Thursday, December 3, 2009


...From Michelle...
As the excitement and anticipation grows for this little girl to be a part of our lives, so do the aches & pains of being pregnant. Let’s tell the truth… I’m starting to feel whiny.

Getting out of a chair or off the couch is a chore I think about long and hard before I actually do it. The swelling in my hands and feet have me slipping off my wedding ring and slipping off my shoes as often as I can. The heartburn is constant and I thank God for these little pink pills called “Acid Reducers” that Natalie (who recently had a little girl of her own) introduced me to. My bladder seems to only be able to hold about a Dixie cup’s worth of liquid. So, at night, I try to stay asleep while I get up 3 or 4 times to go to the bathroom. I’ve got a pain in my butt… literally, the right side, and down my leg that the doctor says is likely a touch of sciatica. I have trouble breathing, so I find myself gasping for air at random moments, and when I’m walking down a hall or up a flight of stairs I can picture myself waddling as this belly in front of me takes my body weight from side to side. I am forgetful, which makes me anxious, which makes me insecure… wait… What were we talking about? When sweet, considerate people ask me how I’m feeling or how I’m doing, I try my best to reply, “Great! How are you?” because the last thing I want to be is a downer. And I am realizing… this is hard work!

Still, somehow I can’t get away from the sense that I should be thinking past my aches and pains to what my Heavenly Father thinks of all of this and to what women who have birthed all of the generations before me have thought. I wonder now how I might be connected to life and legacy and to the hopes and dreams that are not my own. I wonder about my mother-in-law’s pregnancy with Tony, and my own mother’s pregnancy with me. I wonder about our grandmothers and theirs. I wonder about the questions they asked of their mothers, girlfriends, and doctors - the advice that came their way. I wonder about the beauty of life and the fragility of creation. I wonder about the need we have always had for a savior – and that He would come to us, growing and developing inside of a womb, birthed through pain, as a vulnerable baby.

As any pregnant woman or father-to-be knows, the gift that is most often offered is advice. One of those gifts was this: It will all be worth it when you see and hold your baby for the first time. I have to believe them, and yet I can’t begin to imagine it. It does make me think of lyrics from “Oh Holy Night”, my very favorite Christmas song…
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Till he appeared and the soul felt it’s worth
A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices…

We’ve got about five more weeks of weariness before we meet our own hope face-to-face. In the mean time, here’s what we’ve been up to…

...From Tony...
With Gratitude
Last Wednesday, a group of us (all from Wednesday night growth groups) got together for our service project. We decided to send Christmas Care Packages to 20 different soldiers overseas. All the soldiers we sent packages to are from the state of Wisconsin. Between the 18 of us that showed up to participate in this, we were able to ship them things like snacks, books, hygiene products, playing cards, games, DVD’s, and a ton more stuff. It was really cool to come together to pull off something like that… not because we know them, or because our motive is to get them to come to our church or even preach the gospel, but rather because they are serving our country, and we simply want to serve them back… no strings attached.

Last Thursday was Thanksgiving. I don’t know where the phrase got started, but we’re calling it Orphan Turkey Dinner… it was all those that have moved from out of state to help with Great Lakes Church coming together at the Gray’s house for Thanksgiving dinner. In attendance: the Petersons, the Grays, the Sweeneys, the Winnetts, and Ms. Daniels. Karen Ann flew in and stayed with the Sweeneys… it’s always so good to see our Seattle friends. The feast consisted of turkey, cranberry sauce, yams, lumpia, green bean casserole, cheesy potatoes, stuffing (which we had to constantly remind ourselves to call “dressing” since it wasn’t cooked in the bird), apple pie, pumpkin pie, and I’m sure I’m missing a few things. I was in charge of the turkey, but I sign-up to do the turkey every year anyway… I love cooking the turkey.

Preparing for Baby
We decided, even though it’s an apartment and we’ll have to paint it back, to paint the baby’s room. We’ve noticed that we like being in a room a lot more after we’ve decorated in there. We went to Menards (that’s M’Nards not Meh’Nerds for you Seattle folk) to pick our paint and found a light yellow we liked. We already had most of the supplies from the previous paint job (we painted the office in the old house to be the same color as Michael Scott’s office), so all we needed was the paint, the tray, and an edger. With white walls and a light color paint, it only needed one coat, and took me about 2 hours to finish.

Also, thanks to all our friends, we now have our stroller/car-seat and my (Tony) favorite new gadget… our baby monitor. It’s pretty cool… it’s a color screen and a really sensitive mic, but even cooler is the ability to remote drive the camera. From a different room we can pan and zoom around the room. Now, I know that our newborn isn’t going to be exploring and getting into trouble in all the corners of the room… but we’ll have this monitor when she gets a little older and is playing in her room alone. The motor on the unit is really quiet, so if we’re using the camera to look around while she’s sleeping, it won’t wake her.

This past Monday, Michelle and I went on our regular doctor checkup for the baby. All is well. The heart rate is right where it’s supposed to be (138), Michelle’s blood pressure and weight are excellent, and we were able to take a tour of the Family Birthing Center while we were there. The labor and delivery room is huge… they are all singles so we don’t have to share… each one has a big hot-tub-spa-bath-thingy, and the nurse who showed us around was very helpful and knowledgeable. Really, anything we want, we can have. They are very flexible about interventions, and have modern and traditional ways of doing things. After seeing the rooms and asking our questions, we both feel really good about this hospital and know that we and our baby will be taken care of.

We hope you’re all enjoying the start of December. As we write to you, we are watching the first real snow fall in our own neighborhood!

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