This blog post is dedicated to my incredible twin tornados, Stone and Ty.

Happy birthday guys! I can’t believe another year has flown by and you’re already turning 7 years old while tearing through first grade!

There really are not words to describe how much I love both of you and how proud I am of both of you. But I’ll do my best to try to share to each of you.

First, I’ll start with Stone (since you were born 1 minute before Ty).

Ty and Stone enjoying an unusually mild winter day earlier this year at Madison Park. I *love* taking them to different parks in the Seattle area.

Wow, where do I even begin? “Special” doesn’t even begin to describe you Stone. I can think of dozens of words that combined may paint a slightly more accurate description. But I’ll start with: Persistent, Smart, Mischievous, Fun, Strong, Funny (VERY funny), Talented, Musical, and most of all, Determined.

I can’t tell you how much I respect and admire you as we work together to try to overcome some of the obstacles being on the Autism Spectrum has created for you. Every morning when I tell you its time for your B-12 shot and you automatically drop your PJ pants and underwear without a peep of protest, I want to scoop you up and give you a huge hug. Every therapist we’ve introduced you to you’ve accepted. I know that YOU know that we’re all just working so very hard to help you unlock even more words and sentences to help you communicate even more.

But what amazes me – and every new person who meets you – is just what an incredible job you do to communicate your needs and desires. And I see you working at it every single day. Man do I see you working at it. And I know without a doubt that even though you’re having to work so hard right now its going to help you down the road so much. You will never be someone who takes any success for granted and you will know and understand far more than your peers what it takes to work hard towards your goals.

Stone and I enjoying some quality time together during our trip to California in June, 2012

You have grown and developed so much in these past 12 months and I know we all can feel that you’re on the cusp of really breaking through and making even more incredible growth in the next 12 months…and I simply can’t wait to see it. You have no idea how much it means to me that we now can play a game of catch together. You have a great arm and have quickly learned how to judge and catch balls too! I know there will be a day when you’ll be playing sports – just like your brother Ty. And I have no doubt that you will be a phenomenal athlete who will be so very fun to coach and watch.

I know you have an incredible love for music and your mom and I will do everything we can in the next 12 months (and beyond) to help you further explore the world of music and help you begin to learn to play some of the instruments you find so fascinating. This is another exciting chapter I can’t wait to share with you.

While I know that if it was possible we both would love to be able to wave a magic wand that would suddenly make it possible for you to speak and communicate easily, there is nothing about you and the person you are that I’d ever want to change. You are so patient with me in so many ways and have made me a better father and person than I ever would have been if I didn’t have you in my life. The bond we share is something I truly treasure and hold dear in my heart. Thank you for being such a great boy – I can’t wait to see what the future holds for you. Happy Birthday Stone!

And now it’s time for Ty. What an amazing, intelligent and athletic boy you are Ty! I

Ty at Silvertips Game
Ty and I enjoyed our first professional hockey game together in February as we cheered on the Everett Silvertips against the Portland Winterhawks

love your curiosity and passion for learning. There are very few first graders who actually enjoy reading Wikipedia, studying road maps and globes or learning about history like you. You also are a very compassionate and considerate boy who is the best twin brother possible to Stone. Your love, acceptance and understanding of Stone is simply amazing. It doesn’t seem possible that as you both turn 7 you’ve still never had a fight with each other. You have NO idea how incredible that is!

In the past year I’ve enjoyed watching you grow from a novice Rink Rat in hockey to a more experienced Mighty Mite this season – even though you’ve only played one season of hockey! You have a real talent on the ice and I know that the skills and experience you learn from hockey will help you in many other sports in the future (whether you continue to play it or not). But I have to say, what makes me most happy is when you tell me how much you enjoy playing hockey (and other activities). I also got to see you play tee ball and can’t wait until next spring when you get to move up to baseball! I’m so glad and grateful that you enjoy sports so much.

Its also exciting to see you exploring other subjects and areas at school such as art and music. You are a very creative boy and I hope we can help you explore and develop this creativity in ways that are both fun and meaningful to you as you continue to grow.

There have been so many moments we’ve spent together this past year when I’ve wished I could simply freeze time and stay in that moment with you forever. Glorious sunny days on the shores of Puget Sound in the summer, sitting together at the Giants/Mariners baseball game and Oregon/Arizona football game with grandpa, watching you having so much fun with your cousins in their hot tub in California, sitting on the ferry together while traveling to Kingston or Whidbey Island. These are only some of the memories I have of our time together – I hope that your mom and I can continue to create these and many many more as you grow up.

We love our twin tornados. Happy birthday guys – can’t wait to see what the next year brings for both of you!

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