Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Goodbye, Nana

On Monday afternoon, my dad received a phone call from his sister saying that my grandmother (his mother) was not feeling well and was taken to the hospital. Less then 5 hours later, another phone call came to say that she had just suffered a massive heart attack and massive stroke. Because she had a DNR on file, we all knew that she would most likely not make it through the night.  She died sometime around 3am yesterday morning.

The sadness that we are feeling here on earth is mixed with happiness that she is now reunited with my grandfather, who passed away just three months ago in September.  We are all shocked and saddened to have to say goodbye so soon to Nana (as we Stank kids always called her), but I know that she and Papa are now happy and healthy in heaven and celebrating this New Year's Eve together with Jesus.

Here is a picture of Nana with all of her children.  This picture was taken the day after my brother, Mike's wedding (just two weeks after my grandpa passed away).  We'll miss you Nana!

My sister, Karen, wrote an excellent post about my grandmother on her blog. Click HERE to see it.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmas cookies

I love to bake, but I don't get the opportunity to do it very often. Every year, at Christmastime, I look forward to baking a variety of cookies for our families. I started this tradition in 2005 and was able to do it again in 2006, but couldn't do it last year because we had to leave for the Gator Bowl.

This year, today was my baking day. It was about 5 hours of kitchen craziness but all went well, except for one thing: my gingerbread men dough was way too crumbly and couldn't be used (the recipe said that it needed to be refrigerated for at least 3 hours. When I took it out of the refrigerator, it was not useable). Bummer, since Keith had requested those specifically and he was really looking forward to them.

Here are some pictures I took during my "baking extravaganza" today:

Keith and I went to Kroger last night to get the necessary supplies

"Cracker candy" - so easy and so good!

"Macaroons" - one of my favs

" Chocolate mint snow-tops" - YUM

"Peanut Butter Blossoms" - a family favorite

"White chocolate raspberry" - these are Keith's favorites

Monday, December 15, 2008

It's Official!!

For the last 8 weeks or so, Keith and I have known that I am pregnant. At the end of October, we decided to tell our immediate family members and last week, we finally felt comfortable telling "the whole world" (since we have successfully made it through the first trimester with no problems)!! We are so excited about our little bundle of joy and we can't wait to see what the future holds.

On December 5th, I had an ultrasound and we were able to see the baby for the first time. (Well, this is actually a lie....I had an ultrasound on November 3rd and we were able to see the yolk sac and the heartbeat. That was a very exciting time, but for the most part, it just looked like a small blob). This time, we were able to see what looked like a "real" baby, with arms and legs and a face. It was truly overwhelming and awesome! I still can't believe I have a baby growing inside of me, especially since I am not "showing" yet.

When we went to the doctor to have the ultrasound, they also did a "Nuchal Translucency Screening" or NT scan. It is a first trimester screening that assess the risk of Down Syndrome and some other chromosomal abnormalities. Based on the ultrasound results, the doctor said everything looks normal but they also took blood and they'll get results on the blood work in about a week. We decided to do this particular screening because it was so non-invasive, it is covered by insurance, and they were going to do the ultrasound anyways. Also, if we found out there is a good possibility of the baby having Down Syndrome, then we could start preparing and learning as much as we can before it is born. Sounds like I am a pretty low-risk though, considering our family health history and what the doctor saw today.

My next appointment with the doctor will be on January 6th. This will be a basic "checkup" and we won't have another ultrasound until around 20 weeks, at which time we will be able to find out the baby's gender. :-)

Here are some pictures that we got from our appointment on December 3rd. Isn't he/she cute?
The baby's CRL (crown to rump length) was 5.65 cm.
The technician said that is right where it should be.
His/her heartbeat was measured at 171 beats per minute
A view of the entire babyThis is the baby facing the camera. It sort of looks like it is waving at us!Here is a view of one of it's arms, from above.This is it's bottom and one of it's legs.

Where has the time gone?

I can't believe it has been almost a month since I have posted to this blog! I don't know where the time has gone! I have certainly had a lot of things going on and plenty to blog about, but obviously haven't found the time to do so.

Well, now that the holidays are here and we are doing lots of fun and interesting things with our families, I am sure I will have a lot to blog about. (Again, finding the time, is the hard part!)

Also, since the cat is finally out of the bag...woohoo!!...(see the next post!), I am sure I will have lots of updates to post as we await the arrival of Baby Weimer at the end of June.

I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season....not stressing too much, not overspending and not overeating (ok, maybe that last one is ok...haha).

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Happy Anniversary to us!

I am a day late with this post, but I still wanted to acknowledge that it was Keith and my 2nd anniversary yesterday!

I was thinking back to two years ago and remembering that beautiful Fall day that we exchanged our vows in front of God and our family & friends. It was one of the best days of my life, if not THE best.

I am so blessed to have a wonderful husband who is loving, kind, supportive, and truly my best friend.

We have been through a lot together in the last two years including moving to a different town, starting new jobs, family illnesses & deaths, and our own personal joys and sorrows. I am very excited to see what the future holds for us as a couple and also as we create our family.

Here's to many, many more years of love, health and happiness! I love you Keith!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Change in plans

Unfortunately, due to the threat of rain and wind in the Shenandoah Valley this weekend, our hot air balloon ride has, once again, been postponed. Who knows when we will be able to do it again - probably not for another year or so. :-(

So, Keith and I are enjoying a quiet, relaxing weekend at home - something we don't do very often. This is actually the second weekend in a row that we have not been away from home, although last weekend we had a visitor and I had to work on Saturday. So, it wasn't really as relaxing as this weekend should turn out to be.

We are currently sitting on our back deck - Keith is reading and I, of course, am on the computer. There is the usual laundry and house cleaning that is calling my name from the inside of the house, but I am just going to try and ignore it for the time being. The weather is beautiful - probably in the high 50s/low 60s - and I am trying to sit still and just enjoy the quiet time. (For those of you who know me really well, you know that I am not one to sit and do nothing for very long. In my opinion, there is always something that needs to be done).

SIDE NOTE: As I am typing this, a female deer just bounded through our back yard. It is not uncommon to see deer in our yard as we live in a neighborhood full of them, but it always nice to see them every now and then (especially when you are not driving and trying to avoid hitting them!)

I am looking forward to LOTS of football today and tomorrow. We will be watching the Cavs take on Wake Forest this afternoon and tomorrow will be the Bills & the Steelers (separate games but both on TV here...yippee!). All in all, this should be a very relaxing and enjoyable weekend with no where to go, no where to be and no one to take care of except for each other.

I hope everyone has a very enjoyable weekend!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Excited and scared

This upcoming weekend, Keith and I are headed to the Shenandoah Valley to celebrate our two-year anniversary. The most exciting part of the weekend (other than just spending time away with each other) will be the hot air balloon ride that we will be taking early on Saturday morning.

I have been super excited to take this balloon ride for a few years now. This is still the same balloon ride that Keith bought me as a Christmas gift in 2005! This is the same balloon ride that we tried to take last year at this time and it got canceled due to bad weather. So, as you can see, I have been waiting and waiting to take this balloon ride. come now that I am actually thinking about how far up we will be, how we will be just hanging by a balloon hundreds of feet in the air....why now am I becoming very scared?! Should I be afraid? Is this a dangerous adventure we are embarking on? It can't be that bad or lots of people wouldn't do it, right?

Oh....maybe this is a bad idea.....

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Our NY adventure!

Last weekend, Keith and I made a trip up to Rochester, NY to celebrate my grandfather's 80th birthday! His children (my mom and her siblings) planned a surprise party at one of his favorite restaurants and we were all excited to celebrate the life of a wonderful man. It was great to see a lot of extended family members that we don't get to see that often, although it was a whirlwind weekend that went by way too fast!

Keith and I had decided awhile ago that we were going to fly up to Rochester since we both had to work on Friday and needed to back to work on Monday. Keith actually had a conference he was presenting at in Williamsburg on Friday so that added to the mix.

All was going well when we boarded our flight in Richmond at 7:30pm headed to NYC's Laguardia airport. Like all flights, we pulled away from the gate, taxied to the runway and stopped....assuming that we were "next in line" to depart. Unfortunately, when the pilot came on the overhead speaker, instead of hearing the usual "Ladies & Gentlemen, we have been approved for departure....blah, blah, blah", we heard "Ladies & Gentlemen, unfortunately there has been a stoppage of inbound flights into Laguardia due to flight traffic. We are being told that the stoppage will be lifted at 8:30pm, so we have to sit here (on the tarmac) for the next 45 minutes. I am sorry for the delay and will now turn off the fasten seat belt sign for your comfort". GREAT!! Just what we wanted to do...sit on a plane on the runway for 45 minutes!! It was a good thing I bought a magazine in the airport before we got on the plane (since I had left my book at home by accident!).

After sitting on the runway for almost an hour, we finally took off around 8:45pm. We knew almost certainly that we were not going to make our connection out of Laguardia into Rochester which was leaving at 9:45pm. I was still trying to hold out hope that the plane would wait for us or that there would be another flight leaving later that we could get on, but I was not feeling very confident.

As I suspected, when we arrived in Laguardia, the plane headed to Rochester had already left and there were no other options for us that night. We stood in line at the "Special Services" counter and waited to be told what our options were for a flight out in the morning. A man in front of us, who was not very happy, was talking on the phone to someone saying that the earliest flight out wouldn't get him in to Rochester until Saturday afternoon! I was a little scared to see what the agent was going to tell us. The birthday party started at 11:30am so we needed to get there as soon as we could!

Thankfully, we were told that we could take a flight out at 6am that would allow us to arrive in Rochester at 9:30am. The agent booked the flight for us and our next question was, "Do we get a voucher for a free hotel room?" The answer was no. She said that they do not normally issue vouchers for air traffic or weather issues, only if there is a mechanical issue with a plane. She said we could try to speak to her supervisor (who was at the end of the counter) but that she didn't think she would be able to do anything for us. I was willing to just walk away, but Keith (being the resourceful person that he is) said that we should try to talk to the supervisor. He said that the worst that she could say was no, but there was no harm in asking. Smart man!!

I am not sure what we did or what we said, but about 20 minutes later, we were walking away from the Special Services counter with a voucher for a free hotel room. There were five or six other people who were in the same predicament as we were and they only got a $25 credit towards a hotel room. I told Keith that I think it was the fact that we were very nice to the agent....trying to be understanding and not angry, like some of the other people were. Anyways, whatever we did or didn't do, we saved ourselves about $200 in hotel room charges! And, we left the airport not completely hating USAirways!

By the time we waited for the shuttle and actually got to the hotel (which, thankfully, was only about 5 minutes from the airport), it was almost 11:00pm. When the desk clerk asked if we needed a wake up call, we reluctantly said "3:30am please" (we had to be back to the airport by 5am to catch the 6am flight out). Needless to say, we only got about 3 1/2 hours of sleep that night!

Thankfully our flights from Laguardia to Philly and from Philly to Rochester on Saturday morning were uneventful. We arrived on time in Rochester and were able to spend some quality time (although short!) with my extended family!

We turned around and flew back to Richmond on Sunday afternoon - with no glitches, thank goodness. It was definitely a long trip, but worth it to celebrate Papa's birthday and see so many wonderful relatives!!

Monday, October 20, 2008

A Night at Scott Stadium

Barb and me on the field after the awesome win Saturday night!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Home Alone

This is the second weekend in a row that I have been home alone. Last weekend, Keith made a trip to PA to visit with his family and attend activites associated with Fort Ligonier Days, which is a festival in a town near where he grew up. I couldn't go because I had to work.

This time he left on Thursday to head north to Pittsburgh to meet up with a friend, and then they drove to Cincinnati on Friday. He was attending the LITA Forum in Cincy until today. He also had the opportunity to visit with his mom tonight - on his way back through Pittsburgh - and will return home tomorrow. Yippee!
Even though I have missed having Keith here, I did some pretty cool things this weekend while he was gone:

On Thursday & Friday nights, I went to Katie & Shaun's house and got to hang out with them and Pierce. On Thursday night, I babysat Pierce and on Friday, all three of us hung out. Katie was awesome and cooked for me both nights and I had a blast. Pierce is growing up so fast and I just love spending time with him. His words have gotten a lot clearer and he is so expressive when he tells stories. He had us laughing hysterically at the dinner table on Friday night.

On Saturday morning, I met Katie, Shaun & Pierce at Carter Mountain Orchard. I was only able to stay for about an hour, because I had to go to work, but in that short time we took a hayride, walked through the pumpkins (which Pierce just loved!), and had hot apple cider. After I left, they stayed and picked their own apples (14 lbs of them so I hear). It was really fun and the views from the top of the mountain were beautiful. Unfortunately, I didn't take any pictures, but Shaun took a good one of Pierce and me:

Katie posted some others on her blog. You can see them HERE.

Saturday afternoon/evening was spent hosting football recruits and their families before the game. Then, cheering the Cavaliers on as they defeated the UNC Tar Heels in OT! Honestly, it was not a very exciting game for us until the last 2 minutes, when we drove down the field to score a TD to tie the game. Then, in OT, our defense held UNC to a field goal and we were able to score a TD to win the game! The best part was that I was standing on the field behind the endzone for the last 2 minutes and the overtime. I had a birds eye view of the winning TD! It was awesome!!

After the game, I went out to dinner with a good friend and then spent the night at her house. We stayed up late talking and had a great time catching up.

This morning, after breakfast at her house, we went to Starbucks to get coffee and chat a bit more. Then, we went for a walk on the Saunders-Monticello Trail. It is a total of four miles and it was more walking than I had done in a long time. But it felt really good to get some exercise and it didn't even seem that far since we were talking the entire time! And, the leaves were so beautiful. I love this time of the year and it was great to be outside on a beautiful sunny Fall day.

After we finished our walk, I returned home. My afternoon & evening activities included watching football (Go Bills!! 5-1!), doing laundry, cleaning (just a little!), and making homemade chicken noodle soup. It has been a pretty relaxing day and I am glad that it is the last night that I have to spend alone.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day

Today is Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day. It is a day that we can all remember those babies that we have lost through miscarriage or infants who died soon after birth. It is a day that way too many people are a part of. It is unbelievable the number of people who I know that have lost a baby. Miscarriage is a sad & frustrating situation and I know, from personal experience, that you never forget that "little one" that you didn't get to meet.

For all of those women (and men) who have experienced the loss of a baby and are still trying, I pray that you will continue to believe in the possibility of someday being a parent. I also praise God for the people that I know who have had successful pregnancies and beautiful children after experiencing the heartache of miscarriage or the loss of an infant.

Remember, God knows what is best and we all need to remember that everything happens in His time and His way. Don't ever stop believing!!

For more information on this Day of Remembrance, click HERE.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Keith's surprise birthday dinner

Last Saturday night, a bunch of our friends and family got together to celebrate Keith's 40th birthday. It was a surprise dinner party that I had been planning for some time.

I wanted to do something special for his birthday this year since he turned the Big 4-0! We had talked back in the summer about what to do - have a party, go somewhere fun, or do whatever Keith wanted to do. Unfortunately, since I work in a football office, everything in the Fall revolves around football season. And the Cavaliers had a full home football schedule in October (home every Saturday except the last one). Since I have to work home football games, it seemed too complicated to try to plan a party or go away for the weekend. So....Keith thought that we weren't really doing anything fun for his big day (other than going to my parents house on Sunday and my mom making him the dinner of his choice!).

I decided about a month ago that I wanted to plan a surprise dinner party and invite a bunch of people from Keith's life, past and present. I decided to have it at Capital Alehouse in Richmond because that is one of his favorite restaurants, and I knew that they had a big back room that could fit a large dinner party.

I would say that it was a huge success! We had about 20 of Keith's friends (and my sister, brother-in-law, and niece also) to help celebrate his big milestone! He was super surprised when he walked in and saw all of the people who were there in his honor. I personally think he was a bit overwhelmed by the different groups that were represented (friends from his old job at Virginia Union University, friends from his old job at University of Richmond, and some friends from his current job at UVA).

I hope everyone in attendance had a great time because I know that Keith and I did. We had a wonderful dinner and topped it off with a cake (in the shape of a book) from Keith's favorite Richmond baker, Cakes by Graham. (I was highly disappointed to see that they spelled Keith's name wrong on the cake, as you can see in the picture below. But the cake did taste good and it looked cute too.)

Thank you to everyone who came to the party. Also, a big thank you to my sister, Karen and my parents, who helped get the cake from the bakery to the restaurant. Also, Karen took many of the photos that night so that was a huge help.

Me and Keith at dinner
Part of the dinner party group
The gang
"The Life and Times of Keith (aka Kieth) Weimer" cake
Lighting the candles - they were having trouble keeping them litSinging "Happy Birthday"
Blow out the candles
The Boys - Will, Keith, Chris (and Owen) - great friends!!
Some of the guests gathered for a picture

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Happy Birthday to my hubby

Today is Keith's 40th birthday. We are spending the day in Richmond with my family and my mom is making her famous spaghetti sauce in honor of Keith's birthday (this was his request).

Last night, I pulled off a surprise birthday dinner for Keith. I was super excited about it and it ended up being a really fun time. Keith and I both got to see a lot of old friends that we hadn't seen in awhile.

My sister Karen was the photographer for the event last night so I will post pictures as soon as I get them from her.

Happy Birthday baby! I am so blessed to have you in my life and I can't wait to celebrate many, many more birthdays with you!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Where have I been?

I have been out of the blogging world for quite awhile now. The main reason is that I have been so busy. It seems like I have not really had a spare moment in a long time. I have been either traveling, working, or hanging out with friends and family. There have been a lot of things going on in my life, but I have been either too busy or just too tired to actually sit down and post about all of them. It amazes me when I read blogs belonging to women with jobs, husbands, houses, and kids. Where do they find the time to do all of the daily necessities of life and still blog??!!

Here is a run-down of what has been going on and where I have been in the past few weeks:

Tuesday, Sept. 16th
~It was a sad day. We got word that my grandfather passed away. His funeral was going to be in Binghamton, NY on Monday, Sept. 22nd. (See my sister Karen's post HERE for a wonderful tribute to our Papa).

Saturday, Sept. 20th
~Keith and I left bour house at 8am, picked up my sister Katie, and headed to Richmond.
~Left my parents' house in Richmond around 10am. In my mom's minivan: Keith, me, Katie, Karen, Sierra, Mom, and Mike.
~Arrived in Binghamton, NY around 5pm.

Sunday, Sept. 21st
~Calling hours for my grandpa were 2pm-5pm.
~We saw a lot of family that we hadn't seen in a long time or that Keith had never met. It was good to see people, but sad for my grandma, my dad and his siblings.

Monday, Sept. 22nd
~ We were up early. Had to check out of the hotel and get breakfast before the family prayer time at 8:30am, funeral at 9:30am.
~ I did a reading at the funeral mass at the request of my grandmother. I was nervous, but got through it OK.
~There was a luncheon after the funeral and then we got back in the car to head home around 2:30pm.
~We drove back to Richmond - with many stops - arrived around 10pm.
~Drove from Richmond to C'ville. Dropped Katie off at her house. Arrived home around 11:30pm. Long day!!

Tuesday, Sept. 23rd
~Went out to dinner with folks from work. Quadruple date night (four couples) at the Melting Pot. Very good food and conversation, but we didn't get home until 11pm!

Wednesday, Sept. 24th
~Did Laundry!
~Packed for the wedding weekend! Bridesmaid dress...check! Rehearsal dinner outfit....check! 10 pairs of shoes (no joke)...check! I couldn't decide which ones I wanted to wear!!

Thursday, Sept. 25th
~After work, we had to go to the mall to find Keith something to wear. He realized on Wednesday night (yes, one day before we were leaving!!), that he didn't have anything to wear to the wedding. Luckily, we found a suit that was nice with pants that didn't need to be hemmed.
~Drove to Blacksburg - in the pouring rain!! Arrived at the hotel around 9pm.
~Hung out and had drinks in the hotel lounge with extended family. In bed around midnight.

Friday, Sept. 26th
~Bridesmaid stuff starting at 9am: Starbucks breakfast, nail salon pampering, and a luncheon. Fun times!! Here are pictures from the nail salon:

The bride, the maid of honor and her mom getting pedicures
Three lovely bridesmaids getting pedicures

~Back to the hotel for some rest. I had planned to take a nap, but didn't get to sleep at all - I was too busy catching up on emails & blogs and talking to my husband. Also, got to spend some quality time with Pierce. He is so darn cute!!
~Rehearsal at 5:30pm. Dinner afterwards. Party after that. We got to see a lot of family and friends who had come from out of town.
~In bed around midnight.

Saturday, Sept. 27th
~Mike & Blakely's wedding day!! :-)
~Went to the hair salon at 10am (with a stop at Starbuck s on the way). Here are some pics:The lovely bride with her hair done
Karen and meBlakely getting her make-up doneSisters with our hair done (albeit without make-up and looking a little tired!)

~Went to Blakely's parents' house after the hair salon to have lunch and get dressed for the wedding.
~In the limo at 2:30pm. Went to the VT Alumni Center for pictures. Then, on to the church.
~It was a beautiful wedding ceremony!! We are so excited to have Blakely "officially" join our family.
~The reception followed with exceptional food and lots of dancing. A great time was had by all!
~At 11pm, after Mike & Blakely exited the reception, a bunch of us went out to the parking lot to decorate their car. It looked awesome!!!

Here are some pictures from the day:

Blakely with her three of her best friends - these girls were a hoot!
"Sisters" - right before walking down the aisleMike watching his bride walk down the aisle

The whole gang
Pierce and me at the receptionMe and my hubbyMike's car....
"Just Married"

Sunday, Sept. 28th
~Blakely's parents hosted a brunch at their house. It was a great way to spend more time with the happy couple and with family that had traveled from out of town.
~The "Stank family men" smoked cigars in memory of Papa:

~Keith and I left Blacksburg around 3pm. Stopped in Waynesboro to meet up with some friends for dinner (they were here visiting from their home in Toronto).
~Arrived home around 9pm. Unpacked and went to bed!

So, as you can see, we have been just a little bit busy the past few weeks! Unfortunately, October is just as busy! We have a lot going on this month and I will try to blog periodically so that my next post is not super long like this one!!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

September 11th, 2001

....will be a date that lives in people's minds forever.

....will be a day when you remember exactly where you were, what you were doing and how your felt. a day when thousands of people lost their spouses, their children, their parents, their brothers & sisters, their friends and their neighbors. a day that no one should every forget!

My sister, Karen, did an awesome post on her blog a year ago and she reposted it again today. It contains a wonderfully put together video - check it out HERE.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Cat Sitting

Last week, Keith and I had a four-legged house guest....his name is Tyler. Tyler is a cat that has an interesting past with our family. It all started in September of 2003 when a co-worker of mine at the time, found him on the side of the road. She knew how much I loved cats so she asked me if I could take him in. At that time, I was living with my parents (who weren't ever very big fans of cats) and I was pretty sure that they would not agree that he could come live with us. Fortunately, I was wrong and they agreed. I brought him home and he lived with my parents and me for 2 years. Here is a picture of him a few days after I brought him home. He was only about 2 months old at the time.

In August of 2005, Keith and I decided to move in together and unfortunately for me (and Tyler), Keith is allergic to cats, so I couldn't take him with me. Thankfully, my parents had fallen in love with him and were happy to keep him at their house.

So, that's where the story ends, right? Less than a year later, my parents told me that Tyler was going to have to move out. It appeared that their dog, Shadow (who got along great with Tyler and even treated him like his baby at times), was urinating on their new carpet near the litter box! My mom said that no matter where she moved the litter box to, Shadow would pee next to it. We all figured that he was probably "marking his territory" but it was determined that one of them had to go and since Shadow was "their" dog and was in the house first, it would need to be Tyler. We were all very upset about it and I was concerned that he was going to have to leave our family.

Thankfully, my sister Katie and her husband Shaun stepped up and said that they would take Tyler in at their house. It was awesome of them to take him on, especially since Katie is not really a "pet person". I do believe, however, that she and Tyler now (almost 3 years later) have a love/hate relationship. And, of course, Pierce is in love with Tyler and they get along like brothers!

So, back to last week...while my parents and sisters & their families were on vacation at the beach, Keith and I agreed to watch Tyler for the week. I didn't need any convincing but Keith did - mostly because of his allergies. I certainly didn't want him to be miserable (his nose gets all stuffed up, his eyes water and he starts itching when he is around animals for a prolonged period of time). He did agree, however, to try to have Tyler at the house and see what happens.

I tried hard to vaccum and keep the house clean on a daily basis so Tyler's hair and dander wouldn't be around the house too much. Also, we did not let him into our bedroom, which kept his hair off of the bed. He didn't like not being able to get into that particular bedroom (even though he had free reign of the rest of the house) and he often sat outside the door and meowed loudly.

It ended up being a great week and Keith didn't have any bad adverse reactions to Tyler. I belive that they even spent more time together than Tyler and I did. Here are a few pictures I snapped of the two of them and of Tyler "hanging out" at our house:

Tyler loved sitting on Keith's lap, especially when Keith was using the computer
Is he sleeping or helping Keith move the mouse?
He loved this spot under our coffee table laying on this serving tray.
Here he is standing outside our bedroom....this was a popular spot for him. He even snuck in a few times when we weren't fast enough with closing the door upon our exit or entrance.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A Disappointing Loss

I hesitated to do a post about this but now that we have gotten past the rough time, I feel like it's OK to share what Keith and I went through about a month ago.

It all started on July 29th when we found out I was pregnant. I knew that I was late and took 3 home pregnancy tests that all came back negative. I decided to call the doctor's office and the nurse told me to come in and get a blood test done. It came back positive!! Keith and I were so excited! The nurse told me to come back in a few days to get another blood test to make sure my HCG (hormone) levels were rising the way that they should be. (Side note: Keith and I have been seeing a reproductive specialist because we both have some issues that could make it hard for us to get pregnant. Therefore, when we found out that I was indeed pregnant, the doctor wanted to monitor my progress closely).

Well, when I went back to the doctor two days later, the prognosis was not good. The doctor called me after my blood work came back and said that my HCG level was not rising like they wanted it to (in the very early stages of pregnancy, it should double every 48 hours and mine went from 68 to 81 in two days). The doctor told me that it was very likely that I was going to have a miscarriage. He did say that he wanted me to come back two days later, on a Saturday, to have more blood drawn. He said that there is always a chance that the embryo is "slow starting" and they wanted to make sure this wasn't the case. Keith and I held felt very sad but thought that maybe a miracle could still happen.

I went back to the doctor's office on Saturday to have more blood drawn and he called me that afternoon with more bad news - my levels had only gone up to 99. At this point, he said, he was almost 100% certain that I was going to have a miscarriage. The bad part was that he did not know when it would happen - he said it could take weeks! We were devastated!!

The doctor had instructed me to come back to his office to get more blood drawn three days later (at this point, I felt like a pin cushion!!). They were continuously monitoring my hormone levels to see if it was going to start dropping (a sign that the cells were breaking up and the miscarriage would start soon). On Tuesday, when the nurse called to give me the results, she said she was happy to tell me that my levels were now indeed doubling - up to 199! I was overjoyed!! I thought a miracle could really happen and everything would be ok!! At this point, the doctor wanted me to come in and have an interuterine scan done to see if he could see an egg sac in my uterus (which would indicate a viable pregnancy). He scheduled the scan for the next day and Keith and I were very anxious to find out what was going on.

On Wednesday afternoon, we had the scan done and unfortunately, the doctor did not see anything in my uterus. This was a sure sign that the pregnancy was not viable. Again, it was devastating news. The doctor said that there was a chance that the pregnancy could be an ectopic one, meaning that the embryo was developing outside of the uterus, most likely in my fallopian tube. If this was the case, it could be very dangerous for me and it would need to be remedied soon. He took more blood and said that based on the results, he would know more the next day.

Over the next few days, it was determined - through another interuterine scan (that showed nothing) and more blood tests (with increased levels) - that it was definitely an ectopic pregnancy and it would need to be ended. If it was not, my tube could rupture and cause internal bleeding and possibly death. In the long run, it was a good thing that it was caught early so none of these bad things happened.

On Friday, August 8th, I went to the hospital and got a shot of Methotrexate, which is a drug used to fight rapidly-dividing cells such as pregnancy cells. The shot in itself was not bad. I got two injections, one in each upper arm. It was not really painful and I was able to go back to work right afterwards.

The bad part, once again, was that the doctor could not tell me when this whole thing was going to be over with. They continued to take blood from me once a week until it was all over with. I had pretty bad cramping a week after I got the shot and, unfortunately, was not feeling 100% when Keith's family was visiting. But, all in all, it didn't end up being as bad as I had invisioned it was going to be.

Thankfully, it is all over with now and hopefully we will be able to start trying again in another month. The doctor said that once I have one normal cycle, we should be good to go. Now it's just a waiting game to see how long it takes my body to bounce back after all of this. I'm hoping it won't take too long.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Good news!

Keith's mom had a PET (full-body) scan done last Monday to see how the cancer is reacting to the chemo treatments that she has been having for the past three months. We were very happy to hear that her doctor told her that her cancer markers are down 4.5!! That means that her markers are near the "normal" number now. Also, the doctor told her that the scan showed no cancer cells in her liver!! This is wonderful news! It doesn't necessarily mean that the cancer is completely gone (because cancer cells can "hide") but it does mean that the chemo treatments that she has had are helping to kill the cancer cells in her body. Praise God!!

The doctor still wants her to continue her every-two-week chemo regimine, but our hope is that after a few more months of that, she will be able to cut back or even stop completely.

Thank you for all of your continued thoughts and prayers! They are very much appreciated!

Family visit

Last weekend, Keith's family - his mom, aunt and uncle - came to visit us from PA. It's a 4 1/2 hour drive from their house to ours. Keith took Friday off and they arrived mid-afternoon. I have to give props to Keith for all of the cleaning and straightening up that he did before their arrival. He is definitely not one of those husbands that doesn't do housework! He cleaned the kitchen floor and both bathrooms plus he vaccumed all the bedrooms and made sure the yardwork was all done!! I am very lucky to have such a helpful husband.

We decided to have a big dinner at our house on Friday night. Since Marge, Barry & Kay were going to be here, we invited my parents and Katie, Shaun and Pierce to come over also. I was very excited to finally use our dining room table and even pulled out the good china (we only have 8 of our everyday plates so using the good china just made sense). I made baked ziti and had salad and garlic bread. It was a very fun night having everyone over. The food was good and the company was even better! Pierce certainly provided a lot of comic relief! I am sad that I didn't get any pictures. I thought about it after we were all finished. Oh well.

On Saturday, we headed to the University grounds with our guests. We went by my office first to show them the Football office and then we went over to the Library where Keith works. They got to see his office and he gave us a tour of a few parts of the library. We left the library and walked a little bit down to "The Corner", which is a popular student area near the UVA grounds. We had lunch at a local restaurant and went into a few little shops. We then walked up to the Rotunda and the Lawn area. This is the oldest part of the UVA campus and it's a beautiful area. We were very lucky that it was a beautiful day - sunny but not too hot. Even so, by the time we got back to the car, we were all pretty worn out from our walking tour. We headed back to our house and ended up going out to dinner at a local restaurant here at the Lake.

On Sunday, we slept in and then had a wonderful morning sitting on our back deck. I made some cinnamon rolls and coffee and we all sat on the deck and enjoyed the beautiful sights and sounds of nature. We didn't see any deer, but we saw a lot of birds, woodpeckers and squirrels. Our back deck faces the wooded lot next to us. It was really peaceful sitting out there just enjoying each other's company and chatting. Before we knew it, it was almost noon and they needed to get ready to head back home. We all got showered and they said goodbye.

It was a really nice visit and Keith and I both enjoyed hosting them at our new house. It's really nice to have the space for people to stay and also to have a house that you are proud to show off. We hope that they are able to come visit us again soon.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Busy, Busy, Busy....

This is probably not a surprise to anyone who knows us, but Keith and I have been SUPER busy lately. I have had so many things I want to blog about but finding the time to do it just seems impossible. Work is, of course, crazy for me right now since we are in our last few days of training camp and our first game is 9 days from now!! I can't believe how fast the summer has flown by, and although I am really excited for football - both NCAA & NFL - and looking forward to cooler temperatures and falling leaves, I must admit that I am bummed that the summer is almost over! It seems like Keith and I really didn't even get a break this year - no summer vacation for us with moving and spending time in PA with Keith's mom. I guess the fun beach trip will have to wait until next year!!

There are so many things that have been happening in our lives lately and I definitely want to post about all of them. Unfortunately I will have to just make a list for now (to give you a glimpse of what is to come and also to remind myself what I want to talk about). Here goes....

1. Keith's mom, aunt and uncle visited us from PA last weekend.

2. Good news about Marge's cancer!

3. A difficult situation that Keith and I have been going through.

4. What's going on in the UVA Football office? (My job duties have changed a bit and I want to share...)

So, there are the headlines, now I just need to find the time to write about them. Thankfully (but sadly), the Olympics are getting ready to end so I will be able to blog in the evenings instead of yelling "GO, GO, GO" or "YAY!!" at the TV. Stay tuned......

Monday, August 11, 2008

Our new dining room furniture

I'm very excited that we finally got new dining room furniture. Now, it's not really "new" like brand new, it's actually over 20 years old. But it is new to us and that is all that matters!

I searched and searched and searched for furniture....on-line, in furniture stores, in antique shops (my aunt Karin is an antique expert and she took me to some cool places when we were in Rochester in July). I didn't really have a specific kind of table or chair or hutch in mind (except that we wanted darker wood) so the possibilities were endless! Of course, then Keith decided that he really liked "pressback" chairs (you'll see them in the pictures), so my search was narrowed down to something that included those types of chairs. Aunt Karin warned me that those chairs were: 1. expensive and 2. hard to find. But, thankfully, we found a set on that we really liked and it was a really good price. The problem....the owners live in West Point (which is about 30 minutes east of Richmond and about an hour and 45 minutes from our house in Charlottesville!).

Thankfully, it all worked out. We were able to go see the set when we were in Richmond a few weekends back. We really liked it and the owners were nice enough to let us come back the following weekend to pick it up. Someone that I know from work has a moving truck that we were able to borrow free of charge (only had to pay for gas!) so Keith and his friends Carl and Cindy made the trek to West Point on Sunday, August 3rd while I was at work. They did a tremendous job transporting the table, six chairs and the hutch. They even brought everything in the house and set it up. We are very happy with it and so far, have really enjoyed it being in our house.

Here are some pictures:

This is the table fully extended (with two leaves)
The hutch
These are the "pressback" chairs that Keith likes!
Here is the table and chairs how they are normally in our dining room.

Tonight, I brought our formal china in from the bins in the garage. We hadn't taken them out of the bins since we got them as a wedding present from my Uncle Mike & Aunt Karin. I was so excited to finally get them in the house and get them set up. I am also super excited about using them on Friday night when we have some of my family and some of Keith's family over for dinner. Here are some pictures of the hutch with the china in it: