"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

Monday, January 30, 2012

Sunday Snapshot - Milk Man

Once again the end of the weekend snuck up on me and I was unable to get this post out by the day implied by the title!  Nevertheless it was planned and (mentally) written on-time!

No, this post isn't about a milkman, but I thought the title was clever considering the subject of this week's Sunday Snapshot - Jack.  I mean, after all, he is kind of our little milkman.  Only he's strictly a consumer, not deliverer, of the moo juice.  For his entire life (all 4 1/2 years) he has loved milk.  I know many kids enjoy it, but Jack's love borders on addiction.  Chocolate, regular, soy, you name it, he'll drink it.  If we would let him he could down a gallon himself in a couple of days.  He will generally choose it over any other beverage, hands down.  I'm not too concerned about this, at least it's a healthy addiction.  Plus, I'll never have to worry about him easily breaking a bone (which is good given his propensity to clumsiness) or developing osteoporosis.  In addition to drinking the coveted liquid, he prides himself on his ability to create many a milk mustache!  The other day I was lucky enough that he willingly sat through a brief photo-shoot as he enjoyed a class of milk while I made breakfast.  I think the pictures not only capture his love of milk, but also his silly side!

All is well, picture perfect, in Drosche Land.

 Did I mention that the milk is always requested with a silly straw?

 A pause from the gulping to smile for the camera!

 Back to work!

 Time to get what the straw couldn't reach!  He's adamant about getting every last drop!

Proudly displaying his milk mustache!


Friday, January 27, 2012

Gung Hay Fat Choy

Monday was Chinese New Year! Since it's a 15-day celebration my post is still timely! My how things have changed since the last Chinese New Year. This time last year we were smack in the middle of the adoption process with Margaux. We were busy gathering paperwork and preparing for our home study. We celebrated Chinese New Year by eating some spring rolls and pot stickers, along with a heart-shaped cookie cake (remember here). We spent our time thinking about Margaux and how she was ringing in the new year.

Flash forward a year and we are in a totally different place. This year we didn't really celebrate Chinese New Year here in Drosche Land. We mentioned it to the boys in the morning, Amy and I reminisced about last year, and we did talk about Margaux. She still is, and always will be, a part of us and she does arise in conversations occasionally. I know over time this will lessen but she will always be there. For whatever reason, we may never know, Margaux was placed in our lives, even if only for a short time. What I do know though is that God has a master plan, both for all of us here in Drosche Land and for Margaux. I trust that he has found her the perfect family and she is much-loved and well cared for.

Meanwhile here in Drosche Land we are eagerly awaiting another little girl, our Stella. An answer to our prayers, His answer in His (not our) time. We are nearly halfway through the pregnancy and each day I am more and more eager to meet her. To bring her into the nearly finished nursery and dress her in the pinks, purples, sparkles, and bows. I know that in the scheme of things it will fly by, but currently it seems to be trudging along!

2012 is the Year of the Dragon. Since our Stella will be born in this year I thought I'd research what people born in the Year of the Dragon were supposed to be like, what characteristics would they embody? What I found made us laugh and made me even more eager to meet her. Free spirited and uninhibited. Creative, colorful, flamboyant. Extroverted. Enthusiastic bundles of energy with big ideas and living on a grand scale! Oh my! If this holds true then Stella is sure to be one fired little girl. So far the pregnancy has played out somewhat like this. It has certainly been new and, at times, trying adventure. Research of the years each of the rest of us was born makes me think Stella will definitely keep us on our toes because we do follow the descriptions of our Chinese zodiac counterparts!

Well, I fear this email has become long and random and maybe that's ok. I've just been doing a lot of thinking about God's plans for us and all of the many blessings we've been given! I think our lives, and everything we've gne through and will go through, can be summed up by the Bible verse I've mentioned so many times here on this blog and one that we live by here in Drosche Land: Jeremiah 29:11 "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.". Amen!

All is well, gung hay fat choy, in Drosche Land.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Kickin' It

So, just the other day I was able to feel Stella kick for the first time! It's still pretty early, Amy's only a little over 18 weeks, but it was super strong! Maybe we have a little soccer player or gymnast? Amy has been feeling her move for a while now, the usual little flutters at first but lately it's been getting much stronger. She is able to tell what foods Stella likes (or doesn't) and what positions Stella doesn't find comfortable.

Even though this is the 3rd time around for us it never ceases to amaze me that a baby's kicks can be so strong that they are easily felt from the outside. It makes me marvel in the miracle that is life. That He has placed this tiny person in there, fully formed and living. Moving, kicking, hiccuping. I have an app on my iPhone, Sprout, that gives us weekly information on the baby. Little facts and tidbits. Currently Stella weighs in around 6 ounces and is the size of a pear. I go to the crisper in the refrigerator and find a pear. Wow, it takes on a whole new meaning now. Her bones are beginning to harden, time for me to begin to lovingly nag Amy about drinking milk and getting in calcium. She's even doing things like yawning, smiling, opening and closing tiny hands, wiggling tiny toes. Amazing.

We still have quite a while before we meet Little Miss, but I can't wrap my head around the fact that she is already a tiny, fully-formed, perfect little human being. She's growing bigger every day. Looking ahead to next week she'll already be the size of a softball, weighing about a 1/2 pound! At 20 weeks she'll be roughing 10 inches long!

It truly is something that makes my faith a little stronger. I mean, if He can do this, there isn't anything he can't do. What a blessing she is already and she has yet to grace the world with her presence.

Well, this post has been a little deep, a little philosophical, and a little factual. I just wanted to share because my mind is constantly reeling with this amazing event that is unfolding daily before our very eyes. Amazing, what an awesome God.

All is well, in awe, in Drosche Land.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Sunday Snapshot: 365 Project

A day late and a dollar short, but better late than never. January is almost over so I promise that in February I'll be more timely with posting. I mean I still have 11 months to make good on the New Year's resolution about blogging, right? It's all good.

On with the post, ironically relating to another one of my resolutions. You may, or may not, recall that one off resolutions for 2012 was to take more pictures. I order to help me accomplish this, and just to do something fun, I started taking daily pictures and joined the site www.365project.org. I decided to do the challenge only using my iPhone since it is always with me and I love it. So far so good, 23 days in and going strong. Since this project has been taking up the photography area of my brain for a while, and January hasn't been too eventful, I haven't (gasp!) taken many pictures with my actual camera. This saddens me some, but looking back January is historically a slow month to photograph here in Drosche Land. So, since I am still keeping up with the resolution and still taking gobs of pictures, I thought I'd devote a Sunday Snapshot post to this project. It's been a lot of fun so far and I find myself taking pictures of just everyday things to document life as well as looking for interesting shots too! Plus not only has joining this site encouraged my own picture-taking, but I love seeing all of the other great pictures people from around the world take! I do love photography. So, here are some of my favorite shots I've taken so far. Feel free to see them all here.

All is well, picture perfect, in Drosche Land.

Day 17: Basket by ddrosche
A shot of a basket in our closet that I thought would be interesting, I love the texture.

Day 16: Horse by ddrosche
The kids' ride-on horse, one of my favorites I've taken!

Day 13: Chucks by ddrosche
I love my Chucks!  Took this one and played around with it a bit.

Day 12: Fan by ddrosche
Another B&W shot, this time a close-up of a big fan, I like the way it turned out.

Day 3: Cake by ddrosche
It wouldn't be a true project of mine without including sweets of some kind (and this isn't the only picture of food and/or sweets I've done!)

<center><a href="http://nihaoyall.com" target="self"><img alt="Sunday Snapshot" src="http://i56.tinypic.com/jpvipj.jpg" /></a></center>

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Name Game

So, now you know that #3 is a GIRL!  You might be wondering about a name.  Funny you should ask, we actually do already have one picked out.  The funny thing is, we've had it picked out for a while and I am in love with it.  But before I disclose that precious tidbit of information a bit of a back story on picking names in Drosche Land.

I'm not sure if I covered this or not with Margaux, but Amy and I kind of have a deal going on, or had one rather.  See, she picked Braeden's name and I picked his middle name - Oliver.  We did this because at the time it seemed fair, that and we could not come to an agreement (she didn't like) on any of the names I was coming up with.  In the end it was a win-win, I love the name Braeden and I have always liked the name Oliver, so I got it worked in.

Jackson has a funnier story.  This time it was my turn to pick the first name and Amy's turn for the middle name.  Jack was a surprise for us and he continues to surprise us every day!  Originally his name was to be Christopher Dallas.  We loved it.  I chose Christopher because at the time I had a dream of an alphabet theme for names in our family: Amy, Braeden, Christopher, Dusty, etc.  Corny?  Yes, but I was adamant.  So we went through the pregnancy referring to him as Christopher.  However, at the very end we both confessed to one another that we weren't feeling the name anymore!  Gasp!  So we changed it literally days before he came along.  I chose Jackson instead, abandoning my alphabet quirk, because I've always loved that name and wanted a son with it.  Amy chose Riley.  It was destined though because I can't imagine him being a Christopher or anything other than a Jack!

The meanings of names mean a lot to us, if we don't like the meaning/derivative then the name never makes it further than the initial mention of it.  So, this brings me to #3.  With both of the boys we came up with the names very easily and in fact had a long lists of "boy names" but we never could become attached to a "girl name".  This time though, call it foreshadowing or wishful thinking, we could not think of the perfect "boy name" for #3, but the "girl name" came very, and unusually, easy.  Funny, huh?  So, there's a little insight into our thought process when choosing names.  Maybe slightly complicated but it works.  

Well, I won't keep you with bated breath any longer so here goes!  Her name is . . .

Stella Pearl!

Stella: Latin for "star".  That she is, our star.  A little bright and shining light in a time when we most needed it.  Plus, how many times had we made wishes and prayers for the blessing of a daughter?

Pearl: This is our connection/nod/tribute to Margaux.  Margaux as you know means pearl and we chose it because she lived in the Pearl River Valley in China.  We love the name Pearl and think it is very fitting to link it to the journey that brought her to us.

So, there you have it.  No longer do I need to refer to the baby as "her" or "#3", we can officially post and discuss Stella Pearl in all her greatness!  

All is well, name-dropping, in Drosche Land.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Sunday Snapshot - Surprise!

Well, last you tuned in we (the debate about who gave in first rages on) had caved and decided to find out the gender of #3!  Then, on Friday afternoon, I got a little visit from my beautiful wife in my classroom.  I thought she'd dropped by to say hi on a tour or something but it was far better than that.  One simple question, what would I say that, for a small price, we could find our the gender of #3 early? The very next day?  I gave it some thought for about a second and a half before emphatically agreeing!  There, it was done.  At 9:45 on Saturday morning we would find out the answer much-anticipated question.  Boy or girl?

Now, if you've found yourself overcome with eager anticipation and the inability to control it, you've scrolled down and know the gender of #3 and are scrolling back up to finish reading the text of the post.  If you're more disciplined, you wish I would get on with the text so you could find out!  Ok, I'll go on.

All morning we were on edge as we prepared to formally meet him or her, the time crept by.  Finally we were at the appointment and it was time!  The facility we went to, we went here, was great and we had a fantastic time.  The people were amazingly nice and the environment great for family. The boys enjoyed seeing the ultrasound displayed on a big TV.  At first #3 was uncooperative.  Legs crossed, moving around, definitely a little stinker!  But the sonographers were great and were finally able to get a good view!  Thanks #3!

Are you ready?  Scroll down!

  There SHE is!

Yep, it's a girl!  Amy and I are ecstatic although still somewhat in shock!  Braeden is happy, he had been wanting a baby sister so Mommy wouldn't be the only girl in the house, diplomatic as usual.  Jack wanted a baby brother because, according to him, they are more fun than baby sisters!  He's coming around though, especially after we pointed out that he wouldn't have to share his toys with a baby sister!  :)  We went straight to Babies R Us to get her some things.  We met my mom there and she also enjoyed buying her first granddaughter some things!  Amy's family think it's hilarious and are super excited.  We seem to be following suit though in Amy's family as it seems typical to have 2 children of the same gender close together followed by a break and then the opposite gender!

So, the pink, purple, ruffles, and sparkly things are beginning to accumulate as we excitedly prepare for Little Miss and her arrival!  Below you'll see more of her debut images as well as some of the purchases made for her!  

All is well, picture perfect, in Drosche Land.

 Another good shot of her body!

 Looking directly at us, I'm pretty sure she's grinning!

 The haul which included:

 An outfit for next Christmas!

 Adorable bibs!


 Kitties, pink, and animal print - oh my!

 Floral prints!


Sunday Snapshot

Thursday, January 12, 2012


So, I'm not sure if I mentioned this before or not, but Amy and I, upon finding out that we were pregnant again, decided to not find out the gender of the baby. With this being the last one we thought it would be fun to leave it as a surprise. Right off the bat though it quickly turned into a war of wills rather than a simple decision. See, Amy is truly more indifferent about finding out about the gender than I am. She's fine not finding out until the moment the baby comes. Me, on the other hand, can hardly stand the wait. Little did I know that the decision to wait would soon turn into a challenge. Who would give in first? Amy or me?

Over the past few months we have both shared our weak moments with each other, when we'd had the sudden nagging to give in and find out the gender. But we always went back to our original plan. That is, until the past week or so. It's been hard on me. The closer we get to 20 weeks and the possibility of being able to find out, the harder it is. Sure, at first it seemed totally doable since there was no way we'd be able to find out anyways for a long time. Yet, as we quickly approach 20 weeks I felt my resolve weakening. However, I knew I couldn't give in! I didn't want Amy to win! That's when I found out I'd been duped! See, Amy would like to know but could totally wait. Me, everyone was wondering when (not if) I would give in. So I came to the realization that Amy wins either way. I don't give in and she is fine with waiting, I give in and she was right! Duped, see I told you so! What then was the point of waiting? I think it was all a ploy to get me to give in! :)

Given this new realization we decided to go ahead and find out the gender when she goes in for her 20 week appointment. 2 things helped us to make the decision though. First of all the boys truly did want to find out if they were going to have a little brother or a little sister. I fact, Amy's made the appointment for the afternoon so they will both be able to go with us and we can find out as a family! It should be loads of fun and I can't wait to see their reactions! Secondly, it would make it tremendously easier to prepare (especially clothing-wise) for the arrival.

So, Amy says I gave in, I say the contest was null and void because I was duped! The truth? Who knows, it's a debate for the ages I guess. We as having a lot of fun teasing each other about it though, and I'm sure that will persist for weeks and decades to come! However, now that we've decided to find out, I am on pins and needles waiting! Currently we are 27 days away from finding out. It seems so long yet so short in the scheme of things. Soon we will know if it is another son or a daughter. Either way things will change in Drosche Land dramatically. We will officially be able to start preparations. Bedding and clothing can be bought. Decoration and painting can be done. Naming can begin. Between all of that and the debate about who (if anyone) gave in first will keep us occupied for the last half of the pregnancy!

All is well, caved?, in Drosche Land.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Sunday Snapshot - Cousin Time

So, I know I just posted about Resolutions but it is Sunday and that calls for a Sunday Snapshot.  Perhaps I should have included a 6th resolution (per Amy's suggestion): to blog more!  I do love it so but this past year was crazy and I didn't get around to it nearly as much as I'd like.  But 2012 will be different, so maybe I'll add this as a 6th resolution.  But I digress.  In order to keep up with this 6th resolution I need to also post a Sunday Snapshot.  Getting back into routine this past week did not lend itself to taking pictures so I and dipping back into my vaults for this post.

Over the Christmas break we had the cousins over for a much-needed, much asked for, and much-anticipated sleepover.  The kids all had a ton of fun and said sleepover included trips to 2 different parts.  I brought my camera along and got some fantastic shots of the fun times they had.  Looking back at them makes me realize we need to do this more often!

All is well, picture perfect, in Drosche Land.

 Braeden and his all-time favorite sport, pastime, activity - football!

 Love this shot of Braeden!
 And I love this one of Jackson!

 This is Jack's typical slide face/reaction!

I was very lucky to get them all sitting, looking at me, and smiling at the same time!  Even better, it turned out to be a great shot!

 I like this shot of Amy I snagged and I played around with it a bit!

Thanks to the timer feature I got a great shot of my beautiful wife and I!

Sunday Snapshot

Resolutions - Finally!

Ok, so I promise I haven't forgotten about my 2012 resolutions and I'm not avoiding commitment to them. I've just been mentally finalizing them. I have been trying to start this post for several days now and it has been sitting lonely in my Drafts.  Since we are officially over a week into 2012 I guess I'd better get it finished and posted.  Only 2 posts for 2012 so far?  I'd better get it together!  So here goes, some may seem the same and/or related to some from last year and I don't think there's anything wrong with that at all. If it ain't broke! I went with just 5 this year mainly because I had a terribly hard time trying to think of things.  Hopefully a lower number will ensure a good success rate!  I'm just hoping for better than a 78%!

1. Drink more water. Since I failed at this one last year I thought I should give it another go. I will however once again stress that it is not in place of, but rather in addition to, caffeine. I mean I don't want to set unrealistic goals or anything!

2. Take pictures, lots of them! I made this one last year and I think it's a good one. I love photography and many moons ago I dreamed of pursuing a career in the field. With my awesome camera last Christmas my love was renewed. This year I hope to not only photograph my family, especially #3, but also some fun and creative photography. To help out with this I've started a 365 project! You know, where you take and post a picture a day for a year! I thought this sounded awesome so I jumped on it! To make it easier and more fun I'm only going to use m iPhone since I ALWAYS have that! Follow my project (even thought I'll be mentioning it occasionally) here.  I also have a fantastic idea for the baby that's sort of related.  I plan on taking a picture of the baby every day for the first year and then creating a slide show!  I'm stoked about it.  So between all of these pictures I'll be spending 2012 clicking away!

3. Read more! Yes again, this was on my list last year but I truly enjoy it and it is a great way to relax and have some downtime.  I'm still about half-way through with The Help, maybe I'll read some tonight!

4.  Finish tiling (stop smirking Amy).  See after our Spring Break project from last year we had a ton of tile and mortar left over, due to some slight miscalculations on our part.  No worries though, we would just use the remaining tile to tile the laundry room/pantry.  Easier said than done though as I never got around made time to finish.  So I am giving myself this year to get it finished once and for all, hopefully the sooner the better!  Plus Amy has been gently reminding me that it needs to be done!  Making her happy will also be motivation!

5.  Eat healthier.  Maybe healthier isn't the best choice of words, maybe wiser is better.  See I have a huge sweet-tooth and I love to snack.  As I write this I am eating gummy Lifesavers, probably not the best thing to eat at 8:30 pm.  So, my new goal is to not have seconds of anything, just one healthy and normal portion of a meal is fine.  Also, no eating after 7:30 pm.  Amy has already made resolutions that are geared toward healthy eating for our family so I'll piggyback on that and do my part.

So, there you have it.  Nothing fancy and a few repeats.  I think all 5 are totally doable and I plan on getting a 100% this December, you can congratulate me then!

All is well, finally resolved, in Drosche Land.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Sunday Snapshot - 2011 in Review


So last night we rang in 2012 in low-key style at home.  Jack made it to 8:00, Amy to 9:00, and Braeden to 9:30!  After the kids were all tucked in I spent the time half watching New Year's TV and reading.  The ridiculously large and spectacular fireworks show put on by various neighbors woke Amy up right at 12:00 so we did get to have our kiss and ring it in together.  I don't know how much combined was spent by the neighbors we watched but I'm glad it was funded by their wallet and not mine!  I totally plan on getting a "Resolutions" post out but I'm not sure if it will be today or not.  2012 has already kicked off busily as we finish tidying the house and knocking out the last of the laundry.  We have been dog-sitting one of Amy's Mom's dogs so we have to return her and then pick her Mom up from the airport (Adam has gone off to Nebraska for college and she's on her way back from there).  After dinner with her it will be time to rush home for baths, bedtime, and lunch prep so we can be as fresh and prepared for tomorrow as possible.  Both Amy and Jack resume tomorrow and I have a half-day in-service so Braeden is coming along and will wind up somewhere while I'm in meetings, we go back on Tuesday.  So we will see if there is time tonight before bed for another post but I wanted to get out this Sunday Snapshot because I have been looking forward to it for about a week as I reviewed 2011 in pictures!  I originally planned on doing 12 shots (like I could stay at a limit that small!), one for each month.  However that quickly proved impossible as I couldn't sum up every month and its activities in just one photo.  So I'm hitting each month and including a picture for each of the major events in that month, some have a few more than others.  But I'm pleased with the selections and will post them now before I add more!  Looking back 2011 was a busy and fantastic year!  I hope 2012 will be more of the same!  Enjoy!

All is well, picture perfect, in Drosche Land.

January 2011

 We began readying Margaux's room in mid-January.  Yes I know the adoption has been called off, but it was a big part of the first half of 2011.

January also brought Braeden's first 100 Day homework!  100 thumbprints!

February 2011

 Valentine's Day!  The kids had been dying for Pillow Pets!  They are still in love with them!

Ok, no big event here but I LOVE this picture of Jack from one of our trips to see our nephew Jared's basketball games!

March 2011

 March saw the addition of Rex to our family!  I can't believe how little he was or how much he's grown!

During Spring Break we did our annual home improvement project, the floors!  It was hard but totally worth it and I am still in love with tile floors (especially now after getting a Dyson).  I wonder what Spring Break 2012 will bring?

 April 2011

 In April sports came to Drosche Land as Braeden began playing soccer!  Turns out he loved it and was pretty good!

Easter!  I love Jack's face, he gets so much pleasure simply from hunting for eggs!

May 2011

 Braeden turned 5!  Wow!

May proved to be quite Braeden-centric as he also graduated from Pre-Kindergarten!
June 2011
 June began with our trip with Amy's family to Beaver Lake, Arkansas!  It was an excellent time and the kids still ask when we are going to Arkansas again!

I also put my mad deck-building skills to use in June!  Granted a storm as since taken the canopy from us, but I am mentally working on a solution to do this spring/summer thanks to some clever spying on a neighbor whose canopy suffered the same fate as ours!

July 2011

 Another vacation?  Don't mind if we do!  This time it was with my family to Galveston!  

 July also saw Amy start her own blog (find it here) about her love of cooking and the adventures of a busy mom feeding her family great food.  I'm highly recommend checking it out!

August 2011

Amy turned 30!  We took another fun trip to our favorite stop - San Antonio's Riverwalk to celebrate!
Another school year began!  Braeden in Kindergarten (what?!) and Jack in Pre-School 3!
September 2011
 More sports as Braeden started T-Ball and again not only loved it but was good!

 Jack turned 4!  Wow, 2 old kids in the house!

Braeden lost his first tooth!  He lost another in November so they're just falling out now!

October 2011

 The annual trip to Dewberry Farm to pick the perfect pumpkins!

I got my new iPhone 4S!

 Between having a superhero and a Storm Trooper present on Halloween we were definitely safe from danger!

 #3 is on their way!

November 2011

 I turned 29 31!  Happy Birthday to me!

Adam and I had an awesome trip to Las Vegas for his 21st birthday over Thanksgiving Break!
December 2011
 Our annual Christmas Eve family photo!  Love it!

Another blessed Christmas.  Between Braeden's DS from his birthday and Jack's Christmas gift of a Leapster we rarely see them anymore!  :)  Gaming has entered Drosche Land full force!

Sunday Snapshot