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Our dear, sweet Katherine is now seven! It’s amazing how time has flown since she’s joined out family. I still remember going in for a routine midwife check-up and how she frowned, telling me I was probably going to have to be induced. That upset me enough (I really, really hate being induced), so I went home, mowed like the dickens, and lo and behold, Kate was born that night. If Henry’s birthday was unexpected, Kate’s was extremely bad timing. But you know what? Everything worked out perfectly and seven years later, life has been extremely blessed because she’s a part of our family.
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Kate’s birth coincided with a major shift in how our family was living. She was the last of the three children born in Iowa, when we were dirt-poor college students fixing up a rundown, century-old farm we’d bought so we could have the horses in our backyard (have I ever told you how much Jack puts up for me, just because he loves me?? 💕). She had a brief taste of life under the stress and strain of poverty before we were rocketed into wealth when Jack began his career in Indiana. She’s a reminder that regardless of our financial situation, we have been richly blessed with a wonderful family.
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Washing windows while it was our turn to clean the church.
As I do every time I sit down to write a birthday post, I perused the previous birthday posts for said child. It’s fun to see what characteristics they continue to carry and what new things they’ve picked up. Some things about them are steady and innate while others are talents and gifts that they’ve developed over time. Each passing year is a glimpse of what they’ll become and we’re always excited to see where life will take them.
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Her favorite flowers are roses and if she gets a chance to carefully clip one off the bush, chances are, it’s going right behind her ear for decoration.

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Kate’s definitely a free spirit, not in the sense that she disregards the rules or is forgetful, but she loves feeling the wind in her face and the sunshine on her skin. Every time we’re in the car, she asks if she can roll down the window, regardless of the temperature outside. Her spirit animal would definitely be a happy-go-lucky dog. 😂
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Squished in the middle and having a blast!
That love of the wind in her hair also translates into thrill-seeking. I was a teenager before I went on rollercoasters but she’s been on some serious coasters and other than saying it felt like her legs were shivering, she very much enjoyed herself and eagerly repeats going on rides that make me feel faint.
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When we aren’t living it up at places like Holiday World or Kings Island, that doesn’t mean Kate is having any less fun. The world is her playground and she is rarely bored.
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The best part is that she is eager to share the fun with her siblings. When she’s spun herself until she can hardly stand up, she’ll volunteer to spin her siblings until they’re just as tipsy as she is. Of course, the only downside is Kate is a notorious klutz. More than one little kid has been pushed right off the swing, been dropped, or tripped, or flipped out of the hammock because Kate’s been a little too enthusiastic. She’s not even immune from her own clumsiness. More times than I can count, she’s tripped over her own two feet when there wasn’t even a grain of sand to stumble over. She is a master of laughing it off, though.  
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What…?
A part of her sense of adventure is a strange desire she has to climb. Everything. If there’s a support beam or a ledge or a half wall she can climb, she’s on it. Mostly, she does it for the thrill of conquering it but a lot of times, she just wants to hang out somewhere high up. She’ll take a doll or a book and if you’ve never seen her do it, it’s like watching a jaguar drag a carcass up a tree. Life with Kate might as well be living firsthand a nature documentary.
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One thing Kate sincerely enjoys doing is helping. More often than not, when I’m in the kitchen, she moseys in and asks if she can do something, whether it’s grind wheat for bread, stir the muffins, slice the fruit, or–her most favorite–lick off the spatula.

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Living on a farm, there are always plenty of chores to do, such as collecting the eggs, weeding the garden…or chasing Pip off our deck before school starts.
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 Living on a farm and doing all those chores also means she gets dirty. A LOT. I love how Kate is a conundrum of being a true girly-girl who loves long hair and dresses but who’s willing to run barefoot or sweat while unloading hay or climb into a tangle of black raspberries to get a mouthful.

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Also, if you haven’t noticed, Kate loves making faces for the camera when she’s supposed to be smiling. I have to tell her to smile then she can make a goofy face. If I didn’t, all her pictures would be crosseyed with her tongue hanging out. It doesn’t just stop with silly faces, either. Kate is like a mischevious little pixie who’s always trying to figure out how to get the last laugh. She has made it her personal goal to jump out of a hiding place and scare me. She has yet to succeed because she has yet to learn the art of inconspicuousness but she gets high marks for persistence.

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It should come as no surprise that Kate loves animals. Her number one favorite are dogs, though she really doesn’t discriminate. If it’s soft and furry and cute, she’ll baby it.

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 Same if it has feathers.
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Or a heartbeat, really. If it moves and breathes, she’s fascinated by it, which is a big step up from where she used to be with bugs.

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One of her very favorite “pets” are in fact, babies. She’s one of the resident baby whisperers and a lot of times, she can get younger siblings to calm down better than I can. She is extremely intuitive to what they need, a skilled and patient nurse, and with her great sense of humor and mature reading ability, is a natural storyteller.
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And if all else fails, she can rock a baby to sleep faster than they know what’s happening.
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If she doesn’t have an audience of her own, she’s more than okay sitting on her throne by herself and expanding her mind with a good book.

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I am always struck by how creative our kids are. Where I see trash, Kate sees treasure. More than one diaper box has been turned into a bed for her stuffed toys and if we’re out of paint or chalk, she’ll use pokeweed berries and charcoal from the bonfire pit as her medium.

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Another creative outlet she’s been pursuing this school year is ballet. Though she’s klutzy, watching her dance is like getting another glimpse into her future. She loves the frills and fanciness of ballet.
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Uh oh. Everybody better watch out!
Lest anyone think Kate is without flaws, it should be noted that occasionally, she does get upset. It isn’t often, but when she does, you’d better steer clear. She’s perfected her pout and will glare at anyone who gets in her way but sooner rather than later, it always blows over and just like that, she’s back to her happy self.
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 Her birthday was much the same as they always are. She planned for weeks what she’d do, what she’d wear, what her cake would look like, and excitedly anticipating her gifts.

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The younger kids and I went to eat lunch at school with her and she filled us in on who all her friends were and what exciting had happened that day.

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Another kid with expensive tastes…king crab and shrimp for dinner.

Her birthday dinner was top-notch–king crab and shrimp, a fruit platter and dip, banana muffins–but it was a tad rushed. Claire had gymnastics and Kate had ballet, so they were snarfing down food and licking their fingers while getting their outfits on. When we came back, she opened her mound of presents (she’d been waiting ALL DAY to see what was inside) and thanks to technology, got to do it with a set of grandparents and some cousins watching. Her cake was a bunny with giant sugar cookie ears, surrounded by its forest friends and was ablaze with seven sparkling candles. With a huff and a puff and a huff and another puff, she finally blew them all out so we could eat cake and ice cream before hurrying off to bed.

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Gotta love technology.

There never is an adequate way to express how blessed we feel to have each of our children as part of our family. Kate has taught us so much, from how to be patient, see the best in everyone, to be aware of the beauty surrounding us, and to be grateful for what we have. We sure love our brown-eyed beauty and all the goodness and light she brings into the world. Our family wouldn’t be complete without her and we can’t wait to see what adventures life takes her on.

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There’s her dimple! It’s so cute!!!
Happy birthday to our dear, sweet, spunky, clever, beautiful Kate!
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Welcome to the farm!

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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