"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

Friday, June 29, 2012


Well, as June winds down (can you believe tomorrow is the last day?) I thought I'd finally get around to a post I've been meaning to write.  See, June has always been special to me, long before Stella came along and made it even more so.  June is the anniversary of my weight loss.  This year marks 10 years.  A decade.

You've probably already put 2 and 2 together to realize that the title of this post tells of the amount of weight I lost.  Yes 105 pounds.  40.3% of my entire weight.  I'm not one to toot my own horn, but (toot toot!) I'm still pretty impressed.

Flash back to June 2001.  Amy and I celebrated our 2nd anniversary of being together and I was getting ready to transfer colleges in the fall and move to Austin.  I finally tired of being fat.  Well, I guess I'd been tired of it for a while, but I finally did something about it.  So, I began Weight Watchers.  Not the meetings and all that jazz, that's not for me at all.  No, I did it at home.  Counting points, eating less, eating better.  As it turns out counting points to lose weight was right up my alley.  Pair that with my OCD tendencies and voila!  It was destiny.  By the time the end of summer rolled around I had already lost about 40ish pounds!  Ahhhh, but that's when it got harder.  Moving away to college means dorm life.  Dorm life means meal plan.  Meal plan means lack of control over every morsel of food that went into my mouth.  However, my perseverance and OCD habits won over and I continued losing weight.  By the time summer rolled around again, I was down 105 pounds!  I'd made it to my target size and weight!  It had been a long journey, but it had been more than worth it.

So, here I sit, 10 years later and so much has happened in life.  I've graduated college, gotten married, went through Hurricane Katrina, changed jobs, had 3 kids, built a house, received my Masters.  Yikes, that's a lot.  Through all of that though those 105 pounds have stayed away.  I'll be honest, it hasn't always been a piece of cake, mmmmm cake.  I love food and, as you know, have a massive sweet tooth.  The hardest part was when Amy was pregnant with Jack, I put on 20 pounds!  Apparently having a one-year old, one on the way, building a house, and moving is stressful.  I thought I would die.  But I reached deep down in and channeled everything I'd done before.  It wasn't so hard really, it's always there and probably always will be.

I still count points every day, all day.  It's just that I don't need a book, I know a lot and can guesstimate everything else.  The OCD tendencies still come in very handy when maintaining.  I have a 5-pound window that I allow myself, to maintain sanity.

I know what you're thinking, "Where's a picture of fat Dusty?", and I can't blame you.  I'd be thinking the same thing if I were you.  Honestly though I don't have one, at least not with me.  I keep a picture at school though.  Partially to remind myself and partially to show others because they find it hard to believe.  It was taken on our 1 year anniversary and was the last photo taken of me before I began losing weight.  It is always funny to see people's reactions to the picture though, even I find it shocking.  I basically look like myself, only overinflated.  Imagine me as a Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon.  You'll get a good image that way.  I'll have to remember to grab the picture the next time I'm at school and post it here.  That'll keep you checking back!

I'm obviously proud of myself for having done it.  I'm glad I'm not the same size.  I'm healthier, happier, and I get to share my story with others.  Maybe inspire them?  Am I even that influential?  I'll also get to share it with my children so hopefully they will not travel down the same path I did, hopefully they will have healthier eating habits early.  Yeah, I'm proud for all of those reasons!

All is well, lighter for a decade and counting, in Drosche Land.    

Monday, June 25, 2012

Sunday Snapshot - B&W

Yesterday was super busy so I didn't get around to posting this until this morning.  Luckily Little Miss was awake super early (thanks to a lot of napping yesterday) so I am able to get this going before the day totally begins.

Now, I love me some black and white photography, as does Amy.  In fact, our bedroom furniture and bedding is all black and white, with the photos on the wall being in black and white.  See, told you.  When taking pictures I often have an idea of whether or not I want the finished, edited, and polished version to be in black and white.  However, I had never thought about just trying black and white out on random pictures, just to see until I read this post by blogging mentor/idol Stefanie.  

That got me thinking, what would some of my favorite color photos look like in black and white?  So, I sat down with my iPhone since most of my pictures (save the photo shoots/special occasions) are currently taken with that.  Lo and behold, she was right!  Some pictures that I thought would be awesome in black and white were only eh. Some that I never would have guessed would be good, turned out great.  So I thought I'd piggyback on her post to share some of my new favorite black and white photos, obviously my top pic the above of Stella's feet!  What do you think?  How did they turn out?  It has definitely changed the way I think of black and white, and even color, photography!  Awesome, thanks Stefanie!

A beach scene, one of the ones that came as a surprise.  Who knew that it would look good without the blues, whites, and browns of a typical beach pic?

Stella, one of the pictures I thought would look good in black and white.  This one is from her hospital newborn pictures!

Sunrise, another surprise.  Again, all of the colors present in a sunrise and they still are beautiful in black and white.  I like how the houses are silhouetted at the bottom.

Braeden riding a bike, another surprise.  It's all about the shadow for me in this picture.  Amy loves this one.

Ni Hao Yall

Saturday, June 23, 2012


No this post isn't about the David Bowie song, although it is a great song.  Oh, and there's an awesome cover by Butterfly Boucher (which is lots of fun to say) that was in Shrek 2 (great movie).  Check out both if you're unfamiliar.  Anyway, on with the topic of this post.

The winds of change are blowing pretty strongly here in Drosche Land.  But they're good winds, no storms on the horizon.  It's actually something that's been brewing and working in the background here for quite a while.  Ok, so now that I've set a suspenseful enough tone, I'll get on with the post.

See, you know Amy and I have both worked at Trinity for the past few years, she as the Director of the Early Childhood Program and me as the First Grade Teacher.  Well, flashback to September when we found out Amy was pregnant.  3 kids.  Wow!  A lot would change in our lives very shortly.  This got Amy to wondering if she should pursue a change in her career.  She loved her job as the Director, (and was awesome, ok I'm off my soapbox), but it did entail a lot.  Early mornings, late nights, no summers off, always being on-call, just to name a few.  It wasn't bad, just part of the job.  However, as the pregnancy progressed, and got progressively more difficult, she continued to wonder if she would be able to keep up her hectic pace for much longer, and then when the baby came?  So HE began working in our lives and in the situations.  Or I should say HE has always been working in it, after all HE knew how it would all shake out the entire time right?

Ok, back to the end of the school year, March and April namely.  Amy's pregnancy is getting harder and the toll it is taking on her is clear to us both.  Then comes the bed rest which was, ironically, an awakening of sorts.  This was when HE chose to make HIS plan for Amy clear to us.  Her ministry to serve him through the education of children wasn't over, it was just going to change, be redefined.  Things happened quickly now and HIS plan came to fruition.  Amy's new call in her ministry was to get back into the classroom, a First Grade classroom to be exact!

Amy accepted a call to be the First Grade teacher at Epiphany Lutheran School here in Houston.  Pretty cool huh?  Now we have even more in common than we did before!  :)  This will become effective this August with the 2012/2013 school year.  This new adventure brings many new things to Drosche Land.  Possibly one of the biggest benefits is the fact that Amy will have a ton more time, including summers, to spend with our family.  Epiphany is also only 9 miles from our house so her commute will be greatly lessened.  There are lots of other changes, none bad, that come along with this but I won't bore  you with those details.  We spend a significant amount of time praying and asking for HIS will to become clear to us, and that it did.  We are very excited about beginning this new adventure and I am joyous to share it with you dear readers.  So, that's the big news here in Drosche Land, I was just awaiting the proper time to share.

Now yes, you know me, and may be asking, "But Dusty, you don't do change well!  How are you dealing with this?".  True, I tend to avoid it like the plague, but through lots of prayer and thought I am very comfortable with this.  I also have the support of a wonderful wife who knows my limitations when it comes to dealing with changes and has been an amazing example of living our HIS will and guidance.  So, there's the answer for your question!  :)  So, stay tuned as I am sure there will be many more posts, especially when it comes time for classroom shopping, about this new adventure!

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

Monday, June 18, 2012

A Dingo Ate My Drainpipe!

Ok, so it wasn't a dingo exactly.  But a stray member of the canine species did in fact maul, mortally wound, and possibly consume a portion of my drainpipe this morning!  Now that I've hooked you with a catchy title to the post that is both current events and a pop culture reference, I'll proceed with my story.

So, we were sitting in the living room this morning chillaxin' and watching DVR, cause that's how we roll in the summertime here in Drosche Land.  Suddenly there comes a strange sound and it's loud.  So loud that Amy swears it sounds as though it's on our front porch.  I'm sure it's the neighbors or something but I get up to check anyway.  I open the front door and lo and behold there's the aforementioned canine, hard at work gnawing on my aluminum drainpipe.  He looks at me like, "Oh crap!" and he's got a little furry friend at the end of my driveway who I can only assume was the look-out of the duo.  I'm too shocked to do anything other than shut the door to quickly inform Amy of the incident I just witnessed.  I open the door again to shoo him and he looks back at me, "You again!  Crap!".  I holler at him and he begins his retreat, meeting up with his short friend before hightailing (get it, tailing) down the street.

I'm left there standing in front of my house gobsmacked (my new favorite word, it seems to be everywhere lately).  I turn and survey the damage (see pictures below).  Seriously?!  Why?!  The only thing I can assume is that he was chasing something that ran up the doomed drainpipe.  That or he suffers from a form of canine pica and had a craving for a metallic mid-morning snack.  Either way I'm left with a mangled drainpipe and a partially dug up rosebush.  Looks like I have a fun new home improvement project to work on and I'll be learning how to install a drainpipe!  Fun!  Stay tuned for that post.

In the mean time I'm hoping it doesn't rain for a few days or I'll have another issue on my hands.  Just another fun adventure brought to you by mentally unstable stray animal!

All is well, drained, in Drosche Land.

The scene of the crime!

Poor rosebush, pardon the weeds!

Poor drainpipe!  It never stood a chance!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Sunday Snapshot - Father's Day

While this year's Father's Day was not my first, it was still a first for me.  It was my first Father's Day with a daughter.  It was my first Father's Day with 3 kids.

It was a great day, low key, spent at home with my family.  My parents came over for lunch so we could celebrate with my Dad.  Then for dinner we ordered in Chinese, my choice.  My beautiful wife and wonderful kids then appeased me with a photo shoot, the fruits of which you see here in this post.  I've been wanting to do one for a long time after following so many other awesome blogs whose authors do so.  The idea for today's has been brewing since Stella was born and today I finally got my chance.  All went very well, and I am quite pleased with the outcomes.  I think for our first one it was a success and I see many more in our future!

As I do every year, and as I'm sure every father or mother does, I thought back to the day when I first became a father.  6 years ago Braeden came into our lives and we became parents.  A new title that would change our lives forever.  It seems as though it was just yesterday and I can't believe how much time has passed.  

Then came Jack.  I thought things had changed with one child.  Jack showed us that, although two kids was a lot more work than just one, it was also a lot more fun.  He also taught us that siblings can be as different as night and day!

Today was also Stella's two-week birthday.  With her arrival Amy and I are officially outnumbered.  Despite the fact that we've been through this newborn adventure twice before, a girl has thrown us for a loop.  So many differences come with a little girl but we are having a blast learning it all.  

Fatherhood.  It has been an amazing blessing to me and I am so thankful for all 3 of my children.  It's not always easy and I am by no means always on top of my game but I wouldn't trade it for anything.  Today may have been a day to honor me, and Amy and the kids did a fantastic job at that, but it was also a great reminder to me of everything that I have to be thankful for.

Happy Father's Day!

All is well, picture perfect, in Drosche Land.

Ni Hao Yall

Saturday, June 16, 2012



It's not a bad color.  The sun is yellow.  Peeps are yellow.  It's a great spring and summer color.  I have a yellow shirt that I love.  Coldplay has an awesome song titled Yellow.  But not everything is great in yellow.  Namely babies.  Yes dear readers, I'm talking jaundice here.

Now, granted the topic of this post is slightly out-dated (remember the prior post on procrastination?), but I did feel the need to update on Stella.  So, on with the post.

Before we left the hospital, Amy noticed that Stella appeared a little yellowish.  Nothing to worry about, jaundice is quite common.  Apparently something like 70% of newborns get it.  So, she insisted that the nurse test her early, which they did.  Turns out (not a shock to me) that Amy was right.  Stella's bilirubin numbers were elevated.  But it wasn't too bad.  Fast forward to the day we head home and Stella's numbers have risen slightly.  Still nothing to be concerned about though so we took our little blessing home.  Fast forward again, this time to Stella's first doctor's appointment last Friday.  Her bilirubin numbers have risen and it is time for some intervention in the form of phototherapy.  Amy and I were worried that she'd be admitted to the hospital, but luckily the therapy was available in-home.  So the bilibelt was delivered and we began the therapy.

Now I know it could have been way worse and all is well now, but the 36 hours that Stella had to wear the bilibelt were not pleasant.  For Amy and I at least, Stella seemed unfazed by the cumbersome, lighted belt she was strapped into 24/7.  It made everything more difficult.  Holding her, feeding her, diaper changes.  But we shut up and did it.  The one silver lining to the yellow-tinged cloud was the fact that, with the bilibelt on, she glowed a bright blue and served as her own nightlight!  But the belt did its job and paid off because once we returned to the doctor on Monday (our 3rd visit in 4 days) her numbers had dropped significantly and we were able to end the phototherapy!

Again, I do understand that this brief inconvenience was just that, an inconvenience.  But that doesn't mean that it wasn't frustrating.  Luckily all was and is well with Stella and we are extremely blessed to have a beautiful, happy and healthy baby girl.  Tomorrow she will be two weeks old and I can't believe how fast time is flying by.  I'm just so happy that we have this summer all together to sit back, take it all in, and enjoy it.  HE certainly knew what HE was doing and we couldn't have planned or organized it any better.  So, now that things have settled down, we can spend the rest of the summer relishing in everything that is Stella!

Our little glowworm!

Jackson and Stella!  The bilibelt didn't bother him, he still wanted to hold her every second he could!

Braeden finally agreed to hold Stella on his own.  He too is now infatuated with her!

All is well, no longer yellowed, in Drosche Land.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

It Can Wait

My name is Dusty, and I'm a procrastinator.  It's probably one of my worst faults and definitely one that drives Amy crazy (she's nodding now).  I don't know why I put off until tomorrow what should be done today.  More often than not it creates more problems than it's worth.  I also tend to hang out with procrastination's first cousin, laziness.  The two of them work together to do a number on me.

Why am I (finally getting around to) writing this post?  Well, ironically it's a post I've been meaning to write, but have had to postpone because of prior procrastinations.  See, I'm in charge of creating Trinity's yearbook.  A task I love and thoroughly enjoy.  I've been working on yearbooks since middle school and it is one of my favorite things.  However, this year it didn't come so easy.  With the busyness of the year, I kept putting it off.  The deadline is June 15, tomorrow (or today depending upon when you're reading this).  Theoretically it should be done before school lets out for summer.  Theoretically.  That didn't happen.  Then it was supposed to be finished before Stella's birth.  That didn't happen.  However, I am happy to say that I am, finally, finished!  2 days ahead of the deadline! Although I can't take total credit for it, I owe a lot to Amy for prodding me along to get it finished, ASAP.

So now I can enjoy my summer as my work is finished.  But procrastination doesn't seem to take a holiday.  Tomorrow I tackle another thing I've been putting off for a while, installing a baby gate at the top of the stairs.  Or should it say re-installing.  We bought it a few months ago and, against the better judgement of my beautiful wife, I neglected to properly find a stud to mount it in.  So, I've put off not only properly installing the gate, but also patching the holes created by my first attempt.

These are just two of the most recent examples of my tendency toward procrastination but I'm sure if I thought about it I could give many more (Amy's nodding again).  Maybe I'll make a list, later that is.  All of this procrastination is to blame for my lack of blogging as of late.  That and a new baby in the house!  Stella is doing very well, as is Amy!  She is adorable, amazing, and had me wrapped around her finger (all that nodding is going to hurt your neck Amy).  I have a whole other post dedicated to her homecoming in my head, but I'll post it tomorrow.  There are also other goings ons here in Drosche Land that I will tackle in upcoming posts.  That's not procrastinating, just a side affect of the yearbook procrastinating.  But I thought I owed it to you dear readers to explain my brief hiatus here this past week, and to share more about myself.  Even if it is a fact about a bad habit I'm not too proud of.

So, that's it.  A dirty little secret about yours truly.  Do you suffer from procrastination?  You don't have to tell me now, we can talk about it later.  Hopefully everything you're putting off won't pile up on you!  Before I go, and because she's just so darned cute, I have to share a picture of Stella!  More to come on her!  Hopefully tomorrow!

We took a picture of ourselves, relaxing!

All is well, I'll get around to it eventually, in Drosche Land.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Arrival - The Story

Well, we are finally home from the hospital!  Amy and Stella were discharged this morning and we can finally get settled into our new lives and routines.  As I type this, everyone is asleep (for the moment) and the house is quiet (for the moment).

The other day I announced Stella's much-anticipated arrival via pictures.  I promised a rundown of the entire adventure and now that we're home and the excitement of the hospital is behind us, I have a free moment or two to recount it all.  I've honestly been looking forward to posting this as remembering it is sure to bring a smile to my face!  Ok, flashback time!  It may get a bit long so you might need a break and a snack.  It was an eventful day!  But make it to the end and there's a payoff! More pictures because you know I've been snapping away!

Saturday night.  11:30(ish) pm.  The boys have been asleep for a while and Amy and I have been vegging out, working our way through the DVR.  She's miserable, as has been the case for a few days.  We decide to turn in for the night but she only makes it through about 10 minutes of tossing and turning before giving up.  She tells me she's having some contractions and not feeling well, both have become regular occurrences, and is heading downstairs.  I opt for bed as I'm sure she'll be back in a little while.

Sunday morning.  5:30 am.  Amy wakes me up.  She's just gotten out of the shower and tells me to get up and get in the shower.  She was up the previous night until 12:30 before entering a restless sleep until she was awoken by bad contractions at 2:30.  This happens again at 4:30.  She tells me it might be labor and I need to get moving.  Honestly, I think it's yet again another false alarm, but I do as I'm told.  But I do it leisurely.  I shower, shave, fix my hair, get dressed.  All during this time the kids wake up and we're timing the contractions.  They're regular, about 7 minutes apart.  Maybe it isn't so false after all?

6:00 am.  We call the doctor.  Come in.  So I frantically pack myself and the boys while Amy calls her mom.  We'll drop them off to her on the way to the hospital.  Maybe this is the real thing?  Get moving!

7:00 am.  Arrive at the hospital after a rough, I mean rough, car ride.  We don't need to ask anyone for directions at the hospital.  Everyone who sees Amy simply says, "Labor and Delivery, that way".  We get to the room, they're waiting for us.  Amy and Stella get hooked up to monitors.  Lo and behold, they are contractions!  And now they're about 5 minutes apart, and getting stronger.  Guess I was wrong.  Looks like it's go time!  Amy's doctor isn't at the hospital that day but no worries, the doctor on-call has delivered the babies of some of our friends.  She's good.

9:45 am.  I'm given my scrubs and call my mom. It's the real thing.  We're about to head to the OR when the doctor comes in and informs us that another woman has just arrived.  She's 9 cm dilated and is going the "no meds" track!  We'll have to wait.  No worries.  In this time my parents arrive and my mom is over the moon!  Amy's contractions are getting worse but she's not dilating.  This labor thing is new to us.  She never went into labor with the boys.  Now she's realizing what a blessing it was that she didn't.

12:00(ish) pm.  The fire alarms go off.  Lights flash.  The doors lock down.  No loud sounds though so that's good.  Turns out it's a false alarm on another floor, due to the renovations and construction going on.  It's almost our time.

12:30 pm.  Oops.  While we were waiting from the 9 cm lady and the fire drill, another C-Sections grabbed our OR.  Seriously?  Amy's contractions are about 3 minutes apart and strong.  Yikes.  Luckily our super awesome nurse, Angela, calls the doctor and anesthesiologist and pleads on Amy's behalf.  Woo hoo, the epidural is put into help with the pain and expedite the process.

1:00 pm.  Go time!  Officially!  Amy's wheeled into the OR and it's a while before I am let in.  She has some nausea/dizziness again (after previous bouts with the IV and epidural) so they want to stabilize her prior to my arrival.  But all is soon ok.

1:32 pm.  I arrive and take my seat by Amy's head.

1:35 pm.  Stella arrives!  7 lbs, 5 oz, 18 inches long!  She cries.  Amy cries.  I cry.  It's beautiful.  They don't bring her to us immediately which unnerves us.  We listen for more crying but only hear some loud gurgled cry/screams.  Turns out she has swallowed quite a bit of amniotic fluid and is having a bit of trouble breathing and getting it all out.  She'll have to visit the NICU to stabilize.  No shock to us as both boys were in the NICU (Braeden for blood sugar issues, Jack because he wasn't breathing and was intubated).  We're bummed but know that she'll be well taken care of.  I travel to stabilization with Stella after saying goodbye to Amy.  Here she's put on oxygen, given through a big plastic dome that I referred to as an astronaut helmet.  They wheel her out and we travel to the NICU, along the way meeting my mom, dad, and aunt for the first time.

That pretty much culminates the adventures of the day.  She only ended up staying in the NICU for the required 6 hours since she bounced back and recovered very well.  The next two days she spent with us in the hospital room and now we're all home together.

So, there you have it.  The full story.  Stella's arrival was dramatic and eventful, just as the pregnancy had been.  It really should have come as no surprise to us that she would make a grand entry into our lives.  We'd expect nothing less from her!  So far (dare I say) she's proved to be a content and happy baby.  The only time she gets fussy (and she lets you know for sure!) is when she's hungry.  She's a great eater (the boys never were) and a great sleeper (again, the boys never were).  Each of us is wholly infatuated with her.  She is beautiful.  She is amazing.

These past few days have really made it evident to us that God has truly blessed us.  Obviously with the arrival of a healthy baby, but also with the outpouring of love and support from family and friends.  Text messages, calls, hospital visitors, Facebook messages and comments, and replies to the blog.  Wow is all I can say.  Thank you so much to everyone for the love and support, not only shown to us with Stella's arrival, but also through the roller-coaster that was the pregnancy.  It was an amazing adventure.  Admittedly, one we're glad is over, but amazing nonetheless!  Now a new adventure begins!

All is well, baby makes 5, in Drosche Land.

Stella all dressed up!

Time to go home!

Snuggled up!

Monday, June 04, 2012

Sunday Snapshot - Arrival - The Photos

Well, from the title of this post and the snapshot above you can correctly surmise that Stella has arrived!  I'll get into the details in a separate post and reserve this post for my (so far) favorite shots of our little girl.  The above is my absolute favorite (so far).  It was taken right after the nurses put her feet in ink and then left her footprints on my scrubs.  Awesome!  We've waited for her for so long she deserves two birth posts, right?  Right.  On with the pictures!

Stella sporting her special hat with a bow, courtesy of our wonderful L&D Nurse Angela!

Big brothers posing in front of Stella's sign on the door!

Sleeping peacefully!

Her first accessory?  A pink bow of course!

My girls!
All is well, picture perfect, in Drosche Land.

Ni Hao Yall