Nine.

In 2006, Charlotte was born on a cold December day, just 5 days before Christmas, in Delaware.

This year, we celebrated Charlotte’s 9th birthday in Golden Bay, New Zealand, with bright sunshine and a few hours at the beach!

We started the day with pancakes a la James, then Charlotte and I took a stroll to “downtown” Collingwood for a coffee date. The pohutukawa tree next to the cafe was in riotous bloom, and the hydrangeas in the neighbor’s yard were the most vivid blue I’ve ever seen!

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Hot cocoa in the sunshine.

At the cafe there was a couple with a baby girl I’d guess to be around 9 or 10 months old. And it really hit me that Charlotte, my beautifully contented and cheerful little girl, is growing up. She’s tall, whip-smart, sassy, imaginative, and caring. 

I’m really proud of her.

***

After lunch Char, Ev, and I watched The Devil Wears Prada and then the whole family caught high tide coming in at the bay. The sun was shining and we enjoyed a nice breeze. When we arrived (having walked across the road and a dune) at the sand beach, a small sandbar island was visible about 100 yards out in the water. All of us waded through the incoming salt water to reach it before the rising tide subsumed it. So fun.

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After playing in the sand, splashing around, and generally enjoying her first December birthday on the beach, Charlotte and company started to pack up to walk home when I spotted something in the water offshore. For a second I thought it was driftwood, but I quickly realized it was moving with more intention than that.

Up popped a seal, right on the beach!

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Charlotte working her “seal” approach
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Undisturbed by our presence, the seal basked in the sun.

We watched the creature for a few minutes; it didn’t appear to be injured or sick, just enjoying the warm sun and sand.

For dinner we had chicken nuggets, oven french fries, green salad, tomatoes with basil and feta, and corn. Charlotte had requested strawberry cheesecake for dessert, but I cheated and bought one at the store. She didn’t seem to mind.

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Opening a card from her grandparents and aunts and uncles at home!
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Strawberry cheesecake!

///janel///

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