We have an 11 year old. Not a teenager, not a kid, but a middle schooler who is making middle school seem WAY better than I remember it. She’s got great friends, deep passions, killer grades (straight A+) at a phenomenal school, big goals and an aura around her that just makes people want to stick close.

Annabelle is fairly self-aware these days, so I’ll jump to the part where I tell you what SHE told me today, 1 day into being 11:

  • Favorite food: Chinese
  • Favorite animal: horse, alpaca
  • Best friend: Ava
  • Favorite hobby: Archery
  • Favorite thing to play: legos, hobby horsing
  • Favorite school subject: Math
  • Biggest fears: Heights, vomiting
  • Capability she’s most proud of: Leadership
  • Thing she needs to work on: Compassion
  • Favorite song/movie/etc: Hamilton
  • Favorite color: Maroon
  • What she wants to be when she grows up: Mounted archer entrepreneur
  • Place she wants to visit: Costa Rica
  • Thing she wants to achieve this year: High score at Archery Nationals

On my end, really I just hope I get another year of this sweet girl who is still more kid than teen (boys are still gross, pretend play is still fun, Santa is still out there) – not yet moody, sad, angry and generally a mess like I hear she’ll become soon enough. Here she is rolling her eyes, but we honestly don’t see a lot of it yet (and it’s mainly directed at her sister):

I also hope Annabelle continues to want to work hard in archery, because I love this unusual passion of hers where she strives to achieve something that requires incredible focus and work ethic. And I hope she really will grow her empathy and compassion – she tries (and doesn’t have an attitude about it when we call her out) but it really isn’t easy for her because she is always stuck in her own head (much like her dad, he’ll admit). But mainly, I hope Annabelle continues to do whatever she is doing, because I am blown away by just about everything about her, daily.

Happy birthday, my beautiful tween!

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