Happy 8th Birthday to the Hurricane!

Dear Hadley,

You’re turning 8 today (gulp). This is one of those big milestones for Mormon folk because this means you can now be baptized. At 12 you graduate from Primary (the children’s organization) into Young Women’s, and at 16 you can start dating. Who am I kidding? Twenty-two sounds like a ripe ol’ age to hit the dating pool, particularly after Cam tried to plant a few wet ones on you on the bus.

Fortunately you were quicker and all he scored was a kiss on your elbow.

With Casanova Cam on the first day of second grade

People say, “watch out…it all goes so quickly” and I can’t say I agree. Bringing you home from the hospital seems like a lifetime ago and I feel like I’ve been your mom forever. It has been a privilege to watch you blossom from a chubby curmudgeon into a beautiful, talented, fun, adventurous soon-to-be tween.

Tween. Are we really going there?

Second grade has been kind to you. Many of your besties (including Alex and Kasey) are in your class and your teacher, Ms. Rollings, has been amazing. You’ve continued to excel in the arts, are caught up in reading, write whimsical tales like the “Story of Color” and also struggle in math.

Biking Lake Pend Oreille, ID

Blame your father’s genetic failings for that last one.

Many of your friends are really over-scheduled and though you’ll hopefully be starting swim team and piano in the fall, I’ve been careful not to overload you with activities. You are happiest when you have large blocks of time to lock yourself in your room and create–everything from drawings to Popsicle stick birdhouses to the most out-of-the-box, unique contraptions that cause me to sometimes doubt you are mine.

Let’s just say crafting isn’t Mommy’s strong-suit. But you already knew that.

You’ve never been a snuggly kid who verbalizes her affections but one of my most treasured memories this year was when we started writing secret messages to each other on the easel in your room. Every day, I’d eagerly look forward to your love notes and beautiful drawings and was remiss to erase them and replace them with my own stick figures.

Though it was nice to see myself so skinny.

Hiking Lookout Mountain

We love spending girl time in the outdoors and you are an excellent skier who tackled her first advanced run at Park City Mountain Resort. Last summer, you did an adventure race in Vail where you mountain biked, rock climbed, tubed, ziplined and did a ropes course through mud. You are also an intrepid hiker. While the boys are at Bode’s soccer games, we’ve been going to the Junior Naturalist program at Lookout Mountain and you love studying animal habitats.

When we attended the documentary, “To the Arctic” at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, I later commented I could see you doing something like that for your career–going into the Wild and photographing animals. You were game.

Sledding the gully, Calgary Canada

Minus the freezing-your-butt-off-in-sub-zero-temperatures part. (Or as you refer to it: “C.C,” which means “Canadian Cold.”)

Fat Kitty is still your favorite thing alive and your favorite toys are all your stuffed animals. You and Bode love throwing birthday parties for each and every one of them, which means it’s always a party at our house.

When we were in Park City for Spring Break, I took you into a popular tween store to buy some new socks. I held my breath as we wove through the displays of trendy tween clothes and accessories and exhaled when you raced to a display at the back of the store: full of stuffed animals.

I’m in no rush for you to grow up and I’m glad you aren’t either. Age 7 has been your best year yet and I can’t wait to follow you along the zany adventures of your future.

So long as they don’t involve boys and elbow-kissing.


Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs
Skating Evergreen Lake, CO
Bow River with Grandpa & the dogs, Canada
Vail KEEN Kids Adventure Race with partner Sydney
Hot tubbing in Park City with the cousins
Pier-jumping in Sandpoint, ID


Tubing, Gorgoza Park, UT
Hiking Bear’s Hump, Waterton International Peace Park, Canada
First solo flight to see Grandma in Utah

P.S. For a stroll down memory lane, read letters for your 76, 5, 4, 3, or 2 birthdays and the day you were born.

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