Monday, September 1, 2014


Both our plates were overflowing. It was a stressful, but exciting time. I was working my first job out of college at an out of control pace. Dave was soon to graduate and start at the company he just recently left. We were a little out from being married in Lake Tahoe. I was searching day and night for the perfect house. I knew when I saw it. Dave agreed. We soon watched our home built from the ground up.

Shortly after, a "normal" life was in full swing.

Through the years, we've loved our home and neighborhood. We already know we'll never find as great a 'hood' as the one we have. We felt lucky before Aviana's accident, but after - words fall short. Our neighbors are an extension of our family, and our family, an extension of our neighbors. Infinity. No beginning, or end. They are the greatest human beings this earth has to offer. No joke. It's like if those of you who comment here were our neighbors - that caliber.

In growth and moving on, there's much we're leaving behind. It isn't easy to say goodbye to those who've loved, lifted, and sometimes even carried us through.

The truest form of love is to hurt on the inside, but also feel happiness in knowing what's best for another. I'm in awe over my mom especially, and how she's handled this whirlwind of events we've put upon her. True, true, love.

In my opinion, life is about the people who make it worth living. We definitely surround ourselves with the most unbelievable group. Their love and support is unwavering. These are some unbreakable bonds. So when we leave, I won't see it as an end, but a turn in a new direction. A shift to the mountains, and who doesn't love to visit the mountains, right?

As for our home, our very first...we've created a full life together. We've screamed until silence, been forced to grow up in unimaginable ways, but always managed to keep the silly in spite of it all. We've danced till our legs burn, cried until the salt ran dry, and still held on as both our best girls floated away. We've lived and lost, but most of all, we've loved. This home - our home - was filled and surrounded in it, always. We will take with us, and into our next, every ounce of those memories and that love.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Mac Attack

A new computer.

Endless hours with Apple Care.

Once again, I haven't been able to attach a single picture.

This next post can't be without.

Serious Suck.

While it rang,

I vowed -

One hour of packing time only.

My sole goal,

Attach pictures.

No dice.

With the move,

I'll have to wait until after on that particular post...

Sunday, August 24, 2014

At Once

It was a Friday night.

No ordinary,

In the passenger seat,

Two rectangular boxes.

Ashes by ashes,

And safely beside.

One exit too soon,

But not at all.

Music high.

Lights low.

The culmination.

Every sense awakened.

The smell of fresh pine through crisp mountain air.

The best, and most fitting, sound ever.

And as I round a bend,

The sight of brightly colored carnival lights in nonstop chase.

I gave pause.

I gave pause.

For this was pure joy!

So good -

I could taste it!

Taken by this slice in time,

My right hand slid over both my girls.

With tears of love and gratitude,

I thanked them.

Blessed was I to share in this moment.

A moment of all six senses,

At once. 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Uh Oh

Am I the only one who understood my last post?

Say it isn't so ; )

Truly, was there anyone?

Or did I miss completely?

I'm sorry if I did.

Maybe I was talking to myself again.

Ha Ha!

It was a lead into the next,

So, it should make more sense soon : )

And, I may just slightly revise and repost,

Because I hold a very special place for that one  ❤

Friday, August 22, 2014

At Once

It was a Friday night.

No ordinary,

But the one before.

In the passenger seat,

Side by side,

And safely beside,

Two rectangular boxes.

One exit too soon.

But not at all.

Music high.

Lights low.

The culmination.

Every sense awakened.

Fresh pine through crisp mountain air.

Brightly colored carnival lights in nonstop chase.

The best, and most fitting, my speakers could ever.

I gave pause.

I gave pause.

For this was pure joy!

A bite.


Taken by this slice in time,

My right hand slid over both my girls.

With tears of love and gratitude,

I thanked them.

Blessed was I to share in this moment.

A moment of six,

At once. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

With and Without You

It's interesting. We've showed up, and everything has flowed our way. Some things we saw coming, others we could never.

The timing is unreal. One example - Dave happened to walk into a company who said they were just talking about how they needed to hire someone. This company interviewed him on the spot. An offer soon followed. We have since found the perfect house, put ours on the market, and are now in escrow. They both close on Dave's birthday - September 8th!

Once we decided on Tahoe, Dave asked if I was ready? "Absolutely!" I said. I've been waiting for what seems forever!

The question asked of me from every direction after is, "Are you so excited about moving to Tahoe!" I'm like a deer caught in the headlights, especially at first. I smile, hesitate, and am unsure of how to answer. I imagine they may be expecting a completely different reaction.

My response is twofold.

Right after the accident, I trained myself, not because it might be a good idea, but out of survival. At the time, I didn't take it day to day, I lived minute to minute. I vividly remember times when our world was so intense - I took the clock by the second. Without a doubt, this conditioning is what carried me through the years - and still does.

Since Aviana's been gone, I've noticed my grip loosen, but not by much. I realize there's a lot to be said about this way of living - it suits me well - so I hold on. Being present and living for today has a way of taking the stress, anxiety, and crazy, out of everything. It's the complete opposite of the way I used to be.

For the majority of the time, I not only love the bubble I've created, but try my best to stay within as much as possible.  So when asked early on, my preference was to stay right there, rather than visit another place of if the move were to become a true reality and what it all meant if it really happened. When I journey to all Tahoe means, it's sometimes extraordinary, but can also be painful.

For the past months, I've definitely had to face all that's unending and complicated about grief, which can make what seems a simple, harmless, question result in a complex answer within my head. That's why I end up standing with a half smile on my face, and question marks all over my face. "How should I answer? How can I say this in super simple terms? Hmmmm. Yes?"

Excited is an interesting word for me. It certainly makes me think? Rather... wonder? I feel fleeting moments often. I don't know that you've ever seen someone as squirmy with anticipation at the sight of the download bar on iTunes, or every time a newly created recipe comes out a million percent picture and taste worthy, or the seconds just before any sort of kindness, or with my hair blowing in the wind, or dancing the way we do to that perfect downloaded song, and of course, any of the many with my sweet Rainey. But overall, I think it's more the smaller day-to-day where I truly lose myself. These moments are less complicated.

The short of it is !yes! I'm excited to move to Tahoe. It's all I've ever wanted. Tahoe is home to me. I left my heart many years ago, and now I'm lucky enough to return. I'm able to again become one, in the place I feel most me. Who could ask for anything more? Right?

So why the hesitation? Where is the all out, jump around, one would expect?

The long of it is - I don't think it will ever happen - with either of us. Our girl is gone. The second Dave told me, the next were also filled with her beautiful face and all that meant. I see it in both of us. It's like a thin veil. An invisible haze. Even in the happiest and most exciting of times, there's still this light dusting, which has eternally settled upon us. Does it get better? Some I've talked to say yes,  and that I'm too early in? I'm curious. I know everyone is different, but I'd love to hear.

We have these new eyes. We see everything differently. We feel outrageously alive. We live our lives in a whole new way. We appreciate much more. We love on this new and amazing level. We this. We that. But over everything - she's gone. And there is some sort of flat - because she always will be. In our hearts and in everything we do, think, see, say, and every change we make - she will always be gone, gone, gone. And while I know this truth in everyday life, as much as Tahoe is everything to me - it's like a magnifying glass is held over, and what I see in big, black, bold, letters is - my dream is coming true because of her injury. Much like the irrational thoughts of 5 years ago, they're back. They are similar to the ones of finally becoming the mom I always dreamed of once she was hurt. I was finally well on my way before, but the accident catapulted me to places that may have taken me years, if ever - and it was all due to her injury. I used to say - she took the fall for me. Once again, those very same feelings were creeping around. I had to let them, to give them time and space, until they were ready to leave.

So what does Tahoe mean? I know Dave would've been content staying put; it's where he grew up. I know where we lived would have been second string to his work. I know he wasn't wild about Aviana growing up in Tahoe. I know he wasn't willing to make the many sacrifices one needs to live in such a beautiful place. I know he would never have budged before retirement had it not been for the accident. I know. I know. I know her injury is the reason for the shift in perspective. All this perspective. Perspective is the greatest gift, but what a cost! My forever dream of Tahoe is coming true, but the cost is staggering. I know. I know. It was ridiculous to think. I am usually able to look towards what's good, what we have, and what is left. This was hard to go through, but necessary?

In the beginning, I was struggling in a way. It seemed the first week especially, I was leaving some tears everywhere. My logical, rational, mind understood perfectly. My emotional, missing her terribly one did not. In all good, there may always be some sad and tears. I'm sure all of you who've loved and lost understand the duality. A lightening speed of emotion, and then, zapped to the ground - knowing it may always be this way? The truth is - I'm good with that. Feeling keeps her close, and I never want her far. Whatever the emotion - I'll take it. I want to feel, rather than not.

I was a little off in the beginning, but with the help of those above, the spinning soon stopped. I have always felt that Aviana wants us to live - to be happy - to make the best and most of each day - so that's what we do.  But this held a different feeling altogether. It was much like the last months of her life. Some things closely mirrored the same sort that happened then. In almost every way, they were guiding us to the woods of Lake Tahoe. I kind of once again feel as though we were just going through the motions. I've been given the same calm, relaxed, feeling from that time and the day of her service. For all these reasons, which I can't possibly deny, most all the sad tears have been replaced by happy ones.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Spaces Between

I never truly intend to be away so long. Sometimes I feel I've lost my written words. A little frustrating, because they are stronger than ever in my heart, head, and verbally. Sometimes I think everything is happening too fast since. And for me to capture the true essence and place it all into words is just too much right now. Sometimes I think it might be both too close to the bone, and too difficult for me to transcribe emotion to paper, which is so strange for me to even understand? Is it the aftershock of everything? Maybe I have yet to understand enough myself, in order to explain to others?

I swivel the various things I really want to say, but by the time I sit, I stare and think, "Forget it. It's going to take too much thought, it's going to be much too long of a post, and then take too much editing to convey what I'm really feeling about what's going on in life and how Aviana permeates every aspect of everything." My next thoughts usually surround how most times I understand the correlation, but sometimes, not at all. It's in a way, and to a magnitude I never expected, but am so grateful and in awe over. It both hurts and feels like the greatest blessing I've ever known.

I envy the days where I used to just sit down and tell as each and every happened. Now, just like old, used, books gaining more dust by the day - so are my stories. I have stacks upon stacks I want to share, but sometimes don't know why I can't, or don't.

Whatever the reason, I just want to thank you for still being here.

Now...I'm off to write my intended post : )

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Faster Than the Speed of Life

I've been gone so long! I can and can't believe it! So much has happened! I was on the brink of finally writing my Rainey post, but suddenly things veered off in a whole new direction.

This husband of mine. Every time we're in Tahoe, he's had to listen to me ramble on for at least the past 13 years. Sometimes it's a sweet whisper - other times - it's more like a roar! But always, it's about the same.

"Let's pack it up beezee. Come on. Let's leave. We'll find a way. I'll bartend or wait tables again. You'll work...I don't know? We'll figure it out! The fresh air. The trees. The birds. Look! Did you see those little chipmunks chasing each other! Just imagine waking up to this everyday."

Over the many years, my desperate pleas were always met with the same sort of something -

"I know, but we can't. We'd be so isolated. Not now. I don't want to work in residential engineering. I really don't want Aviana growing up in such a small town. Someday. When we retire..."

I was always left flat and deflated - especially after the accident. Once we were rocked, the already burning fire turned inferno! It all made perfect, logical, sense to me - if all could end in a second, we had to be where we loved. But we are two, so even if I didn't agree, I still respected Dave's opinion. With our heads down, tails between our legs, and our eyes crying out all the way home - Rainey and I would succumb...each and every time. Dramatic? I don't think so.

* * *

I woke in Tahoe before Dave on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend - the birds chirping, the sun streaking beautifully through the windows, and the crisp air breezing perfectly through the sliding glass door. With each visit, I'm overcome - as if I'm experiencing all that surrounds for the very first time. As Dave was waking I eased in, but in true me fashion...I quickly gained steam. I couldn't help it. I was taken by all this single room, on an average everyday morning had to offer. I wanted to share.

This time was different. He was different. There was pause. The sounds, which next danced about and through my ears were foreign. They were completely unfamiliar, but in the most beautiful way. It's as though I were sitting, just staring at this someone, and even though I couldn't understand one single irresistible word falling forth, all I could do was smile because I knew whatever the language, the words - they were good. They were all good! Those sounds twirled and swirled around in the empty space of the moment until finally, I came to, and realized everything they meant. That single sentence was like few others of my lifetime. "Yeah, I've actually been looking at companies in Tahoe for the past year, or so."

From there, the whirlwind began. I didn't know, but Dave was already, not one, but two feet out the door. He'd already made up his mind. He had a project due towards the end of June, so the first day we were going to be able to turn in resumes just so happened to be our anniversary. With my whole heart, I believe in signs. I had the best, most relaxed, feeling.

He was working crazy hours on his project, but in-between we found slivers of time to update his cover letter and resume. I would mock him. I mean, I would mock interview him! And then, we were off! I couldn't think of a better way to spend the weekend of our Lucky Number 13!

* * * 

On that very first night's drive home, I had asked Dave why the change of heart. The main reason, our forever reason is always Aviana. Everything we say, do, think and feel - somehow, someway, always leads back to Aviana and all she showed us. Actually, all she gave us.

After the accident we realized death is real. It isn't something that happens to other people. Something truly life changing really happened to us, and we know it can strike again at any time, and any age. For that reason, we try to live our lives to the fullest everyday. We really try to avoid waiting for anything. We know how both precious, yet fragile life is - that said - we understand we can get sick, injured, or may not be here to see tomorrow, next week, next year, or beyond. We value the quality of our life over anything else.

Dave used to care more about his career over where he lived. After the accident, everything changed. That one single event altered his entire perspective. He now places more weight in where we live, vacations, and enjoying our lives, each other, and our family and friends as much as possible. Of course work is also important, but certainly not as much as before. And as for waiting until we retire, never!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

She Saved Us

The house was empty, and the hole - gaping. But another dog was completely out of the question. How could we?

I was beyond one foot in front of the other. At that point, I couldn't even comprehend what a foot was. And as far as putting anything in front of anything - forget it.

We'd just returned from our most recent trip to The Institute's. Upon walking into the complete black and silence, my mind suddenly swung like a pendulum. My head whipped. The words flew, "I'm ready. Tomorrow. We have to get that dog."

A leap of faith was an understatement. That little pup would have some awfully huge paws to fill. I didn't think it was possible.

Fate stepped in and due to a case of kennel cough this unnamed, picture less dog was just released for adoption after being held under quarantine the entire time we were in Pennsylvania. 13 whole days!

The phone rang. It was Dave, "Are you ready? I'm on my way now. We have to leave to make it by closing. I'm going to stop and you jump in."

Aviana was sick with a cold. Just as Dave said, he did a drive by. I ran out, strapped Aviana in with cat like reflexes, and off we went on the over three hour drive. Poor Avi. She couldn't lift her head and was sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching, drippy head, unable to rest the entire drive. The car was absolutely no place for our sick little Meek, especially a Mook with no head control. This was definitely not our proudest parenting moment, but we knew it was for a good cause.

We made it just after closing, but since we called, they said they would wait for us. The little black pup came walking from a distance towards us. I knelt down with Aviana on my lap as she approached. We rarely put shoes on Aviana so she was barefoot. Strike 2 for Dave and Jen...she should have had socks that day because she was sick, but I didn't think as I ran out of the house (can you hear my mom through the computer screen ; )

The little pup calmly walked up and sat down right beside Aviana and me. She lovingly licked Aviana's little toes. This made forgetting the socks completely worth it! Aviana sat staring down at her the whole time. That was it. I was done. This little dog was ours.

As all this was happening, the woman at the SPCA was feeding us every last known detail about this black dog. All I remember was being so completely taken by every ounce of her. I love all animals, but I was kind of surprised by the way I felt for her after all I'd just been through.

I immediately looked up at the woman and told her, "We'll take her." She gave a faint smile and continued on with her schpeel about how sweet, how this, how that and the other. I had to tell her three separate times that we would take her.

I could tell instantly that I, we, all three of us felt a soul connection with this girl. Something magical happened between the four of us, and I never wanted that feeling to end. Much had been horribly broken over the past days. As we placed this beauty in the back of our car - I laid eyes on her, and for the first time since saying our final goodbye to Kama, I felt a glimmer of hope - a stir of life.

 Our light, in the darkness

She had no idea...

We're going home baby.

Rainey just had her first bath.

Aviana wasn't so sure.

She saved us, and continues to from that day forward.

We've had some saving to do ourselves, especially over the past 8 months...

Monday, June 30, 2014

Lucky Number 13

He wore glasses, an Abercrombie flannel, and blue jeans. The teacher's mouth was moving, but I couldn't hear a word he was saying. All I could think about was those glasses, his smell...that guy. What was wrong with me? This was so unlike me. I'm normally oblivious! 

I watched him each day, not in a stalker like way, but in an I'm curious and want to know more way. He carried a blue Jansport backpack, and a quiet, contemplative disposition. I could tell he was much more than quiet though. I sensed passion, and a definite fire behind the silence.

The teacher of our small group communication class decided to count us off into groups. Before he began - I knew. I glanced all the way over to the other side of the classroom. I smiled and to myself I said, "I bet we'll be in the same group, and ours will even be my favorite number - 4.

What the hell was wrong with me?!?! Who was this guy, and what was he doing to me?

1...2...3...4. I watched as the teacher weaved back and forth through the rows. He finally got to his 1...2...3...4. We were a group. 

I knew. How? Especially so early on. You know the feeling when you just do. Well, never before had I been so sure.

It was both the big and super simple. Simple such as these - for all my life, I've had severe problems with keys. One day I was sitting on the curb next to my white Honda CRX when he walked up and asked what I was doing? "Waiting for my roommate to bring my spare keys." I answered. He sat down to keep me company as I waited for my friend Summer. He later asked if he could make me dinner at my apartment. He not only cooked an entire Italian meal, but also cleaned the kitchen, swept the floor, and took the trash out. I was sold! Hook, line and sinker!

It wasn't long before this 22-year-old girl and that 19-year-old boy moved in together. We lived, laughed, and loved. We then fought, broke up for 8 months, and got back together.

We then got engaged, planned a wedding, bought a house, and in our first year - while everyone else is maybe in their honeymoon phase - we fought. A lot. We argued about what seemed like everything. We had a lot of fun in between the fighting, but... my gosh, it was a wild first year!

We soon found our flow. We began to realize certain things just didn't matter and weren't worth the argument. We learned to go easy on each other. We decided to let each be exactly who we are - together, and separately. I stopped screaming about how the dishes were supposed should be loaded in the dishwasher ; ) and just rearranged it if I didn't like it...because that's my thing, not his. I realized that same philosophy applied to many other areas too. With each passing year wbecame better, and stronger and have never looked back. We definitely enjoy our marriage much more than in those early years. 

When we hit the skids with infertility, the adoption process, and my bonding issues - we learned about each other and ourselves more than ever. We had some very difficult times throughout, but not with each other. We now knew to always put each other first. Often times, I remember glancing over and flashing back to that 19 year old flannel shirt wearing, backpack campus crossing cutie and thinking, "Dang, he's everything I'd hoped for. He's loading up needles and shooting them into me. He's quiet and smiling while I sometimes rage from what he knows are these insane fertility drugs pulsing through my veins. He's calm, cool, and collected as we handle the most insane process to this sweet girl sent from above. He's gentle, loving, and goofy as he whisks her off after a full day of work so I can regroup after a day of my own. He's everything. And the best part...he's mine."

I had no idea, but all those years of love, challenges, and even the early on fights - well, they were merely building blocks. They were slowly preparing us for the big one. I’m beyond grateful for all those gradual lessons. For learning to break up, and make up. For the all out brawls, and learning to always come back together. For learning that when the rubber truly hits the road, we are one, a united front, and face every obstacle as such.

Today is our anniversary - lucky number 13. We are celebrating in Lake Tahoe - our very favorite place. The place where we began 13 years ago today. 

When I look at Dave I see the same person I saw in class that day. He’s quiet, contemplative, and passionate. He's driven, yet wild. He's everything I wanted that day, today, and all the days in between. 

But back then; my 22-year-old self could never have stretched my mind to see a future such as ours. The vision I painted was much different... we were married; I, a stay at home mom to our two kids (a boy first, then a girl) both of whom we loved madly. We had many animals and lived in Lake Tahoe. Together, we shared a life similar to the one I had growing up in the woods. We loved deeply, and lived greatly. Nice, right? Naive...

No one daydreams of tragedy, or even believes something such as this could happen to them. Never would I have thought the pages from our story could or would read like this. But the truth is, I still love our story. I love it dearly. I wouldn't trade it. Not for a second. Even though there's a certain section that's rather short, it stands alone, and will brightly color all the remaining. Whichever the moment - up high, or down low, in the was spanned across these pages.

I love how we each love Aviana in our own unique way, but we are together sealed by the most unbreakable bond with her. There was never a moment I tired of seeing the way Dave loves, cares, and provides for each of us. He is the most unbelievable man. I had an idea of who he was, but never could have truly known until I saw him go through all he has in these past five years especially. When I slide into his shoes for a moment, my love, admiration, and appreciation grows a million-fold. 

Thoughts run rampant ~

He never had any fertility issues, and was nothing but supportive - always. 

He didn't have bonding issues. He and Aviana were like glue from the start.

It wasn't his family who was walking Aviana across the street that day. Did you know at first he was mad...because he lost her. He quickly realized it was an accident and forgave, and loves my mom and Gary very much... but still. I so admire him.

He would work all day long, and without missing a beat, walk straight through the door, hug and kiss our Meek, our pup, and me and it was straight in on therapy. After therapy, we had the huge task of cooking all that 'green' until we went to sleep. All to wake up and do it over...7 days a week.

He would spend his vacation days at the brain injury institute learning how to rehabilitate.

He always makes sure I'm taken care of - have I gone out with my friends enough? Is there anywhere I want to go? Is there anything I need? Am I okay? He's always checking in. Thanking me for all I've done around the house, for Aviana, Kama, and Rainey. When I'm sad, he doesn't try to fix, he just listens, and hugs me if I'm crying. He always knows when to throw in the perfect crack to break the mood and make me laugh. He knows I need to laugh!! He knows! He knows!

I never hear him complain. He just does. He knows what's right, what needs to be done. What's good for the soul. He's the best I've ever known.

Life didn't turn out exactly how we thought. Many years ago, Dave got Lasik and doesn't wear glasses anymore. No really, I do believe he said it best. A piece of his heart is gone and will never be replaced. There's a part of him, which will never be happy. I couldn't have said it any better. It's true. I feel the exact same way. In every part of my day, there is a piece, which will never find true happiness because she's gone. But at the same time, because she was here, and because she changed and rearranged everything about us - we can take what's left of both our hearts and lives and enjoy what we have that much more
Lucky number 13. We have some awfully special ones watching over us. I have a great feeling for what's to come.

Three for Thirteen : )


When this song first came out, I heard it and immediately thought of Dave. He is...

Yes. Yes. Yes.