"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, December 31, 2011

Holidaze / Resolutions Revisited

Seriously?! It's that time again?! This post is a blend of 2 separate posts I've been mentally working on over the past couple of days but have yet to get out so I've combined them here into one entry. I have a good excuse though for not getting the post done. We've been busy doing absolutely NOTHING these past few days. Nothing other than enjoying our vacation that is. This past holiday season was ridiculously busy and blew past us (hence the clever "Holidaze" portion of the title!). It seems as though I was just finishing Halloween candy and suddenly I'm baking cookies for the big man in red to enjoy after he brings us the spoils of our good behavior this past year. Where did November and December go exactly? The holidays were so busy I didn't even get Christmas cards out! That just killed me because it is one of my favorite parts of the holiday season. Luckily Amy helped me to come to the conclusion that I can send out New Years cards! So improvise I did and they are ready, anxiously awaiting me to address and deliver/mail them! I'd post a I true of them but I don't want to ruin it for all of the friends and family (you know who you are!) that are daily visiting their mailboxes, hoping to find the treasure of said card inside! Worry not, they are almost on their way! So, 2011 is quickly coming to an end and I cannot believe it. Professionally speaking I can't either, 1/2 of the school year is over?! Only 5 months left to fill the minds of my little Firsties with tons of phonetic and mathematical knowledge?! Anyway, back to the topic at hand. The past week was spent enjoying quality time with the family, our couch, and our DVR. We had the cousins over for a sleepover and that was tons of fun but other than that we have been working hard on relaxing, basking in just being. We definitely all need it here after the crazy past few months we've had in Drosche Land. Maybe 2012 will be slower? More even-paced and calm? HA! I'm sure it will prove to be crazy and fun as always though!

On to the second part of my post. This past week I suddenly remembered that my first post of 2011 was about resolutions. Really, I made them? What were they? I'll admit, like millions of others life got in the way and I quickly forgot about them. So, I hesitantly re-read that post, found here, hoping I hadn't failed my past self too much. The only thing I remembered was that I had made 10 (that's an awful lot past Dusty, nice going) resolutions because it would be easy to come up with an easy success/failure percentage. Honestly, it wasn't as bad as I'd feared. I'll revisit and update them here so let's see how I did!

1: "Lose the 4 (or 5 depending on the day) pounds I have put on this holiday season.". Success! I got back to my normal weight and I'm happy to say that this season I've managed not to put on only like 1-2 (again depending upon the day) pounds! Not to bad, granted I began the Christmas break with a wicked stomach bug which allowed me plenty of flexibility but hey, it's all good!

2: "Be a more active member in the financial freedom of our family (Amy stop rolling your eyes).". Um, fail I think. I don't think I did all that much better and I'm sure that Amy would agree!

3: "Be more patient with the kids, not everything has to be done my way (Amy, didn't I just ask you to stop rolling your eyes ;)!).". Um, success? I think so yeah, I mean we all have our days but overall? I think I'll count it as yes (we'll see if Amy agrees!).

4: "Finish the Bible reading plan I began last year (only about 2 months left) AND start a new one!". Success! I not only finished that one but 2 others! I love it and highly recommend it! I'm going to begin a new plan tomorrow, I need to peruse them and find one that I like!

5: "Begin praying for the adoption process and our daughter.". Hmmm. I did this, lots. Bt as you know we had to stop the process so I think this one no longer makes the list. Although 2011 taught me that everything is on HIS plan, not mine! We are eagerly awaiting #3 so it is a twist of things from this time last year, but all is well!

6: "Finish my Masters!  (Yes I know this will obviously be done, but it'll give me something to check off and provide motivation!).". Success! Yes I know it was a given, but I still think Amy and I finishing our Masters is a big deal!

7: "Take more pictures of the boys and document everything (should be a cinch with my new camera!).". Success! Thanks to Sunday Snapshot and my fabulous camera from Amy last year I think I've done a great job!

8: "Stop worrying/thinking about the move.  What is meant to happen will happen.". Success? Technically speaking I did stop, yes we took the house off the market and decided not to move but it was a big decision, I'm counting it!

9: "Start reading for pleasure more (I still haven't finished Breaking Dawn!).". Success! I have done this! I just finished The Winshaw Legacy but Jonathan Coe and am currently about halfway through The Help (I highly recommend both!). Funnily enough I still haven't finished Breaking Dawn so I need to get that done. I also have the Steve Jobs biography burning a hole in my iPad!

10: "Drink more water!  (Not instead of caffeine, I'm not cutting down on that, but in addition to!). Hmmmm. Ok, I'll concede with this and claim fail! I have gotten slightly better, maybe, but still a far cry where I should be. Oh well, I have enjoyed coffee and caffeine in all it's other forms though!

So, there you have it. Not too shabby huh? Take off the adoption resolution to bring me to 9. 7 successes and 2 failures gives me a 78% success rate. Could be better but it's not failing! Well, how did you do on your 2011 resolutions? Success? Fail? Mixture? I haven't decided about ones for 2012 yet, I'll be thinking and posting about that tomorrow. I'm thinking less than 10 though, mainly because I can't think of 10 things right now, we will see if divine inspiration occurs. Until then I'll be content with my 78%.

2011. Overall it was a good year I think. We had our share of ups and downs here in Drosche Land, but who didn't? We were, are, and remain extremely blessed. 2012 is already poised to be a big year for us and I am so excited! I'm entering the new year with positive thinking and anticipation. I hope that you enjoyed 2011 and are ready for a blessed 2012. We will see if I post more in 2012 (I hope so!), I think my overall post number was lower this past year than in 2010. So, I hope you are ready to join me for the ride! See you next year!

All is well, for auld lang syne, in Drosche Land.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Sunday Snapshot - Merry Christmas

It was a very Merry Christmas here in Drosche Land indeed!  Family, good food, cold weather, presents, laughter, and baby Jesus.  We were, as always, very blessed here and I hope that you and your family experienced the same kind of blessed holiday.  Many many pictures were taken, as you can guess, and here are the highlights of our special day!  Continued blessings on your holidays!

All is well, picture perfect, here in Drosche Land.


Sunday Snapshot

Saturday, December 24, 2011

That's A Wrap!

Well, it's Christmas Eve. I can't believe that it is, but it is.

The last of the presents are wrapped (get the post title pun?!) and under the tree, finally.

Cookies, milk, and carrots have been carefully chosen and prepared.

A Christmas Story is on tv (another tradition here in Drosche Land).

We are ready here in Drosche Land. Ready for Santa to come and visit. Ready to celebrate the birth of Jesus, the best gift we've ever received. I'm still a bit in shock that Christmas has actually arrived and soon 2011 will be gone, so I guess I'd better start getting ready for that as well! Are you ready?

So dear bloggy friends and family, I'll keep tonight's post short and sweet. Just a short note to wish you a very Merry Christmas. May you enjoy your families, your friends, the magic of the season, plenty of sweets, and of course remember the real reason we celebrate.

All is well, very merry indeed, in Drosche Land.

Friday, December 23, 2011

'Tis the Season to Be Baking!

What is the holiday season without sweets?  Not much!  Part of the fun of Christmas, at least here in Drosche Land, is the holiday baking.  With the busyness and hecticness of this year's holiday season many things fell by the wayside, but we made sure to schedule in some quality baking time.  Now I'm not talking crazy baking here, you know like 20 different kinds of cookies spread out over a week, filling tons of tins, going through supplies like we're on Cupcake Wars (if you haven't seen it, watch it ASAP!).  We've been there and done that and although I do love it, this was not the year for such cookie hijinks.  Nope, instead we limited it to 3 of our favorite cookies, opting for quality rather than quantity.  In addition to the delicious byproduct of this fun activity it also provided us with some much needed family time as we all love to get in the kitchen and cook together as well as a reason to have to stay home and relax (in between batches of course).  Our 3 cookies?  I know you're wondering.  Well, up this year were chocolate Spritz cookies (because you have to use the cookie press at least once a season), sugar cookies (because they're Santa's favorite!), and gingerbread cookies (because it's not Christmas without a gingerbread person!).  

So, for the past two days we (mainly Amy with help from us boys here and there) have mixed, rolled, cut out, baked, decorated, and of course eaten.  We are finally finished and we still have a good 3/4 of our total haul left after eating, packing to take to family, and eating some more.  It was good for us to relax at home with no expectations or goals other than baking cookies.  We all needed the break and our DVR needed to be cleaned off so it was good all around.  Hopefully my waistline will not suffer from the past 2 days' activities, in addition to the copious amounts of leftovers from our fun and successful party on Wednesday.  I can't believe that it is December 23rd already, wow has the season flown by or what?!  I feel as though it came sneakily and by surprise!  But that is a post-Christmas post topic for next week.  For now I'll sit and relax, ready to enjoy the family time the next 2 days will bring as we celebrate the joyous season and everything it has to offer, even if it came suddenly and quickly!

All is well, stocked up on cookies, in Drosche Land.

The supplies.  Lined up, organized, and ready to go!

 Our favorite cookie cutters, ready to serve!

Amy using the cookie press.  I have 0% luck with this contraption!

Oh but it makes yummy treats!  Chocolate Spritz Cookies in an ornament shape!

Oh, not a cookie but I had to include a brief interlude of another holiday staple (at least in my opinion) homemade Chex Mix!  I must say, I make a mean batch (it's nearly all gone!)!

Sugar cookies!  Of course!

They come in both over-sized and mini!

Our little Cookie Monster, sneaking a pre-decorated cookie!

Sugar cookies ready for decorating!

Gingerbread cookies, their genders yet to be determined!

Gingerbread decorating!  Is it a boy or a girl?

 Gingerbread babies!

Braeden decorating his "Santa cookie"!

Jackson decorating his "Santa cookie".  It didn't last though (Jack ate it among many others) and Santa will never know of its deliciousness!

Sugar cookies come in stars and stockings as well!

But my Santa's FAVORITE are the Christmas trees!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Let Me Entertain You

So, it is FINALLY Christmas break!  Well, actually yesterday was the first official day of break, but let's not split reindeer hairs.  I'm back!  I haven't forgotten my slightly neglected but much-loved blog.  The week before Christmas and the week before the end of the school year are always crazy busy so blogging (sadly) fell to the rock-bottom of my list.  But anywho, I'm back!

Christmas Break, well at least the beginning of it anyway, means it's time for the annual Christmas Party for Amy's Center!  And we host it!  I love this and live for it all year long, well at least from November until December.  It's not a ton of work, mainly just massive house cleaning due in part to the previous, and aforementioned, crazy week which leaves our house disheveled and in need of tidying.  This year though I get to bust out our brand-new Dyson for the event!  Christmas cleaning, is there anything better?

Yesterday I mowed and cleaned up the front and back yards in preparation for the kids coming so they could play outside and run around.  Then last night and this morning it poured.  But hey, that's what a loft is for right?  The perfect place to banish entertain the kids!  I have also been plowing my way through copious loads of laundry and am oddly only about halfway done!  Today on the agenda is vacuuming (Dyson-filled fun) and lots of it.  I also have to clean the bathrooms and the kitchen.  Oh and making a batch of Chex Mix!  I think that's it although I am sure something will be added to the list throughout the day.  

Tomorrow is sure to be fun as it always is.  I do enjoy hosting the party and having everyone over.  I am always trying to think of another occasion when we can host something, but living so far out makes it somewhat difficult.  Oh well, it just makes this even all the more special.  An added bonus is that we cater the food from La Finca our favorite place just across the street!  Yum!

Well, I had better start some of the tasks on today's list so I can begin checking them off!  Dyson, Tide, and cleaning supplies are calling my name!

All is well, the host with the most, in Drosche Land.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Sunday Snapshot - Tradition

We have several Christmas traditions we enjoy here, who doesn't? One of my favorites is something that I'm sure many people do. Each year Amy and I buy an ornament for that year. Something that represents a major event or sums up that year. One of my favorite parts of decorating for Christmas each year is getting these ornaments out and remembering why they were chosen. Looking back, laughing, reminiscing. I'm pretty sappy an sentimental, as you well know, and this means the world to me. I love it so much that I do it all over again when it's time to put them away each year! So far we have 10 ornaments (wow, a decade's worth of Christmases together!), dating back to our first Christmas together in 2001. We've already decided what ornament we will get for 2011, we just need to find it. I'll post about that later, but I thought I'd share our collection today. Plus it gave me an excuse to try out my iPhone camera for close-ups! I often think about the future when we will need an entire tree just for these ornaments! Ahhh, the memories and joys of the season! I love Christmas!

All is well, picture perfect, in Drosche Land.

2001: Our first Christmas together. The usual 1st Christmas ornament! It's like a little time capsule, inside is a scroll where we wrote the details about the day like the weather, the gifts, etc.

2002: A cute ornament and my age must be getting to me because it is the only one that I cannot remember why it was chosen! Yikes! I'll have to consult Amy about this one. But I do like it because you can put a bulb from a strand of lights in the bottom and the littl tree "lights up"!

2003: We recorded a greeting into this one where we took turns saying Merry Christmas. However, it has long since stopped working. I want to see if it needs new batteries but am afraid that will wipe out any recording (if there still is one) and it will be lost forever. Amy and I still know what we said and say it each year when we hang it up though! Man we look young!

2004: Our first Christmas as a married couple! It was very special also because we had moved to New Orleans and it snowed o Christmas Day! Our colors for the wedding were red and silver and our flowers were roses and calla lilies so this was perfect!

2005: It should have been our 2nd Christmas in New Orleans but we had evacuated due to Hurricane Katrina and were back in Houston. At this point Amy was already pregnant with Braeden and we had not yet decided on staying in Houston or returning to New Orleans. When we picked out an ornament we wanted something bold and flamboyant, like New Orleans. This one reminded us of Mardi Gras, our favorite time there.

2096: Or first Christmas as parents and Braeden's first Christmas! Or theme for him was ducks and this was given to us so we thought it fit perfectly!

2007: We bought our house! This was our first Christmas in the house and we had only been living there for less than a month. We were still living out of boxes but we had a tree, even though the majority of our other decorations were still packed and/or in storage!

2008: The first year we cut down our own Christmas tree! It was my idea to cut off the bottom and shellac it. We did it the following year but have not again due to the busyness of everything. Next year we plan on resuming this tradition because we do love it so!

2009: The year we decided to take control of our finances and began following Dave Ramsey's plan! Amy and I decided to use the pieces of our cut up credit cards to fill an empty glass ornament to represent this momentous occasion. We still have a way to go but were working on it! A yearly reminder of how far we've come and how much we (thanks to Amy's awesomeness) have accomplished!

2010: The year Amy started her Sentsy business! We fell in love with it and she's continued to sell it regularly. Yes, the scent was originally that of a Christmas tree but it has since faded!

Sunday Snapshot

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Sick & Tired

Well, I'm here. 'Tis the season to be ridiculously busy! But all is well here, just busy. Last week I was MIA for a while due to the busyness and a little added drama. Thursday afternoon I ended up having to take Amy to the ER because her nausea was so bad and she couldn't keep anything down. Luckily for us it seems to have been a bug and severe dehydration rather than her (now usual) morning/afternoon/evening/every time in between sickness. Yes, this pregnancy has been rough for my poor beautiful wife. She swears that being pregnant at 30 is a world of difference from being pregnant in your 20's. She's had pretty severe nausea for the entire time (11 weeks if you're tracking the baby). Sadly she's gotten used to it and it is getting slightly better. That and it is somewhat manageable with the variety of anti-nausea medicine she always has on hand. I'm telling to, after watching her this time I know for sure He knew what He was doing when he made me a guy. In addition to my nonexistent pain threshold, I loathe being sick. Well, not that anyone does enjoy it, but I'm a big (slightly whiny) baby when I'm sick. I know I couldn't handle being pregnant!

Once we finally decided that it was a bug that took her down and she was on the mend, the vicious bug struck again! Braeden came down with a fever on Sunday night. Of course right?! I stayed out with him Monday as you may recall from my last post but had to run in to work to prepare for my Sub. Good thing I did though because Jack got sick when I was getting ready to leave and bring Braeden home! So, an impromptu Boys Day occurred as we headed home. Their fevers went down but not away so Amy stayed home with them on Tuesday. As the week draws to a close we all finally seem to be settling into our usual routine, just in time for the weekend!

So, that wraps up the "sick" portion of this post. Onto then"tired" part. Well, after these past two weeks and the fact that it's December and there are only (gasp!) 5 days left until Christmas break you can imagine the amount of fatigue going around. Hopefully the weekend and upcoming break will renew and rejuvenate us! If nothing else the joys of the season will bring a welcome and pleasant distraction!

As I close this post I wonder if I've used this title before? Hmmmm? It wouldn't surprise me if I had. I guess I should peruse my archives? Oh well. I'll consider it virtual recycling!

All is well, recovering and resting, in Drosche Land.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Sunday Snapshot - Tannenbaum

Well, I am still here!  I promise.  Last week was 12 kinds of busy but rest assured I have not forgotten or neglected my little corner of the blogosphere.  Due to 2, yes 2, sick boys I am home and plan on using the unexpected time to catch up on some blogging and update.  For now though I will share my first holiday-themed post of the season!  Last weekend we decorated our trees.  Over the past 2 years we've invested in 2 awesome artificial trees (thank you crazy "Day After Christmas" sales!) and all Drosches were super excited to put them up and decorate as soon as I returned from Vegas.  As usual, the one downstairs is our "Show Tree" where all the decorations match and are formal.  Upstairs we have our "Family Tree" that holds all of our special family ornaments.  This is also the tree Santa leaves his presents at!  This year though, after several years of suggesting/hinting/convincing/(maybe a bit of whining) Amy let me get a 3rd tree!  For this one we have returned to a real tree and it is wonderful.  It is decorated with all of our glass ornaments, something we've been thinking about for a while.  We found a great spot for it, in the dining room, and I now have a year to decide where I can start planning for a 4th tree!  Until then I am enjoying our 3 wonderful trees and everything the bring to this joyous season!  I didn't get any good shots of them being decorated, for some reason this escaped me until after the fact.  Like I said, it was crazy busy and I had just returned from Vegas.  In retrospect I truly wish I had some, it's the first year without them.  But it is what it is, I'm sure I'll make up for it throughout the holiday!  However, I have pictures of the finished trees but trust me, the decorating was a blast!

All is well, picture perfect, in Drosche Land.

 Our Family Tree, ready for Santa's visit!

 The Show Tree, decked out in red, silver, and white.  Ready for our hosting of Amy's annual Staff Christmas Party later this month!

 The newest addition to our collection!

Sunday Snapshot