This girl has always been special, but we cannot get enough of the new middle school her. While it is rare that she remembers to shower on her own, seldom matches her socks and often forgets to brush her hair (photo below was after we had to do some major tangle triage), she has become so incredibly responsible at school, and is continuing her straight A+ streak through lots of hard work and accountability (she stays for office hours several days a week to make sure she’s prepared for everything).
Last month when Annabelle’s archery coach told her she wasn’t progressing fast enough, she started setting her alarm for 5:40 every morning to do strengthening exercises for her arms and back… and sure enough, she ended up going to the state championship yesterday and blew away all of our expectations, shooting her personal best (224 for her second 30 arrows) coming in 7th out of 15 in her division against girls who’d been shooting FAR longer than she had (all we were hoping for was that she would be able to shoot all 60 arrows, with a stretch goal of not coming in last):

Even better, the competition far from intimidated her – it made her want to shoot MORE. She is now BEGGING Marc to move one of his cars so she can set up a shooting area in the garage. The national championship (also at Texas A&M) is on February 2nd and she is determined to improve her score the next time we are back on campus sipping Starbucks:

As much as she loves archery, Annabelle is far from one-track these days. She is still obsessed with horses (last weekend she baked horse treats and distributed them to everyone she knows who has any access to horses) and asked Santa for nothing but horse tack. Her ultimate goal is to do mounted archery, which sounds like possibly the most dangerous activity on earth… but it’s good to have goals. And there’s more along with archery and horses! She now spends free time making stop motion animation lego movies and practicing trombone, and is 100% fascinated by World Cultures (this afternoon she created a traditional Saungok instrument out of cardboard as an extra fun element for her presentation on Myanmar). And then there’s her incessant dog training…

How could you not love this kid? I never thought I’d say this (and I may bite my tongue in 6 months), but this tween age may just be the most entertaining and fulfilling yet.