Thanksgiving came early this year.

IMG_3668 IMG_3724IMG_3731 IMG_3653 IMG_3586IMG_3374 IMG_3511As of this month, he is the only man of the house. Fluffy, the fish, died. But Daddy is more than enough for this sorority house. As we celebrate another October, full of milestones, how could I not celebrate your Dad. Not just his 37th year of life(!!), his 11th year of making marriage to me look easy(!!), but your Daddy deserves major accolades this month— he got himself promoted. Shimming my shoulders in celebration. He did it! And here’s my favorite part, he wasn’t even looking, or asking for it. The promotion found him. That’s favor. And that’s a God providing. Just a few months ago, your Daddy was pointed out by name by his boss’ boss’ boss. That’s a lot of bosses. “I want Joe Maertz to apply” might have slipped out of her mouth. Sure enough, Joe Maertz applied, and just after returning from Abu Dhabi your Daddy got dressed up and did what he does oh so well— with charm, intelligence, and genuine humility, he rose above the rest and was offered the title Manager. Just as we learned of another little blessing joining our family, God provided again. God is good like that, he takes care of his children. He is faithful and working behind the scenes, and planting ideas in boss’ boss’ boss’ brains, and then here we are giving thanks for what we do not deserve. Blessings in babies, and blessings in recognition and raises. On Daddy’s first day as manager, he drove up to LA for a big meeting and, like all managers do, he drank himself a proper cup of coffee— and hated it. I love your Daddy.

Happy birthday Joe, happy anniversary, and happy to celebrate you and all your brilliant achievements— from all that you tackle at home, to all that you manage at work. We are so thankful for you! Like I professed on our wedding day, “I am the luckiest.”IMG_3148IMG_3243 IMG_3156IMG_3012 IMG_3328Aria Ellen (4 years): *You are more than slightly obsessed with days and nights. You love days and hate nights. The sun will be blazing hot outside and you ask “Is it still the day?” I respond “Yes” and you smile real big. As darkness settles in, your body melts into serious devestation “I don’t want it to be night!” *No more overnight pull-ups for you! You are a big big girl Aria!! And doing great on a top bunk too! You’re quite possessive over the top bunk, you will not trade with Naomi. *There are other things you aren’t very flexible about either, like the color of your bowl, plate or cup. You will fall apart if the colors don’t match or if it’s not blue or pink. Not matching is abhorrent to you. There is nothing that makes you more upset. *While we are on this lovely topic, it’s also close to impossible to get you into warmer pajamas on the colder nights. We say, “it’s too cold to wear that” and you reply “but I like being cold.” And it’s strangely true. You do. You like being cold. So you wear what you wear, and you’ve never once complained of being cold. *Do you see that last picture of you? You are our honorary goofball in pictures these days! You love silly!!IMG_3405IMG_3080 IMG_3463IMG_3183 IMG_3230Juliet Mae (2 years): *Sometimes I wonder if we should have named you Juliet Joy. Do you see your joyful explosions up above? That’s who you are. Explosively JOYFUL! You’re just so much fun these days! And you’re so dang cute too— it’s just in you to be sweet. Multiple times a day you surprise me with the sweetest responses, in the sweetest two year old voice “Danks mama” or “You wehcome.” I melt. *At bedtime, you do this thing that makes everyone fall apart in laughter— it’s the way you become the bedtime boss, stand at your sisters’ doorway, and bark “Coose your eyes! Way down! Go to beh!” Then you practically stand on your tippy toes to actually reach their door knob and shuffle with all you’ve got to close the door. Then everyone erupts into laughter and you bust open their door and bark bedtime boss lines again! It’s too darling! It appears you have some leadership skills in you, Juliet.IMG_3267IMG_3195 IMG_3776IMG_3679 IMG_3202Naomi Mariam (5.5 years): *You are so interested in the piano! You learned the left hand of “Heart and Soul” and we did a duet together, it was so wonderful! *As you were memorizing the books of the Old Testament, Papa was here saying the books with you. He said “Leviticus” and you stopped and looked at me with a funny/confused face and said “Did he say that in English?” We all heard you and laughed laughed laughed! *Do you see that boy? His name is Carter. You’ve told me many times “I’m going to marry him.” Oh boy! *We had a tricky conversation with your teacher at school this month. Apparently, you are a gifted leader! But she used the B word, the one that rhymes with glossy. After hearing your Kindergarten teacher share her perspective of your glossy leadership skills, I actually was more disappointed with your teacher’s choices on how to approach the situation. At home, I talked with you about some simple things to help smooth out your glossy leadership skills. All on your own, you grabbed some sidewalk chalk and started drawing a picture of you and your friends while at school. “See mommy, he has a sad face because I raised my hand and said “Look at my picture.” You have such a sweet heart, Naomi, so compassionate and caring of others. I really just think your teacher didn’t quite hit the mark on properly explaining her expectations, because the minute I explained things, you were so genuinely sad that your words were possibly causing others to feel sad. But I will end with a gem of a story. You see that Halloween picture above, where you’re holding up three fingers? I posted it on Instagram with this caption: “Only three pictures mom,” says Jasmine. Barking commands like a princess. You have a gift.IMG_3322 IMG_2989 IMG_3422IMG_3486 IMG_3513IMG_3521 IMG_3567 IMG_3275Maertz Family Memories: *Picking up GrampBill and heading off to a yummy breakfast at The Great Maple! Everyone’s sick, but it doesn’t stop us from cleaning out the garage (it’s what one does when GrampBill is in town!). *Finally out of the first trimester— feeling so much better! This one had me in the pits, throwing up and so exhausted. *Joe starts up his “hobby” again, taking on the Foreign Service Test! *Playdate with Kaira and Lucy at the Children’s Museum. *Birthday lunch with Emily at Vinz and EscoGelato. *Aria is back into gymnastics again! She loves it! *Coronado playdate with Kristin and Gretel, beach and fun sand play! *Rachel Ross joins us for a morning, during our “Baking Class.” *Bates Nut Farm trip with MOPS! *Playdate with Melody and girls at “Rainbow Park.” *Shared music and many tears at “Celebrate Life” with Anjuli at Mission Hills. *Lead worship at Flood with just Joe and me! So much fun making music and leading with my love. *Keri’s birthday celebration with Anjuli and Ashley at Snooze in Carlsbad! *Dinner at the Hamiltons’ with Elaine, Lee and Lins, warm glowy girl company kind of night. *Lead worship and shared at Flood’s women’s event. *Maneevone/Paschall Pumpkin Carving Party— we took 2nd place with “Sam and Manoah holding on for their lives during Hurricane Patricia!” Great job Joey! Naomi and Aria contributed and created their first pumpkins this year! *I bought way too much chicken one night, but turned it into a spontaneous dinner with Ama and Papa. *EFCC Harvest Festival. Let the record show we did not lose any children this year. *We started removing our lawn to gain from the state turf removal program— saving money! Our water bill hit well over $300 during the hot months! I love grass, but come on.IMG_3600 IMG_3086FullSizeRender 3 IMG_3625 IMG_3542