Thursday, December 30, 2010

Genealogy Update

I got in a film today that I have been waiting on for a couple months.  It's church records of my family members from the 1730's!!!  It's actual baptisms and marriages, etc.  I can't wait to look at it.  I am also ready to turn in my lineage papers for the Daughters of the Union Veterans of the Civil War so I'm very excited about that too.  It's my first lineage society to join.  I'm looking forward to lots of good things this next year and I am going to make 2011 a great one!
I am also starting my own little side genealogy business.  Nothing fancy, just kind of for fun.  I get asked quite a bit for some help and they are willing to pay so I decided to make it official.
Exciting stuff!!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories, Day 9: Grab Bag

Hmmm... What to write about today.  Well my Christmas shopping isn't even close to being done.  My cards are not even close to being sent either, but the funny thing is by next Friday, both things will be almost finished.  I had planned on having my genealogy book for my "Wright" side ready for Christmas this year and then back in August I found some incredible leads and about five generations further back and well... I'm aiming for February.  I would like to have them done for my grandpa's birthday, so we'll see.  :-)  Otherwise, this year was full of big events and life changes for me so I'm glad it's almost a new year.  We'll see what it will bring. :-)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories, Day 8: Christmas Cookies

I briefly remember putting out Christmas cookies at my grandma's one year but this wasn't really something we did for too long.  It wasn't really tradition from what I can remember.  One other time I remember putting out cookies was when I was in sixth grade.  Since I don't have much to write about cookies I will insert this Christmas story here.  My mom had back surgery for scoliosis that year.  She ended up spending almost 2 months in the hospital from that surgery.  On Christmas Eve she was still unconscious and she ended up biting through her tube that was helping her breath.  It slipped down into her lung.  She died on the table but they brought her back twice if I remember right.  Either way, my brother is 5 years younger than me and was still in the believing age so it was up to my step brother and I to get everything around while my step dad was at the hospital with my mom.  We made sure the presents were out, made everything believable and took bites out of the cookies, drank the milk.  She pulled through but that is all I remember about that Christmas.

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories, Day 7: Christmas Parties

There's not much I can write about Christmas Parties.  We have one at work that I attend and we usually have fun things to do.  We always take a group photo around our humungous tree we get.  Last year we played some games and this year we are doing a dinner mystery.  I remember a couple times growing up we would have some of my step dad's coworkers over for dinner around Christmas.  I remember a couple times going to a Christmas type play, usually at a church.  I went one year with my best friend in high school, his family and church.  I'm sure we also had Christmas parties when I was in girl scouts but nothing really stands out.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Advent Calendar of Memories, Day 6: Santa Claus

This is my first picture with Santa.  I have a few more through the years.  I'm not sure when my belief faded, but Santa was always in our lives.  My step dad was one of Santa's helpers.  Yes Santa does need help.  We were taught the Spirit of sharing and caring through watching my step dad help Santa with countless families who didn't have enough for their families.  Sometimes they knew us, and sometimes they didn't.  Seeing the tears from strangers when they realize their family will have a decent Christmas was all I needed to have a great holiday.  It's that way for me now.  It is something I will never forget and I will pass on.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Advent Calendar of Memories, Day 5: Outdoor Decorations

Growing up I don't remember having outdoor decorations much until I was about 11.  Then my mom married my step dad and he liked to decorate for Christmas.  We had a light up santa and reindeer on the roof, lights from every corner, not quite the Lampoon's Christmas vacation, but sometimes close!  We had toy soldiers on the curbs. 
When we moved to the country, the decorations spread!  We had lights lined all the way down the driveway.  We still had the light up santas, reindeer and soldiers, but now we had these wooden decorations as well.  My step dad, Will's great grandparents had made a santa and reindeer and my mom used cardboard to make a pattern and they cut the pattern out of plywood.  At that point she painted them and they stood on the fence corner for as long as I can remember.  They may still be there now!  Since I have been on my own I have worked on building my indoor decor more than anything, so this year will be the first time I attempt any outdoor decor on my own and I plan on putting a few lights on our lonely bush outside.  :-) 

Advent Calendar of Memories- Day 4: Christmas Cards

We got our first Christmas Card from my grandma Kirby last week.  I normally get a handful and I think it's a nice way to keep in touch.  I like to send pictures in mine and I'm getting mine ready right now.  My holiday pictures are normally filled with my animals but this year I have 2 step sons, a wonderful man and of course, my baby girl Sierra.  We are having such a wonderful holiday season so far. 
For anyone who does send me cards there is one sure way to ensure I will keep it forever... make sure the card has a dog on it.  :-)  I keep all cards with dogs on them and scrapbook it.  I will keep letters and pictures out of them, but I got it in my head awhile back to learn how to declutter and so now it's habit.  I also may make little boxes out of the cards I don't keep.  My guy hangs his cards on his blinds so that along with the candy canes we got are hanging there. 
I love getting cards and just seeing how people have been over the past year and what they have been up to.  I now get electronic cards by email and that's ok too.  I will print some of them out.  Just keep in touch with your families!! :-)

Advent Calendar of Memories, Day 3: Ornaments

Well, I started talking about ornaments when I was talking about the tree, but I have some other things to add about trees that I thought of so I guess that works!!
When I was in high school we lived on a farm and we always had a real tree.  It was a tradition that we got the tractor ready and hooked up to our trailer.  We lined the trailer with hay and all of us loaded in bundled up and full of blankets.  Of course we also loaded up our dogs and made our 10 mile an hour trek to the Christmas Tree farm a couple miles from our house.  At the Christmas tree farm we walked around until we all agreed on a tree and then chopped it down.  We got hot chocolate and then we headed home.  Normally someone drove in a vehicle as well in case there were babies or anyone was sick or the little dogs.  Now the farm is gone, the tractor is gone and the Christmas tree farm is gone but the memories will always live. 
Back to ornaments though... Like I mentioned earlier, I get an ornament every year to symbolize something for that year.  We just decorated our tree yesterday and I was looking through my ornaments (some which are missing now) and just remembering what they stood for.  Some went back in the box but all the ones for my animals came out and my step sons were all too happy to hang up the one's for my baby girl Sierra.  (They also love to make her wear Reindeer antlers lol).  My grandma Wright and I go every year and pick out our ornament.  There are so many to choose from but her and I love to go and just browse to find the right one.  It's something I look forward to every year. 

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Advent Calendar of memories, Day 2 Holiday Foods

Who doesn't like to talk about food??  In the past 10-15 years it has become tradition at my grandma and grandpa Wright's house to have chili and Oyster soup on Christmas.  Before that it was a full out meal like Thanksgiving, with turkey, ham, and all the fixin's.  One of my favorites that Grandma still makes is Cherry dessert.  It has a graham cracker crust, cherry topping and whip cream.  YUM.  I also love green bean casserole.  Sometimes my step dad would make Pisatchio dessert where you mix the pudding mix with whip cream and add mixed fruit.  That is pretty good as well.  One year we had Prime Rib with twice baked potatoes and asparagus with cheese.  It was sooo good! 
We always have a veggie tray, but we also started making our pickle things as we call them.  We take thinly sliced ham and spread cream cheese on it and wrap a pickle in it and cut it up.  Those don't last long.  :-)

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories, Day 1 The Christmas Tree

We have always had a Christmas tree as far as I can remember.  It was always a fun time to decorate it.  We would have snacks and have a movie in, usually Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.  In the recent years it has been tradition for me to put my Christmas items and tree up the weekend after Thanksgiving, bake cookies (chocolate chip), put in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation and decorate the tree.  Every year I get a new ornament to represent that year.  My dog Sierra also gets one.  :-)  I have ornaments from other pets I have had and I put them up.  If someone dies or is born, I try to get an ornament to represent that as well.  My nieces and nephews have come to know they are getting an ornament from me for Christmas.  I just thought it would be fun for them to have their own mementos and a piece of home for when they are on their own. 
One picture that stands out in my mind (and I don't have a copy right now to attach) is the picture of my great great grandparents (Wilson's) sitting in front of their Christmas tree.  You can barely see them, it's kind of like a shadow, but enough to tell it's them.  They are in front of a window with this Charlie Brown looking tree sitting on a little table (if I remember correctly).  It is slightly decorated but they look content.  I'm thinking they knew what the holidays were really about!
I have since added the image.  When I looked at the picture again it first looked like a house plant, but you can see the few things hanging from it, such as the bell.  :-)