Thursday, December 30, 2010

Joining a Lineage Society

Last night I learned that I am finally eligible for a lineage society. Not such a big deal but with friends that belong to DUP, DAR, and children and a husband who are eligible to join SAR and DAR, I always wondered if there was a lineage society for me.

Last night, I found one! La Société des Filles du roi et soldats du Carignan, Inc. This is so exciting, at least to me. I look forward to being able to share some of my heritage with others who may have the same gr gr + grandmothers I have. There were at least two female ancestors who came to Canada as Filles du Roi, but I have more lines to research on my French Canadian side, so there may be other “Filles”.

So far, I have not found any soldiers, but, with time, I may find some as well.

How I wish I had begun this family history research while we were still living in Virginia. There would have been so many research opportunities for me not to mention, I was only hours’ drives away from my ancestral grounds. This lineage society is located in Chantilly, Virginia, would have been so close, (sigh).

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas and Deceased Ancestors

Sadly, I cannot say that we ever did anything special to honor our ancestors who passed on before us during the Christmas season. Because we were such a small family and we were in California when most of our family was in the East, we didn't have anyone to interact with. I think we only visited my gramma's grave a handful of times. I don't think I would even know where it is now.

This year, though, I have thought of my mom a lot more than in the past. I really miss her and wish she were still here. I miss my dad too but he has been gone a lot longer, so the sting of his absence is a lot less. He would have been far more interested in family history than my mom was. Too bad I was so slow to get interested in it.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Outdoor Christmas Decorating Memories

I can only remember decorating the outside of the two houses for Christmas. My parents current house (the one I grew up in) and our house in Louisville that we lived in for five years. Although I hated decorating the tree at my parents' house, I loved decorating the outside. You see, my parents' house is a country style with the white front porch that should have rocking chairs on it, which is perfect for a country style Christmas. One year we decided to try using evergreen garland with red bows and that is what we've stuck with each year. We wrap each post with the evergreen and then place a red bow at the base. We then wrap the evergreen around the railing coming up the stairs and place red bows at the bottom. Before my parents replaced their deck with the composite stuff, you could see the staple holes where we used the stapler to keep the evergreen and bows in place. We've added a few things throughout the years, more evergreen garlands along the railing and even lights at one point. When it snows, it looks even more beautiful because of all the colors, the blue house, the green garlands, and the red bows.
Our house in Louisville was decorated very simply. We put green wreaths on the front windows and then a candle light in each of those windows. It is very classic looking especially since our house is red brick on the front. For a couple of years we put icicle lights along the gutters. I prefer the white icicle lights and my husband prefers the blue, so we'd trade off each year. Getting the wreaths up each year was a challenge. The previous owners had done this and that is where we'd gotten the idea. Our only problem was that we didn't know what they had used to keep the wreaths up. We tried several things for 2-3 years and then finally I figured out that we could use suction cups with hooks. We did that and voila! we had wreaths that stayed put on the windows even in the strongest winds!
The unfortunate thing with decorating your house in a certain way is that you tend to move to other houses where you can't decorate the same way, so we currently have five wreaths in our basement just sitting there hoping for the day that they will be used again!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Holiday Ornaments

I was so looking forward to discussing our holiday food traditions yesterday, and then the day got away from me.

Today it's about ornaments and boy, do we have ornaments. Dad and I bought the traditional kind our first couple of years married, but then Gramma Stein got down to business and made us so many beautiful, sequined, glittery ornaments, our tree was never bare again. Maybe next week I can get a box out and put some pics here to share.

Then, living in Germany, the land of Christmas, we found tons and tons of beautiful wood-carved ornaments. Many were available on the base at the duty-free shops. The very best Christmas shop in all Germany is, of course, Käthe Wohlfahrt's. The actual store ( is located in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, but there always were booths on the base especially during Christmas. Her store was truly a fairytale place to visit even in summer; you would be instantly transported to December.

We were able to get so many cute child-fun ornaments such as trucks, planes, helicopters, snowflakes, cuckoo clocks, baby in its crib, so many many more. Will have to find some of those too to post.

Then, you kids began school and each December, you would come home with treasures made with the help from very talented art teachers or just some great moms who came to help the students create their Christmas treasures. Our tree gets so full now, we truly need a full 6' tree with lots of sturdy branches.

For a while, I tried to make ornaments with pictures in them of us and our dogs each year. I kind of got behind but still have a box full of pretty ornaments just waiting for me to organize my photos to find just the right pictures to use in those ornaments.

I am working on the photos and just about have them all sorted, so pretty soon I may be able to finish that ornament project I started.

In the meantime, I guess it is time to sort the ornaments I do have and give some to you kids to enjoy sharing your memories with your kids and putting on your own family's Christmas tree.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Our Christmas Tree

I have had a real Christmas tree my whole life until a few years ago when Dad, bought a small, fake tree from Michael's with the help of Gramma. Not my choice or wish, but for the years when we are not with you guys, it will do.

My fondest memories of the Christmas tree take me back to when I was a teenager living in Gardena, California. We had several Jewish families as neighbors. The most fun when we were decorating the tree was to to invite Bruce, Ricky and Cindy over to help us. We would all have fun putting the ornaments on our tree. I don't remember singing or music or any special things we did as we decorated, but just the fun of sharing our traditions with others.

(Then, during Hannukah, which always falls around Christmas, we would play Dreidel with them at their house and be invited over to witness the ceremony each evening of lighting the candles on the Menorrah.)

Before decorating the tree, Dad would take my brother and me to a local lot (sometimes the Boy Scout lot as Dad was active in Boy Scouts for many years) to buy our tree. We never ventured far but picking out the tree was important, so we did spend a good amount of time finding the right tree
Dad would tie the tree to the top of the car and as soon as we got home, he would place it in a bucket of water.

Within a few days, Dad would get started on the tree. No matter what we had chosen, Dad was sure to make it even better. He would trim branches from the bottom of the tree so there would be room for the presents but often, if branches were not spaced right, Dad would actually drill a hole in the trunk and add limbs to fill out the bare spots. Our tree was always a "custom" tree thanks to Dad.

Mom had made a beautiful tree skirt (can't remember what it looked like, but I remember Mom making one). That would go around the bottom of the tree. Then as Christmas drew close, we would begin to pile presents under the tree.

Dad always took lots of pictures of us around the tree but sadly, none of those pictures have survived.

But our memories do, thank goodness.