This is the Schneider-Farris Family's Blog. Keep up with what we are doing by logging into this site regularly! (The reason this site is called "Tragedy and Triumph" is that when I first founded this site, my husband, Dan, had been in a horrible accident, and he recovered. His recovery was a miracle! Go back to the 2005 archives to read our story.)

Saturday, October 30, 2010

My Kids Mountain Vista Homeschool Academy School Photos

I would never have thought my kids would have had "School Photos" taken, but thanks to Mountain Vista Homeschool Academy we now have that opportunity. How cool is that! Wow, do the kids look grown-up!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Another Fire and Ice 10-29-10

The kids skated this morning and had a full day of school, but right after, participated in another Broadmoor Fire and Ice exhibition. This is the 2nd to last exhibition before we leave for the Midwestern Figure Skating Championships on November 9. This particular Fire and Ice had such a wonderful and supportive crowd!

By the way, I wrote an article on Fire and Ice for US Figure Skating that was published this week. Click on this link to read the article. What a great opportunity Fire and Ice is!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Awards Photos 2010

I am so proud of my kids! Here are some photos of them receiving awards in 2010.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Annabelle WINS! - Southwesterns 2011

Sunday, October 17, 2011 was a big day since Annabelle won her event at Southwesterns and won a huge trophy.

Then, later, she won some kind of strength wristband thing for guessing the correct amount of jelly beans in a jar. (That gizmo was worth over $125!)

Also, our good friend Sam, won Juvenile boys, and Annabelle's ice dance partner, Val, placed 2nd!

Now, it's time to get ready for sectionals and the US Junior National Figure Skating Championships since Annabelle will be competing in intermediate pairs with Joel and juvenile dance with Val, and Rebekah and Joel will be competing in intermediate dance. US Figure Skating has already posted numbers and all the kids competing in those events at sectionals will advance to junior nationals.

"warmed us up!" Midwesterns and Junior Nationals HERE WE COME!

The photos below show Annabelle smiling with friends and family and her trophy! (In the excitement, I forgot to get a photo of Val, Joel, or Rebekah.)

Saturday, October 09, 2010

The Blue Fuzzy Story as told by Jo Ann Schneider Farris

The Blue Fuzzy Story

as told by Jo Ann Schneider Farris
Illustrated by Jo Ann's Branson School OnLine! Class - Joel, Rebekah, Annabelle, and Jo Ann Schneider Farris, Jason and Sherry Akia, Abigail and Cheyenne Cox, Daniel Mendez, Kaitlyn Graham, and Ali Miller
Copyright 2002, Jo Ann Schneider Farris
All rights reserved
No part of this story may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the written permission from the author.


Once upon a time, there was peace and happiness throughout all of the
world! Why? Well, the world was filled with these soft blue little
creatures that smiled all the time! If you put a fuzzy on your
shoulder, you just felt warm and happy inside.

Everyone in the world shared their fuzzies, and the world was a
wonderful and happy place. day....a MEAN and NASTY OGRE came along and said, "Look,
if you keep on sharing your fuzzies, you are not going to have enough
for yourself!"

The people began to panic! "He's right!" "We must hide our
fuzzies!" "We must hoard our fuzzies!"

So, everyone stopped sharing fuzzies. Most of these smiling
creatures were locked away.

Soon the world was an unhappy place and
everyone forgot about the fuzzies.

Years passed.

One day, 2 little children were playing. They saw a cute little
creature on the ground and the little girl picked it up. She put the
fuzzy on her shoulder and felt so warm inside!

She said, "Wow! What a wonderful happy feeling is inside of me!
Here, put this on your shoulder!"

She then passed the fuzzy to the little boy she was playing with. He
felt so
happy and warm inside!

The children were excited!

They ran into the house and told their mother!

Their mother remembered when she was a little girl and when the world
had been happy. She ran to the attic and took all the fuzzies she
had locked away out of an old trunk!

Soon, people all over the world began to share their fuzzies again.

Soon everyone in the world remembered the fuzzies and the world was a
happy place again!

Warm Fuzzies to everyone!
email me at

Fire and Ice Exhibition - Saturday Morning 10-9-10

On Saturday morning, 10-9-10, the kids took part in another Fire and Ice exhibition. All went well. It was a bit hard for me since it too a lot of thinking and planning on my part, but it was, of course, great practice for the upcoming competitions where the kids will have lots of costume changes and be skating in multiple events.

Rebekah and Joel and Annabelle and Val warmed up together in the same warm-up and performed one after the other.

As soon as Annabelle and Val finished their free dance, Val went right back on the ice and did his freestyle warm up and program! Annabelle did her freestyle program too, but at least had time to change clothes!

Dalilah let us skip doing the pairs program this time around, so actually, this particular Fire and Ice was easier for all of us!

Saturday, October 02, 2010

All About My Mom - Edith Kadison Schneider

My family is going through a tough time at the moment. A month ago, my dad told me that my mom had stopped eating, drinking, standing, walking, and talking. He was trying figure out if he should keep taking care of her or if he should get her to the hospital.

Eventually he did get Mom to the hospital. A series of tests were done.

It turned out that my mom has terminal cancer. Most likely she won't live much longer.

I know people usually wait until a person has died when writing up memories of that person, but I'm going to write about my mom now, while she is still with us.

Edith Kadison was born on May 12, 1922 in Washington DC. She was the second child of Joseph and Esther Kadison.

My dad tells me that when it was time put together my mother's birth certificate, that the person could not understand Esther Kadison's English. She wanted her daughter to be named "Heda," but the man decided that sounded like "Edith." Anyway, Edith became my mom's legal name on that day. My dad and those close to her always called her Edie.

I don't really know much about the young Joseph and Esther, but I know my grandmother's maiden name was Becker. Grandma Esther came to the United States when she was about 17 years old in 1915 or so. Young Esther was sent to live with her family (the Beckers) to seek a better life than the life she had in a shtetl (Jewish ghetto type village) in Russia.

Grandpa Joseph was from Poland. He came to the US seeking adventure in his early twenties. I'm sure glad he left Poland because I'm sure his entire family must have been killed in the Holocaust.

My mother had an older brother named Norman who was about five years older than my mom.

During the Depression, the Kadison family left Washington DC and traveled to the west coast with all their belongings packed into their car. They joined Joseph's family in California. My mom was about eight years old when the family made that trip.

The Kadison family settled in Huntington Park, California.

I don't know much about my mom's early life. I have seen some photos from her high school years though. It looks to me that she was very active and popular in school. I have heard that Yiddish was spoken at home until Uncle Norman began school and that Grandma Esther was a fairly good cook.

In the photo below, my mom is the pretty girl on the far left. She is standing next to her parents, Joseph and Esther. The photo was taken on her brother Norman's wedding day.

I never did get to know my Grandpa Joseph since he died before I was born, but Grandma Esther lived until I was seventeen. She liked to sew and cook I recall. She looked so much like my mom. I know I also look like my mom and Grandma Esther.

After high school, my mom first worked and saved some money, and finally decided to go to UCLA. At first she took a streetcar and then a bus to the campus, but eventually moved into a cooperative dorm for women near the campus called Stevens House.

During her time at Stevens House, a blind date was set up. That's where my mom and dad met...on that blind date. My mom told me that she chose my dad over his friend Jerry Smith on that date because of three things:
  1. My dad was wearing shoes.
  2. My dad was short, but taller than her.
  3. My dad was Jewish.
Anyway, my dad tells me that he dated another girl later that week who was just not as mature or cute as my mom. He realized he wanted to see my mom more.

My parents were officially married on August 20, 1950, but actually got married secretly about a month earlier (July 15, 1950), but didn't tell anyone because Grandpa Joseph suddenly died of a heart attack two days later.

Before they were married my dad and mom took a trip out to Grandpa Joseph's and Grandma Esther's chicken ranch in Fontana. (The photo below is Grandpa Joseph on that ranch.)

I think my dad and mom thought it was funny that two very Jewish people who spoke Yiddish were raising chickens out in the country. When my husband Dan and I visited my parents in 1996 or 1997 we discovered a funny song (in a photo album) my parents wrote together during the visit. My mom asked my dad to sing it for us, but he wouldn't. Instead, my husband sang the song to me!

(to the tune of Hatikvah:)

Out in Fontana, there's a Jewish Ranch

Joe says why not come and take a glance

See the Jewish chickens laying Jewish eggs
See them running on their little Jewish legs

Oy, oy, oy, cock-a-doodle-do

Oy, oy, oy, cock-a-doodle-do

See the Jewish chickens on the Jewish chicken ranch,
see the Jewish chickens on the Jewish ranch...

On the Jewish ranch, there's a Jewish house

Joe lives there with Esther, his spouse
Esther makes lots of Jewish dishes
Kreplach, gefilte fish, latkes, and knishes

Oy, oy, oy, cock-a-doodle-do

Oy, oy, oy, cock-a-doodle-do
See the Jewish chickens on the Jewish chicken ranch,
see the Jewish chickens on the Jewish ranch...

Anyway, back to my mom....

After my parents were married in 1950, my dad went off to medical school in Chicago. My mom worked as a social worker at Cook County Hospital in Chicago to support them through school.

After medical school ended, my dad was officially a physician and now, it was time for the young Schneider couple to settle down and have children.

I was baby number one. I was born on May 7, 1956. Billy followed on January 3, 1958, and Lynnellen was born on February 18, 1959.

My parents lived in the San Fernando Valley (Sherman Oaks) during those early years, but when my dad had to serve in the Air Force at Mather Air Force Base near Sacramento, we moved to northern California.

This is where I have the earliest memories of my mom. While we were living in Sherman Oaks, I remember her telling me she had to go away for a few days (just before Lynnellen was born). She came home with a baby in her arms!

In Sacramento, I remember my mom taking me to a cooperative pre-school and taking me swimming in a "baby pool" at the park.

Like most women in the 1950s and 1960s, her role was a "stay at home mom - housewife." She did a great job! I still remember dressing up as a nurse on Halloween and helping my mom give out candy.

In Sacramento she was president of my cooperative nursery school!

Just before I stared Kindergarten in 1961, our family moved back to southern California, to Canoga Park, in the San Fernando Valley. We bought the biggest house on a street called Rudnick Avenue.

My mom had three little kids, and immersed herself in the neighborhood. As I grew older, I know she was very involved in Nevada Avenue School's PTA and was my Blue Bird group leader.

My mom always made sure I was dressed in cute dresses, and made sure my hair was perfect. She packed my lunch every day, but gave me lunch money on Friday since I loved fish sticks.

My mom also worked really hard at the birthday parties she gave us kids. In those days, there was no such thing as Chuck E Cheese parties. Kids got dressed up and went to houses for birthday parties.

The party I remember the most was one my mother worked so hard for especially for my sister Lynnellen. She got a neighborhood teenager to play Bozo the Clown. She set up our family room area with a table and then closed the door that divided the living room and family room so that only a small "window" showed. There, Bozo appeared and entertained the kids. I was so delighted to be a part of that party!

When I was eight years old, our entire family got involved with figure skating. That is when our lives changed. My mom began taking us to the ice rink all the time. My dad actually figured out when and how much we would skate, but my mom had to do a lot of the driving.

Also, when I was eight, our family left the San Fernando Valley and moved to Bel-Air. I remember the day my mom drove away from Nevada Avenue Elementary school on my last day there. I told her I'd never see the garden that my class had planted again. She told me for years she remembered my words!

My mom adjusted to life in Bel-Air. We could not walk to school, and first took a school bus, but as skating took over, my mom always drove us to school. She had a big job just doing all that driving. My dad usually took us to the ice rink before school, but my mom got us from the rink to school, and from school back to the rink every afternoon. I remember when she picked us up from school, a snack was ready for us, and our skating clothes were also ready to change into. Most of the time we changed into our skating clothes and into our skates in the car since we had to be on the ice as soon as school was over.

No matter what, my mom made sure we had a good lunch packed for school. I will never forget how much I liked the tuna sandwiches she made me. I didn't eat peanut butter or cold cuts, so making a lunch for me was a challenge. I also didn't drink milk, so she lovingly packed me a thermos with punch in it. I didn't know it, but she added liquid calcium to that thermos full of punch. She made sure our meals were always balanced and healthy.

After skating, dinner was always ready and Mom helped us with our homework if we needed help.

As the years passed, things got more and more complicated for my mom. We moved to Arcadia, but the driving for skating didn't get any easier. We drove from Arcadia to Paramount every day. Although we skated in Paramount and lived in Arcadia, for a short while, Billy and Lynnellen continued to go to school in Westwood Village, while I went to school in Hollywood! In addition, sometimes my mom drove me to Anaheim and La Habra and West Covina to ice dance in rush hour traffic! She'd leave me at one rink and drive to the other end of Los Angeles to pick up Billy and Lynnellen at a different rink! Can you imagine?!?!

One day, I remember my mom telling me how happy she was with her life. She said, "Jo Ann, don't you think I did pretty good? I married a doctor and am the mother of three wonderful children!"

Anyway, eventually, it was time for me to go to college. I remember my mom telling me she was sad I chose Colorado College. She said she had hoped I would go to Occidental College which was very near to Arcadia. I remember the day my dad and I packed my car and I left for Colorado. I had no idea I was "leaving the nest" and I still remember my mom hugging and kissing me and then crying as we pulled away in the car.

(The photo below is from the day I graduated from high school. My mom always looked so young! Sometimes people thought we were sisters. In the photo below, it looks like we had identical haircuts...can you figure out who my mom is in the picture? )

During my freshman year in college, mom stayed with me in my apartment for a week or so. I came down with a horrible flu, but she stated it was time to go home to my dad. I still remember pleading with her to stay and nurse me back to health, but she walked out the door! She knew her place was at my dad's side!

A year later, my parents moved to Illinois when my dad was offered the job at Chicago Medical School. On the way out to Illinois, my parents put some of our family's belongings in a condo we bought near the Broadmoor World Arena. My mom stayed with me for about a week to set up the condo. She even made a set of homemade curtains for my bedroom, helped me hang curtains, paint furniture, buy lamps, and unpack.

I visited my parents many times in Illinois, but never really lived there. I did spend one summer there; that was the longest I ever stayed. What shocked me that summer was that my mom worked! She had always been a stay-at-home-mom and it took some getting used to the idea that she was at work all day.

Although she worked full time, she made sure a good dinner and breakfast was on the table, that laundry was done, that beds were made, and that the dogs were taken care of and fed. She really liked her job too. At first she worked on the naval base, but eventually got a job at the VA hospital.

My dad and mom took the time every day to eat lunch together. They did that for years. Even after she stopped working, Daddy always took mom out to lunch every single day!

Shortly after I graduated from college, (just one year later), I married Dan Farris. My parents came out to Long Beach for my wedding. It was quite an informal affair really in the backyard of Dan's parents house. I wore a borrowed dress that belonged to Dan's sister, but had no veil. My mom couldn't stand the idea that I did not have a veil and made me one ON my wedding day!

Little things like that were what my mom did. She never forgot my birthday. A present always appeared in the mail with a loving card. I remember once an outfit appeared in the mail for my birthday with a note that said "Here are some clothes you can wear for bike riding, roller blading, or whatever active thing you love to do!" My mom was just so thoughtful!

When Joel was born, my mom bought the cutest outfit for baby Joel. She called me to tell he to open up a present she'd sent us and told me he was supposed to wear the outfit all day!

What was so amazing when I think of my mom, is that I think of how sweet she always was.

Just about ten years ago, my mom went back to school and earned a Masters Degree in Social Work from Loyola University in Chicago! She never did get a social work job after getting that high educational honor, but what an amazing feat that was! She was about 78 years old at the time.

My parents did everything together. In fact my dad made a commitment that they traveled together always. He took her to every medical school or doctors meeting he attended (even if it was in Europe!) and she accompanied him to skating competitions when he judged skating and also went with him to see grandchildren perform in skating.

Anyway, years have passed. About four years ago, my mom broke a bone in her back. She has not been the same since. The cards and presents stopped coming.

My dad has been the most wonderful husband in the world. He's taken care of my mom. He's taken her out to lunch everyday. She and my dad have traveled whenever they could to visit us.

The last time I saw my mom was a Junior Nationals in Cleveland last December. I haven't been able to talk to her on the phone since she couldn't hear that well. We had such a nice time together during that competition, and I'm so grateful for that!

She is now in hospice-extended care. My dad sits at her bedside all day. He says she is so very sick now that she is really no longer "there."

Mom, I love you. I miss you. Thanks for being the best mother in the whole world.

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Jo Ann Schneider Farris has participated in skating for most of her life as a competitor, coach, and author.