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, June 29, 2010

Ritz Camp in Review

Ritz Camp 2010 (Part: Grumpy Villager. Play "Treasure Island")
It's hard to believe, but we really think she enjoyed Ritz camp this year even more than she did in any previous year. We were happy to sponsor a "needy child" to attend camp in Christi's memory again this year. It was nice of the Ritz to recognize and remember Christi. Oh, how she LOVED Ritz Theatre Camp! THANK YOU!
We were happy our parents could attend and watch Shayla on stage with us!

Shayla enjoyed meeting and working with new friends at camp.

In the midst of Ritz Camp and Poker Run Weekend, we also squeezed in a weekend of local camping. We were going to be camping with friends, but they needed to cancel at the last minute. Since we already have our camper out there, we decided to continue anyway. Shayne cooked amazing food, I got a ton of reading done and Shayla really enjoyed the campground and camping with a friend. This week she's off to yet another camp - and really enjoying it too!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

8th Annual Christi Thomas Poker Run

"I don't know why, out of all of the things we donate to for Christi, this one gets me the most." Those were Shayne's words to me, spoken with a tear streaked face, as we crawled back in the truck after watching the motorcycle procession take off on this morning's 8th annual Christi Thomas Poker Run - a fundraiser for her Memorial Fund. I couldn't agree more. I didn't think I'd cry as we were working registration this morning and all was going well, but something about watching 102 riders drive their motorcycles past our family of three, waving them on from the bed of Shayne's truck, made me choke up and cry right along with him. I think out of all of the lessons I've learned from Christi's journey, the one that stands out most in my mind is "God's people are good!" Thanks so much to all who came out for the run today.

Even if you don't have a motorcycle (like us) you are welcome to come out for the dinner this afternoon. The cost is just $5.00 and it will begin around 4:00 at the Tiffin Moose, just north of town on 53, when the riders start coming back in from their five stops. There will also be silent auctions and entertainment.

Shayla had a wonderful week at Ritz Theatre camp. (I believe this was her sixth year.) As always, it was hard to take her each day, without taking Christi. Seeing her friends perform - really weird as we once again wondered how tall Christi would be, what part she might have had, if she would have even wanted to participate as a 13 year old, etc., etc., etc. Last night's performance was great and we are looking forward to watching the show again this afternoon. I'll share pictures another day.

While Shayla was at camp this week, I was able to finish and submit my manuscript "Personal and Powerful Professional Development: National Board Certification". (I submitted it after saying many prayers that my information, gleaned from my dissertation research study, would be able to help others by being accepted in the journal I sent it off to - the one with the 0-10% acceptance rate.) This weekend I'm starting another one, based on my dissertation research again - but yet with a different focus. That deadline is September 1st and the acceptance rate is MUCH better (wink). Well, this publication accepts 11-20% of all submissions submitted. And no, to answer someone's question, I am not permitted to send it to more than one publication at a time. Once I get a "rejection" than I can try a different journal, but it's a big "no no" to send it to more than one place at once - and of course the waiting game to hear about acceptance or rejection is typically 6-12 weeks. (Regardless, I'm finding I'm really LOVING this proecess - perhaps once my first rejections start flowing in I will change my mind, but right now I'm enjoying the writing and the "game" - trying to find the perfect journal for my work, etc., etc.) And oh, yes, of course that grave marker, I need to get to that too, but seriously, my computer is not quite all the way reinstalled and I don't have all of my files up and running yet - including that one. As soon as I do, I'm on it! I WILL do it this summer! I know I can, I know I can, I know I can!

Our continued thoughts go out to Kayla's family. I stopped at the cemetery for her on my way back home this afternoon. As soon as we walked out of her visitation on Wednesday, I "lost it" outside and it was a while before I could even start driving. Shayla held me tight and I told her over and over again how lucky I am to have such a healthy child like her, alive and in my life. God has richly blessed us with her and we don't know what we'd do without her. Kayla's dad told Shayla that Kayla liked going to the fair and see Shayla's horse. They shared how exhausting taking care of their sweetheart has been and now they will be able to focus on their other children like they've really not been able to for so long, due to Kayla's cancer situation. I shared with them the story of how after Christi died I walked into the grocery store and I had absolutely no idea what Shayla liked to eat because I had been solely focused on Christi for so many years. Shayla later told me she had never heard that story before but that it was no problem because she's not a picky eater and she liked everything. It was ok to just let her eat what Christi liked. Sweet Shayla, you are amazing - so compassionate, thoughtful and mature beyond your years. I truly do not deserve you!

Here's wishing you and yours a great weekend!

Thanks to Tiffin's Finest for their help!
Some of the bikes out on today's run! I pray the riders are safe!
Shayne's mom and her brothers and beautiful El!
Conversation before the ride.
Shayla was a big help at registration today!
Incredibly amazing volunteers - THANK YOU!!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Shayla in Trail Class (Novice, ages 8-18)

Video 51
Shay in Trail Class on Saturday afternoon! Enjoy this little video clip! CLICK ON RED FACED TYPE VIDEO 51!

Happy Father's Day

(Pic: After his swimming race) That incredible husband I'm so blessed to have, did an amazing feat! After working his "behindy" off Friday night and all day Saturday at Shayla's horse shows, he competed in an Olympic Distance Triathlon at Maumee Bay State Park on Sunday. I was exhausted and had just been showing up at Shayla's events. Shayne worked so hard in the hot sun and then turned around and did incredibly well at the tri on Sunday too. I'm amazed at him and all he does!

(Pic: During the Bike Portion) Shayne did it again! He went and competed in yet another triathalon which "forced" me to go and watch hundreds of good looking men swim, bike and run right before my very eyes. It was tough - hee hee! Seriously, I'm so proud of him! Running a company is more than a full time job for Shayne, then he works hard to squeeze in training time every day so that he stays healthy. Wow!

(After the 10K run) Shay and I enjoyed cheering him on. As he neared the finish line, after his lengthy swim, 40 mile bike ride and 10K run, Shayla (who had been working a water station for the runners) jumped in, held his hand and ran to the finish line with him.

After a very busy day, I was able to call Joe and wish him a Happy Father's Day! He is so awesome too! Here's wishing you and yours a fabulous week! ENJOY!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Saturday's Horse Show

Shayla in the arena being judged early Saturday morning. (Love the happy faces, girls! Little did we know 8 hours later with 90 degree temps the smiles would be fading - hee hee! What a long, hot, glorious day! We are so blessed!!)

I love that both the judge and the child are smiling. Shayla in Showmanship competition. Shayla came out of the ring saying what a nice judge she was.

Shayla with her trainer and Skeeter's owner, Claire of Lane of Dream farms (and home of the Tiffin University Equestrian Team. They have close to 30 riders on their team and they are building yet another riding arena at the farm - amazing! How blessed we are to enjoy their great facilities and excellent trainers and horses, all within two miles of our home. Incredible!)

Shayla "hanging" with Ali before her trail competition

Claire reviews with Shayla before entering an English class.

Thanks to our sweet friend Jill, I think this very well may be our Christmas card photo! (I can't believe a horse will be in the family shot, but now that I think about it would be the third year in a row that Skeeter made the Christmas card photo. Christi, you've been replaced by a horse - crazy! I'm so sorry sweetie, but I know you'd think that was hilarious!)

Shay Shay in a Western class

My favorite part of her trail class was at the very end when Shayla hugged and patted Skeeter after being dismissed by the judge. Precious!

As you can see, Shayla had an INCREDIBLE day! She entered 8 classes and brought home 6 first place and 1 second place ribbons. It WAS a small show and in TWO of the divisions she was the only competitor. The competition at the fair will be much stiffer next month. Regardless, Skeeter is a wonderful horse and Shayla had an incredible time (and we did too)!

Then we enjoyed a couple of awesome graduation parties, visiting with sweet, sweet friends. Congratulations Elizabeth and Scott! We are so very proud of you! Best wishes to you always!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Our Visit with Olivia

Backstage at Sunday's Recital (This was my favorite costume. They danced to "Angel" and it was quite moving I thought.)

Two of the nicest and finest young ladies one could ever meet! I love these gals! (They are posing in our living room in front of the painting Christi did for me weeks before she died.)

With sweet friend, Boo! this amazing gal is the teacher for the special needs dance class and again this year did a fabulous job! Shayla just loves her - we all do!

Much to our shock, our NYC friend Olivia had never been to a Walmart before (nor a Bob Evans, a fairgrounds, wild!). So we showed her some Ohio Culture (smile)! Shayla was surprised that she asked to take Olivia's picutre at Walmart. PIC: Shayla shows her 4H project (the scrapbook) to Olivia

Shay's also amazed that Olivia doesn't have a driver's liscence, but has been to NYC so many times she understands you don't have to own cars there with the subway and taxi system.

Shayla conned Olivia into a Warhead Contest (the sour candies, oh!)

Regardless, we LOVED, LOVED, LOVED getting Olivia, even if our time was too short, to stay with us! Taking her back to the airport, she was able to see BGSU. I'm convinced I would not have graduated without her so I'm most grateful that I was able to show her my office and campus. (She needs to join me there as a faculty member!) Olivia is a delight, beautiful inside and out and oh so intelligent! I hope she comes back to Ohio soon!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Video Clip of Barrel Racing Event

A minute video clip of Shayla's contesting event tonight. ENJOY!

Good Night, Sad Day

"Ride it like you stole it!" we like to joke when it's time for contesting (speed) competitions. As for Skeeter - he was amazing! I shook my head and could only say, "I didn't think he had it in him! Wow!"

(PIC: Hugging Skeeter) Due to the fact a thunderstorm is heading our way, we left the horse show early. Shayne and Shayla are back at the barn now giving Skeeter a bath and preparing for the big (all day) show tomorrow. Shay was entered in three speed events tonight, but we left after the first one, hoping to avoid the storm. After her race she said, "I have the best horse in the world!" She could not stop hugging him and telling him what a good boy he is. She told me, "If I had a whole bag of treats, he would deserve to get every single one; he's that sweet!" Shayla really improved in her riding over last year. Her time was 34.? seconds in barrel racing and she came in 5th (and won a lovely pink ribbon and 80 cents - too funny).

(PIC: Shayla with Ally, a GA for Tiffin University, giving Shayla some extra lessons this summer) I did feel guilty tonight watching her so happy and so healthy, knowing others are not. I received a text from Olivia shortly after lunch today telling me that another girl from Tiffin, who fought cancer, earned her angel wings today. Fly, Kayla, Fly! I'm sure Christi is happy to have a fellow Tiffinite in God's house with her. Although Shayne and I are dreading going to the funeral home this week, and Shayla also knows about the death, we will do so for their family - just like they did for ours. I'm sure it's going to conjure up some vile feelings. Sickening, the wicked cancer beast is absolutely evil!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

2010 $1,000 Christi Thomas Dance Unlilmited Scholarship

Thomas team CONGRATS to Brooklyn B., our 2010 Christi Thomas Memorial Scholarship winner. The $1,000 will be put to good use going toward Brooklyn's freshman year of college. We think Christi would be proud of our selection. It wasn't an easy decision! They were all fabulous applicants and any one of the Seniors would have been a wonderful representative of Christi's spirit. Best wishes, Brooklyn!

Shayla presents Brooklyn with a dozen roses and a "Build - a - Bear" bear that Christi made while she was in Philadelphia in 2005.

When I started to get choked up, I just told myself to keep talking and stop thinking so I could get through my short speech explaining why we give a scholarship each year and how we know Christi would want us to help others like so many helped her.

It's been a "crazy busy" week here so I am just now (finally) getting Saturday night's dance recital scholarship announcement pictures posted. More recital pics tomorrow and then - IF ANYONE WOULD LIKE TO JOIN US FOR SHAYLA'S FIRST HORSE SHOW OF THE SUMMER come out to the Seneca County Fairgrounds this weekend. It's all free!! Friday night Shay Shay will compete in speed / contesting events. (We are NOT looking for speed here, but for her to have a good time. She doesn't like to go fast, but she wants to be with Skeeter and her friends and we think that's great.) Saturday she will be entering about ten different classes with Skeeter. I can't wait to see her in her pretty neon green and black outfit. Join us if you can! Tomorrow, I'm packing up a huge lunch for Saturday so you are welcome for lunch too!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

2010 Dance Pics

(MODERN DANCE) I've been enjoying the dance pictures other moms have been sharing online. Here are Shayla's 2010 pictures. As always, Rob Ledwedge, of Picture Perfect in Tiffin did an OUTSTANDING job with the dance recital pictures.


(JAZZ) Picture Perfect also does lovely custom framing. Picture Perfect: 42 Ashwood Road Tiffin, OH 44883-1908, (419) 447-0064

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Dance Recital Weekend 2010

Shayla spent the beginning of the week at Soccer Camp and the end of the week over on Kelley's Island at 4H camp. I brought her home early from 4H camp (where she had a even better time than she expected and she was expecting to have an INCREDIBLE time) due to the dance recital this weekend. Shay Shay was non stop "chit chat" about her amazing camp experience all the way home! I loved seeing and hearing her so happy!

While Shayla was at 4H camp, Shayne and I spent some precious "couple time" at the condo for a couple of days, joking every night that we were going to hop the ferry over to Kelleys to have dinner and to spy on Shay - hee hee. Seriously, I wrote by the pool (my article is just about ready to submit) and read by the beach - ahhhh!

At the end of the week I learned the State Department of Education selected me as a "Lead Content Expert" for the new English / Language Arts Academic Content Standards (fancy title, eh?! I laughed when I told my boss who told me to apply for the position. She said I'm the perfect choice - we'll see, yikes!) I will be training with the state department later this month (earning some extra money - always nice!) and then training teachers in grades 6-8 on the new standards they must use in their classrooms. (So to any of my BGSU students who may be reading this and remembering some discussion we had about the new standards, I will finally be able to tell you more in August, a lot more. Please stop by and see me!)

(PIC: Traci and Nicole who surprised us by coming to the dance recital - so sweet!)

Last night's dance recital (the 4th WITHOUT Christi) was the very first one I didn't cry and cry while watching Christi's classmates dance. They were amazing and it's so hard to believe Christi would be 13, so tall and entering high school in August! The girls were amazing and I'm reminding myself to be grateful she got to dance in four recitals. She loved them all! I just miss her!

(PIC: With beautiful Tiffany) We also awarded the 4th annual $1,000 Christi Thomas Scholarship last night too, but I'll post about that on a different day! THANKS to Tiffany, we even have some pictures! Now I want to share Shayla's pictures and to thank the many family / friends who came to support her - and all of us!

Great Aunt Mary and Cousin Jen

Grandma Nonee gave Shayla cookies instead of flowers - definitely a great option coming from Nonee! YUM!

Shay's "Fan Club" - hee hee!
It was so nice to see so many who came to watch Shayla. THANK YOU!!

The Annual "In Front of the Ritz" pictures (Shay with Mom)

Shay with Dad)