Ten.5

Do you know what this is?

It’s a middle schooler. GULP. Well, technically it’s a girl on her very last day of elementary school. While it’s hard to believe her time at Travis Heights Elementary is over, we are 100% sure she is ready. She ruled that school this year, and the graduation awards ceremony was almost comical with how many times she was called on stage and recognized (she swears it was only 10) – for academics, art, music, PE, tech crew, photojournalism, student council… or and did we mention that (after a steep competition and a school-wide vote) she and her friend Adeline won the t-shirt contest, and their design will be the official 2018-2019 shirt?

In other words, Annabelle is ready for anything… or more appropriately, everything. Lately she’s decided to become a contortionist. Along with an olympic archer, fashion designer, architect, inventor and entrepreneur (I’m sure I’m missing some). She’s also constantly baking, reading, dog training, drawing…. basically, always doing SOMETHING, and leaving a mess in her wake. She is messy, occasionally aloof, and still not always aware of those around her (in this way she is the opposite of her little sis), but this doesn’t seem to deter her giant group of super-close girl friends, whom she loves to pieces.

These girls are amazing – 8 of them, and I’ve never once heard of fights between them or rifts among them. Only one of them (her buddy Roisin) will be joining her at Kealing Middle School next year, but they’ve all made a pact to stay close with monthly get-togethers. Luckily they almost all live within walking distance of our house, and a bunch of them will join Annabelle in some of her camps this summer.

It really feels like there’s nothing this girl can’t do if she sets her mind to it… which means we can’t wait to see what she ends up setting her mind to in the coming years as she goes from tween to teen and young adult. It feels so far away right now but if her elementary school experience is telling, it’s going to fly by in a flash! Ready… aim…. here we go!

Annabelle is TEN

We blinked and this happened:

I can hardly believe that Annabelle is a decade old – though she has long been the most responsible person in our house! At 10, she has really come into her own as a leader and loyal friend in her beloved group of 5th grade girls (impressive since she is younger than all of them). She’ll do anything for these kids – and has been less focused on academics lately because of it – but we don’t mind (grades slipping more toward A- than A; she’ll survive). These girls are some of the kindest, brightest and most interesting we’ve met, and shockingly all get along without drama, push each other to achieve (they all want to go to the coveted magnet middle schools together!), and introduce each other to new adventures on a daily basis. It will be so bittersweet when the gang “breaks up” for middle school, though we are hoping at least a handful will end up wherever Annabelle does.

Speaking of middle school, we’re about ready to turn in her applications to Kealing (the most academically rigorous), Ann Richards (a girls’ leadership academy) and Fulmore (continuing Spanish immersion and studying humanities and law). She’ll be thrilled to get into Kealing or Ann Richards. We’ll know in March (she still needs to do testing, interviews, and in-school essays) and once we do, I’ll post her application essay here for posterity.

When Annabelle isn’t at school, doing her two favorite activities of archery and gymnastics, or playing with friends, she is always working on her latest idea. She wants to be an inventor and entrepreneur when she grows up, and is constantly taping / gluing/ sewing/ planning her next product, completely trashing her room in the process. We got her a dress form for her birthday because her favorite show is Project Runway and we couldn’t take another day of recycled pastry container / cardboard box / metal tubing mannequins. Speaking of which, when I asked her what she wanted to work on as a 10yo, she replied, “Neatness.” But when I asked what skill she’d ask for if she could have any, she replied that she’d like to be “the smartest and most cunning person in the world – and also the tallest Olympic gymnast in history.” I love her answers to my questions almost as much as I love the questions she asks me. Since she could talk, she’s hit us with “What’s your 3rd favorite animal” or “Would you rather have no teeth or one arm” or “What is your ideal biome to live in?”

Despite my occasional exasperation over the nonstop talking and gigantic messes, I hope Annabelle never stops asking questions, dreaming up ideas, or making messes full of inventions or projects. I don’t think we need to worry – it’s pretty clear that this first decade was simply a warm-up for what’s to come. And while I don’t want to rush a single second of it, I can’t wait to see what happens next because I have no doubt it will be spectacular!

Happy decade day to the one-of-a-kind, beautiful, bright Annabelle Claire!

 

 

Six.8 and Nine.8

Here we are – 1st and 5th grade!

The girls have had a pretty good start to the school year. It began with a solar eclipse on the first day of school (does it get better than that?)  but then wasn’t without its bumps and bruises, with Hurricane Harvey throwing us for a loop including 18 hours of no power and a 2-hour-start delay. Of course we certainly can’t complain about that, given what our poor neighbors in Houston and the coast have gone through.  But also, the teacher situation has been a little tough – Annabelle says her teacher (new to the school this year) “has no sense of humor” and Clementine’s teacher’s mother died right before school started, leaving Clem with a substitute for the first 8 days. Still – they are happy to be back in school, happy to be back with their friends (even more friends, now that the Thornburgh boys have joined Travis Heights!), and starting to get back into the swing of things.

#1 Clementine Update: We’ve finally lost that narwhal tooth!

You can see from the tear that it was slightly traumatic, involving Annabelle’s knee and a whole lot of blood… but she was thrilled with the end result (including $5 bucks from a certain fairy) and her big tooth is already on its way down like a giant iceberg in her little mouth full of chiclets!

#1 Annabelle Update:

Despite complaints about teachers and slight regression on the sleep front (poor kid – this is never going to be easy, is it?), Annabelle has already won the first “Super Citizen Award” of the year (“for her wonderful focus in the classroom”) and has already had something like 6 playdates in 10 school days:

But this month, the biggest update of all is not about a Davis Daughter at all – it’s about the Dada they are extra proud of because he has officially launched his new business!

We celebrated properly at hot rod night at the Top Notch, filling ourselves with milkshakes and fried pies and rockabilly music amid throngs of old, smelly gas guzzling cars.

All in all, the girls are doing as well as ever, excited about all of the fun of fall – picking out Halloween costumes (Clem is pretty firm on a wolf, but Annabelle is fluctuating between an eagle and Katniss Everdeen) and getting back into their favorite activities (including adding Hebrew for Annabelle since she has decided she’d like a bat mitzvah). When they have free time, they spend it building legos or magnatile villages for their stuffies, or reading as usual (Clem just finished Mrs. Frisby and the rats of NIMH; the school librarian has found a new stack for Annabelle), They’ve already planned their joint birthday party (a Project Runway theme where Annabelle’s friends are the designers and Clem’s friends are the models), and have already started lobbying for a pet hamster for Christmas. In other words, things are as crazy as ever at the Davis house, which is perfectly fine with us!

Nine.3

We need to slow this girl down. She just got her third-quarter report card (all A’s, as usual) and I realized she only has one more year before heading off to middle school. Too fast! But man, is she growing up into an amazing young woman.

Annabelle’s version of heaven would involve gymnastics, archery, cheeseburgers (with onions), a pile of fantasy or “warrior” books (she snuck her way into the Hunger Games trilogy and is loving it), and her best girl friends. And man, she is putting in her 10,000 hours to be a master in all of those categories (okay maybe not the cheeseburgers). She is most often found upside down working on a new gymnastics move – only because we don’t have an archery range at home. And she lives for playdates – cannot get enough of her school besties Roisin, Charlotte, Indigo, and Adeline but is generally happy in any room with any kid within a couple years of her age. And even the most hard-to-befriend kids warm up to her – because how can you not be won over by Annabelle?

Annabelle is still forever dreaming up ideas and projects. On Sunday morning she woke us up by coming into our room and asking if I could help her sew a button because she was designing a wrist guard to wear while holding a shield in case someone’s shot (arrow? nerf bullet?) got around the shield and hit your arm.  And the number of times I’ll be in the middle of something and she’ll ask for twine, or a large adult sock, or a stiff piece of cardboard… it’s endless (and always entertaining). Very few of the ideas are “marketable” (“I want to make hand shoes for people who want to walk down rough terrain on their hands”), so Marc in particular is curious when the ideas will take a more… practical shape. But I figure practicality is easier to learn than creativity!

Speaking of creativity, Annabelle’s mile-a-minute mind is still causing some sleep problems. The other night, after having a funny conversation about data points that look similar but have nothing to do with each other (correlation vs. causality) that included extreme love of cheese with dying by being tangled in your bedsheets, AbCD got so worried about her cheese-loving sister Clementine that she was terrified she’d die that very night. We had to go together into Clem’s room and see her sleeping peacefully (and have another conversation about correlation vs. causality) to calm her anxious brain! Even she thinks her brain is funny sometimes (we can laugh together about the tricks it pulls on her) – even when she can’t control it – which to me is just so completely Annabelle and so completely Awesome. I wouldn’t change a thing (except how quick this childhood is whizzing by). Happy 9.25, sweet fantastic girl.

New Orleans 

Did you know that New Orleans is the most haunted city in America😧😳👻

When we got there we checked in to our HUGE still fancy but HUGE hotel. Then we went to the palace cafe and there were these cool New Orleans singers that came to our table and sung a few songs (they were really good. You should of heard them. I had a Scrumshiddlydumpshios steak and Clementine had angel’s hair pasta. After our dinner we had a bananas foster and the waiter cooked it up close to our table and in one part the flames went so high I lept back a foot. After that we walked back through the lit up night to the hotel and then went to bed.

In the morning I fooled Clem by putting no sound headphones that I wear to bed on my giant unicorn stuffed animal, tucked her in and Clementine totally thought I turned into a unicorn but then found me. Then we went down to Cafe Du Monde for some Scrumshiddlydumpshios beignets with warm hot cocoa. Then we looked down the shops and eventually made it back to the hotel where we checked out and started our drive home


Savannah 

I don’t think you know this but Savannah is a pirate town. To me that’s pretty cool👻😧

When we got there we went to an awesome haunted pirate cafe called the pirate house for a scrumptious lunch. It was kind of spooky. There was also a pirate chest filled with lollipops😝🍭. It turns out that when the Pirates used to go there when they had to much beer and stuff they would pass out and the other pirates would put them down a chute and they would wake up on a ship in the middle of the ocean. Once a Savannah policeman went to have a drink at the Pirates house and woke up on a ship sailing to China. It took him 2 YEARS to get back to Savannah. Later we got really good ice cream from Leopold ‘s After that we went on a walk by the riverfront. There we got Eddie (for those that do not know he is our dog) a bow tie collar and a puppy lollipop treat. Then we checked in to our fancy hotel had a warm bath after swimming in the pool of the hotel and we found out that lit the window doors open to the bathtub (in the picture below mama took a picture through the door things) and then ordered a fancy dinner and then went to bed.

In the morning we walked down a few blocks of Savannah to a coffee shop where me and Clem had croissants and she had apple juice and I had a smoothie (it was good I recommend if you ever go to Savannah eat at the sentient bean for breakfast) then we walked through the park back to the hotel. Then we checked out and left.

Charleston

When we got there we went on a walk in downtown and then we met Liv and Kai and their mom Carolyn (their dad Eric was on a trip) for dinner and we saw a cool rainbow so big that I had to look through 3 windows. Then we went to their house and met their dog Rosa a tiger stripy brindle mutt and she was super cute.

In the morning we got up and played for about an hour around the house  and then went to the beach. At the beach there was SuperBig waves (and yes I created the word SuperBig) on the biggest Kai tried to use the boogie board as a shield but only I got behind but he held it from the bottom and as it tipped backwards Kai landed on top but I was trapped under and held there for almost a minute but I escaped. The waves were so big that they were practically tsunamis 🏖 😧 After the beach the parents got beer and adult stuff and the kids got frozen yogurt at dolce banana ( if you ever go there try the mint chocolate chip) After that we went home, had dinner and went to bed. 

In the morning only the Davis family went on a carriage ride to see the town of charleston. It was interesting and at the stop I got to pet a mule. After that their dad came home. After the ride we went to the marine biology lab that their dad works at and we were on a mission to catch fiddler crabs for a turtle missing 3 claws and I held a horseshoe crab. Did you know that they have blue blood and are more related to spiders than crabs. and then went kayacking to the beach and me and Liv found a dead horseshoe crab, it was a male, we also caught some tiny fiddler crabs. then we drifted down the slow current. After that we went home and the babysitter came and we played on mine craft and went to bed.

In the morning we woke up and packed our boxes and then played a little and then we left.

Wilmington

When we got there we met Kaylen and Noah the kids who were 11 and 8  Later we went go carting around the block and met some of Noah’s friends and then we had a Scrumshiddlydumpshios  dinner.

 In the morning we played a little more and then we went to the aquarium and saw sharks fish and turtles. And I pet a shark. It felt like leather. After that we played with Pokemon and carted again and then had dinner and went to bed. 

In the morning we got in swimsuits and went to Carolina beach and played and had lunch there (we stayed the for the afternoon) and then we went to the neighborhood pool for about 20 minutes and had dinner and then went to bed. In the morning we went to see the city. First we went to lunch and then looked around the shops and I created my own necklace with even a real shark tooth!. Then we went on a boat tour on the cape fear river and went back. Then me and Kaylen drew and Noah and Clem played in the yard after that we had dinner and dessert and watched big hero 6. 

In the morning we watched some more movies, played, had lunch and then left. Wilmington looks like a cool place to live😀

The outer banks

The outer banks is my favorite beach👍🏻🏝

When we got there we went to tortugas lie a restaurant. Which had Scrumshiddlydumpshios food and we got a seat next to a little aquarium which was cool Then we went to the beach to put our feet in. Then we made a one and a half hour drive to the hotel. In the morning we had an apple ugly. An apple ugly is a famous pastry of North Carolina. Tis also Scrumshiddlydumpshios  Then we went we went to the beach and we wave jumped dove  and made dribble castles. Then we went to the cape hatteras lighthouse the biggest made out of bricks. It was huge! Last but not least we drove to a ferry.

Cape Charles

We got there, played with Louden and Ellie like making cool forts and seeing the house and then walked to the beach where we used the floatie, played in the water and made sand and dribble castles. One of them had a huge moat and a doorway and it was hollowed on the inside. It was fun to make. After that we walked back showered ate and went on our way