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.

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!

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 786: Mother’s Day

Rachel, Day by Day

Day 786: Mother's Day

Happy belated Mother’s Day! Above is a silly photo of my mom, Ray, and me. We decided to do the hip pop thing… I never thought I was good at that! I like how it turned out, though. Ray and I got my mom some gifts and we took her out to dinner to Rock Bottom Brewery. At that restaurant, they gave every mother a flower, so that was nice. I hope she had a good day!

As a mother, what is more appealing on the day… spending the entire day with your kids or being left alone most of the day? I watched an episode of The Middle where the mom wanted to be left alone. Would you agree with that? I know it’s a show, but maybe most moms feel that way! It probably depends on how old your child is… terrible twos are different from the 20s. I miss the days when we’d work on Mother’s Day craft projects in school. Maybe I could still make her a picture frame out of macaroni.

Have a lovely day!

Day 782: Easter

Rachel, Day by Day

Day 782: Easter

Adorable Kendyl and Caden!

Well, sorry. I’m very behind. I’ve done a horrible job at updating my blog all month! My apologies. I hope you forgive me some day.

Ready to hear about Easter? I know it was a while ago. It was a nice weekend! I spent time with Scott and his family. I helped Scott’s mom prepare for Easter and I tried making jello eggs. Unfortunately I need to work on them… they fell apart later. I’m sorry! On Easter day, we went to church in the morning and made it back on time to see Caden and Kendyl (see the cuties above) go on an Easter egg hunt! They looked like they had a good time. We then stopped by Scott’s grandparent’s house for a bit and then to Granny’s house. We ate a nice meal there and got to be outside on a beautiful day! And I got to eat goldfish crackers again since I gave them up for Lent. I’ve been eating them A LOT this month! Mmmm.

Later in the day, I spent time with my family, too! It was a family-filled and fun Easter. I’m a fan of this holiday since that means spring is here! This might be my favorite season… they weather gets warmer and the days get longer!

I’ll try to update more soon!

Day 763: Heart

Rachel, Day by Day

February 2015 Photo a Day: Day 14

Day 763: Heart

Mmmm, cookie!

Happy Valentine’s Day! Today’s picture had to be of a heart. Makes sense. This is a photo of a heart cookie I made for Scott. The cookie was supposed to be in the shape of a heart, but that didn’t work out so well. But, the icing is a lot better! I also made him some French macarons from scratch. They are very complicated to make! But, they turned out well. These cookies are delicious; I love chocolate chip!

My day has been great! It’s been a very relaxing day for the most part. Scott and I went out to dinner tonight to 100 South Chop House and Grill; it was delicious. I ate some Mahi Mahi and clam chowder soup…mmmmm. Yummy. I also had a lemon drop martini that tasted really good. We then later went to Flight 112 for some wine; it looks like a very hip wine bar. I felt pretty cool being in there. I would go back! It’s been a nice night, except for the crazy cold weather!

I hope you had a lovely Valentine’s Day, if you are single or with someone. I used to hate this holiday when I was single, but it isn’t always about having a significant other. You can have a nice, happy day with friends and family!

Goodnight, all!

Day 747: Brrr Snow and Cold

Rachel, Day by Day

Day 747: Brrr Snow and Cold

On the train to Chicago… what a cold day!

Why, hello there! The beginning of January was nice for me. I didn’t have to work again until January 5, so I ran a lot of errands, slept in, and was able to relax! Now it’s back to reality. But wow, it’s been pretty darn cold lately. Last week was awful with negative temperatures and it hurt to be outside. As you can see from the photo and caption above, I traveled to Chicago one day last week for a class and took the train. That isn’t the greatest photo, but you get the idea! Luckily my walk in Chicago only took 2 minutes, but it was still horrible with the wind! To keep the train track switches working, there were lots of little fires actually on the tracks. It kind of freaked me out at first! I tried getting a photo, but it didn’t work.

I never wrote about New Years! Scott and I dressed up and went out for a very nice dinner. They had a champagne special, so I had a few glasses. I sort of forget that I actually like champagne since I only have it once a year. We then rang in the new year back at our house. It was a nice and relaxing night. Happy 2015! Time is really flying.

Let’s see… what else is new? I went to Dave and Buster’s recently with Scott and my brother. It was fun! I haven’t been there in a while. I won the bonus on two arcade games, which gave me around 500 tickets. That was awesome! I went home with a set of glasses shaped like footballs. Maybe I can use them at a party sometime? We’ll see!

Stay warm!

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 745: The Zoo

Rachel, Day by Day

Day 745: The Zoo

The leopard posed for me!

Hello again! Scott, my mom, Uncle John, and I went to Brookfield Zoo over the holidays! It was a cold day, but it was fun seeing all the lights and animals. Above is a photo of a leopard for you! He was pacing back and forth most of the time, so when he stopped and posed, I took a photo. During the holidays, there are lots of beautiful lights around the zoo; I really liked it! Here’s a fun photo of Uncle John for you:

Day 745: The Zoo

The bird behind Uncle John has a big wing span! His arms don’t stretch out that far.

I got to see the penguins, so that made me happy! A lot of exhibits were closed, including the dolphin exhibit. That made me a bit sad. But, we got to see cool birds, bats, reptiles, bears, lions, hippos, and more! I love the zoo this time of year. Here’s yet another photo for you:

Day 745: The Zoo

Holiday lights!

It was a very fun day! I kind of want to go back in the summer. Maybe the temperature was too cold for the animals, so there might be more when it’s warmer!

Have a good evening.

Day 744: Christmas Day

Rachel, Day by Day

Day 744: Christmas Day

Opening presents Christmas morning! From left to right: Jeff, Scott, and Curtis.

Merry Christmas! Scott and I spent the day seeing his family members. We started out at his parent’s house (see photo above) and opened presents with them and Stacie’s family. It was cute seeing the kids open their presents and get excited. Everyone was too generous again this year! We got a Keurig, lots of coffee, a Christmas pillow, a nice decorative frame, and more!

We then headed over to Scott’s grandparents house for some food, drinks, and family time. It was nice seeing people I don’t get to see very often! We watched the kids and his grandparents open presents. We got his grandma some nice white gloves; I wasn’t sure if she’d like them, but she really did! That made me happy.

We then headed over to Granny’s house for another Christmas gathering! She made a nice dinner for us, including ham, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and more. Everything was delicious! Here’s a photo at her house for you:

Day 744: Christmas Day

Opening presents at Granny’s house!

We opened presents with everyone there and played some games! We played the Heads Up game from the Ellen Show and a Christmas trivia game. We did a white elephant exchange with the cousins and I ended up with the Christmas trivia game. Scott won scratch-off lottery tickets and ended up winning $2. Yay!

It was a fun Christmas day and night!

Day 743: Christmas Eve

Rachel, Day by Day

Day 743: Christmas Eve

Some family members eating Cuban food on Christmas Eve!

Happy holidays! It’s been a busy and fun few weeks, so it’s time for an update. My mom hosted the Cuban Christmas Eve for my dad’s side of the family again this year. This is actually the 27th time she hosted it; that’s a really long time! There were about 30 people; some of them are pictured eating above.

We started out by eating some delicious bocaditos made by my Uncle Paul. My mom cooks the pork and black beans and rice for the occasion. The food was really good! We all ate and mingled for a while. Then, the little kids sang some Christmas songs and opened presents. Some of the family played Cuban Bingo as well. It was good to see everyone! Here’s a family photo for you in front of the tree:

Day 743: Christmas Eve

Scott, me, Ray, and my mom.

Later on Christmas Eve night, I opened Christmas presents with my mom, Ray, Scott, my grandpa, and Uncle John. We stayed up really late, until around 2 a.m.! My family was way too generous this year… They are every year! I got some nice new tops, DVDs, scarves, a Blackhawks shirt, and so on. It was a wonderful Christmas Eve night with my family.

Stay tuned for more updates!