Sunday, December 30, 2012

4 years....

This is, and will probably always be, a rough week for me.  Today, four years ago, Melissa went back to Hospice for the final time.  I can't sleep.  I remember this week so well.  Like it was yesterday.  On this  day, she got up and wanted to take a shower.  I wouldn't let her.  I was afraid she would fall in the shower.  Plus she had to have her oxygen...the ONE thing she wanted, and I wouldn't give it to her.  One simple thing.
When I try to close my eyes to sleep, I see her taking her last breath.  I shake my head and try to get that vision OUT of my head.  But it won't go away.

Haven't been on FB in a couple of days, but went there today to Compassionate Friends.  A reminder that I am not alone.  Found this article.  Some people can put into words what I am feeling better than I can.  Ann Hood did just that in this article:


Providence, R.I. -  We are stunned.  We are outraged.  As a nation, we are questioning laws on gun control, questioning how such a thing can happen.  These are all appropriate responses to the tragedy in Newtown, Conn.  But there is a repercussion to all this that will continue long after laws are changed and life, unbelievably, life gets back to normal:  the grief of the parents of the 20 children killed.  How many times have I heard that this is a parent's worst nightmare? As someone who has lived the nightmare of losing a child, I know that the enormous hole left behind remains forever.

My daughter Grace, was not killed by a gun.  She died suddenly at age 5 from a virulent form of strep.  As I stood stunned in a church at her memorial, one of the hardest things I heard someone say was "I'm going to go home and hug my child a little tighter."  Well, good for you, I thought.  I'm going to go home and scream.

What can be said in light of such grief?  What can you do?  The problem is that no on can give the parents what they want most:  their child.  Long after the memorials fade and the casseroles stop coming, that child is still dead, and those parents are still grieving.

I offer here what I have learned about grief in the 10 years since my Gracie died:  I learned that platitudes don't work.  Time doesn't heal.  She is not in a better place.  God does give us more than we can bear sometimes.  I have learned that even in the face of loss, clothes still get dirty and bills still need to get paid.  Friends who laundered our socks and answered our emails, who mowed our lawn and put gas in our cars, helped us - a lot.  The friend who came one afternoon and went through Gracie's backpack, carefully storing her kindergarten workbook and papers, hanging her art on the refrigerator and her raincoat on its hook in the mudroom, had more courage than the ones who told me to call any time.
Some friends sat with me day after day, week after week and, yes, month after month, and let me talk while they listened.   I told the story of Grace's last day over and over, as if by telling it I could make sense of what happened to her, to us.  But there is no sense to be made of such tragedy, and when I realized that, they let me wail and bang my fists and curse.

As time passes, people return to their ordinary lives, while grieving parents no longer have ordinary lives.  They are redefining themselves, and they are at a loss at how to move forward.  There is a woman who still sends me a card on Grace's birthday and every Mother's Day, who sent cards weekly for more than a year, a lifeline to a grieving mother.  The people who even now, a decade later, still say Grace's name, still comment on her quirky style and artistic talents and love of the Beatles, continue to help me through my days, simply by remembering her.  How easy it is to look away from frief, as if it might be contagious, or too frightening to face.  But the Newtown parents have a difficult, lifelong journey through grief ahead of them.  Somehow, the seasons will change, the anniversaries will stack up one after the other.  They will, unbelievably, smile again.  They will make dinner and change jobs and buy clothes and celebrate and travel.  They will go on.  But there will always, always, be this grief, softened and dulled but present every minute of every day.

Do not forget that.  Look them in the eye.  Take them in your arms, and do not let them go.

Ann Hood is a novelist and short-story writer living in Providence, R.I.


So this week, I will lay low.

Have the boys tomorrow, Monday, New Years Eve, overnight, and New Years Day.

Our last New Years Eve with Melissa, we toasted the New Year ~ John and Donny had a beer. We were asleep by 9.  At 10:30, there was a loud crash...Melissa fell.  She got up to go to the bathroom.  Took off her oxygen, got up, and fell by the door.  When the nurse asked her why she didn't call for help, she said "I didn't want to wake anyone up."  She could do it herself.  The "theme of her childhood"...

So "celebrating" a new year just doesn't seem right to me any more.

Not sure how many people knew this, but this was the week that JP was going to be delivered too.  Except he decided to come a couple of months early.

We will get through this week.  The boys will help tomorrow.

Thursday, four years, will come and go just like the last three.  And Saturday we will celebrate her birthday just the way she liked it.  Lunch at China Cottage.  Tradition.  Then we'll go to the girl's basketall game.  She would want to do that if she were here.  And somehow, we'll get through another year without her.

And I hate it.

Read more here:

Read more here:

Saturday, December 22, 2012

December BUSYness

Just the thought of the holidays is, well, UGH.

But I will admit that I did accomplish more than I EVER thought I would EVER again.  I think maybe because I am home and I could choose to sit and reminisce (and cry) all day, every day, or I could keep busy...I chose the latter this year.

Photos for me tell the story (did for Fort too)...

Met some "old" friends from Moraine Meadows...Judy (in the green) was in from Florida.  She retired two years after I started at MM.  Cole only worked there my first two years too.  Debbie is STILL teaching.


I volunteer on Wednesdays at Beavertown, where Melissa & Nick went to elementary school.  My good friend from MM, Rodney, teaches there now.  His class was making ornaments, and he invited Andrew & Max to come in.  He had two of his students working with them.  They had a great time and it was something to keep them busy for awhile!~)


My dad built this "crib" right after he and mom were married. It's a Nativity.  I remember laying in front of it when I was a kid.  Now my grandkids are enjoying it.  Thanks Dad!


 Pop Pop teaching Andrew and Max to play "war".    They both picked up on the game very quickly.  Max soon understood that the King was a good card to have.  When he and Andrew had a "war", instead of turning over the top card, he looked through his pile and said "I think I'll use this one". (fortunately Andrew wasn't looking)...he knew what it would take to get the cards.  Will have to keep him away from the casinos...

Andrew and Max had Dentist I dropped in to help Mere out.  It's amazing how they handle toddlers now.  They have a tv above the chair showing a kids movie...worked wonders to keep them still!  (sunglasses were for the light the dentist uses) Two happy campers!

Had another Moraine Meadows get together yesterday, the first day of break for the teachers.
In this photo, I am with Todd (our custodian at MM) and Roxy, who was our counselor for one year. Her daughter Carrie was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer about a year after Melissa was diagnosed.  She was pregnant too, had her baby, Jacob, who is 6 or 7 now.  Carrie died three days before HER birthday, six months before Melissa.  Roxy and I get together at least one a month, usually at Delco park to walk and talk.  She has been a lifesaver for me, and I hope I for her.  

Me, Carrie, our kindergarten teacher (who was my "neighbor" at MM for probably 15 yrs), and Marge, our secretary for several years.

 Missy, fifth grade teacher now at Oakview, Marie, first grade teacher now at Oakview and Debbie, third grade teacher at Southdale.  BEST staff EVER.

After meeting with my friends from Moraine Meadows last night, I picked up my good friend from high school, Marla.  Her daughter Mikala got us tickets (great tickets by the way!) to the Nutcracker at the Schuster.  It was awesome.  Thanks Mikala and Marla! 
Melissa always wanted to go to the Nutcracker...I don't know why we didn't do it.  One of those things that I regret this time of year...


This is a group of seniors from Dennison University football team at the Breast Cancer Awareness football game. They are all wearing FORT Bracelets.  Player behind #13 is Ted Kuntz.  His dad, George Kuntz had this picture made for us.  He said the officials in the game actually let them wear the bracelets during the game!  Ted was the defensive player of the game!  He also said that all of the players in the picture were All Conference players...pretty impressive.  Thanks George, for remembering and honoring Melissa!

Now I will close with a funny story about Max.  Actually an embarrassing story about me.  A story about me and Max. (Melissa would have posted this the DAY it happened.  I can hear her laughing now...)

He was being really cute on Monday morning.  Good.  Which is kind of unusual for Max.  Really.  I decide to take a couple of pictures while he's being so cute.  Then I put the camera on the landing (going upstairs).

I wasn't feeling well, and although I wouldn't normally talk about the bathroom, but that's the story... I was sitting on the toilet, bent over in pain, and I hear "Pamma."  I look up, and  'FLASH'.  Max took a picture...of me, sitting on the toilet.  Needless to say, the picture was deleted immediately.  So, sorry, no picture to go with THAT story.  (reminds of ANOTHER bathroom story... when Nick was little, maybe 3 or 4) He was at the neighbors house and they asked "how is your mommy"... Nick said "She has CWAMPS.  WEAL bad"....they never forgot that.  Neither did Donny.  We STILL laugh about that)...
Oh, and as for the picture? Donny said it was EVIDENCE that I DO get a break when I have the kids. I just deleted the evidence.  (He heard MANY times how elementary teachers some days never even get a bathroom break. Which is true.)  Ok. I DO get bathroom breaks, but they are always in the bathroom with me.  Just like Bandit.  But that's ANOTHER story.

OH!  and one more thing...we are still following the Fairmont girl's basketball team.  They are having an incredible season.  It's early in the season, but as of today, they are 7~0, ranked 11th in the COUNTRY.  Haven't seen the state rankings yet.

Hope I made you smile today.   I made ME smile remembering those stories.  I need that, especially this time of year...

I'll be back on Christmas day.

Enjoy your families, and take LOTS of pictures.


Love you and miss you EVERY day Melissa!

Saturday, December 8, 2012


It is closing in on Christmas, a time of year I dread.   Amazingly, to me at least, I have been able to accomplish a lot more than I ever thought possible (at least in the last four years).  I have shopped for gifts, wrapped the gifts AND sent Christmas cards.  Couldn't even THINK about doing those things the last three years.
I have thought a lot about getting stockings out.  The last three years just thinking about it brought the tears...thought about getting out the ornaments for the tree.  We do put up a tree, but it's a small tree, bought it our first Christmas without Melissa.  Bought new ornaments and just put up stockings for Andrew & Max.  Mini stockings for everyone else.
I told Donny last night I had no desire to listen to Christmas music either.  He said he felt the same way...

So, what am I doing today?  Well, will start with last night.  I am in the process of moving all our photos from the PC to my new laptop.  I have a flash drive and it's a slow process.  Sitting at the computer I started going through some drawers on a shelf on the desk.  Found an old flash drive and was HOPING that it would be Melissa's...there are a lot of different things, but one thing of Melissa's ~ something she wrote for the beginning of the book SHE was going to write.  I remember her talking about writing it.  I printed it and brought it up and started reading it to Donny.  We were laughing AND crying...OH how I miss her writing.  It is not complete, but it will be the beginning of the book WE will have published.  FUNNY FUNNY FUNNY.  Makes fun of me a lot.  I love that.  And I am embarrassed too.  It is hilarious.

Ok, so after reading that, I am not motivated to do anything around the house.  Could just sit and cry all day.  So I figured if I am going to sit and cry all day, I might as well have something to cry about.  So I got the stockings out of the attic...and I got the ornaments out of the basement...and I'm listening to Christmas music....and I'm crying....

I'm sitting on the floor by our little Christmas tree going through the ornaments...lots of ornaments MADE by Melissa, and lots of ornaments for Melissa (and Nick too of course!)...our little tree is going to fall over.  Found an ornament for JP too.  As I am sitting by the tree going through the ornaments, crying, and listening to Christmas music, the song "All I want for Christmas is You" comes on, and the puzzle goes off......SHE WAS WITH ME!  The whole time.  

So today will be a crying day...but I am making progress.  I am doing things I NEVER thought I'd ever do again.  And I'm pretty sure I'll do them again.  And I'm pretty sure I'll cry EVERY year when I do them.
I will NEVER stop missing her.  There is a heaviness in my chest that is always there.  It must be that hole in my heart....but she lets me know that she is beside me when I need her the most...

I would be remiss if I didn't post pictures of the nephew(s) she loved so much.  I'm pretty sure she's around them too...they talk about her all the time.  I love that.

Took the boys on a field trip to the Fairfield Mall.  They have a little Santa Train that you can ride through the Mall...they loved it.  So did I!

Decided it would be fun to make Christmas cookies with the boys...I was all organized.  Cookies baked, bowls of sprinkles with spoons (didn't trust them with the jars of sprinkles), and two tubs of icing...all out on the table ready to go when they got up from their nap.  I went into the kitchen to get something turned around and Max was eating the sprinkles out of the bowl...I guess he thought that was why I put the spoons in there!  "NO MAX...Ok. I guess these cookies will be for you and nobody else"  Then I turned around to get more spoons came back in and he was eating the ICING out of the tub.  AND it was a full moon that night. Grandparenting is so much more fun than parenting.  You get to send them home after days like these...

Speaking of days like's nice to run into Santa when your out... you can take pictures and tell your grandchildren that you met Santa and he will be calling if they arent' good...Andrew said "why isn't he wearing his clothes?" I told him Santa doesnt' wear his Santa clothes when he goes out to eat...he doesn't want to spill anything on them.  It worked. He believed me. And by the way, Santa DID call.  Twice.  I videotaped it.  Made me want to cry.  Andrew got on the phone and was SO excited...for about five seconds.  Then he started saying "Yes. Yes. Ok Santa." (with a sad face).  Santa asked to talk to Max. Max gets on the phone and says RIGHT AWAY "I LOVE YOU SANTA".
Santa knows our elf's name is TWINKLES.  He mentioned Twinkles is calling him. 
Behavior hasn't changed....
oh well. It's Christmas...

 Took the boys shoe shopping...OMG.  Andrew is worse than a 16 year old girl...or a 60 year old lady...he tried on, no lie, 30 pairs of shoes before he found one he liked.  He has Xtra wide feet. That was part of the problem.  First shoes on Max that lit up suited him.  We all went home happy.

First ornaments I found...

I don't remember who gave this to Melissa, but she got it for her last Christmas. The little angel ornament says "Melissa" and the snowman was for JP.  Has his birthstone on it.

I won't lie.  We do kind of have shrines for Melissa.  (she would be ok with it though.  We put up all her trophies in her room and she said "what is this...a shrine to me?" we laughed and left it up. Still there...) Anyway, the blue hat was hers (LIFE IS GOOD) Last hat she wore.  The sunglasses are hers too. The little wall hanging says "A daughter is a little girl who grows up to be a friend".  That was us. And that is her stocking.  We had those made when they were little.  I hugged it for awhile when I found it...because it's one of the last things SHE touched.


I miss her more every day.  But I am making progress.  Our lives will never be the same without her, but while we are here, we will do the best we can because we have Nick, and Andrew, and Max, and Mere.   I think she is smiling.

Love you Melissa Marie....and miss you EVERY SINGLE DAY.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thankful for....

The most wonderful husband EVER.  Two of the most beautiful kids EVER.  30 years with my daughter, my best friend.  32 years with my baby, who is now older than my OLDEST.  I am so proud of both of them.  I LOVE this picture.  Memories of happy times ( although Nick looks a little happier than Melissa - must be the drum.  I'm sure Pilgrim outfit wasn't quite as much fun...)
And thankful for friends who are still around.  And my sister Sue.  And Melissa's friends who stay in touch (Drew and Max kind of have a cousin on the Fortener side now... baby Bennett.  Thanks Ang for including us in YOUR life and now HIS.)

This time of year is not easy.  Not sure if will ever get easier.  Keeping busy painting (living room, dining room, kitchen, hallway)...there is no division on the walls between these rooms, so once you get started, you can't stop.  Took us two days.  Nothing drastic, just a fresh coat of paint because I was motivated to do SOMETHING.  Any more, this only happens occasionally.  And Donny knows it, so if I decide something needs to be done, we do it.  He is so good.

Nick and Mere are hosting Thanksgiving, and I am thankful for that.  Never really started our own tradition because my mom and dad always had dinner (my mom was a GREAT cook and loved to have us all over), and in the beginning, Donny's Grandma and Granpa Rado had his mom's family over  ...both on Thanksgiving.  It was exhausting.  But looking back, it was what we did.  And the kids looked forward to it.  (Every year when I was working, the week before Thanksgiving, I would read this book to all my classes ~ The Perfect Thanksgiving. It was about how two families celebrated Thanksgiving in different ways.  One family had a sit down dinner~my family~ One family everybody's on their own to find a SEAT~donny's family.  But it was about being with FAMILY.  NO matter how you celebrate it, it's about being with FAMILY.  My kids got to celebrate both ways.  And while I know they enjoyed going to my mom and dads, they loved the craziness of Donny's family.

I miss Melissa, I miss the "old" me, I miss the craziness that  used to be.   It's called a "new normal".  Not sure if I like this new normal, but we don't have much choice, do we?

So we keep busy.  This week, painting, last week traveling to Louisiana ~ with stops in Nashville on the way there, Memphis on the way home.   The purpose of the trip was to see Donny's nephew Ryan play football - he's the kicker for SE Louisiana University. Five days and we were on Broadway in Nashville, the French Quarter in La. and then Hammond for the game, then Bealle Street in Memphis.  We stayed across the street from The Peabody Hotel (with the ducks that swim in the fountain in the lobby and then get on the elevator at 5:00 every day to go back to the roof of the hotel!).  It was a good trip for both of us. Plus got to see Ryan kick off 6 or 7 times (compare to the ONE time he got in when I drove five hours to his game at UT Martin!), and they  won, AND the Clydesdales were there.  

 Not sure, but I think we had a ghost in our room (right side of doorway) Donny thought it was a reflection, but I took a couple more pictures in the same spot-not there. I think it was a ghost. So it was a ghost.
The pool at our hotel in the French Quarter.  A little to cool to swim, but it was nice.  It was in a courtyard right outside our room. It was in the northeast corner of the French Quarter.  Lots of walking, but that's what we like to do.  Nice room too.

 Evening in the french Quarter.  Beautiful.
 At a cafe in the French Quarter for dinner.
 Carriage rides, which we didn't take.  We prefer walking.
 Breakfast at Cafe Dumonde.  Cafe au lait and beignets. yum. (Note: don't wear dark clothing when eating beignets.)
 At Louis Armstrong Park for a Gumbo Fest.  Two blocks from our hotel!  A little story about his pink shirt.   I forgot to say that the hotel we stayed in was in the gay district in the French Quarter.  Not a problem.  However, about a block after we left our hotel, I stopped to take off my jacket.  Donny had to hold my his pink shirt... in the gay district.  He looked at the purse, then his shirt, then the rainbow flag hanging on the business next to us and said "if this doesn't make me gay, I don't know WHAT does"....Um. I know what would make you gay, and you are NOT gay.  (and if you were I would love you anyway!...but he's not....

 Butterfly exhibit at Children's museum (across from Casino. Which we went to first). Donny did not want to go into the exhibit, but once again, he keeps me happy.  $32 and and hour later, we had lots of framable pictures. I think he was happy he went with me.  He took more pictures than I did!

 Didn't know BEFORE we decided to go to Ryan's game that the Clydesdales would be there.  We were able to get up close and personal (although not close enough to pet them) and get some great pictures.  If you look really closely, both horses are SMILING.(click on the picture to enlarge)  The girl next to me said "SMILE" and both horses smiled.  It was amazing.  They are BEAUTIFUL animals.  Melissa LOVED the Clydesdales.  Her last Holiday at Home parade featured the Clydesdales - she did some research and posted info about the Clydesdales and some pictures she took at the parade.  She would have LOVED this.  (miss you Fort....)
Ryan, kicking off, one of multiple times this game!

And as Fort would don't think you're going to leave this post without seeing a picture of Andrew (and now Max too)????   Of course not....



Remember....enjoy the chaos, the craziness and be thankful that you are with your family. 
Happy Thanksgiving, from our house to yours!


Love you and miss you Melissa Marie!

Saturday, November 3, 2012


Wow.  Have been sitting here reading the blog...MELISSA'S posts...and laughing for the last hour.  How could I EVER think I could keep up what SHE did????

Looking back, it's a wonder that anyone has kept up in the last 4 years.   Wish I could continue her legacy in a way that would truly HONOR her.  But I am not the writer that she was.  I guess my goal was to keep you updated on Andrew and Max (which I think she would approve),  and in a kind of selfish way, help you understand where I was coming from in this "new" life of mine.

After reading for the last hour, I'm wishing I could have done this blog a little justice, but at the same time realizing how thankful I am that she kept this online "journal" her last five years...

The good news?  Donny has decided that I've waited too long to get started on the process of turning this blog into a book.  I am happy to announce that  HE has started the process.  At the rate that he's going, we might have a book before the next fundraiser.    (I actually started working on this a couple of months ago - did get an intro written.  Just didn't tell him.)

Because the blog reads from "back to front", we need to start at the "end", cut and paste in chronological order to get it to read "front to back".  We are starting with and working up to fortscancersux.  It will not include anything after Christmas of 2008.

The book will be hers.  (We are doing this because it is what SHE wanted).

Not sure if we will go to a publisher or self publish.  But it WILL be a book.  And as soon as it is ready, we will let you know.


As a side note, I will continue to post.  It has been therapy for me, and I hope helpful.  This has been a difficult journey, and I am thankful to have an outlet to share our journey.  Life goes on.  She lived her life to the fullest EVERY single day.  I am trying to do the same.  I miss her so much, but I know I have a lot to live for, and I KNOW I will see her again.

SO.  If you occasionally come to this blog to check in to see what's recommendation is to scroll down to the archives, click on 2008, pick a month, and I GUARANTEE you will be laughing.  Out loud. Or, go to, go to the archives and pick ANY date.  You might be "featured" in one of her posts.

I am smiling just thinking about it....


                            WELCOME BABY BENNETT!
  Mommy Angie and baby Bennett upon his arrival, Oct. 27!

                                  One happy, content baby!

                                   Last of the backyard wildflowers...

                 Dogsitting for Sam (Sue's dog)

...and of course, last but not least, Andrew and Max, aka Spiderman and Batman.
Fort wouldn't have it any other way...

Friday, October 19, 2012

Remembering John Patrick....

Nine years ago today our first grandson was born.  John Patrick.  Two months early, and not ready for this world.   So while we should be celebrating (which we had a small rememberance last night), we will  be visiting him instead at the cemetery...and as Melissa said a couple of years ago... "I never thought I'd be visiting my son (grandson) at the cemetery for his birthday."
It's just not right.
And while I normally love telling the story of each of my children and grandchildren's birthday, this one doesn't have such a happy ending.   But I will tell it nonetheless...

Nine years ago yesterday, Melissa was in a wedding of one of her good friends from high school.  She was seven months pregnant at the time.  After the reception, we got home around midnight...shortly after got the call that you NEVER want to get.  John was calling saying they were on their way to the hospital.  The baby was coming.
When we got there, Melissa was holding him...saddest day of my life...and hers I KNOW.  He was BEAUTIFUL...head full of dark hair, long eyelashes, all his fingers, all his toes...PERFECT.
We were all able to spend as much time as we needed to hold him and love him that day.  We just wanted so much more....
They say when you lose your parents, you lose  your past.  When you lose your child, you lose your is so true.
John Patrick would be nine today.  Probably in third grade.  (More likely, probably in 4th grade...he would be SO smart, just like his mom and dad).  And funny.  He would have a good sense of humor and would be athletic too.  And he would have SO many friends.  And we would be having his birthday party this weekend....
We SHOULD be having his party this weekend....but instead he will celebrate with his mom.  As much as I want him HERE, at least he has his mom and she has him.....

(sent him a balloon with a message, a hug, and lots of kisses today....and his birthday gift went to Make a Wish Foundation)

We all love and miss you so much JP!

This is a photo of me and one of my fifth graders on the last day of school. My last day and his last day.  It was after the Fifth grade Farewell. Andy Li.  Tuesday of this week, he was riding his bike home from his mom's restaurant (where I believe he was helping out)...he was hit by an SUV and killed.
On my first day at Greenmont, I met lots of students, but Andy was one of those UNFORGETTABLE students.  He didn't just say hi...he came up and gave me a BIG HUG.  A fourth grader!  Most students get to know you before hugging you (even first graders!).  Not Andy.  He was SO happy all the time.  GREAT kid.  12 years old.
Just found out his funeral is Monday.  October 22.  Same day we had JP's funeral...and SAME Funeral Home.  Nine years later.
Sad week for me....

RIP Andy.  You will be missed, but NEVER forgotten!

My wonderful son Nick, Meredith and Andrew and Max.  They make life worth living....

My new design (not very original) but I think I like it a little better than the car magnet...ordered 60.
Will sell them for $1 at the fundraiser tomorrow...if your interested let me know. I'll send you one.
(the ones I had made also include her blog address).

Can't believe this is the NINTH fundraiser...Melissa attended the first five.  It's a great time for a GREAT cause.  Half the proceeds go to the Komen Foundation, the other half goes to Melissa's Scholarship.  (In the last four years, almost $10,000 has gone to her Scholarship fund!)  This year, the Miami University Women's Rugby Club will be holding a TRY for the CURE at their match tomorrow, October 20.  The proceeds of their fundraiser will go to the Kelts Fundraiser tomorrow.

We are so thankful for their continued support...and LOVE.
Thanks Kelts - we love you!

And on that note, want to give a shout out to our friends Scot, Sandy, Ashley and Clarke Franz for remembering Fort at the Springboro Football game PINK OUT....they sent a balloon to Melissa and signed her name to a pink Firetruck at the game...THANKS guys!

Also to Ted Kuntz, the son of friends of ours from Carroll High School.  Ted plays football for Dennison University and they are having a Breast Cancer Awareness game tomorrow.  Ted and some of his teammates will be wearing FORT bracelets - he will be wearing her name also to honor her.

And tomorrow, hopefully the weather will hold out for the Making Strides for Breast Cancer Walk in downtown Dayton.  It's a 5k, and I've done it every year since Melissa was diagnosed (we walked it together a couple of times - the most memorable was the week after we did the 3 Day, 60 mile walk in Atlanta.  3 miles was just NOT enough for either of us - we came home and walked another 4 - just felt like th 5K was a warm up...OH how i miss those walks with her...)

Don't forget - get your mammograms if you haven't already done it!


Love you and miss you EVERY single day Melissa and JP!