Happy 10th Birthday Hadley

Dogsledding in Breckenridge


Age 9 was glorious with travels, friendships, family and adventures. Every year, you become more fun, confident and beautiful and though it’s agonizing to see you grow so quickly, I couldn’t be happier to watch you do it.

Since my birthday letter a year ago, you’ve Traveled (with a capital ‘T’): The AAA Five-Diamond Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, multiple ski trips including our mother-daughter getaway to Copper Mountain and Spring Break in Steamboat Springs. You had the thrill of a lifetime dog-sledding in Breckenridge and had a blast spending Christmas in Utah. Last summer you, Bode and I did a 3,000-mile trip that covered two countries and six states (Colorado, Montana, Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Utah) and we’re looking for a repeat performance in July because apparently we weren’t crazy enough the first time. We recently returned from Disneyland and Maui, which basically means we’re never ever going to be able to top this year for travels. Unless you become an airline stewardess. Or a vagabond.

Walking on water in Maui

You enjoyed fourth grade at your Waldorf charter school. Your teacher, Mrs. Price, loves experiential learning and the field trips are plentiful–hiking Garden of the Gods and your zoology unit at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs, camping at Spring Kite Farms and then again last week at Great Sand Dunes National Park

Summiting the highest dune

where you were the second person to climb the highest dune in North America and one of only a handful of kids to summit. You even beat me to the top and your teacher called you a “gazelle,” which made me wonder why you’re frequently last on our family hikes–probably because there aren’t any cute boys with whom you are competing. Though I beg to differ–Dad and Bode are pretty impressive.

In 2014/15, it will be your third year with the same group of students and it’s a good thing you like everyone (particularly London, Angel and Abbey) because it could feel like Groundhog day. I’m referring to the funny movie, not the rodent who allegedly sees his shadow because that would just be weird. You scored the role of Norse Mythology God Baldur’s wife Nanna in the school play and you did a fabulous job with your unceremonious death but my favorite part was when they hauled you away like a sack of potatoes.

You’re doing much better in school thanks to the generous help of Grandpa B., who helps with your tutor costs. Math might always be a struggle but it is slowly clicking for you. Spelling is another story.  We’re constantly drilling you on basic words and I’m sure you’ll be thrilled when you start embracing technology and are introduced to a beautiful thing call “spell check.” I, too, live for that day.

Dancing at Camp Chief Ouray

You fell in love with volleyball this year, which makes me extremely happy because it’s been fun to share one of my favorites sports. You love the water and were always the first to brazenly jump in during our trip to Maui–whether it was a freshwater cave, off a huge boulder into tidal pools or the ocean. You’re also a great runner. Without even training, you ran 5 miles for your school’s FunRun, which was the most miles of any girl in your grade. You lock yourself in your room for hours doing handwork or just creating masterpieces. You’re also turning into a master gardener like your dad and decided after a two-year battle that you actually like the violin while you only tolerate piano.

But perhaps what you’re most looking forward to is returning to YMCA of the Rockies’ Camp Chief Ouray in June. For six blissful days last summer, you were parent-free at Colorado’s longest-running overnight camp and have been dying to get back there to ride horses.  You’ve been begging us to buy you a horse (which ain’t gonna happen) and unfortunately you’re rather obsessed. Whenever we try to bribe you with something, if you don’t want to do it your universal response is, “if it’s not a horse, I’m not biting.”

Hanging with Elsa and Anna at Disneyland

Whatever happened to nice rewards like ice cream?

As a tween, you’re a wonderful balance of getting down and dirty while still getting all gussied up.  You love playing with your stuffed animals, silly games with your brother and the only music you’ve really gotten into is from Frozen (along with everyone else in North America). I truly didn’t mind listening to “Let It Go” on repeat but what really drove me over the edge was your insistent singing of “Do you wanna build a snowman?” which was a conflicting matter because I really DID want to build a snowman but I did not want to hear it for the gazillionth time.

It’s so fun to see you learning and growing every day. One morning, we snuggled up together in bed and laughed as we reread all my birthday letters to you…from your spirited toddler years to a spitfire preschooler to a headstrong kindergartener to an effervescent tween. Sensing a pattern here? You may be strong-minded but you know exactly what you want and how to get it. We’ve known that from the womb when Daddy promised you a car on your 16th birthday if you were born the next day and, lo-and-behold, you pulled it off.

Fifth grade is a biggie when you’ll really start maturing while being surrounded with more grown-up issues. You have a wonderful support system of a loving family, an awesome group of Activity Day girls from church and a solid moral compass of what is right and wrong.

One of my all-time favorite pictures of you was taken last summer in Lake Vernon, B.C. Uncle Pat’s family has this crazy tradition of jumping off the back of the boat into the  rooster tail where you’re sucked under the wake before being spit back out on the surface. I was certainly hesitant to try but following Aunt Jane’s example, you not only stepped off the boat but you launched in full-throttle.

When I looked at the picture later, it melted my heart. I was breathless as you brazenly hung midair. If you look closely, you’ll see a line of family members who already jumped into the water cheering you on. Never forget that you are so loved and supported by those who have gone before you and who will follow. Don’t forget you are a wonderful leader.



P.S. For a stroll down memory lane, read letters for your 9th birthday 8th, 7th, 6th, 5th, 4th, 3rd, and 2nd.

Other Posts