A Life of Adventure.

Yesterday, Ali turned 10 years old.

sAli-10-year-birthday_MG_2559_6331

Double digits.

Officially a Tween.

(I’ve been calling her a tween since she turned 9 but she is very insistent that tween only refers to double digits that don’t end in a teen. So at least we can put that argument behind us.)

When I started this blog, she was this size:

DSC06831

And now she’s this size.

sAli-10-year-birthday_MG_2561_6334

Over the past year, her face, her poise, and her interests have transitioned from a kid to a young lady. She has grown and matured, so far without losing her unwavering kindness and compassion for others. We’ve had many preparatory talks about what is to come in the next couple years – what she can expect and what she can keep in mind as her hormones mutiny. She says the part that scares her the most is not liking us anymore. So maybe that’s a good sign that she’ll remember it’s just the hormones making her want to hate us.

(We shall see.)

I took this picture on her ninth birthday,

1-8-2016-Edit

And here she is the day before her tenth birthday:

Snow_MG_2387_6094

Above all other things this year, Ali has had a zeal for adventure and the outdoors – something I very much appreciate. Here are the highlights from her year of exploration in loose chronological order, with a few notes mixed in…

She was up for my snowchasing adventures last January,

a160123zzi

And she’s always excited for a hike – especially with friends.

b160203j-Superheroes-of-Moss-Rock

d160308c

q160517-Moss-Rock-With-Eight

r160520lALT

anIMG_1701

Rock jumping…

c160306uALT2-The-Jump

And visiting the Ministry of Magic.

e160319-Ministry-of-Magic-Visitors-Entrance

She’s the kindest big sister that ever existed, giving Noah way more patience than he deserves (or than he receives from me.)

aa161103-Ruffner-Adventures

f160321c-Top-of-the-Rock

g160321d-Sibling-Hike

h160328x-Ruffner-Tunnel

k160401ab

One of my favorite photos from this year was completely set up by Ali. She told me where to stand to get the picture and how she was going to pose. I didn’t even see the face in the clouds behind her. When I asked her about it the next day (after someone else pointed it out to me), she said “Of course I saw the face. That’s why I wanted you to take the picture.

j160330ALT-Small-But-Fierce

l160407-Fossil-Search-in-the-Cahaba

n160412y

i160329g-Secret-Hike

o160417_MG_0640

o160417_MG_1111

p160513-Lift-up-Thine-Eyes

s160524zm-Rotary-Trail

She was willing to jettison small parts of her rule-following obsession this year..

t160615f-Stay-off-Dam

t160615c-Ali-on-the-Dam-Oak-Mountain

And has developed a love and fascination for all animals, and misses no opportunity to tell me how much she needs one of her very own. Except it can’t bite. Which, thankfully for me, rules out all animals.

u160615h-Donkey-Oak-Mountain

uAli-7-1-16

v160708g-Lassoing-the-Sunset

w160713xa-Ali-at-the-Crepe-Myrtle

y160901-Weathington-Park

Our Alabama History field trips have only added a love of learning to her adventurous spirit. And also a good dose of pretending to live long, long ago.

z160916-The-Cannon-at-Fort-Morgan

agFort-Toulouse_MG_9327

About halfway through the year, she got brave enough to go all the way across the “broken bridge” at my parent’s house. I have not personally attempted it.

aa160920-Into-the-Wild-Unknown

Now she does it with ease and speed that might make a mother nervous, if she weren’t so excited about photographing it.

ab161117 Gramamma-Pop-Field-Trip_MG_9432_1670

ac161201Horse-Pens-40_MG_9436_3414

ad161207-Lake-Purdy_MG_0033_4012

ae161208-HOD-RRM_MG_9822_3801

afAli_MG_9579_1826

She’s still kid enough to fully enjoy dressing up, and not at all minding being the biggest kid on the block.

ahHalloween_MG_7586

She’s interested in gymnastics and maybe learning yoga and possibly basketball, now that she knows she’s going to be super tall and so will not practically be able to go to the Olympics in gymnastics.

ajHorse-Pens-40_MG_9540_3518

akHorse-Pens-40_MG_9544_3522

amHorse-Pens-40_MG_9646_3624

She’s always willing to pick up a new skill and work hard to improve at it – even the ancient atlatl.

aoMoundville_MG_8301

aq

arZannis-Family-Vacation-2016-Ali_MG_5839

I don’t know what the next year will bring, but whatever it is, I know it will include plenty of adventure.

x160724 Wink Double Blink Close Your Eyes and Jump

Happy Birthday, Ali.

sAli-10-year-birthday_MG_2586_6359