Day 799: Year in Review

Rachel, Day by Day

Day 799: Year in Review

I went on the biggest ship in the world this year!

Overall, for 2017, I’m not fond of what’s going on in our country, but I personally thought it was a good year! I had many fun times with family and friends, so I thought I’d do a little year in review. I’ll make it a list with a few photos so you don’t get too bored.

New Year’s Day Party with friends
Baby N learning to crawl and walk
Phantom of the Opera downtown with Scott
Many wonderful visits to Normal
Saw the Chicago Cubs World Series trophy

Day 799: Year in Review

Me, Baby N, and the Chicago Cubs World Series trophy!

Our Super Bowl Party
St. Patrick’s Day Party with friends
Baby N turning one

Day 799: Year in Review

My baby boy turned one.

Visited the Ball Factory with Nicole
Brookfield Zoo with my mom and Scott
Early Easter in Normal

Day 799: Year in Review

Baby N and his cousins celebrating Easter.

Cubs game with Ray
Easter in Champaign with family
Having dinner with Brittany downtown
A train bar crawl with friends
Concert in Lilacia Park
Miller Park Zoo in Normal
Mother’s Day in Normal, early Mother’s Day with my mom

Day 799: Year in Review

My family.

Conference in Atlanta
Uncle Paul visiting for a week
Swim lessons with Baby N

My wonderful co-worker’s retirement party
Father’s Day in Normal
Met Baby James
Picnic with my dad’s family
Kendyl’s birthday at the bowling alley
July 4 Party with friends
Softball games with Ray’s league
Hung out with Melissa in Naperville
Paul McCartney concert

Day 799: Year in Review

Paul McCartney concert!

Cuban restaurant with family
Arlington Race Track with friends
J-Bone visited
Concerts in Hillside
Caden’s birthday party in the backyard
James’ baptism
Oak Park Beer Fest
Wisconsin Dells with family

Day 799: Year in Review

Playing at the water park.

Elmhurst Food Fest with my mom and friends
Get-togethers with college girls

Day 799: Year in Review

College friends!

Alzheimer’s Walk in Normal
Cubs game, Wrigley Field Tour with HBK, Scott, and Ray

Day 799: Year in Review

Wrigley Field!

Maggie’s baby shower
Uncle John moving to the area
Sonny Acres
Wyatt being born
Boo at the Zoo
Halloween festivities in Normal
Taking Baby N trick-or-treating for the first time

Day 799: Year in Review

Cousins celebrating Halloween.

Day 799: Year in Review

Trick or treat!

A wonderful and amazing cruise with family

Day 799: Year in Review

Having fun on the cruise.

Day 799: Year in Review

First time on the beach.

Bought a Honda CRV
Thanksgiving with Scott’s family
Visit to Springfield/Peoria with Scott’s family
A great holiday season with lots of family and friend time

Day 799: Year in Review

Christmas Eve.

Day 799: Year in Review

Christmas Day.

Spa day with college girls
Wonderful times with family and friends

Day 799: Year in Review

Those are the many highlights for you! Hope 2017 was good to you and 2018 is even better.

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Day 798: My Story

Rachel, Day by Day

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Me (on the left) hanging out with college friends while dating him. I’m pretty sure he kept calling that night.

With everything going on this year regarding sexual harassment and abuse, I thought I’d tell you my story. I’m going to write about something that has been difficult to talk about for about 10 years now. It might be good to finally get this out in writing since I’ve never done it before. I’ve always been scared to share this story, thinking you would judge me or think less of me. I’m not asking for sympathy or for you to feel sorry for me. I just hope you can learn something from this if you are in a similar situation.

About 10 years ago I was hurt by my boyfriend at the time. I was about to be a junior in college when I started dating him, and we broke up at the very beginning of my senior year. Besides having a brief boyfriend in high school, he was my first real relationship that lasted a while.

When we started dating over the summer, he was nice to me and gave me lots of attention. Me, being only 20 at the time, liked the attention. He took me out to nice restaurants, wanted to spend time with me, and actually paid attention to me. It was new and exciting for me.

When I went back to college that junior year, our relationship was still pretty new, and it became long distance. That’s always hard for a new relationship. But we’d call each other a lot and visit on weekends.

At first our phone conversations were sweet, but after a while he would call over 10 times a day, which felt like he was just checking up on me. He’d ask, “Where were you earlier? What are you doing now? Who are you with?” over and over again. With that many phone calls, it’s hard to come up with exciting things to talk about, so he’d start telling me I’m boring and don’t have anything smart to say. I remember one early conversation I brought up my dad, who passed away about 5 years earlier, and he said something like, “Who cares? I’m tired of hearing about him.” We hung up later and I cried. I thought maybe it was a one time thing and he was crabby.

After a few weeks, he told me he loved me. I was flattered and excited, but couldn’t say it back right away. I was still trying to figure out how I felt. But he kept bringing it up and got angry, so one day on the phone I just said it back. He was thrilled, but I wasn’t sure if I fully meant it.

As time went on, he got more jealous and paranoid that I’d cheat on him. It felt like he was calling every hour to make sure I wasn’t with someone else. If I didn’t answer, he’d scream at me and I’d have to explain over and over again I was in a class or doing homework. If I went out with friends, he’d call even more and try to get me to go home. He bashed my family and friends so I’d only want to see him. He was very manipulative.

To him, one minute I was amazing, beautiful, and smart, the other I was stupid and fat. He had random moments of kindness that made me wonder if he’d change. Being a girl with low self-esteem, I believed all the bad things. I thought this was what I deserved.

When we were together, I slowly started noticing the physical abuse. He’d randomly punch my arm if I pissed him off and say, “Oh come on, wimp, I didn’t hit you that hard.” This kept happening more and more throughout our relationship. He once pulled me by the hair and threw me out of his house, all because I didn’t want to play tennis. Yes, tennis. But if I started to yell back at him on the phone, he’d hang up on me, call me later, and act like everything was normal.

I stuck with it for almost a year because he said he loved me and no other guy did. And he made me believe I was nothing, so I thought he was all I deserved. He kept telling me he’d change. And I kept hoping he would.

Our relationship officially ended one night when he almost sexually assaulted me. I was extremely lucky and got away. He kept calling me after that begging me to get back together with him. I definitely didn’t, but I decided to answer his phone calls and treat him like crap, the same way he treated me. I’d scream at him on the phone and tell him what a horrible person he was, and he stopped calling maybe two weeks later since he couldn’t handle it. I had some great times yelling at him, though.

I thought about getting a restraining order or taking him to court, but I never did. I never wanted to see or think about him again. Looking back, I think I should have gotten a restraining order. I’m lucky he never came after me again. Not everyone gets that lucky.

My family and friends, especially my mom, brother, and college friends, helped me through this difficult time in so many ways, and were so supportive during and after. I know they were worried the entire time and wanted to protect me, and they did everything they could. I ignored their occasional plea for me to leave him, like most people do in this kind of relationship. To quote the movie Perks of Being a Wallflower, “We accept the love we think we deserve.” But I’m glad I eventually listened to them and got out.

I saw a social worker years later. Many years after my relationship with him, I thought I was completely stupid for getting in that situation. But she told me I wasn’t stupid at all. So many women go from one toxic relationship to the next and never know how to get out of them. She told me I’m not stupid because I got out and learned from the relationship. And my low self-esteem has gotten slightly better over time.

Ten years later to today, things are way better now. I have a loving family, friends, husband, and child. I now know what I really deserve. My husband showed me what real love means, and I thank him every day for that.

I hope you learned something from this story. And if you are in a relationship like this, I hope you get out.

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 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 779: Cell Phone Timeline

Rachel, Day by Day

Throughout my lifetime, my family and I have gone through a decent amount of cell phones, and all of them have been very different from each other. I thought I’d go through and explain each type of cell phone I’ve had over the years, since the late 1990s. Yes, there was a time when you couldn’t surf the Internet on your phone!

CellPhone2

See the descriptions below that correspond with the cell phone number.

Phone 1. I was in middle school when we got this phone, which had to be between 1997 and 2000. Back then we called it a car phone. I thought it was the coolest thing ever. My mom and dad mostly used it while I would pretend to call people with it. I thought the antenna and the flip thing at the bottom were amazing. I remember asking my dad if I could dial if he was going to call someone. We rarely used this phone since it was for emergencies only. We had this phone for many years, too.

Phone 2. When I was in high school (probably 2000-2002), my mom and dad each got their own phones, which looked like Phone 2 in the photo collage. We had Nokia phones for a while! When we got these phones, my mom and dad used them more often and we stopped calling them emergency and car phones. We basically used these instead of bringing 50 cents everywhere to use a payphone. And we only used them to call and say where we were at the time. Conversations were not very long on phones back then; we didn’t want to use up all of our minutes!

Phone 3. I think this was the first phone I ever got all on my own, instead of borrowing my parents’ phones. Mine might have had an antenna you had to pull up before talking, though. I got this my junior or senior year of high school, in 2003 or 2004. I remember bringing it to a night class for the ACT, and a girl in my class taught me about texting. I had no clue what it was and I didn’t understand it at first. But once she showed me how to do it, I thought it was awesome. We texted each other during the class, and I later found out we got charged maybe 10 cents for each text. I’m glad they are included in phone bills now! I used to keep this phone in my locker in case I needed to call my mom. I then brought it to college and used it most of my first year, between 2004 and 2005. I was behind on the times, though. Most people had flip phones by then.

Phone 4. And speaking of flip phones, I eventually got one in 2005 or 2006! These were extremely popular back then. I thought I looked so cool flipping open my phone to answer it. It had an antenna, too. You had to press the numbers on the keypad to text. Thinking back on that, it took forever compared to texting and typing now. I think I could go on the Internet with this phone, but no one ever did because it was extremely complicated to actually look at websites and things. Plus, it cost money to use it.

Phone 5. This was an upgraded flip phone I probably had from 2006-2008. Not only was there a cool screen when you flipped it open, but there was another screen on the front! And… this was insane at the time… but there was a camera!! I only took a few photos with it since the quality was horrible, but it was fun to have. Those were probably the only newer features compared to Phone 4.

Phone 6. This was a huge upgrade for me and this was probably my favorite phone for years. I had it from approximately 2009-2011. The sliding keyboard was the coolest thing ever at the time, and made texting a lot faster. I still didn’t use the Internet since my phone was technically not a smart one, but I was completely fine with that. Again, I’m usually behind with the times. A lot of people had iPhones at this point.

Phone 7. I got my first real smartphone in 2011 or 2012 and haven’t looked back since. I now use apps and I actually go on the Internet. Can you believe it? There are no buttons, antennas, or things to flip. It’s just a phone with a big touch screen. And I like it. My goal in life is to not be taken over by this phone and not use it 24/7, though. It’s still more fun to have actual conversations with people and go out without using your phone! 🙂

See how cell phones have changed in my lifetime? It’s crazy to think about this, and I’m not even that old. Each new phone had awesome features over the years, and more and more features are added. What new phone will I write about 10 years from now? We shall see.

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 752: Something Orange

Rachel, Day by Day

February 2015 Photo a Day: Day 3

Day 752: Something Orange

My Illini hoodie.

Why hello there! Here is something orange for you… my Illini hoodie. I’ve had this probably since 2004 when I found out I got into the University of Illinois. My family was nice enough to buy me Illini clothing! Wow, I’ve had this hoodie for 11 years. And it still fits! I’ll consider that a good thing. I love wearing this hoodie; it’s so comfy. It’s definitely one of my favorite casual outfits. In fact, I might put it on in a minute.

So far so good with the February challenge. It might get tougher as the month keeps going. Especially if we continue to get snow! I had no clue it was supposed to snow again today; it took me an hour and a half to get home from work. Everyone was going really slow, but I’m fine with that. The roads were pretty snowy and icy. When I got home, I shoveled, ate dinner, and had a glass of wine. Not a bad night!

Hope you are having a good Tuesday!

Day 713: Grace

Rachel, Day by Day

Day 713: Grace

I got to meet this beautiful baby girl last month! My friends, Christina and Wes, are now proud parents to Grace (see photo above). Isn’t she adorable? I had to hold back tears when I met her; she is so beautiful. I did not want to let her go! She was born on August 20 and I met her when she was 1 week old. She pretty much slept the entire time as I was holding her and would squirm occasionally. Here’s a photo of us together:

Day 713: Grace

I really want to visit her again; she probably looks completely different by now! I think I’m still in shock that Christina and Wes now have a baby girl; we would talk about getting married and having kids when we were in college, and it’s just crazy to see how time has flown by. I can’t wait to see Grace talking someday and walking around. Ah, I miss her! How is it possible to care this much about someone you just met? Life really does bring you miracles sometimes. I hope we get to hang out again soon, Grace!

Day 687: College Friends

Rachel, Day by Day

Day 687: College Friends

Sorry it’s been over a month since I updated my blog. April ended up being an extremely busy month! It was full of fun things, but I also had a lot of work to get done. This month won’t be as crazy, so I should have more time to write!

In the middle of April, I got together with my college friends and their husbands! Here’s a photo (above) of us (Melissa, Christina, me, and Brittany). I miss these ladies a lot! It was great seeing their husbands, too. Christina is pregnant and is due in August; I’m so excited for her and Wes! Wow, we are all growing up.

We all ate dinner at Claim Jumper and then went to this really cool bar called Beer House. They had an insane amount of beers, so I got to try some new ones! I tried a few wheat beers that were really good.

It’s been getting warmer out; that’s exciting! Goodbye, crazy stupid winter. I will not miss you.

Off topic, this year I gave up granola bars and hummus for Lent. I will admit that it was one of the harder seasons of Lent I’ve experienced in my lifetime! I usually have one or two granola bars a day, so it was hard not grabbing one at work! And, I love hummus. I definitely missed it.

The Blackhawks are in the playoffs!! It’s definitely an exciting time. I’ll be posting more about this topic soon. 🙂

I’ll update again soon!

Day 667: Double Take College Friends

Rachel, Day by Day

Double Take

Day 667: Double Take College Friends

Photo on left: Taken on October 28, 2006. From left to right: Me, Melissa, Christina, Brittany.
Photo on right: Taken on February 18, 2012. From left to right: Me, Melissa, Brittany, Christina.

Ladies and gentlemen, Double Take is back! Sorry the photos are a bit small, but here are my wonderful college friends! The photo on the left was taken at our college apartment before going out! I think we went to The Highdive in Champaign that night for some dancing. I remember because lots of people were dressed up in costumes being close to Halloween. We weren’t really into Halloween during college. So, this was a little over 7 years ago. Crazy! And these photos are 5 years and almost 4 months apart. We have definitely changed a lot since college! I don’t really wear tank tops in October anymore. It’s crazy how young we look compared to now, too. I look completely different with the curly to straight hair! My hair is curly most of the time now, though. But my hair back then was really blonde compared to now.

I keep looking at the differences in our hairdos. When I look at Melissa, I notice she has the same hairdo and smile in both photos! Brittany has the same hair; it’s just a bit shorter now. Christina’s hair is mainly to the right side in both photos, too! We haven’t really changed our hair much; we just look older (and hopefully more mature) now.

For the photo on the right, we were celebrating Christina’s birthday at Melissa’s house! It was a fun party. Maybe it’ll happen again in 2014…? 🙂 We were posing by Melissa’s fireplace. I think we also took a photo with prom poses, too. Yes, we are still silly occasionally.

I’m really glad the four of us still remain close friends; I always hear about how people lose touch after college, but we haven’t! In fact, we are all getting together next week and I’m excited about it! I love these girls so much and can’t wait for more fun times in the future.