Friday, March 11, 2011

Geneaology, I am doing it....

The pictures above are of my Great-grandfather, Martin Van Buren Taylor, and my Great-grandmother, Johannah Smith Jennings on their wedding day.   Both were early converts to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Pioneers who came to Utah in the 1800's.  I have a great respect for my pioneer ancestors, who are many. 

Erin and Wade are participating in a Pioneer Trek in April and will be Ma and Pa to a bunch of crazy teenagers.  I do not envy them, not my idea of a good time.  Erin had asked me to find some stories about our family pioneers to share with her "children".  I have been interested in Family History for a while and decided to see what I could come up with for her.

I joined the Family History class during Sunday School, and have been looking through lots of records since.  I  have copies of some of what my Mother had, but like most of my possessions they are in storage in Sheboygan, out of reach.  I am starting from scratch, so to speak, wanting to collect what I can.

I find it interesting to search for dates and places, but my real interest lies in the stories of these people.  I purchased Family Tree Maker software that came with 3 months of  Putting this all together is so much easier than when Grandma Belliston did it.  I have found pictures, stories, information and a few puzzling things.  That brings me back to Martin and Johannah.

Johannah was the 3rd of his 4 wives, the 3rd and 4th being married to him on the same day Nov 16, 1867.  I'll bet that was an interesting wedding night.  These 4 wives bore him 32 children.  Johannah had been previously married to a man named Norman Taylor.  In the records that existed a few years ago, it stated that this man was from Tennessee, where she was raised, but no dates were given.  What happened to him?  In reading one of the glowing biographies of Martin it states that his 3rd and 4th wives were widows, and his marrying them gave them homes and stability that they had never known.  So did Norman die?  Several years back I realized that Martin had an older brother named Norman Taylor.  Could this be the same Norman that Johanna was married too?  Some of the info stated that Norman had been married to a Johanna Jennings.  I remember asking my Dad about this years ago.  He told me that Martin had probably won her in a poker game!  There was no love lost between my Dad and his Grandfather.  He said he was a mean taskmaster who made his children work in the fields while he stood around in a top hat giving orders.  The histories of Martin paint a much different picture.  I suspect the truth lies somewhere in between. 

I decided to do some research on Norman and see what I could come up with.  Reading a biography of him I found out that Norman was a great pioneer, who came to Utah with the first company with Brigham Young.  It is said he drove the 2nd wagon in to the Salt Lake Valley in 1847.  He had 5 wives and 18 children.  His third wife was Johanna Smith Jennings who he married on August 19 1861.  This biography states that this marriage didn't last very long...hmmm.  So maybe Martin did win her from his brother after all.  Its time for all you Taylors to chime in on this mystery.  There aren't many documents out there for Johannah.  I would love some proof about this? 

It has been so fun looking at old census records.  I never realized how many of the settlers of Levan (where my Dad was born) came from Denmark, where his mother's family was from.  I think about 3/4 of the people living there in 1870 were from Denmark, Norway and Sweden.  A few, like my Great-grandpa Bosh came from Germany, except it was Prussia then, as was Denmark, some from England and the Jennings' from Tennessee. the Taylors from Massachusetts and them Ohio.  They all merge in tiny Levan.

Sorry this is so long.  I'm sure I lost most of you 20 lines ago.  But since the only people who read this are my sisters, maybe they hung on until the end.  The genealogy bug has bitten me.  I never though it would.  I might have to give up my Facebook Farm.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Creative Juices

My New Machine Doing It's Thing

I have been busy with my sewing machine this month.  There is much to be learned and I learn best by doing.  So all of these projects were first attempts.  They went mostly well, just don't look too close!  I thought I would share with you some of my latest projects. 

I made some Burp Cloths for my new Grand-Niece, Grace.    They were made with pre-folded diapers (yes they still make those) and flannel.  I pre-washed the diapers and fabrics since both shrink.  I hope Grace and her Mommy enjoy using them.

I also did a personalized applique on an apron for my sister Suzanne's 29th birthday. 

My daughter-in-law Amanda had a January birthday too.  She is a very talented photographer so I made her a camera bag with matching strap.  (Does the fabric look familiar?) It was a tedious project, lots of details, but really fun.  I hope she enjoys it.

Hopefully I will be sharing some new things soon.  Right now I an unable to create, my new machine seized up on me yesterday in the middle of a project.  Let's hope they can get it fixed soon!

I welcome comments and criticism.  I hope to be making some of these to sell soon.  Feedback on suggested pricing would be appreciated.  Julie

Thursday, January 6, 2011


We had a great Christmas.  Erin and Wade were kind enough to host the Nokleby clan this year.  Everybody came to Dallas except Ryan.  He had an offer he couldn't refuse--a 3 week vacation on a private island in the Caribbean.  We all understood, but next year he had better show up, wherever we end up :) 

All counted there were 14 here, under one roof.  Thank goodness Erin and Wade have a wonderful house with 3 1/2 bathrooms!  (For those of you counting #14 was TJ sweet girlfriend Katie who come down from Oklahoma City for one night.)  Something else that was present here was a large number of modern communication/information devices.  There were 4 Macs, 5 i phones, 2 i pads, 2 laptops and 2 desktops, along with several "regular" cell phones.  I was unaware that using your phone just to make calls was so last year.
Watching my grandchildren using these was quite eye opening.  You would expect Drew to be able to run these machines, he just turned nine.  But watching Noah, 3 1/2 manipulate an i phone and an i pad is pretty amazing.  He knows how to play Angry Birds and Cut the Rope.  Pulling up videos on You-Tube is second nature to him.  He can do puzzles and listen to the alphabet accompanied by songs and teaching sounds as he goes.  Noah knows how to "pinch" to make the screen smaller and can expand it back just as fast. 

I'm not sure I even knew my colors when I was 3. 

I am grateful for all of these things.  They make keeping in touch so easy.  Do they even use the word "long distance" anymore?  I'm also grateful that we could slow down and enjoy being together.  Erin and I vowed not to spend the whole time cooking, heck I didn't even make homemade crescent rolls this year.  Some of us even worked a VERY difficult 1000 piece puzzle.

After all the craziness getting ready for the Holidays, I enjoyed just hanging out with my family.  I hope you got to do that too.


Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy Birthday Dad

Today is my Dad's birthday.  He would have been 85.  He, like Mom left us too young, although a blessing because his physical body was worn out.  Mentally he had moved on too, Alzheimer's taking it all away.  The last time I saw him I left in tears.  It was so hard to see him like that. 

He died the morning before TJ entered the MTC, so I happened to be in town.  Lori and I were planning to visit him that morning.  I was glad I didn't have to visit him again, that he was now free of his earthly body and with Mom.

I have many great memories of my Dad.  I was his favorite, at least until Lisa and Lori come along.  I loved to go fishing with him.  I remember leaving VERY early (I hated that part) and stopping at the Hub in Heber for breakfast before heading up to Strawberry Reservoir.  I always caught lots of fish because he kept my line baited and ready for me at the expense of his own fishing. 

I remember trips to Yellowstone and the "Fun Farm" somewhere in Idaho.  I remember travelling behind the motor home all the way to Bryce Canyon, going the long way, very slowly.  I remember his beautiful lawn that was so soft to sit on, always the greenest on the block.  I remember when we were sealed in the Manti Temple, with all five of us children kneeling around the altar with Mom and Dad.

I wish I had had more talks with him about his life.  He never talked about the war.  I never heard too much about his childhood, his father, his grandparents.  I have bits and pieces of stories, not really sure which are true and which may have been "enhanced".

I loved my Dad very much.  I miss my parents, I wish they could meet my grandchildren.  I'm sure they are watching from above and know all about everything that is going on in my life.  Someday we will be able to have that talk.


Sunday, January 2, 2011

Busy, Busy, Busy!!

I haven't posted for a while, I am way behind.  My last post was all about diet and exercise...ummm...more to come on that later.

We just finished a busy Christmas season around here.  I was especially busy during December trying to make my gifts thoughtful and as many homemade as I could.  In October I purchased a new sewing machine.  My old one (that is in storage) I have had since 1974.  It was the first thing I purchased after becoming a full time employee at the bank.  (I was making a cool $1.90 an hour)  This one is a fantastic new Viking Embroidery machine.  I found it on sale at a great discount!  It is way cool, and I have been learning a lot this past couple of months.  I know I should have taken pictures of all my projects, but somehow that didn't happen.  I did get a new camera for Christmas, so maybe I will figure out how to post pictures to enhance my ramblings.  Anyway, this past couple of months I have made:

Christmas Stockings

11  Christmas stockings
8  Christmas pillowcases
4 pairs of Christmas jammies
3 personalized aprons
2 sets of monogrammed towels
2 appliqued onsies
2 bags
1 appliqued t-shirt
1 flannel nightgown (with a matching one for Addie's new American Girl Doll)

Addie, Noah, Drew and Luke in their new jammies

I may be forgetting some, but you can see I have been busy and having a lot of fun!  I hope to post more often this year.  I hope I have fun things to post about.  To all my readers, (all 3 of you) Happy New Year, lets hope 2011 is great for all of us.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Every Damn Day!

A while back I saw a guy at the gym with a Nike T-Shirt that said "Do It!" on the front and "Every Damn Day" on the back.  He is so right.

A few months ago I was following that mantra.  I was exercising 6 days a week.  I was following a sensible diet and lost a good chunk of weight.  I dropped a couple of sizes and was in the best shape of my adult life.  However, when I saw the wedding pictures I was disappointed in how I looked.  In my mind I was much thinner.  I do remind myself that it could have been so much worse.  What a scary thought.  It was my plan to lose another 25 lbs.

But, alas, I have failed.  After we came back from the wedding in June things got crazy, I got lazy (it is hard to exercise in Dallas in the summer, even if the gym claims to be air conditioned).  I slowly returned to my terrible, unbalanced eating habits.  I held my weight steady for a while, but it has started to creep back up.

So I have started again.  I am on day 2 of my diet.  I exercised yesterday, but I didn't make it today.  I woke up feeling crappy and I am afraid I'm getting the flu that is bouncing around the household.   I had planned on getting a walk in, but soccer practice, grocery shopping, and sticky floors got in the way. 

So why tell you all this?  Writing it down makes it more real.  It makes me accountable. 

Wish me luck.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


My heart is heavy, so many things weighing it down. Perhaps if I write down some of my feelings, I will be able to make sense of things.  Although I think my sister Suzi is the only one who ever reads what I write.  I do find in therapeutic however, so I will indulge again. 

There has been much controversy the past couple of weeks over Elder Packer's talk in General Conference.  Scott and I were out of town that weekend, so we did not watch any live.  I have since read and re-read his talk, finding nothing new to be so fired up about, but fired up people are for sure.  My own Facebook has had a few references to this from family members that have caused some controversy and hurt feelings, and anger.  Matt started it all out with his status post stating he saw nothing wrong with being gay.  Amanda followed with a couple of things that caused some controversy also.  I am not sure why Matt felt the need to express this opinion, but express it he did.  This would not really mean a whole lot to most of the world, a man stating his opinion, one that is shared by many people.  However, Matt is not just any man.  He is my son; a brilliant, articulate, educated man who is not afraid of rustling any one's feathers.  He loves to argue, debate, dissect any topic.  The problem this time comes from the fact that many of his family were surprised  if not shocked by his statement.  It was not something they expected to hear a returned missionary, married in the temple, priesthood holder to say.  What many do not know is that Matt decided a year ago that he was leaving the church.  He describes himself as a "Happy Agnostic".  He has never asked us to conceal this, but neither has he made an effort to inform family.  I share this information not as retaliation but as explanation. I feel I owe this to those who might have been hurt or confused by his statements.

How do I feel about all this (the Gay issue)?  I am still sorting it out.  I have read many arguments from both sides through Facebook, news stories, and Blogs I follow.  I have read statements put out by the Church addressing this dust-up.  I feel sorry that Pres. Packer has received such cruel and vile comments.  His words were from the heart, and I feel, from the Lord.  My heart is troubled by all of this.

I also feel sorrow and compassion for those who struggle with this issue.  Are they to remain celebate for their entire lives?  I do not know what the answer is for them.  Theirs is a heavy cross to bear.  What would I do if I were in their shoes?  To difficult to ponder for my little brain.  My only personal experience with this is through the heartbreak of my sweet sister.  After 3 kids and 15 years of marriage her slime of a husband (yes I said SLIME) decided to "come out of the closet".  He had been breaking their marriage covenant for 10 years, putting her in at risk for contracting who knows what.  He destroyed any trust her children had in him and then he turned his back on them both emotionally and financially.  Gay or straight, no man should do that to his family.  So I have a bit of anger behind my feelings, as well as my belief in a Prophet of God that helps me to decide where I need to fall on this subject.

I will admit my testimony has been shaken of late.  It is very hard to have one of your children turn their back on everything you have taught them about God.  My faith has been shaken by the fact that after two years Scott is still unemployed.  We have always paid our tithes and offerings and have strived to serve in the Lord whenever asked.  Sometimes I feel we have been forgotten.  It is hard to deal with each disappointment as it comes along.  I do know know where Scott gets the will to keep going.  Most days I just want to hide in my bed.  We carry on, trying to do what we can.

I know that I have many blessings and should be counting them every day.  I am grateful for Wade and Erin for putting up with us this long.  I am grateful that we are not bankrupt.  I am grateful that my children are healthy.  I love my grandchildren and truly enjoy being with them each day. 

So I will end this pity-party now, go and watch Project Runway, and in the words of  Tim Gunn, "Make it work."