Monday, November 28, 2016

Daddy's Hands

There are no words to express the emotion I feel as I look at this picture. One day dad won't be around and I don't want to miss the opportunity to enjoy him now. To be honest, most visits are hard and I have to focus on one little thing as a blessing. This particular day dad was the worst he has been in a long time. There are bad days and good (or less bad) days. If I can be vulnerable here, sometimes I wonder why God hasn't taken dad home to be with him. This thought takes me back to Isaiah 55:9 where we read this...

"As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways 
higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts."

Maybe God has a plan and knows alittle more than I do so it's my choice to listen for the blessings God has for me each time I see dad. My prayer for dad is that he is comfortable, experiencing joy and his caregivers are doing an excellent job.

There's a country song by Martina McBride titled "Daddy's Hands." Although I can not quote the lyrics, as I think about the song it brings me joy. The song talks about how daddy's hands can be soft and gentle when needed but they are also strong and tough in order to provide and even disciple. Oh yes, I have all those memories of my daddy.

Dad, I love you.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten 
Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, 
but have everlasting life.    John 3:16

Thursday, November 24, 2016

What happened to November??

H A P P Y   B I R T H D A Y   C H R I S
Early this month my all time favorite husband celebrated another year of life. Other than his gray hair, this guy looks so much younger than me. Well, he IS younger but only by a year. So unfair!
This guy is one heck of a hard worker and great provider, even on his special day he worked until 8pm. We still managed to dine together at Hiro 88 with sushi later in the week. 

Dinner at home and homemade chocolate cake with homemade chocolate frosting. This picture is a perfect representation of our family. Oh there can be tough times but we like to laugh!
Happy 43rd year of life to the love of my life! You are a great man, love you!

Fall in Nebraska is synonymous with HUSKER FOOTBALL GAMES. We have been so blessed to have 2 seats to share with Chris' parents. This year Chris, Emma and Reagan all had at least one chance to attend a Husker football game. Look at the smile on Emma's face! It warms my heart to see her enjoying time with her papa.    G O   B I G   R E D ! ! ! 

Love this Lady!
Tami and I met over ten years ago on the soccer sidelines of Grand Island. As one of my go-to girls, we occasionally create the opportunity to meet up in small town Seward, NE for lunch. Seeing her really fills my cup, I wish we could do it more often. Tami works full time. Her husband works more than full time. They have 3 very active children, go to church, workout and still make an effort to be a friend. WARNING: stepping up on my soapbox... I am so worn out by people using the "I'm too busy!" excuse.  That's hogwash! (a term from my childhood) We make time for what is important to us. Don't get me wrong, I do the same thing. Today I was too busy to wash the dishes or do the laundry but I did do some cooking, some shopping and even checked facebook two times. So I was busy but I picked what was important at that moment. When a friend never has time to call, text or stop by, it's a choice. When it goes on for years, it's a statement. Whew! Where did all that come from? Apparently I really needed to get that out. Now stepping off the soapbox. 

Hanging with her uncles at the KC college showcase

Yesterday this sweetheart came home from school with the coveted "Roadrunner with Character" yard sign. I'm so proud of Liv. I hope and pray my girls will all grow up to be little ladies of good character. Being an excellent student, athlete or musician is wonderful but means little to me without Jesus taking up residency in your heart. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind. I believe when you do that, He changes you.

I have so much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. The Lord has blessed me with great family, friends and circumstances that allow me to grow and flourish. It can be easy to fall into the pit of "poor me". Today I chose to remember what I have to be thankful for.

H  A  P  P  Y    T  H  A  N  K  S  G  I  V  I  N  G

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

This & That in October

Olivia is part of a city wide singing group called Sing Omaha. This is not an audition group however there is tuition and weekly rehearsals. Olivia says it's pretty "hard core" but she loves it.
Here is a small group of musicians singing the Star Spangled Banner at Werner Park. 

Emma's final fall choir concert. Here she is with the varsity choir. 
New director...New guidelines...New sound
She's loving choir her senior year!
I wish I could get more pictures but they exit the stage in their robes, hang them up and come out in their dress clothes. Watching Emma perform on stage nearly brings tears to my eyes.

State cup is an exciting time when Reagan gets to play against local teams and sometimes even good friends. Here she is with Alexa and Ashley right after a hard fought battle on the field. EGA played 5 games over 3 weekends and had only one goal scored against them. Reagan scored in 4 of 5 games and our team won the state title for the 3rd year in a row. #ThreePeat #Champions #NebraskasBest

Reagan with her best friend Emma. What kind of dorks request a picture of themselves holding hands on the field during the game? Oh my! Actually, these silly girls make me smile.

Chris and I participated in a pumpkin carving contest. We did not come in first or second place which only awarded bragging rights among friends but we were still very proud of our creation.
We utilized 2 pumpkins, toothpicks for the scary teeth and a bottle for the nose.

Pumpkin carving at home.

The only Halloween picture I took. What's wrong with me?
Reagan and friends were fruit. Olivia trick or treated with big sis Em and then joined a friend from another neighborhood. In her words, she was a masquerade. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Magnum Birthday

Magnum? That's what Chris called it, don't love it but he's the author in the family. He's also the witty one so maybe I should accept his title as good. Yes, I turned 44, as in Magnum 44. I don't mind the number of years, each one of those years has helped shape me into the woman I am today. So why wouldn't we celebrate...all month long? 

Starting October 1st I begin reminding my family, "it's my birthday month!" I don't really get any special treatment but I sure try. Finally a few days before the big day, I do kick it into gear. Since I am the one who is behind the camera typically, there are very few pictures from my birthday celebration. We have one more birthday celebration this Friday night so one more chance for a family picture.

Below are some of the hightlights of my birthday week(s)!

Chris and I had a late night chips and salsa date.
You may be able to see Trump's red tie on the television in the back ground. We tried to avoid the nastiness of our childish presidential candidates. No such luck!

VIP party pre-opening of the Container Store
I have been so excited for the Container Store coming to Omaha. The grand opening was my birthday weekend. Thanks to my friend Mary who is well connected, we got in to the party. This event was hysterical. [Band, Bar, Amazing Food, Dance Floor and Browsing but NO PURCHASING] I was in my happy place and my husband was thrilled to know my credit card did not see the light of day.

Laurie introduced me the "Growler" of my fav brew
Sharing my birthday celebration with Lexi
On the DAY of my birth we had a late breakfast at my favorite little hometown spot then soccer and finally dinner at Carrabbas. Spending time with my family makes me so happy! After all this my favorite moment was reading notes from my girls. What a blessing!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

A Spooky Orchestral Outing

Vala's Pumpkin Patch is a big deal in Omaha. Back in 1988 the Vala family opened a little pumpkin patch (I am assuming) to off set their income as farmers. Fast forward almost 30 years, that little patch of land with a few fall activities has turned into an amusement park of sorts. I love fall and pumpkin patches but this place is way too commercialized for my liking, not to mention the $18 entry fee is ridiculous! None the less, if we can find discount or free tickets, we partake. 

Last night the Millard elementary orchestra students performed a couple scary pieces. Liv and I enjoyed a little extra time at the patch, sharing stories, hot cider and a popcorn ball. One on one time with any of my girls is always very special.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Happy Birthday Dad!

Happy Birthday Dad!

October is one of my favorite months of the year. Fall just makes me happy! The weather, the lack of humidity, the colors, the flavors and the birthdays. Dad and I share a birthday month. His is early and mine is late in the month so by now he probably doesn't even remember he had a birthday celebration while I try to celebrate the whole month. For example, today I am meeting a friend for birthday lunch because I have a birthday reward on PinPoint. (if you don't have PinPoint you've gotta get it)

Chris and I took the day off to meet mom at the nursing home to celebrate another year with dad. To be honest, I don't know how much he understood. For starters, he introduced me to his son-in-law, Chris. I get it...I get it! It still hurts.

Dad doesn't need things but I love to give gifts so I brought some of his favorite items. We had smoked ribs with all the fixings and a yummy cake that mom made but he really wasn't interested in eating. I bought dad two lottery tickets, one chocolate covered cherry and a senior picture of Emma. I can't say that any of those things meant much to him either. Oh the first two items may sound strange to most people but dad LOVED playing the lottery and eating those nasty cherries. Conversations tend to be difficult so we enjoy watching the birds in the aviary down the hall. I realize this picture doesn't show any birds at all but there are about 16 in there. All colors, flying around at speeds that I guess my camera on the phone can't catch. 

The girls weren't able to make it to see dad. It's hard on them to go and also to stay home. I pray that God gives us the wisdom to know what is best for Dad and strength for Mom. Lord, be merciful.

On a side note, as I am writing this post a week past dad's birthday, today would have been his sister's 77th birthday. Oh how I miss Aunt Delma! Maybe we will eat cake at our house tonight. 

Happy Fall! 
Recognize and enjoy the beauty our Creator gave us. He cares about the little things too!

Monday, October 3, 2016

Freshie at Fifteen

Birthday Breakfast
I don't see big smiles early in the morning all that often but on birthday morning she's a pretty happy kid. Birthdays are fabulous! Celebrating is what I do best. We have all our traditions: balloons on the bedroom floor the night before, donut or muffin for breakfast, lunch at school, favorite meal, extended family dinner and some kind of friend event. Prior to this year I have also made treats for school and soccer but that ended this year. It's a relief and yet I have to admit I missed making something creative to share.

Her Favs: Cherry Brownies & The Parents
I remember thinking when I was a kid that my birthday should be a major holiday, as in no school or activities as should the first day of the month. Not sure where that came from, maybe it was the celebration of January 1st that gave me that idea. When your birthday is on a Tuesday in September you still have to go to school, do homework and attend practice but it also means you get to eat cake late at night after. Reagan picked my mom's recipe of Cherry Brownies...they are pretty awesome!
What a Goofball!!

Undercover Decorators
Soccer fills many weekends in the fall which makes celebrating with friends pretty difficult. I found a crack in the schedule, made a few phone calls and voila, a surprise party had been created. We managed to distract Reags with Starbucks while the girls decorated her bedroom. This school year has been a tough start for Reagan. Leaving all her friends from middle school has certainly left her out in the cold a little but when she is with her soccer team she has a great crew around her. Hearing the laugher, snorts, jokes, punching, screams and pure joy from my girls and their friends fills my love tank.

Happy 15th Birthday Reagan. We are so blessed that God trusted us to be your parents. 
Our love for you will only continue to grow. Make it a great year!

We praise God because you are fearfully and wonderfully made; His works are wonderful, we know that full well. Reagan, you were fearfully and wonderfully made!
Psalms 139:14

Raising Girls: Bullies

As a mother of three girls and no boys I have limited research to base any comparison between raising the two sexes except for what I hear from my friends, see in the classroom and observe in play groups. So I will speak of only what I know to be true with my three daughters.

A few years ago our family moved to a different part of the city which meant my youngest had to change elementary schools. Remember in the 80's when Chicago sang, "you never know what you have until it's gone." I miss that school. The new school isn't terrible, it's just cold. Now Liv rides the bus every morning. ( I LOVE IT!!) You won't understand this unless you have gone through the drop off/pickup lanes around ANY school. YIKES! Take your vitamin B so you won't yell at someone. But that is where the benefits end for me. Sure Livie has met some new friends who live close by and for the most part that is a good thing. One neighborhood girls is exceptional, she's the mean little bully who lives up the street, let's call this child "Jenny". "Jenny" is intelligent, determined, bold, fearless, driven and even cute. I'm sure she will make a great CEO some day but for the last 3 years I have watched her manipulate, ostracize and dictate her little friend group. While in our home she has criticized my older daughters and even my husband and me. What in the World? With all that said, my daughter is still drawn to her. Why? Is this a girl thing? Is this a self-confidence issue? Is she trying to just make it through the day? Is she oblivious to the ugly behavior of her neighborhood classmate?

This morning, just like many others, I watched Liv approach the line at the bus stop. She joined the little group of 5th grade girls talking and giggling. Instead of making room for my daughter, this girl turned her back to Liv to keep her out of the circle. Sadly, this stuff happens even in adulthood but here is the kicker. Friday after school "Jenny" knocked on our door to play at our house. I guess all the cool kids were busy. "Jenny" sends mixed messages, one day you are in and the next you are out. What a bully!

There are several challenges...
1. Remember that I am an adult and she is a child. It's not right for me to feel so negatively towards this child. Adulting is hard.
2. Teach my child that friendship does not look like that and yet she still needs to be kind to "Jenny".
3. Teach my child that God has given each of us gifts, talents and personality traits. They shape us into who we are daily. We are to use those gifts to bring glory to Him, not tear down others.
4. Remember this too shall pass.
5. I need to pray for "Jenny" and her parents.

Here's the deal, this isn't my first rodeo. First of all I was a brat but turned out to be a pretty compassionate adult. Second, I have two other daughters who have each dealt with bullies and they have come out on the other side better for it. Third, I KNOW that I may not see everything that happens. If any parents are reading this, let me say that again. I MAY NOT SEE EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENS. It's true in parenting and it's true in kids' relationships. Our most precious docile children can be little turds when we aren't looking. God loves "Sandy" just like he loves my Olivia. Thank goodness He loves us when we aren't lovable and He sees the goodness He created in each of us. Let's remember to love one another, especially those we feel don't deserve our love.

Now that I have vented a little I can move on with my day. It's beautiful weather in Nebraska, what a perfect way to start my week.

Blessings to each of you reading this blog of a mama.

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.
1 John 4:16

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!