…and she is in a little bit of mourning about it. I mean, who wants to grow up when you’re having so much fun? And let’s be honest, I’m in a little mourning myself. It is so rude for these precious little bundles to morph into practical adults so quickly, don’t you think? Ha!

But MAN, what an incredible woman this little baby who emerged into the world seventeen years ago is now becoming!

Let’s talk about that but first, just a little about what I was doing 17 years ago…I was at the hospital in the wee hours of the morning waiting with bated breath to meet my new little girl. I went back to read in my journal about her birth (my mom always tells us our birth story on our birthdays and I love it but can’t seem to keep all the births straight so I read up for a little refresher:) I had been awake with contractions on and off all night, worried because I had group b strep and we had to get a couple rounds of penicillin in before she was born. I had forgotten my doctor was an alarmist and had me worried about things my whole pregnancy, first placenta previa, then with spina bifida alarm (I had failed an “afp” test so he told me there was a good chance the baby would have it). My blood sugar was low so he thought I had hypoglycemia and that the baby wasn’t growing because she seemed to be small. You know, all those things you worry about when you’re pregnant. So I was just ready to get her here already. And let’s be honest, I was never patient with ANY of my babies, OH! I could hardly stand the wait to meet them and have them in my arms.

So there I was waiting (quite impatiently) for her grand arrival. I’ll skip to the pushing when my epidural had worn off somehow (my only baby it didn’t do that on was Grace…and later Lucy). And then there she was. In my arms. Finally. With “quite a lot of brown hair, a little balding on top, lots of wrinkly lines along her forehead, very long fingers and toes, the sweetest little cry.”

And I was smitten. Again.

I went through memory lane last night looking through pictures of how she’s grown and filling up with so much gratitude for this girl. So bear with me as I post a bunch of pictures that I can’t get enough of!

…along with seventeen things I adore about this girl:

1)Right from the start she started lighting up the world.

Her siblings thought she was positively the best thing since sliced bread:

(She may not have been so sure about that…)

2) She has a contagious light. She can hype up a whole room if she wants to.

I mean, look at this exuberance!!

3) She is pretty funny. She says things off the cuff that crack us up every day, especially her dad. He’ll be chuckling about things she said long after she’s said them.

4) She is a natural nurturer. It started with this doll she lugged around daily for years:

…and then went to nurturing her little sister Lucy (they have a grand love story those two), and spread to nurturing every baby in sight. She is so good with kids!

5) She is the most expressive girl I know. She can go from happy and smiley to her best “funny face” in a flash:

6) She is GRATEFUL. This is how she looks after practically every gift she is given…including little things like getting taken to lunch.

I mean, she was that excited about a Barney DVD for crying out loud! πŸ™‚

6) She knows how to take herself lightly. She doesn’t worry too much about what others think. She is her SELF through and through.

7) I love this picture because somehow it seems to show her spirit. That spirit that is too giant for her body. She is kind through and through and she knows her Heavenly Father adores her.

8) She’s not afraid to be sad sometimes too. I mean, you can’t ALWAYS be happy, right? She sits with her feelings and lets them change her and make her better.

This is not a “number” but I hd to include her famous “funny face” that she would pull out for us all the time:

And this is how she used to always sleep with these hand-me-down pajamas from a friend which my brother dubbed her “crazy pants.” Oh! I just want to climb in that bed and snuggle up with that baby of mine!

9) Claire is comfortable in her own skin. I think all kids have to sort of “find themselves” in certain ways in life, but from the beginning Claire kind of knew who she was. Maybe it was the security of being surrounded by so many siblings who adored her, or maybe it just all came from the inside, but I love it.

10) Claire is tough. This is a tiny example showcasing one of the gigantic cold sores she lugged around when she was heading off to first grade:


But she has faced lots of heartbreaks with different things in life and she has figured out how to get through them and let them help make fabric of who she is stronger and tougher.

11) Not only is she adored by her siblings, but she adores them. And builds them up in pretty beautiful ways. She is the best sister.

12) She sets goals and strives for things and changes them when need be. She was determined years ago to “get a gold medal” in the olympics for gymnastics. Oh she loved it and would pull crazy poses with that flexible body of hers!

But that little teeny girl (as evidenced in this photo below), didn’t stop growing.

So she used that agile (but very tall) body…

…for other things like volleyball.

13) She is adaptable. She’s fine to do on-line school. She’s fine to wear a mask while playing volleyball (above). She’s fine (after a little mourning) to not make the cheer team. She’ll just find some other thing instead. And do it well.

Have to stick a braces picture in here…

14) She’s not afraid to get dirty. Whether it means delving into a really tough class or homework, or burying herself in the sand or the ocean, she’s always up for an adventure, and NEVER worried about filling up on sand. Ha!

15) She has a unique sense of style. Sometimes that style drives us crazy but you’ve got to admit it’s pretty funny sometimes. Here she is painting some shoes, and hot-gluing some hearts onto her jeans that had a hole in them.

Yep, she sure takes herself lightly!

16) She knows how to move that body of hers. Oh boy. She is the best dancer (I’m going to have to come back and post some videos, she cracks me up).

17) She is a great student. She gets great grades because she is completely conscientious about getting things done and clarifying anything she has questions about with her teachers. I never worry that she isn’t pulling her load in school.

One more to end on, or to wrap up: this girl creates joy. Among her friends. Among her family. (She has the best welcoming response!) She will throw her arms around me when she sees me arrive anywhere. And I will throw mine right back.

I am the luckiest ever to be her mama.

Love you forever Claire Bear!

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  1. 17, what a great year, that was the year my life changed. I was 17 when I met the Osmond’s and found the Gospel I didn’t know I was looking for. It was the best decision I ever made, joining the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Happy Birthday Claire, enjoy year 17, I am a January baby too, but I still have 10 days to go.

    1. The Osmonds have played a big part in my interest in the gospel too, as well as Shawni’s Dad. x

      Happy Birthday for later this month. πŸŽ‰πŸ₯³πŸŽ‚πŸ°πŸŽ

      1. Thanks Julie, not only is my birthday this month, but I will be 65 years young, so I am also retiring after working for 40 years, I have lots of high hopes and plans for 2021, hope you have a good year too!!

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