Monday, August 30, 2010

Baby Shower!

Saturday was the baby shower for our soon-to-be-arriving granddaughter.
Even the guys came to this shower....and I'm pretty sure they soon realized why men leave events like these to women.


  The Man of the House found a baby attending who also happened to have the same first name.
He held him the entire time and even got him to sleep.

I tried to talk him into taking little Man of the House home with us...but apparently the baby's mother was too near and the danger too great.

The happy parents-to-be, unwrapping the last of their wonderful gifts.

Little Mallory's gonna have some nice things!

And with the clock ticking for this baby to arrive; I'm gonna have to hurry and decide on a grandma moniker.   I need something to go along with 'Papa'. 
Right now on the list are:
Grandmama ('Gran' for short)


Any thoughts or other suggestions?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Indian Legend

While camping at John Martin Reservoir, we visited a neat historical site. 

The plaque tells this story:
"In the 1830's Cheyenne indians hunted buffalo on the windy, short grass prairie that surrounds John Martin Reservoir.  They knew the flat, dry land well and knew the few distinguishing landmarks.  So when a young Cheyenne warrior needed a refuge with a 360-degree view, he chose this rock formation.  
  According to local legend, Red Shin lived in the Arkansas Valley in 1833.  When he got into a fight with another warrior over the affections of a woman, Red Shin armed himself with two flintlock muskets, a tomahawk, a bow and arrows and butcher knives and climbed to the top of the rocks. 
  Other warriors joined his rival and attacked Red Shin from the valley below.  Red Shin was unafraid, and he held his ground until the attacking warriors realized their assault was futile.  
 In honor of Red Shin's bravery and refusal to give up, this formation of Dakota Sandstone is known as Red Shin Standing Ground."



You never know in what remote place you might find an interesting piece of history!


Monday, August 23, 2010

Camping Trip

A few days ago my sister called me on my cell phone.
 She casually asked what I was up to.
I told her:
"Well, I'm sitting under an umbrella in my swimsuit, next to a lake, watching the kids swim and reading a Hamish Macbeth mystery."

There was a long pause and then she replied,
"Yeah, I got nothin'."

Normally when she calls I'm in the middle of getting dinner ready or running errands or cleaning house or educating my children.
So it was kinda nice to have something fun to report! 

The Man of the House was adamant (not Adam Ant, just to clarify)  that we take one last camping trip before school begins.  We had camped earlier in the summer but when the new school year looms before me, I usually want to 'batten down the hatches' so to speak and get everything in gear.   
I truly didn't feel like taking off to go camping.   

I enjoy camping, I really do.  But it isn't just camping for me.  It's also packing and unpacking and washing enormous amounts of laundry when we return. 
 Even if we pack lightly.
However, to please my wonderful husband, I said I would go...and we had a great time.

We camped at John Martin Reservoir.  To use their own description: 
Sometimes called a sapphire on the plains, John Martin is a peaceful paradise in which people play, birds flock and wildlife roams. The park is close to historic landmarks, yet remote enough to attract year-round nature and recreation lovers to stay and explore.

It's an interesting place.  In some ways, it reminded me of the Australian Outback with its rugged landscape, blistering heat and the almost constant buzzing of Locusts. 

All we needed was the sound of a didgeridoo, Ayers Rock, and a  kangaroo or three. 

We swam, we fished,  applied and reapplied sunscreen,  ate loads of junk food, cooked over a fire and just relaxed.

It was heaven.  

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Summer Birthday

My lovely oldest daughter was born in August.
Luckily, back then we lived on the Oregon coast so the late summer weather was bearable.

How amazing now to celebrate her birthday while she, herself,  is expecting a baby.

I've always made her birthday cakes.  
This year, because she is married, I wasn't sure she'd want me to.
When she asked, I smiled and said I'd love to!
It was a wonderful summer evening with our family, homemade pizza (her favorite garlic chicken) and cake.

Conversation these days is mostly about the baby.  Little Mallory.  Or Mally as we all call her already.  Can a baby have too many nicknames before it's born?
No?  Okay, good.
Because we also call her O'Malley (her last name will begin with an 'O'), Mally-girl,  and Li'l Mal.

We can't wait to see her in person!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Family History....Mystery

I grew up surrounded by genealogy. 
Some of my earliest memories involve listening to my mother and grandmother chat about new 'finds' and family names.   I was familiar with pedigrees and terms like microfiche and microfilm, soundex, vital records, and census. 
I learned more about history through stories my mother told me than through my school texts.   

Stories about brothers who were on opposite sides of the law: one a train robber, the other a sheriff.
Stories of an ancient grandmother whose beauty and vivacity caused men to start wars out of love and jealousy. (I'm sure her royal birthright helped some.)

Stories of my great-great grandfather, the town sheriff, who had to take serious prisoners by horseback across the state of Oregon to the state penitentiary.  He also had the job of lighting the street lamps in town every night...on stilts.  

Stories from the Mayflower and pioneers who trekked across this nation.  

So many stories!  My mother has a way of telling them that grabs your imagination and won't let go.  
She worked for years; writing letters to far away places, ordering library books on loan from other states, trying to find connections.  She did it the hard way.

Now, from the privacy of your own home, you can search family records online.  The amount of information out there is amazing!  I can easily find records that only twenty years ago, my mother was typing out letters on an old typewriter and mailing off for .

Mostly, I've worked on my husband's family history.  My own history had been uncovered pretty far back.  
Or so I thought.

When working on genealogy, sometimes amazing and miraculous things can happen.
For example; years ago, my grandmother was trying to find information on a family whose children had died from an epidemic.   She was recording the children and looking for more information on each of them.  However, she was having trouble finding a little girl named Francis.   
One night, she awoke to see a little boy sitting on the end of her bed, silently looking at her.   Somehow, by seeing him, it occurred to her that this little 'Francis' was not a girl, but a boy.  Sure enough, not long after, she found his records.

It's amazing when you work on family history and read census records and old newspaper articles; how you come to feel for their lives, their stories.    When you find a family and begin to find birth records for babies born...only to find death certificates for those same babies a year or two feel the sadness and wonder how they made it through such anguishing times.

I know, from my own personal experience, that there are moments when you are going about your busy life and suddenly you feel a sort of 'tapping' on your soul. 
Suddenly, out of the blue, you feel that you should do another search for a person you couldn't previously find.   And, although you may have searched for them regularly over the years without any luck, suddenly there they are.

Recently, something of this nature happened to my mother and I.
For years, I've known the history of my father's side.  In fact, a couple of years ago, my mom gave me the records she had worked so hard on for that line.  We were pretty much done.

However, one night, while up late and not able to sleep, it occurred to Mom that she had never followed one of the women's lines.   She got on and thought she'd do a little research.  What she found completely changed what we thought we knew.

She found an error- and easy one to make based on the name, birthdate and general area of birth of my great-grandfather.
We found that the man we had long thought was my great-grandfather as a child, wasn't.  Mom found an article stating that he had died in a plane crash.  
So the entire line of family was the wrong line!
We went back to the drawing board and began searching for him anew.

What we found was rather astonishing.   We found him, found his family line, found his father and mother.  We also found that he had a brother and that his father had abandoned them as young children.  
His father not only left his wife and two sons, but later remarried and left another wife with two daughters.  He also changed his first name and quite possibly used other aliases.

We found newspaper articles; one of them stating that his wife was looking for him.  Apparently he came from a great family who had settled in Pennsylvania very early.  He was referred to in the newspaper article as being the 'Black Sheep' of the family.

His grandfather, Leonard Spaulding,  was a veteran of the French and Indian War as well as the Revolutionary War.  A Captain who was also his town's representative for the legislature in Vermont.   He was the first in his county to shoulder his gun and head for the battles.

He was there when Cornwallis surrendered and it is said he was able to shake the hand of General George Washington.

His father , Russell Temple, was a captain in the military and later served as a Major in the Militia.  He settled in Pennsylvania.

This man, my great-great grandfather, was the youngest in his family.  He also served in the Civil War before he married and had children.   I have to wonder; did the horrors of war change him?   I've read some about his regiment, about the loss of life and the numbers of wounded.  It must have been terrible. 

  As the youngest in his family, was he trying to live up to the family name by serving his country?  Was he, as the baby of the family,  brought up in such a way that the horrors of war scarred him for life?
I've read about his regiment.  There are quite a few listed as deserters.  Could he have been one of them and, if so, did this mark his character for life?

As we search for his history, I wonder about him a lot.  Perhaps there is more to his tale than a man who left his family (ies) to fend for themselves. 
The articles and clues we have found all make me feel that he wants us to find him.
That it is he who is 'tapping' on our hearts.

Friday, August 13, 2010


This is a WARNING.

Daughters have a way of doing fun and silly things that could, potentially, affect your life.
In a BAD way.

Like when you have your house on the market and are awakened on one of the few It's-Still-Summer-And-I'm-Sleeping-In mornings by the phone. 
(There must be some sort of real estate Murphy's Law of which I'm not aware.)

Awakened by a realtor ready and waiting to show your house in an hour.  

You alert the family and begin a 45 minute breakfast to cleaning marathon.

Your husband happens to step outside on the patio down below and gasps as he sees this:

Yes, a 'crime' scene left over from their play the day before.

The Man of the House and I laughed ourselves silly. 
I mean, I thought things like this only happened in movies! 

Once again, children teach me to always expect the unexpected.

And how was your morning?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Home Education Articles

Here are a few articles for those of you out there immersed- or getting ready to immerse yourselves- in the education of your offspring.  Your babies. Your lil' darlin's. Your small and tall fries.

Food for thought, funny stories, etc.  

The TWO BIGGIES: Patience and Socialization

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Tell Me 'Bout the Good Old Days

Grandpa, tell me 'bout the good ole days.
Sometimes it feels like
This world's gone crazy.
Grandpa, take me back to yesterday,
Where the line between right and wrong
Didn't seem so hazy.

Did lovers really fall in love to stay?

Stand beside each other come what may?

Was a promise really something people kept,

Not just something they would say?

Did families really bow their heads to pray?

Did daddies really never go away?

Whoa oh Grandpa,
Tell me 'bout the good ole days.

Grandpa, everything is changing fast.
We call it progress,
But I just don't know.
And Grandpa, let's wander back into the past,
And paint me a picture of long ago.

Did lovers really fall in love to stay?

Stand beside each other come what may?

Was a promise really something people kept,
Not just something they would say and then forget?

Did families really bow their heads to pray?

Did daddies really never go away?

Whoa oh Grandpa,
Tell me 'bout the good ole days.

Whoa oh Grandpa,
Tell me 'bout the good ole days.

~Lyrics by The Judds 

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