Rubio’s got a very special visit from us one evening. Once we all settled into our table, Aria announced she had to go potty. Mommy got up and did mommy duties. Upon our return, Naomi made the same declaration. Having just completed an identical request, we sent Naomi by herself, watching her every step of the way. When Naomi returned, Juliet unbelievably followed suit, “I hab ooo go poopy” (I have to go poopy). I didn’t buy it. A third consequetive potty run? Nope. Sorry kid. Joe looked at me, “Did she already go poop today?” I answered “Yep.” And we both confidently dismissed her poopy request. I’m guessing it wasn’t even ten minutes, when I looked at Joe, “Do you smell that?” I turned right to little miss Juliet, she was sitting sweetly, eating away at her quesadilla. Neither of us were ready for what we were about to discover. The discovery was UNBELIEVABLE. Sitting in her high chair, she let her mommy and daddy know very clearly that we were idiots. She let us have it, big time. And of course we had nothing with us— no wipes, no extra clothes, no diaper, no spare panties, nothing. We had zero resources, and there was zero containment. Joe immediately picked her and her high-chair up and carried it outside. Another mommy kindly shared some wipes with us. But this job went far beyond any amount of wipes. Joe refused to take her back into Rubio’s, so cleaning up in the bathroom was off the table. I ran back inside and asked an employee for some big to-go plastic bags. On the fly, I tore two big holes on the bottom of the bag. “Put Juliet into the bag, let her legs dangle out, and we can use the other bag for her car seat.” And that’s exactly what we did. We put Juliet, and all of her glory, into a Rubio’s to-go bag. What she left on that high chair was so incredibly disgusting, that even after a dozen wipes, Joe had no choice but to admit our blunder to the restaurant, this chair needed serious decontamination. At home, Joe didn’t even want to risk bringing Juliet inside the house as-is, so he stood her on the grass, stripped her down, and hosed her off. Juliet, you were such a trooper. You remained delightful throughout all of Mommy’s and Daddy’s ridiculousness. From now on, when you say you have to go, we’re no idiots, we take you. Juliet Mae (2 years old): *Aria was rocking you in the rocking chair, you told me “Tah eh pickya.” (Take a picture!), a nice request from a little girl who often tells me and my picture taking, “Okay mama, dah enuh.” (That’s enough). *You and Daddy were shaking hands, Daddy said “Nice to meet you” and you replied “You’re wehcome.” (You’re welcome). *Daddy went into your room one morning to get you out of your crib, but you didn’t get up, you just laid there. “Do you want to get out?” Daddy asked. “You just laid there, “No, I singing.” And sure enough, you were. Singing away. When we say good night to you, you mostly go right to sleep, but sometimes you sing a bit before you go to bed. In the morning, it’s the same, you wake up singing. You’re such a delight. *See that top left picture, it’s so genuine. It was you exploding with joy at the sight of Daddy coming home! Aria Ellen (4 years old): *Out of nowhere, you came outside juggling two glasses of water, not because we asked for water, but just because you thought we might be thirsty, because you wanted to be kind. I love your heart, Aria. *Aria, you are the best helper. If we are outside doing yard work, or inside loading the dishwasher, you are right there begging us to let you help! That’s another thing, you have a gift of persistence. You ask and ask and ask and ask again until we finally give up, because we just don’t care as much as you do, and we will do anything to make you stop asking! *In addition to being little miss persistent, you are also little miss responsible. You are so good at getting dressed in the mornings, I rarely ever have to ask you to get dressed. All the way down to shoes, you have it done! And, mommy and daddy have noticed, you have quickly become a collector. You have dedicated a shelf that holds all your little trinkets! And each one is so special to you — you call them “My special memories.” Heaven help us if one of the special memories gets moved or is out of place, we have been bent over backwards in the car at night, looking under seats for your pink Palace Pet, your Palace Pet book, your slippers. Naomi Mariam (5.5 years): *While speaking to Ama: “Ama, when we did a sleepover at Auntie Leonie’s house, did you know her house is the same time as ours?” (spoken from a girl who just got back from Abu Dhabi!). *As Daddy was flushing a spider down the toilet you hollered “I hope you had a good life!” *You woke up with the biggest smile and so sweetly shared “I just had the best dreams! There was ice skating!” *You told Aria, “Seriously Aria, you should have gotten the hamburger (from Jack in the Box), it tastes like ice cream!” Mommy laughed out loud. *After a beach trip, I asked you “Were you scared of the big waves?” You said, “No, I’m not scared, God is with me. I prayed and asked him to keep me safe.” *For the second time, you volunteered to read a book to your Kindergarten class. Do you read? Not fully yet. Do you have a great imagination matched with great confidence? You sure do. I bet you told your class the best story! *Mommy struggled without Daddy this month, and your schooling was no exception. There were so many nights, I’d be tucking you into bed and you’d remind me “Mommy we forgot to do school today!” And I’d sigh and say, “You’re right, we did.” In my head, you were at least still alive, and Daddy would be home soon to rescue us.
Maertz Family Memories: *Daddy left for his overseas position on July 14th— and finally returned home from Abu Dhabi on September 14th! NINE WEEKS of wild, whoa, wow, and a whole lot of wonderful! That final stretch was rough for us girls, it was so very very hot (back in Escondido), and Mommy was just entering her first few weeks of pregnancy exhaustion. When Daddy got home, Mommy was 9 weeks along. We made it through with the help of wonderful friends and family. *You had your very first sleep over at Auntie Leonie’s and Uncle Dan’s! They spoiled you girls, taking to you Rita’s after the sun went down! *A lovely casual brunch at Keri’s with her lovely crew. *Maneevone family lunch at Hollandia Park after church. *A Friday morning at Snooze Cafe for breakfast! *Vinz dinner and EscoGelato with Papa. *GrampBill and Kelyne joined us for almost a week! It was so hot that week. Swimming at a neighbors’ and the Paschalls’, tennis at a park of course, a special trip to TCA’s school fair, EscoGelato, trips to the mall, doing anything we could to stay cool (with a semi-broken air conditioning unit!). *Birthday club, celebrating Kelly and Angela at Buona Forchetta! *Birthday celebration for Ashley at Nok Thai! *Daddy has a little time off before returning to stateside work, so we hit up Disneyland! Can we talk about Disneyland for a sec? Aria and Naomi, you girls were finally tall enough for Space Mountain, and Daddy was itching to take you! You both insisted on riding together in the very front. Daddy was one row behind. As the ride started up that big dizzy tunnel, it became very apparent that Space Mountain was more than a little different— they converted the entire ride into Spook Mountain! Oh boy. There were goblins and scary creatures around every corner, and there was nothing Daddy could do to help you two, he couldn’t see or hear you, it was so dark and loud! He was in a panic, it was obviously waaaay too scary! After the ride, Daddy was extremely generous, he bought you girls big lollipops as we peaked at the pictures that are taken mid-ride. All you can see is Daddy trying with all his might to lean forward and offer comfort with an arm, and the two of you are curled up, hiding so low, you’re both completely out of the camera shot! We stayed way past sunset, enjoying California Adventure’s Bug’s Life and Cars! So much fun! *It’s been so hot, Daddy was game for two trips to Buccaneer Beach in Oceanside! *Dinner at Vintana’s with the Paschalls. *Do you see that picture at Kaiser’s lab, just below? You girls were just darling, the three of you stood together and sang “Doe a Deer” to comfort Daddy! *Chick-Fil-A picnic, and feeding ducks at Woodland Park.