Go ‘Dores!

15 Sep

As promised, here are a couple shots from the game earlier today.

We may have been overly ambitious thinking we could take Natalie to the whole game. We ended up getting there at half time and leaving before the fourth quarter. Oops! It was just too stinkin’ hot to stay any longer. (Turns out the team didn’t really need us, anyway. It was a shutout, 58-0.)

Maybe next season we’ll make it through a whole game? I’m sure we’ll try!

-Erica

Things Lately

13 Sep

Last weekend we took a trip to meet my new nephew and to witness the greatest day of his life, his baptism day! It was an honor to stand as his Godmother.

We had an awesome time in North Carolina. The weekend involved Natalie’s first plane ride, and the first plane ride Charles and I took together, too! (Trivia: We took a train to New Orleans on our honeymoon.)

It’s been a long time since my parents, sister, and I have all been together, so we took lots of pictures.

James and Natalie

The Fam

I’ve been quilting up a storm since we returned home. I finished the top, and I do believe that it’s my favorite quilt yet! Here’s a little preview, before it was all stitched together:

I finally found a store remotely close to our house that carries Moda charm packs. It’s a 45 minute drive, but it’s totally worth it for the fabric. And, can you believe it, their prices are actually lower than the quilting store near us, for higher quality fabric! I reached quilting nirvana when I saw their prices.

Charles has been enjoying his new job, but it’s been tough to adjust to the new schedule. He’s putting in about two more hours each day than he was teaching, which means I’m putting in those extra hours at home with Natalie, too. I think that this is all for the best, though, and that it’ll feel like second nature soon enough.

In other news, we’re taking Natalie to her first Vanderbilt football game this weekend, so I’m sure I’ll have lots of pictures in her game day gear to share soon!

-Erica

Yummo

26 Aug

Here are a few shots of what’s been going around here, lately. Natalie’s just started on solids. You’d think her rice cereal was Bluebell ice cream judging by how aggressively she eats it. Like mother, like daughter, maybe?

We did buy soft baby-sized spoons after this first feeding, in case anyone (Mom?) is concerned about her using metal spoons! I don’t think the grown up spoons fazed her one bit, though.

-Erica

 

Big News!

26 Aug

I am bursting with pride for my awesome husband. After over a year of taking exams like a champ, networking like an all-star, and interviewing like there’s no tomorrow, Charles landed a job at Willis North America as an actuarial analyst! Charles first heard of the actuarial field from a fellow math teacher at the high school he used to (used to!!) work at. That was the spring of 2010, so the journey toward accepting a position has not been short.

Willis is a global insurance brokerage firm, and Charles is going to be working for their casualty actuarial services department here in Nashville. When he interviewed in July, he met with all the actuaries in the office (except for one on vacation), and he really like all of them. I suppose the feeling was mutual!

If you’re like most people and don’t know what an actuary does, I’ll do my best to explain. They’re business professionals that use complicated math to calculate and analyze the financial implications of risk and uncertainty. Sometimes they work as “in house” employees for insurance companies, and other times they consult for many different clients. Charles will be doing the latter.

The actuarial profession is always ranked among the best jobs out there (here, here, and here, among others), although the high job satisfaction probably comes after all those darn exams are finished.

Charles was a great math teacher, but I really think that being an actuary is going to be an even better fit for him. As a bone fide math nerd, he enjoys studying for the exams (good thing, too, because he’s got seven more!), and I think his excellent interpersonal skills will really set him apart when working with clients. Oh, and spreadsheets. He really likes spreadsheets.

Anyway, I am so happy about this development! Below is a picture I snapped on our post-Mass two-hour long drive around Nashville on Sunday. The things you’ll do to get your baby to take a good nap, right?

Ad majorem Dei gloriam.

-Erica

And Thy Own Soul a Sword Shall Pierce

14 Aug

We’re in the process of teaching our dear little Natalie how to fall asleep on her own this week. The “no-cry” solutions weren’t working, and I would literally have a panic attack when I let her “cry it out” by herself. We chose a middle-of-the-road approach detailed in The Sleep Lady’s Good Night Sleep Tight. There are tears involved, but mom or dad stays with the baby, comforts her with words and touch, and picks her up if she gets really upset.

Last night was our first night, and it was hard. I sat next to her crib for an hour, listening to about 40 minutes of heart wrenching sobs before she finally fell asleep. I was a total mess afterwards, seriously second guessed our approach, and entertained some pretty ludicrous thoughts. I’ll just nurse her to sleep for the rest of her life! It’ll be fine! I don’t mind!

I had a pit in my stomach all through dinner tonight, knowing that I was going to have to put my sweet babe through so much sadness again. At the end of our bedtime routine, I laid her down and braced myself for the tears. She began some gentle protests, but stayed calm.

Through the whimpering, God placed on my heart the prophecy of Simeon from Luke 2. After the prophet remembered God’s promise of his seeing the Messiah before his death, Simeon turns to Mary and Joseph:

And his father and mother were wondering at those things which were spoken concerning [Jesus]. And Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary his mother: Behold this child is set for the fall, and for the resurrection of many in Israel, and for a sign which shall be contradicted; And thy own soul a sword shall pierce, that, out of many hearts, thoughts may be revealed.

My heart ached to end Natalie’s suffering last night. How much more must Mary have trembled with grief to witness the crucifixion.

I think I have a new appreciation for the sorrows that Mary accepted with her fiat to Gabriel. She is a beautiful help to all women out there who endure heartache and suffering. I love her and the Church that seeks to follow her example.

-Erica

P.S.- She fell asleep after 15 minutes. No tears! (And thanks to Charles for being so supportive in all this!)

Charles To The Rescue!

1 Aug

Have you ever had one of those days when you pick your pizza stone up off the kitchen table, after it’s been sitting there for a couple of days, only to discover that there’s a big pizza-sized circle of green and black mold growing on the table? No? Just me? Well, I had one of those days a couple weeks ago.

It was disgusting, and I was so distraught over it that I didn’t even get a picture of the mold. Sorry, guys.

Anyway, Charles had planned on challenging me for the title of Reigning Scrabble Champ that night, but instead, he came to my rescue and killed all that darn mold!

My knight in shining gym shorts.

 

Up next: a good sanding and a little bit of tung oil, and she’ll be as good as new!

-Erica

P.S.- Charles is now blogging over at And So We Are. If you like theology, beer, math, Vanderbilt sports, and/or our family, you’ll be happy there.

How NFP Made Me Catholic

28 Jul

In my last post, I talked about why I love NFP. Here, I’d like to recount the story of its role in my becoming Catholic.

A little bit of background: I grew up going to Protestant churches. First, a Baptist church, later a non-denominational church. They were both lead by and filled with loving, genuine Christians who wanted to know God on a deeply intimate level. I knew no Catholics. After going off to college and meeting people from all over the country, I befriended several Catholics and some people in the process of becoming Catholic. One in particular stands out, because I ended up marrying him.

Charles and I both love to discuss theology, and in the early days of our dating, we would sometimes spend hours debating Catholics/Protestant issues. I was always able to respond to his questions with verses from the Bible that left me satisfied with my Protestantism, until he brought up the sixth chapter of John’s Gospel. I don’t have space here to write about how that chapter affected my faith, but suffice it to say that it did cause me to reconsider several misconceptions I had about Catholicism.

At that point, I was beginning to think that perhaps my interpretation of the Bible was off here and there, but I wasn’t drawn to the Catholicism in a major way.

Enter the Church’s teaching on contraception.

Charles sent me home with a copy of Dr. Janet E. Smith‘s talk Contraception: Why Not. I had never considered that there might be anything wrong with using contraception, so I was very skeptical about what Dr. Smith would say in her talk. Over the course of an hour, I was convinced that there were serious problems with the use of contraception, especially in a Christian marriage. I absolutely can’t do justice here to her talk, so I would encourage everyone to get ahold of it if you’re interested in what Dr. Smith has to say. (I’m happy to share my copy!)

As I became more and more convinced of the rightness of the Church’s teaching, I realized an important thing: The Catholic Church is the only Church that maintains its teaching against contraception. The only one. All Protestant churches, prior to the 1930’s taught against it, but one by one they made concessions after the Anglicans allowed it in special circumstances. Fast forward to today, and you will rarely, if ever, hear it spoken of in Protestant churches.

But the beautiful thing about the Church’s teaching is that it’s not just a “no” to contraception, it’s a resounding “YES!” to NFP–to full, free, faithful, and fruitful love between a husband and wife.

By the grace of God, I was able to see the beauty of NFP, to recognize that the Catholic church is the sole keeper of its truth, and to seek and receive full communion with her.

-Erica