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Whenever we have a baby, we get the inevitable question: who do they resemble? Firstly, I hope they look at least a little like Jack and me since we did provide the genetic material and all. So, I want some of that credit. But, as far as siblings go, you’ll have to take a gander and decide who our newest, Adam, takes after.

Don’t let Peter’s serious babyface fool you–that boy came out of the womb ready for a party. He was one of our biggest newborns, has never liked to be told what to do, and had his (very sharp set of) teeth in sooner than most babies learn to keep their eyeballs from crossing.


If dinosaurs still existed, I think I’d find Peter willingly climbing inside someone’s mouth. At two, he’s still the family spitfire who has a strong opinion about everything, still is on track to be the biggest in the family, and despite his rough and tumble ways, he LOVES his little brother enough that you’d better watch it if you get between him and Adam. Seriously. You will hear about his displeasure.

Zoey has always been one of those adorable creatures that people can’t help but love. She made her entrance on Stoney’s birthday (I am trying to be impartial, but sharing her birthday with my favorite horse? How can anyone else’s birthday really compete?) and entered our family right as we were transitioning from one house to another. Either by nature or the experience of being the baby in the middle of a move, she’s always been content just hanging out as long as she at least gets to at least watch the action.

Those big blue eyes of Zoey’s are legendary. She has used her baby blues, contagious laughter, and happy-go-lucky attitude to hypnotize us all. Can she scream so shrilly she might bust your eardrums? Sure. But she also has a giggle that can make everything in the world seem right. She’s as smart as a whip and has the kind of imagination that’ll suck even the soberest realist into believing whatever she says is true, especially if we’re talking unicorns.

Imagine the three older girls’ delight when they found out they were going to have a brother join the family! They helped us (*try to*) pick out a name (why are boy names so tough to choose?!?), fold baby clothes, set up the crib, the works–then he arrived all adorable and snuggly, all two feet of him. Yep. He was a quarter inch shy of TWENTY-FOUR INCHES. Apparently, I was carrying around an extra tall baby inside, which would account for the way he’d practically kick my throat while still in the womb. Who knew I had that kind of room inside of me? No matter. He made up for the wild punches and kicks he’d aimed at me while I was pregnant with him by being especially affectionate. As a baby, he was a master of the serious face, though he never could maintain it for long. When someone would talk to him, he’d produce the sweetest, gummiest grin known to humans in a heartbeat.


The only thing that’s changed about his charming smile is that now Henry has a nice set of teeth to go with it. He has his moments of sober, pensive reflection about life, but for the most part, he spends his life hopping from one adventure to another. Going into the forest to help build a mud hut? Count him in! Making clay pots from mud dug up from the yard? Arts and crafts! Yay! Rubbing pond mud on your face? Sure, why not? (Are we sensing a theme?). Whatever it is, Henry has a beautiful joie de vivre that makes him so enjoyable to be around, as long as you can handle loud, crazy, and very, very talkative. I love that I never have to wonder what on earth he’s thinking.

Kate made her entrance at the most inconvenient time conceivable. When Jack was getting ready to graduate college and had a round of full-time job interviews lined up, which would, mind you, determine the fate of our family after schooling, Kate decided late that night that the time was right for her to start her earthly journey. With one swift kick, she broke my water, and though she was not a small baby (’cause we don’t do small babies), she was the only one I had without any sort of pain medication. She popped out with the darkest mop of hair of all our kids and though it was so cute on her, I was forever failing to keep it from looking utterly disheveled. That was especially true when she discovered that she could rub peanut butter from her lunch through her locks and really tangle it up.

No, she’s not a vampire. She got her hands on some raspberries and went to town. At least that’s her story.
Her hair woes haven’t quite ended yet, despite me teaching her what a brush is and how to use it (remember when Ariel uses a fork to brush her hair on Disney’s The Little Mermaid? Yeah, I’ve caught Kate doing that to try to avoid the brush that was ten feet away in the bathroom). Her gorgeous, long hair always seems to be windswept and c-r-a-z-y and despite asking if she wants it short so it won’t be a hassle, her answer is a straight up nope. She insists she likes it long. Her eyes went the way of milk chocolate brown like Jack’s, and though she hasn’t been a baby for several years, she still reminds me of a puppy with paws. Do not call her klutzy, though. That’s one of the worst insults anyone could sling at her. Otherwise, call her what you want–she will laugh at literally anything else because I don’t think she has more than an ounce of seriousness in her body. There is some, just not much.
Why so serious?

If Kate’s arrival was inconvenient, Claire’s was downright terrifying. Despite trying everything I could do to shake her loose, she did not want to come out and I ended up two weeks overdue. Two days before I was scheduled to be induced, we had one of the worst snowstorms I have ever lived through. It was white out conditions, mounds of snows, freezing temperatures and wind so strong it knocked out the power. We spent the night with no heat or electricity and after piling on the blankets and hiding in bed with Evelyn to keep warm, we woke up to discover our water was frozen. Awesome. After a night imaginging I was going to go into labor and have to give birth by candlelight in the bathtub, I didn’t even get to have a shower. An at home birth didn’t happen, but when we did go into the hospital, I was faced with a long labor. Claire ended up being SO big, that her shoulders got stuck halfway out. Good thing we’re both tough, because I got her out as fast as I could and our first blue-eyed girl was born.


Though Claire so chubby when she was born that her cheeks pushed her eyelashes against her eyeballs, she has grown to be one of the most athletic in the family. We rarely find her with her feet on the ground, partly because she has the kind of grip strength that would make an ape jealous. When she thinks something is really funny, she has what we call her “gerbil” laugh and we hear it a lot, mostly because Kate is good at entertaining her. In fact, she laughs so much, that she has a six pack of abs that is a direct result of giggling. I am going to have to try her workout routine. Bravery (especially around bugs or when trying new food) is one of her boldest character traits and in the hair department, she is the antethesis of Kate, with golden blonde hair that she brushes at minimum four times a day.

Evelyn is the child that kicked off our crazy parenting journey. She’s the unfortunate victim of our having no idea what we were (and are) doing in raising children, but despite our cluelessness, she has faired it all extremely well. She got Jack’s brown eyes and skin tone, and a mixture of our hair color and texture, but the rest is all uniquely Evelyn. She was an easy baby, even when we could figure out what we were doing, and despite having more siblings than most, she has been a brave older sister. In some ways, she gave up bits of her childhood early. Don’t feel too bad though–we’re talking about potty training at 18 months and willingly moving into a big girl bed when Claire needed the crib. Other parts of childhood she’s still clinging onto, and that’s juuuust fine.

Now, Evelyn is an accomplished, intelligent, hardworking woman-child of twelve years old. She has an affinity for frogs and toads (who seem to flock to her…coincidence? Or is she a witch? Either way, kind of cool since I also like frogs and toads and witches). She is reserved, but a fabulous leader, quiet and pensive, but is the life of the party, but only if she’s comfortable. She can bake desserts like a champ (I keep meaning to teach her how to make food that’s a little healthier, but at least she won’t starve if she can make chocolate chip cookies and brownies). Along with Jack’s eye color and ability to tan like a Greek god, she has his brilliant brain. What did she get from me? Probably a healthy dose of shyness, an incurable sweet tooth, and raging passion when we go head to head. I know. You’re welcome, Evelyn.


So, who does Adam remind me of? Honestly, all of them. They’re little bits of overlap here and there, but each of them are definitely their own person. I have the distinct honor of watching them grow, learn, and morph from squishy, wrinkly babies into the amazing adults that they are becoming. Like the rest of the kids, I can’t wait to see what’s in store for Adam, but while he’s figuring that out, I’m more than happy to have him snuggle on my lap and take it slow. There’s no rush to get there and I am reminded again and again that I won’t get this time back. So, I’ll love it all. Thankfully, the kids have made it easy to do just that.


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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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