Day 812: Is 2020 over yet?

Rachel, Day by Day

When the world stayed apart, we stayed together.

New Year’s Eve 2019: I was excited for 2020. My Uncle John just got out of the hospital after a bone marrow transplant. I was excited to meet our daughter, who was born in January. I was to receive a promotion at work to publisher/editor-in-chief. Things were looking up.

Of course, everyone knows how horrible 2020 has been for the world. With COVID-19, politics, and racial injustice alone, I’ve been terrified to watch and read the news these days. Life has not been fair for many people: losing jobs, loved ones, and more.

I want to share things about my life in 2020. And some thoughts.

My daughter was born on January 18, one thing that was amazing from this year. It all happened very fast (too fast for an epidural), and I’ve never felt pain like that before in my entire life. But it was completely worth it. She’s a little bundle of joy, and I sometimes tear up from happiness when I see her smile or hear her giggle.

Things turned sour for my family and me in March—like for most people—but for different reasons. Of course, my preschool son switched to remote learning in March like many others, and he handled it well. My daughter started having feeding problems that involved vomiting during almost every bottle, so I took her to many doctor’s appointments. Doctors didn’t want to run tests to avoid COVID-19 exposure, so we tried new bottles, new formula, new feeding positions, etc., and things didn’t change much. I’m normally not an outspoken person, but there were times I was almost arguing with doctors in person and on the phone. They finally ran tests and found her platelet level was high and she has a slight milk allergy. After all this and a visit to the ER, she’s still vomiting occasionally, but she’s doing a lot better.

In April, my Uncle John got worse. He wasn’t responding to the bone marrow transplant very well and passed away on April 6. I hadn’t seen him for a while before his death since we couldn’t visit. When he took a turn for the worse, family was allowed to visit. I wanted to so badly, but I decided not to in case I became exposed or exposed my family to COVID-19 after a hospital visit. It was one of the hardest decisions ever. He was a wonderful uncle and godfather to me, and I’m glad he’s not in pain anymore. I think about him every day.

On top of these things, my brother got COVID-19, we had flooding in our basement, a tornado hit our town, we lost power for days, a mouse got in our house, and our air conditioning went out during a very hot week. I won’t be negative during this whole post, I promise.

On the other hand, I’m lucky. I have my job and I received my promotion to publisher/editor-in-chief. My brother is OK. My daughter still has vomiting episodes, but it’s a lot better. I’m grateful for all the wonderful memories I had with John. I feel like I’m looking at people and the world differently, almost in a sentimental way.

Here’s the thing. My family and I have decided to take this virus seriously. It’s difficult to follow the rules 100% of the time, and I know we’ve slipped up, but we are trying our best. I would never be able to forgive myself if I had COVID-19 and gave it to someone else. I have asthma, which makes me high risk, too. Here are my family’s thoughts and choices regarding this virus:

*We choose to wear masks in public.

*We choose to stay six feet away from people as much as we can.

*We choose to avoid bigger groups. This has been the hardest part.

*We choose remote learning for our son until schools are OK.

*We choose not to have play dates with our kids.

*We choose to stay home as much as possible.

*We choose to do grocery pickups when we need a lot of things.

*We choose to stay away from parks when they are busy.

These are just some of our choices right now. If you agree, great. If you disagree, fine. I choose to do what is safest for me and my family.

I know some people are thinking, Screw this, I’m going to live my life. Well, guess what: I am living my life. I’m making a lot of wonderful memories with my children and husband. I’m able to spend a lot more quality time with my little daughter. We go to places on weekends, just the four of us, where we know there won’t be many people (parks, playgrounds early in the morning, etc.). I’m living my life, but in a safe way to avoid getting anyone sick.

Stay safe and healthy, everyone. We’ll get through this someday.


Day 811: 2019 Year in Review

Rachel, Day by Day

Day 811: 2019 Year in Review

Downtown Chicago on a beautiful day.

Well, 2019 is almost over. There were many ups and downs, but I thought I’d focus on the good. Overall we had a lot of fun times! Here are some of my highlights from this year.


Highlights of 2019

New Years Day party with friends

Sledding (first time for my son)

Many fun outings with my moms group

Visit for Barb’s birthday

Son made it in online magazine for fun kid’s event

Fun activities and outings with friends and our kids

Went to nice restaurant for Valentine’s Day

Stayed at Lake Lawn Lodge for a weekend with my family

Day 811: 2019 Year in Review

Lake Lawn Lodge with Uncle John.

St. Patrick’s Day parade and party with friends

Son’s birthday at the children’s museum and party with friends and family


A fun birthday for this kiddo.

Editing conference in Rhode Island

Family vacation in Philadelphia to visit Chris and Renee


Philadelphia with friends.

Holidays with family (Easter, Mother’s Day, etc.)

Son’s Little Kickers soccer class

My work annual conference in Nashville

Found out I’m pregnant with a girl!

Children’s Museum with family

Gilmore Girls Trivia with my mom

Fourth of July party with friends

Architecture tour in downtown Chicago

Day 811: 2019 Year in Review

Architecture Tour in Chicago

Swam with family over the summer

Day 811: 2019 Year in Review


Basement flooded since our ejector pump stopped working

Trip to Grand Rapids, Mich., just the three of us

Day 811: 2019 Year in Review

A nice family vacation.

Hillside concerts

Family visited and went to Maggiano’s Little Italy

Galena trip with college friends

Day 811: 2019 Year in Review

Fun with friends!

Arlington Racetrack with friends

Son started preschool

Day 811: 2019 Year in Review

First day of school.

Wisconsin Dells trip with family

Day 811: 2019 Year in Review

Wisconsin trip with family.

Rader’s Farm visit with family

Son’s T-ball class

Sonny Acres visit

Scott’s Grandpa’s 90th birthday

Our basement is now finished

Went to Lake Geneva with my Mom and son

Thanksgiving with Scott’s family

Day 811: 2019 Year in Review

Thanksgiving with family.

Polar Express with Scott and son


Meeting Santa on the Polar Express.

Early Christmas with family

Son’s Christmas Program

Christmas at home

New Years Eve countdown kid’s event at a local restaurant

I don’t really have any resolutions at the moment, just try to be a good mom as our baby girl joins us soon. There is one thing I’m proud of in 2019, though. I became more brave and outgoing. I finally feel like I wasn’t so shy and spoke my mind numerous times throughout the year when I didn’t think I would. I hope I can keep this up and continue it for years to come.

I might take a little break early in 2020 since we are having a baby girl soon, but Happy New Year!!

Day 810: Work Travel

Rachel, Day by Day

Day 810: Work Travel

On the road again…

How many of you walk to work? Drive? Take the train? Bike? Cab? I’m pretty sure I’ve been driving to work for all the jobs I’ve ever had, except for babysitting. That was the one time I walked since it was only a few houses down.

I always thought it would be neat to take the train, but then I could see myself stressing about missing the train or the train running late. I like the idea of being able to sit, zone out, read, or do whatever you want on your commute. But then you might have to walk a bit once you get to the train station. Bad weather would not make that fun.

I’ve had a lot of different driving paths over the years. For my summer job in high school and college, it was only a five minute drive with maybe only five lights to go through. For my first job after college, it was probably a 10 minute drive home with the same amount of lights. Traffic was never bad, and it was nice getting home in such a short amount of time.

The worst drive I’ve had was when I moved about an hour away during my first job after college. I moved in with my fiancé, so the move made sense! I was very happy moving in with him (the town and his house were great), but I wasn’t ready to give up that job in the other town, so I stayed and did the long commute for two years. It was 57.5 miles one way on the highway. It was the most boring drive of my life. I kept looking at the clock hoping time would move faster. I mostly put the car in cruise control for that one hour and would sing along with the radio, but time felt so slow. Mornings in the fall and winter were the worst. I started work at 7:30, so my commute was extremely dark. There were no lights on this highway as well. Fog, heavy rain, and snow made the drive bad on some of the days. The fog would get so heavy in the morning, I’d follow other cars just because I could see their tail lights. There was one day the rain was so heavy, I couldn’t see at all. So I pulled over, slowly drove home, and took a sick day. I didn’t want to chance it. I don’t miss that highway. (I left that job and moved away with my husband.)

Now I’ve been at my current job for five years, about 17 miles away from my house. On a good day it takes 25-30 minutes, but I run into a lot of traffic, so the commute home is longer (around 40-45 minutes). It still takes less time for me to get home now, and way less miles. To be honest, I’ll take traffic any day over driving fast 57.5 miles one way. There are other cars around me now, and I don’t feel so alone or surrounded by trucks. It’s still a frustrating drive at times, but that’s part of many commutes.

In an ideal world, I’d go back to that five minute commute, but that’s hard to find these days.

As strange as it is, I’ve only been in one car accident during my commutes, and it was during my first job after college (the 10 minute drive). I was heading through a green light when another car ran a red light. I ended up hitting the woman’s car, but she was at fault since she ran the red light. My car was totaled, but I was fine.

The moral of the story? Not sure, but it’s information I thought I’d share!

Day 804: Everyday Life (Past and Now)

Rachel, Day by Day


Here is everyday life in the mornings with this cutie.

When you look back on your day, it rarely seems exciting or memorable. During your everyday routine, how do you feel most days? Stressed? Worried? Happy? Relaxed? When you look back on a few weeks or a month instead of just a day, you tend to remember the more defining moments in your life (e.g., fun things you did or places you went, a promotion at a job). I thought I’d analyze the basics of what I do day by day now compared to college and my 20s. Since I’m now in my 30s, life is a little different. It’s crazy to think about how your little day-to-day activities can drastically change even over five years.


  • Woke up early (that meant 8 or 9 a.m.).
  • Put some random clothes on (or nice clothes to impress a guy in a class).
  • Went to class.
  • Had lunch with friends in the dining hall.
  • Went to a few more classes.
  • Took a nap between those classes.
  • Went to dinner with friends.
  • Played on the laptop for a while.
  • Talked to boys and friends on AIM (AOL instant messenger).
  • Did a little homework.
  • Stayed up late with roommates watching TV or playing games.
  • Took a shower.
  • Went to bed late.
  • On weekends during the day: Shopped, walked around campus, hung out with friends, did a little homework, binge-watched Dawson’s Creek or Friends, got smoothies, etc.
  • On weekends at night: Pre-drank at our apartment, went to a bar or party around 10 or 11 p.m., stayed out until 2 or 3 a.m., slept in the next day until around 2 or 3 p.m.


Single in my 20s

  • Woke up around 6 a.m.
  • Got ready really fast and then relaxed.
  • Went to work.
  • Ate lunch with friends in the cafeteria or brought my own lunch.
  • Played tennis or worked out on my lunch hour.
  • Ran errands after work.
  • Went home and watched TV for a while.
  • Went for a walk.
  • Made dinner.
  • Watched more TV.
  • Played on my laptop and phone.
  • Took a shower.
  • Went to bed.
  • On weekends during the day: Went for a walk, shopped, did chores around my apartment, cooked something more elaborate, spent time with friends, played games and watched TV, went swimming, etc.
  • On weekends at night: Went to happy hours with friends, played games with family and friends, went dancing, sang karaoke, went to dinner and bars.


Relationship/Married in my Mid to Late 20s

  • Woke up around 5:30 a.m.
  • Got ready really fast.
  • Sang in the car and drank coffee on my way to work.
  • Got to work way too early.
  • Ate lunch with friends in the cafeteria or brought my own lunch.
  • Worked out on my lunch hour.
  • Drove an hour home.
  • Made dinner.
  • Watched TV.
  • Paid bills, watched TV, ran errands, etc.
  • Went to the grocery store to get wine and cookies.
  • Played on my laptop and phone.
  • Took a shower.
  • Went to bed.
  • On weekends during the day: Ran errands or cleaned the house, shopped, cooked something more elaborate, spent time with family or friends, walked around downtown.
  • On weekends at night: Went to a restaurant or bar with the hubby, drank wine and watched a movie, went out with friends or family.


My 30s (Now)

  • Wake up at 6 a.m.
  • Get ready really fast.
  • Wake my kid up.
  • Give him breakfast.
  • Change his clothes.
  • Gather his things.
  • Drive kid to day care.
  • Go to work.
  • Eat lunch at my desk or in the kitchen.
  • Drive home and sing in the car.
  • Play with kid.
  • Make dinner.
  • Watch my kid occasionally not eat what I make, so make something else.
  • Clean up.
  • Take a shower.
  • Play with kid.
  • Give him a bath and put on his pajamas.
  • Do our bedtime routine.
  • Pay bills, watch TV, do computer errands, play on phone.
  • Go to bed.
  • On weekends during the day: Visit family or friends, play with the kid around the house, clean the house, go on toddler outings.
  • On weekends at night: Watch TV, pay bills, drink wine, eat cookies, go out with the husband and friends if we have a babysitter.

So, what are my conclusions from this? Here is a stream of consciousness for you.

Conclusion 1. There are things we do every single day but never take the time to really think about them on a deeper level. Sleep is part of our everyday routine, which is really weird when you think about it. We are supposed to be unconscious at night for eight hours. We eat two or three meals a day. We work. We go to school. We usually have leisure time at some point every day. We take showers, put clothes on, and brush our teeth (hopefully). We do these things automatically without really thinking about it. Next time I brush my teeth, I’m going to analyze the way I do it. Which hand do I use? Do I start at the bottom or the top? (I’ll probably forget to do this.)

Conclusion 2. My 20s don’t really feel that long ago, but when I stop to think about when I graduated college, that was 11 years ago. Wow. One of my cousins, who is currently single, recently said to me, “You’ve never dated, so you don’t know what it’s like.” Umm, yes I did. I went through some weirdos in my 20s. And I was probably a weirdo myself. I did things I regret, like many people do in their early 20s. I’m just in a different phase in life now. Now she only sees me as a married woman. But I can look back at my 20s and laugh, smile, and grimace at certain things!

Conclusion 3. Speaking of different phases, being in your 30s is definitely different. Now that I made it, sometimes I feel like I’m supposed to have everything together. That I’m supposed to be a real adult now. Even having a kid, I don’t feel that way most of the time! Maybe I sometimes feel like that young, silly girl trapped in a 30-something woman’s body. And that’s not always a bad thing. We just learn how to act more mature socially and in public. I think in your 30s, you’re kind of in the middle. The crazy 20s aren’t that far away, but you’re not an older adult yet. Sports players are getting to be younger than you, which is strange.

Conclusion 4. I think being in your 30s means you have to try a little harder. If you want to move up your career, you have to work more. If you want your kid to learn things, you have to teach them. If you have been married for a little while, you have to work harder at it since the newlywed phase is over. If you are single, it might not be as easy to meet someone. You don’t get to see friends as often, so you have to work hard to maintain those friendships. I need to work on that and hope I can.

As you can see, things change over time! My 20s were fun and lively, and my 30s are great and full of surprises with a husband and toddler. Let’s see what the 40s and 50s bring!

Day 801: Anxiety and Self-Esteem

Rachel Day by Day

Day 801: Anxiety and Self-Esteem

A painting of my Grandpa’s house. This definitely does not give me anxiety!

For most of my life I thought I just worried more than the average person. It took me a while to realize this, but I’m pretty sure I have anxiety. On the surface I try to seem laid back and comfortable, but inside I’m worried if I’m saying or doing the right thing. That’s why I was quiet most of the time in school and still am in public occasionally. I’ve become very good at hiding it. It’s easy to pretend sometimes.

When I was really little, on Christmas Eve, all the kids would sing Christmas songs. I always said no, even when the adults would beg. What if I messed up? What if I didn’t sound good? What if everyone stares at me and laughs? These are thoughts that would run through my head. I eventually played the flute for everyone so I wouldn’t have to look up at the crowd.

In fifth grade, I went to a Bulls game with my grandparents and brother, and we sat behind one of the baskets. We got to hold up those brick signs when the other team was shooting free throws. I thought it was pretty neat, so the next week I made a speech about it in my class. I was calm and relaxed since it was something I was excited to talk about. Once I was done, my teacher talked about how he didn’t think the brick signs were fair and they should be banned at games. Apparently this event is still in my head because I remember being very upset about it. I was afraid to make speeches in that class after that. I felt like he put me down, which was a fear of mine.

Something else that doesn’t help is that I have low self-esteem. So that seems to make anxiety worse. What if people make fun of my hair, the way I’m dressed, what I say, etc.? What if I say something dumb? What if I trip and fall? These questions run around in my head numerous times a day.

Now that I have a kid, anxiety triggers with him as well. What if he’s not eating enough? What if he’s sick? What if I’m doing this all wrong?? When people come over to my house, I always think, “Is it clean and tidy enough? Are people going to judge my messiness?” Clutter triggers my anxiety and I wish I had more time to clean it up.

A few more examples: If someone doesn’t text me back for a while, I wonder if he/she is mad at me. If my husband is late getting home from work, I worry something bad happened. Yay (this is sarcasm).

I’m not saying this is how it is 24/7. That would be horrific. It definitely comes and goes. There are days I feel completely fine about things and can talk and act naturally (and silly since that’s how I am a lot). I can’t imagine how life would be for someone who felt like this all the time.

I’m honestly not sure how this happened. My mom and dad were always supportive of me growing up and never put me down. But I tend to believe the negative things about myself instead of the good. In high school one day, I was wearing a button-down shirt that was a little tighter. A girl came up to me and said, “You really shouldn’t be wearing that.” I still try to avoid button-down shirts today.

I have an insane amount of lists on my phone, computer, a notepad, etc., because I’m afraid of forgetting something to do. But all of these lists I have make me feel overwhelmed and it stresses me out. You know what would help with all this? Decluttering! I might need to sit down one evening and devote time to do this.

In conclusion:

  • I’m nervous about saying the wrong thing.
  • I question everything I do.
  • I’m reluctant to trust my own opinion.
  • I analyze conversations and events afterward in my head.
  • I’m surprised by compliments and success.
  • I play down my achievements.
  • I think a lot of things are my fault.

I really want to make this better, but how? I try to convince myself numerous times a day that I’m really not a bad/stupid person. There are better days; there are worse days. Maybe I need to get more massages? Or hire someone to organize my life? For now, I’ll live day by day and try to think more about the happy moments in my life. And there are a lot of those with my husband, kid, family, and friends.

Day 800: 2018 Year in Review

Rachel, Day by Day


My little family.

Well, folks. It’s been a while since I’ve written in this thing! I have a new goal for 2019: Write in my blog once a month. So here is the January post for you… my year in review of 2018.

2018 ended up being an incredible year for me. There are always ups and downs, but when I look back overall, it’s been unreal. I got to watch Baby N grow, spend lots of time with family and friends, go on an amazing trip to Cuba with family and friends and see where my father grew up, and go on amazing trip to Gulf Shores with family. I have a great job, awesome friends I hope to see more often next year, a loving family, a wonderful husband, and a kind and adorable kid. I’m so thankful for everything that has happened this year, and I’m blessed to have wonderful people in my life. Here are the highlights for you:

  • New Year’s Party with friends
  • Melissa’s baby shower
  • Many visits to Normal for birthdays, celebrations, etc.
  • Super Bowl Party at our house
  • Scott’s grandparent’s 70th anniversary
  • Meeting Baby Aidan
  • Playing at the library with Baby N
  • Visits with John, Ray, and Mom
  • Elmhurst St. Patrick’s Day Parade and party with friends
  • Celebrating Baby N’s second birthday with many parties!
  • Easter egg hunts and brunch
  • Visit to Dupage Children’s Museum
  • Scott meeting Natalie Morales
  • Mickey visited for the weekend

Day 800: 2018 Year in Review

Mickey visiting.

  • Cubs game in April, they won!

Day 800: 2018 Year in Review

Me and Baby N running around before the Cubs game.

  • Cinco de Mayo Party at our house with Mom, Ray, and John
  • Visit to Normal for Ashley’s graduation
  • I received my Poynter ACES Certificate in Editing
  • Went to Minneapolis for our Annual Meeting
  • Went to Cosley Zoo with Scott’s family
  • My amazing trip to Cuba for 12 days and we found my dad’s childhood home

Day 800: 2018 Year in Review

Our group in Cuba.

Day 800: 2018 Year in Review

In front of my dad’s house.

  • Pinstripes for Scott’s birthday
  • James’ birthday party
  • Had a BBQ at Renee’s house
  • Family picnic over the summer
  • Fourth of July Party with friends
  • Gulf Shores, Alabama, with Scott’s family

Day 800: 2018 Year in Review

The group in Gulf Shores.

  • Hung out at Christina’s house for a BBQ with friends
  • Outdoor concerts in Hillside
  • Arlington Race Track with friends
  • My college friends and their kids visited us

Day 800: 2018 Year in Review


  • Cubs/Cardinals Legends Game
  • Elmhurst Kite Fest
  • Saw Vertigo at Ravinia
  • Oak Park Beer Fest
  • Wisconsin Dells trip with family

Day 800: 2018 Year in Review

Out to dinner at Wisconsin Dells.

  • Dave and Buster’s with Scott’s family
  • Gilmore Girls trivia with my mom
  • York High School Celebration
  • Bar Crawl with friends
  • Sonny Acres visit
  • SIU vs. ISU football game and tailgate
  • Wyatt’s first birthday party
  • Brittany’s housewarming party
  • Boo at the Zoo
  • Halloween (Baby N was a firefighter)
  • Thanksgiving with my family
  • We took Baby N to the ER and he ended up with croup 😦
  • Christkindlemarket with Scott’s family

Day 800: 2018 Year in Review

Christkindlemarket with family.

  • Breakfast with Santa
  • Spa day with my college friends
  • Had a cousin gathering at Main Event
  • The holidays with family
  • New Years Eve party at our house and John’s birthday

It’s amazing to see all you can do in 365 days. Here’s to a great 2019!

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 797: Parenthood

Rachel, Day by Day

Day 797: Parenthood

A recent photo of my baby boy.

Wow, I’ve been really bad about posting in my blog. It’s been way over a year. For those who used to read my blog religiously (not many), I’m so sorry. Please forgive me.

I thought it might be a good idea to set a goal for my writing. I’m going to try updating my blog at least twice a month. That might be difficult considering the amount of time that has passed, but that is my goal. I hope I can do it!

The topic I decided to touch on this week is parenthood. Who wants an update? Well, if you don’t, you’re getting one anyway!

My son, Baby N, is 19 months old. Time has flown by as I’ve watched him grow! I’ve been completely lucky having him as a son for so many reasons. He started sleeping through the night at three months old (a lot of people were jealous about this). He laughs and smiles most of the time. He loves reading books. He likes cuddling. He loves playing outdoors. He’s (mostly) good in social situations. He’s kind of picky with food, but eats what we give him about 80% of the time. And he loves his mommy and daddy.

It hasn’t been an easy journey so far, though. We struggled occasionally getting him to drink a bottle. Sometimes he just wasn’t that interested. He went through phases where he didn’t want to nap (sometimes he still doesn’t). We had a very hard time transitioning him to a sippy cup. For some reason that REALLY stressed me out, and looking back I feel stupid. The transition from pureed food to solid food was a struggle. He was a little behind on crawling and walking. Sometimes he throws tantrums. But every kid does.

Now, as a 19 month old, he’s trying to say so many words. He’s walking. He’s drinking out of a straw cup. He’s interested in so much and wants to play. He smiles and giggles. He eats regular food. He’s my (most of the time) happy little boy. And I love him with all my heart.

Along the way, I’ve learned about baby shaming. That hasn’t been fun. He had a horrible rash near his ear when he was really little, and so many people used to ask me, “What’s wrong with his face?” I always wanted to respond with, “Nothing, what’s wrong with your ugly face?” But I never did. I was nice about it. I was putting cream on the rash, everyone. I wasn’t telling him to scratch it! I’ve had people stare at me in restaurants and Walgreens while he was crying like I did something wrong. Fun.

People need to realize that I’m doing my best, and most parents are. Kids and babies will cry and throw tantrums. Baby N once cried because I wouldn’t let him chew on our coffee table. I’d say most parents would tell their kids not to do that. I doubt my parenting skills all the time, and I feel like I’m just winging it as I go along. But Baby N seems to be doing just fine so far. And that makes me very happy. I definitely have a long journey ahead, though!

Those are my thoughts on parenthood so far. Thanks for reading!

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.