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.

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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 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!
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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.

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 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 780: Arizona Trip

Rachel, Day by Day

Day 780: Arizona Trip

A beautiful Arizona sunset.

Just a few weeks ago, I went on a little trip to Arizona to visit my cousin Kim and her husband Raymond! I had a blast. I went on the trip with Scott, my mom, Ray, Uncle John, Uncle Paul, and Sydney. We got in very late Wednesday night, so we didn’t do much besides go to bed soon after arriving. On Thursday, we walked around the downtown area of Arizona State University. It was a cool area with bars, restaurants, and shops, so we stopped at an outdoor bar for some appetizers. The mountains around there were gorgeous! Later that evening, we ate some Buffalo Wild Wings and headed to the Coyotes vs. Blackhawks hockey game! The majority of the people there were Blackhawks fans… it was amazing!

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The gang before heading to the Blackhawks game.

Day 780: Arizona Trip

The Blackhawks about to kick butt!

The Blackhawks ended up winning 2-1. They had a lot of shots on goal, so I’m surprised there weren’t more goals! I’m glad they won, though. We then hung out at Kim’s place for a while… Kim and I had some lemon martinis! 🙂

On Friday, we went to the Cubs game at Sloan Park! It was a beautiful day. Sadly the Cubs lost, but at least it’s just Spring Training.

Day 780: Arizona Trip

At Sloan Park with Scott.

Day 780: Arizona Trip

From left to right: Me, my mom, Sydney, and Kim. Go Cubs!

After the game, we went to a restaurant called Oregano’s pizza. It was delicious! We waited a while for a table, so Kim, Sydney, and Ray ended up running through the sprinklers. Silly! We then went to Baskin Robbins for some ice cream and played games at Kim’s house.

On Saturday, I hung out by Kim’s pool with my mom, Sydney, Uncle John, and Kim while the rest of the gang golfed. It was a relaxing afternoon! We dared Sydney to get into the pool even though the water was freezing… and she did it! I tried it, too. Wow, it was cold!

Day 780: Arizona Trip

Sydney in the cold water!

I tried In-N-Out Burger at lunchtime for the first time ever, and it was really good! I haven’t had a hamburger in about six years, so I thought it was time to have one again. Later that evening, we went to Rustler’s Rooste for dinner and I had some really good salmon. The view there was amazing. Here it is!

Day 780: Arizona Trip

Beautiful view of Arizona.

After dinner, we played some games and had lemon martinis for our last night of vacation. Sunday ended up being a really long day full of canceled and delayed flights. We were originally supposed to get home early afternoon, but it ended up being around 9:30 p.m. Yikes!

I had an amazing time with my wonderful family!!

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!

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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 776: My View Today

Rachel, Day by Day

February 2015 Photo a Day: Day 27

Day 776: My View Today

Yep… this is my view.

Happy Friday! Today’s photo had to be my view. So this is the view from my cubicle at work. It’s not the nicest, but it’s not the worst. It was a nice sunny day today, which helped! I wish my view had mountains or an awesome waterfall, but Illinois isn’t that cool. We should work on that. Maybe my view will look better in the spring? We shall see.

It’s been a good Friday night! My family and I went to a restaurant I’ve never been to before called Pappadeaux. It’s a delicious seafood kitchen; I ate some really good tilapia. Mmmm. My mom and I had some good wine, too! The place was packed, so it was good we made a reservation. I would definitely go there again. I ate way too much, though.

Yay, it’s the weekend!! Woo!!