Adventures on the 4th floor.

wanida1-wanida1-0033 IMG_1922View More: More:“You’re going to the hospital, your water broke.” Those words from my midwife were both amazing and shocking. A simple 39 week doctor’s appointment just got very interesting. I remember calling Daddy at work, “Are you sitting down? Good. Now stand up, cause we’re going to the hospital.” We arrived at Palomar Hospital close to 4pm. We settled in. But with zero-none-nada contractions to speak of, we had a long way to go. Round and round those 4th floor corridors, I waddled. I remember watching from the hospital window as that hot July sun, in the warmest orange tones, set over our home’s hillside. I kept waddling. I remember saying good night to your sisters over face-time, I kept waddling. I remember saying goodbye to our first shift nurse and saying hello to our new nurse, I kept waddling. Sometime after midnight, your Daddy had this wild epiphany. They’re hiking. They’re hiking Rainer right now. Let’s go back a couple of months, to October 2012. To that moment when mommy found out that Daddy booked a secret adventure hike to Mt Rainer with his friends, only to have his secret shenanigans backfire by two little pink lines on a stick— your due date within days of the hike. Here’s where things get a little twilight zone awesome— after nine months of planning and training, the friends woke up at midnight on July 30th to make the last and final push to the summit of Mt Rainer; and after nine months of growing a human and enormous anticipation, here we are at midnight on July 30th kicking off our final lap of our baby baking marathon on the 4th floor of Palomar Hospital. Midnight, July 30th, both adventures were gearing up for the final push (pun intended, come on now). Pushing, however, I did none of that. After all of our best attempts and tricks, contractions never kicked in, dilation never amounted to anything significant, and bottom line— we were ready to meet you! Zoom out, and up, 2,000 miles north— after 6 exhausting hours in cold frigid temperatures, Daddy’s friends summited Mt Rainer at 6am. And in a better than fiction parallel, zoom back out, and down 2,000 miles south, into a brightly light, also frigid, surgery space on the 4th floor, the lovely Dr Cantu brought you into this world at 6:07am.

Perhaps one day, you will find another way to rope daddy into abandoning his adventures and joining you along on one of yours. You and Daddy could travel to far off places and sit atop the world’s highest peaks together, which all have far better views than a 4th floor. Palomar Hospital may not have offered us the greatest views that morning, but nothing could have made our hearts feel bigger, fuller and more on top of the world than the moment we met you. Happy 1st birthday Juliet!photoIMG_0558IMG_2019 IMG_2664 (1)IMG_2366View More: Mae (1 year old!): Happy 1st birthday, baby! The family all gathered together at EscoGelato for family pictures, a festive song, and some yummy gelato to celebrate your first year! *The month started with you sick. With something that causes high fevers. Not sure what, so Mommy had to back out of a 4th of July party, but it’s ok, she just invited herself to another. *You give kisses now, both blown through the air and mouth to mouth. *Knowing just what you wanted, you helped yourself to the pantry, grabbed a bag of Pirate’s Booty (an obsession), one-arm dragged yourself to your high chair, and presented your treasure to Daddy. *You are oh so playful, extremely engaged with everything around you, and the way you chatter tells us that you are not a baby anymore. Your sputtering of sounds is so glottal, though, that we think you may speak German. *You’re standing like a champ! Pulling yourself up and standing, everywhere. It’s your best trick. *The idiom “sleeps like a baby” has its origin in you. You sleep. All night and every night, and we will take it thank you very much. *Lucky Daddy, you adopted this pleasant little habit of pooping fairly predictably in the bath on his watch. What can we say, I mean, it IS relaxing.View More: IMG_2296 IMG_2246 View More: Ellen (3 years): You and your faces. I can’t even handle it. You are explosive, ridiculously silly, and so very funny when you want to. And you’re reserved, slow to open up, and very observant when you want to. It’s all on your terms Aria. Just like food. If we push our ways on you, it’s war. So I ask myself a lot, is she being rude or disrespectful? Honestly, you rarely are. It’s just that you like to do things your way, the slow way. And so, you push me and Daddy to find patience beyond patience. Because you’re happy to sit and do dinner as long as it takes you. That’s fine. You’re a slow eater, your mommy and daddy might one day compete with you and win. You wouldn’t like that one bit. *You bent down, took a big whiff of a flower, and as you inhaled deeply you declared, “Ahhh, smells like Cheerios.” *We thought that watching the fireworks around the corner and up the hill from our house would be good enough, but it didn’t satisfy you, it intrigued you. “Bigger! Bigger!” you yelled. “I want to go there!” We drove to within striking distance of a show and you sat on the ground and lounged back on your hands like artist admiring her work. *Your original problem around a pool was that you didn’t like it, so you wouldn’t go near it. Now, you have a much bigger problem. You actually think you can swim. This became a real problem when we got to the Sawyer farewell party. Just as we arrived at the pool and were saying hellos, you didn’t stop walking. You walked yourself right down the steps of the pool, instantly submerged. The scary part is how quickly and silently it happened. Fully clothed with shoes and Juliet in my arms, Mommy saved you.                                           IMG_2385  IMG_1822IMG_2045  View More: Mariam (4.5 years): Can you be any cuter? Any sweeter? All day long I watch you wanting to do the right thing, wanting to share and be kind with your sisters, wanting to help them, tell them stories, rescue them from high ledges. You’re testing out the waters, yearning to be a big girl, eat big girl things, and do big girl things. One day you wouldn’t stop putting your hand on your hips. It was crazy darling. I asked you where you learned it. “At ballet. All the big girls are doing it.” *At bedtime one night, you had a come-to-terms moment with growing up. “Mommy,” you said. “Sometimes when you’re 4 years old, sometimes it’s hard being a big girl.” *We heard you sneak into the bathroom after bedtime, but then we didn’t hear anything for five minutes. When Daddy finally checked on you, he opened the door to find you struggling with your sippy cup twist top, faucet on, tears streaming down your face. You were so set on doing the right thing (not being caught out of bed) that you wrestled your sippy cup in silence and tears. *We got you a boogie board and you caught your first ride with GrampBill! You got tossed and turned, but you loved the ocean! *You entered your first race! A water slide race in Arizona— and you won! *You have been counting down the weeks, and finally your first day of Amazing Grace dance started! You love it. *You’re starting to read! You do a little mental math! Mommy introduced you to a numbers system for playing the piano (Doe a Deer, Jingle Bells). You’re asking for violin lessons. Yes, your mind is flourishing!!!                                                      IMG_2092 IMG_1951IMG_2228IMG_2145 IMG_3332IMG_2094 IMG_1967IMG_1795 IMG_2178Maertz Family Memories: *Rescued ten scared little ducklings scattered all over our front yard with a slew of neighbors! *Afternoon swimming with the Sawyers! *Helped Leonie color a bunch of grout in their new home in Rancho Penesquitos! *Joe and girls head to Tankersleys’ for 4th of July, I invite myself to Andrew and Janneke’s. Aria touches the end of a sparkler, yeesh! At dusk, we run up our Purdum Lane hill to see fireworks, then spontaneously drive over to the big hill on Broadway as the fireworks start! (huge thanks to neighbor Helen for coming over to be with a sleeping Juliet!). *Joe almost hikes San Jacinto with Mike Woodall. Thank you to GPS and good old topograpical maps that rescued my lost man that day. *A morning with newborn Titus Schumacher and his lovely mommy. *Took hugs and ChickFilA ice cream to Leonie. *GrampBill and GG (Kelyne) come stay for three nights! We hit up Waterfront park, Moonlight beach, swimming at the Paschalls’, tennis at the park! *Mommy ran up to LA to love on college friend Becky Ankerberg’s bridal shower. *Daddy and Mommy got a dinner out at The Smoking Goat. Thanks to GrampBill and GG, and thanks to OpenTable, or we may still be deciding where to eat! *Couples group gathers for dinner at the Lehmans’, cozy summer night chats and laughs on their back deck. *Maertz Family Vacation to Arizona! Horrible sleeping didn’t stop us from having a great time! Mommy, Daddy and Naomi won their water slide races! And Aria, it only took you two days, but you finally went down the water slide all by yourself (!!!) and once you started, you didn’t want to stop. Daddy’s cousin Katie and her husband Matt came up for a play day. *Celebrate Ama’s birthday at a fancy lunch at Veranda in RB. Family dinner celebrations at the Paschalls’! Manoah, Sammy, Naomi and Aria played on the back lawn with an large ice chest (like it was a playground) for a solid hour! *Aria earns Fluffy the fish, and we finally have another boy in the Maertz home. *Sawyer/Maertz final family dinner here! Paschalls and Boticas stop by. Minutes after the Sawyers leave, the Lehmans stop by. Minutes after the Lehmans stop by, my parents show up. All these visits deserve their own blog post! *Sawyer farewell party at the Lasts’, and like any good party attenders— we bring mustaches. *Ama and Papa find the energy to take you girls to Disneyland! And to my surprise (and theirs perhaps too) they last from 8:30am to 9:45pm! Aria, you walk in the front door and fall flat on your face asleep in the entry way. With the big ones away, Juliet and I head to Pipes beach with the Sawyers! Mommy finds vindication in a practical stranger, wild. *Kelly and Nash join us for a last minute birthday play date, thankful for friends as easy and wonderful as them. *Girls do a phenomenal job at the dentist! Everyone is impressed with your big girl bravery and pretty teeth. *Manoah, Anjuli, Ama, Mommy and Naomi go see Mary Poppins at Moonlight! A great time, no one is more thankful than Ama that we found seats down below at intermission.IMG_2410IMG_2374 IMG_2356IMG_2404IMG_1940IMG_2167