Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I'm related to someone famous, kind of

So here's what I do know.

The Wales-side of the family (West) migrated through England about 1670 to the then English Colonies and we are officially considered patriots of the American Revolution. The German side (Schmidt) arrived about the same time, and anglicized their name to 'Smith' so that makes our family tree with our 'John Smith' quite common.

We arrived in Pennsylvania, made our way south to Virginia (which became Kentucky) not long after Daniel Boone explored there. I was pleased to find Kentucky neutral during the war, but suspect due to family names like 'Dixie' that we had a southern leanin'. If fact we have one of the actual Hatfields (Mary Hatfield) in our family tree, stepmother to our Great Great Great grandmother Louisa Catherine (sp?) Jackson, but she's not blood related to us and 40 years older the Devil Anse Hatfield, so breathe easy relatives . . .

Yeah, yeah, yeah, we're all related to Charlemagne somehow (according to Ancestry.com) family trees, but are able to document that our 1st cousin (many generations back) was Benjamin West, court painter to the King of England, and close enough to Benjamin Franklin, that dear Benjamin installed his first lighting rod on old uncle Benjamin's rooftop! Futher down the line, we're cousins with Jerry West of NBA fame (the guy in the silohette on the NBA logo nonetheless) but sadly, there are no additional artists or pro-athletes in the current generation.

On Grandpa Bernie's (HB) side (Wolff), we're linked in with stonemasons, with Harold A. Wolff (grandpa H.B Wolff's dad) having cut stone in St. Louis and having his name stamped on several St. Louis buildings including the main postoffice.
Being 'adopted' by my step-father Richard DePhilippis of Filippis Pizza fame always left me feeling a bit rootless until I met my biological father's sister, Aunt Suzi who filled in the gaps and shared photos - bless her heart. The geneology research helps me realize that in fact, my family, aka 'patriots' were one of the first families on the ground in the U.S. and if the rumors about a native American link are true (maybe William Harrison Jackson's first wife?) then we've been here longer than almost anyone. That sure helps me feel like I belong.

Mud Run, the Yearbook and Horseback Riding

Beth is such a better mom than I was. At 29 she's keeping fit, running triathalons and volunteering in her spare time to manage the yearbook for her Jerebek in Scripps Ranch. Kristen manages to get Nathan in Swim and Karate classes, even though she lives on spare change. She takes Nathan to the beach or the park each day.

Did I mention with pride that Beths'an Engineer and owns her own company?

Or that Kristen is an esthetician and a single mom, having received nearly straight A's in nursing and trade school? My favorite photos are below and include images showing teaching her kids how to trapeze, how fitness can be fun (San Diego Mud Run) and not to be afraid to ride horses on the beach in Mexico.

Kristen's photos of Nathan also reveal one happy kid. I was in grad school while my kids were young, so other than the occassional backpack trip to Europe (with Kristen ,then 6) one summer, I didn't expose my kids to nearly enough recreational activities.
In fact one year their birthday party (combined because I was too lazy to plan both) was celebrated in the garage because it rained and I wasn't prepared for 20 girls running around the house. I was too driven, too uptight and too focused on appearances.
Maybe that's why they're less concerned about a clean house and more concerned about spending quality time with their kids. I could learn a lot from these girls of mine.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Has anyone seen my camera?

Without new photos, posting on a blog is like eating toast dry. We've searched high and low for that Nikon camera and perhaps it's time to upgrade anyhow. Here is an image of Nathan at the tourmaline mine in Pala, CA taken by co-worker Jane, seen here with Nathan and Kristen in La Jolla. Thank goodness for that business trip that took me home to San Diego.

Below is my younger daughter Kristen, a single mother doing a fabulous job raising Nathan (age 4). I still can't figure how all the kids in the family are blonde when I'm brown hair, brown eye boring - but I recall asking God for blonde haired blue eyed children, so maybe that was it.

Isn't she cute?