Where to begin??? The deal is we are working with the kids to have a LOVE for their neighbor, who ever it may be. Whether it is our direct geographical neighbor, an unknown person at the grocery store, a brother or sister, parents, grandparents, teachers and friends at school, you get the picture...we are ALL neighbors in Gods eyes. This is really a bigger issue than it seems. As toddlers and little ones we are always telling the kiddos to share, be kind, and love their neighbor in relatively supervised settings. Once they enter that "kid" stage and you start sending them out into the throws of "life lessons" (ie:school and sports) these simple little principles seem to form peculiar not so simple identities. Issues of fairness, obedience, attitude, and pride trickle in all at the same time. So hmmm...what to do?...hmmm..Pray, praying first is always good...and hmmm...hold them accountable...yup that's good too...seek forgiveness if that is necessary, truly important...BUT...don't forget about THEIR hearts. Whatever the situation may be, we need to sit, hug, snuggle, talk and pray with our kids and work out their emotions. Let them know it is ok to talk to us and let us know how they are feeling, starting at young ages. If we close the door and don't allow for talks about issues at school, or in the baseball dugout (or where ever your kids lives exist) their questions and unresolved sin could turn to unresolved bitterness that will crop up into ugliness later.
I must be in a blogging mood today...Wow three posts in one day! So here goes my latest soap box~
In the mail today we received this nifty little resource called the "2009-2010 Government Guide", direct from Linda Evans Parlette, Senator for the 12th Legislative District. It is about 25 pages long and has information on all elected officials, school districts, counties etc. It irritates the dickens out of me that the state of Washington is billions of dollars in debt, cutting budgets like crazy, threatening layoffs, and tax hikes like mad but still spends tax dollar money on stupid blankety blank blank like this! ALL of the information provided in this "Guide" is available to us in the following locations; phone books, libraries, local government offices, and the Internet....and probably more places that I am not thinking of. What did I do with my little book? I threw it away, like most people in the state will do...talk about a waste of resources! I did however send in the comment card expressing my disapproval for expenditures of this matter....paying my own postage of course. Will Linda read it no most likely not, it will probably get dropped in the rotating file cabinet...
We are in our 9th week of Growing Kids Gods Way and we have learned a lot! There have been many "DUH" or "NO BRAINER" moments, where we ask ourselves..."Why didn't we think of that?" The truth is, even the simplest things are not always easy to figure out when you are smack dab in the middle of raising small children, so I am very thankful to The Knight family for opening up their home and encouraging us in this awesome job of raising our beautiful children...With that said here are some of our, "Why didn't we think of that"...moments...
Pre-Teach our children. Talk to them about right and wrong in times of cheerfulness and non-conflict. It is more effective to train and teach when they are not in trouble. Then when they sin or mis-behave we can remind them of the expectations that we have been discussing as a family. A fun way to do this is by role play or acting out different scenarios to help teach the children proper behavior. I love this because it can be fun and everyone laughs and really sees the silliness in ugly behavior when it is acted out by different family members. Turn off the TV and do this...it is fun!
5 Minute Rule. Seriously this is one of my favorites...and frankly is a big fat DUH!!! Give the kids a 5 minute warning before dinner time, or bedtime, or homework time, or when you need them to come in from outside. It gives the kids time to prepare to comply, and gives the parents time to prepare as well. Often times I give a command and am not ready myself to deal with the consequences if they ignore me or whatever. It shows the kids you care about what they are doing and want to give them sometime to finish-up...the 5 minute warning takes care of that. It has really helped here at The Madson home.
Interrupt Rule. This was a much needed tool in our house! Everyone wants to talk at the same time and usually it is MOST important that they have my attention when people are visiting, or I'm on the phone, or when we are out and about somewhere. The rule is to have them simply put their hand on our leg to let one of us know they need to say something. Then I, or Brant, puts our hand on theirs acknowledging that they have something to say. It gives us as parents an opportunity to say, "Excuse me for a minute, Violet needs to tell me something." It is much more effective than them running up to me, saying my name loudly 10 times, putting their face in mine, all to say..."Can I have a cheese stick." We are working on this, it will take sometime to get into the habit...for the kids and us. :)
Notes from Dad. The kids have really enjoyed a surprise "I Love You" note from dad in their lunchbox, backpack or nightstand. It is an extra-special little boost of their confidence to have DAD go that extra mile to let them know HE loves them. They have all responded differently, but in very positive sweet little ways. This is so important...we plan to do it always...I hope Brant even does it throughout their adulthood.
Last week The River Academy elementary held its annual speech meet competition requiring all students in 1st-6th grade to memorize a poem, or bible verse and recite it in front of their class, judges and various parents, grandparents and siblings. This was quite intimidating for some of the children, however the 1st graders did an amazing job, no one forgot their lines and everyone kept their composer...I AM IMPRESSED!!! Tage did well he earned an "Excellent" award which I guess would be similar to second place. As you can see below he was quite pleased with himself! I also posted his poem below...It was darling!
He sits and begs, he gives a paw, He is, as you can see, The finest dog you ever saw, And he belongs to me.
He follows everywhere I go And even when I swim. I laugh because he thinks, you know, That I belong to him.
But still no matter what we do We never have a fuss; And so I guess it must be true That we belong to us.
Here are 3 You Tube clips from Sat evenings River Academy Benefit Dinner. Look for Simon in the "Kindergarten Sound Off" and for Tage in the "TRA Benefit Dinner Slide Show". I am also including the 11th graders Jamaican song they performed...it is just too fun to not share with you all.
Uncle Jim is a REAL cowboy. Just ask all of my kids, and me for that matter! I just asked Violet to tell me something about Uncle Jim and she said..."He looks like a cowboy and I love him." Ahhh How sweet is that! In all actuality Jim IS a cowboy, a retired one. He grew up on the family ranch and then proceeded to run and operate it himself until he decided to retire a few years back. He ran cattle and grew wheat among many other very important farming duties, of which I am not even remotely close to qualified to write about. The first time I ever met Uncle Jim and Aunt Freda was when Brant and I were just dating and he invited me to branding (more on that in a minute). I was a young lady around 19years old and had grown up in Western Washington spending most of my youth on the beach looking for beach glass and sea shells or in the forest playing on moss beds...that is until I met Brant. He and his family introduced me to a whole new world...Eastern Washington, farming, Washington State University and AHHHH...Branding..Yes, old fashion branding at The Madson Ranch. That was my first introduction to Uncle Jim and Aunt Freda. I survived and am positive most of the family is still quietly laughing at the site of me being there...but hey...I actually loved it after I got over the shock of calves being roped, horns being ripped from their heads, and boy parts cut and well I don't know much more then that...I decided it was better to stop asking questions. Anyhow, over the years I have grown to love and appreciate all the history and family heritage that exists around "the ranch" and the people who have lived and worked there. We talk about it often with the kids and try and make a point to go up every now and then for a visit. The kids love it, we love it and I think Jim and Freda don't mind us in small doses.
Miss Violet hugging Uncle Jim. She brought all her library books on horses to the ranch for Uncle Jim to look at...Just in case he needed to learn a little bit more about horses. :)
Vi, Uncle Jim, Soren, Benjamin (wearing Jim's old hat) and Miss Helen...Tage was to busy breaking ice with a pitch fork to come in for pictures.
My good friend Andrea is "officially" launching her photography business and has just finished her website. I would encourage you all to check our her beautiful work AND consider using her for your next family picture session! In addition to her amazing photography she has a passion for children and will be giving 10% of her proceeds to Orphans Hope, how can you say no to that!
Sig gave me permission to post pictures before her, so here goes!
Nezzy slept a bit in the car on the way home from the airport. He warmed right up when we got home, we gave him a tubby and some warm jammies and he was ready to explore. Really, he was most interested in anything with buttons (remotes, radios, cameras etc). He LOVES UB and seemed most fascinated with all our lights and light switches. We take so much for granted....Oh this morning he was wandering around and became quite fascinated with the oven. Opening it, touching it, looking inside. It was really cute.
UB (Uncle Brant), Ben, Sig, Nezzy and Brooke right after 24 hours of travel. I think they look great! Ben and Nezzy strapped in for 3 more hours of travel. Nezzy was tired and a little unsure about the seat belts.
We are headed to Seattle today to pick Sig, Nezzy and Brooke up at the airport! God's timing was amazing and Nezzy's Visa was granted to him much quicker than anyone was expecting! Our hearts are excited and anxious to meet our new little nephew! Simon and I got to talk to him a little on the phone this morning while they were waiting to catch their flight out of DC...I'm not sure what he said, but he ended his conversation with "Chow"...how cute is that! Please be praying for safe travel as we go back and forth over the passes.