The Story of Our Gloria

Our sweet little treasure named Gloria Haven is now two weeks old, so we thought it was about time we explained the significance of her name. It is full of meaning for us, and each of us has a part of the picture to fill in, so here we are in our distinct voices:


Gloria is Latin for “glory.” Gloria in excelsis Deo means “Glory in the highest to God” and was the message of the angel choir to the shepherds at the birth of Jesus. Learning that “the glory of God” is why God created the world and does all he does, is “the chief end of man” and the great summons to our joy, has been life-changing for us. “Glory” is not just a church filler word, but bursting with massive significance in the Bible for the meaning of everything, for our purpose in life, and for our truest happiness and joy. In addition, Megan’s neighbor growing up is named Gloria. That’s her story to share below.

Haven came to us as we pondered our hopes and dreams in this season of life. A haven is a place of peace and rest and security. After the tumultuous waters of having a very busy first three years of our marriage, followed by having twin infants, then toddlers, this has been a time of life for our family to gain stability and find a measure of shalom (peace) in our home to have us ready to face the challenges outside with work and school and church.


When I was five years old, my family moved to a new house. Along with the new house came a new neighbor — who soon became a friend, a family member, and a mentor. Older than my own mom, yet younger than my grandmothers, she let me fit into her life in a unique way.

Adventures at Gloria’s house meant building Legos, creating crafts, reading books, having tea parties, and eating tasty treats. Sometimes it just meant sitting at her kitchen island watching her iron or prepare dinner. I cannot remember a time that she acted like she was too busy to have me there with her or that she didn’t offer a listening ear.

I spent countless hours at her house, showing up unannounced and often staying until my mom called on the phone telling me to come home for dinner. Gloria has beautiful things in her house, a collector of antiques, beautiful glass jars, biscuit jars, and old furniture. She let me touch expensive things and taught me how to handle them and appreciate them — and even let us use her fancy little cups and dishes for our own tea parties.

My parents are the most loving, great parents I could ask for. Gloria did not fill in as my mom. My mom was there. What role did she play? She taught me the value of having other loving adults in your life that care about you, see you for who you are, offer a listening ear, and hold you accountable for your actions outside of your nuclear family. I cannot pretend that this did not shape where I am today. I have a passion to be this very adult for teens and pre-teens, increasing my love for teaching and helping me see the value on the hard days. I want to stop and see my kids more. Really look at them and who they are. I want to use my fine china for tea parties and treat the kids that call me mom, and the kids that don’t, that they are always more important than my to-do list.

I am so grateful to God that we moved in next to Gloria when I was five years old. Not everybody has a person like this in their life. I am thankful for the way she shaped my parenting, and we are naming our daughter Gloria as a reminder of all these things, as a thank you to God for adults who make time to know and see kids, and as a reminder to myself to stop and build Legos and have tea parties with expensive tea cups.

Here’s some pics from this past week — as Grandma Jane and Grandpa Rick visited, and as the boys still warm up to the awkwardness of holding a newborn…

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Introducing Gloria Haven

She is one week old today, and already has captured our hearts. Of course, she did get off to a great start with mom and dad by coming five days early!

Last Friday, November 21, at 6:44pm, we welcomed Miss Gloria Haven Mathis to our family, and her arrival has made for the most wonderful Thanksgiving week of our lives. We are unspeakably grateful to God for her life and the gift she is to us already.

One of our first pics of Gloria, just a few minutes after she was born.Gloria's here!

First bathIn the bright lights

IMG_9859Gloria Day 2

Carson and Coleman got their wish for a sister, and they have begun the adjustment to being big brothers.

Carson, Coleman, and Gloria  Gloria meets the twinsColey and Glori

Also, it’s been a great joy this week introducing Gloria to friends and family alike.

IMG_9854 IMG_9842 IMG_9811Thiel with Gloria

For more, we posted a video on Facebook last Saturday night with some highlights from Gloria’s first 24 hours. Yes, with the Christmas season upon us, it’s the right time to be singing Gloria in excelsis Deo!

More to come soon on why the name Gloria Haven…

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Highlights from the Last Year

Since our blogging has been so long in coming, and since we’re at the outset of a new year, here’s a scrapbook of some of our highlights from 2013. And if you haven’t yet checked our New Year’s Interviews with Carson and Coleman:


In November, we made a surprise visit to Louisville, Kentucky, for cousin Hudson’s first birthday.


The day after Thanksgiving, Carse and Cole got to ride with Uncle Dan (and cousins Hannah and Noelan) in the firetruck in Aitkin’s world famous Fish House Parade


This was perhaps the event of the year. Monster trucks at the Metrodome with cousins Hannah and Noelan.


Calling All Angels — the boys’ Christmas program at preschool.


These goofs in their jammies and gloves and caps.


The legendary Santa at Mall of America.


Our little Tim-the-toolmen, looking strangely like little Dwight Schrutes on Christmas morning, with their new tools to help daddy.


Two days snowmobiling at grandpa’s cabin.


Big snowman and beautiful sunset at grandpa’s cabin.


Silly faces during a photoshoot at grandma’s and grandpa’s in South Carolina in April.


Megan, the matron of honor, and her long-time friend Jess, the bride, at her April wedding near Asheville, NC.


The officiating minister and the official matron-of-honor. They make a good couple.


Dirty boys.


Coleman Richard Mathis.


Carson Thomas Mathis.


Brothers together.


Daddy and the boys and Paul Bunyan on the boys’ third birthday in July.


2013 was a year of reunions. Megan had her 10-year high-school reunion, and Megan’s family had a big reunion in August in Crosby, MN. We also hosted the Campus Outreach Minneapolis 10-year reunion in August.


The boys with Grandma Jane and Grandpa Rick after seeing their first movie at the theater: Planes.


This fall the boys started preschool at a Christian Montessori school called Hand in Hand. Here’s the boys with their mommy on their first day of school.


Brothers waiting on the light rail en route to their first Twins game in September.


Megan’s overnight in October in the Chick-fil-A parking lot to be one of “The First 100” into the new Maple Grove store.


Happy Halloween! It’s a fireman and his dalmatian.


Playing in the snow with their good friend Lily.


Posing by Minnehaha Falls, nice and frozen, just a short walk from our house.


Coley in the dental chair at Grandpa Rick’s office in South Carolina.


The Mathis family picture of the year: Carson and Coleman with NFL MVP Adrian Peterson.

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New Year’s Interviews

It’s been so long since we last blogged. Exactly half a year.

It’s been so long we almost forgot our Web address. However you found your way here after our long hiatus, well, welcome back. Can’t believe you made it!

Tomorrow on January 1, 2014, the boys officially will be three-and-a-half. Time flies — and is so stinkin’ slow.

So trying to capitalize on the reflective mood in the air at the new year, we did some 2013 exit interviews with the guys, special for the blog. Just for you, our blog visitors. Happy New Year!

2013 Review: Cole
How old are you? 3
How old is mom? 4
How old is dad? 5
Where does dad work? Down in the basement
Where does mom work? Up here
Where do you go to school? In the town
What’s the name of your school? Lundberg
What is your favorite color? blue
…show? Lightning McQueen and Dusty Crophopper
…toy? Dusty Crophopper and Special
…book? Lightning McQueen
…food? Pizza and hot dogs
…drink? milk
…restaurant? Mall of America
…game? Hopscotch at Ikea
…animal? Elephants and giraffes
…song? ABCD
Who are your friends? Lily and Sam and Peter and Noelan
What do you want to do when you grow up? Drive a racecar like Tony (Stewart)
What are some of the best things we did this year? I just cleaned up the basement after mommy and Carson went to the bank, then I ate hotdog buns and a hotdog in it; I like going to the Mall of America and to see Santa Claus
What were sad things that happen this year? Carson did naughty things to me while I was sad, that was not good; after Carson hit me, he growled at me
What do you want to do in 2014? To play Lightning cars; to play with my airplanes; I want to clean up the mess in the basement with you and help you work in the basement
Any resolutions? Yes, to play with my planes

2013 Review: Carson
How old are you? 3
How old is mom? 4
How old is dad? 6
Where does dad work? At work, at DG
Where does mom work? I don’t know
Where do you go to school? a church
What’s the name of your school? Hand in Hand
What is your favorite color? Green and blue
…book? The Jesus Storybook
…food? Mac and cheese
…drink? milk
…restaurant? The grocery store
…animal? giraffe
…song? Holy, Holy, Holy
Who are your friends? Lily and Sam and Noelan
What do you want to do when you grow up? Be a trumpet
What do you want to do in 2014? Go to school, play a little bit, play with my toys
What do you wan to do on your next birthday? Jump my monster trucks over my cake, not land in my cake

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Videos for Carson & for Cole

In addition to the shared video of the twins together, we also had individual tributes to each of the guys for their 3rd birthday today.

For the shared video, go here.


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Happy 3rd Birthday, Carse & Cole!

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My Lily Friend

When asked, “Who are your friends?” our li’l Coley promptly answers, “My Lily Friend.” And he refers to her this way (“my Lily friend”) when talking about her.

We did get to take our Lily Friend on a couple of adventures last weekend.

First, we wounds around way along Grand Ave in St. Paul for the Grand Meander. There was breakfast with Santa and yummy soup-tasting up and down Grand Ave last Saturday (December 1).

Soup tasting!

Carson, soup-tasting!

Then, on Sunday, thanks to our friends Aaron and Erin, we all went to Underwater Adventures at MOA (that’s Mall of America, for the out-of-towners).


Coley smooching his Lily Friend?


Carson’s a 3rd wheel already?

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Our First Snowman

When we woke up this morning, everything outside was covered in white.

Then it kept snowing all morning. And it kept right on all afternoon (during the Vikings wins over the Bears!). And the flakes are still falling into the evening.

By late morning, we’d accumulated plenty to get the boys all bundled up and out into it. This was to be their first time really getting out into it to play. Today’s snow was a heavy, thick one, and so our first order of business was to build the boys’ first snowman.

All in all, they loved the snow and lasted out there in the cold stuff a lot longer than we expected!…



After laughing at Coley “the dinosaur” Carson claimed himself to be a “chicken”


Licking the snowman

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A Macro Update

Our poor blog has been a bit neglected in the past few months. It’s not that we don’t have a lot to share, or even that we are very busy. It just kinda slipped from our priority list for a while. Which can be a good thing.

To keep you up to date on the Mathises, here are a few notable occurrences that have been occupying us these months…

1. The move.  We moved at the end of May (it was Memorial Day Weekend). Moving with toddlers wasn’t a piece of cake, and has proved to extend the time further than we thought of “feeling settled” in the new house. We moved about 3 miles closer to our Southern relatives (and to the airport) into a home that is better fitting the physical needs of our growing and rambunctious twin boys. We bought a foreclosure and had quite a bit of work to do on it. This extra work was a good reason for letting the blog go for  a while. More on the house coming in a future post, we hope.

2. The boys had their two-year pictures taken by our dear friend Jenny. We had quite the adventure going to the Farmer’s Market and chasing these two for pictures, but absolutely love the results.

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3. We have fallen in love with this little guy.

Henryk is the son of our dear friends, Michael and Emily, and brother of the boys’ best friend, Lily. His short life has taught us so much as he shows us again and again that God is faithful and loves us more deeply than we can even imagine. Please join us in praying for Henryk and his family. Read more about his story here: Henryk Thiel

3. We went to our first wedding as a family of 4. Our friends Aaron and Erin had a lovely wedding in downtown St. Paul, and would not allow us in without the boys.

4. We have been working on our animal sounds.

5. We have a new nephew/cousin (just arrived last weekend in Louisville)—and a new niece/cousin should be arriving in the days to come (in Fargo). Hudson Richard Read was born to Jason and Deb (David’s sister) last Saturday night (Nov 3). He’s a cutie, and we cannot wait to meet him over Thanksgiving!

Although our blog has been neglected a bit, we do try to keep the boys’ Tumblr logs updated



Wow, so there’s our macro update from the last few months!

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Halloween Costumes

Here’s Mater (Carson) and Lightning McQueen (Coley). We just made one quick trip around the block, but you’ll see they amassed quite a bit of candy…

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