Ok, to be honest the pictures for today were not taken this past week. But as you can tell from yesterday's post, this past week was crazy busy. So, I went into the vaults of my iPhoto in search of some Sunday Snapshot candidates. I came across these, and they're not actually all that old, from earlier this month. Valentine's Day to be exact. It was our nephew Jared's last basketball game so we went to watch and support him. Jack and my niece Audrey played and were generally just being super cute. Since they are only 3 months apart they are very close and enjoy playing, and getting into mischief, together. They are known as "The Littles" whenever the cousins all get together. I split my time between watching and photographing Jared playing (and playing with my new camera's settings) and photographing The Littles. These two pictures of Jack are some of my new favorites of him. He can be so rough and tumble, crazy, and is always getting into things (his favorite being trouble). However, every now and then you get a glimpse into the sweetheart that he truly is. Oh he causes me grief, but I adore him and wouldn't change him for the world! I also played around with the pictures, editing them and trying out some special effects, but I think the originals are awesome also. Enjoy
The edited version, can't decide which I like best
Last time in Drosche Land (cue black & white memory scene) things were not going so well. Disappointment/frustration abounded and a sad pessimism loomed. Thus you might have been wondering where I've been in the past few days. Wallowing in self pity? Dealing with more bad news? Well, I'm happy to say no, not really though. See, one of the frustrations in the last post was due to the continued delays in the opening of the new building at Trinity. Well, lo and behold the very next day after said post, we received the Occupancy Permit! However, with this excited news came a lot more work. That meant that Wednesday night was go time. Everything else from the old building needed to be moved so the new building could be opened and used on Thursday. Luckily my Mom and Dad dropped by to help by taking the boys home with them so we could stay late and help move without them whining running around. Plus they got to spend some time with their DD and G, so it was a win-win. Everyone at Trinity pitched in, Early Childhood and Elementary teachers, and everything was moved and as ready as it could be. Thursday and Friday brought very early mornings as we had to get there to get the days started. They also brought late nights as we stayed behind to help get the days ended. Thus the lack in posting. By the time we made it home we were exhausted. As much as I wanted to blog, I just couldn't find the energy. In fact, I went to bed at 8:30 last night and for me that us unheard of! Hopefully this weekend will bring some much-needed rest and recuperation from the whirlwind of last week, emotionally, mentally, and physically. All in all though things are going very well with the new building. It is awesome! Sure there are kinks that need to be worked out, but that will be the case no matter what. I'm sure that when K-4th move over in the summer we will encounter our own share of kinks as we begin a new school year in a new (did I mention Awesome!) building. So, there's one prayer that went from "Not Right Now" to a "Yes". I also have to take a moment to brag on Amy a bit. She, along with others I know, worked her bottom off to get this building built, finished, and at the awesome level that it is. It is her baby in a way, a chance of a lifetime for her to build Trinity's program, her program, into something huge and awesome, which is exactly what it is poised to be. There's a lot of work left but she is excited, eager, and qualified to take it on! I am so proud of her so I had to take a moment to say so. :)
As for the "Not Right Now" concerning the adoption, we don't have a different answer and in fact we are still working through receiving that one. But through continued prayer and discussion we are getting there. I can't discount the support from our family and friends either, they have been a tremendous help. We continue to work on our paperwork and the whole process and we will see what time brings. We are not expecting a change in our answer, that's not realistic. But we continue to press on toward our goal, we love Margaux and are working toward bringing her home, day by day.
I think that brings up up to date on the past week here in Drosche Land. I'll leave you with some pictures of the boys. These pictures are from Thursday morning, the first day in the new building. The boys are now fully and officially using their backpacks everyday and they are loving it. We were all so bleary-eyed yet excited that morning, it was a lot of fun. Jack was adorable with his backpack and Braeden was too. However, as is sometimes the case with him, when it came time to take his picture her was pouting. I'm not really sure about what, but here it is on film (or not I guess, digital image?), his pout (kind of cute) immortalized!
All is well,excited and tired, here in Drosche Land.
When I was little I was taught, and still believe, that God answers questions in 3 ways. "Yes", "No", and "Not Right Now". Clearly the first is the one we desire most, the one we would have be the answer to all our requests, wants, and needs. The other two are not as pleasant to hear, mainly because they rarely are in line with what we feel/see/believe/want to happen. I'm not sure which is worse, the "No" or the "Not Right Now". With "No" there is disappointment, but at least there is also finality. With "Not Right Now" there isn't finality, but at least hope for the much-wanted "Yes" is still alive. So I guess it depends on the person, the situation, or the request.
Why do I bring this up you ask? Well today we got a healthy dose of the above pondering here in Drosche Land. See, you know we officially submitted our LOI last Monday. We are smack dab in the middle of the 2-4 week waiting period for our PA (Pre Approval) and anxiously waiting the word. So, today Amy received a phone call from our agency. It ended up being about the status of our LOI, but a far cry from the phone call we were hoping for. Turns out it wasn't good news at all, and at first it seemed quite the opposite. See, Great Wall (our awesome agency) very rarely deals with anyone as young as we are attempting to adopt from China. So I guess, we're special. Well, specialness aside, the CCAA (China Center of Adoption Affairs) initially declined our LOI because of this. However, we are blessed to have such a wonderful agency and people working on our behalf. Our agent was in talks with them over several days, informing them that Amy's birthday was in August, only 6 months away and that we had done our research and were serious and sincere about adopting Margaux. It also came out that we were the first ones to proceed further with her file, no one had gone any further than simply looking. This information breaks my heart, but at the same time encourages me. It makes me sad that no one had gone further, but makes me glad because since they hadn't we could. It gives me hope and strengthens my belief that she is in fact our daughter.
Well, after the discussions with our agency, the CCAA finally agreed to allow our file and Margaux's file to wait together. We however, can move no further until Amy's birthday. Who'd have thought that 30 would look so good? We can continue with our home study, the immigration paperwork, and everything else; but nothing can be submitted. On Amy's birthday our LOI can officially be re-submitted. We will then have to wait the 2-4 weeks again before receiving our PA. Upon that we can officially submit our dossier and then more waiting. So, basically what happens is that everything is pushed back. How long? Good question. It could be a month or slightly less, it could be 4-6 months longer than we have expected. There is no way to know now. Another hard part is that we will not be able to share her or any information about her until the fall. We will also not be able to send her packages until then either.
So, "Not Right Now" seems to be His answer for us right now. It's neither good, nor bad. Just wait. More waiting. You'd think we would be used to it by now, even in our relatively short experience with the process, but no. I don't think we ever will be and I don't think the waiting will ever be any easier. Amy and I are handling the news differently. We are worried. This means she has longer to wait. Longer without the love, care, and support we so want to give her. That is hard. We have though found some comforting verses from the Bible. Romans 8:25 - But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. Seems to fit perfectly right? Also Psalm 46:10 - Be still, and know that I am God. Also a great comfort. In fact, all of Psalm 46 is beautiful and quite applicable. If you haven't read it, I highly recommend it.
Another setback today came with the new building. They still have yet to receive the Certificate of Occupancy so Amy and the girls were back in the old building today, after the excited preparations of this past weekend. But they did very well and we are hoping and praying for great news tomorrow.
So, as you can see it was an all around bummer of a day here in Drosche Land. Lots of "Not Right Now". I've handled it pretty well, although I have eaten a fair share of candy to help deal. We will see how guilty I feel about that tomorrow when it's time to get up and get dressed! :) This all just means that there will just be lots of thinking, contemplating, and praying going on in Drosche Land tonight and over the coming days and months. I also ask for y'all to think and pray for us. We will gladly take all we can get here. Prayers for patience, peace, understanding, and hopefulness. Thanks in advance.
All is well, even though it's "Not Right Now", in Drosche Land.
Well, we have been quite busy here in Drosche Land these past few days. See, the new building at Trinity is almost ready and Amy and her girls have been a flurry of excitement and movement to get everything finished. Prayers and high hopes that tomorrow brings the one last thing everyone is waiting for - the Occupancy Certificate. Once this is obtained then Amy and her girls can officially move the Center into the new building. I am crazy proud of Amy and all she has done to get this new building ready. I know there are many others who have worked tirelessly over the past year(s) but I'm focused solely on one amazing woman - my wife. She has done an amazing job making this building and move become a realization. I have thoroughly enjoyed watching her expand and grow her ministry. Sure, it's not been without struggles and difficulties, what in life isn't? But she has built an awesome program and I cannot wait for the new building to become the only building. I managed to get her to pause for a minute the other day for a picture at her desk in her new office! Isn't she cute! :). Hopefully tomorrow will bring a post of great news and anticipation!
Well, today was a big day for us here in Drosche Land. Today we met with our social worker to begin our home study for the adoption! For some reason, both Amy and I were quite nervous all day leading up to our 4:00 p.m. appointment. Maybe it was the worry that the social worker would say, "These crazies want to adopt? Are you kidding?" Maybe we were worried we would make a bad impression. Maybe we were worried the boys would be out of control. Maybe we were worried that the social worker would notice, and be unhappy, with the black eye Jack has from running into the wall. These thoughts, and tons more, swirled around in our heads all day.
Long story short - we had nothing to worry about. The appointment went very well. We went through the ridiculously long autobiographies we painstakingly filled out a few weeks ago. We also just talked with her. She met the boys and they were reasonably well behaved. She got to see them for themselves and didn't go running! All in all it was an easy and pleasant 2 hours. What now? I know you're dying to know. Well, more paperwork! She gave us a list of all kinds of stuff she needs copies of, think birth certificates and whatnot. Luckily we (and by we I mean my fabulous wife) have already begun to compile these documents. We should be able to finish obtaining and organizing all of this by the end of this coming week and can then get it to our social worker. We also have to begin taking some online training courses, 10 hours worth, which I just signed up for. We will begin knocking those out here too.
Luckily for us, since we are waiting for Amy to make the bug 3-0 we have the time to get the home study completed, there is no rush. So I guess God can work waiting into a blessing huh? :) So, we are very happy now and are one step closer to Margaux. We are still awaiting our pre-approval from China regarding our LOI that was submitted on Monday. We are about 1 week into the 2-4 week waiting period to hear back. You know what that means? More waiting! :)
All is well, one more hurdle down, in Drosche Land.
As in weeks. That's how many weeks I have until I am finally finished with my M.Ed. in Reading! Tonight I finished the last week of this course and tomorrow begins my final course. Needless to say, I am quite excited about the rapidly approaching end of this. All I have to say is that I am DONE with school after this. I used to think that I would get 2 Masters or maybe one and a Doctorate. HA! Silly naive little me. That was before jobs, kids, houses, cars, and life in general got in the way. Now it is one more thing that has been added to my heaping plate.
Now, don't get me wrong, I have enjoyed it. I have learned a thing or two. And I am glad that I did it. It wasn't hard, it wasn't all new stuff. Yes, I know I procrastinated quite a bit and have become very adept at finishing my work in a day or so at the end of the week. But that doesn't mean that the work wasn't always there, mocking me. Taunting me. But alas, I will have the last laugh. I won't shed any tears over the passing of my continuing education. Quite the opposite. I'll get my piece of paper and relish in the fact that I have pursued, and triumphed, over higher education.
I'd like to say that my plate will lighten a bit once this has come off of it, but let's get real. It will just be replaced by something else. Margaux's adoption. The yearbook (which I have yet to begin but am super excited about). Planning for next year. Coming to grips with the fact that Braeden will be in Kindergarten next year. The list goes on. I'm just hoping that the fact that the aforementioned things do not come with weekly homework or discussion posts will make them less of a chore and more of a habit. Know what I mean?
So, 8 more weeks. That's it. As this final course begins I must apply for graduation and get that squared away so once I am finished I will have my much-desired paperwork in my hand. I'm hoping the last course goes smoothly and I am able to breeze right through it without losing what little motivation I have left. I feel for Amy though as she still has 3 courses left, two more than I do. I'll focus my energies on helping to keep her motivated and on track so we can both celebrate in our victories over our Masters courses! I can't wait for that point toward the end of this upcoming summer!
This post comes a day late, but we got home later than usual last night and after the festivities of the day at school and the late night I was not up for blogging. So, one day late isn't so bad right? Valentine's Day is a time to celebrate love and romance and of course eating copious amounts of sweets. The fun began the night before, would that be Valentine's Eve? I guess so. Well, that's when the boys addressed their valentines. Transformers for Braeden and Iron Man for Jack. Amy and I split up this tedious fun activity and she took Jack and I worked with Braeden. I'm not sure who had the tougher job? Amy with Jack touching, folding, and handling every valentine, or myself with Braeden taking his painstakingly careful time in writing his friends' names. Either way, 40 minutes (yes 40!) later the task was done and everything was ready for the big day.
The morning of Valentine's Day the boys woke up knowing their was a special present awaiting them. This put a little bit of a quicker pace into their morning routine. The gift? Well, we finally gave in and bought the boys pillow pets. We debated getting them as Christmas gifts, but opted not to. Well, the fact that many friends received them for Christmas and the constant running of commercials wore us down and Jack received a frog and Braeden received a dog. They loved them, as you can see in the pictures below, and that made it totally worth it.
Adding to my joy of the day was the fact that I stumped Amy with her gift! She is impossible to surprise so on the rare (very rare) occasion that I do, it is a grand victory! I had roses delivered to her! Awwwww! We exchanged cards in the morning and I got my iTunes gift card (woo hoo new Lady Gaga CD here I come!). I told her she would have to wait to receive hers as I was giving it to her later. He He He! After some anxiety filled hours while I waited for the delivery (the confirmation email stated they deliver from 8 am - 7 pm, who's ate work on Valentine's Day at 7 pm?!?!) they finally arrived and once again it was totally worth it all for the look on her face. See, we don't do flowers very often. The last time I think (and I am far from sure) I had flowers delivered was for Valentine's Day when Amy was pregnant with Braeden. So, this was something super special! Can you tell I'm still proud of myself? :)
Lastly, this was an extra special Valentine's Day because, as previously blogged, our LOI for Margaux was officially delivered! How fitting this was for a day filled with love and the phrase "Be Mine". This was not something lost on us as we long to hear confirmation that she will in fact be ours! So, with the submission of this paperwork, we begin about a 2-week waiting period to hear the response from China. Fingers crossed, prayers ascended, hopes high. That's life in Drosche Land for the next couple of weeks.
All in all it was a great day. Special in so many ways, both usual and new! Oh, and of course we had a pillow pet for Margaux too! A ladybug, an easy choice with the symbolism of the ladybug in this whole process (good luck). It's in her room now, waiting with an adorable little doll for a very special little owner to come home to hug and love them!
All is well, filled with love and blessed, in Drosche Land.
Amy working with Jack on his valentines
Braeden intently focused on addressing his valentines
Today's post includes only two pictures. This past week was crazy busy and there was not much time to snap picture, nor was there much that was pic-worthy. However, we continue to make strides in decorating Margaux's room. The walls are done and so are some of our accent pieces, namely her name. I am in love with the color scheme that Amy picked and cannot wait for it to evolve into further awesomeness when she gets ahold of the perfect fabric for the curtains and blankets she will make. Lastly, a special gift for Margaux arrived in the mail this week. We saw this doll on one of our favorite adoption blogs and fell in love with it. We new our little girl just had to have one of these Niu Niu Dolls. Aside from the fact that they are beautiful, the owner of the website is incredibly helpful and was great to work with! You can visit her site for the dolls here, she has lots of beautiful things other than the dolls, we may be making additional purchases! So, not much this week, but enjoy! We will see what this coming week brings!
Although I am slightly partial I LOVE the way this turned out!
We will be taking this to Margaux when we travel to China to pick her up!
Well, today is a momentous occasion in Drosche Land. One year ago today, this blog was born. So much has happened in the past 365 days, we've come a long way. The adventures have been up and down and all around and I hope you've had a fun ride. The best part yet? It's just getting started really.
Originally this blog was begun for two reasons. To share info and pictures with our family and friends, and to document our adoption adventure. Here we are, one year later, and we are fully into the process with our darling little girl firmly planted into our hearts and minds. This second year of the blog will clearly be filled with even more adoption fun!
The adoption wasn't the only big thing the past year brought to Drosche Land. Who could forget the moving adventure/disappointment? What about the awesomeness that was Amy beginning her Scentsy business? Continuing to roll our debt snowball rapidly downhill to get us into a place where we can proceed on our way to Margaux? And then there were the pictures. Lots of them. It began as Wordless Wednesday, but has evolved into Sunday Snapshot. They've included holidays, birthdays, Amy, the boys, and of course preparations for little Miss Margaux. One year later. Wow, it's been a trip! I know I have really enjoyed blogging. It has been a lot of fun to share everything and open a window into our lives. Slightly more than 200 posts and over 3,000 visits (hopefully more than just a few super fans!). Thanks for coming along for the ride, it's not over yet so tighten those seat belts and let's keep going!
So, today we received some great adoption news from our agency. We had planned on our LOI being officially submitted on the 15th, Amy's half birthday. We were told that this would be the earliest we would be able to do this. We still cannot submit our entire dossier until Amy's 30th birthday, but 6 months out would give us time to begin the entire process. Well, today we received an email stating that our LOI would be submitted on Monday, Valentine's Day! Yeah it's only a day earlier than what we had been planning but when you're playing the biggest waiting game of your life one day is a big deal! Plus the fact that it's Valentine's Day hasn't escaped our attention either. What a sweet gift! One day closer to our sweet girl!
In other adoption news we also received the word that we will have no insurance hold ups, Margaux will be covered, no problems or worries. This is a big deal also, and a major relief to Amy and I.
Lastly, we have gotten off the bench and are fully running in the paper chase again. This time it is a massive form we have to fill out with the United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS). Our pens are inked and our wrists are ready. Submission of this is not for a little while, but we may as well begin.
So, a day filled with adoption great news! Oh, and her bedroom is nearly finished (thanks Amy!) so hopefully pictures of that will be coming soon. Oh, and on an unrelated side note, since today was Friday, we had our usual Drosche Family Movie Night! Usually it involved pizza and a movie. Tonight was a little different and we began with a trip through the car wash, dinner at one of our favorite restaurants (La Finca), and the movie Secretariat. Awesome movie! I highly recommend it. Seriously, finish reading and head out to the nearest RedBox, Blockbuster, or even get on Netflix. I promise you won't be disappointed! Go on now, go get it!
All is well, enjoying our sweet news, in Drosche Land.
Well, we may not have gotten the snow that we were supposed to get this past weekend. We did get a ton of ice and most importantly some extra time together as a family. We awoke to some frigid (for us here in TX) temperatures around 20ish. Everything was covered in a shiny layer of ice. So we sat back, ate a good breakfast, and lounged around. Around noon I developed cabin fever and we ventured out into the melting tundra. We didn't have to go out really, but my sweet wife was kind enough to give in to my need to get out. Our first stop was Chuck E Cheese because why not? The boys had a blast and that's the topic of this Sunday's snapshots. I didn't have my awesome camera with me so I snapped the pics with my iPhone. It was a momentous trip to the pizza-bearing mouse because the boys made their first trip into the tubes and tunnels suspended from the ceiling. It was a momentous occasion for me as well since I had to let go control and let them go. Jack had a blast and wandered around the tunnels like a pro. Braeden was a bit more hesitant, but did get up in them, never straying too far from where Amy and I stood below. They had a blast and were so proud of themselves and we were too. While out we also got paint and are almost finished with Margaux's room so that's a post that will have to wait a little longer. All in all it was a great day, who says you need snow for a successful snow day? So, enough talk and on with the snapshots! Enjoy!
So, yesterday was Chinese New Year! The Year of the Rabbit is fully underway and we are hoping that it is kind to us, bringing us one very special little girl. I'll admit, I had grandiose plans for celebrating this year. I've been researching recipes, traditions, etc. but this winter storm changed our plans. We never did make it out to a Chinese grocery store to stock up on authentic foods and whatnot, but that doesn't mean that we didn't eat well. Last weekend we went to Costco for one of our regular visits. They do have a little of everything there. We picked up some spring rolls and pot stickers (complete with sauces) and they turned out to be fantastic! YUM! While we ate we mentioned to the boys that Margaux was probably eating (or had eaten) foods similar to these to welcome the new year! It was nice to know that we were celebrating the same event, in a similar way, as our little girl even though we are half-way around the world. It also was noted by us that the next time we celebrate Chinese New Year, we may be doing so with her!
As for dessert, I again had plans that didn't come to fruition this year. However, Amy had made a heart-shaped cookie cake the day before when she was home with the boys. Last night we decorated it with frosting and sprinkles and that was our Chinese New Year dessert. Maybe not the most authentic, but absolutely delicious nonetheless. Who knows? Maybe we've begun our own tradition that Margaux can join us in next year. I am sure that she will love the cookie cake as much as we did, it was after all the best cookie cake I've ever had! You can see it below, decorated with our initials (Amy and I split the "M")! So, our first official celebration of Chinese New Year has come and we did enjoy it quite a bit. Next year I am sure we will add to it, hopefully in more ways than just food and decoration! We plan on trying to get out to a Chinese grocery store this weekend to check it out and maybe pick up some things. We'll see if we get around to it with all of our other plans of laying around, relaxing, painting Margaux's room, and otherwise avoiding the bitter cold!
Well, we are hunkering down and preparing for the great winter blast to transform Houston into a winter wonderland/tundra. Sure it's all fun and games now, but rewind just a few days and we were singing a different tune.
See, Tuesday afternoon we got home and decided (Amy's decision) that we should rearrange all of the crap stuff in the garage that we haven't moved back into the house since we have decided to stay here. We had been meaning to do it but the impending hard freeze lit a fire under us lest the car completely freeze and die. 20 minutes later we had some things moved back into the house and the rest of it was creatively stacked along the sides of where Amy's behemoth van would fit. Ahhhh, all was well and ready for the freeze right? WRONG! We went about our business as usual, continuing our attempt to complete our home study autobiography. Wednesday morning came and I slept in a bit since Amy had the day off and planned to keep the boys home. My leisurely morning came to a screeching halt when the shower yielded no water after I turned it on. Seriously?!?! What?!?! After some initial bleary-eyed running around we discovered we (I) had forgotten to wrap one pipe - the one that brings water into the house. Oops! Amy stayed home with the boys as planned and I hightailed it to my parents' house to shower and then headed to work. All seemed okay, well as okay as it could be with no water and the nagging fear that a pipe might have burst. Then the rolling blackouts began! So, poor Amy was stuck at home with inconsistent power, no water, and two very crazed boys who were out of schedule and picking up on the drama unfolding around them. Turns out though we were some of the lucky ones. The pipe thawed around noon and the rolling blackouts stopped shortly thereafter. Last night also brought further forecasts of snow for tonight and Friday! Long story short (too late?) we dismissed early at 1:00 p.m. and are closed for tomorrow!
A snow day and a half in Texas! Gotta love it! So, now we are home and have been for quite a while. The boys have discovered MarioKart for Wii and are loving it (thanks Costco) and we have enough snacks to make me worry my pants won't fit come Monday morning. Fuzzy socks and extra blankets have also come out of storage as we eagerly await the snow! I'm desperately hoping for at least some of the possible 2"-3" we are forecast to have. I'm already visualizing the copious amounts of pictures and awesome Sunday Snapshot post that could result from said snow. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't also terribly eager to play in the snow! Visions of tiny snowmen and snowball fights are dancing through my head as I type! Ahhhh, the possibilities.
So we wait. Maybe I'll get productive and plow through the remainder of the home study autobiography? We also have possible plans of painting Margaux's room. We will see what out unexpected vacation brings. Maybe we will just rest and get caught up on sleep? All is well, with a chance of snow, in Drosche Land.