Friday, December 15, 2006

Our Year in Review

For those of you with nothing better to do...

January is typically Da
n’s busiest month at work (so many companies, so many year ends…) and Nancy was trying to get her teeth into her final semester of classwork as a PhD student. Mostly, January in Kentucky is cold (but not too cold) and drab. There is a reasonable chance you don’t see the sun for the entire month. Good times.

In church news, after opening our new facility on Christmas Eve, we began a Saturday evening celebration in January. Nancy and I had been among the team to “plant” the early service several years earlier, so we thought it would be fun to do the same for the Saturday service. Although it started out a bit slow, we have really come to enjoy going to church on Saturday nights!

In the first weekend of the month, Nancy’s parents came to visit, and a wonderful time was had by
all. Later in the month, there was Valentine’s Day, and in what I can only imagine is a coincidence, Nancy got pregnant.

On the first Saturday in March, Nancy & I were fortunate enough to have tickets to the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. They played a mixed (read: somewhat random) selection, but it was well performed and we enjoyed getting a little culture for a change.

As a follow up to the February entry, March was the month that we received the wonderful ne
ws that Nancy was pregnant. Although we had been trying for a while, I was nonetheless surprised to hear the news on that Sunday morning. The rest of the week can only be described as “blurry.”


For the first weekend of Spring Break, Dan’s Mom and sister Kelsey came down to visit. The highlight was undoubtedly Mom’s first trip to the disc golf course. For several years now she had heard Dan & Mike talk about their new-found love for the game and she wanted to see what it was all about. She had a reasonably successful f
irst outing, and she is now a (somewhat) regular playing partner with Mike.
On April 19 Nancy had her first doctor’s appointment with her OB/GYN since we found out she was pregnant. Not only did Doctor Slone confirm the pregnancy, but we were surprised that we also received an ultrasound at this early stage. At best, the baby could be described as some sort of strange looking peanut. The word that seemed to most appropriately describe her appearance at the early state, however, was “blob.” Thus was born Sophie’s first nickname. So well did this appellative stick, that she was referred to as “The Blob” until quite literally the day she was born.
On April 22 & 23 the Mikes (Erickson & Grove) came down to Kentucky. We played in a Supertour Disc Golf tournament, which may have been a bit much to bite off for our first tournament. Of course, we played in the lowest division available, which helped to minimize the embarrassment. Mike Erickson actually finished high enough to get prizes (in this case, discs and disc paraphernalia). Mike Grove finished somewhat in the bottom half of the middle. Dan, however, had the very prestigious honor of finishing last among the adult players who actually finished the tournament. Apparently I am only better than kids and quitters. Sheesh.

The big news in the beginning of May was Derby weekend. Through some business friends, Dan was lucky enough to be able to buy a box for the Derby. So, splitting the box with Jan & Drew Deener, w
e decided to go for it. We knew that Nancy’s sister Amy had for years longed for a chance to go to the Derby, as horses have been a passion of hers since she was a little girl. It was our pleasure to be able to invite her along, and an even greater pleasure to see the look in her eyes at the event itself. In advance of the Derby, Dan was also invited to spend the day with work friends at the Kentucky Oaks on Friday. Between the two days, that was a once in a lifetime type opportunity that I will never forget (although I certainly hope that it won’t be once in a lifetime!).

To celebrate Nancy finishing her PhD coursework, we spent a weekend at the Tussey’s lakehouse in Danville. We love to sneak away there for the occasional weekend and can’t even begin to thank Lyne & Bob enough for letting us use it. The best part of the trip is always sitting in their enormous screened in porch at night. It is a little cool at the lake at night, and it invariably rains at least one night while we are there. As we sit on the porch, all we hear is the mooing of unseen cows echoing off of the limestone cliffs that make up the shoreline of Herrington Lake. As the cows fall silent, we get the first smell of the advancing storm. Nancy & I sit close together on the covered couch in the eclectic collection of patio furniture and soak up every minute of the storm. In these moments, time has no meaning. A weekend at the cottage is like a week anywhere else.

On June 3rd, Dan celebrated his first annual 29th birthday. Nancy claims that Dan ate all of the birthday chocolate birthday pie, but I specifically remember her getting at least one piece. In any case, you are all invited to Dan’s second annual 29th birthday party next year. I think with some positive word of mouth, we could really turn this thing into a real event.

Later in the month, we made a brief trip to Indiana and Michigan. In a few short days, we witnessed the wedding of Nancy’s cousin Steven to his lovely bride Yvonne, visited South Haven (where we honeymooned so long ago), hung out at the beach, played disc with Mike & Mom, and celebrated Dan’s step-brother Nick’s high school graduation.
At the end of the month, we celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary. As we fancy ourselves both traditional and modern we split the difference and got each other both iron and wood gifts. I was hoping this would mean a complete set of golf clubs for me, but it was apparently not meant to be.

We spent the first 5 days of July camping with Nancy’s family at Turkey Run. As far as I can recall, Dan won the annual fishing contest. Strange that there are no pictures of me with any fish, but I’m sure I won… We also celebrated Nancy’s cousin Faith’s half birthday, celebrated Nancy’s 28th birthday, reintroduced Nancy’s family to disc golf (Dad had to walk extra far that day), played croquet, and most certainly did not play any Jarts. That would be illegal.

The highlight of the month was the ultrasound on the 11th. Not only did the Blob resemble a human person, but we received the wonderful news that she would be a she. Although we briefly toyed with “Blobette,” we decided that Blob was a gender indeterminate name and would continue to work just fine.

Late in the month, Dan spent most of his time at the annual Fifth Third Tennis tournament. This is a Challenger level pro event that Lexington is fortunate enough to have in town. As the presenting sponsor for the doubles, Dan presented the trophies and tried not to act like a goofy sponsor type and talk peoples’ ears off. Dan’s Mom, Allen, & Kelsey were in town during part of the event and got their first taste of pro tennis.

On August 9, always a surreal day for me, we had our next ultrasound, which included the amazing 4-D ultrasound. This was the best 45 minutes of television I have ever seen. That weekend, we saw an opportunity to sneak away, and made another short lakehouse trip. Well worth doing while Nancy still could!

In the middle of August the Cincinnati Masters Series tennis tournament takes place. Aside from the Grand Slams, the Masters Series are the biggest, richest, and most prestigious tournaments in professional tennis. Every player in the top 50 in the world is required to play them. Although Dan has spent at least one day at this tournament for many years now, we began a new tradition in 2005. Dan typically takes a busload of members from the Tennis Club up to the tournament. Nancy will drive up later in the day, and after seeing the members off, Dan will join her for an evening in Cincinnati. We’ll then spend the next day at the tournament together. It’s a good time with tons of amazing tennis.

We kicked off the month with our final vacation as a childless couple, and chose Chicago, an old stomping ground of ours. Nancy made her second trip to Wrigley Field, although it was her first actual Cub’s game. The matchup was a classic- the Cub’s &Pirates were the worst and second to worst teams in the league. Still, a night game at Wrigley field is better than a night doing anything else.

I’ve always said that Nancy is a dork. As she is apparently a career student, this always seemed a defensible position, and as I work in sports and played sports, I must then be a jock. This trip proved, however, that we are both dorks, as we both spent and enjoyed virtually every minute of it trying to learn and soak in as much as we can. We spent one entire day at the Field Museum (very highly recommended), another day at the Adler Planetarium (incredible), and a day at the Brookfield Zoo. Of course, we also made some time for Chicago’s fine dining establishments, as well as the not so fine dining at Navy Pier, and a small chocolate shop very near our hotel in the heart of the Magnificent Mile.

On the back end of the trip, we spent several days in Indiana. Nancy was showered with baby gifts from our families, and I spent the day tailgating and watching Notre Dame’s only truly impressive outing of the season, as they whooped up on Penn State.

Two weeks later we spent a Saturday being educated on the ins and outs of childbirth. For those of you who have not spent 8 hours on a beautiful Saturday in September learning about effacing, dilating, & pushing, rest assured that it is every bit as boring as it sounds.

By the time most women are 8 months pregnant, they typically begin to slow down a bit. Nancy however, had it in her mind that this would be the ideal time to sit through 3 eight hour long comprehensive exams (Hebrew/Biblical Criticism, Akkadian, & History/Archaeology). Most students who finish their coursework in May, as Nancy did, wait until at least March of the following year to take their exams (and most do not pass all 3 even then). With the pregnancy, however, she wanted to try to squeeze them in before the baby came. I suppose that if someone continues to do amazing things one should no longer be amazed that they do, but we were nonetheless amazed when her results came back. She received a High Pass grade (a significant achievement) and is now officially ABD (All But Dissertation).

After passing her dork tests, Nancy was showered with gifts from friends at church and we had a couples shower with friends from the Tennis Club. Many thanks to Amber & Jan organizing the showers and also to everyone who came or sent gifts. Our baby is officially spoiled thanks to you all!

Finally, the month we had been waiting for all year arrived. This was to be the month when the Blob turned into a real person. Sure enough, we found ourselves heading off to the maternity ward in the middle of the month, but NOT to have the baby! Nancy was involved in a head-on collision just two weeks before the baby’s due date. Of course, the doctors wanted her to come in to monitor the baby, and they ended up keeping us in the maternity ward overnight. Although it was a disconcerting day, it did give us sort of a “dry run” at the hospital, which gave us a comfort level for when the real deal actually arrived.

And arrived it did. After a follow up appointment, Dr. Slone determined that the Blob was ready to make her grand entrance to the world. Nancy was quite simply amazing through the entire birthing process, which ended up as a Caesarian Section delivery. Almost a Thanksgiving baby, Sophie Lyne Erickson was born November 22 at 11:45 pm. By 11:46 pm she had me wrapped around her little finger. A belated apology to all of those whom I called at 12:30 am on Thanksgiving morning, but there is some news that one can simply not keep inside.

As it was Thanksgiving, Nancy’s parents were coming into town that night anyway to spend the holiday weekend with us. Having them there the very next morning to see us and (let’s be honest here) Sophie was wonderful. As joyful as the birth of a child is, I couldn’t imagine going through that experience without family close by. We love Kentucky, but we miss sharing our lives with our families, so having them there to see us in the hospital on Thanksgiving morning was so special for both Nancy & me.

The Dayton’s left on Sunday morning and passed Dan’s Mom, who was making her way down to Kentucky the same day. Not only was she a wonderful help, but she glowed with an unrestrained excitement that helped keep our energy up in those early days.

Nancy’s Mom was back to help out for the first few days of December. Not only did she keep us well fed while she was there, it will take us the rest of the month to go through all of the food she prepared for us and froze.

Both of our Mom’s were such a big help in those early days. Most importantly, they freed up Dan to get back to work and let Nancy have no responsibility other than learning to be a Mommy. Maybe it’s because Sophie was born at Thanksgiving, but we can’t stop being thankful for her and for all the help and support we’ve received from family and friends. We love you!

If you’ve made it this far (and if you have, you have too much free time), thank you for reading about our adventurous year. It’s been easy to see God working in our lives, both in the previous years and in this one. I know we will enjoy, and hope you do as well, celebrating the birth of our savior this Christmas. For the first time, it will mean something even more special to us.

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