Tuesday, April 27, 2010

For Melissa...

On my way to work this morning, I was thinking about Melissa's blog. After reading Melissa for almost 5 years, I'm pretty boring. Depressing really. I apologize for that.
At work today, I was cleaning my desk, and under a stack of papers I found a journal that I started January 5, 1998 (Melissa's 20th birthday). Must have been watching Oprah that day because it started out as a "Gratitude" Journal. Didn't end up that way though. As I started reading it, I found a bunch of stories that I wrote down from things that kids had said at school - funny things. I used to email stories to Melissa and if it was funny enough, she would post it on the blog. These are "pre-blog", so I'm pretty sure she didn't post them...but she WOULD have. So I'm going to add a little humor. I know she would approve. Also, in the back of the journal I found some pictures - a good one of her on her trip to Wyoming. If I remember, I'll scan it tomorrow and post that too. AND I found a card she had sent me when she was at OU. One of those feel good, I love you, thanks for being my friend...just what I needed today. With a bonus - a personal note from her, telling me to have a good day. Seems trivial, maybe. But I am SO glad I kept it. Kind of like she sent it to me all over again...
without further ado...

TRUE School Stories (remember, these REALLY happened - at my school!)

One of our more spirited kindergarteners was walking toward the office. I told her how pretty she looked in her dress. She replied "YEA, well, I'm having trouble with my teacher today, so I'm going to the office." Evidently she brought a pet...a stuffed pig to school, and instead of working at a station, she decided that the pig was teaching her something...to OINK! The principal came in and scolded her. Needless to say, she wasn't happy. Seeing she wasn't happy, a classmate said "you'll have a lot of fun over there, you'll love it...you won't even WHINE."

Another kindergardner -
Cody - "My name is Billy. I changed it in the morning yesterday.
Me - "Why?"
Cody - "Because I got my hair cut."


Cody (same one) & Katelyn
Katelyn announced that "she was 6 today" and Cody quickly added "I'm 6 today too!"
I knew it wasn't Cody's birthday and said "Cody...you're not 6 today!"
He looked at me kind of funny and as I walked away, he ran over to me and said "I AM 6 today Mrs. Fort! Don't you remember...I gave you cupcakes yesterday!" (of COURSE...he was 6 yesterday, but he's 6 TODAY too.)


Amanda (Kindergarten) was working on the alphabet @ the computer and was getting VERY frustrated. She raised her hand, and as I approached, she said "These letters are all in the wrong place! This could confuse some children!"


Same Amanda, working on the computer (old IBM PC Jrs.) She was POUNDING on the keyboard. I asked her not to do that and she replied "Something is wrong with this computer...I had to wait a WHOLE second!"


I told a first grader he needed to take care of his library fine and he responded, "I need to get some cents from my mom because I don't have any."

Kindergartener - Katlyn -
"Mrs Fort, I read books last night!"
"That's great Katlyn. How many?"
Not sure how to answer, she replied "ALL OF THEM!"

Our Kindergarten teacher was teaching her class about the body and they were talking about bones and how they help us move. She was telling them that if we didn't have bones, we'd be like a rag doll. Suddenly, Brandon raised his hand and said, "I know an animal that doesn't have bones!".... "You DO?" "YES! Boneless chicken!"


First graders Chris & Victor overheard having this discussion...Chris - "I feel like my brain is gone for some reason. I think something is lodged in my brain.
Victor - "What's 1 + 0?"
Chris - "1"
Victor - "See, your brain isn't gone!"

Kindergarten teacher teaching about the moon.
She asks, "What makes the moon light up?"
One of her students said "it has a light bulb".


Second grader Robby says to me "You learn something from us every day! Like how to listen and remember things!"
I said, "You're right - when you're older you DO forget things!"
Robby - "Yeah! We help you to remember what you forgot to remember!"


First grade
Chris - "Can I get a kleenex?"
Steven - (looking up Chris's nose) - "Yea, you have some snot in there."

Kindergarteners -
"When I grow up, I'm going to be big. REALLY big."

"I'm allergic to dogs. We're getting a dog. One I'm not allergic to."

First graders...
Robby - "It's like this side of my brain is hurting - must be 'cause I'm making so many words."
We were working with the word "an" and the kids had to use the word in a
sentence. Tristian - "Sometimes my mom gets a tan and the skin hangs down and we have to pick the skin off her back."

First grade class comes to the library and everyone wants a joke book. I asked "are you guys reading joke books in class?"
Robby - "No - we just like laughing! It's fun!"

I got my hair cut (traumatic for some kids when the teacher gets a hair cut!).
A kindergartener told me "I was acting weird" after my haircut!

I overheard another conversation in Kindergarten -
Taylor - "My cousin says bad words."
Mrs. F - "Is that OK?"
Taylor - "Yes. Because he's 6."
Jade - "My mom and dad say bad words."
Madison - "That's ok. They're supposed to."

We were "making words" in literacy lab in Kindergarten. The word "lard" came up. I told the group I was working with that lard is animal fat and people used to cook with lard. They did not like that at all. I said "have you eaten fried chicken?"
(trying to make the animal fat connection) and of course they all had. One student said "My mom makes fried chicken....WITH HER OWN HANDS!" (guess it wasn't KFC!)
and my all time favorite...
our first grade teacher started out the day with her students by telling a story...
"On my way to work today..." and one of her students said "YOU have a JOB????"


I know there is more, but I have to work too. Writing down the funny things the kids say is one of the best parts of my job. Melissa LOVED it too. Hope you enjoyed some of them - had to lighten things up a little.

Friday, April 23, 2010

16 months....

First of all, to all of you who have been reading Melissa's blog since she started it, I apologize for the lack of humor in the last 16 months. I wish I had her sense of humor AND her writing style - but I don't think there is anyone who can match her style. If you want to read the funny stuff and LAUGH - go to the archives and read her stuff. I do pretty much every day. She STILL makes me laugh (and cry). But I love it.
So. It's coming up on 16 months. May 3. STILL hard to believe for me. It just doesn't seem to get easier.
HOWEVER. We have some very good friends, Bobby & Penny, who lost their son Rob 6 weeks after Melissa passed away. They have been attending Compassionate Friend Meetings for almost a year. They have been inviting me (us) to go with them for almost a year. I finally accepted their invitation and attended my first meeting last night. 41 people were there - a huge turnout according to my friends. If you've never heard of Compassionate Friends, it's an organization for parents who have lost a child (or children). 41 people. And that was just one chapter. They are all over the United States. What I learned, most of all, is I am not crazy. For me, it was the right time to go. It felt right and it helped. And I plan on attending again.
The reason I am posting today is because I found something on their website that I think will be VERY helpful to anyone who knows anyone who has lost a child. If you don't know what to do or say, this will help.


♦ Speak my child’s name, to me and to others. The sound of my child’s name, remembered and spoken by others, is a precious gift.

♦ If you used to remember my child’s birthday, or even if you didn’t, call me. Send me a card. Send me an e-mail. Send me a rose. My heart is breaking with lonely memories on that day.

♦ If you remember my due date, or the date my child was to be born, mention it to me. Don't worry that you will remind me or make me sad...I will never forget.

♦ Do you remember the day my child died? Tell me you remember. One of my greatest fears is that my child will be forgotten by all but me.

♦ On holidays, mention my child in your card. Don’t worry about reminding me of my pain…each holiday is painful now. Your words comfort and soothe my broken heart, and let me know I’m not alone.

♦ Tell me if you think of my child…tell me what reminded you. Did my child make a difference in your life or teach you something? If so, tell me, please.

♦ Do you miss my child? Please tell me so…

♦ Your memories of my child may be the last new thing I’ll ever hear about my son or daughter. Please, share them with me.

♦ Stop by my child’s grave site and leave a flower, or bring a flower by my house in my child’s memory. Sometimes I feel like I’m the only one who remembers what I lost, and that no one knows the pain I hide behind my every-day smile.

♦ Speak my child’s name aloud to me, and let me hear one more time the name so carefully chosen, bestowed on someone so beloved and so deeply missed.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

26.2 for FORT

It started with a promise at a Susan G. Komen 5K in Cincinnati.
Fort - "Hey Jen, let's do a marathon when I get better."
Jen - "OK."
And without Fort, Jen kept her promise. With a pink & white rugby ball in hand, Jen ran 26.2 miles...for FORT.
She recruited three friends to join the team - Team 'B POSITIVE'. Three incredible women who didn't even KNOW Fort. Thank you ALL for doing this. This team raised over $500 for the Melissa Fortener McLaughlin Scholarship Fund. (We just found out there are already 10 applications for her scholarship! We will get to read over the applications in a week or so and choose the FIRST recipient! Melissa would be SO PROUD!)
Here is the story of the Donna Marathon - in pictures.

FORT'S RUGGERS 4 JUGS....where it all started. (Tess & Barb enjoying the view).

(this picture is out of order, but I can't change it now...this should go AFTER the race...and it's for YOU Fort!)

Team 'B POSITIVE' in training...(Big Dog(Michelle), Jen (Smitty), Kary (Kary), AWOL (Brenda)

Here's to YOU Fort! (right after we toasted her - she responded...VIVA LA VIDA came on the radio in the bar!!!!!)

training on the beach...

"I should be here around 10 a.m. tomorrow morning - can you have a beer ready for me?"

Pam's high school friend, Mike (and his friend Karen)join in the celebration!

Barb surprised Jen - a little motivation for the day ahead....

Waiting on the shuttle to the STARTING LINE...

If you look closely to the right of the pole (center of the pole) you can see the RUGBY BALL held over Jen's head!


AWOL crosses the finish line...

Big Dog crosses the finish line...

Kary crosses the finish line...

Jen crosses the finish line - RUGBY BALL in hand - ALL 26.2 miles!

AFTER the handoff...a kiss and a VERY emotional HUG...

Team 'B POSITIVE' ALL complete the marathon! YOU ARE AWESOME!

this is for YOU Fort!

The official celebratory beer on the beach (IN the water) AHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!

Celebrating on the beach after the race (Pam, FORT, Jen & Donny (da'Man)

Team 'B POSITIVE'...AFTER the race!

the official Rugby Ball (flown in from New Zealand!)

The OFFICIAL team 'B POSITIVE' shirt (note the missing boob...after much discussion it was decided Fort wouldn't have it any other way - she didn't HAVE 2 boobs - and if I heard it once, I heard it a million times in the last 5 years..."I just have to suck it up and DO IT"...

the official (back) FORT team 'B POSITIVE' shirt -

the OFFICIAL Fort hat...

We love you!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Birthday Drew!

Two years ago today our second grandson was born...Andrew Charles...and made Fort theHAPPIEST AUNT on the planet...(right Ang?)....I'm KNOW she would have given this TOP BILLING, so I'm taking care of that for her! Happy 2nd Birthday Drew! (Drew in his "new" car...from his (grandma) Mimi!

While JMac assisted Max in finding all his "stuff" in the annual family Easter "egg"hunt...cousin Doug surrounds Max with as much stuff as he could get around him...and Max is oblivious...he was concentrating on the rubber ducky his mom just gave him...

Fort's cousin Andy home on leave for 2 weeks from Iraq....made it home in time forthe annual family Easter "egg" hunt...which consists of a few plastic $$ filled eggs and a yard COVERED with candy, stuffed animals, and STUFF...Fort LOVED this tradition.