"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 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. 

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