Monday, May 22, 2017

I'm Related to WHO!?

For years I've been meaning to start regularly doing family history work, which my church recommends doing and which is something I'm interested in anyway because I enjoy research and I love history and our connections to it. This month I've finally turned family history work into something I make time for (two hours a month is my current goal). Yesterday I spent time researching some of my family lines online. And boy did I hit the historical jackpot and make two fascinating discoveries on my first try! Being from Massachusetts and having a mom who is really good at family history, I can't believe we didn't know who we were related to! 

Through my maternal grandma's line, I found out that I'm descended from the following two people who are well-known in American history:

1) William Bradford, who came over on the Mayflower and was the governor of Plymouth Colony for about thirty years. We didn't know that we were Mayflower descendants! Peter is one, so I knew the boys had Mayflower ancestry, but I didn't know that I was a Mayflower descendant too! And my ancestor would have been the boss over Peter's, a fact that I relish with great delight. 😄

Assuming I read the records correctly (I'm pretty sure I did; I tend to be obsessively thorough about things like this), William Bradford is my 11th great-grandfather. I'm his descendant through his son William Bradford Jr. and granddaughter Sarah Bradford.

I love that I now have this deeper connection to Plymouth, Plimoth Plantation, Cape Cod, and Provincetown. We spent a day in P-Town last summer, not knowing that we had a prominent ancestor who not only signed the Mayflower Compact there but also helped get the all-important colony of Plymouth up and running. I took pictures of the boys in front of a replica Mayflower ship and next to their ancestor's name on the Mayflower Compact, totally ignorant of the fact that I could have been doing the same for myself and my mom and sister and niece who were there too! We got punked by our ignorance! I guess that's what I get for not doing this research sooner!

I can now attempt to join the elite and reportedly snooty Mayflower Society. I'll definitely make that attempt because I've always wanted to belong to an elite and snooty society. (I'm not even joking, ha ha!) 
And I'm even more excited to participate in the 400th anniversary of the pilgrims landing at Provincetown in 2020 than I was before. Those were my peeps, not just the peeps of Peter and the boys!

Guess who else is descended from William Bradford? Sally Field, George McClellan (the Civil War general, who I happened to read about recently in Mrs. Lincoln's Rival), George Eastman (who founded the Kodak camera company), Christopher Reeve, Clint Eastwood, and Noah Webster (of Webster's dictionary!).

My illustrious 11th great-grandfather

I'm also descended from...

2) Rebecca Nurse, who was executed for witchcraft in Salem in 1692 at the age of 71. She is my 9th great-grandmother. Her great-great granddaughter Mary Nurse married my fifth great-grandfather, John Brown (did that just make your head spin like it did mine?). Although I thought I must be related to someone from Salem somewhere along the line, I had NO IDEA it was actually to one of the unfortunate people who were unjustly killed there during the witchcraft hysteria of that crazy time. 

Next time I go to Salem it will be with new eyes. I haven't been there in about nine years, and John and Sam have never been. I'm looking forward to taking them there so that they can learn not only about American history but also some of their family history too (now that I'm not getting punked anymore by it, or at least as much). We're going to have to visit the Rebecca Nurse homestead for the first time. 

These discoveries are so exciting to me. They're like hidden gems, just waiting to be discovered and learned about. And I know there's much more to find in not only these family lines, but my other ones as well, and not just the New England lines. I have Mormon pioneer ancestry from the West on my dad's side with at least one prominent name from Church history there. And I believe that through that line I'm related to lords and ladies in England from many centuries ago. I'll be darned if I don't find a connection to Queen Victoria and the British royal family somehow! Stay tuned!

Family history is the coolest!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Five Things for Friday

1. On this Friday four weeks ago, I was bed-bound, taking Percocet, and could barely open my eyes after I finally decided to be brave and get PRK laser vision correction. I'm happy to report that since then, my eyesight has been getting increasingly clear and sharp and I can see, I can see, I can see on my own! I should've done this years ago! My vision isn't 20/20 yet but it's getting there. It's so nice to wake up in the morning and be able to see clearly first thing, and the efficiency part of me loves not having to put in and take out contact lenses each day. I'm also looking forward to swimming without fear of water getting in my eyes anymore. 
It was worth it! 👀

2. On Wednesday evening we were under a tornado warning and a severe thunderstorm warning and a flash flood watch. Youth activities at the church were cancelled, and the boys and I spent awhile down in the basement while the storm passed. It didn't turn out to be that bad or long-lasting and our lights only flickered once.
Thank you Mother Nature for overlooking us once again. Please continue to do so!

3. I desperately need to update the pictures in my blog's sidebar. It's a little embarrassing. I'll do it soon!

4. Next week both Peter and my mom are going to be in Europe. Peter is going to The Hague in The Netherlands for work and my mom is going to Ireland for fun. Meanwhile I've still never been to Europe or anywhere else overseas. My cup of envy runneth over!!

5. I finally finished Mrs. Lincoln's Rival. Yeah! It got better but still wasn't the best. But man do I feel like I've been living in Civil War-era Washington D.C. for the last few weeks! I love that.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

About Last Spring

A few blog-worthy pictures from last year at around this time...

We finally used our fire pit for the first time! 
(And we haven't used it again since! But we will.)

Sam really enjoyed poking at the fire and getting the flames going. 
Hopefully we don't have a future pyromaniac on our hands!

I love having pets (and kids). This was so sweet.

You see the way Sam is sitting there with his leg in his shirt, getting it all nice and stretched out?
I did that when I was a kid too! 
I remember sitting on the floor in front of the TV with my knees tucked up against my chest underneath my shirt. I would rock back and forth or just be nice and cozy with my arms wrapped around my knees. I wonder if this kind of habit is somehow encoded in DNA and can get passed down through generations, or if it's merely a random habit that people do, or some combination of the two. 

I took these photos of the field next to our house on an atmospheric, cloudy, misty June morning.

This kind of weather brings out the best in me (and makes me feel like I live in England!).

Here's our 2008 Toyota Highlander driving away from our house for the last time. 

Peter was driving it to the dealership to trade it in for a 2016 model. I really did feel melancholy about this and I had him take pictures of me with the car before he left (I'm not putting those pictures on here because they're not very flattering pictures of me and I'm still vain enough enough to care!).
But back to the Highlander... 


I loved that car! It made me an SUV convert for life. I hope it's enjoying a good second life with its new owner.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Handstands on the Beach

It's pretty cool having a kid who's a talented gymnast and can do good handstands. 
John makes it look way easier than it actually is. Where'd this kid come from anyway?!

At Seagull Beach in Yarmouth.

Being able to walk on your hands is a pretty neat skill to have.

A little overextended but that's okay.

At Nauset Beach in Orleans.
Point those toes John! 


At Bayview Beach in Hyannis
This one gets a perfect 10! 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Driving Miss Daisy and Nature's Fireworks

Just a few other tidbits to wrap up last year's Fourth of July...

Some pretty scenery at Heritage Museums & Gardens


An armless windmill is a much less cheerful-looking edifice, isn't it? 
Where'd they go!? They were there last year.

There's this museum there with a fantastic collection of cars from the golden olden days.

Sam and my mom had a "Driving Miss Daisy" moment together. 

This one's my fave!

This is the most darling fire truck I've ever seen.

This was our first 4th of July spent at the Cape, so we got to see what the fireworks were like down the street from our house at "our beach" for the first time. They did not disappoint! It was a great show with a fantastic view over the water (you'll have to take my word for it because I didn't take pictures of the actual fireworks!). And it was so nice to be able to walk there and back. Because of this I wouldn't mind spending all future Fourths of July at the Cape house. 

We got there early because I always worry about crowds and not having a good spot, but we know now for next year that we don't have to get there quite as early as we did!

The views were pretty while we waited!


Nature's fireworks preceded the man-made ones, and they were just as beautiful, if not more so!  

Monday, May 15, 2017

All The Pretty Dresses

When we went to Heritage Museums & Gardens in Sandwich, MA on the Cape last summer, they had a wonderful temporary exhibit of costumes from period drama movies. I absolutely loved this exhibit because: 
1) I love period drama movies, 
2) I love dresses, and 
3) I think it's really neat to see the actual clothes that were worn by movie stars and were part of the movie that was seen by millions of people on the screen around the world.
So while John was up climbing around in the trees, I was down on firm ground but feeling like I was kind of up high (in heaven!) myself.

I'm going to start and end this post with my favorite dress!

This was Emmy Rossum's dress when she played Christine in The Phantom of the Opera.
 This dress is everything! I love it! I dreamed of dresses like this when I was a little girl (I guess it's obvious that I still do!). And I love pale pink roses--my wedding bouqet was made up of them and only them.

That bustle is the stuff of my dreams! 😍

 Another beautiful dress from Phantom, this one worn by Minnie Driver as Carlotta. 

From Finding Neverland. The dressing gown on the right was worn by Kate Winslet.

I LOVE the Sherlock Holmes movies with Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law as Holmes and Watson. 

Renee Zellweger's dress when she played Beatrix Potter in Miss Potter

This beautiful gown was the crown jewel of the collection, but I don't remember what movie it was in! 
Anyone know?

Nicole Kidman as Isabel Archer in The Portrait of a Lady

Jane Eyre (my favorite book!). 
This was her wedding gown from her failed attempt to marry Mr. Rochester in the 1996 version of the movie. 
Very pretty!

 And drum roll please for a costume from one of my most favorite movies ever...Sense and Sensibility!

Kate Winslet wore this costume when she perfectly played the feisty Marianne Dashwood. 
I know (and love) the scenes this dress and hat were in!

 Heath Ledger wore this manly get-up in Casanova.

Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirate of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.


I thought these dresses were a little sinister and creepy.

Keira Knightley's dress in The Duchess.

My favorites!