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Happy first birthday, cutie pie!

It goes without saying that being the youngest of seven children threw Adam into a busy life the moment he was born. There has always been someone to play with, snuggle him, change his diapers, feed him, coo over him, and teach him something new. As the mother of seven children, it has been equally busy for me, which means, that even as much as I adore each of my children, sometimes I don’t have time to stop and document that love. As Adam is quickly approaching his second year on earth, I’m finally sitting down to type out a blog pertaining to what his first year was like.

He was so tiny! And serious!
That being said, Adam, as the baby, holds an important piece of my heart. I’ve tried to resist spoiling him because he’s the youngest, but I’ve found I can’t NOT treat him differently. He’s my baby boy. The last child. The one every single sibling will watch out for. And not only is he the baby of our immediate family, as of right now, he’s the baby of BOTH sides of grandchildren. Not sure how that worked out, between thirty-nine (I think) kids, he is the youngest. That means he has a lot of people who love him.
The twin cousins, Zoey and Millie, giving Adam a spa treatment.
Our usual lifestyle can at times be challenging when trying to incorporate a baby, but we’ve been blessed with enough years of practice to figure out how to make it work. Sometimes, I forego projects in the name of holding the baby, and maybe catching up on sleep, but often, we just go for it. Adam’s taken naps in pastures while I fixed fencelines and has watched from the wagon while I feed the animal. He’s been rocked to sleep while I mow, and has sat in the baby seat while I stacked wood.
Tummy time!

The helpless infant stage doesn’t last long, which brings a new level of difficulty when including them in our farm chores. Ever try weeding and mulching with a baby? I pull out a weed, and the next thing, it’s in the baby’s mouth. I don’t know what it was with Adam, but he seemed particularly determined to test out everything with his tongue. I suppose I’ll chalk up his good immune system to all the dirt he’s eaten.

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One of my favorite phases of babydom, and one not often celebrated enough, is when they’re able to sit up in the grocery cart. Adam also appreciated not being strapped in a car seat, while I enjoyed not having to carry him on my hip while picking out apples or grabbing cereal. It’s amazing to think that within a few months of birth he was sitting. A few months later, he was crawling, and now, halfway to his second birthday, he can sprint like an Olympian, especially if he’s clutching something he shouldn’t have, but doesn’t want to give up.
I miss the fuzzy baby hair! 😭
Not all of Adam’s first year was spent doing the mundane. He’s already had more adventures than some people will ever have, and I have to credit Jack with a lot of that. While I might plop a kid in the yard so I can paint something, Jack includes the kids in the interesting stuff. Archery (or at least supervising other children while they’re practicing), fishing, building, swinging in the hammock, traveling… Adam’s done it all and then some, and all before he ever blew out his first candle on a birthday cake.
I was eighteen the first time I went camping. Adam? He’s already been half a dozen times. The great thing about being a baby is that sleeping comes relatively easy. Laying on the hard ground? Zzzz. Stuck in a car seat? Snore. Finishing up lunch in the high chair? Out like a light.
Waking up and not exactly sure where he was.
One of the funniest places a lot of our kids have fallen asleep in is the hiking backpack. Seriously, the baby has a sweetest deal when we go on a hike. Adam (and all the rest of the kids, whom I have also toted) loves being at eye-level with everyone else, feeling the sway of back and forth while I do all the hard work, walking with him strapped behind me, usually while eating a snack, or pulling my hair if he gets bored. Then if he ever needs a nap, he konks out wherever he darn well pleases. That’s the life.
There were occasions where Adam, because of his age, had to miss out on some of the fun because I either wasn’t equipped to take him with us or he didn’t have the endurance necessary to participate.

He’d cry sometimes, but usually, he’d make the most of it by watching out the window. His favorite pastime for a while became watching his siblings while licking the glass. Just like the taste and texture of dirt, Adam also had an affinity for smooth and cold.

Adam wasn’t my biggest boy (though you’d better believe he was a honking big baby when compared to an average sized newborn), but he was the youngest to need a haircut. His wispy, fuzzy hair grew like vines, and though I loved the shaggy look, it was getting so long it’d get in his eyes or snuck to his snotty nose. So, the day came that I buzzed it all off. He thought the vibration of the clippers was hilarious, and enjoyed the feel of his clipped hair when I was done. The little babe turned into a boy man in a matter of minutes.
My author career began way back when I was on maternity leave with Evelyn, and while it’s ebbed and flowed over the years, depending on the demands of family life, it has been on a steady uptick. Though being a wife and a mother are top priorities, sometimes that means taking time for my own endeavors so I don’t go crazy (there are only so many times a day I can sweep the kitchen before losing my mind). So, while Adam was working on tummy time or figuring out how to move his pudgy arms and legs to propel himself on his own adventures, I had time to type out handful more books to add to my repertoire. Plus, the occasional games of hide and seek behind my computer screen were extremely amusing.
Peek-a-boo! I see you!

It’s a fair observation that sometimes, having a large family can be overwhelming, but the tradeoffs of challenges and blessings are no contest–the good always wins out in the end. For one, I love watching how siblings interact. There’s occasional friction, but it’s almost never with the baby. Even before he could talk, he could get pretty much whatever he wanted with a pointed finger and a pleading, toothy smile.

As the son of a horse lover, Adam has had his obligatory riding lessons pretty much as soon as he can hold his head up. Not surprisingly, he was a little apprehensive the first few times. It’s intimidating being on a beast that sits a rider higher than a lot of adults. Stoney is a pro though–he’s taught everyone else how to ride, including me. He taught Adam how to hang tight while nibbling grass. No biggie.
His siblings, who all have their own favorite animals, have also done their best to sway Adam’s opinions. More than once, I’ve found them introducing Adam to one of our pet and livestock collection. So far, the verdict is out about his favorite since he seems to like them all.

Having three girls before we had any boys made for a big change when Henry came along. Add another two boys, and I am an adept boy mom. There are definite differences between raising sons and daughters, but none of them are necessarily “good” or “bad.” Inevitably, I’ve gotten comments about one or the other being “better,” but my response is a hearty internal eye roll and shooing them along. As far as I’m concerned, Adam has been the perfect addition to my handsome lineup of sons. I love that they are best friends already and can tell they have great things lined up for them in their lives.

The one tiebreaker Adam DID sway upon his birth was who’d win out with eye color–we were deadlocked with four brown-eyed and four blue-eyed family members. It didn’t take long for it to be pretty obvious that Adam was going to have gorgeous, sea-blue eyes.

Working on his tongue muscles by licking off the beaters.
Even though I missed documenting Adam’s first year, I can guarantee that it was a good one. Milestones were met, laughs were had, squishy cheeks were kissed, and everyone got their fill of baby snuggles.
What a sweet baby!
Sometimes, I really miss having a baby. Yes, there are challenging parts, like sleep deprivation and the near constant diaper changes, but babies give back tenfold what they require. There’s so much love an joy in a child that’s so innocent and pure and unencumbered by things that worry the rest of the world. Adam may have joined our family twelve years after Evelyn arrived, into a chaotic, loud household that’s always on the move, but he’s also coming during some of the best our family has to offer. Jack and I have over a decade of parenting under our belts, we live on a slice of paradise, he’s surrounded by family and friends that can’t get enough of his adorable smile. Adam is so loved!
As with all of our kids, we have high hopes for Adam. We’ll do our best to nurture him, teach him how to work hard, try to make memories along the way of all the good times we’ve had together. We don’t know where the time went his first year (it all keeps going faster and faster the older the kids get!), but we know that Adam has great things in store for him. The baby’s not a baby anymore, and though we don’t know how we could hold any more love for this sweet, mischievous, clever, determined, handsome, darling boy, every day we are so blessed that our love for him is expanded.
Such a hard worker!
Happy (SUPER belated) birthday, Adam!
You’re amazing and we 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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