Friday, November 28, 2014

Feeling Thankful

We have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.  But Aubrey always tops the list...she makes us laugh everyday.  Recently she has taken up gymnastics, can tell you most of the months of the year, has expressed a great love for Curious George, and watched The Grinch for the first time.  I have started a twitter account for all the hilarious things she says (@justbeingAubrey) so I never forget all the great one liners she spits out daily.

I am taking a break from studying for the time being; I took my first BCBA exam in November and will have to wait until December to get the failing results (I am sure I will be taking this beast again someday.)  But it's all good- I am REALLY enjoying having my life back and taking a break from the books.  I am focusing on celebrating the wonderful promotion Eric recently got, and he is celebrating by working harder than ever.  In January I will travel to Florida to present at my first national AT conference.  This month I also received a grant from the state for assistive technology for my school district...which will give me a new project to focus on.  Eric is winning in his fantasy football league, let's hope the streak continues.  We just got the good news that the Koellings WILL be coming home for Christmas this year, the best Christmas gift Mom and I could ask for.  So thankful for all the good that I got this year.

Fall Festival at Tuttle Farms

Play- Doh Workshop, Thanksgiving

Getting busted.

Celebrating a break in studying!

A very misleading picture.

Hay rides and cupcakes.

Aubrey Olaf at Halloween

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Aubrey Turns 3!

Never mind the ridiculous delay on me posting about Aubrey's birthday, which was almost two months ago.  It's been a busy summer, which I intend to write about soon.  But tonight I will reflect on the day Aubs turned 3...

We celebrated twice this year.  Once in Culver at Gangy's and once in Indy with the Ashton clan and neighbors.  Culver included a Mermaid cake, as Aubrey had been enjoying several screenings of the Little Mermaid in the late spring.  Gangy bought her light up butterfly crocs (which have not left her feet since June), a mermaid doll, and some clothes.  Aubrey played with bubbles from Grandma and Grandpa and dined on a fine cuisine of hot dogs and cake.  Aunt Teri decked her out in some Hello Kitty sunglasses.  Apparently three is the age where kids learn how to sing Happy Birthday to themselves on a daily basis and request to blow out every candle in sight.


Back at home, we had a cookout and caterpillar cake (courtesy Costco so it was a LARGE cake, and delicious at that...get the chocolate cake with chocolate mouse filling and you will not be disappointed) for the occasion.  It was a hot day.  The beer kept us adults cool.  Aubrey got a scooter from Auntie Tricia, colorforms from the Dynak's, a Minnie Mouse guitar from the Losee's, and a doll house along with my little ponies from Gran and Poppa.  




We had given Aubrey balloons at the start of the party.  She really enjoyed releasing them into the sky and watching them disappear.  She likes to set things free.  My favorite moments of her birthday were right before the party, and the day after.  See videos below for the moments.  This girl is funny.  She spent the next week saying, "Oh NO!  Where my birthday go??" and looking for it all over the house as if it were an object to be found.

Aubrey Searches for Her Birthday Video

Our baby is three...which means she is a BIG GIRL now, or so she tells us.  She is talking up a storm.  She is as bossy as ever.  She is becoming quite the singer and lyrical genius (the guitar was a nice addition for her creative outlet), her games of pretend are enhanced with her new toys and figurines, and her fashion sense is unparalleled when a girl dares to wear dressy attire with Crocs, loads of accessories, and several mismatched barrettes.  Happy to let her explore herself in these ways.  As another parent wrote on a blog I read once, "I'm just trying to not raise an asshole."  I think we are succeeding thus far in this endeavor. Aubrey, I hope your year of 3 is your best yet.  Keep making us laugh!  Happy Belated Birthday, Aubrey Gracers!!

Monday, June 9, 2014

5 Months Later...

Wow.  Though I had every intention of really keeping up with my digital scrapbooking, it appears the last 5 months have escaped me.  I'd like to say we have been exceptionally busy, but I don't think the last few months have been anything out of the ordinary.  But here's a run down:
Picture Day at School
 Aubrey was busy learning more and more words...and she is quite the jabber mouth now.  Her pretend skills have kicked in, and she can frequently be seen sitting on the living room floor playing with her figurines in an inventive story based on current events.  Tonight she is playing on the floor and pretending her My Little Ponies are at a birthday party.  Last night she was pretending that her dolls were playing at the park in Culver with Gangy.  Last night in the bath she was pretending to bump a bath crayon on the side of the tub, and then went through a repeating, "Ouch, that hurt.  Are you ok?  Yes, I'm ok.  Kiss it better.  Thank you, all better!" script-like charade.  All wonderful signs that her language skills are developing if not thriving, much to her mother's relief and delight.  Today was her last day at KinderCare for the year.  She will return again at the end of July, but has graduated from the toddler room.  Her teachers, especially Jayme, are so sad.  They threw a party for her today and said that even though Aubrey is in constant negotiations with them on all things, and throws regular temper-tantrums, it is "just so cute compared to the other kids.  Something about her just makes it adorable."  The crazy thing is, I think they are being truthful when they say this...they actually feel this way.
Cinderella, Downtown Indy
I suppose I was a little caught up in completing my grad program this past semester.  Yep, that's right....three years later and I finally have a masters degree.  I'm still not out of the woods yet.  I have the BCBA exam/certification to deal with next school year, but my practicum is complete and my supervision hours are almost complete.  What a relief.  I had no idea how much time it was taking from my life until the class ended.  To come home from work and not have anything to read, write, or graph for grad school really made me realize that there are a few hours in the day where I don't have to be working.  I feel like a free woman.  Today marks my first day of summer break.  I had another amazing school year at Carmel.  When I think back to the students I worked with and the teachers I built better relationships with, it makes me a little emotional.  Who wouldn't get emotional after receiving a thank-you note from a student that says you are the light of their life?  Or having a random parent stop you in an elementary school where she is volunteering, look at your name tag and say, " are that lady who trained my son in junior high how to use that computer program.  That was awesome, he talked about it a lot at home!"  Or having a 5th grade student response from an exit slip say, "I can understand what I am reading now, AMEN!  I can make my writing better with this tool, AMEN!"
Spring time at the zoo
As for Eric....I just asked him, "So what should I say you have been doing over the last 5 months?  Anything you would like documented?"  His response: WORK.  I'll elaborate on his behalf (of course.)  Eric has watched several episodes of Shark Tank, provided some very lively commentary during the Winter Olympics (he felt as though he could easily compete with the dancing and figure ice skaters, was not very impressed with their jumps), gave Aubrey countless baths, bed time stories, and bowls of cereal.  And, he worked a lot.  At 9:00 each night, like clock-work, you can find him sitting in front of a laptop running reports to email out to work people.  He's dedicated, that's for sure.
Learning to dress herself
Other highlights from the last 5 months: Ashton and Addison (who are referred to by Aubrey as Maddisons, and now Ashton and Maddisons as of recently) turned 5 years old!  And Dylan turned one years old.  Auntie Lorri and Auntie Tricia got new dogs....Stella and Luna.  Piper and Sadie are learning how to Facetime with us, and Auntie Darci and Uncle John went to Russia for 10 days.  Gangy and Aubrey spent much qualify time together in Indy and Culver (which was a big help to Darla, she never has to ask...)  Garrett is now a Boilermaker graduate (!) and Jack made it through his freshman year.  We took a weekend trip to Ohio to visit the aquarium and another weekend trip to Fort Wayne to the Children's zoo.  Great Poppa turned 90 years old...we celebrated at Alibi's for trivia night.  Ashton, Addison and Aubrey really enjoyed running our answers up to the game master.  I took Aubrey to a puppet show downtown over my spring break (Cinderella).  The adult Ashton's had a nice evening out downtown to see Defending the Caveman and Aubrey saw her first baseball game downtown.  She ate a huge tub of popcorn all on her own.
Fort Wayne Children's Zoo
First Ball Game

School's out for summer, so I have every intention of fully documenting events to come and writing a post that is a bit belated, but an important milestone.  Aubrey turned 3 years old last week.  I feel like the last two months she has transformed into a complete big girl.  But more about that later...

Saturday, February 8, 2014

The Snow Days of Our Lives

This week we hit our 8th snow day?  Who knows, we are done keeping track.  Our drive way was a hot mess and required both Eric and I to get the car out of the drive way so he could get to work.  Which then required me to shovel the drive way so he could get back into the garage at the end of the day.  Aubrey helped as much as she could by taking small handfuls of snow and throwing them into the yard.
We did finally get a chance to try out the sled we bought her for Christmas and our slick drive way was a perfect "mini hill" for her to scoot down.  (Gangy, if you are reading this settle down...I had hold of the string on the sled the whole time so there was no danger of her flying into the street.)

Aubrey got an early Valentine's Day surprise in the mail this week from her Gangy.  She was very excited that it was mostly treats.  There is something about a small box of raisins that really thrills a 2 year old.  She has asked everyday since when she will get to see her Gangy again.  Grandma's sure know the way into a grandchild's heart.

Aubrey has also discovered her nipples this week.  She got very excited and ran into the room announcing that she had two buttons on her chest.  Look, Dad has them too!  I tried today explaining that they were actually called nipples, but she misunderstood me and then ran around saying, "Slippers!  Like buttons!" while pointing to her chest.  I took her to Dunkin' Donuts to celebrate her new found sexuality.  Then we headed to the store to pick out birthday gifts for Ashton and Addion, who turn 5 years old this month!  We are headed to the bowling ally to celebrate with them today, and I hope that Eric can join us.  He got home from work last night only to deal with an office phone emergency till after midnight.  This morning he is back in the office making sure everything continues to run smoothly.  So his weekend might actually start this afternoon.  I hope so...Aubrey keeps saying, "Oh NO!  Dad?  I no hear him!"

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Aubrey Gets Her Hair Did

Aubrey got her hair cut for the first time this week.  I took her to Cookie Cutters, a hair salon for kids, right down the street.  They had adorable seats shaped like animals and cars and Aubrey got to choose a DVD to watch during the hair cutting process.  Her choice:  Care Bears Joke-A-Lot Movie.  She did a great job sitting still for the most part and especially enjoyed it when the hairdresser used the squirt bottle on her hair.  (Raining!  On my hair!)

I had high hopes for what this hair cut would look like.  I wanted something to be done so Aubrey's hair would stay out of her face and not make it necessary for me to do her hair each morning.  I am not so sure we accomplished either of these goals.  As the hair dresser starting snipping the bangs in a very straight line across her forehead I knew immediately...woah lady, too short.  But pretty sure once the bangs grow out a bit I'll have the cut that I was picturing.  Aubrey's favorite part of the experience was getting a sucker and going down the big slide in the salon.

Today we are stuck at home because Aubrey has a fever.  She is sleeping a lot, but not without her kitty shoes.
1st hair cut
Not too thrilled about getting her picture taken.

Showing Dad where the Mama, Daddy and Baby Owl 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A Merry Denver Christmas

We started off the New Year with a flight to Denver, with coincidentally marked the first day that marijuana could legally be sold and consumed in Colorado.  Lines were wrapped around the block for the smoke shops.  On the highway I gagged at the smell of a skunk that had obviously been run over, only to be told by Darci that we had just passed a plant growing weed.  Sorry Denver...your city really stinks.  But your citizens seem very happy.

 Gangy and G Man arrived the same day and we had four wonderful days together in the Koelling household.  We opened gifts together on Thursday morning and had so much fun watching the girls get excited over their new treasures.  Piper got a doll house from Gangy and My Little Ponies from Auntie Darla.  Aubrey got a penguin sleeping bag and a kitty cat that really meows and moves from Auntie Darci.  Both girls got dollies from Gangy too!  Gangy, Darci and Darla took all the girls to the aquarium, we ate Snarfs (Jan ate Snarfs a few times) and visited the Candy Factory.  Our highlight of the trip was taking the girls to get their photos taken at JC Penneys.  The girls did a great job!  Aubrey was all smiles for the first three minutes, Piper was all smiles the last 3 minutes.  So even though our timing was a little off, the pics were adorable and made a memory.  Sadie Bug was a doll for each picture.  Do babies get any more smiley or better behaved than Sadie?!

She is so darn good that a person could even forget that she was even in the car.  Seriously.  Literally.

All the ladies had a lovely lunch at the Olive Garden after pictures were taken.  Yes, only the finest bread sticks and salad will do for this bunch.  We watched the Lorax several times over the course of days and Piper basically potty trained Aubrey.  She taught her how to take her own pants off, how to throw your diaper in the sink, and how to request a bathroom break every five minutes.  I'm not complaining...we've had some good success since we have been home and will always credit cousin Piper with the magic potty chair touch.  The girls learned how to bang on G Man's "drum" (protruding tummy) and consistently fought over Gangy's attention.  Saturday night Gangy and G Man flew home and the Ashtons packed up and got ready for their early flight home.

Then Snowpocolypse 2014 struck.  Indianapolis, along with most of the East Coast, was hit with a gigantic snow storm that canceled flights all over the country.  We quickly found out that we were going to be staying a few extra days in Denver.  Till Tuesday night, to be exact.  The Koellings were good sports about hosting the Ashtons a few extra days.  Darci and Darla took the big girls to the Science Museum were we explored lots of taxidermy and went on a dinosaur dig in the toddler play room.  Darla made Darci suffer through the premier episode of The Bachelor: Juan Pablo.  Again...she was a very good sport!  Eric and John watched lots of football.  When the Ashton's were finally able to return back to Indy, it was a very stressful ride home from the airport at midnight.  The roads were horrible and scary.  School was canceled for the rest of the week so Darla and Aubrey had a nice few days at home to clean, relax and play with new toys.  And watch the Lorax about a gazillion times.  Aubrey is sleeping in her sleeping bag on her bed each night and listening to her Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood CD that Darci burned for her.  Lots of reminders of our Denver trip have infiltrated our house:)

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Year In Review: 2013

In an effort to ignore and avoid the train wreck which is Jenny McCarthy on Rockin' New Years Eve, I've decided to take a moment and reminisce on all the memories our family made this year.  No big NYE plans for the Ashton's this year, as we are headed on a plane tomorrow morning to Denver to have a late Christmas with the Eby's.

The pictures below sum up all the family "firsts" we had this year.  I love seeing these photos next to each really was an amazing, happy year.  Some firsts you will not see in the photos?  Darla's first time blogging (personally and professionally); Aubrey's first time to use the potty; first Ashton family flu bug experience; Eric's first time chasing down a neighborhood robber.  Probably a good thing we don't have photos to commemorate some of those experiences.  But glad we do have photos for the "firsts" listed below...

Aubrey's 1st solo trip to Culver

1st sand castles

1st family trip to Bloomington

1st day of daycare

1st family trip to Denver

Our 1st Dylan

1st surrey ride

1st state fair

1st ginger bread house (aka, Gangy's house!) 

1st time to trick or treat

1st holiday program

1st Eby's Drive-In ice cream cone

1st mulberry picking

1st full blown photo shoot

1st pumpkin patch

1st time putting on coat, all by herself

Our 1st Sadie

1st time at splash park

1st solo swim

1st time Aubrey turned 2 years old; 1st time playing "mama"

Darla's 1st trip to Vegas without her parents by her side