Thursday, June 16, 2011


I had NO idea you'd be such a GREAT dad...BLINDED as I was by your studliness...
(my Father's Day card to Donny).
This is SO true.
Never really thought about what it would be like to have kids. Didn't take long to find out - we were only married a year when I got pregnant with Melissa.
He was smitten from the VERY beginning.
There is NOTHING that grabs your heart like holding that little miracle that you created...and the love only grows stronger EVERY matter HOW old they are.

Being a good dad is not an easy job. Donny took it very seriously. I think my kids know how blessed they were to have a dad that would do ANYTHING for them...he coached them (soccer, t-ball, baseball, basektball)he tutored them, read to them, gave them (what turned out to be) good advice, he fixed their cars, celebrated with them but most of all he loved (LOVES) them.

And he's a pretty awesome PopPop to boot. (just ask Drew & Max!)

...taking his little girl on her first date - to his sister's wedding...

...he LOVED reading to his little girl...

...he was a GREAT coach (she LOVED having her dad coach her - believe it or not!)

Donny was ALWAYS there for his kids....HAIR......

...or NO hair!

OH those Fortener boys...SUCH posers....Don (Dad/grandpa), Donny, Nick

...he took Nick camping (while I was on a trip to Florida with Melissa!)

...he made sure Nick signed all the paperwork necessary for his Scholarship to Akron...(Donny actually sent highlight tapes to all of the MAC schools, saw to it that Nick went to several football camps, one at which the Akron coaches saw him, hence his scholarship...)

...he made sure they got to Disney World...(and later, on a 3 week vacation out west-we drove all the way to California - with stops at Yellowstone, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Las Vegas, SanFrancisco, Salt Lake City, Field of Dreams, St. Louis, Mt. Rushmore, Zion Canyon - ALL of those, not necessarily in that order...he planned the entire trip. By himself. He had an itinerary that was logged to THE MINUTE. By the end of the trip, we were calling him Clark Griswold (Vacation).
Which reminds me - at the Grand Canyon, we had lunch at Bright Angel Lodge, where the Griswolds had lunch in the movie. He put our name in as "the Griswolds". Melissa and I were in the Gift Shop when they called us. I pretty much had to drag her into the restaurant...she was SO embarrassed...her dad loved to do THAT too.

...he always made sure they had a nice Christmas; anything that had to be put together was put together - even if it was Christmas Eve after they went to bed...
and of course made sure he had his picture with them while they still looked good!

...he made SURE his kids would see a SUNRISE on the beach (although at the time, I'm pretty sure they didn't appreciate being pulled out of bed at 5:30 a.m.)

...and of course they got PLENTY of beach time....

I did good, didn't I?
And all the things I said about Donny? I could say about my OWN dad. He taught me how to LOVE the outdoors, sports, to love UNCONDITIONALLY. My dad did not preach, he taught us by his actions. He LOVED my mom, he took care of her and although I didn't know it at the time, they taught me how to get through the loss of a child...(I lost my brother Steve when he was 17)...Thank you DAD (AND mom)...for teaching me so many important things in my life...I love you! HAPPY FATHER'S DAY!

Happy Fathers Day Nick! and Happy Father's Day to all Dad's - "new" dads - Pauly & Biggest Mike too! (not sure if the babys will be here by Father's Day...but enjoy the day anyway!!!)

ok...remember in the last post I said "Nick & Mere are going to have LOTS of fun with Max"...he's an accident waiting to happen...WELL. The next day, he took a spill at our house - not pretty. Had a "nice" gash in his forehead - took 3 of us to hold him down to get a butterfly on it...but a popcicle took care of getting his attention away from us working on him...he'll have a nice "rememberance" of his first accident at Pamma's and Poppops!

I had the pleasure of joining Jen, Big Dog & Diane in Las Vegas the week after school was out - lots of sun, lots of slots (tables for Jen & Big Dog) and just a good time to get away. Casinos are a good place to go for mindless activity (which I need occasionally) least at the slot machines. Came home only $100 down!
Everyone else was UP. Good trip! Thanks Big Dog and Diane!!!!!!
Enjoying a tall one at Toby Keith's (I think it's at Harrah's)...

Recently Fort's friend Josh posted a picture of himself wearing his orange FORT the bottom of the Grand Canyon...FORT made it to VEGAS too-via Jen! (I know this is hard to believe, but Melissa DID NOT like the casinos...imagine that? One of the few things that we differed on...

The breakfast of champions...(note the coffee on the counter - that was MINE...until I looked at my watch and saw that it was NOON (Dayton time, but it WAS noon somewhere!) I joined them!

...last morning, 2 hours to go, headin' to the Tropicana for some fun...(which Jen and Big Dog had....)

Thanks Big Dog for getting my summer off to a good start!

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