Sunday, December 23, 2007

5 Days of Advent 19th,20th,21st, 22nd and 23rd

Wed 19th Day of Advent: Grandma and Grandpa Take All The Grandkids To See Santa

This was actually SO MUCH FUN! The Santa at the mall had a real beard, was full of his own fat, and sang lots of Christmas carols with the kids! His seat was a sleigh, and Violet was searching all over looking for his reindeer. She finally resolved herself to asking him, because she just could not understand why there was a sleigh and no reindeer. He told her they could not be inside the mall, and they were outside. It was just a really cute, fun, cheerful little outing with Grandma and Grandpa. Go Rudolph! :)

Thurs 20th Day of Advent: Eat Special Chocolate

Yum, Yum...It is so much fun to eat Chocolate before bed~!

Friday 21st Day of Advent: Attend The Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols

This was presented by our church choir and was delightful and beautiful! My parents loved mom is actually still talking about it! The service was a series of lessons from scripture followed by a carol sung by the was lovely!

Sat 22nd Day of Advent: Open Gifts From Grandma/Grandpa and Byingtons

Sun 23rd Day of Advent: View Living Nativity and Look at Christmas Lights In Leavenworth

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas From the Madson Family!

For those of you who do not already know, we moved to Wenatchee, Wa in February. Brant is now employed by Central Washington Hospital, and is still working in the technology field. He loves his new job and is enjoying the shift from higher education to the medical field. A little side note...he has not totally left higher ed, he started teaching computer programming part-time at Wenatchee Valley Community College this fall. He loves it and is happy to still have his foot in the door at the college level.

The move was...hmmm...exhausting, but without great drama. The biggest inconvenience was our 1 bedroom apartment for 2 adults, 4 kids, a cat and a dog. It was actually a blessing to be able to have a short term situation while we waited for all the home buying stuff to work it's self out, it was just shall we say "CLOSE QUARTERS" for a couple months. We were so blessed by a quick sale of our home in Mosocw, and found a beautiful home here in Wenatchee VERY close to both the kid’s school and Brant’s work. Wenatchee offers a wide range of outdoor activities throughout the entire year, which is great for our high-energy family. We have spent a lot of time bike riding, swimming, running, and plan to ski most of the winter. Actually, I plan to be the support for the skiers…making hot cocoa and chili! I may take up snow shoeing, we’ll see.

Besides keeping patient during the move, my biggest accomplishment for the year was running a half-marathon this past fall. I completed the 13.2 mile race in a little over 2 and half hours, and swore that I would never do it again. Alas…I decided to sign up for another half-marathon in April. It is the most amazing since of accomplishment and keeps me committed to staying healthy.

Tage is 6 and is in kindergarten at The River Academy. He has changed a lot this year. He has not only grown a TON physically, he has matured a TON as well. He loves helping out with Benjamin, and takes his responsibility as a big brother very seriously. Tage started choir this year at our church and really loves learning about music. We are planning on signing him up for baseball in the spring. He is really starting to turn into a neat big kid, with loads of personality!

Simon is 4 and is in preschool at The River Academy. He is still a sweet little guy with a great smile! He says smiling is his favorite! Simon is very smart and takes going to school VERY seriously. He comes home and reports to us with LOTS of authority what they did in the classroom that day. He is a total crack up! He still loves baseball and got to go on a special trip to Seattle with mom, dad and grandma to see a Mariners game this past summer. We all loved spending that special one on one time with him!

Violet is 3 and makes her presence known. She talks, and sings non-stop all day long. She does not need anyone to talk back to her (that’s what her ponies are for)…although she will gladly enter into the most amazing non-senseacle conversation with anyone if they are up for it. She often tells people she is 3 and 4 years old at the same time…she also morphs into a puppy or horse in the blink of an eye. Most of the time I do not know who or what I am dealing with…it can change in a split second.

Benjamin is 18months old and is not really a baby anymore. He is a jolly tank of a fellow who loves music of all kinds and can really get down. He likes to play with balls, trucks, sorting toys and is starting to spend a lot of time looking at his books. This makes him sound like a mellow fellow, but he is more like the Tasmanian Devil when it comes to energy and how he moves about the house. It is remarkable how fast he can move from one room to the next taking down people and things faster than a blink of an eye. Just watching him is exhausting! He has such enthusiasm and excitement for life. We are constantly loving on him and enjoying his bubbling personality.

As we prepare for the New Year we look back with amazement at how much God has provided for us in 2007. We have been so blessed with a successful new job, a great new community, good health, happy children, and lots of family and friends to share life and all of its moments with.

"Behold a virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call his name Immanuel" Matthew 1:23

Many blessings to you all in 2008!
Love, Brant, Rachel, Tage, Simon, Violet and Benjamin

18th Day of Advent: Jammie Ride To Look At Christmas Lights...Part 1

This is the first in what we hope to be a two part series...Last night we conquered Wenatchee, and in the next couple of days we hope to conquer East Wenatchee...It seems a little ambitious this close to Christmas, we'll see how the next few days unfold. The kids really enjoyed this little outing. We had special cookies for the car which made this event that much sweeter! I hope you all have had a chance to look at lights. It is one of my most favorite things to do at Christmas!

17th Day Of Advent: Watch Charlie Brown's Christmas!

Not a lot to add here except...WE LOVE THIS MOVIE!


Sunday 16th Day of Advent: Attend Church Christmas Dinner

This was a wonderful evening of fellowship with our church friends and family. It was decorated beautifully, and the food was perfect, especially for a family with small children! How can you go wrong with pasta! I think Violet alone had at least 6 meat balls!!!! The master mind behind the dinner was I think quite brilliant, they had thought to put a coloring table in the back for all the children....wonderful idea! Our kids were very busy making cards for everyone they could think of. Once the dinner was over the choirs sang, it was lovely. Tage is in the children's prep choir and they sang Silent was very sweet to hear the voices of babes singing such a beautiful song! The highlight of the evening for Violet was......NEW SPARKLY SHOES!!!! She received this delightful gift from Grandma and Grandpa just before the dinner and I might add she was most defiantly pleased with her new little clothing addition. She walked around the room and would stick her foot out with lots of drama and say...."Look at my shoes...Aren't they beautiful" Since my parents attended the dinner with us Simon, our little lover, was glued to Grandmas side the entire evening. The evening ended perfectly with big beautiful snowflakes falling as we left. So fun!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Back Logged Advent!! got a little away from me over the past week. We had an unbelievably busy and festive week that ended with a BANG of a Christmas party here at our house Friday night. To catch you all up on our Advent I'll list them starting with last Sunday...

Sunday 9th Day of Advent: We took the kids to their friend Jordan's Christmas Play
This was absolutely the best evening of the week! There was a potluck before the play and Tage, Simon and Violet were in rare form! They ate all their food, which is quite impressive for a potluck...most of the time I feed them before these kind of functions because they are not so found of mystery dishes. This event however was a rarity. Some of our friends looked over at one point and saw Tage walking around the room with a Christmas cookie in one hand, and the the most ginormous piece of ham in the other. It was dangling from his hand as he walked, and he would occasionally bring it to his mouth and rip into it with a vigorous bite. Then he would chew for quite awhile before taking the next bite. He actually ate the entire thing. Nothing but class coming from the Madsons! While our entire table of adults were wiping the tears from our eyes due to an abundance of laughter, Violet came over to introduce us to here new little friend. Ahhhhaaa, she was holding hands with an 8 year old boy, directing him around the room, introducing him to various people, mostly ones she had never met! The laughter erupted again. Can you believe this all happened before the play even began?! Once the play started we had to hold onto Violet with all our strength...SHE WAS DETERMINED TO SING ON STAGE WITH ALL THE OTHER LITTLE GIRLS!!!!! Jordan did a wonderful job and the evening was a success.

Monday 10th Day of Advent: Sing Christmas Carols Before Bed
The kids LOVE singing Christmas Carols, and would be ok doing it everyday of Advent. Since Tage and Simon have 2 Christmas programs they are singing in we decided to tie up practicing for the programs and celebrating Advent all in one-fell-swoop. They are doing a great job memorizing the versus and can sing good and loud for all to hear!

Tuesday 11th Day of Advent: Go Shopping To Buy Christmas Presents For The Kids Teachers
This was a quick trip to Target that resulted in 4 beautiful Poinsettias and 4 boxes of Christmas lights. For some reason the boys insisted on getting their teachers lights....random I know, but practical also. The teachers were delighted!

Wensday 12th Day of Advent: Eat Special Christmas Cake and Watch The Original Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer

Thursday 13th Day of Advent: Attend The River Academy Christmas Program
This was the 1st Annual Christmas Program at The River Academy (our kids school). It was a huge success! The place was absolutely PACKED full of loving family and friends, and the kids did the most amazing jobs on their pieces! The kinder prep and kindergarten recited a poem about the birth of baby Jesus. It was darling...about 30 little 4,5, and 6 year olds all shouting their poem to the crowd with little added hand motions to make it even that much cuter! In that group alone there were three sets of cousins, and a set of siblings all standing together shouting to the glory of God about the amazing birth of our Savior! It was unforgettable!
Friday 14th Day of Advent: Spend The Evening Playing With Cousins and Madison Cook
We had our Christmas party so the boys got to play with their cousins and a baby sitter while we enjoyed an evening with adults. Madison Cook is their favorite babysitter...any excuse to hang out with her makes the kids CRAZY with excitement! They had a blast and got to stay the night with Lexi and Kendra...a little added bonus!

Saturday 15th Day of Advent: Take a Jammie Ride To See Grandma, Grandpa and Loki
My parents arrived here in Wenatchee a little late in the evening. The kids were are settled in their jammies when we announced to them we were getting in the Race Car Mini-Van to go greet Grandma, Grandpa and Loki at Aunt Michelle's! They were REALLY excited! When we arrived there was lots of running, jumping, screaming, laughing, hugging etc. We got home about 10:30 and the kids crashed hard for about 10 hrs! By the way...Loki is my parents dog.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Violet Eating Snow

8th Day Of Advent: Hang Outdoor Lights With Dad

BIG BUMMER....I got so busy helping with this task, I forgot to take pictures. We did however, get the house all lit up...and yes we did check all the bulbs before we started.

Here are some fun pics of our Sabbath dinner last night. We decorated MORE cookies...there was icing and sprinkles everywhere! The kitchen was quite festive from literally floor to celling!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

7th Day Of Advent: Make Caramel Corn And Watch A Christmas Movie

We had my sister and her girls over last night for a Christmas movie party. I made caramel corn and we watched "Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause". The kids loved it. It was a lot of fun! My sister Michelle had also made sugar cookies, and brought them for the kids to decorate! They had a blast and consumed more frosting than they ended up putting on the cookies! Tonight we will enjoy those yummy treats after our Sabbath meal.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

4th Day Of Advent: Trim The Tree!

The kids are starting to have quite an ornament collection of their own, so they hang their ornaments and then once they go to bed Brant and I finish up with the rest. Here are a couple pics of the kids hanging theirs...I have to admit Brant and I have not finished our part yet!!!!! I'll post the finished product....if we finish.

3rd Day Of Advent: Eat Candy Canes and Sing Carols

Sunday, December 2, 2007

2nd Day of Advent: Go To The Mountains and Cut Down Our Christmas Tree

Plan/Dream: Taking the fam in the ol’ Woody to the mountains to cut down that most perfect Christmas tree. We have hot cocoa in the thermos all hot and ready for marshmallows. Then we take a few trips down the hill on the sled before we head back to our warm toasty home…Ahhhhhhh..

Reality: Purchased the tree at Lowes after spending most of the afternoon driving around in the blizzard like snow trying to decide which discount store had the best tree for the money.

We awoke to about 5 inches of new snow, and it continued to come down and create white-out conditions all over the greater Wenatchee Valley. After church Brant was sure it was not wise to bus the entire fam (my sisters family included) into the mountains to cut down our tree. So we reluctantly but cheerfully submitted to the weather and store hopped looking for that most perfect tree. Alas…Lowes was the winner. The kids were happy all the same with the end product, and the daddies redeemed the missed outing to the mountains with a killer trip to the sledding hill…followed by a hot steamy cup of hot cocoa, made by mom. They are all warm and tucked into their beds, and we are ready to settle in to a quiet evening at home. More tomorrow! Happy Advent!

Snowed All Night...

...Still Snowing!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

1st Day of Advent: Go To The Welches' For Dinner And Games

Today was the first day of Advent and let me tell you...we had a VERY celebratory day! We started out reading our scripture for the day which was Gen 1:1-2:3. Then we had a birthday party this afternoon for the cousins Alexis and Kendra. The kids all met at the sledding hill for a very high energy sledding party, before heading back to my sisters for hot cocoa, games, cake and presents! We went home and re-grouped before putting on our Advent/Sabbath hats for a very fun but relaxing evening with the Welch family! We had an awesome apricot stuffed pork tenderloin with salad, scalloped potatoes, and then a nice fruit salad for desert! Thanks so much Jen for providing such a lovely meal! The kids had sparkling cider and practiced giving toasts around the table. They did a wonderful job picking out things they were thankful for during our busy fun filled day. We sang the Gloria Patri and then the Welch kids gave us a memorized and well done blessing. By the time we finished dinner it was nearing 8:00pm so we skipped the games and all the kids headed downstairs for a movie...we are all pretty wiped out from such an exciting day. also SNOWED all day! The kids are so thrilled to be able to play outside. Here are a few pics from the day. I especially like the ones of the kids looking out the window at the snow!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Belated Thanksgiving Photos

I thought I would get a couple pictures of our table posted before we start our Advent postings TOMORROW!!! Stay posted....Lord willing I will be posting each days activities. Our kids are VERY ramped up and excited for Christmas and ask every day it today is Christmas. The Advent calendar will really help them with the count down! I am also very excited and ramped!

The pretty flowers in the pictures were from my awesome husband. He really knows how to make my day!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Thanksgiving and Advent

We had a nice quiet Thanksgiving here in Wenatchee with Brant's mom and grandparents. Over the weekend we ate a lot and watched a lot of movies with the kids. It was nice and relaxing...the perfect calm before the holiday season really begins! We are planning to get our tree this weekend, which the kids are soooo excited about. We are getting a permit from the forest service to go and cut down our tree. This is such a fond memory I have of my childhood. We are so blessed to still live in the Northwest so that we can go as a family and pick a tree to cut fresh. I think we are most excited about starting our Advent celebration this Sat Dec 1st! We have some really fun activities planned for the kids like making caramel corn, making Christmas cards for the neighbors and taking a jammie ride to look at Christmas lights. I would love for any of you who read this to share your different Advent and Christmas traditions with us. I love family traditions and plan on sharing our celebrations here with you all. I have really grand intentions to post a little note or photo everyday of Advent so we can share our advent activities with you. We'll see how it goes!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Touching Snail Mail Surprise!

Today was a gloomy fall day. I spent a good part of the day doing laundry, and cleaning up from our lazy Sunday afternoon. One of the kids’ favorite part of the day is to go outside and get the mail for me. However, since today was so wet and rainy I went out instead and to my surprise there was a box FOR ME in my mailbox! I was thrilled…and then intrigued! The box was from my Aunt Lisa who lives in Kansas City, and we honestly don’t get to talk much (which is a shame really…but I digress) so I was very curious to see what was in my little box. I looked at it for a few seconds before I tore into it wondering what she might have found that made her think of me. Once the 2 seconds were up, I tore right in and frankly was not sure there was anything in the box. There were many layers of tissue paper, and as I was pilfering through the paper, a small light weight metal object slipped out from the paper and fell onto my counter. I looked at it quite perplexed wondering what it was, but sort of remembering it as something I may have seen before. I decided there must be something else in the box to help me figure out this mystery gift. Ahhhhaaaa…a little note. I was sure this was the answer to my mystery metal object. I opened the little note and read that this wonderful little object, which by they way is a biscuit cutter, belonged to my Granny Violet. Before I go on, I must add that Granny was my great-grandmother and I loved her dearly! I spent a lot of time at her apartment playing dress-up in her clothes, going to church in my dress-ups, and riding the bus to the dime-store. I have sweet vivid loving memories of Granny and am so happy that we were able to name our Violet after her...any way back to the biscuit cutter. It was given to my Granny by her mother which makes the cutter around 100 years old. My Aunt Lisa, in all her wisdom and sweetness, thought of me and my daughter Violet, knowing that our Violet was named after Granny. Lisa knows the importance of family and inheritance passed down generation by generation...which I want her to know I am very thankful for! Even though this little biscuit cutter has no monetary value, it has the value of memory and age and story. This is something that will strike up conversations about Granny whenever Violet and I make biscuits together using the cutter. I will be sure to pass it onto her so that she can use it in her kitchen and make biscuits with her children…Granny’s great great great grandchildren. So Lisa, thank you so much for thinking of me and Violet, your distant but very appreciative niece and great-niece. Happy Thanksgiving!

Kinder-Prep Thanksgiving Feast

Here are a few pictures from the Thanksgiving feast we had in Simon’s class last week. It was so cute, the kids made special place mats for their spot at the table, and wore their pilgrim hats with so much honor. They learned that the pilgrims often put corn kernels next to their plates on Thanksgiving to remind them of the days when all they had to eat were a few kernels of corn. Each our children were given three kernels in which they got to put into a basket and name three things they were thankful for. Most of the children were thankful for their moms, dads, siblings, and grandparents…there were a few however that were thankful for their toys, their parents cars, and their pets. It was really cute. I also have included a picture of Simon and his buddy Baz. The boys have really hit it off and play often with one another. It is going to be so much fun to see these two boys grow up together. I look forward to sharing this picture with them when they are teenagers!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Playing Hard...At Work!

As we worked hard today to end our work week with a vengeance, there was still a little time for play...even for dad! Tage and Simon had their little friend Jordan over to play, and help out with the yard work. As you will see, I'm not sure who had more fun...Brant or the kids...or me cracking up taking pictures. I especially like the one of Brant crawling into the garbage can. It was quite funny...he was looking for a lost shoe in the leaves. Enjoy!

Simon And The Thankful Tree

Here Simon is with his Kinder-Prep teachers Mrs. Shannon and Mrs. Harper in front of the Thankful Tree. Each of the students got to put a leaf on the tree that had different things they were thankful for written on it. Here are some of the things our sweet little Simon wrote on his leaf:
1. My Mom and Dad
2. My Brothers and Sister
3. My Dog Crystal
4. My House
This is the last week of school before there is a week off for Thanksgiving. Simon's little class will be having a Thanksgiving Feast, and will be wearing pilgrim hats as they all sit around the table together eating turkey, cornbread and honey, veggies and of course pumpkin pie! I get to work in the class room that day and plan to take pictures to share with you all.
Simon is really loving school this year, and is especially fond of his teachers. He really respects them and works very hard at obeying and following directions. He is starting to recognize his name and is working on tracing it so that he can get used to writing it in a fluid manner. We are really proud of Simon, and are so happy that he loves his school so much.