"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Saturday, August 29, 2015


A decade. 10 years. 

What can happen in 10 years?  What has happened in 10 years?

2 moves: 1 apartment and our first house. 3 children. 3 jobs at 3 different schools. 175ish students I've taught. The loss of our first dog. The adoption of 4 others. 4 cars.  2 campers. A trip to Disney World.  There's so much more too, a decade's worth of adventures.  The last ten years have been busy, but amazing.  We have had our ups and downs and we have been thoroughly blessed.

Today marks the ten year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.  Every year on this day New Orleans is on my heart and mind, but especially so today.  I mean, ten years is a long time.  A long time.  In some ways it seems like a lifetime ago, something that is so far in the past that it's hard to even imagine it happened.  Yet there are times when I can close my eyes and instantly we are back there.  I can see every detail of our apartment, our school, the city, the Mardi Gras parades we attended.  As with any memory, there are parts that will always remain in the forefront of my mind, while others have faded so much they are almost gone.  

It was truly an amazing time in our life.  Amy and I were fresh out of college and newly married.  We were in a new city far (6 hours) from home.  Not just any city either, New Orleans, it was like we'd moved to a whole other country.  But that's what makes New Orleans special.  It is like no other place on earth.  We made friends with our coworkers, some of whom we are still in touch with.  Granted it's via Facebook, but we do still communicate.  The Kindergarten teacher Paula played an important role in our lives.  She became the mother figure for us since we were both out of the nest for the first time and far from  home.  Likewise we filled a void for her as her children were moving away to college.  It was such a fun faculty.  Weekly faculty meetings at a nearby restaurant.  Parties.  Late nights and weekends at school.  23 Mardi Gras parades.  Yes, lasting friendships were built.  Ones we still look back fondly on.

People always ask what we think things would be like if we'd gone back.  That's impossible to say though.  The experiences we had while in New Orleans have helped to shape the people we are.  The teachers we are.  Living there, going through Hurricane Katrina, deciding not to return, and everything since have led to this point.  I love my life right now and I could not imagine it any other way.  My wife, my kids, my job, my family, my friends.  None would be the same had we decided to return.  Therefore I don't think about what if.  

Now, that's in no way meant to diminish how hard it was to decide not to return.  It was, in fact, one of the hardest decisions we've ever had to make.  We loved it there.  Our apartment, our job, our friends, our life, the city.  Amy and I discussed it so much, over and over.  It actually ended up being quite an easy decision to make given the fact that He had decided to bless us with Braeden.  Finding out Amy was pregnant really left us no choice.  We had jobs but had no care for him.  Moving back to those uncertain futures was not really how we wanted to begin parenthood.  Going back to the environment with its questionable health risks was also not something we wanted to expose Amy to.  So, the hard decision really wasn't that hard after all.  Just very emotional.

Watching the devastation play out before our eyes while being so far away was very hard.  Seeing everything we'd come to know and love literally get washed away tore us apart.  Going back eventually to see the damage for ourselves was an experience we will never forget.  Those images are burned into our memories, just as vivid as all of the positive ones.

So now, here we are.  Ten years later.  The city has rebounded.  We've watched it from afar.  They've grown and changed.  They've adapted.  It is different, that's obvious.  It will never be exactly the same as it was before.  In some ways that is sad.  People moved, people died, lives changed, memories and places lost forever.  In other ways though change is good.  They're stronger.  They're proud.  Amy and I talk about returning all the time.  We've been back only once, before Braeden was even a year old.  We returned for Mardi Gras and it was wonderful.  It has just never worked out to return since.  Every year we think, "Maybe this year", but it's not.  Timing just doesn't work out.  But who knows, maybe this year is the year.  The desire is there and the kids are old enough to travel and visit and understand as we lead them around the city we once called home.  The city we love still and where part of us will always remain.  And who knows?  Maybe one day we will move back.  Retire there?  Maybe, maybe not.  We've talked about it.  We will just have to see what He has in store for us.

I could go on and on, but I don't want to ramble.  Maybe I'm too late for that already.  I'm sure you'll forgive me though.  Right?  Thanks.  So, today and every August 29 I say a special prayer for New Orleans.  For the city as a whole.  Residents past and present.  Friends.  I thank God for it all; the memories, the life we had, the relationships, the experiences, the lessons we learned.  I pray for continued strength and resilience.  For blessings to abound for this great city.  10 years.  Wow.

All is well, a decade later, in Drosche Land. 


Wednesday, August 26, 2015


So. Apparently today is National Dog Day. How apropos this post is as I intended to write it even before I found out about today. Anywho, on with the post.

So you may remember that we got Mickey and Minnie last summer, shortly after returning from our trip to Disney World.  Rex was lonely after we'd had to say goodbye to Lucy and he needed a friend. Amy and I had always been talking about getting smaller dogs so once she saw the two of them online, it was a done deal.  We also literally thought we were done. 3 dogs. That's enough. Right?

Well, fast forward back to this past summer and our apparent inability to take it easy and go a summer without some kind of fun new adventure to create. Pair that with the fact that the SPCA was overcrowded and having a $5 dog sale and we stood no chance. $5!!  That's a huge discount to their normal adoption fee. So we headed to the SPCA to just look. Maybe we'd find a new furry family member, maybe we wouldn't. 

We knew what we were looking for. A female. 2-3 years old (so she'd be house trained). No larger than Rex. Not too many strict criteria. Surely we'd find something. If it was meant to be. Well, apparently it was because we found her. She was so quiet in comparison to all of the barking ruckus in the SPCA. She immediately took to Jackson, animals typically do. Truth be told, he basically picked her out. So we had them take her out and bring her to a private too, to meet. She was super timid. We were nervous but she was so sweet. We decided yes!  I mean $5!

So as we are finalizing her paperwork we find out that she had just been spayed the day before (hence the timidity). She'd only been at the SPCA for 2 days and that day was the first day she'd been available for adoption. It was destiny. Just as the case was with Mickey and Minnie.  So we knew we'd made the right decision.

We thought and thought about a name. Mickey and Minnie go together so we decided to find something that would pair well with Rex. Something meaning royalty. He was after all named after the Kind of Carnival (Mardi Gras!). No one liked Regina. We call Stella Princess so that was out. Queenie was a bust also. I finally suggested Duchess and everyone agreed that it fit. So there we had it. A new member to our family. Duchess. 

It was now clear that we owned a pack of dogs. 4 dogs is a pack indeed. It took her a while to warm up to the other 3, she was just so shy, but after about a week they all were getting along. By now she is fine and they all cuddle and play and run around like crazy together. It's a noisy bunch, but a happy one. 

Truth be told this was probably one of the cheapest and easiest hairbrained idea we've ever had. She wa son sale!  We still had a kennel large enough for her and she ate the same food as Rex. It was a smooth and simple decision. One that we have been pleased with. She's been a blessing and is super sweet and we love her. So, all in all, it wasn't really a truly crazy idea. Not really. Right?  So there's my post to introduce Duchess and with everyone a happy National Dog Day. 

All is well, + 1 more furry family member, in Drosche Land. 

Meet Duchess!

She's so sweet, just look at that face!

Meeting her brothers and sister for the first time!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

3rd 3rd

Ok. Let's do some more catching up from this past summer.

Let's see, there's no better place to start than at the beginning.  The first thing to happen in June was Stella's birthday. She turned 3. I say it three times a year I know, but I don't know where the time went. 

3 years. My little girl. She has been such a blessing to us and has changed out lives in so many ways. It was one things with boys in the house, but throw a little girl in the mix and all bets are off. She has each of us wrapped around her finger in some way or another. She truly believes she runs the show.  Dealing with her allergies has also been an adventure that has taught us so much. We took a difficult challenge, one that could have been a negative impact on the family, and turned it into something positive. We're all eating much healthier now thanks to this little girl and her diary and soy allergies.  

She's feisty. I maintain that she gets it from her mother. She knows what she wants and she definitely has her way of getting what she wants. But as headstrong as she is, and boy is she ever, she's also a delicate little princess. She's all ruffles and bows, pink and purple, Barbies and baby dolls. She's my little girl. And now she's 3. The 3rd Drosche to turn 3, hence the post title. Our baby.  With every milestone she makes, I become increasingly more aware that we are moving forward in life. Entering new stages. Every first for her is a last first for us. Sometimes that's hard to take and some times it's exciting. One thing is for sure though, with this little girl around there is never a dull moment. 

So she's 3 now. She greeted this age as she does with everything, headfirst and ready for action. 

All is well, another 3rd birthday down, in Drosche Land. 

Thursday, August 20, 2015


Ok. I know. It's been a few weeks since the last post. The one where I mentioned a summer-long hiatus. But I am back. I've been here. But, as you know, we've been in full-on back to school mode since August began. Today was the 3rd day of the school year for us all since we all started on the same day this year, Tuesday!  Luckily our schedules and calendars are far more aligned so we shouldn't have any issues like last year's Spring Break debacle. But I digress. I'm back. Here I am. Back to school. I'll take a brief pause from the hiatus catchup to talk about back to school.

Braeden. He's in 4th Grade this year. Yes, 4th Grade. I'm not quite sure how it happened. Time warp maybe?  Regardless, he is.  He and Amy are stoked because this is Amy's first full year in 4th Grade so they have a lot in common and have been bonding over mutual 4th Grade stuff. It's cute and I'm so happy for them. He's very excited because, for literally the first time in his school career, he's away from any family members at school. He's moved out of my hallway and upstairs!  Upstairs?!?!  OMG. He's always been just down the hall or in my class. I see him at lunch, briefly. Maybe in the hallway if I'm lucky and the stars align.  But it's good for him. Independence, but at a slow pace that he can be comfortable with. That's right up his alley. Another huge change for him is that our Athletic Director is allowing 4th Graders to play up to JV sports this year. He's now on the JV Soccer team!  OMG!  He is so excited and is having a blast. He's had 2 practiced already and comes home exhausted but joyful.  Sports his definitely a love language for that kid. It does however bring about changes for the entire family as he has practice 4 times a week until 5:00 pm. That means later nights for us all. But they're growing up and we are experimenting with later bedtimes. So far, so good (fingers crossed). Hopefully that'll continue to be an easy adjustment as we head into the school year. 

Jackson. 2nd Grade. I'll be honest, it was fun having him in my classroom last year. I do miss him but I know he is having a blast in 2nd Grade. He was nervous for the first day, but came home ecstatic and eager to tell us all about his teacher and everything she has planned for his class. This is the same teacher Braeden had for 2nd Grade and he also loved her. She brought out a lot of good in Braeden so I am so eager to see how Jackson grows and develops this year.  He is continuing to manage his ADHD well and we are adjusting to getting back into the school to me routine and schedule. He is also excited because he will be playing on the same Soccer league with his classmates as he did last year for Soccer and for Baseball. He also has grand plans to join them for Basketball. His practices begin next week on Fridays from 5:00-6:00. So late nights are the name of the game here in Drosche Land. But at least I'll get some time to work and plan and grade.  He's grown so much over the summer. I see him in the hallway and sometimes I'm amazed at just how mature he can look. 

Stella. She started PreSchool 3 this year. She's down my hallway now. So far it's been good. I've made sure to not linger and avoid if possible. The few times we've run across each other she has been able to hug and say hi without crying. She loved school, always has, and she is having a blast. She adores her teachers and we are working on not just calling them by their last names, but using Mrs. before. She has some weird aversion to using titles when speaking about people, it's quite hilarious. But she's a trip and is having so much fun.  She will be starting dance this year. Dance. Like ballet. I can't even begin to wrap y head around my little princess being old enough for dance. Her practice is in Wednesdays. So there's the other day of the week. Ha!  You thought I'd gotten at least one day that was extra-curricular free didn't you?  Wrong!  As it turns out we have Faculty a Meetings on Wednesdays so it's not really any inconvenience. Just another stage of life we are entering. The busy stage. As if we weren't already busy enough!  

Amy. It's her 2nd year in 4th Grade and her first time to start the year off that way after stepping up mid-year last year. This is the class she taught back in 2nd Grade a few years ago so that's a fun and unique experience. She's loving it and having a blast. I never would have imagined that she would be so happy and content so far away from Early Childhood.  Who knew?  We'd both always thought of her as an Early Childhood teacher. But after leaving administration a few years ago to step back into the classroom, she's been hopping around and experiencing all the grades. First, Second, Fourth. But
she's great at that.  Again, she's excited to be teaching the same grade that Braeden is in and in fact,
she even worked out a field trip for her class to the same place that his class is attending later this war. That'll be tons of fun!

Me. Last but not least. Me. I'm in 1st Grade. Always. I love it here. Beginning my 12th year and I'm amazed at that. 12 years. Wow. This is a big year for me because at SML we are in the process of doubling our Elementary grades beginning with Kindergarten last year. That class then moved up and we doubled 1st Grade this year. I've never co-taught with anyone or had a teach member who taught the same grade as I did. Luckily for me the other 1st Grade teacher is a good friend who was a PreSchool 3 teacher for a while and has been waiting to step up. She is awesome and we have already begun to build a great team so far this year. It's going to be a lot of fun. New, but fun. The other PreSchool 3 teacher stepped up to teach one of the sections of Kindergarten this year as one of our teachers left. She is also a good friend of ours. Throw in the other K teacher, who I worked with at Trinity for years and is also a family friend and Stella's Godmother, and we have one amazing K/1 team and it is going to be an epic year!  At SML this year we also have a new principal, who is amazing, and several new teachers. So change is the theme for this school year, that's for sure. But it is going to be awesome. He has so much in store for us and I cannot wait to see His plan play out. 

Well, I guess that sums it up. 4th Grade, 2nd Grade, PreSchool 3. They each love school (for which Amy and I are so thankful for) and we are off to a great start. There are a lot of new changes in our lives for this year so we definitely should have many adventures in the coming months. But I am excited and ready for the ride!  Here goes nothing. 

All is well, another school year underway, in Drosche Land.


Hey. So I was gone. For a while. But now I'm back.

I took a bit of a hiatus from blogging for the summer. Just needed a break. Life was busy. I had lots to say but then again, felt I had nothing interesting to say. I felt burned out.  So I took the summer off. I love blogging and hope that the time away will have served to rejuvenate me. 

It wasn't a terribly busy summer, quite the opposite in fact. But there was still a lot that happened. So, I'll probably spend August recapping the events of June and July. Just to bring things current. 

Hopefully that will only take a few posts because school is less than 2 weeks away!  I returned to work this week as my report date was Monday. Amy has been home with the kids this week, spending a few hours a day in her classroom and running last minute errands. She officially reports next Monday so we are within spitting distance of getting fully back into our routines and schedules. Crazy, but there's some comfort in that as well. 

So, I guess that's about it for now. Just a quick post to explain the hiatus and jump back in to the blog. I'll have to look at my calendar to begin reviewing June and July in proper chronological order. Because I'm particular like that you know!  Until then!

All is well, back to our regularly scheduled programming, in Drosche Land. 

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Another Year Down

Well, summer has arrived in Drosche Land!  Granted, Amy and I still have meetings this week, but school ended for all of us last week.  The kids and I at St. Mark celebrated our last day on Thursday, Amy celebrated her last day of the year at Epiphany on Friday.

What a year it was too.  Busy and hectic, both professionally and personally.  Of course we started the year off with T & L and being foster parents.  That, in and of itself, brought all kinds of back to school adventures.  Then they moved on and we adjusted to life as the 5 of us again.  Then after Christmas Amy stepped up and began teaching 4th Grade after the sudden death of her coworker earlier that fall.  Did I ever mention that?  I feel like I did, but maybe not.  Long story short - the 4th Grade teacher passed away at the beginning of the year.  It was sudden and sad for Amy, her coworkers, and the students at Epiphany.  They continued the semester with 2 subs who alternated days.  Amy began to feel a calling to step up and help.  We prayed, thought, talked, and prayed some more before Amy finally decided He was calling her to serve in a new way.  She'd had a Student Teacher in the fall so it worked out perfectly that she took over Amy's 2nd Grade classroom full time in January when Amy moved into 4th Grade.  She loved it, but it was hard.  The whole situation was unique and crazy, but she did well and is excited to begin a full year as a 4th Grade teacher in August.  Who'd have ever thought she would be teaching that high up?  Not I!  My year was great.  I had a great class and great parents.  I also has Jackson in my class.  That was fine, but was also an interesting adjustment.  So, that's our year in a nutshell.  On to the kids.

Braeden on the first day of school!
Braeden on the last day of school!

Braeden.  Third Grade.  I found it hard to believe that he was in 3rd Grade this year.  Now I find it even harder to believe he is no longer a 3rd Grader!  Crazy!  Our first born.  The one who teaches us about everything.  This was a big year.  At the start of the year, 3rd Grade was out of our territory.  Amy had only taught up to 2nd Grade and I live in 1st Grade.  So, 3rd Grade was a whole new world for us.  No longer could we assume we knew everything (not that we do that).  We were learning the ropes right along with him.  He loved his teacher.  She is a sports fanatic so he was right at home with that and often we would hear about fun conversations they would have at lunch or in the classroom, discussing sports, athletes, etc.  It was great for him to have that aspect to relate to.  He grew so much this year.  He now has a sense of humor and, luckily for him since he is in our family, understands and uses sarcasm (correctly most of the time).  This was also the year when he stopped being a little kid.  Suddenly he acts like a teenager and is vocal about new things such as his hair and clothing (despite the fact we wear uniforms at SML).  The downside to the growth has been the attitude.  Oh wow!  But he has mellowed a lot lately and I think we are getting him back from the land of the pre-pubescent (for now at least).  All in all, 3rd Grade was great for him.  He loves multiplication and thrived with it, and even learned to love and take pride in projects (namely completing a poetry book and report on Uranus (yes, Uranus, and there were MANY jokes make about that, by myself of course)).

Jackson on the first day of school!
Jackson on the last day of school!

Jackson.  First Grade.  Wow!  Growth, incredible growth, was the name of the game for Jackson's 1st Grade year.  He grew academically so much, going from shy and intimidated, not willing to try to read or anything; to reading above level and loving school and learning anything and everything.  I taught Braeden in 1st Grade and it was fine.  Jackson I was worried about though.  We are very different and can sometimes butt heads, but that was not at all the case (very often).  It was a lot of fun and I think it was good for both of us, bonding us and bringing us together.  He also came out of his shell and made friends this year, buddying up with a friend (ironically named Jack) and having his first, and second, sleepovers and planning more for the summer!  Possibly the funniest thing about having him in my class was his insistence on referring to me as Mr. Drosche whenever school matters were being taken care of.  We'd already told the kids to call us that at school, just our family's preference, but he took it a step further and continued that at home during homework times or during school functions!  But that's Jackson, all or nothing!  We also continued to learn and live with his ADHD, changing medicine as he grew and managing his symptoms via diet.  All in all he had a marvelous year and we are so happy that he is thriving.  It is nice to have all the kids back at one school together.

Stella on the first day of school!
Stella on the last day of school!

Stella.  Toddler 2s.  Wow!  She is no longer a baby, that's for sure, and also no longer a toddler.  She is a full-on kid now.  As sad as that is, to have our baby growing up, it is also fun to see her grow and develop her own personality.  And what a personality she has!  She knows what she wants and is sure to let everyone know that.  She is full of spunk and sass (from her mother?) and keeps us on our toes.  It may be hard to handle sometimes, but honestly we would not have her any other way.  She also has grown so much thanks to her two awesome teachers.  Colors, numbers, shapes, songs, etc.  She is a sponge and has learned so much this year.  She is so excited to be in PreSchool next year and is already talking about it.  She will be down my hallway next year so that should be interesting, especially considering that Braeden will be moving out of my hallway and upstairs for 4th Grade!  Gasp!  We just recently (yesterday) celebrated her upcoming 3rd birthday and I am astonished that she is that old.  She reminds us so much of Jackson so we kind of know what to expect from her, sort of.  All in all, she had an amazing year and we will miss the Toddler program so much as she moves into the "big school" but we are ready (as much as possible) for that adventure.

So, there you have it.  A long-winded (do I offer any other kind) retrospective of the kids and their school year.  It was a great year for us in Drosche Land, despite being full of ups and downs.  But then again, every year is.  We grew a lot and learned a lot.  As great as it was though, we are all very happy that summer is here.  Everyone needs a little down time to recharge!  Thanks 2014/2015 school year!  It was a blast!

All is well, Toddler 2s/1st Grade/3rd Grade down, in Drosche Land.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Life's A Beach

I feel like I've used that title before. Maybe?  Maybe not?  Well, there are worse things than a recycled post title. 

So we are coming off of a long weekend, Memorial Day!  We always go out and this year it was much needed since it has been a crazy/rough/long year. Plus, we haven't taken the camper out since New Years so we were long overdue for a trip out. 

This year, as we often do, we headed to Galveston. Now I know it's not white sands and clear water, but a beach is a beach and any true Texan is just fine with a trip to the Gulf of Mexico.  After last year's disastrous camping trip to the bay side of Galveston State Park (recall that's when we were attacked by a million mosquitos and Stella ended up with a staph infection), we were so excited to be staying on the ocean side of the park!  The drive out was fairly uneventful, with the exception of Mickey, who seems to get severely carsick everytime we take him out, always resulting in an unpleasant bought of intestinal distress in his kennel. Other than that though it was good. Thanks to Amy who was riding in the back and somehow managed to clean it up without the need for a stop on the side of the road!  

The stay at Galveston was wonderful. Friday night was an easy setup night followed by our usual hot dogs and s'mores meal. Saturday was spent at the beach enjoying the beautiful weather. Sure the winds were crazy strong, but that's often the case at the beach. Sunday morning brought a bad rainstorm so we spent the first part of the day stuck inside the camper. Luckily Amy and I had just installed our new TV, so we got to give that a go. The afternoon brought about a clearing and we ventured out to the Railroad Museum, which everyone (remarkably) enjoyed. We hitched up early Monday and headed home to avoid the impending weather.  Luckily we made it home by lunch, long before the storms began. I'm sure you've heard of how bad it was/is here in Texas. Crazy rains and floods. We have managed to come through it unscathed (prayers of thanks) but many are dealing with power outages and property damage.  We even had school canceled today due to the flooding, bringing about an added vacation day and some further rest and relaxation.  It seems (fingers crossed) as though the worst is behind us. More rains possible tomorrow, but we shall see. 

Summer is quickly approaching. The kids and I have only two days left, Amy with three as she goes through the end of the week!  Then it's week of meetings before summer begins!  And we have big plans for this summer!  Not Disney big, but tons of fun and adventure nonetheless. But that's a post for another time. Until then I will leave you with some pictures of our fun Memorial Day beach vacation!  Time to prep for the return to school tomorrow!

All is well, beachy keen and safe & dry, here in Drosche Land. 

Ever since they were little, the boys have loved to run in and out of the water. Like a kid-friendly Baywatch opening!

She was pleased as punch to wear her new Hello Kitty bathing suit all day long. This girls loves the water!

Who would have guessed that all three would be enthralled by the Railroad Museum!

We saw the Weinermobile at Wal Mart!  Yes they got whistles. Yes, I did too!