Snowing & Scrapping
All is fine and it is actually wonderful to be back into a routine with school/work/activities back in session. We enjoyed a “snow day” one day this week. Earlier this year we decided that we would spend any “snow days” we might be blessed with working on her 4H project of “Scrapbooking”. She’s making her first scrapbook featuring all of her “drama/theatre” activities for the year and then she will enter that project at the fair this summer. In the morning we sorted out all of the supplies I had, set her goals for the project, made some decisions and printed out select photos. Once the roads were cleared in the afternoon, we went to a scrapbook store to select her album. I’d noticed the new store, but had never gone in. While looking around trying to locate “drama things” (nearly impossible) I asked the saleswoman how long they’d been opened. She told me they closed their New Riegel and Clyde stores and moved it all here a few months ago. My heart fell. I inquired, “Is this is the same store that was in New Riegel, across from the “New Riegel Café”? She said, “Yes.” I quickly turned. Tears came out of no where and I mumbled to myself, “That was the last store I ever took Christi in.”
August 2006: Shayne’s dad was in town and we went to take him out for ribs in New Riegel. There was a wait for a table so I decided to walk the girls across the street to the scrapbook store to pass the time. Christi fell in love with the store and I suggested she could start a scrapbook if she’d like. She picked out two papers (animals) and a sticker sheet (animals). She said her first page would be about our summer trips to the African Wildlife Safari Park. Shayla picked out “My First Day of 2nd Grade” papers as school had just started. Unfortunately, that was Tuesday and by Friday Christi was in horrific off and on pain. Sunday was her final trip back to Philadelphia as we knew things had taken a terrible turn for the worse. I came across those untouched pages in the scrapbook tub we went through the items in the morning. To see them that morning hurt my heart and then to have it happen all over again that afternoon in the store was freaky. I really miss her! She wasn’t perfect, but she really was extraordinary and I loved her to piece!
Shayla was surprised at how long it took to get everything just right and to make decisions, but when Shayne came home from work she was beaming with pride, anxious to show him what she’d done during the day. I was simply marveling at her two pages myself.
She also spent her “snow day” learning how to cook eggs and creating lots of art for Grandma Nee Nee’s room while I worked on lesson plans and dissertation stuff. Nee Nee was discharged from the hospital in Toledo and now is at a closer location where she is having her therapy since her hip replacement surgery. While talking with her on the phone I was able to ask her exactly what happened.
She parked her vehicle and was walking to meet friends when she heard her hip crack and down she went. She fell in the parking lot and could not yell even though she tried and knew she should. Meanwhile, someone came out and got into their truck, backed up and drove off. She doesn’t know how they didn’t back over her because it was so close and they obviously were not able to see her on the ground. When she didn’t show up, her friends looked and could see her vehicle out in the parking lot so they went looking for her and there she was on the ground. (Thank God for friends!) The ambulance came about an hour later and transported her first locally and then to Toledo.
(PIC: Coloring by Christi, 2004, age 7) We thank God that she did so well with the surgery and that she seems really happy in her new location where she’ll be staying for some time. Shayla did a fabulous job decorating her room, talking a lot about how Christi’s room was always colorful with things hanging on the walls and things for Christi to do. It was terribly odd going to visit her. It was in the evening and no one was around. (Our favorite time with Christi in the hospital because it was finally, in the evenings, when we felt like we had some privacy and could be a family, not waiting for someone to walk in and give directions or something). As we pushed Nee Nee in the wheel chair around the center looking for something to do, it was really was eerie as I kept looking down in the wheelchair expecting to see Christi. What also struck me as odd was that Shayla was suddenly so tall. During our hospital times together, Shayla was so little (ages 3-7) and suddenly it was like I wasn’t watching out for her too, but she was tending to the one in the wheelchair. Shayla’s anxious to get back and visit with Nee Nee because there is a wii there that Nee Nee has been playing and Shay wants to set up an email account for her grandma so they can email. Nee Nee is willing and just beamed to have us there visiting with her and eating her snacks. What a hoot! I love her so much!
Another big snow storm hit last night and it's still coming down. Shay still had her horse riding lesson and when we were all outside in the snow late last night it was still, surreal, and simply gorgeous. I wondered if Heaven could be so lovely. Today the other two family members are talking of going skiing yet this weekend. I think I’ll pass this time and stay back to continue work on my dissertation. (Entering all of the data I’ve received thus far is taking much longer than I anticipated.) I cannot even explain how exciting and empowering it is, and how very well it is going. (Or the fact that things seem to take longer than you’d ever imagine, hee hee.) Nearly 700 “invitations to participate” were mailed out on Dec. 26th. I worried over the trip whether anyone would be willing to work with me, especially with zero compensation. I kept thinking how will I expand my recruitment efforts when no one responds. When we returned home from vacation a week later, I had received eight “I want to participate” questionnaires which was simply shocking to me (and my advisor). As of today, I have nearly 40 and the due date is not until Jan. 14th. I will soon be working with my Advisor and following my predetermined purposeful selection process to identify the ten National Board Certified Teachers I will be studying. Also this week I had another big step forward as I conducted my two pilot interviews on my friends. Now I’m working on the time consuming word-for-word transcriptions. I’m so grateful Stephanie and Jerry agreed to help me as I value their insight so much and really appreciate their time as they’re incredibly busy individuals. I never have enough time to talk with my teacher friends so this was nice as after we finished our work, I called back just to chat and to learn what I needed to change.
The SMART board I wrote the grant for this summer and received was installed in my classroom over break. I’ve been having a blast learning how to incorporate the many interactive components involved. (And my amazing 6th graders have been teaching me “tricks” to learn and giving me little things to practice before the next day when they check up on me – so cute!) One of my 7th grade boys said to me during a lesson, “This class is better than cable TV.” I responded jokingly, “The grading period doesn’t end until next Friday; you don’t need to start sucking up yet. You’ve got some time.” He said, “No! I’m serious. Your class is really fun.” (Something about challenging the ladies to the gentleman in a game format always brings out incredible competition, adding the power of the SMART board has the potential to make that work even better I determined this week.) Although we had an incredible vacation and an amazing break, I learned it was nice to be back to work. I really missed my students and colleagues!