"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

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Artsy Fartsy

BNo. This post isn't about flatulence. Although, with two boys ages 7 and 8 (and myself) the fart humor does abound here in Drosche Land. I mean, it's a guy thing right?  Plus it's funny. But enough about that, again this post isn't about flatulence. 

Nope. I'm talking about the arts here. Culture people. Performing and visual. See, last week was a big week for the arts here in Drosche Land, specifically Wednesday. 

Wednesday is Chapek day and Braeden's 3rd Grade class was leading it. The topic was humility and they did a performance of the Dr. Seuss story, Yertle the Turtle. A classic. I love it and read it to my students every year for Dr. Seuss Day.  So I was excited to hear this. More so when I learned that Braeden would be playing the titular role of Yertle. Now. You'll remember from prior posts that he was not always so keen on being in front of people. For anything. A performance?  Nope. An award?  No thank you. Alone or group?  Not a chance. Then last year came and he landed the role of an extra in the school play. I don't know what changed, but it did. And I am so glad it did. So, the Chapel service. It was simple and to-the-point. Some of the kids took turn reading the story aloud while others silently acted it out. So not only was he the main character and thus, center of attention, but he also had to do actual actions throughout it all.  He rocked it. He did such a great job and truly enjoyed it. I was so proud and recorded it all on my iPhone 6 Plus (thank goodness for 64 gig) for Amy to watch. She was, of course, just as proud as I was.  But I think Braeden himself was the proudest of all, and that may be the best part.  Confidence building at its finest folks!

But the fun didn't stop there. Jackson had his moment to shine during Chapel also.  See, every year our Art teacher takes samples of student work that she has collected to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, to be entered into their School Art Program. Earlier this year my class did farm pictures with chalk as they were learning about blending and shading. Jackson drew a beautiful picture of a cow. I loved it and the Art teacher even commented on how proud she was of it. But it was never sent home.  I was hoping she would enter it but eventually I forgot. Then about a week before the Chapel service last week she excitedly told me that he'd received a ribbon for his work after she'd entered it at the Rodeo!  Awesome!  I was so proud!  Flash forward to the big day and it turns out he received a 1st Place ribbon!  His work has been on display in the entry at school since then!  I've always been into art myself, I love it. Art History was my favorite class in college, aside from education courses. I dabbled in photography in high school and received some ribbons and medals from competitions. But life happened and art and photography fell to the wayside. I've always still loved it but not really devoted much time to it. I've enjoyed taking pictures of the kids, as you know, but that's as far as I've gotten.  So I'm very pleased to think that my love of art may have been passed down to one or more of the kids. Very proud.

It's also reminded me of how much I love it. Maybe I'll get more serious about it. Who knows?  But for now I'm riding high on the boys and their successes and that is just fine with me. #proudpapa

All is well, patron of the arts, in Drosche Land. 

Braeden as Yertle the Turtle. 

The artist. 

Sunday, January 11, 2015

One Word

One Word.

So I've already posted about my resolutions/goals for 2015.  But this is different.

This past week, the first week back after Christmas Break, was my week to lead our daily Faculty Devotions.  Nothing too stressful.  I knew it was coming.  But I still wanted to pick a meaningful devotion for the week.  Not just something random and thrown together.  Something that would be enjoyable and applicable both for myself and my coworkers.  So before we returned I began to search You Version for a New Years themed reading plan.  Something short, so it could be covered in the week.  Something relating to the new year, starting fresh, etc.  You get the idea.  But I just couldn't find anything that struck me as "perfect".  Ugh.  I really didn't want to just randomly pick a daily reading from a book.  

So, Monday morning comes and I try one last time to find something.  I'm stopped at a red light, one of the last turns before I make it to school.  I find it.  I read the description and it sounded just like what I was looking for.  Score!  I started the plan.

I never intended for it to be groundbreaking or super enlightening.  Just something to fit the theme and get us through the week.  Simple.  But as each day came and I shared the readings with our faculty I really began to enjoy it.  It began to resonate with me.  He began to work in me.

The basic premise of the One Word (which BTW you can visit their website for more information: GetOneWord) is that you think and pray about the upcoming year and the goals and plans  you have for it.  Then you begin to ponder one word that will guide you throughout your year.  As you think about it, you open yourself up to guidance from Him as the word is made known to you.  I won't go into it too much here, I suggest you read it for yourself.  It's a simple, 4-day plan that you could even read in one day.  Try it.  Head over to YouVersion and look for it.

So, by the end of the week I had my word.  I also think (hope) that a few of my coworkers have been inspired to find a word of their own for 2015.  Something that will impact their lives and faith.  Maybe.  

So, my word.  It came to me pretty suddenly.  I thought about it, what it could mean and how I could go with it.  It made sense  I could see ways in which it could benefit me for 2015 and ways I could grow with it.  So I went with it.  Listen.  That's my word.  Listen.

See, I talk a lot.  I know, it's not much of a surprise, but it's a fact.  Sometimes this leads to problems.  Listening is definitely something that I could use.  But it also could help in other ways.

Listen.  To others.  It will help me understand what they mean.  How they feel.  What they are truly saying.  This, in turn, can help me to communicate more effectively with them.  Improved communication is a plus in any relationship.

Listen.  To Him.  I tend to gravitate toward instant gratification.  I have a short attention span and want results.  Now.  I want my plans to work out.  Now.  But that is not always what is best.  I guess, rarely it is.  My timeline isn't the one that's most important.  So, by listening to Him I will be able to slow down and see the path He is leading me down.  His plans for me.  It will also teach me patience and contentment.  Hopefully.

Listen.  To myself.  Also to better communication I need to know and understand how I am feeling so I can properly relay that to others.  

So, there you have it.  One word for 2015.  Listen.  It doesn't lessen the other resolutions I have.  In fact it may help me to keep them.  Listen.  My plan is to continue to post about this throughout the year.  A sort of accountability.  

Again, I highly suggest you head over to YouVersion and the GetOneWord website.  Give it a try.  Find your word.  Good luck.

All is well, one word, in Drosche Land.

Saturday, January 10, 2015


Danger. It lurks around every corner dear friends. 

In short, the coffeemake at work tried to kill me yesterday. I contend it was a murder-suicide that luckily didn't come to fruition. 

So, here's what went down.  You know I love me some coffee.  Love it. Luckily the vast majority of my coworkers drink coffee so there is always and endless supply throughout the day.  So I do my part and help out. I make coffee all the time when the carafes are empty. I'm sure you are familiar with the kind of coffeemaker we have. It's the huge industrial one that brews directly into the giant metal carafes. You know the kind. They hook up directly to a water line and the water is always hot and ready. All you have to do it place coffee in the basket and hit the button. Simple. Easy. Usually. 

So yesterday I get to work early, as is the case on Fridays. So I decide to brew the first batches of coffee. I take Stella with me and she is happily chewing down on her kolache (Friday is "Donut Friday" for the kids). I clean out the first carafe, put it in place, add the coffee, and press the button. Then I go about cleaning out the second carafe. I hear the coffeemaker doing its job and I glance over. However, I don't see the liquid elixir pouring into the carafe. Nope. Instead, steaming water is pouring out of the top of the back tank, down the sides of the coffeemaker, and onto the counter. Crap. I grab paper towels by the handful and begin to (unsuccessfully) mop up the growing puddle to prevent a bigger mess. The water keeps coming. I keep going at it with paper towels. Side note: these are those paper towels found in most places. The white ones. Ok for drying your hands, but not much else. I'm basically soaking the paper towels and moving water around. It gets chaotic. Think of the I Love Lucy episode where Lucy and Ethel get a job at the candy factory.  You know. It was a lot like that only it was just me trying to race against time and clean up the water. All the while Stella is watching me, happily munching on her kolache. 

So, where's the danger in this?  The near-death experience?  Just wait. It's coming. So the water finally stops. I breathe a sigh of relief and finish cleaning up the water. Still wanting my coffee and not wanting to have a hit put out on me by my coworkers for breaking the coffeemaker, I decide to try again. But I notice the coffeemaker is no longer on. It's plugged in, but not on. The clock plugged into the same socket is not working either. Crap again. Being a gfci outlet, I'm not alarmed. So I unplug the coffeemaker and the clock and hit the reset button. Plug the clock back in and it works!  Woo hoo!  I'm on my way to caffeination!  Plug the coffeemaker in and the socket blows, sending little sparks out and popping. I believe it was the coffeemaker's grand plan. Electrocution. Crap. Again. This is where I drew the line. I would find some other way to consume copious amounts of coffee during the day.  But not with this murderous appliance.  So I unplug it, reset the socket, write my coworkers a note, and move on. 

Luckily the church office has a similar coffeemaker and someone else goes to make the coffee. They didn't die. As of the end of the day yesterday the coffeemaker was still dead, unable to be resuscitated by our school's handyman.

This is the second run in I've had in the Workroom. Last year I nearly got my tie and lanyard caught in the laminator, nearly escaping another freakish fatality. Maybe it's just me?  Who knows?  But my point is that it's a dangerous world out there, at least for me.  Last night I had the feeling I was having my own Final Destination experience. That or it was like Transformers and some rogue machines have it out for me.  We will see what Monday brings. Coffee?  Death?  Stay safe friends. 

All is well, unscathed, in Drosche Land. 

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

What Lies Ahead?

So. 2015. We are almost a full week into the new year and so far it's going well. I had originally intended to write this post last week but it didn't happen. Our New Years camping trip was busy and fun-filled so that took precedence. I'm sure you'll understand. I'll post more about that trip next time, hopefully, but for now let's talk 2015. 

How has the first week of your new year been?  Good?  Exciting?  The same ole song and dance?  Whatever the case, I hope you're happy and enjoying life this year. So far at least.  I checked back to last January and I didn't post anything about resolutions, so I'm thinking that means I didn't make any last year. Did I?  If I did, it's doubtful I kept them since I can't remember!  Yikes!  But here I am thinking about them. Should I?  Do you?  I think it's good to have goals. Goals for improvement. Goals give you something to work toward. So I guess I'll make some resolutions/goals. But I'll keep it simple. 

Blogging. This is one I've made before in the past. Last year was busy and rough and the posting here suffered and dwindled some months. It began with the burlgarly and loss of a laptop. Blogging from an iPad isn't horrible, but not the same. Especially if I want to post pictures. So hopefully 2015 will bring a more regular posting schedule for us here in Drosche Land. Not that I'm expecting anything too exciting or groundbreaking, but you never know what will happen. Or maybe you just enjoy my ramblings. 

Running. I can't even believe I am mentioning this. But when Amy and I got into running last year I was probably more surprised than anyone. I mean seriously. Me?  Running?  But here we are, about 6 months later, and I enjoy it. It keeps us healthy. It's a great way to de-stress and clear your mind. And fitness and a healthy lifestyle is something we would like to model for the kids. So hopefully Amy will keep me accountable and I will do likewise for her. Maybe 2015 will even bring a 5K or two?

Eating. We already eat pretty healthily here. With Stella's allergies and Jackson's ADHD, we are limited on the places we can eat out and nearly all junk food has been eliminated from our diet. Now, don't get me wrong. We still enjoy some guilty pleasures and splurges. But overall, we eat well. This is in no way my doing though. I give Amy total credit. She makes everything fresh and/or from scratch. Bread, tortillas, all meals, etc. We rarely eat anything that comes from a box or can. It's nice. We've noticed. The health benefits so that is more than enough motivation to keep it up. This yesr we are hoping to add in more organics into our diet. Cutting out as many chemicals and additives and unhealthy whatnot.

Faith.  Strengthening my faith is always a positive. We've gotten quite good at doing devotions as a family lately and I'd like to keep that up. We have the times when busyness and life gets in the way, but as a whole we do a decent job. It's important to model this for the kids as well so they can be firm in their faith and get a good foundation. Amy is also a great example for me in this sense also as she supports and models it daily. So I've got that to look to. A more regular return to reading the Bible. Better prayers habits. Just strengthening that relationship with Him. 

So. I think that wraps it up. 4 basic and typical things. But easy. Let's see what 2015 brings to support and challenge these. I'm sure it'll be an adventure. Good luck to you with your goals and resolutions as well!  

All is well, goals set, in Drosche Land. 

Thursday, January 01, 2015

2014 Year in Review

Happy New Year!

We did something a little different this year in Drosche Land for New Years!  We'd been hoping to get out and do some camping over the Christmas break, but there were no available spots where we wanted to go. Oh well, life moves on. Then, as luck would have it, Amy found us a spot at our all-time favorite state park - Stephen F. Austin State Park. It's nearby, within 45 minutes, and is our favorite go-to spot. Lots of a great memories made and many more waiting to be made here. So we booked it and began packing and planning. New Years in our camper!  Beginning 2015 out in a relaxing way together as a family. Sounded just like what we needed.  So, yesterday we arrived and braved the cold weather to enjoy some hiking, playing outside, and a campfire where we roasted hot dogs, our usual first night out dinner. The kids went to bed early, as did Amy and I. A busy day outdoors made us tired so we skipped ringing in 2015 at midnight, opting instead for some wine to celebrate at about 9. But enough about this trip, I'll post more later. On with a review of what 2014 brought us here in Drosche Land. 

I joined a blog hop to review the Top 20 Photos from 2013. This was fun. I'll have to head over and see if Duncan is doing the same. Or maybe I will again anyway?  January also brought a month filled with adoption classes, twice weekly, as we continued the pre-adoption process. We learned a lot about both the adoption process and the foster care system through this.  We also were busy readying our house for the Home Study process. The weather in January 2014 was wicked, with many freezing days and even brought the city to a stop for some unprecedented Ice Days!

February was kicked off by the burglary of our home. Yikes. That was rough. Very emotional for us all as we dealt with the emotional and financial aftermath of such an occasion.  It was a bumpy road but we made it through. Definitely something we hope to never experience again. The adoption process halted to a crawl and we were getting quickly impatient with how slowly everything seemed to be moving.  One fun part of the month included Braeden landing his first, albeit small, part in the school Spring Musical!  We were so proud of him for even trying out and getting the part as an extra. A great accomplishment for him!  So much fun!  February also brought us through the process of having Jackson evaluated for ADHD.  We weren't vocal about the process at the time, but it was emotional and tiring.  Overall February was rough and we were all too happy to see it end. Crazy how such a short month can pack a wallop!

March started off ok. For about a month. Until we discovered that our beloved pet dog Lucy was diagnosed with cancer. It was untreatable and aggressive. We made the horrible decision to end her pain and suffering, but just beginning ours. She was an awesome dog. Amy and I got her when it was just the 2 of us in New Orleans. She was our first baby. We will always cherish her and the memories we have of her.  Spring Break brought us an awesome family trip to Dinosaur Valley State Park. We had a blast. It also made us realize that we wanted to trade up our small popup camper for an actual travel trailer. The process was long but we ended up with our wonderful Fireside where I sit right now blogging and listening to rain. Best decision ever!  We love it!  March also is when we decided to sign the boys up for swim team with their cousins!  Something new. Something fun. Well, looking back, not so much, but it seemed like a great idea at the time!  We also received Jackson's ADHD diagnosis and began the process of finding the correct dosage of medication that would help him. More emotional rollercoaster time for us but it was beneficial. The month was brought to a close by our first Home Study visit. It had been postponed once that month, but went well once it finally happened. We felt like we were getting the ball rolling in the adoption process, finally.

April brought another year for me to join the Blogging A-Z Challenge where I wrote about TV shows. Good posts. Good tv shows. It was a fun month for the challenge!  The month didn't hold much else for us. We continued the process of medicating Jackson, finally finding a doctor and dosage that we were happy with. Braeden performed wonderfully in the school Spring Musical and swim practices went on, although not as smooth as we would have liked. We did fall even more in love with the Fireside as we took her out on her inaugural run, with much success!  We also were in the home stretch of planning our summer vacation to Disney World as we made reservations for rides and food!

Braeden turned 8. 8?!  Seriously?!  Wow.   We also ended our brief foray into the world of competitive swimming after much frustration and miscommunication with the swim team Coaches. Ugh.  Our boys love sports and we want them to be active in something. That something just isn't swimming. I finally blogged about Jackson's ADHD diagnosis on Children's Mentak Health Day.  I'll continue to blog about it as it is an ongoing syndrome that we are always dealing with. But there's no shame in it. We are proud of him and will continue to support him and advocate for him so he is successful. May also brought some shocking news as our adoption agency brought up Fostering and Amy and I, after prayerful consideration decided to become dual track as we proceeded onward with the straight adopt/foster-to-adopt process.  Another school year ended, my first (and awesome) at St. Mark. I also won an iPad mini via a contest with my favorite station 104.1 KRBE!  Holla!  The month ended on a great note as things with the adoption were looking promising and Disney World was getting closer!

Stella turned 2!  What?!  2?!  Wow. She was, and is, a hoot and keeps us on our toes daily. Disney was the name of the game for the month though as we spent a week there!  We did Disney World hard and were bus every minute of every day. But we had a blast and enjoyed it all. We made it to every park and ate some incredible food. While we don't have a definite date set, we are always planning, prepping, praying about, and waiting for our next trip!  I led VBS at St. Mark again and had a blast, so much fun and I always enjoy it. We spent the rest of the month relaxing and resting up from Disney while we awaited the all-important adoption phone call!

A busy month to say the least!  We started off the insanity by purchasing a new truck!  I love her. My beautiful blue Ford F-150. She is an awesome truck and has been such an improvement as a tow vehicle over the Sequoia (who is also a great vehicle as well, just not the same as my truck!). We took the Fireside out again, pulled by my truck, on vacation with my family. A few problems with the air conditioning occurred but we handled it and all ended up well.  After vacation we adopted not one, but two miniature schnauzer mixes. Twins. We named them Mickey and Minnie because we were, and are, still on a post-Disney World vacation high. They are adorable and we love them to pieces. I will say though, that everyone's is right when they say house training small dogs is way different than big dogs. Much harder and frustration. But it is slowly improving.  Speaking of house training, my awesome wife managed to potty train Stella in just 3 days. This is when she did with both boys and she ended the fun with a 3 for 3 success rate!  She is awesome. We started running. No seriously, we did. I know, I can still hardly believe it. But thanks to inspiration from friends and my wonderful wife, we because runners. We started off very slowly. But have gotten much better and actually, gasp!, enjoy it. The holidays and colder weather have seen fewer runs from both of us but 2015 will bring a change to that as we are excited to get back in it and put some more 5Ks under our belt!  Oh and we got Fitbits!  LOVE them!  Then it happened. At the very end of the month. It happened. We got the call. 2 girls. In need of placement. We talked and prayed (both quickly because you have to be quick) and accepted.  It also changed us. Forever. 

August was a blur. We had 5 kids. The foster care process was a lot. Meetings. Doctor's appointments. Meetings. Amy pulled the lion's share of it all. I will be the first to admit that. She was amazing. I saw in her the determination that made me love her. Determination to get things done. Determination to do right by these two little girls. Determination to care for her family, no matter what life threw at her. She was, and still always is, amazing. In the midst of all of this, school was starting back up.  We now had 5 kids to enroll!  Amy celebrated her birthday in the middle of everything.  School started and all 5 were at St. Mark since we'd made the decision prior to placement to move Jackson over. They all thrived. We also had our first home visit with T & L's family. The one where we found out a family member was interested in pursuing custody of them both. Mixed feelings emerged. This wasn't what we'd envisioned with our adoption process. But we continued on, praying and trying (successfully and unsuccessfully) to let Him lead us.  I ran my first 5K!  The FoamGlow Run!  Initially it was supposed to be Amy and I but the girls couldn't be left with anyone other than the two of us so I ran with Amanda instead. It was awesome and I loved it. Amy and I are currently looking into 5Ks this year to do!

Just as suddenly as it had begun, it ended. T & L moved on from our care. They'd been with us for just over a month. About 5 1/5 weeks. It was an emotional process to say the least. We learned a lot. About the foster care world, about our biological children, about our friends and family, about each other. It drained us.  After it was all said and done we decided to halt any further movement with adoption. We don't know what lies ahead for us or where He is leading us. Our hearts are filled with love, compassion, and advocacy for adoption and the entire process. We just still aren't quite sure what the next step for us is. Other than waiting. Waiting. A word we'd come to despise throughout the adoption process but now one we turn to. Waiting. To see where He leads us, what He has in mind for us. Who knows?  We don't, but we have faith in the fact that He does. For now we just heal from the process and wait. But life moved forward and so do we. The boys were both enrolled in soccer for the fall!  Jackson through St. Mark and Braeden through a league near the house where he played on the same team as his cousin Austin!  Jackson turned 7!  7?!  Wow. Our kids are growing up too fast!  He is thriving at St. Mark and in my class!  He's also doing quite well managing his ADHD!  

October seemed to be pretty uneventful. I didn't blog much, life was busyish. Amy joined the Handbell Choir at St. Mark with her mom and is enjoying it!  She won't admit it, but she does and is quite good! Our Tuesday nights were overtaken with both boys' soccer practices and Saturdays and Sundays were both game days. It seemed as though we were always on the move. Halloween was fun, we had a themed- family costume with the cousins. All 4 boys were Texans football players, the 2 girls were cheerleaders (with adorable homemade tutus courtesy of my awesome wife), and Amy and I were referees (a simple costume consisting of a white tshirt, black electrical tape, and jeans!

I vowed to blog more. Life had gotten too much in the way and posts dwindled. 2015 will be different!  I had a birthday and Amy spoiled me with an iPhone 6 Plus and I LOVE it!  Soccer ended and the season was a success, the boys both doing quite well!  Amy and I hosted Thanksgiving for the first time at our house. With my family members far flung across the country that just wasn't happening. So Amy's mom and grandparents came and my parents and grandmother did also. It was so much fun to host rather than travel. Something I hope we get to do a lot more of!  Black Friday was a success as Amy's Mom and I continued our tradition of heading out to grab some deals!  The Christmas season began as our little elf, Englebert, reappeared!

I began the month posting about Santa and believing in the magic that is Santa. We lost Braeden's believe last year but this year everyone continued their belief, with Braeden helping to keep the secret!  We also announced that after Christmas Amy would be moving up to teach 4th Grade at Epiphany. Something totally new, exciting, and slightly daunting. We spent the first few days of Christmas break cleaning and prepping her new room and I know she will be incredible!  Christmas came and was a blessed day as we celebrated the birth of Jesus and spent time with family. It was so much fun to just stop and relax. The week afterward was spent doing more resting and relaxing, in addition to cleaning the house and reclaiming it from the post-Christmas clutter. That brings us to yesterday, the end of December and the end of 2014. More relaxing family time. Much needed and much enjoyed. 

So, that's 2014. A bit long but it's all there, mostly.  It was a whirlwind. A rollercoaster. One heck of a year. But we made it through and can look back to reminisce it all now, both the good times and the not so good times. What does 2015 have in store for us?  Not sure, but we can ruminate about that in another post. One dedicated to the new year!  

All is well, saying goodbye to 2014, in Drosche Land.