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Somebody turned nine!

In the blink of an eye, Kate has turned nine. There were so many emotions associated with her birth–for one, she was born as Jack was wrapping up college and interviewing for full-time employment–like, literally the wee hours of the morning before he went to his interviews (talk about bad timing!). As an itty bitty baby, we finished fixing up our first home, sold it and left Iowa, had a brief stay in Nebraska, and made our move to Indiana. Kate has already had a full, adventurous life, and she’s been a ray of sunshine ever since she joined our family.

Kate is many, many, many things, but if there’s a common thread running through a lot of her life, it’s that she’s silly. Goofy. HILARIOUS. She lives to get a rise of laughter out of those around her and has yet to meet an audience where they don’t, at the very least, crack a smile.

I’m not kidding, if I had a dime for every time she asked me to look in the rearview mirror so she could show me something funny that she’s doing, I’d be a millionaire. Half the time, I don’t even know where she gets the idea or how she can pull it off straight-faced, but she’s had a lot of practice being a goofball.

I think a lot of her talent for playing the comedienne comes from her ability to see the extraordinary in the ordinary. She can find props out of anything within arm’s reach, has an impressive command of a wide variety of accents (though a posh, British lady is her go-to accent), and can pull incredibly entertaining storylines out of thin air.
My favorite has to be when she ropes her siblings into the silliness along with her. I’ve seen her knock down the walls up grumpiness a sibling might have barricaded themselves behind and have them laughing in no time. Regardless of who she shares a room with, they’re guaranteed to be kept up late, laughing as she regales them with her antics. They might regret the lack of sleep the next morning, but they keep letting her make them laugh night after night.
Her sense of humor has also progressed over time. There was a period in her life when I couldn’t get her to so much as touch a bug, much less put it on her face. Remember that June bug from so long ago? Claire thought it was hilarious, but Kate was sure it’s touch was going to cause her death. Fast forward about five years and Kate has figured out that creepy crawlies on her face gets people to laugh and I almost can’t keep her from putting bugs on her cheeks and forehead and nose.
Obviously, Kate is so much more multi-faceted than her humor alone (though it definitely is one of my favorite parts about her personality). For one, Kate is extremely hardworking, service-oriented, and is always one of the first ones to volunteer without complaint if I ask for help, especially if the work involves the animals.

She’s somewhat limited in what she can do with her weak, arms-the-circumference-of-spaghetti, but what she lacks in muscle mass, she makes up for in sheer grit, determination, and ingenuity. If she can’t do something the first time in one fell swoop, she’ll whack away at it over and over until she breaks it down and eventually triumphs.
It took her a while, but eventually, she cracked that log right down the center.
Her work ethic also spills over into our family adventures. She never says no to a hike, though there have been occasions when she has regretted that initial enthusiasm about halfway through when her feet get tired. Even then, she might weep softly and repeatedly ask how far it is back to the car, but she keeps on walking. Trudging. Going. She isn’t one to be stagnant and wallow. She puts one foot in front of the other until she has completed her journey.
That makes her a pretty awesome hiking buddy as far as I’m concerned.
Another skill Kate has gravitated toward and excelled at is ballet. She’s been at it for a couple of years, and despite the wide variety of other dance types like tap, jazz, cheerleading, and modern dance, all she’s ever wanted to do was ballet. We’ve been blessed to see her dance on stage a handful of times and though she describes every sensation of being nervous, from sweaty palms to a racing heart, she hasn’t once given in to stage fright. She’s a natural performer and is a joy to watch dance her thundering heart out.

Like all of her sisters, Kate has a thing for babies. Maybe it’s all the practice she had with dolls, but she is a serious mother hen in all the best senses of the phrase. She can rock a screaming baby to sleep, change a diaper like a pro, and more than once has been the one to get a younger sibling to laugh before anyone else (her humor even works on infants!). I love that I can trust her with a measure of responsibility in tending her younger siblings because mothering, which in essence is caring for another, comes so naturally to her.


Some of that probably stems from her love of animals. Like me, she hasn’t met a critter or beast she wasn’t impressed with and made an effort to befriend. Her absolute favorite is dogs and if I had a dime for every time she’s asked me for a puppy, I would also be a millionaire. Probably a multi-millionaire. She’s poured over books about dog breeds and has a running list of every dog she wants to own…basically, all of them.

Since the timing hasn’t been right for a puppy yet (basically, I’ve told her I already have enough human babies to take care of right now), but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t still find ways to keep the question fresh in my mind. Her bed is littered with stuffed dogs, she only reads books about dogs, and she’ll grabs food off her plate and pretends to beg…like the puppy she hopes to someday raise. She is nothing if not also persistent.
From the mind of Evelyn…Kate would love a unicorn husky, but we have yet to actually find one…😅

Even though she wants a puppy, it doesn’t mean she doesn’t love Raven with all her heart. Like me at her age, she has been assigned and willfully accepted the responsibility of taking care of the dog. A close second–maybe even a tie–are horses. Whenever I go out to work with the horses, it’s like she has a little internal radar that points her to the barn. Eventually, Kate always shows up, asking if she can ride. How could I ever say no? So she grabs her helmet and hops on and giggles every time they trot. Never ever a dull moment out at the barn. 

Growing up on a farm, there’s never any lack of opportunities to get dirty. She could be a real girly-girl and whine about dirt under her nails and mud on her pants, but she just shrugs it off and goes with it. What’s a girl to do?

Being okay with being dirty doesn’t mean that she’s not concerned about her appearance. Lounging around at home, watching TV from the couch? Sweaty and dirty is fine (for her, not me…still trying to get her to wash off before she traipses into the house). Going to church, a party, ballet, or school?
Yes, she went to church like this once. Full gloves and tiara and everything.

Kate has her very own sense of style and you’d better believe it’s fancy, with a heaping helping of downright quirky.

I wouldn’t say her teeth are accessories to her style, but she sure sticks a lot of stuff in the gapes where she seems to lose a tooth every other week. Almonds, candy corn, carrots, popsicles…if it fits, she’s wedged it in and asked me to take a picture.

Speaking of teeth, Kate doesn’t have a sweet tooth, she has a mouthful of sweet teeth. She can (almost) eat me under the table with sugary things, but thankfully, she has a firm grasp on self-control. That sleeve of Oreos? That king sized Milky Way? That bag of marshmallows? That jar of honey? She could eat it, but she sets limits for herself and sticks to them. Mostly.

Except when it comes to her birthday cake. Because really, why not live it up a little when it’s your special day? This year, she asked for a chocolate lava cake that oozed chocolate lava when cut into, flowing with marshmallow fluff magma, and chocolate macaroon rocks. It took f-o-r-e-v-e-r to put that together, but she was pleased with the results and everyone knows, when the birthday girl is happy, everyone is happy.
Her special day also included a special dinner. I’d say we don’t eat crab that often, but by golly, I think all of the kids have discovered they like it, so it ends up being about six times a year that we eat it, if not more. While I stick with my land-dwelling forms of protein, Kate gnashed on crab, caramel biscuits, salad, and a beautiful fruit rainbow. Her siblings were happy to help her celebrate.

After presents, where she got a few books and fancy dresses for church (and probably to clean stalls and ride her bike in, because she likes looking nice when she’s getting dirty, too)…

…we surprised her with silly string. I don’t always get the perfect photo, but the joy on her face was pretty darn apparent. Note to self: buy more silly string. It’s the little things that make life better.
As always, it seems impossible to sum up an entire person with words, because it truly is inadequate. Only nine years on this planet and Kate has already brought just joie de vivre, happiness, joy, and light to everyone she’s around. She’s so smart and one of the kindest people I know. She has an incredible work ethic, is the glue to her siblings, binding them all together, and has a heart of gold. There’s no telling what life will bring her way, but I’m confident she’ll face it with poise, determination, and laughter, even when it knocks her down. She’s a beautiful person inside and out and we count ourselves blessed to have her be part of our family.
Yes, she’s cradling a giant icicle. 😅

Happy birthday Kate! We sure love you!


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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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