Friday, June 20, 2014

Annual Raabe Reunion

Here we are, the Raabe (sounds like Ray-be) crew minus Uncle Lou. I love that we still make this event a priority every year. We even headed home from our vacation a day early to make it out to the lake. I will admit, a group this big can have it's issues sometimes but at the base of it all there is love.

Activies include...

Each year is a little different from the one before, we have been in South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa and way back when we even went to Missouri to a KC Royals game. The common denominator is family. For the most part there's no electronic devices so we spend time together catching up, taking nature walks, swimming and boating when the engine works. Make time for the ones you love, it is important.

If a picture is really worth a thousand words than we can all pretend that I wrote a very long blog post.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Home. Sweet. Home.

And how sweet it truly is!

The last time I blogged we were still living at Nana and Papa's house, anxiously awaiting being home owners again. Spring is finally here and we are now in our home, loving every minute of it. I know we are incredibly blessed to have family who would take us in. We are loud, messy, crazy, busy among other things and they embraced all of that with great grace. Thank you just doesn't seem adequate.

I. Love. To. Paint. With that said, I have never painted this much in such a short period of time. I'm kind of OVER IT! Hours after closing the sale of this home I began wiping down walls and priming. No rest, I didn't stop for 10 solid days. Now 6 weeks later I still have a little bit to do but I'm not painting every day anymore.  whew!  The walls looks great! I have a few thank yous to dish out. Uncle Jim at Sioux City Painting and Decorating helped us with our paint selections. Kelly, Krista, Tracy, Nikki, Susan and Ingrid all pitched in a variety of ways while I had the paint brushes out. You girls are all a blessing to me, thanks!
Twenty-four (24) gallons of paint is a little overwhelming. Turns out I bought a little bit too much but it will be ready and waiting for me when we get our basement finished next year.

Creativity is too often squashed for one reason or another. I just hate that! My girls pick their room colors and designs, no matter how crazy. They did a great job. Reagan's room was really fun because it was quick and turned out great! Emma's room is nearly done (sorry no picture) and I'm feeling good about it. Olivia's orange wall took seven (YES 7!!!) coats of paint. Now it's time to decorate.

M. O. V. I. N. G.   D. A. Y. was better than anyone could have imagined. All credit due my husband. This guy makes a plan and sees it through. We had one moving truck and two storage units. Most everyone showed up by 9:30am and I was feeding the crew before 1pm. (I have to mention that Aunt Helen made all the good!!) Boxes and furniture flowed through the house with minimal breakage while I stood in the entry way directing traffic. Thanks to a few practical jokers we had some kitchen stuff in the basement and boxes relabeled with items I can't even mention on a PG rated blog. All in all it was fun and again we are so thankful for the outstanding turnout. Love you guys! I'm a little afraid to mention names as I may forget someone, there were so many.
Birges, Kellers, Blacks, Bitters, Ratliffs, Wimmers, Glecklers, Meyers, Eastridges, VanSurksum, Jensens, Snyders and Kruses.
It looks like Joe Jensen is the only one working, pretty funny!

Here are some pictures of the house...
View from pantry before painting began

My kitchen

I really like my doors
Chris added shelves to the pantry

I made this and will add to it... love it

In the midst of moving we still have daily life... work, school, concerts, soccer, family fun, church, friends and snow. I know eventually both vehicles will fit in the garage, the donation pile will get taken to the shelter and all the boxes will be emptied. I'm not stressed. We are so blessed to have a home and family. God is good to us, better than we deserve. I mean those words. Thirteen months ago our family was teetering on the edge of a very dangerous cliff. None of us knew what tomorrow would hold. Each day we take a step on the journey of our new life together but only because we trust God.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

New House Timeline

It has been fun the last 6-7 months to watch this house building process. Usually once a week after picking up the girls from school we drive by "our dirt." The waiting has been challenging for all. Each of us have had our less than pleasant moments but I do want to say that our girls have done a great job adapting to different living environments. Thank you girls for remembering there is an end in sight. Now that we have only a few days left I am about to go out of my mind.  I want to move in NOW!!! (3 yr old tantrum right there)

I have a series of pictures below with dates. We have hit several holidays and milestones during this process...
School started
All 5 of us celebrated birthdays (Chris turned 40)
New Years
Presidents Day...that's a big one right?
But we will be in before St Patty's Day. I might even want a green beer. Wait, no I won't. HA

We signed the builders contract on August 1st, one day before we had to vacate our home.
An interesting sidenote: the new home owners on 162nd Ave already have the house on the market. I hope everything is okay, probably just a job transfer. I wish them well.
October 11, 2013- digging began
Digging the Hole 10/15/13
October 18, 2013- Poured the footings
Basement Walls then wait 30 days 10/23/13
November 11, 2013-Garage floor poured and pipes in basement
November 16, 2013- Driveway, sidewalk and basement floors poured
Liv on the backside of the house
November 19, 2013- The wood arrives
Wood Dropped, now 90 days from completion
November 26, 2013- Opa makes a visit to the building site
Opa and Olivia on the main floor
December 2, 2013- we sneak in for a photo without the roof (can you tell it's unseasonably warm)
upstairs close to the laundry room
December 6, 2013

December 8, 2013- Windows installed
December 10, 2013
Backside of the house
Nothing significant, I just think this is cute.
December 14, 2013- We write scriptures and prayers on the floors and wood beams of our walls.
John 3:16

Isaiah 40:31
Romans 12:21
Our Happy Family
Writing scriptures on the walls of a building has nothing to do with magic, instead it has everything to do with the foundations of our new home being built on the Word of God and His promises. We will use this house to honor and glorify our Lord, Jesus Christ. We laughed as we froze our fingers trying to write on rough wood. I wanted to have something in every room of the house. There really isn't much in the bible about laundry so I may have taken that scripture out of context. :)

December 19, 2013- Siding & Garage Doors went on
December 28, 2013- I walked around the inside of the house video taping the walls so we would know what was under the dry wall, where pipes and wiring were.
First week of January- Drywall and mudding
January 10, 2014- Back deck was completed
January 14, 2014- Interior Doors and trim was installed
January 22, 2014- Cabinets through out the house were installed and exterior lighting
kitchen cabinets
January 31, 2014- Tile and hardwood installed
February 4, 2014- Counter tops installed & fireplace stone completed (love both of these!!)
February 11, 2014- Carpet guy came back to finish the install
February sometime the door was painted. The house will be painted when the weather warms up.
Oh I have a brown door...I like it!
February, 17, 2014- A pre-walk through with the agent.
They approve
All that's left now is a few appliances and a some touch ups.  
February 24, 2014- Official Walk-thru
February 26, 2014- We close (hopefully)
March 8, 2014- is our official BIG move in date. Aunt Helen is making food for the movers, so it will be yummy. If you are reading this you are invited to come help. (Vicki, I know you won't make it.)

There are several things that we want to do to the house in the next year. I will give you before and after photos as they are completed.
-painting, upgrading light fixtures & ceiling fans, seal the deck, landscaping, finishing the basement, more stone on the house and new front porch posts. Chris says "we'll see."  Oh yes we will.  ha

Monday, February 17, 2014

You Had Me At Bacon

My daughter is obsessed with bacon. It started with wanting to eat more than her fair share at breakfast. Then she began asking for it as a side to some odd combinations. The next thing I knew someone from church brought a pound of bacon to TO CHURCH for her. It's not an illness but we are keeping close tabs on the situation.
Recently our eldest celebrated her birthday with 3 dear sweet friends.[i love these girls] As you may guess there was a theme:
Among other things, Emma received a BACON T-SHIRT and a POUND OF BACON. Very comical!

The beautiful baby girl who took so long to get here (2 weeks overdue and 18 hours of labor) is now a beautiful young lady who still does things in her own time frame. I remember thinking the days with little ones running all over and making messes were long but I do see that they years were short. I enjoy my girls and thank God for the creativity he used in making each masterpiece. Don't try to be something you think the world wants you to be. You are just as God intended! Oh how I love you Emma.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Is It Worth Working On?

Turning 23 years old was a pretty big deal for me. Most people talk about their 21st birthday. Oh, that was a fun celebration but number twenty-three was life changing. My boyfriend and parents were in town the weekend before the big day. We did the normal stuff, dinner and some gifts and I got my hair cut extremely short (more about that later). Oddly enough I don't remember much more about that weekend. The following Wednesday, my actual birthday, I was interrupted at work (Knortz-Snyder Physical Therapy) by the most handsome boy. Chris was in town again to take me out for dinner. Aw, I love surprises (and gifts). We went to a near by steakhouse, The Bum Steer and mid-way through our meal Chris gave me one more gift... a pair of socks. Oh good, I didn't have to take his anymore. However, inside those socks I found a little gray box. Chris got down on one knee, opened that little box from Nebraska Diamond and asked me to marry him. Oh my word, I was floored. Apparently so was the couple next to us. I remember hearing a very feminine male voice say to his boyfriend, "Oh look how sweet that is, I just can't stand it!" Seriously, the biggest day of my life to that point and that guy's comment is cemented into my brain. So weird! 

I said "YES!" Then suddenly I remembered I just chopped my hair all off SUPER short. Geesh, why didn't someone give me a warning? Don't get me wrong, it was cute and fun but not what I wanted my wedding pictures to look like. Seven and a half months later we were at the alter and thank goodness my dress was beautiful because my hair looked terrible. 

That was over eighteen years ago. So much has happened since then. We have owned several houses, many old vehicles, brought 3 delightful children into the world (whom we remind we can take them out too. LOL), taken vacations, earned degrees, owned pets, buried loved ones, faced failures, loved each other, hurt each other and through it all we have relied on God to walk with us every step. I know some of my failures have been a result of forgetting God was with me. I tend to try to do stuff on my own. Why Oh Why am I a slow learner?

The dreaded holiday is quickly approaching. You know the one that reminds single people that they are unloved and those of us in a relationship that someone else gives more thoughtful gifts than our loved one. Ever since the year Chris gave me a teddy bear and kitchen towel set purchased from the convenience store down the street, I have had to change my views on the holiday a little. Chris wants to show his love for me when HE wants to and not when Hallmark tells him to. Okay, I can live with that. This year our celebration will be a month late. We are going to Family Life's: A Weekend to Remember. I can't wait. Thank you Christopher for this thoughtful gift.

Take a few moments to check out the website and look for a location near you. It is worth the money! Click HERE  This is for pre-married, happily married, and struggling married couples.

Blessings to each of you and please leave me a message below.  Thanks

T o d a y ' s  G o o d  W o r d:
For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God.
1Peter 1:23 NLT

Thursday, January 23, 2014

It's A Wonderful Life

Let me introduce myself...
Other than living in a state right now that is riddled with frigid temps, I am an incredibly bless girl. I'm a mom of three terrific daughters and married to the man of my dreams. It would be fair to say that we are an active family, some would call it chaos but we call it a wonderful life. (That's one of my all time favorite movies!) 

The year 2013 was a year I have a difficult time labeling. It was like driving through the Rocky Mountains. The scenery is beautiful but if you aren't careful you might die. There were mountain peak moments and there were valleys so low I honestly didn't know if there was a trail to get out. Looking back on the journey through the Rockies, I had no idea how majestic the view of the mountain tops were until I was stuck in the depths of trails below. 

I don't want this blog post to drag on forever so I am going to hit some of the high points.
We sold our house
We bought dirt
We picked out house selections
Portillos in Chicago
Soccer has kept us on the road whether it's in town for training or city to city for tournaments. Elite Girls Academy has taken us to Chicago, St Louis, Minneapolis and Kansas City in the last year. I was so excited to finally see Mall of America. We need to go back. Then finally this spring I get to see my friend Marcy in Denver.

The girls started school... three kiddos in three different buildings. If soccer, cello, church and play dates don't keep us busy, 3 school schedules definitely do.

Oh what I didn't mention is that we moved out of our house on Aug 2nd and officially became homeless. Thankfully Nana and Papa welcomed our family of 5 into their home. Five months later we are still living in Elkhorn but anxiously awaiting the big move back into Millard and into our own home.

We celebrated my brother's 50th B-day

We had a wonderful Christmas. Chris' parents decided to winter in Arizona (wonder if 5 extra people living in their home had anything to do with that??) so we spent the 25th with the Heller's in Omaha and the 26th with my parents in Kansas.
We celebrated our marriage
 B  I  R  T  H  D  A  Y  S

Yes, these are the happy pictures. Believe it or not, I didn't take pictures of the valleys. Satan is real and wants nothing more than to destroy lives. We struggled but we clung tight to Jesus. Thank you Lord for loving my family and leading us out of the valleys of 2013.

I have pictures of the many stages of building a home. 
More to come later!