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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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

MLK Weekend - 13 Years Ago

Ironically, thirteen years ago we spent this long weekend preparing the nursery for the arrival of our new baby (Christi) by wallpapering the walls. (I selected a pattern of "mint green clouds" because we didn't know if we were having a girl or a boy and the carpet in that room when we moved in was mint green as well.) Guess what I've been doing MLK weekend this year? Taking down that same wallpaper - and a few "interesting" things have turned up as well, making me feel like Christi is with us!

Throughout this post I will share old pictures of the girls as little ones! I was looking for pictures of the nursery, but found these instead.
Because I'm working a few days a week from home with my awesome new job, I've been desiring a better place to work (not that my computer on the kitchen table isn't "nice", but I waste a lot of time packing things up when Shayla gets home from school so we can use the kitchen table for homework not to mention dinner). Thankfully, Shayla moved herself into Christi's room a couple of years ago (saving us from the agony of having to do "something" with Christi's room - a room that still actually makes me uncomfortable being in there). When we're finished we'll have an "office/guest room" - ahhhhhh! Next, we will redo Shayla's room so that it's HER room, not Christi's. (Trust me, that's giving me some anxiety, but she deserves her own room and I should move on even though it's so hard. The thought of taking down Christi's lovely purple ballerina themed wallpaper is going to be a killer, but......taking down the nursery room with visions of 13 years ago has caused enough tears. I should be ready when I move to redoing that room for Shayla. She deserves it!)

FREAKY: In the midst of packing up Shayla's green room and going through all of her toys, the same Disney Princess toy that started playing randomly after Christi's death started playing again - wild. I heard it and Shayla said, "Mom! That's the same sound that started playing after Christi died, right?" Oh, yes indeed she was right. Freaky, really freaky! Shayla and I discussed it. I worried it was a sign Christi was upset we were taking down her ballerina items and turning her bedroom into Shayla's new cool "aqua and lime" pre-teen room Shay has picked out. Shayla said she thought Christi would want us to make our house fit our new needs even though they don't involve her. I don't know. Regardless, it was quite freaky! (PIC: at the Toledo Zoo's "Boo at the Zoo", 2000)

Shayla came to check on me many times throughout the weekend (scraping wallpaper is %&X!L:GL!@!). She knew I needed some extra loving. Not only was it hard work because the paper didn't want to budge, but it was terribly emotional as well. The little sweetie shared many stories about playing with Christi in that green room. (And now I know why the door no longer fully closes - very interesting, who knew?! I guess now that she knows she won't get in trouble she can confess what the sisters were scheming that day when they messed up the door with their antics.) Too funny! (now) Boy, I miss her! (PIC: Baby Christi swinging on the old swingset in the backyard, 1997.)

Another "interesting" fact was that I discovered another Christi's FIND - a new little nugget! I opened up a small notebook that was under the bed I moved while scrapping wallpaper off the walls. In the notebook is a one page letter Chrsiti wrote to Shelby (her cousin). Christi was in the 2nd grade when she wrote it. I read it and cried with both happiness and sadness. I was THRILLED to find something I'd not known about and yet so sad because she's dead and I probably won't ever find anything else new. (And Shelby misses Christi so bad too.) Then of course it was back to scraping off that nasty wallpaper. ERGH! (PIC: Shelby at Chrisiti's 2nd birthday party, May 1999)

My wallpaper removal experience made me think of my dad a lot. My dad would never let my mom wallpaper or put up border because it would "ruin the walls" (and I used to think, "In THAT old house - are you kidding, Dad?! How old fashioned are you?!" But of course I'd never say anything to disagree with him.) This weekend of course I'm thinking, "Boy my dad was smart! I had no idea back then, but now I know he was a genius. Sure wish I would have listened to him and painted instead." (PIC: With Baby Christi at a seafood restaurant in Maine, fall 1997)

I've also had another circulating thought: For thirteen years we've been so blessed to enjoy this lovely whimsical wallpaper in the "nursery later turned Shayla's little girl room" where we added a border when she was taking gynmastics lessons at the YMCA. Thirteen years. I never had wallpaper until we moved into our home and I loved it so. Thirteen years. I think I can suffer through this horrific wallpaper scraping for how much I loved that room for thirteen years. I guess I got a lot out of it after all. So many memories, reading to the girls in the rocking chair every night. Delightful memories! After Shayla was born, Christi would have to sit on a little stand beside the rocking chair because I couldn't hold two girls (21 months apart) and our nightly books to read to them all at the same time. Great memories! Great nursery! (Soon to be GREAT OFFICE/GUESTROOM!)

It couldn't be all work and no play. On Monday afternoon I took Shayla to the scrapbook store for a couple of hours so that I could give her all of my attention and let her relax and work on her scrapbook. It was delightful! (Especially knowing the awesome worker and having a surprise visit from my sweet aunt who stopped by the store to shop)


At 21/1/10 2:36 PM, Blogger Maggiedel said...

Try soaking the wallpaper with fabric softener! Mine came off really easy...and it had been there since 1956!

Those little nuggets are bittersweet I know...I miss finding little signs of my daughter all over the house...


At 21/1/10 10:00 PM, Anonymous Susie said...

I have a few tips for removing wallpaper, we finally took down my old wallpaper that was put up when i was 3 or 4. anyways use a spray bottle with hot (i mean hot) water and Ajax orange dishsoap...this helps loosen up the wallpaper. Also a scoring tool helps. Just a tidbit from my brother who is redoing his new house.

Stay strong!

At 22/1/10 5:17 AM, Blogger Amy said...

Precious photos. Thanks for sharing them.
I removed wallpaper from our kitchen several years ago that had been on those walls for probably 25 years (my husband grew up in this house). It was awful. I ended up renting a wallpaper steamer from our local hardware store. It certainly didn't make it a breeze, but it helped. Good luck with your projects. I can't wait to see both finished rooms -- you both deserve it!!

At 22/1/10 2:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Angela, I think the toy going off is probably Christi's approval of the room, and not her objection. My daughter is 12 years old, the same age Christi would be today. When my daughter was little, I put up wallpaper border up in her room that had unicorns and rainbows on it. My daughter showed me the other day where she had been gradually tearing it off herself, telling me she's outgrown it, and wants something different! I think Christi would feel the same way had she lived!

Wendy Landers
Concord, Georgia


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