Day 796: Turning 30

Rachel, Day by Day

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Me throughout the years.

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

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Me throughout the years.

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

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Me throughout the years.

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

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Me throughout the years.

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

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

Day 795: New Baby

Rachel, Day by Day

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Our baby boy. 🙂

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

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

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Hanging out with Baby N in the hospital.

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

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He knows how to pose already!

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

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

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Our first family photo.

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

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

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Baby N at home!

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

Day 794: My Grandpa

Rachel, Day by Day

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

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

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

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

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Ray, Gramps, and me.

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

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Ray and I helping Grandpa clean up the Prairie Path.

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

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Me, Gramps, and Grandma.

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

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

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

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

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

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Me, Gramps, and Scott on vacation in Michigan.

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

 

Day 793: January and February Update

Rachel, Day by Day

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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!

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    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!

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    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: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VW8PmhTcIJk
  • 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.

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    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!

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    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.

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.
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My baby bumps over time.

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Our new home.

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Many of my family members on Christmas Eve.

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Christmas Day with Scott’s family!

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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!

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Scott and Champaign friends!

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Late Christmas with Scott’s family.

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

Happy Saturday!

Day 791: June Through October Update

Rachel, Day by Day

Day 791: June Through October Update

I went to Wisconsin Dells with my family in September!

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

June

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

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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!

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Sammy Sosa raising his helmet in 1998.

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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 789: Patrick Sharp

Rachel, Day by Day

Day 789: Patrick Sharp

Patrick Sharp and my mom in 2009. I took this photo at the Blackhawks Convention.

We Blackhawks fans lost someone dear to our hearts recently in a trade to the Dallas Stars. Yes… it was Patrick Sharp. We’ve been worried about this even before the Blackhawks took home the Stanley Cup, so we were a bit prepared. But, it’s still extremely devastating.

Patrick Sharp joined the Blackhawks in 2005, so he has been with the team for a whole decade. Since I’ve been to the Blackhawks Conventions six times now, I’ve learned about him as a player and a person. We all know what a great player he has been on the Blackhawks, but his personality is another reason why I’m a fan. At one of the conventions, I remember him saying early in his career on the Blackhawks when fans weren’t going to the games and the team wasn’t so great, he and the other players stood on the streets of Chicago handing out free tickets to people. That’s dedication right there. And now he has three Stanley Cup wins.

At the conventions, I saw a more friendly and silly side to him. He was involved in funny Second City skits, he randomly showed up at panels to tease the other players, and he always had something nice to say. We learned how he loved to pull pranks on the players when on the road; it was great hearing about that. When people asked him questions about his success, he seemed shy and humble. What a nice guy.

As you can see from the photo above, my mom is a fan of Patrick Sharp. In 2009, she stood in line to get his autograph. She was maybe third to last in line, but she made it! I stood at the side to get a photo of the two of them. When there were three girls left in line (including my mom), Patrick Sharp looked up at them, smiled, and waved. All three (including my mom again) waved back with huge smiles on their faces. And I got that great photo above! Right when my mom was done, she came up to me and asked, “Did you see he waved to me?!” It was a cute moment.

Patrick Sharp, you will be missed around Chicago, as a player and a person. You will always be a Blackhawk in my heart, even years down the road. It’s been a pleasure watching you play these past 10 years. Thanks for all the wonderful memories!

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 787: Trip to Dallas

Rachel, Day by Day

Day 787: Trip to Dallas

A beautiful view of Dallas!

Back in May, I went on a work trip to Dallas! It was a fun and educational time. This photo above is the view from my hotel (the Dallas Omni). It was a beautiful hotel and was actually a green one. Basically my room didn’t have power until I put the key in a slot near the door. It was neat! There was even a TV in the mirror in the bathroom. Fancy!

Throughout the week I met some really nice members of STLE and it was great getting to know the people I worked with on the magazine. I also worked at the Information Booth, went to lots of meetings, and attended some important dinners. I even sat in on the Basic Lubrication Course.

One night I was able to walk to the Book Depository with a few editors (where John F. Kennedy was shot). I’ve been there before, but it was still sad, yet interesting. I’m not sure if I’m a fan of the cross on the road where he was shot, but oh well.

Day 787: Trip to Dallas

The Dallas Book Depository.

The main floor of the Annual Meeting.

The main floor of the Annual Meeting.

One evening, I was able to go to an event at Southfork Ranch! That’s where they filmed the show Dallas. We got a tour of the grounds, ate a nice dinner, and played some games. I even got on a fake horse and roped a fake cow! I never thought I’d do that in my life. It was a fun night.

The house from the show Dallas!

The house from the show Dallas!

It was a good time and was a nice little getaway! Next year’s Annual Meeting will be in Las Vegas… I’m looking forward to that!