I don't know how it happened so quickly, but our Ella Bella turned 12 this month! Her actual birthday was the last day of our cruise so we celebrated there, then with her friends and then one more time with family when we were back in Katy.
In some ways I feel like she has been 12 forever and in other ways I feel like surely this can't be true!!! One thing is certain though, Ella was ready to officially be 12! Starting 7th grade and going into the Young Women program at church has her feeling like she is all grown up...and she pretty much could run the show around here so it won't be long before she really is, which is bittersweet.
Here are some things I want to remember about Ella at this age...
(photo by Courtney Leigh Photography)
She rocked a major year in her life while she was 11! Starting middle school with all pre-AP classes and moving up to an even more intense training group with her swim team that meant 2 hour practices 6 days/week was a lot, but Ella managed her time well and loved every minute of it.
She definitely cherished her 1 hour at home before I would get back with the other two crazies though and used her time wisely to relax and watch TV :-). Then it was time for practising piano, homework and swim practice.
Ella is extremely responsible and organized.
(photo by Courtney Leigh Photography)
The best time to talk to Ella is over a good meal. She is definitely a foodie and the way to her heart is through her stomach ;-). She loves to go on special dates to restaurants we don't typically take the whole family to and one of her very favorite places (much like me and Mike) is the Alamo where she loves fried pickles and hot wings. Her very favorite food is shrimp and probably the runner up would be a really good burger. She also loves all Mexican food, brussel sprouts, artichokes, french fries with ranch, kolaches and potato chips.
Ella is SUPER scared of bugs and hates swimming with fish and heights. We were really proud of her this year as she attempted some once in a life time experiences that she was terrified to try...swimming with sting rays (which meant fish!), snorkeling (more fish!) and cliff jumping.
She also got to swim with dolphins, which was a dream of hers, so not all the experiences were scary ones ;-).
Although most people know Ella's shy and quiet side, she can be a total goofball as well.
Her siblings and her best friends definitely bring out her crazy side and I love to hear her cute giggle.
Her favorite subjects are Social Studies and Reading and her least favorites are Math and Science. Ella did NOT miss having half her classes in Spanish last year after doing it for K-5th grade :-).
She is obsessed with Harry Potter, old Full House Episodes and Jurassic World.
If she could go anywhere in the world it would be Australia (with a close runner up Harry Potter's world in Florida).
She loves swimming more than anything else and last winter when I asked her if we should take a little break from club swimming (because I was feeling burned out myself), she was appalled that I would even ask such a thing!
She also loves reading, listening to music and going to concerts for her favorites (Kelly Clarkson and Taylor Swift).
Aside from swimming and her friends, the things Ella loves most are her cat Beauty (who is OBSESSED with Ella so the love is mutual), her cousin Eloise (she loves all her little cousins, but Lulu and Ella have a special bond) and her Aunt Hope.
Ella is sweet, smart and shy; crazy, cute and cool; athletic, adventurous and an amazing part of our family. We love her so much and are so proud of the girl she is becoming! Watching her work hard and succeed in all areas of her life is one of our greatest joys! Happy Birthday Ella Bella!