Thursday, February 23, 2017

Kansas State Visit

It was fun to go back to Manhattan, Kansas. I haven't been there since my college days. All I had to do was drive by an old apartment, see a couple intersections in Aggieville and so many memories of visiting Shelby and Julie rushed back. Oh those were fun crazy days. Please Lord, help me guide my children in a better direction than the one I traveled in my early years.

Kansas State University Wildcats use to be known as the Aggies back before Texas Tech was the Aggies. Even though KSU is still an agricultural school, there's so much more. A Division I, Big 12 school with fantastic academic, social and athletic opportunities is just the kind of place we hope Reagan will chose to play for and continue her education.

Six Elite Girls Academy 01 teammates are actively being recruited by Coach Dibinni's soccer staff. What an honor it is to have a busy coach spend an entire day with your daughter in hopes to have her chose their program. K-State finished their inaugural soccer season with a 4-3-8 season. Not great but not terrible for a program primarily made up of freshmen playing upper classmen. I went to Manhattan thinking this is NOT the place for Reagan. To my surprise, I was impressed with the coach's vision and plan to execute, the proposed facilities and the campus in general. This would give Reagan the opportunity to help build a program, maybe be part of a historical first ever Big 12 championship. For being a brand new program, it's unbelievable that they will have a $17 million facility built before Reagan's freshman year of 2020. I'm not a fan of purple but I would wear it if my daughter choses K-State. 
Makenzie, Avery and Reags

 This picture does not do the locker room justice. Seriously, K-State has the nicest locker rooms we have seen thus far! We were able to tour basketball and football lounges, locker rooms and media rooms since soccer's won't be built until next year.
 We all thought the football stadium looked small. I guess Nebraska's memorial Stadium is so impressive, there's an unfair comparison. Since she won't be playing on the football field, it doesn't really matter...just an observation.
The coaches

Pam & Roger
 An absolute highlight of my day: running into Roger and Pam Barta at the basketball game. Roger was my HS math teacher, track coach and they both played the role of surrogate parent from time to time. Their middle child has been a dear friend to me since we were 5 years old. One night Shelby and I came home two hours past curfew. When we walked in, there they stood. I don't remember everything they said but it started with, "Melanie, I'm talking to you too, now sit down!" They loved me enough to treat me as one of their own. Pam and Rog want what's best for Reags but I'm pretty sure they are pulling for her to pick K-State. When I say they are die-hard fans I mean their blood may even be purple. 

We had an impressive unofficial college visit, watched an intense men's basketball game, enjoyed exceptional food at the training table and Aggieville and attended an overwhelming individual meeting. There is a certain level of stress that comes with these phenomenal opportunities but above all we know we are greatly blessed to be in this situation. Keep working hard child and as Tim McGraw sings, "Always Stay Humble and Kind"

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Valentine's Day

If there is a reason to celebrate, I'm all over it. I would celebrate Boxing Day if I knew what to do. Let's be realistic, I don't even have the gloves. (just kidding.) Chris calls Valentine's Day a Hallmark holiday, to create revenue and make men all over feel inadequate. Truly, in one quick click social media can ruin the beautifully hand written note when compared to a gorgeous vase of flowers and a pair of diamond earrings but only if you let it. TBH (text lingo for to be honest) I prefer the heartfelt note. Back to valentines day in our home. It's conference week in our school district which means the man I love is at school from 6:30am - 8:30pm. Looking for the silver lining, we won't have to make reservations to go out for dinner. 

This morning the girls woke up to this sign and bouquet of Lindt chocolate flowers. (the flowers didn't turn out as cute as I had hoped so there won't be a close up photo) My hope is that while they are still a little grumpy about waking up so early they will slowly focus their eyes to see something cheerful and know their mom wants them to have a great day.

This is the last Valentine's Day box I will ever have to make. Yes, I am crafty and once we get started it is a fun process but I always dread it. This year I dreamt of wrapping the Nike shoe box in red wrapping paper, drawing a heart and calling it good...and then I looked into my sweet baby girl's eyes and knew that wasn't going to happen. Liv did a great job making Elle the Valentine's box.

What did I find this morning? My girls bought flowers. Aww, this brings me to tears. It's not the flowers, it's that they thought of me and then went out of their way to do something that they knew I would love. My hope for my children is that the love of Jesus would inspire them to pour out love on others. We live in such a consumer driven world where we constantly think about ourselves so much, there's hardly time to think of others. Breaking that cycle is crucial. Great job Emma, Reagan and Olivia! Another thoughtful person in my life is my mother-in-law. Linda knew she would not see us this week so she brought over valentines last week.
(side note: I combined Emma's Bday flowers with my VDay flowers)

 I have a date with 5 baskets of clean laundry. Don't be jealous! I'm not posting this so that you will feel bad about yourself or struggle with social media induced depression. I know it's not fair that I am so blessed to do this much laundry (and more). The warm cozy feelings I get from folding and putting away clothes will be there all year long.


My Girls

“I’ve got sunshine on a cloudy day” doesn’t do justice about the way

I feel about my girls.
My girls are giggles and laughter in the evening around our kitchen table.
They are colorful foliage of fall leaves swirling down from oak and maple.
My girls are a Netflix binge session with the television up too loud.
They are games, concerts and accomplishments that make Dad proud.
My girls are godly for more than just Sunday
In a world that tugs, tries to pull that away
They are sunshine and butterflies, an ocean breeze, a spring rain
A carnival, a rodeo, a thunderstorm, and a hurricane
They are messy rooms and birthday balloons
Wide Christmas eyes and Halloween costumes.
They are creative and genius, they are caring and strong
And can dig their heels in even when they’re wrong.
How does one like me be that lucky to have three caring daughters who cherish each other? Don’t look very far to see where they are is all due to my lovely bride, their amazing mother. Her eyes sparkle, twinkle, and shine with a laugh that lights up a room every time.
She’s involved and sometimes obsessed with helping our girls through failure and success. At times she takes on the role of a teacher, while others require her to be in the mode of preacher.

Oh, we may argue, sometimes disagree, her pink earbuds and my blue megaphone With three active daughters, forget man-to-man, quite often we are playing zone

My other half is the better half, my beau, my sweets, my bride, my wife
She’s my Sunday morning... my lazy afternoon. She is the love of my life.

My brown-eyed girl, as years go by, her by my side is all I desire

And always know, as we grow old, her love stokes this fossil’s fire
So let time pass and slip downstream, each day folded carefully into memory I look forward to days in future’s haze, knowing that it will be you and me. “I’ve got sunshine on a cloudy day” doesn’t do justice about the way
I feel about my girl. 

Make February 14th a great day whether you have candy, coffee and laundry or not. Share a joke, a smile or a word of encouragement with someone you know today. You both will benefit.

There's no greater love than to lay down one's life for one's friends.
John 15:13 NLT

Sunday, January 22, 2017

National League

Family . Florida . Futbol  CONTINUED

Here are some action shots of Reagan playing in 3 of the 4 games (I forgot my camera for one game) in Florida during the Disney Showcase/National League games. The girls played incredibly talented teams from Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina and Kansas. I couldn't be more proud of the effort and determination of our 18 players. We finished the League undefeated. Actually, I didn't do anything to win a game except spend money, encourage and provide good nutrition & sleep. I left the running, tackling and scoring to my daughter.

Reagan in the maroon with the ball 

Do you see the determination on her face?

Just a little juggling to maintain possession

Big Sister Em enjoying soccer in the sun

Finding shade at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Soccer Fields
 Reagan in the White
This is a Reagan Sandwich

Flying Blondie

EGA 01 Maroon
  Reagan in the maroon

Um, pretty sure you can't do that!

Little Sister taking a break

Friday, January 20, 2017

BIG DAY 1, 2, 3

Yep, I watched it and as soon as it was over I turned off the television. Who needs a group of media specialists telling us what we just saw? I watched it...don't need you to add your twist, your approval or your disapproval. This was a great day for some, horrific day for others but many of us will wait and see where we go from here. My guess is there will be changes but nothing that prevents the sun from coming up tomorrow. I am not a politically out spoken person. To be frank, I have very little trust or hope in any of the political establishment. When I vote it is based on issues not parties. When I am around the ranting and raving of people who deem themselves political giants I mostly listen, or walk away if I can't take it any more. ;-)

What I do know is we have a 45th president of the United States of America. He is not perfect and he will not make or break this country. We need to pray for him, his staff, his family and all he will have to work with to make our government run. Pray for his success. Failure of a president means the ship goes down people...and we are ALL ON THE SHIP!!!

On a complete side note, our new First Lady looked elegant today!

One more thought, what do you think the Obamas said when the door on the helicopter closed? I think it was something like, "Hallelujah, that's over!"


Three girls from the EGA Maroon 01 soccer team are on a college visit at Auburn University today. Reagan's itinerary includes meeting all kinds of coaches, soccer facility tour, sports dietitian, academic counselor, dorm tour, campus tour and staying with a student athlete host (overnight I think). The Tigers women's soccer finished ninth in the nation this year so getting an invitation for an unofficial visit is huge! In case you are wondering what exactly this means for Reagan, it's hard to know. This trip gives her the chance to see if going so far away is really something she could handle, which is why mom and dad stayed home. Doing something a little uncomfortable far away is a good growing opportunity for her. She will see how the coaches and players interact which also helps her know if she is a fit at AU. The coaches have seen her play on several occasions but now they get to see if she can add something to their program. There is no talk of scholarships and there are no promises made. It's a two-sided interview and hopefully all parties leave with more answers than questions. Tomorrow Reagan and her two teammates will attend a prospect ID camp. 
 My prayer for Reagan is that God will allow her to see past the bells and whistles of recruitment and gain wisdom towards her academic and athletic decision. Come home safely sweet child.

As I am writing this blog post this picture was sent to me. Hmm, this game room looks like a great recruiting tool. I see skee ball in the background...I love skee ball!!


Sadly, when she got back to class her teacher was mad at her for missing class. Hmm, maybe they shouldn't allow kids to give blood durning school hours (at the school blood drive) if teachers are not going to support the effort. Anyway, I am proud of her for giving such a precious gift. 

We all can do something to make this world a better place. Not everyone can give blood just like not everyone can donate $10,000 to an Anti-Human Trafficking organization but we ALL can do something. Some people like to hold babies in the hospital or drive kids to school or pray faithfully. Find your thing and do it with passion and reap the benefits of joy. Thank you Emma for donating blood to help those in need. You may have saved a life today.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Family . Florida . Futbol

Family time: I am not willing to say it's a thing of the past, it is just a thing that is difficult to find in our schedule without planning for it. So we planned and it happened. 

Some of the choices we make are steered by finances but over the years I have found that those very choices that some may feel are less than best, such as driving half way across the nation rather than flying, are the things that draw our family close. We left our home in Omaha, NE on December 26th and 3:30am bound for Ponce Inlet, FL. The trip was great. To be honest, I was a little crabby to start out, I don't even remember why. At the time I probably thought it was Chris' fault...that may or may not be the case. Once we arrived at the beach we were ready for some serious R & R. The first two pictures I have posted below look a little foggy. It was actually VERY FOGGY! The natives called it "sea fog" and they had never seen it so bad. We were all elated to see the sun the next morning.

Running through the seagulls
Running through the seagulls was a thing for Emma, there were multiple attemps to get good pictures. That's ok, it's the memories that are most important.

Game night

First Morning on the Balcony
Our friend's condo is located on the 7th floor right off the beach, no more than 100 yards from the waters edge. Mornings on the balcony with my coffee and bible study made that 22 hour drive totally worth it!

River walk at Daytona Beach
Ponce Inlet is a quiet private area. But if we wanted crowded beaches and all the hub-bub of tourist we just drove 5 miles north to Daytona Beach. We saw all kinds of people there, it was another form of education for my girls.

One of the families in the condo had developed amazing sand castle skills. Next time we go, I know what tools to take. Since we couldn't really compete we started out in the beginners category of sand art. No, there wasn't a legitimate contest, just one in my mind (and probably Reagan's too). Above is our sand turtle. We love him. He even made it through high tide. Day two we built some pretty cool castles but by the time we got back outside after lunch some boys had already come by and destroyed them...not pictures.
One of the castles not built by's not even their best one.

Sun Rise Morning #2
Thank you God for making something so amazing that even I want to wake up early to see.

Right before we walked out the door on our last day at the beach I had to get one more picture. As you will see below it took two snapshots to capture both our family and the ocean. 
We look good in this but can't see the ocean
Ocean looks good but can't see us

After 3 days of beach, sea food and lounging around we made our way into Orlando for Reagan's Disney Showcase and National League games.  More on that later.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry 2016!

Christmas Family Photo
If socks don't say Christmas, then I really don't know what else does. Don't get offended, I know that's not the real meaning of Christmas. Eggnog is pretty important too. I can't remember a year that my girls didn't receive fuzzy socks from someone and this year I got in on the fun too. I'm the yellow stripes. Christmas with the extended Raabes came early this year but as you can deduce from the photo above, getting a family picture isn't always the easiest of tasks. We have one couple who comes late. We have one couple who leaves early. And then this year we had two sickies in the group. The purple socks represent Emma. But while everyone was there, it was a great day!

My sweet fam!
(add-on comment: looking at this picture just about makes my heart burst open with joy.)

And this is one of my favorite parts of the Christmas Eve service each year...singing "Silent Night" as everyone in the sanctuary passes the light. With 2000 lit candles in one room, it didn't look so dark anymore, but isn't that exactly the point? As we share the light of Jesus with just one or two people and they do the same, soon the darkness of the world is thwarted.

Peace . Love . Joy
If we each could focus on these three words, I believe significant change could happen in our own lives, families, cities, countries and even this world. My peace comes from God the Father who loved me so much that he sent his son, Jesus from Heaven to Earth that I might experience great joy through him. So as I wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year I am also praying that you will experience the Peace, Love & Joy that can only come from our Savior.

Until next year....

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Christmas Concerts 1, 2, 3

Concert #1
Liv has really taken to music. Our baby tried a lot of different activities but has found her sweet spot behind a sheet of music. This year she enjoys going to school early on Wednesday mornings to rehearse with her R2 choir, a group comprised of 150 4th and 5th graders. Why pick just one instrument when you can play two? Liv started viola last year, thanks to some of the district orchestra teachers volunteering their time to teach 4th grade strings after the program (4th grade only) was cut due to budget shortages. This year the district exposes the students to the love of band instruments where she picked up my flute. What a natural! (note: she does practice a lot) Monday night we were blessed with all 3 ensembles.

 What a lucky girl to have three grandparents at her Winter Fine Arts Concert!
Mrs Whiz and Papa photo bombers!
Concert #2
Tuesday night was Emma's chance to shine with her cello. I try to take pictures of her playing but they never turn out very good. I'm so impressed with the natural ability this young lady has. I love listening to her play.
The grands with Emma

Aw, my beautiful senior cellist
Concert #3
For our final concert of the week was tonight. Bundled up in our warmest coats, gloves and scarves we made it from the parking lot into the auditorium, all except our soccer player who was in shorts. No worry it was only 17 degrees outside!! For the first time in 4 years this christmas concert was NOT a two hour event, the new directors kept it just as special as before all in just 65 minutes. The picture below was taken during the Hallelujah Chorus in which all 300 choir students are on stage along with alum and the chamber orchestra. Thank you Mr B and Mr Young for creating an event that honors the true meaning of Christmas. Glory to God in the Highest!

It wasn't until we were waiting in the lobby that it hit me...this is my last high school christmas concert (for a few years). Oh, Emma it's going to be so strange to have you leave home. We raise them to have wings and pray that they will never forget their roots.

Combined choirs plus alum and chamber orchestra
Tomorrow night we have an overnight guest, mostly because the roads are suppose to be very bad. Then Saturday and Sunday we are back at the soccer recruiting events, thankfully in town.

I'm not sure when I will get back on here. 
Merry Christmas to all!