Thursday, December 30, 2010

Avi's Fave

Rainey got jealous, and after Aviana went to bed the other night, she snatched the doggie up,  and ran into the back bedroom with it ;o)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Avi & The Gang

Ahhh, Avi Bear ~ You are so beautiful!

Rainey's standard pose.

Ohh girl ~ You save us!

My Uncle affectionately named this one, "The Starting Line of the Wheelchair Olympics" ;o)

Another variation of the same pose.

Decisions, Decisions

I have determined that I have taken all of my grief and sadness, and dumped it all into the art of dog collar buying. I have 2 more that have come since this picture, and one more on the way! 

It's SICK!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Home Is Where the Heart Is

On Christmas Eve my Dad told Dave, "Once she gets to Tahoe, she will feel better!" He knows me so well. Tahoe has a way of soothing my soul every single time.

On Christmas Day, I dried my tears, pulled myself out of bed, threw on some sort of outfit, and lethargically dragged myself around the house getting things together, as we had decided to go to Tahoe after all. Holy run on sentence!  We were just going for dinner, so we didn't have to pack much.

My sickness and sadness dissipated, as we weaved our way up the snowy mountain.  We arrived at about 5pm, had a great time, and got home around 2am.

If you look carefully to the right of the tree, by the window, you will see a small replica of the famous "Leg Lamp."

My Daddy and I.

See how politely they waited while my Dad carved the turkey?

I laughed after I took this picture. We look so functional ;o)

These are Aviana's cousins ~ Ashton & Gaby.

My brother Jimmy and I.

Ashton, and my sister-in-law, Susan.

While they were doing the dishes, Rainey was holding on for one last piece of food to drop!

My cousin had sent these Christmas cards out. I loved them, because it looks like Rainey is driving the bug!

Avi was zonked out on the way home. She began getting sick on the drive, and then got me sick again yesterday. Poor girl. You would think with the way she eats she would never get sick.

Merry Christmas from Zander and Rainey!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Blue Christmas

I had an entire "Merry Christmas" post all ready for you, complete with thank you's and holiday cheer, but I can't tell a lie, I am extraordinarily blue today.

I have been sick in bed for the past 3 1/2 days. With being sick, I was blessed with being completely restless, and unable to sleep. I spent much of the time crying over Aviana, and Kama.

Due to my illness, we have missed our usual trip to Tahoe, and feel completely out of sorts.

I can't help but reflect on our Christmas past in Tahoe, where both Aviana, and Kama were nothing but vibrant, and healthy.

What I am left with now, is a giant, gaping hole in my heart.

I am sorry to post this today, but I have a hard time being nothing but honest when I write.

In the past few days, I have been focusing on what is gone, and having the hardest times finding all of the blessings in my life.

I am missing both Aviana, and Kama more than I could ever truly express.....

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Random Acts of Kindness

I had a tough weekend, which carried over into a severe case of the Mondays.  To be honest, I was feeling exceptionally down. I was having an orientation with our new nursing company (more on that later), and we saw someone run up to the front door, and run away. I had no idea what was going on.

After the orientation had ended, I opened the door, only to discover a gift bag with cookies, an ornament, and a card inside.  I opened the card, and was surprised by a beautifully written letter addressed to Dave and I. I couldn't help but cry by this random act of kindness, which arrived at the perfect moment.

As if that weren't enough, they had included a number of gift cards, to different places, in various increments.  I was so grateful, thankful, and touched that this bible study group would think of us!

I had not one clue who any of the 10 listed people were. I immediately called Dave, and we were both in awe of the generosity of some people.

It wasn't until I sat down to write this post that Dave peeked over my shoulder to see the names. He recognized one as a person he used to work with.

We wanted to thank all of you for lifting our spirits this holiday season!

Joel Bigelow
Jenna Duale
Justin Cullen
Matt Reposa 
Hillary Hand
Danielle Emery
Johnna Kretchman
Jackie Kring
Ryan Davis
Brett Boersig 

Monday, December 20, 2010

Red Balloon

A number of months ago, I received a comment from a person named Jennifer Tran. She started a foundation called Red Balloon. She had explained that she puts on a benefit concert each year. She had heard our story, and wanted to know if she could dedicate this years concert to Aviana. We were truly honored, and accepted her thoughtful invitation.

Not too long ago, we attended the concert.  Jennifer Tran is one of the most inspiring, beautiful, amazing people I have ever met. I will never forget her. She had a vision, and started her foundation when she was just 18 years old, she is now 23. I was in awe of her for being so young, and already making such a difference in the world.

I cannot even begin to imagine just how bright her future will be, and how many lives she will touch.

The night was comprised of the most talented group of musicians, with the headliner being one of our very favorite American Idol runner ups, Andrew Garcia.

I was so inspired by this group of people, and felt really honored to be a part of their night.

We wanted to thank Jennifer, and the entire group of performers for welcoming us!


Have I told you lately that you guys are THE BEST??

Thank you so much for taking the time to help me to resolve a tremendously weighty issue.

Fifteen out of fifteen can't be wrong!  Your insight never ceases to amaze me. I want each and every one of you to know just how much your comments mean to me. I thank you all for your time, energy, and thought.

I am lacking brain power most minutes, and my time and energy tank is below the orange line, so when I see how much you put in, I just want you all to know how much it means to me ;o)

There are so many times I want to write each of you, and thank you personally, blogger does not make it easy at all, but Facebook does.

I am on Facebook (but don't do much of anything on there) under Jennifer Williams Hodder, so if any of you are on, please send me a friend request.  This way, I have a way to thank you, and be part of your life, if you so choose.

Tracy~ I thank you!  I want you to know I think of you often, and pray for you much....

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Advice Please

There are a handful of thoughts that have a way of instantly bringing tears to my eyes.  I would appreciate your advice on one in particular.

As I have mentioned before, Aviana was blessed with the best foster family while in Guatemala.  The love they felt for her was evident in their every move. They cared for her from the time she was 3 days old, until almost exactly 11 months of age.

The moment I met them, I knew I loved them.   The day we met, and they handed this beautiful little girl over to me, I vowed to always keep in touch, and had up until the accident.

My every thought of them now is surrounded by so many questions. It was an easier decision for me right after the accident, I had made up my mind that it was better to leave them with the beautiful, sweet, perfect brained child in their mental picture, than to advise them of our stark reality. As hard as it was, I had decided to proceed as though we had just lost contact!

As time has passed, I am having mixed feelings again.

Should I leave them, and let them picture only wonderful, healthy thoughts of Aviana?


Should I write them, and let them know what has happened?

Like clockwork, this family has a way of bringing me to tears. I feel like I am shattering their dreams, just as mine were. I know how I feel, and don't want anyone else to go through those same emotions.

I would really appreciate your advice, insight, and thoughts.

Thank you! 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Girls, Girls, Girls

We had three of our nieces spend the night last weekend. I'll let the pictures tell the story of our time together =D

There is a girl sleeping under there ; D

I found this the next morning, and asked "What's this?" They said, we were going to make lemonade at 3:30am. 
Ironic? I think so.

While we had a great time with our girls, I was also quickly reminded of what I am not capable of. Sadly, I have found that I do not have the energy to do this on a regular basis, or to that extreme :-/

I am stretched so thin, that I don't have any reserve. 

I had to take a look at myself, and understand that we are not a normal family, and we cannot do what normal families do.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Every Picture Tells a Story

Aviana has been the most slow moving of all with Rainey. She and Kama had such a special connection, and it has been especially hard for her to accept Rainey. I thought this progression of photos told the story of her acceptance well.

Two of them fit where one of Kama did.


My brother's dog Zander, Kama's brother, came and stayed with us for 2 weeks.  I love him so much. I have to say though, most moments were good, but there were many that took my breath away. I would find myself in tears thinking of my very own sweet yellow.

I also couldn't help but imagine Kama by Rainey's side, and how much they would have loved each other.

When I am feeling down, which I have been lately, I tell myself that if Kama were still here, I wouldn't have had enough love to share with Rainey.

The conversations I have with myself sometimes amaze me! I use these real/false (who's to say which) statements to make some sort of peace within.

My other common internal conversation is that if it weren't for the accident, Aviana and I never would have found the closeness we now have.

I honestly believe these statements to be true, especially the latter, with every bone in my body.