Sunday, August 30

Relaxing weekend

We have enjoyed a very relaxing weekend. Yesterday Tommy got to play with his new friend Daphne. She is five years old and is ADORABLE. Actually Liam really enjoyed playing with Daphne more. Colin and I enjoyed talking to her parents and learning more about their family and what we have in common.
Today the twins and I went to church, they are so active but most people in our church recognize them and know the small details (like Tommy will convince you he needs the door leading to the parking lot opened, obviously most people haven't succumed to his grin and mistakenly let him out). I'm trying to catch up on the PTSA bookkeeping before we go back to school, and found a good software program to manage it this year (better than my makeshift excel wksht from last year). Hannah and Nate return from a week at Astoria with family and I'll be glad to see their smiling faces. Plus, I made an awesome fresh blackberry and apple cobbler to keep me going today :)
I found a couple more pictures from the fair, this one is Hannah's 4-H horse group, she is on the far right. They all had a blast! And I can safely say I have unpacked and washed everything.

Wednesday, August 26

What works for us Wednesday

Green beans. We have picked at least five bags this size (grocery bag) from our garden.

Then we snap the beans, cut them, wash them really good and Colin cans them (I'm afraid of the pressure canner). 18 quarts so far and probably 18-20 more. In the cold of winter, we just love our green beans! The seed packet was under $5 from Territorial seed, and planted 200 feet, plus God's sunshine and water and we got loads of beans. It works for us :)

Monday, August 24

Green acres is the place for me....

Hannah, Nate and I spent six days and nights at the NW Washington fair with their 4H projects.

Here is a “12 days (although it was only 6) of fair” …. You can sing it to the 12 days of Christmas only if you are very tired like we are J I thought it would be more fun than writing about our experience.

12 times Nate milked our goat Finn. Many times it took at least three kids to get that goat milked. At least one literally had to hold her up as she was smart to want to lay down so Nate couldn't finish milking. In the picture he is with Pearl going into showmanship. They are both adorable!

11 combined meals (breakfasts and lunches) we ate in our travel trailer parked across from the fairgrounds. This marks the first year (out of six years now) we have had air conditioning and electricity. The kids and I LOVED the comfort both of those bring. Tommy and Liam liked watching a movie in the trailer when Daddy brought them out on some of the days and they were too tired to see more fair activities.

10 people with Ds that we met (or remet) during the fair. Tommy even got to high five our older friend Steve. It was wonderful to make new friends too with families we share common ‘extra genes’ with.

9 loads of laundry was done after the fair....the amount of dust, dirt, animal stuff, strange pocket contents….. on those clothes was amazing! I think my tombstone will read "she did alot laundry in her day" because it is by far my greatest accomplishment, keeping my kids in clean clothes.

8 am was the number on the clock most days I finally made it up to the barns. However, Hannah was up to the horse barn at 6am to exercise her horse and clean the stall. Nate was up to his around 7am to milk and muck out. My morning routine was by far the latest start to my mornings and is directly attributed to two great teens being able to muck out their stalls, milk and tack up for events totally by themselves. Wow, I wonder what the morning clock will read next year!

7 the total number of times that Nate experienced “Hot sauce shots” at his 4-H club potlucks…. Including one that had 4 million on the hottness scale. And he did that one TWICE. Much thanks to Joyce’s family for that hot event. Nate complained for days.

6 shows that Hannah competed in for Horse classes; Trail, Pattern A, Pattern B, Showmanship, bareback, and stockseat. Both are gorgeous and she did really well.

5 cousins visited Hannah and Nate at the fair (Andrew, Mack, Gabe, Madison, William) All had a good time! Our neighbor Mitchell is on the tractor with Tommy & Liam and we kidded that they look like triplets as Mitchell is only three weeks older than the twins!

4 different departments were entered this year by our kids; Science – Nate entered two rockets him and Colin made; Horse – Hannah competed a lot with her horse Babe and even did a couple of reigning events; Goats – Nate took our milk goat plus two of our cute dry yearlings; Gardening – Nate and Hannah both competed with vegetables and flowers

3 ribbons contained the word ‘champion’ or ‘special award’ in them (Reserve Champion Trail ride for Hannah, Nate earned Champion 4-H flower (a pretty sunflower) and his vegetable creation earned a beautiful Special award ribbon)

2 – the number of young adults that Hannah and Nate have become. They enjoyed the culmination of a year of hard work. They are between the stages of youth and adult and these six days of us living at the fair allowed them the experience of adventure, discovery and excitement…. in a fairly safe environment and surrounded by people that truely care for them. Both of their leaders are amazing women who use all opportunities as teachable moments (even the really sucky ones). Learning occurs on so many levels! But with some of their new young adult freedoms came uncertainty in some interactions and the need for lots of guidance and positive encouragement. And some clever 'reality' parenting to help them learn more of their ‘young adult skills’. It wasn’t perfect, sometimes we were rather ugly, but most of the time it was great…. I continue to be proud of these two!

1 - mommy tried to keep all six of us in our family going in the right direction at the correct time … and tried it all with a joyful heart! We had a blast J There were still smiles on all of our faces when we came home on Sunday. I guess that says it all.

It's so easy for us as the fortunate to forget the unfortunate

Fortunately, these parents didn't forget the unfortunate. As a BIG lover of people of all kinds. And a supporter of Reece's Rainbow, this video brought tears to my eyes. Great parents!

Thursday, August 13

Pneumonia vaccination

The last lab work from our visit to Children's Hospital on July 17th came back and it showed Tommy's titer counts for antibodies to strep/pneumonia were a big ol' goose egg. Wiped out, zeelch. So last night he received a regular dose of the pneumonia vaccine. His leg is sore and I have been giving him ibuprofen for the slight fever and grouchiness. When we go to Children's on Sept 15th for cardiology we will have lab work drawn again to show the titer counts *hopefully* higher. They will either be higher or lower. If they are higher, it's great and he will be immunized for pneumonia just in time for flu/cold season. If they remain low, then his body absorbed the vaccine and did nothing to improve his immunity and we are back to the drawing board. Recently, we added one more person to Tommy's immunology team and he has many good ideas about future testing to improve Tommy's chances at staying healthy. And that is just what we want.

Tuesday, August 11

Tall ships, land Ho!

Nate was treated by aunt Debbie to a sailing on the Tall Ships that arrived in Bellingham harbor. My dad, Nate, Mack and Gabe (both cousins) had a blast.

This is the Lady Washington and was in Pirates of the Carribean.

They even got to experience a 'battle'.
As for me? My mom and I were back at my sister's house having fun with five little people under the age of five. All were wonderful and had lots of energy! Especially Tommy. Who was EVERYWHERE. Even outside and slightly lost three times. Grrr. How do you travel and safely enjoy other people's homes with a kiddo that just wants to wander and get into everything? Seriously, I need to order one of those gps anklets soon. Thanks Debbie for treating Nate to a fun day :)

Saturday, August 8

Antique tractor and engine show

Our friend Tiffany told us about the NW Antique tractor & engine show and wow did we have fun. Grab a cup of coffee, there are a few photos. And mark your calendar for next year, Berthusan park in Lynden is the place.
There were hundreds of tractors on display, vintage cars and trucks, most of a sawmill, a blacksmith set up from the 1800's, threshing demonstrations, quilts on display and lots of antiques.
There was even a firetruck and Tommy and Liam were given little hats and fire chief sticker badges. Liam sat so proudly in the seat. Tommy just loved putting the hat on and off!
The steam engines were beautiful, LOUD, and the engines whirled around quickly. The photos don't adequately portray the high decibel level of some of these engines and whistles. Liam had his fluttery eyes going in a slight scare a few times.
This old home was moved from another location to the park. The boys had fun looking thru it. And all the pretty quilts inside.

Of course we love looking at John Deere.... especially the old ones. It was interesting to talk about what type of crops would be specific to each tractor. Some tractors had wide set wheels, some narrow. The conversation was lost on the toddlers, and if Nate hadn't slept in he would have enjoyed participating with Colin and I in the detective work behind the purpose of some of the tractors.

Mommy LOVED the hayride with her small fries.

I thought these "laterns" were interesting.

Liam really enjoyed the antique cars. He is very much fascinated by wheels on cars and trucks. Colin just loved toting him around the park (there must be at least a hundred acres).

Who would have ever thought about wheels like this?

The best part of the park was the ambulance tour..... sans breathing issues. Oh what joy for Tommy and I to be inside of an ambulance and not be in hysterics about an illness. It's really quite nice once you look around in it. (All I could think about, and I should have asked the paramedics since they had lots of standing around time today, was why do they ask you for a social security number of your child? On the way to the hospital, when your kiddo can't breath and I have tears streaming everywhere I'm suppose to remember a social security number of a two year old?) That aside, it was a great park, a fun and unusual thing to look at and it sparked lots of conversation about wheels, whistles, cars, tractors, drive, park, go, stop... you get the idea. Best idea for speech therapy, meet them at their interests :)
Tommy next ot a HUGE engine. I can't remember the specifics of what this engine powered but I think it was an irrigation system in California.

Friday, August 7

Family night out

We enjoyed an afternoon movie, all six of us (actually seven because Hannah invited a friend), and dinner at Red Robin.

Colin, Nate, the twins and I all went to Ice Age 3. Yes, it was CRAZY taking 2 1/2 years old to it, but the theatre had many small children watching, and family and friends said it was good, so we just blended right in. I sat with Tommy in the wheelchair accessable area (once I could tell there was no one needing the area) and it worked out great. I pulled his stroller in beside me on my right side so I could grab G-tube feeding stuff and snacks. I also packed a blanket he likes to cuddle with and he sat in my lap for an hour.... which is rare. His face was so enthralled with that big screen and the characters. By all accounts Nate and Colin really enjoyed watching Liam take in the movie too, and hands full of popcorn!

Hannah and her friend saw the new Julia-Julie movie and said it was good. It was nice that she could 'get a little independence' from us for a bit. We gave Nate the same option as we knew another family watching that movie so it was somewhat supervised, but he said he wouldn't miss the boys seeing a movie on the big screen. Too sweet!

Then we ended up at Red Robin for dinner which we haven't been to in a very long time. It was delicious! All of us really enjoyed a family night out.

Tuesday, August 4

What works for us Wednesday

Tommy loves just sitting on the front porch in a bean bag.


Mumbling about the toy he is playing with.

Relaxing days of summer!

Monday, August 3

Crystal ball glimpses into the future for Tommy would be interesting. Just a little peek into his life in middle school, or after high school when he gets a job. Somedays I would just like a little inspiration that his face won't be covered with yogurt and there is life beyond some of his favorite movies. As he is approaching three years old and we are interacting more with the school district early intervention preschool (all of it so incredibly positive), I began reading other parents journeys.

One family that inspires me with an older son that has Down syndrome is Dan Drinker's:
We stop by there every few months to read their progress on a documentary. But what fascinated me today was there newest account of their life, their mom Diane's correspondance with the schools that Dan attended over almost 20 years. Each year seems to have it's own small diary.

Diane Drinker communicated with Daniel's teachers using a composition book he would transport between school and home. Each book documents an often daily dialogue concerning Dan's academic life.

Her son is retyping all the correspondance between parent and teacher here:
Dan's academic life.

Yes, it is from a different time, many years ago. But is it really from a different time? Some of the thoughts ring true for me today and we are only beginning. Just thought you might want to glance at this fun family.

Saturday, August 1

Science on Saturday

Awhile ago, another mom posted a science activitiy that I just knew my son Nate would enjoy. It teaches about carbon dioxide thru dancing raisins! Thank you Leslie for all the great activities you have posted, my kids just love them!
Nate also built a model rocket today. He is going to enter it, and a few more in our local fair. We talked a bit about a contest that is forming teams to construct small rockets to soar 750 feet with a raw egg on board and the goal is not to break it. Hmmm. Sounds like a good math challenge!
And then we took the twins out to the trampoline and showed them how colors mix to form different colors. The pretty red color was Tommy's favorite. Liam counted to two bottles of colors! And Tommy loved it when too many colors were combined and the water turned a yukky dark color. Thanks Nate for a fun science afternoon.

First day of staycation

I'm not sure I spelled "stay - cation" correctly but I heard this word a few months ago and since our plans for travelling to Montana turned into staying home as a family, we are on a staycation "day one".

The twins and I met up with my sister Debbie and her kids at the Kids Craft fair at the library. We saw my friend Becky and her daughter Madeline and lots of families enjoying a MUCH cooler day.

Tommy had a front row seat in the stroller for the violin music :)

Liam LOVED the bananna bread and the relaxed music.

The sit and stand stroller allows Liam a little more freedom in "how he rolls..".

To end the day we ended up in aunt Debbie's pool (third time this week) and although I forgot my suit, Debbi/Nate/Hannah enjoyed the water with the boys
Not long after this picture, I checked Liam's swim diaper to find a poopy mess. The pool spent hours recovering because I checked his diaper while he was still in the water. Note to self, don't do that again. Grrr. It went thru the water. Tommy had also pooped. My sister and her husband spent hours getting the pool back in working order and we split. Sorry sis for poopin' and running. :)
My wonderful husband Colin spent the day working on our 'trenching' project. Which will allow us to have water and electricity to the chicken condo (in the background), my garden, the fruit trees, and the barn. It will also put phone/intercom at our front gate. Which will allow the little school bus to type in a code and come thru our gate, hopefully, when the boys start school in December. Colin is also putting in new fences for the goat pasture and a clothesline for me. I just love the smell of line dried clothes and want my four kiddos to grow up with that same memory of my childhood. Man, I love my husband. Seriously, he is one hard working, loving, and great friend to me guy. I'm going to go him a smooch! When we got home from the swimming fiasco Nate and I spent awhile helping him get further on the project.

Tommy Adventures