"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

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Farm Livin' Is the Life for Me!

Green Acres?  The classic show from the 60's?  Come on, someone has to have seen it.  I loved that show when I was a kid.  In the 80s that is, when it was in reruns on Nick At Nite.  I'm not that old.  If you have no clue what I'm talking about, look it up somewhere.  I wonder if Netflix has it?  I doubt it.  Hulu?  Hmmmm.  But I digress.

So, we may not be living on a farm per say, but I'm one pair of overalls and a pitchfork away from it.  See, remember the last post about the raised bed?  Well, it's still sitting.  Lying in wait.  Last weekend we had the cousins over since Amanda and her family are getting ready to move.  Packing with 3 kids? not fun.  So Amy and I invited them for a sleepover so they could pack.  Turns out 6 kids in Home Depot is a ton of fun.  You get a lot of stares and quizzical looks.  The funniest thing was the fact that they all could have been our children.  The hilarity of that fact was brief though as I realized how old it made me feel.  Anywho, where was I?  Oh yeah, last weekend.

So we used the 5 older kids as slave labor volunteers to help in our backyard makeover.  Stella enjoyed sitting outside with us all and watching.  The kids helped to sand and paint a picnic bench we have from Granny and it turned out great as you can see below.  I don't remember the name of the color, the kids picked it out, but I'm in love and am referring to it as Smurf Blue.

After that we all planted the seeds we had purchased at Home Depot (I knew that previous tangent started with an actual purpose).  We may, and by may I mean truly did, have over bought seems and  underestimated the amount of space we have.  But we got them all started anyway.  Except for the carrots.  Turns out you can't start them in a separate place, they have to go directly into the ground lest you get crooked roots and thus, crooked carrots.  Who knew?  You learn something new every day!

So, in our dining room, in little starter pots we have a variety of seedlings that have already begun to sprout.  Corn (yes corn, we're stoked about it), flowers, green beans, jalapenos, rosemary, onions, watermelon, tomatoes, and a few others I can't quite remember at the moment.  See what I mean?  We may have too many seedlings and not enough space.  But we'll deal with that when we get to it in a few weeks when it's time to transfer.  We have plans, and bricks, to put in a few more smaller beds.  Until then they'll just hang out in the dining room.  It should make for an interesting Superbowl party this weekend that we're hosting!  But that's a topic for another post.

See, I told you  we're practically farmers here.  Impressed aren't you.  In just a few short months we hope to be enjoying a fruitful bounty (that's farmer talk for crap-load of veggies)!  We're excited and the boys have loved checking on the seeds' progress every day.  It's cute and I think it will be a great learning experience.  Probably not just for them, but Amy and I as well!

So, there you have it.  Farm life.  Right here in Drosche Land.  Next step?  A goat.  I've always wanted one.  Maybe not such a great idea with our crops though.  Darn!  Chickens?  Eh, 2 dogs and 3 kids is probably enough!

All is well, planting and sowing, in Drosche Land.

Beginning the work on the bench

A group effort

The finished product!
I used some of the blue paint to paint our stone path

They're beginning to sprout!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Out Back

So, you know that Amy and I are always ones to suddenly start a home improvement project.  Just on a whim.  Out of the blue.

Sometimes it's thought out and planned.  Other times it's spur of the moment.  Sometimes it's a grandiose project that spans several days.  Other times it's a short adventure, lasting only a few hours.

You might recall some of our past projects.  Painting the living room and entry.  Painting the kids' bathroom (and then painting it again when we listed the house), tiling the living room and entry, building a deck, or the most recent project - chalkboard paint.  Well, this past weekend was a glorious 3-day weekend and we did our fair share of relaxing.  However, we can't go that long or have any extended break without getting involved in something.  Come on, you know us better than that.  So, lo and behold, Monday morning it began.

It has its roots in our frustration at the amount of shedding that Rex does.  Oh dear is it a lot.  A lot.  A lot.  A lot.  See, I had to write it 3 times in bold, italics, and underline to get the point across so you are aware of just how much it is.  I just can't believe that one dog can shed that much!  Anywho, I digress.  He sheds, you get the picture.

So, Stella is nearly crawling (we're like a week or so away!) and it is killing us to think about the shedding and her impending mobility.  We can't get rid of the dog.  I don't fee like wrestling him down to shave him bald, plus he might get cold.  Brushing doesn't seem to help.  Our options are limited and running out.  We decided to get them out of the house more.  Maybe that will help.  Less time inside, more time to run around.  More exposure to varying temperatures to help.  We're at the end of our rope here dear readers.  

So, we ventured out on Monday to the lovely Home Depot in search of a doggy igloo, you know the one I'm talking about.  Well, in case you didn't know, they don't sell those at Home Depot.  At least not the one near our house.  We didn't want to tackle building a doghouse or dog run so we were once again limited and desperate.  Then, in a moment of beautiful inspiration, Amy had an idea.  We'll move down one of their kennels (the big one they can both fit into) into the back yard and take the door off.  Bingo!  Problem solved, plus it was FREE!  

Meanwhile, we have 100 concrete pavers that we put down in our backyard when we first moved in.  Just to the right of the patio.  It was a quick and easy attempt to extend the patio.  However, it was also done hastily and, dare I say, lazily.  We didn't have quite the knowhow or funds to do it properly.  We didn't level it correctly or lay down any kind of barrier.  So, over the few years you can imagine what we have now.  Wobbly, uneven pavers with weeds and grass growing on, in, and around them.  NOT the picture we had in mind when we created it.  So, it's been bothering us for at least a year but we haven't decided what to do to remedy it.  Until this past weekend that is!  Up came the pavers.  Some were re-purposed to lay out a platform for the dogs' kennel/house.  The others sacrificially gave their lives so they could each be broken in half and used to build a (drumroll please) raised bed!

Woo hoo!  We've always wanted one and now we are well on the way to having it.  It's laid out and build (with barrier thank you very much).  We are now waiting to purchase the soil and seeds after we do a bit more thinking and research about what we'd like to grow.  Again, this project is all the more better because it was FREE!

I know what you're thinking though.  What about the big empty space where the pavers were that is devoid of grass and holds the potential to turn into a huge mud pit when the next rain comes?  Good question and no, we are not installing a mud wrestling pit (bummer).  Nope, we bought grass seed to plant.  The grass in our backyard is nearly all dead, I'd say a good 75% gone, after the massive drought/heatwave we had 2 summers ago.  This is our first step to re-grassing (yeah, I'm sure that's a word and a home improvement term) the backyard.  We'll start with this small area and then move on to the rest of the yard later.

See, now aren't you proud of us?  Not only are we hard at work on another project, but it only cost $15 for the grass seed.  I'm pretty sure Dave Ramsey would approve.  We figured that since we have finally, fully decided to stay here (we love this house and the area so much) forever, it was time we focused a bit on the backyard.  So, we will continue to revamp over Spring Break and into the summer.  Stay tuned to see what lies ahead!

So, that's it.  I'm pretty stoked about it all.  It was fun to get out there and work.  Reclaim our backyard from the jungle I had let it become and see our vision come to life!  Hopefully the work will continue to stay on this path of easy, fun, and inexpensive!  Below is a picture of how the raised bed looks now!

Upcycled, revamped, and FREE!

All is well, one more project begun, in Drosche Land.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Sunday Snapshot - A Girl and Her Dog

Amy and I are dog people.  We love them.  Lucky for us, our kids do too.  Also lucky for us, our dogs have always loved the kids.  On a side note, before the post begins, I want to say how much I LOVE the shot above.  Stella is giving Lucy her stink eye.  She's been working on this look lately and I just so happened to catch it!  Today's pictures aren't anything staged or fancy, just taken with my iPhone because it's always handy!  But they're cute so on with the post!

I've always had dogs growing up and Amy did too.  When we got married and moved to New Orleans we got Lucy after our first miscarriage.  She was our baby for quite a while until the kids came.  She's a great dog, albeit opinionated and at times ornery, but an amazing dog.  She has always been very protective of the kids when they were small, often laying near or next to them whenever she could.  Stella adores her and will just stare at her.  Lucy, having been through this baby thing twice before with the boys, obliges Stella with her pats, ear pulls, and fur tugs!

We've only had Rex for a little over 2 years so this baby thing is totally new to him.  But, bless him, he's a great dog too.  Sure he sheds like crazy (a whole other topic for another post) and he's as timid as they come, but he's great.  Being timid and shy the boys aren't his first choice to be around as they are loud and rambunctious, however he does enjoy them, when they're calm.  A noisy baby working on crawling is also a little intimidating for Rex, but he loves Stella anyway.  It's hard to get a picture of the two of them because  he's usually wandering around elsewhere when the kids are playing, but he does come around for the occasional pet from Stella.  

So, between 3 kids and 2 dogs (who are like our kids) there is always someone underfoot somewhere.  Luckily we all manage to get along and not drive each other too crazy.  The newest addition to Drosche Land seems to be a dog lover herself.  Or at least she's pleased to have 2 dogs wrapped around her little finger along with the rest of us!

All is well, picture perfect, in Drosche Land.

  Ni Hao Yall

Thursday, January 17, 2013


So you know Stella has teeth now.  I've mentioned it before.  She's the proud owner of two bottom front teeth.  She's also hard at work on some more teeth, bottom and top.  I'm not quite sure she fully realizes she has teeth yet though, and she's definitely not too sure of their purpose.  I mean, everything (and I mean everything) goes into her mouth, but that has always been the case.  She used her tongue to play with her teeth when they were brand new, but now I guess she's used to them.

There is one thing, though, that she is frequently clamping onto with her chompers - Amy.  Yep, she's a biter.  I guess we can't officially label her yet since she really has no clue of what she's doing, but still.  On several occasions these past few days she has nipped Amy on the shoulder, finger, arm, and leg.  She laughs, Stella that is.  Amy, not so much!  Funnily enough, Amy is the only one to have received the honor as Stella has not used the boys or I for a chew toy!  

So, what does the future hold for Stella and her pearly whites?  Biter or bitten?  With the boys we had one of each so she'll end up being a tie-breaker I guess.  Braeden always got bit and Jack, no surprise, did quite a bit of biting.  Only time will tell as to whose footsteps Stella will follow along in.  For now we're on bite-watch.  You never know when it's going to happen.  One minute she's all giggles and cuddles, the next, chomp!  Well, for Amy at least!  Ha!

All is well, toothy, in Drosche Land.       

Monday, January 14, 2013

Sunday Snapshot - 7 Months

7 months.  Already.  Suddenly we're past the half-way mark to Stella's first birthday.  It came in the blink of an eye.  

7 months.  As you can see she sits totally unassisted now.  She's rocking her pierced ears. She still doesn't like being on her stomach, but is showing some early signs of prepping for crawling.  

7 months.  She loves, and I mean loves, to eat.  Pretty much the only food she doesn't like are green beans.  She's developed a hilarious, pursed-lips face to inform us that she is not amused and does not approve of our attempts to feed it to her.

7 months.  She babbles and "talks" incessantly.  She has her brothers at her beck and call, they do her bidding as she pleases.  Everything, and I mean everything, goes into her mouth where she loves to slobber, suck, and bite.

7 months.  You can see her favorite facial expression above.  It greets us morning, noon, and night.  She finds it hilarious when you return the favor.  She's beginning to love and learn how to play peek-a-boo.  She loves pulling her socks off.  She can eat whole Cheerios, no more breaking them apart for this girl.  

7 months.  My little girl is growing too fast.  Luckily I still have a long while left where I can refer to her as such without an eye-roll or sigh.  Time to enjoy the giggles and grins. Time where the mere sight of her Mommy is enough to elicit pure joy.  Plenty of time I know.  But still, 7 months.

All is well, picture perfect, in Drosche Land.

    Ni Hao Yall

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Not Yet

Not yet. As in Stella's not yet ready for milk products. As in we learned this the hard way today.

See, you might remember that she has an allergy to milk protein. Or maybe not. Either way you now know/remember. Well, we thought that since she's now 7 months old, she might have outgrown it. I mean, it happens. But, how are we going to know if we don't try? So today she had some yogurt for a snack. Just 3 ounces. She loved it, but really she loves to eat most anything (except green beans!). Just 3 ounces, not much. But those 3 ounces were also too much.

She seemed fine for a while. We looked for the usual signs: fussiness, spitting up, gassiness. Nope, nope, and nope. All seemed fine. Until dinner.

She didn't eat too well but, eh, she was super tired so we thought nothing of it. Lo and behold about 5 minutes after dinnertime it happened. She got sick, if you know what I'm getting at. And a lot. A lot. So that answered that question. Not yet.

After the explosion she seemed fine. She had her bedtime bottle as usual and went to sleep. All was well for a few hours. Then, yep you guessed it, it happened again. Luckily this time was far less and not nearly as bad. Back to sleep she went.

Then about an hour ago she got restless. Nothing came up. Waiting it out didn't work. We decided she was hungry. So, we're braving another bottle. Hopeful this one stays down. And yes, I'm blogging while feeding her. I started the post before while I was waiting it out but that didn't work.

So, here I am. I can't remember the last time she was up for a bottle in the middle if the night. We've been so lucky that she's been sleeping through the night for quite awhile. With the very rare exception like tonight.

Well, that's our adventure for today. Messy, but lesson learned. Not yet. All a part of the adventure of parenthood. Well, she's almost finished with the bottle. I'm hoping all goes well for the rest of the night. Keep you fingers crossed!

All is well, fingers crossed, in Drosche Land.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Resolutions for 2013

Let's take a minute to look back a year ago.  Well, a year and 2 days ago to be exact.  What profound resolutions did I make?  What grandiose plans did I have for 2012?  What promises and improvements did I have in store for myself?

1 - Drink more water.  Eh.  I'm going to call it a draw since I didn't actually calculate or record this in any fashion.  I know I drank some.  Should I drink more?  Sure, I'm sure everyone should.  1 point for me!

2 - Take pictures.  Well let's see.  I took tons of pictures.  Just check my iPhone.  Or my Shutterfly account.  Tons I tell you.  I love it!  Especially with Stella here and taking her monthly pictures!  Which reminds me, she's due for a 7 month photo shoot, I'll have to get that done this weekend.  As for the details of this resolution.  Well I didn't finish the Project 365.  In fact, I just tried to check my account and I think it's been disabled for being inactive.  I can't even remember the last time I did this.  Oh well.  It was a lot to do.  Maybe another time.  As for taking a picture of Stella everyday, well I made it a few months.  Again, that was hard.  Of course I took tons of pictures of her, but it just dwindled.  Instead I have focused on her monthly pictures and have been super pleased.  I have done several photoaday challenges on Instagram!  Follow me and check them out.  Overall I think I get a point for this even though the two details fell by the wayside!  I still took a helluva lot of pictures in 2012!  2 points for me!

3 - Read more.  I read.  Lots.  I still want to read more often and, truth be told, it's been awhile since I read.  But this seems to be a great ongoing long-term goal.  3 points for me!

4 - Finish tiling.  1 point for the Resolutions, enough said.  Did you read about the chalkboard wall in yesterday's post?  :)

5 - Eat Healthier.  I ate.  Lots.  I ate healthy.  Lots.  But without significant qualifiers, who can be sure if it was healthier?  I'm sure it was.  I'm still working on getting my holiday 5 off from this past Christmas but who isn't right?  4 points for me!

So there you have it.  A 4/5.  80%.  A "C".  Ok, so it's not an "A" and it's not a "B".  But, it's also not a "D" or an "F"!  4/5 looks a lot better than 80% though doesn't it?  I think I'll stick with that.  4/5 for me!  Woo hoo!  

As for 2013, I'm not sure.  I don't know if I am going to make resolutions.  I always end up confused and unsure of what to say.  Then I always end up making general ones that are similar to the ones from the previous year.  So, I think I'm just going to skip it (gasp!) for this year.  Instead, I think I'll focus on God and my family.  In that order too so the priorities are right.  I think if I can even do moderately well with this, 2013 will be just fine and everything else will fall in line.  

So, what about you?  Did you make resolutions?  Did you not?  Are you tired of resolutions?  They're a lot of pressure.  And for what?  So, God and my family.  That's for me.  Hope you are gearing up for a great 2013!

All is well, resolved once more, in Drosche Land.  

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Chalk It Up

Hey! I hope that 2013 is treating you well. 9 days in and all is well here in Drosche Land. We've all returned to school and have settled back into our schedules and routines quite nicely after a much-needed vacation. I hope that the same can be said for you dear readers.

This past weekend we decided to take it easy. We were still coming off of vacation, the kids and I were tired from returning to school, and Amy was mentally preparing to return to school herself. So, we decided to stay in. It helped that we had torrential downpours all day Saturday, making for the perfect weather (cold and rainy, my favorite) to stay indoors.

But you know us. We aren't always content to sit around for long without much to do. Often Amy and I end up throwing ourselves into some kind of project. This particular Saturday would prove to be in keeping with our tradition. Luckily it ended up being a very quick and easy project. Affording us the pleasure of having gotten into and completed something without having to make too much of a mess or have a long-term project emerge from a quick idea.

Sitting at lunch Saturday I commented on how I had been thinking that we should paint a wall in our kitchen with that chalkboard paint. You know the kind right? Turns any surface into a readymade chalkboard? Well, said wall is a small wall that creates the nook our fridge sits in. It's where we hang our calendar and have always had some kind of menu/shopping list/memo board going on. What better place for a chalkboard wall than that? Amy was onboard from the get-go. I quickly researched the cost in order to make sure we could financially support another harebrained idea. $10 for a pint of paint? Not too bad. Plus we had rollers and brushes so it would really only be $10 for the project! Score!

So, Jackson and I (the boys needed some time away from each other lest they end up napping or in time-out) headed out to Home Depot after lunch. We moved the fridge and luckily we didn't have to unplug it, the cord stretched just enough to allow access to the area behind it. Another positive point in this project. 2 easy coats and 2 hours or so later and the wall was finished. Technically it wasn't finished as it needed to sit a few days before using. Flash forward to yesterday when the required 3-day wait was over.

We were all pretty excited to try it out. Amy had wrangled up some chalk and an eraser so we were all set. It worked! The boys had a blast writing and drawing on the wall and Amy and I have a place for notes/reminders/menu items. An all-around winner!

So, all is well with another small home improvement project down. Sure, there are many larger things that need to be done but for now we sit a relish in a successful job well-done! On a side note, you should totally try this chalkboard paint out. We have another pint (I bought 2 just in case) that we are currently trying to think of projects with which to use it. We'll see what happens! See the pictures below for the finished product and the boys putting it to good use!

All is well, now with chalk dust, in Drosche Land.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Elf Adventures

Happy New Year!  Again!

Well, I hope that 2013 has been good to you, even in its infancy.  So far mine, all 2 days of it, has been good.  The kids and I went back to school today after an all-too-short Christmas Break, but it was a good day.  Amy doesn't go back until Monday so she was at home today and managed to keep herself busy with laundry, dishes, finishing cleaning the garage, tidying the house, and running errands.  I don't know how she did it all, but she did.  I walked into the house this evening with the kids and the smell of cooking was amazing.  It was like I was in the '50s, "Honey, I'm home"!  She really is amazing and I am truly very lucky.

I bet, though, that you're wondering what the previous paragraph has to do with the title of the post.  Then again, maybe you're not.  Maybe you're used to my random trains of thought by now so you know I'll eventually (hopefully) get around to the point I had originally planned.  See, there I go again (maybe it's the leftover New Year's champagne I'm drinking while writing).  Well, back on topic.

I'd meant to write this post a while back but it kept getting put off.  In the end though, it works out because I have tons of pictures to go along with it now and, had I written this post before, I wouldn't have them all.  All's well in the end I suppose, but I digress.  

This year we finally got an Elf on the Shelf!  I'm starting to wonder if I've mentioned this before though?  Oh well, I'm going on, I'm invested in the post now.  Anywho.  We got an elf!  The kids, along with some help from Amy, named him Englebert.  I'd been on Pinterest a lot prior to his arrival, furiously pinning and planning for his adventures with us.  Needless to say, it was all well worth it!  The boys adored him and he brought a lot of fun to our house this past Christmas season.  He was nice, slightly mischievous, and helped us to keep the boys on their toes about the behavior, lest he deliver a negative report to the man in the red suit!  Our time with him flew by and was cut a bit short as he returned to the North Pole a little early since we traveled to Kansas.  But I know that we will have just as much fun next year with him and I cannot wait to start it up again.  Yes, I've still been perusing Pinterest for new ideas!  It will be even more fun next year since Stella will be old enough to understand and participate!  

As could be expected, I took pictures of him nearly every day, (I may have missed a few).   I did so for this blog to share with you, but also to record his antics for the kids to look back on next Christmas and even in the future.  That and to be sure I don't repeat any next year!  Memories!  So, sit back and enjoy the pictures of Englebert's visits here in Drosche Land.

All is well, remembering some elf-tastic fun, in Drosche Land.

His first act was to turn the milk green!  One of the boys' favorites!

Reminding them to brush their teeth!

Hiding in the Christmas tree!

He tied their soccer cleats together!

Just hanging out!

He got into the Christmas candy!

Slept in their bed.  Easy to do since the boys both insist on sleeping together on the top bunk!

Playing with a light saber, the force is strong with this one!

Riding a horse!


Sitting on top of a tree decoration!

The boys were convinced he was at the iPad emailing Santa!

Some words of encouragement!

He listened to Jackson when Jack thought it would be cool for him to be hanging onto this Santa decoration!  Jack was amazed!

Reading a good book, a Magic Tree House book!

Watching some favorite Christmas movies!

Playing Hide-and-Seek!

Getting in a little extra caffeine for his trips to Santa and back!

Sneaking into the cookie jar!

He got into our Christmas cards and made a mess!

He knows the true meaning of Christmas!  This was another of the boys' favorites!