It's hard to believe you are eight already! Where has the time gone? I guess time really does fly when you're having fun. And, this year has definitely been full of fun and adventure! We sold our house in April and embarked on our RTW trip in May. You have been up for every adventure along the way and have been such a trooper, in such a wide variety of situations.
One of the things you were looking most forward to was Stonehenge, and it didn't disappoint. You absolutely loved it! You also really enjoyed spotting animals in Kruger National Park, in South Africa. And, you have had fun playing on various beaches and playgrounds everywhere we've been. For your birthday, we surprised you with a chocolate-making workshop at a tiny chocolate factory in Mijas, Spain, which you enjoyed immensely. And, today, we will head to Portugal. I don't know many eight-year-olds who've been to quite so many places or tried quite so many new things. But, you make it look easy!
I have seen you mature in so many ways this past year. You are learning more and more to master your emotions, rather than letting them master you. You are becoming more gentle and are responding quicker to correction. You are also a great helper and so very smart. And, you are learning to think of others ahead of yourself, to take care of your possessions, and to curb some of your packrat tendencies. These things don't necessarily come easily or naturally to you, but you are working on making these choices each day, which shows a great deal of maturity and self-control, and that makes me so proud.
You have developed a true love of reading and will often read a book rather than play a video game. This year, you read most of the Narnia books, many of the Magic Treehouse books, and have just started the Percy Jackson books. You read many other books, as well, which I will not take the time to name individually. You have also been listening to the Harry Potter books, which you enjoy tremendously. Very often you can be found reading to Clay, which not only speaks to your reading skills, but also to your fantastic big brother skills. Occasionally, you even like to scribble down stories of your own. You have a great imagination, so these are always fun to read.
You have been doing a wonderful job with your school work. You were thrilled when I introduced spelling tests a month or so ago and are thinking about getting involved with PSIA when we get back to the States. You are doing very well in Math and like to listen in on your older siblings classes to see what you can glean from what they are learning. You have a curious mind and are always interested in learning how things work and in trying your hand at building or making your own creations. You are still intrigued by robots and often talk about finding a job, when you are an adult, that will allow you to build and work with them.
Running is still your passion, but you also love skiing. When we skied in Andorra in December, you showed a great deal of skill and control and rarely fell. You do love the feeling of going fast and jumping, when the opportunity presents itself, but you are more careful than you used to be and more interested in going down the mountain well instead of just fast. This is an important lesson that stretches far beyond skiing, and I think you are really beginning to grasp the concept. You are very athletic but don't seem terribly interested in organized sports, though you occasionally talk about the possibility of playing soccer on a team. You are also thinking about looking for some kid-appropriate 5 or 10Ks to run in when we get back to the States.
You love to be outside and can be entertained for long periods with nothing more than sticks or rocks. You love playgrounds and parks and open areas, and you never tire of running and climbing and moving. Even so, you have had several opportunities while we've been traveling, to practice sitting still and behaving like a gentleman, and you have performed beautifully in every case. This is another sign that you are maturing.
You make life so interesting and fun, and you honestly make me a better person. I'm so glad I get to be your mom, and I'm so proud of you and the young man you are becoming. I hope you have the very best birthday and that the year ahead is full of even more fun and adventures. Happy birthday to my favorite eight-year-old!