Thursday, May 19, 2011

and the 2011 Recipient of the Melissa Fortener McLaughlin Scholarship is...

It was our honor and privilege to award the 2011 Melissa Fortener McLaughlin Scholarship to a very derserving senior at Fairmont...KELLY HART! She possesses many of the same character traits as Melissa...her athleticism, positive attitude, spirit, drive, and love for Fairmont High School. Melissa would approve, I KNOW.
In fact, I'm pretty sure Melissa met Kelly at one time or another (although Kelly might not remember!)...I'm sure Melissa saw Kelly play as a Freshman and on the Reserve team. She was impressed THEN and would be happy with our choice!

Kelly will be attending Bowling Green State University in the fall!

This is a good time to thank EVERYONE who has contributed to Melissa's Scholarship fund, most recently, the Cincinnati Kelts Men's and Women's Rugby Teams (from the annual Fundraiser in October), The Kettering Fairmont Women's Softball Team (from Fundraiser in April), and T.J.Chumps Restaurant (via a purchase of items from the BIG Fundraiser in Oct 2009 - signed NASCAR hats, the nosecone from Danica Patrick's car AND the fender from Jimmy Johnson's (NASCAR)car. THANK YOU THANK YOU.
(which reminds me...Ang and I were talking tonight about the NEXT BIG FUNDRAISER.
Possibly Oct 2012. Just like the last one...Anyone in?
Last week and a half have been hard...Mother's Day, my mom's birthday, the WEATHER, I'm SURE all contributed. VERY depressed...
then in comes a kindergardner (at school) and changes all that...

"Do you REALLY like butterflies Mrs. Fortener?"
of course I said "YES!"
She said "Well, I think I'm going to be a butterfly
for Halloween next year. Or a dead cheerleader...
I don't know yet..."

I am pretty sure Melissa was sending me a "butterfly" through this little girl. You know that she sends me butterflies, but what I need to explain is (was) Fort's, well, unappreciation for cheerleaders. I think it was when "they" started saying cheerleading was a sport...she just never agreed with that. (Even though she KNEW her mom was a cheerleader. I always told her when I was a cheerleader, you just had to have a BIG mouth (LOUD people, LOUD)-you didn't have to be a GYMNAST. That's what she was referring to I'M SURE. So the fact that this little girl said a "dead cheerleader" would have made FORT laugh! (normally when kids said something funny at school, I would immediately email her, she would forward on to all her friends, then go home and post it on the blog. If you go back and read some of HER posts, you'll find some for sure!)

Then my first class, fourth grade, only came in for about 15 minutes because it was field day and the busses would be picking them up around 8:45. Some of the kids wanted me to continue reading FABLEHAVEN, and some didn't - so I told the kids who didn't want to listen to go get a GUINNESS (I laughed to myself on THAT one because I thought "How many librarians tell their kids to get a Guinness???? - Book of Records that is...)

and speaking of school...when I put my last book order in, I decided to find a book about RUGBY, for KIDS. This is what I found. It's a GRAPHIC NOVEL (aka comic book)-the kids love it. Ok - the kids that love COMIC BOOKS love it. It's for YOU Fort!

haven't closed with cute photos of the boys in awhile...Fort LOVED to do that...
so here you go...

Drew & Max watering Pam-ma's garden....

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy (?) Mother's Day....

One thing that Melissa loved from the time she was little until the end was coloring.
When she was little, it was in coloring books, when she got older, it was lettering in her scrapbooks. And she was VERY good at it. Many years ago, she colored a picture in a Lion King coloring book and signed it for me. She taped it on my dresser mirror. For some reason, I never took it off the mirror. I am SO glad I didn't. Every morning I get up, and there is the picture..."HEY MOM, I LOVE YOU! Love, Mo (Mo was one of her childhood nicknames)...I have a PERPETUAL greeting from her...especially helpful today, Mother's Day. Boy do I miss her...
(the ribbon that is pinned on the picture was found when we went to the Akron/Purdue football game when Nick was playing for Akron. It was right after 9/11 and I guess they were giving them out at the game - we found it on the ground, I brought it home and pinned it to the picture...been there ever since. It's a picture of the Statue of Liberty and it says "SHE'S STILL STANDING...FREEDOM WILL BE DEFENDED")
I save everything (could I be becoming a hoarder?????? - SCARY thought....)

Haven't been very motivated to update here's been a BUSY month, but not a good month. Started with losing my good friend Jackie, then another good friend Paul, then ANOTHER good friend Ruth, and yet ANOTHER friend (met her with Ruth at McDonalds on our coffee days).
And now Mother's Day. I'm not real big on holidays any more. I get through them. I would rather GO AROUND them...but we get through them. I LOVE seeing Nick and the boys (Mere too). But something is missing. A REALLY loud voice. Laughter. Arguing (believe it or not I REALLY miss that too)...never thought I'd say that. But I miss EVERYTHING.
Went to a Cinco de Mayo party last night at Barbs (who went to Jacksonville with us). Never thought I'd want to go to a party again...but we did. Walked in the door and knew about half of the people there. It was ok. Had a couple of drinks, which I REALLY shouldn't do any more. It leads to talking about Melissa and CRYING. A LOT.
I normally do really well not crying in public any more (mostly in the car or at home when I'm alone)...but give me a drink? I can talk about Melissa forever...and out come the tears. Being around "new" friends is good for this - they didn't KNOW Melissa, so I have a captive audience. This poor girl last night had NO clue what she was in for. All she had to say was "My daughter goes to OU..." then I was on a roll. She was SO considerate. She let me talk, even cried with me. (If you are reading the blog, Mel, I hope that you weren't offended that I cornered you. Can't apologize, because what I do BEST is talk about my daughter. I hope you understand...)
Anyway, here we are. Another Mother's Day, and I'd really rather not celebrate it.
Nick (and Donny too) take care of me EVERY day. I don't really want a special day that just reminds me that I'm missing my daughter.
Looks like I've figured out what the problem is with getting motivated, eh?

But not wanting to celebrate this day doesn't stop me from HONORING the rest of you Mother's (oooooh....that'd didn't sound good, did it?) - Happy Mother's Day to all my WONDERFUL, CARING friends and relatives. Enjoy the day. I know you all deserve it!
Easter was going to be a laid back day....ended up being a very busy day. Nick,Mere and the boys came over for breakfast, then left to go to Mere's mom's. We went to the Fortener Easter. Came home, nothing planned. Mary K. came over, Nick, Mere and the boys came back and we ended up cooking out. No John this year...we missed him (and Melissa ALWAYS). Holidays are different...

Max and Drew actually sat still for about 30 seconds (maybe) for this picture...we were bribing them with Easter candy. WHATEVER we have to do, we'll do. Aren't they cute?????

It's amazing how a little bucket of Easter grass and some miniature lawn tools can entertain a 3 year old and a 2 year old...but not for long. Right after this picture, the Easter grass came OUT of the bucket and was EVERYWHERE. Which led to the question from Donny and Nick..."Why do you buy this stuff? This happens EVERY year!" BECAUSE IT'S EASTER. THAT'S WHY. YOU NEED IT IN THE EASTER BASKET for FILLER. so there.....

The annual TRADITIONAL "Easter Egg Hunt" at the Forteners...although there are NO Easter eggs in this hunt...if you were driving by, it would look like the yard is full of trash...BUT it's actually about 200 baggies filled with goodies with labels with names on them. Melissa LOVED this annual event!

We held our first fundraiser for our 3 Day, 60 mile walk in Atlanta in Ocotber on Thursday, May 5 - Cinco de Mayo. It was held at Talegators in Kettering. Had several items donated for raffles, a 50/50 raffle and donations at the door. We raised about $500, which will be divided among team members who have not reached the $2300 goal. Our next fundraiser will be August 6. It's going to be a Poker Run. I'll post more information a month or so before the event.
If you are interested in contributing to the walk, go to, then to Donate to a Participant. Choose "Find a Team" and type in Team B Positive. We have ten members, possibly more. Choose the person you would like to make your donation's pretty simple! THANK YOU so much - for your PAST support too!
If you scroll down the blog - on the right hand side of the page there is a link to pictures from when MELISSA & I did the walk in 2007. It's an AMAZING experience. It is one of my FAVORITE memories with Melissa. Enjoy!

Team B Positive Members @ Cinco de Mayo Fundraiser...Sharon, Emily, Mindy, Terri & Pam

My cousin Leanne's (she wrote and read the Eulogy at Melissa's funeral) son, AJ was in the Musical THE SECRET GARDEN at Fairmont High School. He had one of the lead roles, Archibald Craven. He is an INCREDIBLE singer and actor. Some day we'll be saying "WE KNEW HIM WHEN...."

Got a text from Kelly's mom last Saturday...bunch of kids were going to Lincoln Park for Prom pictures, thought we might like to go. So we rode our bikes - a sunny day - hard to believe in April in Ohio! The dresses were spectacular...a lot different from when I went to prom! This is me & Donny with Kelly Hart & Jessie Walk..BEAUTIFUL!

We met Nick, Mere, Drew & Max at a park in Centerville that had a day for kids to visit and explore firetrucks, school busses, big road equipment...and it was actually a sunny day. One of the TWO we had the whole month of April!

Drew has got the whole gear thing goin' on...he loved it....

Max is thinking about being a fireman too...the helmet is just a LITTLE too heavy...