Monday, July 30, 2012

A Little Over Halfway


My 12 week journey is more than underway (Week 7) and God has shown up. Somehow, whenever He does I am always surprised. That seems completely ridiculous because I believe He will show up for many, but to show up for me seems different. I feel opposite feelings and thoughts from “Why would He show up for me, I am not worthy” to “I’m fine on my own, no need for You, Lord!” It's ridiculous!

Before I began the journey I made a list of all that I am involved in and submitted it to some women that know me and can see the big picture. As I’ve prayed over this list and have submitted it, I have felt a freedom to let go of certain activities. I know I need to pare down my schedule a bit so I will have a better focus on my immediate family. My kids are young and with two of them having very regular therapies and doctors appointments I need not spread myself too thin. Sometimes I look at my schedule and think I could do more, but then I know that our schedules aren’t just what is on paper--it's also all the prep work and the effort it takes up in your mind. For me, it’s not just attending all the appointments, but it's talking to insurance companies, making the appointments (while children are napping and hopefully not screaming), collecting the documentation needed and reading over all the handouts that are given to me each time. Whew! Just thinking about it makes my brain hurt and so it feels good to pare down and focus and allow for time.

"Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you." - Matthew 7:7 Photo taken at Meadowbrook Hall in Rochester Hills, MI 

I don't always speak about what is going on inside of me when I am going through something hard. Both you and my sister have pointed that out and I know there are two reasons. Sometimes it's because what I am going through seems indescribable. Not because no one else has experienced it, but because I just don't have the words to be understood. I've realized that being understood is something that I hold as a high value. I am learning to let this go because no one but Jesus will completely understand me. I also need to allow for the Body of Christ to try to understand me so that in my weakness they can be strong through Christ. 

I also don't always like to express because I know in this world someone else is going through something far worse, so who am I to think that what is happening to me is really that bad? I have friends who encourage me by reminding me that feelings are feelings and we can't deny them. I don't believe I am denying my feelings. I just believe that I am not wanting to wallow in them for too long because my life is good and things really aren't all that bad. When Ada was born a few people mentioned how well I was doing with her having Down syndrome and that the grief may hit me later. I keep waiting for this deep grief to hit me but instead I'm amazed and happy that I am able to learn more about DS and grateful for meeting so may great people through my daughter.

Ada, 7 months old, at the library

I am feeling comfortable with what I have learned so far but know there are two more things that will happen on this journey for which I need your prayers. First off, I am not doing well with how I am eating. I took a break when we went on vacation and it's been downhill from there. Whenever I tell someone this, they are so encouraging and believe that I eat well. In comparison to many, I probably do, but I know what I believe the Lord calling me to do in this area and I just haven't wanted to listen. It's hard because I love food and food is attached to so many things for me such as fun, celebration, bad mood, stress, etc! I am asking the Lord to continue to change my attitude towards food so that I can still enjoy it but not be attached to it emotionally.

The second thing I ask for your prayers for is that the story of Jonah continues to be brought to my attention. I've heard three different pastors speak on it and this does not count the other few times it has been brought up in conversation. I know there is a message for me in this story and I want to be obedient to listen and understand. For now, I can speculate, but I don't want the message to be from my brain, but from the Holy Spirit in my heart.

Thanks for being with me on this journey! Your support and the support from my family and friends is amazing. I am truly blessed.



I'm so excited to stand on the periphery and learn from your journey! I'm always encouraged by your very deliberate efforts to figure out what Christ is saying to you, and then your work to apply it to your life.

Prayers will continue for sure.


Friday, July 27, 2012

Potty Training the Twins


I feel inclined to give a report of our potty training roller coaster.

We began training mid-June, 2 weeks before we were scheduled to leave for our Michigan vacation.

DAY 1: I was horrified. I had a plan but I also knew I had no clue what it actually meant. I was super nervous and couldn't even sleep the night before. I kept thinking if I did it wrong today--if I didn't properly explain how the doll pees in the potty--then I'd end up with tweens wearing diapers.

By end of day the kids really got it and I could tell were trying, but I was on edge the ENTIRE day, chasing stray poop and sponging up pee. (Did I mention we did naked training?) Oh, and teaching Hayden not to play in the potties.

DAY 3: Twin B was basically trained by this day, stopping to play so he could poop or pee in his potty. This went on for the next week and a half. He's a freak of nature.

DAY 4: Twin A was doing fine with random accidents, sometimes uninterested in going. Fine.

WEEK 2: Twin A is bored with process. Start bribing with chocolate chips. Works for a few hours and then he just stares at me blankly when I suggest we "Use! The! Potty! Because isn't it FUN?!"

BEGINNING of VACATION: Took off on our drive, 2 froggy potties perched in the trunk. Trained twin asked us to stop every 2 hours to pee, which he produced satisfactorily, turning the 6 1/2 hour trip into almost 9.

END of VACATION: Despite occupying an entire corner of my in-laws' living room with two potties (which were used regularly), somehow by the end of vacation neither boy was trained. We were secretly happy for less hassle and a quick trip home.

FIRST DAY BACK FROM VACATION: I tell the boys we are going back to using the potties tomorrow, okay?

SECOND, THIRD, FOURTH DAY BACK FROM VACATION: I tell the boys we are going back to using the potties tomorrow, okay?

FIFTH DAY BACK FROM VACATION: Boys take it upon themselves and start helping themselves to the bathroom and using the potties.

THREE WEEKS HOME FROM VACATION: As long as boys are completely naked they are trained. They stop what they're doing to do their business, but if they're wearing a pull-up, diaper or undies, they consider that a suitable receptacle.

So, we're pretty much exibitionists around here.




I have no words of wisdom about potty training. It's this terrible awful dread I have ever since Catina was born. Catina wasn't fully trained until she was 3 1/2. I will always remember the horrific moment on vacation with my family in New Hampshire when Catina pooped in the hotel kiddie pool. The pool had to be vacated and couldn't be used until the following day!

Potty training is a funny thing. June was asking to go potty around Easter and I was so excited because I thought maybe this time it'd be easier. I decided to dedicate a week to staying home and gave up after the first day. To this day if I mention going on the potty she screams "No chocolate!" like it's a horrible piece of poo being forced upon her to eat. Seriously?!

I like to go with the annoying saying "They won't go to kindergarten in diapers."


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Encouraging Words

My friend Lyndsay gave this to me for my birthday. I put it in the corner by the kitchen sink. Its a picture frame and someone can write on it with a Sharpie. At first I thought it would feel awkward to have people write on it but then I realized I could write Greg, my husband, back. It has been fun and always a nice surprise when I new message appears. - Ann

Monday, July 23, 2012

Our Story: The Elementary and Junior High Years


When we first started this blog last fall I remember us mentioning that we wanted to tell our past story at some point. I'm realizing what a difficult task that is but I do believe it's important to share. Our story shows struggle and reconciliation and without it we wouldn't have the friendship we have now. There is no way to get into all the details but here is a beginning of the summary:

The summer before first grade my Mom sent me to a few Vacation Bible Schools.They were these week-long, half-day camp things that were free. I know I went to at least two of them and ironically every church seemed to have the same theme. We sang the same songs and I still remember the words to "Jesus Leads the Way." My parents were not attending a church at the time and although they believed in a higher power they didn't seem interested in getting to know Him.

I was super attracted to the love I felt at those camps and one day one of my teachers asked if I wanted to ask Jesus to be my friend forever. Now, oddly enough I was looking for a best friend. I think I was one of those kids who was always looking for their lobster. That's probably why I believe in soul mates. When I told the lady I wanted Him to be my friend forever she asked me "Are you sure?" I remember this because I thought she was crazy. I told her I wanted to, so why was she questioning me? I'm still like that to this day. Blunt. Only then it stayed in my head more rather than spilling out of my mouth!

That next year I started first grade and I met you and I have loved you since. This is not to say we didn't have our rough patches because after third grade we began to fight a lot and I didn't always like how you treated me. I also know I didn't always follow Jesus and could be annoying with my expressions about Him. I thought I knew Him like no one else and even though I think my heart was innocent, I also know there was a cockiness that had to be unattractive.

Our school went through sixth grade and so the year before we entered seventh grade I began to pray for a new best friend. I decided to stop calling you because I didn't think our relationship was healthy. This all sounds weird coming from a sixth grader,  but those were my exact thoughts. Junior high was rough, but the Lord did give me some good friends like our friend Jen B., and she is still someone I can always turn to. It's weird because it's not like when we saw each other at school we ignored each other, but we didn't hang out together anymore. We had a lot of the same classes because we happened to be the smarties. (Um, when did that part go away? Seriously, honors classes?)

Soon I'll share about our High School and College Years and I welcome any additional thoughts you may have!



As you know, I have a HORRIFIC memory. I remember little about my childhood or our friendship, but I do have a recollection of being a bit of a snot in my younger years. God bless all those friends I did have!

Looking forward to sharing more of our story.


Friday, July 20, 2012

Four, Three and Under

Jen: Hey, it's me. I'm supposed to be working so I can't talk long but I wanted to say hi.

Ann: Oh, hi. How are you?

Jen: Oh, fine. How are you? (Why did I ask? I mean, I do want to know, but I really should get to the point.)

Ann: Fine. We have a playdate this morning so we're just trying to get ready. What are you guys up to?

Jen: Not much. (pause) So...I'm pregnant.

Ann: (pause) What?! Really?

Jen: Yes.

Ann: Wow! Are you happy? I mean, I'm so excited for you, but how do you feel?

Jen: A little crazy for doing it when the kids are so young, but we figured it was now or never. We never imagined we'd even be able to have this many kids so it's crazy to even grasp, but we are happy.

Can't wait to meet you, Baby Matteson. Lord willing, see you in January.

Monday, July 16, 2012

We're Back!


It was so good to see you and your family last week. I love being in the U.P.! It's so relaxing and the scenery is beautiful. I wish we could've hung out more but it was also nice to have some down time with our immediate families. Lots of reflection going on for me that I hope to share soon.

Candy Parade! Good for us the younger ones had no idea
what the candy was and why they were grabbing for it.

Fourth of July on the beach. (Catina and June.)

Levi and Everett jumping!

What? (Levi)

My favorite picture! (Greg, Ada, Catina, June)

Someone's pooped! (June, Catina)

Ice cream! (June, Catina, Greg)

Fishing! (Catina, June)

Waterfall (Greg, June, Catina)

June wearing Greg's hat!

Storm is coming!





It was great to see you and Greg and the girls in the UP.

We visit Levi's hometown every year over the Fourth of July. It's almost like a reunion. We have many family get-togethers and spend as much time as we can with people Levi grew up with, many of whom are now friends to both of us. But what a blessing that you guys sometimes make the trip and we get the chance to connect!

When Levi and I got engaged over Thanksgiving in 1997, we took a drive up to Copper Harbor and visited Fort Wilkins. We walked around the grounds in the snow and even took photos on the picturesque old wagon. Who would have imagined these cutie pies sitting in the same exact spot almost 15 years later?

Levi, Hayden and Everett

So thankful for many great memories in the UP!