Sunday, April 29

Day two of four kids

I love updating everyone on Nate.  He turned 17 years old last month and is so much taller than me now!
Here is his favorite place to relax, Locust Beach hammock.  We watched the surf skiers with their sails (you can barely see one near the cloud) on the day this photo was taken.  Nate loves being outside.

I thought this picture of him was wonderful at Clark's point beach.  He is one tall skinny guy.

Nate is so easy going and really enjoys spending time with his family.  Loves to camp, walk on the beach and just relax.  He is in his first full year of Running Start at Whatcom Comm College and if he keeps going at his current class load he will graduate from high school next year with his AA degree.
Nate and his dad trained and accomplished the Lavaman this April in Kona HI.  The Lavaman is an Olympic length triathalon. 
Out of 1,500 approx people, Nate placed 220 in the biking leg and overall very well.  He has so much self discipline!  Him and his dad continue to train daily (sometimes even twice a day) for the next triatholon. 

Gorgeous pictures from teh racecourse in Hawaii.

And here is the finishing leg of running (Nate says that's not his best athletic skill) and finishing, which was probably his favorite part!

Nate is such a positive and loving kid, we just really enjoy him so much!  His younger brothers love him so much and so do we.
My favorite thing about Nate is that he continues to remind me Tommy with his Down syndrome is just a natural part of life, if I see someone else with Ds, he will remind me that they don't want to be looked at or admired any more than just another person in the world.  He puts such a normalcy on each person in the world, no matter what.  He reminds me that we are all just so equal.  I love you Nate!

Friday, April 27

Four kids in four days

I'll start my four days for four kids with my oldest Hannah.  Two short months ago my baby girl turned 18!  And we had a fun birthday party.  Here she is with her brother Liam and cousins Owen and Maddie.

Hannah loves to spend time with her family.  Here we are at the Woodland Park Zoo feeding the penguins.  She loves all three of her brothers lots.

Hannah continues with gymnastics and tumbling.  And from our backyard you can sometimes see her upside down!

She still loves to see the baby goats when they are born, or talk about animals to get on our farm.

Hannah has spent the past two years attending Running Start which allows her to graduate in June from high school with lots of college credits.  She works part time and makes it to numerous evening meetings that she has.  She is a girl on the go!

She went to Senior Prom and looked fabulous.  We enjoyed getting our manicures together and chatting about prom and college plans.  Hannah is going to attend Western Washington University in the fall, which is her dad's and my alma matter. 

Hannah's faith has given her continued strength, she is almost nine months sober.  She volunteers in children's ministry, finds encouragement reading her bible daily, listening to wonderful Saturday night sermons and remembering to give her worries up to her higher power a wonderful and loving God.

We love you Hannah Ilene Hughes!  Hard to believe how much you've grown in the last few years.

Wednesday, April 25

What works for us Wednesday

Typically I try to write a "What works for us Wednesday" post
It's kind of my way of sharing helpful or insightful stuff with all of you
Today I'm sharing something different.....

My kids

For the next four days I'm going to write a special post about each one of them

Because things in our family have been a little private this past year

And now we can relax and share some of the pain and the joy

And how much each of our kids have grown!

So, stay tuned!

Of course there will be a post on the tallest kid, Nate

 And there will be a post on Hannah, our only daughter!

And who could forget a post on Tommy!

 And the baby of our family Liam will have a special day post to update you on his amazing changes

And we will show you what we do an Sunday school and how far we have come in preschool and what college Hannah is going to attend in the fall and where Nate will be in school

And we will share with you how much we love and cherish our extended family and one big Easter dinner at our home, oh my there was lots of ham

So stay tuned! 

Wednesday, April 4

What works for us Wednesday

I haven't done a "Wednesday update" in awhile and just received some great news so I thought I would share because this is surely something that works for us!  We don't attend many conferences, and it's not because we don't want to, but rather our time is just so precious with both Colin and I working, that getting away to attend a conference isn't that appealing.  Usually.  But I attended one last year, because a couple people mentioned it numerous times to me and I was blown away.  The Infant and Early Childhood conference in Tacoma.

Here are the "Conference Goals":

Challenge thinking about diversity and disability;
Increase family and provider effectiveness through new skills, strategies and ideas for providing high quality services;
Enhance understanding of the unique strengths and needs of each family;
Foster partnerships across families, disciplines, agencies and funders to provide coordinated services in local communities;
Promote networking and coalition building around early childhood issues;
Enhance the lives of families and their children through the use of information and technology; and
Promote the mutual understanding of the contributions families and providers bring to the lives of young children.

Last year I had applied to receive a scholarship to attend and this year I applied thinking it would be a slim chance to receive one twice in a row.  Thinking a "no" from the conference folks would mean I'm needed more at home and that would be fine also.  Well, I got a call from the coordinating person and after listening to the coordinator talk about budget decreases meant decreased scholarships, she said that I had been selected to receive a scholarship and lodging at a hotel near the conference center.

This conference was amazing last year.  I met probably 4 moms whom I am still in contact with today.  I learned from some of the best educators on:  Tommy's visual processing issues, Liam's delay of expressive speech, sign language, sleep for toddlers, parent networking, ipad applications for nonverbal kids, family based literacy, supporting your child emotionally during medical procedures.... the list could go on!

This year I've got an entire new set of conference classes and am so excited to bring back knowledge and support to my family and all the other moms that I connect with.  Lots to be shared I'm sure!  Conferences can really energize me and help me to realize I'm not alone in parenting special needs.  And getting the best information from a conference is terrific!  It works for us. 

Tommy Adventures