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, May 30, 2009

2009 Christi Thomas Memorial Poker Run

The Tiffin Moose had this sweet sign out on the front lawn advertising today's benefit.
Again this year, the tee shirts were lovely! THANK YOU!
Many thanks to Tiffin City's finest for the police escort through town. (I'll never forget the police officers, wearing their dress blues, saluting throughout Christi's entire funeral procession. I understand it was twenty minutes long and they were so impressive then - and now!)

I didn't think it would be emotional, but then suddenly it hit me and then tears started flowing and wouldn't stop as over 100 motorcycles rode by us at noon today. Christi used to love to watch the motorcycle parade, even though I don't think she ever really "got" why it was all going on. Also, I'll never forget the 2006 CT Poker Run, when Christi was in the hospital in Philadelphia. Shayne called from his cell phone so that she could hear the "roar" they made as they rode by him and she wanted him to count the motorcycles for her. He did, over 100. On the day of her funeral, many of those same sweet ladies and gentleman came out (70 bikes) to give her a final escort to her resting place. I couldn't help but think of their kindness as I tried to take pictures while wiping away gushing tears.

This was terribly emotional too. Uncle Steve bought Uncle John's motorcycle and rode in the poker run for the first time today, just as Uncle John always did. Jenny drove up with a friend for the meal. While I told her it was so hard to see Uncle Steve on Uncle John's bike she assured me, "John wanted him to have it and would be glad he's here riding it for him today." In 2006, Jenny had a new motorcycle "trike" and she was going to ride with Christi to lead the group through town, but Christi was in the hospital. I understand Jenny was terribly disappointed. I know Chrsiti would have really loved that too! Hopefully, today in Heaven, Uncle John was giving Christi and all of her angel friends motorcycle rides.
Beautiful girls, inside and out, serving the chicken dinner - again! What love!
We discovered many photos of Uncle John. Here Jenny is looking at them. My heart breaks for her as she starts this new life without John. She is soooooooooo sweet!
An incredible turnout and a gorgeous day! What a blessing!
Sweet, long-time friends enjoying the meal after their ride.

I don't have the official count yet, but when we headed out so we could watch all of the motorcycles ride by us at noon, there were 108 motorcycles registered for today's ride. Simply amazing! One sweet lady came up and introduced herself to me as a former cheerleading coach too. She said, "This really shows you how many lives Christi touched." She went on to say, "I looked up and saw your family standing in the back of the truck waving to us all as we started off and I thought it was so great to see you, then I could see you and your husband were crying and I couldn't look at you anymore because it hit me so hard as to why we were all gathered here today and I cried all the way out of town." I could only squeak out, "We miss her so much." We really, really do.
Shayla helped us work registration this morning. She's a trooper!

The Thomas Team thanks to everyone for coming out today and for spending countless hours and dollars making today's fundraiser for Christi's Memorial Fund a tremendous success. May God richly bless you all! THANK YOU!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Weekly Update & Poker Run Saturday

Shayla will be starting her sixth week at her new school on Monday. Although she will tell you she does not like it, I think she's doing as well as possible. She has sweet friends there and has thrived academically so that's about all I could ask for at this point. I'm not about to ask her to be happy about it.

She had a very special school week. On Tuesday, she performed "Us" by Shel Silverstein with a sweet classmate in the school talent show. They dressed in black and white outfits, stood back to back and had every other line memorized. When they practiced at our house, I thought it was grand. Shay Shay said it went well.

On Wednesday, she was picked up by a friend's mom at 5:30 am to catch the bus for an INCREDIBLE class field trip to Amish Country. She talked non-stop as soon as she got back home that night. Shayla has many new places she'd like us to visit when we are there next week with Mom and Joe.

Thursday was the after school bowling and pizza party for her class's reading award celebration. When I picked her up she seemed to be having a grand time with a bunch of girls. One told me she won the bowling game, but Shay said it was pure luck. I was also able to speak with her principal and teacher at the bowling alley to get the scoop from them. They think she's doing great.

This weekend she's having both SE and Tiffin friends over to our home to play. Shayla will be THRILLED when school is out, but hey - so will I!

This week we also had family pictures taken at Shayne's suggestion. It's still so hard for me because I think we should be a family of four and when I see just three of us I have to tell myself Christi took the pictures. (Of course, Skeeter - the leased horse - managed to get in the "family" pictures, but oh well, Shayla certainly spends enough time with him to be family, I guess.) Regardless, I'm anxious to see the pictures the photographer took out at "Lane of Dreams".

On Wednesday afternoon, I had laser surgery done on my eyes and it was like a miracle! I'd wanted it done for years, but had been too frightened. (Shayne had his done in the spring of 2002 and when he described the odor of "burnt chicken" that day I knew I would never get up the guts to do it, but somehow I did. OK, I breathed through my mouth so I wouldn't smell anything and it worked, whew!) When I was on the table positioned under the machine I decided to tell them I changed my mind I could not go through with it, but then I thought of Christi and I knew she never had the option of backing out and saying "no thank you" so I went through with it despite the incredible nauseous feeling. I won't say I'd want to rush out and do it again, but it was not as bad as I thought it would be. I just wish for the first eye I would have told them to be quiet and not describe what they were doing to me....we're numbing your eye, we're opening the flap, we're applying the treatment (all 16 seconds of it), etc. For the second eye I told them to please talk about the Cavs game or something because talking about the surgery was making me sick.

Prior to the surgery, Dr. Young thought I might have better than 20/20 vision when he was done with the surgery and when I went back to him on Thursday afternoon, I found out that is true! It's 20/15! I can't believe how scared I was, but I am oh so very glad I did it! I can see like I've never seen before. And I can see when I wake up in the middle of the night, I can see in the shower, I can see when I look down at the scale. Everything is crystal clear - so much better than ever before. Trees have individual leaves and different shading - amazing! I really can't believe it. Praise the Lord for clear vision and for an easy time of it all!

Humor: One of my classes was really intrigued by the eye surgery I was about to have. One of the students had just watched a show on the Discovery Channel about it and he was explaining it to us, despite the fact I told him I really did not want to know what they were going to do to me. When I was telling that to the doctor he said I should have brought my students because they could have watched it on a video screen in the waiting room. I thought that would have been soooooo cool. I wish I could have done that! Now I wouldn't let just any class watch my eye surgery, but THAT class, oh I absolutely love those kids, that would have been awesome. So, I told them what the doctor said and then we found an Internet site that showed a short simulation. We watched that today, their final day of my reading class. What a hoot! I'm going to miss them so very, very much!

REMINDER: Tomorrow (Saturday) is the Christi Thomas Memorial Poker Run.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day 2009

Shayla enjoyed performing, in her rainboots, at the Ritz Saturday night with her dance friends.
I don't believe we went to the drive in in 2007 or 2008, some things with special memories are just so hard; however, after Shayla's TRIDEA dance performance at the Ritz Saturday night, we stopped off to watch "Monsters & Aliens" at the Drive-In on our way to the lake. Thankfully, Shayne crawled on top of the van to watch the movie so Shayla wasn't alone.
Christi (left) Shayla (right), June 2005 The Annual Trip to the Drive-In Movies.
The girls loved sitting on top of the van each year watching a movie.
The annual "Walleye Festival" in Port Clinton, Memorial Day Weekend
Shayla with her "condo friend". The girls emailed all winter long. They've now spent the last two weekends together, picking up right where they left off.

Memorial Day - certainly gives us new meaning since Christi's gone.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

2009 S.E. Scholarships - Awards Ceremony

Today's miscellaneous pictures have nothing to do with the text, but they make me smile to see Christi so I put them here; I miss her! (This picture, December 2005, was taken by Christi's awesome Girl Scout leader at the end of one of their meetings. It shows the card Christi made to send good wishes to a solider fighting for us over seas. I actually love seeing her hair like that because that's how she looked when she came up to my room after school, like she had a busy day in 4th grade. In a matter of weeks, all that messy hair was gone. Ugh!)

As always, we dreaded the day. It's not that we don't love helping others and sharing our deceased daughter's life, we do. It's just sickening because we know why we are there - because she died, not because she lived. If she would have lived, we'd be paying for her tuition instead. It just seems wrong. I don't know. On a happier note, I can say that we have awarded nearly $20,000 to students over the past 2 1/2 years since Christi's death.

(Pic: Putting our carrots for the reindeer on Xmas Eve, Dec. 2002. At that time WE knew we were leaving Shayla and heading to NYC in about three days, but the girls did not know that yet. Tough memories.)

One of the sweet Seniors who won one of Christi's scholarships stopped by my classroom during my conference period on Christi's birthday, May 12th, the due date for these applications. I was caught off guard, while thinking about it all and wondering if we are really doing the right thing or not. It is a lot of work and we can't give scholarships to everyone. I must have seem very perplexed and very sad, because the next day a letter was dropped off for me. These kids are great! It really picked me up.

(PIC: Kicked Back on the Disney Cruise, Dec. 2005) "Today I came to visit and I noticed you seemed a bit different. Given what today is, I can understand, but there is something I want you to know......" This sweet student went on to write really kind things, but what made me laugh out loud were the remembrances back to 8th grade reading class, things I had forgotten about....."I will never forget that lady who would hold our book discussions during 3rd period with chocolate milk that was only luke-warm because the microwave she kept under the desk didn't work properly, yet she told us to picture ourselves drinking coffee in a bookstore to try to really get us into the discussions. The lady that was always smiling or laughing, or the lady that was always there with her camera, ready to take our picture of anything special we might do in her unique class." I am going to miss these kids and my colleagues so very, very much! They're an awesome group. Just before the day ended Friday, a graduating Senior came down to say goodbye on his final day of school. I wished him well and hope he keeps in touch. I have the most rewarding and wonderful job.

We explained to Shayla that we would be giving the Seneca East Christi Thomas scholarships out soon and we said she could make the decision whether she attended or went to school that morning instead. Without missing a beat she said, "I want to go." Friday evening I asked her if it was pretty sad and hard for her to stand up there and help award the money, or if she liked it and she said, "It is sad because I am reminded about how much I miss Christi. I also like being a part of the help too." I think we'll have to make her an official ex-officio member next year or something. Thursday night she said she would read off the certificates, but when I put the microphone in front of her she shook her head no (and the audience laughed). Friday night she told me, "I panicked and thought what if I can't pronounce a name right?" She did announce Katie's $1,000 award, but she practiced that Thursday night.

As I took my 7th graders back to class, Shayne asked Shayla if she wanted to go visit the 4th graders. (Oh, I didn't know if that was a good idea or not. Friday night she told me she was hoping she'd get to see them. She said, "While waiting for our turn, I kept praying that when we were done they'd be out in the hall walking somewhere so I could see them.) Shayne took her to her old class where she was attacked by all of the students, so happy to see her. I understand she started crying when she hugged her former teacher. They've been emailing. Shayla recently emailed:

We drove by your old house recently. It made me sad. Remember when you used to babysit me there? Remember when we blew up a pickle for the science experiment? You are the best science teacher. I miss you!

Friday, May 22, 2009

2009 Christi Thomas Seneca East Scholarships

PIC: The 2009 Seneca East scholarship winners who were awarded $2,500 this morning in the Seneca East gymnasium.

The beautiful Miss Katie won this year's $1,000 award. Four out of the five selection committee members gave their highest points to Katie. As one of the judges, I can tell you I would have been very happy to have any of these seven individuals represent Christi's memory. They are all incredibly awesome kids!

One student wrote: "Christi's example of living life to the fullest is inspiring and I plan to follow this philosophy in my own life and to pass it along to those who I may encounter in my future."

Katie wrote: Because I have been a witness to Christi Thomas's courageous battle with cancer, I now realize how priceless life is. Even while enduring horrible cancer treatments, this beautiful little girl was able to find the good in everyone and fun in everything. Her love of reading, learning and experiencing new things was a blessing by giving her relief from her pain and disease. Christi has been and will remain an inspiration for many Seneca East students as we will remember both the good and bad aspects of Christi's cherished life. This dreadful life experience is a lesson that no one hopes to teach and that many doesn't realize they are learning from until they look back in retrospect and realize how it has played a role in their life. I now know that Christ's life, though extremely too short, was a remarkable one filled with unforgettable life experiences, learning, unending love, and happiness; what every parent wishes for their child. I am very lucky to have learned at an early age the important life lessons of living one's life to the fullest, making the best of every situation, and to never stop learning; even more so because these lessons came to me from a precious child named Christi.

One applicant wrote:
Helping others has significantly changed my life and by continuing my education, I will be able to help disadvantaged youth which will give me the opportunity to help change their lives and in so doing, carry on Christi's spirit of giving.

Another great kid wrote: I have witnessed what simple acts can do to change a person's day for the better and I believe that the world needs more of these acts. The acts are small ones, such as smiling to a strange or dropping a note to a friend, but they mean much more to those people. This is the kind of person I believe Christi was and wants the rest of us to be. The people that go through life serving others live some of the most rewarding lives in history. The word needs more people who will help others for nothing in return. Christi was an example for many people to follow. I hope that I am one too.

I had to get back to class as soon as we announced these winners so I left my camera with a wonderful colleague of mine who was staying for the whole program; thankfully we now have these pictures! THANKS!

Thursday, May 21, 2009


(PIC: Christi's last Memorial Day Weekend, May 2006 - after not being able to fly home for the last day of 4th grade, Christi was so sad, so I booked a trip to the Great Wolf Lodge in PA. Shayne and Shayla driving in really lifted her spirits. She had just been put through a very grueling treatment and it was great to see her smile and play with Shayla.)

CELEBRATE: I have now completed all 33 interviews and 100% of my data collection for my doctoral dissertation! Praise be to God! I'm now in the midst of data analysis, which actually has been on-going since the beginning of data collection, Feb. 1st. Although I will soon be meeting with my advisor to see if all six of us on my dissertation committee will be able to be in agreement with this, I'm currently scheduled to write chapters 4 & 5 in June and July (The first 16 pages of Chapter 4 are complete and approved, I've been working hard, about 100 pages yet to go) and to defend at the end of August. Although a ton of constant work is ahead of me, I think it's possible. I don't believe I can make the OSU August graduation date; therefore, I will most likely graduate in December. Although I wanted all the excitement and hoopla of the big June outside graduation "in the shoe", I'm fine with December instead. I just want to be done! This was exactly the timeline I shared with BGSU during my interviews and they are fine with that. (I just have to have my Ph.D. by May of 2010 for BG. My advisor said, "No problem!" But.......she's not the one with all of the analysis and writing to do - that would be me. smile.)

June 2006, age 9. I have been asked to do some "consultant work" for BGSU this summer as they're aligning some graduate level items National Board standards so I have a couple of dates set up to do that and I'm extremely excited about getting to campus and helping out. I've also been invited to a faculty planning session in June even though I don't officially start until mid-August. I can't wait to get up there - and to get the boxes into my office and out of my garage - hee hee! (Sorry dear family and thank you for putting up with this transition I'm in the midst of.)

Summer 2006: Swimming with her friends from Dance Unlimited I wish I could say Shayla was loving her new school, like she loves her dance school, but she's not - not at all. I have reminded myself that she had a tough time when we moved to our brand new school last year too. (And of course she didn't want to go to preschool in NYC when she was four either. Like my mom reminded me, she's never liked change much less big ones like this.) While I was feeling horrible at one point, I reminded myself that she doesn't like anything new. Shayne reminded me, like new shoes or new jeans. And when he got his new truck last December, she hated that too. So true, so true! Thankfully, she's made friends and I believe it is a great school with a super staff and she's doing well. (They don't have an on-line grading system like we do so it's hard to really know, but her papers look fine and she doesn't seem to be struggling with anything anymore or at least she's not complaining about that.) They have all really bent over backwards to make her feel welcome. It's hard to believe it's her 4th week already. I just wish she liked it there. I also think, perhaps, many people built up the school so much that possibly she thought it would be like a big book store, or a circus, or an arts festival when really, it's still a school with homework and math - just one everyone seems to really love. I'm so glad she made this transition now as that should make the fall less stressful and the summer less worrisome. She continues to be at the top of my nightly pray list because this has been so hard for her.

I've had some wonderful news. In December, I submitted a proposal to present a session at the National Middle School Association's annual conference. This fall's conference is within driving distance so I knew it wouldn't be too expensive for me to go. After I hit "submit", I said a prayer that if my proposal was good enough to be selected for the national conference that I'd actually get to go. (I imagined myself crawling into my Superintendent's office begging him to somehow let me go even though I would have to pay for all expenses on my own. I've often said my school's biggest weakness is that we do not provide or promote high quality professional development experiences for our teachers. I know it's often the first thing to go with budget cuts, but it's so important - and does it ever come back as it should?! Hmmmmmmmm. Not in my mind.)

While interviewing at BGSU, someone asked me about my membership in the NMSA. While speaking, I shared that I had submitted a proposal and was hopeful that I'd be selected to present a session on "Adolescent Literacy Strategies". They wished me well and told me that is exactly what they encourage their faculty to do, to get out making professional presentations and representing BGSU and that there is professional development monies to do so. (I was shocked as I knew, if I got the professor position, it would be in stark contrast to what I'd previously experienced in my own school district.) Much to my delight, I recently received word that my proposal was selected and I will indeed be presenting at the national conference! I forwarded the email to my new boss who congratulated me and reminded me that funding would take care of the costs involved. It was also suggested that I encourage my college students to join that professional organization and to attend the conference if they can afford to do so. It will be years before it is again within driving distance. Praise be to God! Sweet!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Tub

Recently, I went through the "funeral pile" - the many items friends so lovingly displayed for me at the funeral home. Pictures, keepsakes and art projects had been stacked up in our bedroom and walking by it each night was hard; yet, I felt putting it away would be disrespectful to Christi. But I did it. I spent entirely too much on laminating (close to $50.00) but I wanted to preserve Christi's many art projects the best I could). Now it's all in a tub in the crawl space in the basement which sickens me; yet I KNOW her life was much more than a tub filled with keepsakes.

Going through that was hard, but not nearly as hard as cleaning out and deciding what to do with her jewelry. Christi had received many lovely little gifts over the years, especially after she was diagnosed with cancer. (Cute little items with "Christi" on them.) I'm not positive, but I think dealing with those precious keepsakes was possibly harder than closing the lid on the tub. Regardless, it all just stinks!

"What happiness there is for you who weep for the time will come when you shall laugh with joy." - Luke 6:21 (PIC: Good times! The girls racing down the driveway to welcome me home in coordinating "Scooby" dresses Aunt V bought them.) This is how I want to remember Christi's life, lived fully, not just the "leftovers" of it - now stored in a plastic tub.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Ritz Theatre Camp Scholarships in Christi's Memory

(PIC: Center - Christi's last theatre camp, June 2006) Some may remember Christi's fondness of theatre and of attending the Ritz Theatre's Youth Summer Camp. Again for the third year year we donated a scholarship in Christi's memory so that a needy child from Tiffin City Schools would be able to attend. Much to our surprise and delight that sweet gal from NYC donated one again this year too for another child to get to attend, then much to our shock, her mom did one too! God's people are good!

This is what this amazing and thoughtful gal from NYC wrote to the Ritz Director:
You probably don't remember me. I'm _________ and I'd like to donate two scholarships for kids for the Ritz Theatre's summer theatre camp for this summer in memory of Christi Thomas. I am sending you (well my mom is) a check today.

I hope someone will really enjoy the summer camp and remember always that it is the beautiful Christi (who was my age) who sent them not really me.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Music Man Ends

Yesterday afternoon was the 5th and final performance of "The Music Man". (PIC: Shayla, peach dress, on right)

While Shayla thoroughly enjoyed everything about being in it, we found we really missed spending time with her every night because she was at rehearsals instead. Thankfully (for us) that's over! We like being with her too; she's really fun.

Having fun, performing with new and old friends, and getting to wear make-up! She loved sharing this dressing room with three "older" girls. (In fact, two of them I knew as Christi's former dance/gymnastic classmates - made it kind of hard for me actually, but Shayla loved being with the "big" girls.)

I'm thankful many of our friends and family were able to come to town to watch her as it also allowed us to visit with them. Friends and family = tremendous blessings!

As I was getting ready to leave Shayla for practice one night early in their practices, a retired teacher from another town came up to me and said she just learned that Christi died. She retired the same year Christi was diagnosed and didn't know what happened to her, but she said she never expected to hear that. As we stood together both trying to blink away tears another sweet woman in the cast stepped forward and said, "Is this Shayla Thomas, Christi's sister?"

She introduced herself by saying, "I never put two and two together! I sent cookies to Christi in Philadelphia. I'm so sorry she didn't make it." I thanked her for the gift and told her how hungry Christi was for cookies at the end of her life. I'm so glad she said something and that I could meet her in person. Before yesterday's final show, I snuck a gift in her dressing room before she arrived, and a bookmark designed by Christi. (Pic: September 2006, at CHOP, trying to enjoy TV with daddy, but in a lot of pain)

Out of all of the musical pictures from the past two weekends, this is the only photo where an "orb" appeared. This is Shayla with her grandparents. Although she's done at the Ritz (until next weekend, cough) Shayla is anxious for school to get out and for Ritz Theatre Camp to begin. They will be performing "Pinocchio" this year. She can't wait!

In mourning over the loss of John I came across another picture I like because it shows him happy and surrounded by his family. Shayla is the little one in the picture. She just received a Christmas gift from Uncle John and Jenny, 2001. Rest in peace, Uncle John. We miss you!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Rest in Peace, Uncle John

Shayne notified me at 8:30 yesterday morning that Uncle John passed away. Although we knew it wouldn't be long, as he had been diagnosed with cancer, I still had to walk out of my classroom to get myself together. This is how I would like to remember Shayne's Uncle John, happy and feeling well. (Christmas Party, 2005)
(Uncle John, far left, was always a huge supporter of the Christi Thomas Poker Runs. He will be missed, photo June 2004) I hope he's giving Christi motorcycle rides in Heaven (and that's she's wearing a helmet) although when I told that to Shayla after school she told me that they probably didn't have helmets in Heaven because everything is probably soft and cushy with no pain or accidents. Good point, Shay.
I'm glad we were able to spend some time with John at Tony's wedding on May 3rd. Although he was in a lot of pain from the disease, we were able to talk with him such a short time ago. He asked Shayla about her horse. While I know John is happy to be reunited with his mom and dad, my thoughts are with sweet Jenny, left here behind!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The 12th Birthday

(Father Joe came to visit Christi soon after she arrived.) I made it through the dreaded day ok. It was just in stark contrast of her real birthday - a day FILLED with joy and delight. Our precious child finally arrived, after seven years of dating and nearly seven years of marriage. Who would have ever guessed that she was most likely born with that evil beast, neruoblastoma. She seemed perfect to me.

(Christi wanted to make Shayla a gift for her birthday, so she did. I think Shayla liked receiving this piggy Christi crafted for Christi's birthday.) Shayla has told us before she doesn't want to be left out on things so Shayne said when he went to drive her to school on Tuesday he said, "Today is Christi's birthday. She would have been 12." Shayla nodded and put her chin down to her chest. He said he nearly burst into tears knowing how much she must miss Christi too. PICTURE: Christi's 9th and final bday, May 2006
One of Christi's friends came up to me at school and said, "Are you going to Christi's grave today?" I told her I was. She said, "Say hi to her for me." Choking back tears I told her I would certainly do that and I also told her that she was so special to Christi and Christi enjoyed her friendship so much. Although she caught me off guard, it was truly the sweetest thing. I always wonder if they remember Christi and that reassured me she did. Teaching Christi's classmates this year has really been hard. She loved them and her school so much. I'm really ready to walk away from that pain, even though I'll miss those special kids too!

Later, at Christi's grave site, another sweet, sweet, sweet school friend left behind a beautiful little horse statue. She signed her name on the back and wrote, "Happy 12th Christi". That was really moving. I brought it home because I knew Shayla would love it and it's sitting on the shelf where we keep her two pairs of cowgirl boots she rides horses in. While at the cemetery, I also vowed to Christi (again) that I really would get her grave plaque picked out soon. She deserves to have her grave marked! It just didn't seem like something I should have to do on her birthday. (One more excuse, I know, I'm just absolutely dreading it! It seems so permanent. Oh, it is.) PICTURE: Christi's classmate bday party "Horse Themed at Lane of Dreams" where Shayla rides, 2006, age 9

After school yesterday, Shayla went out with the neighbor to play with the sidewalk chalk Jill recently gave her. I noticed the pretty drawing when I went to take her to the Ritz, but I didn't pay particularly close attention. When I came back home, I was surprised to see the designs the kids made.
I couldn't believe the sweet messages they left for Christi.

With my sweet mom on Christi's birthday, May 12th.I don't know how or why moms make everything better, but without a doubt, they do. I'm sooooooo blessed to have her! (When Shayla came home from school on Tuesday she sat at one end of the table doing her homework while I sat at the other working on my dissertation. I said, "When I was your age, I'd sit in the kitchen with my mom after school but she was always working, cooking up something really yummy for supper. Sorry about your luck, Shayla. Like always, I'm going to wait until we get really hungry then rush to the freezer to see what I can quickly heat up for us." She laughed and said, "Well, you can't be good at everything. Get that dissertation done, mom.")