"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, January 8, 2011

Oh Christmas Tree

 We went to Utah for Christmas this year.  I grew up there, and its always nice to go back. We had a great time there and were able to see most of my family and friends.  It was SO COLD!!   I think the warmest it got was around 15 degrees BRRRRRR!  Or as Tanner would say..... brrr, I code (cold).   But no matter where you are the Christmas Trees are all pretty.

This is what our tree looked like at our house in AZ. We were able to go up near Payson and cut down our own tree this year.  That was an experience in of itself thanks to Ray and his "know it all" attitude!  We hiked down the mountain carrying Tanner and a saw the whole way, found the tree we wanted.  Then Ray wanted to hike back to the car and get the twine which he "forgot" to bring. I want not a happy camper about his because I knew that we probably wouldn't be able to find the same tree again and because it was cold.  Being a good wife I went back with him, ate lunch at the car, and left Tanner with Grandma. We hiked back down and couldn't find the same tree. Thinking to myself "Why am I not surprised".  This is how things work in the Winward family.  Fed up, cold and tired my attitude was swiftly going down the mountain. I told Ray, "Find a tree and cut it down, I'm done."  " I don't care what it looks like".  Well below is the result of that statement. :)

Kind of lopsided and had big blank spots on one side. But it had character, like everything else we entangle ourselves in. :)  Tanner helped decorate it, pointing to where he "wanted" the ornaments to go.  Ray lifted him up and he placed each and every candy cane.  Although they were all grouped together and I really wanted to move them, I left them where Tanner had placed them.

This tree was at my Mom's house in Utah. A fake already lit tree with oodles of decorations and ornaments with a rotating stand.  Tanner was fascinated by it!

True to my Mom and tradition.... Always tons of food to eat.  No wonder I always gain weight over the holidays! 

Tanner learned to say "cook" (cookie) and "cand" (candy) while we were there. :) He also learned to say "santa" and "noman" (snowman)  
He did learn another word much to my dismay.  He was trying to say cracker.... but couldn't quite get it right. Take the "cra" of the front and insert a "fu"  and well.... you get the picture. What am I going to do with my sweet adorable guy.  Guess I'll just have to keep loving him!


What can be said about em??  They are sweet, soft, and melt in your mouth, and Tanner loves them!  I can't leave them anywhere!  He will find the bag!  Here he is thinking "I'll just sneak a few, before anyone notices".

OH!  Caught in the act!  His eyes say "What?  I'm not doing anything!"

Becomes flirty and funny when caught to get more!

Such a cute boy!  Gotta love him - even if he sneaks into the marshmallows from time to time!

Update on Feelings

After the last post, I've had a lot of feedback.  I've appreciated all of it! My days go up and down, and I've had more down days lately than up days.  When I have a down day everything seems to fall apart.  You know the saying... "If Mom's not happy, no one else is".  Tanner felt my negativity and reacted to it by not wanting to do anything for himself. (becoming a baby again).  I've decided to turn a new leaf and be happy for him.  I will save the negativity for when he is sleeping if I need too. :)  I look at how amazing he is, how he smiles all of the time, and is not mad at the world.  If he can do it, so can I.
Things really aren't as bad as I imagine them to be or as they seem.  Things could always be worse, and I am grateful that they aren't. I know that any help we can receive makes things easier for mostly the parents, but any release in stress is helpful. :)  I only wish it wasn't so hard and a constant fight.
I'm making a goal to do the best I can and rely on God to help with the rest.  That's all I really can do :)

Friday, January 7, 2011

Tons of Emotions..... Star's Feelings

Bear with me....I've been in deep thought a lot lately.

I sit here wondering what I can do given the little resources I have to make Tanner's life a bit better.  The bigger he gets the harder it gets to swallow that he really is "different". It's so hard for me to watch as his cousins run circles around him and to see him get so frustrated because he can't keep up.  Things like that are such harsh reminders about how easy other kids get around and how hard Tanner has to work to get anywhere.

I am so frustrated with Arizona and the lack of support and resources.  When I was pregnant with Tanner I was told numerous times... "He will get approved for a lot of things that will help out" - Currently he hasn't been approved for SQUAT!  I don't mean to sound bitter, but I have to admit that I am. I almost wonder if we would qualify for more things if we lived in another state.   I really feel like Tanner is getting short changed, and I don't know what I can do about it.  I've applied and applied and applied....and appealed and appealed and appealed.... only to get denied repeatedly for the things I was told before that Tanner wouldn't have a problem getting.

Christmas was hard for me this year.  Not sure if it was because it was the first Christmas after my Dad died, and he was all about Christmas or the fact that I'm still unemployed.... or maybe its something else.. I try so hard to be happy and not get stuck in sadness, but I seem to be stuck in a rut.
We were able to go to Utah where my family is and where I grew up for Christmas this year.  I felt it important that I be there for my Mom, and hoped it would help me too.  I know my Mom loved that we were there, and Tanner got spoiled rotten!!  But things just felt off for me, and I'm still puzzled why.
I was able to spend some time with friends which helped, but I still felt off.  Ray even noticed that I was off, and got frustrated when I couldn't tell him why.  I still can't tell him why.

He said the other day "I want the wife back that I married".  I don't know if I can give him that.  Having a child with special  needs changes a person. At least I feel like it has done that to me.
Some people tell me I need to get on anti-depressants.... but I'm already a "walking medicine cabinet" ... why would I want to add one more thing.  I don't know....maybe I haven't grieved enough about things and need to grieve more.

Don't get me wrong, I love Tanner... I would die for him.  He is my world, and the light in my life.  He is so funny and always amazes me with the things he is able to do given the circumstances.

Just had to clear my head.  Thanks for listening.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

December 2010

December has been a fun month for Tanner, full of activities and adventures!
At the beginning of the month we went to the Phoenix Light Parade.  Tanner really liked it and kept clapping, pointing and saying "Whoa Wook at Dat" (Whoa look at that) So cute :)

Tanner is so funny...always ready for the next laugh!  He really cracks me up!

December 15th, Tanner turned 2!  I cannot believe that he is 2 already!  It goes by so fast!  We are still working on standing and taking steps in his walker, but I know he will get it when he is ready.  Practicing patience is hard, but also so rewarding when he reaches that goal!  He is talking more and more each day, repeating EVERYTHING I say in his own comical way!  Adorable! :)
 Tanner received clothes, cars, bath toys, a mickey mouse car, mega blocks, and "A band in a box".  The mickey mouse car is by far his favorite!  He played with it nonstop for the first 2-3 days.  Still plays with it everyday with his other toys!

One of Tanner new favorite activities is "wrestling" with Daddy.  It's actually just Tanner climbing all over Ray, but Tanner loves it none the less. Ray is a good sport about it too!

For one of our family nights we went to the Mesa LDS (mormon) Temple to see the Christmas lights.  There are always so many lights, and they have the Nativity set up there too.  Tanner loves all of the lights, and he really like the Nativity. 

On December 18th we attended the Annual Spina Bifida Christmas party for Arizona.  We also invited Grandma Pat, and Grandpa Ken to go with us.  Lunch was served, and there was entertainment (dancing). They also had coloring stations and ornament making stations for the kids. Grandma and Tanner made an ornament. At the end, every child has the opportunity to sit on Santa's lap and receive a gift.  

Needless to say, Tanner was not too excited to sit on Santa's lap.  But I couldn't go without a picture. Although he is screaming, I still love this picture!  It makes me smile!
He received a cement truck which came with 3 balls to play with too. 

Tanner loves his cars and trucks!!!  He plays and plays and plays and plays....and this is usually the end result! I was running around doing laundry while he was playing..... thinking it's much too quiet.....went to see and this is what I found..... Tanner passed out on the floor!

Whew ....... that was exhausting....

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Look back on November

November was a great month for Tanner.   Always so happy to get in his stander and chase Mom around the house. And getting so big too!  Weighing in at 26 pounds, and is now 36 inches tall!  He has the cutest personality.  Very stubborn and independent, but still willing to accept help when needed.  Very happy, laughing all the time, teasing the dog, playing.  Learning new words every day!  Growing up so fast!

Always "into" something!  Getting "into the island here.  So cute! :0

Watching TV - gets up to an hour a day.  Still mesmerized!

Not always wanting a picture taken..........

But at last.... Ok, Mom....I'll smile

The rest of these pictures were taken at Encanto Park in Phoenix.  My friend Stephanie took them for practice as she explores her interest in photography.  I love them all!

And here is my little man standing!  Such a big boy & I'm so proud!  Had to post it again!

November was busy for us.  Tanner is getting to be more and more fun!  December here we come!