Thursday, May 25, 2017

P-Town Pilgrims

I've mentioned Provincetown enough this week that I might as well do a blog post with some of the pictures I haven't posted yet about the fun day we spent there last summer.

 We were there on my birthday, woo-hoo! Provincetown is a historic place, which I love, and it's also a very liberal place, which I don't (ha ha), but I still enjoy going there. There are great shops, good places to eat, really neat historical sites, and of course fantastic views.

Me and the boys. John could barely reach the face hole 😂

We went to the museum at the Pilgrim Monument for the first time. It was a family history trip for the boys and unbeknownst to us, for the rest of us!
The Mayflower first landed at Provincetown and the Mayflower Compact was signed there before the ship went on to land (and stay) at Plymouth across the bay. 

 I love old artifacts like these. It's neat to think of the people from the past who handled these things. It's like part of them is still here with us.

The boys are descendants of three passengers on the Mayflower, including the well-known governor William Bradford. I think there may be more; I've got to do some more digging! 

Climbing to the top of the Pilgrim Monument was one of our gyms that day. 
Walking up the hill to get to it was the other one. Whew!

 So many stairs to climb to get to the top! 

We WILL join this society!


The curve of the Cape.

Back down on terra firma.
(Do you see Sam?)

This soldier statue is actually a real person! I got punked again in P-Town!


It was a fun place to spend my birthday!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Four Ladies + Two Boys = Fun Times

Usually every summer my mom, my sister Jennifer, her daughter/my niece Hayley, and I go out and do something fun and unique together with the boys. Last summer we had more than one enjoyable outing together:  

We spent a day at Canobie Lake Park in New Hampshire, a turn-of-the-century amusement park that I've been going to since I was a little girl. 

Sam, John, and Hayley

My mom, me, and Jennifer

Hayley and John were the only ones brave enough to go on this ride that shoots you straight up in the air and then drops you straight down. No way Jose!

Sam's like, "See ya suckers!"

Three generations in a little car.

A mother-daughter ride, how sweet! Yet another Driving Miss Daisy moment from last summer.

These pictures are everything! 
I usually buy the overpriced keepsake photos from rides; they crack me up and they're totally worth it!  


We also spent a fun day (my birthday) in Provincetown together, a historic and beautiful town at the tip of the Cape where the Mayflower first landed. As I now know but wasn't aware then, all six of us are Mayflower descendants, not just John and Sam!

Here we are at the top of the Pilgrim Monument. We climbed lots of stairs to get up there!

In P-Town we bought a murder mystery puzzle that we had fun putting together and trying to solve over the next two days. We did it! (Mom was obsessed.)

A group selfie before it was time for Jennifer and Hayley to return home...
My mom looks like she could be the murderer here. Ha ha!

We also went to the beach (of course) and I watched Jaws for the first time with them (minus the kids). I can't believe I'd never seen that! 
I had a great time with some of my favorite women (and boys) in my life. 

Next week I'll do a post or two about the adventures my boys and I had with my other sister Elizabeth and her two boys!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Cold Water and Riptides and Seals, Oh My!

A few days after we arrived at the Cape last summer we went out to Nauset Beach in Orleans, which is on the Cape Cod National Seashore (which is federally protected land that can't be built on). There are many beaches that are a lot closer to our house but the National Seashore beaches are particularly beautiful and worth the longer drive it takes to get to them.

The green is the National Seashore, mostly facing out toward Europe.
 (For reference our house is on Nantucket Sound in the town of Yarmouth, and the low tide beaches that I like where you can walk out on the tidal flats are up on the Cape Cod Bay side in Brewster and Dennis.)

Nauset Beach is popular and it was our first time going to it. The water was pretty chilly that day, especially before lunch, and there was a riptide warning on part of the beach, so the boys didn't go in the water a lot but they had fun playing on the beach and trying not to get touched by the incoming waves (this is one of their favorite games to play). The beach was pretty crowded that day but you wouldn't know it from the pictures!

I don't know what it is about the water on the eastern Atlantic Ocean-facing side of the Cape but it has a gorgeous color to it that I love.


For the first time in all my years of beach-going on the Cape, I saw a seal! It was swimming underwater through a wave and looked like it was waving at everyone the way it flapped its cute little flippers. It was an amazing thing to see. Much better than a shark, that's for sure!

I put this picture on the back of last year's Christmas card. I love it!

It's good to go to a National Seashore beach at least once every summer. I like Coast Guard Beach a little better because it has really pretty dunes that are so picturesque, but this one was really nice too. You really can't go wrong with any of them! 

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.