Saturday, December 29, 2007

Having fun in sunny Jacksonville

Keith and I have been in Florida for 4 days now and I am just getting around to blogging! It has been a busy few days (mostly working for me and lounging for Keith!)

We arrived in Jacksonville, FL on Wednesday Dec. 26th. We got off of the plane and I said, "Is this really Florida?" It was damp and a cool 50-something degrees. We were hoping to arrive to warm weather, after being in southwest PA's 20-30 degree weather just a few days earlier. Thankfully by Thursday, the temperature was rising and today it was a very balmy 79 degrees!We were sitting by the water today eating lunch and we couldn't believe it was actually December 29th! It's weird to see men in shorts and women in bikini tops just a few days before New Year's Day. The weather forecast is for it to remain in the 70s tomorrow and Monday and then by game time on Tuesday, it should be a very comfortable 65 degrees! :-) Perfect!

Since I don't have a lot of time to blog (and you don't want this to be 10 pages long), I will give you a list of what's been going on down here:

  • We are staying at the Omni Jacksonville Hotel. It is a very nice hotel located near the St. John's River. We are on the 8th floor in an Executive King room (lucky for us, I was the one who made the room assignments for the UVA travel party so I put us in a good room!) We have a splendid view (especially at night) of the water and the area around it. The football team, support staff, families and fans have pretty much taken over the hotel so you can't go anywhere without seeing someone you know (that can be good and bad! haha)

  • The Football office staff (including myself) have taken up shop in one of the meeting rooms in the hotel. We are supposed to only work from 8:30am-12:30pm every day, but I haven't gotten out of there before 2:30pm anyday since we got here (except for yesterday - more on that to follow). We are mostly assisting the coaches and other support personnel with practice preparation and anything else they ask us to do. It hasn't been bad so far, except for the part where I have to get up at 7:00am and Keith is still in bed!! That part sucks pretty badly. :-)

  • The Gator Bowl committee has set up a Hospitality suite in the hotel that is open 7am-10am and 4pm-midnight every day. They have light breakfast stuff in the morning and finger foods, beer, wine, soda, and liquor in the evenings. They have snacks and candy in the evenings too. We have gone up there every night since we have been here and I am planning on heading up as soon as I finish typing this (Keith is watching a movie so I think he is going to pass tonight - since he doesn't know a lot of people, its not as much fun for him as it is for me). It's a fun place for the coaches, their wives, and us support people to go and hang out in a relaxed setting. (Not to mention free alcohol and food....Not bad!!)

  • The hotel is located one block from The Jacksonville Landing which is a shopping/dining/nightclub area. It is really nice because they have it all decorated for Christmas. We have gone to a few of the restaurants that are located there and we have gone to two nightclubs. One is called Mavericks and it is a country bar (although they were playing classic rock music on Thursday night when we were there). They have a mechanical bull that Keith thought about riding (he decided against it when he saw a few others make fools of themselves on it! haha). Last night we went to The Twisted Martini which is another dance club bar. They played good dance music and we had a really good time. Unfortunately, staying out until 1:30am and then having to get up and work the next day isn't too much fun. I am not sure I am going to stay out quite so late tonight, but we'll see!

  • Yesterday, my boss allowed me to have the day off so Keith and I rented a car and drove to St. Augustine, FL. It is about 45 mins south of Jacksonville. We had a really fun day. We visited the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, which is really old fort. We also went to the Alligator Farm where we saw 23 different species of alligators and crocodiles. We even saw a live feeding show where a VERY brave zoo keeper got inside an area containing about 20 very large alligators. It was really interesting to see but a little bit creepy. We ate lunch along the river and ventured into an area containing a bunch of little shops. It reminded us of areas we saw in Europe. It was really nice to walk down the street of shops and window shop. It was nice to be able to take a day away and relax.
Well, I guess that is pretty much a not-so-quick synopsis of what we have been doing. While I have been working, Keith has mostly been reading or venturing around the Landing area. I am worried that he is getting bored, but he assured me that sleeping late and lounging around the hotel room is fine with him!! :-)

We have three more full days after today and then we fly home early on January 2nd. I'll try and blog again before we head home, but I won't make any promises. Like it does back home, time just seems to be flying by here!

Here are a few pictures to share:

Keith at the fort

At the fort, with the beautiful
water in the background

This is the brave zoo keeper

Us with an alligator

The Christmas tree at
Jacksonville Landing

Thursday, December 20, 2007

So much to do and so little time!!!

I have been very much out of the blogging world for the past few weeks. I have barely found time to check other people's blogs for updates, but certainly haven't had time to update mine. For the past three weeks or so, I have been extremely busy at work preparing for our upcoming Bowl game and trip to Jacksonville. I have quickly learned that even though all year I have been praying for the UVA football team to do well so we can go to a good Bowl game, I am now rethinking some of those wishes! I never realized how much preparation goes into ONE FOOTBALL GAME! It's unbelievable how much time my co-workers and I have spent getting everything straight. We have worked past 8:00pm the past two nights and have worked through lunch for many days recently. We have basically been travel agents, event planners and secretaries for 250 people - making flight and hotel arrangements, figuring out who is going to what event, putting together itineraries, information packets, and any other information you can think of, gathering info about things in Jacksonville - shops, restaurants, bars, fun places to name it, we have done it! Oh, and then there is also the game to prepare for, so in my case that means my regular week-before-a-game practice work - typing practice schedules, scouting reports, practice scripts, making copies, and anything else that the 10 assistant coaches would like. Oh, and did I mention that in all of this hoopla the University decided to change voicemail systems???!! So, starting yesterday everyone was supposed to log in to the new system, record their name and a new greeting, and update their "message waiting" button on their phone so it goes to the new voicemail system and not the old one. Unfortunately, none of us have had time to do any of that - other than record our name - and in the case of most of the coaches, I was supposed to do that for them but other things have taken precedence! We found out today that the system seems to have some glitches so people aren't necessarily getting their voicemail messages, even if they did all that they were supposed to do. Oh well, who has time to return messages right now anyways?! :-)

In the midst of all of this craziness at work, there have been other things to do at home also. The biggest one of course being preparing for Christmas. Lucky for me, I have a wonderful husband who has done a lot of the shopping and wrapping while I have been working. We got our tree and other decorations up a few weeks ago, so we have had some time to enjoy the season of Christmas. We have also been packing for the past few nights - one suitcase for Jacksonville (which is going down on a truck on Saturday and will be delivered to our room) and one for our PA/Richmond trip. It has been hectic trying to figure out what I am going to wear in 60-70 degree weather in Jacksonville and then also what I might need in PA, where it may be in the 20s and 30s! I guess whatever gets packed for both locations will be what I wear - let's hope we pack enough underwear! :-)

Our time with family is being cut short this year due to the Bowl game trip. We are leaving tomorrow after work, which hopefully will be around 5pm and not too much later, and heading to Southwest Pennsylvania to visit with Keith's mom. We will be spending some time relaxing along with doing some shopping, watching movies, and whatever else his Mom wants to do. We are staying there until Monday - Christmas Eve day - and then heading to Richmond to spend some time with my family. We are planning on going to the late (11pm) Christmas Eve service at our old church and then spending Christmas day at my parents house. My grandparents are flying in from Rochester on Christmas day and I am excited to see them. Unfortunately, we will have to leave my parents house late on Christmas day because we are flying out of Charlottesville early on the 26th to head to Jacksonville. It sucks that we can't spend more time with my family, but at least we are able to be there for Christmas and spend some time with everyone. I'm looking very much looking foward to a break from work and some fun time spent with family.

We will have internet access in Jacksonville, so I will try to post a few blogs while we are there. I am looking forward to our trip there also, but I will also be happy when it is all over!

I hope you all have a very blessed Christmas and that you are able to enjoy special time with family and friends! Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The cutest nephew award.....

.....goes to none other than my nephew Pierce!! Yes, I am extremely biased but if you look at the pictures on my sister Katie's blog - click here - you will probably agree that he is one of the cutest little boys that you have ever seen!

His birthday is on December 24th and he will be 1 year old! Once again, I can't believe how fast this past year has flown by. He is growing into such a big boy. I think I echo my sister's feelings when I say that he is growing up way too fast! Luckily, Karen & Brian will be adding a new baby to our family in April so we'll get to experience the joys of a little baby again soon! :-)

Sunday, December 2, 2007

We're headed to Jacksonville!!!!

This afternoon, the Virginia football team accepted an invitation to the Konica Minolta Gator Bowl! Virginia will play against Texas Tech on January 1st in Jacksonville, FL.

Although the "official travel schedule" has not come out yet, Keith and I will definitely be heading south at the end of this month, probably on December 26th. It is nice to know that we will be able to spend the holiday with our families but we are also excited about the fun that we are going to have in Jacksonville! What a way to ring in 2008!

Saturday, December 1, 2007


Apparently working in the Athletic Department means that you often participate in "athletic-type" events. My first such event occured this past Wednesday night when the "Broomball 2007" battle was played. One of my co-workers, who used to play football at UVA and is now one of the Recruiting Assistants, organized the event which featured Football Office & Equipment Room staff, student workers, one spouse and a previous football player who happened to be in town. Keith was originally supposed to join us in the game, but he had not been feeling great that day, so he decided against it.

For those who don't know what Broomball is, the easiest way to explain it is that it is like ice hockey, but without skates. You play on ice with regular shoes on and use a "broom" which has a wooden or aluminum shaft with a rubber rectangular-shaped head. Instead of using a puck, a small hard ball is used, similar in size to a small soccer ball. Helmets are required but pads are optional (we didn't use them when we played). The Equipment Room staff made us all shirts with our names on the back and the teams were divided by those wearing pinneys and those not (luckily, my team won the coin toss so we didn't have to wear them!).

Our game was played on the only ice rink in Charlottesville - the Charlottesville Ice Park at the downtown mall. Due to it being a popular site for open ice skating and hockey team practices, broomball is scheduled fairly late at night - our game was at 11pm! Needless to say, we were all pretty tired (and a bit bruised up) on Thursday morning.

The game was really fun and at one point, I thought I was going to wet myself from laughing so hard. The best part was watching people try to "run" on the ice and end up slipping and falling. Not that anyone wanted to see anyone else get hurt, but the slips and falls were some of the funniest things I have seen in a long time. One particular participant, who is one of our graduate assistants who used to be on a practice squad in the NFL, was constantly falling! He would go for the ball or just be walking along on the ice and he would slip VERY un-gracefully! It was hysterical.

All in all, it was one of the most fun things I have done in awhile. I wish Keith could have been there, but it sounds like we have many more events planned over the next few months so hopefully he will be able to participate in those. Some of the future games include Volleyball, Softball, Flag Football, and possibly another Broomball game. Sounds like a lot of fun!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

A baby girl!

A huge Congratulations goes out to my sister Karen and her husband Brian! They found out last week that they are going to have a BABY GIRL in early April!!! Yippee - I love little girl clothes!

Check out the specific information on her blog - Blessed Beyond Measure.

Finally.....some down-time....before the craziness begins again!

Time just seems to be flying by and with lots going on in my life, it has been hard to find time to blog. It seems like we haven't been home much these past few weeks and up until this week, work has been taking up a lot of my time. It is now much s-l-o-w-e-r here since the football team lost their game Saturday to VA Tech.

Most of the coaches are on the road for the next few weeks visiting different high schools and trying to recruit the best players for our future teams. They will all be back on Friday for practice on Saturday and Sunday. Then, off again next Monday to do more recruiting! My job here has definitely opened my eyes to "the real life of a college football coach" and it isn't very pretty in my opinion. Of course, they all have really nice salaries but I am pretty sure that the time they have away from their wives and children isn't made up by the paychecks that they receive. It makes me wonder sometimes, "why would anyone want to be a football coach?"

Well, the advantage to them being on the road this week is that I (and the rest of the admin staff) get a little down-time this week before we prepare for the Bowl game, which will be played at the end of December. Right now, we don't know which Bowl game we are going to be playing in, but we will know on Sunday night when the announcement is made. It appears right now that we are heading to Florida (either to Jacksonville or to Orlando) but we won't be 100% sure until Sunday.

Once the official announcement comes, the admin staff in the office, including myself, will be busy over the next two weeks preparing manuals, memos, travel arrangements, itineraries, rosters, hotel information, and lots of other stuff. We will be traveling to the selected destination 5-6 days before the actual game. The entire travel party will include over 100 people encompassing coaches, staff, spouses and children. In addition to the 22 of us that work in the football office everyday, staff from many other departments within Athletics will be traveling including those from Administration, Sports Medicine/Team Physicians, Weight Room, Equipment Room, Video Operations, Media Relations, Team Security, Ticket Office, and the VAF (Virginia Athletics Foundation). And, of course, there are over 100 players that will be traveling also. It's amazing the amount of preparation that goes into a College Bowl game!

The one downside to going to one of these games is that they are always played the last week of December which is smack dab in the middle of the holiday season! Often people have to miss Christmas and/or New Year's with their families because of the game. Hopefully that won't happen to us this year, but as it stands now, if we are chosen for the Champs Sports Bowl in Orlando (which is played on Dec. 28th), we will be leaving Charlottesville on December 23rd and therefore spending Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in Florida! 80 degree weather for Christmas is not my idea of fun (neither is missing time with mine or Keith's families) but, I guess that is what might have to happen. Right now, we just have to wait and see!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

One Year Ago Today

One year ago today, Keith and I became husband and wife. It was such a beautiful day filled with many friends and family who traveled to Richmond to be with us on our special day. I remember thinking in the months leading up to the wedding, "November 18th is never going to get here!" Now, here we are are an entire year later! My how time flies!

Looking back, I can honestly say it was the happiest day of my life! And I am so blessed to have Keith in my life. He and I are best friends and hopefully we will be as happy 50 years from now as we are today!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Off we go.....

Keith and I are leaving tomorrow after work to head to Pennsylvania to visit his family. With the football team having a bye week this weekend, this was a perfect weekend to get away. It will be nice to spend some time with Keith's family and to get in some rest and relaxation time.

Keith grew up in a town called Indian Head, which is in southwest PA about an hour south of Pittsburgh. His aunt and uncle currently live in the house that he grew up in and that is where we are going to stay. His mom is going to come to Indian Head from Somerset, PA where she lives. It will be really good to see them all and to catch up on the happenings in everyone's lives.

A few things we are going to do while we are up there are:
  • We are going into the city of Pittsburgh on Thursday. We are going to visit the University of Pittsburgh campus (where Keith got his Masters degrees). Hopefully I will finally be able to see the Heinz Chapel that Keith has been telling me about for 3 years. I haven't been able to see it up until now because the only time we have been up there for an extended period of time is around Christmas and New Year's and it's always been closed. I know that he has been looking forward to showing it to me and I am excited to finally see it. (Side note - he was planning on proposing to me in the Chapel in January 2006 when we were on our way back home from visiting his family, but my engagement ring - which he had special ordered - wasn't ready before we left for the trip. He also really wanted to get married in that Chapel but of course, since we were living in Richmond at the time, it made more sense to get married there.)

  • We are also going to have dinner with an old friend of Keith's while we are in Pittsburgh. Liz and Keith were in library school together at Pitt and they have maintained contact for the past 10 years. I first met Liz & her husband at our wedding and then we had lunch with her when we were up in PA for the holidays last year. After lunch, we went back to her house and hung out with her and her husband and met her kids (she has three children who are in their late teens/early twenties). We had a lot of fun spending time with them last year and I am very much looking forward to seeing her again.

  • On Saturday, Keith's aunt Kay is having a "Thanksgiving Dinner" for the family since we will not be able to be there on Thanksgiving Day. Keith's cousin, her husband and her two teenage kids will be joining us for dinner. In addition to the yummy food that we are going to have, I am also looking forward to the conversation, laughter and fun that we are going to have while we are all together. Keith's cousin's husband is a HUGE game fanatic. He loves to play cards or a board game or anything! So, no doubt we will be playing something fun and having a great time.

  • On our way home on Sunday, Keith and I are going to stop at the Jean Bonnet Tavern in Bedford, PA. The Tavern is a place that Keith has been telling me about ever since we started dating. It is nothing fancy but a restaurant that Keith really likes. Every time we pass by it on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, we say we should stop, but for one reason or another, we don't. So, this time, in celebration of our actual 1st anniversary on Sunday, we are going to stop at the Tavern and have dinner. It's another thing I am looking forward to and I am sure it's going to be great!

Now, I have to get off this computer so I can finish doing laundry and get all packed up. It should be a fun and interesting adventure. I will blog when we get back and hopefully have fun stories to tell.

I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Monday, November 12, 2007

A Great Day

I realize my posts have been non-existent lately. Either one of two things has been happening - 1. nothing exciting is going on in my life and therefore I have nothing to post or 2. I have been so busy that I haven't had time to type anything. These have both been true over the last week.

My intention was to post something on Saturday and then the day just got away from me. Keith and I made a trip to Richmond on Saturday morning for another 1st anniversary present to ourselves (we have had a lot of celebratory adventures and our *real* anniversary isn't even here yet!). Anyways, since my massage at the Homestead didn't happen a few weekends ago, I decided to schedule some "Spa time" for Keith and me at my favorite spa in Richmond - Nesbit. I had $200 in gift cards that I had been saving up and hadn't used so I figured we could use them to get pampered and not have to spend any money. I booked us for the "Rekindle" package, which includes a 30 minute soak in a tub with complimentary champagne and chocolate covered strawberries followed by side by side full body massages. The package is supposed to include 60 minute massages, but when I called two weeks ago they only had time for us to do 45 minute massages. They took $50 off of the price so I think it was well worth it and we didn't really miss the extra 15 minutes!

I must admit that I was a little worried that Keith wasn't going to enjoy this little adventure I had planned. He had never had a full body massage before and he never understood why I loved them so much. Well, now he knows! And, now he loves them too! :) It ended up being a great couple of hours with us spending relaxing time together.

After we finished at the spa, we drove back to Cville to get the house ready for our overnight visitors - Katie, Shaun and Pierce! Since they do not have cable, they came over to our house to watch the UVA-Miami football game that was on at 7:20pm. They decided to spend the night since the game was so late and they go to church on Sunday morning somewhat close to our house. Even though they only live about 20 minutes outside of Cville, it wouldn't have made sense for them to go home that late at night just to turn around and come back early the next morning. Plus, this way, they don't have to wake Pierce up and take him out in the cold night air. It was so much fun having them here with us. We had fun playing with Pierce before the game started, Katie made some very yummy chili for dinner, and the game ended up being awesome (if you are a UVA fan! 48-0!). All in all, it was a fantasticly fun and exciting day! A restful, relaxing and refreshing day filled with family, food and football - what could be better! :)

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Where did the weekend go?

I can't believe it is already Sunday! And how crazy is it that it is November!? Only 50 more shopping days until Christmas! It will be here in no time!

Here are a few highlights of the past few days:
  • Of course, the first good thing that comes to mind is the win by the Virginia Cavalier football team yesterday vs. Wake Forest. It was another close game (17-16) but a good win against a good team. I know personally that the coaches and players (and us admin folks too!) all worked hard this week preparing for the game. We definitely needed this win if we want to stay in the race for the ACC Championship. Two more games to go. Hang on to your hats, its going to be an exciting ride!

  • At the end of the game yesterday, I had to escort two of our visiting football prospects down to the locker room via the stadium elevator because they were both on crutches (all of the prospects get to go into the locker room after the game but these guys couldn't go down the stadium steps to get there like everyone else). So, we took the elevator down to the locker room/team tunnel level and ended up in the lobby outside the locker room. We get off the elevator and who is standing right in front on me.....NFL Hall-of-Famer & Fox Sports Analyst Howie Long (his son, Chris, is a player on our team)! I was a bit shocked to see him but I was in "work-mode" and was so busy trying to figure out how to get these guys in the locker room (since I am not allowed in there for obvious reasons) that I didn't really get a chance to say anything to him. He did walk over to the two recruits and the fathers and say hello and shook their hands. I thought that was nice of him. Afterwards, I was thinking, "Oh my gosh - I just saw HOWIE LONG!!!! Why didn't I introduce myself??" Oh well, I'm hoping that there will be another meeting like that at a time when I can actually speak to him so I can say I really met him.

  • Keith left on Thursday morning to go to a conference and then to PA to visit his mom for the weekend. Although I am not happy about him being away, I was able to take the opportunity to spend Friday evening with my sister Katie and my nephew Pierce. Katie's husband was hanging out with some friends so she and I ate Chinese take-out and gabbed a lot! She gave Pierce a bath and I was able to read him bedtime stories! He is so cute (as I have stated many times before) and he is so attentive when someone is reading to him. He does get distracted at times, but for the most part he sat there and listened and even helped turn the pages. He is turning into such a big boy!

  • On Thursday night I went to the house of one of my co-workers to watch the Virginia Tech vs Georgia Tech football game. Since Virginia and Virginia Tech are rivals, to us, the game wasn't very exciting (VT won 27-3) but I had a good time hanging out with Roxann, her husband Justin and some of her friends. One of the hardest things about moving from Richmond was that Keith and I left so many friends behind. It is nice that I have been able to form a friendship with Roxann - she is a real blessing in my life.

  • Today was a lazy kind of day for the most part. The highlight of the day was that the Buffalo Bills won their game against the Cincinnati Bengals. I was really excited to be able to actually watch the game. Being a Bills fan in the Virginia means that you can very rarely see them play on TV unless you have a special sports package with your cable subscription or you go to a sports bar to watch it. To my surprise, today's game was actually on local TV and they won!

  • I also watched two old episodes of Grey's Anatomy & last week's episode of Private Practice on today. I LOVE that you can watch the entire episode of a show that you missed. We don't have DVR and I often forget to set the VCR to record a show so if I miss something, I can go on the computer and watch it. It's one of those things that makes me often ask "What did we do before computers?"

Well, tomorrow is the start of another work week. Even though I love my job, I also love weekends when I can sleep in and catch up on things that I haven't had time to do during the week. I know the upcoming week will fly by and before I know it, it will be Friday again. Happy almost-Monday to you all!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Our Weekend Away

This past weekend, Keith and I had the wonderful opportunity to take a weekend trip to the Shenandoah Valley. We planned this "weekend getaway" awhile ago. We wanted to do something fun and special to celebrate our 1st wedding anniversary and since we both love the Fall (hence, why we were married in November), a trip to the mountains in late October seemed to be just the right trip. Our plans included staying in a beautiful old Inn, taking a hot air balloon ride (which Keith had bought for me as a Christmas present in 2005), and going horse back riding. Unfortunately, due to the weather that Virginia had last week (three straight days of rain!), our plans had to be changed a bit (and due to the hot weather recently, the leaves weren't as colorful as we had hoped) but we made the best of it and still had a great time!

We left Charlottesville on Friday around 4:00pm (one of the perks of my job is that when the team leaves for an away game, we are free to go. Keith was able to get out of work early too so we could head out of town before rush hour started.) We drove straight to The Wayside Inn in Middletown, VA and checked in. Our room in the Inn was beautiful and very "homey". Keith and I both agreed that we felt more like we were staying in a room in someone's home than like we were in a hotel.

After checking in, we had a fabulous dinner at the Inn. Keith had a chicken dish and I had steak and shrimp. Of course, we also had dessert - Keith had cheesecake (his favorite!) and I had peach cobbler. It was a very good dinner, and the best part was that it was compliments of Keith's aunt and uncle (we paid for dinner with money we both got from them for our birthdays). It's always nice to have a romantic dinner with excellent food and even better when you don't have to pay for it!

We were supposed to take the balloon ride on Saturday afternoon, but we found out early that morning that it had to be cancelled due to it being too windy and too wet. We decided to change our plans a bit and spent the day in Winchester, VA instead. We walked around the Winchester downtown pedestrian mall, drank coffee and people-watched, and enjoyed the crisp fall air. We had an interesting run-in with a "crazy" lady outside the coffee shop. She was a middle aged woman, dressed a bit eccentrically, who was talking loudly as if someone was sitting right next to her. The strange thing was that she was all alone and talking to herself. At one point, she started waving (as if she were saying goodbye to someone) - except that no one was there. WEIRD! Fortunately, about that same time, Keith and I had finished our coffee and danish and were ready to get up and start exploring more of the mall. Timing is everything!

The only good thing about missing the balloon ride was that it gave us the opportunity to watch the UVA vs. NC State football game. Keith had researched (just in case the balloon ride was cancelled) and found out that there was a Buffalo Wild Wings in Winchester. We headed over there on Saturday afternoon in time to watch the game. He and I enjoyed a nice big booth - big enough for us to stretch out in, yummy food, and tasty drinks, but unfortunately the night was a bit tainted when the Cavaliers couldn't pull out a win.

On Sunday, we got to go horseback riding like we had planned. We chose to go to a stable that we had been at two years ago - Fort Valley Stable. The people there are really nice and the price is reasonable. We took a 1 1/2 hour guided tour through open fields and the mountainous forest. Keith's horse - Jeb - was the hungry one (he kept stopping to eat) and mine - Jesse - was the poopy one (he stopped 8 times! to let it all out!). We also saw four deer along our path and we found out interesting information about deer and horses (I was amazed at how the deer didn't run away and we got really close to them without them getting scared of us. Our guide, April, told us that it was because deer and horses are friends - they are both prey, not predators - so they trust each other. In other words, the deer are not afraid of the horses - and the horses' scent is stronger than human scent - so they do not run away).

All in all, it was a relaxing and fun weekend. Keith and I were able to spend valuable time together and it was nice to get away from town and celebrate the Fall season.

Bloggin' Ain't Easy!

Before I started a blog, I would be so disappointed when I checked my sisters' blogs 5 times a day and they hadn 't posted anything. I would think,"why aren't they posting something?! I look so forward to reading what they have to say. I can't believe they haven't posted something in 2 days!". And, now that I have decided to become "one of them", I am feeling the pressure!! For the past few days, I kept telling myself - you need to blog. But at the end of those days, when I was getting into my nice warm bed with my wonderful husband, I would think, "oh crap, another day and no blogging. I guess I'll do it tomorrow". So, here I's now yesterday's tomorrow.

Here are a few random thoughts for this week:
  1. I LOVE fall weather. We finally had to put our heat on on Sunday and it's so nice to be in a warm cozy house. I know our electric bill is going to be higher now, but it's worth it. I would rather have cold weather than hot weather anyday! Bring on the snow!
  2. I LOVE my job. It is so refreshing to have a job that I look forward to going to everyday. Even when I wake up in my warm bed and I don't want to get up, it only takes me a few mintues to remember that I am going into an office filled with wonderful people and an atmosphere that makes me feel very happy and rewarded. (Go Wahoos!)
  3. I LOVE watching "The Biggest Loser" (I'm watching it right now!). The question is why do I like to so much? I don't know if it's because of the competition or the drama or seeing these people lose weight or to get ideas on weight loss and exercise. I do know one thing - I am super jealous of these people because they have personal trainers who tell them how to exercise and what to eat. And, they have nothing else to do but concentrate on losing weight. How do I get on this show???!!!
  4. I LOVE my family (and miss them a lot!). This past weekend, Keith and I went to the mountains for a weekend getaway to celebrate our one-year anniversary (see my next post for details about that trip). The rest of my immediate family members were all in Richmond for the weekend. I am glad that Keith and I went away, but I am extremely sad that I missed out on all the fun that happened in Richmond - the Brain Tumor walk, pumpkin carving, my mom's famous spaghetti dinner, Buffalo Bills football, and of course the chatter and laughter that occurs when all of the Stanks gather in one place! See my sister Karen's pictures for a glimpse into the weekend.
  5. I LOVE my husband. Even though we have both been so busy lately, Keith and I had some wonderful alone time this past weekend. He is such a sweet man with a big heart and I am so blessed to be his wife. I know that I don't show or tell him enough but I hope he knows how very much I love his generosity, his sense of humor and most importantly his love.

I hope you are all having a great week. I can't believe the month of November is almost here. It seems like 2007 just got here and now it is almost over. My advice for the week: Tell your friends and family that you love them every chance you get. Life is too short not to!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

An Evening with Pierce

Keith and I were blessed with the opportunity to babysit our nephew, Pierce, tonight. My sister Katie called me this morning and asked if we were available to watch him. She needed to go into work at 5pm (she is working part-time to help out the company she worked for before she had Pierce) and her husband needed to work late. I think she thinks that it is an inconvenience for us to have Pierce here but I see it as a blessing. As my mom and aunt have recently pointed out, he is growing so fast and changing everyday. And even though we only live about 20 minutes away from them, it seems like we don't get to see them as often as we would like.

I know I am super biased, but I just think he is the cutest little boy. He has such a fun personality and he LOVES the camera. As soon as he sees a camera he stops what he is doing and a huge smile shows up on his face. Here are a few pics of the fun we had tonight.

As you can see, since we do not have a high chair Pierce had dinner while sitting on the counter. He was such a good boy and did really great eating. He definitely takes after his Aunt Kirsten - he loves to eat! :-)
Like all kids his age, Pierce prefers to play with pots, pans and anything else besides toys. He loves kitchen gadgets. Tonight he enjoyed playing with the collander while "helping" me make dinner.

Pierce had fun with Uncle Keith too. They were both all smiles as he Pierce got a "ride" on Keith's shoulders.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Today was a really dreary day in C'ville. It was one of those days where you look out the window and all you want to do is climb in bed and pull the covers over your head. It wasn't too cold which is good (although I am definitely ready for some cooler Fall weather!) but it rained pretty much all day. And, as I sit here typing this, I can hear the rain falling on our back deck now. I think it is supposed to rain tomorrow too.

Rain is one of those things that I don't like very much. There aren't many things in life that I don't like. To be honest, I can only name a few off of the top of my head - mean people, mornings, cashews, humidity, big bugs (namely camelback crickets or spiders), snakes, and rain. I am sure there are more but that's what I can think of right now.

Anyhow, I don't like rain for many reasons. First, the gets everything all wet - the grass, the sidewalk, the parking lot, the car, my shoes, my hair, etc. Second, the whole umbrella thing. It's OK if one doesn't have a lot of things to carry, but if you have something like grocery bags, it is sometimes hard to maneuver while trying to hold an umbrella. There is also the issue of getting into the car while trying to close the umbrella (and your car door at the same time) while tossing the soaking wet umbrella into the back seat where it gets everything all wet! My husband often tries to be nice when it is raining by holding the umbrella while we walk under it together. Unfortunately, even if the umbrella is one of those gigantic golf ones, for some reason, one of us ends up getting part of ourselves wet. I guess its just one of those things I'll never understand. Lastly, the thing about rain that really irritates me is that it makes people all of a sudden forget how to drive. When I moved to Virginia 10 years ago I thought that nothing could be worse than southerners driving in the snow....I was wrong!....rain is MUCH worse. I mean, c'mon's just water falling from the sky. It shouldn't make you forget to use your turn signal, forget how to merge, forget to look before you change lanes, forget the speed limit (so you drive 15 miles below it!) or forget that green means GO! Do these people really have valid drivers licenses?!

So, after all of I was actually happy to see the rain. We are in a severe drought and we haven't had measurable rain in God knows how long. It's been so long I can't remember. My flowers are loving this rain too. Just when I thought they were dead, a little rain has helped them perk up. I guess rain can actually be a good thing. Now if someone would just invent a hands-free umbrella that never gets wet, I'd be really happy! :-)

Monday, October 22, 2007

The Homestead

Keith and I took a trip to The Homestead yesterday afternoon. For those of you who are not familiar with it, The Homestead is a golf, spa and ski resort in Hot Springs, VA (which is about 2 hours west of Charlottesville, in the beautiful Virginia mountains). The Homestead is considered a "luxury resort" and by the looks of it yesterday, I can see why! First of all, the place is huge and it has numerous ballroom-type rooms where special events can occur (for a STEEP price!). It also has a very large front porch, a beautiful entrance hallway, shops, a library, a lounge/bar, and a grandios dining room.

The reason for our trip was that Keith had made a reservation for us to have dinner as an early celebration of our one-year wedding anniversary. He did it as a surprise for me (although he has to tell me about it a few weeks ago because I am a bit of a nag when it comes to knowing what's going on). He had also booked a Hot Stone Massage for me but due to some timing issues (we were running late due to not giving ourselves enough time with the winding mountain roads), I was unable to get the massage. I was dissapointed but it all ended up working out great - instead we walked around the resort, sat in rocking chairs and enjoyed a cup of coffee on the front porch, watched some football in the lounge and had a wonderful dinner. It was a beautiful fall day and the leaves were full of color as we drove through the mountains. I am truly blessed to have such a wonderful husband who is caring and thoughtful and who enjoys sharing new experiences with me.

Here are a few pictures from our trip:

Keith and me before dinner One of the guest room buildings & the libary

The main building (can you see the massive front porch?)

The front lobby/entrance area

A small part of the Dining Room

Us at dinner

Sunday, October 21, 2007


Why is it that time seems to go so fast or so slow depending on the circumstances? It's interesting to think that a minute always equals 60 seconds yet a minute can go by so quickly or draaaag depending on whether we are waiting for something or running late. For example, last night Keith, my sister Katie and I were watching the Virginia vs. Maryland football game and time just seemed to fly by. For anyone that missed the game, Virginia had the ball with just a few minutes left in the game and they needed to score a touchdown to win. The game clock was moving one second at a time (just like it always does), but the time seemed to be moving extra fast and the players seemed to be moving extra slow! Fortunately, they scored with 16 seconds left and ended up winning the game by 1 point.

Now think about situations when you are waiting for something (or even worse....running on the treadmill!) and time seems to go so sloooooow. I don't know about you but 2 minutes never seems to last so long except when they are counting down on the the machine at the gym. Why is that? Does anyone have an answer?

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Starting a blog....

I have been thinking about starting a blog for some time now (well at least for the last week or so). My sisters both have blogs and I LOVE checking them. I even find myself looking at their friends' blogs....even if I don't know the people. I think it's cool to see what people are doing and see recent pictures of babies, families or outings that people have taken.

Some people I know (my Dad specifically) think that blogs are impersonal. He thinks it is just as easy to send out an individual email with pictures if you have something you want to tell or show your friends and family members. I do agree that blogging can make people more detached because then we don't have to necessarily talk to or see each other but we still know what is going on. For example, I haven't seen or talked to my sister Karen in over a month. But, thanks to her blog, I know what's happening in her life. In a perfect world, we would talk more often, but since we are both so busy and live 3 hours away from each other, it is nice to have the blog to keep me informed.

So, do blogs help us or hurt us? I guess the answer is both! Maybe they do make people talk less, but in reality I think they are also a tool that helps us keep in touch better!

Therefore, for the keeping in touch reason (and because I am just not good about sending out individual emails)....I am starting this blog so that I can share with my family and friends all the interesting things that Keith and I are doing. We don't have the most exciting lives, but I am hoping to be able to share information about our jobs, our friends and our families. Stay tuned.....the fun is just beginning!