"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

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Another Year Down

Well, summer has arrived in Drosche Land!  Granted, Amy and I still have meetings this week, but school ended for all of us last week.  The kids and I at St. Mark celebrated our last day on Thursday, Amy celebrated her last day of the year at Epiphany on Friday.

What a year it was too.  Busy and hectic, both professionally and personally.  Of course we started the year off with T & L and being foster parents.  That, in and of itself, brought all kinds of back to school adventures.  Then they moved on and we adjusted to life as the 5 of us again.  Then after Christmas Amy stepped up and began teaching 4th Grade after the sudden death of her coworker earlier that fall.  Did I ever mention that?  I feel like I did, but maybe not.  Long story short - the 4th Grade teacher passed away at the beginning of the year.  It was sudden and sad for Amy, her coworkers, and the students at Epiphany.  They continued the semester with 2 subs who alternated days.  Amy began to feel a calling to step up and help.  We prayed, thought, talked, and prayed some more before Amy finally decided He was calling her to serve in a new way.  She'd had a Student Teacher in the fall so it worked out perfectly that she took over Amy's 2nd Grade classroom full time in January when Amy moved into 4th Grade.  She loved it, but it was hard.  The whole situation was unique and crazy, but she did well and is excited to begin a full year as a 4th Grade teacher in August.  Who'd have ever thought she would be teaching that high up?  Not I!  My year was great.  I had a great class and great parents.  I also has Jackson in my class.  That was fine, but was also an interesting adjustment.  So, that's our year in a nutshell.  On to the kids.

Braeden on the first day of school!
Braeden on the last day of school!

Braeden.  Third Grade.  I found it hard to believe that he was in 3rd Grade this year.  Now I find it even harder to believe he is no longer a 3rd Grader!  Crazy!  Our first born.  The one who teaches us about everything.  This was a big year.  At the start of the year, 3rd Grade was out of our territory.  Amy had only taught up to 2nd Grade and I live in 1st Grade.  So, 3rd Grade was a whole new world for us.  No longer could we assume we knew everything (not that we do that).  We were learning the ropes right along with him.  He loved his teacher.  She is a sports fanatic so he was right at home with that and often we would hear about fun conversations they would have at lunch or in the classroom, discussing sports, athletes, etc.  It was great for him to have that aspect to relate to.  He grew so much this year.  He now has a sense of humor and, luckily for him since he is in our family, understands and uses sarcasm (correctly most of the time).  This was also the year when he stopped being a little kid.  Suddenly he acts like a teenager and is vocal about new things such as his hair and clothing (despite the fact we wear uniforms at SML).  The downside to the growth has been the attitude.  Oh wow!  But he has mellowed a lot lately and I think we are getting him back from the land of the pre-pubescent (for now at least).  All in all, 3rd Grade was great for him.  He loves multiplication and thrived with it, and even learned to love and take pride in projects (namely completing a poetry book and report on Uranus (yes, Uranus, and there were MANY jokes make about that, by myself of course)).

Jackson on the first day of school!
Jackson on the last day of school!

Jackson.  First Grade.  Wow!  Growth, incredible growth, was the name of the game for Jackson's 1st Grade year.  He grew academically so much, going from shy and intimidated, not willing to try to read or anything; to reading above level and loving school and learning anything and everything.  I taught Braeden in 1st Grade and it was fine.  Jackson I was worried about though.  We are very different and can sometimes butt heads, but that was not at all the case (very often).  It was a lot of fun and I think it was good for both of us, bonding us and bringing us together.  He also came out of his shell and made friends this year, buddying up with a friend (ironically named Jack) and having his first, and second, sleepovers and planning more for the summer!  Possibly the funniest thing about having him in my class was his insistence on referring to me as Mr. Drosche whenever school matters were being taken care of.  We'd already told the kids to call us that at school, just our family's preference, but he took it a step further and continued that at home during homework times or during school functions!  But that's Jackson, all or nothing!  We also continued to learn and live with his ADHD, changing medicine as he grew and managing his symptoms via diet.  All in all he had a marvelous year and we are so happy that he is thriving.  It is nice to have all the kids back at one school together.

Stella on the first day of school!
Stella on the last day of school!

Stella.  Toddler 2s.  Wow!  She is no longer a baby, that's for sure, and also no longer a toddler.  She is a full-on kid now.  As sad as that is, to have our baby growing up, it is also fun to see her grow and develop her own personality.  And what a personality she has!  She knows what she wants and is sure to let everyone know that.  She is full of spunk and sass (from her mother?) and keeps us on our toes.  It may be hard to handle sometimes, but honestly we would not have her any other way.  She also has grown so much thanks to her two awesome teachers.  Colors, numbers, shapes, songs, etc.  She is a sponge and has learned so much this year.  She is so excited to be in PreSchool next year and is already talking about it.  She will be down my hallway next year so that should be interesting, especially considering that Braeden will be moving out of my hallway and upstairs for 4th Grade!  Gasp!  We just recently (yesterday) celebrated her upcoming 3rd birthday and I am astonished that she is that old.  She reminds us so much of Jackson so we kind of know what to expect from her, sort of.  All in all, she had an amazing year and we will miss the Toddler program so much as she moves into the "big school" but we are ready (as much as possible) for that adventure.

So, there you have it.  A long-winded (do I offer any other kind) retrospective of the kids and their school year.  It was a great year for us in Drosche Land, despite being full of ups and downs.  But then again, every year is.  We grew a lot and learned a lot.  As great as it was though, we are all very happy that summer is here.  Everyone needs a little down time to recharge!  Thanks 2014/2015 school year!  It was a blast!

All is well, Toddler 2s/1st Grade/3rd Grade down, in Drosche Land.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Life's A Beach

I feel like I've used that title before. Maybe?  Maybe not?  Well, there are worse things than a recycled post title. 

So we are coming off of a long weekend, Memorial Day!  We always go out and this year it was much needed since it has been a crazy/rough/long year. Plus, we haven't taken the camper out since New Years so we were long overdue for a trip out. 

This year, as we often do, we headed to Galveston. Now I know it's not white sands and clear water, but a beach is a beach and any true Texan is just fine with a trip to the Gulf of Mexico.  After last year's disastrous camping trip to the bay side of Galveston State Park (recall that's when we were attacked by a million mosquitos and Stella ended up with a staph infection), we were so excited to be staying on the ocean side of the park!  The drive out was fairly uneventful, with the exception of Mickey, who seems to get severely carsick everytime we take him out, always resulting in an unpleasant bought of intestinal distress in his kennel. Other than that though it was good. Thanks to Amy who was riding in the back and somehow managed to clean it up without the need for a stop on the side of the road!  

The stay at Galveston was wonderful. Friday night was an easy setup night followed by our usual hot dogs and s'mores meal. Saturday was spent at the beach enjoying the beautiful weather. Sure the winds were crazy strong, but that's often the case at the beach. Sunday morning brought a bad rainstorm so we spent the first part of the day stuck inside the camper. Luckily Amy and I had just installed our new TV, so we got to give that a go. The afternoon brought about a clearing and we ventured out to the Railroad Museum, which everyone (remarkably) enjoyed. We hitched up early Monday and headed home to avoid the impending weather.  Luckily we made it home by lunch, long before the storms began. I'm sure you've heard of how bad it was/is here in Texas. Crazy rains and floods. We have managed to come through it unscathed (prayers of thanks) but many are dealing with power outages and property damage.  We even had school canceled today due to the flooding, bringing about an added vacation day and some further rest and relaxation.  It seems (fingers crossed) as though the worst is behind us. More rains possible tomorrow, but we shall see. 

Summer is quickly approaching. The kids and I have only two days left, Amy with three as she goes through the end of the week!  Then it's week of meetings before summer begins!  And we have big plans for this summer!  Not Disney big, but tons of fun and adventure nonetheless. But that's a post for another time. Until then I will leave you with some pictures of our fun Memorial Day beach vacation!  Time to prep for the return to school tomorrow!

All is well, beachy keen and safe & dry, here in Drosche Land. 

Ever since they were little, the boys have loved to run in and out of the water. Like a kid-friendly Baywatch opening!

She was pleased as punch to wear her new Hello Kitty bathing suit all day long. This girls loves the water!

Who would have guessed that all three would be enthralled by the Railroad Museum!

We saw the Weinermobile at Wal Mart!  Yes they got whistles. Yes, I did too!

Monday, May 18, 2015


So I'm still here.  Just the usual slow May fresh off of daily posts in April.  #endofyear. Such is life when you teach. But I'm here and I'm posting. 

Sleepovers. Did you have them as a kid?  Host them?  Go to them?  I didn't. I was not the sleepover type of kid. I wasn't antosocial, just more of a homebody I guess. Luckily the same cannot be said for my kids. This year alone, between the boys, they have had more sleepovers than I did in my entire life. Granted that was just one, but still you get the point. 

I credit this newfound fondness for sleepovers to two things. 1 - they are growing up. I'm guessing this is the age when sleepovers begin. It's fun. It's cool to have your friends over for the night and/or go to their house. 2 - St. Mark. It is such an awesome environment. We are so blessed to have it as our church home, my job, and the school for all 3 kids. It's just been so amazing these past 2 years. Sleepovers are big. Especially in Jackson's class. A pair of my students is literally having a sleepover nearly every weekend. They rotate. Sometimes in twos and sometimes larger groups. They're always together in some grouping. It's awesome!  Definitively lends to the familial relationship my class has with each other. 

This year marked the first sleepovers for both Braeden and Jackson. They've each hosted and been a guest. Braeden was the first earlier this year when a friend invited him over for his birthday. Braeden had never been before. He was nervous. He's a lot like me at that age. Just thinner and more athletic. Despite the nerves we encouraged him and he had a blast!  He invited the same friend over to our house last week to celebrate his birthday. It was a lot of fun. 

Jackson followed suit this spring. He hosted first, inviting two friends over. It was a new experience for us having that many people over. I mean we'd hosted the cousins but they're family. This was different. It went very well and was also a ton of fun. Just this past weekend one of the boys invited him over and he was ecstatic and eager to go, not nervous at all. I was though. See, you'll remember, Jackson is the one who wakes up frequently and comes to our room. Randomly. In the middle of the night and often around 9:00-9:30. I'm also not 100% convinced that he isn't sleepwalking at times. But who knows. So I was nervous about that. No parent enjoys being woken up in the middle of th enlighten, much less by some kid that's not their own. We shared this with Jackson and he must have understood because the sleepover went without incident. 

So, it's not a ton of sleepovers but, in Drosche Land, it's a big deal. A milestone of sorts. They're growing up. They're coming into their own and developing and building friendships. Both boys are already planning the next sleepovers so I am confident that this will become a regular occurrence.  And I'm ok with that. It's fun. Different having other kids who aren't your own at your house, but fun. I can on,y imagine how Stella will be.  I shudder to think. Having multiple boys over is one thing, were used to that. But several little girls, that's a whole other kind of craziness. Luckily we have a few years before that begins.  Time to prep. Time to buy earplugs. Girls are loud!

All is well, sleepovers included, in Drosche Land. 

Tuesday, May 05, 2015


Today is Braeden's birthday. He turned 9. 9!  I'm still in disbelief.  He's the one that made Amy and I parents. The one who taught us about diapers, sleepless nights, and fevers. But he also taught us about hugs, silliness, and love. I'm not sure if I've shared the story of Braeden's birth before. If I have, sorry, this may be a repeat for you. But it's a great story and one that we love to remember often, especially once a year. 

I think back to that day, 9 years ago, when I was at work. We'd recently relocated back to Houston due to Hurricane Katrina and found ourselves expecting. We hadn't fully committed to staying, we still wanted to return to New Orleans and the life we'd begun to build there. But then, suddenly, everything changed. It couldn't be just about Amy and I anymore. Nope, we would soon have this tiny little human who would depend solely on us. We had to start thinking about what was best for him. So, we made the touch decision to stay in Houston. It was back home for us, near our families and everything we'd grown up with. We were starting to rebuild. Amy had found another job and I was subbing and working as a teacher aide until I could find a position myself. We were staying with my parents and searching for an apartment.  All was slowly settling. 

May 5. We were still over a month away from the due date.  We had plenty of time to plan. Right?  To pack. To prep the apartment we'd moved into. To sort, wash, sterilize, and learn about all of the baby gear we had been blessed with. We had some time still.  Wrong. I was working Extended Care when I received the call. Amy thought maybe her water had broken. Say what?!  But she thought it might be a false alarm. I decided to head home early anyway, to check on her. Halfway home another call. Nope, this was the real thing. Forget heading home, we would meet at the hospital. It looked as though it was go time.

But things were to take another turn from our plans. He was breech. Yep. Breech. As I'd been  he wouldn't turn and Amy wasn't laboring. So the decision was presented to us: c-section. What?!  As scary as having a baby was, this tripled, maybe even quadrupled that. But here we were and there was no turning back. Not now so we moved forward, no other choice really.  So anxious and praying we went. 

After the surgery all seemed well. Braeden was small but not tiny. He was healthy. Sent to the NICU for monitoring since was considered pre-term. The next day all was well. Here was this tiny little thing that, just less than a day before, had seemed like some distant thing we'd been planning for.  But he was here. Now. Soon we learned that he was having som eblood sugar issues, trouble maintaining it. He was pricked so much on his little foot for testing that he still bears a birthmark-like scar that wasn't there when he was born. We now began to worry. There was a chance that Amy would be discharged before him if they couldn't get it all squared away.  Again, anxious and praying we moved forward, waiting to see what would happen. 

Luckily all worked out and he was able to be discharged with Amy, stabilized and ready for home. So we packed up this little bundle of joy and headed home to our new life as a family of 3.  Visitors came. More gifts were bestowed. Bags were unpacked. We started to settle into our new normal and Amy and I, so very naively, thought that not much has changed. This parenting thing didn't seem so difficult. Yeah, that didn't last long. Little man had his plans to teach us and train us as parents.

9 years. I don't know how I'll feel next year when it will be an entire decade!  He's grown into such an amazing person. Sure, there are rough times, there always will be. But deep down he's a good kid. A loving him brother. A loyal friend. A close cousin. A devoted grandson. A son. Our son. The first one. 

Happy 9th Birthday Braeden. I love you. 

All is well, 9 years and counting, in Drosche Land. 

Monday, May 04, 2015

Hand Wash Only

Nope. Not talking laundry here. Actuall, I referring to the way we do dishes here in Drosche Land lately.

About two weeks ago we suspected that our dishwasher was leaking. Upon pulling it out and inspecting it we found out that yes, it was leaking indeed. To top it off, it wasn't something simple like a hose or anything. Nope. That's now how we roll here. Instead, the leak was coming from some hidden, indeterminable place underneath the dishwasher itself. 

So, after discussing it and weighing the options, Amy and I decided not to have someone out to look at it. Realistically that would come with an exorbitant cost and would likely result in the confirmation that repair would be too costly, thus meaning replacement was the better option. So, not having the money to replace it immediately, we decided to wait. 

Enter the hand washing. It's not bad really. I mean this is how people washed dishes for how long until the dishwasher was invented?  Surely we can last a little while as we work to save up for the replacement. Right?  Right.

This all has just brought to mind how short-lived appliances can be. 7-8ish years seems to be the lifespan though. Our dryer is making a lovely screeching noise when in use and may turn in its notice before too long. Crazy.  If something had to give up on us, I'm glad it was the dishwasher since that is a cheap and easy fix.  Well, the waiting and saving up is cheap and easy. I've been in the need of a dryer before. It's not pretty. Relying on the sun and wind to dry out your semi-privately displayed underwear. Not pretty at all. 

So for now we are thankful for the little things like appliances that are easily replaced by manpower.  That and the realization that 5 people go through a lot of dishes and maybe we can reevaluate how we use dishes and be more conservative in our usage. The One-Cup-A-Day Rule will be in full effect this summer once we are all home.  That's a sure thing.

All is well, dishpan hands and all, in Drosche Land.