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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Friday, July 31, 2009

Back to the State Fair

Armed with "Star" and her visual aid; ready to walk across the fairgrounds to compete in the "Demonstration" competition. I couldn't believe she wasn't nervous, but I know she wasn't. She said, "I'm excited, but I'm not nervous. I like doing stuff like this."

Demonstration Competition Today. Shayla did an amazing job with her competition in the Demonstration event today. (Not that there was any wonder if Shayla could "talk". She's always done well with that one! And give her a microphone - oh my! LOOK OUT!) Her project tie-in was to her "Beginning Horse Management" project; her title was "No Horsing Around Around a Horse" (Horse Safety) She had no notes or outlines. It was memorized and perfect in my mind (bias mom, of course).

Shayla was so happy to have her two trainers/instructors from "Lane of Dreams" farm there in the audience to watch her and to clap for her. When she was finished I said to them, "How did it feel to hear everything you always say come out of her mouth instead of yours?!" We all chuckled. Shayla said, "They are the greatest horse teachers," then she went to give them hugs. They asked her to make a poster of some of her one liners to post in the barn to remind their college students of safety. (The Tiffin University Equestrian Team rides at "Lane of Dreams" farm.)

She had practiced this demo off and on for weeks and had it down incredibly well. Some of her one liners in her 12 minute speech/demo were a hoot:

"Tighten the girth so you don't fall to the earth"
"Here's the deal, you need a sturdy heel"
"The hardest thing about riding a horse is the ground: wear a helmet"
"The only good kinds of worms are gummy worms"
"Wear jeans so you don't get a rash, if you know what I mean"
"If you get kicked in the head, you could be dead."

And I thought her intro was incredibly cute too. She said, "I've been introduced, but someone here has not received a proper introduction so I will introduce you to Nikki (her American Girl doll) my demy doll and her horse, Star. They will be assisting me today as I tell you about horse safety from head to toe."

At the awards ceremony she was happy to receive a lovely trophy and a big blue rosette ribbon - and a bid to the state fair. Shayne asked her if she wanted to go and you can imagine what she said. I'm more than happy to take her - there are a lot of foods we didn't get to try (wink) and seriously a lot of things we didn't have time to look at on Thursday. I'm very blessed by not having to work in the summer. It will be my pleasure to take her back to Columbus to the State Fair.

Our little one is exhausted, but thoroughly loving camping at the fair, staying up late with her fellow 4H friends every night watching movies projected on the side of a building, taking care of their animals, riding horses and playing games and dancing. (Shayne and I are pretty tired too, but we're trying not to admit that!) The volunteerism of so many here is simply amazing. When I walked in a fundraising food stand to work this morning at 6:30 and I was the LAST one to arrive, I felt like a real slacker. These kids most likely have no idea how richly blessed they are with their advisors and parents doing all of this for them. I'm in awe of God's great people!
My sister cracked me up emailing and saying, "Words I never thought would come out of my sister's mouth, 'I want to go camping'"! Yes, I'm really enjoying it and.......I was able to finish chapter four (108 pages) and email it to my advisor and I also was able to write and submit a proposal to present at an international reading conference next year. (Fingers crossed!) I never could have done that without an air-conditioned camper (and when the sweet little kids accidentally unplug us they let us know - sometimes. We have funky shaped Popsicles in our freezer to prove it - what a hoot!)

Poster Competition. While waiting to give her demo today the lady in charge of the county's 4H program came over and talked with Shayla. She told her she was having an incredible year with her projects' judging; however, she should understand that most years are not like this and she should consider this one as being very, very special and if it doesn't happen next year she should not be disappointed. I couldn't agree more. This has been a very, very special week! I just wish Christi were with us to enjoy it all. I keep seeing her friends and I'm amazed at how tall they are. I just can't imagine Christi, our little girl, that tall. It has been taking my breath away.
We heard through the grapevine her "Collections", entered in the Senior Fair, housed in the Grange Building won "Best of Show" so we went to check it out. Now, I happen to think all of the kids' "junk", cough, I mean "collections" looks exactly the same (like..ummmm.."collections"...) so I don't even know how it could be judged; however, Shay seems to think her piggy bank collection is pretty special - even if she was limited to a 12" X 15" display and we had to take home more piggy banks than she was able to display. After that wee bit of "stress" (cough) Sunday afternoon, I think next year she'll read the rules before everything is loaded up to go to the fair.

Friday Night Horse Club Dance in the Horse Arena
One more really big day - tomorrow! (And just one more dissertation chapter to write - Chapter Five, a short one, good thing as I'm already at approximately 275 pages now and getting tired of it.)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

State Fair Fun

We decided the lyrics of a song from the musical "State Fair" are indeed's the best state fair in our state! (hee hee) Shayla had a BALL on her trip to the state fair in Columbus.

Waiting her turn and trying hard not to be nervous There were about 50 entrants in her scrapbook division (ages 8-14). Everything was very well organized and when she was finished with the judge we were able to enjoy the fair. At the awards ceremony, they called the top 20% up on stage for "Outstanding Work" purple rosettes. One of them then received the clock award for the top prize. When Shayla's name was called for the top 20%, I was very surprised and actually screamed. (Totally out of my character, but I was so happy for her it just slipped out.)

Enjoying the fair after the competition We were richly blessed by having Shelby and Grandma Nonee travel down to the state capital with us and to get to meet Traci afterwards for dinner. Thankfully, the competition was on Thursday - the only day she did not have another event to enter at the county fair. The state and county fairs do not typically overlap like this, but this year they did. Shayne stayed back to take care of Skeeter.

Meeting with the Judge
Her lovely participation ribbon with the pledge she likes to recite.

This is the only photo I caught any orbs in. It's when Shayla was called up on stage, wild - very wild! I'd like to think it's Christi and my dad showing me they are with us all.

Top 20% "Outstanding Project" awards
Cousin Shelby congratulates Shayla

I was able to watch two of my former 8th grade students, who graduated this year, perform in the Ohio State Fair Choir. That was great!
Enjoying the free Kayaking at the State Fair
Shayla loved the free butterfly house at the state fair too. It was a lovely day!
Back home, the state fair outstanding project girl was back to cleaning the horse stall and picking up the poop. You go, girl! (I still can't figure out why she'd rather clean a horse stall instead of her least she cleans ONE of them without complaint.)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Trail Class Video Clip

This was the event Shayla really wanted to win. This was the event she won that first place in last year. Skeeter did great! Unfortunately, Shayla struggled doing a left side pass (something she'd never done before, but practiced for nearly an hour straight as soon as the judge put the trail class pattern out. Skeeter was doing it just fine in the grass, but her instructor thought she rushed the cues to him out in the arena and he didn't understand what she wanted him to do). Regardless, Shayla was happy she received second place and that one of her "Stable Mates" got first. Shay said, "Since I practically backed him up on top of the judge, getting second is amazing! I thought she'd put me last.") I hope you enjoy the little clip. This very bias mom, who adores her kid and knows how very lucky she is to have her here on earth, thought she did great!

Fair Week

Shay Shay is having a ball at the fair this week. Not only has she acquired many ribbons, she's CAMPING at the fair in our new camper so that has definitely been the highlight. The first two days of the fair started out terribly rocky in the horse department. Two ten year old girls were hurt. One was taken to the hospital in an ambulance and another, while competing in Shayla's class with about 9 other young girls, fell and broke her wrist in two places and her arm in two places. We have been very blessed that none of these girls were hurt worse than they were and I'm very thankful our ten year old girl is having a safe experience (so far).

So nice of Aunt Marty and my cousin's darling little ones to come up to watch Shayla compete. It's been great having my niece here too!
Shay and Harriet (aka Traci) resting in our new camper.
First Place English Bareback (beginner 8-18 division) Shayla entered English this year at the fair. She wasn't ready for that last year, but she had fun with it this year. Her riding instructor has already been telling her what she'll be able to add next year. Oh my!
Shay and Skeeter with some of their crew. Sooooooooooooooo sweet! THANK YOU everyone for coming out to cheer her on! We've loved spending time with you, even though we've been a wee bit stressed and tired.
One of Shayla's 4H Horse Advisors was there to greet her upon leaving the areana. Shayla's holding a third place ribbon for Showmanship. The judge came up to Shayla and another girl and said, "You are tied for second place so I have a quesion for you." She asked Shayla a part of the horse and Shayla had no idea where it was at. The sweet advisor was there afterwards to let her know where it is and how to remember it. I'm certain Shayla will never forget that part of the horse. What a hoot!

A quiet moment with Skeeter. He's been a very good boy at the fair. Some of the horses are having a tough time adjusting, but he is like an old pro - very well behaved!

Waiting with dad for her turn to compete.
A sweet, sweet Blogger sent Shayla those "gently used" English riding boots over a year ago which saved us a lot of $$$. They seemed HUGE at the time, but they're perfect now that she actually is using them. THANK YOU and I hope your horse jumping young lady is having a great summer with her horse!
Looking good, Skeeter!
Conversing with her "crew".
Shayla's LOVED spending some of each day with her big cousin!
Competing against and waiting with some of her "barn mates". These young ladies have all been so helpful and considerate of each other. I'm so proud to be at "Lane of Dreams" learning with and from them all. Shayla really looks up to these older girls and I'd be proud to have her grow up like them.
Skeeter is focused and ready to go! GOODLUCK, Shay & Skeet!
thought the red (2nd place) ribbon went very well with her red outfit!
Two days of competing in 8 events brought her 8 ribbons. Many of her classes were quite large. I think she saw that her weekly lessons and many extra hours spent with Skeeter and dad really paid off. She won two 1st place, four 2nd place, one 3rd place and one 4th place ribbons yesterday and today.

In the Grange Building: Shayla entered her piggy bank collection in the Senior Fair division and won first place out of thirteen. Now I thought all of the kids' stuff was cute and I could never have decided! She was shocked to see the first place award after judging.

1st place overall - "Play the Role" (Drama Project)

Shayla's Poster also won a first place ribbon out of 9 or 10 other entries. She's had an amazing week and has been very blessed.
While driving home from "Lane of Dream's" owner's home where they hosted a BBQ tonight (and a break from the fair with the other girls' families), Shayla started inquirng about what my dad was like. I told her, "Ironically you ask that now because at this exact time thirteen years ago tonight, your father and I had received a phone call that he died of a heart attack and we raced six or seven hours north to where grandma and grandpa were on vacation and we drove grandma Nonee home." I told her I was in such shock at that time that it really took me much longer to process the fact that he was gone forever. I miss you, dad!!!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Congratulations to the Newlyweds

I do not believe I have ever attended a more beautiful wedding. It was "over the top"! Our very best wishes go to the newlyweds. May they be richly blessed with peace, happiness, good health and many wonderful years together. They are fantastic individuals and I think they will be even more outstanding now that God has joined them as one. Best wishes, Tiffany and Chris! We love you very much!

Mark presenting the beautiful bride.
The Jr Kiddos
Shayla loved being in the wedding so much. Thanks, Tif & Chris

Sweet Sisters

Shayne is still Shayla's favorite guy! (No man could ever love her or spoil her more.)
Shayla made a friend with this wonderful little gal. The girls really hit it off and had a fantastic time celebrating the marriage of Chris & Tiffany.

I really do not know how she did it, but boy is she talented! My dear sweet friend Lori, the mother of the bride, played an incredible piano piece during the service. She played for Christi's funeral and also her mother's funeral shortly before Christi's. She is amazing! I cried through most of the service. I never would have been able to read music through the tears. Dr. Lori told me, "It's a gift. I need to share it." Wow!
We thought this photo was really "interesting".
The sweet Grine family + Shay Shay (who would love to join their family!)
Rehearsal Dinner, Friday Night