Sunday, May 20, 2012

Famly not-so-Friday: GG-Uncle Edward

Well, keeping with how things have been going lately, I'm posting this late.  Today, I'm going to tell you about my Great-Great-Uncle Edward.  He was born in Pennsylvania in 1894, the 7th of 8 children, to a coal miner and his wife.  I don't know much about his young life, but I do know that his mom passed away before his 8th birthday.  According to census records, he worked in the coal mines just like his father and his brothers.  It seems highly likely that he didn't finish school.  He may not have gone to high school at all.  He was drafted into the Army during World War I.

I think these are some of the most interesting photos I found in my grandmother's photos.  He looks SO young too.  I think the last one was taken in France.  I know that he was serving in France in 1918 when his brother Bernard (my great-grandfather) passed away.  I think that must have been really hard for him.  From other things I've seen, he truly loves his family.  How do I know that?  I guess I don't really, but it's a feeling that I get from 3 other items I have: a postcard, another photo, and a funeral card.
The picture is of the extended family.  I don't know who everyone in the photo is, but I know that my grandmother and all of her siblings are in the photo.  I believe the other children in the photo are the children of Edward's younger brother and that the other adults are some of his siblings.  Edward is in the middle holding my grandmother's youngest sister.  It looks like this was a fun day and Edward looks so happy to be with his family.  The postcard was written to my grandmother while Edward was serving in the militry.  Finally, there's the funeral card.  I found a few of these among my grandmother's things, but it seemed like she only kept significant ones and she took good care of them.  Edward is one of the people I wish I could ask my grandmother about.  I think she would have great things to say about him.  I don't know much about him, but I know that I'm proud to have him in my family tree.

Projects to tackle this summer

A little over a year ago, Joe and I went and picked up paint for a couple of things we wanted to do around the house.  Everything in our powder room was the same color and I mean everything.  The walls, the toilet, the sink, the baseboards, the inside of the door, the medicine cabinet.  EVERYTHING.  I decided I wanted to paint the largest wall in there a nice gray and the rest of the walls, the ceiling, baseboards, and the inside of the door would all be white.  Oddly enough, once this was done, it brought out a lot more of the colors in the stick down floor tiles the previous owners had put down and I like the floor a lot more now.  We also had plans to replace the lighting, the sink, the toilet, and the medicine cabinet to update the space.

I had already started repainting when I took these
Then, as I've mentioned before, our basement flooded (twice) and everything got put on hold.  We lived with a good portion of our home looking like an episode of Hoarders until about 2 weeks before Christmas.  The end result was a redesigned basement and we love it, but it does mean that a lot of things we planned to do last summer & fall have been on hold for a long time.  While the guys were doing the basement, they did replace the toilet in the powder room and in the last few weeks we've picked up a new light, a new fan, and one of those over the toilet cabinets for the powder room so things are moving (slowly) in there.  I still have to pick out the sink and we need to schedule our contractors to come, but we're at a really busy time of year and a lot of our weekend time is booked with family stuff and weddings, but the powder room will be done before the end of the summer.

The guest bathroom upstairs is the same color as the powder room was before I painted.  Don't get me wrong, I understand that they went ahead and neutralized some spaces before putting the house on the market, but they could have picked a nicer beige.  We picked up a soft, warm yellow for the bathroom and it'll go really nicely with the green rugs & white/green shower curtain that we've already added to the bathroom.  Another issue with our guestbath is that the medicine cabinet hangs so far over the sink, it's hard to use so we're going to replace that with a flat mirror and get another over the toilet cabinet for that room.  We're also replacing the light & the fan in here.

The white paint that was used in the powder room was also meant to freshen up the white paint in the stairwell that goes down to the basement.  I'm really glad that I didn't get to painting that before we flooded because with all of the stuff we had to move out of the basement, the demo and rebuilding of the basement, and moving things back down to the basement, those walls got pretty dinged up.  I'm really hoping that all 3 of these painting projects will be complete by the end of the summer.  We're toying with the idea of hiring professionals to tackle our disaster of a backyard and, if we do that, we'll have a lot more time with which to paint (Joe's FAVE thing to do... NOT). 

Another idea that I'm toying with right now is taking the door off the closet in our master bathroom.  When the door into our bathroom is open, you can't even tell that we have a closet in there because it's behind the door.  The door to the actual closet really limits the space available to get things in and out of the closet.  Opening it up and making it more like open shelving would be helpful.  It's going to take some work.  We'll have to paint in there and I'd like to finish off the shelves so they look more substantial, but I'm willing to put in the time and effort for anything that will help make life easier.  I have plenty more ideas floating around in my head, but that's the one I'm th most serious about right now.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Family "Friday" - MomMom

Well, I'm falling a little behind this week.  I have a Pottery Barn knock-off that I've been working on, but I went to put it together the other night and I realized that it needed a bit more of something so I'll have to talk about that next week.  So with Mother's Day being today perhaps I should have blogged about my Mom, but, instead I'm going to talk about one of the people who helped shape my Mom into the person that she is today.  That would be her Mom or my MomMom.

This is my favorite picture of my grandmother
MomMom (or Mary as most people called her) was born September 19, 1911 in Coaldale, Pennsylvania to a coalminer and his wife.  She was the 2nd of 5 children and the 2nd daughter.  She would have been 100 this past September and, if things had gone a bit differetly, I have no doubt that she would have made it there.  You see, my grandmother comes from a long line of strong, Irish-Catholic women.  I like to think that some of that was passed to me even though I'm not related by blood (oh yeah, I'm adopted, but that's a story for another time).
My grandmother & her siblings
My great-grandfather passed away in 1918 - more on that in the future.  My grandmother had just turned 7.  Her older sister was 8 and a half, her younger sister was 4 and a half, her brother was 1 and a half, and her youngest sister hadn't even been born yet.  Yes, my great-grandmother had 4 children and another one of the way when her husband - the sole breadwinner in the family - passed away.  Remember how I mentioned that line of strong women?  While her father was sick, it was my grandmother's responsibility to run to the pharmacy to get him medicine because her older sister had had scarlet fever and she wasn't supposed to exert herself too much.

My MomMom graduated from high school and went to school to become a teacher and a stenographer.  She studied at the Pierre School of Business, Columbia University, and Elizabethtown College.  She eventually moved to Washington, DC.  She worked for the Patent Office and the Bureau of Prisons.  In 1944, her older sister Anna's husband Joe passed away and in 1947 her older sister passed away as well.  Anna & Joe had 2 children - Mary and Joe - and it was decided that they would have a much better life if they moved to DC to live with their Aunt Mary (my MomMom) than if they stayed in Coaldale.  So my grandmother became the guardian for her sister's children.

At some point in the late 40s my grandmother met my grandfather.  My grandfather had been married previously, but didn't marry in the Catholic Church.  My grandmother was a very strict Catholic and wrote to the bishop to make sure they could get married in the Catholic Church.  If he hadn't said yes, they wouldn't have gotten married and I wouldn't be here.  Luckily, they got married in 1950.  My Mom came along in 1952 and her sister a couple years later. 

My grandfather passed away in 1974.  My grandparents got such a short amount of time together, but they look so happy and in love in every picture I've seen of them.  My grandmother suffered a lot of loss in her life, but she was always so warm.  She had a stronger sense of family than anyone I've ever met.  She baked gingerbread men at Christmas every year.  Now, I'm the one that does that.  Her house was always clean and orderly.  She taught in Catholic school for many years.  These are just bits and pieces of her life.  They make up a woman that I am so proud to call my grandmother and that I miss so much I can't describe it.  There is so much more that I want to know about her and her life.  If only I could go back in time and ask her more about her life and the members of her family that I never had the privledge to meet.  There's so much more I could tell you all, but I hope this has been enough to give you an idea of who my MomMom was.  So, Happy Mother's Day to all the Moms out there.  And the grandmothers, sisters, aunts, and friends who are mother figures.  Thank you for all that you do!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Weekend Finds

I spent Saturday morning yard saling with my Mom.  She's a very saavy yard sale shopper and I often ask her opinion on prices.  This past Saturday was this huge, local community yard sale that happens twice a year.  Everyone in the area seems to have caught on though because I have never been to so many yard sales in one day.  My Mom picked me up at 7 am and we headed directly to the community sale.  I didn't have as much luck as my Mom (she scored a brand new Craftsman buffer for my brother for $8 along with numerous other items), but I did get a J Crew shirt for $1 and well as this Norman Rockwell Baseball poster for our basement:

I like the frame, but I have another plan for it.  I think I'm just going to take the poster out of the frame and attach it to the wall with some command strips.  I also scored a brand new Restoration Hardware photo snowglobe for $3 - originally $29.  From there we hopped in the car and started hitting the neighborhoods in the surrounding area.

At one sale, I got a good sized mason jar, a glass that matches the set my parents' have at their house, and this pretty blue pitcher for $1 TOTAL:

I haven't figured out what I'm going to do with it YET, but I loved the color and just couldn't pass it up.  At another sale, my Mom and I worked a bargain and got a console table for her friend's sister and this plant stand for $10 total:

I also got a Craftsman staple gun with a couple boxes of saples for $5 (a bit overpriced, but oh well) a popcorn bowl for Joe for 50 cents, and then I scored another combo deal and got a full length mirror for the guest room and a Nationals pennant for Joe for $1.  The frame around the mirror is a little thinner than I would have liked, but I couldn't pass it up for that price.  I'm planning to paint the frame as well as a lamp for the guest room a really pretty deep blue color.

Later than day, Joe and I ran to Lowe's and finally bought a weed wacker/edger and a leaf blower/vacuum.  Yup, we're getting real with the yard work.  That's a good thing because our backyard needs a ton of work.  Or we need to win the lottery so we can hire someone to fix it up.  Sunday, we ran more errands and I worked a Home Goods run in somehow.  Go me!  I got the cutest little wrought iron bird.  Here he is on top of the box for the RH snow globe:

And here he is in his home in our foyer:

Fittingly, he's sitting on top of a vintage book on bird watching that I got from a barn sale a few months ago.  Speaking on the barn sale, I just saw on Facebook that they're having another sale this weekend!  I hope I can work my way up there.  They're not exactly close by, but I just love digging through all the treasure they've collected.  Anyways, all in all, it was a pretty nice weekend.  Now, if I could just find a way to have longer weekends, but still make the same amount of money.  :0)

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Family Friday (a bit late)

Well, it was an INSANE week at work so I'm a bit late in my post, but here it is.  As I mentioned in my last post, I've gotten really into genealogy in the last year or two.  It all started here:

Yup, those are two 30-gallon platic tubs (currently sitting in Joe's office).  These two tubs were filled with photos and papers from my grandmother's house.  My MomMom passed away February 20, 1995.  For months after that, I spent a lot of time with my Mom going over to my grandmother's house to help clean it out and get it ready for sale.  My Mom ended up taking all of the photos and such from the house and they ended up in the basement at my parents' house.  And that's where they sat for 15+ years.  I offered one time to take them and go through them all and scan them all in as my Christmas present to her, but she didn't seem interested at the time.  Somehow, I talked her into it and they came to my house in February 2011.

I have found some really cool photos in those tubs.  I was hoping that I would be further along with the scanning and organizing of these photos than I currently am, but this had to be put on hold for after our basment flooded (twice) last fall.  I'm really looking forward to using my Friday blog posts to share some of these photos and tell the stories of my ancestors.  I'm also hoping that this will continue to keep me on pace with getting everything together with these photos.  I'd like to be able to give my Mom, her sister, and their cousins Mary and Joe (whom my grandmother partially raised - more on that next week) each a box of photos and a DVD with the scans of all of them this Christmas.  I'm also planning on giving copies of the DVDs and some of the photos to my cousins and my brother.  I think family is really important and so is knowing where you came from and how far your family has come.  I hope anyone out there reading this will enjoy reading about my family's journey and be encouraged to look into their family's history.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


Considering the epic fail that has been this blog so far, you'd think I would just give up.  However, I've really gotten into reading blogs in the last few months and it's given me a renewed sense of wanting to blog.  One of my new favorite bloggers - Kristen over at A Simply Klassic Home - recently did a feature series called the Beginner Bloggers Club and I'm looking forward to using the hints and tips I picked up from there to really kick start things.

First things first, I'm going to try to post at least twice (but hopefully 3 times) a week.  I'm planning to do this by having some regular features.  I've really become a genealogy nerd in the last year or so.  I'm planning to share some of my adventures and feature some of my family members on Fridays.  I'm thinking of calling it Family Friday, but I'm not totally sold on the name yet.  Another idea would be Project Mondays to show off whatever project(s) I've been working on lately.  Finally, I was thinking of just keeping Wednesdays random and posting about whatever floats my boat that day.  I'm concerned about doing that because I haven't done so well with the posting whatever I want thing in the past.  I'll just have to see how that goes. I guess techcnially today would be the first random Wednesday post though so go me!

You may also have noticed that I'm playing around with the background and such.  Bear with me on that, please, it's definitely a work in progress.