Wednesday, January 21, 2015


Today this little girl of mine turns eleven.

Eleven is a weird word if you really think about it.

And it is even weirder that this sprightly, kind, sweetie-pie daughter of mine has reached that number.

Eleven things I love about Claire:

1)  She is full of spunk.  She will throw out some dance moves like nobody's business at the drop of a hat.

2)  Her smile can light up a whole room.

3)  She is the best big sister/tutor to Lucy you can ever even imagine.  I've posted pictures of her with Lucy and talked about it before, but no amount of recording can really do their uniquely sweet relationship justice. They love each other like no two kids I've seen and Dave and I are more grateful than we can ever say.  It makes me tear up to think about how much that is going to help Lucy in life.

An example of their latest notes to each other:

4)  She's a good friend.  She's always trying to make sure everyone is included.

5)  She makes the best faces...ever since she was tiny.

6)  Being the 4th child, she's pretty low-key.  She knows how to go with the flow.

7)  She is quick to obey.  I love that.

8)  She is a great little gymnast.  Love to watch her tumble and how it makes her whole face shine since she loves it so much.

9)  She is adaptable.  I loved watching how she adjusted so smoothly into Chinese life and culture.  She worked so hard and learned more Chinese and made more friends than all the rest of us combined while we were there.

10)  She eats healthy food without me force-feeding her :)

11)  She adores babies.  She reminds me of my 11-year-old self who couldn't get enough of snuggling them up.

Ok, one more to grow on...and one of my favorites:

12)  She loves her Heavenly Father and gets a tear in her eye when she feels His love and direction in her life.  When she feels that love she proclaims that she has a "hugging problem" and has to give us all multiple hugs.

A few more pictures I can't resist posting...they make me want to go back in time worse than ever before!

Love you forever, Claire Bear!


  1. What a sweetheart! Happy birthday Claire!

  2. Aw Happy Birthday Claire, sounds like you are just as beautiful inside as you are outside.

  3. This post made me so happy. Obviously I don't know your family, but I feel like I do from your blog! All of these pictures make me SO EXCITED to watch my little girl go through life.

    Thank you for sharing!

  4. I love Claire! and those letters made me tear up!

  5. She is darling! I have to say you and your hubby make gorgeous babies! Look at your red hair way back when! Happy Birthday Claire!

  6. What a delightful post! Those letters between Claire and Lucy are absolutely adorable. How lucky they are to have each other. The picture of you with curly hair looks like your mom!

  7. Happy 11th Birthday to Claire.:)

    I love the notes from Claire & Lucy to each other & their special bond. It's lovely.

    I know I often say this, but Claire is the image of Elle & looks even more like her in the last picture.

  8. Happy Birthday Claire! The letters between her and Lucy made me smile and yearn for my daughter a sister among her brothers. So sweet.

    I also wanted to thank you for how much you've encouraged me in my walk as a mother. Tonight in the midst of supper prep and homework my four year old found some ink stamps leftover from Halloween. He comes in the kitchen with black bats and pumpkins all over his hands, face, and neck. We go to Bible study on Wednesday nights so it's a busy night and the last thing I needed was an extra mess. I would have gotten mad and huffy in the past, but for some reason something you said ages ago on here about little kids lacking self control sprang to my mind. I just smiled (probably a little wearily) and led him into the bathroom. Instead of losing my temper I laughed with him about how he looked like a puppy with all that black on his nose. He smiled too and the soberly said, "next time I use a stamp I won't put it on my face Momma." That was good enough for me. Thank you for this blog and the inspiration I've been able to draw from it.

  9. oh my gosh. Melt my heart. That was the sweetest letter to Lucy!

  10. What a beautiful reminder, Courtney!

  11. So sweet. I have a question maybe you can answer on one of your Friday Q&A's.... how do you organize your photos? I use lightroom (your brother Josh has helped me with it and he mentioned you use it too). I have all my photos organized by date... but I want to be able to just pull up a picture with a keyword when needed... but I am not sure how to really use keywords realistically. Is it just me or is it not realistic to label every single picture with keywords? Is there a trick? Thanks!

  12. Oh Claire! What a sweetheart! It was actually her who drew me into your blog. I just saw her face and thought what an angel she is. Happy Birthday!

  13. Loved this! And I have the same question as Mariah Payne. How can you just pick out so many lovely pictures of Claire from her whole life span - when you have thousands and thousands to choose from?

  14. Happy Birthday to your Claire. I don't know for how long I've been reading your blog, but it looks like a while because I remember her baptism day pics and her little face! she seems to radiate a lot of light with that big smile :)

  15. Courtney's comment brought tears to my eyes. How wonderful to know that your posts help to inspire others to be better and try harder. You have done that for me too. I love your sweet family even though I have never met any of you. Happy Birthday to Claire! -Lisa

  16. She is precious! I've always thought so. What did you get her for her b'day? I need some suggestions for that age!

  17. Those sweet, sweet letters brought tears to my eyes! Not only do they love each other splendidly, they write splendidly! The pictures took me on a ride down memory lane. Thanks so much for sharing!
    Happy Birthday Claire. Love you forever!

  18. All so sweet Happy Birthday and many many more!

  19. Hi Shawni. I do not love that you have kids I haven't met in real life; I'm glad I get to see them here :-)
    Also, per your life goals post, you could still move to California...


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