Sunday, October 31, 2010

Busy October

Another dream...Haven't had a dream about Melissa since we were in Charleston, S.C. this summer. I didn't see or hear her in this dream, but I KNOW it was about her. I was at a state park - had driven to a small parking lot in the park. I think just to be by myself. I turned off the car and was just sitting there, and the car started moving. I said "MELISSA, STOP IT." Then it started rolling. I tried starting the car - honking the horn (that didnt' work), even got out of the car and started yelling for help. Of course my voice wasn't I got back in the car. It kept rolling - turning corners, and finally rolling into what I think was like a hall or arena of some kind. When I ended up there, I was in a WAGON. (yep, a kids wagon!) and it rolled on it's own too. Where I ended up there were tons of OUR friends AND Melissa's friends (I remember Stacy being there!)....when I told Donny when I woke up - he said "that's a VERY symbolic dream .... I guess she was trying to tell me something? At any rate - I know it was her. For some reason, she's just not SHOWING herself to me. How I would LOVE that.

Happy Halloween

It was a beautiful night for trick or treaters...we probably had 100-125!

Drew was a fireman...just like his GREAT GREAT Grandpa Andy!

Max was a puppy for Halloween...a CUTE puppy if I do say so myself...

Happy 50th Birthday Sue!
A few year's ago Melissa made a poster for Sue. It was Maya Angelou's poem
PHENOMENAL WOMAN. She did it in her beautiful "scrapbook" handwriting. Not sure if she gave it to her for her birthday, or Christmas, or just because.
Sue let us put it out at the funeral. We've had it ever since. She never asked for it, but I knew I needed to get it back to her. We BOTH love anything Melissa gave us. So I decided to wrap it up and give it back to her (from Melissa) for her 50th birthday.
As I was writing in her card, "you KNOW Melissa will be there today"...the puzzle went off (you know, the puzzle that goes off whenever she wants us to know she's around!)... (it went off again this morning when Nick was talking about some hokey scarey Halloween movie he and Mere watched last night...he said something about Fort and it went off again...)
* * * * * *

Melissa's Godmother, my sister Sue, turned 50 Oct. 30. I know Melissa would want everyone to know her Aunt Sue is 50!

SISTERS... Pam(middle), Sue (baby), Donna (guess)
All three of us put on our "readers" when we got our menus. SOMEONE thought it was funny....

Sue & Dad

Donny, Sue, Pam

Donna, Sue, Dwayne

Sue, Mike, Janice

Nick, Mere, Drew, Max & Sue

Drew helps Aunt Sue blow out the candles...

No longe "the red house" on the street...hope you can find us....
BEFORE. Too many shades of red. Need to clean it up a bit....

AFTER. Nice. Clean. I like it, but the "red house" had character (5 shades of red gave it character, I guess). I'm pretty sure Fort would like it. Now trees get trimmed this week. It's ALWAYS something.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Breast Cancer Awareness MONTH

If you are reading this blog for the first time - you probably walked 60 miles in Atlanta this weekend....THANK YOU for that. This blog is all about Fort, but I have been posting since Jan. 2009.
You want to read what SHE wrote. Be sure to go to
That is the beginning of her posts - not the beginning of her journey though. She started the blog when she had her first reoccurence and had mouth sores - didn't like talking on the phone - but LOVED to write. You have to go to the END - kind of read backwards. The most recent post is what you will see first. Go to the archives on
fortscancersux1 and go to May 2005 - I think that was her first post. She was in remission for about a year and a half - but continued to post. She shut down that part of the blog, then started a new one - fortscancersux - after she got "the job of her dreams" at the University of Cincinnati. She posted until Christmas Eve 2008.
I KNOW you will enjoy what she wrote - she was funny AND inspiring. She lived EVERY SINGLE day and never gave up.

October was a VERY busy month. Enjoy the pics.
Ready for it to slow down a little.

The Cincinnati Kelts Rugby Football Club
7th Annual "Trying for a Cure" Fundraiser

to benefit the Susan G. Komen Foundation and the Melissa "Fort" McLaughlin Scholarship Fund

(to Pauly and E'beth - our goals are twofold - ONE - to raise money for research to eradicate this disease and TWO - that no one EVER forget FORT. Your fundraiser does both. Thank you - we LOVE YOU!)

I have to say, I can't believe it's been SEVEN years. Melissa was diagnosed with breast cancer in June of 2003. In October 2003, the Cincinnati Kelts men's rugby club, along with the Kelts women's team, held the first breast cancer fundraiser (and Fort helped!).
It was pretty amazing.

She had some incredible friends. I can't say enough about her rugby friends. Actually, they were more like her & John's extended family. An amazing support group. And they continue to be an incredible support system for John AND for our family. We love them all SO much.

The fundraisers just keep getting better. As hard as it is for me to be in "group" settings, or any kind of celebration, it's easy to be around her friends. They all have stories about her, and I can talk about her as much as I want (or need to!).

Thank you Pauly & Elizabeth for organizing this again. And thanks to all of you who worked and supported this yesterday. I would name all of you, but I'm sure I would forget someone, and I would hate to leave anyone out - but I took lots of pictures last night, so you'll get an idea of what a great group this is.
Fort loved to laugh and have fun, and this was PERFECT for her.
Thank you, again. From the bottom of our hearts. We look forward to NEXT year's fundraiser!


This was the last Kelts Fundraiser FORT attended. She is in the middle with the blue hat on. I have to say, she was not feeling great that day. I think the breathing was starting to get bad about that time. But she STILL had a smile on her face. This was October 2008.

Gay Greg (not really...but the boa helped me remember his name...)

Donny & Pauly

Eva & Kat (Fort's teammates)

Angie(Fort's teammate) & Nick

Pam & Kat (another of Fort's rugby teammates!)

I wore my FORT shirt, Donny wore Cincy-Dayton Women's Rugby shirt and Nick wore his GOONIES shirt. It was one of his and Melissa's FAVORITE movies.

Derrick & Pam

Donny & Derrick. Last time we saw Derrick, he was wearing a dress. He looked so cute...sorry Derrick, we didn't recognize you without your dress!

Pam & Pauly

JMac & Nick (MY boys)

Netti & her mom

Misti & E'beth (Fort's former rugby teammates)

I wanted my picture with this guy because he was wearing a FORT shirt...when I went up to him, he said "I'm your friend on Facebook!" It was Royal. He won the Melissa "Fort" McLaughlin keltic pride award last year! (sorry Royal, my memory is not very good any more!)

Donny & his girls (hehe)

Rugby parents...NEITHER of our daughters were there, but we wouldn't MISS THIS. Dave & Edie, Pam & Donny (Kyra is in California-Fort is in heaven :o)

thanks DAN W. for sharing your shirt! Remember - this fundraiser is all about the boobs.

E'beth working the tickets...THANKS E'beth!

STOP STARING. START's hard not to stare at THIS....(Netti & Angie)

Seagal - waiting for me to draw the ticket for the winner of the Friday's coupons...

And the winner is....Pauly stands on the bar to announce the winners of the raffles. This year he started out with one of my butterfly stories and one of HIS butterfly stories - it was hilarious. Fort would have LOVED it. Nick sold the winning ticket!

Susan G. Komen 3-Day Walk - Atlanta, GA.

My good friend Sharon and her daughter Karyn are right about now finishing 60 miles in Atlanta. They did the walk this year, just the two of them. Have been getting texts from Sharon - whenever she CAN - about where they are and how they are doing. In the last text, she said she ran into THREE people who were wearing FORT buttons from LAST year! I love that. Gotta start making buttons for NEXT year's walk.
THANK YOU SHARON & KARYN for taking this on again THIS year!!!! LOVE YOU!

Sharon is a first grade teacher in Kettering. Her windows face a busy street in Kettering (Stroop Rd.) She had her student make pink pumpkins for their windows - she made the ribbons... I LOVE IT!

Making Strides for Breast Cancer - Dayton, OH - October 16, 2010

This is the seventh year we've done this walk. It's always late October. Starts at the Dayton Dragons field (downtown) and goes through the Dayton Metro Parks. BEAUTIFUL. The leaves are changing and the weather is always perfect. Fort loved it, I think mostly because she loved the fall. Another great fundraiser - this one sponsored by the American Cancer Society.

Mere & Crystal

Either Max is singing here or he isn't very happy....

Jen's stuff - bag she used to carry the pink rugby ball in the Marathon in Jacksonville!

Fort's family walking for her...Donny would have been there but has football meetings every Saturday morning.

Barb, Crystal, Pam, Jen


One of the hardest things to do in the last year and a half is to change. ANYTHING. Around the house, I mean. Some days (most days) I just want time to stand still. Everything has to be JUST like it was December 2008. I want things to be like they were when Melissa was HERE. So changing things in and around the house is really difficult. So something we have been talking about doing for probably, oh, 10 years, we finally decided to go ahead. It's like taking a HUGE leap - letting time go on. Which I don't really want to do. BUT. I KNOW Fort would love this. Our house was about 3 or 4 shades of red. It's time. I'm pretty sure she will be able to find our house....I'm not so sure about everyone else. If you are coming by to visit - don't look for the red house - look for the white picket fence. The house will be grey with a colonial blue shutters. I'm sure SOMEONE will drive right by looking for the red house...and it will probably be me.

ewww...UG-LY. No insulation under the old siding...hmmmm. Windows we had put in 10 years ago were framed in with wood either...hmmmm. I guess you have to watch when you have work done on your house...