"God doesn't give children with special needs to strong people; He gives children with special needs to ordinary, weak people and then gives them strength. Raising a child with special needs doesn't take a special family, it makes a special family."
" Faith makes life possible. Hope makes life workable. Love makes life beautiful."

The Winwards

The Winwards

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Check out what Tanner has been doing!

Tanner got New AFO's! So this is what they look like now. The black on the bottom is tread, which is meant to encourage him to stand, and to help him not slide around so much. I picked the design, I like it!

Tanner's personality is really coming out. He is so funny, he babbles all the time, laughs at pretty much everything, and is completely stubborn just like Mommy. When he wants something he goes for it! He has such a cute smile and is great at posing!

This past week, Tanner pulled himself up to stand all by himself! He wanted Daddy's laptop, and he was going to get it! I'm so proud of him! Go Tanner!

Now that he has the new found freedom of standing, he tries to stand everywhere! So the madness really begins! He tried to climb into the tub the other day! Now that Tanner is learning to stand, he is getting more daring about other things, and not so timid. Instead of just sitting in one place in the tub, he moves all over the place. He is also experimenting with climbing, and diving off the couch. YIKES! He also 4 point crawls now, but still army crawls when he wants something faster. He is getting better and better everyday. We share a lot of laughter and joy, and he is constantly amazing me!
It rained a ton this past week, and so the dry river, now has water in it! More water than I've ever seen in this river! Tanner loved to watch the water, he probably would have gotten in if I would have let him. :)

Tanner also loves to play in the sand! He also loves to get dirty! Such a boy!

Another new found thing that he loves to do is empty out the bottom drawer of our dresser! Tanner is all about emptying things, and making messes! Now to teach him how to put things away.......

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Here's to 2009 & on to 2010

Well......... 2009 came and went, faster than I could have ever imagined! The new year always makes me think about how things have gone in our life, what I've accomplished, and where I see some changes happening. I never make resolutions anymore, because then they'd never happen. Resolutions have a funny way of being great for about 5-7 days and then fade the minute life gets busy. So, I don't bother anymore.
We as a family have grown a lot this year and are hoping this continues into 2010, but the key to this growth was that some major life changing stuff took place that shifted our outlook on just about everything in our life. The real question is how do we keep that focus and keep going when things start to get "comfortable" and/or stressfull in life? No, I don't want life to be as hard last year, but often those are the times we rise to the occasion and take life by the horns.

Follow us down memory lane........

December 14, 2008 - The 1 and only pregnant picture........ So Sexy!!!! :) Right before the csection @ Banner Good Samaritan Hospital.

December 15, 2008 - Tanner came into this world 3 days before the scheduled csection date, so things started out hectic with an emergency csection bumped up for Midnight! He seemed to be already messing up my "plans". But once I saw him, I fell in love and have been in love ever since. Didn't take him long to have me wrapped around his little finger! Isn't he just so cute!

Don't mind the date - new camera..... didn't take the time to notice the year was wrong!

January - Finally had our little buddy home. After 2 weeks in the NICU, 2 surgeries, and casting for club feet. So fashionable! :)

February - Tanner's first smile!
Also Surgery #3 - tendon release for his clubfeet and more casts.

March - Tanner was blessed in church. Also had his first shunt revision - Surgery #4.

April - We had professional pictures taken & this one is my favorite! Also Surgery #5 - another shunt revision. Always a trooper through it all!

May - First taste of baby food - MMMMM..... this might be good!

June - Learning to sit and love playing in a box!

July - We went to Utah to visit family - had tons of fun and enjoyed the cooler weather. Sure is hot in Arizona during the summer!

Middle of July, Tanner had another tendon release surgery on his ankles - Surgery #6

August - Tanner got his first set of AFO's (ankle foot orthotics). He didn't like them at all at first, but he soon got used to them. I helped him pick out the color and design. I think that they are pretty cute! He wears the AFO's by themselves or in shoes to help with ankle and feet support as he has no feeling in his feet. (The one major side effect of his spina bifida)

September - Look Mom, I can sit now! And I can clap! Such a big boy!

October - Look what Mom dressed me as! A red, black & white guitar! Can't beat a good last minute sale!

November - Thanksgiving dinner sure was good! Tanner loves to watch and laugh with all of his cousins!

December - Wow we made it a whole year! Tanner army/commando crawls everywhere now. His favorite thing to get into is our dog's water dish. He loves to splash and make a mess! But that's what babies do, right!

Although this past year has been by far the toughest and hardest year ever, and we have had a ton of challenges, doctor appointments, medical bills, and surgeries.... We wouldn't trade it for anything! We have all gotten tougher and have learned how to just deal. Next time you think your life is hard, just remember it could always be worse! Look @ us, we are still smiling!
We feel so blessed to have Tanner in our lives! He had taught us so much about love and appreciating all of the smaller things in life!
"Life is not a matter of Milestones, but of Moments!"
"Each day is a new canvas, strive to make it a Masterpiece"
Here's to a fabulous 2010!!!!!!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

My Tanner

So we have tons of pictures of Tanner. Here are a few of my favorites!

This picture was taken in the NICU at Phoenix Childrens. It was the first time I got to hold him after his birth, 3 days later. I'll never forget how it felt!

I love his smile and how easily he laughs. He wraps everyone with his cuteness and is so lovable!

These 2 were taken back in April 2009 by a professional photographer. She actually ended up getting our permission to use it in her portfolio and in her studio. It's a great picture!
We were able to get professional pictures taken at no cost by participating in a program called "The Littlest Heros Project". Check out some of the stories at http://www.littlestheroesproject.org/.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Tanner's 1st Christmas @ home!

Christmas 2008 was spent in the Phoenix Childrens Hospital NICU, due to having a shunt placed on 12/24/08. So technically that was Tanner's "1st" Christmas. But I don't look @ it that way.
Christmas is fun..... do he look like he is having fun??

He wasn't even able to wear his Christmas outfit, so he used it as a "blanket" instead. :)

It says "Who needs Santa, I've got grandparents!" Ain't that the truth!!

Ray & I gave Tanner a "Sit N Stand Vtech Train...... but as you can see below he wasn't too sure of it!

Tanner received many gifts.... clothes, toys.... but he was interested in other things! Go figure!

Like Maple's bed & toys! This is so much more fun Mom!

Also ... I think this tag tastes better than it looks!

All in all.... Christmas was good to us in 2009. No hospital, no surgeries... just having our little man @ home and enjoying eachother. Wish we could have gone to Utah, hopefully that'll happen in 2010!
Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Tanner's 1st Birthday

Well, the day has come!

My little man Tanner turns 1 today! I can't hardley believe that its that time already. Time sure has gone by fast! I'm sure I'm way more excited about it than he is! :)

We had family over and the cousins got to decorate their own cupcake. I made a large muffin size cupcake for Tanner. I stripped him down to his diaper, and put him in his booster seat on the floor. At first he wasn't quite sure what to do with the "huge" cupcake I set in front of him. But he got the idea once I put my finger in the whipped cream and stuck it in his mouth.

He had fun opening gifts with Mommy too! Tanner really got into tearing up the wrapping paper! It was fun to watch him get excited about it!

Tanner ended up receiving a ton of fun new toys, books, and clothes. Thanks everyone!

Although I do have that bit of sadness inside, remembering all of the things we've been through the past year. But there is more happiness than saddness, because I have so much to be thankfull for. Tanner has already taught me so much, and he is so fun. He has so much courage and strength, and has shown me anything is possible if you want it bad enough. He is awesome!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Insurance Blues

So my work changed insurance and ever since all of Tanner's stuff has been getting denied due to the insurance stating he has a pre-existing condition. I have mailed, faxed, and scanned & emailed the certificate of coverage showing that Tanner has had insurance coverage since he was born, but his claims are still getting denied. The whole time I'm thinking, "how can he have a pre-existing condition with no lapse in insurance coverage?" And on top of that, he was born with his condition!

I am now getting bills and calls from Tanner's pediatrician and specialists because the claims have not been paid or have been put on hold. It's so much stress and so hard for me to handle!

At this point I'm at my wits end, and don't know what to do. Tanner just got fitted for new braces and the pre-authorization for the insurance payment was denied, so Tanner now has no braces to wear because his current ones are too smail, we can't afford to get new ones without insurance. I'm just ready to scream & cry!

I don't know what to do next to fix this, and Ray is ready to get lawyers involved. I only have so much time in the day to make calls and to appeal things. I did find a complaint form online that can be submitted the the Arizona state department of insurance commisoner, so I may be doing that if I am not able to get this resolved.

Ahhhhhh.... if its not one thing its another it seems.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Spina Bifida Christmas Party

We were able to attend the Christmas party for the spina bifida association here in Arizona. They had lunch, entertainment, and Santa. The lunch was hamburgers, baked beans, potato salad, soda, and a cookie. Tanner liked the cookie the best. :) The entertainment was a local girls dance group. It was so cute! They danced and sang christmas songs from around the world. When it came time for Santa, it was a long wait and I was afraid Tanner would have a meltdown before we got there, cause he was long overdue for a nap! But we did make it, and he wasn't sure what to think. Just stared at Santa with his eyes wide and his mouth open at first.....then looked for me. Once he saw me, he lost it and started crying. It was too cute! I know, I know... mean Mom. :) Each child received a gift bag with 3 gifts inside that had been donated. Tanner got a christmas book, a stuffed bear, and a ball.

It was really nice to meet other families that are dealing with some of the same things as Ray & I. I was also able to meet a few kids that have the same level of spina bifida as Tanner, and see that they are independant walkers. That gives me hope for the future, but I try not to dwell on it too much.

Tanner is so facinated by all the christmas trees. Who can blame him?? All the lights, and sparkling ornaments..... anyone in their right mind would love that!

Later tonight we went to Don & Arcelia's ward Christmas party, so Tanner got another round with Santa, and he cried much quicker this time! It was fun to hang out with family.