Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Thank you

A change was stirring. For the past year, ideas swirled. For the protection of our students and a further push on quality, my vision was to bring Aviana's Elves closer to home.

Families are chosen with a careful eye and heart. Needs are important, but wants are too. This year, hearing more from our families was central. What are their interests? What are their favorite colors? Where do they shop? Grocery shop?

As far back as I can remember, if my mom, dad, or Gary hurt, I hurt too. Children are resilient, but sensitive too. For this reason, we think it's important for parents to feel our love, but for their kids to see them cared for too. Parenting is magical, but dang is it difficult too. Instead of a family gift or shirt only, we included our parents in a more meaningful way this year.

Aviana's Elves grabs my heart in a different way each year. This one holds a place because although separate, we shifted together and for our families. You shopped in record numbers! The boxes on our doorstep and at our post office were filled with warm blankets, hand picked books, journals, games, toys, painting supplies, essential oil blends, and clothes. Donations were abundant and used for the purchase of thick encyclopedia books filled with animals for Julian, tiny clothes and diapers for the triplets, Spiderman colors for Eddy, five wanted and needed fry pans for our mommas, warm gloves, snow pants, jackets, and boots for too many kids to count, basketball clothes and snacks for Warren, and much more! We basked in your cards, your letters, in Aviana's name hand written over and over by you - the people we love most. The more time that passes, the less she's talked about, so I'll never be able to tell you how much you mean.

With so many people in need around the globe, we thank you for helping us while helping our families.

The majority of gifts are delivered to the middle school and picked up throughout the week. This year we took two Tahoe Lake Elementary families. We delivered straight to their homes. This was different for us. Because one of the families recently arrived from Guatemala and the two little girls were part of a school program I worked over the summer, I really wanted them as part of Aviana's Elves.

We knocked on their door. A Guatemalan momma with a warm smile greeted us; her adorable daughters hovered behind. Milvia speaks little English, but gestured for us to come inside. We introduced ourselves then handed her what gifts we carried thus far. With what remains of my three years of middle and high school Spanish, I let her know we'd be back with more. As with many Spanish speaking families, their children help translate. On the second trip, I turned from resting the gifts on the table to find Karin with her arms wrapped tight around Dave's legs, thanking him. To see Dave hugging this small Guatemalan beauty both melted and broke my heart.

Aviana's Elves works in dichotomous ways, but the good always outweighs the hard.

The warmth of this family and their home. The girls bouncing the room with their mom beaming. Karin counting row after row of her gifts, "uno, dos, tres, quatro..." Dave and I captured and forever tucked these memories away.

Eight years ago, I crossed the hardwood and hopped onto the computer in a low and desperate holiday moment. In hopes of lifting my spirit, I threw an idea into the screen. You responded. And keep coming back. I sit in awe. By you. By the families who thank us. All I can do is thank you. And them because selfishly we've been gifted far more than we give.

Wishing you peace.

Our love always,

Dave, Jen & Rainey














Sprinkles of Rainey

















The boxing begins.




We start overtaking other rooms of the house ; )





Rainey loves to help. We're in a constant vacuum, vacuum, vacuum cycle.





Upstairs takeover. The Spaniers are on their way to wrap = )




The four of us wrapped just about all these boxes...
with a little help from Dave's old fashioneds.




♥️ Delivery Day ♥️













The presents overflowed this room, but I forgot to take a picture of the other.








The gift cards were divided into the family envelopes.




Along with this.




A letter was included in each envelope too.

It was on colored texture paper, but for some reason when I scanned the letter the last time it showed stark white. Blah ; /




Family envelopes





Ahhh...


There wasn't any messy hair this year (okay, maybe a little). 
Behind every purchase, boxed, wrapped, and delivered gift, there was peace. 

How blessed we are to have people like Dora, Marcy, Maria, Jamie, and Adela. They found our families and gathered what matters most. And to deliver the gifts, a big thank you to Dora, Marcy, Liz and Terri.
You're our eyes and heart.
😘

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Through the Years

Hi All -

I hope you are loving fall! Please tell me all about it! I'm surrounded by bats, cobwebs, skeletons and rain, so couldn't be happier. 

I wrote an entire email about this year's Aviana's Elves, then pulled pictures from the past. In attaching a few, I realized my stories rang just as true then as today, so erased all that I wrote.

Now I'm finished and whoa! is this post verbose (can you tell I've been practicing vocabulary with the students : ). 



2011



We delivered to Kaiser and UC Davis today!

Ninety gift boxes were given, with thirty more for Sutter to go :o)


2012



Sometimes you can pinpoint a moment in time. This was it. This was the exact moment that changed Aviana's Elves for this year. It was on this crisp, cold Christmas Eve night. It was this man, with this dog, wearing his cute little red and green striped sweater, on this corner. He was so sweet and thankful for the bag of doughnuts he just received.

I've given food, money and dog bones to many homeless - but there was something about this interaction that stayed with me throughout the entire year. Something that pulled at me. I saw something in him, in them...

I don't know what's in store for the future of Aviana's Elves, but what I do know is this - it will always be drawn in the design of helping those most in need. It makes perfect sense. If you look to Aviana's Guatemalan background combined with the ways in which I've always felt compelled to give, all the pieces fall into place.

We will follow where the need is greatest...always.


2013


 I decided to order a bunch of pizzas and have them sent to the local firehouse on Halloween because I knew that day was her favorite. My husband is a fireman, so they hold a special place in my heart. I included a letter of why the pizzas were being sent along with Avi's blog address so they could see how special Aviana was. 

Alex Infante


2014


The purpose of Aviana's Elves is to bring those who may be going through a difficult time a sliver of light. If only for a moment, we want to let them know someone is thinking of them.  

2015


I know each donation holds personal meaning. One may be in honor of a mother who's missed in not just every inhale, but exhale too. Another may represent a father who passed all too suddenly. For another, this gift may represent a sister who's thought of and remembered in every phase of life, or for a son who was the very center of a family's world. We understand these donations are multifaceted and for the single or many reasons you've gifted us/them - we thank you.


2016

Aviana's Peeps

For all the years of Aviana's Elves, it's been you holding and lifting us through the holidays. And now because of you, we've been given this opportunity. A trifecta of helping, sharing our girl, and healing.



Aviana's Elves

With a host of issues in their homes, I witness the struggle. I feel their pain. I understand that hard mixes with happy, and love has the ability to carry, but still, don't parents intrinsically want the best and most for their children?

Basic needs come first. When hungry, students aren't able to concentrate as well. When cold, they're less communicative. The need is here - for food, for warm clothes, for someone to understand. In my opinion, the kindness and love from others will lift and carry them further than we'll ever know.



2017


And in their names, we find solace in why we give.  Whether it's in honor of the one we miss. Because it feels good. For those we're grateful to be with now. For our families, plain and simple. For your own reason, thank you for joining with ours and making this a truly meaningful time of year.

***

By way of clothing, games, gift cards, holiday meals, urgent or unexpected requests, acts of kindness, and cash donations - thank you for many years of LOVE!

Need, it never goes away. It's abundant, so we give, but boy are we ready to give BIG! 

If you are too...

 Packages can be sent to:


Aviana's Elves
c/o Dave or Jen Hodder
4150 Robert Ave. #4
Carnelian Bay, Ca 96140

Gift cards or cash donations can be mailed to:

Aviana's Elves
c/o Dave or Jen Hodder
P.O. Box 4
Carnelian Bay, Ca 96140

If including a cash donation, you can make the check out to: 
Aviana's Elves or David or Jennifer Hodder.

If you have any questions or would like to donate through Paypal, 
you can contact us directly at -
homesweettahoe@yahoo.com

For delivery shopping and delivery purposes, if you can please send donations by 
the end of November!

 Thank you for thinking of us once again! 

***

Our first family is from Guatemala! They arrived recently and include a single mother and two daughters. I worked at a summer program the girls attended and they are a dream. They're sweet and smart. One is in first grade and the other fifth. I have so much to say, but for now - Guatemala and my heart is full 💗
More to come on sizes, etc.

Our love to you all!

Dave, Jen & Rainey

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Today




Long before Aviana knew Dave, 
he loved her.  




After meeting, 




he soon gained her trust.




From then on... they were inseparable.




Dave was enamored by his little.




If they weren't watching basketball or a show about woolly mammoths, 
they were making up their own games.

Then nine years ago today, life changed. We changed. 
But the love did not, and only grew.



Our roles changed.



And life became more about survival,



 therapy,


and quality.



With deeper meaning, 




perspective,




and appreciation.


 Even if only for a small amount of time, I'm grateful to have seen Dave with Aviana. Through our best and most challenging days, he rose and shined for our girl. I'll forever love and respect his devotion to Aviana, Kama, Rainey, my family, and me.

To dads who are here and those who've lost - my love today and always.

And to my dad and Gary...

♥️ 

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

♥️ Rainey ♥️

We opened our eyes to Rainey's birthday! Our morning was filled with kisses, stories of the night she was born (to us ; ), and a breakfast of scrambled eggs with Canadian bacon, mushrooms, and cheese for she and Dave. And we still have the afternoon and night to love on our love.

Isn't my mom strange; she thinks Dave and I are over the top, to the point of annoying Rainey. We say no way.

She's our world,

And deserves to be treated as such.















































♥️ ♥️ ♥️