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She’s nine!

Where Evelyn took her sweet time joining our family, Claire practically kicked down the door to start her mortal adventure. She was born when we were pretty poor college students and her birth marks my adventure as a stay-at-home mother. Like all of our children, I have a hard time summarizing how amazing they are but there’s one thing we know for sure: we’re sure happy she’s a part of our family.

Always good for a laugh!

If you know Claire, you know how lucky you are to have her as a friend because that’s exactly what she is to everyone–a friend. She’s vivacious and infectiously happy, and her giggle makes everyone else want to laugh, too.


She sees art, creativity, and imagination in just about everything. She has great discipline and patience when she’s drawing, but isn’t limited to paper or paint. When she’s told to leave the crayons at the restaurant, they become a smiley face, and the hanging towel in the hotel bathroom doubles as a crown.

Queen of the throne, haha, haha.

Claire is extremely persistent. She’s been the first to do a lot of things out of all our kids–blowing bubbles, whistling, being able to put her hair in a ponytail…she can practice things for hours until she gets them just right.


If there’s one thing Claire loves to do, it’s laugh. If there’s another thing, she loves to share that laughter with others. A good portion of her time is spent trying to get other people to laugh and she’ll pull out all the stops to do it: endless knock-knock jokes, googly eyes, funny faces, tickling. She’s irresistible.


One thing I particularly appreciate is Claire’s willingness to help. Sure, sometimes she turns me down with a sneer and stomp of her foot like any kid, but most of the time, she’s not only helpful, she does it with a smile, doesn’t stop until it’s all done (she inherited my distaste for stopping mid-project), and likes to challenge everyone to see how fast it can be completed. What’s not to love about that? 💕


As much as Claire loves arts and craft endeavor, she also enjoys a good project on herself. She loves to do her hair, paint her nails, and do makeup, especially if it’s facepaint for Halloween.

Claire and her twin sibling, Zoey, getting their hair done by grandma.

Though Claire has grown up as one of the older siblings, she’s never particularly loved newborns. She’ll hold them for a minute or two, coo at them, then be on her merry way but once they hit about six months and are smiling, interacting, laughing, and can fully appreciate her humor, then she’s hooked.

Claire showing Peter a good time.

As hardworking as Claire is, one trait she has that I’d love to cultivate in myself is the ability to not take myself so seriously. Life’s too short to be negative, grumbly, or stern. Claire already knows that secret, and her life is going to be that much happier for it.


Lydia is Claire’s twin cousin and if there were ever two peas in a pod, they’d be it. They both get lost in their own worlds with their noses in a book, are great friends to each other and anyone they meet but also are fine being on their own. It’s so interesting to see how girls growing up in different families can be so similar.


Claire has an interesting palate. She can eat sushi and seafood like Jack but from me, she definitely inherited my sweet tooth.

There’s never too much cotton candy.

I have noticed Claire has a great sense of adventure. While some of her siblings might be a little more hesitant, Claire will raise her hand faster than lightning stikes to be able to go first, whether it’s a fishing excursion with Jack, riding a roller coaster that make my stomach turn, trying new foods, or singing karaoke for the first time.


Claire’s been in gymnastics for nearly a couple of years now, and while I don’t get to watch her practices as regularly as I’d like, when I do, I’ve seen marked improvement. This past weekend, she participated in her very first competitive mini meet and totally rocked it with a smile on her face the whole time.

Whoop! First place for the vault!

As much as Claire loves to compete, she also loves to cheer other people on. She gives high-fives to her class and teammates for their accomplishments, and has cheered siblings at swim meets, and ballet performances.

Watching Evelyn at swim practice.

Between all the busyness of being a kid, from school to chores to playing, most often, you can probably find Claire reading…

…and reading…
…and reading…
…forever and ever reading.

When Claire’s not reading, most likely, she’s quiet. I’m not always sure what’s going on in her head, but I imagine it’s fantastic, judging by the questions she asks, the stories she tells, the jokes she cracks, and the ideas she has for crafts.

And, of course, she’s usually cuddling a cat while doing all of that other stuff.

Claire’s birthday was a lot like everyone else’s birthday–it’s kind of an “anything goes” day for the birthday boy or girl. That’s particularly true when it comes to their cake and with each birthday, they seem to be trying to one-up each other for level of difficulty, when I’m not a particularly skilled cake maker.


Claire had asked for a nest of hatching dragons. Oh, and coconut flavored cake. Fine. Okay. I racked my brain for days trying to figure out how I was going to pull it off. Then, I had a lightbulb moment–I was going to hide a little dragon egg toy in the cake, cleverly disguise it, and Claire would be sooo surprised when I cut her piece of cake for her. I slaved for the entire afternoon baking and decorating that darn cake and right as I put on the final glob of frosting…it fell apart.


I cried more than I should have over a cake, not because I was mad about the cake (I mean, I was) but mostly because I didn’t want Claire to be disappointed. I fixed it with a new batch of frosting the best I could, confessed to Claire what’d happened when she got home from school, and she snuck downstairs to see it for herself. She shrugged off the back and said the front looked fantastic. Either she really didn’t care or she’s good at convincing me it wasn’t as bad as I thought. 😉


Her dinner of choice was sushi, crab, homemade mac n cheese, carrots, and a fruit rainbow, then by the miracle of technology, she opened her presents in front of some of her cousins and grandparents, then we all sang Happy Birthday…


…and laughed as she struggled to blow out the nine candles on her decrepit cake. I served up a slice of cake to everyone and Claire didn’t even eat hers. 😂 Sweets, yes, but cake isn’t really one of her favorites anyway.


She was however delighted with the dragon egg she found in her cake and spent the rest of the evening assembling it. I guess next time I can just put frosting on a toy and stick a candle on top instead of actually baking a cake…🤔


All in all, her ninth birthday was a special one which is all I could ask for our beautiful, intelligent, creative, spunky, bold, kindhearted, wild spirited daughter of ours. She’s a blessing to us all, a promise that the world isn’t as bleak as it sometimes seems, and honest-to-goodness a true gem that is only beginning to sparkle.

 Happy, happy, happiest of birthdays to our wonderful gem-of-a-girl Claire! 💕🥳🎂


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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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