Monday, November 30, 2009

Fall Photos

Last weekend Lisa Loe come out to take pictures of the girls. We took some inside the house and the rest up at one of the barns. Since we were outside, I decided to use Abrielle's little "cowgirl boots" in the pictures. She LOVED those little boots! In fact she pulled them on the last night we had her to run outside and help her Daddy lay some landscaping blocks around the fencepost. The little boots have laid tossed in the middle of her bedroom floor ever since that night. Here is a link to the photos we took

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanks To You

Thank you GoodSearch and GoodShop users! We just received $209.90! All because you cared enough to click one or two extra clicks!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Let's Dance

This is another layout I did while participating in the GoodGriefBlog online crop.

This is from May 2006 at my cousin Missy's wedding dance. Abby grabbed Landry (my cousin's little boy) and danced away. It was just so cute to watch them dancing together.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

It Hit Me

Sunday I was dragged along to go Christmas shopping by Jeanette, Wendy, and Teresa (thanks girls:) in Kansas City. This is actually the best way to get me to go shopping, otherwise I would just keep putting it off. I had the mind set that I was not going to let things bother me as I went about the stores. Good plan, but it didn't work like I had hoped. We pretty well stayed together in Toys R Us, which I think helped keep me distracted. Yes, I did see some things and think about Abby, such as the V-Smile display, but no tears. I was feeling proud of myself, thinking I had conquered the hardest store on the trip, but I was wrong. Our next stop proved to me that I can only hold things in for so long.

We went to Gordman's. This sure doesn't sound like a store that should make me upset, since it's not a children's store, but I was physically ill in here. I went in my own direction, sharing a cart with Teresa. At first I was shopping and looking at things like normal, nothing bringing up memories for me. But as I ventured over to the Mady's clothes, my stomach began to feel queasy. I thought that maybe I was just needing something to eat and went on towards Elly's section. Elly's clothes are now on the same rack as the size that Abby was wearing. I noticed and caught a couple of tears. Then it hit me. I knew I was not going to be able to pass off the feeling as hunger much longer. I found Teresa several aisles over, handed off the cart, and made a dash for the bathroom. I could not believe I was throwing up in the store. I really was not sure what was wrong. Could I be coming down with the flu? As I stood in the stall for a minute, I realized why my stomach was acting this way. This was my first trip back to this store since we lost Abby. This might sound odd, but this has to be the cause. In March of 2007, Steph and I went to KC to watch the Extreme Home Makeover house being built. While we were there, we did some shopping, with Gordman's being one of the stops. There I purchased several outfits for the girls for the spring weather we were having and a few summer things. Abby's hang in her closet, tags attached, never worn.

Everything in between the bumble bee costume and the light blue shirt are purchases I made that day. Still hanging and waiting.

Friday, November 20, 2009

JackJack Part 2

4:30 pm ~ Marc and Elly pick JackJack up from the vet. He must be coming around because he is not too happy to be in the carrier. At home he, is very happy to be there and is super lovely.

7 pm ~ I call home again to check on JackJack. He is curled up with Marc and Elly and even enjoying Elly's loves. He is still having some tremors or muscle spasms.

8:30 pm ~ I arrive home to find JackJack stretched out in a chair upstairs. He is still pretty dopey but I can tell he is glad to see me finally. He meows a real funny meow and doesn't sound like himself.

9 pm ~ I scoop JackJack up out of the chair and he is limp as I carry him downstairs to snuggle with me. Normally JackJack does not like to be carried at all, but he did not resist. Insteaed he just cries a funny meow. Downstairs he stretches out next to me on the loveseat and sleeps as long as I have a hand on him. When I remove my hand, he wakes up. He continues having tremors throughout his back. There are moments he acts goofy and I am hoping it is still just the medications in his system and not permanent damage.

10:30 pm ~ I decide to leave JackJack sleeping on the couch and go up to bed. He wakes up and decides he wants to go to bed with me. He falls off the couch and staggers crookedly towards me and the stairs. He stands in front of me, meowing and looking at me. I scoop him up and carry him up to bed to sleep at my feet.

5:30 am ~ JackJack jumps off the bed and I hear him jingle his way downstairs. This gives me hope that he is coming around.

6:30 am ~ JackJack is waiting on the bathtub for me to get out of the shower like usual. I am thrilled to see him up there, knowing this must mean he is feeling better. I pet him and he looses his balance, falling in the tub. He has difficulty with the motor skills in his back legs and I see spasms down his back. His meow is back to the normal JackJack sound.

Just wanted to update everyone on the health of our JackJack following the seizures yesterday. We are hoping that by Sunday or Monday all the medication will have worked its way out of his system and we will know if there is any permanent damage.

The JackJack Saga Continues ~

Wednesday night

9 pm ~ While petting JackJack on my lap, I notice a flea under his chin. His escapades outdoors must have taken him to some places he should not have been.

10 pm ~ Marc applies flea medicine to the back of JackJack's neck. As I head upstairs to read in bed.

I noticed at some point in the night that there was no kitty curled up at my feet, but just thought he was downstairs sleeping with Marc since he fell asleep on the couch.

Thursday morning

6 am ~ The alarm goes off and I hit snooze, probably more than once. Strange, no cat in my face wanting me to get up.

6:30 am ~ Finally decide I HAVE to get out of bed. Head to the shower, but no kitty following. Upon exiting the shower, still no JackJack waiting to give me my morning kisses. I begin to think he escaped again. I call to him. I hear a jingle. Yea! JackJack is under the bed and comes to greet me, barely able to walk. His eyes are fluttering, his whole body twitching and he barely meows a greeting. I grab him and try to console him, not knowing what's happening. We probably moved the fastest getting ready than we have in a long time.

7:15 am ~ JackJack is loaded into the carrier and into my car in the backseat with the girls, still shaking, and we head into town. Mady and Elly talk to him the whole way in to try and keep him calm. He has started shaking bad enough the whole carrier shakes.

7:45 am ~ After dropping off both girls, I arrive at the vet. I open the door to get JackJack out and he begins having a full seizure. Tears flow as I take him into the office. They take JackJack from me and I tell them that we gave him flea medication last night and when we woke up he was having tremors. They decide he is having an allergic reaction to the medication that is causing him to have seizures. They tell me he will be given a bath to wash the rest of the stuff off of him, started on some meds to stop the seizures, and given IV fluids. I am told it will take some time before we know if he will come out of it. I leave the vet's office in tears, not knowing what the outcome will be.

9:45 am ~ I receive a phone call from the vet. They say he is doing better - no big seizures, but still having tremors. He has been bathed, on Valium, and is hooked up to IVs still. They said it is a waiting game now to see what the effects are. Still unsure if he will have to stay overnight. Might take up to 3 days before the effects are known.

1:00 pm ~ I am still a nervous wreck. I decide to take a trip down to the vet's office to check on JackJack. I am told he is doing so much better and only having tremors in his ears. I am taken back to see him. He is off the IVs, but still dopey. His ears are still shaking, but that is it. He knows me and is happy to see me. I am able to give him love and feel so much better after seeing him. He will be able to go home tonight. I am told to keep him in the house for a couple of days to keep a closer eye on him. No escape acts for JackJack.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

mommy's girl

This is another layout I did for the online crop at GoodGriefBlog. We were to use a poem on our page. I chose to use "Why God Made Little Girls".

God made the world with
towering trees, majestic
mountains, and restless seas.
Then paused and said,
It needs one more thing....
someone to laugh and
dance and sing.
To walk in the woods and gather commune with
nature in quiet hours."
So God made little girls with
laughing eyes and bouncing curls,
with joyful hearts,
and infectious smiles,
enchanting ways and
feminine wiles.
And when He'd completed
the task He'd begun,
He was pleased and proud
of the job He'd done.
For the world, when seen
through a little girl's eyes
greatly resembled Paradise.
Abby is one in this picture. In going through pictures and putting my memories on paper, I get mad at myself because I failed to write ages on the backs of them. So now I'm left to guess what age she is in them.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Are You Using GoodShop?

Please make every gift count this holiday season. More than 1,300 top stores including Amazon, Toys R Us, Best Buy, Apple, Gap and more will donate a percentage of virtually every sale to the Abrielle Neff Foundation. Just go to, designate us as the cause you support and then click over to your favorite store. You pay nothing extra - and you can even save money as GoodShop lists thousands of money-saving coupons and free shipping offers. Or, add our toolbar to your browser at - and your purchases will count even if you forget to go to GoodShop first! There's no easier way to support us this holiday season! Please spread the word.

Monday, November 16, 2009

JackJack's Home

Thank you everyone for your concern! I can't tell you how much time I spent outside Sunday looking for him. I was in tears most of the day and had my stomach in knots thinking something had happened to him and I was letting Abby down. We donned our orange multiple times and searched the pasture with no luck. Mady made the comment that, "Mommy, no one's going to shoot JackJack because he's wearing his orange too." Finally as we were sitting down to eat supper after dark, we heard something. I checked the garage and nothing was there. We heard the noise again and it was JackJack knocking on the patio door! You have no idea how happy I was to see him! Rotten cat! All those tears and making myself sick for no reason.

Quick Update

Just a quick update that JackJack is back home! I'll update more later.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

JackJack's Missing!

Today I've been a mess. Our JackJack is missing! My best guess is that he managed to get outside as everyone was leaving after scrapbooking. It was after 1:30 in the morning, so I just did a couple of things and then went to bed. I did notice that he did not come jump in bed with me, but I thought with all the activity of the day he was just still downstairs sleeping on the back of the couch. When I woke this morning I knew something was amiss when he was not right there under foot. I searched the house and then started outside, hoping he would be close. No such luck. I have taken several trips around the area hoping to find him, but no luck there either. Needless to say there have been a lot of tears today as we promised to take care of Abby's JackJack for her. Please come home JackJack!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Proud Winner

Mary Riggs with the Northwest tshirt quilt she won.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

the Streak

How about a funny memory today.

I participated in an online challenge crop this weekend at GoodGriefblog and created pages about Abby. Here's one for a challenge of only using cardstock and chipboard for any of you scrappers out there. Everyone else, here's another page for my memory book.

The journaling reads ~ Ever since she was big enough to walk, Abby loved to streak. As soon as her feet hit the floor after bath, she was off. The towel usually did not make it much further than the hallway before it was off. Then the chase was on to get her jammies on her.

Photo about 9-10 months

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Weekend Events

This past weekend we attended a grief support meeting provided by CMH. This time the topic was Handling the Holidays, a topic that we need help with every year. We were able to catch up with friends we've made there before and meet some new ones experiencing their first holidays without their child. We were also able to take the girls for a session just for kids. They made memory boxes and did other play therapy while talking about their sibling.

After the support group meeting, I went to visit the Degase's at the hospital. I took Deryk things from the Foundation, including a lizard, a car, and a stuffed iguana. I think he enjoyed them. In visiting Deryk, I had to go to the PICU. The last time I was there was when we said goodbye to Abby. Wow, was that tough. I had my brave face on, but it really bothered me to be in that space again, just a few rooms down from where we were two and a half years ago.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


The winner of the Northwest t-shirt quilt was drawn on Saturday. The winner.... Mary Riggs from Maryville! In total, $1442.00 was raised for the two charities! WOW!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Have You Seen Them?!

They came in just before the parade and look GREAT! Here's a look in case you haven't seen being shown off in public yet ~

(hoodies also available in gray)

We ordered these for those of us walking in the parade to start and now there have been enough requests for the fleeces and hoodies that we are going to re-order. If you would like one, leave me a comment or email me your sizes and we will get yours ordered.

Friday, November 6, 2009

EFE Second Graders

Thursday I was presented a check from Eugene Field Elementary School's second graders for the Foundation. They raised $136.00 during their Pumpkin Market. The Pumpkin Market was an evening that parents were able to come and purchase their child's art work, poems, and baked goods for a $1.00 donation. The kids then had a voting day, complete with a voting booth and ballets, and the Foundation was selected as the recipient. There were also bankers for the class that had to count the money. What made this donation extra special is that some of these kids were in preschool with Abrielle! When I asked how many knew Abby from preschool, almost half the grade raised their hand.

Thank you second graders!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Holidays Have Begun

The "holiday season" is here and my mind knows it. Something about the changing leaves makes me begin my restless nights even more. I am not sure if it is in anticipation of all the upcoming events or if it is because retailers think it's time to start shoving Christmas at us. Either way, I know it's here and Saturday was just the start of it all. My mind fills with all kinds of "what ifs" and they are hard to shake. I must admit, there were tears at Mady's class party. How could there not be still. Two and a half years is not enough time for the tears to not flow freely at such things. I don't know how long it will take, because tears are still a part of my daily life.

I have been doing my best to not put too many of these "feelings" posts out here, but as the holidays get closer, that is harder for me to do. Just bear with me through a few as they do help me emotionally.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Witches and Spiders ...

Maryville Treatment Center does different things throughout the year to help support local charities. Well, they took a "vote" of money in jars and the Foundation won! So witches hats and fuzzy spiders lurked around the institution, costing the recipient $1.00 to send it on. The employees were given the chance to "black list" themselves to keep from getting the scary items for a $2.00 donation.

Then, MTC had a chili cook-off, during which they sold homemade cinnamon rolls to benefit the Foundation. At this event, there were also balloons available to break for a $2.00 donation for a chance to win a prize. All this amounted to $465.49 being raised and donated to the Foundation!

Thank you to everyone that participated at MTC!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Poker Tournament

I wanted to pass along some information about the poker tournament this weekend to benefit Deryk Degase.

Saturday, November 7th
Elks Lodge
7:00 pm
$20 poker tournament
Open to the public

Monday, November 2, 2009

Impact on Victims Bring Awareness

Sorry so slow in getting this posted. This is the newspaper article that was released by the Missouri Department of Corrections following my visit to the Maryville Treatment Center.

The Missouri Department of Corrections focuses heavily on the reentry process, ensuring offenders have the tools and opportunities necessary for them to be productive, law-abiding citizens upon their return to Missouri communities.

As part of the transition and rehabilitation process, offenders at Maryville Treatment Center (MTC) participate in a variety of classes. This includes Impact of Crime on Victims Classes (ICVC). These classes bring awareness and understanding to offenders in regard to the negative impact crime has on victims, their families and the community. The best way to accomplish this is to have victims visit the facility and share how they were victimized along with the pain and grief they and their families have endured due to criminal acts.

On September 30, 2009, Brenda Neff spoke at MTC's ICVC class. Neff is the founder of Abby's Hugs. This foundation gives stuffed animals, coloring books and crayons to children who are hospitalized. Neff formed this foundation after her 3-year-old daughter, Abrielle Neff, was killed as a result of a car accident involving a driver who had recently consumed alcohol. Abrielle Neff died on March 29, 2007.

During the class, offenders were able to see pictures of Abrielle Neff, making her not just a statistic but also a little girl whose life was taken away due to the driver of the other vehicle having consumed alcohol then driving.

MTC offenders have been involved in ICVC classes and Restorative Justice projects for several years. These Restorative Justice projects involve giving back to the community in the form of city-wide clean-up, resurfacing and painting church parking lots, and Christmas light projects to name a few. Several projects are also done inside the facility. One of those has been to create coloring books for Abby's Hugs.

While Neff was at MTC, she was presented with 220 coloring books, created by offenders as a part of their Restorative Justice project in association with the ICVC.

For more information, contact the Public Information Office (573)522-1118.