This past year, Ashton has certainly introduced me to the somewhat scary and very humbling world of mothering a teen. But we're muddling through pretty decently for the most part. I'm so grateful for this young man of mine, for all he's brought to my life, for all that he teaches me on so many fronts.
How did this baby . . .
Here are 14 things I love about Ashton right now:
1. He's super smart - book smart, computer smart, street smart, music smart. He just gets things in a remarkable way.
2. He's learned to be much more responsible about completing his schoolwork and studies this year. This responsibility coupled with his natural academic abilities and some great teachers have helped him start getting grades in school that more accurately represent his potential. Yeah!
3. Whenever I have a problem or question on my phone, computer or any other gadget, he quickly and efficently (and patiently) finds a solution for me and explains things to me. He keeps me up to date on what's going on in technology news and shows me what's out there when it comes to phones, computers, aps and gadgets I might want.
4. He's amazing with little kids. All the neighborhood kids and little kids at church totally love him and look up to him. I love seeing little kids' eyes sparkle when they catch sight of their cool big friend and seeing them run up to him with joy. After helping pass the sacrament in church each Sunday, he sits with families with little kids who could use some extra help and that's helped him bond further with some of his little friends.
5. He introduces me to great new music and can answer most of my music questions quickly and correctly when I'm wondering about a song that comes on.
6. He's got serious guitar talent and can teach himself just about any song and play it very well (practicing isn't his favorite but when he feels motivated, nothing can stop him!)
7. He can tease his siblings mercilessly and make not-so-nice comments to them, but deep down, you can tell he really loves and appreciates them. He's always pointing out funny/cute things the twins say or do and when push comes to shove, he shows his true colors and does what's right when it comes to his siblings.
8. He is an excellent public speaker. He's well-spoken, articulate and composed. He can give a great talk in church at a moment's notice and does a really stellar job as the emcee at our Children for Children concert every year.
9. He's funny. He's got this awesome dry sense of humor and has the best smile (when he let lets it sneak out).
10. He was my right-arm man and an awesome partner on our road trip across the country while Jared couldn't be with us. He helped me navigate, find hotels, keep good music going, find rest stops and places to eat. I couldn't have done it without him!
11. He's got a solid testimony and understands the gospel on a level beyond his years.
12. He's a great volleyball player and is good at any physical thing he sets his mind to do. He's strong and agile and athletic.
13. He's handsome. He's got great hair, beautiful blue eyes that sparkle when he smiles, and a great unique sense of style.
14. He has a strong sense for what is right and I know I can trust him to always make right choices about things that really matter.
We celebrated with Ashton's favorite breakfast - banana pancakes, me taking Ashton to lunch at his favorite place - Warrens (burgers - he's all about the burgers lately), then we finished off with a fun party.
The younger kids put their hearts into decorating for Ashton's party: