Monday, December 6, 2010

Advent 2010 Week 1 - Christmas Tree

We got off to kind of a slow start this year. We had a CRAZY busy Thanksgiving complete with lots of family, lots of food and lots of snow which of course meant lots of sledding! Brant left right after Thanksgiving for a week in Florida and I did my best but Advent took a back burner until Dad got home. We spent this weekend really whooping it up and putting together a plan to get caught up on our readings. Every year we do a "Progressive Tree" and decorate it every night through Advent completing it Christmas Eve with the kiddos new ornament and the star. This year's tree adventure was rather mild compared to years past. We opted for the tree farm rather than the expedition to the mountains. No worries forgotten twine or chainsaws. It was quite pleasant and I am very thankful for the Shelton's Tree Farm in Cashmere.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Violet's First 6th Birthday At The Beach

When we asked Violet what she wanted to do for her birthday she said that she wanted to visit Beach Grandma (aka Gram Pam, Grandma Beach) and make bead jewelery. Both Brant and I immediately said "DONE!" with great enthusiasm. Brant was stoked to spend the weekend on the beach with his mom and I also loved the idea of fall days on the beach, but truthfully I was just as excited as Violet to play with beach Grandma's beautiful beads!Simon making sure Violets new necklace is attached properly.

Violet busy at work making her bracelet.
Just look at all that fun! I must admit I am becoming addicted!
Gram Pam and some of her beautiful work!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Changing Plans!

We have a very busy weekend ahead of us and grandparents are coming to town so today I was gung-ho at getting 3 days of school done in two days. This means I needed super on-it school age kiddos and cooperation from the youngers as we were plowing through lots of lessons. I was sure it was possible from the vantage point of "technically" we can accomplish the allotted work in 2 days...however I was aware Benji may have different plans since he's 4 and gets rather bored and destructive around 12:30. Ether way I knew we could get the work done even if it wasn't pretty. I am one of those people who likes to make plans and stick to them even if everyone around me is miserable. I am usually so into my plan that I may just make myself sick or near to tears in order to take it to its intended fruition. Well, we were up, fed and doing a quick house pick up when the plan started loosing its momentum and I began to internally panic (realize it was only 8:30am). Benji began his typical lack of self-control over toys which gave me prime training opportunities...over and over again...After about 30 minutes and several trips to the "proverbial woodshed" Benji was calming down and ready to move on. PHEW! Time to start school! I was walking down the hall-way holding Benji's hand when Miss Vi walked passed us saying "Be-en Tage knocked over ALL your guys"...Sure enough Ben flipped out...again...and we were back in the bathroom/woodshed. We prayed and I sent Benji on his way, but first I made Miss Vi ask him for forgiveness for provoking him...She did so and Benji headed back to the castle full of playmobil to continue his battle between good and evil. Vi then turned to me and said "is it time for school?" and I said "It will be after we take care of your sin in "the bathroom"." From that point on her little emotions went from a sweet, precious young girl to an ugly, possessed, strong willed little sinner. So much for my school day plans and honestly I was at peace because I knew her little heart was way more important than reading and math. After HOURS ( I am not kidding) of bathroom time, bedroom time and bible reading time Brant came home and helped us sort out the mess. All three boys were off playing war, my house was wrecked, there was nothing for lunch and I really wanted to cry. But I just remembered in all things give thanks, which is what I did. Benji and Vi were both pooped from their morning of soul training and Tage, Simon and I were able to accomplish quite a bit this afternoon. I do believe God rewarded the boys and I with a very productive afternoon. If I had done my typical clenching of fists not willing to let go of my plan type behavior today could have been quite ugly. I am constantly shocked at my inability to ask God what His plan is for us before I make my own. I am hoping days like today will help me remember to go to Him first, and then make our plans.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Curriculum Choices

Here is what I know so far...

We are joining an informal co-op this year called Classical Conversations. It is informal since it is new to our community and we are starting a bit late, we are hoping to have a formal campus next year. Classical Conversations will meet once a week and will introduce our lessons and memory work for the week. Subjects covered by C.C. are math, science, literature, Latin, history, geography and fine arts.

Difficulty keeping up with reading was one of the main reasons we brought the kids home to school. We have taken in lots of information on different phonics, language arts and reading programs and have decided on the following.

Teaching Your Child To Read in 100 Easy Lessons
Writing Road To Reading Phonogram Cards and Interactive Cd
Sonlight Launguage Arts 2 Reading Program

As for math, all I have to say is I am thankful for my husband. I am thankful he likes math (I do not) and is willing to help teach it! For now since Tage and Simon are so close in age they will be doing math at the same level. They are welcome to move through their books as fast as they want! OH!! I almost forgot...We are using Singapore Math Level 2.

Learning Curve

Before I get to far into this post keep in mind that I have been homeschooling all of 4 days so please do not take this as an advice/ I know what I'm talking about type post. This is mostly a post for me to document all of the bazillion things I have had to research, decide on and act on over the past two weeks. I have learned a lot about myself, my kiddos, my relationship with God and what an absolutely amazing husband I have!

Things Learned So Far:
(In addition to being reminded how none of this is possible without God's help,kindness, love and mercy, and how thankful I am for a husband who is actively participating in schooling our kids and structuring our day.)

1. A home school cannot possibly function without a printer!
We purchased an Epson Stylus NX420. It's a beauty! It's a wireless printer, which means you can simply pick it up and move it where ever your little heart desires! I am fanatically opposed to computers and all their clutter, cords and massive dust...which is quite humorous since I am married to a computer geek and we have at the moment 3 computers networked together throughout our home. Oh and don't even get me started ranting about all the random hard drives, software and other unmentionable computer pieces we have scattered all over the house!:)

2. Finding the right tables or desks for your schooling area is key! I love these desks from IKEA! They were only $20 and they are working out quite nicely!.

3. A friend of mine suggested a whistle for outside games and such. At first I chuckled and wondered if that was really necessary since I only have 4 kiddos.....YES it is necessary. It has come in handy for play time and get their attention time. I love it and so do the kids!

4. It is ok for the kids to have lots of snacks! The first day I was hard core no more than one snack from breakfast to lunch. Benji was a puddle by the end, so I have been providing several snack opportunities throughout the morning and that seems to be helping a lot. All this learning business is hard work!

5. Even though they are home they must raise their hand to speak! We have 4 kiddos...4 grades...and only one of me. In order for us to come out on the other side loving one another we need to be sure to use our manners and wait to be called on before speaking.

6. We are training them how to be schooled at home before we dive into our hard-core curriculum. Since they have been in a day-school setting we wanted to be sure they understood what it means for mom to be their teacher.

7. Freshly cleaned carpet and freshly painted walls did my heart good when thinking I was going to be spending a lot of time in one particular room of the house. I know many people may roll their eyes at this...But hey, that's who I am like it or not! There is a fresh/newness about our home school room that I love.

8 Who cares if the dishes (or the laundry) are done. I can do them later!

9. Celebrating accomplishments is a must! Today we had Wendy's for lunch to celebrate our first successful week of homeschooling.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Very Busy Saturday - Picture Diary

Our day started with an 8am football game, then dance and the Harvest Festival! Next week we add soccer...oh and swim team!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Seasons Change

(I just love this picture of Ben...totally unrelated to this post...:))

Here we go again! A new school year has begun and I was supposed to have a 3rd grader, 2nd grader, kindergartner and Pre-kindergartner all at The River Academy. I was supposed to start my new job as the Director of Advancement at The River Academy AND the First Choice Pregnancy Center of Wenatchee had offered me an amazing part-time development position as well! We have moved from infants/toddlers to school-age kids and it was time for us all to move to the next phase...kiddos to school and mom to work to help pay for school! I can honestly say this is the year I have been dreaming about and have spent many hours working and planning to get it all organized. Little did I know God was in the midst of planning too. It was happening right before my eyes and I was so focused on my own selfish day-dream of big kids, school and work that I failed to see Gods hand closing doors and opening new ones! God very obviously closed the door (for now) at The River Academy and opened the doors at home...They are WIDE-OPEN here at home! We are all home now and I have become an educator, a teacher...A job I can honestly say I would have never wanted! I am seeing the flaws in my selfishness and I am thankful for this opportunity to nurture the soul of my children and to help them develop a love for learning and a love for the Lord our God. We are participating in a home-school co-op called Classical Conversations and I can't wait to get my hands in all the wonderful history we get to study! I have so many thoughts I hope to have time to share. For now this is all...Blessings on all your adventures this school year!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Kinder-Prep Graduation

Violet is officially a kindergartner! She graduated from Kinder-Prep and can't wait to start doing all things "The Kindergarten Way" Here she is with her class and receiving her award from our headmaster Mr. Devris.

Baseball Championships

One of the advantages to having your kids so close together is that they are able to play on sports teams together thus making it so Brant and I are managing less activities. This year Tage and Simon played A-Ball which is baseball with a pitching machine as the pitcher. This was Tage's 3rd and last season in A-Ball and Simon's 1st season. We have had the same coach all three years and once again he took these boys to the championships! We won the first two games of our tournament which put us into the spot for 1st or 2nd place making all the boys anxious with anticipation. Tage had Simon convinced that we would win the whole thing since we had the previous 2 years, but it wasn't our year and we lost 22-0...OUCH! The great thing is the kids got trophies and tickets to the concessions which made the painful loss seem like it was years ago! Tage's batting average for the season was in the 760's and Simon's was 716...I think the Mariners should start scouting...Don't' you?

Simon is 7!

Way back on May 22nd our baseball lovin boy turned 7! He has grown and matured a ton this year and I am constantly blown away by how articulate he is. He does not play with many "toys" unless it involves some sort of sport (baseball, basketball or football), and would happily spend his entire day sitting around talking to people about life and where it is taking them...sort of an unusual trait in a 7 year old boy! He still has the most beautiful smile and tender spirit and I am honestly so thrilled that I get to be his mom and together with God work to grow him into an amazing man.
For Simons birthday we had a quick party with family and friends after he participated in Jr. Ridge 2 River. Dinner consisted of cheese pizza, rootbeer and a football cake. Now that summer is here we are hoping to get him and some buddies to the bowling alley for cosmic bowling. Here are some pictures of his special day!
Simon with his buddy Brandon
I made this...

Friday, May 21, 2010


I am expecting much grief from my dear sis for posting this picture but it so beautifully illustrates one of my most favorite parts of the day and how I truly love to spend it. MORNING. Simple, quite, beautiful mornings have been rather absent from my life over the past 6 months and I am longing for some of these mornings to present themselves again soon!

Simply put, I am not a morning person in the high energy, quick to productivity kind of way. I love waking early to quiet in both summer and winter. I love rising with my hubby (or sis when on family vacations :)) and discussing life. The kind of life that feels fresh and new. The kind of fresh and new life only a good night’s sleep can create. It is amazing how evenings and nights seem so overwhelming and topics are often left unresolved, yet a fresh new quite morning and a very fresh cup of coffee seem to be the simple solution to so many difficult unanswered questions. We eagerly await warm summer days, early mornings on our deck, fresh coffee, and simple conversations that truly mean so much.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Being Creative With The Kiddos

Today was one of those warm and overcast days. Everyone thought it was cold outside because there was no sun, so of course a day of movie watching must be in order. I informed them that all the windows were open and I was running around in flip flops a t-shirt and jeans...Needless to say it was not cold and certainly not a stay-inside-and-watch-movies kind of day. They were less than convinced so I pulled out the Popsicles to see if that would do the go outside trick. Sure enough that got them out the door and 30 seconds later the Popsicles were gone and we were back to our old negotiation shenanigans about it being cold and winter like. I really did not want to stop what I was doing, as if dishes are oh so important, so my attitude was a serious reflection of my frustration...YIKES...not too pretty! I quickly realized that I was being a grump and I needed to go play with the kiddos. I pulled out the sidewalk chalk and we had ourselves a grand time making all sorts of mosaics up and down the driveway and sidewalk. It was a sheer delight to play with the kids and frankly I have been thinking about all sorts of different chalk creations I can draw with the kids next time. Sometimes it feels so good to go outside and play!

Mothers Day Weekend...Exactly What We Needed!

God does a wonderful job of giving us everything we need right when we need it. He promises us that he will provide and I am always so amazed how he works things out in a way that I am completely unable to predict or plan myself. After an extremely rough week I headed into the weekend wondering simply where do we go from here. Here was exactly where we needed to be and here is right where we stayed! Together with Gram Pam (Brant's mom) and my sister's family, we spent the weekend in the back yard under the warm sun enjoying each others company, planting wonderful things like strawberries and annuals, and eating all things summer! I made a barbecued Thai dinner on Sat and on Mother's Day we had a lovely breakfast on the deck followed by an all American summer style barbecue for dinner, complete with hamburgers, hot dogs and watermelon! Mid-way through the day Brant excused me and my sister and let us get away on a much needed coffee date. He held down the fort with seven kids and was more than cheerful when we returned! HAVE I MENTIONED HOW MUCH I LOVE HIM! He is truly an amazing man! On top of it all I was showered with cards and artwork made by my sweet children, two new chairs for my yard and a simply gorgeous hanging flower basket for my deck. I am filled to the brim with love and it all came right when I needed it!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Nothing Profound...Just Blog Worthy...Most Likely With Spelling Errors and Typos...

I have not posted in awhile as I have been waiting for something profound or funny to write about. As I wait for "blog worthy" type moments I realize that my current state is "blog worthy". Here is your warning this post is NOT going to fall into the category of cheerful or funny or informative. This post is just a bit of reflection on our past couple of weeks. Life is not always easy and often throws us some rather intense curve balls. I need to write about some of those if I want this blog to truly reflect "Madson Life".
I am not going to sugar coat this...Our school year has been mostly sour with a few sweet moments that our God has graciously given us to help keep the momentum. The sweet moments have come in the form of encouragement from amazingly wise people who love us and our children and promise God will not give us more than we can handle. He has given us the perfect children and there is a right answer for us, for our family. Unfortunately for our children we are learning as we go and they get to deal with our failures and successes along the way. We have tried to recognize when we need to be asking for forgiveness and we have made sure they know when they need to buck up and work harder. This is a balancing act that has been weighted a little heavy and a little light at times. It is looking like (not totally sure yet) we will be keeping our two older children in their perspective grades next year, making it so we will have the following line-up ; Kinder-Prep, Kindergarten, 1st Grade and 2nd Grade. I for some reason find this incredibly overwhelming! I fear there being no wiggle room in case we have another year like this year. I fear my older two children will somehow feel inadequate and possibly internalize a since of failure. The good news is they are happy, obedient children that are just late bloomers. There is nothing wrong with them, just they are loosing teeth later, maturing later thus making the pace hard for them and us. We are still praying about our decision and have a couple other things to consider, but for now we are about 85% sure that next year will look a little the same with hopefully a lot different as well! We are clapping our hands for joy!
In the midst of school trials and Brant working 24/7, we have experienced painful loss. This is really the first time in my life, I have had to experience loss, grief and sadness for good friends who have died way to young. Three weeks ago we received the news that a childhood friend of Brants had taken his own life. He was 38, had a new wife, and a family who loved him dearly. He was a fun-loving guy who was passionate about his relationships. This was a hard funeral to attend considering the difficult situation. Brant really struggled with guilt about not checking in with him more often and has decided that those "old" relationships need to be fed and maintained. We had a wonderful time seeing old friends, in the midst of a sad situation. This was Gods timing and we embraced it. It opened the door for intriguing conversations about friendships we have had and ones we are in, the kinds of friendships we want our children to have and the kind if friends we want our children to know us to be. We are clapping our hands for joy!
Lastly, we have experienced the loss of my dear friend Jenny. She had battled leukemia for 10 years and is now cancer free in heaven sitting next to our Heavenly Father free of pain and hopefully sporting a beautiful head of hair! Today is the first day I have been able to let go of some of the sadness. While I know she was a believer in the Lord and she has eternal life, I really just wish she would have been able to be hear with us longer. She died at the age of 35 and I met her in her last two years of life. I was VERY fortunate to spend a significant amount of time with her over the last year as we trained together for the NIKE Womens Marathon. We talked a lot about her cancer and her intense life experiences. She had wisdom well beyond her years and I truly NEEDED to know her. She was a living, breathing, walking and talking example of the rare jewel of Christian contentment. Vanity was stripped from her as a result of her chemotherapy and steroid treatments and yet she seemed to glow and express the most amazing beauty I have ever seen in a woman. As I sort through my feelings and grieve I continue to clap my hands with joy in pure amazement that God allowed me the opportunity to know her.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Summer In Sight

I love the expression on Ben's face in this picture!

One sure sign that summer is right around the corner is The River Academy's spring uniform policy change! I usually count down the days until the uniform change because the kids can start wearing shorts and our boys pants are usually desperate for an eternal trip to the garbage not to mention they are usually about 2 inches to short! Monday was the last day for dress uniforms and I had to get a picture so that I can compare in the fall!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

First Game Of 2010

YAAYHOOO! Tage and Simon get to be on the same team this year! I'm sure there are many moms out there who can fully appreciate my excitement right now! As expected (just kidding :))our boys ROCKED the bat and kicked off the season with their first win. We love this team so much. It is our third year with this coach and a slew of little River Academy boys...SO MUCH FUN!Tage and Simon after their big win!

Here is Simon up to bat for the first time in A-ball...No more tee for this kiddo!
GO TEAM! Complete with the little girl blowing a huge Big League Chew bubble! Aren't kids great!

Easter 2010

Easter brunch before church!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

I understand how the weather feels sometimes....

You get off to kind of a rough start and by the end of the day its all sunshine and tulips! Happy Spring!

Childhood Girlfriends

Dearest Paula and Maggie,
Our time together last week has been on my mind daily since we departed. I have thought much about all of the years we have spent knowing one another and how most of my memories of our childhood are vivid and bright as if it was just yesterday that Paula and I were dictating the Tremont Street neighborhood play or when I was seriously stuck on Maggie's bluff as we tried to head to the beach despite many warnings from our parents...I still don't like heights by the way. I am reminded of all the good times, sad times, scary times (mostly in a VW bus :)) and serious loss that we have experienced together making it nearly impossible for us to ever loose touch! All these years of ever lasting loving "baggage" has made it possible for us to pick up right where we left off even as we introduce husbands and children into the mix. Dear friends, please understand that I needed that day of laughing, reminiscing and catching up and I am so happy that we were able to make it work the way we did. You have grown into beautiful amazing women and I feel so blessed to have you as my life long friends! Please come visit soon! Love and miss you lots! Rach