Day 796: Turning 30

Rachel, Day by Day

201607071101

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.

201607071103

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.

201607071105

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.

201607071106

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 790: Chicago Cubs… Could This Be the Year?

Rachel, Day by Day

Day 790: Chicago Cubs... Could This Be the Year?

Some awesome Cubs players huddle on September 1, 2015. I took this photo!

Alright, Cubs fans. Let me here ya.

I haven’t written in a little while, but felt the need to write about the Chicago Cubs right now. In case you haven’t been paying attention, they are doing very well. And they’re in the playoffs. And they just beat the Cardinals. All good things.

I keep thinking about the Cubs’ past and mine with them. My family (dad, mom, Ray, and me) shared season tickets with others for almost 20 years, starting back in 1988 until around 2007. We mostly went to night games and weekend ones. Our seats were perfect… first row in the field box section right behind home plate. Here’s a photo of my view all those years:

Day 790: Chicago Cubs... Could This Be the Year?

The view from our seats in 2006.

When I was little, I’d bring my baseball glove and homework during night games. I’d try to quickly get through the homework before the game started. I didn’t have time to do it right after school! Anyway, being a Cubs fan my whole life (which is 29 years) has its ups and downs. I lived through years with Jim Riggleman as their manager and saw many losses… years full of losses. I remember many of us booing him. But, there were the amazing highlights such as watching my favorite Cub, Tuffy Rhodes, get three home runs on opening day in 1994. In fact, my family started calling me Tuffy when I played softball. I went to one game with just my dad, and the Cubs ended up winning by a crazy amount, maybe 19-2. We just kept laughing the whole time. We watched Sammy Sosa in his home-run race against Mark McGwire in numerous games. We went to playoff games in 1998, 2003 and 2007. So there have been some great times. My other favorite players included Joe Girardi, Mickey Morandini, Gary Gaetti, Glenallen Hill, Kyle Farnsworth, and Derrek Lee. I loved all of them!

Day 790: Chicago Cubs... Could This Be the Year?

Sammy Sosa raising his helmet in 1998.

Day 790: Chicago Cubs... Could This Be the Year?

I got to meet Kyle Farnsworth in 2002!

Then there are the wonderful moments I remember with family and friends at Wrigley Field. When I was a little older, I’d run to the perfect spot to see Harry Caray sing during the 7th inning. We’d see random celebrities at games, including Penny Marshall, Scottie Pippen, Hillary Clinton, Billy Corgan, and more. We became friends with the people sitting in the row behind us and would talk to them all the time. We got to sit in a skybox during one game. I’ve been lucky enough to go on the field at least three times. My family and I got to meet some awesome players at Cubs Conventions. My family put my name on the scoreboard for my 21st birthday. The one memory I love the most is when I was younger, my dad would put me on his shoulders during every 7th inning stretch until I was too big. I felt on top of the world. I wish he was here to see this Cubs team. He’d be going nuts.

Day 790: Chicago Cubs... Could This Be the Year?

My family and me in a Wrigley Field skybox in 1999.

Day 790: Chicago Cubs... Could This Be the Year?

My brother Ray and me meeting Joe Girardi in 2000. As you can see, he signed this photo later!

As you can see, the Cubs gave us hope at times, but it always went away. I would call myself a cautious Cubs fan after all this time. I might regret what I’m about to say, but I need to get it out. I’m usually hesitant and nervous about the Cubs, even when they have made it to the playoffs in the past, but I’m having a different feeling with this current team. I’m still nervous, but I’m more excited and I feel real hope for once. For some reason it makes me want to cry! I get emotional thinking about how well they could do this year. And I keep thinking about my dad and how much he’d love this. I love all the players on this team: Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber, Dexter Fowler, Jake Arrieta, Jorge Soler, and more!

Me on the field for a Women's Clinic in 1994.

Me on the field for a Women’s Clinic in 1994.

Me, my mom, and Ray at a game in 2007.

Me, my mom, and Ray at a game in 2007.

So, to the other Cubs fans out there, be proud of your team this year. And even though we’ve lost hope in the past, don’t give up hope this year! And to the Cubs, no matter what happens this year, thank you for giving us fans such a fun and exciting season to watch! GO CUBS!!

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 742: Cuba

Rachel, Day by Day

Day 742: Cuba

Photo of Cuba my dad took in 1999.

I’m sure many of you have heard about Obama’s plan to lift restrictions between the U.S. and Cuba. I’ve heard of many people not liking this idea, including Miami Cubans and some Republicans. Are you ready for my opinion? I think this new development is GREAT.

I honestly have no clue how many people read my blog and if you already know me pretty well, but here’s a bit of some information about me. I am 25% Cuban. I know it’s not much, and my skin is as white as a ghost, but I guess it’s something. When I tell people I’m part Cuban, I usually hear a laugh or see a shocked look. My dad was born in Cuba and he definitely looked Cuban. Here’s a photo of him below to prove it.

Day 742: Cuba

My dad in his class photo a year after he came from Cuba.

Anyway, I know my opinion doesn’t matter in the long run, and maybe Cubans shouldn’t care about my opinion since I’m only at 25% and I don’t speak Spanish fluently, but I’m giving it anyway! I really liked hearing my dad’s stories in Cuba and I wish he told me more before he passed away.

Back to the U.S. and Cuba news. The U.S. hasn’t had a good relationship with Cuba for decades now (has it really been 54 years?), and I never understood why it had to be this way for so long. Can’t we ever let bygones be bygones? It’s time to let go of the past, and I’m glad Obama was able to figure this out. This means there will be regulations to ease agricultural exports and establish banking relations. Restrictions on certain goods and services will be more relaxed. Tourism will be great and much easier for U.S. and Cuba. Can you imagine taking a direct flight there? That would be amazing! Not only will this be great for U.S. citizens, this will also help out those from Cuba as well. How is this not a win-win situation?

On a more personal note, Cuba has been my #1 place to visit for as long as I can remember. I remember writing that down on a project in middle school, which was about 15 or 16 years ago. My dad, his parents, and his siblings grew up there, and we still have some family there today. I don’t know who they are or how I’m related, but it would still be great to meet them someday. Also, there were two places my dad and I always talked about going together: Spain and Cuba. I went to Spain in 2003 a year after he died, in his honor. It was an amazing trip and I thought of him the entire time. Now, I want to finally head over to Cuba for him, and this dream might be coming true sooner than I expected. Click here to see what we should do in Cuba! Thank you, Obama.

So, those are my thoughts on this new development. Hope you enjoyed reading this!

Day 719: Best and Worst of the Week

Rachel, Day by Day

Day 719: Best and Worst of the Week

Here’s my Jonathan Toews bobblehead I keep at work. He keeps me company. Thank you, Steve!

Here you go! The best and the worst highlights from this week.

Worst of the Week
1. Finding a red bag in front of our house with two cats inside it. I hope the cats are OK.
2. My butt hurts from sitting many hours each day.
3. Hearing people hammering and drilling all morning while I tried to work. This happened most of the week.
4. I stubbed my toe at the grocery store and my toenail cracked a bit.
5. My allergies were pretty darn bad this week.

Best of the Week
1. Drinking a smoothie on my dad’s birthday this past Tuesday. He used to like making smoothies with me.
2. Laura and Tyler’s wedding!! And seeing friends at the wedding!
3. I love eating soup in autumn weather; it’s a warm fuzzy feeling. I think I ate soup twice this week.
4. Beautiful weather this week! And hanging out with Scott’s family in their outdoor deck on Friday!
5. Writing Scott a postcard from Chicago when I went last Saturday and Sunday. Yep, I’m silly.

Day 699: Robin Williams

Rachel, Day by Day

Day 699: Robin Williams

I thought I’d dedicate a blog post to Robin Williams since his passing recently. I always felt strange about celebrity deaths, especially for actors I don’t know much about. I guess it’s a sad and uneasy feeling, but definitely not like losing a loved one or someone you are close to. For example, when Philip Seymour Hoffman died, I wasn’t as affected by it; I haven’t seen many of his films and I really didn’t know anything about him. But, for Robin Williams, I was shaken up just a bit more than usual.

I’ll be honest, I don’t know much about Robin Williams’ life. I know he was married and had a couple kids, and I can tell you he is a hilarious man, but that’s about it. I went through a list of his movies and realized he was there for me a lot in the 1990s as I was growing up. The first three movies I saw of his were Hook (1991), Aladdin (1992), and Mrs. Doubtfire (1993). I watched these movies over and over again as a kid, especially Mrs. Doubtfire. He was perfect for the role of Peter Pan and because of that movie, I hoped and believed Neverland existed. He made me laugh hysterically as the genie and I even bought a magic lamp around that time. I would rub it, but sadly the genie never showed up! Although there were sad parts in Mrs. Doubtfire, he came through in the end and proved to be a great dad (and a great older lady).

Later in the 1990s, I saw Jumanji (1995), Nine Months (1995), and Jack (1996). Jumanji scared me a bit as a child, but I loved how he bonded with the kids and got through the terror of the board game. Actually, someone bought the game for my brother and me. We played maybe twice; I was deathly afraid the actual events would happen! (They didn’t, don’t worry.) Nine Months wasn’t a huge hit as a movie, but I thought he was hilarious as the crazy doctor who didn’t exactly know what he was doing. His accent was great, too! And, of course, there’s Jack. I watched this one over and over again, too. I loved how he could act like a kid as an adult; he made that hilarious. And I loved red gummy bears, too. Good times.

Later in this wonderful decade, I also saw The Birdcage (1996), Flubber (1997), and What Dreams May Come (1998). He made a great team with Nathan Lane in The Birdcage and I used to really hope flubber was real. What Dreams May Come touched me in a way I never expected. I saw it maybe a year after my dad died, so it was hard for me to watch, especially seeing Robin Williams in a more serious role. It’s a hard movie to get through, but I honestly hope and pray that it was all real (how we go to heaven and can reincarnate). It ended up being a beautiful movie I hope to see again someday.

In the 2000s, I saw One Hour Photo (2002) and August Rush (2007). His characters in both of these were creepy, weird, and mean. I think it was a good time for me to see him in different roles from hilarious and funny. The last movie I saw recently with him was Good Will Hunting (1997). His character was touching in that movie, too, and I cried a few times.

I’ll get to my main point now. Robin Williams’ career was perfectly timed in my life. He made so many funny and hilarious movies as I was growing up, and he got to more serious roles as I got older. In a way, it feels like we were growing up together. He was a great person, wonderful actor, and amazing sidekick in my life. He made my childhood more fun and full of laughs. I wish I could thank him in some way; maybe I’ll have a marathon soon. He touched my life more than I realized. What a good man.

Thanks for the wonderful memories!

Day 678: Family Visiting

Rachel, Day by Day

Day 678: Family Visiting

I am extremely behind! This photo is from the middle of January, and now we are in March! Sorry about this folks (who actually read this). My family (Uncle John, mom, Ray, and grandpa) decided to visit Scott and me for the day! Since we’ve had such cold and snowy weather, we spent most of the day at our house just chatting and hanging out. I made dinner for everyone (pulled pork sandwiches, potato wedges, and jello). Here’s everyone sitting around the dinner table! Of course, we made a trip to Carl’s Ice Cream for some delicious frozen yogurt and ice cream. Yum! Thanks for visiting! Good times.

Well, winter has been sucky. And that’s all I will say on that subject because I’m a little tired of talking and thinking about it.

Lately I’ve been scanning A LOT of old family photos and I’ve made good progress. I just really like the idea of having digital copies of them. This big project has been amazing and I’ve loved doing it. I recently saw photos of my great-grandfather from 1918. Isn’t that crazy and awesome? There’s lots of photos of my dad and his family in Cuba, too. And it’s fun seeing a ton of pictures from my childhood. As great as this project has been, it’s made me pretty emotional lately. I miss my childhood, my family, and my old friendships. But, it’s hard not to smile when looking at all of these pictures; I really was a happy and extremely shy kid. I have a lot more photos to scan!

Has anyone seen commercials for this Resurrection TV show? If you are watching the Oscars right now, you have probably seen it at least 4 or 5 times. I keep having different feelings about it; it was originally a book, too. I was angry at first and couldn’t believe someone would have the guts to write a storyline like that. Then, I did try to imagine what I would do if one of my close loved ones came back one day. I honestly think I would need therapy. How could anyone handle something like that? You sort of come to terms with the fact that you won’t physically see this person again in your lifetime, but then they show up. I think it would be terrifying… but amazing. I’m curious about the show, but I don’t think I will watch it.

Have a good night, everyone! I will go back to enjoying the Oscars now.

Day 669: Christmas Eve

Rachel, Day by Day

Day 669: Christmas EveMerry belated Christmas Eve! Time for some holiday updates. Here’s a photo of Ray, my mom, me, and Scott on Christmas Eve before my family came over. I like taking photos in front of the tree! I might have to do that with Scott at our house before we take the tree down. Ok, moving on! Christmas Eve was a lot of fun. I got to see most of my relatives, which was great. I only see some people once a year, so it’s a big reunion! There were a total of 38 people this year all hanging out at my mom’s house.

Day 669: Christmas Eve

Some of my cousins (from left to right): Sydney, Dominick, Hannah, and McKenzy.

We all mingled, had some drinks, and ate some yummy bocaditos and shrimp the first part of the night. I went crazy and took a billion photos as people talked to each other. My mom prepared the black beans and rice while my Uncle Joe cut the pork. More photos for you!

Day 669: Christmas Eve

Delicious pork.

Day 669: Christmas Eve

Lovely cousins eating some black beans and rice and pork!

Day 669: Christmas Eve

Lots of relatives eating food!

Before dinner, we watched a Christmas Eve video from 1986. My Uncle Joe converted the tape to DVD. I was 5 months old and we were at my Grandma Sonia’s place. It was great seeing how everyone looked back then! I got a bit emotional when I saw my dad holding me.

After dinner, the kids sang some Christmas songs and then opened presents! It’s weird; there aren’t too many little kids anymore. Everyone is growing up! They sang a lot of songs; I don’t think they ever wanted to stop. We even ended with the 12 Days of Christmas… that took a while!

My cousin Jeff then made cupcake martinis for most of the ladies; I think this has been going on for three years now. I like this new tradition! Then a bunch of relatives played Cuban Bingo. It looks like people were a bit mad I took this photo!

Day 669: Christmas Eve

Cuban Bingo!

It was a fun night with everyone. After cleaning up a bit, I opened presents with Grandpa, Uncle John, my mom, Ray and Scott. I got a lot of nice things! Some include a hat and gloves, sweater, a bunny decoration, Blackhawks pajama pants, a Paris wine glass, a new watch, Settlers of Catan board game, and much more! My family is way too nice to me. I was a great night! I can’t believe it’s over already.

Day 669: Christmas Eve

Uncle John opening the calendar I got him!

Ray got a Blackhawks goal light with the horn!

Ray got a Blackhawks goal light with the horn!

I tried not to post too many photos, but that’s hard to do! Well, enjoy your evening!

Day 656: Double Take Renee and Me

Rachel, Day by Day

Double Take

Day 656: Double Take Renee and Me

Left photo: Taken in 2001.
Right photo: Taken in 2013.

Wow, my friendship with Renee has been going on for 13 years! We met back in 2000 when we started high school. We both joined the tennis team and played the flute, so we instantly connected through those things and became friends! The photo on the left was taken in 2001, so these photos are 12 years apart. I’m pretty sure we were having fun trying on dresses at a store in Yorktown Mall. Look how young we look! We look too young to be in high school. I look a bit ridiculous in that photo with my bra straps showing and my eyes closed, but that’s ok. We used to try on dresses a lot in high school, just for fun and to feel pretty. We’d eat at the food court, too. Fun times! I remember during school, Renee and I would pass a notebook back and forth and write notes to each other about boys and things. I wonder if we still have that somewhere! We used that so teachers would think we were taking notes in class. I miss the days when I’d see her every day!

The photo on the right was taken on my wedding day of the two of us. Renee was a bridesmaid! She flew all the way from Paris for the occasion. We definitely look different, older, and hopefully wiser. 🙂 Renee came to town a week before the wedding and she was able to come to the bachelorette party! I was extremely happy about that. It was great seeing her. And I’ll be visiting her in Paris soon!!

Over these past 13 years, we’ve gone through lots of happy and sad times together, and we were always there for each other. When my dad was sick and then when he died, she was always there for me when I needed her. I’ll never forget that. That’s a real friendship! We went through driver’s education class together, graduations, tennis matches, band concerts, silly crushes on boys, dances, and so much more! I don’t know how to thank her for all the fun times we’ve had. I love you, Renee!