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 www.ChristiThomas.com 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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Sunday, August 30, 2009

Webby's Fundraising for NB


From Christi's wonderful "Webby" (Eric):

Join Me To Help Fight Childhood Cancer - Triathlon September 13, 2009

No, I'm not asking you to swim, bike or run with me (lucky you), but what I am asking is that you give consideration to supporting me in my first Olympic distance triathlon with a donation and help me raise money to support the fight against childhood cancer.

Many of you may remember Christi Thomas, the brave little girl that lost her battle against neuroblastoma almost three years ago. I had the pleasure of being known as "Christi's Webmaster" over her four year long battle against the disease and competed in the Lumberjack 100 in the past to raise money in honor of this amazing little girl. Thanks to generous supporters like you over the past three years, we've raised over $26,000 to support the fight against childhood cancer!

For my 2009 fundraising effort, I'll be competing on September 13th in Akron, Ohio with Christi's father and my good friend, Shayne Thomas. We did a Sprint distance triathlon earlier in the year and are both raising the bar for our event in September with the longer Olympic distance.

Your donation goes to the Children's Neuroblastoma Cancer Foundation, a 501 c-3 non-profit organization (so your contribution is tax deductible). You can quickly donate online with your credit or debit card. http://www.active.com/donate/pwap2009

Thanks for your consideration and hopeful support!
Eric

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Shay's First Day

Shayla did the family traditional "first day of school pictures" for me like a pro! Sunday night we were all three sitting in her room, reading her books. Suddenly she said, "Did you get flowers for me to take to my teacher?" I thought she was a little old for that and also not knowing these teachers like her former school's teachers that I taught with for 20 years, I didn't know what they'd think of her bringing flowers, but she definitely wanted to take them. I suggested cookies she had just made with Aunt Marty and she said, "Mom, you were a teacher. Remember, they don't really eat things if they don't know if they came from a clean kitchen or not. My teacher doesn't really know us." I told her I had just purchased apples. "Mom, that's so traditional." Therefore, sweet Shayne headed off to buy some. Shayla was so happy to see them in the morning, thanked Shayne over and over and she said her teacher really liked them.
After we left her room Sunday night, I could only cry and hug Shayne and say into his chest, "This is the night Christi wrote the poem about the night before school starting." Of course he remembered too. Christi was so excited about starting 5th grade. How I only wish she could have finished it and that she'd now be in the 8th grade with her friends she adored so much.
Shayla completed her homework after school and told me over and over that her teacher is so nice.
After reading to her last night I said, "I'm so glad you had an ok day at your new school." She said, "an ok day? What do you mean? I had a great day!" Oh, thank you, dear Lord. I have worried and worried about this all summer.
Aunt Tina - she loves her backpack with her name on it - THANK YOU!
My first day with students was just fine too. I started off the day by dropping off a couple of boquets of roses to three of my former students who started BGSU as freshmen yesterday and then went to lunch with some of my new colleagues. Everyone has been very professional and absolutely wonderful. I am very, very blessed!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Another 5th Grader

(PIC: First day of school, 2006: Christi 5th grade, Shayla 2nd grade) Hmmmm. It is starting to hit me. With my new job and Shayla in a new school district, I didn't think it would get to me, but it has. I had put it far back in my mind, but somehow it crawled to the front. In August of 2006, Christi started fifth grade. She completed the first week and then made her final trip to Philadelphia, dying about three weeks later. Last June Shayla turned older than Christi ever was. That was hard for us, yet Christi still seemed like she was the "older sister", perhaps because we thought of her as a "fifth grader". After Shayla completes her first week of fifth grade and gets to start a second, it's going to be very odd. I think there will be no denying it that Shayla is, without a doubt, older than Christi ever was. May God again grant us peace, healing and help when times are tough.

(Shayla's prayers have been cracking me up, yet I know she is very concerned about it. "Please let the boys listen to our teacher." She really loves learning, is quite serious; misbehavior bothers her. I think her class is something like 21 boys, 9 girls. We were totally spoiled by Seneca East's very small class sizes so I cannot even fathom her being in a class of 30, much less with that many boys. Hopefully, God will hear her prayers. It is a fantastic school wtih great teachers and I do know, without a doubt, she will be fine!)

We attended her school's Back to School Family picnic last week. It was very nice. We also had friends from NYC overnight with us and it was FABULOUS to be able to "roll out the red carpet" in Tiffin, Ohio for them! We definitely kept them busy: horse farm tour, Heidelberg University tour, glass cutting and blowing tour, quarry tour, campfire in the back yard - it was great to have them visit with us.

We are definitely winding down the summer and trying hard to squeeze in some last minute things. Last weekend we enjoyed staying with Eric ("Webby") and Alicia in Michigan and this weekend we're back in Michigan for a wedding. Enjoying the Cook's boat on the lake.

Shayla is having a ball with Aunt Marty and Uncle Jeff while Shayne and I have been in Michigan since Friday.

We have really enjoyed some adult time (sushi and gambling in Detroit Friday night, Saturday - Detroit Institute of Art, an incredible outside wedding on a lake with a great time dancing and meeting new people Saturday night and early this morning, Shayne competed in a triathlon). Next we will catch up with Chris - Christi's incredible "Chemo Angel" before heading back to BGSU where Shayne will move a couple of things for me.
Congratulations, Shayne!
LAST WEEKEND: Battle of Fallen Timbers in Perrysburg, Ohio

I've attended countless meetings over the past three weeks and I'm now all set for students to start classes on Monday. I'm soooooooooo happy that I will not have to teach Christi's classmates as seeing them every day was always hard and I have to fight interally so that it doesn't bring me down. I wish them all the very, very best, but it's always bittersweet just seeing them and wondering about how tall Christi would be, what she'd look like, do they remember Christi? etc. etc. I can't wait to start teaching on Monday!! Whether or not I'm ready for Shayla to head back to school and to start fifth grade is a different story. Those last memories of Christi are hitting me hard. When Aunt Maxine said to us at Christi's funeral, "not a day goes by when I don't think of Cathy" (her deceased daughter), I knew then it would be like that for us too - and it has been.

We were incredibly blessed with amazing daughters and with a fabulous summer! A new adventure is starting and I couldn't be happier even though it's going to be odd to really have Shayla be in the 5th grade and older than Christi ever got to be.

Thank you, dear Lord!Please continue to give us strength as we pass yet another milestone and start a new phase of our lives, without Christi.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Was Christi's Sprit There?

Rest in Peace - Aunt Maxine

Last night at the funeral home it was very hard to say our goodbyes to such a wonderful woman. Maxine will be dearly missed and I just can't imagine how her family is going to get along with out her. It will be hard! She was so organized and worked hard and lovingly keeping the rest of them in line, wink. (I had to think, "only Maxine" when I learned about a week ago the kids came home and told her what they picked out for her casket and she sent them back saying that wasn't what she wanted - what a hoot! I'm willing to bet this most organized woman had cookies in the freezer just waiting for her funeral too!) Shayne's Aunt Maxine was a wonderful role model for me of how to be a mother, grandmother and wife.

Both of Shayne's sweet cousins told us separately about what happened with their mom near the very end. I can't quit thinking about it. It was sooooooooo much like I recently read about in that book I shared, "Glimpses of Heaven" written by hospice nurse, Trudy Harris. This is what happened:

Aunt Maxine told her family, "They're coming for me now." Her daughters asked who and she responded, "The girls." Both of his cousins told us they believe she had to be seeing or knowing it was her deceased daughter (Cathy) and Christi - because "Christi would have to be there too. She'd want to be the one to show mom around Heaven." ABSOLUTELY! SHE WOULD! Although I was strong and pretended it didn't get to me, it was incredibly moving and I'm sooooooooooo grateful they both shared that story with us. I loved hearing it twice! That would describe Christi perfectly and sweet Aunt Maxine, who probably didn't want to see the 'Pet Department' first thing, most likely put on a smile and let Christi and Cathy take her there first then off to meet God.

Last week I arrived home on a Thursday night and saw in my mail pile a book from Barnes and Noble. I thought to myself, "Great! Here's that book I ordered." Then I thought, "Hmmmmm. I really don't remember ordering a book recently." I didn't! It was a gift from my sweet friend, Olivia. And what a book it is! I highly recommend you reading it. I've given it to my mom and I think she will really enjoy it too. It's called "Here If You Need Me" and it's a memoir written by Kate Braestrup. It begins with her husband's death and how she holds her family together and takes on a new career. It is very moving (even quite funny at times) and tells a fantastic story of the love in the world in the midst of suffering. I just couldn't put it down. I read it in less than 48 hours. Thanks, Olivia!

Since I've started my new job, Shayla has been staying with her incredible grandma and grandpa. She had a wonderful time baking cookies, playing golf, learning how to drive a tractor, etc., etc. We are so blessed to have them so actively involved in our lives. As I told Shayne's cousins last night at the visitation, I just can't imagine not having my mom in my life and I will continue to pray for them as their mom is no longer here in person.


On campus yesterday I received my faculty id. After I had my picture taken and was handed my card I just stared at it and blinked away tears. The student working said, "Are you ok?" I said, "Absolutely. Isn't it beautiful? Isn't it amazing?" I went on to share, "Twenty-three years ago I was 18, I enrolled as a student, the first person on either side of my family to ever go to college and I didn't know if I could even make it to the second semester, much less actually graduate. Now I'm back........as a professor." She told me that was a great story and I told her I was very blessed to be at a great institution. I went on to explain that I had applied to another university and was scheduled to have an interview with them; however, BGSU came through with a job offer and it was great to contact that other institution and tell them I already took a job. I didn't tell them I took a job at my first choice of universities, the only one I really wanted to be at, but without a doubt, BGSU was my first choice! I am so lucky! (Feeling totally overwhelmed right now, but also very blessed!) Goooooooooo, Falcons! Rest in peace, Aunt Maxine!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Fear the Bird

As of yesterday, I am an official faculty member at BGSU. A couple of days ago when I was packing up a few more things for my office, I was humming the BGSU fight song. I jokingly shouted to Shayla, "Fear the Falcon." She reminded me so much of Christi as she said, "Mom, it's a bird. That is not a scary mascot at all. A tiger, a lion, yes. A bird, no." She cracked me up! Regardless, I could not be any happier! Later that night she came to me and said, "Well, I guess a bird is better than a buckeye; I mean how scary is a nut and a candy - something you can eat."


As soon as I arrived at "work" (Ahhhhh) yesterday, (Shayla's "half" birthday) my secretary greeted me with my BGSU name badge. I raved about it, took it out of the package, put it on and raved some more. She laughed and shook her head at me. I said, "No, you really don't understand. I'm so glad to be here! I love this badge! I love it so much I'll probably wear it on my pajamas tonight." She laughed harder and I took off my flip flops, put on my heels, patted my badge, gave her a salute and headed out to give my dissertation to the Dean.

The Dean was very pleased that I really did finish my dissertation and she told me she would read it (Yikes! Keep in mind she's the dean of one of the largest teacher preparation programs in the USA, the largest in the state of Ohio. I figured she'd be too busy, but she even remembered my topic. I couldn't believe it.) I loved getting to meet the other new faculty members yesterday (about 50) and learning so much about the institution and its 20,000 students. Now I'm off for another day of being "oriented" - hee hee! I'm so blessed! It's weird as I realize I am only there because Christi was diagnosed with cancer. I never would have had the courage to start a doc program had she not struggled with her life. I'd give anything to go back to Seneca East, IF I could just have her back in my life. I miss her sooooo much! She was so special - and so funny! I hope you have a FABULOUS weekend! Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Here ya go, BGSU

CELEBRATE! At 8AM this morning, I will hand my completed doctoral dissertation to the Dean of the College of Education at BGSU and have a thirty minute meeting with her. I cannot even believe I'm done, well, as "done" as I can be at this point. I know I must successfully defend it in front of my dissertation committee at Ohio State and then they will have recommendations/ changes/ suggestions - things for me to "fix", but I am oh so close! Thanks be to God! (OK, I'll try to act much more professional than I am acting in this goofy OSU photo. It's really hard not to be giddy that somehow this huge project I started working on in March of 2008 - 17 months ago - all came together and I am starting my dream job. Thank you, Lord!)

I doubt anyone really wants to read all 252 pages, but here's an abstract if you're looking for a shortened summary about my investigation:

Doctoral Dissertation Abstract
Copyright, 2009
Angela R. Thomas, Ph.D. Candidate
Ohio State University
College of Education
School of Teaching and Learning

This qualitative, multi-case study explored the issue of the long term, professional impact of becoming a National Board Certified Teacher. Eleven NBCTs, representative of four regions of the U.S., participated in a survey and three one-on-one phone interviews. The participants earned National Board Certification ten to fourteen years ago. Six remained classroom teachers while five chose to pursue other areas of education. All eleven NBCTs stated professional differences in their careers including reflective practices and new responsibilities. Many stated an increased sense of confidence as well as a change of dispositions and perspectives. Findings suggest new categories of change to professional lives than found in previous research regarding NBCTs including frustration and disappointment, and also a sense of responsibility.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Cookies for Christi - RIP Sweet Aunt Maxine

We were very saddened to receive the call from Shayne's dad last night that Aunt Maxine was called Home. She was a fabulous, wonderful, intelligent, compassionate - absolutely awesome woman! Now she's back with God and her young daughter I never had the chance to meet. I can't help but think Christi's enjoying Aunt Maxine's wonderful cookies we all always "fought" over at family get togethers. She took many of our wedding pictures for us and made all of our candle centerpieces saving us a lot of money when we had none. This total sweetheart also went to Mason's funeral with Shayne while Christi and I were in Philly.

When we went to visit with her at the beginning of the summer, it tore her up to tell us about a little girl who waits with her in the waiting room to get her radiation treatments too. Maxine said the bald headed little girl reminds her exactly of Christi, yet Aunt Maxie cried and choked through tears to tell us that. Last week, while I was at my sister's, Shayne went down to visit, held his sweet aunt's hand and was so sorry that he could not understand what she was trying to tell him. I know if there's any way she can watch after Christi, she will! God called a most wonderful woman Home. May she rest in peace until we are all united together in a cancer and pain free place called Heaven. Enjoy those great cookies, Christi! Now we are no longer racing to try to get to them before the other cousins eat them all up, you can have them all!

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Unmarked Grave

While at the county fair, I received the sweetest email. It contained a beautiful poem. (And of course it reminded me that as soon as my dissertation is defended I must order Christi's plaque. I do know what I want. It's in a folder, but to actually go and do it, ugh - not really wanting to do that.) Thanks, Kalyani for sharing your lovely work with us! You are very talented and truly captured my feelings - thank you!


Dear Angela, Shayne, and Shayla;

Just wanted to send this small poem to you; I wrote it for Christi.
Like so many around the world, I followed your journal starting in 2002. Like so many around the world, I continue to admire, respect, and learn from your family's grace.

With love,
Kalyani


(PIC: June 2007, Shayla arranging decorations on Christi's grave. It saddens me I don't have an official cemetery plaque for her yet, but it's terribly painful to think about seeing it so "finished", I guess. I really will get it done this fall. I'm not a procrastinator; however, this has been uncharted waters and I've totally been putting it off and off and off. So sorry, Christi! You deserve better.)


The Unmarked Grave

It cradles you so closely
It holds you every night
It sings you to your slumber
It calls you to daylight

In spring it tries to blossom
In summer time it plays
In autumn it still softly glows
In winter time it prays

It prays that you are happy
It prays that you are safe
It prays that you are feeling loved
It prays that you are graced

It carries you forever, dear
though it falls apart,
It weeps, it aches, it yearns for you,
This Unmarked Grave, my heart

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Dissertation Acknowledgements

Yesterday, I shared my "dedication" page of my dissertation. Today I share my "acknowledgements" - so many special people made this accomplishment possible. I'm happy to recognize them here! May God richly bless them!

To my husband, Shayne: Words cannot adequately express my gratitude to have your unconditional understanding, patience, humor and love as I have endured this lengthy process. Despite the stressful challenges surrounding us in recent years, I’m thankful the bond between us remains strong. Throughout this six year process, you have given me endless support, tireless love and countless tuition checks, helping me through each and every step of this incredible journey. Your undying love and support, not only during this doctoral process, but with all of my undertakings over past the 25 years we have been together, allows me to accomplish my goals and to achieve my dreams, thank you. (PIC: At a restaurant/bar called "Bed" in South Beach Florida, March 2005. When Christi was doing really well we took off for a few days as a couple. At this restaurant you took off your shoes and were seated in a huge "bed" with three or four other couples and served awesome (but overpriced) food. It was definitely an unforgetable experience!)

To my esteemed doctoral advisor, Dr. Mary Jo Fresch, who guided me through my years of the doctoral program at Ohio State and who believed in me when I questioned myself, thank you! Dr. Fresch provided me with constant reassurance. I owe her deep gratitude for supporting me, encouraging me and assuring me with her expertise and insight throughout my various endeavors over the years. I’ve been incredibly blessed with an outstanding advisor, professor, role model and friend.

Things always seem less painful and more manageable if you have a friend to endure the pain with you. I could not have completed this dissertation journey without Olivia, a compassionate, intelligent, interested friend with swift and immaculate proofreading talents and “eagle eyes”. Who knew such an ugly childhood disease could bring two strangers together and create a beautiful friendship? Olivia will forever be appreciated.

To my study participants, 10 seasoned National Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs) working in all four regions of the USA, who willing provided the breadth and depth for this investigation by sharing their professional and personal experiences with me, I feel a special indebtedness. Others will gain from their input. I am honored to present their stories.

I also express appreciation to my family, the first to show me the joys of learning and the first to believe in me and to encourage me to pursue my dreams. I am fortunate to have such a wonderful family actively involved in my life. (Tina, do you remember all of the clothes mom made us. Remember these blue velvet Christmas dresses - too sweet! Photo by dad: I know he would be so proud of me.)

Finally, I am indebted to all the teachers who have touched my life and who have shown me the delight of learning. They’re the inspiration for my motto, “Those who love teaching teach others to love learning.” Thank God for you! The implications of good teachers should never be underestimated.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Nearing the End

For years, I knew the day when I sat down to write the dedication and acknowledgement pages of my doctoral dissertation I'd be nearing the end of a very long journey. Finally, this week, while at my sister's, I wrote those pages. Even though they brought tears to my cheeks, it was a glorious feeling! It's like I am finally rounding the last curve of a nearly six year journey and making a long time dream come true. I know I have a way to go yet.....Hmmmm..let's see - preparing for and actually PASSING my dissertation defense in September, cough. Regardless, I will wrap most of my work up by Wednesday when I give my (draft) dissertation to BGSU to let them know I have completed all I can complete until fall quarter begins at Ohio State when my committee is back on campus and I can defend my research. Praise be to God; I'm nearly done!I'm really struggling to believe this great news!

Dedication:
To my beloved and cherished daughters, Shayla and Christi Thomas






Dearest Christi,

You taught me far more about life than I could have ever possibly imagined. You are the reason I am completing my dissertation and obtaining a lifetime dream of earning a doctorate degree. Through your battle with cancer you taught me that life is short and one should not put off achieving their dreams; therefore, from the Ronald McDonald House of Philadelphia, I submitted my application for entry into OSU’s Ph.D. program. Throughout my years of coursework, you were always curious about what I was learning. In the midst of my residency, you earned your angel wings at the tender age of nine. In your honor and memory, I somehow continued my work. With your amazing mind, zany sense of humor, deep and abiding love for others and zest for life, you created memories that will never fade from my mind. You left lasting footprints on my heart. Until I see your beautiful face and hold you in my arms again in a much better place, remember I love you, sweetpea!

Love, Mommy

Dearest Shayla,

Your earliest memories of life are of living in the Ronald McDonald House of New York City where you spent hundreds of nights as a four year old. Your life was put on the backburner for four years while daddy and I cared for your older sister, yet you always understood, never complained, demonstrated great courage and provided us with so much joy and laughter. I believe those early years transformed your life and molded you into the incredibly thoughtful, loving, compassionate and caring person you are. Your life has been filled with so many experiences both good and bad. Your heart is filled with sweetness.

Throughout my doctoral program, you have been my biggest cheerleader and my proudest supporter always encouraging me. “It’s really cool to have a mom who is going to be a professor.” “What do you mean you don’t care if you get your first B? You’ve got to go study, mom!” You understood when I would leave you in the care of others for my studies and were often saddened when I picked you up because of the special attention you received from friends and family. You cannot possibly ever know the enormity of my love and devotion to you and how very proud I am of you, young lady. I am the luckiest mom on earth to be blessed with a daughter as wonderful as you. Thank you for richly blessing my life. I love you so much!

Love, Mom

Friday, August 07, 2009

State Fair Fun

After spending a couple of (very short) days with my sister and her family, and getting to catch up with a sweet "Christi Supporter" and her girls despite rain at Kings Island, we headed for home with a pit-stop at the State Fair in Columbus. Sweet Traci (our COSI friend) met us there and spent the entire afternoon with us - we are so lucky! I think all three of us had a wonderful day!
Six days after leaving the state fair for the scrapbooking competition, she's back! "No Horsing Around Around a Horse: Horse Safety Tips"
Shay added a bit to her introduction by riding in on a stick-horse that the 4H girls were all given to decorate their stalls with last week. She "slipped" and "fell" and while on the ground said she was here to talk about "No Horsing Around Around the Horse" so "that" doesn't happen to you. In her interview the judge told her she really got every one's attention and she liked that creative introduction.
One of our greatest friends ever, Traci!
The awards ceremony was to be at 4:30; however, it kept getting pushed back. I knew in order for us to make the 7PM Christi Thomas Family Night at the Seneca East Public Library we would have to be on the road by 5, or 5:15. They moved the awards back to 5 and I agreed we could stay, then 5:15 and finally 6:00. Oh, it really tugged my heart not knowing what to do. I felt like Christi was saying, "What about me?" and so was Shayla. How do parents with two kids do this? I've forgotten! After many texts with Shayne, I decided to stay in Columbus so Shayla could be there in person if she won an award. I do feel bad about not making it back for Christi's night, yet if she is really "all knowing" now, she would have wanted us to stay. At the awards program, Shayla was THRILLED by making the Top 20% - six of about 30 kids received those purple ribbons. She was very happy.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

SE PUBLIC LIBRARY NIGHT

(PIC: Winter 2003, Christi age 5, snacking and playing a computer game while in our Ronald McDonald House of NYC room)

Consider this your personal invitation to come to the 2009 Christi Thomas Family Night at the Seneca East Public Library! We are grateful they allowed us to sponsor the night again this year. Last year's was a great "end of the summer reading program" event with a wonderful magician and some yummy treats. They have the same thing planned for Thursday night at 7PM. Join us if you can! You did not need to participate in the reading program to come to the show and to enjoy the treats. Stop by, we'd love to see you there!

Monday, August 03, 2009

Crossing Over to the Dark Side

PIC: Skeeter getting his "go fast" clothes on (boots to protect his legs and a breast plate to keep his saddle on) On Sunday we discussed with Shayla the possibility of her entering a contesting (speed) class or two. She decided she wanted to try it and she selected to enter barrels and flags, two items she had practiced once at "Lane of Dreams". She said she would just trot them and canter at the end. A sweet older girl from Shayla's 4H club worked with her to learn the patterns so she wouldn't be disqualified, she borrowed a Western shirt and she LOVED "racing". As soon as she was finished and out of the arena she looked down and said to me, "That was even more fun than I thought it would be! Skeeter was saying, 'Go!' and I was saying, 'Whoa!' and trying to hold him back. He wanted to run!" It was precious. After flags she asked if she could add a third event and try contesting one more time; we agreed so she entered "down and back". Of course she was the slowest rider in all three divisions, but we were so proud of her for trying it. She said, "Imagine how fast we'll be next year now that we both know we like it." What a hoot! I like her attitude! She's fun! And Skeeter's a solid, well-rounded, well-trained horse.


After a sad "goodbye" to Skeeter because our lease on him has now ended, Shay Shay came home and watched her contesting video clips. After she watched them she said, "Hmmm. They don't look like I was going that fast, but when I was riding it felt like we were racing fast." I think Skeeter was very happy to be out of the fair where so many people were going by his stall and trying to touch him. Once back home in the barn, Shayla said her goodbyes and turned him loose. He danced and rolled around in the dirt and then ran out to the pasture. He must have had enough of staying clean all week. We thought it felt really good to be back home too. I hope you enjoy the video clip.
video

During the fair week we received the nicest compliment we ever could have received. A parent told us she informed her young daughter to model her behavior after Shayla's because Shayla is always polite, only saying nice things and not all the 4H kids are like that. (Oh, if only she could have witnessed a Christi and Shayla argument. I used to hate those when they'd break out, but I'd give anything for the girls to have a good "fight" if only I could get Christi back to hear them bicker! They were both strong willed at times and wouldn't back down. Shayla's really got a super sweet side to her that I have to laugh when I think back to the "sister fights" because I cannot imagine Shayla doing that now, but if Christi were alive - I'm sure she would partake when pushed! I miss you Christi! I even miss those arguments when I'd tell you two to stop fighting because God was watching!)

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Saturday's Open Horse Show

Much to our shock and surprise, Saturday morning Shayla received the 4-H's overall "Walk Trot Champion" award - a beautiful plaque.
Shayla had a very big decision to make for Saturday's open horse show. She could enter walk-trot classes, or she could try to move up to cantering classes. (Once you enter a canter class, you cannot ever go back down and enter a walk-trot "beginner" class again.) I really wanted her to stay in Walk-Trot for safety; however, she said she wanted to try to canter instead. (She had only learned to canter with Skeeter in mid-June!) I think she made the right decision. She cantered/loped very well and she placed much higher than we ever expected. She gained a lot of confidence and thinks next year she'll be better knowing she's already done it once. Go, Skeeter!

Showmanship Class, ages 8-13, she placed 4th out of 12 - much improvement from last year

The beautiful bride is back in town and came to "watch our girl". So sweet of Tiffany and Chris, amazing really!

Studying and memorizing the trail class pattern before the event.
What a gorgeous boy! He scored 6th out of 23 entries in his "good looks" division. We weren't surprised; we think he's handsome and such a solid horse!
Relaxing at the camper in between classes


Enjoying friends at the fair

Grandma congratulates Shayla after an English canter class

So nice to have both grandmas with us all week! Shayla's spoiled!
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