Thursday, February 28, 2013

Avi for President

I went into Aviana's classroom on Valentine's Day and was raving about Avi-incoln. I was telling Aviana's teacher Ian that they had really out done themselves, and set the bar really high for any future projects. His immediate response was, "Just wait, Washington is next week." I was taken aback, and rolling my eyes at the very same time. I know, a strange reaction if I do say so myself, but I wasn't expecting that all! Once I could formulate words again, I so eloquently said, "uh uh, no way, no how." Nice right? He said okay, just wait and see.

I honestly didn't believe. How could anything top Avi-incoln?

So the next week rolled around and there appeared an email in my inbox with the subject line Avi Washington. I opened it and read something along the lines of...I think this one is cuter. So what's your verdict?

I opened the attachment, and could not believe my eyes. After the laughter subsided and I wiped the tears from that laughter aside, I typed him back and said, "The verdict're right!! Avi Washington takes the cake. I can't wait to see him/her in person! Thank you for the sneak peek!"

I am still anxiously awaiting the live version as they love them too, and are displaying them in the classroom. I am so thankful to have this picture though and have been sharing it with everyone, so before the month of the Presidents is over...I wanted to share it with you too!

What is your vote?



Avi Washington?

for president.

Either way, she is Avi Hodder and she approves this message.

Saturday, February 23, 2013


This is by far my favorite song off the new Gary Allan cd. He speaks my heart, and my life so perfectly.

There wasn't a lyric video on YouTube yet, so I made one.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Kindness Matters

The plan was to run a bunch of errands and then pick up a couple of salads on the way home. So we ran. In out, in out. I kissed Rainey, and shut the trunk. Dave snapped the clasps on Aviana's car seat. We collectively hopped in and shut our car doors. Suddenly, I wanted to go out to dinner instead. 

I looked at the clock, 6:59. Problem. 6:59 on a normal Saturday - okay, but on a holiday weekend...not okay. We looked around the parking lot and sure enough, there were people lined up at every single restaurant as far as we could see. Since we needed to be home somewhat soon to feed Aviana, salad pick up it would be. 

On our way out of the parking lots we perused every place, and uh uh, no way. But wait, there was one that didn't look too bad! So we went. 

We pushed Avi up to the table, as we do. We sat and ate, as we do. All was normal as always...until it was time for our check. Our sweet server kindly explained that someone had taken care of our entire dinner for us! 

We were in such shock that we had to ask her to repeat what she had said. We still couldn't believe it. Smiling, we looked at each other, but were completely speechless. We looked back at the server and asked who? She pointed to the now empty table of a couple who had been sitting beside us.

I have never wished to be able to thank someone so badly. We were so full of gratitude. We have been shown so much kindness over the years, but this was of a different sort. We were completely taken!

That night, in that restaurant, we felt the absolute kindness of perfect strangersI wanted to hug them. I wanted to tell them how much what they did meant to us, that it wasn't just a meal, but so much more

I wanted to tell them that what they did doesn't stop with us. It extends out, because with each family member, friend and all of you...this story has a way of not only softening our soul, but the souls of all of those who hear about it.

❤ ❤ ❤   

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Love One Another

Those you choose to love - love deeply. Love them with all your heart. Don't hold back. Not just today, but every day, because at any moment it can all change. Just like that, it can all be over.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


Four score and almost seven years ago, my loving mother brought me forth into this world, on another continent, in a family, conceived in love, and dedicated to my Mommy, Daddy and Doggy too.

Now we are engaged in the fight of our life, testing whether our family so concentrated, and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met daily on a great battlefield of that war. Although there is pain, we always overcome and in the name of overcoming, by example we teach great lessons of love, and life. With time we have only strengthened and somehow, some way, we always persevere and thankfully weather any kind of storm that comes our way.

My name is Avi-incoln and I share love and humanity for all.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Dog - Cat - Rat

 When we were in Telluride, Dave was supposed to call our friends when we got to the hotel. Well, he forgot and so they went downtown. When we finally saw them, my friend Amy told me she saw something so amazing and thought of me instantly. She said she just knew I would have loved them!!

Every time we went downtown, Amy and I spent our time looking, looking, looking for them. Sadly, we couldn't find them anywhere. I was beyond sad!! I knew it would have been the absolute highlight of my trip!!

I couldn't stop talking about them after I returned home. Shortly after, Dave had the bright idea to find them on the Internet. Sure enough, there they were...spreading their message of love and kindness, to the tune of almost TEN million views!

The dog you see in the video above sadly passed away, but Amy said he has a beautiful yellow lab now.

I found the article online about his original dog and heartwarming story.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Starting Over

When Aviana woke from her coma, she undeniably favored looking to only one side. This lasted what seemed like an eternity. We worked with her though, and over the course of a very long time, she finally was able to look both ways comfortably. 

We helped her by slowly presenting things that interested her slightly off from her comfort zone of the one favored side. Over the course of a very long time...we continue them over to the other side.

As an obstacle we had overcome, I had completely forgotten about this entire process.  

You might remember her failed liver biopsy last year. At that time, she was rushed into emergency surgery for a few reasons, but the main one was to externalize her shunt (the tube that ran from her brain to her stomach).We somehow had remembered it being a question if she ever needed the shunt in the first place and since it was now externalized, we asked her doctor if he could try to see if we could get rid of it all together. He didn't think so, but was willing to give her a trial run. 

He ended up clamping it, and as it turned out she surely didn't need it so we had it removed. Somewhere along that week, and I have a feeling it was with the shunt, Aviana's head got stuck to one side all over again. Just like when she woke up in the hospital so many years ago. It's amazing how these brain things happen. They are so strong and take such a long time to break. It's almost a year out, and we have been working just as hard as the last time this happened. I feel like we have taken such tiny steps.

I'm so thankful we also have the school who takes notice and helps us with this as well. They purposefully put tiny switches in certain places to assist her in looking the opposite way too. 

Any incentive to get her to look the other way is always the name of our game. Her favorite things on earth are her Twilight Turtle and Ladybug at those little guys have taken up residence on her opposite side every night now. I know it's what's best for her, but it actually hurts my heart because I can see in her eyes how much of a strain it is for her when she attempts to look the other way. I can feel the discomfort for her. So this is why we take it very slow and easy.

I remember when Avi was well I would find something that I would just know she would LOVE, and some of those best things would just fall flat. And then she'd always fall in love with some random thing, mostly some paper bag. And then, she would carry that beloved paper bag around for weeks until it fell apart. And then, she'd ask me to fix her paper bag?!? And me, I'd just scratch my head. We always used to call her the Bag Lady, because she was infamous for that....her collection of bags. 

Well she's still at it. She's still driving me bat in her own little way. She's doing it to me, because I'm still always thinking I have the perfect way to get her to turn her head! Dancing all crazy to some song, acting a fool, whatever...

Over Christmas, I thought...this will surely get her. I set up all the presents to wrap. I got out all the wrapping paper, ribbon, bows, etc. I laid her down closer, then a little further out, so she would have to turn her head toward me. I wrapped every one of those presents and wouldn't you know it....she never even turned her head to take a peep! I once again thought I got her, but again...she got me! It's probably  just the simple things.

I want to just crawl into her brain sometimes and watch her watch all of us run around, and talk and act. I want to know what she is thinking.

It will take time, and she has come around a little bit, but we'll get there. We did it once before, so we can do it again.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


Have you ever been to Telluride? I'd have to say it must be one of the coziest, friendliest, sweetest towns in existence. I fell head right over heels in love. 

We stayed in the village, so our mode of transportation was the gondola. Gondola here, there, and everywhere. To the market, to town, to dinner, to the mountain. Gondola all day, and night. 

Our first night there we went to a restaurant in the middle of the mountain called Allreds. The elevation there was 10,550. The view was unbelievable!  


The town was...well, take a look. 

Breathtaking, isn't it?

Our friends Freddy and Amy!

Wall Art.

Do you know what my favorite part of this picture is?

No...not the perfectly falling snow.

Or the beautiful view.

Or the two awesome, about to get hot in the hot tub, dudes to my left and right.

Yep! You got it. It's Dave's after ski antenna head!!

From here on out...

Whenever I need a pick me up, I know exactly where to find it!

(I'm so glad Dave doesn't have a blog of his own!!) 

Right Said Fred and his 2 Chickadees

After Avi's accident we decided it might be a good idea to start wearing helmets. I was about to have Dave dip me in this picture, but changed my mind at the last minute for extra safety reasons...aka I'm a super klutz and I could see it going w-r-o-n-g!

There's a run there called See Forever and it's at an elevation of 12,570. Even though the day wasn't clear and was mostly snowy, I just had to get to it before the day was out! We did. Dave wasn't too into a picture, because he wanted to just keep going because it was freezing up there and the wind was really blowing! I rounded everyone up even though, and guess's one of his favorites : ) 

Funny, you can see Amy's arm in Dave's goggles : )

We just had to pause for the cause a few times on the way down.

Some people call the way down Ski Forever.

It cleared up at one point for a little bit : )

My oh patrol and his pup...

I almost died.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013


We are life long Niner fans, through and through. So this weekend was going to be nothing short of pure excitement....

I had everything lined up, chips, dips, banners. I bought a new shirt to cheer my boys on, everything.

Friday morning I woke up with a cough. I decided to zip it, so I could scream and shout and let it all out ; ) on Sunday. My dad was on his way down from Tahoe. Later, I was feeling much worse and simultaneously, he called and said he was stopping at the store to pick up some Sucrets because he had been coughing all the way down. I had ironically just gotten the Sucrets out of the cabinet before he called. What are the odds? Both of us just getting sick, separately? Before the big game?

Well, this sucker took us down. Unfortunately, with the normal awful sickness, I also got a 3 day headache from hell. It was from all the coughing so much and so hard. Nothing could combat it, not even my shots. So much for all the big party plans! And then, as if that wasn't bad enough, the Niners lost. It was a sad, and sorry weekend. I was glued to the bed from Friday at midnight to Monday at 5:30 pm.

I had a lot of bed time to think about the last time I was that sick. And you know what...I remembered and it made me so very sad. But in retrospect, it was a blessing. It was a blessing that I was that sick, and was able to spend one last entire day in bed with my girl. At the time I wrote that post, I didn't know it, but in just a few short hours I would be saying goodbye to my love, my best friend. 

I don't know if you know this, but my Kama girl is always on my mind. She is so close to my heart and I think of her all the time. This week she was already weighing more heavily than most because of one of the most beautiful songs lyrically, performance wise, everything. But, for Kama and me...there is a part...that just reduces me to tears. So she has been on my heart. I miss her so much. Those we have loved, and lost can just be too much sometimes. 

Anyway, have I told you how appreciative I am for Dave? Every time I am sick, he takes care of every little thing. And this time, my dad and his two dogs - Snoozer and Chelsea were here too. That's a lot of care taking to take care of! There is no better man out there for me. I will leave it at that. I hope Dave and Aviana don't get sick. Dave has so many projects going at work and can't afford to be sick. He had to work on Saturday, so I did my best not to cough in Avi's direction, and steer myself clear of her the best I could while caring for her. 

Thankfully, they haven't caught it yet. It must be the mask Dave has been wearing while entering my sickbay ; ) While my dad was here, Dave even spent a few nights sleeping with Avi, and guess what? She let him. Usually Aviana doesn't let anyone sleep with her. She has a strict policy! She must have known. 

This sickness must be some serious business, known from young to old, because everyone has been treating me like I've got leprocy, or the plague. Amy even stayed outside today, (as with outstretched arms she passed me something so special I almost died after I almost died this weekend - Celeste and Jesse Forever!!) and her 4 year old son Cooper said, "I don't want what she's got!" Uber ouch I say! No one wants to come into our house and absolutely no one wants to be around me. Well, that is except my Mommy. She came over to force feed me and to help me with Aviana while Dave was at work yesterday. Now that's walk into the sick house. Only a Mama.

Today was a new day though, finally I was vertical. Woo Hoo for vertical-ness! Vacuuming. Cleaning the floors. Opening the windows. Washing the sheets. It's all very exhausting though when your body is run down and out! But gosh am I behind....on everything. Speaking of, I was right at the end of another Telluride picture post when sickness struck! 

Health is something to never take for gosh!! It's a beautiful thing! I am grateful and I will continue to be. I must go catch up some more : )