Thursday, September 22, 2016

College Visits...Soccer Style

What on earth are these coaches thinking? My freshman daughter has been on 2 college recruiting visits to Division 1 Universities. The girl is just trying to get through her first year of high school. Making big decisions like, should she go to homecoming and which kid of donuts should she take to QT next Friday plague her, not what will her major be 3.5 years from now. Reagan has a pretty good head on her shoulders and is taking it all in stride, so far. 
We keep reminding her, "have fun, don't let 'em pressure you!"

July 2016
I forgot to take pictures at Creighton University, this will be recreated and posted here soon.

Before Reagan had attended even one day of HS the Creighton University coach brought her in for an unofficial visit. In case you are wondering what an UNOFFICIAL visit is, I had to ask as well. In mom terms it means that the student-athlete is not yet a junior in high school and the university can not pay for any part of her visit, not lunch, travel or even a school t-shirt. I think if you are about to (literally) die of thirst they can direct you to a nearby water fountain and if there isn't one, well the NCAA would prefer the coach to call 911 than to offer you a bottle of water. 
SO MANY MANY RULES!! Back to the college visit. There were very few students on campus which really changes the vibe. Coach Ross Paule gave us a tour of the athletic facilities and then brought us back to his office for a meeting to discuss where he sees Reagan fitting in the BlueJay women's soccer team and answer questions. It was a great introduction to the process and are very appreciative to Ross.

September 2016
Visit #2 was just this week.
Reagan was identified by an assistant coach at the summer Elite ID camp. I remember the day Reags met Bri Young. She came home from the camp all excited about this coach and how she reminded her of our dear friend Heidi Foland. Let me tell you, that name carries serious weight with my girls, they love and respect Heidi as an athlete, coach, friend/big sister and Christian. 

Again the NCAA makes this process very difficult. KU coaches contact Reagan's club coach who tells us to call the KU coach but if she doesn't answer we should leave a message and keep calling back because it is a violation for her to return our phone call, text or email. I'm just going to say it...that's stupid! So we started down this path, it's actually a long boring story so I won't bother typing it out. The short of it is...we went to Lawrence KS and were pretty amazed. 

Visit #1 was just Reagan, me and my very handsome hubby. Visit #2 was with 3 other girls from EGA and parents. For Reags, this made life a little easier, she wasn't the only one answering questions and she wasn't in the spotlight. For me it was nice to have someone to talk to on the drive down there. Waking up at 5:15am kind of kicked my butt! 
-toured the facilities
-ate lunch with Mark Francis, HC and the 2 asst coaches Bri & Kelly
-meet with the Director of academic and career counseling
-meet with the Director of KU LEADS This was super impressive!
-toured the campus, it's huge! Kelly Miller knows a lot of history and cool details
-toured their new stadium and new practice fields
-saw all the swag a KU soccer player gets a.k.a. Adidas goodies (9 pair of shoes+)
-watched soccer practice and met many of the players
-individual meetings

Strength and Conditioning builds better soccer players

Left her mark at Jeffereson's on Mass St
After a long fun day we decided it would be crazy if we didn't experience a little bit of Lawrence on Massachusetts St. The place to be, even on a Wednesday evening every parking spot was full and the restaurants were buzzing with patrons. We found a cool little burger joint (in a college town should I really use the word joint?) with decorated dollar bills all over the walls...Reagan left her mark right under the tv.

It's hard to know what is in Reagan's future, we are thrilled to have already been able to experience alittle bit of "wooing" by some interested college coaches. In the meantime, she's got a lot of living to do. We praise God for the gifts He has given Reagan so generously and we pray that she uses them wisely to always bring glory to our Creator and Lord. Amen!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Hoco 2016

Homecoming at my house looks different for different people.
Baby Girl #1 lives for a party and lots of loud people.
Baby Girl #2 doesn't like to dress up, dance or talk to all those loud people.
And I'm happy to have daughters with different interests, it's the way God crafted them.
Emma with 2 dear friends
Emma's crew
I bet all their feet were in pain by the time pictures were over.
Reagan and her Papa spent the day at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, NE cheering on the Nebraska Cornhuskers as they battled the Oregon Ducks. Chris gave up his ticket to what may have been the best Husker football game of the year. 
***I guess we can return Reagan's homecoming dress.***
Reagan's "hoco date" a.k.a. Papa

Saturday, September 10, 2016

I Am With You

I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I promised you.  -  Genesis 28:15

Soothing words for a parent in preparation to send her daughter out of our safe home and begin her journey of adulthood in college. Yes, it's only September of her senior year but nearly every day there is paperwork to fill out, a discussion to have or or check to write that reminds me she will be moving out all too soon. We pray for our children. We teach our children. We love our children. We know God is with them but still worry. Oh, why is my faith weak? This scripture reminds me that I need not worry, just trust the Lord that He has it all under control.

Here are a couple of Emma's senior pictures. Not my favorites but I post them because I enjoy the memory of the day they were taken. The top picture: We were done with the first photo shoot and heading home when Kelli, our photographer saw this building in an alley. A last second stop, 3 pictures taken and then jumped back in the van to head home. The bottom picture: Kelli wanted some candid pictures showing Emma's carefree laughter. She was struggling so I started doing cheers, something that totally embarrasses my daughters. There is nothing better than the pure unadulterated joy of a child. I love you girl!

Emma, the Lord your God will always be with you. He loves you more than we, your parents ever could. He is with you today and all your days ahead. This does not mean your path will always be easy but it will be worth the journey. In all you do, lean on Jesus for the big and little moments.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

College Visits

My first baby is less than a year away going to college. I'm in shock AND so excited! Right now the worst part of it all for me is figuring out the applications for colleges, scholarships and the daunting FASFA.  Remind me I can do this!

Emma and I had a fantastic trip to Kearney yesterday. Below are a couple pictures from her two top colleges. Next month she is visiting Northwest Missouri State in Maryville, MO. Hopefully soon after she will be able to make a decision on which school she will call home for the next four years. I know without a doubt Emma will be a tremendous success wherever she ends up. Love this girl!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Homework With A Smile

Surprised to see a teenager with this big of a smile while doing homework? This girl has been beaming since she walked in the door last night with her new school issued laptop. The freshman in our house got her device before her senior sister. Our school district is on it's way to accomplishing the 1 to 1 initiative it mapped out a couple years ago. Meaning, one device for each student starting with the high school. There are two reasons for Reagan's early laptop. #1 her Spanish class is a test group just like last year one of Emma's classes was a test group #2 she was 1 of 4 students (out of 2400) selected to represent her HS at the student-superintendent advisory team. YAY!

I have to admit something, there is another reason she is smiling so big...she is laughing at her mom for taking such a ridiculous picture. Hey, I'm a blogger. Gotta. Have. Pictures!

Life can be fun and exciting, even these regular moments are meant to be celebrated and enjoyed. I want to teach my girls that we don't have to wait for the monumental moments to make memories. It's the journey or as some people say it's the "dash" that matters most. Have a wonderful day and remember to enjoy whatever you are doing.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

College Roommates

Aw, the good old days of living in the dorms, playing volleyball, doing lots of stuff we shouldn't have and still trying to make it to class on time. My freshman year I roomed with 3 other volleyball players, Kelly, Julie and Rhonda. How our lives have changed in the last 20+ years which makes our brief reunions all the better. Unfortunately I haven't seen Rhonda since 1994. Between the four of us we have fourteen children ages 17-1. That would be a fun party we all could carve out a free weekend.
My setter Juba

Crooked fingered hitter and Her little guy
It was so great to reconnect with Julie an Kelly, now we have to get in touch with Rhonda. Time for a reunion!

Monday, August 15, 2016


Where did our summer go? I remember as a child wondering why old people said things like, "the older I get the faster time flies." It sounded ridiculous to me and now apparently I AM one of those "old people" because time does fly. Our summer seemed to be over just days after it bagan and I really do not want this school year to fly by quickly. (Remind me that I said that just incase life gets hairy and I'm complaining about kids, life, family, etc)

Below are a few back to school pictures. Reags and Liv started school a day before Em. What a good big sis, she crawled out of bed for a picture. Olivia was a little hesitant about her teacher but so far she has been pretty happy. Reagan was a ball of nerves on the first day. She found all her classes and even the lunch room. Whew! Emma was excited to be BMOC.

Lord, walk the halls of these girls' schools. Keep them safe. Please gently give them reminders that they are yours and you love them unconditionally. Help them remember to shine your light to the "least of these." May their successes draw them close to you in praise and their trials help them to rely on you faithfully. You are the virtues of Philippians 4:8, true, noble, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthly. Let them think on these things.
In Jesus' Powerful Name, Amen

Senior's 1st day
I love that Facebook will occasionally show me pictures that I posted 1, 3, 6, etc years ago. Look at my girls on the first day of school 5 years ago and then this year. I think I still see Liv just like that little kindergartener. Watching these girls grow and learn to think for themselves is an amazing privilege as a parent. What an beautiful gift from God!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Happy Birthday Vicki!!

I met my dear friend Vicki in 1998 when I started working at Christ Church of the Valley in Phoenix, Arizona. It wasn't until I quit working to stay home with my girls that we started talking more. And then when our family packed up and left the Valley our friendship really flourished. Vicki is a friend who is just a few years ahead of me in life and has already experienced some of the joys and pitfalls of life that I may still cross. She is full of wisdom but typically waits for me to ask for it. I truly cherish our friendship. We are sisters in Christ, wives, mothers, crafters, bloggers, suspicious, tea lovers, caring, interested in people and love to laugh. I thank God for putting us in the same office all those years ago. I am blessed beyond what words can express to have this fantastic lady in my life. 

Vicki, Have a happy birthday and know that I am praying for you my friend!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Raabe Reunion 2016

Another great weekend. 
First a few pictures.

Smelly Mud Bath

My big girls at the lake


Cousins grades 7 and down

The Warren Raabe crew
Warren and Silvia Raabe had 3 children who married and collectively had 7 children. Now we are a group of 30 Raabes. (pronounced Ray-be) No, we don't pronounce our name that way.
In this picture we are standing in Nebraska, behind us is South Dakota and off to the right is Iowa.

When we "camp", we do it in style

And I won! Which means I got a nasty old tarnished trophy...totally worth it!
We stacked marshmallows, chop stick race, cup stacking, gum in flour, donut on a string, puzzle and then several we didn't get to. I am a bit competitive so I'm proud to say I won all but the first race I was in. In the children's division Emma and Reagan did well. #braggingrights #familyfun

Blowing a bubble with flour in your mouth is tough

Biker Babe
Emma was so excited that Uncle John rode his Harley this year. Lucky for her no one else wanted a ride so she wiggled her way on the bike every opportunity she could. 

This was one of the best reunion weekends we have had in a long time. About every 3 years we change locations. We have been to Lewis and Clark State Park outside of Yankton, SD, Kansas City, MO, some farm house in Iowa, Platte River State Park in Lewisville, NE, Honey Creek State Park in Iowa, and now Ponca State Park. In order to get 3 cabins together we have to book a full year in advance so we didn't know what it would look like when we arrived. The cabins were the best we've had so far...clean, spacious, great amenities. Even though I worked a bunch I still felt like I had plenty of time to hang out with the family around the fire. And the best part for me, this year the food prep and clean up was a shared effort. 

It's hard to believe next year may be Emma's last, who knows what her schedule will be like after she graduates from high school. On a walk she talked about being older and bringing a husband and children to the reunion. WHAT? Ha I guess those days are coming. She is such a great girl (young lady), this is going to be a fun journey.

Family doesn't look the same in all groups or even seasons of life. When we lived 1800 miles from our biological family we relied on friends to be our "family." Now that we are near by we recognize how blessed we are to have these people in our lives on a regular basis. We don't always see eye to was important to avoid all talk of the presidential elections. And even though Warren and Silvia were strong Christians unfortunately we can't always discuss religion either. I suppose that's typical in most families. What isn't typical is the bottom line, we love each other and want to spend time investing in one another. I thank God for this group.

True Beauty Shines from the Soul

My first Baby is a Senior!!!!!!!!

You will have to excuse me...there are no words.

Kelli G Photography has once again blown my mind. We haven't gotten all the pictures back, these are just a few of the snapshots she text to me while we are at the family reunion. I hope this child knows that her beauty originates from deep in her soul. What you see on the outside is just a sample of the beauty God placed within her. Baby girl...oh I have no words. I love you!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Summer College ID Camp

College ID Camp? Really? She hasn't even started high school. Oh please slow down the clock and help me enjoy every moment God gives me with these precious gifts.

The last two weeks of July are packed full for this soccer stud. Reagan played in a national championship tournament in Colorado, had a couple days of R&R then attended a College ID Camp here in Omaha, tomorrow we have a 3 day family reunion and then she flies to San Diego for the SoccerLoco Surf Cup. Is that too much? The kid eats it up. She has goals and dreams that include soccer and wearing a US Olympic soccer jersey. So no, this is not too much. I would be lying if I said I had no concerns about burnout or exhaustion. What I have noticed about Reagan, if we remove her completely from soccer for 2 days she is dying to get back at it. That shows me she is fine.

This ID camp was right in the hottest week of the summer with humidity in the 70% range. Last night Reagan asked me if I walked at the track during camp, I told her, "no it was too hot." I think she may have rolled her eyes at me. And I deserved it.

Battling her own teammate and friend for possession of the ball

Ready to go down the line
The Elite Girls Academy players are so fortunate to have a Director of Coaching who is interested in seeing them play at the next level. Marcus Kelcher, founder of EGA and DOC puts countless hours into promoting his players whether it's at tournaments, bringing in Division 1 college coaches or taking countless phone calls and emails from coaches, parents and recruiters. A typical college ID camp on a college campus can range anywhere from $400-$800 but for $150 we had coaches from Nebraska University (UNL), Kansas University, Kansas State University, UMKC, Minnesota University, Creighton University, Auburn University, Hastings College, Nebraska Wesleyan, pretty sure I missed some. This is why the number of EGA girls playing soccer beyond high school is 70% higher than the average youth soccer club. We are a small club but we are mighty!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Rocky Mountain National Park

First let me say, if you have a 4th grader you can get into ANY NATIONAL park for FREE! Woo Hoo! Yes I said free. Go to this web page to learn all about it and print your pass. "Every Kid in a Park" is an initiative to get 4th grade kids and their families outside exploring our natural riches.

We drove to Denver to watch Reagan play in the National Premier League National Championship Tournament. Can I brag? She played awesome! We had so much fun watching her play. Well, Olivia didn't really watch but she did go. ;) 

Once a family gets to Colorado it would be a shame to turn around and go home just because soccer is over, so we didn't. We spent two days with the Percival family...LOVE THEM! Jeff is the worship leader at Southeast Christian Church in Parker, Colorado. Hearing his voice on stage takes me back to the glory days of CCV. Thanks Percivals for making us laugh and feel so loved.

The last day in Colorado was spent in the Rocky Mountain National Park. The pictures below show some of our adventures but none of them capture the beauty of God's amazing design. Our first adventure was buying chicken in Safeway. Here's a sidenote, I remembered our AZ phone number so I could get the store discount...saved $4. Once we got through Estes Park the real journey began.
Our first waterfall. I can't remember the name of this fall
but it was formed in 2008 after a flood.
Emma was obsessed with all the big rocks
"Oh look, there's a big rock!"
Yep, here's another
Mom and Eldest Daughter
The air was thin but I climbed to the top with my girls.
Bear Lake
My zany girls
Our extra mile hike up, up, up to Alberta Falls
Alpine Tundra 11,796ft
Notice the jackets, it was chilly up there
Aw, the beauty!
No wonder he's afraid of heights!
We all wanted to stay longer but reality was calling us back home. Both of our summer jobs were screaming at us, demanding our attention. The trip home was not terrible, which I guess it means it was pretty good. We are truly blessed to be able to spend time together as a family. On our way home Chris & I began to realize that next summer Em will be in Europe, then off to college. Thus begins mom saying, "this is the last time we will..." I hope it doesn't get annoying.

A quick shout out to my Uncle Gavin in Washington turning 81 years young!
Much love to you.

I pray for those of you I know as well as the friends I have not yet met. We all can do something small to help out our fellow neighbors. Be a Blessing this week to someone new.

For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. 
Ephesians 2:10