Abby Lee Anne Margetts
Dedicated to Abby Lee Anne Margetts who passed away on January 3, 2019. We are deeply saddened and our hearts go out to her family.
Abby joined the Little Signing Stars program when she was 2 months of age. She was the youngest baby in the class, but her love of music was evident by a sparkle and smile. Abby attended classes week by week with her mom Amanda. As time went on, she developed friendships and her enthusiasm for music grew. When Abby reached the toddler program, she was always eager for the class to start so the fun could begin. Her favourite song was – “The More We Get Together” and she requested it in her own adorable way.
Story time was a highlight for Abby as well as catching bubbles and playing with scarves. Abby enjoyed learning new songs and mastered the art of stomping, jumping and twirling. Abby completed the Little Signing Stars graduate program at age 2. She will be greatly missed and fondly remembered by myself, Serena Yong, and all her friends from Little Signing Stars.
In lieu of flowers Abby’s parents, Amanda and Ryan, listed Little Signing Stars as a way to honour Abby’s love of music. We are very grateful for the numerous contributions and will use the funds to publish a Baby Sign Language book which will be lovingly dedicated to Abby. It will be a durable board book that features colourful pictures as well as “touch and feel” textures to stimulate multiple senses and capture the youngest reader. There will be updates posted here as the process of this new book unfolds.
Thank you for the love and generosity expressed from the following family, friends and members of the community:
Nicole, Erick, Lauren and Natalie
Lee & Sherri Willis
The M.C. Knoll staff
Jessica, Philip, Arla and Nora Williams (friends from Little Signing Stars)
Diana, Neil, Tyler and Zach Welligan (friends from Little Signing Stars)
Kyle Havens, Karly and Maya (friends from Little Signing Stars)
Chris, Brenna and Emma Mahussier (friends from Little Signing Stars)
Faculty of Education Early Years Cohort of 2020 (Brandon University)
Doug and Deb Wilkinson, Doug and Lynne Brand, Bernie and Marj Wlock
Manitoba Association of Math Teachers (related to Sandy Margetts)
Brenda and Murray Margetts (Gramma & Poppa Margetts)
Bob and Debra Thompson (Granny & Gramps)
Cheryl and Don Chesney
Auntie Sandy Margetts
Sandi and Irvin Koch
Interlake School Division Board of Trustees
M Beryl Truscott
Glen and Cyndy Peters
Nancy and Rick Orlesky
Rachel and Ronald Berg
Robert and Susan Peleck
Uncle Hughie and Myna
Barry and Darlene Diller
Royal Auto Group
Teulon Elementary School
Jeannette and Allan Wheeler
Stephanie (Sandy) Fehr
Ferne and Murray Wagner
Rick and Teresa Bilous
Bruce and Tanis Frost
Keith and Darlene Lundgren
Sheri, Bruno, Brendan Labossiere
Leonard and Gladys Kohler
Warren Elementary School
Ivan & Millie Sharp, Jeff & Barb and the girls, Kathy & Colby and the boys, Meghan & Kurtis and family, Margaret and Stella McDonald
Warren Collegiate Caution Fund
Pam and Len Lewandoski
June 25, 2019
Amanda and Ryan Margetts pictured with their son Andrew. This photograph will be used for our “Mom/Dad/Baby” page. Thank you to Jennifer Macbeth Photography for your expertise and caring nature. We captured several shots today – I’ll post a sneak peek when it’s ready.
August 12, 2019
Yay! The final draft of the book is done! I’m very thankful to my husband, Calvin, for helping every step of the way. His support and computer skills has made this book possible. Calvin is a school teacher so we had the summer months to making this dream a reality.
The next stage is to finalize the “touch and feel” textures. This process takes more time than a regular board book. We have contacted several printing companies and they have told us to expect the process to take up to 3 months. We were hoping to have the books by October so this is definitely a setback. but this gives us a chance let everything settle before we officially submit it.
Every day we make small changes here and there, to make improvements. I’m sure it’ll be worth the wait! I keep reminding myself – it won’t be perfect, but it’ll be special.
Abby Lee Anne Margetts. You will always be remembered!
More details coming in the next few weeks. . .
September 25, 2019
“Touch and Feel” options . . . oh my!!
Did you know that your typical baby board book is not printed in Canada or even the US? Publishers outsource overseas. Take a look at your baby books – you’ll find it says “Printed in China”.
We are also printing our book overseas. It takes more time and effort than a typical book.. So, why are we going through the hassle of printing a board book?
Board books are durable! Babies will be able to flip through the pages with ease. It cannot be torn. This will be a book that you could read every night. It will withstand time. . . and even a bit of slobber!
Please be patient with us as we proceed step by step through this final process. I’m hoping to receive the proof in the next week or two, then we can share the previews. As soon as we confirm an arrival date, there will be the opportunity to pre-order. Thanks for your support!
November 13, 2019
Here is it! We finally received our first proof. One step closer.
Unfortunately, some of the textures were not suitable. We are making revisions before they go to print. This will cause another delay.
The good news is we’ve decided to print a softcover version here in Winnipeg!! This Special Edition will be available in time of Abby’s birthday, which is in a couple weeks!!
Special Event: Saturday, November 30th in Stonewall
Book launches in Abby’s honour
By Jennifer McFee
Published in the Stonewall Teulon Tribune – December 2020
The memory of a cherished Stonewall girl is being honoured through a special book that focuses on an activity she enjoyed.
Abby Lee Anne Margetts’ short life ended last January in a tragic accident that shook the community. The sweet-natured girl had just celebrated her third birthday on Dec. 2.
Starting when she was two months old, Abby had attended the Little Signing Stars program, which uses baby sign language to
enhance communication. She expressed her love for the activity through her bright smiles, all the way until she graduated at the age of two.
Now Little Signing Stars owner Serena Yong is collaborating with Abby’s mom
Amanda to create a touch-and-feel board book in her memory.
“We thought it might be ready for Christmas but it’s not going to be, so we decided to print a soft-cover version with the same photography. They’re perfect books for babies and toddlers,” Amanda Margetts said. “Both books are dedicated to my daughter, who passed away.”
The book includes photos of Abby and her baby brother Andrew, as well as their parents Amanda and Ryan. Yong teaches sign language in the book; it features basic signs that parents can use throughout their day.
“It’s a nice concept and it’s a great
program. I know lots of people who’ve used baby sign language and it does
work,” Margetts said.
“Our little guy is on the front cover. He just turned a year old. It’s really special that this book is dedicated to his older sister.”
Right in time for Christmas, 150 copies of the limited edition soft-cover book have been printed, and the touch-and-feel board version should be available in March.
As owner of Little Signing Stars, Yong explained that the book does not serve as a fundraiser. Instead, it’s a way to remember Abby.
At the time of Abby’s passing, Amanda and Ryan Margetts named Little Signing Stars as a recipient of donations made in lieu of flowers. The contributions will be used to offset the costs of publishing the upcoming book.
“I wanted to produce a book to honour Abby’s memory, particularly a touch-and-feel book, because they are the very best. They are the Cadillac of baby books. Babies are drawn in by the textures; it captures their imagination and stimulates their senses.”
Yong shares that when Abby passed away, her own daughter, Jazlyn, was 6 months old. As she read to Jazlyn, the only books that piqued her interest, were the ones with touch-and-feel textures. It was then Yong determined that this was something special. “This is how we will honour Abby and keep her memory alive.” she said.
“These books have a full dedication page so that people can learn about Abby. We want to keep her memory alive.”
Friends and family gathered at Something Beautiful over the weekend for a soft launch of the book before Abby’s birthday, since she would have turned four on Monday.
“Abby enriched the lives of everyone around her. When she laughed it was from her belly, when she cried it was from her toes, and when she loved it was from her heart,” states the dedication in the book.
“Quality time with family and friends was important to her as well as celebrating moments big and small, and relishing in simple pleasures. Whether swimming in the cold prairie lakes or finding adventure by foot, she was happiest in nature. Abby had a special connection with owls; she loved to spot them in books and often played with her stuffed owl collection.”
At the book launch, Yong explained that Abby requested the song “The More We Get Together” at the beginning of each class. The crowd of Abby’s loved ones joined together in the song, and there wasn’t a dry eye to be seen.
A limited number of the soft-cover books are still available. A book launch party will be held in the spring when the touch-and-feel board book is ready.
Book launch in Stonewall (pictured)
Photo credit: Jo Anne Proctor
March 9, 2020
It has been such a long time since we made a public update. Honestly, I have been waiting for good news to share but there is not much to
Our book proof came in November but we were concerned with the quality. We tried to work it out, but after much consideration we decided to switch to another printing company. Thankfully we received most of our deposit back. The representative spent a lot of time with us, so we felt it was very generous.
We received a good referral for a new company, but our timeline for completion would be significantly delayed. Waiting for a new quote, re-submitting all the files, and inquiring about textures takes time.
That brings us to January, we were finalizing the details when
Chinese New Year came upon us. The printer was closed for 2 weeks of holidays.
Immediately after that, the Corona Virus forced them to shut down completely,
and I’m still unsure if they are fully operating.
Now, here we are up to date. All this extra time off has made me wonder if there was something left “undone”. I have spoken to a number of people in the last couple months since our softcover version was printed. The feedback has been helpful, which has led us to make some minor changes.
I’m trying to balance the different aspects of our book:
I want it to be professional and visually appealing, as we plan to sell it on Amazon.
It is important that the book demonstrates top words and signs. My goal is for a
baby to be able to sign along with each page.
Foremost, I want to honour Abby’s life and keep her memory alive. Abby’s brother is on the cover, and her parents are featured on page one. Abby had a special connection with owls; she loved to spot them in books, so that is represented in ours. She loved all things that “go”, which is incorporated on the play page. Abby’s parent’s said she was happiest in nature, and there will be a special new addition on the walk page.
All that being said, we plan to have a final version of the book by the end of the week. Hopefully the printing company will be fully functioning. We are still waiting to confirm the “fur” on the teddy bear, as I want to be sure it will comply with Health Canada. Production and shipping takes 4-6 weeks. Our new expected date is May 2020. Please pray that everything will go smoothly! In the end, I think this book may be better than we even expected. I will show some “sneak peeks” soon. Thank you for your patience and support!
August 1, 2020
Here’s a short update. We have been steadily working on choosing suitable textures by “trial and error”. It has been time consuming and costly but we now understand that is part of the process of self-publishing a book like this.
Our top priority is safety, as we want to ensure babies can not peel off the textures. We’ve received a number of proofs and now finally feel comfortable moving ahead. It is being confirmed this coming week. Once we get a firm date of arrival I’ll make a formal announcement!
We are now launching a Step-by-Step Guide for parents and caregivers. It is a companion to Abby’s Touch & Feel book. The book was printed here in Winnipeg which makes logistics much easier and faster! I’m looking forward to the day when the two books can be paired together because we believe they will be an incredible resource to families. Stay tuned.
We’re excited to announce the books have been shipped! We expect them to arrive any day. After such a long wait, we just got the news that the book are now in Canada and have been released from customs. Abby’s birthday is December 2- wouldn’t it be special if they came that day?!
Due to covid restrictions, I’m unable to teach in-person classes. I have moved all my program online and have “re-branded” to Play and Learn Baby Sign Language.
December 1, 2020
This is the day the books were delivered! In a flurry of phone calls and emails, I wasn’t sure what the exact date or time would be. The truck pulled up around lunch time. My older two girls were home "remote learning" so they were able to help me bring in all 37 boxes!
I felt a sense of urgency to get a box to Amanda. I sent her a quick message. Initially, I hoped to drive out to Stonewall but I had two virtual classes scheduled that evening. One of my daughter’s teachers live in the Stonewall area so I wondered maybe we could connect with him?? I was thrilled to hear back from Amanda, she and Ryan were already driving into Winnipeg for Andrew’s doctor appointment. We were so happy to get the books one day before Abby’s birthday. The timing of everything was unreal. Only God could have orchestrated it.
Looking back, Amanda and I are thankful that we hosted a book party in November 2019. It may have seemed odd at the time, but the formatting was complete and we knew that finalizing the textures would take awhile. It was a quick decision to make a softcover edition, but it felt right. The venue at Something Beautiful Café was the perfect spot and the planning was seamless. I’m glad we followed our gut. Who knew that we would be under such strict restrictions with a global pandemic? God knew!
It has been such an emotional roller coaster! I feel a sense of relief that all the decisions have been made and the wait is over. That being said, I’m still grieving for Abby and know that her family and friends miss her tremendously. I only take comfort in knowing that God knows and He cares.
God knew us before the foundation of the world. He knit us in our mother’s womb.
With Christmas coming, we’re reminded of the baby Jesus. His name was called Emmanuel, which means God with us. (Matthew 1:23)
God sent his son Jesus to bring us eternal peace. That baby Jesus was later called the “Man of Sorrows” for us. (Isaiah 53)
I’m pleased that we are able to honour Abby’s memory with these books. Many of us will cherish her memories, others will learn her story and have the book on their shelf. As this has unfolded, I’m deeply humbled to see that the God of the universe knew every detail. He does care and He is with us.