Sunday, May 30, 2010

Sweet Peas

My love
My life
And....she's spent!

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Death of a Chronic Complainer

When it comes to the gym, I have always been a big, fat complainer. If I were to go in the morning, I would start my complaining routine the night before. If I were to go in the afternoon, the regularly scheduled complaints would start running rampant in the morning!

Prior to the accident I would work out 4-5 days a week,  that's a whole lot of whining! I would not discriminate, the thoughts would be equally shared within my own head and everyone I would come into contact with. Yes, I was quite enjoyable to be around :o)

Why would I continue to ever go back? Well, every time I was done with my workout, I felt I could walk on water, like I was floating!

I have returned to the gym, and things are now completely different. I never complain. I never even think about complaining. When it comes to the gym, I have an endless amount of reasons to feel fortunate!

~ All thanks to Michelle, I can now go to the gym.

~ I have a whole lotta steam to blow off, and a great workout does wonders.

~ I have a healthy, fully functioning body. My head, neck, elbows, arms, knees, legs and ankles all work.

~ Above all, I have a brain that allows all of the above to work properly.

For that I am thankful!

For that, I work as hard as possible so my little counterpart can experience the very same simple pleasures!

Happy Friday everyone :)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

For the Love of Quotes...

"We could never learn to be brave and patient, if there were only joy in the world."

~ Helen Keller

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Through the Heart

I have to stop by and say, I loved hearing all of the stories which lead you to your little Guat Tot.

What a worthwhile process! Even with all of the hangups and setbacks. I must also not forget about the kick outs from the place that we hold so near and dear to our hearts....PGN! Did you sense the astronomical amount of sarcasm pouring from my lips as I spoke of them?!?

Thank you so much for sharing. To all of my Guatemalan adoptees, I think you can appreciate this next picture!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Our Journey to Aviana

I received a question last week.

Could you describe your Adoption Adventure of Aviana? Where in Guatemala is she from? Did you foster in Guatemala?

We had gone through a number of years of infertility. After months of fertility drugs and all of the wonderful things that go along with them, we were faced with the decision to pursue IVF or adoption. We chose adoption. For us, it felt like the natural next step, as we both have many adopted family members and friends.

I asked Dave to pick the country, as I only had a few requirements. I wanted to adopt internationally, and I also wanted a baby. Dave chose Guatemala. We began our journey in March of 2006.

In September of 2006, we first laid eyes on Aviana. She was the most beautiful little baby I had ever seen. Aviana was born in Guastatoya, Guatemala.

We were finally able to go pick her up in July of 2007. She was 11 months old. We had waited so long for this moment.  We were so anxious to finally meet her. Picking her up was bitter sweet. Her foster family was so attached to her, it just about broke them in half to have to let her go.

This is Aviana's foster family. They were truly amazing people!

Can you tell how much she liked us!

Aviana finally began to warm up to us.

As you can tell, Aviana did not like to be in the hotel room.

As long as we were outside she was good to go.

Little sweetie, she looks so apprehensive.

Things got better over the next few days.

Avi loved to be out and about.

We arrived home and were so happy to finally be a family. Everything fell into place for everyone, except me. If you have been reading this blog for a while, you know that I had a really hard time bonding with Aviana. It was a long journey, but I have finally arrived exactly where I had hoped to be.

I love this little girl with everything, and feel blessed beyond measure to be able to stay home and take care of her!

I would love to hear your stories too :o)

Monday, May 17, 2010

One Down

Dave and I decided to go snowboarding this past Sunday. In order for us to take a simple day trip to the snow, a completely orchestrated event has to take place.

We completed all of Aviana's therapy (with the exception of 42 maskings, thanks Mom and Gary) for Saturday on Friday night and her therapy for Sunday on Saturday.

We cooked all of her food for the following week on Friday, rather than Sunday. We packed Aviana and all of her glory up on Saturday night and brought her to my Mom's. Did you know Aviana comes with a meticulously detailed instruction manual =)

I had one goal for my Mom, one that I have been unsuccessfully trying to accomplish over the past week. I have come so close, but it remains just out of my reach. I knew if this goal was to be accomplished, there was only one person for the job.

I said, "No pressure Mom, but if you could feed Aviana one whole meal by mouth, I would greatly appreciate it!!"

From Tahoe, I called my Mom at about 1:20. SHE DID IT!! Her and Gary collectively fed Aviana one full meal by mouth!! I was bouncing off the car walls. I was so excited about what I had just heard. I was so excited for future feedings. My mind meal down leads to two, and then three, and then four and then NO MORE FEEDING TUBE!!!!!

Thank you both for rising to the challenge and succeeding greatly! You made my day!

Below is a re-creation of the jar that Aviana had her way with.

Monday, May 10, 2010


My darling little one can you hear me
I'll know in my heart, when you need me
I'll always be there, when you want me to
Take a look around the world it's a wonder
Look up to the sky, that you're under
There's so much life, and so much to do
When I see you smile, my love
I just can't hide, my love
When you call out my name
Will you know how it feels
Well it seems like a dream,
and I just can't believe it's real
Imagine you and me now and ever
Whatever will be, I surrender
I'll always be there, if you want me to
When I look into your eyes, it's a wonder
A wonderful spell that I'm under
We're not just a dream meant for me and you
When I see you smile, my love
I just can't hide, my love
When you call out my name
Will you know how it feels
Well it seems like a dream,
and I just can't believe it's real
Don't be afraid
don't be afraid to cry
I'll dry your tears
Everything will be alright
When I see you smile, my love
I just can't hide, my love
When you call out my name
Will you know how it feels
Well it seems like a dream,
and I just can't believe it's real
Take a look around the world it's a wonder
Look up to the sky, that you're under
There's so much life, and so much to do

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Smile Away

Some very exciting news from the Hodder household!! In the past week, Aviana has started to smile at us. She has done this a few times in the past, but it was not consistent and we were perplexed as to if it were a real smile or not! Poor baby, I am so overly analytical about her every move!

This past week, she had given me about 3 little grins. I didn't say anything to anyone except Dave. Then my Uncle Roger came to visit and when he arrived she was asleep. Once she awoke, he walked over to her, and he and Michelle saw her smile. They were both ecstatic!

We then took Aviana in to pattern, and her face was turned toward Michelle and I. Michelle said something crazy and the hugest smile washed over Aviana's face. It was the most beautiful sight I have ever seen! I have waited since the morning of June 17, 2009 to see such a sight!

Do you guys want to wander on back to 1989 with me? Ask anyone and they know, there is a certain song that just unnerves me, you may know it. It's "When I See You Smile." So corny, so cliche', so I don't know what!

Against my will, those lyrics just keep traversing back and forth across my mind. I really listened this morning, and just have to post them. Bad English was the 2nd cd I ever purchased, the first being Milli Vanilli :o) My 14 year old self could never have fathomed how much these lyrics would apply to my 35-year-old self!

Flash back Friday!
(I know it's Saturday, but that just sounded much better!)

I can't believe I am really going to do this..... here goes =)


Friday, May 7, 2010


The first day back to the gym, I just barreled through, trying not to think. Once I jumped the hurdle, I relaxed.

Once back, all of the memories and emotions seeped through.

From the moment I stepped out of my car, it was shadow was missing. She was not there to bounce her way into the gym. She was not there to put a smile on everyone's face. I was quickly reminded of the little being who was so infectious to anyone we happened upon.

I walked by her preschool room and felt a huge void deep within my soul. A flood of memories washed over me. Memories that I had kept locked away tightly until that very moment. I tried not to think, but had too. The emotions were too strong for me to keep them under wraps.

I could not breeze by the childcare door as though it were invisible. My mind had, but no choice than to chronicle through the catalog of "our" conversations. I couldn't help, but to think of her so lively, sweet, warm....moving. The "turn and run" girl was loudly beating down my door!

After class, instead of walking down that lonely hallway, I snuck out the side door. I knew the all too familiar hallway memories. Memories, which would shoot to the forefront. When I would pick her up, I would sneak up on her from time to time. I could never hide long, because she was looking for me. I could visually picture her sweet little face waiting for my return. I could actually hear the sound of her voice as she caught sight of me, "Mommy's here!!!"

Going out the side door was the lesser of two evils. The side door presented its own fair share of landmines. I had to walk the preschool patio. Through the sand box and other toys. Aviana could not bear to have sand in her shoes and would go to great lengths to get it out. I would sit close by, on different occasions, at different locations, and sometimes document her distress.
Every step of my Thursday journey was sad, sad, and sadder. My little shadow was everywhere. It made me wonder how many everyday shadows we walk amongst. It made me look at people making their way through their daily lives and wonder if they too have a missing shadow?

I got home and the best revelation fell upon me. My shadow was not missing. She was right there. Waiting for me. She was alive. She survived!

Every bit of sadness fell away as I recognized, I am able to see her, to hear her, to lean over and cover her with kisses, anytime. I feel overwhelmingly blessed that she is here. We were lucky enough for her to be spared. To be saved. To be here with us.

I can't help but feel we are the luckiest people alive. We are fortunate enough to be witnessing one of life's greatest miracles.

She is my love.

She is my life.

In that single moment, I realized I will never let doubt or wonder dance around my head. I will not entertain those emotions anymore.

I thank you God, for giving us all a second chance.

Thursday, May 6, 2010


My list of "can't do's" has slowly, but surely been whittled down to just a few.  If my calculations are correct, I think I only have one thing left to do.

I went back to the gym this week.  This was one of the most difficult bridges for me to cross.  I have circled the gym on a few occasions. I have even gone so far as to pull into a parking space, but caved at the last minute, as I felt my world closing in tightly around me.

On Tuesday, I woke up and pushed through with amazing force. My account had been frozen in time, much like everything else surrounding that day.  I called beforehand and asked if they could please "thaw it out" and have it good and ready by the time I got there :o)

My favorite class was on Tuesday's and Thursday's. Often times I thought that if I ever happen to cross the gym threshold again, it would be at times I had never gone before. Hopefully surrounded in people I didn't know.

As it turns out, there is no place I would rather have been than the class I used to go to before, surrounded in some of the people I used to know!

Tuesday was great. I breezed past the Preschool room, flew right by the door that leads to the childcare room and was safely inside my class. No tears. Not really any lingering memories.  I had a great workout, saw some old friends and was back in my car, unscathed.

I naively believed I was over the worst of it.

I was wrong.

Today was much worse....

Chomp, Chomp

Aviana has eaten so much by mouth this week, more than she ever has. When I say so much, it means in one sitting, she may eat only about 3/4 of the smallest jar of baby food you can buy!  To us, that is like moving mountains.

She is moving her mouth in all different ways.  She is swallowing extremely well.   With each passing day, she is eating faster and faster!

In answer to the question I am often asked (just in case you are wondering), it will take a very long time to get her fully eating by mouth. I am happy to say, we are on our way though!

She rarely ever opens her mouth on her own, but in the last week she did about 4 times. I guess I should say opened it without me pushing the spoon up against her.

We made a video about a month ago of her eating. It was so hilarious that I meant to put it on the blog, but I forgot!  Maybe a good thing since she is doing so much better now. I'll try and make another one soon :o)

Oh, I forgot to add that she moved in her crib last night again. She moved toward the wall.  Only a few inches, but I'll take ever single little millimeter I can get!!!!!!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


After reading the comments and talking to my Mom, I realized I was clear as mud in my last post!

What I was trying to say about the artichoke:

You know when you are watching Fast Money, and one family member will freeze up in their given 15 seconds.  The question may be, "What is the best way to get a hold of your children when out with friends?" and the frozen family member will say something along the lines of, "send a telegraph or CB radio" or even something completely unrelated, like "bathtub."

On the inside, everyone is thinking, what the h*ll did she just say, but on the outside your overly supportive family members are yelling, "Good answer, good answer!"

In order to clear things up here, let me say one or two, or ten things:


In my eyes, mayo and artichokes go together like:

Peanut Butter & Jelly

Laverne & Shirley

Macaroni & Cheese

Cake & Ice Cream

Lucy & Ricky

Wine & Cheese

Aviana & I

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE Ketchup, but not on my artichoke!

Sorry for the confusion, I can tell, you too, feel the very same way about your artichoke :o)