Friday, May 29, 2009

Trapped in Time

Thought I would share another layout from my memory album. This one is titled Trapped in Time. For some of you, this will be your first glimpse into Abrielle's room. For others, this will be the first time seeing how Abby left things and your first chance to see her stuff in two years.



The first picture is of her Princess crown coat hook. On it she hung her Dora robe she had gotten for Christmas (she wanted a robe like Mommy and Sissy), one of her preschool artworks (I think it's from Valentine's), and her play jacket (the one she wore helping out in the yard the weekend before).

The second picture is one of her toy baskets. This is Annabelle (she would pronounce it Andabell) that she was so attached to. She was her favorite doll.

The third picture is of the painted letter "A" that hangs above her bed. Abby helped me pick out the colors for her A, told me what order to paint them in, and helped paint some. We did this project together two weeks before we lost her.

The journaling on the next page reads, "When we came home from the hospital that night, we closed the door to Abby's room, leaving everything as she left it - trapped in time."

The first picture is her Barbies in the jeep, ready to go for a spin. Below that is her princess dress hanging off her butterfly hook. She got this princess dress for Christmas and for some reason had to strip down every time to put it on. She would not put it on over the clothes she was wearing.

The top picture is her twin size bed. The bed was not made that morning, but what kid does make their bed. The sheets are actually brand new. I bought new sheets for the girls the week before and they we able to choose which one they wanted. This set is light pink with darker pink hearts, the other was just a solid pink. Of course both girls wanted this one, so we had to pick numbers and I said they could share the sheets, as in Abby have them one week, Mady the next time after they were washed. Obviously now the sheets will not be shared. On Abrielle's bed is her Nemo blanket that she drug around with Blankie. She had this with her at breakfast that morning. The quilt is her PS I Love You quilt that Mema Phyllis made her. There is also a pile of clean clothes on the bed. These were what were in the laundry at the time and I just couldn't put them away. We didn't empty her hamper ~ it still has the last clothes she wore in it.

The last picture is of her some things on her floor. It is a baby doll blanket, her build-a-bear cheerleader skirt, and one of her "cowgirl" boots. She had pulled these on the evening before with her capris to go help Marc outside.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Picture Time Again

We took the girls to have their pictures taken this past weekend and, like usual, I had something of Abby's in the pictures with them together.
In the pictures of the girls in their matching sundresses, I took a bucket of daisies from Abby's room off a shelf. The bucket has ladybugs and daisies on the front, which matches her curtains and the bugs on her walls. Here is one of the photos of the girls with Abby's bucket.

For their other outfit, I grabbed a pair of Abby's sunglasses off her dresser and slipped them into the shots. They are not real noticeable, but I know they're there. Here is one of the poses of the girls with Abby's sunglasses by the chair.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Day of Remembrance

Memorial Day is meant as a day of remembrance, a day to honor those who have lost their lives serving our country, and a day to visit the cemeteries. In our household, we don't need a special day set aside to go see our little girl. As I'm sure most of you know, we go to her grave at least once a week and sometimes more. I must confess that before we lost Abrielle, I had a sort of phobia of cemeteries. I was one of those once a year people that would just do the rounds on Memorial Day and that was it. It's not that the ones I loved and cared about that were in Heaven were gone from my thoughts, I just tried to avoid the in your face fact that visiting their grave brings. Plus I was always paranoid about walking on someone's grave. Now, how things have changed. I now spend a lot of time at a place that I was once afraid to go. There are times I actually sit on the ground next to my little girl, talking to her through my tears. So, to me, Memorial Day is now a day I visit a few more people at the cemetery and a day that a few more people visit our Abby.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Rolling Hills Donation

We were presented with a check for $500 from Rolling Hills Outlet Center for their fundraising efforts!

Pictured with Marc and I are Chad Gastler, Brian Schimming, and Bob Savage. Thanks so much guys for your support of the Foundation! We are only able to do all that we are through the support and donations we receive.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Death of a Child

Sorry I didn't get to stay.

To laugh and run and play.

To be there by your side.

I'm sorry that I had to die.

God sent me down to be with you,

to make your loving heart anew.

To help you look up and see

Both God and little me.

Mommy, I wish I could stay.

Just like I heard you pray.

But, all the angels did cry

when they told little me goodbye.

God didn't take me cause He's mad.

He didn't send me to make you sad.

But to give us both a chance to be

a love so precious .. don't you see?

Up here no trouble do I see

and the pretty angels sing to me.

The streets of gold is where I play

you'll come here too, mommy, someday.

Until the day you join me here,

I'll love you mommy, dear.

Each breeze you feel and see,

brings love and a kiss from me.

By Sandy Eakle

Friday, May 22, 2009

Celebration of Childern is 22 day away!

Can you believe it?! The time for the Celebration is fast approaching! So are you ready for another glimpse at what is to come?

Country Critters is back! They are the petting zoo people that the kids just loved. Me, well, I was quite proud of myself for even looking at the snakes last year and the alligator was just cool. I did touch him several times. I must say though that I ran out of the tent when the big albino snake decided to stick his head up out of his container. Just not a snake person ~ the baby raccoons, the bunnies, and the other critters with fur are more my speed. On a sad note though, the owners had a fire at their home this winter and lost over 100 reptiles, birds, and small animals in cages. So, yes, they lost their two huge snakes the kids had their pictures taken with last year and their alligator. They have been working hard, building back up the scaley end of their petting zoo and do have a new alligator and new snakes to bring. The furry critters will be here too, including an alpaca, a mini donkey, exotic chickens, bunnies, and much more. So even if you're like me and snakes are not your thing, I do recommend touching the alligator and you can't go wrong petting the furries.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

And God Said

I said "God, I hurt."

And God said, "I know."

I said, "God, I cry a lot."

And God said, "That is why I gave you tears."

I said, "God, I am so depressed."

And God said, "That is why I gave you Sunshine."

I said, "God, life is so hard."

And God said, "That is why I gave you loved ones."

I said, "God, my loved one died."

And God said, "So did mine."

I said, "God, it is such a loss."

And God said, "I saw mine nailed to a cross."

I said, "God, but your loved one lives."

And God said, "So does yours."

I said, "God, where is he now?"

And God said, "Mine is on My right and Yours is in the Light."

I said, "God it hurts."

And God said, "I know."

(Author Unknown)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Rolling Hills Fundraiser

We spent Saturday at Rolling Hills Outlet Center here in Maryville during their test drive fundraiser. Marc & Kelly manned the grill, cooking hamburgers and hot dogs for their patrons,
while 97.1 the 'Vill cranked out the tunes and tried to help draw people in. The kids were able to jump in the bouncy house and were given some balloons to play with. Test drivers were able to write their name on a little car a stick it in the window, showing their support.
Thanks to everyone that came out and drove a car and thanks to Rolling Hills for raising money for the Foundation! We'll update with a total when we receive the donation.

On a different note, I know some of you like to pop in here before you go to work, so I'm going to be bumping the posting time back to around 7:30. Hope that helps you catch up on the happenings of the Foundation a little easier.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Firsts Are The Worst

I have to admit that just when we think we have experienced all the firsts without our Abrielle, another one comes up and it brings me to tears. This weekend was another one of those firsts for us. We took a trip to the Omaha Zoo, where we met my sisters. The last time we all went together was in the summer of 2006 with our Abby still here with us. I had a sneak peak of my emotions when I picked Mady up from school as the Kindergarten class (Abby's classmates) was returning from their zoo trip. My little girl should have been on that bus. I should have been there chaperoning those lively kindergartners, just as I did with Mady. I saw her friends running to meet their waiting parents, anxious to tell them about their day's experience. Tears flowed as I pulled away from the school. This weekend was no different. We had this trip planned weeks before and I was not backing out and depriving my girls just because of my emotions. So, we went, me with only a few hours of sleep as I tossed and turned worse than usual, knowing our "family" outing would be incomplete. No tears at the zoo, as we enjoyed the amazement of our little Elly as she saw the animals for the first time. It was never out of my mind though that there was one hand that I should be holding, one more little girl I should be trying to keep up with, one more excited voice that was not there. It was painfully obvious that our Abrielle was missing.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Elks Donation

We attended family steak night at the Elks on Friday night to receive a very gracious donation for the Foundation. The club received money from a Gratitude Grant to pass along to a worthy cause and the Foundation was selected this year to receive the $500 donation. Russ Wiederholt made the presentation and brought tears to my eyes in doing it. As he was explaining the donation, he made an announcement that an anonymous donor there that evening wanted to match the donation, making the total given to the Foundation $1000. We were touched by this surprise act of kindness along with the fact that the Elks chose the Foundation to donate to.

Friday, May 15, 2009

What an Honor

Our family has been given the opportunity to go to the National Donor Recognition Ceremony and Workshop in Washington, DC in July! Until we were given this honor, I had never heard of this event. I knew of the Transplant Games that are played every other year to honor recipients, but this is the event held on the opposite year to honor donors. Here's a bit about it ~

The 11th National Donor Recognition Ceremony and Workshop (NDRCW) will take place in July in Washington, D.C. The NDRCW is the Federal government’s biennial event that takes place in the nation’s capital and pays tribute to all Americans who have donated organs, tissues, or marrow to save or enhance the lives of others. It is a unique opportunity for donor families and living donors, their families and friends, transplant recipients, and donation and transplant professionals from across the country to come together to share experiences and honor organ, tissue, and marrow donors in a special way.
The NDRCW will include a series of educational workshops and sharing sessions on issues or topics of interest to donor families, living donors and professionals. The National Donor Family Quilt will be on display in its entirety, and donor families will be given the opportunity to pin their own Quilt square in honor of their loved one at the Quilt Pinning. The Recognition Ceremony will feature special presentations to honor America’s heroes – living donors and those who donated organs and/or tissues after death. Each family and living donor will also receive a Donor Recognition Medal and a Certificate of Appreciation from the Administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration.

Our Abby will have a square on the National Quilt "Patches of Love"! (I'll share it when we complete it). We will also be taking a bus trip to visit the National Donor Memorial at UNOS (United Network of Organ Sharing) in Richamond, VA. We've been told that the Garden is very powerful to see. Also, UNOS is the place where it all happens. It is the place where lives are saved as donors and recipients from all over the country are matched there.

All I can say is, what an honor to be able to go!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Another Scrapbook Page

Sharing another layout from my In Loving Memory album.
"Our Princess"

The first page is very simple. It simply contains the funeral flyer, stapled to the page so all sides can still be read and some journaling about the flowers.
For those of you that did not attend the service of our Abrielle, the inside page contains the poem written by Virginia (Mom Neff) titled "Where's Abrielle".
The journaling in the circle reads, "These words were read by Pastor Paul at the funeral along with the poem written Grandma 'Ginia wrote. There was no way we were able to read these ourselves, but we wanted our sentiments known. Beth was able to make the spray for the casket with ribbons reading Daughter, Sister, Granddaughter, Friend, and Princess. She also made a heart wreath from all the Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins."

The second page contains the words that Marc and I wrote to have read at the service. The pictures are of the flowers Beth (my sister) made for Abby. She was thinking enough to take pictures for me to have later for this album.

Here are our words~

Our Sweet Little Girl –
You were so full of spunk and energy that you bounced and ran everywhere you went. We’d get frustrated when you wouldn’t listen to us and tried to venture too far. You were our small and mighty little girl that had no fear. You approached life head on with your bull-headed attitude and always said “I do it myself”. Mema summed it up best when she said you were just full of life. We now know why. You had so much to see and do in your short time with us that you did not want to miss out on any of it.
You blessed Mommy, Daddy, and Sissy so much. You gave us almost 4 years of unforgettable memories. From sitting on the kitchen counter helping Mommy make cookies or krispies, to helping Daddy mow the yard until bathtime, to cranking up the CDs in Sissy’s room while you played Barbies together, to playing hide-and-seek with all of us – even though you were the worst hiding partner to have since you couldn’t keep still and would answer “I in here” when being searched for.
With your contagious smile, there was never anyone you wouldn’t call your friend. You managed to crack some of the toughest, thick-skinned men and would wiggle your way onto their laps and into their hearts. Everyone was, as you would say, “they my best friend”. From all the kids in your preschool class, to Daddy’s poker buddies, to the boys at Mommy’s work, everyone had a special place in your heart.
You had such a big heart and always knew when someone was in need of a hug. You would run up and wrap your little arms around them, squeeze them tight, and softly pat them on the back, saying “it okay”. You had compassion for everyone and passed out kisses to people we thought were total strangers.
You always wanted to help, whether we needed it or not. From Grandma Ginia, MeMa, PaPa, Aunt Becci, Beth, and Tammy, Uncle Bubba and Brian, Grandma-Great, Grandma Chris and Granny; we all felt the touch of your little helping hands. That’s how Mommy and Daddy knew that you had to help someone else one last time while you could. You gave a little boy a second chance with your liver and many others we don’t know about yet.
We thank you for being so brave and fighting so hard to stay with us. We thank you for every smile, every hug, every kiss, every “Love you”, and every second you blessed us with. Mommy, Daddy, Sissy and everyone else will always love you and carry your love in our hearts forever; never to be forgotten.
We love you so much Princess.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Quilt Raffle

Here's a look at this year's quilt for the quilt raffle. It is a king size log cabin quilt in blues, creams, mauves, and browns. The quilt was sewn by Phyllis Schimming (Mom) and quilted in a butterfly pattern by Ruth Wake (my aunt). It is a beautiful quilt and these pictures don't do it justice.
The quilt will be on display and tickets available for purchase at Citizens Bank & Trust (on the corner of 1st and Main) on Friday, May 15th from 10:30-? and then at HyVee in Maryville on Friday, May 22nd from 10:30-?. Tickets will also be available for purchase at the Celebration on June 14th. Tickets are $1.00 each or 6 for $5.00. All money goes to the Foundation. Winner will be drawn at the close of the Celebration.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Rolling Hills Helps

Are you looking for a new car? If you are, you can help the Foundation out! This Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, Rolling Hills Auto Plaza here in Maryville will be donating $10 to the Foundation for every test drive. You don't have to purchase the vehicle right then and there, just take it for a spin! How generous is that! We will be on hand on Saturday from 11-1 to serve lunch to all that come in. So, drop by, say hi, and take a car out for a drive!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day

Unfortunately this is another day to bring tears. A day meant for relaxation and time spent with the family, turns into a day of missing my little girl in Heaven. I love my two girls that are here with me but I long to have my Abby back so that we can be a true family. Mother's Day should not have to be spent at a cemetery or in tears in Abrielle's room, but that's how I have to spend the day if I am to be with all of my girls. I feel for my friends that have sent their only child to Heaven and do not have one here with them to help ease the heartache. I can only imagine how much harder the day would be without any of my girls here. So, to all of you out there with a child in Heaven, Happy Mother's Day from a Mother who understands. I am sure our little ones have picked a bouquet of flowers in Heaven for us and maybe if we close our eyes we can see the beautiful gifts they have given us.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Giving Hearts

The Girl Scout Troop in Burlington Jct was discussing what to do for their reward for their cookie sales. A trip to the zoo, a water park play day were all discussed, but what was decided was something entirely different ~ a shopping trip. Not just any shopping trip either. A shopping trip to buy things to help others. The girls bought items to help out the Foundation and to help out Briley's Heart Cart. Such giving hearts. Thanks girls!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Tears With Our Smiles

Two years ago today our lives were blessed with a healthy little "Elly" Helen Christine. The day was so bittersweet for us. I had been so afraid that there would be something wrong with her when she made her entrance into the world. How could she, after sustaining such trauma in the womb, be unharmed. I am not sure what I was expecting, but was just fearful that she would not survive for some reason too. I was also so afraid to even look at our new little girl. We had gone as a family for a 4D ultrasound in February (so, yes, Abby got to see her baby sister) and knew she looked just like her big sister Abrielle. From her tiny nose and dainty features, to her head full of dark hair, she favored Abby's looks.
I was not sure how I would be able to handle that added heartache. When Elly arrived, it was a mixture of joy and sadness. I don't want anyone to think for a second that I don't love my Elly with all there is in me, because I do, but when she was placed in my arms, I felt like God had just given me a consolation prize. I felt like he took my Abby that I had 4 years of love and care invested in and gave me a brand new life to start over with. She wasn't my Abby and that was all I wanted at that point. I was filled with such heartache that it took me a while to realize that God had blessed me with a healthy Elly to help fill the void in my heart. Not that Elly could ever replace Abby, but that she could fill my arms, as I longed to have a little person snuggled in close again. She was given to me to give me a reason to get out of bed in the mornings. She was and is a blessing from God.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Garden Planting

I was able to help the preschoolers in planting more flowers in Abby's Garden on Monday morning. I must start by saying that I love that age. They are so full of questions and are so excited to be doing something new. Unfortunately some of the perennials did not survive the winter, so I will be replacing them soon, especially the butterfly bush. Here are a few pictures from our planting.

Mady was able to come help us plant and brought along her friend Abby.

Mrs Nielson (above) and Mrs White (below) help dig holes.

I also took several items to help with the outdoor classroom from the Foundation. We purchased new bird feeders, bird houses, butterfly feeders and nectar, ladybug lure, and many other fun things to help the kids learn about nature.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Officials Recognize Victims

Just wanted to give everyone a link to the Maryville Daily Forum article about the tree planting and National Crime Victims' Week. Thought this might help explain a little more about the event and what it was all about.
I was also introduced to some representatives of the Kansas City chapter of Parents of Murdered Children at the symposium on Saturday. They gave me some resources that, if Sundermann should be eligible for parole again before his release date, would help us. Their websites would send out a petition and gather huge numbers of signatures to help our cause. Here are the address for their sites (national level) (local level)

Monday, May 4, 2009

A Day of Tears

Saturday we spent at an aftercare symposium sponsored by CMH. I was able to bring Mady with me which was the first time she has attended an event like this. While I was attending breakout sessions, she was involved in play therapy with other kids that had lost a sibling. She made a memory box, a windsock with notes to Abby on it, and played some fun games. She also made some friends, which was just as important. She'd had a rough last week and a half and I am really hoping this experience will help with her emotional outbursts and tears that come for the smallest things.

I was able to spend some time in classes while visiting with friends I had made and was able make some new ones too. It is so nice to have people that understand to talk to. We are all at different stages of our grief and are able to support each other through each step. We are able to share our stories, tears, and hugs.

One of the classes I attended addressed some of our other losses. Some talked about the loss of friends, but thankfully, ours have become closer and we have made some new ones since losing Abby. I had to admit that one of my losses is a loss of freedom/independence. This might seem like a strange thing to associate with losing a child, but it was the manner in which we lost her that caused this for me. I burst into tears as I admitted that for me to get into the car alone, with just Mady and drive to an unknown location was a major accomplishment. I am still not able to hop into the car and take off on my own. It's the fact that the accident happened within 3 miles from home on a road I have driven everyday for the last 12 years, a road that I know every hill, curve, and hole and I still could not prevent it. I just have a hard time traveling on unknown roads for fear that something might happen, especially alone with any of my girls. I am hoping to work on this loss, among others. Maybe it will help just acknowledging it.

Friday, May 1, 2009

National Crime Victims' Right Week

This week, April 26 - May 2, has been designated as National Crime Victims Rights Week. This week provides an opportunity for victims' advocates, criminal and juvenile justice officials, allied professionals, community volunteers, and citizens to join together to observe the recognition week.

The Maryville Treatment Center and the Maryville Board of Probation and Parole Office invited us to join in a tree planting ceremony at Mozingo Lake.

The ceremony opened with Tom Seipel, Probation and Parole District Administrator, welcoming everyone, followed by a performance by MHS Spectrum Choir. Father Kenneth Reichert from the Conception Abbey then opened with a prayer. Next, Joe Ledbetter, MTC Warden, led everyone in the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by Chad Jackson, Mayor, reading a Proclamation stating that Maryville would observe this week as Crime Victims Rights Week. Darren White, Nodaway County Sheriff was the speaker for the event this year, talking about various crimes and the impacts they have on the community. The tree, donated by Sutherlands, was then planted in honor of victims by Tom Seipel, Joe Ledbetter, Darren White, and Sgt. Shane Sims.

A moment of silence....

and then I was asked to speak briefly about the Foundation, since it was started as the result of a crime.

Spectrum sang again, and Father Reichert closed in prayer.

We felt honored to be included in this tree planting remembrance ceremony.