Holy cow, I cannot even believe that little fact.

Maybe it’s especially weird to me because none of our other kids turned 18 while in high school (they all had summer birthdays).

I thought none of them turned 18 while even at home, but Max reminded me on the phone the other day that he was indeed still home on his birthday (June 3rd). (He remembered that well since he had just started a new job construction and he worked his tail off that day. That was sure memorable for him, not so much for his mom…Ha!)

Anyway, we get to celebrate Claire today. And contrary to the title of this post that may have fooled you into thinking that I know how to deal with kids morphing into adults, I really don’t.

I mean, how can you let a girl with this kind of energy and light just grow up right in front of you?

We sat together and looked at growing-up pictures yesterday and there was tangible, heavy missing for both of us of this little gem:

Look at those eyelashes. Look at those lips.

Oh boy, I love.

18 things I love about my 18-year-old:

  1. She fills up the house with delight. Whether it’s dance moves or talking to Bo in a baby voice (I need a recording of that to give the full effect), she can lighten anyone’s mood.

2. She is an excellent student. I don’t ever remember having to remind her to do homework or study, she just puts her shoulder to the wheel and gets great grades.

3. She isn’t afraid of being tall. We thought she would be our tiniest child but we were wrong. (She’s now a teeny bit taller than me at six feet). She owns it and sure knows how to move that tall frame on the dance floor!

4. She is always up for an adventure:

That picture up there was the first time we lived in China, she was a trooper then, and even better when we went back when she was in elementary school. She made so many friends (a couple of whom she keeps in contact with), and learned to whip out Chinese sentences about random stuff like “Where is my pencil.” Oh yeah, ask her to recite that one to you and she’ll dazzle you with her knowledge!

5. She takes herself lightly. And did right from the start. Love her “funny faces.”

6. Even if she’s afraid to try new things, she does it anyway.

Yeah, not very high up there, but she’s pushing through!

7. One of those things is talking to adults. It’s been fun to watch her maneuver talking to all these college coaches.

8. She’s a hero to a lot of people, but I think it’s safe to say Lucy’s at the top of that list.

Although it looks like Lucy doesn’t quite grasp that yet in this picture…

…starting to realize it a little more here:

Seriously, can you even take the cuteness?

9. She’s an excellent gift receiver. Now I know that doesn’t seem like a big deal, but she makes you feel like a million bucks when you give her anything. She gets a face that lights up like this:

And that sure makes you feel good.

10. She is able to morph her dreams. At one point she figured she was going to be an olympic gymnast for sure.

Then she turned toward a pro soccer player. And then settled on volleyball. For now. Who knows where those dreams will take her?

11. She is funny. She has been from the start:


She comes up with some some pretty awesome one-liners.

12. She is a good writer. Loved reading her college essays and any English paper she asks me to proofread.

13. She’s a good friend.

Not only to her friends, but to her siblings and her parents.

She is so quick at making friends too. I have loved watching her meld into her new volleyball team, all new girls, all people she already loves dearly. And it’s fun to see them love her and that sparkly light of hers too.

14. She appreciates beauty. The man-made kind:

As well as the God-made kind:

15. She is creatively artistic. From her paintings she used to do to the little cactus pillow company she once had stars in her eyes about starting…


…To how to deal if you want to deep condition your hair and you don’t have a shower cap 🙂

16. She definitely worries about things…(and she’s a good picture-poser)…

…but she figures out how to find her zen. Even if it takes a while, she is learning how to calm her heart.

17. I think her knowledge that she is “a beloved daughter of Heavenly parents with a divine nature and eternal destiny” helps with that (at least I hope!). (That quote is from the Young Women motto I love so much). I hope she will always carry that beauty with her and be reminded of it often as she heads out into the big, wide world so soon.

18. She is Bo’s biggest fan…much to Bo’s chagrin:)

And sorry, one more (although I could go on and on):

She is such a gift to her mama. She usually has something so nice to say to me and she is conscientious of my feelings as well as the others around her. I love that she’ll snuggle up on the couch with me and tell me her woes and build me up on mine.

We really did hit the lottery with this girl.

Love you forever baby girl (you’ll always be that to me).

Happy happy birthday Claire Bear!

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  1. Happy Birthday, Claire! I would say you hit the jackpot on your family too! You and your family are a ray of light to many!

  2. Happy birthday to Claire! Shawni, I discovered your blog in 2012 (!!!) and have been grateful for your light and example since. I cannot believe it has been so long, though. When I first started reading you were in your old house with a gaggle of children. And now you welcome adults back from the great big world they’ve ventured out to. The time has probably felt fast to you but as an outsider it has FLOWN. You really realize how few years we actually have children in the house (full-time) when you see it from this vantage point. It is a good reminder to stay in the present and remember what is really important, i.e.: our people, not our things and our daily dramas. Life is too short. Grateful for your example of focus on motherhood as I begin my own journey down that path!

    1. Madeleine, I was thinking the same exact thing reading this post!! I started reading around the same time you did, I vividly remember Claire’s beautiful baptism photos Shawni took 10(!!) years ago. I saved so many ideas from the early years of this blog for my own children. Watching Shawni’s kids grow has been surprisingly encouraging and makes raising older kids less daunting.

    2. I’m so glad you guys have been able to glean some good things from this blog over the years, and yes, the time flies so much faster than you can hold on to! It is all the “best stage” but it’s all slipping by so quickly! Sending all my love on over to you young mamas, you’ve got this!! I’m glad you’re hanging on and appreciating the beauty mixed in with the mayhem along the way!

  3. Such a beautiful girl. Is she planning to do a mission after high school? Or is she going to go right on to collage? I cant remember if your two oldest daughters went to collage or mission or both? Whatever they do, it’s wonderful that they’ve had the kind of parents and family life that will keep them strong and happy forever. I wish every child could grow up that way.

    1. Women have to be 19 to serve a mission so she’ll for sure go to college for at least a little while before a mission if she decides to go…right now she’s thinking not but who knows? (That’s what Grace thought too). Elle didn’t serve a mission and Grace, as we know, is out there as we speak, but both put the same amount of effort into figuring out whether it was the right thing for them and I love that so much! We’ll see what Claire decides!

  4. Wow! Do we love this girl! What a delight to see all these precious captures of moments in time!
    AND NOW., three days after Claire’s birthday….It’s your birthday!
    HAPPY 50TH BIRTHDAY SHAWNI! If you think it’s hard to have a child turn 18…think how breathtaking it is to have a child turn 50??? It seems as though I turned 50 just the other day! On this, your Golden Birthday I feel so profoundly blessed to be your mother! I know you will have a stupendous day! Love you so much! Even MORE now that you’re fifty! Ha!

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