Sunday, February 28, 2010


Often times, I think to myself, "I wish I could have Aviana, with her perfect, unhurt, unharmed brain, back for just one day, one hour, one minute!"

We were on a walk yesterday, and these exact words were about to run straight from my brain, right out my mouth. Actually, a few had naively escaped just prior to my realization.

In one quick moment, I became all too conscious of the fact that I do not want one day, one hour, one minute, or even one second with her, as she was, and as I am now!

For that would be a cruel, sick, twisted joke, and all I would be left wanting is.....


and more,

and more,

and more,

and much,

much more.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

30 Days Clean

Many times a day.

On the couch.

In the crib.

While walking down the hall.

Once a day.

In the kitchen.

On someones lap.

At David's 4th birthday party.

Every other day or so.

Before a doctors appointment.

Mostly while Peter, Sarah and Lily were visiting.

At the dinner table.

Once a week!?!

On Dave.

On Kama.

On Me.

Today, we have finally hit the 30 day mark.

We are so fresh and so clean, clean!

We are officially one month puke-free!!

Can I get a~

Wooooo Hooooo! 

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Groundhog Day

Day in, day out, they are all the same, what feels like no variation.

Wake up.

Love on Aviana.

Begin the first of 55 maskings.

Take Kama out to the bathroom.

Feed Kama breakfast.

Give Aviana a bath, sometimes.

Brush her teeth.

Give Aviana medication.

Give 180 ml. of water.

Give supplements.

Change diaper.

Give Aviana a snack.

Start the first of her auditory therapy. Make 3 different sounds within 1 minute.

Feed the fish.

Put Aviana down the first of her inclined floors.

Wait at the bottom with lots of hugs and kisses (say a prayer that she gets down in 1 minute and not 20.)

Give Aviana lunch.

Start her reading program.

Mask her every 4-5 minutes until you want to put the mask on your own face and throw the timer out the window.

Continue with auditory and tactile therapy.

Give medication.

Give 180 ml. water.

Change diaper.

Give supplements. (Silently bitch about the fact that it is so difficult to split 2 capsules of powder, as equally as possible, into 3 little dishes. Continue bitching the entire time about how you are the self proclaimed efficiency expert and have yet to resolve this simple issue!!!!!)

Give Aviana another snack.

Think about some much needed blogging.

Sit on the phone with various entities which assist with my brain injured baby. Wonder if they wonder why they are hearing 3 distinct, different sounds every minute??

Continue with the inclined floor.

Wonder if I lined up patterners for this particular day.

Think about what we are going to have for dinner.

Say, "screw it, I don't have the energy to make dinner."

Change diaper instead.

Wonder how many things I have forgotten to do today.

Think about how much I love Gary Allan.

Wonder why.

He's on the road all year, he has been married 3 times, he has 3 daughters, he's 42.......

Realize I still love him.

Determine it's unconditional, what can I say?

Give Aviana dinner.

Think about some of my very favorite lyrics.

Continue with therapy.

Feed the fish.

Pattern her when Dave and beautiful neighbors get home.

Continue masking.

Feed Kama.

Give 180 ml. water.

Give supplements.

Race to finish up all remaining therapy.

Brush teeth.

Listen to the new Butch Walker for the 1000th time.

Wish I was a musical genius like him.

Give medication.

Give lots of hugs and kisses.

Wonder what's for dinner.

Who cares.

Feel exhausted.

Flip the TV on.

Fall asleep.

Wake up and do it all again.

Over and over.

Barely any variation.

They are all blending together into a hodgepodge (always wanted to use that word) of minutes, hours, days, weeks, months and potentially years. The lines are blurred the edges have disappeared. They all run together.

7 days a week.

365 days a year.

Groundhog Day.......Avi and I know what it's all about!

Don't be jealous :o)

Friday, February 19, 2010

Smarty Pants

I'm telling you, The Institute's program is doing wonders for our little one!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

All Better Now

This blog is the most amazing thing on earth. I love it more than I could ever have imagined. As you know, I woke up really upset yesterday. As I carried on with my day, I could actually feel myself slipping down the slide of doom. I was clinging to the sides for dear life. I actually felt I was playing a scene out of the movie, "A Christmas Story." I felt I was living the part where Santa kicked Ralphie down the slide. Needless to say, things progressively got worse.

Woe is me, dragged us all through doctors appointments, therapy, etc. It was terrible.

I later walked into my office; ferociously attacked the keyboard much like a wild beast, and actually walked out with a slight smile across my face. I literally purged everything out into blog form and then felt the world had been somewhat lifted from my shoulders!

I carried on with my day in a much better mood. I went and had dinner with my best friend. Laughing and great conversation never felt so good. She is always the best form of therapy! Thank you Jen, I love, love, love you!!!

I came home at about 11 and Dave and I stayed up until about 2, talking, watching American Idol, stuff like that. It ended up being a very nice night, which has lead to a great day today.

Last night, I couldn't help but think of a very normal conversation in our household prior to the accident. If Aviana was upset in any way, Dave would hug her and then when she calmed down, he would say, "Are you all better now?" Avi would then smile and say, "All better now!" She would then pop off his lap and get back into whatever it was she was doing!

Thank you to everyone for your concern and wonderful comments, e-mails, voicemails, etc. I can’t tell you how much each and every single one means to me. Don’t ever think twice about commenting to me. I love comments. I am also not easily offended and many times I am grasping for straws of knowledge, life experience, anything! It's also always so nice to know that you care and that I am not alone on this road of mine!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


I woke up disgusted.

Disgusted in every way possible.

Disgusted by the fact that Aviana can’t walk.

Disgusted that she can't talk.

Disgusted that she can't enjoy any food.

Disgusted that she can’t run around and play with Kama.

Disgusted that she cannot dance around to her favorite music.

Disgusted that I do not know what she would be into now. Would she finally like Hello Kitty? Or would she love Thomas like her best friend Lily? Who knows.....

Disgusted that she cannot draw a picture for the fridge.

Disgusted that she cannot laugh until her heart's content.

Disgusted that her life was ripped away from her.

Disgusted that we do an obsessive amount of therapy 7 days a week.

Disgusted that my parents worked their ASSES off to reach retirement and now cannot truly enjoy it.

Disgusted that such a smart, opinionated little girl was left speechless!!!

Disgusted that Dave has a long day at work only to come home and do therapy.

Disgusted that Aviana’s best friends lost their best friend.

Disgusted that it is so difficult to take Aviana anywhere and everyone has to come here.

Disgusted that we are stuck to our house.

Disgusted that I am completely obsessive about Aviana’s therapy, to the point where walks and time to love on Kama became boxes on the Excel spreadsheet per my counselor.

Disgusted that she can’t smile and tell me she loves me.

Disgusted that people pity Aviana and all of us for that matter.

Disgusted that my memory of the “old her” is not fading fast enough.

Disgusted that I am having to learn the worlds harshest form of patience.

Disgusted that everything is so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so slow!!!!!!

Disgusted that I had to go through and form piles of old clothes to give away...with the folding of each outfit, a glimpse of my girl passes before me.

Disgusted that the only time we really get out is for doctor’s appointments.

Disgusted that her wheelchair weighs 50 pounds.

Disgusted that sometimes I don't know which way to turn for happiness.

Disgusted that she cannot even crawl.

Disgusted that I have not been to the gym since the morning of the accident.

Disgusted that I can't listen to her sweet voice and her beautiful self point to a bird and say, "Mommy, birdie singing."

Disgusted that I don’t know if Aviana is happy.

Disgusted that she worked so hard and was potty trained 2 weeks after her second birthday, only to return to diapers on June 17, 2009.

Disgusted that I had to finally go into her backpack and see what it was she last left inside.

Disgusted that she has to tolerate an obscene amount of therapy every single day.

Disgusted that she has to sleep on a masonite board.

Disgusted that we had to make life and death decisions for her.

Disgusted that I have to ask for help as much as I do.

Disgusted that my family has had to endure one of life's greatest tragedies.

Disgusted that it is a huge production to run the simplest of errands.

Disgusted that my life is ruled by "ticky tacky" boxes. Day in and day out.

Disgusted that I cannot dress Aviana the way I did before.

Disgusted that I cannot sign her up for swim lessons or gymnastics.

Disgusted that, once again, I have to walk through the aisles of kids clothes, toys, etc. with a sadness looming in the depths.

Disgusted that I have no energy.

Disgusted that when I don't feel like making "28 meals," we still have to.

Disgusted that today, my Mom and I had to sit and listen to the neurologist say that Aviana’s ventricles in her brain may be expanding to fill all of the areas where her brain "died" and there is vacant space. He said it much more eloquently, but believe me, I picked up exactly what he was puttin’ down.

Disgusted that many times I feel lonely, but don’t want to be around anyone. Every time I feel this way, I think of one of my favorite lyrics, “Leave me alone, I’m lonely. Alone, I’m lonely.”

Disgusted that I can barely shop for Aviana anymore. I try, but there are only so many bows a girl can have.

Disgusted that when Avi decides to take a nap, I have visions of all of the therapy I am losing out on written all over my face.

Disgusted that I can’t pull Avi into the shower so we can spit water all over each other.

Disgusted that we do not have the luxury of getting pregnant, if we did decide on another child.

Disgusted that if we decided to have another child, we would have to come up with another $30,000 to adopt.

Disgusted that I cannot even fathom another child because it would cut into Aviana’s therapy time.

Disgusted that Aviana has no siblings to grow up with.

Disgusted that I do not know who will care for Aviana when we are dead and gone.

Disgusted that I cannot bring myself to write Aviana’s foster mother in light of what happened. I’d rather her not know and think we lost contact, than be completely heartbroken by the cold, hard, truth.

Disgusted with being disgusted.

I hope that I have sufficiently purged all of this negative energy out of my system. I hope I can carry on as I normally do. Optimistic, hopeful, full of love instead of anger, and of course with the usual sadness that finds its way in and out throughout the day!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day

I know there are many who do not like Valentine's Day and think of it as a waste of a holiday. I happen to be one that loves everything about it! I love the colors. I love the decorations. I love making pancakes in the shape of hearts or X's and O's. I love the cookies and cupcakes. I love getting all dressed up and going out to dinner. I love it all!

My love for Valentine's Day extended to a certain little one. Last year, she was really starting to understand what this holiday was all about. I can't help but reflect on our previous holidays together.

While we are unable to do the things we would normally do with her this year, we are still enjoying our day today. In our three years together, I have never loved her more and I have also never thought she was quite so beautiful!

While yes, we should tell the ones we love, just that, throughout the entire year. What's wrong with having a day to remind us just in case we haven't quite told them enough?

I love Dave. I love Aviana. I love Kama. I love my entire family. I love all of my friends. I love Gary Allan. I love Zander & Snoozer. I love every one of you that care enough for our family to follow along. I love Butch Walker. I love my neighbor's.

I am so thankful for every one of these people. I didn't think it was quite possible to love them more, but in light of what has happened to our family, I want to make a conscious effort to hold each of them just a bit closer.

I hope you are having a beautiful Valentine's Day. I hope you are celebrating the ones you love!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Weekend Update

Recently, I have been reviewing all of the new things that Aviana has been doing lately. These are all off the top of my head, so I am sure there is at least double what I am about to write.

* When you hug her or put your arms around her, she puts her hand on you too.

* The "kiss count" is up to 86.

* She is much more aware of her surroundings and while making all of the sounds, she will look wherever they are coming from.

* We were able to stop poking her with a sharp object and putting ice on her because she has been responding consistently.

* We were also able to stop shining a flashlight into her eyes. Her pupils are responding as they should every time.

* She has a toy that makes noise and when I sit it next to her, she stares at it and will move her arm to push the buttons when the music stops.

* On Saturday morning, she kept opening her mouth like she wanted to say something. Dave and I continuously kept saying, "Ahhhh." She tried like crazy to do it too. Finally, she was able to faintly say, "Ahhh." three or four times. That was an exciting day in the Hodder household!

* Her respiration has become greatly improved due to all of the masking we have been doing.

Although at a snail's pace, we are so happy for the improvements that Aviana is making daily. She has steadily been moving in a forward direction and I sure can't complain about that!

Did you know that Kama has a brother? His name is Zander and he lives right down the street with my brother. Avi has always loved Zander too!
Her beautiful protectors. Zander looks more like a security dog than Kama! Don't tell her I said that :o)
So sweet!
Kama has been trying her "paw" at Monopoly lately!
She's serious about the game and happens to be very competitive.
Lucky for me, she still allows her greatest opponent to love on her.
I did not have a picture for the top of my new blog or for the blog button, so in a panic I got Avi all ready and must have taken over 100 pictures of her. She was so tired of me taking pictures and it was showing.
For some strange reason I started having flashbacks of another day. This sentence is not supposed to be underlined, but blogger is driving me nuts, so I am leaving it!
After her lengthy photo shoot, she was more than ready for a nap.
Night, Night!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

28 Meals

We finally reached our goal of weaning Aviana completely off of her formula and onto whole foods. It was a very long process, but we are done. We whipped up 28 meals for the week this past Super bowl Sunday. We worked fast and furiously to have them all finished prior to kick off!

Aviana is doing amazingly well on her new diet. She appears to be feeling great and (knock on wood) has not thrown up since January 25th. Now, that is a world record!

Aviana is our inspiration. Dave and I have seen, first hand, what a great diet can do for you. We ourselves are veering in the direction of a whole foods diet too.

Although, if you happen upon us, and we are stuffing our faces with an In~N~Out animal style grilled cheese, small fry and a strawberry shake, all I have to say is....we're trying!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Just Couldn’t Do It…..

We had moved the furniture all around to get ready for Aviana's inclined floor. You may remember, it was to go in the living room! Her patterning table had already arrived and was in the office. The house was starting to look like a walking rehab room. I kept telling myself, "You are supposed to be this new and improved person, you're not supposed to care. Remember, don't sweat the small stuff??" I was desperately trying to be calm, cool and collected about the entire situation, but inside….it was killing me!

I have said this many times before: since the accident, my mind is not my own. Well then, who’s is it? That depends on the day!

Here’s an example. My dad was in town visiting, he noticed all the furniture moved around. He knew of our plans to put the monstrosity of a floor in the living room.

Dad: You guys can’t put that floor in the living room!

Me: We’re going to have to Dad.

Dad: That thing is not going to look good and it is not going to fit right.

Me: I know, but it has to go there.

Dad: Can’t you put it in your room?

Me: No, it will get in the way.

Dad: Can’t you put it in the third garage?

Me: (As though a light bulb was shining brightly directly on top of my head) Yes, yes, yes, of course it can go in the garage!!! Why didn't we ever think of that.

Me speaking loudly and excitedly at a million miles a minute and my dad and Dave speaking in normal tones and pace: We’ll put the floor in the garage; we’ll put the patterning table in there too. We’ll clean it all up. We’ll give all of Aviana’s toys away (so sad.) We’ll get a heater. We’ll put indoor/outdoor carpet down. We’ll turn it into Aviana’s very own rehab room.

And within 24 hour time frame…..that’s just what we did!

I have to say, I am happy as a hippo!

Thanks Dad, you’re the best!

Our office, without the patterning table!
Our living room, without the inclined floor.
Avi's patterning table, right where it should be.
Avi's hand crafted inclined floor, right where it should be!
Thank you to Gary, who put countless hours building this piece of art! I felt so bad to have to call him and tell him we had decided to put the floor in the garage. After all, he did make it beautiful enough to go in our house. He didn't mind though :o)

Monday, February 8, 2010

Confessions of a Brain Injured Child's Mom

1. I no longer have the time to do all of the things I want for family and friends.
2. I always heard that 3 was the new 2, I have no idea what everyone was talking about.
3. I think our handicap pass is a perk, tempted to use it when Avi is not in the car...BUT NEVER WOULD!!
4. I sometimes find it hard to go to parties, but force myself because I know it's best for all of us.
5. I feel pangs of sadness on a daily basis for the mom I was prior to the accident.
6. I won't allow myself, but for the first time in my life, I can fully understand how someone would turn to drugs or alcohol to numb the unrelenting pain from within.
7. I learned to be careful for what you wish for. I always wanted a baby that I could hold and love and now I have just that.
8. I always wanted to live "in the moment" and now am forced to. It is not at all over rated.
9. I wish I had a child who talked back to me.
10. I can't return phone calls, e-mails, etc. as quickly as I used to. It drives me insane!!
11. I don't have enough time to follow all of the blogs I wish to.
12. I want my friends to still come to me with their problems. I don't want them to think, that I think, that they think, that I think, they are trivial or unimportant. That was fun.
13. I think that pain is pain and don't like to get in the comparison game of who has more.
14. I have become a complete recluse because of the accident and therapy.
15. My new social life consists of my blog, doctors appointments, Facebook (holy crap, did I just say that?!) and a few face to face encounters with family and friends. Yep, it's a fact.
16. Asking for help is one of my biggest challenges to overcome. In now having to, I have been pushed so far out of my comfort zone. Thank you to everyone who helps us, especially my "patterning peeps!" You know who you are :o)
17. I wear the same outfit two days in a row, as it is one less thing to think about.
18. I think I have been amazingly lucky in life, but realize in the kid arena.....not so much! I have stumbled every single step of the way.
19. The way this blog formats itself drives me to want to gouge my eyes out with forks!!!
20. I don't want friends and family to feel funny or awkward around us.
21. This blog was and is the most unexpected blessing. No matter how overwhelmed, I do my best to take time out to write. It is as though I have found a hidden treasure buried under a rock. I have found this to be my favorite kind of therapy. I am so thankful for this little spot and all of you who care enough to read about our family's journey!

Little Something

Thank you so much to everyone who responded to my last post! It was so nice getting to know a little something about you. I read all of your comments as I went through my day Friday. I found myself on both ends of the spectrum and everywhere in between. I would be laughing out loud in one moment and then later, heartbroken with another. Thank you so much for sharing your stories, they are what this crazy, beautiful life is all about!

Friday, February 5, 2010

About You

I feel like this is always, me, me, me, and more me.

I’m curious about you. If you want, please tell me something about you, whether it’s…..




Something you’re proud of

Something you can do that no one else can (think David Letterman’s Stupid Human Tricks)

Something that’s on your mind…..right….now!


I’ll start….hee again....geeeeeez........

How about a funny story today, one to break the slew of recent sad ones. Well, now that I think about it, this one's not really funny, but I suppose I can laugh about it now :o)

When I was about 8, my cousin and I were making chocolate chip cookies, you know, with one of those big Kitchen Aid Mixers. I thought I heard my brother coming down the hall and leaned to see. My hair got caught in the beaters. I went to turn it off, but was up side down and turned it all the way up.

Luckily, my cousin has cat like reflexes and ran over to turn the crazy machine off. I was stuck to the mixer forever. My family worked hard to get me separated from the device. The beaters were all bent to hell and I had a bald spot on the side of my head the size of a grapefruit.

All I have to say is, “Thank God it was the 80’s because I forever wore my hair in a side ponytail!!

P.S. I have been terrified of Kitchen Aid Mixers ever since!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Who You'd Be Today

Since the accident occurred, I can't help but know that I will always relate to this song. I am so grateful that Aviana is here today, but the fact remains, I have lost a child.

Aviana, I love you so much and while my mind will often dip back into the past, I promise you, I will NEVER live....stuck in that moment!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Frozen in Time

Two years.

Ten months.

Sixteen days.

Twelve hours.

Seventeen minutes.

That moment is forever frozen in time.

Purple hair tie.

White tank top.

Purple checkerboard shorts.

White sandals.

That outfit is forever frozen in time.

Every mannerism.

Everything you were interested in.

Every favorite food.

Every favorite toy.

Every favorite item of clothing.

Your sweet little two year old voice.

All of these memories will remain forever frozen in time.


I honestly tried to narrow these pictures down as much as possible!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


I love music.

Lately, this lyric has been speaking to me:

“I’d rather hurt than feel nothing at all.”

The girl I used to be would have thought, “No way.”

The person I am today says, “Absolutely!”

Before the accident, there were many times that I felt nothing while caring for Aviana. As painful as it is to admit, there were also many times that I felt less than nothing.

I now ache for Aviana. My heart sinks to the bottom of my being and actually breaks for her on a daily basis.

I have walked on both sides of this predicament and can say, without a doubt, “I’d rather hurt than feel nothing at all.”

The incessant pain can feel so unbelievably awful at times, but it sure has its own unique way of making me feel alive.

Hurting means I love her so deeply. Hurting is what drives me to do anything and everything for her.