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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Saturday, January 10, 2009

Snowing & Scrapping

All is fine and it is actually wonderful to be back into a routine with school/work/activities back in session. We enjoyed a “snow day” one day this week. Earlier this year we decided that we would spend any “snow days” we might be blessed with working on her 4H project of “Scrapbooking”. She’s making her first scrapbook featuring all of her “drama/theatre” activities for the year and then she will enter that project at the fair this summer. In the morning we sorted out all of the supplies I had, set her goals for the project, made some decisions and printed out select photos. Once the roads were cleared in the afternoon, we went to a scrapbook store to select her album. I’d noticed the new store, but had never gone in. While looking around trying to locate “drama things” (nearly impossible) I asked the saleswoman how long they’d been opened. She told me they closed their New Riegel and Clyde stores and moved it all here a few months ago. My heart fell. I inquired, “Is this is the same store that was in New Riegel, across from the “New Riegel Café”? She said, “Yes.” I quickly turned. Tears came out of no where and I mumbled to myself, “That was the last store I ever took Christi in.”

August 2006: Shayne’s dad was in town and we went to take him out for ribs in New Riegel. There was a wait for a table so I decided to walk the girls across the street to the scrapbook store to pass the time. Christi fell in love with the store and I suggested she could start a scrapbook if she’d like. She picked out two papers (animals) and a sticker sheet (animals). She said her first page would be about our summer trips to the African Wildlife Safari Park. Shayla picked out “My First Day of 2nd Grade” papers as school had just started. Unfortunately, that was Tuesday and by Friday Christi was in horrific off and on pain. Sunday was her final trip back to Philadelphia as we knew things had taken a terrible turn for the worse. I came across those untouched pages in the scrapbook tub we went through the items in the morning. To see them that morning hurt my heart and then to have it happen all over again that afternoon in the store was freaky. I really miss her! She wasn’t perfect, but she really was extraordinary and I loved her to piece!

Shayla was surprised at how long it took to get everything just right and to make decisions, but when Shayne came home from work she was beaming with pride, anxious to show him what she’d done during the day. I was simply marveling at her two pages myself.

She also spent her “snow day” learning how to cook eggs and creating lots of art for Grandma Nee Nee’s room while I worked on lesson plans and dissertation stuff. Nee Nee was discharged from the hospital in Toledo and now is at a closer location where she is having her therapy since her hip replacement surgery. While talking with her on the phone I was able to ask her exactly what happened.

She parked her vehicle and was walking to meet friends when she heard her hip crack and down she went. She fell in the parking lot and could not yell even though she tried and knew she should. Meanwhile, someone came out and got into their truck, backed up and drove off. She doesn’t know how they didn’t back over her because it was so close and they obviously were not able to see her on the ground. When she didn’t show up, her friends looked and could see her vehicle out in the parking lot so they went looking for her and there she was on the ground. (Thank God for friends!) The ambulance came about an hour later and transported her first locally and then to Toledo.

(PIC: Coloring by Christi, 2004, age 7) We thank God that she did so well with the surgery and that she seems really happy in her new location where she’ll be staying for some time. Shayla did a fabulous job decorating her room, talking a lot about how Christi’s room was always colorful with things hanging on the walls and things for Christi to do. It was terribly odd going to visit her. It was in the evening and no one was around. (Our favorite time with Christi in the hospital because it was finally, in the evenings, when we felt like we had some privacy and could be a family, not waiting for someone to walk in and give directions or something). As we pushed Nee Nee in the wheel chair around the center looking for something to do, it was really was eerie as I kept looking down in the wheelchair expecting to see Christi. What also struck me as odd was that Shayla was suddenly so tall. During our hospital times together, Shayla was so little (ages 3-7) and suddenly it was like I wasn’t watching out for her too, but she was tending to the one in the wheelchair. Shayla’s anxious to get back and visit with Nee Nee because there is a wii there that Nee Nee has been playing and Shay wants to set up an email account for her grandma so they can email. Nee Nee is willing and just beamed to have us there visiting with her and eating her snacks. What a hoot! I love her so much!

Another big snow storm hit last night and it's still coming down. Shay still had her horse riding lesson and when we were all outside in the snow late last night it was still, surreal, and simply gorgeous. I wondered if Heaven could be so lovely. Today the other two family members are talking of going skiing yet this weekend. I think I’ll pass this time and stay back to continue work on my dissertation. (Entering all of the data I’ve received thus far is taking much longer than I anticipated.) I cannot even explain how exciting and empowering it is, and how very well it is going. (Or the fact that things seem to take longer than you’d ever imagine, hee hee.) Nearly 700 “invitations to participate” were mailed out on Dec. 26th. I worried over the trip whether anyone would be willing to work with me, especially with zero compensation. I kept thinking how will I expand my recruitment efforts when no one responds. When we returned home from vacation a week later, I had received eight “I want to participate” questionnaires which was simply shocking to me (and my advisor). As of today, I have nearly 40 and the due date is not until Jan. 14th. I will soon be working with my Advisor and following my predetermined purposeful selection process to identify the ten National Board Certified Teachers I will be studying. Also this week I had another big step forward as I conducted my two pilot interviews on my friends. Now I’m working on the time consuming word-for-word transcriptions. I’m so grateful Stephanie and Jerry agreed to help me as I value their insight so much and really appreciate their time as they’re incredibly busy individuals. I never have enough time to talk with my teacher friends so this was nice as after we finished our work, I called back just to chat and to learn what I needed to change.

The SMART board I wrote the grant for this summer and received was installed in my classroom over break. I’ve been having a blast learning how to incorporate the many interactive components involved. (And my amazing 6th graders have been teaching me “tricks” to learn and giving me little things to practice before the next day when they check up on me – so cute!) One of my 7th grade boys said to me during a lesson, “This class is better than cable TV.” I responded jokingly, “The grading period doesn’t end until next Friday; you don’t need to start sucking up yet. You’ve got some time.” He said, “No! I’m serious. Your class is really fun.” (Something about challenging the ladies to the gentleman in a game format always brings out incredible competition, adding the power of the SMART board has the potential to make that work even better I determined this week.) Although we had an incredible vacation and an amazing break, I learned it was nice to be back to work. I really missed my students and colleagues!


At 10/1/09 4:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like you will have plenty of participants, but in case you need more, you could join Facebook...there is a group for NBPTS teachers there, and it would be a great place to recruit.

At 11/1/09 8:15 AM, Blogger Lisa D :) said...

So good to hear this update, and to know all is going so well with your schooling Angela.
Shayla -- you're scrappin' now! Awesome news that you're making this very cool scrapbook! Be sure to share your pages with us here. I scrapbooked this weekend too! :)

At 12/1/09 12:25 PM, Blogger HeatherB said...

Great job on your pages Shayla! They look great!! :)

Angela- I'm glad you've had such a good response to your questionaires. I hope the SMART board teaching continues to go well. You students are soooo blessed to have YOU for a teacher!

With love and prayers,

At 12/1/09 3:04 PM, Anonymous Rowan said...

This comment will probably seem very random, but I've been wanting to post this to you for a while, so I thought today is as good as time as ever.

I have never commented the blog before, but I've followed your families story since a few months before Christi passed away, and I just want to say how touched and moved I am by your family and how you cope with the trials that have been dealt to you.

I am a fourteen year old girl who lives in the UK. I discovered Christ's website through another Neuroblastoma fighters website who is now also an angel in Heaven. (Samantha Hughes.) I was immeditely moved by Christi's, and indeed your entire families strength and courage through your journey. There was something about precious Christi that just jumped out at me...Perhaps it's because she seemed to remind me so much of myself as a nine year old.

I was constantly amazed by her beauty, grace and courage as she fought her fight. She truly inspired me.

The main reason I wanted to post this comment was to tell you that I will make sure in my life that Christ's legacy lives on. I've always had an intrest in medicine, as even thought I know it's a very very hard profession to get into, I've always been detirmined that will someday be my career. After reading Christi's story, and others like her, I've had a hope that I will maybe one day become an oncologist, and do all I can to help remarkable children just like your daughter. Maybe I am overly ambitious, and too young to decide my path in life yet, but working with kids in oncology is something I really want to do. I imagine it is a heart-wrenching career, but I have no doubt the rewards would be worth it - And after knowing about childen like Christi there is nothing more in life I want to do them help them in every way I possibly can.

The chances of my getting this "dream job" are probably very low - But I just wanted to let you know that if I ever achieve my goal, I will make sure Christi's legacy and memory carry on in my work. She was truly amazing, and clearly meant for greater things then this world could offer.

There are several things that motivated me to post this comment today - First, today I took a science exam which will be a very very early step in achieving my goal, and also, today marks one year since I lost a friend to cancer. As a result, my friend and Christi, and the thousands others like her, have been on my mind all day, and I just wanted to share with you what impact your amazing daughter has had on my life.

May God bless and comfort you and your family always.


At 12/1/09 8:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a follower of the blog who you don't know. I can't remember how I first heard of Christi but she was an amazing little girl. Anyways, I have a story that I wanted to share with you today:
I am a sophomore in highschool and I'm on my school gymnastics team. My best event is balance beam but it's also an event that it is really easy to fall from, and by far the most nerve-wracking event. At today's meet, I had had a tough warmup and I was terrified for my routine. As I was standing there, about to compete, a girl from the other team was beginning her floor routine. I heard her teammates shouting, "Go Seneca!" and I instantly thought of Christi and her favorite place- her school. With Christi in mind, I began my routine and thought of her for the whole thing. Part way through it, another girl began her floor music and I heard, "Go Christi!". Again, my thoughts went away from the nerves and on to Christi. For the first time this season, I nailed my beam! I truly believe Christi had everything to do with my success. Just thinking of her gave me the courage to attack my routine the way she would've. I could feel Christi's presense all the way through, helping our team. I just thought I should share that with you. You have raised two really special girls, and neither will ever be forgotten. I'm glad Shayla had a fun snow day- those are my favorite too! :) Have a GREAT week Thomas Team!



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