Day 796: Turning 30

Rachel, Day by Day

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Me throughout the years.

All this time I thought I was going to dread turning 30, but I’m not worried about it at the moment. I mean, so many things happened in my 20s and I thought it would be difficult to close that chapter in my life… graduated college, first real job, first legal alcoholic drink, first car, first apartment on my own, first real relationship, first time I fell in love (or thought it was at the time), first time I actually fell in love, first house, first smartphone, first (and only) marriage, first kid, and so on. A lot can happen in 10 years.

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Me throughout the years.

It’s really strange looking back. There are certain parts of my 20s I won’t miss. The bad dates and relationships in my early 20s, a horrible relationship that hurt me badly and I thought had scarred me for life, losing loved ones, being apart from my husband for a little while, struggling through every-day stresses and drama of being a young adult, and so on. The first week living on my own, I was almost robbed in the middle of the night and now I’m kind of afraid to leave windows open. I went through my 20s without my dad and somehow made it through. I lost a lot of close family members in this decade (Grandma, Uncle Pat, Aunt Carol, Grandpa) and I miss them every day.

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Me throughout the years.

While there were some bad times, I’m getting somewhat sentimental remembering the good times. I was able to live with some amazing friends during college and I’m glad I live closer to them today! It’s crazy thinking how we used to stay out until 3 a.m. many nights; I don’t think I could do that now! We had some awesome and silly times together. I met some great friends at my first real job, and sadly we are all scattered in different places now. I stayed in touch with some high school friends, which has been great. I went on a lot of awesome trips with my mom, Ray, and other family members, and had many fun nights with them in general. I met the love of my life during college and later married him. I got some great in-laws out of this, too! Our child recently came into this world and it’s been wonderful getting to know him and having him in my life. I went on some great trips with friends and family, including Mexico, Michigan, Las Vegas, a road trip to California, Cedar Point, a cruise, San Antonio, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Paris, Miami Beach, Punta Cana, Ireland, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and so on! I swam with dolphins, met the Stanley Cup, found a Corner Bakery not on a corner, went to numerous Cubs games, met Jonathan Toews numerous times, saw friends and family members get married, went parasailing, climbed up the steps of Notre Dame Cathedral, saw the Grand Canyon, got engaged, got married, had a child, and much more.

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Me throughout the years.

Even with the bad times, I know I’ll be able to look back on my 20s and smile. They are definitely a time for learning and growing. I don’t regret the bad relationships and I don’t feel stupid about them anymore. In fact, I came out of them a stronger and more confident person (I could still work on the confidence part just a little bit). I used to be so naïve in my early 20s, and feel like I’m out of that phase now. But, I’m still the silly, weird, caring, worrisome, funny, loving, sensitive girl from birth. Just a little bit older. So this decade made me part of who I am today.

What do I look forward to in my 30s? Definitely watching my son grow and taking him to new places. Spending time with family and friends. Spending time with my wonderful and amazing husband. Going to Cuba (which would be absolutely amazing). And watching the Cubs win the World Series. The Blackhawks could win another Stanley Cup, too.

Day 795: New Baby

Rachel, Day by Day

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Our baby boy. 🙂

Guess what… I had a baby! Scott and I have a beautiful baby boy born on March 13, 2016, at 3:55 p.m. I don’t want to give you his name since the Internet can be weird sometimes, so we’ll just call him Baby N. If you really want to know his name, leave a comment and ask me! And I’ll break up my thoughts with photos for you so you don’t get completely bored. WARNING: If you don’t care to read about the birth, don’t read this! It’s not very graphic, though.

The morning he was born, I started having contractions around 7:30 a.m. I didn’t believe they were real ones at first since they didn’t hurt that much, but the more time went on, the more they hurt and got closer. I waited it out at home until around 11 a.m. I started getting impatient around 10 or 10:30, and I think I told Scott to be quiet a few times. Sorry about that, Scott! By the time I got to the hospital, I was in a lot of pain. It was hard checking in and filling out paperwork in that amount of pain. I wanted to yell at everyone, but I kept quiet! I found out I was already at 6 cm (if you don’t know, you start pushing at 10 cm). My doctor was surprised at how fast I progressed! So, I was taken to a birthing room and I worked through some more painful contractions. My mom, brother, and Scott’s family all waited patiently!

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Hanging out with Baby N in the hospital.

I ended up getting an epidural, and I barely made it in time for one. I didn’t get a full dose, but it worked for a little while. My doctor mentioned later how I probably didn’t need an epidural at all… I’m still not sure if I agree with that. It got painful near the end there. By the time the doctor was done setting up the epidural, I was 9.75 cm along. Again, the nurse and doctor were surprised! For some reason the epidural machine would randomly make a noise that sounded like a cat. I thought I was losing my mind and that there was a cat somewhere in the room, but the nurse explained that to me later. Strange.

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He knows how to pose already!

I’ll be honest… I had no clue what to expect with the contractions and actual pushing. I thought you could push whenever you wanted, but I guess you need to wait for a contraction. Sometimes I didn’t have one for minutes, so we had to wait. I was getting slightly annoyed and wanted to keep pushing to get it overwith! That’s not how it works, though.

Right before pushing, Baby N decided to move into an abnormal position. It gave me contractions in my back, which hurt! Somehow he moved back to the correct position, and I still don’t know how that happened. I had an exercise ball between my legs to help, but I don’t think it did anything.

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Our first family photo.

Pushing was a bit harder than I thought it would be. For a little while it seemed like I wasn’t making any progress. I kept asking the nurse if I was doing it right. I guess I assumed you’d push a few times and the baby would come out, but it takes a little longer than that! My mom and Scott supported me through that and were extremely helpful. They counted for me and kept telling me I was doing a good job. Once Baby N was ready to join us, things got hectic in the room! The doctor and nurses were setting things up and moving around, and that’s when I knew things were happening. Baby N soon joined us after that!

So, how do I describe the moment I saw him? Unbelievable. Amazing. Breathtaking. Exciting. Scary. I cried a lot and all of a sudden fell in love. It’s crazy thinking about how quickly I fell in love with this little guy once he was in my arms and on my chest. It’s a feeling I will never forget.

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Baby N at home!

I’ve sucked at updating my blog and tomorrow he will already be two months old! I’ll have to write more about him as I have time. There’s lots I can say about Baby N, and they are all amazing things. Stay tuned and I’ll try to update sooner!

Day 794: My Grandpa

Rachel, Day by Day

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Grandma, Grandpa, and me after I was baptized in 1986.

After 88 years of living an amazing life, my grandpa passed away this past Saturday. I was able to visit him a lot in the hospital and be there as he left this world. I’m still in shock since he seemed fine just a few weeks ago. This is going to be tough for a while, and I’m going to miss my regular Thursday night visits with him. We’ve been having them for over a year now, ever since I moved back to the area. After my first ever Thursday visit, he called me just to make sure I got home OK. That was sweet.

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My family and I on vacation. I was tiny! From left to right: Me, Grandpa, Uncle Pat, Grandma, and Ray.

I’ve never met a man so kind and caring toward others. He always put his family and friends before himself. He took care of my grandma and would help out our family whenever we needed anything. During my last conversation with him, he even looked at me and said, “Hi, baby. I worry about you.” As he was lying there being sick, he worried about me. Only an amazing man like him would do that.

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Ray, Gramps, and me.

My grandpa was one of the many contributors that helped make my childhood so wonderful. He’d take Ray and I out on the bike and we’d get TCBY yogurt all the time. I remember sitting behind him on his bike when I couldn’t ride my own yet. His pants would start falling down, so I’d pull them up for him. And then I’d shout to him, “Hey Gramps, I just wanted to let you know I pulled up your pants for you.” He’d shout back, “OK!” He probably thought I was extremely silly.

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Ray and I helping Grandpa clean up the Prairie Path.

My family and I went on numerous vacations with him, to Wisconsin, North Carolina, Nebraska, Michigan, and so on. I’m so thankful to have many photos and memories with him. He’d go to all of my sporting events, band concerts, and so on as I grew up and he would cheer me on. He was always there at graduations and birthday parties, too. We’d have family game nights with him, my grandma, and others; those were always my favorite nights.

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Me, Gramps, and Grandma.

When I was being confirmed in the Catholic Church, some family members wrote letters to me. Gramps wrote me a sweet letter about how he was proud of the woman I had become. I’ll never forget the last line because it made me cry at the time. He wrote, “My littlest angel has grown up.” It still touches my heart.

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A family photo! My mom and dad are standing in the back. From left to right in the front: Me, Gramps, Ray, and Grandma.

Gramps loved to go on the Internet and Facebook. He especially loved looking for new recipes. Years ago, he sent me this email that makes me smile: “I went on Google and typed in rabbits, and one of the answers was pages and pages of little bunny rabbits. Are you aware of this? Love, Grandpa.” He knew me so well.

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Me, my cousin Emily, Gramps, and Ray at an Illini football game.

During my last conversation with him, I was able to tell him our baby’s full name. I did so while holding his hand and forehead, and as tears ran down my face, but I was able to get it out. I asked him if he liked it and he nodded his head. He then said, “Wow, that’s a beautiful name.” I then told him I loved him over and over again. As I was leaving for the night, he told me he loved me and said, “Thanks for the great honor.” So, as of now, Scott, Gramps, and I are the only three people that know the baby’s name. And it’s tearing my heart apart, in both a good and bad way.

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Me, Gramps, and Scott on vacation in Michigan.

It’s going to be extremely difficult going on in life without him. But I know I’ll feel him around occasionally and he’ll be watching over all of us. I know he’s happy to be with his wife and son. Gramps, you were one of the greatest men I’ve ever known, and I will miss you and love you always.

 

Day 792: November Through January Update

Rachel, Day by Day

Day 792: November Through January Update

I saw a Steve Martin and Martin Short show!

Hello, everyone! Yes, I know I suck lately at updating my blog. Things have been EXTREMELY busy lately, though. You’ll understand after my update! There hasn’t been much free time, but I’m finally getting to things today. Here’s another bulleted list update of November through January for you, with some photos of course.

November

  • My family and I saw Steve Martin and Martin Short perform in a comedy show. It was awesome (see above photo)!
  • Spent Thanksgiving with Scott’s family.

Thanksgiving with cousins.

December

  • We closed on a new house December 18. Moving things took a while, but it’s finally done.
  • I got together with many awesome friends over the holidays. I also spent Christmas Eve with my family and Christmas Day with Scott’s family. We tried that Pie Face game on Christmas Day… it was crazy!
  • Went to my Uncle Paul’s house for a get together. It’s fun doing that every year!
  • We moved a lot of things over to the new house in December and January. I get tired thinking about it!
  • I spent New Years Eve with my family and celebrated Uncle John’s birthday.
Day 792: November Through January Update

My baby bumps over time.

Day 792: November Through January Update

Our new home.

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Many of my family members on Christmas Eve.

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Christmas Day with Scott’s family!

Day 792: November Through January Update

My mom and me on New Years Eve!

January

  • Had a late Christmas with my mom’s side of the family. It was good seeing everyone!
  • We got to see friends in Champaign! That was also great.
  • Had a late Christmas with Scott’s family. It was also a celebration since Granny is out of the hospital! I’m extremely glad she’s healthy again.
Day 792: November Through January Update

Feeding my cousin Duncan Keith. I’m practicing!

Day 792: November Through January Update

Scott and Champaign friends!

Day 792: November Through January Update

Late Christmas with Scott’s family.

There’s an update for you! Basically we’ve seen a lot of friends and family, moved lots of things, and unpacked our house over the last few months. And now it’s time to start preparing for our kiddo! I’m getting excited to meet him.

Happy Saturday!

Day 791: June Through October Update

Rachel, Day by Day

Day 791: June Through October Update

I went to Wisconsin Dells with my family in September!

I realize I haven’t updated in a long time, so I thought I’d just give you the highlights over the past many months! Here you go.

June

  • I got to hang out with Andrea and Kim.
  • Steve visited us to watch a Blackhawks game.
  • Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup and I watched with family!
  • I went to the Blackhawks parade with Hannah and Sydney.
  • We spent Scott’s 30th birthday in Normal. We ate crepes and went to Pub II with family!
  • We celebrated Scott’s birthday by going to a Cubs vs. Cardinals game in St. Louis.
Day 791: June Through October Update

Cubs vs. Cardinals game for Scott’s birthday!

 July

  • I hung out with Brendan, Anne, Kate, and Graham in Lisle.
  • We got to hang out with the Koehlers in the Chicago suburbs!
  • I got to hang out with Mel, Christina, and Brittany more often and see Grace! And…
  • SCOTT AND I FOUND OUT WE ARE HAVING A BABY!!
Day 791: June Through October Update

Our baby announcement!

August

  • We had our first baby ultrasound.
  • Met my new cousin Duncan Keith. Got to see Champaign friends the same day, too!
  • I went to a Cubs vs. Sox game at The Cell. Cubs won!
Day 791: June Through October Update

Our first ultrasound photo.

September

  • Got to take my photo with the Stanley Cup!! Then later that night, I went to the Cubs game with Scott, my mom, and Ray!
  • I went to Wisconsin Dells with family over Labor Day weekend.
  • My friend Stephanie got married on September 12.
  • Went to the Cubs game with Steve!
  • Went to a Cuban restaurant in honor of my dad’s birthday. Scott accepted a new job offer, too!
  • Went to the Apple n’ Pork Fest and saw Kendyl play soccer!
  • Uncle John visited a few times!
Day 791: June Through October Update

Me and the Stanley Cup! We are BFFs!

Day 791: June Through October Update

Cubs game with Steve!!

October

  • Cubs made it far in the playoffs. I’m proud of them!!
  • FOUND OUT ON OCTOBER 31 WE ARE HAVING A BOY!!
  • Buying a new house soon and we close soon.

There you go! And I’ll really try to update more often. Goodnight!

Day 778: Christina’s Party

Rachel, Day by Day

Day 778: Christina's Party

Prom poses! From left to right: Brittany, Christina, me, and Melissa.

Why, hello there! I’m a bit behind, but a few weeks ago, I went to my friend Christina’s birthday party! She had people over at her house for some drinks, snacks, games, and fun. I had a GREAT time! A bunch of us played a board game called Encore and it was a blast. Essentially you get a random word on a card, and you have to think of songs with that word in it. It’s difficult at times, but fun! And it doesn’t help that I’m bad with lyrics occasionally. It was great chatting with everyone that I haven’t seen in a while. And I’m glad I got to catch up with these wonderful ladies in the photo above. I hope I get to see them more often!

It feels like spring is just around the corner… I love this time of year! The days slowly get longer and the snow starts to melt. The days get warmer, too. What could get any better than that??

Enjoy your Monday night.

Day 777: Reflection

Rachel, Day by Day

February 2015 Photo a Day: Day 28

Day 777: Reflection

When will my reflection show who I am inside? (In case you didn’t know, this line is in the song Reflections from Mulan.)

Well folks, here is a reflection for you. I went shopping and had lunch with my mom, so I took this photo through the side mirror while she was driving. It’s a cool shot since you can see the house in the back while looking through the mirror. Too bad there wasn’t something more interesting behind us, but that’s OK. I didn’t really want to take a photo of myself in a mirror or anything, so this is what you get for today! Enjoy.

I’m going to my friend Christina’s birthday party tonight!! I’m excited to see her and everyone. Woo!

Well, sadly today is my last day of the February photo challenge. Overall, it wasn’t really challenging, but that’s OK. I had fun coming up with ideas even though some might have been boring. Maybe I need to find more difficult challenges! I hope you all enjoyed reading my February posts and looking at the photos. I might do another one of these challenges in April, but don’t worry… I’ll definitely be posting in March! Lots of things to look forward to.

Have a lovely Saturday!

Day 757: Water

Rachel, Day by Day

February 2015 Photo a Day: Day 8

Day 757: Water

A Brita pitcher full of water.

For today’s picture in the photo challenge, it had to be water. Too bad I don’t live near the ocean! Since I don’t, here’s a pitcher full of water for you. I like using the Brita pitcher; it makes the water taste better sometimes. Mmmm, water is so nice and refreshing. What else can I say on this subject? Not much.

Last night, I went to my friend Graham’s surprise 40th birthday party! It was a fun time. I got to see friends I haven’t seen in a while, which is always great. For his birthday, we all chipped in and got him a CD for every year he was born. So he had 40 gifts to open! It was pretty cool. I got him a Hootie and the Blowfish CD from 1994. He really liked them! We had some good food and drinks at the party. The chocolate cake was delicious! And later we even had a pinata. Fun times! Here’s a photo collage for you:

Day 757: Water

Fun times with friends!

It was a fun party. Happy birthday to Graham!

Hope you all had a good weekend!

Day 746: Year in Review

Rachel, Day by Day

Day 746: Year in Review

Our first wedding anniversary. 🙂

2014 was a great year! There were many great times with family and friends and I have so much to be thankful for. Time really has flown by and I can’t believe 2014 is almost over. From family gatherings on weekends to a trip to Las Vegas, we did a lot this year! 2014 ending makes me sad in a way. The majority of the year had great times, but there were also some tough times, too. But, I had Scott, family, and friends by my side, which has always been a great feeling. I don’t know what I’d do without them! I am one of the luckiest girls in the world.

Here’s a list of the highlights from 2014 for you!

  • Last New Years Eve: We rang in the New Year at Medici and Maggie Miley’s.
  • I started the Double Take project, but sort of neglected it. Sorry!
  • Kate, Graham, Steve, and Jillian visited to watch a Blackhawks game in January.
  • I needed two fillings, my first fillings ever!
  • My family visited in January and we went to Carl’s ice cream!
  • Ate at Biaggi’s with Scott for Valentine’s Day.
  • Went to the Bloomington Thunder game in February with family and met Tony Esposito!
Day 746: Year in Review

Uncle John meeting Tony Esposito!

  • Celebrated Soleman’s birthday at Kings and Park Tavern in Rosemont in March.
  • Elmhurst St. Patrick’s Day parade in March.
  • St. Patrick’s Day parade in Normal and threw a little party!
  • Met Grant Bitzer. He’s such a cutie!
  • Attended the Going Away Party for my cousins Matt and Jackie. (They moved to North Carolina.)
  • Fancy happy hours!
  • Got together with college friends and their husbands in April. Went to Claim Jumper and Beer House.
  • Spent Easter weekend with my family. We colored eggs and ate brunch at Drury Lane.
  • The ending to How I Met Your Mother was awful. Ugh.
  • Spent our first wedding anniversary in Chicago!
  • Went to Cubs vs. Cardinals game in the bleachers at Wrigley. Cubs won!
Day 746: Year in Review

Ready to watch the Cubs win!

  • Spent Mother’s Day weekend with my mom! Went to McCormick and Schmick’s for dinner.
  • Chicago Blackhawks made it to the playoffs but lost. I’m still proud of them!
  • Had a Memorial Day BBQ at our house with my family and Scott’s family.
  • Met Trgyve, my friend Kim’s baby!
  • Cornbelters vs. Bandits baseball game and got to see Soleman.
  • Went to Caden’s baseball game and Kendyl’s soccer game.
  • Jeff’s 60th birthday party!
Day 746: Year in Review

Celebrating Jeff’s (Scott’s dad’s) 60th birthday on a beautiful day.

  • Scott’s birthday: Went to Pub II and had family over for dessert.
  • Saw Jimmy Buffett in Tinley Park!
Day 746: Year in Review

The gang tailgating before the Jimmy Buffet concert!

  • Went to Caden and Kendyl’s birthday parties.
  • July 4th party at family friend’s house.
  • My birthday: Went out with Brendan and Anne for pizza. Had dessert back at our place, too!
  • Went to a Bandits softball game.
  • Blackhawks Convention!
Day 746: Year in Review

Got to love Toews and Kane!

  • Went to Christina’s baby shower and Anne’s bridal shower.
  • Cracker concert with Kate and Graham.
  • ALS ice bucket challenge. Yes, I did it twice.
  • Barbecue with friends at our house.
  • Met beautiful little Grace in August!
  • Vacation: Went to Wisconsin Dells over Labor Day weekend.
Day 746: Year in Review

Hanging out in Wisconsin Dells.

  • Celebrated Grandpa’s 87th birthday.
  • Anne’s bachelorette party in Chicago!
  • Laura and Tyler’s wedding in September.
  • My 10 Year Reunion. Yikes!
  • Anne and Ted’s wedding!
Day 746: Year in Review

A bunch of awesome ladies at Anne’s wedding!

Vacation: Las Vegas for Ray’s 30th birthday!

Day 746: Year in Review

The family together in Las Vegas for Ray’s 30th!

 

  • Carved pumpkins in October.
  • Went out for Halloween. Scott was a ninja turtle and I was Captain America!
  • Sydney was in the musical Annie Get Your Gun.
  • Started my new job in November!
  • Thanksgiving at my mom’s house.
  • Movie nights with Mickey.
Day 746: Year in Review

Hanging out with Mickey! I love this guy!

  • Mom’s 60th birthday celebration at McCormick and Schmick’s.
  • Spent day in Chicago seeing the Christkindlmarket and Wrigley Field.
  • U.S. and Cuba relations will be better soon, thanks to Obama!
  • Spent Christmas Eve with my family and Christmas Day with Scott’s family.
  • Went to Brookfield Zoo.
  • Movies I saw for the first time: The Hulk, Man of Steel, The Illusionist, Hoop Dreams, Saving Mr. Banks, Gone Girl, Interstellar, Bull Durham, The Godfather, and probably more

Sorry, that was a long list! The toughest part of this year was losing my Aunt Carol in August. She was a very caring a special woman and I’m still having a hard time without her. I can’t imagine how her children, grandchildren, and husband must be feeling. But, we have definitely been there for each other through this difficult time. I miss her so much. It really hurts sometimes.

One great thing I was able to accomplish this year was that I finished scanning all of my mom and dad’s old photos. This project took years, and I’m finally done! I’m so glad we have all of them as digital copies. I should make 1,000 copies, just in case!

Overall, this year was a good one. I have so many wonderful people in my life and I’m glad I got to spend time with them. There were some changes this year, but I think they are for the better. I can’t wait to see what will happen in 2015! I think it will be a good year, too, especially since I have Scott and great family and friends to make memories with. Goodbye 2014, and welcome 2015!

Day 740: My Mom’s Birthday

Rachel, Day by Day

Day 740: My Mom's Birthday

Happy birthday, Mom!

My mom’s birthday is at the beginning of December, so we all celebrated! As you can see from the cookie cake, this year was her 60th birthday. My grandpa, Uncle John, Ray, Scott, Mom, and I all celebrated the weekend before and went out to a nice dinner at McCormick and Schmick’s. That place is delicious! I ate some really good seafood; they have a really good chopped salad, too. Yum!

My mom opened her presents from us; she got a gift card to a clothing store, champagne glasses, and a 60th birthday photo book. I hope she liked everything! And as you can see, we got her a cookie cake. Here’s another photo for you:

Day 740: My Mom's Birthday

Me, my mom, and Ray.

We also took her out to dinner again on her actual birthday. Lots of celebrations! I hope she had a good birthday weekend.

I hope my mom knows how special and amazing she is; she’s been by my side my entire life and I’m so thankful for her. We’ve been together through both good and bad times, and we’ve made some great memories. Thanks for always being there for me! I love you, Mom!