Support For Christi Thomas

This blog is to help offer support to the Thomas Family and their daughter, Christi, in her battle against cancer. Please visit Christi's website at to learn more. There, you'll find journals, photos and a lots of other information about this amazing child and her family.

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Monday, December 31, 2007

Thaaaaank You!

I thought it only appropriate on this post, about technology, to put up Christi sitting IN our computer console. After Shayne put our computer area together, we thought it'd be funny years down the road to show her she fit where our printer sits! I never even thought to show her this, years later, but I know she would have laughed and laughed, realizing how little she was! (The outfit she is wearing was a gift from her great grandma gear; I loved that too!)

Since we are in the midst of reading, "Shiloh", I'll say we are as happy as a flea on a dog!!! Thank you so very much for sharing your Ipod wisdom and expertise! I tell my students all the time to be careful on the Internet there are kooks out there, but I can only shake my head and think of God's goodness being shared through His people! THANKS! (I can't exactly say I've figured it all out yet, but we just returned from the library and I'm soon to get to work again.) We have some travels ahead so I'll hopefully get it figured out soon! (I keep thinking if Christi were here, I'd just sit back and watch her do this. An Ipod would have been fabulous for her treatment and travel days. Shayla is very blessed to have this.)

Karen, Allie & Carly: My emails to you keep "bouncing back" to me. I'm sorry!

SWEET FIND: On my computer, we had a little piano song Christi had composed and one of our "Rally Friends" sent it to us. When I asked Shayla if she wanted Christi's song on her Ipod she said, "Oh, yes!" While messing around with the iTunes items, I clicked on "movies". Much to my surprise and delight, video clips of Christi started playing. I yelled for Shayne and Shayla and we watched many little videos. I still don't know how that happened; I had never seen them before. One of Dec. of 2005 when Christi played the piano while her great uncle Steve played his guitar, another was just four days before her death, frail, yet teasing her exhausted father by sitting up tossing a stuffed animal at him and falling back over. (Shayla thought that was a riot!!)

MULTI-TASKING HUMOR: I am in the midst of applying for a doctoral fellowship. (Quite the process; however, if I get it it'd be TREMENDOUS!) Anyway, one of my four supporters who wrote letters of recommendation for me said that I was fabulous at multi-tasking so now I'm sitting here laughing about that! I fixed Shayla a little mini-pizza for her lunch. While I was sitting beside her eating my orange, she sweetly said, "Next time, if we have some, could you please put pizza sauce on my pizza?" My eyes must have bulged as I quickly looked over to the counter and sure enough there sat the pizza sauce! Oops! I suggested that I slice her pizza into strips and she could dip them in the sauce. She loved it! Too funny!

Christi with my grandma Falter on Christmas day (1997). Grandma told me on Christmas day that she still prays a rosary for our family every day. (Grandma is almost 90 now!) What a blessing!
Christi's First Christmas (1997) With her Great Grandma and Grandpa (deceased now) Gear. This morning, I mailed Christi's hand lotion, from "The Body Shop", to Shayne's grandma. It worked miraculously for Christi's dry skin. (We just wished it wouldn't have taken us years to discover it.) I hope it helps grandma! Christi would like that!

Christi with her Great Aunt Marty

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Babbling and Finally a Question

Not only did we promise Shayla that we would stay home for Christmas, but also that we’d stay home for the whole day before and the whole day after Christmas – and I added an additional one to that. (Those of you who know me, know I was itching to get out of the house.) By Friday at 10AM, I had all of the Christmas decorations neatly stacked in green and red plastic tubs in the basement, and I told Shayla we were headed out for our fun day.

During the month of December, I read Shayla four or five chapter books. One of them was based on the movie “Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium”. Now I am not declaring that it was the greatest piece of children’s literature ever written (far from that) but it was a cute story and we thought seeing the movie would be something enjoyable to do next. Problem was, the movie is now longer ‘newly released’. I learned of a theatre in Findlay; It plays movies that aren’t the current “hot” movies and all seats are $2.50. Additionally, I learned that the movie was still playing there! Yipeee!! After some errand running and shopping, we took off for Findlay.

Of course, we stopped at Christi’s grave on our way. Shayla was thrilled to see a darling princess style plastic tiara left for Christi and a lovely wooden carved angel. We tidied up the grave, said a prayer and then I yelled, “It’s a good thing I don’t have a shovel in our van Christi Thomas! I would go get it and dig you up! If I could have you alive, I’d even let you sit in the front seat and take you to the movies with us!” (Pause, continuing my shouting through my tears) “OK, Christi, if I could have just one more day with you, I think I might even let you drive!” This made Shayla burst into giggles as she said, “Mom! Christi would crash! And if we’re going to Findlay, she’d want to go to Sarah’s!”

As we walked back to the van, Shayla asked if she could take a picture of the tiara to show daddy. I told her she could use my camera phone to take it, but I was too shaken to go back and do it. I showed her how to take a photo; she hopped out of the van and ran back to Christi’s grave. Soon she ran back bursting with laughter, “I’m so sorry, mom! I’m so sorry, mom. I accidentally took a picture of the grass!” I could literally hear Christi’s awesome giggle thinking she’d shout, “Shayla! You totally missed the tiara and you took a picture of the grass!” I explained it was just a digital photo and she didn’t waste anything and she could go try again if she wanted, so she did! The “finds” at the cemetery were incredibly too sweet. Once back home last night, I took the wooden angel out of the plastic bag. Written on the bottom was, “Merry Christmas Goofy Girl! Love, Ali” This was from a very sweet school friend of Christi’s. It really touched my heart and I put it up on a shelf with some other angel statues. As we drove away, I promised Christi I’d get her plaque ordered soon – as soon as I make “the perfect” choice and then strangely the song “Breaking Free” came on. (This is the song from High School Musical. A song she really liked and a song that still moves Shayne to tears to hear it because they watched the DVD three or four times together during her final trip in Philadelphia and because the words now say so much.)

Here are the lyrics at the beginning of the “Breaking Free” song:

We’re soarin’, flyin’
There’s not a star in heaven
That we can’t reach

If we’re trying
So we’re breaking free

You know the world can see us
In a way that’s different than who we are

Creating space between us
‘Til we’re separate hearts

But your faith it gives me strength
Strength to believe

We’re breakin’ free
We’re soarin’
There’s not a star in heaven
That we can’t reach

If we’re trying
Yeah, we’re breaking free
Oh, we’re breakin’ free

Can you feel it building
Like a wave the ocean just can’t control
Connected by a feeling
Ohhh, in our very souls
Rising ‘til it lifts us up
So every one can see

We’re breakin’ free
We’re soarin’
There’s not a star in heaven
That we can’t reach

If we’re trying
Yeah we’re breaking free

After wiping away the tears, we arrived in Findlay and absolutely loved the movie! Next, for our “fun day” it was on to “The Cube” – Findlay’s amazing indoor ice skating rink. We had an enjoyable hour of ice skating before heading for home.

We had money Shayla received for Christmas for our “fun day”. At the stores she didn’t find anything of great interest. Then as we ready to go home she said, “Could I get an ipod?” I was taken back and said, “Well, I don’t know if you have enough money for an ipod, or if you’re old enough for one. Why do you think you might want one?” She told me that we travel a lot and when we do she always has to start her books over when we stop to get gas, use the bathroom or get home and it'd be nice to listen to a whole story, in order. (Her walkman / CD player doesn’t let us do anything but go back to the beginning.) She told me her friend’s holds 200 songs and is easy to work. Now I was NOT to fall for peer pressure, but I did actually think it would be something she would enjoy and get a lot of use out of. I told her that we’d go look at them, but I’d have to think about it and daddy would make the final decision. I’d support whatever he said.

Never having any experience with these things, I was surprised she knew exactly what she wanted and immediately asked how much it cost. She did have enough money, but I didn’t know how challenging it might be to install. I explained that I would have to read the information and decide if I thought I could get it all set up for her because we were not going to stress or burden daddy with this right now. After talking with a few of the employees, I told Shayla we would buy it, but if daddy said no we’d bring it back when we went shopping next. She was OH SO HAPPY! As I drove, I kept glancing back in the mirror and she held the little hot pink Ipod Shuffle in both hands, staring at it occasionally saying, “I can’t believe it holds over 200 songs!” At home, daddy was as cool as a cucumber asking her many questions about it and talking about responsibility. Finally he said, “If it’s ok with your mom, it’s ok with me.” Shayla hugged and hugged him saying, “Mom said the same thing so I can keep it, right?!!!!” For three hours (OK, I’m a slow learner!) Shayla sat at my side as we installed the software and downloaded 71 songs, she selected, into her ipod. I must have received a thousand hugs and kisses while working.

So, now after all of that blabbering, I have finally arrived at my question for those techno bloggers. (As a beautiful teacher friend, Lynn, recently said to me, “There is ‘techno’ and there is ‘tech NO’. hee hee) QUESTION: Shayla loves to listen to the books on CD we borrow from the library. They have a large selection; however, I do not believe there are any that Shayla hasn’t already listened to. I’m assuming I can download books somehow on the internet on to this ipod shuffle. Can anyone give me a suggestion as to how to find easy to download children’s books and for an inexpensive price? Thanks for your help! I have no idea where to even start looking for books to download.

Early this morning found us driving to Mansfield to go skiing at “Snow Trails”. With temps in the mid-thirties and no snow in sight, I looked at Shayne with questioning eyes last night when he suggested it to Shayla. He explained that it would be all manufactured snow and that would make the hills pretty slick, but if she’d like to go, we would. Of course, Shayla is all about winter fun so we had a great day. I’m totally amazed at how quickly she is picking this sport up. It’s hard to believe Christi never went skiing and this is now Shayla’s third season to ski. (Shayne first starting taking her in the winter of 2006 when I was in the hospital in Philly with Christi.) Santa brought a nice helmet and ski/snowboarding goggles for Christmas so the mother in me felt MUCH better about her skiing those hills this year. (Shayne and I both went skiing one time in college with friends and later said, “If we ever get married and have kids, we will start them skiing when they’re young so they don’t look ridiculous like we did when all of those little kids just whizzed right by us!”) We also went to see the Carousal in downtown Mansfield, had a wonderful visit with Shayne’s Grandma Gear, and met up with great friends for dinner. Today was the new school dedication, but I decided weeks ago that would be entirely too emotional without Christi in tote. I hope everything went well!!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christi's Final Poem "Friendship Never Ends"

This probably wasn't the day to do this and now I'm in the midst of a mess I probably won't get the courage up to face again for many days......Yesterday, I decided that if I just put all of the Christmas decorations away I'd feel much better. It's been so hard to see Christi's Nativity Set, her Christmas pictures, etc., etc. Then a friend called and came over so instead I laughed, cried and caught up with Lori for a couple of hours.

Today, I decided I wasn't quite ready to put all of the Christmas items away just yet so instead I "thought" I was ready to go through Christi's "things" (keepsakes, photos, personal items I'm saving) and get them better organized - instead of stacked in a corner of our bedroom. (Shayla has been asking me for Christi's electronic diary and that was my main reason for starting the project.) For the first time, I opened the brown bag containing Christi's items from her school desk knowing it was going to be oh so hard, but never realizing the true treasure I'd find inside.

Everything was brand new: folders, markers, book covers, rulers, pencils, etc. It broke my heart knowing how much she loved school and that she only had a week of fifth grade; yet, I told myself to be grateful she made it that far as most with neuroblastoma do not make it to age nine. There was a folder; inside it contained two lovely sketches of cats and this lovely poem she wrote, three weeks before her death. I think it is beautiful and sort of makes me think it's like a note she left behind for them - even though I do not believe she realized how very ill she was at that point. Regardless, I hope all of her friends know she wrote it for them and how special they made her feel. She was so blessed with so many great friends!

“Friendship Never Ends”

By Christi Thomas
August 25, 2006

Friends forever
Stick together
Giving gifts
Sharing smiles.

Friends make recess all worthwhile
They help you celebrate any day
Make you feel good in any way
But the best thing about friends is
Friendship never ends.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007


I need to aplogize for not sending Christmas cards again this year. I really feel bad about that; however, I've already started setting up my database so that next year I can get back into the swing of things! Please accept our thanks and gratitude for all of the lovely cards, photos and letters we received. We really enjoy receiving them and next year will be back on the giving end - I promise!

Shayla prepares to put the carrots out for Santa's reindeer. This reminds me of one of my treasured photos of Christi doing the same thing, in the same spot, 2001 - age 4.

Shayla brought us great joy last night. After we sat for a very long time putting together a lovely 750 piece horse puzzle (a Christmas gift from the Grants) Shayla went off to play a few Christmas carols. She has no idea how sweet that was - and oh so reminiscent of what her big sister used to do! Throughout the day yesterday we followed the "Santa Tracker" watching the video clips, reading the updates, and then tracing Santa's journey on Shayne's globe. It was a lot of fun! Before we went to bed I reminded Shayla that this was our first Christmas at home without Christi and that she's never seen our tree with presents for just one girl before so it might not look like much without Christi's presents under the tree too. She said she understood that. I wrapped things in large boxes and arranged the gifts out away from the tree a bit so that it would look like a lot and I think she was very pleased, according to her many squeals of delight this morning!

When Shayla selected her jammies last night, I'm certain she had no idea she picked the same exact pair Christi wore for her last Christmas, when she was also 8 years old! I didn't realize it until I went back to look at the 2005 photos just a moment ago, wild!! It's been great having Grandma Nee Nee here and soon Aunt Marty & Uncle Jeff will arrive for lunch. Shayne has been "down" this morning, but of course I know why and that's ok! Although I'm missing Christi terribly this holiday season, I keep reminding myself how blessed I am to have one very special child with us! I know of others who have had their only child depart. Our thoughts are with them, with military families, and others separated from their loved ones!

(PHOTO 2007: Shayla, age 8, models the fancy, pink slippers Grandma Nee Nee gave her.)
(PHOTO: 2005, Christi, age 8, modeling her new slippers. They came in very handy that winter at CHOP!!)

Can you say "Blue & Sparkley?!!" Shayla is signed up for six ice skating lessons, at an indoor rec center, beginning in January. Thanks so much to a very special blogger she will have this amazing outfit to wear.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve

We are trying really hard not to let it hit us that it is Christmas Eve. To admit the fact, would be entirely too hard. Despite wanting to hop on a plane to try to escape, we stayed here at home as we promised Shayla last year we would, but it feels like it is killing us. I am so glad Shayne took the day off work - something he was rarely able to do when he worked at a bank. I really need him here today. Shayla and I will do some baking so that we can set out some cookies and milk for Santa - a family tradition now so hard without Christi. Shayla deserves to have a wonderful Christmas, despite how sad mom and dad are. We owe that to her! She continues to be the light of our lives, so compassionate, sweet, thoughtful and loving. We are truly blessed!

Gear's Family Christmas, Dec. 2005 It is always an incredible blessing to see new photos of Christi! This was the gathering Shayne took her to back in 2005 when I stayed home with Shayla (who had an earache, imagine that! hee hee). I thank Mary for taking these pictures and for kindly emailing them to me recently. I hated to miss the event, but I do remember Christi coming home and being so happy.
It was her last holiday season. As Shayla participated in the gift exchange there on Saturday night, I kept thinking about how Shayla is now the same age as Christi was for her final Christmas "8".

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Wedding Bells

Yesterday, we had the incredible privilege of attending the most beautiful wedding of one of my former (2nd grade) students and (7th and 8th) grade cheerleaders. Everything was absolutely perfect, delightful and lovely! Brittane comes from a fabulous family and it was great to see everyone - although our time was too short as we had to get to a family Christmas gathering. I cannot even explain how powerful it was catching up with so many of my former students and their parents. Shayne asked me, "How can you remember and ask them about classmates not here?" I had to explain being a teacher is like being a parent; you just remember your students.

Shayla was in all her glory - thoroughly enjoying EVERY part of the wedding: lighting the unity candles during Mass, ringing little wedding bells (and getting to keep them) as the newly weds came out of the church, seeing the limo, the toasts, the cake cutting - she LOVED it ALL!! She didn't remember ever attending a wedding before so I enjoyed explaining the different traditions to her. She really wanted to get her picture taken with Brittane - who of course was very busy, but we got one! Now I need to find the photo I have of Brittane, as an 8 year old, with me at our wedding. I think that will make Shayla laugh! Our very best wishes to this beautiful couple!
Perhaps you can see the excitement in Shayla. She was extremely excited waiting for the bridge and groom to appear outside the church. When they did, she happily rang the little bell we each were given. May they be blessed with a very long life together, filled with happiness and good health!

I don't know if Christi would have been old enough to remember this or not, but she loved going to this wedding. In this picture, we went to check out the horse drawn carriage. (It brought the bride and her father to the wedding.) Christi thought it was very neat! It was one of the many reasons I wanted a horse drawn carriage for her funeral.

It was great to be with Shayne's mom's family last night! As you can see, Grandma Nee Nee's leg is doing MUCH better. She has another surgery in January, but she is getting around really well - all things considered. When I told Shayla to sit on the floor with me so the elderly could sit on the couch that was enough to make Joan cough at me and sit on the floor. (She was not about to be considered elderly! hee hee). Of course, when we left, I think she may have still been sitting on the floor......hmmmmm. We'll see if she arrives at our house tomorrow night for Christmas Eve, or if we need to run back to Crestline to get her - hee hee.


Thursday, December 20, 2007

New School

I'm certain I've shared this one before, but it's an "oldie but goodie" hee hee! Christi was always a "root for the underdog" kind of gal. Reflecting back now upon how much she loved watching "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" and reading the books, it is no wonder she used to dress up as a reindeer, build Lego reindeer, draw reindeer and take a reindeer pillow to preschool. When I turned her p.b. sandwich into a reindeer at preschool one day she was so happy when the teachers held it up to show everyone. (cut off crusts, cut them diagonally, smash in small curly pretzel (antlers), raisin eyes and a "red hot" for a nose. (very cute!)
If I shared this family photo last year, I apologize for the repeat. Christmas 2001 - our last Christmas before Christi was diagnosed and things forever changed.

Today day was filled with strong emotions - good & bad. As soon as the students arrived at school today, they loaded up their things and we got on the big yellow bus and headed for our brand new k-12 school, about 10 miles away. I joked with my students all morning about not wanting to get the award for the teacher who lost the most boxes. After school yesterday, forty-five VERY LARGE boxes were stacked out in the hallway containing all of my teaching materials. This morning, incredible community members loaded them onto a semi trailer while we gave our students a school tour and showed them how to work locker combinations. (OK, we as staff members, forgot to tell them not to lock their combinations in their new lockers - oops!)

We did not know if the semi would arrive before our students had to get back, so that a new set of kids could go, or not. I kept joking with my homeroom, better your backs carrying 45 heavy boxes filled with books than mine!! When we received the announcement that the semi had indeed arrived and students could begin loading, I jumped up and down for my sweet, sweet students who only shook their heads and laughed at me. They were AMAZING!! In about ten minutes, all of the boxes were stashed around our incredible classroom and they were asking what else they could to to help. The first thing I got out and set up was Christi's picture and the second thing I did was cover a bulletin board with a very colorful background. (I need COLOR! Everything is so "clean and new" - and beige in the new school.) This is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity and never did I ever believe in my teaching career I would see this come to life! So many people worked so hard and are so deserving of thanks!

(Keep in mind Christi was almost always airsick when we flew on a small plane. This is not the most flattering picture of her, but she was indeed happy to look down and see her new school would be.)

On the other hand, I just kept thinking about the night the levy passed and how we let Christi jump up and down on our bed because she wanted one new school for all of us, instead of three very old schools in three different communities. I looked at her classmates many times today, blinking away tears wondering how tall she'd be and how excited she'd be.)

Because she was in Philadelphia in the hospital during the groundbreaking ceremony, her Angel Flight Pilot (and also her funeral director) flew the plane over the school site so that she could see the progress. I remember praying that day for her to be alive and to be able to attend that school.) When a sweet "blogger" (and our favorite newspaper journalist) emailed me that today she came across pictures of Christi that I had never before seen, I had to take that as my sign that Christi is indeed moving into that new school with all of us!

Tomorrow, I will walk out of the place where I have been blessed to have been employed for the past nineteen years. A place where my relatives went to school, where Shayne and I went to school and religion classes and the school Christi attended and Shayla has loved too. I do not want to be there on the day when it is demolished, because there already is a huge lump in my throat and I know walking out of that building tomorrow will be tearful for me. (Not Shayla! She LOVES her new playground!) The place is really incredible. I am filled with gratitude that I will be moving in with amazing (and downright silly) colleagues and students! What a blessing!

I came across this page in Christi's Preschool Scrapbook I kept for her. It was a page of things she could do herself! I had forgotten how she used to write "books" for the sweet ladies at the Upper Sandusky Library and she would "donate" them. They told her they kept them in the breakroom so they could enjoy them on their breaks. She was four years old and they made her so happy!
Shayla, Christi & Shelby play in the snow. (2001)

Monday, December 17, 2007


Shayla has been loving this huge amount of snow left behind by the weekend storm! We didn't realize it was a "level 3" (no driving, except for emergency vehicles) when we drove to the park to go sledding and snowboarding yesterday. I lasted about 10 minutes before I crawled back in Shayne's vehicle to watch them. Shayla had a blast - of course who wouldn't when Daddy not only arranges you perfectly on the sled and gives you a gentle push, but then he runs down the hill and pulls you back up on the sled so you don't have to walk. I was laughing so hard when I heard Shayla with her back flat on the sled yell up to Shayne, "This is hard riding up the hill backwards." What a Saint that grand daddy is!

Today Shayla and I are enjoying another "Snow Day". We made some "Coffee Bars" and toasted our "Cheers" to another snow day before having our dessert. Of course I had to tell Shayla that Christi never appreciated "snow days" like we do. She was always disappointed that she didn't get to go to school. I explained to Shayla that we should probably not be so happy today because we are going to have to make these days up at the end of the school year. (Oh, I wish you could have seen the look on her face - what a hoot!)

Well, I've yet to hear back from our local doctor who was going to get me the name of a different specialist for Shayla to go to, so.......thanks to AMAZINGLY SWEET BLOGGERS AND ADVOCATES sharing information with me, I made many phone calls, did some Internet searching and this morning transferred Shayla's paperwork, got pre-certified and have an appointment set up with a doctor in Columbus recommended to me by a "blogger" (and it actually works in my schedule)! Praise God! Thank you to all who contacted me and shared the horror stories you've lived with ear problems!! Just like her big sister, she is a real trooper - rarely complaining about not feeling well!

We made a pinata for Shayla's birthday party. (I think Shayla's 2nd birthday so Christi would be 3 1/2 year, swinging the bat in the kitchen while Daddy holds it.)
I'm so glad I recently discovered these great photos at my mom's.....and I'm so happy to say that pretty soon that dreaded kitchen floor is going to change!!!!! The NYC bathroom is currently "on hold". Let's just say, I had to break the news to Shayne that I didn't really like the color I picked out. Once on the walls it looked green and not gray. OOps! That sweetheart said, "No problem. I'll just take the mirror down and repaint it." Can you believe it?! I think he spoils me as much as Shayla!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Horse Holiday Program

An Oldie But Goodie: Photo taken at my sister's home just before Christmas. I am 7 months pregnant with Shayla and 1 year old Christi is in her jammies.

Thomas team thanks to Sylvia and her family for this most precious ChriStmas gift!! Shayla found the perfect spot on the tree for this amazing etching of Christi! This ornament will not be packed in a box in January; I think it will look lovely hanging somewhere all year. I really do try not to make our house a "Christi Shrine" but.....I loved her so!! How can we not?!

We really enjoyed watching Shayla & Buddy (and all of the other girls and their horses) ride in their Holiday Program. Claire bought Santa hats to fit over their riding helmets. They put red and gold bows and streamers on the horses’ tails and we thought they did a fabulous job of riding their horses in different patterns and styles to their songs. Shayne and I were so pleased that some friends and family members were able to attend for Shayla.
It was great they were able to come back to our house for sandwiches and conversation.

After school on Friday I took Shayla to the doctor’s for yet another ear ache. Much to my disappointment, after two years, her last ear tube has fallen out and what now? In Chicago last weekend she started in with an ear ache. She’s had three sets of tubes in five years. It seems to me every time the tubes fall out, she’s with ear aches again. I know this isn’t a big problem, like cancer; however, because she has had irreversible hearing loss from the infections and because she is allergic to two antibiotics and isn’t a good candidate for them, I called the doctor back this morning to get a referral to a specialist – a different specialist than we’ve been working with for five years. I should have a new doctor to call on Monday and hopefully we’ll get her problems fixed soon. Unlike neuroblastoma right now, there has to be something out there to help kids!

At the “History Mystery” dinner at the President Hayes Center last spring, I won four tickets to the Christmas Tea to be held tomorrow. We were excited about dressing up and meeting Grandma Nee Nee there. Well, due to the snow storm going on outside right now they called to cancel. They said they will let us attend next December. Although there is a winter storm going on, we’re not to far from the Ritz so we will be heading out to see the Chicago Ballet’s performance of “The Nutcracker” tonight. Shayla, our snow lover, has high hopes of playing in the snow tomorrow; we'll see.

We received some glorious phone calls this week! Our sweet friends are going to soon be adopting their baby!! Jenn called us to thank us for writing a letter of support for them nearly two years ago. They will be fabulous parents and I just wish it would not have taken them so long to finally get their child! Jennifer called to tell us Kids Cancer Crusade received its non-profit status! She’s worked so hard for such a great cause! And Shayne’s nephew, Josh, had a baby girl on Thursday! I think we’ll need to make a trip to Phoenix soon; babies just don’t stay little for long! Hee hee! May this precious baby be blessed with good health and happiness.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

She Made It

It wouldn't be the truth if I didn't say I had my doubts! It seemed it was going against all odds, given her own health issues, but that amazing Olivia ran the entire race and raised over $1,000! It's hard to see, but on the bottom of her race number, she wrote "For Christi". God bless sweet Olivia! We are so very proud of her and so grateful!

In honor of Christi, I am going to be running a 10K in NYC. All funds will be donated to the Christi Thomas Memorial Fund and the Kids Cancer Crusade. The organizations were established in honor of Christi and her love of learning, of the arts and of helping those most in need.

Olivia said: The 10K was great! It was a great experience, and while I was one of the more errr.....unfit (cough), of the crowd, I did not come in last! (Shocking, I know!) When I crossed the finished time and looked back at the clock, it said 1:19:09, which I thought was a very appropriate number given the inspiration.

I always look for "signs", I suppose they are somewhat like the orbs of life. The first one hit me as my mom and I were driving up to the run entrance. The run started at Central Park's East 102 Street entrance which most likely means nothing to anyone except that it is across the street from Mount Sinai, where my brother treated for 18 months. As we were looking for parking, which was surprisingly hard to find on a Sunday morning, my mom turned onto a nearby side street and said "Maybe we'll find something here, I used to always find parking here when we were here with Manny". And if you guessed that it took us a second to find parking there, you're right!

I would lie if I said the run was easy; it wasn't, but I did run the entire thing without stopping which made me very happy. At the half way mark, I passed the park where we had the Kids Walk for Kids event last May 12th (Christi's birthday). And then towards the end, as I was running up one of many hills, and considering the possibility of taking a little rest and walking some, I saw a bronze statue of a *cat*. Well, that did it. If I had needed any additional motivation, I didn't any more. It was a really great day, full of all of the little signs and signals that helped me remember why I was there in the first place.

I have to laugh at this picture of the girls with Paw Paw. Christi went through a short phase where she squeezed her eyes shut everytime she smiled for a pic. What a hoot! These are some of the photos I recently found and scanned at my mom's house.
Open your eyes, Christi! We want to see those pretty blue eyes, goofy!

SPECIAL PRAYER REQUEST: After school on Monday, I received a phone call which started out, "You don't know me, but I met you at Kings Island a few years ago while waiting in a food line. I followed Christi's website and had to introduce myself." Actually, I remembered her. (Perhaps only because my teenage niece asked me who it was I talked to and when I explained that she muttered, "Internet Stalker" and I laughed so hard!) This sweet mother told me she called because her 12 year old daughter died on Thursday and they buried her on Saturday. Tears came flying out of no where and I had to sit down as my heart went out to this mother. I really wish she would not have apologized for calling me and I truly hope I was able to help her and that she calls me again. I am so grateful she called and if she happens to be reading this, please know I didn't hang up on you, but my phone battery died. Please call back any time - day or night!! I ask for prayers for this family dealing with the unthinkable.

GOOD NEWS: I must share my great news! All three of my autumn quarter professors have now posted my grades and I'm thrilled to report I received all As in my classes I took. Whew!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


This may have been the most lovely Christmas tree, I'd ever put my eyes on. It was one of the many trees in the hotel lobby and it was stunning! We had enough hotel points for a free two night stay and breakfast at the Palmer House Hilton, a very old (135 years) historic hotel and absolutely gorgeous - all decorated for the holidays. The location was perfect for being able to walk everywhere and it was simply magical. Ironically, it was the same hotel we stayed with the girls back in 2000 when I had a teachers' conference and we remember so many things about Christi in that amazing hotel! We miss that little sweetpea and wish we could take a picture of TWO girls in front of the tree; yet, we realize how very, very blessed we have to have ONE!

Thank you, sweet bloggers! Without a doubt, we have the smartest and sweetest bloggers on earth!The guesses were all fabulous: NYC or Chicago! Way to go!! Shayne asked me what I wanted for my 40th birthday. I said, "to go to Chicago." That amazing man said, "OK, we can do that. Look at the calendar and find a weekend." It was a magical 40 hours for my 40th birthday celebration in the windy city!

Where O' Where Photos:

American Girl Store-waiting in line for the 9:00 AM doors to open on Saturday.
Ice Skating- in Millennium Park (Incredible....and free if you have your own skates, no line either, whew!)
Field History Museum- in front of dinosaur "Sue". (Thanks to our COSI pass, we enjoyed free admission!)
Christkindle Market with sweet Christi supporters
Macy's - Amazing Storefront Windows. WOW!
Before going to see "Wicked"

(PHOTO: March 2006 in Philadelphia on a four hour "pass" from the hospital.) Seeing "Wicked" was the favorite for all of us. Shayne and I had to exchange a few looks during the show as we were really missing Christi. Christi ABSOLUTELY LOVED this musical when she saw it in Philadelphia in March of 2006. She had memorized two of the songs and after her death, it was many months before I would play the CD for Shayla because it was too hard for me. Now Shayla has the same two songs completely memorized "Loathing" and "Popular" and I have to sometimes catch my breath because it sounds like Christi! I love hearing her precious little voice sing as we drive and listen to the CD my sister sent to Christi, but how it always makes my heartache as I miss Christi's voice so much!

We were in awe by the fascinating window displays at Macy's. I'd never seen anything like that! This year's theme "The Nutcracker" - perfect as I just read Shayla that story last week in preparation for us to go to the Nutcracker this weekend at the Ritz!

Shayla really enjoyed the Art Institute. She asked to sketch in one of the galleries. She did and it reminded us so much of the many art museums Christi loved to sketch in.

Recently, Shayla told me the thing she misses most about Christi being gone is not having a playmate. When she asked me what I missed most, I told her when Christi would snuggle her little body into my lap or arms and cuddle with me. (Although it really is hard to try to decide just one thing I miss most that just came to me.)

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Where O' Where?

This one "should" be relatively easy. Any guesses as to where Shayla spent the weekend?