Thursday, November 19, 2015

We Want You...


The familiar red vested bell ringers are at the store fronts. Grocery stores are buzzing with loaded carts. And "Black Friday" prep is at full speed. If those things don't remind us to pause and be thankful for the multitude of blessings in our lives I don't know what does. Don't get me wrong, I love the many signs of the approaching holiday season. Fall, Thanksgiving, Christmas and family gatherings bring me joy however the anticipated winter weather does not. Oh, remind me why we left Arizona!

Next Thursday we will host the Raabe/Heller Thanksgiving. Aunt Helen has hosted this celebration every year since I met Chris in 1994. I think it's a little difficult for her to release it. To be honest, there isn't anyone else willing or able to take on the task which is fine with me. We believe that the blessing of this house is for moments like this. Our home will be busting at the seams with 31 in attendance. My list has been made and check marks are slowly appearing.

-Today Reagan and I started on table decorations. 
-The ham has been purchased.
-I am currently drying the bread for stuffing. 
-Chairs are reupholstered. 

I have some organizing to do in the basement and probably some last minute decorating yet to be determined. Chances are I will make one or two other dishes also, that's just what I do. Regardless of what I get done this week, I can guarantee both food and laughter in abundance. 

What are you thankful for?
(hope to reveal my November list of 30 in a later post)

**thanks Kelli G Photography for the great family pictures.

Sunday, November 1, 2015




Even Bella got dressed up

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

One Step Closer

Today Chris went back into the OR with Dr Ian Crabb. It sure is crazy how much time it requires to do a 15 minute procedure. On the way to the Nebraska Orthopedic Hospital, we were prepared to hang out for about the next 5 hours. As it turned out, Chris' recovery was quicker than we thought and we were out of there in 4 hours. Yay team Chris!

The procedure today was the removal of the pins holding Chris' wrist bones in place. Chris wanted to keep them but they were thrown away...only a middle school teacher would want that. Next Wednesday he will go back to have the stitches removed, another x-ray and hopefully a big pat on the back. We continue to pray that Chris' finger and hand mobility returns. Right now his thumb isn't moving much, so that's a prayer request. As swelling decreases and movement increases I believe we are going to see good things.

A funny little side story: Chris woke up in recovery and there he sat next to one of his previous MSHS softball players. She plays collegiate ball now and broke her leg Sunday while running the bases. Poor kid! She will recover but what a tough situation.

Chris has refused to take the same pain meds that caused him to go through withdrawals back in early August. I do have him on some ibuprofen, but that's it. Does he have the pain tolerance of superman or is he just a glutton for punishment? I say he's a close relative to superman. :)

My handsome hubby is one step closer to returning to normal. Well, whatever his new normal will be. I thank God for His healing touch. I thank Dr. Ian Crabb for his God given talent to cut people open and put them back together again. I thank Young Living for their outstanding supplements that promote healing. I thank our friends and family for praying for Chris.

Be nice to someone today who may not deserve it, they certainly need it!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Under the Knife

Q: What does it take for a man to go to the doctor?
A: Lots of pain for months with no end in sight

On a November afternoon during middle school boys basketball practice my handsome husband injured his wrist throwing a baseball style pass to demonstrate why it's not the best pass to use. It turns out, it was a terrible pass. At that very moment Chris encountered a scapholunate ligament tear which does not go away or heal itself with any amount of ice, rest or adjustments. Let's just say, of all the ligaments he could rupture, this is the most difficult to repair. Urgent care was no help at all, in fact they delayed the healing process with bad information. Our first surgeon gave us a terrible possible outcome so we started to search for more qualified hand surgeons. As luck would have it, there are about 130 procedures for this injury and none of them are great. After many months of pain and frustrating rescheduled appointments, on July 30th, 2015 Dr Crabb spent 2 hours trying to put Chris back together again. Apparently our goal is ten years of pain-free moment. It sounds like eventually the bones will have to be fused. In the meantime, we are doing everything we can to promote bone, ligament and muscle healing and praying for God to supernaturally heal Chris.
Surgery July 30
CAST #1 August 7
CAST #2 September 4
NO MORE CASTS! October 1
This is Chris' happy face! 
What a relief it to be out of the hard nasty casts. The doctor said he has healed much quicker than expected, Chris was suppose to be in a cast for another month. God, BLM (bone, ligament, muscle supplement) and great care from a wonderful wife have all aided in his quick healing.
The next step is removal of the pins. Please join me in praying for this guy as he goes back into surgery for the 5 minute procedure which apparently takes 2 hours.

God is Good!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

229 Months Is A Long Time

It was time for Chris and I to get out of town without our children. We love those girls like crazy but seriously, mom and dad need a break. I pray we don't wait another 19 years. 

Thanks to our good friends Courtney and Danielle, we had an opportunity to take a trip of a lifetime. Our birthdays tend to be a little more low key (well I did go to Jamaica for my 40th) but Danielle knows how to have a good time. What do you get a girl who has everything? 
Time with friends!
We met The Kirgans and Pisariks in Napa Valley for 4 days of absolute fun. If we would have thought out our trip a little better Chris and I would have taken an extra day to stay in San Francisco after everyone else went home. Really, when will we get to do this again?
Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island
When you rent an economy car in California this is what you get...the smallest car ever! 

The Cardinale Estate was our home away from home for four days. I wish I had a photo to really show you the enormity of this place. You will have to trust me, it is spectacular. 
Cardinale is the high end winery of the Kendall-Jackson Family Vineyard Estates. What a great first day! We had crazy expensive wines at Cardinale and Spire with Dale and then spent the afternoon around the pool having lunch and wine with the president of the Spire Collection. This is where we tried our first South African wine, Capensis. Already Chris and I realized this trip was going to be something we could never duplicate on our own.

Melanie . Danielle . Erin
 The restaurants we ate at were all top Napa Valley locations that were either recommended by top Darden chefs or places Courtney had thoroughly researched. I have to say, AD HOC did not live up to it's reputation. Dani was less than pleased...enough said! 
 I like grapes and I see them all the time in the grocery store but I have never seen them growing on the vine. In fact, I was completely in awe of the fields of perfectly lined grapes EVERYWHERE we went. It was spectacular! These grapes were right in our back yard.

This was a great little winery. I would certainly go back and buy wine.

mad scientists
After a late breakfast and coffee on deck we headed to Turnbull and Conn Creek Wineries. Again we got to do a first: Barrel Blending. We made our own wine and even bottled it. I'm not a big Cab fan but I tasted Cabernet Sauvignon from at least 15 different barrels, all different grapes, soils or regions and then learned about blending to make the perfect wine. Lots of laughs!
Not sure what was so funny but I love this picture.
Our last day with the group was spent at Caymus, Del Dotto Caves and Sterling Wineries. Each winery we visted had it's own distinctive qualities. I throuoghly enjoyed each one but for different reasons. Let me take that back, Del Dotto was flashy and tacky but still left a lasting memory. My favorite wine stories came from our time at Caymus, learning the history of the Wagner family. Danielle's favorite wine comes from Caymus and it ended up being the one place we purchased wine. Note to self, shipping is super expensive!
Chris . Courtney . Ryan

Dinner at Tra Vigne
 To say the food on this trip was exquisite may be an understatement.
Lunch at Mustards Grill . Farmstead . Pier 39
Dinner at Ad Hoc . Goose and Gander . Tra Vigne

Happy 40th Dani!  
Thank you for including us in your celebration. I hope it was all you dreamed it would be. 
Napa Valley is "Not Terrible"

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Modern Music Masters

Last night I had the pleasure of witnessing Emma's induction to Tri-M. We are so proud of you Em. 

I vaguely remember my days in high school, was that really over 20 years ago? They were packed with good times no matter what I was doing. If I am honest, there were a few "fun" things I did that if my parents had been bloggers they would not have wanted to share with the world. Fast forward a few decades and I look at my girls. Praise the Good Lord that He has blessed us with smarter, more talented, kinder children who know Jesus. Don't get me wrong, I know they will make mistakes too and when they do Chris and I will be here to help them deal with the consequences. But for now I just want to brag a bit.  Good job Emma for excelling in the areas of... 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Kickin' Off the Season

Kicking off her 9th year of soccer and looking forward to big things this season. For the third year Reagan's team began the season at the Eclipse Tournament in Chicago. They didn't make it into the finals but performed better than the last two years. Improvement is the goal. Our girls face nationally ranked teams from Dallas, Chicago, St. Louis and Ohio.
Catch me if you can!
Here let me give you a little push
Watch me go right around this girl!
Not my kid, but one of my fav pictures. GG is pretty tough.
Starting her 3rd year of soccer, Olivia is back at EGA playing soccer this year. Last night was her first game. (Can I just add that it is fantastic to have a child who plays in town) My heart fills with joy as I watch my girls participate in the things they love to do. The team didn't walk off the field with a win but they knew they had played hard and had a great time. The first couple of pictures my blonde little #8 in black, is playing defense in the field and the last picture is Liv playing goalie. A teammate had a handball in the box which means the other team gets to take a penalty kick. In other words the ball is placed close to the goal, there are no defenders, just the goalie and then the ball is kicked. My little goalie STOPPED THE BALL!! We were super excited for her.

Oh my word!! She saved her first PK!  Woo Hoo!!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

NPL Championship, Next Level of the Experience

Finally our entire family was able to travel with Reagan's soccer team for a big tourney. 
This past year the EGA U13 team played in the MRL (midwest regional league) and NPL (national premier league). That translates into playing very few games in Nebraska and lots of travel. Typically mom or dad took Reagan along with 1-2 teammates and another parent for a weekend of 3-4 games, so it was nice to be together as a family this time. 

Wednesday at 5am we jumped in the van headed out on our 10 hour drive to Indianapolis to support Reagan at the National Championship Tournament. Despite the crowded space and long hours, I joyfully report no fights. Probably because most of us slept the majority of the time. As a mom who is conscious about feeding the family healthy food and keeping costs down, I am so proud of my meal planning. We spent $194 on food for 5 people over five days, which include eating out a couple times. I even tried out a crockpot meal in the hotel, we all loved it.

Game #1 vs NEFC, from Boston Massachusetts. Talk about a bad draw, we started with the team who ended up winning the whole thing.  Yep, we lost to the new reigning National Champions. These girls were big, fast, very physical and played like a well oiled machine. I do feel that it is important to also mention that they illegally substituted a player and got away with it. They were good enough to win but I would love to ask the coach if it was worth tarnishing his integrity. At half time the score was 0-0. The first 10 minutes of the second half we were strong, and I believe had them a little worried. We had a goal called back because we were off sides but at least we knew we could score on them. Then the heartbreaking goal happened, we scored on ourselves. (Remember that happened in the women's world cup too?)  Before I knew it, NEFC scored another goal and our team deflated. Coach decided to make a risky change to our formation which left our defense exposed. Our girls played their hearts out but we lost 4-0. Note the hazy pictures...there was a heavy mist the entire game. Keeping my lens clean and dry was impossible.

Sidenote: they had a crazy dad on the sidelines who we will talk about for years to come.  "BOOM!"
Yeah, my girl pushes a little too.
Reagan heading the ball
Game #2 vs STA, from New Jersey. We had a lot of chances in this game but just couldn't seem to get the ball in the net. Previously this team had played NEFC many times and tied them or lost by 1 so they were most certainly a quality team. We ended up 0-0 when the whistle blew after 70 minutes of soccer. In pool play it is possible to tie a game, it isn't until the semis or finals that a tie goes into OT (overtime) and then eventually into a shootout to determine a win if needed.
Reagan in white shooting the ball.
Game #3 vs BRSC, from Louisiana. At the start of day three we already knew it was impossible to advance to the semifinals but that didn't prevent us from leaving it all on the field. The girls, again, played with great intensity and desire. Despite the two very skilled forwards on the BRSC team our goalie shut them down. We finished the tournament with a 7-0 win which meant lots of girls got playing time. Reagan had one goal in the game, I'm not sure if the picture below is when she scored or not.
Reagan heading for the goal!
The first of many National Tournaments!
Proud of These Girls!

Monday, July 13, 2015

He Loves The "F" Word

And the Rockets Red Glare
The Bombs Bursting In Air

Yep, that's what he loves best.
Our 3rd Annual Fourth of July party was a big hit! A blocked off street, fewer people and no little kids made this mama host more relaxed. No group picture but we totaled about 40 people. We were so pleased to have a special guest, Mr Firecracker himself, Rod Foley and family. We first attended the Foley 4th of July in 2004. The first few years of living in Omaha we couldn't image being anywhere other than their back yard and drove back to GI for the celebration but eventually we had to cut the umbilical cord. Having the pyromaniac crew back together made for an epic evening.

For three years now we have had a guest bring some "special" fireworks. I'm pretty sure we need to replace some sod in the neighbors yard thanks to the "special" boomers. I don't know what they are or where they get them. I'd like to keep it that way.

This was a big struggle for me but no time to make decorations. So sad but apparently no one noticed.

The Soccer Girls
The High School Group
The call themselves THE SQUAD
The Littles
And then the next day Chris' little sister and boyfriend showed up 24 hours late for the party. It wasn't intentional but it worked out for the best. We made dinner and sat on the deck watching fireworks. Another perfect evening!


Nebraska State Cup

I just found this post in draft form. Even though it is old, I'm posting it anyway.

The State Cup Tournament determines a team's ranking in the state. May 30th and 31st Reagan's U13 soccer team competed against Bennington Moxie, Gretna Sting and EGA White. We won all three games outscoring our opponents 17-2.
Sending the ball up field
Stealing the ball from mid-fielder, Jay
Look at this face after heading the ball...Ha Ha Ha
Advancing to the semi-finals on June 6th secured a place for us in Midwestern Regional League next year. Game 4 of State Cup was against CSA, a team out of Lincoln. This game gave us a good challenge. Even though the CSA girls are bigger and stronger, like other teams few can hang with our girls the full 70 minutes on the field.

In the Nebraska State championship game we faced a local team who some may call our rival. The website even had them ranked above us but there really is not doubt which team is stronger, faster, quicker, smarter, better coached...truly the dominating team, we are. Reagan and her teammates possessed the ball the majority of the game and crushed them with a 4-0 victory. For those who do not follow soccer, four goals in one game is a lot of goals.

Now on to the Region II championships in FoxCities, Wisconsin. Go Elite Girls Academy!!

Everyone Loves 1/2 Birthdays

This sweet girl has had to wait seven months to have a friend birthday party. What kind of mom does that? Most of my family makes fun of me because I go a little overboard with the girls' birthday celebrations. Years from now when our girls sit around talking about all the ways Chris and I scarred them during their childhood, Olivia will remind her audience that she was the ignored child. Let's get it on record...she is NOT ignored! The truth is, this mom has a hard time saying "no" and I tend to over estimate my ability to get everything done. Next December there will be a party for my little 10 year old instead of an apology.
Abby Olivia Kayla

Olivia really wanted to take friends ice skating. What a fun day! I reminded the girls to take jackets but Chris and I stood outside the rink freezing in our summer attire. :) These three kept track of how many times they each fell and luckily made it home without any injuries or bruises. At the end of the day Olivia said, "This was the best birthday party ever!"