“As soon as I saw you, I knew an adventure was about to happen”Winnie the Pooh
Noe’s fifth year is in the books. This year was filled with more versatility, adaptability, patience and gratitude. Filled with high tea sipping in London, a running entrance to platform 9 3/4, sand castle building on empty beaches in Algarve, flamenco dancing in the streets of Seville, road tripping through southern Spain, free tapas munching in Granada, kite flying on the National Mall, wild pony chasing in Chincoteague, and actual horse riding in Shenandoah. With canceled plans and new ones to replace them. A virtual end to pre-K 4 and a virtual start to kindergarten. Less trips to far off places and more smaller trips closer to home. Less hotel stays and more camping… in national parks, backyards, living rooms and yurts. With multiple lost teeth to the tooth fairy, in exchange for money and kinder eggs. With comforting mom through the loss of a baby and later, excitement about the new baby on the way, including becoming an expert baby heart beat finder. With Zoom calls and FaceTime… for school, kids church, updates from family and friends, and even holiday gatherings. With many days of family movie nights, trips to the circle park, piano duets with Tita, watching her hermit crabs grow, refining recipes and spices for her future restaurant, and an ever-changing relationship with her little sister. For all these things and more, it was a most unexpectedly magical year.
For her birthday we wanted to fill her day with some of her favorite things: rhyming riddles, unicorns, horses, sweets, camping and board games. And of course, her one big request… that there be a surprise. Here are the clues she was given throughout the day:
December 26, 2020: We left DC bright and early to arrive in time for a morning horseback ride at Fort Valley Ranch on Noe’s birthday. Noe went on an hourlong ride through the woods with her Tita and Tio. They went up and down hills and through creeks… Not bad for her first big girl ride! Afterwards we warmed up by the campfire and Anthony grabbed lunch from town. For dessert we enjoyed the Cocoa & Sweets event at the ranch, complete with cookies, hot chocolate, and handmade wooden ornaments. We stayed overnight at the Painted Horse Yurt at Rock Tavern River Camp, right along the Shenandoah River. We played along the river until the sun set behind the mountains and then we hung out by our campfire. Inside the yurt we stayed cozy and warm, even though it was 20 degrees outside, and even beat Tio in a game of chess! All in all, a fun weekend birthday adventure in the books.
A few more photos from Noe’s birthday weekend adventure below: