Archive | February 2017

Writing Your Baby’s Story

I recently started writing about my own history and decided it would be fun to write a few blog posts about starting a history for your children. My “babies” are thirteen, ten, and six. I decided it was better late than never to write about their births, their first year, and their toddler years. I plan to share a few questions you could answer to start their story.

Here are the questions for this week:

  1. When did the couple find out about the pregnancy?
  2. What was the mother’s reaction to the pregnancy test? The father’s?
  3. To whom did the couple first tell the news?
  4. What were other’s reactions?
  5. How did the mother feel while she was pregnant?
  6. Did the mother have any weird cravings?
  7. What were some of the fears of the expectant parents?
  8. Were the parents given any advice?
  9. What was the family like before the baby was born?
  10. Where did the family live? What did the parents do for a living?

I recently started three documents and wrote the answers to these questions for each of my boys. It was fun to compare the answers even though they were the same questions, especially to number 2. When I found out I was expecting my first baby I was so excited, but I had also felt a bit of relief because we had been trying “for so long.” It was six months. I was 23 years old and thought that six months was SO long. It is funny to look back on it now.

When I found out I was expecting our third child, I was thirty-three and my reaction was very different. I was profoundly grateful. We had lost three babies after our second child over a period of four years and I wasn’t sure I could keep a baby to full term at this point. However, I found out when I was sixteen weeks pregnant and it was already passed the time that I had lost the other babies. It was truly a miracle. I was so happy to know that I would be blessed with one final little baby.

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Week Two: Writing Your Personal History

I enjoyed answering the questions from last week. It was fun to try to remember about when I was a baby. I learned I don’t really remember much! However, here are some highlights of the answers to questions last week:

 

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Me, two months old

 

Where did you get your name from? My mother liked the names Catherine and Cordelia. Cordelia is my great grandmother’s middle name. My mom decided on Karen because it was a shorter form of Catherine. My name in Greek means “purity.” I am glad I wasn’t called Cordelia, even though I know Anne of Green Gables dreamed of being called that.

My mother liked to call me “Kare-Bear” after the popular cartoon on television when I was growing up in the 1980s. She said it was because I was always so sweet. The only people who call me “Kare-Bear” now are my older sister and my mother and two of my best friends growing up.

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I am excited to write more this week. Here are the questions:

5. What clothing did you wear as a baby? What did your parents tell you about your growing out of your shoes and other clothing? Buying new clothes?

6.  Tell about learning to walk, to talk, losing your first tooth, learning to count, say the alphabet, learn nursery rhymes and songs, favorite bedtime stories, times with your mother and father, brothers and sisters, discipline (getting spankings, time out etc), favorite foods, getting into trouble and learning, pets, games, toys, etc.

7. Tell about birthdays and parties, Christmas, Easter, Halloween, Valentine’s Day, costumes and gifts, parades, Santa Claus, Eater Bunny, picnics etc.

8.  Tell about who your friends were at this early age, times with your cousins, etc.

Good luck! I know these questions will keep me busy this week.

Writing My Personal History

A few years ago, I attended a family history class and the focus of the class was writing your own personal history. I received a list of questions to ask yourself each time you sit down to write. It is a good way to prompt memories and stimulate writing. I started writing my own history a few years ago, but of course, I became more enamored with others people’s stories and never finished it. I was stupid enough to delete the document! It is like my journal in fifth grade. I didn’t know what to do when I filled my notebook so I threw it away! I regret not having those experiences recorded by my

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ten-year old self to give to my sons. They could have laughed at me, but also seen that their mother was young once too.

I plan to post questions here each week so you can follow along with me. Hopefully by the end of this year, I will have a good start again on my own personal history and you can too if you decide to follow along.

Here are the questions for this week:

  1. What is your full name? Where did you get your name from? What is the full name of your mother and father? Where and when were you born? Where was the first home you lived in? If you had older brothers and sisters what did they think of a new baby when you came into the family?
  2. Describe yourself as a baby. What was the color of your hair? Was is curly or straight? What was the color of your eyes? Your height? Do you remember anything about your “baby” items? Your crib, your room, a favorite blanket or toy. Tell some of the things you remember your mother and father telling you about yourself as a baby.  Did you share a room? Do you remember when you gave up drinking your bottle? etc.
  3. Where did you fit i your family? Were you the oldest, youngest, middle child? Did you have siblings? How well did you get along? How many brothers and sisters did you have?
  4. What were your childhood diseases, injuries, illnesses, operations, accidents etc?

I am going to have fun with these questions this week.  Talk to you soon!

Bringing Family History to Life

I think it is important when you have kids to do things that can bring your family history to life for them. It can all be so confusing with the names and dates. I remember growing up my mother would start a story and I would not know who she was referring to. I could not see the connections like she could and our conversations went like this.

“Who are you talking about again?”

“Phebe, you know, your grandfather’s sister. She is Matthew and Libby’s grandmother.”

There were too many names and I never heard the story only trying to figure out the names.

I have learned when I teach a story to my boys about one of their ancestors I have to keep it simple. I show a photo if I have one and then tell the story in a minute or two.

If my teenager wants to know more when I have finished then I can give him the name of the ancestor where he can go on to Familysearch.org to look more about his ancestor for himself.

One of the ways I have tried to bring family history to life for my children is to visit places where there is a story in connection with our ancestors. My favorite place to take them is to the Bluff Fort Historic Site and Visitors Center in Bluff, Utah. I have great grandparents who were a part of the San Juan Mission who carved a road out of the Utah desert to Bluff. They were the only pioneer expedition to travel east!

Bluff Fort is a lot of fun because they have interactive displays in each of the replica cabins built around the fort. There are artifacts you can see and learn more about. There is a movie made specifically about the Hole-in-the-Rock Expedition and you can climb into a covered wagon. We got to see our ancestors’ names on the memorial they have in the middle of the fort, the Stevens Family. If you are interested in going to the Bluff Fort yourself it is open all year round and is completely free.  Their website is http://www.hirf.org.

Geeking Out Over LOTR Mini Reunion

Spring Break 1992, I was thirteen years old. I remember “laying-out” to get a tan in my swimming suit in the backyard. However, upon closer examination of my reading material you would not find Seventeen or the latest Sweet Valley High books,  you would find J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Silmarillion” in my hand for ‘light’ reading.  I had devoured The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings Series two times already that year so I needed something different.

I remember being so obsessed with The Lord of the Rings, I wrote my own mini spin-off about Legolas. In this novella, he fell in love with a mortal whose description was strangely similar to mine. My seventh grade English teacher wanted us to practice our penmanship so I had to purchase a new pack of lined paper just so I could turn my novella in, fifty pages and all. And what other thirteen year old girl spent her weekends and summers with her older brother and his friends playing MERP (Middle Earth Role Playing)? Only me, (but hey some of his friends were cute.)

Has it really been fifteen years since the first Lord of the Rings movie came out?  It seems like yesterday, my then new husband and I ran off the theaters after our college finals.

I love this photo Dominic Monaghan shared on Instagram yesterday, of course, I like the actors and think this is fun, but it has been more fun for me to the first time I became acquainted with the characters they played.

My favorite has always been Aragorn. He wandered Middle Earth for ages as Strider, dirty, and a bit angry and yet as each challenge comes in the book, he rises to the occasion, eventually fulfilling his mission as King of Gondor. His character sticks out to me because I just when I think I’ve got things figured out and then a challenge or a trial comes throws me off track, but I can’t let them stop me from becoming the best person I can be.

Yes, I am a Lord of the Rings Geek and I will always be.

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