a hit.
The boys and their bouncy balls
A Merry Mitchener Christmas
A Merry Mitchener Christmas

Five ways you just know…

There are telltale signs that come with taking on the jobs of teacher and mother simultaneously. Maybe you’ve seen some of them – the crazy eyes, the slew of half-empty coffee mugs littering the house, the cockeyed couch cushions, the trail of toys from bedroom to living room… Over the months, I’ve discovered a few more ways that you just know.

You know you’re a kindergarten teacher and mother to toddlers when…

DSC04042 Ground beef and gluesticks are the first two items on your shopping list. Why ground beef? Because your family’s been alternating between tacos and spaghetti for dinner the past few weeks. And the gluesticks? Because the colored Christmas trees and numbered gingerbread houses you’re using for math centers this week demand to be glued to their cardstock partners.

DSC04039cropYour kitchen table consistently looks like it’s been hit by a paper/scissors/markers grenade and painfully sits without hope of recovery. Let’s be honest – you can’t really clean anything up. That glorious table is the only spot in the house that will hold all of the projects you’ve decided to start working on concurrently. At least the mayhem covers up your 22-month-old’s crayon art from last week. The only plausible solution to the fracas must be to buy a second kitchen table.

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Your pet peeve is not being able to fill that last empty section of laminating sheet. The dilemma: laminate now, waste the space, but finish preparing for the next day? Or laminate later, risk ruining a few visual aids at school, but wait to find the piece of paper that will fit perfectly in that little area? OK, maybe this one can be filed under “You know you’re an OCD kindergarten teacher when…”

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Your family Christmas tree is finally assembled several weeks late, and your new mantra to the smallest members of the household is, “DON’T TOUCH – JUST LOOK.” You’re also still deciding if the faint smell of burning electrical wires is something to be concerned about, or if you should just chalk it up to buying cheap-o Christmas lights.

DSC03983Your heart swells with pride at the glimpses of learning and growth you catch in the middle of the hustle. It happens when your students get so excited about the circle they just drew that they incessantly shout your name from ALL the way across the room. And when you don’t come soon enough, they rocket out of their seats to shove their precious, dirty faces right in front of yours in their valiant attempts for a little recognition. It happens before bed when your three-year-old asks to read the Christmas story and tells you all about the baby Jesus. And it happens again when your kindergartners sit so still and hang on every word of that same, beautiful Christmas story.

You realize that life is hard as a mother-teacher. But you know that in the middle of the exhaustion and frustration, you wouldn’t give up the great privilege to care for these treasured ones. You’re still learning that it’s OK if things aren’t perfect – that you can concede the varied, aesthetically-pleasing meals and perfectly-placed Christmas ornaments if it means that God allows you to play a small part in the lives of these beloved children.