Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Update on Tyler

We posted the following update about Tyler on his Care Page. Please subscribe to his care page updates at
and you will receive updates in your email inbox as they are posted. We haven't really posted much in the last few years while Tyler has been doing so well, but with everything going on with his heart in the next few weeks we plan to just update there and let the website email the updates to our family and friends. and the page is named simply tylerthomas (no spaces or punctuation)

From Tyler's Care Page:

Hello Friends-

Wow, has time flown by and we've been just enjoying the ride! I cannot believe that my little Tyler is growing up so fast.  As a newborn in the CICU, I remember just praying for the opportunity to see him take his first steps, say his first words, go to Kindergarten, and it was hard to look at my little newborn boy and imagine much beyond that point...but we are here now and Tyler seems to be pushing full-steam ahead for the next milestones!

To play catch-up a little bit (It has been about two years since we've updated this care page!) Our family welcomed a new baby sister this past fall. Savannah Lynn Thomas was born in October, and Tyler is loving his new role as a big brother. Both James and Tyler think everything baby Savannah does is so cute and she just adores her big brothers.

The past couple years have had plenty of cardiology check-ups.  His  heart condition has slowly been deteriorating, so these check-ups to occur more frequently now, only about 2-3 months apart as we knew that  more surgery would be on the horizon.

Well friends... it is time to start keeping up this care page again. This page is a lifeline of support for us, we love all the messages of love and encouragement and well as a communication tool that helps us share updates on Tyler's health with everyone quickly and easily.

Last week, Tyler went to the cardiologist for a routine check-up and we learned that the cardiothoracic  surgeon that is doing Tyler's next open heart surgery, the same surgeon that has performed his other operations will be moving to New Haven, Connecticut to take a position at Yale-New Haven Children's Hospital (great news for them but very sad for us to see him leave). Our doctor explained to us that Tyler's heart was going to be needing further repair "soon" based on what she was seeing on his latest Echocardiograms and his O2 saturations hanging out in the low 80s/high 70s. Well, we've been hearing "soon" for about 3 years now, so that didn't really catch my attention until she clarified that "soon" meant the next 6 months. She further explained that Tyler's surgeon was leaving for this new position at Yale in about six weeks, so we might want to start our research and start making plans to travel for this operation if we wanted him to do the surgery (which of course was the best option for Tyler, even though it would be very difficult). There was a small chance that our surgeon would be able to fit Tyler into his schedule before he left, since basically from a medical perspective 6 weeks and 6 months aren't that much of a difference in the grand scheme of things...but we were told not to get our hopes up, he is a very busy surgeon and his schedule was probably already packed full, and most likely we'd have to just follow him up to New Haven in order for him to do the heart surgery. (Which at this point in the conversation my mind was starting to panic as I realized I had no clue where New Haven even was on the map and that neither 6 weeks nor 6 months was long enough for me to be ready to hand Tyler over for another open heart can anyone ever prepare  for that?)

This week we had a voicemail from our cardiologist. She contacted our cardiothoracic surgeon , and she must have been really persuasive because  he agreed to operate on Tyler's heart before he leaves for Yale. Wow. When I first heard the message, I wasn't even sure what was going on or if I had heard correctly, but I will say it is with mixed emotions I am still digesting the Kindergarten graduate will be having major open heart surgery before the end of his first summer vacation. Bart and I are scared...really scared. I don't know how I will have the strength to do this, again. I don't know how I will explain to Tyler that he is going to have to have this surgery and that it will be painful and difficult. How on earth do you explain to your sweet little boy that something that is going to hurt terribly and be scary is so necessary? And then the recovery...and keeping him healthy, because if he is sick they would have to postpone the operation. How do I answer his questions without scaring him more? How can I comfort him when I can't be sure I can even hide my own fear? Two weeks ago I was oblivious to the plans this summer would hold, just trying to schedule  in the day camps and play dates,  wondering if would we make it to the beach this year or  just go camping?

Now I all I know is that we are so grateful that his precious little heart will be in the hands of our Childrens Healthcare of Atlanta Sibley Heart Center team that we have come to love and trust.

Please keep Tyler is your prayers. Tyler will be having a few procedures in preparation for his major operation and we've been advised that a 6 yr old should only be told about procedures a few days before they happen.  (We want to leave the worry in the hands of the adults.) We welcome your questions and well-wishes, but we ask that you don't talk to Tyler about any of this yet.  

Thank you all for your love and prayer!

Love, Bart and Tanya

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Team Tyler ATL Heart Walk 2010 at

Please Follow This Link  or copy & paste:
to support Team Tyler in the 2010 Atlanta Heart Walk

Monday, May 17, 2010

Baseball Season

Both boys just finished a great baseball season! This was Tyler's first time playing t-ball, and it was a lot of fun to watch. He was the youngest on his team (he barely was old enough to make the age cut off of turning 4 by April 30th) but he was excited to be part of a team. James did really well this year playing first base for the first time. He made some really great plays and he also hit really well this year too. It took him a little while early in the season to get used to the pitching machine again, but he was definitely in THE ZONE by the end of the season, hitting TWO home runs this season for his team, the West Walton Blue Jays. I made a slide show video for James' team and so Tyler of course wanted one too, but of just himself! Here are the links:



Monday, June 22, 2009

Father's Day Camping Trip

This past weekend Bart and I took the boys camping at Lake Lanier. Earlier last week when I booked the campsite from the comfort of my air-conditioned living room it seemed like a *brilliant* idea! When we got packed up and headed out is when we realized that this past weekend was going to bring the hottest temperatures of the summer so far (high 90s)—yikes!

Well we stayed cool playing in the lake, swimming, drinking lots of ice water, and we hooked up a high velocity fan at our campsite (not very rustic—I know—but I was only thinking about my little boys!!) We had a great time despite the heat and JJ kept saying “this is the life—isn’t it?”
JJ and Tyler had fun fishing, playing in the tent, and of course everyone’s favorite part were campfire s’mores (JJ has his ‘special recipe’ where he doubles the roasted marshmallows in his!) It was a fun weekend to spend some family time and show Bart how much we appreciate him!

The boys had their own way of staying cool --do rags soaked in ice water!
JJ had fun swimming and throwing his nerf football around at the beach, he made some new friends and had fun throwing the soaked football around at eachother in the water with Daddy.The boys loved hanging out in the tent and jumping on the air mattress (portable trampoline!) The best part was at night--we left the rait fly off of the tent (there was no chance of rain) and watched the stars as we fell asleep--the kids thought it was so cool and we hooked up the fan to keep us comfy! Even though it was really hot, camping is just not the same without a campfire! This was Tyler's first time making s'mores and his is defintely a 'Happy Camper'

I had to wash him down with the water hose him down by the time he was finished eating!
The boys can't wait to go camping again...I'd like to wait a few months until the weather is cooler!
We all had a great weekend in the woods and fun spending time with the family!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

West Walton Orioles Baseball--Go James #10!!! & Law School Graduation!!

May has been a lot of fun and a busy month around the Thomas house! We've stayed busy with baseball games, enjoying the warm weather, and Tanya graduating from law school!

This week marks the end of school for the boys. James had his awards ceremony at school today (he got an award for making the Honor Roll) and Thursday is a family BBQ for the last day of school. But my boys didn't have to wait for the summer vacation to officially start before having lots of fun outside playing in the water and we had a great time over memorial day weekend at the lake with some friends! Looks like Summer is off to a great start!

Last week We wrapped up a great season of Little League Baseball! JJ's team came in second place for the entire county beating all the other Loganville & Monroe Teams, but they lost the couty title by a few runs to a Social Circle Team--guess all that cornbread & butter beans gives those country boys an edge! This was only JJ's second season playing baseball and he is doing great. His batting has improved a lot, he has racked up a lot of RBI's this season! But playing defense is definitely his strength. When he is in the outfield, he can catch the ball and turn it around quickly and he never let a runner get more than 1-2 bases when the ball was hit to him.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Finally--an Update!!

So...I noticed that it has been since October that I've updated so it is about time!

All is well on the home front. Tyler is getting bigger and stronger by the day (although I do believe that the "terrible twos" have hit a couple months early!) He is very dramatic when he doesn't get his way, and I can't help but laugh as he throws himself on the floor and pretends to cry--he still hasn't actually figured out how to fake the tears yet, but he closes his eyes tight and howls! (Often he will sneak a peek to just see if anyone is paying attention.) He is really not my baby anymore, he runs and climbs and really tries to keep up with his brother JJ. During the day when JJ is at school is when I really get my quality time with him, and I cherish these moments. Tyler is still having trouble learning to talk, so he's been receiving speech therapy on a weekly basis. He mostly grunts and points at what he wants, other than that he will jabber to himself all day long. It's only been a couple months, but he's already learning new words, thanks to a great speech therapist. He loves to sing all the time (he gets the tune right--none of the words though!) and dance. He loves to play any kind of ball, and he doesn't understand why he can't join JJ on the soccer field or while playing baseball. He's very adventurous, when we go exploring in the woods behind our house, little Tyler is at the front of the line, climbing over fallen trees and negotiating around briars--it is amazing to watch. Even though he is such a young child, he really has such an appreciation for the world around him. Often I'll watch him close his eyes and when he feels the wind or a rain drop on his cheek just to concentrate on what’s going on. He loves to read books and puzzles (he will 'create' puzzles too, taking apart and putting things back together again) and I plan to enroll him in a preschool program in the fall. I think he will really enjoy that. When ever he has a chance to go to the nursery on Sundays at church or at the gym, he runs straight to the door and tries to push his way inside! But most of all, he absolutely worships his big brother, he says "yay-yay" for JJ. His favorite part of the day is when JJ walks in the door after school, Tyler goes berserk!

And as for JJ, he is doing really well in Kindergarten. He's been reading small books and he can read so many words I am really amazed. He is a really smart little boy with a ton of energy, which sometimes proved to be the perfect storm for getting into mischief! He is really a very good kid, but he does have to move his clip (that is the discipline system in his classroom) quite often. For example, one day he had on brand new hiking boots and he was wondering if they'd be able to help him "rock climb" the cinder block wall at school. Another time they were having math time and memorizing their phone numbers. Well JJ already knew his phone number so he decided that a wrestling contest with the other little boys at his table would be a better idea...but he's learning! He is a great little athlete, which is one place that all his extra energy comes in handy. He's really good at soccer (his personal record was 12 goals in one game) and this spring will be his first season playing t-ball, his team is named the Sun Devils (after the ASU team). He also enjoys music (like Tyler) and really wants to learn to play the violin, so we are looking to find his a place to take lessons nearby. But his true passion is cars. He took a snowboarding trip with Dad two weeks ago and he did really well on the slopes, but his favorite part of the trip happened at the rental car counter. He was requesting a Dodge Charger--(remember he is a 6 yr old, going on 26!) but was satisfied with a Pontiac Grand Prix, apparently it had sufficient horse power for him. He always wants to know about cars; unfortunately I am not the best source of that information like horsepower, top speed, and who would win in a race between ____ and ____. (I usually just say it's whoever has the best driver!) He's even gotten good at recognizing cars by their headlights or taillights at night and he laughs when I guess the wrong make and model! When he was about 3 1/2 one night he was entertaining people at church by telling them what kind of car they drove by examining the logos on their keys--I guess it is a special talent?!

As for Bart and me, nothing new is going on here. I am still in law school at Georgia State. Those of you realizing that law school is normally a three year program can do the math and see that I should have graduated last spring--but I’m behind because I took a year off after Tyler was born so that I could focus directly on him during his heart surgeries, and while he needed such critical care in that first year. Now that he is much more stable, I felt like I could go back this fall and I am taking evening classes on a part-time basis. I will take a heavier load this summer semester and in the fall so I can graduate December 2008. After that I will sit for the bar examine (YIKES!!!) in February 2009--I am already freaked out about that!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Welcome to our Blog!

In my family, I am out numbered. Between my two sons and my husband, the boys totally rule this house! Our television is usually dominated by super heroes, monster truck cartoons, or a sporting event in HD. I am always picking up hot wheels cars and sporting equipment and my boys would rather be outside than anywhere else. Of course by "my boys" I mean my husband Bart, my 5 yr old son J.J. (who recently has decided to go by James--now that he is all grown up in kindergarten), and my baby boy Tyler who is 18 mos. My boys are tons of fun and always heading for a new adventure. Sometimes they drive me crazy, but most of the time we are having a blast! I wouldn't change any of it...well....We have our moments, just like everyone else. We are always facing new challenges and new opportunities. We stay busy. We go to soccer games, doctor's appointments, picnics in the park, trips to the zoo, and sometimes they even get me out to the golf course! We love being together, but all to often, everyone is heading in a different direction--I'm off to law school some nights, Bart goes to work, and J.J. is now in Kindergarten. But even when life is crazy, we all love each other and wouldn't trade any of it!