Saturday, April 30, 2011

Changing Landscapes

We had to get up early so we could leave the hotel by 9.  We had to be in Chicago by 2 p.m. C.T. for a youth temple trip.  Before we really left I had Mickeys stop at Michael's so I could check if they had the flowers I needed to finish this. I have more than one picture today.  I thought I'd show the different landscapes we drove through since we don't drive from Bloomington to Chicago everyday.

Hills & Trees



Hills & Trees



Flooding in S. Indiana



Flooded fields



Wind Farm



Wind farm



Chicago



Downtown Chicago



On our drive we got a phone call from Mickey's mom.  His grandma had passed away that morning.  We will all miss her.  Then we had to figure out what to do with the reds since Betty had them and wanted to be with her sisters and dad.  Tia came to rescue again and then the reds ended up with my parents.  Thanks everyone.



We had a nice peaceful experience at the temple.  Here's the group.



Temple Trip

Heading to Bloomington

Friday Mickey took the day off and we picked Meg up from school at noon to began our drive to Bloomington.  IU to be precise.  No, we weren't looking at colleges already.  She's only in 6th grade.  We went to IU to attend the SNC 15th anniversary concert.

SNC 15th anniversary show





The show was mainly the college group but the "pros" showed up and performed a few songs.  At one point they had all the alum in the auditorium get up on stage.  During the 15 years the group has been going there have been 65 members.  Out of the 65 there were only 4 (I think) that couldn't make it.  They all sang a song together, can't remember the title, but it had something to do with Indiana.  2.5 hours and two cds purchases later we left the IU campus to go sleep at our hotel.  We were tired.



The reds stayed with Tia and Grandma while we were gone.  Thanks so much.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Baby Quilt

A friend of mine had her baby girl on Easter.  A few months ago I had bought fabric and planned to have a quilt (this quilt created by someone I know) done by the shower.  Painting parts of the house became priority and the quilt got put off.  I finished it today.

Baby Quilt



Note to self:  Bamboo silk yarn is very lovely but not appropriate for tying a quilt.  I must buy some baby yarn and re-tie.  Ugh.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

April Showers

April Showers



I've had enough showers, April.  Bring on the May flowers.



This is a puddle in our back yard.  It's about 4-5" deep.  On top of the grass.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Bloody Noses

Some of us are cursed with frequent bloody noses.  I seem to have out grown mine but I still get one on occasional.  Kade is the most severely inflicted.  I'd guess he gets about 2-3 a week, and that's a slow week.  They don't usually last long, like some of my childhood ones, but they are still annoying.  Last year I came up with a great solution for getting them to stop.  Or at least hands free treatment.

Bloody Nose



It doesn't look very pretty but it works.  I totally need to find a way to make, package, and sell these.  I could make a fortune.  I should probably figure out a way to keep them handy at home instead of being hollered at (in his most nasally voice) that Kade needs a roll.



Soon after the picture was taken he sat down to eat.  First I had to cut the "rolls" so he could get to his mouth.  Then he had to eat very slowly, with his mouth open of course, because he had to breathe.  Then he would talk to me with that nasally voice and food in his mouth.  It was hilarious, as long as you didn't look at his mouth.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Dirty Laundry

...will hopefully be going in these.

3 Hampers



Next week we will be starting the allowance thing again.  We had been doing it before but with the move and all the other craziness last year it fell by the wayside.  Mickey and I have been discussing allowance and chores for a while trying to figure out the best way to go about it.



We have settled on a flat rate every week which is determined by age.  To receive this each child will have to do a handful of "I belong to the family" chores like:  making their beds (I'm sure I'll have to give lessons on this), setting the table twice a week, having their room clean by the designated cleaning check day, and doing a load of their laundry once a week. We've decided that the flat rate allowance will be all or nothing (I believe).  Hopefully lessons will be learned quickly in regards to getting chores done.



And if the kids don't feel that the flat rate is enough then they can do random chores for a quarter a piece.  I will have to make a list for them to mark what they've done during the week.  This may take some thinking.  I'm open to suggestions beyond the norm of dishes, bathrooms, vacuuming, dusting, etc.



The hardest part of this whole chore and allowance thing is keeping track of who has and hasn't done what.  I don't want to be a police mom.  That just does not sound like fun.  At least I don't have to shell out the money every week.  Hmm....maybe I would rather do that.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Shoes

Happy Easter!



After having giant cinnamon rolls this morning we went to church.  The choir, which Mickey and I were in, sang a beautiful cantata.  I got the kids home and started the ham we were taking to his parents' house for dinner.  We were kind of rushing out the door to get there on time and somehow managed to not be the last ones there.  We forgot the flowers.  We turned around to get them.  We made it to our destination without any other problems.  I grabbed my purse and for some reason had a glance at my feet and thought, Oh crap!  How did I leave with those on? I was wearing my beautiful Easter dress and a pair of non-matching/non-coordinating house flippers.

Easter Shoes





I blame it all on Mickey.  He's always rushing me out the door.  Sometimes I need two more minutes to make sure I have everything that I need (and go to the bathroom).  At least this was only his parents' house and not church.  I would have been mortified.  I would have had to go home to change.



We had a lovely dinner with Mickey's family.  I will say my feet were more comfortable than they would have been in my heels but still....

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter Eve

We had dinner with my family tonight.  It just worked better to have it tonight than tomorrow, what with late church and it being a school night.



There was a lot of yummy food and a lot of people.  While the eggs were hidden for the hunt I kept the little people busy with a craft/food project.  Nested Peeps. The lit' peeps did a good job.  They turned out really cute.

Lil' Peeps' Nests



Then the kids were let loose in the back yard.  It was a wild and crazy hunt.  Pictures were almost impossible since no one was still for more than a second.



My mom requested a family photo.  Luckily some clouds decided to cover the sun for a while and we had great light.  Here we all are.



Ault Family



Now the kidlings are all tucked in bed awaiting the Easter Bunny.  I hope he brings some candy I like.  Well, maybe not.



Friday, April 22, 2011

The Lefty

Lefty



Meg is our only lefty but if you watch her closely she only eats and writes left-handed.  I've heard this is the way other lefties are too.



In this picture she's working on homework, a Chasing Vermeer journal.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Incentive

Someone in our house, make that two someones, really need to get to work cleaning their rooms.  Good thing they don't have school tomorrow.  In an attempt to help one of these people be motivated I picked up this today.

Incentive



I really hope this works.  Who knows?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Mr & Mrs Duck

Mr & Mrs Duck





I'm not a big fan of geese but I love ducks.  We happen to have a pair of ducks visiting our yard on a regular basis.  I suppose the fact that I'm feeding them every day encourages them to come by.  Who wouldn't stop for free food?  I would love for them to nest in our yard (duckling are so dang cute) but that might not be a good idea with our loud children running around outside.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Hey, Mom,...

Don't you just love it when your kids are on their way to bed and they say something like, "Hey, Mom, I forgot to tell you I need _______ for school tomorrow."  The blank is almost always filled with something that's going to take more than a few minutes if not hours.



I got this from Mattey tonight.  (At least it gave me something to post about so I'm not complaining too much.)

Last Minute Notice



She needs four pictures of herself for a board in her classroom that says "Here's the Scoop On".  She is one of the students being spot lighted.  That's great but having the info on Monday after school would have been better.  I had to go through over 5000 pictures to get the four.  Sometimes it's very hard to choose just four.



Oh, that reminds me, I have to buy some drink in 2L bottles so she can take in the empty 2Ls to make an aquarium.  She probably needed that yesterday.  Oh, well.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Cupcakes & Birthdays

Cupcakes have become all the rage lately.  I have always liked cupcakes.  How can you not love a little tasty cake you can hold with two fingers?



The last few days I have made a lot of cupcakes.  Saturday I started these but ended the day with a migraine so I finished them on Sunday.  We had the church youth and their leaders over Sunday evening and I had many taste testers.  The over all vote was good.  I enjoyed them also but the flavor was a little too subtle for me.  Next time I'll use more lemon juice in the cake (Yes, I altered the recipe a little by substituting the juice of one lemon for some of the water.  Some one please tell me, what are you supposed to do with a lemon after you've removed the zest?) and more concentrate in the frosting.  They were light and fruity.  That's a big plus in my book.  I'm thinking of making them again for Easter dinner.  But I'm still looking around.



Today I made two batches of Banana cupcakes (I baked them for about 15-18 minutes, in case you're wondering.) for a birthday surprise for Kade's teacher, Miss K.  She was pleasantly surprised and the cupcakes were a hit, of course.  All the students made a frosting mustache in the eating process.  It got a little loud as they vied for my attention showing off their 'stache but it was a party after all.



Kade wanted to take his iPod to school so he could get a video of his teacher when I came in with the cupcakes.  Since iPods aren't allowed in school this'll have to suffice.

Miss K



Happy Birthday to Miss K!  She is definitely one of our favorite teachers.  (She's also a blog reader!)



Today is also our nephew's birthday.  Happy Birthday, Jr.!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Calming the Sunday Grouchies

I'll just say it.   Sunday is not my favorite day.  Have I said that before?  I know I say it to Mickey and my mom all the time and anyone who get's in my way on the dreaded day.  My biggest complaint is that I have to be a single mom for most of the day since Mickey's at meetings and visiting people.  It's not as bad as it was in the beginning but it's still not easy.



Sunday is the Sabbath.  A day to worship my loving Heavenly Father, to think about Jesus while I partake of the sacrament.  But for some reason I just can't be happy on that day.  I'm not the only one.  The child that's the most like me can be rather grouchy also, probably more so than me.  I didn't want this grouchiness to continue but I didn't know how to stop it.



A few months ago the leaders in Primary gave out a cd to all the kids with the songs for the yearly program.  I decided I would support them in their efforts to teach the songs and play it on the way to and from church.  Then a few weeks ago my mom mentioned something about it being the second week in a row that Mattey hadn't been grouchy during church.  I agreed with her.  As the weeks went by I noticed the trend seemed to hold.  I realized that I hadn't been very grouchy either.  I am giving all the credit to the cd, and the music on it.

Sunday Music



A B.I.G. thank you to the ladies who put the cd together.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Spring Cleaning

This morning Mickey gathered the troops and marched them downstairs where they spent a good amount of time cleaning the basement.  (It's only fair.  They are the ones that made the mess.)

Spring Cleaning



This is only part of the mess but it looks a lot better now.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Finding Importance

Growing up with a lot of brothers in a man's world was not easy.  It was hard for a sensitive, shy, timid girl to find her place and feel important.  I always wanted to believe girls were just as important as boys (after all if there weren't girls there wouldn't be any more boys or girls, but is that all girls are for?)  I still do want to believe that but proving that to myself is sometimes difficult.



This summer before the kids started school I was concerned about what I was going to do with all my free time (as I mentioned here).  The "world" would have me go to work making extra money so I could buy more stuff and be away from home.  I did not feel a pull to do this (and we are very blessed that I don't have to) although I have been asked a few times about whether or not I was working (out of the home).  I guess you could say I sat on my hands kind of waiting to see what happened.  It has taken me a while (sometimes it's hard to see things right in front of you) but today I realized how important I am, at least to the little part of the world around me.



I know being a wife and mother are important.  No one can really take my place.  I know that but sometimes that role doesn't feel like enough, especially when doing laundry and dishes never ends.



Today I had a phone call from a friend.  We were supposed to have lunch yesterday but she got called in to work for a very sick librarian.  She will probably be covering for her for the rest of the school year.  After we hung up I had a line from this song go through my head.  "The errand of angels is given to women..."  For some reason I sang that line, it was in my head after all, and then tears started.  I just knew right then that I was very important and that I was needed in my little world.



The kids in Kade's class just love it when I come in.  Some of them run up and give me hugs and it's not because they want me to call their name to play a game.  Many of them have to say hi to me.  There have been times when I linger an extra few minutes and then I'm called over to see what they are working on.  I am part of their world.  I can make an impact on their lives, hopefully for the better.



When I "work" in the school library I try to be happy and helpful, show the kids I want to be there and that I'm interested in them.  For some of them this may be one of a few positive encounters they have all day.  I can make a difference.



When I spend time with Kate I know I brighten her day.  She also brightens mine.  We had lunch together today at my house.  I was so happy to encourage her to do something new.  I realized I make an impact in her life and she makes a huge impact on mine.  She is a very positive person for having had physical limitations for all of her life.  I admire her.  She really helps me put things in perspective.  I am so glad to have her as a friend.

Kelly & Kate

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Mystery Solved...

....by Standiford, Inc.



The Case of the Creepy, Spooky Noise has been solved by the detectives of Standiford, Inc. (a.k.a. the homeowners).  The source of the noise was the lattice door under the deck.  The guilty party...we'll let you think about that for a while.

For the last couple of weeks the homeowners have been hearing a weird but sporadic noise.  It was hard to pinpoint where the noise came from.  Upon first hearing the noise in the kitchen it sounded like it was coming from the basement.  While in the basement it seemed to be coming from the main floor.  Days later, while in the kitchen, it sounded like it came from upstairs.  A traveling sound?  What could that be?  Hopefully not an unwanted visiter of the furry, four legged variety or the basilisk from Harry Potter.  Sometimes the sound would come with a vibration.  This was felt most in the kitchen.  The next thought was perhaps it was a pipe in the wall.  Besides the "traveling" of the noise, it was also very random--at times very frequent and at other times not.



This evening the detectives put forth a lot of effort to track down the source.  They were in the kitchen after dinner and the sound seemed to come from under the sink.  They opened the doors to see if it would be louder the next time.  While waiting for the noise, Detective Kelly was washing windows and stepped out on the deck to clean the outside of the door.  The noise struck again.  This time the vibration came directly under Kelly's feet.  She sent Detective Mickey under the deck to check things out.  He hesitantly went, armed with a flashlight.  He looked everywhere, moving everything around.  Then went to shut the door and found the noise maker.  Mystery solved.



Those pesky kids, one in particular (who won't be named but whose initials are MTS), left the door open or unlatched, as seen below.



The noise maker



Here is a sample of the sound we've been listening to for the last few weeks.  This is much louder than we heard it in the house, obviously.



[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o7kzxZGbCp8[/youtube]



Detective Kelly is planning to use this noise to her advantage whenever a sleep over occurs.  Detective Mickey will be in on the prank as well playing up the creepy noise.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

AR Tests

AR stands for Accelerated Reading, in case you didn't know.  I'm not sure what the point of these are except to make Mattey not get a good grade in Reading.  Each nine weeks she's supposed to read 9 books and take (really pass) 9 tests.  For some reason Mattey has a hard time doing this.  Each grading period she's been missing 4-5.  She only has 20 done.



She's only allowed to go to the school library once a week to check out one book.  This would work well if she actually checked out AR books (and took/passed the tests).  I had her ask for a list of books she could read to catch up.  The school librarian said to go to our local branch of the public library to get the list.  What?  Does that make sense to you?  Me either.  So we went to the library this afternoon.  I had to pay to make copies of the last few pages of the enormous list.  (Isn't there a website I could find the list on?)  Then we began our search on the computer to see what we could find.  We found three and will place holds on more.

AR tests





She finished a book today.  She is taking the test tomorrow.  Hopefully she can get another test in on Friday.  She is not going to be doing anything but reading until she's caught up.  Don't think I'm too mean.  I will read some of them to her and the Paddington one we found on CD so she can listen and read along.



Update:  I did some digging and found a website with the list of ar books our school has.  No more copies for me.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

King and Queen

This evening I was prepping the foyer for painting, you know washing walls and taping off all the woodwork (which we have a lot of), when I heard the reds talking about kings and queens.  I snuck upstairs with the camera and found them dancing with each other and both were wearing crowns.

Dipping



Mattey showed me how she dips Kade.  (notice his mohawk, it was under the crown)



Those two can play so well with each other.  And they both have good imaginations.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Springing...finally

Before we left for Spring Break we had been waiting and waiting for Spring to show up.  While in St. Louis I got totally jealous of all their Spring flowers, super green grass, and flowering trees.  I took many photos of these delightful things so I could remember how beautiful they were.



On the drive home I started to notice the trees didn't look so dead anymore.  They looked like they were growing peach fuzz but of the green variety.  I went out today and found my plants are starting to spring back to life.

New Life





I guess Spring heard my pleas and followed me home.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

iPhoto

lots & lots of pictures





If you've read/looked at all the the posts I did today you'll know that I've spent some time in iPhoto trying to figure out which pictures I was going to use.  I had almost 500 to look through and I'm nowhere near done.  The rest will have to wait for another day.

Nauvoo

(April 9th)  Friday we drove up to Nauvoo.  Saturday we spent a few hours exploring.

Nauvoo Temple

Gateway to the West

(April 8th)  We ventured downtown St. Louis to see the Arch.

Gateway to the West

Silver Back Gorillas

(April 7th)  We went to the St. Louis Zoo.  The silver backs were by far the most entertaining thing we saw.

Silver Back Gorilla

Cardinals Game

(April 6th)  We lucked out and got tickets to the Cardinals game while in St. Louis.

Cardinals Game

Spring Break

We decided at the last minute to take a trip during Spring Break.  We went to St. Louis, MO.  We had a good time and had lovely weather.  Since I have so many pictures to go through, almost 500, I'm going to keep today catch up simple, just pictures, and come back with details and albums.

Watching ND women basketball



(April 5th)  We drove for several hours to get to our hotel in Chesterfield.  Mickey was anxious to watch the ND women play in the championship game.  Kade was a man and slept on the couch every night.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Being Active

Being active is very easy for our kids.  Keeping them still and quiet is the challenge.  Today was warm enough to play outside even though it was a little drizzly.  Meg had her friend J. over.  They played basketball.  They were on the school team together.  Mat tried her hand at basketball too.

Playing Ball



Kade had to spend some of his birthday money today.  He bought himself something he's been wanting for a while.  A skateboard.  He was smart and bought the body pads too.  He couldn't wait to try out the board.



Dude



Mat told him if he was going to start skateboarding he had to talk like a skateboarder does, saying "Dude" all the time.  I had to giggle at that.  I thought that was surfers that said "Dude", but what do I know?



I want to wish my brother Justin a Happy Birthday today and his wife LeighAnne a Happy Birthday tomorrow.



Since it's Spring Break I'm going to take a break from blogging for the rest of the week.  Don't worry, my faithful readers, I will catch up over the weekend.  Happy Spring Break.  Hopefully we'll get some decent weather.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

General Conference

President Monson





Today, and yesterday, we watched/listened to General Conference.  If you'd like to watch conference click here.  I do like conference.  Listening to all the leaders of the church, but this time I got a little tired of watching tv.  That's saying something.  I used to watch a lot of tv and now I can't take more than a few (meaning 2-3) hours a day, unless I'm sick.



There were some good talks in all the sessions.  The topics that really spoke to me were temples, marriage, family/parenting, adversity, and the atonement.  I can't say that I had a favorite talk because there was too much to take in.  I'll have to watch/listen/read them again later.  But my favorite moment was yesterday.  Megan had practice in the early afternoon.  Mickey took her and stayed.  He listened to conference in the car.  I listened to conference while I cut out quilt pieces.  During Quentin L. Cook's talk about women being incredible I got an e-mail from Mickey.  It said "You...are incredible."  What a great husband I have.

Cousins

The kids finally got to meet Mitchell (Saturday).  They had talked about him for days before finally getting to see him in person.

Cousins



It's not the best photo but oh well.  You get the idea.



Mitchell was passed back and forth between us all.  We had to reign in the kids a little.  We couldn't let Mitchell get smothered.  We'll save that for when he's a little older and can defend himself.

Friday, April 1, 2011

The Party was a Bust

Kade's friend party was scheduled for today.  One of the two friends invited was leaving for vacation today so he came on Sunday for the family party.  The party then got down graded to a glorified play date.  The father of the other boy invited said he would be here.  I got a few things at the store to help with the party vibe.  Then 4:00 came and we waited and waited and.....waited some more.  At 4:45 we figured he wasn't coming so we changed our plans.  Mickey and Kade played a Clone Wars Lego game.  That helped him take his mind off the failure that was his party.



I then served the kids pizza before we went over to the Chili Cook Off at church.  (I was so brilliant.  I scheduled the party on the same day as the cook off.)  It seemed that my chili went over well, there was only about 1 cup left, but it didn't win any awards.  I was just happy that I had something to eat that I knew was good.  When we got home I pulled out the Oreo cake I bought for the party and we sang to Kade one more time.  I decided I may as well give him his goodie bag.  The girls got some leftover candy and a punching balloon.  They seemed to like them a little.

Punching Balloons



(On the right side of the picture is the green I used in the family room to break up all the blue.  It turned out pretty well.)



I feel bad for Kade.  First his family party had low attendance and then his friend party was a bust.  He is a very lovable kid.  I don't know why this has happened.  He'll probably get over it faster than I will.  Next time we'll have to invite more reliable people and maybe give a month's notice.