I feel like Charlie, who just won a ticket to the Willie Wonka Chocolate Factory.  I want to sing “I’ve got the golden ticket!”

And no, I didn’t win anything.  I’m not usually that lucky.  I had to pay for my ticket.

The NGS Conference tickets are now on sale and I bought mine!!

That means that I’ll be in Charleston for four blissful days this coming May.  I am so excited!

I was absolutely drooling over the conference brochure.  It’s going to be very hard deciding which sessions to attend when there are so many great ones to choose from.  I even signed 2 of my kids up for the Saturday morning “Kids Kamp!”

Are any of you planning on attending?  I’d love to meet up with some fellow bloggers while I’m there. 🙂

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I grew up in the woods, on a small island in Puget Sound. The nearest town dubbed itself “The Christmas Tree Capital of the World”.  I don’t know how true that was, but I do know that Christmas Trees and wreaths were big business.

The bridge to the island I grew up on

So, after having said that, do you think that we used a fake tree?  I would have felt a traitor. 🙂

We always had a real tree.  Always.  Sure, they can be a little messy with the needles falling off and such, but nothing beats the smell of a real tree.  It fills the house.

In my entire life, I have only done a fake tree one year – while Andy was deployed in Iraq.  The thought of getting the tree home and into a stand when it was negative 20 degrees out (with 5 little kids in tow) didn’t appeal to me.  I cheated and bought a cheap tree-in-a-box.  I regretted it.  It just didn’t feel very Christmasy without it – or without him. It was a fake Christmas.

When I was growing up, sometimes we would just go out back and get a tree and other times we’d go to a Christmas Tree farm down the road.  We normally didn’t get our tree until about 2 weeks before Christmas – usually just after my sister’s birthday.

I broke from tradition this year though.  We put our tree up this past weekend.  Here is my youngest daughter, who got the honors of putting the star on this year. 🙂

Unfortunately, I don’t have any stories of my ancestors’ Christmas Tree traditions.  I wish that I did!

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I tend to gravitate towards cemeteries, as most genealogists do.  I don’t have any roots in the Savannah area, but that doesn’t stop me from haunting the local cemeteries.  I visited Bonaventure a couple of times.  It has quite the mysterious mood to it.  The spanish moss draped across the live oaks.  The old stones and fenced in family plots.  It’s a neat place to drive around (I didn’t walk, because I had kids in the car.)

As much as I liked Bonaventure Cemetery, I think that I enjoyed my stroll through Colonial Park even more.  The cemetery is dotted with historical markers along with the gravestones.

I wonder how old this one is!

I just love the old stones.

The scenery throughout the area is beautiful too.

I think that this is the part of the cemetery that I love the most.  The back wall is covered with broken stones.

Too bad I don’t have any ancestors buried here!!  Do YOU?

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I know that my grandfather, Donald Sanchez, served in the Coast Guard on the Cutter Fir, off the coast of the Pacific Northwest.  He also later served in the Merchant Marines.

This was amongst his pictures and I’m having a hard time trying to figure out what is going on – or if there just isn’t really a point to the pictures.  Are those Coast Guard uniforms?  Is that ice on the deck for goodness sakes?  Brrrr!

And here is another, similar picture.

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