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!
Day 791: June Through October Update

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:

Day 790: Chicago Cubs... Could This Be the Year?

The view from our seats in 2006.

When I was little, I’d bring my baseball glove and homework during night games. I’d try to quickly get through the homework before the game started. I didn’t have time to do it right after school! Anyway, being a Cubs fan my whole life (which is 29 years) has its ups and downs. I lived through years with Jim Riggleman as their manager and saw many losses… years full of losses. I remember many of us booing him. But, there were the amazing highlights such as watching my favorite Cub, Tuffy Rhodes, get three home runs on opening day in 1994. In fact, my family started calling me Tuffy when I played softball. I went to one game with just my dad, and the Cubs ended up winning by a crazy amount, maybe 19-2. We just kept laughing the whole time. We watched Sammy Sosa in his home-run race against Mark McGwire in numerous games. We went to playoff games in 1998, 2003 and 2007. So there have been some great times. My other favorite players included Joe Girardi, Mickey Morandini, Gary Gaetti, Glenallen Hill, Kyle Farnsworth, and Derrek Lee. I loved all of them!

Day 790: Chicago Cubs... Could This Be the Year?

Sammy Sosa raising his helmet in 1998.

Day 790: Chicago Cubs... Could This Be the Year?

I got to meet Kyle Farnsworth in 2002!

Then there are the wonderful moments I remember with family and friends at Wrigley Field. When I was a little older, I’d run to the perfect spot to see Harry Caray sing during the 7th inning. We’d see random celebrities at games, including Penny Marshall, Scottie Pippen, Hillary Clinton, Billy Corgan, and more. We became friends with the people sitting in the row behind us and would talk to them all the time. We got to sit in a skybox during one game. I’ve been lucky enough to go on the field at least three times. My family and I got to meet some awesome players at Cubs Conventions. My family put my name on the scoreboard for my 21st birthday. The one memory I love the most is when I was younger, my dad would put me on his shoulders during every 7th inning stretch until I was too big. I felt on top of the world. I wish he was here to see this Cubs team. He’d be going nuts.

Day 790: Chicago Cubs... Could This Be the Year?

My family and me in a Wrigley Field skybox in 1999.

Day 790: Chicago Cubs... Could This Be the Year?

My brother Ray and me meeting Joe Girardi in 2000. As you can see, he signed this photo later!

As you can see, the Cubs gave us hope at times, but it always went away. I would call myself a cautious Cubs fan after all this time. I might regret what I’m about to say, but I need to get it out. I’m usually hesitant and nervous about the Cubs, even when they have made it to the playoffs in the past, but I’m having a different feeling with this current team. I’m still nervous, but I’m more excited and I feel real hope for once. For some reason it makes me want to cry! I get emotional thinking about how well they could do this year. And I keep thinking about my dad and how much he’d love this. I love all the players on this team: Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber, Dexter Fowler, Jake Arrieta, Jorge Soler, and more!

Me on the field for a Women's Clinic in 1994.

Me on the field for a Women’s Clinic in 1994.

Me, my mom, and Ray at a game in 2007.

Me, my mom, and Ray at a game in 2007.

So, to the other Cubs fans out there, be proud of your team this year. And even though we’ve lost hope in the past, don’t give up hope this year! And to the Cubs, no matter what happens this year, thank you for giving us fans such a fun and exciting season to watch! GO CUBS!!

Day 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 784: Amazing Grace

Rachel, Day by Day

Day 784: Amazing Grace

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

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

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

Day 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!

Day 780: Arizona Trip

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 775: Light

Rachel, Day by Day

February 2015 Photo a Day: Day 26

Day 775: Light

You might have to look away… it’s the bright sun!

I can’t believe it, but the sun was out for most of the day! I decided to take a crazy photo showing direct sunlight. I like how purplish blobs show up in the photo around the sun. It gives it a cool effect. Too bad the sun wasn’t bringing much warmth today, though. I think my eyes are still adjusting to the sun after having many dark and dreary days in the winter. I was squinting a lot today! Or maybe I should find my sunglasses… that would help. Anyway, there’s some light for you.

For you Blackhawks fans, did you hear Patrick Kane is injured and out for possibly 12 weeks? I will miss him. But, I think the Blackhawks can do it! I have faith in them.

Did anyone watch Amazing Race? If not, this season has 6 teams of dating couples and 5 teams of blind dates. I didn’t think I’d like it very much, but it was pretty interesting to see! I’m excited for this season. They went to Japan for the first episode; it would be cool to go there, but it would be difficult not knowing the language. It looks so busy, modern, and cultured. There are so many cool places outside the U.S.!

Enjoy your Thursday night.

Day 768: Feet

Rachel, Day by Day

February 2015 Photo a Day: Day 19

Day 768: Feet

Hopefully they aren’t smelly.

Well, here are my feet. This is not the most exciting photo in the world, but how do you make a photo of feet exciting? I could have gotten a pedicure and painted my nails awesome colors. But, that would take too long. I actually have a problem with my feet; I think they have poor circulation. They are pretty much cold all through winter, except when I’m taking a hot shower. Even when I wear heavy socks and shoes they are still very cold. This started a few years ago… I remember walking around my apartment barefoot; all of a sudden my feet got extremely cold. I looked down and they were purple. They still sometimes turn slightly purple, but then I just put more socks on. I miss walking around barefoot. Maybe I’ll be able to do that again in June. So, that’s the story of my cold feet.

New topic! I’ve been wanting to post this video for a while now related to the Chicago Cubs. It gets me pumped for the 2015 season.

Doesn’t that give you goosebumps? I’m more excited for this season than usual, but I’m still the concerned Cubs fan. I hope I can go to a few games this year!

Have a good evening!

Day 764: My Drink of Choice

Rachel, Day by Day

February 2015 Photo a Day: Day 15

Day 764: My Drink of Choice

Juice!!

Today I am showing you my drink of choice. There are others that I like… water, wine, coffee, lemonade, and so on. But, this is the one drink I like a lot lately! It’s a fruity juice, made by a company called Naked, and my favorite flavor is Berry Blast. Mmmm. I could drink this all day. I did spill it on my keyboard one day at work, and it took a while to get out. So, I don’t recommend drinking this near your computer. The keyboard isn’t sticky anymore, though! So that’s good news.

What a good day! The Blackhawks won this morning and I ate Portillos. What could get better than that? And my Uncle John is in town! If it was 70 degrees outside, this would be a perfect day.

If you could only play one game for the rest of your life, what would it be? I think mine would be either Scattergories or Apples to Apples. Those are my favorite. Maybe I’ll go play Scattergories now.

Have a good afternoon!

Day 754: Square

Rachel, Day by Day

February 2015 Photo a Day: Day 5

Day 754: Square

Mark Grace autograph.

It’s harder to take a photo of a square than you think! I mean, I saw a lot of things with a square shape today, but most were pretty boring. So, here’s my Mark Grace autographed baseball in a square-shaped box. I think I bought this in the early 2000s at a Cubs Convention. I haven’t actually met him, but he was one of my favorite players at the time. He was a first baseman for a really long time with the Cubs, for most of my childhood! And when we shared season tickets, I got to see and cheer for him all the time. I miss going to Wrigley Field a lot; I wish I could afford season tickets! Anyone want to buy me season tickets for my birthday? Go Cubs!

In other news, I bought a really cool thing recently. It’s called an Eyefi Mobi SD card. It’s a wifi-enabled SD card I put in my digital camera. I connected it to my phone, kindle, and laptop yesterday. Basically when I’m in an area with wifi and I take a photo with my digital camera, the photo will automatically be sent to one of the three devices I just mentioned. Pretty cool, huh? For example, if I’m on vacation and want to post a photo on Facebook, I can post a high-quality photo from my digital camera! I think it’s pretty awesome.

Have a pleasant Thursday night!