Monday, April 13, 2009

Belle Meade Plantation

We visited Belle Meade Plantation today in Nashville during one of their "Homeschool Days" they offer there. We had a fabulous time...and learned a LOT...they have a remarkable program there...and we will in fact go back again! We learned that the house was first occupied by Hardings...then in later years his daughter and son-in-law, "General Jackson" would occupy the home. We learned that 7 of our US Presidents actually sat in the same parlor we stood in. We learned that the family (and the farm) was known for raising, breeding, boarding, and racing horses. Mr. Jackson himself paid $25,000 for an English racehorse name Iroquois. Today that would be the same as half a million dollars! When Iroqouis died, General Jackson had his hooves cut off and made into ink wells for his library in memory of his favorite horse. And we were able to see them today. Eww.
The back of the Plantation House...

We happened to run into some fellow homeschoolers from our church there!

We learned that since they didn't have electricity, they had to be super creative. They burned the manure from their horses...and piped the methane gas into their house for light! Genious...I think. They also used tricks such as putting candles in front of mirrors or pieces of tin to reflect the lights adding more light to their rooms.

The kids did a little craft of punching a design into tin (a person that did this would have been known as a "whitesmith") with a nail and glueing a candle onto it to reflect the light. We plan to burn those tonight to see how well that works!

The original cabin the Harding's lived in before building the Plantation House

Mag and Tyler as "Mr. and Mrs. Jackson"

The carriage house

Only after my kids had climbed this, and we had gotten to our car, did Tyler read on our paper "no climbing on the bell tower"...oops!

This was the Gardeners House...the little slanted room on the right is the Greenhouse.

And this was the Dairy House

We learned on our Scavenger Hunt of the grounds that the third step to curing pork is to scrape it...the step before that? Scalding the hog...yep,in that big pot!

Just one of the many BEAUTIFUL carriages in the stables...

And of course what McManus field trip would be complete without the comedy relief of Aidan?

I couldn't help but find it quite comical that my kids said "it would be cool to pump our water like this!", for what...5 minutes?
It was a BEAUTIFUL day to dig into History...don't ya think?

"And whatever I do, may it always bring glory to you"

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


Not just a "1" candle....or just a "3", those days seem like they were just yesterday have passed...those candles have been wished upon...their lights blown firstborn 13!!!! And I still cannot believe it...can't even wrap my mind around it to be honest...
It would do me no good (and you would be beyond sick of reading my blog) to try to put into words what Tyler means to me...I will just say this...he saved my life. I was 19 (23 days shy of 20) when I gave birth to Tyler...I was nervous beyond comprehension...I know, shocker right? And he was making me brave before he was even born...Due to preterm labor at 6 months, I was on bedrest for the remainder of my pregnancy...and my water broke a month early ...27 hours ( this kid was obviously trying his best to make sure he was an ONLY child!) into labor I was being prepped for a c-section...I cried like a baby and begged insisted that I be given just a little longer to make progress..I wanted so badly the experience of giving birth to him!!! Thankfully I had a doc that conceded to give me one more chance..upped my meds to the max...and about an hour later...Tyler Keith McManus was placed on my chest...all 6lbs. 11 oz. of him...he was mine...and he needed me...and I needed him...more than I would know at the time... It was at that moment...April 3, 1996 at 4:45 pm that I officially grew up.
I really feel like Tyler and I have grown up together in a way...and I wouldn't change that even if I could...I have enjoyed every moment of it...and I am in awe...amazed the handsome, respectful, funny, ridiculously talented, self-sufficient, thoughtful, loving, young man of God he has grown into. And as sad as I can make myself just by thinking back to all that has mad as I can get when I realize that there is so much I have already forgotten...I wouldn't trade this guy...and who he is right this moment...for the world. He is not just Tyler, my son...he is now Tyler, my friend...Tyler, my brother in Christ. My only wish now would be that time would slow down a bit...but I know that it won' I will try my best to soak up every single day I have with him.

Let Me Hold You Longer By: Karen Kingsbury"

Long ago you came to me, a miracle of firsts: First smiles and teeth and baby steps, a sunbeam on the burst.But one day you will move away and leave to me your past, And I will be left thinking of a lifetime of your lasts.~~~~~

The last time that I held a bottle to your baby lips. The last time that I lifted you and held you on my hip. The last time when you woke up crying needing to walked.When last you crawled up with your blanket, wanting to be rocked.~~~~~

The last time that you ran to me still small enough to hold, The last time when you said you'd marry me when you grew old. Precious, simple moments and bright flashes from the past - Would I have held you longer if I'd known they were the last?~~~~~

Our last adventure to the park, your final midday nap, The last time when you wore your favorite faded baseball cap. Your last few hours of kindergarten, last days of first grade, Your last at bat in Little League, last colored picture made.~~~~~

never said goodbye to all your yesterdays long past. So what about tomorrow -- will I recognize your lasts?~~~~~

The last time that you catch a frog in that old backyard pond. The last time that you run barefoot across our fresh-cut lawn. Silly, scattered images will represent your past. I keep on taking pictures, never quite sure of your lasts...~~~~~

The last time that I comb your hair or stop a pillow fight. The last that I pray with you and tuck you in at night. The last time that we cuddle with a book, just me and you. The last time you jump in our bed and sleep between us two.~~~~~

The last piano lesson, last vacation to the lake. Your last few weeks of middle school, last soccer goal you make. I look ahead and dream of days that haven't come to pass. But as I do, I sometimes miss today's sweet, precious lasts...~~~~~

The last time that I help you with a math or spelling test. The last when I should that yes, your room is still a mess. The last time that you need me for a ride from here to there. The last time that you spend the night with your old tattered bear.~~~~~

My life keeps moving faster, stealing precious days that pass. I want to hold on longer -- want to recognize your lasts...~~~~~

The last time that you need my help with details of a dance. The last time that you ask me for advice about romance. The last time that you talk to me about your hopes and dreams. The last time that you wear a jersey for your high school team.~~~~~

I've watched you grow and barely noticed seasons as they pass. If I could freeze the hands of time, I'd hold on to your lasts. For come some bright fall morning you'll be going far away. College life will beckon in a brilliant sort of way.~~~~~

One last hug, one last good-bye, one quick and hurried kiss. One last time to understand just how much you will be missed. I'll watch you leave and think how fast our times together passed. Let me hold on longer God, to every precious last.

We love you Bug!!!!!

"And whatever I do, may it always bring glory to you"

Apparently, we are Campers

Who knew???? Not us only took us 10 years to figure out that spending quality unplugged time away from all other distractions of the world... nestling up to campfires and throwing back burnt marshmallows...would make for what might possibly be our very favorite way to vacation as a family...

Who knew the fog lifting over the lake would greet us every morning?

Who knew we would look left and right of us and this be the closest any other campers would be to us???
And that it would feel like we had the whole park to ourselves?

Who knew I would feel compelled to take random shots of our bikes?

Or that my kids would race to draw with sidewalk chalk as soon as they woke up??
That this would be the view from the Playground?...
that this would be my view through my the playground??..
and this...
this too...
That we would be become extremely happy and content with things such as ....birdwatching...
Bird identifying...
Daughter holding...
son photographing...
Stopping to smell the wild onions roses....
looking for the perfect rock....
to skip....
collecting rocks and sticks in a "nature basket"...

sitting for hours at the picnic table...
doing this....(mag's birdhouse)
and this...(Aidan's)
paying close attention to detail....
and ending up with this...(Aidan's)

Being just days away from becoming a teenager, and not being "too cool" for painting birdhouses...
reaping the benefits of our hard work...
doing the "dirty" work... :-)

being followed by a ridiculously proud mom sporting a Rebel around her neck at all times...

taking in the sunset....


with friends...

I couldn't end this without telling about our God moment....Who knew that when we arrived and were setting up we would blow a fuse and have no temps dropping by the minute to freezing???? Who knew that I am a bit nervous about propane heat and was insisting we just use our electric space heaters for the weekend???? I'll tell you who knew...My God that's who!!!! We were probably one of 10 campers in the whole park...and the closest campers to us were at least 10 sites away...there seemed to be a group together so Adam walked down to ask if anyone could possibly help us rookies out. I kid you not...who walked back with him???? An ELECTRICIAN (fuse problem) and non other than a BIOCHEMIST from Vanderbilt to tell me that propane is apparently only one molecule away from Carbon which makes it the safest gas to burn.....hmm...WHO KNEW?!?!?
"And whatever I do, may it always bring glory to you"

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