PHOTO: Prior to Halloween we saw some darling gingerbread kits in the stores. I told Shayla that she was so blessed to have an amazing great aunt who makes real gingerbread houses with her every year because those kits are so expensive. Well, now that they're 75% off, the kit was just $2.50 so we bought it and had a lot of fun! How about that for a Haunted House! Hee hee!
Much to our shock and surprise (no offense, Olivia) one of Christi's sweet, sweet supporters informed us that SHE is running in a race to raise money for the Christi Thomas Memorial Fund and for Kids Cancer Crusade - two wonderful charities very near and dear to our hearts! Olivia's fundraising efforts will be split equality between the charities. Olivia's brother died of cancer and that is how, years later, she stumbled upon Christi's website. Having a disability herself, she was able to relate to Christi's physical struggles and the two girls shared the wonderful bond of reading great books! Olivia is a wonderful blood donor and one of the sweetest people you could ever meet. If you're looking to make a donation this holiday season in memory of Christi, or just in need of a great cause, this is a great choice! THANKS, Olivia! And thanks to Eric, for helping get things set up on-line!
Shayla's conference was incredible! I know I am just a proud, bragging mom, but her conferences in 1st and 2nd grade - when we learned of her reading struggles were not pleasant and I left in tears SO PLEASE LET ME BRAG! This little sweetheart scored nearly 100 points higher than the state of Ohio average and her school district average on the state reading test!! She just missed a perfect score of 518 by a mere 18 points!! We knew she had made tremendous gains in reading and now happily declares, "I love reading!" but it was awesome to see it in writing. Additionally, she started 3rd grade off with a reading level of 3rd grade sixth month and now, it has moved up to fourth grade, ninth month. After the conference, back up in my classroom, I hugged her and told her that she was almost reading at a fifth grade reading level and I wish I would have videoed her little shocked face. I think for years she compared herself to Christi, and then of course with her many vision, hearing and dyslexia problems she never viewed herself as smart. This was a great, overdue, boost to her self confidence and I thank all of her teachers along the way for working so hard with her, despite her struggles. She wrote a sentence describing herself to share with us at conferences and we loved what she wrote and thought it was very, very true: I am a book-reading, pet-playing, horseback-riding girl from the tree-growing, road-riding, creek-flowing side of Tiffin.
Yesterday, she was a total sweetpea out at the cememtery and a great support for me. For the first time, I saw that the grass is now completely grown in over Christi's grave. For whatever reason, I thought that was the most horrible thing ever and I just broke down and sobbed and sobbed and sobbed out in the cold, damp weather. I think the grass visually showed me how long it's been since she's been in my arms. Shayla just quietly hugged me until I could get myself together. (She was thrilled to see about a few new things placed by sweet strangers out at Chrsitis' grave and asked to take the Halloween things home.)
Last year, Shayla was noticing all of the lovely Christmas dresses in the stores and I told her that she could still fit into Christi's Christmas dress so she'd need to wait until next year before she could have her own Christmas dress. Well, next year is now and after the Ohio State / Michigan game (Sorry, Cathy! I know your sweetie in Heaven must have thought his fellow Angel friend, Christi, should enjoy a big win this year or something!) we went to get groceries and we found many lovely dresses on sale for Shayla. She picked out one and we think she looks beautiful! We will be celebrating my 40th birthday in a couple of weeks, when we have some time, and going somewhere VERY special; she is happy about getting to wear it soon.
SHAY's FUNNIES: When she came up to my classroom after school one day last week I said, "Good news, Shayla! Dr. Grine got moved out of Tiffin and in to Toledo!" She looked at me with puzzlement and said, "But I thought you liked Mrs. Grine." I told her just like Christi's cancer was so difficult it needed a big hospital to help her, Dr. Grine's case is just like that. Then she got it and laughed, "Oh, I didn't know why you'd want her to go hours away when you like her."
ANOTHER FUNNY: She was explaining the lock system to Shayne, and I said, "Did you remember learning that at Grand Rapids?" She said, "At a waterpark? No, I learned it where Grandma and Paw Paw took us this summer to ride the canel boat." I told her that the name of the town where that was was Grand Rapids, but yes it does sound like a great name for a waterpark!
After church tomorrow, we'll get together with my mom and Joe. I was born on Nonee's birthday so we will celebrate our birthdays together. I love sharing my birthday with the most special woman - my mom!!