Thursday, December 10, 2015

Phenomenon Trilogy Update

For some time now, Chris has been wanting to move his blog to a site that looks a little more like an official website. It's done. Looking for Chris on the web? We mad it easy on you just type or go here. We know you don't need any new challenges in your life. 
You can even click here ... Home of All Things Phenomenon
Please go ahead and check out Chris Raabe's book webpage
Ok, here's one more chance... CLICK ME CLICK ME

This past Saturday we were surprised to see a fantastic article in the Omaha World Herald about Chris and friend/author John Kalkowski. This should take you there Chris and John are good friends and co-workers at Andersen Middle School. If you know Chris at all then you know he gives John a hard time about which book the kids like better. Truthfully, we are thankful to have a partner in crime for Chris. They do many book events together and bounce ideas off one another. What a blessing.

Are you looking for a last minute Christmas gift? Currently we are waiting for a big shipment of books to arrive at our house. Until they arrive, you can order from our website ORDER BOOKS HERE or from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and locally from The BookWorm (90th and Center) and Barnes and Noble (143th & Center). All three books are also available in kindle format. FYI: there's a kindle app for apple devices.

Wishing each and everyone of my readers a happy holiday season. Blessings!

Lots of links in this post
No excuses for not finding the book.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Double Digit Daughter

There's something about the baby turning ten years old. Our family had a wonderful weekend with Liv celebrating her first decade of life. Happy Birthday Sweet Girl!

 Movie Night and A Sleepover with her Besties!
KK, Liv and MT
K.K. is a new friend from Liv's new school
M.T. is the first friend Liv met after moving to Omaha seven years ago.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Lights On A Tree

Christmas brings me such joy. It's not the gifts however I enjoy giving. It's not the cold December weather for sure! It's not just the decorations although Christmas lights bring out my inner child. Christmas music is pretty great but sometimes I need silence. My joy comes from something so much bigger, it's that tiny baby boy born 2000 years ago. The story is old and yet still so relevant. Commercially Christmas has become something of glitz and glamour and too often about what we can get. Hmm... In some strange way maybe, that's just what God meant it to be. His son came to earth as the light of the world, there is no light that shines brighter. And the gift He gave us, well it is all about US. He gave us the gift of life, there is no greater gift.

On December 1st, my daily reading took me to Isaiah 9:6-7. This was the day I got excited about Christmas. I instantly grabbed my phone to find Handel's Messiah on YouTube. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Start at minute 35 to hear the passage I am talking about. 1:50:39 the Hallelujah Chorus begins ) Can't you just hear the choir singing those words with the symphony playing at full strength? I'm getting goosebumps right now!

Now back to my title, "Lights on a Tree!" The decorating has begun, below you will find a sample of what's going on at the Raabe household. 
My skinny tree
The big family tree
Love this Nativity
Our New Advent Calendar

Tree on the front porch
My old wreath that really needs some TLC
Here is Emma taking down the first envelop of the new Advent Calendar. It's very different from what we have done in the past. December 1 was not what they expected, a revamped cell phone contract. And I quote Emma, "this advent calendar sucks!" Ha I promise it has gotten better. I consider cell phones to be the gift that keeps on giving. We should all recognize the blessing and gift that they are. :)

Let me challenge you to seek the joy in December rather than allowing stress to weigh you down. you don't have to buy expensive gifts and you don't have to travel to every family member's celebration this Christmas. Keep it simple and remember Jesus is the one and true reason we celebrate Christmas. He knows your struggles and He loves just the same. Praise God for His love of all mankind!

For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the gov't will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this. Isaiah 9:6-7

Saturday, November 28, 2015

60 Shoes

Firsts are the things we remember and often the things we write in a journal, smear all over social media and obviously post in a blog. My most recent first was hosting Thanksgiving. Honestly, I have been waiting for the day that Aunt Helen releases this honor to me. Twenty-two years ago I attended my first Raabe (Ray-bee) Thanksgiving at Lynn and Helen's house on Boyd circle. There are so many memories at that split level house and the HUGE tree out front. Memories: early morning shopping, Grandpa Raabe pretending to call Tom Osborne during the football game, Emma seeing snow for the first time, family pictures in the tree and boys vs girls flag football in the circle, to name a few. Every year since she has hosted and only years that we did not live in Nebraska have we missed. It's something our entire family looks forward to each November. This Thursday started with rain and ended with ice which lead to our guests leaving early but we all managed to eat a lot, laugh, lay around in a food coma and continue to try to figure out the secret behind Grandma Heller's mashed potatoes.

I should have taken more pictures this year, here's what I got.
some of the 30 shoes in attendance
Food Line
Heller Family
Raabes Family
After the crowd left we began our Star Wars Movie marathon, which ended up being only one movie that night. I hit up the internet for some shopping then we all headed to bed. After all, Black Friday no longer is a big shopping day in this house since retail stores have completely ruined it. Friday morning the whole clan meets at Hy-Vee for breakfast and then watch the Huskers. Chris was the only Raabe who braved the 20 degree temps to watch our beloved Nebraska Cornhusker football team loose another game. 

Time to turn the page, the Christmas decorating has begun and Christmas cards should go out in the next couple of days. Thank you K-Love Radio for the Christmas music in my van, I am in my happy place! I don't know if we will have any Christmas time firsts, however you can bet to read about them here if we do. Now to keep my cat out of the Christmas trees. Much love to each person reading this blog!

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!!