Thursday, March 31, 2011


What is the story behind the accident? Was it a young person, older person that hit them. Were they not paying attention? How was their reaction? What were the consequences?

My parents were walking across a five lane street, and my stepfather was holding Aviana. When they looked, no one was coming, so they proceeded. They were in the last lane when they were struck. Neither my mom, nor Gary, ever saw the car coming.

The woman who hit them was about 65. She hit my stepfather, and sadly, when she got out of the car, others had to tell her what she had hit, as she did not know. She was obviously in shock, and completely devastated.

We all feel it was the perfect storm.  I cannot imagine being any of the four involved in this accident. I feel deeply for each of them. I have stood strong all along that this was an accident, and honestly could have happened to any of us.

In any situation like ours, I feel my blood rise when I hear someone say that it wouldn't have ever happened to them. Maybe, or maybe not in the exact sequence of events, but something like this can happen to anyone. I can think of at least a dozen times in my very own life that something devastating could have happened, but didn't. 

At the time of the accident, there was not one other couple I trusted more than my parents. They loved her more than anyone in the world, and would have both given their lives instead for her.

As I watch my parents navigate through this difficult journey, I feel deeply for the woman who hit them. I often wonder if she wants to contact me, or if she is okay surrounded in her own family. I had started a letter to her quite a while ago, and have yet to finish it for two reasons: I have been insanely busy since this accident occurred, and struggle to formulate the right words. Much more than that though, I am unsure that she wants contact, as she has never sought us out. In writing this, I have decided to complete the letter, and leave the door opened should she choose to walk through.

In regard to consequences, no criminal charges were filed, as this was an accident. There weren't any substances, cell phones, etcetera, involved. There was a lawsuit, which was settled a number of months after the accident.

Linda ~ Thank you for your kind words, I really appreciate them ;o)


Have you heard from Oprah?

I have not heard from Oprah, but I do have an interesting story surrounding the e-mail. As you know, we have had a pretty rough 18 months. Losing Kama was the last straw for me, and things were extraordinarily difficult thereafter.

Towards the end of January, I had reached an all time low. That is when we decided on a trip to Cabo. Once back, I still struggled because we were at a crossroads with Aviana's program.

The day before the Harpo e-mail arrived, I had experienced one of the worst days ever. Down, and out best describes my state of mind at the time. I had allowed family drama to completely push me over the edge.

I surprisingly found magic in responding to their specific questions. In doing so, I was forced to reflect, and dig deep from within to answer the questions. The entire process was therapeutic. I quickly realized how far we had come, and was reminded of who I looked to for my strength. In writing the letter, it was apparent.... I had lost my focus.

Once the letter was complete, I had comfort in knowing if nothing came of the show, I had already gained everything I needed. I love when life unfolds before your very eyes. It was truly amazing ;o)

I haven't really looked back since, but of course, I would still LOVE to meet both of these inspiring, eye opening, women!!


lisapooh98 ;o) I am working on your answer. I have it all planned out, and am going to pull from some old pictures, and add some new videos ;o))))

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Deeper Level

I have always been an emotionally charged person. I am a bleeding heart in many ways, and have always been deeply affected by the hardships of another. Sad events around the world weigh heavily on my heart. Things changed after the accident though.

Because of what we have been through in the last 18 months alone, I am already emotionally fragile, and then when I see something like....

the devastation within Japan,

or a child fighting a horrible disease,

or an animal being hurt in any way,

or a homeless person on the streets,

or a person fighting any sort of addiction,

or an injustice within my very own family,

etc, etc.

I am hit in a way I have never known before. I carry these occurrences in my heart on a much deeper level than I ever thought possible.

Aviana's Video Debut

Aviana got a new Dora doll from her Aunt Jan, Uncle Tony, and Cousin Natalie. I hadn't realized that Dora has finally grown up. She loves her doll so much, and can't keep her eyes off of her.

I didn't realize it would be so grainy from my phone....or maybe it's the lighting. I'll work on the quality ;o)

Yes, Rainey is allowed anywhere, and everywhere. Poor Kama was never allowed on the couches. In my experience, when you lose a baby, the rules surely change, or should I say, go straight out the window!

God forbid anything should happen to him, but we had a good laugh, as Dave was envisioning what I would be like with my next husband ;o)

Sorry about the first video link....

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


'To be broken is no reason to see all things as broken.'

Monday, March 28, 2011

More About You Mondays

Oh my gosh!! That was so much fun. I loved reading all of your responses!!!

Remember how I said some of the most obvious things escape me?? Well, I never even answered my own question, and never even thought to, until others were asking me ;o)

I am a total insomniac, so I usually always go to bed hungry. Dave is extremely accommodating to my late night game of, "If I could eat anything right now....."

This game usually encompasses all of my favorite foods, and more. It sounds something like this....

If I could eat anything right now, I would eat sushi, or an artichoke. Oh my gosh no, a potato taco from Taco Bell sounds so good right now. Never mind, I would rather have some cake. Cake of any kind, but with real whipped cream frosting, and lots of it. Hold on, I think I want a caesar salad with lots of croutons. No, I got it...I am positive, I definitely want sushi. Sushi it is...come on, let's go!!

Dave says, 'Uh ha, yeah, uh hu...okay, now go to sleep.'

Once again, I loved reading your responses. I laughed out loud with how passionate we all are about our food :o)

Okay, so for the past week, I had the question all picked out, and then woke up today, and decided that instead of something on the heavier side, I really need a laugh this week....

What is the most embarrassing moment of your entire life?? Come on....spill ;o)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Where's Your Manners?

This is what Aviana thinks of patterning, especially on a Sunday!

She is downright vulgar!

Thanks for capturing this fine moment Uncle Roger ;o)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Soothes My Soul

Gary Allan has been exploding from my soul lately! Now when I say lately, I mean he is always bursting at the seams for me, but lately it has been in epic proportions!!

I admire him for a multitude of reasons. His music has a way of making me feel completely, and totally alive. His lyrics have always resinated deeply with me, but after our very own tragedy, they took flight in a completely different way.

I can relate to so many of his lyrics, sometimes I actually feel I am living them. This next one weighed heavily on my mind soon after the accident, and now, it is again stuck on repeat.

It sure doesn't hurt that he is HOT TOO!!! Yes, I admit I have a huge crush on him. Hot, talented, inspiration in how he moved through one of life's greatest tragedies, seems kind and caring, guitar in hand. Hmmmm, it's no wonder why I feel the way I do ;o)

I just got back from hell
and I'm standing here alive
I know it's really hard to tell
Don't know how I survived
But I can't say that I'm doin' great
But I think I'm doin' well
That devil's gonna have to wait
'Cause I just got back from hell

Well, I just got back from hell
And I guess to tell the truth
Well, I've been mad at everyone, including God and you
When you can't find no one to blame, you just blame yourself
And I know I'll never be the same
I just got back from hell

Forgive me if I had any part
If I ever broke your heart in two
Forgive me for what I didnt know
For what I didnt say or do
And, God, forgive me as well
'Cause I just got back from hell

Well, I just got back from hell
And I need to make some plans
It's the last thing that I wanna do
But I'll do the best I can
I'm gonna learn to live again
But I think I'll sit a spell
Tell the world that I'm alive
and I just got back from hell

I can't say that I'm doin' great
But I think I'm gettin' well
Gonna let the world know I'm alive
And I just got back from hell
And I just got back from hell
I just got back from hell
Got back from hell

Friday, March 25, 2011

All About Aviana

After I posted about Aviana's leg kicks, I was asked to further describe other ways in which she expresses herself ;o) So these are some off the top of my head....

She gives us, what we call 'The Stink Eye.' She throws one our way when she is mad at us. She also saves this look for when we have pushed her too far. It usually appears at the end of the night, when we are putting the mask on her, yet again. She also uses it sometimes when we are saying things, or doing things she doesn't want to hear, or do ;o)

When I lean down to kiss her, and my hair gets in her face, she shakes her head from side to side. Her goal is to get it off her face, as fast as possible. She accompanies the head shakes, with a definite sound of 'dislike.'

While eating, sometimes Aviana doesn't want to open her mouth all the way. If Rainey comes up, like she is going to take her food, Aviana opens her mouth wide, and leans forward to chomp on the piece. She looks at Rainey like she is thinking, "You best step off doggy, that's my food!" This trait is also similar to how she was before the accident, and with Kama!

I try to move Aviana all over the house. I don't like her sitting in the same place, all the time. I notice wherever I carry her, she looks all over the place, and lifts her head. For this reason, I will prop her on the floor against the closet door while I am doing my hair. I will sit her in her chair in the kitchen with me while I am cooking, etc. Like all of us, she needs to move, or be moved!!!

When we lie in bed together, I have long conversations with her. She affectionately stares deep into my soul. These are some of my very favorite moments with her. When I am telling her how amazing she is, and how hard she works, and how much I love her, she melts like butter. She is so relaxed, and is hanging on my every word, until she falls asleep. When I tell her more interesting things, like what our plans are for the weekend and such, she is much more attentive, and her eyes dart all around.

She loves it when I get her all dressed up, and do her hair really cute. She likes when I take her over to the mirror, and tell her how pretty she looks! It's sad how quickly her cute hair, and adorable outfit come 'undone' with her intense therapy ;o(

When she comes down the inclined floor, she often times cries. Once we pick her up, and read her a book for a few minutes, she immediately stops crying, and intently listens to the story.

Aviana startles throughout the day, almost every time I warn her about what I am about to do, like turn on the music, she relaxes, knows it's coming, and doesn't startle.

Often times, right when we say the words, "It's time to pattern, or is everyone ready to pattern?" She immediately closes her eyes, as if to say, "Ooops, I fell asleep, I guess we will have to wait until later...."It has happened so many times, that we know she is a faker ;o))))

Her favorite time of day is when we do anti-gravity....the one where we sling her around. She is amazingly content. The faster we push her, the more she loves it. That is exactly how she was before the accident. We are careful to never call it T~H~E~R~A~P~Y for fear she won't like it as much ;o)

Many times, we give her her sippy cup, and she whips her head from side to side to get it out of her mouth. She finally gives in, and drinks insane amounts of water.

Her very first bite of anything is extremely shocking to her, and she cries, and holds her head to the left. We have to wait a little, and tell her to chew it. She is then good to go.

When we ask her a question, she started to sometimes make the cutest little sound, like she is agreeing with us, or wants to answer. When all of us are in conversation, she sometimes makes sounds, like she wants to join in. These sweet little sounds are music to our ears.

When we pick her up, and carry her around the park, she is in heaven. She loves being held, hugged, loved, squeezed, and kissed. She loves the sun on her face, and the wind in her hair. She especially loves it when I carry her onto all different pieces of the playground equipment. Dave takes her down the slide too, and it makes her happy.

She is tense during the process of getting ready for a bath, but once in....she loves when I take the sprayer, and run it all over her. When I hold it on her knee, she looks at her knee. When I put it on her hand, she looks at her hand. She relaxes right into bath time.

She has a complete and total meltdown when we begin to brush her teeth, but then she is usually okay with it thereafter. She likes to chew on the toothbrush :o)

Her eyes dart all around when she is excited, or hears something intriguing, like kids playing.

She loves when we give her dessert. Cake is her favorite, just like her Mommy!  She also has a love/hate relationship with ice cream. It seems everything is shocking in the beginning, especially ice cream, and then she is pretty much fine after.

Sometimes when I take too many pictures of her, she looks at me like she is saying, "Enough already, okay?!!??" "Oh and by the way, how about fixing my hair first!!!!"

She is the sweetest, most cuddly, love bug ever. Most nights, actually every night, we keep her up way past her bedtime because we love to snuggle with her.

After writing all of this....I have realized a few things. I have been meaning to learn how to upload videos to You Tube, and then put them on here for you to see. I just haven't designated the time. I promise I am going to learn this weekend, as it would be so nice to share the 'real Aviana' not just the one in still pictures, and print. I am sorry I have not learned sooner.

Many times, I have been asked something that I thought I put on the blog, but hadn't. I think blogging is weird, because many times I am made aware of the fact that I have left the most basic, or obvious things off.

Please, please, please, if ever you are wondering about something that I have not talked about, or if ever you don't know what the heck I mean by something, ask, and I will clarify ;o) Don't worry about ever offending me, or saying things wrong. I have never been one to be easily offended, and I am pretty open. I don't have any trouble talking about the simplest of things, to the deepest, most heartfelt topics.

Whew!! If you got down here, I want to thank you for reading my unexpected book ;o) :o)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

How We Know

When Aviana is happy, she kicks her legs repeatedly.

She kicks them in the car.

She kicks them on walks.

She kicks them at the mall.

She kicks them at the park.

She kicks them at Costco.

She kicks them in the anti-gravity device.

She sure doesn't kick them during the remainder of her therapy ;o)

I am so thankful for this, a way to know when our baby girl is excited!

Who needs a smile. A smile is overrated.

I am SO kidding. A smile would mean THE WORLD to me!!!!!!

I'll take leg kicks any day of the week though ; ))))))

Monday, March 21, 2011

More About You Mondays

A blog is something I never thought I would have, but after the accident, it was the only answer. It has proved to be one of the greatest forms of therapy for me. I am so thankful for all who take the time to read.

It can feel pretty one sided though. I have always wanted to know more about you. I was on another blog, and saw she was doing....

More About You Mondays

I was so excited when I saw this, because this something I have always wanted to do, but couldn't think of a way to do it.

I hope that you will participate. Not only will I get to know you better, but it will be fun too.  

Okay, we'll start with my favorite topic.....FOOD!!!

What is your absolute favorite food? Like the one you could live on for the rest of your life?


It amazes me how the simple act of calling about having our vacuum serviced can end in heartache.

For years, the Kirby repair shop has been on a street called Cirby Way. In 10 years, we have only been there one time, but always knew where it was. Today I called, and they have since moved.

"To where I innocently asked?"

She answered back, "We are on Harding Blvd. now, do you know where the Big Lots is? We are right across the street, next to the Oriental Market. Do you know where that is?"

"Yes, I know exactly where that is."

My parents had just come out of Big Lots, and had decided to walk across the street to the new Oriental Market.

That is the exact location where our lives changed forever....


Some days, this pain is more than I can bear.

Some days I wake up, and am so incredibly sad for all we have lost.

While I understand that I sway, much like a branch, within this range of emotions, it never ceases to amaze me when I wake up feeling like this. I feel like the hugest wave possible, is repeatedly slamming my entire existence against a razor sharp coral reef.

Some days I miss one more than the other, but days like today, I feel the excruciating absence of them both! This pain is too much!!!

Today, I feel I am the girl Butch Walker is singing about....

Her hair is like a crow's nest
She's got glitter in her eye
Her smile is like a jack-o-latern
Trying not to cry
She's been living pretty hard
Since her old man little ones up and died a year ago

And I see her every morning
When she's walking to the check
She holds her head like she's got something heavy
Hanging 'round her neck'

A video ~ just in case you are interested in one of the greatest artists of all time ;o))))))))))) 

I promise, I'm not biased....

Friday, March 18, 2011

Avi Bear

Ha! Doesn't she look thrilled to be taking pictures with me??

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

New Normal

The list of horrible things we have had to adapt to since the accident is extensive. I am fascinated by the fact that, with time, a person is somehow able to cope with extremely painful things. I am beyond thankful for this.

A few times a day, I turn to Aviana, and her eyes are glazed over. Then, as if that wasn't quite sad enough, they suddenly begin their accent into the top of her head. Like I said, it amazes me what one can withstand over time. It is a shockingly sad sight to watch your daughter's beautiful brown eyes slowly roll straight up into her head.

Most days, I can deal with it just fine. While clapping my hands, or snapping my fingers I say, "Aviana, come back to me sweetie." Sometimes that does the trick, but other times it doesn't.  We then have to shake her a little, or pick her up in order to bring her back to us.

This occurrence can also be so depressing at times. It can literally rip my heartstrings out.

It would be interesting to jump into the mind of some of the visitors who come to our house. I have my own ideas of what it must be like to witness our 'new normal.'  I am sure it must be pretty difficult to watch.  If I put myself in their shoes, I would feel such a strange blend of happiness....and sadness.

I was terribly sorry to hear about your dad! Please e-mail me, if you want, at 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Hidden Beauty

Dave and I were going through some pictures, and found these. I don't know how I could have missed them. She is such a little cutie, and I think these next pictures perfectly capture that quality :o)

We feel so lucky to have this little beauty in our lives!

Monday, March 14, 2011


Trina from They All Call Me Mom gave me this Stylish Blogger Award!!
Thank you Trina!
I love your blog too!

The rules of the Stylish Blogger Award are:
Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to them in your post.
Share seven things about yourself. 
Award seven recently discovered new blogs.
Contact these bloggers and let them know they've received the award.

I am going to keep this lighthearted, because many things in my life are not ;o)

So here are 7 things about me!

1. My 'go to' snack when I am ravenously hungry is croutons dipped in salad dressing. This combination hits the spot like no other.

2. Rainy, windy, snowy, stormy days, full of thunder, lightning, or hail are my very favorite. When days like these present themselves, I feel most alive!

3. I love music more than I can venture to explain. What I can actually put into words, barely scratches the surface of what I really feel.

4. When I look into any animals eyes, I feel a strong connection. I feel I know them on an intensely deep level.

5. I left my heart in Lake Tahoe. I wish I could drop everything and move there today. The feeling grows stronger, and stronger with each passing day.

6. While making chocolate chip cookies, I got my hair caught in a Kitchen Aid Mixer. The incident resulted in a huge bald spot. Luckily it was the 80's when it happened, and I could wear my hair in a side ponytail everyday ;o)

7. Many times a day, I stop and think how blessed I am to have so many wonderful family members, and friends!

The 7 blogs I am giving this award to are....

And two more for good measure....

I've never been one to completely follow the rules.

You may remember, I love games. Especially, games where I can learn more about others. I would love to hear 7 things back about all of you ;o)

Sunday, March 13, 2011


There's a time and place for everything, for everyone
We can push with all our might, but nothin's gonna come

~ Van Halen

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Up in The Sky, Look!!

It's a bird! 

It's a plane! 

It's SuperAvi!!

Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to soar higher than any plane, this amazing girl from the planet Hodder, The Girl of Steel: SuperAvi!! Possessing remarkable physical strength, SuperAvi fights the never-ending battle of brain-injury, disguised as Aviana Reese Hodder, a mild-mannered little girl.

This is Aviana's newest therapy endeavor. Dave built it in the therapy room in the garage.

How cute, Rainey looks concerned for her little friend.

I laid on the floor, underneath her, and took these pictures.  I couldn't get over how cute she looked.

She loves her time in this device, but the seated position is her least favorite.

Just hanging around.

I was trying to show the swinging motion in the above pictures ;o)

After we were done, she lifted her head, and was staring a hole into something in particular. 

Her anti-gravity suit ;o)

My mom affectionately calls her new device a 'Slingshot.'

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


I got so lucky with our nurse Michelle, and never thought it was possible to find someone else.  As Michelle was getting ready to go on leave, Lesya came in to meet us. I could quickly tell she would work well within our family. The day we met, I asked her if she could fill in all of the days Michelle couldn't be here.

Lesya was to seamlessly slip in the next working day after Michelle left. With 4 remaining hours of Michelle's last shift, we found out that Lesya had gone to another company. Just call me the stalkerazzi, because I hunted her down, asked her if still wanted to work with us, and switched companies. We had to wait a few months for her. I knew by waiting, I would have to take on all daytime care myself. I knew she would be well worth the wait though, so I didn't even bat an eye. She was much too perfect, to let go. We all love her, and couldn't be happier with her.

I am in tears right now reflecting on something that will forever tie the two of us together. She was here with me the morning I called Dave to come home so we could go put Kama to sleep. She and I knelt together, with tears falling on Kama's beautiful fur. I was so thankful she was here for me, for all of us. She stayed back to care for Aviana, while we said goodbye to our best friend.

I have wanted to introduce you to Lesya for a long time. Avi loves her, you might think otherwise from the following pictures, but like I said they are deceiving at times ;o)

Lesya ~ pronounced ~ Less~uh

We honestly didn't plan the polka dots...they tend to sometimes dress alike.

Lesya ~ we thank our lucky stars for you. You are simply the best!!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

What's Been Going On

A little Angry Birds.

Daddy~Doggy Stare Downs.

Pampering of the nails.


A little snuggle by the fireplace.

Enjoying each others company.

A little game of 'Where in the world is Rainey.'

Oh, there she is.

Her favorite new game ~ 'Let's see how much of a mess I can make with a single newspaper.'

She's out of control.

She's a banshee! She's a banshee! 

The shredding of a newspaper can be so exhausting!

Aviana was crying her eyes out on the floor, and Rainey went over and laid down by her. Aviana immediately stopped. It was such a sweet moment!

I was making my bed yesterday, and felt someone staring at me from out the window.

More floor time. Aviana was doing so well this day ;o)

What a cutie pie.

Avi ~ doing an amazing job trying to keep herself upright, and pull her head up.

All that hard work is exhausting ;o)

They love passing out together.

I try to teach Rainey to be more 'lady like,' but she still doesn't get it.

More napping.

Rainey expending pent up energy ;o)

Aviana rebelling against therapy.

Rainey watching her favorite show.... The Dog Whisperer, of course!

Rainey looking to see if I am getting any bad ideas.

Me, so excited that I learned how to make a bow out of my hair.  

I turned the corner from another room, and this is what I saw.

Yeah, she's got mad skills!

Sorry about the quality of some of these, had to grab the first picture devise around :o)

I'll end with my handsome husband at dinner on Valentine's Day.

From the looks of these pictures, it has been nothing but relaxing, fun and games around here!

Ha Ha, pictures can be so deceiving ;o) ;o) ;o)

I wanted to thank all of you for the nice comments, and well wishes from my O post ;o)

You guys are the best!!!