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Wife to the most amazing and loving husband, mother of four of the most beautiful children, child of a loving and gracious God.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Field Trip to Mount Vernon

Took the kids on a field trip to see Mount Vernon to continue on our history time line (although its a little eschewed with going to Monticello first then Boston..but that's OK) the girls are loving all this history and I'm relearning a lot of these things so it's really cool. We were supposed to have one more family join us, but unfortunately they couldn't do it at the last minute, maybe next time.

This is the entrance to the new facilities the Ford Orientation Center funded by the Ford Motor Company and the Donald W. Reynolds Museum and Education Center click on either of those names to find out more information about those parts of the museum, well worth the visits.

Jaden, Helena, Bea, Jordan, Ella (behind Jordan) Madison and Kaleigh taking a picture with George and Martha Washington and Martha's children from her first marriage (Jackie and Patsy Custis)
While we were waiting for the movie so we could learn a little about Mt. Vernon and George Washington, we were able to see a model replica of the house, it was awesome, the floors moved up and down and walls dropped so you could see inside the house. The girls were itching to touch, luckly they had one they could play with in the Education Center.
This is a stain glass window outside the theater it is gorgeous, it depicts the significant moments in Washington's life, including the big one of the reading of the Declaration of Independence.
You couldn't take pictures inside the home but we were able to take lots of pictures outside. The house itself is BEAUTIFUL, the outside of the house is made with wood and carved to look like stone, because stone was too expensive to use and wood was easier to work with.
The view from the back porch over looking the Potomac.

Sitting on the back porch of the house.

In the education center they have all these stautes that look real, its awesome, this one is obviously of George Washington leading his men in winter....
and this one is a sample of what sleeping quarters were like. The best part about this is that when you pressed the button the man in the bed kind of rolls and snores....it freaked Madison out and of course Jaden loved it.
Inside the education center they have a room just for young kids to be able to touch things ...
put their heads in cut outs.....

and of course dress up.
Even Madison got into the spirit.

One of the last things we got to see was a model of the swearing in of George Washington, again you press a button and things play for you. We also saw his teeth but you can't take pictures of it, otherwise I would have but it was kind of cool, in a weird kind of way.

Here is some of the stuff the girls learned about our first president George Washington.
It's kind of long, but worth reading if you are into history.
Meet George Washington
Rare Facts & Curious Truths About Our First President

Boyhood Experience and Training

  • His father, Augustine, died when he was eleven; George Washington then lived with his mother, Mary, at Ferry Farm in Fredericksburg, Virginia, and visited his half-brother, Lawrence, at Mount Vernon.
  • His father's death ended plans to send Washington to England to be educated like his older brothers, a lack that he felt later in life. Washington insisted that Martha's children receive an excellent education; however, he disapproved of foreign schooling, believing it weakened the passion of Americans for freedom. As a boy, his favorite subject was math.
  • He learned social graces such as good conversation, correct table manners, and proper entertaining from his mother, his half-brother and sister-in-law, Lawrence and Ann, and their neighbors, the Fairfaxes, who lived at Belvoir. His social skills helped him to be at ease with superiors and to be considered for advancement.
  • He was a hard worker even as a youth: he began a journal at age 16 and through practice he developed excellent handwriting. He learned surveying on the job and started his own business, as a surveyor, at age 17.
  • He was physically active and strong. Thomas Jefferson described him as 'the best horseman of his age.' Washington also loved fox hunting from horseback. His physical stamina helped him on expeditions to the frontier and as a leader in the military.

Leadership and Management Skills

  • As commander of Virginia's militia in the French and Indian War (1755-58), Washington learned how to organize an army of about 1,000 men. Although he made mistakes, he learned a great deal, particularly about recruiting and training men and supplying them with food, clothing, guns and ammunition. Others praised his 'method and exactness' in overseeing the details of military operations.
  • Washington successfully ran and built up his Mount Vernon plantation into a large business. He divided the plantation into five farms, each of which had a separate overseer who was responsible for that farm, and also managed an active fishery where fish were caught, salted and shipped throughout the colonies and overseas. His farm shops, blacksmith and flour milling in particular, provided services to farmers in the locale. An extended community of slaves and servants that numbered about 315 people at its peak, lived and worked on Mount Vernon plantation.
  • Washington applied the managerial skills he used in running his farms to organize and lead the Revolutionary Army, which numbered about 10,000 men, and later set up the new federal government as first president.
  • Washington inspired confidence through his fairness and consideration. He promoted military officers and government officials on the basis of merit, not friendship or social standing. By 1788, he had promoted African American slaves to top positions as overseers of his five farms.
  • He was very disciplined, placing his principles and civic responsibilities before his own needs, and brought forth the same qualities in others.
  • Washington stayed with the Continental Army almost every day of the eight-year Revolutionary War, visiting his home only 10 days between 1775 and 1783.
  • After first quelling plans for a military take-over of the country by his officers in Newburgh, N.Y., he voluntarily resigned as Commander in Chief in 1783 after the Revolution had ended.
  • Washington voluntarily resigned from the presidency after two terms in 1797.
  • Over six feet tall, athletically built, and red haired in his youth, he was also charming, persuasive, and dignified. Washington spoke very little during legislative meetings in the Virginia House of Burgesses, during the Continental Congress, and at the Constitutional Convention, but influenced others by being present at or hosting dinners and social meetings where political solutions were discussed. Abigail Adams, wife of the second president, John Adams (who was a rival of Washington's), commented that Washington '...has so happy a faculty of appearing to accommodate and yet carrying his point, that, if he was not really one of the best-intentioned men in the world, he might be a very dangerous one.'

Mount Vernon Life

  • Washington greatly expanded his Mount Vernon plantation. He increased the acreage from 2,100 to 8,000, rebuilt the simple farmhouse he inherited into a 2-1/2 story, 20-room Mansion, and designed and built all 12 outbuildings.
  • Washington chose to aband tobacco farming around 1765, ending his economic dependence on English agents to sell his tobacco and giving Mount Vernon greater autonomy and self-sufficiency. His main crop became wheat, but he experimented with over 60 field crops. Fish from the Potomac was also an important source of food and cash.
  • Increasingly conscious of the injustice of slavery, his will freed the 122 slaves that were in his posession at the time of his death. He trained slaves as gardeners, shoemakers, carpenters and weavers to help prepare them for their freedom.
  • Creative and persistent in solving problems, Washington overcame the poor soil at Mount Vernon by starting an innovative plan of crop rotation (switching crop type every year) and mulching, which made his farmland able to sustain its yields. He also introduced the mule to America in a successful effort to find an animal better suited to farm work than the horse.

Philosophy and Politics

  • Washington's political views were shaped more by practical experiences than by political theory, yet he possessed an ambitious vision for America. Before the Revolution, he supported the non-importation resolutions of 1769-1771 as much as a means of fostering economic self-sufficiency in America as a way of retaliating against the British.
  • He was resolute in his views about what was right and wrong and acted upon them. The British actions after the Boston Tea Party (closing the port of Boston and cancelling the charter of Massachusetts) convinced him that the British were being oppressive and not just misguided. Once convinced, he believed opposition to be a civic and moral duty and denounced British rule as evidence of '...the most despotic system of tyranny that was ever practiced in a free government.'
  • He was practical enough to realize as early as 1769 that American protests could easily lead to armed conflicts with the British. Rather than shrink from this, he began to prepare for it by helping train local militia.
  • Washington's vision of a unified nation was similarly based on experience and insight. He knew the problems of a weak national government from trying to supply and pay the Revolutionary Army, and the problems that conflicting state laws caused from his attempts to trade across state borders. He was unusually well-traveled within America (but left America only once, at age 19, on a trip to Barbados), and recognized the nation's potential for expansion on the frontier and for industrial development along the seaboard. As a result, he supported a strong national government, leading to his presiding over the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787. As president, he supported a central banking system to improve the nation's monetary system and international credit and insisted on a neutral foreign policy, opposing an alliance with France during its wars with England, which cost him personal popularity.
  • Washington disapproved of political parties as being potentially divisive of people and inappropriate for a president.

How do we know so much about George Washington?

Washington wrote thousands of letters explaining his beliefs and positions; he kept daily diaries and journals with records of his activities; and he maintained written accounts of all his expenditures. These documents provide unusual insight into his thoughts and feelings and a unique window into life during the 18th century, the operation of a plantation, and conditions during the wars in which he served. To read Washington's letters, visit The Papers of George Washington Digital Edition.

Sunday, May 16, 2010


My sister graduated from Boston University, we are so excited and proud of her, she has worked very hard as have my parents. We can't wait to see what the future holds for her.

My niece and nephew weren't able to make it, we missed it.

My step dad and my mom.
My brother, my step aunt Michael and the kids, Emily, my step uncle, my parents, my sister and my step grandmother. It was a beautiful day.

Freedom Trail part 2 - USS Constitution

The USS Constitution called old Ironsides, is the oldest commissioned ship in the US. It was the last stop for us on our Freedom Trail the weather was beautiful and the kids had been great. They really enjoyed it but Jordan was a little afraid of actually getting on the boat (fear of heights) but she did great and they loved it. We then went into the museum they have to go with the ship but you are not allowed to take picture but here is the link if you ever visit Boston it was a good place, especially the kids part upstairs where they get to pretend to be a sailor. USS Constitution Museum

They still take the ship out several times a year, which is pretty much amazing once you actually see this boat in person.

Can you see the chocolate ice cream stain on Kaleigh's face or the fact that Madison was upset that she could not steer the ship.

He was totally in awe of this boat. He cracks me up he is such a boy.

USS Constitution is a wooden-hulled, three-masted heavy frigate of the United States Navy. Named by President George Washington after the Constitution of the United States of America, she is the world's oldest floating commissioned naval vessel.[Note 1] Launched in 1797, Constitution was one of six original frigates authorized for construction by the Naval Act of 1794. Joshua Humphreys designed the frigates to be the young Navy's capital ships, and so Constitution and her sisters were larger and more heavily armed and built than standard frigates of the period. Built in Boston, Massachusetts at Edmund Hartt's shipyard, her first duties with the newly formed United States Navy were to provide protection for American merchant shipping during the Quasi War with France and to defeat the Barbary pirates in the First Barbary War.

Constitution is most famous for her actions during the War of 1812 against Great Britain, when she captured numerous merchant ships and defeated five British warships: HMS Guerriere, Java, Pictou, Cyane and Levant. The battle with Guerriere earned her the nickname of "Old Ironsides" and public adoration that has repeatedly saved her from scrapping. She continued to actively serve the nation as flagship in the Mediterranean and African squadrons, and circled the world in the 1840s. During the American Civil War she served as a training ship for the United States Naval Academy and carried artwork and industrial displays to the Paris Exposition of 1878. Retired from active service in 1881, she served as a receiving ship until designated a museum ship in 1907. In 1931 she started a three year 90-port tour of the nation, and in 1997 she finally sailed again under her own power for her 200th birthday.

Constitution's mission today is to promote understanding of the Navy’s role in war and peace through educational outreach, historic demonstration, and active participation in public events. As a fully commissioned US Navy ship, her crew of 60 officers and sailors participate in ceremonies, educational programs and special events while keeping the ship open to visitors year-round and providing free tours. The officers and crew are all active-duty US Navy personnel and the assignment is considered special duty in the Navy. Traditionally, command of the vessel is assigned to a Navy Commander. She is berthed at Pier 1 of the former Charlestown Navy Yard, at one end of Boston's Freedom Trail.

Freedom Trail part 2 - Bunker Hill

On Sunday we went to Bunker Hill, since the Freedom Trail was so long we split it into two days and we were lucky the weather was beautiful! I put some facts about Bunker Hill below, it is beautiful to be on top of that hill and it's in a cute little part of town called Charlestown. The girls loved it especially since we reenacted it at home, so this was a big deal.

The statue of is of Colonel William Prescott and he led the patriots at Bunker Hill.

Colonel William Prescott was an American colonel in the Revolutionary War who commanded the rebel forces in the Battle of Bunker Hill. Prescott is one of a number of persons to whom the order to his soldiers, "Do not fire until you see the whites of their eyes", is attributed, in order that the rebel troops may shoot at the enemy at shorter ranges, and therefore more accurately and lethally, and so conserve their limited stocks of ammunition.

The monument is a square shaft, built of Quincy granite, 221 feet high, 31 feet square at the base and 15 at the top. Its foundations are inclosed 12 feet under ground. Inside the shaft is a round, hollow cone, 7 feet wide at the bottom and 4 feet 2 inches at the top, encircled by a winding staircase of 224 stone steps, which leads to a chamber immediately under the apex, 11 feet in diameter. The chamber has four windows, which afford a wide view of the surrounding country, and contains two cannons, named respectively Hancock and Adams, which were used in many engagements during the war. The corner-stone of the monument was laid on the fiftieth anniversary of the battle, June 17, 1825, by Lafayette, who was then visiting America, when Webster pronounced the oration. The monument was completed, and June 17, 1843, was dedicated, Webster again delivering the oration.

Boston Part 2 - The Freedom Trail - first half.

We took the kids on the Freedom Trail in Boston it's a 2.5 mile walk one way beginning with the Boston Common Park and ending with Bunker Hill (MAP). We got to see everything from The State House to Old State House (sight of the Boston Massacre) to the Old North Church, Paul Revere's House, Bunker Hill and the USS Constitution. Click on the Map to see all the names of the places and in case you've never been to Boston, most of it is on hill.

The New State House.
Boston Common Park plaque.
I believe this is the Old King's Church, behind this is where Samuel Adams and John Hancock I believe are buried.

At Fanuiell Hall they have this big open shopping area, where lots of people come out and characters are dressed up.
Paul Revere's house.

Statue of Paul Revere.
Plaque dedicated to Benjamin Franklin, they had them all over he park.

Inside the Old North Church, it's beautiful.

Statue of Roman Solider (don't know why) so he could raise money...go figure, you would think there would be better ways to make money, but it's still pretty cool to see someone willing to go to that extreme for the public.

More to post later.