Monday, December 27, 2010


If you have been reading the blog for awhile, you KNOW my fascination with butterflies. So it is no surprise that I received a few butterflies for Christmas...a butterfly ornament and frames with butterflies and a butterfly ring. I love them all. But my favorite (and this will be no surprise either) was a book.

A couple of weeks ago Donny and I were walking through Books & Co. and I saw this book - The Butterfly Effect by Andy Andrews. All I saw was the cover with the butterfly. I just mentioned "I want that book". In the past, I could mentioned several times something that I wanted or needed, but unless I made a list, it was forgotten. Not this time.

I didn't have a CLUE what this book was about. I read it today. It's one of those books that you can read in half an hour. I was crying when I finished the book, and called Donny to tell him that it is one of my favorite Christmas gifts. Ever.

What I will tell you about the book is WHAT the butterfly effect is. Then buy the book. It is worth having and sharing with your kids, or ANYONE you love.

(from the book) "In 1963, Edward Lorenz presented a hypothesis to the New York Academy of Science. His theory, stated simply, was that:
A butterfly could flap its wings and set molecules of air in motion, which would move other molecules of air, in turn moving more molecules of air--eventually capable of starting a hurricane on the other side of the planet.
Lorenz and his ideas were literally laughed out of the conference. What he had proposed was ridiculous. It was preposterous. BUT IT WAS FASCINATING!
So imagine the scientific community's shock and surprise when, more than thirty years after, physics professors working from colleges and universities worldwide came to the conclusion that the butterfly effect was authentic, accurate, and viable.
It is now know as The Law of Sensitive Dependence Upon Initial Conditions.
Science has shown the butterfly effect to engage with the first movement of any form of matter - including people."

As I was reading, I couldn't help but think of the impact that MELISSA made on so many people's lives. There were 1500 people at her funeral. If those 1500 people told her story to only ONE MORE PERSON, that would be 3000 people that knew of her courage in the face of her disease. I KNOW her story is far more reaching.
That's what the butterfly effect is all about...not just MELISSA'S life, but
ALL of our lives.
"Every single thing you do matters. You have been created as one of a kind. You have been created in order to make a difference. You have within you the power to change the world." Andy Andrews

I think Melissa did that. Maybe that is our ultimate goal in life. And she did that.

I've also thought about sharing this book with the fifth graders at school.
I'm not working next week - I just don't think I'll be able to get through the week and accomplish anything. I also think it's time I told them about Melissa. I talk about my "kids" all the time. They've actually asked about the picture I have of her on my computer. And of course they are probably a little confused about all the butterflies around the library.

I can't think of a better time to share her story AND the story of THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT...EVERYONE can make a difference, and there's not a better time than RIGHT NOW (a good New Year's Resolution too!)

...and in TRUE Fort fashion, I will ALWAYS end with pictures (more than like of Drew & Max!)
Christmas Eve. Not too busy. Perfect. Me, Donny, Nick, Mere, Drew, Max, John, my sister Sue, and Melissa's rugby friend Jeannette and her girls, Norah & Lilah.
Angie & David stopped by for a short visit. ALWAYS love visits from Fort's friends.

Norah,Lilah, Drew, Max

Pam, Drew, Max, Jeannette, Norah & Lilah (Jeannette is a rugby friend of Melissa's!)

The FIRST thing Drew did on Christmas morning? Went to see if Santa ate his cookies!

Santa brought him a firetruck...what he REALLY wanted!

Max at their new table and chair...just the right size!

Nothing makes this grandma (Pamma) happier than when my grandkids pick up a book...(even happier when they bring it to me to read to them!)

Drew with HIS book!

J Mac and the boys (after I took the picture, Nick said "Look at Drew...he's Fort all over again!" We have very FEW pictures where Melissa IS NOT making a face...I think she must have been whispering in Drew's ear "MAKE A FACE!" he did.

Hope you spent your holiday with the ones you love the most...

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Merry Christmas!

From our family to yours...may you have a happy, HEALTHY Holiday...
Donny, Pam, John, Nick, Mere, Drew & Max (and of course Fort & JP)...

I KNOW Melissa is watching over all of her friends and family during the holidays... MERRY CHRISTMAS from Fort!

(Just a note...we're sending her balloons for her birthday again this year...
if you'd like to join us - Sunday, Jan. 2 @ 1:30 @ the cemetery. Bring a balloon!)

Christmas is about's to YOU Jackie!
Last year, our new principal at Moraine Meadows convinced the entire staff to register for the Flying Pig Marathon in Cincinnati. Some did the 5K, some did the half marathon and a couple did the full marathon. I thought it would be a good idea to do it for a good cause...and we had a GREAT CAUSE right there at Moraine Meadows. Our second grade teacher had been diagnosed with cancer in the fall of last year, so we asked her where she wanted the proceeds to be donated...Her first choice was the library at MM. When we were closed, she wanted the money to go for books to be donated to Children's Hospital in Dayton (she's a READING teacher!). We raised almost $1500! In the fall Jackie and Rodney purchased books with half the money (which Jackie & I delivered in the fall). She recently gave me a check for the other half - close to $800 -plus the RUBI GIRLS raised another $500 and Southdale students and staff (where Jackie & Josh are now teaching) raised another $200 in addition to books (about 100) that were donated. WELL...we went shopping yesterday. Books and Co. gave us the educator's discount and we were able to purchse 160 MORE books to go to Children's!!!! We had so much fun. And we're hoping that Jackie will be up to it to help deliver the books after we put bookplates in each book "DONATED in Honor of Jackie...A Most Excellent Teacher!" What a great feeling it will be to deliver MORE books! WE LOVE YOU JACKIE!!!!!

Rodney and me with some of the books...

Josh and Deb with some of the books...

Josh holding the receipt for the books we bought!

The BEST gift for us....

A friend of Melissa's sent me the link to this on FB today (didn't get a chance to read the paper today - had Drew & Max overnight and all day today...thanks for sharing it with me Chelsea!)
There is not much I want or need (only ONE thing...can't have that), and this is GREAT advice:

Dear Abby:
My beautiful 20-year-old daughter was killed in a car accident. I am writing this not only for myself, but for all parents who have lost a child, and to all of the wonderful people who asked, "What can I do for you?"

At the time there wasn't much anyone could do to help, but after two years I have an answer: Accept me for who I am now.

When Rachel came into my life, it changed me profoundly. Losing her did the same. Her father and I work hard to honor her memory, but we will never "get over it" to the degree of being who we were before. I am different now. In some ways -- I think -- better. I am kinder, more patient, more appreciative of small things, but I am not as outgoing nor as quick to laugh.

I know people mean well when they encourage me to get on with my life, but this is my life. My priorities have changed. My expectations of what my future will hold have changed. Please extend to me again the offer of "anything I can do" and, please, accept me as I am now. -- DIFFERENT NOW IN RIVERVIEW, FLA.

Sunday, December 12, 2010


Christmas was always my favorite holiday...beginning in September I made my lists (all the names of who I was buying for (and WHAT), how much I would spend each pay-from Sept-Dec., when I would write my Christmas cards(about 100), when they would be mailed, what weekend I would make cookies, and when to wrap the presents. Then when to shop for groceries for the annual Fortener Christmas here (on Christmas Eve)...and somehow fit in decorating. I pretty much did it myself. OH... they all loved Christmas as much as I did, just not the preparations...Hard to believe it was my FAVORITE holiday. But I did love it.
As the years went by, the kids got older, the lists grew longer and my temper grew shorter...the winter depression set in. Finally, one year (before Christmas) my good friends Sharon & Jennifer convinced me to go to the doctor to get something "to help me get through the winter" I did. I'll never forget THAT Christmas. The kids kept saying "What's wrong with mom? She's not yelling!"...(and knowing I was on medication) they would laugh and say "OH, she must be on drugs!"...and they laughed and I laughed because it didn't matter...I was HAPPY. So I continued to do all the crazy hectic Christmas things.....

That was THEN.

In 2008, things changed. In the summer, Melissa had a reoccurence and it was everywhere. I knew it wasn't good. Fall came and went, never even thought about making a list.
By Thanksgiving she was in the hospital.
By Christmas, she had been to Hospice for ten days, then after pleading with the nurses, they let her come home.
She came home to our house...and Hospice set our family room up into a comfortable "Hospice at home".
I remember when she came in, she was pleasantly surprised - her bed was right in front of the big screen tv- she had a rolling tray for her food...everything was within reach. And there was the oxygen. It was a VERY noisy machine - but we got used to it very quickly - and had 45 ft of cord, so she could get to the bathroom, or pretty much anywhere she wanted to go around the house. I went upstairs to get something, and when I went back to the family room, she was GONE. I thought "OMG, where did she go????"...then I noticed the cord...followed it to the basement. She was walking around looking through boxes. just wandering. I asked her what she was doing..."Just looking".
The next ten days went by in the blink of an eye.
I had NO list, but Christmas had to go on. What about gifts? I could get out for an hour or so, but I didn't want to leave her.
What about food? Taken care of by WONDERFUL friends.
Christmas cards? No way (no time).
Decorations? We took care of those the Saturday after Thanksgiving when John stayed with her in the hospital. Not much, but enough that she loved it.
As for the gifts, a couple of days before Christmas I went to Kohls. Got a couple of things for everyone and went to get in line - there were probably 25 people ahead of me. I just started crying - then ran into an ANGEL (by the name of Mike Schmidt). I asked if he was going to wait in the line...when he said "yes"...I asked if he would pay for my things and drop them off (and I would write him a check when he got to our house!)- I HAD to get home...and he took it and said "GO". An hour later he was ringing our doorbell - delivering the "stuff"... Wouldn't have had gifts if it weren't for him...
I also went to Beermans - saw a red and black warmups - called Melissa to see what she thought - "you don't have to buy me anything mom...OH...OK - I'd love them..."
(they are still hanging in my closet)....

And for the first time, we opened Christmas gifts on Christmas Eve...I was a staunch believer in YOU ONLY OPEN ON CHRISTMAS MORNING. IT was simple...just me, Donny, Melissa, John, Nick, Mere & Drew... We spent most of the time watching Drew open his gifts - Melissa took lots of pictures and videos - can't see her, but you can HEAR her voice talking to Drew. We each had a couple of gifts to open and we laughed and we talked and enjoyed EVERY minute. AND Drew took his first steps to Melissa that Christmas. AND Nick & Mere announced that she was pregant - they really wanted Melissa to name the new baby (that's ANOTHER story) Fort KNEW about Max. (we tell him that too)...It was THE best Christmas ever. She even said so.

Christmas now? No lists. Very little shopping. A small tree and some lights out for the kids. No cards (sorry, just not there yet).
Last minute shopping/wrapping (I'd have THAT all done by now - while watching It's a Wonderful Life - still my favorite.

Not much energy for all that. I THINK about doing things alot. I guess that's half the battle. I'll get done what I need to get done.

SO. We get through the holidays, but as you can see, the memories are still very fresh. Drew & Max help - a lot. Working (I never thought I would say this) actually helps too.

The next couple weeks are going to be hard. First Christmas, then the anniversary, then her birthday - which by the way, we will probably go to the cemetary again this year and send her balloons (with messages) - if you'd like to join us, we'd love that. And we will ALWAYS go to China Cottage for her birthday - not sure if it was her favorite, but it was tradition. And we are big on tradition. Then we'll get through the winter...with a break in February - doing the Donna Breast Cancer Marathon (I'm doing the half with Jen & her friends and Sharon is going this year too) Jacksonville, Florida. That will help.

So were almost through another holiday. One day at a time.....

and OF COURSE, I end on a HAPPY note....the only way Fort would have it....

I said I would post any "TREASURES"...found another one. Donny was going through some boxes, found this one...I am SO glad I saved EVERY card. She wrote messages on everything...this one is SO her...

When Melissa was in Hospice, good friends of ours brought this snowman to Melissa to help make the room "festive"'s one of the only Christmas things that I can put out (that was out when Melissa was here)...Max gives him a hug...

Every once in awhile the kids get a book and sit on my lap...Drew found his scrapbook from Aunt Fort (she was working on it for Drew for his first Christmas. She never got to finish it, so Stacy & Ang worked on it and finished for him for his first makes me SO happy that he has something that SHE made! He loves it too!

Drew LOVES when pop pop chases and tickles him...

Donny, Nick & I took Drew & Max to a holiday "extravaganza" at Bellbrook Middle School (one of the teacher's I work with organized the event)...lots of kids games, food, Christmas music, and Santa. Drew decorated cookies for himself and Max...and had to EAT them right away of course!

Donny & I attended our first Compassionate Friends Memorial Service...there were over 60 names of Children in the program...and family members there to represent each child and light a candle in their memory. At the beginning of the program, they read a poem called "The Lighting of the Five Candles" -
Candle for our Grief, Candle for our Courage, Candle for Our Memory, Candle for our Love and Candle for our Hope. I got to light the candle for Our Hope. It's the candle in the didn't burn down like the rest of them...maybe Fort letting me know she was there? (Donny says, maybe it was colder than the other candles...I like to believe she was THERE.)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


I have been working on a Christmas "project" for my dad and a couple of other people and in the process have been going through tons of photos. When Donny saw what I was doing, I told him I would do the same for him, but he had to find the pictures and scan them (I LOVE my new printer/scanner/copier...makes this "project" a lot easier!) he's now going through photos and files. In the process, he found these...Melissa was SO talented. I think every Christmas she made something for her friends (I KNOW she and Angie always made gifts for each other) because they never had any money...little did they know that those gifts are the most TREASURED gifts.
I'm pretty sure the doors on her hall in her dorm had her works of art...she was so easy to buy for at Christmas - coloring books and crayons...even in her 20s! She loved stickers and stamps and anything sparkly - probably why she loved scrapbooking so much.
Anyway - here are a few of the treasures we found...I'm sure there are more hidden treasures around the house waiting to be found...and you can bet I will share them on the blog when I find them!

Wasn't she the sweetest little least when she was with Santa! pretty girl and HER treasures!

Sunday, November 21, 2010


Two years ago tomorrow (the Monday before Thanksgiving), Melissa went BACK to the hospital. This time for good.

Here we go again. The holidays are here already, and I'm NOT ready. (Ready or not, here they come...) Too many memories. It's a VERY difficult time of year for me (us).
For the first time, Donny went to a Compassionate Friends Meeting with me last Thursday. The speaker, Rev. Bobbie Predmore, spoke about "Getting Through the Holidays". A good topic for all of us. Although SHE has not personally been where we are (she's not a member of "THE CLUB NO ONE WANTS TO BELONG TO"...) she had some very good insight and very good suggestions to help all of us.
Most specifically - the best gift you can give a grieving parent? Talk about their child. It's interesting - for some people, it's easier to avoid "us" than to talk about our child. We LOVE to hear their name. We LOVE to hear stories about them.
And, for me anyway, I GUARANTEE I will cry. But that's OK. Please don't NOT talk about our child because we (I) "might" cry. It's part of the healing. We NEED to cry as much as we NEED to hear their name and hear their stories. It will be the best thing you can do for "us".

After the meeting, we also received our monthly Compassionate Friends Newsletter. When I got home, I read a great article in the newsletter. I'd like to share some of it here. It will hopefully help you understand where "we" are coming from. Even two years later...

CONFESSIONS OF A Rev. Greg Hubbard, Goodland, KS

When I left seminary, there were many things I was prepared for; my mistake was believing I was prepared for everythying. In fact, I was not prepared for everything, but I did not realize how totally unprepared I was until I spent some time as a pastor of a community church.

Even though I had been through four years of college and four years of seminary, there was much I was not ready for. Funerals I knew how to do--at least we had discussed them in school. When it came time to help families through the grief experience, however, I soon realized how woefully inadequate my training had been. I believe many pastors leave seminary feeling as I did--ready to take on the world. I believe many soon discover what I did--that the more I experienced as a pastor, the more I realized how little I really did know.

For instance, I used to believe that the grief experienced by a woman whose husband died, or the man whose brother died, or the parents whose child died was the same. I was wrong. As a caretaker of those God has entrusted to me, I set out to do my best at the funeral, to visit afterward, and I then expected the family to get on with their lives. For themost part, people did, that is, except for one group. This particular group puzzled me. I could not figure out why their tears lasted not just months but years longer. I believe you know which group this is. I wanted to understand why this group-- bereaved parents--got hit so much harder, and what I, as one who cared for them, could do.

I set out to learn all that I could about the death of a child. The more I learned, the worse I felt. The group that I had been treating like any other turned out not to be like any other. I no longer believed that all grief was the same--that is to say, that all deaths yielded the same reaction in the grieving process. Some may disagree, but as far as I am concerned, the greatest loss any human can sustain is the death of a child.

I thought over what I had said to bereaved parents to ease their pain. It hurt me to learn I had been just as much a part of the problem as I had thought I was a part of the solution. I also realized that solutions, though possible, are very hard to come by. I learned how inadequate my answers were in the face of a child's death. I came to understand that although it goes against a preacher's constitution, it was often better to keep my mouth closed and listen as one who cared than it was to offer verbal dribble. It was embarrassing to find that I too, was guilty of the disappearing pastor syndrome following the death of a child.

As a result of my post-seminary crash course in parental grief, I've learned a lot of good things. I do not ever tell a parent they can always have another child. I don't attempt to answer "why?" I love them even when they get mad at God. I reassure them that they aren't crazy. I help them through anxiety attacks. I listen more than I talk. I never tell them I know how they feel--they know and I know that I don't. I always tell them and show them that I care. I never ask them to tell me what I can do for them; they won't. I just show up regularly to say I remember and I care. I never let them blame themselves for things God alone has control of. I talk about their child frequently and openly.
***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** *****
(these are excerpts - it was Reprinted from The National Compassionate Friends Newsletter, Sprint 1991) and I felt it was important enough to share.

He also mentions sitting down with your pastor and telling them what bereaved parents go through. "It might surprise them to learn how long grief lasts or that many parents leave their child's room untouched for years".

I'm not sharing with my pastor. I'm sharing with my friends. YOU. Because, hopefully, it will help you understand where we are coming from - and, quite possibly you know someone else who has lost a child. (His last paragraph especially has some good advice!)

Needless to say, I will continue to talk about Melissa. I will ALWAYS LOVE to hear her name and stories about her. And I will cry. I promise. I love her and miss her EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

and in TRUE Fort fashion, we end with Drew pics. A happy ending. Always.
(Max gets his turn on another Friday night!)

WE had Drew Friday night - decided to take him to the Mall just in case Santa arrived early ... and guess what? HE DID! Drew got to see Santa (no pictures unfortunately unless we paid 39.99 for the cheapest package...I'm cheap AND I have a good camera), and he got to ride the train around the Mall with Pamma and go to the Toy Store AND see puppies in the puppy Pet Shop....

Hmmmm...maybe SANTA might bring Drew a new helmet for Christmas....(since that little green basket he uses for a helmet is pathetic...)

OK - I KNOW I JUST posted this picture, but hey - it's one of my FAVORITES.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING from our house to yours....

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Edmund Fitzgerald

Very interesting story.
November 10 was the 35th Anniversary of the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgeral in Lake Superior. (Remember the Gordon Lightfoot song "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald"?)
Paul Riippa, a teammate of Donny's on the Wilmington College Football team was on the Edmund Fitzgerald when it went down.
Paul Riippa was a halfback with Donny. He got to play quite a bit as a freshman.
Before the season started the team had a Talent Show. Two of Paul's friends convinced him he that he was a great singer and he should sing a Neil Diamond song in the show. So he sang "Sweet Caroline". Little did he know that his teammates were putting him on - and they all got a good laugh out of it.
Paul left Wilmington after his freshman year and joined the Merchant Marines.

After his sophomore year, they were selling old jerseys, and Donny bought his jersey and Paul's jersey, and have had them both packed in the attic for 35 years.

On Tuesday Donny was reading an article about the anniversary on the internet. There is a Maritime Museum in Michigan that was having a ceremony in honor of the anniversary. Thinking about the jersey, Donny thought it would be nice to give the jersey to the Riippa family. He sent an email to the museum requesting information on the Riippa family so he could contact them. It was the end of the day, so he didn't wait for a response. On his way home, shortly after pulling out of the parking lot - he turned on the SWEET CAROLINE. (you know our experience with Melissa sending us songs!)...he really felt like Paul was sending him a message to get in touch with his family. We believe those signs. We get them all the time from Melissa...
Tonight Donny was on the internet looking for the Riippa family again. He found an email for Paul's brother, and sent him a note about the jersey.
Within a half an hour, our phone was ringing. It was Paul's brother. Donny talked to him for about 15-20 minutes, and promised to send him the jersey. He was very grateful.

Donny and I were talking about their conversation after he hung up. It has been 35 years since Paul passed away, and his friends STILL remember him.

How we would LOVE 35 years from now to hear from a friend (or friends) of Melissa's and know that she is still remembered. It's all we can hope for....

Donny with Paul Riippa's Wilmington College Football jersey. Sending it to his brother tomorrow...

What in the world is going on with the Bengals???? Quarterback maybe? I don't know, but we had a good time with Shelly & Bruce anyway. We have been Bengals fans for a LONG time and will continue to be - I just wish they would start winning again...

Bruce, Shelly, Pam, Donny at the Bengals/Colts game in Indy...

believe it or not - we found a worker in the stadium who was a Bengals fan!

windows in the stadium looking out into downtown Indianapolis...

Halftime was in honor of our nations Veterans. Awesome.

view from our seats...

Saturday, November 13, 2010

THIS IS YOUR LIFE (fort & nick) and more...

Ok. Here's the deal...our printer hasn't been working for about a year (it works, but you had to feed one page at a time) and I finally decided to upgrade. We're always about five years behind (technology wise) so this might not be very exciting to you - but this new printer PRINTS/COPIES/SCANS. That is VERY exciting to me. So I'm looking at some pictures of the kids hanging on the wall thinking - hey. I can put those on the blog now - I can SCAN them! So here you go - Melissa might not like this - but I'm picking only the cutest pictures. Of both of favorites anyway. Might not end most of you know, Fort inherited her love of taking pictures from me...and I have literally thousands of pictures. I'll post them when I find good ones. Enjoy.

Can you find Fort in this picture? She actually THOUGHT she wanted to be a dancer. It lasted, oh, maybe a month or so. Then I was DRAGGING her to practice each week - literally. I told her she had to finish what she started. At the end of that year, she was in ONE dance at the recital, and it was at the END of the recital. We were done with dance too. After that, Julie Franz stopped us at church and asked Melissa if she wanted to play soccer. That was the beginning of her sports career. She was SO much happier. (It was at Julie's wedding that Melissa & John had their first date!)

She wasn't the tallest one for too much longer after this picture...

She doesn't look too happy here does she? Nick was always the huggy one....

They actually LIKED each other when they were little (occasionally) ...for pictures anyway....

This is one of Donny's and my FAVORITE pictures of Nick & Melissa - Happy Thanksgiving from all of us (early)!

This is really hard for me to believe, but it was two years ago this weekend that Fort & Johnny Mac had their annual Chili Cook-off. She had been in the hospital for three days before (Wed-Friday) - and INSISTED on getting out Friday to get home so they could have the cook-off. I really thought they should cancel (I mean she only had THREE thorosentecis's in those three days ) but she would not have that. She had to get home to get ready for the weekend. They had the cook-off (and there were lots of pictures on the blog to prove it)...a week later she was back in the hospital for good.
Just doesn't seem possible that it's been two years.
It's days like today that help get us through another day...keeping busy.
One day at a time.....LOVE YOU FORT...and miss you EVERY SINGLE DAY.....
Started the morning with breakfast at McDonald's with Donny, Nick, Drew & Max. You can see the training building for the Kettering Fire Dept. out the windows @ McD's - and Drew LOVES Nick & Donny took him over to see the truck after breakfast - I think he's going to be a fireman when he grows up - his great great Grandpa Andy (Rado) would LOVE that - (he was a Capt. in the Dayton Fire Dept. MANY years ago!)

Headed to Wilmington College today for the Wilmington/Otterbein Football game. Donny got into the attic and found his Wilmington Letter Jacket - still fits...kind of...he wore his green, but we sat on Otterbein's side - cheered for Kevin...Otterbein won. Wilmington struggled this year - new head coach - Ken Minor who was a graduate assistant when Donny played there - Ken played for Wilmington too. Hopefully they will have a better season next year.

Kevin (son of our good friend Sue Franz) & Donny

Kevin is #76...just resting - he plays offense on the line - played the whole game - couldn't get good action shots, so I got the best one I could get. They need to REST too...

the FRANZ clan (and friends - us) tailgating...before, during and AFTER the game...

Sunday, November 7, 2010

KELTS 49 Flint 28!

The Cincinnati Kelts men's team played Flint (MI) Saturday. The winner (KELTS!) continue to the semi-finals in the spring.


Cincinnati Kelts WOMEN'S team - the biggest supporters of the MEN'S team (men are the women's team's biggest supporters!)A lot of Melissa's teammates are STILL playing! (Netti, Eva, Bea, Ebeth...I know I'm forgetting some - sorry!)
Their shirts spell out KELT'S EAT FLINTSTONES!

Uncle Johnny Mac tries to keep Max in tow...might be easier on the field playing rugby!

the only way to keep Max within eyeshot is to hold him - he's a wanderer...isn't too happy to be on pop pop's shoulders...

this shirt says it all.....

Let the game begin! The women's team each represented a player on the men's team- BEA had J-MAC!

wanna be rugger....

Could Max possibly be a FUTURE KELT???? Fort would LOVE would we!

Nick & Mere were out of town for a couple of days - so we had Drew & Max - Thursday & Friday night until Saturday afternoon. Watched Monsters Inc. (for the,oh, 100th time)and followed Max around constantly. He is always looking for something to get into - and thinks he can WALK down the steps. This is why you have kids when you are in your 20s! We're exhausted - but it was fun.

Takin' a walk with Pamma-just happy to be outside!

Max - ready to play football!

this is ME...according to one of my Kindergartener's! He checked out this book about monkeys and came up to me really excited. "Mrs. Fortener - look - it's YOU!"
I just started laughing and asked him why he would say that... "He's thinking!" I guess I do that a lot (hold my hand on my chin)...WHEW. I was a little worried there for a minute!