"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

Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween 2011

Halloween 2011 for Tanner was a busy busy busy weekend!  So many things going on! 

We started out by going to a toddler/preschool Halloween party on Friday 10/28.  Lots of goodies, and 
trick or treating in the house!  It was so cute to see him with the other kids!

Next we had the Spina Bifida Walk N Roll on Saturday 10/29.  I tried and tried to get a good picture of Tanner, but he really wouldn't hold still long enough for me to get one.  The 2 pictures below are the best I could get!  He wouldn't wear his cowboy hat so we put it on the back of his chair.  He had to wear his pepsi hat...... goofball.

So he was Woody with a baseball cap on for Halloween.  Definitely original!

Tanner is a member of a foundation here in Phoenix, called the Starlight Foundation.  The Starlight Foundation is an organization that "Helps seriously ill children and their families cope with their pain, fear and isolation through entertainment, education and family activities". Saturday night we were able to go to a Coyotes hockey game through the foundation.  The awesome part about these activities is that they are absolutely free to the families!  We just started taking Tanner to these in September and love them!

The game was Tanner's first ever Hockey Game!  He even got a certificate!

The night was also filled with trick-o-treating within the arena.  Tanner received a huge pillowcase to collect his candy in!  He loved it!

On Monday we also took him to a Halloween party that included a hay ride which he loved!  Didn't get any photos of that unfortunately! (camera was left in car!)

All in all it was a fun packed weekend that wore us all out!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Pumpkin Pic

This is the best pumpkin picture I've been able to capture of Tanner.  He "colored" one pumpkin, and put Halloween stickers on the other one!  
He's going to be Woody from Toy Story this year!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The joys of a BOX

Tanner loves to play in boxes.... if there is one around... he is in it, around it, or putting stuff in it!

Silly Boy!

Tanner's New Wheels!

Tanner got his 1st new wheelchair this week, and so far he loves it!  It called a Quickie Zippie Zone, and the color is Toxic Green!  Tanner picked the color and I think it totally suits him!  The day we got it, I took him to Target and let him loose!  He loved the freedom to go WHERE he wanted, WHEN he wanted!  This has been a long time coming.  The smile on his face and the excitement in his eyes were priceless!  

We plan to continue working on walking, and to use the wheelchair for outings and adventures that require a lot of walking.  He is getting closer to being about to use his walker... he's just not quite there yet!

I'm so excited for him to have this new freedom!  He's very independent and this is just going to help boost that independence and I'm hoping his confidence too!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Baby Belly 34 weeks

I'm not too big on taking pictures of myself while pregnant.... but thought I would give you a glimpse of how big my belly really is!  This time around I feel way bigger than I did when I was pregnant with Tanner! Picture taken in the doctors office bathroom.  (I'm not tall enough to get my whole belly in the mirrors I have at home)  :)

Tanner still doesn't completely understand that there is a baby inside his Mommy.  When asked if there is a baby there, he says "No way, just a lot of food"  Cracks me up!  Boy will he be surprised in a month!

Tanner's Story ......

I remember it like it was yesterday.  Routine ultrasound on 7/24/08 - scan was going good and then the tech got real quiet and said she would be right back.  The doctor then came in and said that my new baby boy growing inside me has spina bifida. What he said next, I will never forget. He said "Your baby has spina bifida, he will have no quality of life, when would you like to abort?"
I first felt shock, and disbelief. But the disbelief soon turned into massive sorrow. I don't think I've ever cried so hard or long in my life! He is my first child, so I was already scared, but now I'm terrified.  We were offered termination many times, and each time we said no.  We were going to let God decide. 
There were times I blamed myself, or thought God must be punishing me for something. I spent many sleepless nights crying and agonizing over all the unknowns and what-ifs.  
I tried so hard to put up a strong front and tell myself that there are worse things that could happen to my son. Trying to convince myself that I could do it, and it won't be as hard as the doctor's say it is. Or at least I'm hoped that it wouldn't be.

Csection was scheduled for 12/18/2008, but Tanner decided to come 3 days earlier on 12/15/2008.  Turning the scheduled csection into an emergency one!  Already showing off his stubborn side.....
The hardest part was that he would be transferred to the children's hospital while I stayed at the birthing hospital.  I got to spend 6 blessed hours with him and hold him for a couple of minutes before they took him away.  
Tanner was 14 hours old when he had his back surgically closed.  He had his first VP shunt placed at 9 days old. He also got his first set of casts to for his club feet at 11 days of age.  He spent 14 days in the NICU, including his first Christmas, and then we were able to take him home!

(Don't mind date on pics - new camera - and hubby forgot to change the year!)

Tanner had 4 addtional surgeries by the time he was 7 months old, but none of that has ever slowed him down!  He also has had casts on his feet a total of 18 weeks so far. He sat independantly at almost 9 months old, army crawled at 11 months old, 4-point crawled at 12 months, and pulled to stand at 13 months!

Today Tanner is almost 3!  He is smart, outgoing, funny, cute, strong, stubborn, and courageous!  He never lets anything get him down!  He talks up a storm, and will copy anything you say!  He still primarily crawls everywhere, but is learning to take steps in a reverse walker.  He also gets his first wheelchair on Monday 10/17/11!  He is going to be a big brother in November, and will be starting preschool in January.  

As I look back on our journey, I honestly wouldn't change anything for anything!  Tanner is who he is, and spina bifida is just a small part of him!  He lights up our life with his sunshine, and is our little miracle from God.  The struggles have made the triumphs so much better!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Spina Bifida Awareness .......

October is Spina Bifida Awareness Month.  There have been a lot of happenings on face book, blogs, and other things going on. Below is something that I contributed to another blog, but also wanted to add it to this one as well. 

"What do I know now that I wished I had known when I found out about Tanner's Spina Bifida?"

"Wow!  Where do I begin?  There are so many avenues I could take.  But the main things that stand out in my mind more than any others are...
- I wish I would have known what an absolute joy Tanner would be in my life! 
- How no matter how hard it gets, I AM strong enough to handle it!
- That the doctor that told me that Tanner would have no quality of life, was DEAD WRONG!
- How much I have and will continue to learn from him!
- How much happiness he truly brings into my life!
- How I had nothing to worry about because he is so much more than the spina bifida diagnosis!
- I really wish I would have not worried so much about all the "what ifs" and enjoyed my pregnancy.

I could seriously go on and on about how much I love and adore Tanner.  He's my little miracle from God, and I love him to pieces!"

This next part I borrowed from a friend - 

SPINA BIFIDA AWARENESS : You should be aware that having a child with SB may cause increased motivation to help others, a newfound perspective in times of trial, a desire to enjoy the little things and commitment to change the way the world defines "disability". Studies show that raising a child with SB will induce strong feelings of gratitude for even the simplest of milestones and produce a willingness to do anything, talk to anyone, try any method necessary to make life better for your child. Side effects include feelings of worry, fear, uncertainty, and anger but are tempered with love, faith, determination and hope. Having a child with SB is not easy...but loving one is. ♥