IMG_4383 IMG_4680IMG_3834 FullSizeRender 58IMG_4343 IMG_4467IMG_4064 IMG_4079IMG_4977I’ve been wanting to tell this story for a while. Now’s my chance.

A few months back, our dear friend Tatum was visiting for the afternoon before her flight home to her husband and two young daughters in Colorado. During her short visit, you girls gave her your best show. A true dress up clothes eruption. You entertained us with every possible fairy tale, twirls galore, and the most glamorous bows and royal prances. You were all so very adorable. But all your princess beauty simply does not compare to what you did next.

All on your own, with absolutely zero mommy guidance, you both brought out handfuls of princess costumes and ever so sweetly dumped them into Tatum’s lap — “Here, these are for your girls.” Instantly… my heart: a puddle on the ground. Melted and in love with you two. That you would share, not just any worn-down-used-and-abused costumes, but your favorites — your Ariel(!!), Elsa with her singing gloves(!!), Tinker Bell with her wings(!!), your beloved Sleeping Beauty(!!). Some of these are dresses you had just recently begged us to buy you for your birthdays and Christmas! And here you were — sharing them. Not on a borrow basis, as Tatum’s kids live in Colorado. This was a big time, never see again, give away of your treasures. Floored. Tatum was overwhelmed by your incredible gesture! But like any good mom, she glanced over to me with that very clear acknowledgement — “Don’t you worry, as soon as the girls aren’t looking, I’ll give these all back to you.” And I nodded back in agreement, I mean, these were your treasures.

Once this beautiful moment dissipated, Tatum and I did some secret mommy talk around our kitchen corner. She heaped all of your sweet offerings back into my arms, and I openly accepted them back. What am I doing? It hit me. Naomi and Aria, you girls would see these treasures back in your dress-up drawers and likely be very confused. Didn’t we give those dresses to Tatum’s girls? And I hated what I would have to say— “That’s right, you did. But we don’t give our treasures away. We give our used, abused, our least favorites, our junk, that’s what we give away.” I had it wrong. And you had it right. I shook my head at Tatum, and smiled. “You have to take them.” In a final flurry of ruffles and lace, the dresses were headed back to Colorado. “They want you to have them. And I do too.”

Give away treasures, because in the end they’re nothing more than treasures. But there is nothing greater than love. Love one another, that’s the heart of everything. Love never fails. You got it right.

{Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be. Luke 12:34 So store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Matthew 6:20 Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13}

The next morning, you three and I were standing outside ToysRUs, waiting for them to open. I wanted to spoil you guys for how you so beautifully gave your treasures away. Naomi, you picked a barbie-like Elsa doll and Aria, you picked a Hello Kitty remote controlled car. It was only a matter of weeks until a little girl and her mommy were leaving our home after a play date. Naomi, you ran inside, grabbed your new Elsa doll, and very intentionally looked right at me to make sure I saw you as you gave your doll away to the little girl. After our farewells, I closed our front door, smiled at you and commented on your generous heart. You jumped and cheered “We’re going to ToyRUs!”IMG_4424IMG_3931 IMG_4948IMG_4452 IMG_4641 IMG_4244IMG_4489 IMG_4570IMG_4036 IMG_4350IMG_4175 IMG_4487Aria Ellen (F O U R years old!!): Four your birthday, you begged us for a Frozen bike. And a Frozen bike you got! You discovered it as you wandered over to our room in the morning (which by the way, you are always the first one awake in our home, always). On your birthday we did gymnastics with Noelle, who is your favorite favorite sidekick. It’s always “I can’t wait to tell Nowehw!” A quick trip to Costco and CFA for lunch. Picked up GrampBill and GG from the airport, and straight to Claire’s— to get your ears pierced. You are a rock Aria. Stoic. You did not flinch, or show fear. Needles through the ears do not phase you. And off to your birthday party at “Ice Cream Happiness (Rita’s)” with your family clan. Back at home, we ticked off your final birthday wish— bacon for dinner. You make me laugh! For me, it was the perfect day, adoring you. My strong, thoughtful, silly, persistent, curious, helpful, tough, kind, big beautiful hearted Aria. *You are so helpful— running out to help mommy get groceries from the car(!) — helping Daddy disassemble the playset(!)— you love helping. *While watching Tumble Leaf, the word “Butternut” destroyed you in the best way. You erupted up into the silliest giggles! And you could not stop! I am pretty sure your 4 year old mind heard “Nutterbutt.” *You have such a tender, thoughtful side to you. Out of the blue you came up to me, “I will love you always.” I will love you always too, Aria.IMG_4001 IMG_3914 IMG_4997IMG_4616 IMG_4192 IMG_4094IMG_4486 IMG_4196Naomi Mariam (5.5 years): You are a darling little girl, who is growing up before our eyes. In the dentist chair above, I quickly snapped that picture. You are so poised, legs crossed, hands folded, so grown up. It is such a delight to watch you grow. *As Daddy and Mommy were about to leave for an evening out, you said “I just can’t keep it together about how much I am going to miss you.” I just love hearing the way you articulate your sweet heart. *You’re enjoying soccer with your friends. But I think more than soccer, you enjoy being seen on the soccer field. It’s as if you’re putting on a show. You see how your audience erupts for you when you kick the ball. As a goalie, you drop kicked the ball.  It flew backwards over your head, and you scored a goal in the wrong direction. You smiled, bashfully, waved at your audience in a “it’s okay” gesture, and moved right along entertaining us! Another time you ran past your soccer audience and hollered “Watch out girl power coming through!” Your crowd adored you! *You gave us your first big dance show this month! You danced to “Summer” as a darling snowman. You shined on that stage Naomi. Shined. It was so easy for you. You came to life up there. Stole the show, and our hearts. Just before the show, we discovered your talent for passing out programs. This might have been better than performing for you. No one asked you. You took it upon yourself to be a greeter. You went around to 200 something adults and families, greeted them with a smile, and gave them a program or two, or twelve.*One morning, you woke up, “I just had the best dream. All the world was together singing a whole song.” *You got your ears pierced! You were frightened and fidgety about the whole process. But you did it! You picked the cutest pair of Hello Kitty earrings. But I will say this, you had to have them straight. No crooked earrings for you. Each time you passed a mirror, you checked to make sure they were perfect. Perfectionist maybe? As more evidence, I introduced you girls to a youtube “Learn how to draw” video. It did not go well. If you didn’t draw the lines perfectly, you exploded. Only on step one, you had already blown through over a dozen papers and scattered them all over the floor. A puddle of tears, you could not handle imperfections. Needless to say, we don’t do drawing videos anymore.IMG_3940 FullSizeRender 39 IMG_4628 IMG_4775IMG_4487 2 IMG_5017IMG_4114 IMG_4525IMG_4223 IMG_4332 IMG_4322 2 Juliet Mae (23 months!!): Your personality has emerged. You are fully and completely becoming you. And I cannot tell you how smitten we are with YOU! You are so much fun. Look at that girl strutting through the house, naked with a vacuum, and that girl with a huge grin in front of a chalkboard. You are fun. You are a such a joy! Big joy. *You are talking so very much. At the mall, you pointed and as clear as day: “Buy this.” On Aria’s birthday: “Happy Birthday Aria!” Impressive. At soccer you shout “Go Ahya! Go Ahya!” You are talking, expressing. *You are my cuddle bug. You lay your head down like none other. You put your arms around our necks so sweetly. I never want the moment to end.IMG_4215IMG_3881 IMG_0743IMG_4901 IMG_4868IMG_4960 IMG_4807Maertz Family Memories: *Mother’s Day, we did an afternoon together at the Paschalls’. *Spent a Sunday afternoon at Balboa Park for an International Food Fair. *GrampBill and GG joined us for Aria’s birthday, touring Juniper Elementary, soccer games, and Naomi’s ballet recital! *Celebrated Samuel’s 6th birthday at Kit Carson Park, aka “Leaf Park.”  For Memorial day we hiked Battle Mountain and did a little picnic together up top as a family! You girls did great. Naomi you charged it. I carried Juliet, so I did awesome. 🙂 *We replaced the play structure with a trampoline! Daddy said that you girls needed a trampoline. Guess who’s still jumping on it after you girls are done? *Speaking of Daddy, he did a training up in Sacramento. See above and try not to freak out. *Friday night BBQ with the Whites here. *Mommy sang and shared at EFCC’s Women’s Tea. *Sister dinner meets for Pho, and we obsess about the podcast Serial. *Peet playdate here. Amie and Tins playdate. Janneke and D play date here. *Birthday Club celebrates Kat! *Loucks meet us at a soccer game! *GCB hits Cordiano Winery for hours of a good time with old friends.IMG_2243IMG_4378 IMG_4369 2IMG_4365