abcabcabc Birthday Letter #8: Michael James! — Mommy Manders

Birthday Letter #8: Michael James!

So, this letter is a little late, but at least we’re still in the same month… If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you know that this is one of my favorite birthday “rituals” for my children…to write them a letter each year about the way they’ve been growing and changing. It is the best “intentional” gift they could get, even if it’s not from Toys R’ Us! Someday when they are all grown up, I’ll print them all out and give them as a special keepsake! (Find links to previous letters at the end of this post.)

My Dearest BIG Sunshine Boy!

I can’t believe you have turned 8 years old! When you were a little baby, “8” seemed lightyears away. How I wish I could slow it all down and keep you your young, enthusiastic, curious, joyful, affectionate self forever! But that’s not how life works. God is good, and I am thankful you are growing up and growing in love, wisdom, kindness, and knowledge everyday. What a gift that I get to participate in and witness your growth.

We started your birthday with a family snuggle, Ellie crawling over you and being super-silly, dancing on the bed, as you tried to rest with mama. (Daddy had to be at work early.) Ellie and I sang to you at the breakfast table. At lunch, you discovered a special little “love” note from me in your lunchbox, “Happy birthday, my Sunshine Boy! You bring my life so much joy! Now count to 8 as you eat your lunch, 8 pieces of each for you to munch :)” You made your own cupcakes for your class, and I took them to school in the afternoon. We did the “montessori” birthday ritual in your class, where we talk about the Earth traveling around the sun 8 times, and I showed a picture of you for each year, talking about the ways you were growing with each orbit. You actually sat in the middle as the “sun”.


That afternoon, Daddy surprised you by being there to pick you up at school :) And we went home and opened a few gifts (robot, Leonardo DaVinci book, remote-control car, and you LOVE your sewing machine from GareBear and Beffa!) OF COURSE, you got to do your favorite thing – play MINECRAFT!  And that evening, we met Daddy and Beffa at “Mariano’s” so they could sing you a special birthday song. “You finished your “Tripods” book with Daddy, and I sang you your lullaby for the first time as an 8-year-old!

You and buddy Mitchell on your sewing machines together!

You and buddy Mitchell on your sewing machines together!


You and Mommy have since started reading “The Martian” together, a grown-up science fiction book that Uncle Jake loved – it is always such a pleasure to read with you. You have been studying Leonardo Da Vinci in REACH, and since learning how similar you are to this original “Renaissance Man”, I have started calling you my “Little Leo”!  Your REACH teacher, Ms. Karcher, has told me several times this year how well you are doing and how much fun you are having learning in there. She sent me this pic of you with some sort of da Vinci structure you re-created…MJ Flying machine-2

You love to cook, explore nature, invent, keep journals for your ideas, do science experiments, make art, and more….basically, anything that makes a MESS! Recently, you have created a “barometer” with a bucket, straws, plastic baggies, and a hot glue gun. And the most interesting one of late is your “smell center”, a system of cardboard shelves you created to organize baggies of different “smells” you find. I don’t think I will ever forget the image of you crawling along the field at LHE with your nose to the ground, bottom in the air, in search of “smells”. OH MY! Your categories include plants, food, non-living/ man-made, dead stuff, (At some point I will need to dump out the garlic.)


This year, your have started doing so many things like the big boy that you are….you can now ride your BIG bike around the lake with Daddy (and get there and back), you sometimes ride your bike to school and back by yourself, you are reading more on your own now, staying up in bed with your light on learning new things. You have really taken to the piano in your first year of lessons with Mrs. Bell, and are learning quickly as a musician. Soon you will have your first piano recital! One of your pieces is called “My Little Chiminea“, so I like to call you this now! Your cooking has improved, and you have even made us a breakfast of delicious eggs and biscuits from scratch a couple of times!

Your favorite thing to do this year has been  to play MINECRAFT, but at least you enjoy playing it more with friends! (You LOVE to go with Ellie to her ballet class because your buddy Ethan is there to play with while his sister is in class, too 😉 And you still like to play outside – running around after school at LHE with friends, exploring with Mitchell and Ellie at The Lakes, and doing things with your Cub Scout Troop. You have had a lot of fun earning belt loops and badges with your buddies, and you look so cute in your uniform, even if you can’t find all the pieces!


We had a great time at your party last Saturday at Flag Pole Hill. Your friends from class just ran around and played together, and enjoyed flying a couple of kites that we took. They loved the big rocket launches that you and Daddy set up, and had fun doing the Treasure Hunt before yummy cake!


These were the treasure hunt clues:

  1. You could go here to sit and read a book, or just relax. go take a good look. (bench)
  2. This is the seat that makes you fly high. When you were a baby, you touched the sky! (baby swing)
  3. On these you need arms, hands, muscles, too. Or use a tail like a monkey, “EEE EEE, OOO  OOO OOO!” (monkey bars)
  4. You might gather here with a snack or a treat, It is where we will sit when it’s time to eat. (picnic table)
  5. Cool off at this fountain with a sip. Refreshment in summer, liquid on your lip. (water fountain)
  6. Three famous colors-  red, white, and blue. We pledge allegiance on the hill to you! (flag)
  7. An acorn fell and began to grow. In the middle of the hill, now it gives shade to all. In the basket you’ll find a flying toy, one for each girl and boy!

God Bless you and keep   you as you continue on your very own path in this wonderful world.

I love you to MARS   and back!

Your Lucky Mama





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11146444_877182782346160_7192732121873993467_oLook back on my previous letters to little MJ:

letter #7

Letter #6,

Birthday Letter #5,

Birthday Letter #4,

Birthday Letter #3,

Birthday Letter #2,

Birthday Letter #1,

Letter to new Baby MJ