Happy 34th birthday Joey Williams (his God-given rockstar name from me since who knows when) and Happy Anniversary us! On October 31 our marriage celebrated eight years (fireworks here)! I naturally love this anniversary because it’s number eight, an even year. Yes. But, I also love this year because I feel like we have found our groove again. We have, haven’t we? There’s no denying that year seven was wonderfully rough with all our transitions, but this last year the dust settled, and we settled too. Dinner time, bath time, and bedtime, aren’t huge hairy monsters anymore. Now they’re just smaller hairy monsters. I’m proud of how we tackle parenting together. As I move towards one screamy screamerson, you gravitate towards the other. It’s like the dance that once had no rhythm has finally found its glorious pocket. You and me, Joe, we’re in that pocket. Right? You sense it. It’s just really good right now. We’ve got a handle on life again. With everything in such a good place, it’s in my veins to want to spice things up, create a little pizazz. Earlier this month a friend got whisked away by her husband on a surprise getaway to New York City! Simply amazing. I told some friends the story, and added, “I want to do that, I want to whisk my husband away to NYC for the weekend!” That’s the kind of pizazz I’m talking about. Here’s the part where God bursts a beautiful miracle all over my world. Days later, I get a message from an old high school mentor who currently works with Focus on the Family. She asked if I’d be interested in doing music for a special women’s retreat hosted at the Omni Hotel in New York City. F l o o r e d. Within days, it’s settled. The first weekend of April 2013, I’m whisking my love off to a fabulous weekend getaway, and we are leading worship together in New York City!! Crazy wonderful. Year nine is going to be a good one. Here’s to more pizazz in year nine.
Aria Ellen (17 months): Oh sweet child, you have found your voice. Your favorite new word is “AHHHHHHHHH!!!!” (a deafening scream). Not exactly the cutest new trick, but, you are brilliant at getting your point across. You are fierce my love! You have a boldness about you that reassures Mommy that no one will be pushing you around on the playground, no ma’am. You’ve also discovered “No” and you say it like a bad song on repeat. I actually challenged Naomi, “your job today is to teach your sister the word Yes!” and all day she’d put her face in front of yours and say “Yes! Yes! Yes!” and you’d smirk and continue “No!” I truly believe you know, and enjoy being persnickety. *You are very opinionated about who buckles you into your car seat. If it’s anyone but you, we hear all about it. You love buckling! *Oh sweet darling, you have a confidence about you, but you also have this very tender side that sometimes wants to cuddle up in mommy’s arms for hours. *You’re talking a ton! Repeating a lot. Saying “Go!” “No no no no!”, “Ish” currently means water, “bahbas” bubbles, and the cutest new word of the month “May-o-mi” (Naomi!). *When we pray, you fold your hands so sweetly and bow your head. So precious. *You surprise us! During bathtime, you and Naomi took turns jumping in and out of the bathtub and sitting on the froggy potty to go potty! Naomi sat on the potty for 3 minutes and did nothing. She jumped back in the tub, so you jumped out and sat on the potty. When you were done, Daddy looked in the potty and sure enough, you peed!!! Wow! Perhaps this is the ticket for getting your sister interested in potty training! Fabulous. *I cannot count how many times I’ve caught you standing in your swing! Girl, you know how to take my breath away. *For Halloween, you would not keep your monkey costume more than half on! Most of the evening, people thought you were a centaur, which isn’t completely horrible I guess. *While feeding ducks at Sunset Park in San Marcos, you took your duck food and ate all of it. *You hold up your DinoBites at dinner and make the chicken dinosaurs “Whauuuhh!!” *The afternoon light lit up all the dust in the air, and you tried so hard to catch the dust. So sweet. *You straddle anything and say “Eeeeee Hawwww!” *You are rockin’ your baby signing time sign language! When daddy comes home from work, you love pointing to him to get down on the driveway with you, and you both lay down, peak up into the starry sky, and sign “stars”! *After months and months of ear infections, we finally had one trip to the doctor with a clean bill of health!! You are sooooo good at letting people look in your ears sweetie. Even when mommy is putting drops in your ears, you lay still and patiently wait until mommy is done. Amazing. Naomi (2 years, almost 3!): *You have a tender heart and your compassion for others is sweetly showing itself in prayer. When you saw Auntie Malina’s owie, you bowed your head and said “Pray for her owie, that it feels better and doesn’t hurt her anymore. Amen.” *”Hello mister Ladybug! Where’s your mommy? I’ll be your mommy! I’ll take care of you! I’m your mommy!” *You often refer to Aria as Baby Jesus. You tucked her into her pretend bed, “Nigh nigh baby Jesus.” *While giggling away on the swings “It’s so much fun to laugh!!!” *You saw a plane flying high in the sky and then you yelled to the birdies “Be careful birdies! There’s a plane coming!!” *While at Bates Nut Farm, you saw a little girl try to pet the goose and instead the goose nipped her hand, so all by yourself you thought to tuck your hand into your sleeve and then offer the end of your sleeve to the goose! Smartie. *While feeding ducks at Sunset Park in San Marcos, you squealed “Here Duckie Duckie!!!” and you’d overflow into laughter!! *At bedtime, you love telling stories. Mommy captured this one: “Once upon a time there was a beautiful alligator. And there was a little girl and she was so scared. And her house is so far far away. So her run and run so fast. She her ate her dinner in her house. But then the alligator came and he ate the house.” *”Mommy I have a secret” You walk up to my ear and whisper “I love you!” My heart overflows with love. *Honey, you drew a real picture on our chalkboard, a colored in circle with legs, “It’s a spider!” It’s the first thing you’ve drawn that actually resembles something! Mommy was impressed for days. *You tell me “My job is to love people and to obey.” That’s right, I say. *You love riding your pink bike sweetie! And you’re good at it. At the lake, you pedal almost the entire 3/4 of a mile! And your favorite “abenchure” (adventure) is going to Ama’s and Papa’s and riding your bike around their house! *When you get scared, you squint your eyes super tight and tuck your face into your shoulder, so darling! *Super early one morning, before the sun was up, you called mommy over to your bed, “Mommy come here! I’m thinking about something.” I asked you “What are you thinking about sweetie?” You answered with a big smile, “Dresses.” That’s my girl. Maertz Family memories: *Jamie Rettig came into town, so Mommy enjoyed a fun night with her girlfriends down at C-Level! *Mommy and girls spent a fabulous day with the Ramli girls at Disneyland! Naomi was the lone dancer just below The Golden Horse’s live music, and she didn’t mind it one bit. Girls stood wide eyed happy during all of It’s a Small World. But the moments just before the parade took the cake. With everyone lining the big empty street, you girls saw this as a stage, and went right to it! Danced and pranced with your churros, in front of your parade sideline audience! Naomi you even walked up to some kind teenage girls and sweetly asked to wear their Minnie Mouse ears, now you had costumes! You two were adorable! *GrampBill came to the rescue again, and loved on you girls! He and Joe enjoyed a pleasantly testy discussion during the Obama-Romney debate! We took trips to the Children’s Museum and Bates Nut Farm together. He took Naomi to Target and bought her a special toy— an armored knight and roaring lion figurine (complete with sword, shield and spear). A perfect toy for a 2 year old girl? Or the inner child of a 63 year old GrampBill? *Playdate with Melissa Ward and her sweet munchkin at JavaMama. *Took the girls to EFCC’s Harvest Fesitival, where Mommy and Daddy learned a very important lesson about never ever taking our eyes off the two of you! Scary moments and I’m not talking about costumes. *Hosted the 6th annual Paschall and Maneevone Pumpkin Carving Contest! Still not sure why people didn’t vote for our PUMP-next of-KIN (Big Pumpkin vaginally birthing a baby pumpkin). Horrible. *Joey celebrated his birthday late night with guy friends, on a downtown rooftop. Pretty nice. *Celebrated our AnniBirthoween with a morning breakfast at The Snooze (with the girls in Halloween costumes!), trip to Fashion Valley for a new watch for Joe’s birthday, an evening with the Torres, White and Heinrichs families, trick or treating around 4S Ranch, and at 8:45pm the doorbell rang and our family got our first ever trick or treaters! *Mom and I shared at Flood’s MomSpace together. Mom shared all her glorious mommy wisdom, it was just fabulous. *Joe coordinated babysitting and surprised me with an anniversary dinner downtown at Craft & Commerce! *Hosted a Saturday morning brunch to welcome Todd and Jona Gluth (and their two sweet kids) back to San Diego! *Helped throw a fabulous bachelorette party for my sister Leonie, complete with a personal chef! *Mom and girls enjoyed a playdate with Hillary and Kihana down in Point Loma. Lovely! *Continued our Maneevone tradition and walked to St Paul Lutheran Church (with five little ones) to vote! *Celebrated Angela’s August birthday, with an Afghan dinner in November. *Loved on the soon to be mama, Kelly Perry, at her baby shower! *Joe hit up Little Italy Mexican food (huh?) for our soon to be bro in law’s bachelor party. *Malina came into town early for the big sister wedding week— and the original six Maneevones enjoyed a rare dinner out on the town.