"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, April 30, 2012

Z is for Zephyrs

Now, it's no secret that I am not a sports person.  Stop laughing.  I'm not athletic and I don't have the interest or attention span to follow games.

However, I do occasionally enjoy going to a sporting event.  More for the experience really than the actual game.  Stadium foods and drinks (who doesn't love nachos?), time with family and friends, the roar of the crowd, and people watching (sports fans are hilarious).  These are the things I look forward to.

Whenever I think of attending a sporting event I think back to our time in New Orleans.  We were young, new to the city, and had little money.  Lucky for us we lived 10 minutes away from Zephyr Field, home to the New Orleans Zephyrs, their Triple-A baseball team.  They had (and may still have) Friday Night Fireworks that we could hear from our apartment.  In fact, our first Friday night there this totally freaked us out (gunshots!), until we found out what they were.  Then we were intrigued and had to find out more about them.  Thus began our love affair with the Zephyrs.  Tickets were inexpensive, especially if you sat on the lawn so we went as often as we could.  We always had a great time at the games.  We even took the kids we had for St. John's Summer Program there for a field trip once!

We were only in New Orleans for a short time, two Zephyrs seasons, but this is one of the highlights of our experience there.  One day I'd like to take the kids to New Orleans to visit and experience it all.  Of course, taking them to a Zephyrs game would be on our New Orleans bucket list.  It would be awesome to not only relive the fun of our past, but to share it with the kids and have it become a great memory for them also!

One final fun thing about the Zephyrs is that their mascot is Boudreaux, a giant nutria.  If you don't know what they are, nutria are a large, semiaquatic rat.  They look like the giant lovechild of a rat and a beaver.  They are actually quite a pest as they are a primary reason for wetland destruction.  But hey, they make a great giant mascot!

What about you?  Do you like sports or not?  Do you enjoy the game or the experience?  Do you have a "Zephyrs" from your past?  Some awesome memory that you would love to revisit?

One of our Zephyrs souvenirs!

All is well, with baseball, fireworks, and giant rats, in Drosche Land.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Y is for Yearbook

Pictures.  I love them.  Taking them and looking at them.  They can help you to capture a moment in time.  Remember an event, a person, a place, an emotion.  Looking back at them allows you to relive that moment.  Being a teacher, the yearbook is naturally something that comes to mind when thinking about pictures and memories.  The year goes by so quickly, for both the teacher and the students.  If it weren't for a yearbook we might forget many of the highlights of the year.

Think back to your time in school when you would receive your yearbook from the previous year.  Remembering everything that happened.  Maybe you missed friends who had moved.  Maybe you counted how many times you appeared in the yearbook.  Maybe you tried to collect as many signatures as possible.  Whatever you did with your yearbook I am sure it was special.

I've obviously always loved my yearbooks.  But more than just getting them, I've always enjoyed creating them.  I was on the yearbook staff in middle school and high school.  We didn't have one in college and that is still something I'm bummed about.  Luckily my own love of taking pictures makes up for the lack thereof.  My yearbook from my one year at St. John was lost in the flood after Katrina.  Something that still saddens me.  I was able to salvage my class picture from that year, but I would love to look back and remember.  Again, I'm lucky to have some pictures of my own.  I once again got to create the yearbook when I began working at Memorial and quickly remembered how much I loved it.  Last year I again picked up the task at Trinity.  I am actually just beginning working on this year's.  Yes, I know it's late.  Procrastination has gotten the best of me once again, but I have a little more than a month.  I'd better get crackin'!

Having worked on yearbooks since 7th Grade, I have seen many changes in techniques and technology.  From the humble beginnings of the cropping tools and orange colored pencils to the introduction of computer software.  Now it is entirely done online and I can work on it anywhere.  It's amazing how many things on that end of the yearbook have changed over the years.  But the purpose of the yearbook and the joys it brings remain the same.  As I'm sure it always will.

I still have my grade school and high school yearbooks and occasionally look at them.  Do you still have yours?  Did you look forward to "Yearbook Day"?  What was your favorite part of the yearbook?

Old yearbooks I'm about to pore over yet again!

All is well, remembering, in Drosche Land.

Friday, April 27, 2012

X is for Xanthospermous

Ok, now that I have your attention.  Do you know what that word means?  Don't cheat, no looking it up.  You'll find out soon enough.

I'll admit, I enlisted the help of Google to find a good word for today's post.  But hey, it's the first time I've done so.  As it turns out though, this word and its meaning jumped out at me right away!  It was clearly destiny as it pertained directly to something here in Drosche Land.

See I just took my class on a field trip to a strawberry farm.  I have never been and it came about via a tip from a parent.  Now you know we love a good farm experience here in Drosche Land.  We have our annual trips to Dewberry Farm to pick out our pumpkins.  We also venture out yearly (this past year being an exception) to cut our own Christmas tree.  So, needless to say, I was excited about this prospect.  I'd intended to take Amy and the kids out there prior to my field trip to test the waters and see about it.  That didn't happen.  As it turns out though a trip to a strawberry farm to pick your own isn't ideal for a woman who is 8 months pregnant (lots of sun and bending over).

However, I have a feeling that we will be heading there in the future.  And often.  We had a blast.  It was so much fun to get out there and pick  your own strawberries.  My students, and I of course, had so much fun and learned a lot.  Also, talk about fresh!  And it's a steal since they are only $2/lb.!  Seriously!  That's way cheaper than the grocery.  I know the boys and Amy will have a great time and I'm sure Stella will eventually as well.  I now have 5 lbs of fresh strawberries awaiting me in the refrigerator.

I highly recommend heading out to such a place if you have one near.  It is so much fun, healthy, and inexpensive.  I'm definitely now on the lookout for similar places nearby.  I hear there's a great blueberry place around here too!  Those are Jack's favorites.

Oh, I nearly forgot.  Xanthospermous.  I hope you didn't pause from reading and cheat.  What does it mean, this word that leaped out at me from the screen?  Simple - "having yellow seeds".  Awesome huh?  Now you've learned something new, just as I did!

Do you have a nearby farm or farmer's market where you like to get your fruits and veggies?  It's a ton of fun right?   If you haven't, get on Google now to find out what's around you!

My delicious, and xanthospermous, strawberries!

All is well, with strawberries and a larger vocabulary, in Drosche Land.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

W is for Weeds

Stop.  Reread the title.

See, this is not a post concerning illegal substances!  Shame on you for thinking otherwise.  I thought we knew each other better than that.  After all, we have been through 22 posts together this month (not counting Sunday Snapshots).  But I forgive you, the title could be misleading at first!  :)  On with the post.

I've never professed, nor will I ever, to have a green thumb.  I want to grow things.  I like the idea of it.  Gardens, flowers, vegetables.  But plants and I don't always see eye to eye.  One just needs to think back (or read back if you're new here) to the sad story of our nectarine and lemon trees (see here and here).  Of course I don't take full blame for our inability to keep plants alive and well.  The one downfall to building your own house is the lack of mature trees, for a few decades at least.  That means our backyard gets full sun, all the time.  Amy's rosebushes (the only plants that thrive here) get shade and sun alternately throughout the day.  Come to think of it, I don't have anything to do with those.  Hmmmm?  Maybe it is me?  But I digress.

The one thing I am a pro at growing, is weeds!  I am skilled in keeping a yard-full of a wide variety of weeds happy and healthy.  Being a homeowner, specifically one without gardening skills, has truly taught me the meaning behind the phrase "growing like a weed".  True stuff!  The drought of last summer that killed off the majority of my grass only seems to have aided said weeds in taking root (ha!) and taking over.  I will say though that since we hired a lawn service to help do what I'm too busy inept lazy, well what I can't do, the weeds have been brought under control somewhat.  I need to give them a spring treatment and hopefully that will help too.  In the meantime though, it is what it is.  I'm still holding out hope that the grass will experience a renewal and return to claim its rightful place in our yard.  Wait and see.

Do you garden?  Successfully?  Have a green thumb?  Or are you like me and experience poor gardening luck.  Any weed-killing secrets?

At least this one has a pretty flower for me to enjoy!

All is well, albeit gardening challenged, in Drosche Land.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

V is for Vehicle

We live far.  Far from work, far from family, far from friends.  But far is relative.  We are still totally within the metropolitan area, just a littler further out than some most people.  Our morning commute, on a good day, takes about 40 minutes.  In the afternoon, an hour at best.  Yeah, I know, it's a lot.  But we've gotten used to it over time.  Needless to say we spend a lot of time in the car.  So the vehicle we rely on here in Drosche Land must meet many needs.

When Amy was pregnant with Jack we bought a van.  We'd just started building the house and with another baby on the way it seemed logical.  Plus we had plans of carpooling with my sister-in-law until she changed those (after said van purchase!).  Thanks Amanda!  :)  

A van wasn't my first choice, I'll be honest.  I'd much rather have a big SUV.  However, a van is more economical, budget-friendly, and environmentally responsible (remember the living far out part?).  So we bought a van.  It could hold us for years to come, got good gas mileage, and had a DVD player (remember the living far our part?).  Over the years though, it's grown on me.  She's seen us through a lot of good times and road trips.  It still gets great gas mileage and continues to hold our growing family.  She's a workhorse and super dependable.  Not to mention, she's almost paid off!

So, while it isn't for everyone, a van is for us.  When the time comes to put her out to pasture, we'll likely get another.  Even if we move closer in to the city, which we eventually plan to do, we'll still want a van.  We're minivan people and I'm ok with it.  We're still cool.  In fact, we're a lot like the people in one of my all-time favorite commercials.  Remember them! Ahhhh, love it!  Amy insists that I still hate it, but I don't.  I  actually love it.  But shhhhhh, don't tell her!  I'll just keep it a secret!

What's your vehicle?  Are you a minivan person?  If so, welcome to the club!  If not, you're cool too!

Here she is.  Our swagger wagon in all her beautiful and hardworking glory!

All is well, with comfortable seating for 7, in Drosche Land.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

U is for Umbrellas

Ok, so this is somewhat related to my Sunday Snapshot so I'll try not to be repetitive.

The boys are addicted to umbrellas.  They always have been.  I've never been able to understand their fascination with them.  Rain or shine, inside or out, they beg to play with them.  Constantly.  I'll be honest and even divulge that many a fit have been thrown over umbrellas and their inability to play with them whenever they want.  Now, I blogged in my Sunday Snapshot post that I loved playing in the rain but I never had the love for umbrellas that the boys have.  So I don't even know where it comes from.

The more I think about it though, it could be written off as "boys will be boys", to an extent.  A closed umbrella very closely resembles a sword/lightsaber/rifle.  And yes, the boys have used their umbrellas as any combination of the aforementioned weapons.  They also just enjoy running around with them open, swinging them around.  I've long since stopped trying to explain what they do and why.  I guess that's part of the fun of being a kid.  Just playing.  Anything.  With anything.  Simple joys.  Sometimes I wish adult life could be so easily solved and enjoyed.  Alas, it can't but I can get enjoyment out of watching them be kids.  Regardless of rhyme or reason!

Jack and his umbrella!

All is well, under our umbrella ella ella eh eh eh, in Drosche Land.

Monday, April 23, 2012

T is for Tater Tots

Another food post.  However, I feel that it might be the last of this challenge, (as I don't eat many food beginning with x, y, or z), so let's savor it together.

I've previously mentioned my love of fried foods for the "F" post here, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that I enjoy these little cylindrical bites of crispy potato bliss.  I mean what's not to love?  It's part french fry, part hash-brown.  It's suitable as a side dish or an integral part of a main dish.  It's versatile, able to fit in at any occasion.

I tried to think of my favorite ways to enjoy these little barrel-shaped goodies but found it hard to narrow it down to just one.  So, I present to you 3, that's as narrowed down as it got folks.

1 - The Side Kick.  I'm talking pure side dish here.  Whether it be playing second fiddle to a hamburger or a hot dog, with or without ketchup; the tater tot easily steals the show, er meal, in this instance.

2 - Chili & Cheese please.  No Fritos?  No fries?  No problem.  Tater tots can stand up to the addition of these two condiments quite nicely.  Made at home or eaten in the car via a fast food restaurant (thanks Sonic), tater tots shine through a good smothering here.

3 - An Inside Job.  Who doesn't love a good casserole?  If you do, you're bound to love it with these guys around!  What better way to lend crunchy, potatoey goodness to the already wonderful food group that is a casserole?  On the bottom, as a topping, or mixed all around; tater tots play nicely with a variety of other casserole ingredients!  You be the chef!

So, maybe I'm going a bit overboard here.  Or maybe not.  I can't be the only one who enjoys tater tots this much!  I mean, they're also fun to say!  However, posting this has made me hungry and I'm pretty sure a bag of the aforementioned tots are calling from the freezer now.  So, I'm sure you'll excuse me!  Do you share my love of tater tots?  How do you like them best?  Happy eating!

Sigh!  Yum!

All is well, digging through the freezer, in Drosche Land.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sunday Snapshot - Rainy Days

I've always loved the rain.  I don't ever remember being scared by storms; the thunder or the lightning.  Quite the opposite in fact, I find them fascinating.  I enjoy watching the rain fall, the storm gaining intensity, the wind blowing in all directions.  I love falling asleep or waking up to rain.  It's soothing.  I was also the kid who begged to go and play in the rain when I was younger.  Be it a sprinkle or a downpour, I wanted to be in it.  With or without an umbrella.  

Apparently, as the saying goes, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree here in Drosche Land.  Both boys, Jack especially, love to play in the rain.  Maybe for the same reasons I mentioned above.  However, I believe it to be related to their unnatural addiction to umbrellas.  Always wanting to play with them, rainy days are the perfect time.  Mom and Dad can't say now then!

So, when we got home the other day and the deluge had slowed for a bit to a light rain, Jack's first instinct was to head out.  I followed, iPhone in hand (I didn't want to get my camera out in the weather), to hopefully catch the childhood fun that is playing in the rain.

Luckily, as he is most of the time, Jack was obliging.  Allowing me to capture his light-hearted and innocent fun.  Ahhh the joys of rain, and an eager and willing subject to photograph!

All is well, picture perfect, in Drosche Land.

I was lucky to get this one before heading out.  One of my favorites!

Being silly in the rain!

My willing subject, posing for me!

All of these photos were taken with my iPhone 4S.  They were then edited using the Camera+ app.


Saturday, April 21, 2012

S is for Stella

You knew it would be!  Amy is officially 31 weeks pregnant here on "S" day!  We have 8 more weeks until our scheduled C-section.  8 more weeks to prepare the house, prepare us, prepare the boys, pack, and countless other things.  But 8 more weeks until we meet her.

I'll be honest though, as excited as I am, I'm also nervous.  I mean the last time we had a baby I was a lot younger.  A lot less busier.  I think I've forgotten the feedings in the middle of the night, the diaper changing, and the crying.  Yikes!  We'll be outnumbered Amy and I.  It'll be 3 against 2 and the odds are finally in their favor!

But I haven't forgotten the moment you first hold them, the cute clothes, the way you can just stare at them.  I haven't forgotten the cuddliness of a baby, how they change a little every day, how unconditionally you love them from the start.

All will be fine when she arrives I know.  She'll come and turn our world here upside down with her pinks, purples, bows, and lace.  She'll have me wrapped around her little finger, Daddy's girl, weak to the powers of her cuteness.  Yes, I think the excitement far outweighs the nervousness (although it is still there).  8 weeks.  Wow.  And that's assuming Amy doesn't go early as she did with the boys.  But who knows?  This entire pregnancy has been a roller coaster and has been different from the previous two.  Maybe the delivery will be the same?

I'd originally hoped to have a brand-spanking new picture of Stella to accompany this post.  I thought I had it in the bag since Amy had her 30 week check-up this past week.  Turns out it wasn't an ultrasound check-up.  Bummer.  So, I've gone through the pictures we do have of her and I've made a collage.  I'm sure there will be plenty of pictures of her soon enough though!


All is well, with only 8 weeks to go, in Drosche Land.

Friday, April 20, 2012

R is for Recycling

Well, I'll start of by saying that this is the 2nd time I am posting this today.  I didn't get around to scheduling it so I wrote it this morning.  My first post to not be scheduled.  I know I wrote it and I know I published it.  Somewhere along the way though something happened because when I just checked on it to schedule some posts it wasn't there!  Well, it was there, but it was blank!  I'm bummed.  A whole day gone with no "R" post.  Luckily I caught it in time so I can still make it, but I'm still bummed!  :(  On with the post!  I can't remember it all but I thought it was good so I'll have to make do with what I can remember and what comes to me now!

I've always wanted to recycle.  You know, help the earth out and all.  But honestly, it was a lot of work. Our neighborhood didn't collect recyclables and I am too lazy busy to collect, store, load, and transport things across creation to drop it off.  Sorry earth, it just wasn't happening.  Luckily though a few months ago our neighborhood announced that they would begin picking up recyclables!  Woo hoo!

Who knew there were so many different kinds of plastics?  Who knew you couldn't recycle a pizza box?  Well, now I do.Turns out there is a ton of stuff that's recyclable.  Before we were taking out a bag of trash about every other day.  Overflowing trash cans were then left at the curb twice a week.  Such is no longer the case here in Drosche Land!  I'd say well over 60% of our trash is recyclable.  We now only take the trash to the curb on the weekend and it's only ever half full at most.  The recycling trash can though?  That's always over flowing.

Now don't get me wrong.  I'm all supportive of going green, but I'm not always perfect at it.  We don't do all we could/should.  We recycle, use better light bulbs, use ceiling fans, a programmable thermostat, turn of the lights.  Basic stuff, we do what we can.  But I do have weaknesses.  I leave the water running when I brush my teeth.  I'm very particular (remember the "O" post) about how I sort laundry so I run small loads, but I do adjust the load size (when I remember).  But hey, I'm a work in progress and any little thing helps right?

We're about to embark on a whole new level of green here in Drosche Land though.  We will be using cloth diapers (gDiapers) with Stella.  With the boys we used the regular disposable.  But we're older and wiser now.  We've possibly also blissfully forgotten all about the amount of diaper changing.  So we've decided to inch a little further into the green.  I'm excited.  I feel helpful.  You're welcome earth!

Do you recycle?  Have you gone green?  Totally or, like us, partially?  Used cloth diapers?  Well, whatever you do, congratulations!

Our recycling bin!  And proud of it!

All is well, going green(ish), in Drosche Land.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Q is for Quiet

We don't get much of it around here.  Not with my two crazy sons.  I see even less on the horizon with a new baby coming (let's face it, she's a Drosche so she's bound to be noisy too!).  Honestly though, I'll admit that I'm not a big fan of quiet.  Anyone can attest to this.  I like noise.  The TV, talking, music, white noise, and yes even the kids.  Quiet can often make me jittery and uncomfortable, especially in tense situations.  I'm the person that will sometimes get a case of the nervous giggles at such times.

However, I do value quiet.  It is valuable and needed many times.  During the sermon in church, at the movies, when the kids are in time-out, at night when you're trying to sleep.  It's during these times that quiet is a friend, someone I rely on.

I also enjoy, and look forward to, quiet once a day.  Late at night.  The kids are asleep.  Amy is asleep.  The dogs are asleep.  The TV is off (yes, I know shocking but it does get turned off here!) or at least turned down very low.  The house is quiet.  Usually at this time I am relaxing in bed reading.  A book, the Bible, blogs, random miscellaneous news on the Internet; you get the picture.  It's my time to unwind, to say goodbye to the day and relax.  Amy can go straight to bed after a long day.  Just lie down and she's out.  Not me though.  I have to have some time to sit and decompress.  It's the one and only time I relish the quiet.  Shhhh though, let's not let the word out!  The other 98% of the time though, quiet and I don't spend a lot of time together.  But I'm ok with that.

Do you enjoy the quiet?  Or are you like me and quiet makes your uncomfortable?  Do you have a time when you and quiet play nicely together?  :)

Shhhhh.  This is what quiet looks like here!

All is well, with the occasional peace and quiet, in Drosche Land.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

P is for Pinterest

My latest social media addiction.  I mean who doesn't constantly think about recipes they'd like to make, classroom ideas they'd like to implement, hairstyles or clothing trends to try, things to craft and make for the house, photography ideas, vacation spots to visit?  You get the picture.  I know I'm not the only one out there!

It's like a giant scrapbook/idea book/list of things to do, make, or try.  What's there not to like?!  Plus, it links to Facebook and Twitter - score! Plus there's an app for pinning on the go!  Granted there's not enough time in a lifetime to do everything I've already pinned, much less what I will pin in the future, but I'll keep on pinning because you never know!  I may win the lottery which will allow me to buy all of the great things I've found while providing me with the extra time to make everything I've found and travel to all of the places I've dreamed of.  See, so it's really just planning and preparing for the day that happens.  If that doesn't pan out?  Well, I'll still have fun pinning and planning!

I've already found and carried out several successful ideas for the classroom and things to make for the house!  So all of the time I've spent browsing and pinning has totally paid off!  Right?  I love a good social media experience/obsession and I was game for Pinterest as soon as I heard about it.  So now I divide my time between blogging, reading blogs, Facebooking, Twittering, and pinning.  I'm quite the master at staying busy by doing essentially nothing!  Amy, stop nodding your head and rolling your eyes!  :)

Are you on Pinterest?  Have you become addicted to yet another totally fun, yet time-wasting venture? Well, look on the right-hand column to follow me on Pinterest and see just how much time I waste fun I have planned for life.  Now, if you'll excuse me I have some recipes to look for.  Or was it classroom ideas?  Shoes?  Crafts?  Eh, regardless, I'll find it on Pinterest!

Ooooooh, what treasures will I discover today?

All is well, pinning away, in Drosche Land.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

O is for OCD

I'm a little crazy.  But then again, isn't everyone?  And if I can admit it, that makes it normal right?  Or is that something someone crazy would say?  I know it's not just me.  I know I have a few abnormal tendencies, but they're nothing severe.

The biggest would be checking the locks on the doors.  I do it several times before leaving the house and/or going to bed.  But everyone does that right?  Safety first!  Amy thinks it's hilarious to tease me though.  All she has to do is ask if I checked and I have to check.  Again.  Regardless of how many times I just checked.  She gets a sick joy from it!  That's love.

I also count things too, lots of things.  Especially when I'm nervous.  But then again, doesn't everyone.  Doesn't it sooth everyone to know the number of ceiling tiles above you in a tense situation?  I also sometimes just count to calm myself down.  Again, totally normal.

I'm also a little obsessed with the numbers of things I eat.  Like carrots or jelly beans or the packets of Splenda in my coffee. It has to always be an even number.  But that's normal too.  A form of portion control, right?  I also won't eat the first or last of anything.  But that's just good manners.  Not insanity.

These are just a few of my eccentric habits.  I'm sure Amy could name a few more.  Maybe I should make a list.  Oh, that's another one.  I make lists.  Written and mental.  Again, totally normal.  Just being prepared and organized.  Right?

Do you have any slightly odd/eccentric/OCD tendencies?  It's normal though, don't worry.  There's always someone out there just a little crazier than you.  That makes you normal!  :)

It's locked.  I'm sure, I checked it.  Hold on, I'll check again.  And again.

All is well, checking, counting, checking, counting, in Drosche Land.

Monday, April 16, 2012

N is for Nook & Nook App

I love to read.  I always have.  It's a topic I've mentioned here before.  I've even mulled over the options of reviewing books here on this blog.  However, I am not blessed with a reviewer's voice, nor am I blessed with the time to review books on a regular basis.  It was one of my New Year's resolutions to read more and, thanks to The Hunger Games trilogy, it is one I am on my way to keeping.

I'm split on the recent debate between eReaders and traditional books.  Sure, nothing beats a good book.  The feel of the paper.  Using a book mark or folding down the corner to mark your place.  Reading the back covers in a book store to see if it sounds good.  However, there is something to say for technology.  Having hundreds of books at your fingertips whenever and wherever you need them.  The ability to pick up a book no matter what else you're doing and read.  The portability.  You see my dilemma, one I'm sure many people have.

Now, I'm a huge Apple and iPad fan, that's no secret.  But apparently the Nook is huge.  Amy wanted, and got, one this past Christmas and has been in love with it.  She loves reading as much as, if not more than, I do.  It wasn't long until we realized to make the most of the Nook app for iPad.  Our tastes aren't always in line when it comes to reading, but occasionally we see eye-to-eye, or page-to-page for that matter.  Well, thanks to the Nook app we can both read the same book at the same time and only purchase it once!  Now, I know we are not the only or first people to realize this (at least I highly doubt it) but we still enjoy the feeling that we're beating the system a bit!  Taking advantage of them somewhat.  Ha!  We live on the wild side here in Drosche Land huh?!  Aside from our joy in dabbling with corporate trickery, the Nook and its iPad app allow us to have a common eReader ground here in Drosche Land.  Compromise is always a good thing right?  Plus, the Nook app gives me access to many books that aren't available via iBooks (The Hunger Games trilogy to name just 3).  So it's a win-win situation all around.

Paper or eReader?  iPad or Nook?  What's your choice?  Or are you like me and like you keep your options open?  Ahhh the new choices we readers have!

Nook meets iPad - a match made in heaven!  

All is well, well-read, in Drosche Land.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

M is for Marriage

I'm codependent.  I don't like being alone.  I don't like quiet (or being quiet for that matter).  So, I was destined to be married.  I just never knew how lucky I would be in that area.

The story of Amy and I is a long one, beginning back in 7th Grade when we first met.  We weren't exactly friends though until high school.  She set me up with her best friend who I dated for over a year.  After we broke up Amy and I became best friends.  However, one of us was clueless to the true feelings of the other!  This friendship continued through high school and into college.  It was filled with ups and downs, good and bad.  Amy went away for college and that was hard for both of us.  Then, at the end of our Freshman year it finally hit me.  Her feelings all along.  My feelings, all along.  We've been together ever since.

From the moment we began dating we knew we'd get married.  Our lives were already heavily intertwined and continued to do so.  Our finances joined.  More ups and downs followed.  Nearing the end of college it was finally time to propose.  The moment we both knew was inevitable.  Still though, it was the first, and likely the only time, I was able to surprise Amy.  Of course she said yes.

We were married, moved to a new city, got a dog, survived a major natural disaster, moved back to Houston, had 2 sons, bought a house, and bought a van.  All in 4 years.  You might say we like the drama, like the business, like the action of life.  We don't sit still well.  We're easily swayed into a new adventure.  Now we are rapidly approaching yet another big adventure.

In June we'll celebrate our 8 year anniversary, but we go way back.  Amy and I figured out that we've known each other longer than we haven't.  We've been a couple longer than we've been apart.  It's a special thing we have, whether it's 8 years or 18 (yes I did the math!).  

But no matter what life throws at me I'd not change any of it.  Nor would I choose to experience it with anyone else.  It hasn't always been easy, this adventure called marriage, but it's always been worth it.  Amy and I have grown closer and our faiths and marriage are stronger than ever.  She is truly my other half, she truly does balance me out and complete me.  And I do the same for her.  See, I told you I was destined for this.  HE always knew!

Lucky in love.

All is well, happily married, in Drosche Land.

Friday, April 13, 2012

L is for Lima Beans

Lima beans.  The red-headed step child of the legume world.  Nobody likes them, at least nobody I know of.  But I like them, I really do.  And not just in a side dish sort of way.  See, I approach the much-despised bean through the eyes of a teacher.  In the classroom they are quite valuable.  See, let me explain.

They are a good size so kids can handle them easily and manipulate them.  They are tough and hearty so  said kids wont easily destroy them while they are observing them.  They also germinate (ooooh, big Science word!) quickly, meeting the needs of the attention spans of 6 and 7-year olds.  They can even be planted without water!  Simply wrap them in a damp paper towel, seal them in a Ziploc bag, and tape to a window.  Then sit back and watch the fun bloom, literally.  Of course they can also be planted the traditional way.  In fact, I have 21 cups in my classroom right now, each with lima beans inside.  This was part of our soil study.  They are eagerly watched and eagerly (hopefully not too much so) watered in anticipation of their growth.

But, aside from the lima bean's educational properties, I do enjoy eating them as well.  I know, again, that I am among the rare few who does enjoy them but I'll stand tall and proudly announce that I like them!  As with any bean they are good alone, cooked in a variety of ways, or mixed together with other ingredients.  Do a quick Google (or your preferred search engine) search and find any number of delectable recipes built around this misunderstood food.

So, see, they're not so bad.  Lima beans have lots of potential, both inside and outside of the kitchen.  I encourage you to give them another shot, or at least plant some in a bag on your window.  Come on, what have you got to lose?  Do you have a favorite food that is an outcast among others?  Something that everyone else hates, but you enjoy?  Go on, enjoy it and be proud!

Lima beans!  Posing for an artsy shot in all their maligned glory!

All is well, showing lima beans some love, in Drosche Land.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

K is for Kitchen

It's no secret I love me some TV. However, despite this fact, the most important room in our house is one without a television. Obviously, given the title of this post, it's the kitchen. Now, I know we are not the only ones who claim this to to be the most important room of the house. In fact, I believe that I've read or heard somewhere(probably on TV) that in most households the kitchen is the most important room, the hub of all the family's activity. This is certainly true for us here in Drosche Land. In fact, the kitchen was one of the selling points of our home when we built it. We used all of the incentives and upgrades we were given to make our kitchen as awesome as possible.

We love the size, the layout, and all of the amenities in the kitchen. We spend a good deal of time, especially on the weekends, in the kitchen. Amy loves to cook so it is her favorite spot in the house by far. The kids love sitting at the peninsula to hang out, watch, talk, or join in on the action. Frequently Braeden does his homework here while i clean up after dinner and do the dishes. Because of the open floor plan of our house, you can see nearly all of the first floor from the kitchen so it's clearly centrally located. When we have friends or family over, the action naturally gravitates to the kitchen.

 Because of all of this, the kitchen has become more of a room to us. It is a place where we gather as a family, where we spend quality time together. Memories are made here. Memories like the boys learning to make their own pizzas, cookies, and countless other recipes. Memories like the time Amy opened a salad spinner full of pumpkin seeds (after scooping them out of our jack-o-lantern one Halloween) too early, sending hundreds of seeds flying across the kitchen and dining room, raining down on us. We were finding pumpkin seeds for weeks and we still laugh about it. Injuries are doctored here with a trip to the freezer for ice packs when someone falls. I could go on, but I think you get the point. Our attachment to the kitchen and the room's importance to us will definitely become a factor when/if we move from this house. It will be the first room we look at when house hunting and could easily make or break a deal! Is the kitchen the most important room in your house? If not, I'm sure you have a room whose memories and fun times have increased its importance and worth to you.

The headquarters of Drosche Land.

All is well, in the kitchen and all throughout the house, in Drosche Land.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

J is for Jackson

You had to have known this was coming for today's post.  It's only fair really since Braeden got his letter.  So, today I'll celebrate Jack.  He was our baby for so long and now is on the brink of becoming the middle child and leaving his youngest status behind.  Is he ready?  I think so.  He has been so enamored with Stella and Amy's pregnancy all along.  Not that Braeden has not been, he's just cautious and a thinker by nature, approaching the pregnancy with his quiet and analytical nature.  Jack on the other hand has been all about the impending addition of a baby sister, especially once she started to kick and move around.  He loves to feel her and every time he does he swears it's her "butt sticking up and moving"!  But then again everything right now with him is about butts and potty words!  Ahhhh the joys of raising young boys.  And Jack is just that - all boy.  Rough and tumble, dirty and grimy, full of non-stop energy, most of the time like a bull in a china shop!

But there is another side to him.  The side that loves to help Amy cook in the kitchen.  The side that is planning on holding his baby sister and helping her do so many things.  The side that still loves to cuddle and snuggle.  Deep down he is a sweet and gentle boy, it's just deep, deep down inside the ball of never-ending hyperactivity!  But those that truly know him, and those in the future who will be lucky to do so, know this side is there.  And once you see it, you'll know the true Jackson.

My Jack-Jack!

All is well, celebrating my soon-to-be middle child, in Drosche Land.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I is for Impeccable

In this case - dining.  See, Amy and I love our fast food and casual dining restaurants, they serve their purpose and are great.  However, recently we've developed an appetite for finer dining.  Fancy restaurants.  Restaurants where there isn't a kid's menu.  Restaurants where you don't have to ask for a booster seat.  Restaurants catering to a more gourmet palate.

It all started back in August with Houston Restaurant Weeks.  This is a time when restaurants all over Houston offer menus highlighting their best offerings for a special price.  It is a great way to experience some of the greatest our city has to offer!  The best part, aside from eating at some excellent restaurants, is that a portion of the proceeds go directly to the Houston Food Bank.  It's a win-win!  We only made it to two restaurants last year, Perry's Steakhouse and RDG + Bar Annie, and both were amazing!  This got us addicted to taking some time to enjoy some of the finer things (food-wise) that life (and Houston) has to offer.  Plus, it provides Amy and I with a great date night!  We went on one of these just the other night to a French restaurant named Le Mistral.  Wow!  Delicious.  A must-try if you live in or ever visit Houston.  The pictures below are from my meal, I love taking pictures of my food when we eat out at a nice restaurant.

In writing this post I realize it's time for Amy and I to check out the offerings for this year's Houston Restaurant Weeks and begin to plan our outings!  I'm sure cities all over have something of this nature some time so I highly recommend checking it out in your area!  Do you enjoy fine dining?  Dressing up and going out on a date night?  What's your favorite place?  I don't know that I could decide just yet!  Still building up the repertoire!

My appetizer - Soupe de Champignons Sauvages  (mushroom soup, garlic whipped cream )

My entree - Filet de Vivaneau en Papillote  (Filet of red snapper en papillote, zucchini, tomatoes, leeks julienne, saffron potatoes, marinated in lemon juice, olive oil and dill)   

All is well, enhancing my palate, in Drosche Land.

Monday, April 09, 2012

H is for Hunger Games

Yes, I know that The Hunger Games are everywhere and bloggers and news outlets have been covering it for some time, but I'm going to go ahead and join the ranks.  After having read about the book a while back when the hype was beginning about the movie's filming, sometime over the summer, I began to think about reading it.  Time passed, the movie's release was imminent and the frenzy was building.  I decided to go ahead and start the series, to read it prior to seeing the movie.  Boy am I glad I did!

I'll admit to jumping on the Hunger Games bandwagon, and I'm not ashamed in the slightest bit.  I was intrigued by all of the hype and press that was everywhere.  If you have not read it yet I HIGHLY (another "H" word) recommend it.  It's addictive and a fun and easy read.  I was quickly enthralled by the storyline and am now fully addicted.  I'm not going to give a full-on book review here, I'm not terribly gifted at writing those.  Plus, odds are you have some clue as to what it's all about.  I'm simply here to be one more person to join in the craze.  One more person for you to relate to if you love it or one more person to persuade you to read it if you haven't.  I've finished the first book and am one night of reading away from finishing the second!  I've yet to see the movie, but I always enjoy reading the books before watching any movie adaptation.  With Stella's arrival getting nearer I see myself enjoying the movie in the comfort of my own home (thanks Redbox!).  I'll post again about that once I see it.  A good old compare/contrast.  So, the moral of this "H" post - read The Hunger Games.  :)

READ IT!  Whether it's via iPad, Nook, or the old fashioned way!

All is well, curled up with a good book, in Drosche Land.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Sunday Snapshot - Easter!

He is risen!

He is risen indeed, alleluia!

Easter came to Drosche Land, as it did to all of you, and it was a great time!  We spent the first part of the long weekend preparing for the big day!  The Easter Bunny went shopping, eggs were hunted, eggs were dyed, more eggs were hunted after the Easter Bunny hid them, baskets were emptied, and candy was eaten, and then more candy was eaten.

I have to say though that I am so proud of my boys!  Despite all the fun of eggs and chocolate, they still truly remembered and acknowledged the real reason we celebrate Easter!  It warms my heart to know that they believe their Lord and Savior died and rose for them!  It was also a fun celebration because we totally took the time to remember that this time next year we will have one more little Drosche, in a spectacular Easter dress, who is excited about the big day!  I'm sure it will be here in no time!      

It was busy, but also a lot of fun.  We all needed a fun break and that's exactly what we got.  Jackson in particular has been looking forward to Easter for several weeks.  Now that the big day has finally come, and gone, who knows what he will become obsessed with next?  I'm so glad though that we have tomorrow off too though because, as often is the case, we need a day to recuperate from our holiday!  Tomorrow we have lots of relaxing, laundry, and more relaxing to do and I can't wait to get started on it!  I hope you all had a blessed Easter with your friends and family, celebrating the joyous season and, of course, eating some great sweets!

All is well, picture perfect, in Drosche Land.

My camera is a Canon EOS Rebel, I'm not sure of the settings (oops!), and all were edited in iPhoto.

Jack and his haul!

Braeden displaying his spoils!

All of the cousins, post-hunt!

My beautiful wife!

Jack enjoying a snow cone!

Dyeing eggs!

Dyeing eggs! 
A few pieces of candy before church!

Happy Easter from Drosche Land!


Saturday, April 07, 2012

G is for Glasses

I wear glasses.  I haven't always though, I only got them about 2 years ago.  However, to me, this was far too late in life to become bespectacled.  See, when I was young I always wanted to wear glasses.  I know, odd but true.  I remember wearing fake glasses, with and without lenses, to pretend.  It's now trendy for people, kids and adults alike, to wear fake glasses.  I guess that means I was a trendsetter, just about 2 decades before everyone else jumped on the bandwagon.  However, reading in the dark and squinting at everything (my feeble, juvenile attempts to weaken my eyesight) were in vain as I never ended up needing corrective lenses.

Flash forward to February 2010 (yes, I remember).  I'd been getting annoying headaches for a while, mainly in the evenings.  Amy, probably tired of my complaining suffering, finally suggested that I see an optometrist.  Plus I didn't do so well on the vision test when I was renewing my driver's license.  On a day off I went.  Turns out I needed glasses.  Imagine my surprise, and of course my delight!  Although my vision wasn't horrible, the doctor did state that I was farsighted, more so in my left eye.  Finally, after 29 years of waiting, I got a prescription for glasses.  Technically the glasses were for reading and computer use, however since that comprises 95% of my day I decided to wear them all the time (remember the delight of the long-awaited arrival of the glasses).  Plus this would save me the trouble of taking them off and putting them on numerous times a day.

So, my wish was granted and two years later I don't regret one bit needing glasses.  In fact, I still love them!  Weird, I know.  I need to get new ones though as my current ones are scratched and have definitely seen better days.  One thing I wasn't prepared for with glasses was how difficult it is having 2 small children who easily and accidentally knock them off and send them flying!  We shall see if little Stella sees me in my current glasses, or if she gets the new and improved look.  Laziness and lack of time have prevented me from visiting the doctor.  So I'll wait, happily in my glasses.  Do you or did you ever wish something odd upon yourself suck as compromised vision?  Don't worry, it's not weird at all!  :)

The much-anticipated and much-loved glasses!

All is well, bespectacled, in Drosche Land.

Friday, April 06, 2012

F is for Fried Food

Yes, another food post.  Who doesn't love fried foods though?  Maybe it's because I'm from the South, but doesn't everything taste better once it's been battered and deep fried?  Recently, last month, we celebrated Rodeo season.  One of the many things it's known for is the abundance of fried foods.  Fried anything.  Fish, tomatoes, chicken, ice cream, Snickers, cookie dough, cheesecake, okra -  I think you get the picture.  Sadly, Rodeo season occurs during Lent so I could not partake in any of the fried sweets as I had given sweets up again this year.  However, I did indulge in two of my favorites - catfish and fried green tomatoes.  YUM.  It doesn't get much better than carnival food.  Another fried weakness I have is french fries.  I could eat they every day, and from anywhere.

Although it may not be the healthiest, by far, choice to make; fried food is certainly one of the most delicious.  I'm trying to think of a fried food that I don't enjoy and I'm coming up with nothing.  In fact, the more I type, the more fried food I can think of - macaroni & cheese (Paula Deen), chicken fried steak, green beans, and the list is endless.  Given all of the options, I know I'm not the only one who feels this way.  I mean Zac Brown Band even has a song titled after it!  Ahhhhh, yum.  Do you enjoy fried foods?  What's your favorite?  I'd better close this post out, I'm making myself hungry!

My delectable selection from the Rodeo, all fried - catfish, french fries, potato slices, and fried green tomatoes!

All is well, deep fried, in Drosche Land.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

E is for Eggs

I don't know about your house, but eggs are pretty much a staple here in Drosche Land.  That and cheese.  We nearly always have eggs (and cheese but this is an "E" post) in the fridge.  If we don't we're lost.  Breakfast, lunch, or dinner.  Fried, scrambled, hard boiled, deviled, frittata-ed (I'm sure it's a culinary term).  Breakfast tacos (not just for breakfast anymore) are by far our favorite way to consume eggs and we eat them at least once a week, usually as our leisurely weekend breakfast.  However, Easter is rapidly approaching and that means dyeing and hard boiling them!  Who doesn't love that?  The boys are already eagerly awaiting this fun event with their cousins.  I'm not sure why, but hard boiled eggs taste best at Easter, when they're dyed.  Sure, I'll eat them occasionally throughout the year, but Easter is when they truly bring it!  The overabundance of hard boiled eggs at this time of year also means deviled eggs (my all-time favorite egg dish)!  YUM!

Now I realize that I'm bordering on being labeled egg-centric for going slightly overboard on the topic here.  But I do have a good egg-scuse.  When planning these posts, eggs were the first thing that popped into my head for the letter "E".  When I signed up for the challenge I decided to just be myself, blog about what I know and am interested in, and to blog in my usual style.  That's egg-actly what I'm doing with this post!  So, maybe it's not been the most egg-citing post ever, but I think you'll agree that it's a pretty egg-ceptional "E" post!

All is well, egg-cellent in fact, in Drosche Land.

The incredible, edible egg!

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

D is for DVR

What else would it be for?  I've often sung the praises of, and my love for, the amazing invention that is the DVR.  Where would we be without it?  Granted, to some it may not seem that important, but to someone who's an admitted TV addict, it's life changing.  Now, I know I'm not the only one out there who is in love with their DVR.  Hopefully I'm not the only one who is willing to blog about it!

Our DVR has been working overtime lately as our schedules have been crazy busy and we've had some pretty late nights.  We currently have 48% of the space remaining, which is a lot.  Especially considering all that it is currently holding.  Weekends, when they're not also busy, are dedicated to relaxing and cleaning of the DVR as much as possible.  It's a never-ending cycle though as it is often recording faster than we can watch.  But isn't that the point of the DVR?  To allow you the freedom to watch everything your heart desires, whenever you'd like to watch it?  Oh, and let's not forget the ability to fast-forward through the commercials!  Another wondrous trait of the DVR!  Yet another piece of modern technology that people lived for many years without, but now we cannot imagine life without it!  Ahhhh technology, what a beautiful thing!

Behold the power!  The awesome power!

All is well, everything on demand, in Drosche Land.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

C is for Coffee

Of course it is.  If you know me, you shouldn't be surprised by the topic for today's letter.  If you don't know me, you'll soon discover how much I love coffee.  I mean, I do have a label for it, this making the 4th coffee-centric post, but I'm sure there are others in which it is mentioned!

It could quite possibly be the most perfect drink.  Hot or cold, I drink it.  Morning, afternoon, evening, I drink it.  Flavored or unflavored, I drink it.  I think you're getting the point.  Although the root addiction is caffeine, coffee is the most coveted form.  The only thing I won't add is a creamer or milk.  The main reason for this goes back to my Weight Watchers experience.  Coffee is a point-free drink.  Add a calorie-free sweetener in place of sugar (Splenda is my fave) and it's still point-free!  What could be more wonderful.

Although its purest, liquid form is by far my favorite, I do enjoy anything containing coffee or coffee-flavored. Ice cream, candy, sweets, savory foods; I love them all.  Is there a food or drink you are addicted to and couldn't live without?  Coffee is of course, mine!

My favorite, and largest mug.  It hold over 20 oz. of the beloved drink!

All is well, always caffeinated, in Drosche Land.

Monday, April 02, 2012

B is for Braeden

Of course it would be right?  I mean, yes, I talk about him a lot but how could I come to "his" letter of the alphabet and not let him be the sole subject?  He's my little doppelganger.  No matter where we go we get comments on how much he looks like me.  We have since he was born.  In fact, looking back at photos of myself as a baby and at his age, it's often difficult to tell if it's me or him!

The similarities don't end only at his features.  He is like me in many mannerisms and personality quirks.  People-pleasing.  Making a joke during a difficult situation.  Avoiding any form of conflict or confrontation.  Addicted to, and easily distracted by, the TV!  An insatiable sweet tooth.  Sometimes I watch him in awe, realizing just how similar we are.  I wonder if this will continue as he grows and becomes a man?  I'd be lying if I said there wasn't a huge part of me that wishes it does!

Our first-born.  Soon to be 6!  Soon to be in First Grade?!  It seems as though just yesterday we were bringing him home, blissfully unaware of the many challenges and joys of parenthood that awaited us!  Where has the time gone?


All is well, celebrating the first born, in Drosche Land.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Sunday Snapshot - Coffee

My new favorite from this morning.  I accidentally spilled it when making my first cup but saw the potential beauty!

A change for Sunday Snapshot?  Exciting!  To learn more, visit its awesome creator (and one of our favorite bloggers ever) Stefanie.  I've been a fan of Sunday Snapshot for over a year now and have been dutifully posting weekly since discovering it!  So, I'm stoked about this new format.  Here goes!

Honestly I had no clue what to post about this weekend.  This past week has been crazy busy and I've not been taking lots of pictures lately, save for my Instagram challenge ones.  So I was somewhat at a loss.  So, I decided to scroll through the Camera Roll on my beloved iPhone.  Were there good ones that I hadn't posted yet?  What exactly was included in the 537 photos on there?  Well, turns out I enjoy taking pictures of coffee almost as much as I love drinking it!  Whether it's for an Instagram challenge or just to express my caffeinated love, I have an affinity to capturing the glorious beverage.  So, I thought I would share some of them here.  Per the rules of the new Sunday Snapshot, I'm putting my favorite first (up above), which just happens to be the most recent also since I just took it this morning.  If you love coffee I hope you enjoy the pictures in all their coffee-related goodness.  Coffee not your thing?  I hope you enjoy them as photos.  I don't think I'll be slowing my photographing of coffee any time soon!  Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter (links all under the About Me tab at the top) to see future pictures!    All of these pictures were taken with my iPhone (the older ones with my old 3GS and the newer ones with my 4S) I use Camera+, Instagram, and Diptic for editing!  Enjoy!

All is well, picture perfect, in Drosche Land.

Another from this morning!  My reflection, in coffee, for my April challenge on Instagram!

A collage of favorite coffee shots!

An old shot of when 2 different parents brought me my favorite drinks one morning!  Double the pleasure!

Another old shot of a gift!  Hot this time!

My beloved Keurig!

One of my favorite mugs!

One of the best coffees ever!  Fell in love with this when we were living in New Orleans!

Trenta might just be the best size for coffee!  Until something larger comes along!

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