Day 796: Turning 30

Rachel, Day by Day

201607071101

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.

201607071103

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.

201607071105

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.

201607071106

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 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 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!

Day 785: Second Anniversary

Rachel, Day by Day

Day 785: Second Anniversary

Celebrating our second anniversary!

Hello there! Happy Sunday to all of you reading this. I am extremely behind and definitely need to catch up. This post is from our anniversary back in April! Yikes, I’m almost two months behind. My bad.

So back in April, Scott and I celebrated our two year anniversary! We spent the weekend in Chicago and had a blast. On Friday night, we walked around the city and stopped at an awesome view of the city by the planetarium. Here it is for you!

Day 785: Second Anniversary

We ate dinner at Rockit and had drinks at an Irish pub nearby. It was a nice, relaxing night! On Saturday, we went to the Shedd Aquarium. I haven’t been there since my prom in 2004, so it’s been a while! We saw some cool fish, went to a 3D show, got to see some adorable penguins, and much more! I am in love with penguins, so I took a ton of photos. Here’s one for you.

Day 785: Second Anniversary

He’s looking at me!

After the aquarium, we stopped at the Field Museum for some fun. There are a lot of cool historical artifacts in there; it’s really amazing! There’s so much history in our world and it was neat getting a glimpse of some of it.

Day 785: Second Anniversary

The Field Museum.

For dinner on Saturday night, Scott and I went to Hub 51, a nice and trendy restaurant. I ate some really good ahi tuna. It was packed in the restaurant, too! They had a giant screen in front of us showing the Blackhawks game, so that was awesome. After dinner, we wandered around to a few different bars so we could watch the rest of the game! We ended the night having a drink at Harry Caray’s Restaurant. The River North section of Chicago is great! There are some many restaurants and bars. I highly recommend it!

It was a great weekend with the hubby!

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 746: Year in Review

Rachel, Day by Day

Day 746: Year in Review

Our first wedding anniversary. 🙂

2014 was a great year! There were many great times with family and friends and I have so much to be thankful for. Time really has flown by and I can’t believe 2014 is almost over. From family gatherings on weekends to a trip to Las Vegas, we did a lot this year! 2014 ending makes me sad in a way. The majority of the year had great times, but there were also some tough times, too. But, I had Scott, family, and friends by my side, which has always been a great feeling. I don’t know what I’d do without them! I am one of the luckiest girls in the world.

Here’s a list of the highlights from 2014 for you!

  • Last New Years Eve: We rang in the New Year at Medici and Maggie Miley’s.
  • I started the Double Take project, but sort of neglected it. Sorry!
  • Kate, Graham, Steve, and Jillian visited to watch a Blackhawks game in January.
  • I needed two fillings, my first fillings ever!
  • My family visited in January and we went to Carl’s ice cream!
  • Ate at Biaggi’s with Scott for Valentine’s Day.
  • Went to the Bloomington Thunder game in February with family and met Tony Esposito!
Day 746: Year in Review

Uncle John meeting Tony Esposito!

  • Celebrated Soleman’s birthday at Kings and Park Tavern in Rosemont in March.
  • Elmhurst St. Patrick’s Day parade in March.
  • St. Patrick’s Day parade in Normal and threw a little party!
  • Met Grant Bitzer. He’s such a cutie!
  • Attended the Going Away Party for my cousins Matt and Jackie. (They moved to North Carolina.)
  • Fancy happy hours!
  • Got together with college friends and their husbands in April. Went to Claim Jumper and Beer House.
  • Spent Easter weekend with my family. We colored eggs and ate brunch at Drury Lane.
  • The ending to How I Met Your Mother was awful. Ugh.
  • Spent our first wedding anniversary in Chicago!
  • Went to Cubs vs. Cardinals game in the bleachers at Wrigley. Cubs won!
Day 746: Year in Review

Ready to watch the Cubs win!

  • Spent Mother’s Day weekend with my mom! Went to McCormick and Schmick’s for dinner.
  • Chicago Blackhawks made it to the playoffs but lost. I’m still proud of them!
  • Had a Memorial Day BBQ at our house with my family and Scott’s family.
  • Met Trgyve, my friend Kim’s baby!
  • Cornbelters vs. Bandits baseball game and got to see Soleman.
  • Went to Caden’s baseball game and Kendyl’s soccer game.
  • Jeff’s 60th birthday party!
Day 746: Year in Review

Celebrating Jeff’s (Scott’s dad’s) 60th birthday on a beautiful day.

  • Scott’s birthday: Went to Pub II and had family over for dessert.
  • Saw Jimmy Buffett in Tinley Park!
Day 746: Year in Review

The gang tailgating before the Jimmy Buffet concert!

  • Went to Caden and Kendyl’s birthday parties.
  • July 4th party at family friend’s house.
  • My birthday: Went out with Brendan and Anne for pizza. Had dessert back at our place, too!
  • Went to a Bandits softball game.
  • Blackhawks Convention!
Day 746: Year in Review

Got to love Toews and Kane!

  • Went to Christina’s baby shower and Anne’s bridal shower.
  • Cracker concert with Kate and Graham.
  • ALS ice bucket challenge. Yes, I did it twice.
  • Barbecue with friends at our house.
  • Met beautiful little Grace in August!
  • Vacation: Went to Wisconsin Dells over Labor Day weekend.
Day 746: Year in Review

Hanging out in Wisconsin Dells.

  • Celebrated Grandpa’s 87th birthday.
  • Anne’s bachelorette party in Chicago!
  • Laura and Tyler’s wedding in September.
  • My 10 Year Reunion. Yikes!
  • Anne and Ted’s wedding!
Day 746: Year in Review

A bunch of awesome ladies at Anne’s wedding!

Vacation: Las Vegas for Ray’s 30th birthday!

Day 746: Year in Review

The family together in Las Vegas for Ray’s 30th!

 

  • Carved pumpkins in October.
  • Went out for Halloween. Scott was a ninja turtle and I was Captain America!
  • Sydney was in the musical Annie Get Your Gun.
  • Started my new job in November!
  • Thanksgiving at my mom’s house.
  • Movie nights with Mickey.
Day 746: Year in Review

Hanging out with Mickey! I love this guy!

  • Mom’s 60th birthday celebration at McCormick and Schmick’s.
  • Spent day in Chicago seeing the Christkindlmarket and Wrigley Field.
  • U.S. and Cuba relations will be better soon, thanks to Obama!
  • Spent Christmas Eve with my family and Christmas Day with Scott’s family.
  • Went to Brookfield Zoo.
  • Movies I saw for the first time: The Hulk, Man of Steel, The Illusionist, Hoop Dreams, Saving Mr. Banks, Gone Girl, Interstellar, Bull Durham, The Godfather, and probably more

Sorry, that was a long list! The toughest part of this year was losing my Aunt Carol in August. She was a very caring a special woman and I’m still having a hard time without her. I can’t imagine how her children, grandchildren, and husband must be feeling. But, we have definitely been there for each other through this difficult time. I miss her so much. It really hurts sometimes.

One great thing I was able to accomplish this year was that I finished scanning all of my mom and dad’s old photos. This project took years, and I’m finally done! I’m so glad we have all of them as digital copies. I should make 1,000 copies, just in case!

Overall, this year was a good one. I have so many wonderful people in my life and I’m glad I got to spend time with them. There were some changes this year, but I think they are for the better. I can’t wait to see what will happen in 2015! I think it will be a good year, too, especially since I have Scott and great family and friends to make memories with. Goodbye 2014, and welcome 2015!

Day 742: Cuba

Rachel, Day by Day

Day 742: Cuba

Photo of Cuba my dad took in 1999.

I’m sure many of you have heard about Obama’s plan to lift restrictions between the U.S. and Cuba. I’ve heard of many people not liking this idea, including Miami Cubans and some Republicans. Are you ready for my opinion? I think this new development is GREAT.

I honestly have no clue how many people read my blog and if you already know me pretty well, but here’s a bit of some information about me. I am 25% Cuban. I know it’s not much, and my skin is as white as a ghost, but I guess it’s something. When I tell people I’m part Cuban, I usually hear a laugh or see a shocked look. My dad was born in Cuba and he definitely looked Cuban. Here’s a photo of him below to prove it.

Day 742: Cuba

My dad in his class photo a year after he came from Cuba.

Anyway, I know my opinion doesn’t matter in the long run, and maybe Cubans shouldn’t care about my opinion since I’m only at 25% and I don’t speak Spanish fluently, but I’m giving it anyway! I really liked hearing my dad’s stories in Cuba and I wish he told me more before he passed away.

Back to the U.S. and Cuba news. The U.S. hasn’t had a good relationship with Cuba for decades now (has it really been 54 years?), and I never understood why it had to be this way for so long. Can’t we ever let bygones be bygones? It’s time to let go of the past, and I’m glad Obama was able to figure this out. This means there will be regulations to ease agricultural exports and establish banking relations. Restrictions on certain goods and services will be more relaxed. Tourism will be great and much easier for U.S. and Cuba. Can you imagine taking a direct flight there? That would be amazing! Not only will this be great for U.S. citizens, this will also help out those from Cuba as well. How is this not a win-win situation?

On a more personal note, Cuba has been my #1 place to visit for as long as I can remember. I remember writing that down on a project in middle school, which was about 15 or 16 years ago. My dad, his parents, and his siblings grew up there, and we still have some family there today. I don’t know who they are or how I’m related, but it would still be great to meet them someday. Also, there were two places my dad and I always talked about going together: Spain and Cuba. I went to Spain in 2003 a year after he died, in his honor. It was an amazing trip and I thought of him the entire time. Now, I want to finally head over to Cuba for him, and this dream might be coming true sooner than I expected. Click here to see what we should do in Cuba! Thank you, Obama.

So, those are my thoughts on this new development. Hope you enjoyed reading this!

Day 727: Las Vegas

Rachel, Day by Day

Day 727: Las Vegas

Last weekend, I spent a few days in Las Vegas for my brother’s 30th birthday! He ended up getting a big group to go for the occasion (click here for my recent post with the group photo). There ended up being 20 of us, both friends and family. Ray was really happy! Here’s a group family photo for you:

Day 727: Las Vegas

Some of my wonderful family members!

We did a lot over just a few days! My younger cousin Sydney had never been to Las Vegas before, so we took her around to many of the sites and hotels. We saw the Bellagio water fountain show, the Caesar’s Palace Fall of Atlantis show, and the volcano show at The Mirage.

Day 727: Las Vegas

The ladies in front of the Bellagio. From left to right: Sydney, Heather (my sister), me, my mom, and Michelle (my sister).

We also spent some time at the pool; it was nice laying out in 80-degree weather and swimming outside in a pool again. We ended up playing some beach volleyball for a while, too. That was fun; I haven’t played regular volleyball in years! My arms and wrists were hurting a bit later, but that’s OK.

Day 727: Las Vegas

For Ray’s actual birthday, we all went out to dinner at The Flamingo buffet. It was really good, but I ate too much! That’s what usually happens on vacation. Of course we all gambled a bit while out there, but I didn’t do too well. The slots didn’t like me! I didn’t lose much, maybe $50 overall. I can live with that. I played Blackjack for a while with my mom, Ray, Scott, and their friend Brian. I ended up winning there! I didn’t gamble too much, which was probably good!

Here are a few more photos for you:

Day 727: Las Vegas

From left to right: Me, Ray, and Uncle John.

Day 727: Las Vegas

Scott and me by New York New York.

So, guess who we ran into at the Las Vegas airport before heading home? Scottie Pippen! Scott and Brian ended up getting their photo with him, too. He was about to board his airplane, so he wasn’t there for very long. He looks the same from when he played for The Bulls in the 90s. I can’t believe that! I definitely recognized him. That was our celebrity siting for the weekend!

I had an amazing time seeing friends and family. It was definitely hard saying goodbye to my sisters since I don’t see them often. Michelle might be visiting soon, though! I hope Ray had a wonderful 30th birthday; he definitely deserves it. It was great seeing the amount of people who came to celebrate with him. He is truly a wonderful man and brother!

Day 725: Best/Worst of the Week

Rachel, Day by Day

The whole gang in Las Vegas for Ray's 30th birthday!

The whole gang in Las Vegas for Ray’s 30th birthday!

It’s been a fun and eventful week! Here’s the worst and the best of it for me.

Worst
1. I spilled some perfume on my pants. They smelled nice, but way too strong!
2. I had a very hard time breathing at one point on Thursday. Stupid asthma.
3. I had to miss Grace’s christening. Sad.
4. I watched an episode of Walking Dead this week. It was way too graphic for me. I felt sick!
5. Coming back to 50-degree weather after a short vacation. Ugh.

Best
1. Spent a few days in Las Vegas with friends and family for Ray’s 30th birthday!
2. Saw Scottie Pippin at the Las Vegas airport.
3. Seeing the leaves on the trees change into beautiful colors.
4. Got to see Grace again!
5. I won’t have to watch a certain MLB team (*cough* Cardinals *cough*) play baseball anymore.

Enjoy your weekend!