Annabelle: 11 and a HALF

This face! If this is her awkward stage…

What a summer this girl is having! After 3 weeks of horse camp, she set off for the dude ranch and came back a western rider – the whole experience was “life changing” and her big goal now is to ride enough to become a junior wrangler at the CM ranch when she turns 16. It seems far fetched, but this girl is nothing if not goal oriented! She is also continuing to grow – up, not out. She has a newfound focus on eating healthy and exercising which I’m watching carefully (since these days, eating disorders are not uncommon at this age), but so far, she seems to just want to be as fit as one needs to be to wrangle, among other things…

Long, tall Texans… in Colorado

Annabelle took a long break from archery with all of our summer adventures, but seems interested in keeping up the hard work and staying on course for her 2028 Olympic dreams (you won’t ever accuse her for thinking small). I like to think archery has a calming effect on her, which will be important as she tackles 7th grade. She has already had a few minor anxiety moments where she’s gotten nervous about her summer homework and her upcoming year of algebra (a high school level class, as an 11yo – daunting). I do love that limiting her screen time seems to have rekindled her love of baking (you should see her most recent “sushi cake” – and the 48 chocolate chip cookies she baked for our beach trip) and reading – both calming hobbies for sure.

Lounging, reading, relaxing – a good break for our girl in motion.

This should be an interesting year in general for Annabelle. We’re already seeing the beginnings of puberty, so I’m guessing she might look a bit different by this time next year. Hopefully the hormones won’t kick in too hard and we won’t have too much in the way of mood swings beyond her current occasional sullen, short answers. She can be a tough nut to crack without any of that (unlike her open book sister), so my goal for the year is simply to be around, ready and willing to talk about anything and everything without scaring her away. Simple, right?

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