Friday, October 31, 2008

Our First Halloween Together

I am just going to apologize up front today because to find these pictures I had to look through the photo albums and it was just tough. So these were the only two that I pulled out to share and neither one turned out very good. I guess through tears I thought they looked in focus. So here are our two princesses.


Thursday, October 30, 2008

Halloween Thoughts & Tears

The day is here, kids are excited but I am left with this missing piece in my heart still. We are doing something different this year and dressing the girls up differently. Mady wanted to be the bride of Frankenstein and I just didn't think that Elly should be that too:) She's going to be a Chiefs cheerleader because we know they can use the extra support. Anyway, we are breaking our five year tradition of dressing our girls alike. Don't know, maybe this will help a little with the holiday even. Mady asked this morning as we were heading into school, what do you think Abby would be this year since we are not the same? I just said that I didn't know. In actuality if Abby was still here I would have three girls dressed alike in some way. Maybe not identical costumes like in years past, but they would have coordinated somehow so that the pictures would look cute. Ok, so maybe I'm goofy, but it's easier to scrapbook if there is some sort of theme to what they are wearing on this sort of occasion. I was somewhat dreading the school party. Just was not sure how I was going to handle seeing Abby's friends parading in their costumes. Well, I did good as the kids all went thru but shed some tears after I went back to the kiva to finish getting everything ready for the third grade party. I tried so hard to be tuff but the emotions were just overwhelming. The other Moms were very supportive and comforting and we were soon laughing again. My eyes were dry before the kids came through for snacks and we were ready for the fun.

No Cards Please

When Mackenzie Adamson's son turned 4 earlier this year she requested that in lieu of cards for his birthday, guests bring stuffed animals, coloring books, and crayons. The result was several items being donated to the Foundation. I failed to take a picture of the coloring books and crayons, but here are the plush donations.

Look what the simple act of requesting no cards brought in...7 animals and 3 coloring books and crayons. Thanks! This just shows everyone can help out in some little way.


Halloween 2004

As promised, here's another Halloween. In 2004, Abrielle was almost 17 months and Madyson was 4. Sorry that the pictures are not that great. We are now back into the pre-digital age. My scanner at home is not working so I tried to cheat and just take pictures of the pictures. Pumpkin carving this year Marc and I had to clean them out because neither girl wanted to touch the slimy stuff. Oh and that's not a knife Abby has. It's an icing spreader to see if they would try to scrape the stuff out.
Here are the finished pumpkins. Mady wanted a smiling pumpkin because she didn't like scary ones and Abby's had one tooth because she had just gotten in her first tooth.And here's one of the girls with their pumpkins before carving.
They were fairies this year, but Mady kept saying it with a "v" instead of the "f" which sounded so cute. Abby kept pulling her skirt up to her armpits which just looked so funny.

The girls looked cute, but we learned the wings were not a good idea for Abby because of the car seat. We had to keep taking them off every time we got into the vehicle.Here's Abby with her skirt hiked up. I wish I could have gotten the picture to turn out better, because it's too cute. She has the skirt up under her armpits and is saying cheese up at Grandma Chris'.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Handy Dandy Notebooks

Those cute little "Handy Dandy Notebook" boys, better known as Ethan and Jacob Scott loved the items they got at the parade and wanted to make sure other kids could have fun with some too. Here's what they sent us.

Obviously there are more than just 4 notebooks and 2 crayons...there was a whole box full of these! Thanks so much boys!


Attack of the Bumblebees

Marc was always trying to get the girls to be something scary for Halloween, but Mady has always been to much of a girly-girl for that. This year they picked out bumblebee costumes which Marc thought maybe would at least a little bit scary. Boy was he wrong! Here are our little bumblebees for Halloween 2005.

Abby loved her "Sissy" as you can see.The dresses even had wings in the back and I made little stingers that we pinned to their behinds, but you can't see them very well.Here's Abby showing us how big she is.~Brenda

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Halloween Cookies

I was to bring treats to Mady's kindergarten class party (2005), so we made sugar cookies, and lots of them. Tammy brought out her girls (Emily, Samantha, Kendra) to help. We of course made extra for all of us to have. The girls love to help bake and make sugar cookies. Unfortunately I have not gotten back into this tradition yet (which is especially big at Christmas for us). Someday. Here are the bakers in action.

Pumpkin Carving ~ 2005

As promised, I am going to try to go all the way back to Abrielle's first Halloween this week, so here is pumpkin carving from 2005. Abby was 2 1/2 and Mady was 5 1/2 in these pictures. As you can tell, I am a push over because JackJack was NOT a house cat then, but he managed to be involved this year too. Abby couldn't let him miss out on all the fun. Here are the girls with their pumpkins. We carved them on a Sunday evening after Mady had gymnastics so she's still in her leotard.
Look at how young my girls look and JackJack was a lot smaller then too! Here's the pumpkin cleaning.And the finished jack-o-lanterns. Mady wanted hers scary and Abby wanted hers to look surprised. Notice poor JackJack couldn't miss out on the pictures.

Such a little cutie, huh. Miss you Abbers!


Monday, October 27, 2008

Carving Pumpkins This Year

As I have shared, we kind of boycotted the pumpkin carving tradition last year (among others) and we had a very disappointed little girl. Mady made sure we didn't skip the fun this year. She kept after us and Friday night we carved pumpkins. We always had the tradition of actually going and picking out the pumpkin, but this year we just used the ones we had grown, even though they were a little on the small side. Mady got to work drawing the designs for every one's faces.
While Elly and JackJack were not too sure what was going on.
And so the mess began...
Elly decided to sample the "eww"
By the time we were finished, Elly had us all covered in the "eww" from flinging it off her hands. It didn't take for JackJack long to leave the fun either. Once pumpkin got on him, that was enough. So here are the finished jack-o-lanterns.

Obviously they are lined up in order. Mady's is first with a little pig nose. Elly's has "E" eyes and a "C" nose. Of course the A is for Abby. Nothing spectacular, but at least we have jack-o-lanterns this year. I just kept telling myself that they are just stupid pumpkins and nothing more in order to get through it. It's these childhood traditions that are so tough sometimes. A pumpkin doesn't mean anything in itself but carving a jack-o-lantern is family time. And family time is always minus one little girl. Doing these kinds of things makes the gaping void unavoidable. It's like a reality slap in the face.

I'll post more of our Halloweens with Abrielle this week along with happenings, so keep an eye out for two posts a day again.


Saturday, October 25, 2008

A Fall Cleaning

I finally forced myself to do something I have not done since we lost Mady clean her room. It seems like it should be no big deal, but it is. I have started several times, but have never been able to do the kind of cleaning her room needed. You know, the go through every toy, every item of clothing, to sort out the things that need new homes. The girls spent time playing in both their rooms together so, some of Abby's things were still in Mady's room. We found baby Annabelle's clothes and bottle, her Lucky Ducks game, her John Deere fishing game, along with a few other small things. Mady said "Abby left these things in my room before she died." I asked her if she would like to keep them in her room to play with, but she didn't. They were Abby's. So then I had the task of deciding what to do with them. I finally bit the bullet and put everything in a bag and put them in Abby's room. Needless to say there were lots of tears today, but I was able to remove a lot of stuff from Mady's room that either no longer fit or she no longer played with. Some may think this is something simple, something that should have been done long ago, but I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that since we had all kinds of legal stuff to deal with (and still do) that it seemed like we were having to relive everything every time we turned around. It was like our initial grief was being drug on even longer. Like we could not do some healing things until after the prison sentence and that was just June. I don't know when or if things become easier though. We just miss our little girl every day.

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Year of the Leopard

Ever since we had two girls, we always dressed them the same for Halloween. This year they came up with leopards together. Mom and I made their costumes to go with their gymnastics leotards. We found leopard print fleece and made mittens, tails, and ears. We covered headbands and even added black fuzzy fur to the fronts of the ears. We tied tool in black and brown to elastic for their little tutus. The girls got ready at Coop after school (hence the dark background) to give us a jump on trick or treating. ~2006~


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Guys & Dolls Fundraiser

Check out today's paper. There is an article on the upcoming fundraiser.
I failed to get all the information as to why they were doing this for us. When I was first told about the salon wanting to do something for us, it came from Virginia. She had just gotten her hair cut by Tina Spurgin (her cousin) who works there. I thought that maybe she was the one that had suggested the Foundation as a cause for their anniversary celebration. I was so touched to hear that Mindy's son had received an animal from Abby's Hugs and that was the real reason behind the fundraiser. She wanted to give back. It's almost like we've started a pay it forward program in the community that brings out the best in people. I love it!

I also received a comment on the homecoming parade from the little "Handy Dandy Notebook" guy's mom. We all thought it was so cute when we heard him say that! How wonderful that they took the time to thank us for it.


Preschool Class Party - 2006

In sharing more for the Halloween season, here's Abrielle's class party.

Trying to run between Mady's and Abby's class Halloween parties, I missed some of Abby's. I missed the games, but want to share some of what I did capture.
The class was supposed to decorate their pumpkin sugar cookies to make jack-o-lanterns with candy corn and m&ms. I guess my child just wanted a pumpkin because she didn't put anything on hers. Oh, and I truly wondered for a long time if she really was my child because she didn't like chocolate! I can't believe I could have a child that didn't like chocolate! Every Schimming LOVES chocolate! Marc had strong influences in this one...she was definitely a Neff.
Such a cutie with her big brown eyes! Those she did get from me :) I am pretty sure I fixed her hair this day, but she would never leave it in all day. Not sure why. She would never really give you a reason other than "I tooked it out." The kids in her class kept find hair things in the classroom after she was gone. They all knew whose they were.

Here's all the kids in the preschool class that year.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Five Strikes

So, some people in our society are slow learners. Five DWIs! Does it really take 5 DWI convictions before a chronic offender will be sent to prison. I guess on the flip side, I am greatful that the jury found the offender guilty and saw fit to keep him off the streets. Let's just hope the sentence follows through with that sentiment. It seems if you put these cases to a jury, there is not the same amount of tolerance there is from our lenient judges that seem to want to give second, third, and even forth chances. In our case, Ryan Sundermann was put away on his third offense (thankfully), but what if Abrielle had not gotten injured. Would he be out, free to drive the streets in an intoxicated state as he had previously done? Would the judge allow him another probation extension so that he could keep violating it? When is it that someone would stop and think, he might kill someone if he doesn't get help? I am glad this jury did its part to help keep another tragic accident from happening. Who knows, maybe the loss of Abby and the anger many others in the community felt had some sort of impact on this jury. Maybe our Abby is still making a difference in other ways.

Pumpkin Carving 2006

Since the season is upon us, I thought I would share some past fall festivities with everyone. I will start with the most recent...2006. Last year Mady was not very happy with us because we didn't carve any jack-o-lanterns. We just couldn't...too tough, but we are going to this year.
This was our last Halloween together with our Abrielle. The girls had so much fun carving their pumpkins. They both instructed Mommy as to what shapes to draw and Daddy as to how to cut them out.

Abby never seemed to mind getting her hands all goopy cleaning out the pumpkins. Notice JackJack was in for the excitement, even though he was still an outside cat then.I absolutely love the great big grin on Abby's face in this one. She's laughing because I think JackJack was helping with the clean-out step. The finished jack-o-lanterns and two very pleased little girls.This is also the night I captured the picture of Abby with JackJack that I love so much. (Sorry this is the original off the memory card and I didn't take the red eye out) She loved that cat so much! He would tolerate her beyond belief, but I guess that was the kind of love he grew up getting. She could do just about anything to him and he just didn't care, obviously, she's laying on him and he's just staying there. As anyone that's met him now, we are not all that lucky. He gets a little grouchy with people sometimes now, so it's a good thing we got him declawed. ~Brenda

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Guys & Dolls Date Set

Sunday, November 2nd is the day to get your haircut to raise money for the Foundation. Guys & Dolls Hair Studio will be having their customer appreciation day from 2-4 pm and will be raising money for the Foundation at the same time. There will be cookies and beverages, door prizes, and people will be donating their time and talents to give haircuts. So mark your calendars to get a trim or a whole new style while proceeds benefit the Foundation. After all, you'll have to get you hair cut sometime, so why not when it's benefiting a good cause.


Becci came back to visit this weekend and we ended up going shopping in KC with Mady. She was in desperate need of jeans since it seems like she won't quit growing. I had been putting off going because now I almost hate shopping. I will not go on my own at all now since the second accident. I just can't believe the change in me sometimes. I had such a difficult time last year and it's still not any better. I always loved to go shopping. I mean, come on, what woman doesn't, and especially when she has little girls to buy for. Shopping is time alone, girl time, or just fun time with the kids, but not now. I have not found a store in which I can go from Mady's size to Elly's without seeing Abby's. I see things that I know she would just love or something that would be so cute on her or something that reminds me of a shirt she already has. I try to not look. I try to avert my eyes to the next section, but it just doesn't work. I have gotten good at holding the emotions in when I'm in the store, but they build up. Instead I just end up wearing down faster and getting grouchy which is no one's fault that is with me. (We all know whose fault it is!) Basically shopping for clothes for the girls makes me face the reality that I am missing one and just seems to rob the day of the fun.

Mom also came out this weekend and helped me dig out warmer clothes for Elly. I was very proud of myself. I didn't do too bad sorting through the things that Abby wore... no tears at the time (those came later), just some sadness.


Monday, October 20, 2008

Homecoming Parade

The weather was much warmer this year and we had a good crew come to walk with us. (A big THANK YOU to those that came!) The theme was Lights, Camera, Bearcats! but we didn't incorporate it this time. We were met with applause 4 different times during the route. The first time the clapping started I said to Shannon I think I'm going to cry. She just told me it's ok that I have sunglasses on, no one will know:) I just can't explain the feeling that came over me. It was like you could feel love. It was definitely neat to know that people appreciate what we are doing.
Look, we have balloons this year! Last year I picked them up on Friday night since we had to be there so early and they kept popping throughout the night. Scared me every time one popped! This year we got to pick them up on Saturday morning.

Marc and Shannon were having quite the time with the streamers.

Mema with Elly.

Bel and Marc working on filling up the baskets with all the goodies for everyone to pass out.

Miss Elly was too cute. She wanted to help pass out stuff too.

Here we all are posing for a picture before we got to moving. We were almost to the back of the parade this year, but that worked out well. Scott, Cole, and Kyndall as well as Teresa were able to make it back to join us.

Our float full of kids and Grandma trying to keep Elly contained.

Jeanette, Carrie, and Kathy having fun along the route.

Elly didn't stay contained for long... Here she is with Steph. She needed out with the action where she could clap and dance to the band behind us. (No bobble heads behind us to get us this year Landry.)Mady and Chloe let balloons go to Heaven for Abby after the parade. I missed the first big bunch they let go because I didn't know they were doing it. Mady always wants to send balloons to Abby and I think that's great. Sometimes we even have to tie pictures and notes to them.