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.


Day 798: My Story

Rachel, Day by Day


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


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.


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.


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.


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 793: January and February Update

Rachel, Day by Day


36-week baby bump!

Hello, friends. I thought it seemed about the right time for an update. Life has been busy and full of ups and downs lately. I can’t believe so many things in life can change in a split second right before your eyes, and you barely have time to see it coming. There’s a glimpse into how things have been lately.

First, I’ll talk about politics, but I’ll be very brief. I’m tired of hearing the name Trump and looking at his face. I never thought he’d last this long. Who’s with me?! Ugh, that’s all I have to say about this at the moment. Except I’m proud of what Obama is accomplishing with Cuba. And I want to meet the Obamas someday. That’s a new life goal.

Here’s a list of highlights and lowlights over the last many weeks.

  • I had a very nice baby shower at Wildfire Restaurant near the end of January with my family and friends. The food was delicious! We played Bingo, mingled, ate awesome food, and got some amazing presents for Baby. Everyone has been way too generous! Thanks to my mom for putting it together!


    Baby Shower at Wildfire!

  • Scott and I have slowly been able to have friends over at our new place over the past few months! Too bad we don’t have time for a housewarming party. Maybe after the baby is born.
  • I had another great baby shower a few weeks later with friends and Scott’s family! The decorations and room were adorable; it was a baseball theme! We played some games and ate some awesome baseball park-themed food. I think Baby is doomed to love baseball! Baby got some very nice gifts (except for maybe the Cardinals onesies!) from everyone. Thanks to Stacie, Maggie, and Ashley for throwing such a great shower!


    Baby Shower! From left to right: Ashley, me, Stacie, Maggie, Barb, and Kendyl.

  • Scott and I had a small Super Bowl Party in early February with family. I made a lot of yummy appetizers and had some Super Bowl trivia for everyone. We played the squares game, too. Uncle Paul, Uncle John, Sydney, Grandpa, my mom, and Ray were able to come. It was a nice time! I liked Coldplay at halftime, too. My favorite commercial was the Doritos one with the dogs. Here it is:
  • Sometime in February, I got locked in our half bathroom. The doorknob decided to stop working. I was having a panic attack since it’s a really small bathroom, but Scott was able to get me out. It wasn’t funny at the time, but it is now!
  • Scott and I went to McCormick & Schmick’s Restaurant for Valentine’s Day. They have really good lobster bisque soup! It was a nice evening with my hubby.


    Flowers Scott sent to me!

  • Scott’s work threw a baby shower for us at Brick House Tavern! That was a really cool place; I’d like to go back sometime. It was great meeting everyone and it was really nice of them.
  • My coworkers threw a little shower for me over lunch last week. It was very nice! They gave Baby some very nice gifts. He is spoiled already. I was very surprised!


    Awesome cupcakes from coworkers!

  • On a sadder note, my grandpa passed away this past Saturday. But, I’ll write about that more in another post.

There’s my update for you. Now to go sleep! It’s late.


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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


Many of my family members on Christmas Eve.

Day 792: November Through January Update

Christmas Day with Scott’s family!

Day 792: November Through January Update

My mom and me on New Years Eve!


  • 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.


  • 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!


  • 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…
Day 791: June Through October Update

Our baby announcement!


  • 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.


  • 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!!


  • Cubs made it far in the playoffs. I’m proud of them!!
  • 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 788: Arlington Race Track

Rachel, Day by Day

Day 788: Arlington Race Track

Back in May, I went to Arlington Race Track with family friends! It was a beautiful day as you can see from the photo above. We brought our own food, had some drinks, and enjoyed some fun in the sun. There was a barbecue event going on where you could win a nice grill, but sadly no one in our group won! Oh well.

Day 788: Arlington Race Track

The ladies at Arlington!

I didn’t bet on every race, maybe just a few. I ended up winning some money on the first race, so I didn’t want to gamble too much after that! It was nice catching up with everyone throughout the day. The race track was packed!

Day 788: Arlington Race Track

Ready for the next race!

Sometimes I feel bad for the horses that race… I keep assuming they are treated badly, but hopefully I’m wrong! I can’t imagine being a jockey, either. I have no clue how they can bend on the horse like that! That must be horrible for your knees. I wish I could ride a horse again sometime, but sadly I’m allergic.

What a beautiful day!


Day 784: Amazing Grace

Rachel, Day by Day

Day 784: Amazing Grace

Yikes, I am two months behind!! I was able to visit beautiful Grace a few months ago… I should really visit again soon! Look at how adorable she is (see above)! She was a little hesitant with me at first, but warmed up to me after a while. I was able to make her giggle; her laugh is so cute! If you are reading this Christina, I want to visit again soon! She probably changed a lot since the last time I saw her.

It was great seeing Christina, too! We went out to Olive Garden. I got to see Melissa and Brittany recently, too. We went out to dinner at the Bolingbrook Promenade. I miss these ladies and hope to see them more often!

I’m writing this post between periods during the Blackhawks game. Tonight is Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Championship! I’m nervous and excited. GO BLACKHAWKS!!


Day 781: Beer Fest

Rachel, Day by Day

Day 781: Beer Fest

Hello again! Recently I went downtown with family and friends to Union Station for a beer festival! It was a lot of fun. As you can see from the photo above, we got this little mugs and were able to sample lots of different beers. I liked some more than others… and there were some crazy fruity ones, too! I tried an apple pie beer along with a strawberry rhubarb one. They were a bit strange! They had good music playing and later people were even doing the limbo. My mom and I did it! Good times.

After the beer fest, we went to a restaurant called Prime Bar. It was really good! I had a black bean burger… Mmmm. After a long day of drinking beer, we went home and relaxed. It was a fun day!

I’m so excited spring is here now! And the sun stays out longer. Hopefully we are done with the snow now!!