Follow along with our young family's rehomesteading adventures!
Close this search box.

I’m not entirely certain how it happened, but we have a twelve-year-old. That’s a year away from a teenager. Six from being an adult. Only four from how old Jack was when he met me. 😳 No matter how we divide it, it blows our minds that it seemed like only yesterday we were waiting and praying and hoping we’d be blessed with a baby of our own. Now, she’s the oldest of seven, a woman-child who has a foot still rooted in childhood while taking a very confident step into adulthood.

Since this is a birthday post, I traditionally gush. Good thing Evelyn makes it easy to find things to rave about. Anyone who’s ever initially met her knows that she’s incredibly shy. You’re welcome, Evelyn! You inherited that straight from me. But, if anyone’s lucky enough to crack through that protective layer of silence, they’ll find out pretty fast that Evelyn is ah-mazing, starting with her sense of humor.
If she’s with people she’s comfortable with, she’s the first to crack a joke, pull a stunt, or do something goofy. She loves to laugh, especially if she gets to do it along with someone else.
One of the tools in her sense of humor arsenal is that eyebrow of hers. She’s blessed with incredibly thick, shapely brows and she can make them twitch and lift and wriggle like nobody’s business. Usually it’s used to bless everyone with laughter, though you’d better watch out if she points it at you when she’s annoyed. You will know what’s on her mind without a word being uttered.
Taking Adam for a post-dinner cruise.
Maybe Evelyn’s good-natured humor is part of the reason she’s so good at babysitting. She hasn’t gotten to the point that she feels awkward doing “childish” things with other children and frankly, I hope she never does. I should take a lesson from her Book of Life Lessons and take the afternoons to drive in the clown car with a baby by my side or ride the rocket at the park.
On the heels of Evelyn’s love of laughter is her desire to p-a-r-t-y. We have some family traditions, like glow bracelet dance parties, chocolate parties, New Year’s Eve parties, and birthday parties (so many parties!). It doesn’t matter what we’re celebrating, Evelyn is there.

It’s not all fun and games with Evelyn, though. Yeah, she enjoys goofing off and all, but she’s taken a real interest in learning some serious life skills. Washing the dishes? Not so much. Mowing the lawn? Yeah, baby! I’m a *teensy* bit sad about her learning how to mow because I like to mow. Oh, well. At least we have plenty of land and she’s good about taking turns.


Another thing Evelyn loves to do is bake. She does cook dinner once in a while since I kindly remind her she can’t eat only dessert when she’s out on her own, but in truth, baking desserts is where she really shines. I don’t remember what I was doing when I was twelve, but I definitely wasn’t perfecting pineapple upside-down cake.

Her love of baking also bleeds over into our mutual love of Halloween. We try to one-up each other with our ghoulish creations and every year, I feel like she’s been giving me more of a run for my money. Not that I mind.

Her creativity isn’t limited to the kitchen, either. She has a particular affinity for graphic design and imaginative character creation. She can manipulate photos and make it look like her siblings are riding a sparkly unicorn wolf and has mashed together their Chinese zodiac symbol with their favorite animal. When she shows me what she’s created, it’s like getting to take a peek into the way her brain works. I tell ya, it’s fascinating.


I especially love it when she uses her creativity to spoil her siblings. If there’s a holiday coming up or someone’s birthday, she is all over that. Take Henry’s last birthday for example–she sketched Henry’s head onto Spiderman’s body, transferred it to fabric, and turned it into a handsewn pillow. Again, what was I doing at twelve? Not that!

With a farm full of animals, each of our kids has taken a liking to one species. For Evelyn, she’s always loved chickens. Ever since she was a little girl on our farm in Iowa, she’s had a knack with the hens. She’d chase them down, give them hugs, and even trained one of them to lay down. Seriously hilarious.

Nowadays, she’s much more helpful with them. She’ll feed and water them, lock them up at night, collect the eggs, knows all their breeds and backstory, and has named each and every one of them. Naturally.

Aside from the chickens and mowing, Evelyn is an old hand at farm chores. She can swing an ax, stack hay bales, and clean stalls.

Admittedly, she isn’t always thrilled about doing all the other chores–there is whining, possibly coupled with a few eye rolls–but there’s one job I’ve never even had to ask her to do because she enjoys doing it that much. What is it? Picking chamomile. Every spring, the flowers come out when the weather is gorgeous and chances are, Evelyn’s sitting in the front yard, snapping the flowers off to be dried and turned into tea. The ironic part is that she doesn’t even like chamomile tea. 😂


Don’t think Evelyn’s life is full of babysitting and farm chores and baking for a large family, either. She also has lots of outside activities that she enjoys, even if she pretends like she doesn’t. Take hiking for example. She claims she doesn’t like wandering around in the forest, getting all sweaty and tired and sometimes soaked in unanticipated rainstorms, but after she gets her complaining out and we’re warmed up on the trail, she’s one of our best hikers. She leads the pack and as a bonus, she’s getting big enough to carry some serious weight in her backpack, especially if it’s geodes or fossils she’s found.


If there ever was a water baby, it’d be Evelyn. She took to swimming with enthusiasm even before several summers of swim lessons. It eventually led to her being on the middle school swim team, where she has been learning to perfect her strokes and is able to unleash her surprisingly competitive side. She is so matter-of-fact about her skills and work ethic that I can’t help but laugh when she tells me what she says to teammates that she passes while swimming laps at practice (“If you don’t want me to pass you, swim faster.” Zing!).


Though she loves to paddle around in a pool, her love of water really shines when she’s in our pond. She’s been coaching me on getting faster (I’m eyeballing doing a triathalon in the future) and pushes me to swim harder (she’s already waaaaaaay faster than me, though I’m working on remedying that…we shall see who comes out on top). Mostly, she just loves to be in the water. She goes down the slide and can cannonball like a pro. Sometimes, she just floats around, letting herself drift aimlessly.

I also suspect her love of water is why Evelyn also catches an unusually large number of frogs and toads. I’m not kidding when I say some have hopped into her lap or repeatedly swam up to her while she’s in the pond. Maybe they’re her Prince Charming in disguise, but she’s not doing any kissing to find out. She is still only twelve.
There are other random, surprising things about Evelyn that she doesn’t readily share with people. Sure, she’ll tell you if you asked–we’re trying to teach our kids that they can be confident and acknowledge when they’ve worked hard to be good at something, but she also doesn’t go broadcasting it if unsolicited because she’s not big on boasting. For example, she’ll hoola hoop just about anyone under the table and do it with a big, toothy, braces-filled smile on her face.
She has successfully started more fires than most other kids. Intentionally. It’s something I hadn’t ever even tried until my late twenties, but it’s a life skill that might come in handy in a lot of scenarios. Mostly, Evelyn loves to get a fire going so she can toast marshmallows.
Speaking of fire, it was Evelyn’s first year lighting off fireworks at Jack’s family’s annual Fourth of July celebration. Again, her typically quiet and shy demenor might fool people into thinking she’s reserved and cautious, but we have dubbed her our reluctant thrill seeker. It might take her a minute to work up the courage to blow up fireworks or get in line for the roller coaster, but once she does, there’s no going back.
Of all the things that Evelyn has tried in her life, she is still a champion sleeper. She’s growing like a weed–I have no doubt she’ll pass up my height by her next birthday. After a day of swimming or getting up early for school or running around with her siblings, it’s not uncommon to find her asleep on the couch, her bed, in the hammock, on the floor, or in her favorite chair for a good, long snooze. I sort of envy her for it.

The day of Evelyn’s birthday (waaaay back in May and shortly after Adam arrived) was a lot like how birthdays normally go around here. She was excused from chores, she had her favorite meal, we spent the day swimming, and she opened her pile of gifts with grateful excitement. It was special yet lowkey. My favorite sort of celebration.

It’s easy to want to celebrate Evelyn. She’s so many things–creative, amusing, intelligent, perceptive, incredible, responsible, passionate, empathetic, and on and on and on–all rolled into one adorable package. It’s hard to imagine any sort of family life without her because it feels like we’ve always known her and had her as part of our herd.

Part of the joy we’ve discovered with having children is that watching them learn, grown, and experience life reminds us a lot of what it felt like to be a child (and without reliving the awkwardness of it all over again thank goodness). Being a parent I think is exactly what Peter Pan was looking for–that perpetual enjoyment and carefree amusement that youth seems to bring while there’s also an excited anticipation for the future. We’re not sure what life will bring for Evelyn, but we know she’ll meet it with determination, grit, cheer, and faith.


Happiest of (severely belated) birthdays, darling Evelyn! We love you!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

About Us

Our budding family

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.

We Believe


Subscribe to Our New Posts

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.