Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Thank you

A change was stirring. For the past year, ideas swirled. For the protection of our students and a further push on quality, my vision was to bring Aviana's Elves closer to home.

Families are chosen with a careful eye and heart. Needs are important, but wants are too. This year, hearing more from our families was central. What are their interests? What are their favorite colors? Where do they shop? Grocery shop?

As far back as I can remember, if my mom, dad, or Gary hurt, I hurt too. Children are resilient, but sensitive too. For this reason, we think it's important for parents to feel our love, but for their kids to see them cared for too. Parenting is magical, but dang is it difficult too. Instead of a family gift or shirt only, we included our parents in a more meaningful way this year.

Aviana's Elves grabs my heart in a different way each year. This one holds a place because although separate, we shifted together and for our families. You shopped in record numbers! The boxes on our doorstep and at our post office were filled with warm blankets, hand picked books, journals, games, toys, painting supplies, essential oil blends, and clothes. Donations were abundant and used for the purchase of thick encyclopedia books filled with animals for J, tiny clothes and diapers for the triplets, Spiderman colors for E, five wanted and needed fry pans for our mommas, warm gloves, snow pants, jackets, and boots for too many kids to count, basketball clothes and snacks for W, and much more! We basked in your cards, your letters, in Aviana's name hand written over and over by you - the people we love most. The more time that passes, the less she's talked about, so I'll never be able to tell you how much you mean.

With so many people in need around the globe, we thank you for helping us while helping our families.

The majority of gifts are delivered to the middle school and picked up throughout the week. This year we took two Tahoe Lake Elementary families. We delivered straight to their homes. This was different for us. Because one of the families recently arrived from Guatemala and the two little girls were part of a school program I worked over the summer, I really wanted them as part of Aviana's Elves.

We knocked on their door. A Guatemalan momma with a warm smile greeted us; her adorable daughters hovered behind. M speaks little English, but gestured for us to come inside. We introduced ourselves then handed her what gifts we carried thus far. With what remains of my three years of middle and high school Spanish, I let her know we'd be back with more. As with many Spanish speaking families, their children help translate. On the second trip, I turned from resting the gifts on the table to find K with her arms wrapped tight around Dave's legs, thanking him. To see Dave hugging this small Guatemalan beauty both melted and broke my heart.

Aviana's Elves works in dichotomous ways, but the good always outweighs the hard.

The warmth of this family and their home. The girls bouncing the room with their mom beaming. K counting row after row of her gifts, "uno, dos, tres, quatro..." Dave and I captured and forever tucked these memories away.

Eight years ago, I crossed the hardwood and hopped onto the computer in a low and desperate holiday moment. In hopes of lifting my spirit, I threw an idea into the screen. You responded. And keep coming back. I sit in awe. By you. By the families who thank us. All I can do is thank you. And them because selfishly we've been gifted far more than we give.

Wishing you peace.

Our love always,

Dave, Jen & Rainey

Sprinkles of Rainey

The boxing begins.

We start overtaking other rooms of the house ; )

Rainey loves to help. We're in a constant vacuum, vacuum, vacuum cycle.

Upstairs takeover. The Spaniers are on their way to wrap = )

The four of us wrapped just about all these boxes...
with a little help from Dave's old fashioneds.

♥️ Delivery Day ♥️

The presents overflowed this room, but I forgot to take a picture of the other.

The gift cards were divided into the family envelopes.

Along with this.

A letter was included in each envelope too.

It was on colored texture paper, but for some reason when I scanned the letter the last time it showed stark white. Blah ; /

Family envelopes


There wasn't any messy hair this year (okay, maybe a little). 
Behind every purchase, boxed, wrapped, and delivered gift, there was peace. 

How blessed we are to have people like Dora, Marcy, Maria, Jamie, and Adela. They found our families and gathered what matters most. And to deliver the gifts, a big thank you to Dora, Marcy, Liz and Terri.
You're our eyes and heart.


  1. Lost for words to write-what out-pouring love shown for the families & the nice gifts donated by so many in memory of Aviana. Hope You & Dave are doing well these days!

    Denise Bush-Georgia

  2. I finally got in here without being warned there was a dangerous virus and then blocked. So glad I persevered. I love the pictures and your letter to your families. I was reading the letter with a big smile on my face until I got to the part about Karin hugging Dave's legs and then the tears came. I wish I could be a wrapper and join in the joy!

  3. This is my first visit to your web journal! We are a group of volunteers and new activities in the same specialty. Website gave us helpful data to work. paper core machine