"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

Thursday, June 30, 2011


Ok, so you know I love me some TV. However, life doesn't revolve around my TV schedule, as much as I'd like it to (stop rolling your eyes Amy!). That is why I have broadened my TV love to include the technological wonder that is DVR! I mean seriously, what did we do without it? How did we get everything done AND see every must-see show on every network at the exact same time? I have no clue. Luckily I don't have to ponder this too often because of the aforementioned DVR. Since we have long since dropped cable service to knock out our debt snowball my DVR of choice is our trusty TiVo box that Amy got me as a gift many moons ago when we were still living in the apartment and had just one itty bitty baby. Luckily she had the incredible foresight (as often is the case with her) to purchase the box outright rather than rent it. Flash forward a couple of years and that investment has more than paid off!

Said TiVo box is housed in our bedroom so we can relax and watch everything we didn't originally have time for at our own convenience. Due to the lack of cable and the age of our TiVo box a digital converter was needed when we connected it. This resulted in problem-free recording and hours of blissful, commercial-free programming on demand! However, things have taken a sudden turn for the worse. Sometime Tuesday something went wrong. Very wrong. It appears as though the connection between our converter and television has been lost. Now, I consider myself a pretty techno-savvy person. My kryptonite though, is connecting televisions, DVD players, Blu-ray players, the Wii, etc. For some reason I have extreme difficulty in this area. Enter Amy, she's a wiz with the cables, cords, and connections. I did give it my best shot though, to no avail. The connection is still lost and I am clueless. Luckily it has nothing to do with our network so I can still access Netflix via the Blu-ray (I'm totally addicted to the original Melrose Place right now but that's a post for a different time) so not all is lost. Also luckily it didn't affect any of our previously recorded programs so we can watch those, we currently have 5 episodes left in this past season of Grey's Anatomy so that was a blessing. Oh and one last luckily - it's summer so there aren't any new shows to record and our schedules are slightly easier and more accommodating.

So, tomorrow I will once again try to reestablish the connection of the two once inseparable companions an save the day. I have a while until the fall season begins so I have pretty high hopes still of figuring it out. Worst case scenario - we learn to live (gasp!) without a DVR! But I'm not even going to give that horrific thought another moment. Who knows? There's still time for a miracle right?

All is well, attempting to reconnect, in Drosche Land.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Sunday Snapshot - Vacation

Well, a lazy Sunday at home that included some incredible burgers from the grill, a 3 1/2 nap, and lots of lazing around pushed this post to this morning!  As you remember I took tons of pictures during our vacation and had trouble narrowing the hundreds down to the few I posted previously.  The perfect compromise?  One last post to celebrate the awesome vacation.  After all, it did deserve it's own Sunday Snapshot right?  Enjoy!

 The boys at Beaver Dam.  Love how Braeden is scratching his mosquito bite, but it's still a cute one of them!

 Braeden always knows how to stop and smile for me!

 Jack enjoyed taking pictures on top of rocks, a power play!

 Isn't she beautiful?

Down I go!  Fun nonetheless!

Sunday Snapshot

Thursday, June 23, 2011


No, this post isn't about sailing.  Think back to last Sunday's post.  You can scroll down or find it hereYou have probably already guessed though given my photos and shamelessly obvious hints.  Yes, I went to the "crazy place" as Amy and I call it and began yet another home improvement project.  Although, I am happy to say that I did finish this one, and in record time - 2 days!  Had I charged my drill overnight it would have been just a 1-day project.  Ahhhh, go ahead, bask in my awesomeness!

See, now that we have decided (well for a while now) not to move any time soon it has been on my mind to do some of the things we always said we would do since we built the house.  Our back yard has always been at the top of my list.  The worst thing about building a house is the lack of trees.  Sure we have the oak tree in the front yard that came with the house (although I swear it hasn't grown an inch in 4 years!) and the pear tree in the back yard (which has grown quite a bit but is nowhere near the size to provide shade) but they leave much to be desired, namely shade.  Full sun makes it extremely hard to grow anything or fully enjoy the back yard.  When we first moved in we put down pavers and stones to make a large patio but it was rushed and we were very inexperienced.  I have been dreaming of creating a fun outdoor space, complete with shade.  Well, that dream has finally become a reality.  

It started with a simple conversation Amy and I had on the way back home last Sunday from the wedding.  We mentioned getting a pergola or something added on.  A quick stop by Home Depot enlightened us to the harsh reality of the cost of that dream.  So we adapted it into something more doable: a gazebo.  You know, the metal frame kind with the covering.  Quite honestly I'm not sure how it got from that to me building a deck, but before I knew it I was heading to Home Depot to purchase the gazebo and building materials!  I'll pause here to give thanks and props to my wonderful wife for putting up with me and my harebrained schemes.  Supportive doesn't even begin to describe her!

Luckily I had been planning and thinking about this for so long that I knew exactly what I wanted and despite my limited (i.e. NONE) experience building things, I was stoked to begin.  2 days and 3 extra trips back to Home Depot (due to my underestimation of the number of screws I would need!) later and we have a deck and a gazebo!

Now, I am no contractor or construction worker, but I must say I am pretty proud of myself and my new found deck-building skills.  I'm sure it's not absolutely perfect, but it is all mine and was built for a fraction of the cost of anything else!  Below of course I will provide "before" and "after" pictures for your viewing pleasure.  The only thing I have left to do is to stain/seal it, get some trim for around the base, and we need to find the perfect patio furniture.  I'm already envisioning all of the outdoor meals, cups of coffee, glasses of wine, and relaxing that will take place on our new deck.  Ahhhh, it's going to be great!

Look at me, first laying tile and now I'm building decks.  Who knew?  :)

All is well, decked out, in Drosche Land.

 Before: Unappealing and not too functional

After:  Totally super awesome!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Home Sweet Home

I'm back!  Home!  Well, we've officially been back since Sunday afternoon, but as usual life picked right back up where we left it and things have been busy.  I have tons to post about but I think the most logical way to get back into the swing of things is chronologically!  So, without further adieu, on with the vacation post!

Beaver Lake, Arkansas.  That was our destination.  It had been a long time since we had a vacation.  The last time actually was about 6 years ago when we went with Amy's family to Colorado.  The boys have never, nope never, been on a vacation.  Sure we went to San Antonio for my 30th birthday but that was just an over-night trip so nothing too long.  This was a 10-hour car drive followed by a week-long stay at the lake followed by another 10-hour car drive!  Long story (and drive) short they did fantastic!  It is amazing the wonders a DVD player in the car can make!  The drive up was remarkably smooth and they did very well.  In addition to the DVD player snacks are a must!  That is a key to helping tame Jack, he loves to snack and his weakness are fruit snacks!

The vacation was spent mainly relaxing, which we needed a lot of (remember that no vacation in 6 years thing?).  Amy's entire family (sans Adam who is the BEST dog-sitter ever!  THANKS!) went on the vacation and it was an awesome time for us all!  Amy and I got to go hiking, one of our favorite things.  We were ecstatic to find that the boys seem to enjoy it as well.  They successfully completed a 1 1/2 mile hike with nary a complaint!  This only helped Amy and I enjoy the hike even more and it was truly a great family day.  It even resulted in one of the best family photos we have ever taken (see below) thanks to my awesome camera, a timer feature, and a perfectly placed rock!  We have already begun to daydream about future hikes and camping trips with the boys based upon this spectacular day!

Seeing as how we were staying at a lake house we of course spent tons of time in and on the lake.  There was the first day scare when there was a snake in the water with us all but we put aside the willies and continued to have fun.  Braeden is water-loving and will jump (figuratively only as he is not a fan of jumping into water) at any chance to swim.  Having to get out of the water produces the exact opposite (pouting) effect!  Another favorite activity of ours when at a lake is skiing and tubing.  It has been a long time (again think 6 years) since I have skied, but I gave it my best shot, 6 to be exact.  I came super close several times and you could stretch it to say that I got up once before wiping out.  I do love it and wish I had the opportunity to do it more often.  I (Amanda actually for me) got some great pictures of my skiing/attempts.  The tubing was a huge success with all of the cousins, well with the exception of Braeden.  He did his obligatory run on the tube but declined every offer after that, instead choosing to just relax and ride the boat.  Jack on the other hand (not at all surprising) loved the adventure of being pulled along on the tube behind the boat.  His favorite parts - the bumps!  He went several times and only loved it more each ride.  I (again Amanda) have some great pictures of the two of us laughing and riding together.  Sadly though I didn't have my camera on the boat for Braeden's ride, but who knows, maybe he'll venture out again next time (whenever that may be) and become a natural!

Campfires were, of course, the other beloved activity on vacation.  On the drive up we were nervous about burn bans because of the severe drought we have been having.  However, the drought has not reached Northwest Arkansas, quite the opposite in fact since many of their rivers and lakes are well above level.  This meant the nightly chance to gather wood, light a fire, relax by said fire, and of course make s'mores!  Yes, we make these often at home but they are just so much better when done over an open flame at night!  Braeden really enjoyed roasting his marshmallows.  Well, I loosely use the term roasting because his never had the slightest hint of color on them and looked to always be fresh from the package.  But this is true to Braeden's plain/vanilla culinary tastes.  Nonetheless he managed to inhale multiple s'mores each night.  Jack enjoyed making them but never finishes one full s'more, although you would never guess it by the sticky mess he makes of himself!

It really was an awesome (have I said that several times already?) vacation but Amy and I both will agree that it was a blessing/curse that we left 2 days earlier than everyone.  See a good friend of ours from college was getting married on Saturday (great wedding, thanks Tiffany & Justin!) so we drove back Friday.  My Mom & Dad watched the kids Friday and Saturday nights for us while Amy and I briefly relaxed at home for  one short night before heading to Giddings for the wedding.  Anywho, I digress.  Amy's family left Sunday morning but ran into a series of mishaps beginning with a dead car battery and ending in a 3-hour delay due to the wildfires here in Houston shutting the freeway down!  Their 10-hour car trip home ended up being 14 hours!  Amy and I followed it all day Sunday via text and phone calls, grateful that we were not there for this last portion of the vacation!       

On a side note, who knew Northwest Arkansas was so beautiful?  Well, we didn't and it is!  If you are ever in the area stop by!  Some notable places we enjoyed included Durant, Oklahoma: home to the World's Largest Peanut (who knew?),  Eureka Springs, Arkansas: tourist trap and home to the World's Largest Tuned Windchime (again, who knew?), and possibly our favorite excursion Devil's Den State Park in Arkansas: 1 word BEAUTIFUL!

Well, I think that about covers it in a nutshell.  It was an awesome, much-needed, and relaxing vacation.  We have already begun to make plans with Amy's family for next summer's trip to Colorado and the likelihood of a resurrecting their yearly family trip!  1,500 miles and 310 (down from 560 thanks to the weeding out of closed eyes, out of focus, and numerous multi-shot feature captured) pictures later we are back home fondly reminiscing our adventures in Arkansas.  Aside from the relaxing and photos we knew it was a successful trip when both Braeden and Jackson asked if we could go to Arkansas again!  Enjoy some of the pictures below (so hard to choose when there are so many)!

All is well, post-vacation, in Drosche Land.

 The aforementioned favorite family shot!

 Our favorite of Jack, it's his personality exactly!

 My boys on the boat!

 Hey look!  I'm (almost) skiing!

 Turns out Braeden loves fishing!  Who knew?

 I had to put a worm on his hook!  With.  My.  Hands.

 My beautiful wife!

 Jack and I tubing!

  He didn't like the water at first, but warmed up to it throughout the week!

Braeden loving the water!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sunday Snapshot - Project

Well, vacation is over and we are all back home.  We had a great time, but that's another post (literally, I'll tell you later).  I have tons to talk about after missing a week of blogging, and boy did I miss it!  Now that we are back home it is time to enjoy summer the only way we know how to enjoy a break - by starting a project!  What adventure are we up to now you ask?  Good question, follow the photo clues below in this Sunday Snapshot and see if you can figure it out!  

 "Wood" you like to know what project we are starting?

I personally have never done it but I "saw" it done on television a time or two.  I love me some TLC & HGTV!

I hope I don't "screw" it up or anything.  If I do, Amy might "deck" me since this crazy idea was ALL MINE!
Give up?  Figured it out?  Stay tuned to find out!  :)

Sunday Snapshot

Saturday, June 11, 2011

All I Ever Wanted

You know, as in vacation.  Cue the Go-Gos song!  You know you're singing along now.  I love me some 80's music.  Anyway, back to the post.

Tomorrow we go on our first big vacation as a family.  Sure, we've gone away for short little trips, a day or two, but tomorrow is the real thing.  We will be traveling to a lake house in Beaver Lake, Arkansas with Amy's family and will be gone an entire week.    We will head back home on Friday but get to drop the boys off with my parents as we head back out of town, to Giddings this time, for a good friend's wedding!  A week-long vacation!  It's just what we needed after a crazy last few months.  A great time to get away and relax.  I hope to have a slew of pictures to share next Sunday, plus we are taking our camcorder.  I really want to start making videos.  I had a lot of fun with iMovie and the footage from Braeden's Pre-K graduation.  So, that is one of my many new goals.   

When we first planned this vacation, everything sounded like relaxing fun.  However, the closer it gets I am very aware of the chaotic stress of planning a trip like this.  The cleaning, the laundry, the packing, there are a gobzillion things to do.  Sure in the end it will have all been worth it, but for now the house is a whirlwind of action and mess.  We've done our best to straighten everything up so we don't return to the house and find it in a state of chaos, we'll see how well we did next weekend!  One of the biggest stresses of the event was finding some place for the dogs to stay.  Luckily Adam is not going on the trip due to his summer courses and has generously agreed to dog sit for us!  We're going to pay him of course, but it will save us a fortune over kenneling them.  Who knew it was so ridiculously expensive to board your dogs? 

For now though all is settled and as ready as it's going to be.  Everything is packed, the car is loaded, the kids are asleep, I've got 2 new books (one free!) loaded onto the iPad to read, the iPod is updated and charged, and the camera and camcorder batteries are charging.  I think that's it.  Tomorrow we will wake at the butt-crack of dawn to join the Caravan of Craziness (not the official term, but applicable) as we venture out on what is sure to be loads of fun.  I'm still anxiety-ridden about swimming in a lake, but hopefully I'll get over that before we get there.  It has always creeped me out to think about lake water and not being able to see in it or touch the bottom.  Gives me the willies just thinking about it.  

Well, I think I will sign off now as my tired and vacation-ready brain has caused me to ramble, veering in and out of topic.  Who knows when I will be posting again, depending upon the signals in the Arkansas wilderness I may or may not be doing any mobile vacation blogging.  Ahhhh, vacation.  I love the sound of that.

All is well, vacation-ready, in Drosche Land. 

Friday, June 10, 2011

Fight Club

No, I'm not reviewing the Brad Pitt movie.  Although, I do have to admit that I have not seen it before.  Borrowing it's title for this post though makes me way to watch it.   Hmmmm, I'll have to check out Netflix for it's availability.  But I digress.  Back to the post.

Boys will be boys, as the saying goes.  I've said it before myself, about students, my nephews, and of course my boys.  I've also made frequent use of the terms rambunctious, crazy, wild, animals.  You get the idea.  Yeah, they're sweet and all, but they are boys.  Fighting seems to come naturally to them.  Fighting when they're angry with each other and of course play fighting when they are not.  Both of these together comprise about 90% of their time together.  Sometimes it gets out of hand and they get a bit wild.  Generally I know it's time to intervene when I am downstairs and the ceiling shakes with a sudden tremendous thud.  This is usually from pushing, running, or jumping (as in off of furniture).  Once they reach this point of no return everyone begins to lose it.  Amy and I are constantly racking our brains to find ways to let them play and be themselves but also to remain some semblance of control.  Plus, one day someone is going to break an arm, leg, or piece of furniture!

So the cycle continued: play, out of control, time out.  Repeat as needed.  As summer is now officially in swing I was dreading living out this cycle multiple times throughout each day for the next 2 months.  Then this past Monday, the first full day of summer no less, I had an epiphany!  One that would change our lives.  Sounds dramatic I know, but trust me it's true!  See, people have cuss jars to curb bad language right?  Well, wouldn't the same theory apply to other undesirable behavior?  Well, it was worth a try right?  The boys each have a large jar where they keep their money, you know what they get for birthdays and chores (which I need to reassess this summer but that's for another time).  One mason jar later I was ready for implementation.  I explained to the boys that every time they were fighting (either for real or when playing too rough) they would each owe me 2 coins into my jar from theirs.  They seemed to understand and agree so we began.  I'll be honest, that first day I collected 10 coins, but since then it has drastically tapered off.  Usually just a reminder that they will owe me money if they don't calm down it enough to settle them.

So, parental victory is mine!  I'll admit, I'm pretty proud of myself.  I successfully thought of, implemented, and have continued a discipline program.  I feel all grown up!  It is possible one of my greater moments as a parent.  Plus the boys have really responded to it and seem to understand and enjoy it.  Life is good.  A great way to start the summer, and an encouraging one at that.

Lastly, I have been busting it to finish Trinity's yearbook for the 2010-2011 school year.  I took it over this year and it got pushed back until now due to my M.Ed. courses.  I did it at Memorial and I really do love it.  Of course there is the usual anxiety that no one will like it but I'm sure all will work out.  Anyway, I am finally finished!  As I blog I am proofing and publishing the pages, I love multi-tasking!  So, now that my final commitment for the school year is over, summer can officially begin.  I hope that blogging will resume on a more regular basis now too!  Whew, May was a doozie, but we made it!  

So, a post full of blissful good news!  My new discipline policy is a winner and my yearbook is completed (and I think it's great)!  I'm a pretty happy camper and it looks like it's going to be a great summer!

All is well, and super productive, in Drosche Land.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Sunday Snapshot - Game Over

So, this was supposed to be last Sunday's snapshot, but life got in the way, got complicated, and we got distracted.  However, things are slowly settling back into routine here in Drosche Land and we are doing well.  Summer is officially here and hopefully with it will come more regular posts.  We have quite a busy summer ahead of us so there should be plenty of adventures to write about.  On with the post!  Last Saturday was Braeden's last soccer game of the season.  8 practices and 8 games, gone.  It flew by.  We loved every minute of it though and it was a ton of fun for all of us.  Definitely a learning experience for us all as well.  Even though we will miss it, it will be nice to have our Saturdays back, especially since it is now summer.  After the last game we headed to Double Dave's for our team party where each kid got their trophy and Coach Jack said a little something personal about each of them.  He referred to Braeden as "Hot Wheels" because of his speediness!  He also mentioned how he progressed so much and showed a true talent and love of the game.

So, now what?  Well, as I've mentioned before, he has his mind set on Tee Ball which we may start in the fall.  Time will tell though which sport he chooses, he seems to be the kind of kid that wants to do them all!  Again, he doesn't get it from me!  But after our first sports experience we are all far less stressed about it and eager to see what happens next.  Just after it cools off a bit though, because it is like a bazillion degrees here already and it's only the beginning of June!  

 Braeden receiving his trophy from his coach!

 "Hot Wheels" after a great first season!

Wednesday, June 01, 2011


So, I've been a little MIA here for a while.  I missed about a week.  I missed a Sunday Snapshot.  I've also missed blogging.  But it has been crazy busy here with Amy's recovery, the end of the school year, and beginning summer plans.  In addition to these things though something else has occurred that has taken over our time and thoughts.  This post has been brewing in my head and I've debated over how and when to post but I think we are ready now.  

Amy and I have had to stop our adoption process.  We've had to release Margaux and her information back into the shared list.  We recently contacted our agency so we could begin again on the work that we had left to do.  This summer was to be the time when we finished up our paperwork and got everything in line for submission on Amy's birthday.  However, we found out that we would need updated medical paperwork.  Amy's recent surgery to treat her adhesions created a complication.  One complication begets another.  See, one of the many stringent rules in this process is the fact that neither parent can have had a surgery in the year prior to the adoption.  This rule, like the age factor we have already become aware of, is not something that can not be bent or broken.  

We really didn't have much of a choice in the matter, the decision was made for us.  One  year.  That is how long we would have to wait before moving forward.  That would just be until we could submit our paperwork.  It would then be months more before receiving approval and traveling.  The total time would be close to 2 years from now.  It wasn't fair for us to allow Margaux to wait that long.  We've had to come to the realization that it wasn't meant to be.  She wasn't meant to be our daughter.  We don't fully understand His plan, but we do trust it.  We know that it is best.

A year.  A lot can happen in a year.  Who knows what will happen in a year?  Who knows what He has in store for us in a year?  True, we are sad.  We are disappointed.  We are grieving.  But we are somewhat at peace as well.  It's an odd mixture of feelings really.  He definitely is at work in this process though, providing us with supportive family, friends, and each other.  We did have to tell the boys.  They were, understandably, upset.  They too had become attached and were looking forward to Margaux joining our family.  They too are sad and grieving.  But the 4 of us are doing well, together.  

What are the plans for us?  Where do we stand on adoption?  What will be do next?  Pursue next?  For the meantime we have decided on just being.  On abiding with Him and reveling in the blessings and happiness that we have.  Ironically the year that has now been assigned to us is not necessarily a punishment.  Sure we could look at it that way.  But it is also a chance to think.  To pray.  To plan.  To abide.  That's exactly what we intend to do.   

So, things here in Drosche Land have yet again changed.  But we will make it through this also.  We will come out of it better, stronger, closer, and wiser.  Because in the end we have each other.  We have a wonderful network of family and friends.  We have our faith.  We have an abundance of blessings.  We move forward.

All is well, adapting and changing, in Drosche Land.