Saturday, November 19, 2016

Trying to Balance My Passion of Genealogy and Family

I posted this on a collaborative Genealogy blog, but wanted to have it for my kids too in case the blog should go away. 
I will share with you the past few months of my life. 
I worked with the Preserve the War of 1812 Pensions campaign for 3 years.  I loved the purpose and the activity of searching the files and finding living descendants.  When the funding was accomplished, my activity there was little needed, and I turned to other projects.
At the same time, my children decided they and their children needed equal time with me and this is a bit of my journey into creating family history with my grandchildren and as I have written about before, bridging the generations.
During the summer, we had our first family reunion.  This was important for those who could go because family had not gathered as a unit since my husband, their father, died in 2008.  All but two of 6 children could make it. The single son who was working and a daughter who was pregnant and expecting her 4th child any minute.  There were 28 plus myself, who made it. Two grandchildren were working and could not attend. Since no one other than myself had ever visited the California family’s home, that was the focus. They planned 4 days of activities for the children and I was excited that they included some time for themselves. 
The trip started with my 20-year-old grandson and I leaving Texas and driving to Salt Lake to meet the Idaho family whose father was flying in. They needed to send one child with me as their car only seated 7 and they had 8 with dad. The connecting 3 different groups at the Salt Lake terminal was a story. The trip from Salt Lake to California and then back to Idaho was an awesome memory for my three grandchildren and me.
In California, we went to the Sequoia Forest, the beach, and learned about railroads going over the mountain grades. The young and new grandchildren were able to create relationships with the older ones. These are a couple of pictures from that family activity.



Once back at home, the two daughters in Texas decided since I had taken time from my genealogy activities for this, I must be up for grabs for activities at home. The Idaho daughter not to be out done scheduled every Monday in September for a Skype class on World War II ending in a lesson and stories about their great grandfather who served and I have written stories about him here.
The classes were successful, and one Texas grandson sat in on a lesson.  At the time I was not sure who was listening, but as the months go by, questions and statement tell me they were. One of the grandson’s chose to be his great grandfather for Halloween, dressed up like a WWII army soldier.  Cool right. History and family stories passed down two generations.
Two were dressed like book characters. I helped the Scot Warrior and the WWII soldier on the right. 

I went with another daughter to see the preview for Christmas lights at the Houston Zoo.  We took one of my other daughter’s children with us. There was fun, sharing, and memories made with young and old.


This week I went to a Civil War reenactment at the Texas Liendo plantation that served first as a Confederate headquarters, then when it fell, as a Union prison camp.
My grandson, who is 10, began trying to sort in his mind who and what generation of his family served in the Civil War. We had fun talking about both sides of the war and how he had those that served on both sides and one in the Confederacy that died in Savannah.  My grandfather from Michigan served in the Michigan 3rd Cavalry Regiment from 03 Oct 1861. He was promoted to Full Qtr Master Serg on 19 Jan 1864 and mustered out on 12 Feb 1866 at San Antonio, TX.
His comment was the rifle (an antique) was "sooo heavy!" 
We also visited the blacksmith shop and I was able to tell him about his great great grandfather who was a blacksmith.

So there you go, while I am AWOL occasionally, I am keeping the dream alive trying to share with the generations following, so the story is not forgotten.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

School By Skype and Fall Happenings

In September, my daughter decided that I could teach an hour class for 4 Mondays by Skype on World War II.  It was so much fun looking at the screen and seeing my 6 grands looking back at me from Idaho. I shared my screen with them and told them of the years leading up to WWII.  They were interested in the happening and choices made by the governments, and the people of the world's reactions from old newspaper clippings.
 Their main goal was to hear about their great grandfather's experience which I had researched through old newspapers and his file and wrote about on a genealogy blog, Worldwide Genealogy  We had mediocre discussions, but I ended it with an appeal to them to learn of history and search out information for themselves so they would know what is truth. They were given documentaries, and things to read to remind me of what we had covered. The ages were from 3 to 15, learning abilities autistic, ADHD, dyslexic, and normal. They all learned a little, and one even decided for his Halloween costume he wanted to be a WWII soldier like his great grandfather.

Speaking of Halloween costumes, we are down to the wire on creating the costumes now.  Another of the Idaho grands has asked for a Scottish warrior costume.  I found a kilt reasonably priced on Ebay, that was a LOT cheaper than buying fabric and making one. The Sporran was a different story, buying scrap leather and making it was a lot CHEAPER.  Of course, it is not as classy and fancy, but it might be more authentic. (laughing at myself).
These are the pictures of my sojourn I had making the sporran. It was fun and if the mom takes pictures, I will add to this post later.




This was a first for me sewing with leather. The patterns I found were for soft glove leather or too large for a 12-year-old boy. I took the measurement and scaled them to a youth size.  My sewing machine couldn't do the thicker leather, so I had to use an awl and try to make matching holes on the side and front and back.  Not my most perfect creation, but I did feel like 'TaDah' when I finished. I am sending him his flint for starting the fires, and his dad is giving him a honing stone... so he is good to go.
Thanks for stopping by and visiting.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Sunshine in My Soul

"There is sunshine in my soul, when the peaceful happy moments flow..."
While listening to a variation of this song, by a young woman who was singing of her little daughter and the joy she brought to her, I was transported back in time.  My mind took me on a journey of my six sunbeams in my life, and the tears flowed.  I decided to write a brief love note to each so they will know how much I love them then and now.
Just after Ned's funeral in 2008

There was the life changing first child a sweet little bundle of joy, a girl. She was so full of "I've got an idea", bright smiles and loving life to the fullest. She has never failed to amaze me with her abilities to overcome and her capacity to love and give. We are waiting patiently (lol) for her first novel. She is now a mother of 8.
Our first trip at 6 months old.

18 months old


Number two child and daughter began her life as a little ray of sunshine and continues to strive today to bring sunshine into others' lives. She has always lived life with a flair. If she has a challenge in life she turns it around to help others, and never fails to reach out to give me love. She is now a mother of 6 and 2 step children.
Our favorite past time riding in the back pack with mom.
Then there were two.


Our first son and third child was named after his dad and those before him, making him the fourth. He was a bright eyed, imaginative little boy, and as he grew older, he chose to think in black and white. Not the easiest choice when faced with others ready for some gray areas. He has been a great example of strength to me as he has become a man with a family of his own.  He too helps others and seeks his strength from the Lord. He is a father of 3.
First arrival at home.

Then there were three.
When number four child came, we all knew a special spirit had come into our midst. Was she perfect, her siblings will tell you NO, but she was one who looked at life in a loving way. She had big eyes, a big smile, and wide open arms to embrace us all...especially me. Her choices have put her in a place to be of light and help to family and friends.  She is now a mother of 5 girls.

My cutie pie
Then there were four.



When Ned and I greeted our fifth child and fourth daughter, it was with gratitude that all went well in the delivery. She was the tiniest of my children. Many times in her life she has tugged at my heart strings as she has struggled to survive in this life. She is a joy.  She is a mother of  3.
first day of school

Then there were five

I am now to my sixth child and second son.  What fun it was watching him grow. When Ned died, he was 19, and chose to hang around to make sure I was okay. (he wouldn't tell you so) He has managed his own ambitions, and has actually helped me monetarily. He is now moving on in life which is good and I find joy in this. I pray he finds a young lady who will appreciate him.

can not find a picture of him with me alone. Our camera was broken. This is him with his two older sisters.

Then there were six. My joys.
The good thing about this exercise is I have found many pictures. The bad thing is I have found I was not good early in my family life about being in pictures, with the excuse, I don't look good.  Lesson learned the hard way.  I was there, just behind the camera. 

I enjoyed my moment of reminiscing, and searching through the pictures I still have. I gave most to them as they left home and started their own home. I love my family. We have enjoyed laughter and tears together. They have given me sunshine in my soul in the joy of knowing that as my little angels have grown, they have kept a testimony of Christ and each has a desire to follow his teachings. 

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Books!

Back home now after thoroughly enjoying my visits with my two daughters and their families.  It has been so much fun getting to know them again, sometimes a month or two can bring big changes in your family's lives.  
While visiting with my daughters, I saw that my love of books as they were growing up touched their lives too. There is joy in reading books. I called my granddaughter last night to wish her a happy 8th birthday and asked if she had been helping her mom. (smiles)... Her answer was "No, I was up on my bunk reading a new book. I love it! It is "The Secret Garden"." Later, her mom told me it was one of the old books she had from her growing up.
Loved the old cover.

As my children grew up and moved out of the house, I let them pick books from the library that I had accumulated while homeschooling them to use for their own families.  Now, let me explain.  A large number of my book were books from the late 1800s to the early 1900s.  When I would find old book, if it was of good rapport that would help my children with character development and knowledge, I would buy it.  My sweet hero loved the old books too, but he did begin to cringe a bit after the library shelves had filled and stacks had started.  He was the best guy about books.
Back to my thoughts, as a result, my shelves have grown bare.  I find it sad, but I travel so much now so it is not bad thing.  I have found an alternative for myself. Many of the Public Libraries are now sharing their old out of print books through the Internet Archive.  I was thrilled to find this website on Cooking, Home Management & Child Care . This website has a catalog for other books also, but I wanted to keep track of this specific one.  Information in the 1830's books are priceless.  
This link is the American Frugal Housewife .  

When my mother-in-law was alive, I had found this the old play Sally Ann Finds Herself for her as she had been in the play when she was in Jr High. So, family history can be filled out with old books.

My mother-in-law was excited to see it.

Project Gutenberg is awesome too. Oh and Smithsonian Libraries  and Page by Page books  There are more... Love to read.
I just thought I would share in case you didn't know. 
P.S. If you are new to my blog, you can click on the words in blue and it will take you to the website. J 

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Welcome Grandchild Number 25!

We, meaning the dad, the mom (of course) and I arrived at the hospital Tuesday evening at the suggestion of the Doctor who said the mom was at 5 cm and should have the baby soon. She was 4 days over her due date.  At the hospital, they were busy, and a mother not having hard labor, (her contractions were spread apart) was not something they wanted to see, so they sent her to the waiting room to "wait and see".  The room was so full, I had to go to the entrance waiting room to wait for word as to whether they would admit her or not.  Sigh.
After an hour, my son-in-law came down and said there was room, would I come up and wait with them.  Sure.  Once there, it was about another 30 minutes before they asked them to come back to the Triage room, only room for the mom and dad.  That's fine.  
They waited until about 11 pm. She wasn't making progress so the nurses wanted to send her home.  A call to the doctor changed their mind. He said, keep her.  At about midnight, she was moved to a labor room, and I was allowed to come back to stay with them.  The dad snuggled down next to her on the bed and I sprawled out on the "couch".  The night was filled with nurse visitations, but no baby. 
The next morning the doctor was doing surgery during the day, so he asked them to watch her and he would be by after his surgeries.  We filled the day with checking on Facebook posts, planning, visiting, and the son-in-law had to attend a web meeting.  Later, we asked if the mom could go for a walk.  Funny girl had me look up exercises that would increase the chance of starting labor.  She was so funny taking large steps, squatting, then rubbing her tummy, followed by taking large steps and then making a lunge.  This was repeated until she says..." I need to rest." Laughing gives you exercise too.  A short rest, the doctor came by and gave her a choices, start a pitocin drip, break the bag of water, or go home.  He gave her a short time to think about it.  The nurses changed; we had dinner, and decision time was upon her.  After visiting with the nurse, she said, "break the water". The doctor, nurse, and the parents were expecting a long night.  I watched.  
Immediately her contractions began their intensity picking up. Their plan was to sing hymns and the dad to speak encouraging words in low tones to keep her calm.
The events during the labor are too long to blog. Once the membrane was broken, it was 1 hour and 50 minutes to the entrance of Matti, our little bundle of joy. She was born on a Thursday. June 10th at 9:50 pm, 7 lbs 6.7 oz, 19 1/2 inches. Her dad cut the cord, and mom immediately reached out to hold her, as the nurse was going to whisk her over to bathe her. 
  Life is good.  As my obstetrician said after my 6th child's birth... "God is good".  And so He is.

The next day, it was decided that the dad would take me home, so I could rest then we would take the four girls down to meet their sister.  (side note: the family lives a little over an hour from the hospital in a different town over a mountain.  I had flown out to California, the reason I did not have a car, and a family friend had my son-in-law's car and he had theirs).

That evening we took the girls down. 
They loved on their mother, 

greeted the new baby,

 and then we took mom and the baby home with us.  

Quite an experience, went with a milestone... number 25 grandchild.  Writing the memory before it fades for Matilda Crystel. 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Kissing and Telling

Gosh I can't... well yes I can believe I am this far behind. Going back to December, I missed the December prompt of "Kissing Stories"by Blue Raspberry Sundays... I didn't remember mistletoe being particularly a part of Christmas, so I hesitated writing a post for that.  My number two daughter said, not so, she has pictures to prove it.   Well yes, when she put up mistletoe at her apartment, we smooched under that, but I will tell you my Hero did not like ODA, his acronym for Obvious Displays of Affection, out in public.  Funny guy, it set him up for so much teasing by me.  I was a terrible tease.  I only have one picture that shows me teasing him (a favorite of mine).

I would start to give him a peck on the cheek out in public and I would be admonished... "no ODA". Well, confession is good for the soul, so I will tell you, I would wait until we got out of site of people or in an elevator and give him a big kiss.  This was okay until he began worrying there were camera's in the elevators, then I would have to sneak a kiss. I guess I was a mess.
This is the only picture I have of a kiss between the two of us, and it was on the special day of my life when we two became one.  That time I was shaking so bad he had to hold my had to calm me down.

 Life with my Hero was never dull.  At least, that was what he said to me. 

Monday, December 22, 2014

Confessions of a Grieving Widow

I haven't written about the death of my sweet husband.  My heart has been heavy in that area since 9:00 am on December 23, 2008.
The 22nd had been a busy time. Children coming in and out of the house to visit with their dad because we all knew that time for him was getting shorter by the day.
I had cleansed his wounds, and tucked him in, then I had lain down on the sofa next to him to rest.  I apparently fell fast asleep, because I was awakened by my son and his wife as they prepared breakfast in the kitchen.  I sat up and immediately noticed that Ned wasn't breathing right.  I ran over to the side of the bed, and saw his oxygen had slipped off.  I quickly put it back on, but he wasn't responsive to my touch or to my calling his name.  I could tell he was in a Cheyne-Stokes breathing pattern.  I called to my children and then reached for my phone to call the Hospice team that he was dying.  While I was on the phone, he took his last breath with my son holding his hand and trying to coax him back to us.  I was not by his side.  These events have bothered me so much.  I fell asleep and didn't catch his oxygen mask had come off... I was calling the nurses and wasn't by his side when he passed to the other side.  From there, every thing then moved on without me.  I hope he knows that my heart was heavy and so sad, because I really didn't want him to go, and I was so sorry I was not holding his hand when he left this world.  I pray that he does know.  I look forward to seeing him again some day.  He is a special part of me and will be forever.
My forever sweetheart

Now I have let this piece of my guilt at having let him down out, I hope you all understand.