Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Dress

Very few knew. Most had no idea.

Our meetings had come to an end. Every last question, answered. Dave and I decided we wanted Aviana's last days to be just the four of us. Our Hospice team was the best. They would call and check in - see how we were doing? How Aviana was? But also, ask if at any point we'd changed our minds about wanting to be by ourselves. During these phone calls we'd talk about how things were progressing, and ask any further questions.

One night, I was talking with our Hospice nurse, Beverly, who happens to be one of the most spiritually nurturing people I will probably ever know. We were having one of our normal conversations, but towards the end, she said something, which in one sentence, unwound every bit of the together I was. The words were so painful they inhibit my memory from now forming the exact order. As I attempt to recreate, I'm filled with gratitude in knowing they were delivered from the gentlest heart, and loving voice.

"Jen, you and Dave can put Aviana in anything you want to send her home.

I lost it. I couldn't breathe. Never once had the single thought crossed my mind. With tears pouring without end, my gaze shifted towards Dave. He had our beautiful, withering girl wrapped in his arms. In his hands, a book he was in the middle of reading her. As I looked on, the phone beside my head, I wanted to freeze time - to spare them from what my ears had heard. I wished to un-hear myself. I felt we had come so far, but as I looked at the two of them - I knew we had much further to go. I could already see the words written on the page. I knew it would be one of the single most difficult in our story.

We held Aviana. We cried for all this meant. For our past, our present, our future. For everything - really. This moment. The symbolic nature of what we were about to do was forcing us to collectively come full circle. Thoughts were rampant. The anticipation and excitement of meeting Aviana for the first time in Guatemala, especially after receiving 11 months worth of pictures. Finally getting our hands on this real child - our child. Dressing her in the first outfit we'd brought for her. Giving her a bath for the first time. Styling her hair as we wanted to for the first time!

In one painstaking moment, all our firsts were spinning around and looming down as lasts. Round and round we went. We were edging closer to the threshold, preparing to cross. The memories, flashing. Happy/sad. Smiling/not. And the tears, oh the tears. They were flowing, and not.

As we looked at each other, we shook our heads in disbelief by the heart wrenching decisions we continuously had to make. We decided it would be better to pick an outfit and place her in before she died. We would keep her in this chosen outfit, so we wouldn't have to change her afterward. We gave her a bath for the very last time - washing all her beautiful, long, hair for one last time. We made our famous, but last 'Avi-ritto' out of her and the towel. We laughed as we always did, but then. . . cried as we held her extra tight. We decided on her pure white dress. She always looked like an angel in white. I did her hair, and when it came to the color of bow, we picked purple because that's her Nana's favorite color. One of my best friends, Jen, brought her the most beautiful cross necklace, which completed the whole outfit. The moments were extreme, but beautiful. Wrenching, but loving. And Aviana, well she took our breath away.

Very few knew. Most had no idea. Those who happened to see Aviana prior, probably thought she was merely a beauty in white. In the majority of our pictures from this time, she's wearing the dress.

At the time we were told we could put her in the outfit of our choosing, we were also told to expect her to go within 24-48 hours. As you know, Aviana had other plans and continued far longer. We finally had to wash her dress. In the meantime, we of course decided on a Halloween outfit. During that time, she took a turn. One look and it was was obvious - she was much too comfortable to change back into her dress. We knew it would be harder for us in the end, but her well being was of most importance. It seemed all too fitting for our girl to go in a Halloween outfit.

Dave and I believe once someone dies, their spirit is gone and their body is a body. We respect that body, but just as we thought, it was more difficult for us to change her back into the dress. We managed okay though.

Wrapped in her soft, polka dot blanket, we handed Aviana over to the two gracious men in our front entry and watched them lovingly carry her down our walkway. They got into their van, one in the driver's seat, the other holding Aviana while putting his seat belt around the two of them. Down our road they drove.

We were lucky enough to have a wonderful Hospice social worker who made a request for a two person transport and a mortuary who had never once heard of this, but wanted to do anything and everything to make it easier for a family who was about to lose their 7-year-old little girl. The people who make the world a better place never cease to amaze and inspire me.

The way we chose was like the day of the accident. I felt it would provide closure for hearts, which could never before truly find any. I watched Aviana's vibrant being toddle down that walkway and drive out of my life once before. And now, we watched her leave our lives for the second and last time - at least physically. But this time, she was off to once again be that spunky, sweet, glowing, grinning girl she was meant to be!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

I hope you all had a Happy Holiday! 

Lonely Hearts Club

Christmas - the most wonderful time of the year. Christmas - the saddest time of the year. For many, the season holds different meaning. Some fall to one side, some to the other, with many maybe sprinkled somewhere between.

For all of my life before Aviana, I without question, fell on the side of 'the most wonderful time of the year.' I certainly thought about the less fortunate. I donated to food banks, Toys for Tots, thought briefly about the real meaning of the season, but then...I was back to the joy filled days of my own family. I hadn't a clue of what a slighted holiday really felt like.

Once Aviana was hurt, I was served a healthy dose of true grief during the holidays. I was surrounded in sadness. I saw the world in all its holiday glory - candy canes, kids and people caroling. In one split second we went from having a healthy child to a freshly brain injured, shaved head, overweight, constantly throwing up, couldn't move, loving child.

Our first holiday season found us cross country at an institute trying to learn how to rehabilitate her. I remember trying desperately to make the best! Make the best! But sometimes, as we were on break down in the cutest little town of Chestnut Hill - I would watch all of the people in their holiday excitement and want to gag. I felt sick by my thoughts, but honestly, their smiles and laughter would grate and radiate on every exposed nerve. After my brief pity party of, "Well, Merry Christmas to us!" I had to divert my attention to something more a piece of cake! It seemed overnight, I had become the lonely hearted during the holiday season…the season I so loved. The broken down, trying to be as positive as possible under grave circumstances.

Each year has been its own unique and individual challenge in the lonely hearts club. But as with everything, you find ways to fill the void. You search, seek and learn what works for you. I remember one moment during one year, I was feeling exceptionally sorry for myself. I can't stand that feeling, so I immediately jumped to what I know works for me, and that's looking outside myself and our situation. Knowing there are others in greater need than us always does the trick. It's like magic. So I looked down at a certain someone, and thought…I'm going to do something I've always wanted to.

Aviana saved me. She continues to save me, year after year. Aviana's Elves is the best and greatest thing for me. It provides a feeling which fills me like nothing else ever could, especially during the holidays. The things we did, coupled with all you sent me…I can't even begin to tell you. My heart is full. My holiday season was as full as could be this year. Thank you so very much for your help. Year after year, you have saved me. I sit in amazement, because each year you join together and pull my heart through when I need it most, and all in the name of helping others in need. It's the most beautiful thing to me. I thank you, I love you, and I wish you the happiest of holiday…truly ❤️

I think back before Aviana and I was lost. Straight up lost. She was and will always be my compass to what is true and important in this life. She points me in the direction to what the holiday season is all about. The thing I used to spend the least of my time and energy on is now what I choose to spend the most on…and it's all because of her. I sit here crying because in her time, without a word, she said all she needed to me. Not that I wasn't a good person before, but I would never want to be the person I was the day of her accident. She transformed my life. She has shown me a whole new world. I suppose that's what her purpose was - to change the people who were lucky enough to know her.

Grieving during the holidays can be hard core, but it's not all bad. It's a gift if you look at it in a different way. Sure it doesn't feel good, no way...not by a long shot. Between Aviana and Kama, I have been through some of the worst moments in previous years. I wouldn't want those moments back, but I wouldn't trade them either. They definitely serve a purpose. These moments have given me time to dig deep and find what and who are most meaningful and important to me. Once I figured out what and who...the best part - forcefully grabbing on and never letting go! To my very best friends, the family members who are there for us…and I mean, really there. It makes me grasp on to the things I love most in life - hugging the hell out of our Rainey Girl because I know nothing is promised and she might not be here tomorrow, laughing as I always do with Dave - the very best I will ever have, singing horribly to my very favorite songs, rolling the windows down and feeling the wind on my face. Just plain being mindful of every little thing. When the earth has been ripped out from under, you know to enjoy every moment you have as the next may not come. Love the ones you're with, always. Love the life you have, always.

But please, don't get me wrong, there have been many moments and times in these past years when I've been stripped to the bone….to the point of having to truly dig and I mean deep because the pain of what was in front of me was far too much. I had to talk myself down and always in the same few ways. One such as this. My heart would go to places of recent devastation, like tsunamis or hurricanes, often third world. I've done this too many times to count. My mind has gone to no food, no clothes, no shelter, no running water, no medication. I picture I'm sick as a dog, having to walk miles upon miles in the rain to get medication for an ailing family member. When I'm cold in my house and I go get a blanket, I think of the homeless people on the street, the ones I've met at Loaves & Fishes, who don't have that luxury and I'm good to go. Snapped back to reality…it could be worse.

Yes...I bake, wrap presents, shop, visit, and I enjoy doing so, but every year and because of Aviana my heart is truly with the grieving, lonely, hungry and cold. Once your own heart has been broken wide open, it never fully mends. It comes back together in many ways, but remains cracked for life.

I don't look at it as a bad thing though...

This season has been different from all those in the past. Yes there has been a little sad, but nothing like past years. Today has been a good day. I think of Aviana and hold her in the light.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

In Honor

A donation was made to The Sweet Dreams Foundation in memory of Aviana 

~Luana, Ernie and Oscar Hernandez


Aviana inspired "Blessing Bags" which were made and handed out to people in need.

~ The Reinhart's and Friends


A donation was made in honor of Aviana to St. Jude.

~ Cameo, Norm, Asa & Valentina


A donation was made to Toys for Tots in honor of Aviana.

~ Caden Lopez


Two more Acts for Avi…

~ anonymously paid the utility bill for a struggling single mama whose power had been shut off.

~ dropped a grocery gift card off in another single father's mailbox so that he could buy much needed food for his 4 children.

Tonight…my little Bug and I are going shopping for a few things that we hope to pass out at various times over the next week. All in honor of your precious Angel Aviana.

~ Sarah


A donation was made to Make a Wish in honor of Aviana.

~ Kiara Lopez


In honor of Aviana, Stephanie has kept a big gallon zip-lock bag of snacks in her car to hand out to people who hold out signs around her town.


A donation of leashes and collars is being delivered to the animals of Anneke's Haven at Loaves & Fishes in honor of Aviana.

~ Mikayla Lopez


Alex Infante decided to order a bunch of pizzas and have them sent to the local firehouse on Halloween, because she knew that day was my favorite. Her husband is a fireman, so they hold a special place in her heart. She included a letter of why the pizzas were being sent along with Avi's blog address so they could see how special Aviana was. 

Alex ~ Thank so much for your letter… I cried big tears…thank you. 


A donation was made for funeral services for a 2 year old little boy was was hit by a car and killed in a town near us in honer of Aviana.

~ Warren and Anna Steuben


A donation was made to St. Jude in honor of Aviana.

~ Roger and Rella Remedios


A donation was made to UC Davis Medical Center (PICU) in Aviana's memory. In her honor, a donation was also made to a family in San Ramon who just lost their mother to cancer. The dad is a middle school teacher and they have adopted four children (3,4,5,5) from Ethiopia. A donation was also made to a group serving the homeless and needy people in Solvang, Ca.

~ Dixie Hall


A donation was made in honor of Aviana to The Make a Wish Foundation.

~ Jan, Tony & Natalie Pinna


Channe says she can start by honoring Avi's memory by being more patient with her children and not getting frustrated with them when they can't/won't do something, and that she will also smile more : )


A donation was made to St. Jude in honor of Aviana.

~ Gerry Piglowski


Christie said for Avi she has been trying to bring joy to people through laughter : )


A donation of ninety Christmas dinners and whole lot of dog food were made to Loaves & Fishes. A donation was also made in honor of Aviana to The Book of Dreams, specifically to Khya's family. In so many ways, reading their story was like reading ours.

~ J.R. Williams


A donation of 30 Christmas dinners were made in honor of Aviana to Loaves & Fishes in honor of Aviana.

~ Ami Victorio


Jessica keeps looking for all kinds of ways to honor Avi with gifts of kindness! She keeps having to forgive cruddy drivers ; ) She is also going to have her kids clean out their old toys and bring them down to Salvation Army or one of the shelters nearby. 


These families donated to The Mustard Seed School at Loaves & Fishes in honor of Aviana:

The Delap Family
The King Family
The Johnson Family
The Hernandez Family
The Springer Family
The Velo Family
The Anderson Family
The Pham Family
The Serna Family
The Ringstrom Family
The Davis Family
The Williams Family
The Martell Family
The Autry-McNiel Family
The Knapp Family
The Brown Family
The Polson Family 


Thank you all! 
I can't tell you how much this lifts us or how brightly you make our world shine. 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

What a Difference a Year Makes

Aviana my sweet ~

When I think of you now…

The relief I feel stretches as far as the universe is wide.

This holiday season, although we are not physically together…

I know we are both celebrating together ~ everyday.

I love you with all that I am baby girl.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Feel the Fire

I become paralyzed in many of the things I set out to do. It's hard for me to explain. From the big, to the very small. You name it. Somewhere along the line, I usually lose my steam. I get going, get pumped. I tell myself, "today is the day! It's been far too long. I love these people and every word they took the time to write us. I am going to return comments, emails, texts, etc." I start off strong, and mind begins to wander. It's like I can't fully focus, or concentrate for long periods of time. I'm easily distracted, and usually by things that fall into the category of - mindless.

Tonight I had monster ambition! Presents be wrapped! Yes! I'm already behind and Dave is out for the night so I figured I would put the music on blast and Rainey and I would do our thang ; ) Dave even started last night while Amy and I were out and about. I hauled half the mass stack out, and sits. Kinda like someone else I know (no, not Rainey! Come on, no thumbs! She can't work the scissors). My desk, iTunes, and YouTube whisper my name. It starts off faint and grows louder until I drop whatever it is I should be doing and respond.

My mind is not my own. It's off in outer space. In the last week especially, my path has lead straight to Aviana. I'm not exactly sure why this week. Maybe because I've been dreaming of her every single night for the past week? I have always dreamt in stereo, so my dreams have been so vivid that I wake every morning with an equally vibrant memory and headache to boot. Maybe because we just miss her more this week? Maybe because we have finally settled from the marathon of our lives? Maybe the holidays? Whatever the reason, it doesn't matter. She's just more on our minds, and in our hearts…if that's possible.

With her being in my head and heart, I've been reverting back. Her memorial video was one of the most diffilcult things I believe we will ever have worked through. I feel like a glutton for punishment when I continue to watch it again? Could our our whole life with her really have come and gone? Could it really be over? I've also gone back through a few times and looked at all the pictures of the entire time Aviana was dying. I've studied the progression, watched it happen in photo form. I know it really happened, but it's as if I need to see it all again. As if that weren't real enough to me as we were going through? I think I want to view it from an outsider looking in this time. I've also felt the need to open my nightstand drawer where her and Kama's ashes sit side by side - as they should - and look at them. It's as though I am manually connecting the wires. I have to feel it all. Absorb everything. No matter how painful. No matter if it makes me cry. Causes my head to hurt. I don't care. For some reason, I am the kid who's just got to touch the hot stove. I need to feel the fire, actually burn my hand.

What's strange is, I felt we already walked the coals for the past 4.5 years, especially in the last months. I guess it's all part of the process. So much fun to be had, by all.

Dave and I sit back and just can't quite believe we are full circle - back where we started, but so much different. It's surreal. It's amazing. It's actually unbelievable. We shake our heads. Sometimes we laugh, sometimes we cry, sometimes we just stare at each other.

What I know for sure is - I'm grateful for all the support we've always been given along the way. We are so lucky to have some of the best family members, friends, and people such as you, whom we have never met, but continue to give. My heart, so full.

Mostly, there are no words for how lucky I am to have traveled this life with Dave, Kama, Zoe, Aviana and Rainey. They have been my light, and light…always counteracts the dark.

I used to feel this song heavily after the accident. Our family wasn't truly at ease. Now, thankfully it's different. I still feel it because we lost our girl, but in place of a restless heart, peace presides. Nothing can take that away from us.

 So after I  feel the feelings of the song, my heart has a refreshing new place to land. I usually end up somewhere such as this... 

My friend Summer graciously agreed to read a poem I found for Aviana's memorial service.

She is Gone

You can shed tears that she is gone
Or you can smile because she has lived

You can close your eyes and pray that she will come back
Or you can open your eyes and see all that she has left

Your heart can be empty because you can’t see her
Or you can be full of love that you shared

You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday
Or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday

You can remember her and only that she is gone
Or you can cherish her memory and let it live on

You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn you back
Or you can do what she would want: smile, open your eyes, love and go on.

~ David Harkins

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Acts of Kindness

These are some of the things we have received in the mail lately.

Thank you to Joe, Paige and Amelia! We just love every one of these!

✽ ✽ ✽

The Manski Family paid for a family's meal in a restaurant in honor of Avi. They told the waiter Avi's story so he could tell the family why their meal was paid for. They say they will continue random acts of kindness in honor of Avi.

✽ ✽ ✽

The Quick Family donated money to the Sutter memorial therapy dog program in honor of Avi.

✽ ✽ ✽

The Petty Family donated money to Keeva in order to help a family in Guatemala get clean drinking water. 

✽ ✽ ✽

There's more, but this is just for today! I can't even begin to thank my friend Sarah, and these families enough. 

After losing her child, Elizabeth Edwards said, "if you know someone who has lost a child or lost anybody who's important to them, and you're afraid to mention them because you think you might make them sad by reminding them that they died, they didn't forget they died. You're not reminding them. What you're reminding them of is that you remember that they lived, and that's a great, great, gift."

One of my best friends shared this quote with me a few years ago. I absolutely love it! I've felt the weight of her words both the whole time after the accident while Aviana was hurt, and now that she's gone.

Thank you to everyone who has sent anything letting us know they are thinking of Aviana. You have no idea how much you help in keeping her little spirit alive.

Saturday, December 7, 2013


How can I soothe the soul of a grandmother who just lost the only grandchild she's ever known? The one she loves more than life itself? The one who meant everything to her? I can't. I try…by keeping her busy, taking her to the movies, to lunch, baking. But truly there's nothing I can do to fill the void. To fill the emptiness of where the most beautiful little girl used to reside.

She knows the logic of it all. She understands the blessings. She grasps all the reasons why it's better for Aviana to be there, and not here. But beyond all that, sometimes it just plain sucks. And she misses her dearly, and wants so desperately to hold her. To love her. To have her back like she was before all the bad came knocking. I can't blame her. We have those moments too. 

My mom is one of the strongest people I've ever known. She has taken all of this far better than most ever could, but this week - she's struggling. She knows she will get through - but still - it hurts me to see her hurt so deeply. This is an unresolvable situation. So all I'm left to do is talk, mostly listen, and most importantly - offer comfort.

I love you mom. 

As we always have, together - we will get through.


I did not think for one moment my mom, of all people, would stand up and speak at Aviana's service. As I said though - she surprises me when I least expect it, and is tough as nails, but also the sweetest little momma too!


Thank you all for coming to celebrate Aviana's life with us.

I would like to share an intimate moment I shared with Aviana.

If you knew Aviana - energetic, strong willed, and very independent.  Hard to keep down.

I would hold her little hands, look into her gigantic, bright, sparkling brown eyes.....who can forget those long, long, eye lashes too, and sang to her:

You are my Sunshine
My only Sunshine
You make me happy when sky's are grey
You'll never know dear how much I love you.
Please don't take my Sunshine away.

She would look at me with even larger eyes, a smile on her face, then with a questioning look on her face, in her little voice and say SHUNSHINE??  I would say yes, hug her, and off she'd run and play.

My Sunshine is gone.

I miss her....

Jen and Dave call her all sorts of names, ie Mekey, Coo Coo, etc.
Nana calls her HER SUNSHINE

Jen and David, the greatest parents and best caretakers have done a tremendous job with her.  Now...the most powerful caretaker is holding her in His loving arms.  Aviana is FREE and at peace.

SUNSHINE thank you for your love, the best of times, the happiness and joyful MEMORIES.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013


I want to share some of the speeches from Aviana's memorial service with you. The following was by her Papa.

I want to thank you for coming today to honor Aviana.  For those of you who don't know me I am Aviana's Grandfather, better known as Aviana's Papa.

Aviana Reese Hodder took me totally by surprise!
The day I met Aviana she was almost a year old and had just arrived from Guatemala.  I can remember thinking to myself how nice it was that Jennifer and Dave adopted this cute little girl.  I could imagine all the wonderful times they would have together as a family.  I had no idea this beautiful little girl would soon take over my heart, and fill my soul with so much love, it was beyond comprehension. 

Brenda and I found ourselves spending as much time as possible with Aviana.  We often had her spend over-nights with us.  We took her everywhere.  We took her to parks, we took her shopping, and we showed her off to all our friends.  She filled our hearts with joy and made us laugh.  Everything was better when Aviana was with us.  She made an ordinary day come alive with her sweet personality, crazy antics, and loving ways.

Aviana was a loving little girl with a very unique personality.  Like all little girls she had an infinite amount of energy and curiosity.  Aviana also had a strong independent nature and liked to show you she could do everything herself.  That included being able to put on her own diapers at the age of 18 months.  She also had the ability to turn me into a complete marshmallow, and she knew it.  All she had to do was look at me with her big chocolate eyes and I would do anything she wanted, no questions asked.  Every time I looked deep into Aviana's soulful brown eyes I could swear I saw God looking back at me.  

Although the time we had with Aviana was painfully short, she still left us with a lifetime of memories.  I would like to share three of those memories with you today.

Aviana loved the water.  Many times when she was staying with Brenda and I, we would take Aviana to play in our homeowners association pool.  All I had to do is ask her if she wanted to go for a swim.  Without a word she would immediately disappear into her bedroom and would reemerge a minute later wearing her swimsuit, a float tube around her waist, and dragging a small air mattress behind her.  She would have a big smile on her face and say "Let's go Papa!!"

Another fond memory was the simple chore of Aviana walking with me to pick up the mail from the mailbox around the block.  When we got to the mailbox Aviana would insist on helping Papa by taking all the mail out of the mailbox and carry it back home.  On the way home, many times I would have to pick up pieces of mail that fell on the ground, as it would slip through her little fingers as she walked with me.

Last but not least, one memory I will never forget, was the day Brenda gave her retirement speech at Chevron headquarters in San Ramon.  Dave and Jennifer were there, along with Aviana, to celebrate the event.  The large hall was crowded with a lot of people.  Chevron was celebrating several  retirees.  Each retiree was to give their own presentation.  Everything went normally up to Brenda's presentation.  As soon as Brenda started speaking, a little girl's voice could be heard very distinctly coming from the back of the room.  Aviana was calling out very loudly, "NANA! NANA! NANA! All through Brenda's speech.  I enjoyed that immensely, knowing Aviana was her biggest fan. 

Then one day when Aviana was almost three years old, the wonderful times with her came to a tragic end.  That was the day Aviana and I got into a terrible accident.  We were hit by a car while crossing the street.  After the accident we tried everything to help her, but nothing worked.  For four and a half years Aviana's beautiful soul was trapped in a body that no longer worked.  There is no way I can describe to you the heartbreak and pain our family felt each day, especially on Aviana's birthdays and the many holidays that went by. The best we could do was to hold her, talk to her, and love her, so that's what we did!!  

Today I want to thank all the loving friends and family that supported and helped Jennifer and Dave through those very difficult times.  In particular I want to thank my brother-in-law Roger Remedios for being there for Jennifer and Dave every step of the way, and for generously giving his time every Friday, for four and a half years, to be with Aviana. 

Aviana is now in a better place.
Aviana's soul is at last free from the bondage of her broken body.
I pray she is with God looking down on us right now, saying in her little sweet voice "It's OK Mommy and Daddy, don't worry about me anymore.  I am alright now.  I am happy again."  

Thank You

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Aviana's Elves

I had the perfect plan all lined up for Aviana's Elves this year. We were all on a secret mission. It was already fun, exciting, exhilarating, and just about to be announced! Then…everything changed.

Aviana's path became clear. I realized our initial plan needed to go on the back burner until next year. All of our energy and attention was going to be needed in one very important direction and for an uncertain amount of time. I immediately came up with a back up plan in case our girl took flight. I thought it would be just as good, but in a different way.

Family and friends had been inquiring, so I included the idea earlier in lieu of flowers for Aviana's memorial. If you happen to want to join in this holiday season and in the name of Aviana, we would be honored.

Aviana meant something to each of us and for a unique and personal reason. This holiday season - if you would like to make a donation to anything that reminds you of her, perform random acts of kindness, or spread the happiness and love of a little girl who meant everything to us, we would be humbled.  

If you happen to want to share with me, I would so love that too. I will be including them throughout the season.

Thank you so very much for always supporting us, but especially loving Aviana!

Missing Aviana...


My friend Sarah, whose daughter Lily was Aviana's best friend, started a campaign called, "Acts for Avi." To say I cried my eyes out seeing all she has done is an understatement. I love you Sarah…you have my whole heart!

Here are a few I received in October...

Today, in honor of Aviana, I smiled all day purposefully to make others smile back. You never know what others are going through and knew that if Aviana were able to smile, as he would most certainly try to make those around her smile too.

~ Sarah

Today, I publicly forgave the child who wrote racial slurs on the outside of my front door. He vandalized our house, because my children are adopted from Guatemala, and we are a multi-racial family. So I am dedicating an act of forgiveness to Aviana.

~ Uncommonmama

Thank you so much Sarah and Uncommonmama, these are what keep us going. Knowing Aviana has made a difference in the lives of others…thank you.

❤ ❤ ❤

Sunday, December 1, 2013

In Memory


I want to thank my cousin Erin for everything she put into making this video. As it turned out, she had her work cut out for her in working with the two of us ; ) As I look back, I realize - without each of the three of our ongoing ideas, the video wouldn't be half of what it turned out to be. 

I love you Erin! Thank you for every great suggestion, your honest feedback, your mad computer skills, the endless tears, and everything in between.

HoTog Forever!