"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

Saturday, April 3, 2010

We took Tanner camping with Ray's family for the first time. We camped near the Superstition mountains, the Friday and Saturday before Easter Sunday. I'm (Star) not a big camper, but I had fun anyway.

All the kids dyed Easter eggs, but Tanner was not interested. He just wanted to drink the colorful dye.

Tanner really enjoyed playing with his cousin Tade and getting really dirty!

Don't ask me what is so fun about filling up a pot with dirt and rocks, but Tanner loved it!

Tanner also loved the tent! He was scared of it at first, but once he got used to it he loved to sit inside.

All in all, we had fun camping as a family! And plan to do it again!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Okay.... so I'm not as good at this blogging thing as I originally hoped to be. Although I'm a stay at home mom right now, I'm also looking for another job and trying to tie up loose ends as well. Meanwhile..... Tanner is really getting curious about EVERTHING! And he loves to try to climb things. He will dive right off the couch if you aren't watching.....so constant watching it is... and meanwhile nothing else gets done! :)

Tanner is getting to be such a big boy! He is now 15 months old! Where did all the time go??? He is always smiling and laughing at something! His hair is finally starting to fill in, Yay! Do you see all of his teeth? He's got 14 and more coming in. He is becoming quite the picky eater, so meals have become a challenge. He is learning tons of new words, he now says mama, dada, hey, no, yessssss (yes... the extra ssss are there! sometimes he sounds like a snake!), uh-oh, I did it, and let's go. He has also learned some sign language which has been helpful, especially if he wants more.

Tanner loves to have his shirt and braces off, but prefers to have shorts or pants on. To me he looks just like a little country boy. :) And as always, Maple's toys are more fun than his. :)

To my dismay... Tanner's latest accomplishment.....Crawling out the doggie door! He does it a lot if I'm not paying close attention. The backyard is just dirt and weeds, not the ideal place for a little boy to be going .... by himself... no less!
One thing for sure... he sure keeps me on my toes!

Tanner's laughter is so contagious! I love to make him giggle and laugh. Below is a video of him being his cute self.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

When it rains it Pours!!

So I guess loosing my dad wasn't enough for sadness and trials for me....... Got laid off from my job today!!! I'm seriously freaking out! Tanner's insurance is through my work, and he needs to have insurance! We can't afford for him to have a lapse in coverage because then the insurance can claim that he has a pre-existing condition.
As of now, I'm really at a loss as to what I am going to do. I alraedy filed for unemployment, am in the process of filing for AHCCS (medicaid), and reapplied for SSI disability benefits for Tanner. I know that there is also Kids Care.
I know that things happen for a reason, but golly... why do things always happen at the same time.
Can I scream now!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Until we meet again

Today, we lost a dad, a father in-law, and a grandpa. Sadly my dad (Star's) passed away today. He went to be with our heavenly father, and his parents. He was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease almost 13 years ago, and lived longer than expected.

He will be greatly missed. We do have many many happy memories. Tanner was able to meet him when he was 6 months old. Unfortunately Tanner is so small that he won't remember, but I have lots of stories to tell him about his grandpa.

The funeral is set to be this Friday or Saturday. We will be driving up to Utah on Thursday. Many tears have been shed already. It's hard, but I'm trying to remember that he is in a better place now.

I love you Dad!!!

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/.