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Our beautiful, happy, smiley, intelligent, clever, friendly, etc, etc Claire is now EIGHT! I have no idea where the time has gone or how she’s gotten so big so fast. One day, she’s a chubby, blue-eyed baby with the softest, fuzziest blond hair I’ve ever seen, the next, she’s a gorgeous, blue-eyed, blond-haired girl with a six pack of abs she’s acquired from daily laughing, and who surprises us every day with her wit, and who is a friend to everyone she meets.
No more sitting in the shopping cart for you!
Claire came into our family at a challenging time. We weren’t exactly rich (read: we were dirt poor), because Jack was in the middle of school, and we had our hands full fixing up an old house in Iowa that used to leak snow into the tub, and the windows rattled every time the wind blew. Literally, the day she was born, we’d just endured a massive blizzard that knocked out the power, which meant we had to cuddle in bed with Evelyn so we didn’t turn into ice cubes. By the morning, our water was frozen and we had to dig our car out of the snow drift to make it to the hospital. Then, she was born and the world has been a happier, brighter place because of it.
She definitely has her own sense of style!

Claire is one of those lucky few that is self-possessed and confident, no matter what anyone else has to say. It comes out in her sense of style, her natural radiance, and her kindness.


She’s naturally smiley, even if her toes are frozen or she’s hungry or she can’t take another step.

 Plus, she’s always good for a laugh.

Even though she’s often goofing around, running a mile-a-minute, and doing constant cartwheels, I’ll still catch her quietly pondering, a skill she seems to have inherited from Jack. When Claire is thinking, there’s no telling where her imagination and mind are taking her, and there’s almost no getting her to listen without repeating myself a few times until she snapped out of it.


Though Claire is just as comfortable being the center of attention and making friends wherever she goes, she also is just as comfortable being alone, reading or practicing her drawing or playing with the cats or working on her engineering skills.


Someday, I foresee Claire being our very own personal chef. She’s the first in the kitchen, volunteering to flip pancakes and scramble eggs.


She has never been one to be stopped by her fears. Claire is the first to climb higher, try a new food, touch a creepy crawly, or experience a new thrill.


I also love and appreciate that Claire is (usually) inclined to help, whether it’s babysitting her younger siblings, pulling weeds, feeding the animals, or milking the cow.

Everything is exciting when Claire is around.
Claire loves a good parade!
Since Claire has started gymnastics, it’s been a lot of fun watching her blossom in the sport. She can be kind of standoffish but is always the first to give a classmate a thumbs up for them doing a particularly good handstand or cartwheel. She’s extremely self-motivated, and pushes herself to her limits every practice, and is already moving on to working on back handsprings and has long since mastered chin up pullovers on the bars, which she tells me are her favorite.
Claire’s first love has always been cats.

Cat socks, cat print pants, cat stuffed toys, cat drawings, cats on the carousel, cat shirts, cat ear headbands…to say nothing of Hercules, Nova, and Snickers.


Even though Claire loves cats, she’s kind to all creatures, whether it’s a tiny baby crawdad, a fat June bug (one of my favorite interactions she’s had with bugs so far), the chickens, or an errant snake on the school playground.


And, even though they’re not her favorite, I am determined all my kids will know their way around a horse.


On the actual day of her birthday, Henry, Zoey, and I went to eat lunch with her at school. I’d say it was a surprise but she’d already surmised it was going to happen since we ate with her last year.

Henry helped me make a cake…
…and we enjoyed an ecclectic dinner of King Crab Leg, boxed mac ‘n’ cheese, mashed potatoes, grapes, and homemade pickles.
After gymnastics, we hurried home to open presents–two thirds of all which had to do with cats–and sing happy birthday before having some peanut butter pudding dessert in lieu of a baked, frosted cake. ‘Cause Claire hates frosting.
A real life TIGER!…Sort of.
I think her siblings were just as excited about her birthday as Claire was!

It’s always incredibly difficult to sum up a child that I’ve known every day of their short-yet-eternal existance. Claire is a bright light, a ray of hope, a giggly, squirmy, cute, girl full of moxie that is slowly becoming a young woman of strength, backbone, courage, and good-humor. We can’t wait to see where life takes her and are happy to have her along for the ride with us!

It’s great to be eight!
Happy birthday Claire Bear!

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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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