Have you ever seen a more fierce 11 year old girl?

Our Mongolian Warrior (lesson #5)

In case the photo above isn’t clear, Annabelle has found her “true life’s passion” – mounted archery! She took one lesson as part of “mama camp” and it was an instant two-way love affair. The coach (who is an international champion) said he’s never seen anyone pick it up so quickly, and Annabelle can’t get enough. I mean, what 11yo would beg to wake up before 6AM on Saturday AND Sunday to get in as much training time as possible? While it’s not especially convenient or practical and seems to have no potential for future scholarships, it’s tough to deny a kid who has fallen so deeply in love with an activity that has to improve strength, focus, confidence, and bravery – especially in a girl who is prone to anxiety and (scarily) began wasting away over the summer.

Learning to make tempura bananas – yum!

Annabelle’s springtime focus on healthier eating became fairly obsessive in the way that she tends to go deep into EVERYTHING that piques her interest, and suddenly with summer came a few inches growth along with surprising weight loss. Luckily we caught it right away and have been combatting it with the help of her pediatrician, encouraging her to cook (which she loves – she makes dinner as often as Marc and I do these days!), and reminding her about the importance of strengthening and fueling her body if she wants to become the warrior she plans to be.

Trying Salade Nicoise in Quebec

Along with Annabelle’s focus on health and transforming into a centaur before our eyes, she is gearing up for a successful 7th grade year. Her teachers and classes all seem great, but because she’s heard from so many people that 7th is the toughest year at Kealing, she equated it this week to “being told you’re going to get punched at some point during Christmas Day.” She’s enjoying her teachers, her friends, and everything else but is waiting for the work to pile up and overtake the joy. We’ve seen inklings of that anxiety creeping back in, but we’re cautiously optimistic that we can keep it at bay for as long as possible, ideally using mounted archery and cooking as a calming distraction when things heat up.

Driving the Duck boat in Boston Harbor

Annabelle is never easy to predict and rarely easy to parent, but never ceases to amaze us. So we’re just buckling up and seeing what this school year will bring. And beyond this school year. Like for instance, if there’s ever an apocalypse – she’s totally the one you want nearby if that happens!

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