For my birthday that year I got what I'd been wishing for for years - my very own cat. I remember going to this house where they had free kittens and having my pick of the litter. There were a bunch of black ones and one fluffy gray tiger striped one. It was love at first site for me - I just had to have that little gray one - and luckily for me, it was a boy - my parents said I had to get a boy cat - no litters of kittens to deal with. I immediately named him Geneva. Yes, I knew it seemed like a girl name, but when we'd visited Geneva, Switzerland on our mad-dash tour of Europe before returning to America, I fell in love with that name and vowed that I would name my first cat Geneva. So poor Neva got called a she his whole life. Oh, how I loved that cat! I swore he could read my feelings and that we had this very special connection - he'd come sit on my homework and cheer me up when I was struggling with my math. He'd curl up against my legs on my bed each night. He was my best friend for a long long time.
Anyway, back to what I started out to say - I really remember being nine. I remember my teacher Mr Waldhouse (or Mr. Bald Mouse as kids called him behind his back - for no reason other than it sounded funny). I remember my friend Alyssa asking me one day at school why I always wore the same yellow (and often dirty) dress to school and quite suddenly realizing that I was actually the only kid who did wear pretty much the same thing every day (it was my favorite dress and I don't think my mom quite noticed my clothing choices in the midst of so many little kids). I remember learning to do tricks on the monkey bars at recess. I remember walking home from school.
I remember Mr Waldhouse bringing in the cutest little beagle-mix dog that he'd found in a traffic jam and asking if any of the kids wanted to adopt it. I asked my parents and they said we could have it for Shawni since she was due for a pet and Shawni and I walked home from school with our new little dog, Cane Socks, that very day. I remember we thought we were being very original with coming up with "Cane" as a name. Cane was a girl. Geneva was a boy. Whatever. It was much later that I learned about the story of Cane and Able in the Bible. Oh well. We later got another dog and named it Able to help balance things out.
So again, back to my original point. It's crazy that I have a nine year old. I really feel like I was nine myself not that long ago. How did this all come about?
I do love looking back to how I felt and what I did and what I loved when I was nine as I get to know my own fabulously interesting and fun nine-year-old. I couldn't ask for a better son or better first child. Ashton is so bright and his mind yearns to learn. He can't pull himself away from the internet - he's always researching something like robots or space or even current events so he's always sharing random facts about all sorts of things. if he hears or reads something one time, he locks it right in and processes the information and is able to see how it relates to other things he's heard or read in a remarkable way. He loves reading and has a hard time putting away a book and turning off the light and going to sleep when it's time. He's so good to his little brothers and sisters (for the most part) and is always so excited to see the twinswhen they're so excited to see him after school. And he's becoming a great babysitter. He can entertain the twins and keep them safely and busily occupied better than any other babysitter we've hired. He's always got an idea to go with any situation. He's fun and funny - kids at school gravitate to him thanks to his fun recess game ideas and his clever comments. He's fun to talk with - always has very intelligent questions and really gets whatever subject is at hand. He has his little flaws, of course - he can't seem to get a simple little job done without being reminded about 10 times. Focusing on the task at hand can be hard when you've got so many ideas swirling in your head!
We sure love this boy of ours. We're excited to see what he'll become some day. And we're treasuring the chance to see his abilities and personality unfold as he becomes more and more of a peer to us and less of a little kid.
Here are a few pictures from Ashton's birthday (yes, I know, it has been almost a month, but better late than never). We started off with eggs benedict (his absolute favorite - and Jared's too - so it was sort of for both of their birthdays). He had one friend come bowling with us (last year was his big party year) and we had a great time bowling (his birthday tradition). Then we had Cam and Ana and Elsie over for cake and ice cream and it was a great day.
Ashton and good friend Dallin bowing w/o bumpers for the first time - needless to say there were plenty of gutter balls. So they tried on the bumper lane we had for the smaller kids and Ashton got some great points w/o even touching the bumper with his ball! I have to say I won. I got like 130 and beat Jared by a few points. Yeah me. But then maybe that was because Jared accidentally bowled one time when it was actually my turn and got me a strike. But I would have got that strike if I had the chance...