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When Jack and I got married, we were excited at the prospect of welcoming children into our home as soon as we could. Apparently, Evelyn didn’t get the memo because two years into our marriage, we were starting to lose hope we’d ever have kids. So, we decided to buy a dilapidated old house in Iowa while Jack went to school and I worked. It wasn’t a month after we moved in that we were up on the roof, putting on the last few new shingles while I felt incredibly nauseated. I figured it was due to the intense, humid August heat and working through my fear of heights but it didn’t go away when I got down and cooled off. Turns out, it was morning sickness! Nine (and a half!) months later, Evelyn decided to make her appearance.

Fast forward and we’ve got a brand new ten-year-old! Where has the time gone?! 🤷‍♀️
Have to take a deep breath to blow out all those candles!
As Evelyn has been with us the longest, she’s been through a whole lot of interesting things in her short life. She’s already lived in four states, three houses, and four apartments, and some of that time, we were desperately poor. She’s a farm girl to the very core and finds all sorts of creatures fascinating, from chickens and cows, horses and dogs, sheep to emus…
…to crawdads…
…to newly-changed dragonflies…

…to plants, flowers, and trees. There’s not much she hasn’t held, petted, owned, fed, or cleaned up after during her ten years on earth. And after all is said and done, she maintains that she’d love to be a farmer when she grows up.


By far, her very favorite creatures are babies. Ever since the first day we brought her to meet her little sister in the hospital when Evelyn was only 18 months old, she’s been smitten with tiny people. She loves to hold them and can stay for hours on end with them in her arms. She’s gotten to the point that with Peter, she’s probably better at soothing and getting him to sleep than I am. She gets a pass on chores if she’s helping with a fussy baby. She knows it and I know it but most of the time, I’m okay with it.

Her first question when she gets home from school is always, “Can I hold Peter?”

To say she’s a huge help when it comes to her younger siblings is the biggest understatement of the century.

Aww, Evelyn and baby Zoey.

I have no doubt she will be an excellent mother and as she reminds me, that’ll be sooner than any of us think. When measuring the passing of time against children, time seems to pass incredibly fast.

Still helping out with Zoey!

As Evelyn has grown, so has her personality. She has a wicked sense of humor, though she has to be comfortable enough around you to let you see it, otherwise, all you’ll get is a quiet, shy, polite girl who barely says two words. She’s incredibly smart–when tested at school, she scored extremely high in mathematics, which would explain why she and Jack seem to communicate so well. I have no doubt in the very near future, they’ll just use complex mathematical equations on their graphing calculators to talk to each other–to the bafflement of the rest of us, that’s just how the two of them are. The interesting thing about it is that even though our brains are hardwired totally differently and more than I care to admit, we have misunderstandings and miscommunications, Evelyn never gives up on trying to talk out her problems, rather than clam up or shut down. When I take the time to listen, I’m always rewarded with an insight into who she is and why she does or feels or thinks the way she does.


With being the first child, I have no idea what I’m doing with Evelyn. She’s my trial and error child and thankfully, takes it all in great stride. With each passing year, she’s leaving childhood behind and testing the waters of adulthood by showing responsibility and independence, though she isn’t quite ready to let go just yet. We talk sometimes of the future, her hope for schooling and career, making friends, moving out, getting married, and having children of her own and while she’s excited about the thought of being an adult, she asked the other day if she’d have to move out right when she finished high school. When I asked why she was asking, she shrugged and said she likes living here. The thought kind of choked me up a bit, realizing she’s already more than halfway done with being a kid. If anything, it was a good reminder to cherish the here and now because it goes so fast.


Once in a while, Evelyn asserts her need for alone time (heck, I need some alone time, too!) but most days will find Evelyn in the thick of things. She’s a great leader and teacher, and while I’m growling at everyone to just get whatever I’ve asked them to do done, she can turn it into a game, organize everyone into ranks, and lead everyone out of it with a smile on their face. Usually.

She loves her siblings!

On the day of her birthday, it was jampacked, nonstop celebrating Evelyn (birthdays are kind of a big deal around here) and why not? You only turn ten once and for most, it’s the first and last time they’ll add an extra digit onto their age! The younger siblings and I met her at school and ate lunch with her while she filled us in about her day.


After she inhaled her food, she got Peter out of his car seat so she could show him off to her friends. That baby was literally a magnet for the other kids, most of whom have never been so close to a baby so young. Evelyn proudly displayed Peter for the entire fourth grade to see until the very last second before she had to go back to class.


If there’s one thing that’s true about Evelyn, it’s that she enjoys a lot of decadent, over-the-top, extravagant kinds of things and when it comes to celebrating birthdays, she doesn’t shy away from really celebrating. At first, she asked for cheesecake and cookie dough ice cream. Eventually, it morphed into a request to make cookie dough cheesecake and I did my best to deliver. That cake took two days to entirely make, bake, and assemble but when it was done, it was a thing of beauty. And SO delicious. 🤤

Her dinner wasn’t the most outlandish thing we’ve ever had requested (Claire likes to feast on stuff like king crab legs for her big day) it was a hearty, delicious meal of all the things Evelyn loves.

Then the time came–presents, cake, and ice cream. The excitement was over in a matter of minutes and she was over the moon with the wide array of gifts bestowed on her, from tennis shoes to stuffed animals to a foam mattress topper. Stuffing ourselves with delicious dessert went equally fast.

That’s like 20 pounds of cheesecake right there. Did I mention it was so delicious?!
To say that we’ve been blessed ever since Evelyn joined our family is a barely scratching the surface. She’s kind, resilient, sensitive, smart, bold (when she wants to be), hardworking, intuitive, loving, hilarious, and a million other things. She’s already given us glimpses of the woman she’ll become and I guarantee she’ll be one who shines brightly.
This sums up Evelyn perfectly.
🎂 Happy birthday, Evelyn! We love you! 💖
Our little lady.

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True stories of raising children, remodeling, braving the elements and plotting out life, all while living on a humble acreage in central Indiana.

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