Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Those Places Thursday - Pilgrimages to Lambeau Field

The Atrium entrance to Lambeau

It sounds silly, I mean no one is going to Lambeau Field to worship or anything, but to Packers fans from all over, getting to Lambeau Field is a pretty big deal.  Getting season tickets, well, that's a huge deal.

The Green Bay Packers have an extraordinary history, heck the trophy awarded to the Super Bowl winner is named after former Green Bay Packer coach, Vince Lombardi.  Lombardi is looked at as an inspiration to football fans and players everywhere.  Heck, one of my nephews is named Vincent if that tells you about Packer love!
One of the many businesses with Packer pride

I’ve been to Lambeau several times.  My husband is originally from Green Bay and every time we go home to visit a trip to Lambeau Field is on the schedule (and a Packer game if they’re playing).  Green Bay exudes Packers.  Almost every business has something Packer in the store and Packer gear among kids and adults alike is a clothing staple.

Want to go to a Packers home game?  Well, unless you know someone with season tickets or find a dealer authorized to sell tickets for season ticket holders that aren’t going to the game that weekend, you’re pretty much out of luck.  The Packers games have been sold out since 1960.  So if you want to go and live in the vicinity, best sign up for season tickets, but…

Getting season tickets is no easy matter.  You will wait decades, or even your entire life without getting season tickets.  It used to be that you could will someone your place on the waiting list if you died, but no more.  Luckily, you can still will your tickets to someone so it’s possible to keep them in the family!

In front of Lambeau with Benjamin
 To illustrate how long it takes, and how important it is, to get season tickets, after our first son was born we flew to Wisconsin from Hawaii to have Benjamin baptized in my husband’s church…and then we drove to Lambeau Field and put his name on the waiting list for season tickets.  After our second son was born, we drove from Tennessee to Pennsylvania to have Daniel baptized in my church and then a few days later drove to Wisconsin to see family…and to go to Lambeau and put his name on the waiting list for season tickets.  Benjamin was born in 2001 and his number on the waiting list the last we checked is 47560.  Daniel was born in 2006 and his number is 68529.

I mentioned earlier that almost all stores have something cheering the Packers on inside, but lets talk about the city.  The McDonalds restaurants are GREEN & GOLD!!! 

A Green Bay McDonalds

You’ve seen signs up north that tell you not to park on this side of the street due to street sweeping or plowing?  Well, in Green Bay you see street signs that say “No Parking Day of Packer Game”!

A very unique sign
Many streets, particularly near Lambeau Field, are named for popular/famous Packer players and coaches, and Brett Favre owns a steakhouse near the stadium!

Well, speaking of Brett Favre what Packer fans had heartache about (apart from him being just a first class drama queen) was the fact that he didn’t retire (you know…the final time he retired) straight from the Packers.  His last team that he played for should have been the Packers, and the silliness that went on (and the reasons were many, varied, and complicated) should never have happened.  He should have gone out gloriously, and not gone out with a text of his genitals!

Despite the Favre-drama and how upset fans were at his bumping around to other teams, what they support
fully is Aaron Rogers.  Not only is Rogers a 1st class quarterback, but that’s what Packer fans do.  They support their team.  They don’t support their team when they’re winning.  They support their team whether they’re winning or whether they’re having a terrible season!  Packer fans don’t walk out of football games.  They stay to support their team, not what you see when you watch other teams play…they’re losing and the stands empty.  Nope…not for my Packers.  Die hard fans, always. 

Lambeau isn’t a covered stadium either, and as you might expect, it snows in Green Bay, so after it snows the fans come out to shovel the stands and get the stadium ready for the game.  They come out in droves to shovel!  In fact earlier this year the stadium had to turn away hundreds of people because there were just too many of them!  There were even some fans that drove more than 3 hours so they could shovel.  It was like they were waiting for Black Friday Holiday deals outside Walmart.  They waited for the stadium to open and to be among the people selected.  Sure they get paid, but they do it because they are fans!

Going to a game is an all-day affair….OK…most of the day affair.  You first have to find a place to park.  There simply isn’t enough room at Lambeau to park (and it’s expensive!), but if you drive around (or know the right people) you can find parking near the stadium.  Lambeau is right next to a residential area.  Quite literally there are homes across the street from the stadium!  People rent out their lawns for anywhere from $10-$25.00+ dollars per car to park.  I don’t know what it does to their lawn, but do the math…if you fit 10+ cars on your lawn each time the Packers play, that’s a nice chunk of change!

Outside Lambeau after signing Danny up for tickets
So we park on a friend of a friend’s lawn and then we tailgate.  Sometimes it’s just sandwiches, and sometimes it’s much more, but a tailgate is required…even if it’s 5 degrees!  You dress for the game.  You bundle up in the winter.  Seriously bundled up!  Then you head in about 45 minutes to and hour prior to kickoff so you can get through security, get a tasty beverage and get to your seat.  After the game you go back to your car and chill out for about an hour until the traffic clears before even attempting to head home.

The Packers aren’t owned by one person.  They are owned by the fans themselves.  In fact, as I type this, the last day to purchase stock in the Green Bay Packers is coming to an end.  Perhaps we’ll purchase a couple shares before midnight.  If not, we’ll wait for the next stock option.  How much are shares going for?  $250!  It’s one of the ways that this non-profit organization raises extra funds.

I'm not originally from Green Bay, but as I've blogged before, I've whole-heartedly married into a Packer family and am a die hard fan.  I love the passion the fans have as well as the sense of humor.  This DirecTV ad makes me laugh.  It's very spot-on.  The hand-made sweater.  The priest sitting in the room with her and the team rivalry (although they would have been more on target had it been a Bears fan that moved in).

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - The Unknown Collection

This is a photo from an album of unknowns.  All I know is that it belonged to ancestors in my Quirk line. I'd love to think that it's a photo of family members.  Who?...well, I have no idea.  Kellmer's studio was in Hazleton, Pennsylvania.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Tuesday's Tip - Inputting Data on the 1890 U.S. Census

1890 U.S. Federal Census

Holy cow!  I haven't posted one of my U.S. Census forms since September 5th!  I knew that I had been distracted, but I didn't realize how distracted until seeing that!  Well, I should have been done by now, but still, we're a month away from the 1940 census is released and I should be able to get them all up easily by then.  The last census I posted was the 1880, so onward...

For most of us the 1890 U.S. Federal Census isn't available.  The majority was damage by a fire in the U.S. Commerce Building in 1921.  The records of just over 6,000 people survive.  Why is the loss of the 1890 census so significant to us in our research?  Here's a perfect example...

You are trying to figure out the parents of Melanie Beaty (made up name).  Melanie was born in 1881 and by the 1900 census she is married to George Quirk (another fake name).  You think that her parents were William and Dorris Beaty, but the only census you could check to see if she's with William and Dorris would be the 1890 census...and it's gone.

It doesn't matter if you're researching backward in time or forward (researching collateral lines, perhaps), the problem still exists.  Does this mean that you can't find out more about Melanie?  Does this mean that you'll never figure out if she is the daughter of William and Dorris?  No, but you obviously won't be finding it out from the 1890 census.  We love the U.S. Federal Census.  It's like a warm, cozy blanket and we love keeping it handy, but just because the majority of us can't find our ancestors in it doesn't mean we're at a genealogical brick wall.  We use other sources all the time (or at least we're supposed to be) so why wouldn't we now?  Even if we did find Melanie in a census it's our job to ensure we've got the right Melanie by seeking out other sources and discovering if our theory makes sense. has a 1890 Census Substitute that you can check through if you are looking for someone and, like most of us, don't have them in the surviving 1890 census.  Check it out.  You can see the various sources that compile their "census substitute".  But keep in mind that there are so many other places to check besides the 1890 Census or the Census substitute.  Yes, 1890 was before mandatory records were set by the federal government for registering births, marriages and deaths, but that doesn't mean that your state or county didn't have those records.  Know the church your ancestors went to?  That's gold waiting to be mined!  Everything non-census related that we would normally look in is fair game as a replacement.  It doesn't mean that we won't sadly reflect on the 1890 census and wish that we still had it, but it's not the end of days either.

I haven't really referred back to for many of the posts that I've done, but they do have some very good tutorials about getting around the loss of the 1890 census, so I'll break from tradition and refer you there now!

-Blazing New Trails: Reconstruction of the 1890 Census
-A Fire Destroyed the 1890 Census, but it Doesn't Have to Destroy Your Search
-1890 Census:  Your Next Steps and Alternate Sources has tons of tutorials that can pretty much help you with anything in your research.  While I didn't find anything dealing with only the 1890 census that doesn't mean that I didn't miss something in my cursory search.  Here's the link to the Family Search Learning Center.

Now for those of you that have won the figurative jack-pot and do have someone in the 1890 census, well, I'm incredibly jealous, but this post is for you.  I've never used this census and I can tell you it really made my mouth water.  As usual, I've kept the spreadsheet I've created as close to the original as I could while still making it visually useful.  Also, when you view the spreadsheet in Google Docs it's not going to look quite right, but once you download it, the sheet will be 2 pages and look very close to the original.  The sheet has been protected to you can only make changes in the open boxes.  This means that you just need to hit the "tab" key to move to the next box and you won't have to worry about accidentally erasing the worksheet! If you've got any suggestions to make the form more functional, please let me know!

Until next time have fun tending those roots!

You can check out the other census forms I've posted by clicking on the following links:
   -1850, Schedule 1
   -1850, Schedule 2
   -1860, Schedule 1
   -1860, Schedule 2

And now you've got census forms that you can input data into and save to your computer!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Sunday's Obituary - John Thomas Sonni

John and Rose Sonni nee Trunzo are my step-father's uncle and aunt.  As the obituary says, he was born in Italy and married Rose in 1918.  He was about 25 years her senior and had his first child with Rose when he was around 48 years old!

Indiana Evening Gazette (Pennsylvania)
According to the 1930 US Census (which was difficult to find them in since the enumerator spelled their surname as "Sowni".  Luckily, Plumville is only 13 pages long so they were easy to search for) John came to America in 1912 and Rose came in 1898.

Always good to note that Indiana (as mentioned in the obituaries) is in Pennsylvania.

"John Thomas Sonni, a resident of Plumville and vicinity for the past 37 years, died at 2:25 a.m. today in the Indiana Hospital where he had been a patient for several weeks.

Born in Italy June 24, 1871, he was a son of Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Sonni.  He was a member of the Sacred Heart Church of Sagamore; member of the Indiana Lodge Sons of Italy since 1918; member of UMW of A Local 473, Sagamore.

He married Rose Trunzo in 1918, who survives with these children:  Mrs. Kenneth (Kathryn) Clements of Harrisburg;  Rudolph Sonni of Hummelstown; Mrs. William (Eleanora) Zentner of Lucernemines; Samuel and Eugene Sonni of Plumville.  Nine grandchildren also survive.

Friends will be received at his late home in Plumville after 11 a.m. Friday, March 11.

Funeral arrangements, in charge of Bowser Funeral Home, Plumville, are incomplete at this time."

Indiana Evening Gazette 12MAR1955
"John Thomas Sonni, a resident of Plumville and vicinity for the past 37 years, died at 2:25 a.m. today in the Indiana Hospital where he had been a patient for several weeks.

Friends are being received at his late home in Plumville.

Requiem High Mass will be celebrated in the Sacred Heart Church of Sagamore at 9:30 a.m. Monday, March 14, sung by the Rev. John Cavanaugh.  Interment will follow in St. Bernards cemetery, Indiana.

The Rosary will be recited at the home at 9:30 p.m. Sunday.

Bowser Funeral Home, Plumville, is caring for arrangements."

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Those Places Thursday - No Longer the Follower

Can you see me?  I certainly look different back then (Hint: the red hair is there, albeit dark red)

I seem to be walking down Army Memory Lane quite a lot recently, but it was a big part of my life.  A part I want to share with my children and their children as well.

I joined the Army as a Private First Class (PFC), and after a year or so of believing that I wanted to be an officer, I came to realize that I wanted to be a Noncommissioned Officer.  A sergeant.  I eventually got to my promotion board (that's another post which I plan to do in April) and then on to the Primary Leadership Development Course (PLDC).  I was stationed in San Antonio, Texas when I needed to go to PLDC, so I was sent to the nearest Army post which happened to be Fort Hood (ironically enough where I am now!).

I was a little scared when I went.  I had a horrible fear of failure.  I wasn't afraid of the academic learning.  I could do that, no worries.  I was afraid of the practical, field-work.  I was stationed at a unit that didn't go to the field.  While it was a great assignment to gain some very good technical experience in my job it wasn't the best job for gaining tactical experience, and that's what a good portion of PLDC would be about.

I guess I was a little insecure with my experiences, but I had great leaders and they prepared me well. I was at PLDC from the end of January to the end of February 1999.  There were three moments that stand out in my mind from my short four weeks at this school.  The first was during our field exercise. It was pretty cold out so the cadre set up fire barrels and we stood around the fire in the dark with coffee made from our MREs.  We held our canteen cups over the fire to warm it up.  It sounds like a silly, trivial thing to remember, but it was a lot of fun being able to take some time and just talk with classmates.

The second was on the last day of our field exercise.  It was the day that we were heading back in for recovery.  We had gone well over 24 hours without sleep and we were tired.  My cadre called me over and told me that I was the Honor Graduate for the class.  I just stood there and stared straight ahead and said, "Huh?"  The words weren't making sense to me.  My brain wasn't working.  They repeated it and I just said "Oh.  OK."  They told me to head back to my tent.  Like the obedient Soldier I was, I did just that.  I sat there outside my small tent with my M16 in my hands and just stared at the grass in front of me.  I stared and the grass STARTED TO GROW!  I am not joking, my mind was so tired and I was so out of it that I actually was hallucinating.  I started giggling and then a couple cadre members (after asking what I was giggling about) told me to go to sleep.  I did and it wasn't until I woke up an hour or so later that what they told me sank in.  I was Honor Graduate.  That was the #2 graduate in a class of about 100 (the #1 person was called the Distinguished Honor Graduate).  I was excited.  I hadn't let my unit down.  My fear of failure was for nothing...or at least it drove me to succeed.

The last significant memory I have of PLDC was graduation.  My Battalion Commander, the acting Sergeant Major, and my Platoon Sergeant were coming to the graduation.  There may have been one or two other minions that came out with them, but I was excited that these leaders (mostly my Platoon Sergeant, who was so awesome!) were going to be there, and I was giving the commencement speech.  There were technically 2 graduations and the way they split the graduations up, the Distinguished Honor Graduate was giving the speech in the afternoon graduation so I was giving the morning speech.  Why was this memorable?  Because the speech was written by the NCO Academy and my Battalion Commander thought I had written it and she congratulated me for giving such a great speech.  Why does this stick out?  Well, I despised my Battalion Commander and saying something along the lines of, "Thanks ma'am, but I didn't write it." just to make her seem foolish is a highlight any day of the week.  You'll discover the reason for my animosity toward this woman in the April post I alluded to.  It should be a pretty good one.

The picture at the top of the post was just of the students in my actual classroom.  Sure we had about 100 Soldiers in the PLDC "class," but we had to be separated into groups so they could teach us better.  I had fun with these Soldiers, but sadly, I don't remember their names.  Even though their names elude me right now, they were a significant part of that experience that was PLDC.  We shared experiences and supported each other during our time at school, and that school, for most of us, was the final obstacle we had to go through to become Sergeants.  No longer the followers, but expected to be the leaders.  No pressure though....

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Can't Wait Wednesday!

I know we're all very excited about the release of the 1940 census.  I'm also equally sure that most of you have already heard that released a link to the webpage for the new census so you can head on over and bookmark it now!  Why wait until April 2nd?!?!

Anyway, the link to the post about the webpage can be reached by clicking here.  While you're there, I hope you'll not only save the bookmark, but read the brief post by and watch the little video that is posted there.  It really is very informative, and if you're a history buff that knows everything about the various censuses?  Well, the video will just be food for your growing anticipation!

I've got to admit that I can be a bit flighty sometimes.  I was extremely excited for the 1940 census the way it was and that was purely for it being another census to find people in!  Now, yes, that's excitement enough, but would you believe that the Great Depression never once crossed my mind?  Talk about not taking the census into proper perspective!  Watching the little movie on got me wondering about my ancestors.  How did the Great Depression influence them?  I really don't have their stories to learn from, but my eyes have now been opened a bit more in anticipation of the 1940 census.  I can't wait and I know that you can't either!

Until next time, have fun tending those roots!

(Oh and if Mom, Uncle Ed or Aunt Cathy are reading, please feel free to pass on any stories about our ancestors and the Great Depression that were passed on to you!)

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Annual Making of the Fastnachts!

Frying the Fastnachts
Fastnachts.  Deep fried dough.  What could be better?  This is technically a post from last year, but since I made this lovely recipe today for Fasching I thought a repost was needed!

I grew up in Northeastern Pennsylvania and went to college in Southeastern Pennsylvania so if you said "Fastnacht" to most people they knew that you were referring to a doughnut.  Being a German major in college and Catholic the terms Fastnacht and Fasching (Fat Tuesday, Shrove Tuesday, Mardi Gras) were common terms as well.  

Essentially as Ash Wednesday grew near it would be time to eat all those fatty foods before fasting (clearing out the pantry of all the goodies, so to speak).  Fasching more commonly (at least today) refers to the day before Ash Wednesday and these doughnuts are a last hurrah of sorts.  

My mom would make these every year when I was little.  I remember coming home from school and seeing my mom surrounded by fastnachts.....mmmmm  Yummy!!!  The funny thing is we aren't even all.  My mom's 100% Irish.  My dad 100% Lithuanian.  Apparently my mom's best friend in school was German and she'd get lots of cool recipes from her and would turn them into family traditions.  I would irritate my parents to no end because, as a child, I had a difficult time saying Fastnacht [fasst-nahkt].  I would say "fasst-snot".  It was not least at first :)

Benjamin helping roll the Fastnachts
When I went away to college I was delighted to see that Fastnachts were served there on Fasching as well.  I'd grab a ton and eat them throughout the day.  I'm sure on-lookers found it quite amusing to see me walking away with so many!  

When I had kids this was one of those things that I just had to make each year.  Now I didn't when we lived in Hawaii.  My oldest was really too small to appreciate them, but when he was 2 years old and were living in California, it was game-on, and oh did my kids learn to love these doughnuts!  They are an all day affair though, so I actually make them on Monday for them to beready for eating on Fasching (that's not saying that we don't enjoy them Monday night as's still Carnival after all!).

Fastnachts on the last rise with the slits cut in the middle

So here's the recipe if you'd like to take a whack at making them.  I guarantee that you won't be disappointed!


2 c milk, scalded
2 tbsp warm water (110-115 degrees (F))
1 pkg active dry yeast
3/4 c sugar
1/4 c margarine, melted
1/2 tsp salt
7 c flour
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 tsp nutmeg
Canola oil
Powdered sugar (or granulated, if you prefer)

Scald milk and set aside to cool.

Dissolve yeast in the water then add 1/2 c flour to the yeast and mix.  Add this to the scalded milk (ensuring the milk is not between 110-115 degrees (F) as well).  Stir.  Transfer to a very large bowl.  Add 1 tsp of the sugar and 3 c flour.  Mix, cover with plastic wrap (spray plastic wrap with butter spray) or a towel and allow to rise overnight in a warm place.

Punch down.  Add the eggs, margarine (again, make sure it's not hotter than 115 degrees(F)), nutmeg, salt, and remaining sugar.  Add as much of the remaining flour as you can stir with a spoon.  Allow to rise until light (about 2 hours).  

Punch down.  Roll on a floured surface to about 1/4-inch thickness.  Cut into squares.  Cut a slit in the center with a pair of kitchen scissors.  Let rise (about 45 minutes).

Heat oil to 375 degrees (F).  Fry in batches until golden, turning once.  Remove to paper towel-lined baking sheets.  While warm sprinkle with powdered or granulated sugar (we always did powdered).
Store in an air-tight container. 

HINT:  To proof the dough (make it rise faster) - Preheat the oven to 200 degrees (F).  When preheated leave on (and empty) for 4 - 5 minutes.  Turn the oven OFF and place the towel covered bowl in the oven (it's probably going to be on the lowest rack since you need a good-sized bowl for this and you don't want it touching the upper heating-element).  I only use the proofing for the first rise (about 3 - 4 hours), but you could probably do it for the second rise as well. 

Day old Fastnachts are no longer the lovely chewy goodness they were on that initial day, but fear not, just pop them in the microwave for a couple seconds or warm them up in the oven to bring them back to their first-day glory.  They take a lot of work to make, but I guarantee that once you've eaten them you'll be craving them! 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Military Monday - Benjamin Trunzo Jr.

Benjamin Trunzo Jr. was the son of Benjamin and Candus Trunzo nee Perry.  He married Edith Gay Boulanger on August 12, 1972 in Riverside, California (California Marriage Index 1960-1985).  They divorced ten years later (California Divorce Index 1966-1984).  I don't know if they had any children.  Benjamin is my step-father's 1st cousin and was most likely named for his father, Benjamin (naturally) and for their great grandfather, Beniamino Trunzo.

"NAVY ENLISTEES - Two local area men enlisted in the United States Navy it was announced today by Chief Petty Officer John O. Brown, local Navy Recruiter.  Kenneth Eugene Raymond, Penn Run R.D. 1,  enlisted in the seaman field under the High School Graduates Choice program.  Raymond is a graduate of Penns Manor Joint High School, Class of 1957.  Benjamin Trunzo, Jr., Beyer, enlisted as a seaman and is a graduate of Marion Center Joint High School class of 1961.  Both young men are currently attending recruit training at the Naval Training Center, Great Lakes, Ill., after which they will receive 14 days leave before reporting to one of the many Navy technical schools or fleet assignment."

[Published in the Indiana Evening Gazette, Thursday, Nov. 2, 1961, pg 12]

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Sunday's Obituary - Jennie Trunzo nee Ferraro

Giovanni Trunzo nee Ferraro
Jennie (Giovanni) Trunzo nee Ferraro is my step-father's paternal grandmother.  She was born in Calabria, Italy where she married Ralph Trunzo on November 13, 1895 and gave birth to her first daughter, Rose on November 15, 1897.  I still haven't found when they immigrated to America. Different sources have different dates, which may or may not be true.  The conflict lies in Ralph coming to America 10 years before his wife.  I'm not really sure that happened and I'm more inclined to think it was an error in the record.  That's not to say he couldn't have and then made a trip (or two) back to get his wife and daughter.  Still, I'll keep looking for that immigration record.

My step-father's Italian side is a joy to research.  Ancestry has a database devoted to Calabria, Italy, and the birth marriage and death records always have the woman's maiden name.  Even their death certificates list their maiden names.  Yeah, I know other death certificates show a maiden name, but the death certificates here list people solely by their maiden names.  In order to find out who their spouse is, you have to read farther into the death certificates.  It really makes it useful to ensure you're looking for the right person!  I will have to make sure to do a post on what I've discovered using that database sometime soon.  Until then, this post is for my baby sister and step-dad.  I don't post on his side of the family nearly enough!

The Indiana Gazette, 08OCT1964, pg 6
"Mrs. Jennie (Giovanni) Trunzo, 88, of Sagamore, passed away at 11:30 p.m. Wednesday, October 7, 1964, at Armstrong County Memorial Hospital, Kittanning.

Born July 26, 1876 in Italy, she was a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Ferraro.

She was the widow of Ralph Trunzo.

Mrs. Trunzo had resided in Beyer for 29 years prior to moving to Sagamore where she has lived for the past 33 years.

She was a member of Sacred Heart Church, Sagamore, and the church Rosary Society.

Survivors include the following sons and daughters:  Mrs. Rose Sonni, Plumville; Mrs. Louis (Mary) Russell, New Brunswick, N.J.; Benjamin, Beyer; Jim, Phoneix [sic], Ariz.; 18 grandchildren and 25 great grandchildren.

Friends will be received at the Donald S. Bowser Funeral Home, Plumville, from 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Funeral arrangements are incomplete.

The Rosary will be recited at 9 p.m. Saturday at the funeral home."

It's a bit disappointing that the obituary doesn't list anyone that predeceased her (apart from her husband that is).  My step-dad's father, John Trunzo, died before her and isn't listed in the obituary.  In fact there are a number of children missing (Samuel, Raffale Jr, John, and Nathle), but I haven't tracked down when they died yet (apart from John), so I can only imagine that they died before Jennie.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Harvey's Lake

My mom, her siblings, parents and aunts would go up to Harvey's Lake from Hazleton, Pennsylvania in the summer.  I know they all have very found memories of their time spent at Harvey's Lake.  This is a picture I took from one of the docks in the summer of 2010.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

My Second Child and Departure from the Army, Part 2

Watch out!  8 pounds, 6 ounces of screaming, naked baby!

So on Sunday I began my story about the circumstances surrounding our decision and timing for having our second child.  Now it's time to finish that story and while it may have started out a bit shaky, it ended with the birth of my beautiful, second son.

Finding out about my pregnancy wasn't as easy as taking a simple pregnancy test.  I took an at-home test and there was one pink line and one very faint pink line.  I took another and got the same result. OK, well the instructions said that if any line shows up no matter how faint, you're pregnant.  So off to the Troop Medical Clinic for a confirmation.

So the tech at the clinic had me pee in a cup.  I saw her dip a stick in (the same as I had just used...or it looked a lot like it) and then we waited.  "You're not pregnant, Drill Sergeant."  My response, "But there are 2 lines."  She tried to tell me that the other line was too faint and that I was not pregnant.  I began second guessing myself.  I told her I wanted another test.  She said that she would have another tech test the sample and that they would call me later.

That afternoon, I was driving back from Fort Ord with my son in the car (heaven only knows why I was out at Fort Ord, because for the life of me I can't remember why) and I realized that I hadn't heard back from the Clinic.  I gave them a call and got an answer, "I'm sorry, but you aren't pregnant."  My son was four years old and he knew that mommy and daddy were going to try to have another baby.  I was in tears by this point and was trying not to cry, when he asked what the phone call was for and why mommy was upset.  I told him that there was no baby in my belly yet and he just started crying.  I lost it then as he kept asking, "Where's my little sister?!?!"

So the next morning I woke up and took another pregnancy test (yes I had multiple because you never can be too sure!)...and then another.  Both said I was pregnant.  I went back down to the Clinic and told them, "OK, I took 2 tests yesterday that said I was pregnant and then you guys did 2 and said I wasn't. I took 2 more this morning and they say I am.  Figure this out!"  The response was a perfectly sound medical conclusion "OK, Drill Sergeant, if you took 4 tests and they said you're pregnant, then you are.  Let's get you a profile and a prescription for prenatal vitamins."  Seriously?  You're just going to take my word for it?  OK...whatever....

Of course, I didn't doubt my pregnancy.  I was late and was never late, so the question really was, what to do now?  The Army Ball was coming up in a few days.  It was June.  The cadre had all chipped in to rent a stretch Hummer to go to the ball.  It was going to be an awesome night and we were all arriving in style!  I hadn't turned in my profile yet, and I hadn't told my cadre I was pregnant yet.  I had only told my husband by presenting him with a photo card that said, "The Cayemberg Family is about to get a little bigger"...or something like that...and we told our families.  I told the cadre that at the Army Ball I would drink a toast with them and if I drank the wine, I wasn't pregnant.  If I drank the non-alcoholic cider, then I was pregnant.  They all sat around as the first toast of the evening came and looked at me. I picked up both glasses and then drank the non-alcoholic one. There was much congratulating going on after that although somewhat quietly, because we weren't telling the trainees...

My husband and I at that last Army Ball
Now the trainees obviously knew that something was up.  They saw our table briefly get all loud and excited, but we weren't telling why. You may ask yourself why I would keep something like that a secret, well, can you imagine having a pregnant, hormonal Drill Sergeant?  I mean Drill Sergeants aren't exactly cuddly people to begin with, but a pregnant one?  Not to mention I had no desire to have trainees trying to baby me...or worse  saying that I was only yelling because I was pregnant. That would probably have sent me right over the edge.

I have to admit that I do feel somewhat bad for the Soldiers in Bravo Company for the remainder of my time.  I tried not to be hormonal. I really did, but some things would just set me off and I would just smoke the Soldier(s) that were responsible.  All within my boundaries, but still.

I ended up serving for almost my entire first trimester.  The problems I encountered were mildly amusing, but challenging none-the-less.  Trying to hide my morning-noon-and-night sickness was impossible.  When the bathroom is right next to where the Soldiers on duty are they can hear the barfing.  They never said anything except, "Are you OK, Drill Sergeant?"  A simple "My stomach is bothering me" ended the question, although I'm sure they knew.

My Battalion Commander was another mild problem.  You see brainiac said that I needed to put on a maternity uniform immediately.  I know I mentioned in my last post  that this guy hated Drill Sergeants and I seriously think he thought that a Drill Sergeant in maternities would just look hysterical...or that it would require me to leave early.  Either way, I wasn't doing it.  He may have been my Battalion Commander, but what he couldn't do was make me wear a uniform that didn't fit.  As far as I was concerned he wasn't removing me unless my profile got in the way (or my belly).  My unit was too short-handed for me to just stop working because the Battalion Commander whimsically wanted it so...and I was fit to keep up my duties.

I would lead the PT for the Soldiers on profile.  Someone had to so it didn't really look odd, and from time to time I would actually still run with my company and call cadence.  Granted, the guys would only let me do it at the end of PT when we were running downhill.  I gotta love how they took care of me!

Shortly before I took my hat off, I held a meeting with my platoon and told them what I know some had started to figure out...that I was pregnant...and what they hadn't figured out...that I was leaving the military. I explained it to them like they were family, because when you're a Drill Sergeant they are like your kids...and you're the dysfunctional parent that yells a lot.  I have no problem admitting that when I told them I was leaving the military that I teared up.  And I told them something that doesn't get said often enough.  Family has to come first.

By the time I took my hat off in August of 2005 I was wearing my BDUs with all the buttons on the bottoms undone, but my top (luckily) covered it.  A week or so later when I showed up in civilian clothes for my End of Tour Award I was looking as pregnant as can be.  I think that was a shock to the Soldiers!

Daddy with his 2 boys
So my husband, son and I left Monterey, California to drive out to what would be our new home in Clarksville, Tennessee...just over the Kentucky border.  On to Fort Campbell!  On the way, we stopped off to see my cousin get married and to say hello to some friends in Arizona.  Hurricane Katrina had just hit before our trip and as we drove through Texas we detoured and cancelled a planned stop in San Antonio because Hurricane Rita was on the way.  We arrived in Clarksville with the rain, and rain, and rain.

We found a home.  A great home, very quickly. And I found my way to a midwife on post as soon as TRICARE red-tape would allow.  At first, I couldn't get in to see anyone anytime soon, so that meant that my husband and I spent a little time with the Officer in Charge of the OB/GYN floor.  She was a sweet woman and she took care of us.  However, when I got in for some lab work the ladies there started screaming at me that I needed to have my ultrasound NOW.  What?  I was 22 weeks.  That's about right...right?  Don't yell at me because the Army moved us during baby-ultrasound time.  My hubby had to make some quick plans to get in on this ultrasound, but we managed to get it done with all of us there, my son included.

The tech told us the news.  A healthy baby boy!  We were delighted.  The sex didn't matter to us.  The healthy part was the only thing that ever did.  Benjamin, however, was still demanding to know where his little sister was.  Luckily, at the age of 11 he stopped demanding a little sister.

I went to a midwife even though I knew she wouldn't be delivering my baby.  I couldn't get in with any of the other doctors that could perform my c-section and I liked midwives anyway.  She was great.  The doctor that was assigned to deliver my child, however, I didn't like.  I'm not sure why either.  Just a feeling.

We picked February 12th for the c-section.  I didn't want to have a baby on Valentine's Day.  I didn't want Valentine's Day over-shadowing his day.  My mom, sister, and step-dad came down to take care of Ben while my hubby and I went in for Daniel's birth.  It was a blessing to have them there for the event and to take care of us (I won't talk about how you dumped cayenne pepper into a pot of boiling water, mom, and made the whole house cough like we'd been hit with pepper spray!  [HeeHee] I guess I just did! Love you, mom!)

Again with the name problems though.  Daniel was supposed to be a Nicholas.  I still like the name Nicholas, but there's no fighting pregnant lady hormones!  My husband and I tried out several different names and none of them felt right.  A few days before the birth we decided on Daniel.  I had a friend in elementary school named Daniel and always thought it was a nice name.  My husband told his family that we had decided on Daniel, but that we'd wait until we met him to make it official.  His middle name, however, would be Edward.  After my grandfather, my uncle, my great grandfather, my great great grandfather, my....well, you get the idea.  Lots of Edwards in this Irish family.

I love this picture.  Ben staring at his day-old baby brother.
This time my husband and I got to see our child be born.  I had told the doctor about the horrible epidural-didn't-work event with my first son and he said that I would have a spinal block.  Needle in the spine is all the same to me, I just wanted to be awake!  And in no-time, once the cesarean started, Daniel was out...and the doctor almost dropped him on the floor.  Did I mention that I didn't like this guy? Although there were many other reasons!

I saw him for a brief moment and they took him to the warmer for his vitals and to clean him up.  After my c-section was finished it was to recovery where my husband got to give him his first bath and mommy and baby could start bonding.

I'd like to say the breastfeeding went smoothly the second time around, but it didn't.  I'll save the gory details (for now), but my older sister came to my rescue there!  She came down to help out about 2 weeks after Daniel was born and drug my butt into the lactation consultant's office and then forced her to help (and this lady needed forcing!).

It was nice to be able to actually witness the birth.  Even if it wasn't a normal, traditional childbirth, it was us welcoming our second, beautiful, sweet baby boy into our lives.  Lots of diapers, crying, nursing and sleepless nights, but it was all worth it, and this time there was no going back to the Army and chucking my child in daycare.  I got to actually do all those mommy things that I had dreamt about when I was a little girl.  I missed work, but the trade-off was more than worth it, and we were blessed to be able to have the choice and be able to afford to have me stay home to care for our children.

My mom getting to hold her newest grandson!
A little genealogical twist to Daniel's birth...even though Fort Campbell is in Kentucky most nonmilitary people don't know that it's actually on the border of Kentucky and Tennessee, and when I say on the border, I mean part of it is in one state and part in another.  It's listed as being in Kentucky, because the headquarters building is in Kentucky, however, the military hospital on post is in Tennessee which means that Daniel has a Tennessee birth certificate! Something sure to confuse descendants researching us...born at Blanchfield Army Medical Center in Fort Campbell, Tennessee!  And another twist...Blanchfield is a family name.  That made having him there even more special!

Happy Birthday, Daniel.  A little later than I meant to post this, but perhaps that's appropriate since Army circumstances kept us from having you as soon as we would have liked to.  Again...everything happens for a reason.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

My Second Child and Departure from the Army, Part 1

Daniel new cuddly little munchkin

I must be suffering from Mommy-brain recently.  I spent so much time doing everything else this week and this weekend that I forgot to write a post to celebrate my littlest one's sixth birthday on his birthday! I guess I can use the excuse that we were spending the weekend celebrating his birthday so it's not as though he was forgotten.

If you've followed my blog at all recently you'll know that I just posted about my oldest son's birth only two weeks ago.  This time of year is always busy for us because they are 5 years and 2 weeks apart. It wasn't planned that way when we decided to have children, it just worked out that way.  I was in the Army when I had my first child and was still in when I got pregnant with my second.

I'm sure you're wondering about the title of this blog post.  It wasn't as simple as, I got pregnant and got out.  I would have loved to stay in, but it became impossible to.  I guess I want my descendants to understand why I got out when I had my second child because it was complicated.  I volunteered for Drill Sergeant duty which is usually a two year tour of duty and you can extend to three years with permission. By the time I became a Drill Sergeant the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were well underway.  This meant that everyone was deploying and then being stabilized immediately following deployment, so all of the Drill Sergeants were involuntarily extended to that final third year.  We had a great a great cadre, so this wasn't horrible news to us, but we were all getting tired and had been looking forward to the end of our tours when we would be able to choose our follow-on assignment.

I was almost in tears when I said goodbye to the Soldiers
That was one of the perks for being a Drill Sergeant.  You serve in that difficult position and when you leave, you get to choose where you want to go.  Well, by the time I was preparing to leave, the Army came up with a new way of looking at the Drill Sergeant Assignment Preference Program.  It had now become the "That's a nice policy to have during peacetime" policy.  This didn't sit well with many of the Drills, but our Branch Manager was an awesome dude and was going to do his best to get us where we wanted to go.  Sadly, my husband's Branch Manager was an all out ass and he ignored the fact that my husband was married to a Drill and put him on orders.  When we tried to fight it, they changed his orders to a "less desirable" location for us.  Talk about no reprisals...yeah, right!

I was livid.  My Battalion Commander was a complete and utter waste of oxygen that hated Drill Sergeants so he was unwilling to help.  I'm sure he was relishing the whole thing inside.  I think the man was beaten up in Basic Training or somehow made to look bad by a Drill Sergeant at some point in his military career with how he negatively fixated on us.

Anyway, the problem that I had with where my husband was being stationed was that there was no job for me.  Sure they would have found a job for me, but it would not have been in my Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) and most likely not in my pay grade.  I had a serious problem with this because I had made the list for Sergeant First Class in just under 8 years and pinned in under 9. This has become much more commonplace now, but when I was in, this was fast-tracking and I didn't want my career to be hindered by a bad assignment.

There was an additional problem too though.  My husband and I put off having more children so that I could be a Drill Sergeant.  Despite the wars going on, our intent was to go to a quiet assignment after Drill duty so we could have more children.  Sure I could go to this new duty station and serve in a position that would be less than beneficial, but if I were pregnant I would be looked upon as the person that showed up pregnant to get out of deploying.  While anyone that knew me would know that this wasn't true, part of the problem when you go to a new duty station is that you most likely aren't going to be known.  I couldn't stand to be looked at as someone that was trying to get out of combat.  That would absolutely tick me off.  The thought of being looked at like a dirt ball was horrifying.

My de-hatting.  Goodbye Drill Sergeant hat...
As a mother, I also had a hard time with the thought of giving birth and then being asked to deploy in 6 weeks. That was the reason we had hopes of going to a quieter assignment.  Take the person that had been camped out avoiding hard duty and let us have some down-time after three years of Drill duty.  Let me pop out a couple more kids and then the Army could send me wherever.  My hubby would have been retired by the end of that duty assignment and he could be the stay-at-home dad while I continued playing Soldier.  Nope.  It wasn't meant to be.

I was given the option of going to San Antonio without my husband.  He could request to be stationed with me a year later.  Yeah, that kind of makes getting pregnant difficult when one person is in Texas and the other in Kentucky, so we moved up our plans.  I played a gamble that if I were pregnant they wouldn't separate us.  We rolled the dice.  I got pregnant.  I faxed my pregnancy profile/diagnosis to my Branch Manager.  He was hopeful that it would work.  He told my hubby's idiot Branch Manager that if we weren't stationed together in San Antonio then I would get out.  The other guy thought I was bluffing.  I was a Sergeant First Class with going on 10 years in service.  I wasn't going to get out!

Wrong.  Family comes first with us, and we now had a baby on the way.  We knew that this was a possibility (although we didn't really think it would come to it), and I had my commander begin my separation paperwork.  I was relieved that we were now going to stay together.  I was ecstatic that we were having another baby, but I was absolutely devastated that my career was gone.

I had worked so hard and the Army had become my life.  I was a hard-charging, butt-kicking Army chick and I had succeeded at almost everything that I tried during my career.  I had awesome mentors, and I felt like I had let every single one of them down.

All (except one) of my friends and mentors told me that they weren't upset and that they understood my decision, but even though I had their support, I still felt that I had somehow betrayed them.  To top it all off making the transition from Senior Noncommissioned Officer to Spouse was a shock I wasn't prepared for.

I was used to walking into the commissary or PX in my uniform.  I was a part of the military system. Now, when I walked into a commissary or talked to someone it was always, "Who's your husband?" Yes, sexism prevailed and I was no longer looked at as someone that might have my own accomplishments, but just a spouse.  Is there something wrong with being a spouse?  Absolutely not! But I wanted to just scream out that I had my own successes.  I didn't want to live only by who my husband was.  I wanted to yell at everyone that looked at me like I was "just a stay-at-home mom" that I had been a Drill Sergeant.  That I had been a Senior NCO!  After years of counseling (and I'm not really joking about that) I was able to come to terms with my decision to leave.  My decision to leave? No our decision to leave.  My husband and I are a team in everything and we knew it was the right choice for our family.

...Hello cowboy hat.  I tried to keep a sense of humor!
I also realized that being a stay-at-home mom wasn't all that easy.  I laughed and thought I'd be sitting at home and eating bonbons all day, but it was a job unto itself...and a hard one at that!  I often looked back wondering how we managed being dual-military with a child.  We managed because we had to, but as a result our first son spent the majority of his day in daycare.  We missed so much with him, but I got to experience all that with our second child.

I wouldn't change a thing about being in the Army.  It was such an awesome experience.  I hope that I made a difference in some of my Soldiers' lives as my mentors had made in mine.  I made awesome friends when I was in, and I met my husband because I served.  I can look back now, and even though it still gives me pangs of sadness in my chest when I remember having to leave (and I felt that I HAD to leave to preserve my family), I feel no regrets.  Everything in our lives happens for a reason.  The good, and the not so good.  You just have to make the most of it...and hey, someday my grandkids will be able to say "Grandma not only wore combat boots, but a Drill Sergeant hat too!"...Not everyone can say that one!

[The story of my second son's birth and the story of me leaving the Army are tied together, and both are things I want passed on for generations, but I don't want what might seem a "bad" event in leaving the military to be tied to my son's birth, because his birth was anything but bad!  So I will reserve the remainder of this post for next time when I can talk about the joy of his arrival.]

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Sunday's Obituary - John Boegel

John and Bertha Boegel nee Rosbeck (sitting)

John Boegel is my husband's great grandfather.  He was the fourth son of eight born to William and Katherine Boegel nee Melzer.  William and Katherine's children were:

Unknown newspaper
William Boegel Jr (b. 25JUL1875 / d. 09AUG1939)
Maria Boegel (b. abt 1876)
Katherine Bonlender nee Boegel (b. 21FEB1877 / d. 29NOV1956)
John Boegel (b. 12NOV1878 / d. 02MAR1935)
Peter Aloysius Boegel (b. 07FEB1881 / d. 19SEP1945)
Raymond Boegel (b. 29SEP1883 / d. 10JAN1946)
Mary Strabel nee Boegel (b. 29JAN1886 / d. 20JAN1947)
Theresa Boegel (b. 08OCT1888 / d. 04JUL1949)

John married Bertha Rosbeck on April 24th, 1900 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Their children are all accounted for in the obituary below.  Their daughter, Leona, was my husband's grandmother.

The obituary is pretty standard.  Of course some of the women were merely listed as Mrs "so-and-so", but his daughter's name was actually listed with her husband.  Very interesting.  I was also impressed by the last paragraph.  It's evident that John was well respected in the community.  I wish I knew more about him!

"John Boegel

John Boegel, age 56 years, 3 months, and 10 days, a resident of the vicinity of St. Kilian, passed away at his home there at 5 a. m.  on Saturday, Mar. 2, after an illness of about a year due to a complication of diseases.

Mr. Boegel was born in the town of Ashford, Fond du Lac county, on Nov. 12, 1878.  Growing to manhood, he married Miss Bertha Rosbeck, who survives, on April 24, 1900, the couple coming to their present home 30 years ago.  Four children were born to the couple, three of whom survive their father as follows:  Roman at home, Leona (Mrs. Romand Kuehl) of St. Michaels, and Clarence of St. Kilian.  A son, Rudolph, predeceased his father 10 years ago.  Deceased also leaves one granddaughter, three sisters, and three brothers.  The brothers and sisters are William of Jackson, Peter of St. Bridget, Mrs. Gebbardt Strobel of Milwaukee, and Raymond, Mrs. Joseph Bolander, and Theresa of St. Kilian.

Funeral services for Mr. Boegel were held at 10 a. m. on Tuesday, Mar. 5, from the Miller funeral home at Kewaskum to St. Kilian's Catholic church, the Rev. John Reichl officiating.  Interment was in the parish cemetery.

Mr. Boegel was a man who filled his station in life with credit to himself, always giving the best that was in him to his family, his community, and his country.  His righteousness and sincerity gained for him the esteem of his fellow citizens and his family requited his devotion with love.  The memory of him will be kept alive by those who knew him best, the memory of a noble soul and a life that was worth living. The News extends its sympathy to the bereaved survivors."

[The clipping was hand-dated with John Boegel's date of death.  The newspaper's name and date of publication is unknown]

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Family Recipe Friday - Oh Cookie Recipe, How I've Been Looking for You!

And for quite some time too!  Years ago when I was a teenager (and I'm not saying how long ago that was) my sisters and I used to make these cookies.  They had two of the things we loved most in them...chocolate and peanut butter.  They came from a small, free recipe book that Hershey put out in 1979.

The dough was always tough to make though.  There aren't a lot of liquid ingredients and if we used our hand-held mixer for this recipe it would smell like it was burning.  I'm not sure whether that was the fault of an old mixer or the cookie dough, but after smelling it we immediately stopped using the mixer!  It was hand stirring only for us and one time we actually broke a wooden spoon while mixing the batter!

My father had this recipe book in his kitchen and many years ago I asked for it.  I wanted to find the recipe that made those yummy cookies and make them for my kids. He gave it to me and I eagerly looked through the pages in search of it.

I'm a visual person.  I can remember where something was on a page, although I might not remember everything it said.  I remembered that the recipe was on a left page of the cookbook, but search as I might, I couldn't find it.  I couldn't remember it's name and nothing seemed familiar.  Then the other day as I was cleaning my kitchen I picked up the book again and turned right to it.  It must have been staring me in the face and laughing at me, it just didn't register.

My oldest son made the cookies while I made salsa on Super Bowl Sunday.  Since the Packers weren't playing there wasn't a big party like last year, but salsa and cookies (not together...ick) were required for the game.

Every oven is different so take the baking time with a grain of salt.  You want the cookies to start to turn golden on the bottoms so that they don't stay soft after they cool.  Yeah...that's pretty hard to do with a chocolate cookie, but after making the whole batch (and eating many of the warm, yummy cookies) I realized that they were undercooked when they cooled.  They should be crunchy, not soft.

Also, the recipe says to drop by teaspoonfuls...use your best judgement there.  Yes, that's the only way you'll probably get 5 dozen cookies, but they will be too small for my liking!  I hope you enjoy my little piece of nostalgia!

Peanut Butter Chip Chocolate Cookies

1 c. butter
1-1/2 c sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 c flour
2/3 c. cocoa
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 (12 oz) pkg Peanut Butter chips

Cream butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla in large mixing bowl.  Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt; blend in.  Stir in peanut butter chips.  Drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 8 to 10 minutes.  Cool 1 minute before removing to wire rack. About 5 dozen cookies.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Wednesday's Child - Raymond Dart

Clippings like this always make me sad.  No parent should lose a child.  Raymond is my husband's 2nd cousin once removed.

"Infant Son of Darts Buried The Morning

Special to Press-Gazette

LUXEMBURG, Wis. - Funeral services for Raymond Dart, six-months-old son of Mr. and Mrs. Marvin Dart, Luxemburg, route 4, who died Saturday afternoon in a Green Bay hospital after an illness of one week, were held at 9 o'clock this morning in St. Martin church at Tonet.  Burial was in the church cemetery.  The McMahon Funeral home was in charge of the arrangements.

The infant, who was born Nov. 1, 1949, is survived by his parents; a sister, Darlene, age 2; his maternal grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Matheys, of Sugar Bush; and his paternal grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. August Dart of Luxemburg."

[Hand-written "died Apr 8 1950"]