Yesterday, Ali turned 10 years old.


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:


And now she’s this size.


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,


And here she is the day before her tenth birthday:


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,


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






Rock jumping…


And visiting the Ministry of Magic.


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






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.









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



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.






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.



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.


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

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


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.




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




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.


10 thoughts on “A Life of Adventure.

  1. Happy Birthday Ali! I started reading your blog in early 2009 (!!) and it’s been awesome watching her grow!

  2. Happy birthday, Ali! Also, to lay your fears to rest…I have 2 teens and a tween and none of then have hated or severily disliked us! :) In fact, we have more fun the older they get. Have a wonderful birthday (also, frogs don’t bite).

  3. Happy birthday Ali! You’re my favorite neice in the whole world! Thanks for being such an awesome kid!

  4. What a lovely post. I can really see a difference in her face, like she’s lost the last of her baby cheeks. They grow up so fast. My “baby” who shares Ali’s birthday turned 14 yesterday. and now has a manly deep voice, well defined muscles and an interest in girls! (I faint.)
    But I am enjoying watching him mature and grow as I also enjoy watching Ali. Happy birthday Ali!!!

  5. Aww! Tell her to rest assured that the parent-hating aspect doesn’t affect everyone – I made it through puberty without ever once feeling embarrassed of or disliking my parents. There were a couple of times when I disagreed with the decisions/choices they made, but the fact that I STILL disagree with those decisions helps to assure me that we just have different opinions and it wasn’t a puberty thing.

  6. Beautiful! I hope when my daughters turn 10, I can describe them so well!

    Also, had to tell you one more perk of homeschooling. Whenever I see boys who have been. homeschooled (or are homeschooling) they seem to have a special knack and comfort around younger children and babies- not even just their own siblings. I don’t know if that’s because so many homeschoolers meet up and/or have a co-op thing, or because there are so many little kids around. But it’s wonderful to see! No idea how Noah does with the littles, but I’ve noticed it here and I love it! It’s refreshing. :)

  7. Great entry, I love she likes the adventures with her friends! Beautiful article to be read!
    Happy birthday Ali!

  8. Ok this is making me tear up since my own first baby is not far behind. This mothering stuff is not for the faint hearted. I got K the American girls Care and Keeping of You. It’s pretty great. Anything else you’ve found that is good for puberty prepping?

  9. Wow, I’ve been reading this blog for a long time! I’ve had 3 more kids since I started so it must have been around 2010. Time flies, and now I feel old…. Again….

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