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 am....it'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 obvious...it 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 people....it'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 that....today 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!