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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Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day - Thank you to our Service Men & Women!

Thanks to my awesome mom for scanning and sending me these two photos! I love it when she shares old pictures! Honoring my personal military heroes this Memorial Day - my grandfather serving in World War II and my dad serving in the Ohio National Guard.

And to borrow my mom's words exactly: May their rewards be great in heaven for their service to our country. Thanks to their efforts we can enjoy a free country.

I was very happy that Cedar Point offered free admission to anyone with a military card this weekend. We didn't have those, but we did have our season passes so we hopped over, after the wicked storm, Sunday night and had a ball. A few times we got kind of mopey - wishing Christi were with us as Shayla and a friend went from ride to ride. Wereminisced about how much she loved Cedar Point, but we did ok. Shayla always cheers us!

The weekend certainly was a great way for Shayla to start off her summer vacation!

I took too long of a break away from writing my research manuscript, but I finished two great books while on the beach watching Shayne and the girls. I highly recommend both of them, "Unsinkable" and "Turtle in Paradise". My research paper must be hand delivered on Friday morning before I present at the national conference - yikes! May God be with me in getting it finished. I'm on page 20 right now, and all is well, but I have three sections to create yet and things always take longer than you'd think.

Friday, May 27, 2011

School is out for the summer!!

(Pic: First day of school, August 2010, age 11)
(Pic: Last day of school, May 2011, age 12)

From that worrisome first day of school (for all of us) to this final day of school, all I can say is WOW and THANK GOD! Without a doubt Shayla had the very best year of school ever! I wrote a letter to the superintendent and curriclum director yesterday praising their honors classes and sixth grade teachers, administrtators and staff. What a blessing to be at a fantastic and amazing public school! Now I'm ready to have Shayla home for the summer, ahhhh! She's concerned she's going to end up with a B+ in science this 9 weeks, but I told her I could care less if she got a B! She's worked so hard and grades me nothing to me! (I think she's eyeing the all A's free video rentals at the store! LOL!)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

2011 SE Christi Thomas Scholarships

I've been home for days and this research article I'm trying to write is just not coming together and I'm really struggling; therefore, I guess I will take a break (again - cough) and post something positive, amazing Seneca East kids!

On Monday morning, Shayla and I went to Seneca East to present this year's scholarships in Christi's memory. It was FABULOUS to be back visiting at SE! I'd not been to the school since I left teaching there in June of 2009. We ended up giving the $1,000 award and we also added seven $100 awards because we felt there were many worthy applicants. I really would have loved to have funded $1,000 for all of them, but Shayla now has this idea of attending college in NYC so I guess we'd better save more for that too (smile).

Congratulations to these wonderful kids! $1,000 - 2011 Christi Thomas Scholarship Winner, Amanda

And $100 book awards go to: Zach, Kelsey, Heather, Candace, Carly, Jacquelynn & Jared - VERY BEST WISHES to all of them! (It's wild seeing my middle schoolers "all grown up" and graduating now, wow!)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Time to Leave NYC

With the "Sad Dads" - and their wives, all in NYC for a "Solving Kids' Cancer" fundraiser. Did I mention Chelsea Clinton sat at the table next to us? Amazing! Did I mention how terribly sad I thought the fundraising event was, way too emtional for me, especially on Christi's birthday. I think I cried for 40 straight minutes and ended up getting in a cab by myself and heading back to the hotel; I just couldn't take any more.

With our beautiful friend, Nitza. She was Shayla's "Start with Art" preschool teacher at the Met in 2003. She is amazing!

While at the Met we attended an art class, very interesting!

It's time to go home tomorrow. I can't say I'm ready to leave this amazing city, but I miss Shayne and Shayla so I'm looking forward to seeing them. I've learned so much in the past four days, toured absolutely amazing and wonderful NYC schools and enjoyed incredible foods.

Thanks for making all of our amazing school visits possible, dear Olivia!

Thanks to Olivia for putting all of this together and for making this work for us! I have the greatest friends! When I told my boss about a month ago about this grant I wrote and what I was doing she immediately said, "Can I go too? It sounds amazing!" I responded with, "Absolutely; that would be great!" but I was really thinking, "awkward" - was anything but awkward! This trip was so much better this way.

Since we spent so much time with Christi here in treatment NYC can really be a tough (emotional) city. I'm so glad my boss and another colleague - another middle grades literacy assistant professor and my newest colleague "Penny" came with me. I am so blessed!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Thanks, mom for sending me these awesome pics of Shayla at her band concert last night. When I talked with her on the phone today she said it went well and she had so much fun with her friends.

I had another AMAZING and educational day here in NYC! We visited an awesome public school in Chinatown (Thanks, Olivia!), and had Chinese food for lunch (Vietnamese yesterday).

It wasn't ALL work and no play. Despite the sprinkles and showers we had a little fun in Central Park. (Photo for Shayla - at one of her favorite spots in the park - with Balto. I treasure the times we took the girls there and they played on the statue! I felt like Christi was with us in the park today; crazy I know, but it really was like I felt her spirit there.)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Day Two in NYC's Schools

I cannot believe I am missing Shayla's band concert right now, but I had an amazing opportunity so I'm still in New York. I'm so glad Shayla's awesome dad and all of her grandparents are there with her at her school! I've spent the past two days touring some absolutely amazing and impressive schools here in NYC. (THANKS, Olivia!) I'm here with my boss and another colleague and we have learned a ton. We are exhausted, but having a blast!

Where they are from! The children IN ONE CLASSROOM - amazing, so beautiful!

My colleagues with an impressive principal!

A beautiful school, inside and out!

A 5th grade classroom's library - ahhhhhhhh!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Last Week's Bermuda Cruise

Kings Wharf, Bermuda
Leaving NYC on our cruiseship
High Tea at the Fairmont Princess Hotel, Hamilton, Bermuda (Voted one of the Top 10 places to have High Tea)
Formal Night on the ship
The most amazing trail ride we've ever enjoyed. Thanks, Spicelands Equestrian Center! Fantastic horses and unbelievable views!

With our "Brain Buckets" on, Shayla and I pose before our first rock climb of the trip. Shayla and Shayne had no problem making it to the top, mom never made it!
Snorkeling at Snorkel Bay
Segway Tour of the Royal Dockyard
Shayla at Portofino's - the ship's speciality restaurant
Pool Time!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Happy 14th Birthday, Angel Christi (Forever 9)

This would not upload on Thursday, May 12th so here it is a bit late.

PIC: Christi's hospital teacher - the great Anne Marie (truly Mary Poppins!) So hard to believe our princess Christi would have turned 14 today. Thanks so much for your loving comments! We miss her soooooo much it hurts. We spent today at the Ronald McDonald House in NYC where we lived for 9 months in 2003, showed Shayla her pres...chool where the director and one of her teachers still remembered her and we also took Christi's amazing hospital teacher she adored so much to lunch. Here's a picture with the great Anne Marie - a women who really taught me how to teach KIDS and not subjects! I don't know how she does it. Five, yes 5, of her students died last week. Tonight we are off to a childhood cancer fundraiser on Park Ave. A cure cannot come soon enough for these precious children. Love to you all, Angela

Friday, May 06, 2011

Spring Concert

It was a joy to have Shayla's grandparents be able to attend her spring concert last night! She's very blessed! After the concert she gave them a school tour, including a stop by her locker. Happy Mother's Day weekend to all, enjoy!

Monday, May 02, 2011

Waiting on the Grave Marker

Without a doubt, I'm probably the only person whoever ordered her daughter's grave marker and then changed her mind and 48 hours later ordered a new one, but......that's exactly what I did!

I've been dreading May 1st because that's when I was told her marker I ordered in February would arrive. So far, no word yet, but I'm not exactly on the phone calling to inquire.
The top marker is the second one I ordered. I changed the photo, added that little cat she drew all the time when she was first diagnosed and moved her name down. I still don't really like it and I thought when I had it together it would "wow" me, but I see it and still feeling nothing. While I'm not at all ready to see it out at the cemetery, I do hope it arrives so and we can move on. The pain is still so great some days, especially now as we are nearing what would have been her 14th birthday. Scholarship applications are rolling in for her annual scholarships we will soon award, but I can't exactly say that gives me comfort right now. Quite frankly, I just wish she were here and I were saving for her college tuition instead.