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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Saturday, August 27, 2011

Finished the First Week

BGSU did it again! They gave me the best students! I've now finished my first week of the fall semester and I think things will "roll along" quite well! I have three classes and a total of 72 students and 50 advisees this semester. In addition to my teaching and research responsibilities, I will also be serving as a literacy coach for a small rural middle school again this school year so that's a great boost for my consultant work, my research line and it keeps me in the classrooms working with teachers and students - I am so blessed!

Enrollment was up again at BGSU this fall with over 4,000 new freshman at the university. We have over 5,000 students in our College of Education and 324 faculty members there (about 900 at the university). Because of our growth and the Dean's commitment to using tenure tract faculty members and not instructors/adjuncts, we have 26 new faculty members in the College of Ed (8 new for my division - the School of Teaching & Learning). That is really exciting! (And I remind myself of that every time I cannot find a parking space in the faculty lot - lol!) They have made many improvements to the Education Building; it really looks amazing now! (The rest of campus - with something crazy like 275 million dollars of new facilities is also gorgeous!)

The highlight for me as a professor this week was coming out of class one day and seeing a new freshman (also a Christi Thomas scholarship winner) that I taught when she was a kindergarten student, and also a 7th grader. When she said she was just waiting for her next class I told her to come and hang out in my office for a bit. We had a nice time catching up! I'm so proud of her; she's going to do great things - just as soon as she declares a major (LOL!)

My low light this week was learning that I would have to get a new mentor because my amazing and most fantastic mentor earned an Asst. Dean's position so he's no longer allowed to help me over the next five years as I work toward tenure due to a conflict of interest. (He oversees the tenure process.) He assured me I could pick anyone, I don't need a mentor I'm well on my way, but I took the news very hard. He's absolutely fabulous and someone I really look up to and admire. May God help me find a good replacement who will accept my request and give me really good advice so that I can stay at this amazing institution!

I was very happy to see my article in print (since it's essential to keeping my job) in Middle Ground last week. It's a publication of the Association of Middle Level Educators and has a circulation of about 22,000 educators.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Napa Valley, California

I was very blessed this summer to join Shayne and three of his colleagues. They flew to Napa, California to attend a conference and I was invited too.
I actually learned a bit of technology that I've been able to implement in one of the sessions, but for the most part I relaxed and worked in the hotel room each day while Shayne was at meetings and went to the social events at night getting to know others in the field and their wives.
Shayne and I stayed on for the weekend and took in about 18 of the 275 wineries in that area. Even though I don't drink, it was a fabulous experience - beautiful, romantic, culturally unique and downright interesting!
Shayla enjoyed precious family time with both of her grandmas, her grandpa and her aunt while we were gone.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

First Day of 7th Grade

Shayla could not have been happier about starting school yesterday. Long gone are the days of easy classes, taking flowers to teachers and of course to having the girls pose together for pictures. I sure do miss those glorious days!

She has a brutal schedule with no study halls, three honors classes and another one she's taking for high school credit, but I'm positive she will work hard and will do just fine.

We'd like to think she was anxious to get right to 7th grade for the learning, but we all laughed about that knowing she really just wanted to be with her friends after a long summer break.
Here's wishing everyone a safe, healthy and happy new school year!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

We had a lovely visit with our Japanese friends! The girls (Shayna - 7, and Anju - 4) reminded us so much of when Christi & Shayla were little. It was wonderful to see the beautiful Japanese girls play with Christi and Shayla's favorite toys I just couldn't part with. Sweet!

Unfortunately, a bug bite caused little Anju's eye and much of the left side of her face to swell shut. We tried out the new Urgent Care in Tiffin where she was misdiagnosed with a sty. Later that day we were in Toledo school shopping so we made a trip to the ER at Toledo Children's hospital where they determinied it to be a bug bite and gave her steroids and benedryl. Shayla was amazing! I was so proud of her! When I praised her about being so wonderful keeping Anju's older sister busy and out of the way, she told me that she knew lots of people did that for her so she thought she could help out. What a sweetie!

Shayla said recently, "I'm going to be so sad when they go back to Japan." I know that's true. We told her whenever she wants to go to Japan to visit them we will put her on a plane and send her there. She was a great teacher and I think out of all of us she got the little girls to speak English better than any of the rest of us. Thanks, Shayla! Fly safe Mika, Shayna & Anju! Until we meet again......

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

2011 Seneca County Fair

While the fair ended Sunday evening, I'm still exhausted! Shayla had seven wonderful days of competing in equestrian events with Dusty. She worked so hard and had a fantastic week! We were so blessed with many friends and family who stopped by to watch Shayla. I apologize for how busy we are and for how short we must seem with them. Mika (our Japanese exchange student from 1995) flew in just to stay with us on Tuesday of last week. Her daughters - Shayne & Anju - our namesakes, also arrived. It's been great to have them here! They are all just wonderful!