"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

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Day 1

So today was a big day here in Drosche Land.  It was Stella's first day at school!  Granted the school year hasn't begun yet, so that will be another first day, but today was her first day in her classroom.

It was originally supposed to be yesterday but we kept her home one extra day because she had a doctor's appointment.  One which just came up after Amy began to suspect she was suffering from reflux.  She'd been gradually getting fussier over the past week or so during her feedings and she'd been spitting up a lot more (TMI?).  Sure enough, Amy was right (as usual!).  We started her on her medicine and we instantly began noticing a difference.  She was back to herself.  Her calm, laid back, and easy-going self.  Hallelujah!  So that little adventure pushed her first day back to today.

That just gave me one more day to worry about it.  One more day to plan her outfit.  What was I worried about?  Who knows?  Would she be happy (as she usually is)?  Would she cry all day (as both of the boys did)?  Well, turns out I needn't worry at all.  She had a great day and got a great report from her teachers.  Oh, what did she wear?  A super cute grey and lime outfit.

So, Miss Stella continues to surprise us.  Acid reflux?  Yep, another GI issue.  An easy transition to school?  Yep, sweet!  Just another milestone to mark down in her 1st Year Calendar (oh, I need to do that!).  Of course I took pictures with my iPhone.  I had to document it all!  I'll be taking tons more though on the 15th, the actual first day of the 2012/2013 school year.  So you'll see those of her, and the boys as well.  Stay tuned!  Until then, enjoy the ones from today.  I'll be resting easy knowing she had a great first day!

All dressed and ready to head to school!

Jack saying goodbye in her classroom!

Amy signing her in and filling out her paperwork!

There she is, chilling in the bouncy chair (just like the one she has at home) with her new friends!

All is well, schooled, in Drosche Land.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Sunday Snapshot - Baptism

So yesterday was Stella's baptism.  It was a day that we'd been planning for a while.  It took 8 weeks to secure everyone's schedules so we could include all of our family and her sponsors.  All in all it was a great day!  Although, I do have to say that in all of the busyness and excitement of the day I didn't get as many great shots as I'd hoped for.  But there are some good ones in the captures I did get.

Jack is looking down, but I still love this shot of the 5 of us!

Aside from the obvious reason of Stella's actual baptism, this was a special day in many ways.  All of our children have been baptized wearing family heirlooms.  The bonnet in the first picture was mine when I was baptized.  The boys also both wore it on their baptisms.  It goes with the cute little booties that we all wore as well.

How adorable are her little feet!
The gown she wore is just as special.  It was originally Amy's mother's baptismal gown and was then worn by both Amy and her sister Amanda on their baptisms.  The boys both wore the little baptismal suit that Amy's uncles wore that was then passed down to her brother Adam.  You can see the family traditions here right?  Both sides of the family passing down to the next generation.  It was pretty awesome watching Amy get her dressed knowing all the significance behind every piece.

The other really amazing thing about her baptism was that Amy's grandfather performed it.  He has baptized every member of the family since Amy's mom and her siblings.  Every cousin, grandchild, and great-grandchild.  We were so proud that Stella was the next in this long standing family tradition.  

Stella was not too happy by this round of photos, but that doesn't detract from the great picture!
So I missed the shots of Stella with her sponsors, our good friends and co-workers the Bellingers and the Bowens.  So I missed a better staged photo shoot of her in her baptismal outfit.  So I missed random party shots.  Oh well.  It still was an awesome day that we got to share with our family and friends.  A day that we will now celebrate with Stella each year, using the few pictures I did get!  :)

All is well, picture perfect, in Drosche Land.

Ni Hao Yall

Friday, July 27, 2012

Criss Cross

Will make you jump, jump!

Ok, so that's Kriss Kross, not exactly what this post is about.  But maybe now you've got that song stuck in your head and you're contemplating wearing your clothes backward.  Ahhh, the joys of 1992.  But on with the post.

So, you know how to cross your eyes right?  I mean who doesn't.  To make fun of someone, to make a silly face, to see the tip of your nose.  Whatever the reason, you know how.  Well, turns out I can't!  Say what?!  Trust me, you can't be more surprised by this fact than I am.  I spent 31 years of my life thinking I could.  Imagine my surprise this past week when Amy pointed out that I couldn't.  The shock.  The horror.  I mean, how did I go 31 years without this quasi-valuable piece of knowledge about myself?  Did no one see fit to tell me?  Did they notice and feel bad for the kid who couldn't cross his eyes?  Did they notice and mock my futile attempts to do so, me not realizing the joke was on me?  Regardless, I just found out.

See, you may remember me mentioning that Braeden has a slight strabismus in one of his eyes.  Well, maybe it's genetic?  I've always known that my left eye was a bit of a "lazy eye", although I think strabismus sounds so much more official.  It's barely noticeable unless I'm tired or occasionally in pictures.  It's better now that I have glasses.  Apparently though, it's this little medical tidbit that keeps me from properly crossing my eyes.

I know what you're wondering.  "How did you come to find this out?"  Well, dear readers, I'll tell you.  See, as Stella is working on focusing on things and looking around she often makes silly faces.  One of which includes, you guessed it, crossing her eyes (accidentally of course).  So one day I was doing it back when Amy burst into uncontrollable (but I'm sure totally loving) laughter.  Once she caught her breath she was able to explain to me.  I used the forward facing camera on my ever-present iPhone to snap a picture.  A picture that would prove her correct.

Who knew?  Granted it's not technically life-changing information and my inability to do something so trivial and simple will likely never affect me.  So why post about it?  Well, in my defense this post is labeled as "Random".  But it's also a perfect example of one of those things you find out as an adult and surprises you.  Remember when I found out corn wasn't a vegetable?  That still shocks me!

So yet another surprise that life has thrown my way.  You never stop learning.  Speaking of eyes though, I finally got new glasses and I love them!  I didn't realize how scratched my old glasses were until I put the new ones on!  Ahhh, a new look just in time for the new school year!

What do you think?

All is well, uncrossed, in Drosche Land.

And just in case you can't get the song out of your head, here's the video!  Rock on!  Jump, jump!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Sunday Snapshot - Bubbles & Sun

Odd name for a post huh?  Well, it totally fits with today's pictures, as you can tell from the one above.  I missed last week's Sunday Snapshot and in planning for this week's I remembered that I had never gone through my July 4th pictures.  I filled another card that day and then quickly put in another for Stella's 1st bath (pictures and post to come).  This morning I loaded them onto the computer and came across these of Braeden.

I have a weakness for taking pictures of kids blowing bubbles, as you might remember from a previous Sunday Snapshot post with Jack as the subject.  There's something about the simple and innocent aspect of blowing bubbles.  I in fact still love to play with bubbles and have an awesome bubble unit I teach in First Grade.  I mean, who doesn't love the magic of bubbles.  But I digress.  The instant the boys and their cousins got their bubbles out I ran for the camera.  They were up on a playscape and I noticed the light behind Braeden coming through the trees and I remember thinking, "These could make some great shots for a Sunday Snapshot post!".  So here they are finally!

And better late than never right?  There were a ton of other shots from that day, splashing around, playing, and fireworks.  Maybe I'll get around to those another day.  But I feel that these shots take the cake.  Aside from the way they turned out, I think my favorite part is the fact how unplanned and natural they were.  I love planning a good photo shoot, but sometimes life's spontaneity churns out something 10 times better than I could have ever planned.

This is one of those times!

You know I had to play around with black and white, one of my favorite things.  This one turned out great I think!

All is well, picture perfect, in Drosche Land.


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Pain in the Neck

So, Amy took Braeden for his 6 year-old check up yesterday.  I can't believe that he is 6 years old already!  More so than that, I can't believe that he will be in First Grade next year, in my class!  Time flies!

All went well at his appointment though.  At 41 pounds (he's always been a lightweight) he has moved to the 16th percentile!  Double digits in the weight percentile are big here in Drosche Land.  Well, if you're a boy that is.  If you're Stella then it seems to be the norm!  His vision has changed slightly and he has what seems to be a slight lazy eye/strabismus so a visit to the optometrist/opthamologist appears to be in his near future.  Other than that though all looked good.

You may remember the previous post referring to his neck pain.  Well, Amy spoke with our doctor about that and, as it turns out, it wasn't just from sleeping funny or a slight strain.  Apparently it is something called lymphadenitis.  Basically just a long word for an infection of a lymph node, in Braeden's case - his neck.  We noticed redness and a slight lump/bump, but it did get better the second day so we didn't take him in since he had an upcoming appointment.  It's on the mend now so we don't need any antibiotics.  He has a lot more motion, but still holds it to the side stiffly.  I feel bad that it wasn't just a sore neck, but an actual infection.  However, at the same time I'm glad we didn't have to do a round of medicine.  But he's on the road to recovery so that's all that matters.

Several more doctor's visits loom in our future as Stella has her 2 month check up in a week or so and then we have to get Jack in for his 5 year-old appointment.  5 years?!  Seriously?!  But I can stay in denial about that for a few more months!

All is well, medically speaking, in Drosche Land.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

When It Rains . . .

You know the adage.  When it rains, it pours.  Well, that has held true here in Drosche Land this past week.  Both literally and figuratively.

Last week we had crazy thunderstorms and rain every day.  I love me some rain and stormy weather, but I did have plans to take the boys out of town this past weekend, to East Texas, to celebrate my Mom's birthday with family.  However, given the meteorological circumstances that ended up not happening.  I just didn't want to chance a 3-hour drive in the pouring rain, in the dark, to some place I'd never been.  As it turns out though, I wouldn't have been able to attend even if the weather had cooperated.

So you know that Amy went to a conference each day last week and she was super excited about it as it was great prep for her re-entering the classroom this year.  Well, Friday was the last day of the conference, and also the day I was to leave town.  I'd already canceled my plans when I got a phone call from her.  The van broke down.  Luckily it was in the parking lot of the building she'd been at so she was safe.  She'd called a tow truck but it would be over an hour.  So I finished feeding Stella and rallied the troops so we could go get her.  When we arrived I, like any good man, tried the van for myself.  Yep, she was right!  So we waited for the tow truck.  As it turns out he was able to give us a temporary fix, reconnect a loose cable, and we headed to the repair shop to drop it off.  The whole time we were hoping it wasn't the transmission, again.

The good news, it wasn't.  It was a relatively easy fix.  The bad news, more work (unrelated to the break down) was needed in order to get the van to pass inspection.  When is inspection due you ask?  By the end of this month of course!  Luckily, thanks to Amy and Dave Ramsey for having our finances back on the right track, this little downpour didn't hurt us terribly.  But we are still working out our plan to get everything back in working order without breaking the bank!

Sunday morning Braeden woke up crying and holding his neck.  He couldn't move it.  Amy and I both thought it was just a crick, he'd slept funny.  However, she stayed in pain all day long, crying off and on.  We began a Tylenol regimen for pain relief and he slept for 3 hours on the couch.  That night he had a rough time again and yesterday the pain was still there.  Lessened somewhat, but not gone.  We'd begun to get worried that something was wrong, but by bedtime he seemed in a better place.  As I write this now he is up and about, much better having regained a lot of movement.  Amy's still asleep so that will be a welcome finding for her when she awakes.  It must have been some wicked neck cramp though poor guy!  No fun.

So, as you can see, it's been pouring here for a while.  This craziness, accompanied by general life busyness, is why I have no Sunday Snapshot post this week.  I'll have to make next week's killer!  :)  But, the sun is beginning to shine again and we're drying out.  Again, literally and figuratively.  Life happens though, and when it does it's handy to have an umbrella near by!

All is well, another storm weathered, in Drosche Land.    

Thursday, July 12, 2012


So, I've been out and about this week, with the kids in tow as Amy has been attending a conference each day.  Monday I had a meeting at work so I brought the 3 of them along and Amy picked them up on her way home.  Tuesday I had some perspective students to test so again the kids joined me at school.  When this is the case the boys have their typical routine of hanging out in my classroom, playing on the computer or with the games and manipulatives.  Stella stayed with me and all of my coworker friends visited with her and were, of course, enamored with her.  These days went quite well.  3 kids isn't so bad.  Friends with 3 or more children had told us during Amy's pregnancy that once you're outnumbered it's not so bad.  Going from 1 to 2 was rough with the boys.  They were so close in age and were not necessarily what one would term "easy" babies.  Going from 2 to 3 was a much easier transition.  Partially because we are older, and hopefully wiser, and partially because Stella is definitely what one could term an "easy" baby.  So outings alone with the 3 of them didn't concern me at all.

So, what is the point of this post?  I am sure, dear readers, you are asking yourself that very question.  Well, yesterday Stella had a doctor's appointment to follow up on her condition after switching her formula last week due to the milk allergy.  Well, it's been raining all week so that right there proved to add a challenge to our easy outing.  But the boys both have umbrellas and Stella and I had one so it shouldn't be too bad.  We made it to the doctor's office and through the appointment just fine.  Stella has gained a pound in one week, tipping the scales at 10 lbs, 9 oz.!  My problem-free run with the kids was about to come to an abrupt start.  We opened our umbrellas and headed to the car.  Then, in the process of loading everyone in, I locked the keys in the car.  Luckily none of the kids was in yet and my phone was in my pocket.  But there I was, in the pouring rain with 3 kids staring at my keys and the diaper bag sitting on the front passenger seat.

It was all quite innocent really.  Stella and my umbrella were on my left arm, the diaper bag and keys on my right.  I unlocked the passenger door and as I put the diaper bag on the seat, my keys fell out of my hand.  Normally I put them in my pocket but I thought, "Eh, I've got my hands full, I'll leave them there."  Famous last words right?  So I hit the button to unlock the doors and shut that door and proceeded to open the back door to put the kids in.  But the door wouldn't open.  That's when it hit me.  CRAP!  Jack's response was, "Great, now we're stuck out here in the rain!  For-Ev-Er!"  Luckily my Mom reminded me, after a call to see if she had a spare key, that we have OnStar.  However, they were unable to remotely unlock the car after 2 attempts so I'll have to check on that.  But they did send someone out and within 3 minutes the car was unlocked!  I was, obviously, relieved.  Except for the disconcerting fact that it takes someone less than 5 minutes to open a locked car.  Crazy right?

I felt bad.  That's what I get for being cocky and overly sure of myself.  But I had everything handled and luckily all ended well.  I'll tell you now though that we will never be without OnStar in any of our cars.  Oh, and I'll never set my keys down in the car, that first time was the last time!  But, despite our rainy snafu, so far 3 kids isn't that bad at all.  Oh wait, one is still immobile!  I guess we'll have to revisit this decision in a few months!

All is well, locked or unlocked, in Drosche Land.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Sunday Snapshot - 1 Month

I think this is my absolute favorite!

1 month

4 weeks

30 days

720 hours

43,200 minutes

2,592,000 seconds

That's how long Stella's been with us (since last Tuesday at least).  Not that I'm counting every blessed second or anything!  :)  

Happy Birthday!

On one hand it's been a very short time, but on the other time is flying by way too fast.  As with any baby, she changes each and every day.  Sometimes I feel as though I'm scrambling to take pictures and document things before I forget or she does something new.  As crazy as it is, I know it will only increase as she begins to hit the major milestones: sitting up, eating, crawling, babbling, etc.  Those milestones get nearer each day and while I am eager for her to meet them, I am also sad to see her grow so fast.

A little smile!

But I'm determined to digitally document as much as possible.  I did the same with the boys and I am so glad I did.  I find myself occasionally looking back and remembering those days.  I decided to take her monthly pictures myself rather than go somewhere or have someone else do it.  I've mentioned that I've been studying photography a bit more and have also been scouring Pinterest for cute picture ideas.  I think my first attempt turned out great.  I took about 50ish pictures and have 31 after editing them and weeding out the ones that didn't turn out so well.  This is definitely the way to go and insured that I got some good ones.  But some of the outtakes were cute!

My favorite outtake, a mid-photo shoot sneeze.  I'm keeping this one!
As I write this I look at here relaxing in her bouncy chair and can already see some differences!  That is for sure one thing I forgot about newborns, just how much they change so quickly!  Crazy really.  But I'm ready for it, camera in hand!  Let's go Stella!

My other favorite!

All is well, picture perfect, in Drosche Land.

Ni Hao Yall

Saturday, July 07, 2012

1 Month

Wow, what a busy week this has been.  This post was to have happened earlier this week but life intervened.  Monday we took Stella to the doctor because she had been having frequent (and I mean frequent) dirty diapers.  TMI?  Sorry, it's essential to the plot line of this post.  Anyway, it turns out that she has an allergy to milk protein so we switched her to a soy formula.  Now we are dealing with the opposite problem as before.  Again, plot line.  So we've been dealing with that this week.

Tuesday was her 1 Month birthday!  Hence the title of this post.  Amy pointed out that we are 1/12 of the way to her first birthday and I cannot believe how quickly time is flying by.  I tried my hand out at portrait photography with her for her 1 Month photo shoot.  All in all I think it went very well.  Her bedroom gets the perfect lighting all day so that was a cinch.  I'm holding on to them until tomorrow's Sunday Snapshot though I think.  But I will include some pictures of her enjoying her bouncy chair, one of her favorite activities.

One month.  We've been through so much in such a short time and she has grown so much.  Literally, she's nearly 10 pounds now and that is quite a feat for a Drosche baby. The boys took a few months to get to double digits.  Stella took a few weeks!  She is amazing and has definitely changed our lives.  She is totally different from the boys and we have enjoyed finally having an "easy" baby, something we've only dreamed of in the past!

Wednesday was obviously July 4th and she slept (thankfully) through all of the noisy festivities.  I took pictures with my camera and iPhone but I have yet to download them so we may have a late post about that forthcoming.  Thursday and Friday we painted and redecorated the boys' room, something we've been meaning to do for some time!  Again, I have pictures of the before and after so look for a post about that in the coming days as well.  So you see it's been quite a busy week here in Drosche Land, considering we've been enjoying a relaxing summer thus far.

Back to the original topic of this post.  To celebrate Stella's 1 Month birthday, I thought I'd share some facts we've learned about her so far.  There's always something new each day, but here are some of the highlights.  Just little things I wanted to record so I don't forget.

1.  Whenever she finishes a bottle she smiles and laughs as she falls asleep.
2.  The girl enjoys eating and she loves her schedule.  She won't let us forget when it's time for a feeding!
3.  She's hot-natured to begin with, but hates being cold, always wanting to be swaddled or snuggled in a blanket.
4.  She makes a ton of noises (grunting, squeaking, sighing, cooing) when she falls asleep.
5.  She sucks her hand and thumb.
6.  She loves watching the fan.
7.  She loves music.
8.  Amy swears she bats her eyes at me when I talk to her!
9.  She sneezes, a lot, and it's super cute!
10.  She (like Jackson did) sleeps with her hands closed into fists!

Just chilling!

She loves the lights and music on her chair!

All is well, one month down, in Drosche Land.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Sunday Snapshot - A Boy and His Bike

So I'm a day late in getting to this week's Sunday Snapshot post, but better Monday than not at all, right?  Part of the reason for the tardiness is because I couldn't think of anything to take pictures of!  Shock, I know!  I was just as surprised.  Plus, yesterday was rainy and lazy so nothing really jumped out at me to photograph.  However, I've been thinking about getting  a bit more serious about my photography hobby lately.  I've forgotten most of what I learned in Photography in high school and have pretty much just been winging it as an amateur since.  However, I do love taking pictures and would like to kick it up a notch.  So, without getting too far in above my head (by beginning a book or something of the like), I thought I'd start out simple.  Just playing around with my camera and getting to know its settings.  Breaking out of the presets and standards.  Nothing fancy, just messing around.

After a little reading online (thanks Pinterest) I decided to play around with the shutter speed only, letting the camera adjust the aperture and exposure.  The boys and I headed outside this morning and I took the camera along.  Braeden was my subject as he rode around on his bike, one of his new favorite activities.  Like I said, nothing fancy here, just still playing around and learning.  Although overall I think they look good.  My favorite is the one above.  I love the lighting and focus, I didn't play around with it too much in processing.

So, we'll see how my reentry into photography skills and terminology goes.  I'm not looking for a career here, just better pictures and more fun!  Just the beginning of another adventure, join me!  

All is well, picture perfect, in Drosche Land.

For some reason I was adamant that I get a close up of his feet peddling.  I like the way this one turned out!

I also wanted a good shot of him laughing and riding toward me, this one fit the bill!
In my Black & White post from last week I got great reviews of the shadow and bike shot I took with my iPhone.  I wanted to replicate it today, but with a full-body shot.  Not as great as last week's but I do like it!

An action shot.  I just love the intense concentration on his face!

Ni Hao Yall

Sunday, July 01, 2012

The Dingo & The Drainpipe, Revisited

So yesterday I'm outside doing some much-needed yard work (finally).  As I'm mowing I notice something at the mouth of the front drainpipe.  Upon closer inspection it was clearly the remains of some small animal.  Worry not, this post does not include a picture.  I guess the readers here and people on Facebook were correct, it wasn't a mental illness or pica-fueled craving for metal that caused that stray dog to mangle my drainpipe.  It was pure animal bloodlust.

I can envision the scenario now.  Small woodland creature (likely a mouse) innocently scurrying around, midmorning.  Along comes the stray with this little buddy.  A chase ensues, there's nowhere to go but up (my drainpipe).  The stray, now crazed and maniacal vigorously attacks the innocent drainpipe until the confused homeowner (me!) appears out of nowhere and chases him away.  The mouse either mortally wounded or trapped in the drainpipe meets his/her end.  Flash forward a week or so and the heavy rains we have washes the evidence out.  The saga is finished.

I'm really glad that I had not started the disassembly and replacement of the drainpipe, that would have been an extremely unpleasant surprise.  It would appear as though my procrastination has come in handy for once (Amy is now rolling her eyes).  Woo hoo!  So the mystery is solved and I felt it my responsibility, dear readers, to share and update.  I know you, as I,  were still baffled and racking your brain in a Sherlockian attempt to figure it out!  :)

All is well, one less mystery but still one more busted drainpipe, in Drosche Land.