The kids keep asking "when are we going to Boonshoft?" I keep putting it off. It was Sue's Christmas gift to the boys. I just can't go there yet. (the last couple of times I took them there, Sue went with me. She would take one of the boys, I would take the other. We had so much fun. They LOVED their Aunt Sue.)
And it goes without saying (but I'll say it anyway), I miss Melissa EVERY day. Hard to want to go on some days. But my calendar keeps filling up, and that is good for me.
I'll start with A.J. (this would have been the headline if Melissa were posting the blog, I guarantee it)
I say I'm A.J.'s cousin. But really, A.J.'s GRANDMA is my first cousin. That just makes me sound so old.
A.J. is a senior at Fairmont. A very talented senior. Last week, he had the lead in the musical Jekyll & Hyde. He was Jekyll, and he was Hyde. Here is the bio from the program:
"Jekyll & Hyde is the fourth Fairmont musical for senior A.J. Breslin, who played Jean Valjean in Les Miserables, Archibald Craven in The Secret Garden and Tobias Ragg in Sweeney Todd. He also played Dr. Gibbs in the 2010 performance of the play Our Town and starred in the Fairmont's fall 2012 production of Ordinary People. A tenor in the a cappella group Eleventh Hour, he also has been a member of Illusion Show Choir, the a cappella group Fusion, Men's Chorus and Symphonic Chorale."
...and they forget to mention that he is related to the Fortener's. On Pam's side. My dad would say he gets his singing talent from him. I've heard his mom sing...(Leanne), I think he gets it from her. And as for our family, Melissa wasn't a bad singer either.
He is going places. Remember his name. And someday, you can say "HEY. I know him from somewhere...OH YEA. Fort's blog! He's related to Fort!" She would be SO proud of him. (The story is, his grandma babysat me and my siblings, I babysat A.J.'s mom, A.J.'s mom babysat Melissa & Nick, Melissa babysat for A.J. Lindsay, & Katie, now Lindsay has babysat for Andrew and Max. Pretty cool, huh?
Anyway, A.J. was AMAZING in Jekyll &Hyde. I actually do a pretty good rendition myself on a daily basis...but nothing like he does. His siblings are all pretty talented too - Lindsay plays on the Fairmont Varsity girls basketball team, Katie is on the track team and Michael plays ice hockey.
I dont know how Leanne and Tony do it. All good kids too.
I wish Melissa were here to follow all of them...
FIRST ANNUAL MELISSA FORTENER McLAUGHLIN 5K
The Fairmont Softball team took the "Firebirds Fighting Cancer" one step further by adding a 5K this year. In Melissa's honor! A portion of the proceeds will go to Melissa's Scholarship fund. (Recipient of Scholarship to be named in the next couple weeks!)
133 people registered, 116 participated. The cold morning might have kept some away, but it was actually a perfect morning for a run/walk/crawl. The 5K was to be followed by a weekend of softball games (several schools were registered to participate) but unfortunately the weather didn't cooperate and the diamonds weren't playable. But it didn't stop the 5K OR the Balloon Release that followed.
It was awesome.
Thanks Chelsea for organizing this event, and Marianne and Marcy for the amazing pictures!
And thanks to everyone who participated!
Logo on the tshirts (medals had same logo)
Shea Morgan (from the girls basketball team) and a teammate from her AAU team
I got to do a little public speaking - I LOVE talking about Melissa, and some info about breast cancer awareness...and the race is on...
Runners/walkers/crawlers...on your mark...get set....
...and they're OFF!
Rachel, a friend of Melissa's (in the pink) running her first 5K!
The line of people (with the stroller) rugby friends of Melissa's!
Bob Franz, Fairmont Head Softball Coach @ Finish Line
Patti, Dave & Jodi, good friends
Pamma, Andrew, PopPop, ready to cross the Finish Line!
Mia and Riley. Daughters of friends of Melissa's!
Angie crossing the finish line with Bennett
Donny & friend Jay Niswonger with their medals
Fairmont H.S. Softball team, ready to hand out medals.
Thanks girls for volunteering!
Firebirds for FORT (with Fort bracelets)!
Donny & Coach Chelsea (in the navy jacket) awarding medals.
Chelsea was the event organizer. She did an incredible job.
G.G. Fortener. Donny's mom. She guarded the finish line.
She was a little emotional when SHE got a medal!
(Melissa would love this too)
After the race, stopped by to visit Melissa...she gets a medal too!
If you didn't make it this year, the good thing is, this was the first ANNUAL.
That means we're doing it again NEXT year. So we'll see you then.
It's good exercise (breast cancer prevention) and FUN!
The fun continued this weekend. We have been trying to make it to Portsmouth for the six months to visit our friends Curt (Mange) and Mary. They are the couple we went on the cruise with last summer. Bought tickets to concerts TWICE that we had to back out of at the last minute. And THOUGHT it was going to happen again. First I will tell you that Curt & Mary are our friends whose daughter Courtney was diagnosed with thyroid cancer when she was 14. She survived that. When she was 22, she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Fought it for 6 years. She died two years ago when she was just 28. They have two other children, Caitlyn, who is getting married in about a month, and Tyler, who just got engaged yesterday. On Thursday, I got a text from Mary saying she was in Cincinnati with Caitlyn. She was having surgery. For cancer. She has basal cell carcinoma, and had it removed from her nose, and a small spot on her shoulder. The surgery went well. But it was traumatic going through this AGAIN. I talked to Mary and said "if you want to cancel, we are ok and will understand". But she said "I need to do something fun." So we went. She is my inspiration. They are right where we are, but somehow they are in the midst of planning a wedding, now another wedding, AND going through this cancer thing again. We finally got to go to a concert with them (and some of their friends) at Shawnee State College in downtown Portsmouth. Great venue - and, well, for OLD people, great bands. The Buckinghams (Kind of a Drag), and The Guess Who. Went out for a drink afterward, then back to Mange and Mary's to spend the night. We were up until 2 talking. We are quickly becoming pretty good friends after not seeing each other for almost 40 years...we have a lot in common.
Mange and Donny
Pam & Mary
Got up late, Mary made breakfast and we talked for another two or three hours. Left Portsmouth and headed for Hocking Hills. Donny has been wanting to go there for a LONG time. Hocking Hills is between Ohio University and Ohio State. I'm pretty sure Melissa has been there a few times. I seem to remember some stories (if you remember any stories of her @ Hocking Hills, can you share with me?)
Anyway, it was a beautiful day, perfect weather for hiking. So we did. Old Man's Cave and Cedar Falls. Just a couple of miles to each...I mean, if we can do a 5K, we can hike a few miles AND enjoy the beauty of nature!
Will definitely return. Didn't have enough daylight to see everything Donny wanted to see.
Might even make it a weekend next time...
Ok...you know the routine.
Have to end with Andrew and Max. It is only right. It is what MELISSA would do.
Found a LEGO magazine and was reading it to Andrew & Max. There were pictures of kids in the magazine that had built things and sent their picture in. Andrew runs over to his legos, whips this thing together and says "take my picture Pamma and send it in!"
...and of course IMMEDIATELY Max puts something together and says
"take my picture Pamma and send it in".
He wants to be JUST like his big brother.
Ok. So we start at 8 a.m. and never stop. Until lunch. Then I AM exhausted.
So THEY need to take a nap.( I mean I need to take a nap). But they won't. I say "you don't have to sleep. Just rest." That lasts about 15 minutes. Then we go nonstop until we take them home.
We pull up in front of their house, I turn around and say
"Ok boys. We're home!"
and this is what I see...
I have them two days a week. The other five I am recuperating. Seriously.
But I wouldn't have it any other way...
And although I said I will always end with Andrew and Max, I found a picture
of me and Melissa. It's at OU. Mom's Weekend. Which when SHE was there was always the first weekend in May. Such good memories. I miss her so much. Still can't believe she's gone...
Love you and miss you pretty girl....
every minute of every day.