Tanner’s Story


This week Jim was leaving and taking Tanner to the video store with him. Anxious to get out of the house, he glances back at me with a big smile and say’s “Bye Mommy! Good to see ya!” LOL.

Tanner has an intersting way of defining “lost”. When I forget to put my seatbelt on he say’s “Mommy you lost your seatbelt“. This week I got out of the car and put something in the laundry room before removing Ty from the car seat (he was safe in the garage – not in a parked car in the driveway – I am paranoid about that). Tanner said “Mommy! You lost Ty!” 🙂

Sign Language
Not sure if I mentioned this before but my mom used to teach sign language and she would sign services occasionally for the hearing impaired. As a result, she taught me quite a bit when I was young (I only remember a little now). I haven’t been real devoted to baby sign with Ty but I have been trying harder lately. Tanner is loving helping with this and loves to sign the word “NO”! He gets plenty of use out of THAT!

Tanner talks in his sleep. He rarely makes a bit of sense about it. Sidetrack – Brooke also talks in her sleep and she is hysterical. Did I ever mention that she woke up Daniel one night speaking in Old English in her dream because she had been reading an old english book before bed? THAT is sleep talk! I so wish he would have recorded her! That is the funniest!

Anyhow, this week Tanner wakes up in his sleep and say’s “Don’t want do that! Paaaaapppppaaaaa!!” The next morning I told him what he said and asked him what he was dreaming about. I should have guessed at his answer. He told me that he wanted to stay at Papa’s house and didn’t want to go home! 🙂 LOL. Remember, he spent last week camping with Papa and Sweetie for several days and had the time of his life so it figures that he would have dreamed about a return trip. In fact, when I told him to get ready to go with me to Sweeties house for a minute this weekend, he told me he was packing his tooth brush! Sheeeeshhhh! Grandparents don’t play fair!

Tanner’s Story
Today I shared a much more detailed version of Tanner’s story than I usually do. He seemed to be interested in the conversation so I decided it was as good a time as any. Tanner’s story is rather complex. I could have stuck to the simpler truths but that really boxes in the story – his story isn’t simple. The event that prempted this was the hatching of Tanner’s triops this morning (refer to the triops posting if you don’t know what I am talking about). Tanner stared at the newly hatched little creatures and asked me where their parents were. This led into a conversation about embryo adoption and how Tanner is the parent of the triops now. As this was an easy lead in to his personal story, with a deep breath and a prayer I just dived in. We discussed all the participants in the story, the babies we lost, why he was placed for adoption, how God got involved with both families and spoke to all of our hearts…the whole 9 yards. At the end of my tale he looks at me and say’s “Mommy. That is a lot of parents!” LOL! I told him that God used a lot of people in his life to bring about “Tanner’s story”. He was satisfied with that answer and then asked me with a smile to tell it again.


So….does Ty have ADD? Hmmmmmmm……jury is still out. His PT certainely thinks so but we impressed her socks off today! I found this week that Ty has a new love. Books!!!! Go figure! I wonder where on earth he picked up that 😉 ? For months now, I have been challenged daily by keeping him OUT of my books. He ripps them to shredds…aaarrrghhh! I noticed last week though that he was trying to look at one of Tanner’s books and I could tell he was trying to gently turn the pages to actually look at the pictures. Due to his fine motor issues though, he just can’t do anything gently.

I went to Walmart and bought a couple of cardboard type picture books. They can still be chewed but they won’t rip. Ty loves them. I can’t count how many times a day he drags a book across a room (which is not easy when you are still crawling) to get me to read to him. He can’t manage the pages on his own (those carboard one’s are pretty tricky – I have trouble too) so he wants me to lift the page just a tiny bit so he can grasp it. He wants to turn the pages by himself at his own pace. At first I thought it was all about page turning but as the week has progressed, he stares longer and longer at the pictures. The bad news is, he screams if I decide that I don’t want to participate in book time! He is quite persistant! So when I showed his PT that he actually could do at least one thing for 5 minutes straight – she was pretty “wowed” 🙂 . Don’t knock progress!

I am so proud of my little man! He is going to eat us out of house and home. He is doing so great with his eating!!!! He is eating most everything we eat now just cut up really tiny to avoid the choking issues. He eats more than Tanner ever did at that age. We still notice that he takes a bit of time to adjust to new textures though. However…yes…once again…there is a however – I had to take his bottles away this week. He was chewing the nipples off and dumping the contents on the floor for the sheer heck of it. I was frustrated with the mess but the bigger issue was the potential choking hazzard of these nipples he was destroying. I went out and bought hard tipped sippie cups. He was not pleased. When I first took the bottle away from Tanner, he refused milk for many months. He would not drink milk from a sippie – absolutely refused. He cried for 3 weeks for that bottle. I was not excited about braving this with Ty. At one point yesterday he caught site of a bottle and was not pleased that I was refusing to give it to him. By this morning though, he gave in. He can drink from a sippie just fine and I guess he decided to just go ahead and embrace the cup. So I guess that is the good news after all.

My favorite gesture lately has been his gimmee gesture. Instead of pointing for things, he reaches for them and then opens and closes his hands in a gimmee fashion. Too cute and tough to refuse. Ask Papa. 🙂

One more “step” in the right direction today 🙂 . Ty was walking along walls. He was standing near the kitchen wall this morning and wanted to get to the window. He walked along the wall until he got there (about 4 feet). Not bad! Still hoping for a September walk date.

I tried to get an OT eval for Ty this week only to find out that the closest clinic has an 80 child waiting list! Can you believe that??

Once again, Ty and I both have a cold. Apparently we both have similar immune systems at the moment. We aren’t feeling terrible…just runny nose, sore throat, and little cough. Enough to keep you from spreading it to others but not enough to have an excuse to be lazy type of illness. Doesn’t seem to be getting worse so all is still good on the home front.

Heart of Worship

“I’m coming back to the heart of worship…and it’s all about you…all about you Jesus.”

Up until the last few weeks, our family has been away from Church for nearly 18 months (Ty prematurity issue). This was a LONG time for us to be away from our church family and even longer to be out of corporate worship.

I have been reading Lee Strobel’s “Case for a Creator” this weekend (awesome book by the way – I would highely recommend it and you can buy it at www.cbd.com right now for under 6 bucks – it’s on sale). Throughout this book, Lee presents a solid and well defined case for ID (Intelligent Design). What does that mean? It means we didn’t evolve. Too much unexplained for scientifically. As a theist, I obviously identify with an ID crowd. That is just the big “duh!” factor as far as I’m concerned. Right after I finished this book I started Angela Hunt’s “Unspoken” (another awesome book – read my book and music review page to see my comments). Both of these books drove a point home to my heart. That is – all creation will praise Him – even if we do not. Scripture say’s that if we don’t praise His name even the rocks will cry out. Lee’s book shows such clear demonstration of the handiwork of God in all He created and Angela’s book talks about even the animals recognizing their creator.

I don’t know how to put words to “worship”. For those that are unfamiliar with this type of intimacy with Christ, how could I explain this? The simplest way to say it is this – my heart cries out in worship and I have an intrinsic need to spend time worshipping my Creator. It is in these moments that I feel the most peace, and hope, and the best understanding of where my home and heart is. I was born to worship and give glory to God. The apostle Paul said that the chief end of man is to glorify God. I can’t put a perfect definition to that but I do understand deep within my soul that this is my purpose and I am only at rest when I am pursuing His glory.

Tanner and I had a precious conversation today and the topic came back around to worship. First, some background though. To begin with, as I have previously mentioned, Tanner does not have the appreciation for music that Ty does and as a general rule, doesn’t care for singing. In the last few weeks though, something has changed. It started when Jenna taught him “He’s Got the Whole World In His Hands”. I can’t tell you how much my 4 year old has helped my heart move into worship with this song. So many day’s I have been going about my daily business when I hear my little one sing “He’s Got the Whole World”. That is the only line he sings. He repeats it over and over in this precious voice. Never when he thinks anyone is listening, only when he thinks he is having a private moment. There are several things that I have been stressed over lately but I am brought up short everytime when I hear Tanner raising his voice affirming a simple but profound truth. He is sovereign. He has everything under control. He has the WHOLE world in his hands.

This is particularly precious considering the state of our political affairs. The embryonic stem cell bill will be going before the Senate shortly and it is expected to pass by a large margin (this is not good news). The other day I was thinking about this when I heard Tanner singing this song. Precious moment. My snowflake child affirming God’s omnipotence – the same child that many in our country defend had no value in his embryonic state and should have been used for research. God intervened in Tanner’s life and I love to hear Tanner’s praise – even at four.

Since Tanner seemed to have a recent interest in music, I happened upon 2 DVD’s at Walmart that caught my attention. I have never been a “Baby Einstein” mom but when I saw DVD’s that were similar but were “Baby Praise”, I couldn’t resist checking them out. I can’t tell you how much I LOVE this collection!!!!! The DVD’s are visually attractive (like Einstein’s) and Ty loves them. Ty rocks back and forth and claps his hands when I play them. I play them almost every day now as I have found they are very soothing for my household. They put my heart in the right place and I do a better job being a mommy. I will put the Baby Praise Collection Information on the music page if you are interested. My favorite song on this collection (God of Wonders DVD) is “Our God Reigns”. There are two lines in this song that I just love. One line say’s “He sent His son to echo His worth”. I love that statement and I could write and write on that one but alas….I would be sidetracking. The other line say’s “Praise His name – all still standing – all that was – all that remains – our God reigns”. My favorite part of this is “all still standing”. There are moments in life when “standing” feels like a repetative process of climbing back off our knees. In a culture of moral relativism, it is so hard to avoid hurtful and unkind labels that are put upon us for maintaining absolute standards of morality. ESCR is a good case in point for me right now. Yet still…we stand right back up. Against opposition and even when it all seems doomed to failure. I am not called to solved the problems of the world – only to stand up – and I do. This line just affirms so much that is on my heart right now that I feel the need to sing it everyday – sometimes through tears.

Tanner denies loving these videos yet it is obvious that he does. He watches them right along with Ty and if I am not in the room my shy boy will sing. The other day I ended up with tears streaming down my face while doing dishes in the kitchen while listening to him. These DVDs have a woman’s voice singing these contemporary praise songs and then children’s voices join in. At the chorus of one of the songs I heard an extra child’s voice. At first it startled me. The voice sounded so near – surely it couldn’t be Tanner! He wouldn’t sing that loud or long! I peeked into the front room and Tanner was standing in the middle of the room with his eyes glued to the TV. Over and over he sang with the DVD “holy holy holy is the lamb”.

Have you had those moments of watching your little children raise their voices in sincere worship? I stood there in awe. Another moment forever imprinted upon my heart. It encouraged me too. When I had spent the week reading and researching about the very essence of worship and than to see my four year old praising God with this incredible serenity and sincerity – it served to affirm my studies. All creation will cry out in praise. At this point you are probably asking yourself if Tanner would have sang “Old McDonald Had a Farm” in the same sincere tone and I am making a point of a situation that could be chalked up to happenstance. I’ll let you come to your own conclusion when I finish this story.

So today Tanner and I were singing to the Praise Collection while I was doing the dishes. It just seemed like a really good time to talk about Jesus so I turned the sound down and asked him if he wanted me to tell him the greatest story ever told. I swept the floor while he sat at the table and I explained to him who Jesus is, why He came, why God only allows perfection into heaven, and how Jesus gave us a gift we couldn’t earn through his death on the cross. I then added “and this is why mommy loves to praise Jesus every day. I need to worship him and thank Him for purchasing my place in heaven. He gave me a precious gift and I want to praise Him.” I said nothing specific about the songs we sing – I was pretty general about it. This was not the first time we have talked about this but I was more specific in the details than usual. Too specific for what he could retain but sometimes kids will surprise you so I just talk away and hope at least a small portion sticks.

This evening we were in the car driving and we had a conversation that I will never forget. What Tanner said told me his heart understands something that seems beyond a 4 year old. Some may call it coincidence but I don’t believe it was. I believe God Himself is giving Tanner understanding in 4 year old size bites 🙂 .

Doni: Jim – Tanner and I had a long talk about Jesus and why He came today.

Jim: You did?

Doni: Yep. Tanner – tell daddy what Jesus did for us.

Tanner: He died.

Doni: Why did He die Tanner?

Tanner: For heaven. It’s a long way away.

Doni: But then He raised again didn’t He? He is alive right now!

Tanner: Yep. Bad guys killed Him.

Doni: Yes but remember that we can’t get to heaven without Jesus. He died as a gift for us.

Tanner: Yep. (He then directs his attention to his dad) Daddy. I cry holy holy holy is the lamb.

When Tanner said that last line to his dad my eyes welled with tears. What made him say that of all things? We had talked about why mommy praises God but we did not mention this song nor did I mention any definition of worship yet the minute we discuss salvation with his dad, my little boy’s heart jumps to praise. The fact that he referenced praise in this conversation isn’t what surprises me. I did tell him that mommy praises because of God’s gift. It is the fact that he could have heard and understood beyond the level of what I said – enough to tell his daddy at the end of discussing salvation that he personally cries holy is the lamb. Scripture teaches that all of creation will cry holy holy holy. Of all the songs on both CD’s – Tanner would happen to reference that one and personalize it.

At four, I am sure he has only the simplest of understandings of this…but he knew enough to say exactly what God say’s all creation will someday say – and I didn’t teach Tanner that.


Brooke and I have made a motherhood pact. We will review a glossary of terms with one another and remain on the same page so that our kids use similar and unoffensive language (according to the standards that Brooke and I set 🙂 ).

One word that Brooke and I cannot tolerate is…do I have to write it without asteriks?…..”Poop”. That is an icky word and we don’t use it nor any form of it. (And we prefer family and friends not use this word with our kids either for those reading this 🙂

What to say then? Brooke didn’t like “yucky” which Tanner renamed “Lucky” (I favor “lucky” personally) so we nixed that. “Number 2” is working the best for us.

Anyhow, someone introduced Noah to this word and he has found several ways to use it in a sentence much to his parents dismay.

Last week this issue came up and he was reminded that he is not allowed to use that word. Noah responded by saying “But Daddy! That is my favorite word! I like that word!”

Poor Daniel. His sensitivity to word choice is even more conservative than Brooke and my own. Figures he would get stuck with these conversations (while David laughs hysterically egging Noah on I am sure).

Anyhow, Brooke finally negotiated with Noah and told him that he could use the word “Road Apples” (discussing the deposits from the horse:). Noah thought that was great fun and it worked as a replacement word for a bit.

Before sharing part 2 of this story, I have to sidetrack with some background information. Daniel and Brooke own a business. Their employees clean commercial buildings. The majority of their employees are spanish speaking. Daniel, due to teaching spanish speaking children and now running this business, has become quite proficient in Spanish. Drives Brooke and I nuts because he is continually having conversations with us in a foreign language while we gaze on in stupor wondering what in the heck he is talking about. Show off.

Apparently, he has been trying to teach Noah spanish as well but Daniel told me that Noah is getting these concepts as easily as his dog Ryland was ( LOL…the dog that could not..). Maybe Graham will participate in this father son bonding experience with a language to themselves :).

Back to my story….

So Brooke is driving down the road and hear’s Noah talking in the back seat. Noah keeps saying “accapoomba”. Brooke asks (naturally) what accapoomba is. Noah say’s “It’s spanish for road apples.”

Now Aunt Sissy throws her head back in delight! (For the english speaking only – accapoomba is a word generated out of the mind of 2 year old Noah and is not a spanish word).

Sweetie and I have decided to adopt this word. How can a word be offensive if no one knows it’s origin? And as Grammy Rene say’s “It actually sounds kinda nice”. 🙂

And on a side note (since I am in the Family Diary)…how is Karsyn just like her daddy Darin? According to Darin…..

(1) She is happy all the time (like Daddy)
(2) She sleeps a lot (like Daddy)
(3) She doesn’t take out the trash (like Daddy)

Yep…like father like daugher.

Ty the Terrible and Terrific

I should never use the word “Terrible” in a sentence connected to my child. Realize I say this in jest with a grin on my face. Oh my can he get in a heap of trouble though – thus the “terrible” description (but of course he isn’t really 🙂 ).

Before outlining his misdeeds of late, I have some fabulous and astounding news!

Here are Ty’s new stats:

Ty is 14 months corrected and 18 months actual. He weighs 25 pounds and is 34 inches long.

For his ACTUAL age:

Length – 92% percentile
Weight – 40th percentile

For his CORRECTED age:

Length – OVER 100% percentile
Weight – 65% percentile

Is that incredible? For children that were born at the time he was supposed to have been born, there is NO percentage of children taller than Ty and he is heavier than more than half!!! Under the circumstances of a MICRO preemie, I find this completely astounding!!! Who but God????

The Mommy Dependant Stage

I am pleased to announce though that Ty needs his mamma. Just like Tanner, he is going through more of a mommy attachment at the 18 month stage. He isn’t crying when anyone else holds him but he does want mom in the same room and he starts looking for me in a hurry if I disappear. The other day I let him sleep in his playpen while I was napping in my bedroom. When he woke, he was alone in the room. Scary day! He started screaming like the house was on fire. I ran in there to see what the fuss was and realized he was just scared because he didn’t know where mom was. When I picked him up he started kissing me and wouldn’t quit. It was one of the most adorable moments ever. I loved every minute of that mini reunion.


Part I – Winking

Ty has the most adorable wink. He squints both his eyes at you and scrunches up his nose. There are these little expressions that get forever captured in a mom’s heart. This is one of them.

Part II – Body Parts

Ty is learning what and where his eyes are. He has correctly identified his eyes by pointing about 5 times now.

Part III – Esotropia

I am having trouble believing Ty’s strabismis is pseudo. (Explained all this in an earlier posting). He still looks quite crossed to me – especially when he looks closely at something.


Physical Therapy is going okay but Ty seems to be in a bit of conflict with his PT. She tries to get him to concentrate on one item and he doesn’t like being corralled. They end up frustrating each other. Last week Ty tried to bite her. Yikes! I am getting ready to schedule is OT eval because it is more and more apparent to me that he needs some OT assistance. His PT described it well. She said he doesn’t have the maturity to grade his motion. In other words, every movement he makes is with the same intensity (which is strong, quick and deliberate). He is highly accurate with these deliberate movements but also painful. He can’t be “soft” for anything. He swipes and scratches and is quite painful if you interrupt his movements. Sadly, I don’t think he can control this…thus the need for OT. Ty’s GI and Ped still want him in ST as well though I am hesitant with that because….


Ty is doing fabulous (comparatively) with eating! He ate a whole hot dog (CUT INTO 1/8ths and non round pieces LOL) and slice of cheese for lunch today. I have to cut everything up very tiny because he still chokes like crazy but I found hardly a trace of food in his lap or on the floor today and that is a huge milestone for Ty. In the last two weeks he has begun to eat more solids every day. I still ask other people NOT to feed him though because he has to eat tiny bits. The chiropractor this week (mine) was about to feed him animal crackers before I quickly intervened. People assume an 18 month old would be capable…wrong. That is one frustrating thing about Ty’s prematurity. Because he is so big and is doing so well, people now assume two things incorrectly. 1. Preemies are just tiny babies that need longer to catch up. 2. Ty is totally fine and is suffering little to no effects from his prematurity. I understand how a casual observer would arrive at these conclusions but they are not accurate. When their assumptions lead to actions on their part (as in feeding Ty), it is very frustrating to me. People look at me like I am a nut when I am protective of him having no idea what lies beneath the surface. Example – I tried to give him a bottle with watered down gatorade last week and he choked four times. He still can’t manage thin liquid. He aspirated a sip of my coke into his lungs this week as well. That choking incident was a real doozy too. (*Note due to the current controversy – let me just add a footnote. 1. Ty is not on a regular diet of coke and very rarely gets even a taste. His SIP of my coke was an exception. 2. Ty chokes on thin liquid period – the coke point was irrelevant to the choking issue. 3. Ty gets little to no thin liquid in any average week. When he does get minimal amounts, he is closely supervised by mama.) While on the eating subject, I should also mention that I have caught Ty snacking on sunscreen, soap, AND Purell this week! Those handy little containers that snap on to the diaper bag worked well for me until Ty discovered what easy access he often has to the diaper bag and the hanging accessories thereof. Aaaghhh! My question is, who would eat these things twice? Yet he does every chance he gets.


While we are on this subject, I am excited to report though that Ty learned to walk with his hands being held on July 4rth weekend! This is another big milestone achieved. David was walking Ty around Daniel’s house and I was astounded. I asked him how he managed it and he told me he pulled Ty forward so that he would have to take steps to keep balanced. It worked. He won’t do it much because he is smart enough to know that when I am holding his hands and walking with him, I have control over our destination whereas when he crawls, he reigns supreme. I never question the kids intelligence 🙂 . He did walk with the walker Sweetie bought him (as seen in the video) but only at Sweeties house on the carpet. At home he won’t do it because it gets away from him too quickly on our wood laminate floor. He is trying to take a step between the coffee table and the couch though and has managed successfully several times. My goal has been September for unassisted walking. Still hoping…

Ty’s Interests

1. My books – he likes to eat them. 2. The TV – he likes to turn it on and off – this is against the house rules making it even more enticing apparently. 3. The DVD cabinet. 4. The bathroom – he has discovered the toilet. How do you lock a toilet for a baby when you have a 4 year old that waits to the last minute to run for the potty? If I put a lock on the toilet won’t I create catastrophic issues for Tanner? 🙂 5. The playroom – generally not picked up with an assortment of toys on the floor not baby approved. 6. Any open container on any surface and darn it – he can now reach on top of the cutout wall behind my sofa – no where to protect my sodas. 7. Tanner’s light saber. It has a button to turn it on and off and one to change the saber light from blue to red. This is Ty’s new favorite toy and he knows how to operate both buttons. Problem – Tanner doesn’t like to share it. 8. The ONE thing though that captures Ty’s attention for the absolute longest is….drumroll….home videos of TY! 🙂 LOL. I put the 5 minute birthday video on DVD and Ty will scream at me to play it again as soon as it finishes. He LOVES to watch home movies!!!! Good thing his mommy loves to make them! Somebody appreciates my hard work LOL!

Mom’s Note

This is going to sound like a complaint but really it is just a comment in regards to the things we take for granted. Eighteen months ago I was certain that God had called me to raise a child with severe special needs when Ty was born 15 weeks prematurely. Today I question this. His long term needs may be less severe than I first thought (praise God). Still though, I am experiencing the teeniest tiniest forms of heartache that parents of special needs children are faced with. Like watching Ty crawl while his peers run….watching him struggle to eat the tiniest bits of food when peers are handed full crackers…little things in perspective but they are teaching me to be compassionate to the circumstances of others. This weeks event that made me dwell on these comparisons was rooted in my physical pain. For weeks I have been getting terrible headaches and neck aches. I realized this weekend that from the top of my neck to the center of my back – straight down the spine is numb. I finally decided to visit the chiropractor. She kept saying “WOW! You are REALLY out!”. Knew that. Guess what else I KNEW? The cause. Most mommies are not carrying 25 pound children around all the time. 25 pound kids walk. Hurt my heart for other mom’s this week. I believe this is temporary for me. I believe Ty is around the corner from walking. For all those mothers though who are continually lifting and carrying older children who cannot support their own weight…my heart hurts for you and I honor your love and commitment to your precious children. It is hard. Physically it is hard. Emotionally it is hard. And I only understand the tiniest fraction of it.

Having said that though, I am privileged to wear the battle scars of strain. Ty is a marvel and I would carry him all my life. I point this out only because it came to mind this week as I questioned my neck and back issues – I do not intend to complain. I am blessed beyond belief and every price that I have been asked to pay has been utterly small and inconsequential to the incredible miracle of this gift.