- Ashton is so fun to talk to. He knows quite a bit about an amazingly lot of things and he's so interested in everything. He really listens and has great questions and forms his own opinions that he can explain really well. Talk to him about the economy or a moral issue and he's totally there.
- Ashton's great at wondering about things - and he knows how to find answers. He's always on the computer or reading Boys Life or National Geographic Kids to learn about something new that interests him.
- Ashton's got great musical talent. He's a natural on the guitar and can play almost anything by ear on the piano. I wish you could have seen him play in the school "Orffestra" Christmas concert. He was amazing on all those xylophones and other "orff" instruments!
- Ashton's definitely got his Dad's gift for understanding and using technology. He can do quite a bit of computer programming, find anything anyone might want in a few seconds flat on the Internet, help all his friends in computer class at school, help me get things going when I'm struggling with the theater system downstairs, you name it.
- Ashton is amazing with little kids. When we went trick-or-treating with some neighbors, Ashton took this little three-year-old under his wing and made sure the little guy had the time of his life. Ashton is now Dylan's hero. And he's the hero of a ton of other little kids as well (not to mention his own little brothers who think he's the greatest thing since sliced bread). He knows how to make everything fun and explain things in a way that totally works for little kids.
- Ashton is smart as a whip. He picks up on everything from how to spell hard words to how machines work to how to do origami in the blink of an eye. He just "gets" things.
- Ashton has a solid testimony. He has this notebook where he sometimes takes notes during sacrament meeting and today, when I glanced over to see what he was writing during Fast and Testimony meeting, he was writing out his testimony - and it was a good one.
- Ashton is funny. He picks up on little ironies and quirks about people and the world around him and points them out. Plus he has a whole collection of jokes that he keeps in an envelope in his room (and in his mind, ready to share when the occasion presents itself). I don't think there are that many 10 year old who are truly funny.
- Ashton's becoming a great babysitter. He's great at babysitting the twins for a short time when needed (as long as Isaac and Eliza aren't around - they don't respect his authority...). He's much more responsible than any of the babysitters we've tried around here.
- Ashton is fun. He's always up for just about anything from mountain biking to climbing any rock in sight to having a dance party to doing tricks on a bike or scooter to reading stories with lots of feeling in his voice to the twins to coming up with great imaginative adventures for friends and family in the wash behind our house. He can always think of something fun to do and he's always up for doing the fun things that others suggest.
Could I ask for a better son?! I feel so privileged to be Ashton's mother.
While up in Ashton visiting Jared's family, we went bowling (bowling is Ashton's birthday tradition) with lots of relatives for a pre-birthday party. Then we celebrated his actual birthday on Sunday the 3rd with all his very favorite meals (oatmeal with lots of toppings for breakfast, homemade mac and cheese for lunch, Jared's signature mashed potatoes and chicken and gravy and rolls for dinner - luckily these meals involved mostly pantry and freezer ingredients since we arrived home at midnight the night before and the fridge was quite empty after our trip). This sweet boy is pretty easy to please. I was worried that having a Sunday birthday hot on the heels of a road trip not to mention Christmas would be a bit of a let-down. But my non-hugger boy gave me at least 10 spontaneous hugs that day - "Thanks for making my birthday so awesome!" again and again. He didn't get much by way of gifts since he really just wanted money towards his Lego Mindstorm but he was thrilled with the meals he got and the money he received and his one present - a new book he can hardly put down - The Lightning Thief. We let him stay up late and play this new game we got for Christmas with me and Jared - it's so fun having a kid old enough to play really exciting games with us now!
Since it's an even birthday for Ashton, he got to have a friend birthday party this year (we just do friend birthday parties every other year and do lots of fun family activities on the odd years). We did the friend party yesterday. Ashton's big idea for his party was for everyone to hike up to Scout Cave (about a mile from our house) and eat his birthday cake in the cave. Loved the idea - free, fun and easy. I so appreciate it when my kids' ideas fit so nicely within our budget of time and money! Five of Ashton's friends came and along with our family, it felt like a serious party. The weather was beautiful and no one got hurt or lost (for more than a few minutes). What a great party!
Ashton's pointing to the destination - see those cool caves in the hills? Ashton's with his three friends who are girls in this photo - Olivia, Corinne and Keisha.