Beauty from Ashes

"They will be called oaks of righteousness; a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor." Isaiah 61:3

One Year Later October 7, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — katiemears @ 8:00 am

It’s been more than two years since I blogged on here. My journey has taken me far from where I was when this blog began. It’s been more than four years since our foster journey came to a screeching halt, and our children are about to turn four and seven this Fall/Winter. It’s funny how different God’s plans are from ours sometimes. But I do know, His are always better. Had we continued on our foster journey, we may never have met our dear biological daughter, Claire Helen, who brings us more joy, laughs, and frustration than we could have ever imagined!

Now I come to the meat of this post.
October 7, 2013. A day that will mean nothing to most but for me, it was, by far, the worst day of my life. On that day, my life took a turn in a direction I could have never foreseen. Ever. As I look back over the last year, only one word comes to mind: Grace. Grace abounding. I can’t believe how far He has brought me in one year.

Some of you know what happened to me on October 7, 2013; others do not. Until then, I thought I’d been through my fair share of suffering and pain. I will spare the details here because the point of the post is not that an awful thing happened to me that day. The point is that Jesus, my sweet savior, can make beauty out of ashes.

Life as I knew it changed from morning till evening that day. All my security, my identity, my joy and my purpose was taken from me that day (or so I thought). In the days and weeks following it was difficult merely to keep my head above water and to be the mom my kids deserved. There was so much changing in my life-in their lives. So much to work through, to make sense of. But, it didn’t make sense. Many rallied around us, came to my aid, joined my team, and it was amazing. Others didn’t know what to do.

After the dust settled, we made the decision to move back to my childhood “home” of Tampa to be near family. Already I could see God’s graces touching me. Most of the plans we had for our future were thwarted, but I began to see that God had another amazing plan, basically throwing us into the laps of three faithful pastors and an amazing church in Tampa: Aletheia Tampa. These people-essentially perfect strangers-loved on us, accepted us, prayed for us, and showed us grace like we had never been shown before. As people began to hear our story, they didn’t run away like we expected them to. They didn’t say “that’s too much” or “that’s too hard.” Instead they said, “We’re here; and we’re not going anywhere.” And that was exactly what we needed to hear.

God placed me in a small group at another church with women who were walking paths similar to mine.  Long, hard, painful paths. But there, I found much hope. I found friends to hold my hand, pray for me, cry with me, and just be there. I found a safe place to share my fears and hurts. I found women who had walked the path before me and were experiencing God’s redeeming work.

I found an amazing job and coworkers. Michael did the same. We moved in to a great house in a neighborhood full of little kids who love to play outside and come to knock on our door to see if Michael Paul can come out.

My family is close by. I can have lunch with my Mama whenever I want. I can have sleepovers with my nieces and nephews and now Claire says her cousins Ava and Pearl are her best ever friends. And God has moved in my family in huge ways-which I would have not gotten to witness firsthand had I been so far from home.

God is moving. In the last few months, he has been rewriting my ideals of what my life is supposed to look like. There have been so many days I have just looked to Him and said, “God, I don’t understand. Why me?” But, in the last year, He has taught me so much about suffering and difficult circumstances. I truly believe they have nothing to do with punishment and everything to do with sanctification. I’ve learned there were things in me that had to come out. I was finding my worth, my identity, my purpose in everything but God. Who I was was a mom, a wife, a pastor’s wife, a nurse, when really all that it matters that I am is: His. His daughter. His child. His faithful follower. My hope is in Him, only Him. But it took Him literally tearing many of those things right out from under me for me to see it. And I believe, sometimes that’s His only option.

A few weeks back, Pastor Aaron preached an amazing sermon on existing for Jesus. He said:

“Either I exist for Jesus, or I exist for myself (or others or titles or fame). He alone is our source for joy. If you believe in an eternally loving God, you will not be bound by your temporal situations. If your hope is in something bigger than your circumstances, you will not be dominated by them. To exist for Jesus means we view everything as a gift-even suffering.”

I’m a different person than I was 365 days ago. My life looks so very different than it did then. I’ve learned that when hard things happen in peoples’ lives, many friends will run, and few will remain. But God always supplies those you need when you need them. I’ve caught little glimpses of what Jesus must have felt that night in the garden, feeling all alone, looking upon those the absolute closest to Him and asking “Will no one stay awake with me?” I hope I have learned how to be a better and more faithful friend.

I have learned the true meaning of the word forgiveness and what it looks like to truly extend that to others and accept it for yourself. I’ve learned what an amazing gift free grace is. I did nothing to deserve God’s grace-I did everything not to deserve it; and yet He gives it to me, no questions asked, no contingencies. I’ve learned that being Christ’s child is ENOUGH. (Friends-keep reminding me!) I don’t have to be anything else to anyone else. I just have to be faithful with that. I’ve learned the true meaning of the word covenant, and what it looks like to keep one-even when it’s hard.

Today, I trust God more than I did 365 days ago. I’m learning to love him more still! I understand grace more. I understand how it is to completely rely on God because there seems to be no one else to rely on. My family is growing stronger. My marriage is growing stronger. My friendships are richer and more meaningful. I don’t take things for granted like I used to. God has taken what Satan meant for evil, and made it for my good and for His glory.

Each day as I walk forward in that truth, I can choose to believe what God has told me or to walk in doubt, self pity, and selfishness. To be honest-some days I choose the latter. When I’m least expecting it, a smell or a photo takes me back to that day or the weeks following, and I wallow and throw myself a pity party. If that’s you–turn to Jesus! If you hear me doing this-slap me! He is the only thing that satisfies! He is the only hope, the only source for joy! I’m grateful for my pastors and brothers and sisters in Christ who remind me when I need reminding the most.

I won’t say I will ask for suffering or difficult circumstances (who would?) but when they come I will again turn my eyes upon Jesus, and I know He will be by my side. I know He continues to grow me. He has changed my heart so much but reality is-I’m still an ugly sinner who needs Him every day.

So while, on 10/7/13, I thought it was the worst day of my life, I can look back now realizing it wasn’t the worst at all. It was a day God got my attention and said loudly, “I have so much more for you, Katie. Will you wait and see?”

“Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.” Phil 1: 18b-20

 

 

What CCF Has Meant to Me April 21, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — katiemears @ 10:16 pm

Unless you have been living under a rock, you know that, after this week, Michael will no longer be the director of Christian Campus Fellowship at Florida State. We have known this was coming since last summer. God has some exciting plans for our future and we are pumped to move forward. But these last few weeks especially have been all about looking back and celebrating.
This morning we celebrated the graduating seniors as well as the staff who is moving on. I got to share a little from the stage what this ministry has meant to me, but I thought I’d elaborate a little bit.

I came to CCF for the first time in October of 2001 with one of my floormates, Jillian. At the time I was a part of another campus ministry but I really liked the people at CCF. The group was very small, but so welcoming and close with one another. My sophomore year I remained active at the BCM and CCF (which I realize now was really stupid, so don’t judge me!) but, mostly due to my relationship and revere of Mike Waers, I chose CCF as my ministry going into my junior year and began to serve the heck out of it. At that time, Michael was getting ready to come from TCC to FSU (we were only friends then) and I invited him to check out CCF. He did and we both became leaders. We began dating in the Fall of our junior year, and we both found a spiritual “dad” in Mike Waers. Finishing up our Senior year, Michael and I were engaged and planning for our future. We knew I had a one year commitment at TMH after graduation so, when Mike Waers approached Michael about an internship, we decided to go for it. He knew he was interested in ministry and that it’d be fun to live the college life without the homework. All the while, we were planning for heading to seminary in North Carolina post-internship with no plans to make Tallahassee home. I used to joke that the only way we would EVER come back to Tallahassee was if Mike Waers retired, and Michael took his job. Little did I know…

Four months into Michael’s one year internship, Mike Waers told us he was leaving to go work for a supporting church in Ormond Beach. This was, by no means, in any of our plans. Mike WAS CCF. He was everything to this ministry, and to us. What’s more, he wanted Michael to take his job. Michael the 22 year old who had been a Christian for a little over 2 years, with no formal training and 4 months of ministry experience. Mike Waers believed in him back then when it didn’t seem logical. He’d never even heard Michael preach a sermon. But he knew there was something special about him.

We were 2 months from getting married and I was already planning my life in beautiful North Carolina, the place I had always wanted to live. Staying at CCF was not in my plan, and I made sure my husband to be knew it. I fought, tooth and nail, against it, and then, I had my first exercise in submission when Michael decided this is what we needed to do. We “interviewed” with the CCF board as a technicality and we were named the new directors of CCF just weeks after our wedding day.

To say our first year of marriage, and of ministry was rocky would be an understatement. Looking back, I can see so many mistakes I made. I was so selfish. We always say that marriage makes you realize how truly selfish you are. This was beyond true for me. I was still bitter in a lot of ways that this was what we were doing. While I saw the good that was happening (we had our first two conversions the Fall we were named director and first lady), I didn’t want to be here. And I made it known. I resented the times when Michael would go next door to his office (yes, we lived on the CCF property for the first 15 months of our marriage) and not return for hours. I resented how the students would come over and never leave. I felt like my young husband cared more for them than he did for me. And I told him. So often that I can still remember the conversation we had sitting in the brick apartment where I made my husband, so clearly called to ministry, question that calling, and almost call it quits.

From that moment on, I prayed. I prayed that God would change my heart. I prayed that He would allow me to love the students, the ministry, the campus the way Michael did. I prayed He would give me opportunity to serve and to love students. That He would show me the vision He had so clearly shown Michael. Rather than resisting, I began to embrace. I lead small groups, I met one on one with girls, I made myself available. By God’s grace, He began to change my heart. It completely changed my perspective and, I believe, allowed Michael to minister more freely.

Over the years, CCF has morphed and changed so much. When I started it was a group of maybe 20 students. Through the vision Michael has casted of being “Devoted to Christ. Devoted to Campus.” and God’s faithfulness, we have grown! We have seen over 150 students on a given Monday night coming and hearing the Gospel. They come because our students invite them, because our students have been a part of their lives, loving them and showing them Jesus. They come because our students “get it.”

There have been so many victories over the years. When Michael’s vision of “Go Week,” our mission trip to campus, became reality, what a victory! To see how it’s grown has been incredible, watching these students PAY to come back EARLY to serve our campus. What a joy and a surprise to watch 300 students flood the CCF lawn to eat pancakes at 11pm. One of my big favorites has been watching students baptize other students, especially those who had only just been baptized the semester before. And then this semester, having CCF awarded the Mores Award for exemplifying the Seminole tradition of Service was the answer to what we’d been praying for so long.

The funny thing is that a lot of people have been focusing on what Michael, me, or the other staff has meant to them. But, I have never been more challenged by a group of people in my life. I have learned so much from them. A girl whom I started out “mentoring” 2 years ago has become my best friend and the person I now turn to to speak the truth of God into my heart. Even today, as the seniors’ peers shared stories of how they had impacted their lives, it was so neat I hadn’t heard many of the stories! To me this means that this ministry is so much more than Michael or me or Nathan or any staff. It’s first about Jesus, and then about the students who carry the vision to the campus. I heard a sophomore tell a senior “You were the first example of a Godly woman I had had in my life.” You can’t replace moments like those.

CCF students and staff have truly become both our best friends and our family. When my earthly family lets me down, I know I have these people. I know they have my back and they will go to God on my behalf. They have been there through my marriage and the birth of both of my babies. They loved on 3 little strangers like they were there own when we got the crazy idea to become foster parents a few years back. My children literally LIGHT UP when their “CCF friends” (as MP calls them) show up. I will be honored if my kids grow up to be like these kids.

Moving forward, we are excited! We are excited for our own future but all the more for the future of CCF. It is being left in the capable hands of two of our awesome interns as well as new director, Kane Miller. But more than that, it’s being left in the hands of our students. Our students who love Jesus, others, and truly live “Devoted to Christ. Devoted to Campus.”

Thank you all, current students and “Has Beens” alike for all you have meant to me and to my family. The impact you have made on my life is irreplaceable. In those early months, when I resisted so hard, I could have never dreamed that now 6 years later, it would be so very hard to say good bye.

 

One More April 2, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — katiemears @ 3:51 am

Just after the New Year, Michael and I brought our 6 year old nephew, Timmy, home to live with us for a time. We asked my brother and Timmy’s mom to let us take him the rest of the school year to help him finish out the school year and allow them to work on making a stable life for Timmy. Since coming here Timmy got promoted from kindergarten to first grade and even made Student of the Month in March. Then last week we asked Timmy’s mom to come live with us so that we could help her make a life for Timmy here in town. This experience overall has been so reminiscent of our days as foster parents-so many of the same struggles and wins. Having his mom here has been new but we can already see so many positive things coming out of it.
Just last week as Michael was telling someone about our new housemate, they asked him, “How many people fit at your house?” Currently we have two people in each of our three bedrooms. But, Michael’s response is 1. One of the many reasons I love him and 2. Just confirmation God has given us the same heart for his people. Michael looked at the person who asked how many fit in our house and said, “One more.”

 

for He cares for you January 25, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — katiemears @ 4:00 pm

This last week, a friend (who shall remain nameless!) accused me of being “The Ultimate Mom complainer” on Twitter. Because of who it was, I pretty much laughed it off, threw an insult back at him, and moved on. But then, I got to thinking, “Am I?”

My days are filled with my children. Many days we don’t leave the house and I don’t see another adult until Michael comes home at 5:30 in the evening. Those are definitely my hardest days, as I’ve been wired to be a people person. My children are my greatest gift. Truly they are. There are so many days I sit and listen to Claire giggle at her brother, or hear MP tell me I’m his best friend, and I stop to thank God for the gift that is them.

They are also my biggest challenge in life. I am constantly concerned with how I am caring for them, raising them, what I am teaching them, do I spend enough time with them? They make me angry, make me cry, make me worry, and so many other emotions. And, I am so guilty of trying to mother them in my own power, rather than relying on the power of the Great One who gave them to me. I think this is when I tend to “reach out” to the outside world through my social medias, just so someone knows I’m still there, they’re with me, and it ain’t easy.

This past weekend, Michael was out of town on a fundraising trip for CCF. I am the first to admit: I suck at parenting solo. I absolutely hate when Michael has to go away and I dread those times. Thankfully, my mom came up this weekend to help out but, it was an overly trying weekend. Without too much COMPLAINT, both my kids were very sick (found out later that Claire had a severe ear infection) and, we were housebound a lot of the weekend. Couple that with still trying to get the hang of having my nephew in the house, and it was a toughie. But, still, I kept trying to do it on my own. I don’t know about you but, most of the time, I don’t even realize what I am doing when I leave God out of my struggles. Maybe it’s that I don’t think He has time for something as mundane as the fact that we haven’t slept in 3 nights, my husband’s gone, my son is PMSing, and I can’t control these boys any longer. Or maybe it’s that I think I’m just so darn strong, I can figure it out.

But, that’s the thing about God. He is the God of the Universe who has time and power to simultaneously care about and tend to the mundane of my life while dealing with the BIG issues of the world. And, as I was so gently reminded yesterday, He cares to.

1 Peter 5:6-7 says, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” He cares for me! He cares for you! He wants our anxiety, our cares, our worries, our needs. I sat at Urgent Care with Claire on Monday night with my baby whom I’d never seen that sick. I saw the temp of 104.6 degrees on the thermometer and I cried. Did I mention, Michael wasn’t there because he was at work? It was hard. Are there harder things I could have been going through? Yes, for sure. But in that moment, God knew I was weak. It wasn’t until the next morning when I finally got to sneak a shower that I realized what I’d been doing all weekend. In my weakness, I’d been relying on myself, or other human beings-flawed and weak themselves.

It was then that God reminded me of the simple truth found in 2 Corinthians 12:9: “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” Boast in my weakness? What? This is so contrary to the independence and strength we are expected to have. At all costs, I must cover my flaws and put up a strong front for all to see. But here, Christ pleads with us to recognize our need for Him.

So, whether it’s a sick child or a dying parent, He cares. He cares for us. He wants our anxiety and our weakness and he means to replace it with the power and strength only He can.

 

A Spiritual Bludgeon January 16, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — katiemears @ 2:17 am

One of my New Year’s Resolutions is to get back into blogging, if for no one else than myself. Cause, does anybody really read this thing?

Rather than trying to catch up with all I’ve missed, we’re just going to move forward.

If you follow Michael’s blog or our life on FB or Twitter, you know that our time at CCF is coming to an end at the end of this school year. Probably every other day, we get asked if we know what we’re doing afterward yet. The answer: no. We know what we hope we’re doing: working in a church (preferably in Tally but not limited to) and taking seminary classes. Waiting on a few ducks to fall in a row before we know if we’ll be making a big move, or staying put. The more we’ve thought about moving, the more we realize how much we truly love this town and its people. No matter what, even if we’re called away, we could totally see ourselves returning here in the future to minister. There is a magnetic force on this place that continues to draw us in.

A lot of what I want to write in this post is related to this life-altering thing that’s about to happen to us in changing ministries. Michael and I have basically known this was coming since I’d say May of last year. Therefore, we’ve had a lot of time to work through a lot of options. The best word to describe it is truly: a rollercoaster. We’ve had times where we were 99% sure we knew what we were doing, trying to read into all the “signs” and then, just like that, it changed. While I feel like Michael and I have done a pretty good job trusting in God’s providence through this all, I know there have been times I’ve tried to take matters into my own hands. Today, sitting in service, I was confronted with my sin over the last few months. The sin of seeking to please men, and not God, as well as not trusting that He who called me out of darkness, and into His glorious light, has our future in His hands.

I realized today that, as each opportunity has come upon us, I’ve tried to be someone different. It’s not even nessacarily that I’m being something I’m not but, that I have to prove something to someone. I have to prove to this person or that person that we’d be a great family to have in their church, on their ministry team, in their school. If we can just say the right things, be in the right places at the right time, or show this certain part of who we are, then, of course, they’ll want us on board.

Why? How can I be so dumb as to think that we have anything better to offer to any church, person, school, or ministry than Christ in us? His excellency is so great that it can overshadow and wipe away any sin I might have in me! It’s also 1000x greater than any GOOD I have in me. What I should have been hoping for was that, they’d be able to look past ME, and see only HIM in ME.

Today He gave me 1 Thessalonians 2:4: “On the contrary, we speak as ment approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts.” When I think of my sin, and who I was and still am, I wonder why I was ever entrusted with the gospel, especially in the form of ministry, but I was. But, the second part of the verse just beats me over the head: we are not trying to please men, but God who tests our hearts. These men, these people, these churches, schools, etc. do not hold our future in their hands, although sometimes it may feel that way. Nothing we can do, say, or prove will decide where and if we have a job in 4 months. Only God can do such a thing. And, He has always taken care of us, in spite of us, if we are following Him as we are sure we are now.

This morning we sang a Sovereign Grace song called “Completely Done.” Musical worship has always been such a powerful way for me to connect with God, and I’m thankful for this new song which spoke to me today.

What reason have I to doubt
Why would I dwell in fear
When all I have known is grace
My future in Christ is clear

My sins have been paid in full
There’s no condemnation here
I live in the good of this
My Father has brought me near
I’m leaving my fears behind me now

The old is gone, the new has come
What You complete is completely done
We’re heirs with Christ, the victory won
What You complete is completely done

I don’t know what lies ahead
What if I fail again
You are my confidence
You’ll keep me to the end
I’m leaving my fears behind me now

 

Seattle, Day 1 September 9, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — katiemears @ 10:33 am

Getting ready to fly out!

Last weekend, Michael and I had the amazing opportunity to travel to Seattle to celebrate our 6th Anniversary. I know, 6 years is kind of random for a huge trip but, we had planned to take a big trip last year for our 5 year anniversary. My sister became pregnant with my niece and was due just a few days after our anniversary, and I became pregnant with Claire, and there went our trip.

So, we promised we’d make it up this year but wanted to wait till Claire was old enough to not be too much of a handful for my mom, who volunteered to watch the kids for us. What a blessing! Not only is it amazing to take a trip without kids but, what is more wonderful is knowing they are in such great hands. The kids had a blast visiting Grandma’s house and I’m pretty sure Claire both ate and slept better for my mom than she does for me!

Thursday morning we loaded up the kids for the trip to Tampa. Conveniently enough, my newest niece, Pearl, had made her way into the world the Friday before so we had to get to Tampa early enough to catch a glimpse and a snuggle with Pearl before flying out of Tampa International. So, why Seattle? Lots of people have asked us this. Last year we signed up for a Delta SkyMiles credit card and one of the perks was receiving a free companion pass (basically buy one ticket, get one free for the same flight). So, we wanted to go somewhere we had to fly and the flight would be fairly pricey to get our money’s worth! We started looking into Maine but decided since we only had 3 days, we didn’t want to go somewhere we had to rent a car and drive from airport to our destination. Michael especially has always wanted to go to Seattle and one of his favorite preachers, Mark Driscoll, has a church in Seattle. We love the West Coast and Seattle is somewhere neither of us has ever been. Since I am much more traveled than Michael, it is sometimes hard to find places neither of us has been. So, Seattle it was! Then, our anniversary isn’t until November but, we wanted to go before it got TOO cold out there and at a time that’d be most convenient for my mom to have the kids. So, Labor Day weekend it was!

We flew out of Tampa at 6pm on Thursday night and didn’t arrive there until 11:50pm PST (2:50am in Florida!) We got our bags, found our shuttle and headed straight to our hotel. I so wished we hadn’t flown in the dark because our route took us from Tampa to Minneapolis, then Minneapolis to Seattle, flying us right over North Dakota, Wyoming, Idaho, and the entire state of Washington. Would have loved to see those Rocky Mountains from above!

Sunset out the plane window

So, onto the REAL Day 1!
First highlight of Day 1 was sleeping in as late as we wanted! Of course, when you have small children and have just traveled 3 time zones over, that’s not so easy! We wound up getting up about 9am Seattle time, getting ready and heading out. Wow! What a welcome surprise to walk out of our hotel to the coolest Fall morning and bright sunshine! It was such amazing weather!!!! We found a corner cafe, got some coffee and breakfast and enjoyed sitting at a sidewalk table. We knew Seattle would be a big city but, it didn’t really feel dirty or scary like some big cities. And pretty much every street you looked down you could see the beautiful bay looking back at you, which certainly added to its beauty. We decided to walk down to the Seattle City Centre to walk around. This is where the Space Needle is. We walked around and saw the science museum, a rock n roll museum, the space needle, and more. We had about an hour to kill so we decided to go into the music museum. It was about the only part of Seattle that disappointed us but, this is mostly because we’re not as into music as some.

Afterwards, we had a 2pm reservation for the Duck Tour. If you’ve never been on a duck tour, it is not your average tour!

Duck!

The “duck” is a car which rides the streets of the city, but can also become a boat to go into the water. The tour guides on the duck are crazy entertainers. Ours wore some funny hats and wigs, told jokes, and played hilarious music LOUD as we rode through the streets. It was such a fun tour! We got to float into Lake Union, the lake on which the house scenes in Sleepless in Seattle were filmed.

Downtown Seattle from Lake Union

After our tour, we walked down to the Bay, walking through a scuplture park right on the water, and had an early dinner at Ivar’s, a famous seafood restaurant, where we feasted on crab cakes, clam chowder, and fish and chips. While at dinner, we saw tons of people wearing Seattle Seahawks gear. We asked one lady about it and if there was a game going on. She let us know there was a preseason game vs. the Raiders that night in just a few hours. So, we randomly decided to go down and see if we could get some tickets! We bought some $120 tickets from some nice Canadians for $20 a piece! Score!

Before the game we got to go into Safeco Field, home of the Seattle Mariners and see the stadium. I was so sad there was no Mariners game that weekend (big baseball fan here) but was excited to enjoy the football game. This was Michael’s first time in a NFL stadium/at a NFL game so, he was pretty pumped. It was a beautiful stadium and beautiful night for a game. And, the Seahawks won! Great end to a wonderful first day!!!

The Mears at Century Link Stadium

Stay tuned for days 2 and 3!

 

7 months of pure joy! July 24, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — katiemears @ 7:00 am

Our Claire turns 7 months today! I can hardly believe it. I feel like the pregnancy just dragged on and now her infancy is flying by. We are so blessed by this little lady. We could have never hoped for a sweeter, more relaxed, happy baby. People are constantly commenting on how good and “chill” she is, which is so true of her. I just adore her beautiful smile and her little giggles. My favorite part about the last 7 months has been watching her brother and her interact. He absolutely adores his sister and makes it his goal each day to make her smile and laugh. I love it!

So, Claire, here is a quick rundown of what you’re up to these days:
-You have 1 1/2 teeth! Your second one broke through just a few days ago.
-You love to smile and laugh, especially at your big brother. You also giggle uncontrollably when Mommy kisses your neck.
-You have rolled over from front to back a handful of times but only from back to front once, and that was while you were swaddled in your crib for naptime!
-You just learned to sit up on your own and you love to sit and play with your toys. You also like your exersaucer (sometimes) and your Baby Einstein playmat.
-You drink your bottles 4-5 times a day and you are eating solids (cereal/fruits/veggies) 2-3 times a day now. You LOVE solid food! You have also had little bites of bread or watermelon when Mommy is eating.
-You take 3 naps a day and you sleep from 7pm-6:30am most every night!
-You just finally got to where you are not swaddled for nighttime or naptime any more! What a big girl!
-EVERYTHING goes in your mouth! You are a drooly little thing.

Can’t wait to see what the coming months will hold for our girl. We love you, Claire Helen Mears!