Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Bathroom Makeover

So ready to make an improvement to this shower
I am so excited about our most recent home project. This house has given us plenty to do over the last five years. Too bad we aren't the fix-it-yourself kind of people. We try on some of the easier jobs but this bathroom requires a professional.
The good news: the shower is out and work has begun.
The BAD news: a previous owner did some not-so-great renovations in the bathroom and didn't do it right.
#1 the moisture barrier was cut out. 
#2 the drain pipe was cut too short 
#3 there were boards and pipes just hanging loose behind the shower walls 
#4 Jerry has to stop working at 2pm so he can find get new parts.

this pipe is WAY too short

Since we want this project done right we elected to pull up the existing floor instead of putting the tile over the nasty, ugly stick-on tiles.
This is what Jerry found...
 MOLD!!  YUCK!!!
Again, this is the result of a fix it yourself job done before we moved in to this house. Guess what? Jerry had to take the rest of the day off after he took care of the mold. More wasted time.

Oh My my contractor going to ever work a full day?

On day 3 Jerry began working on the installation of the shower faucet. I was excited to find great looking hardware at in the finish I wanted for a good price. Our problem for today is the missing valve for the Kohler Shower Hardware. OH MY GOSH!!! Partially this is my fault because when it arrived I opened it but didn't really know what I was looking at, got distracted by kids coming home from school and then didn't look at it again until Jerry called me with the bad news. I called Overstock at 1:00pm to see what could be done. That place is so large, they told me it would take 2 days just to talk to the parts people. I called again at 7:00pm, to see where they had gotten with my issue. I think that was the red flag for them, I was not going to give up. Truly, I wanted to yell at them and be a jerk but they were so helpful. Because I'm the kind of girl who takes matters into my own hands, and because we couldn't get our shower tile on the walls until the hardware was installed I started looking for the part here in Omaha.  Briggs Plumbing was also a breath of fresh air.  They gave me a great price for the valve even though I had not purchased product with them.  Thank you Briggs!! For the 4th time in 20 hours I was on the phone with Again, great customer service. They refunded me $100 even though I had paid only $75 to Briggs. I should have asked for more but I was just so happy to get my contractor back to work.

Jerry already had another job to do so my bathroom sat as is for one more day.

Work resumed...
The shower valve is in, the cement board is up, the floor pan is in and the cement is in the floor of the shower waiting for my pebbles.


At this point, I have kind of lost track of what happened what day because there was a weekend in there. I am pretty sure this was Monday before I left for my Jamaican Birthday Get-Away

It is finished...oh wait. We had a little problem with a dip in the floor but again awesome customer service from my contractor, he came over to fix it. That's the gray spot by the drain. 

Everyone loves the shower, the girls are even more willing to take a shower now. It feels bigger, I love my new shower!! Thanks Jerry Christensen, you do awesome work!

Here's the final work I need to lighting, new mirror frame, paint and new countertop. The counter top is going to come last because we were going to save money by not doing it. We see now that it "needs" to be done. Good thing is, I can shop around for good deals and possibly find a remnant of granite.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


I received a card today that said, 
That makes me laugh but turning 40 years old does not bother me. For starters I don't feel older just wiser. I have learned a few things in the last 10 years. I may have a few wrinkles but still have my own knees and hips...I'm not that old. 

When I was a kid, (maybe even when I was 32) I thought 40 was old. It's just a number and today I'm proud to own it.

Celebration Time
1. 4 days in Jamaica
2. Lunch with my friend Susan
3. Orchestra concert and ice cream with the family
4. My darling husband planned a party with friends.

It is true...I am one lucky girl.
I prefer to call it so blessed!

Wouldn't it be great to have something "deep" to add here. What do I plan to accomplish in the next 40 years or even the next 10 years? What are the great life lessons I have learned? 
Instead I hope I can just get the laundry done tomorrow.

Wishing you all another day filled with God's greatest blessings...just look, they are there.

There may be pictures added later

Jamaica, Yeah Man!

What an incredible five days I have had! Have you had an experience that exceeded any expectation you've ever had? Well, I just did.

Back in June I reminded my darling husband that my 40th birthday was going to sneak up on him since the fall is an all consuming season for Chris. I have been told that I shouldn't hint at what I want, men need it spelled out. I told him I wanted to be celebrated.  Shortly after that conversation he told me to get my passport. (wow it's going to be a BIG deal) You see I haven't ever been out of the country, except just across the borders of Canada and Mexico before a passport was required. Good thing he gave me plenty of time because I had to order my birth certificate before I could fill out the government paperwork for a passport. Never fear, it all arrived with plenty of time to spare.

So even though I knew I was going out of the country my expectations were low since the budget was low. The other thing he told me was I would be going with a friend, an UNNAMED FRIEND...not my handsome husband. Oh I loved the suspense and surprise aspect of this gift. By the time mid October arrived and softball was over this "single mom" of three active children was in dire need of a get-away. This man that I love delivered. Wow!

I don't know that there is anything from my list of 101 in 1001 days that I can check off but none the less it was more than I expected. Here's a rundown of my most wonderful birthday trip...

Wednesday the 17th
-Fly to Orlando-there was a lengthy layover and delay in Chicago
-Chicago had a big storm that created a difficult landing.

Thursday the 18th
-Fly out of Orlando early in the morning with Danielle Kirgan, destination Montego Bay, Jamaica
-Check in at the 5-star Secrets St James, we were in the pool before noon
Our preferred club pool and the ocean just beyond
Our beautiful room
View from our balcony
Friday the 19th
-We had to get to the pool early since most of our day would be taken up by massages facial and hydrotherapy. As you can tell this was going to be a week of tough decisions.

Mel and Danielle 
Our beach
In our sitting room before going out for our French dinner
 Saturday the 20th
-We hit the pool early.
-Sailing lessons when the wind picked up around 11am
-Lunch at one of the 9 restaurants on locations
-We took an expensive ride into the city for some shopping. I am glad we did it, otherwise I would have always wished I had but next time we won't waste the money.  Truly, the airport had everything the city shops had and we would have avoided the $60 taxi fare
-By 7 pm I was in bed with stomach cramps, etc. Still today I am suffering some issues. I hope I didn't bring home a friend from Jamaica in the form of a parasite.  EWWW!
Add caption
Snapshot of going into town 
Daisy our taxi driver...yep on the right side of the car and driving on the left side of the street

Sunday the 21st
-I slept in while Danielle hit the gym.
-We had a quick breakfast
-Danielle got one more hour in the pool while I finally did some reading.
-Our shuttle left the resort at 9am and our international flight headed for the US at noon.
-Dinner at my favorite place: Season's 52

Monday the 22nd
-My last day of vacation.
-I ran and read before heading to the airport for a long day of traveling back to Omaha.

Was that more than you really wanted to know? It'll be a great reminder of my 40th birthday trip to Jamaica. Trust me I saved all the details for my scrapbook.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Birthday Week

It's here, not my actual birthday but my birthday WEEK! Love celebrating birthdays! This year mine is being done right. My most fabulous husband is sending me on a trip with a dear friend, Danielle Kirgan. I left my house in Omaha today at 1pm. I crawled into bed in Orlando at 2am (1a at home). Tomorrow morning we will be at the airport by 730 am ready for our final vacation destination...JAMAICA!

No pictures tonight, just a brief update.

Prayers for safety in travel and for my family at home. My favorite people in all this world stayed at home, I hope they have a great week. Love you guys!!

Going to bed without proofing this at all.

Monday, October 15, 2012

State Softball Champions 2012

Dannelly, Raabe, Kerkman, Naidas
About five years ago we moved from GI to Omaha. Chris went from being the head varsity coach at a Class A school to the head jr varsity coach at another Class A school. From my view there are 2 major differences in JV & Varsity...time commitment and pressure to win. I was so happy to have Chris in a position to still run his team but not have every decision dissected by people who may know but usually didn't know what they were talking about. (I am thinking about a couple "super parents" as we like to call them.)

This year Chris became a Varsity assistant. While he still enjoys it, as a spouse I will say it's a little more time consuming. Let me be honest here, my fantastic, lovable, always willing to help husband does not have very good boundaries! (UNDERSTATEMENT) For the third year in a row Millard South High School made it to the state championship tournament in Hastings, NE. For the second consecutive year MSHS left the city of Hastings as Class A State Champions. I am so proud of all the girls and coaches!

I don't know if you can see it in the background of this picture but these girls not only won the championship game but they did it in 4 innings with a score of 12-1. That is pretty impressive.

This week would normally be the time that our family learns how to live together again as survivors of high school softball. Truly, it does take a little bit of adjusting to make it all work. This week is a little different. Chris has parent-teacher conferences which means he will be home late every night and I leave on Wednesday for my birthday trip to JAMAICA! Yes, I really just said Jamaica...I can't believe my hubby was able to pull off this surprise. Can I say that I am so happy to be turning 40?? So the following week we will learn to be a family of 5 again.

Blessings to you all!

Monday, October 8, 2012

The COLOR Run for Fun

Yes, I just said that. I love celebrating whatever...whenever possible so it only makes sense that I would "milk it" when it comes to my birthday.

As I mentioned in a previous post, an AZ friend of mine challenged me to a 5K in the fall to celebrate our birthdays. Unfortunately, Kim was not able to fly out for the run due to a nagging foot injury so I encouraged a couple local friends into joining me at the Color Run in Des Moines, IA.

The Color Run is not for serious runners.
Below records our day of fun.
Crazy socks, headbands, and fairy wings!

This is what (part of) 27,000 people waiting to run looks like.
The race was to start at 1pm but I didn't make it to the start line until 55 minutes later.
Kimberly and Melanie waiting to run
On the run we took a pit stop for a photo
The color bomb party post the fun run!
My buddies Kimberly and Susan
I really did have a great time Saturday however the over abundance of participants made it difficult to actually run. My only suggestion would be..."WALKERS, STAY TO THE RIGHT!!"  :)

Since the weather is turning colder now, I don't anticipate anymore fun runs and races in the near future for me. Hope I find something I can do in the spring.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Family PARTY

 The Raabe's turn out for food, family and fun!

 Two of Reagan's cousins gave the yummy kind of gift.
She's pretty excited! Thanks Lisa and Kelly

 It doesn't matter that it was Reagan's party, this little guy always steals the show.
We love you little Levi!
Deep thinking...

We are so blessed to have such a rich support of family right here in Omaha. Thank you to everyone who made it over for dinner last night. I'm sure Reagan will put the money and snacks to good use!