The pink robe.

The pink robe. I remember two things about it: My mom bought it at a store called Walker Scott (which was a big deal because my mom rarely bought things for herself), and she played Rook in this pink robe while she waited very patiently for me to be born in the winter of 1978. The mere mention of this robe sends my heart into a bit of a patter. Maybe because… one, it’s gorgeous. And two, in some of the earliest memories of my mom, this pink robe was her morning silhouette. But somewhere around grade school this robe became more of a retired icon… a gem that found its resting place in my mother’s closet. As I opened her shower gift under the twinkling lights, a beautiful giant pile of puffy satin pink fell into my lap. My heart fluttered. “I labored with you in that robe,” my mom shared. “I want you to have it, I’ve always wanted you to have it.” I went home that night and did my best to organize gifts into their proper new spots.  I draped that beautiful pink robe over a hook in our closet, ready to grab and pack for the hospital on April 8th. We’re carrying on the tradition.

Juliet Mae (2 years): *A beautiful little freckle appeared on your face this month. Left cheek, at the start of your cheek bone. Can’t wait to see how that adds to the character of you. *On Palm Sunday, you insisted on joining your sisters singing Hosanna on stage at church. Not a single hesitation, you charged up the stairs, and front and center as the youngest kid (by far), you shined. Later on you shared “The stage makes me happy.” * It’s hard to see, but in front of the Paschalls’ blue front door are your shoes. Perfectly placed side by side. At two years old, you take your shoes off all on your own. In fact you are a bit of a shoe monitor at our home, “Ake youh soos ahhf”(Take your shoes off). You bring your Asian ancestors great happiness. 🙂 *Your hands on your hips (bottom left). It happens often, and I honestly adore it. You have a fun sparkly sass Juliet. You have a hands on hips stance, and an eye frowl(?) that means serious business.

Aria Ellen (almost five!): *We enrolled you into Kindergarten! That last sentence still blows my mind. We enrolled you into a few lotteries, and unlike your older sister, you’ve been drawn for almost all of them! Lucky girl. Now, to figure out where you’re going come August. *One night, long after bedtime, you pranced over to our room. Why? You wanted Mommy and Daddy to see your “stick the landing” pose, that’s all (center right). We adore you Aria! *Look at that bottom left picture. You are gifted, love. Or as I sometimes say, “you came out of the womb with pointed toes.” Your ballet teacher pulled me aside this month— “She has a gift. Movement comes so easily for her. She just gets it. She and I are going to have a lot of fun in years to come.” And sure enough, your movements are so impressive. At a park, you climbed a pole while wearing tights. You are so strong Aria!

Naomi Mariam (6 years): *Naomi, you are growing up so quickly and so beautifully. Your kind heart, your delightfully inviting character, your deep care for others. I love every part of you. When people ask me how I’m feeling about adding another little into our family, I smirk with confidence… “We’re going to be fine, I’ve got my Naomi.” It’s true. Can not wait to see you shine as a big sister to three. (posted on Instagram on 3.28.16). *You got your first report card Naomi. Your math and reading are scoring high marks, love— we are so proud of you! It just comes so easily for you, and you enjoy it. You love school. *You also love jump roping a lot. It’s what you do most at recess. *While sitting on the toilet, Daddy passed by and you said “Hey Daddy, hang out with me in here. I love when you’re around.” And so he did. *You had tacos for the first time. You devoured them.

Maertz Family Memories: March is for family visits. Shelly flew into town for work and mommy got lots of catch up time with an old college roommate, as did Uncle Micah, Auntie Katrina and their three (Letta, Elcho, and baby Margaret), Ama’s siblings (Uncle LeRoy Redding and Auntie Mary Ellen Kubo), and Auntie Malina & Auntie Mary. A very spontaneous family reunion! And GrampBill bought a last minute ticket and flew down when Mommy was 38 weeks and struggling, waddling along in late pregnancy. Just after we picked him up at the airport, we enjoyed a beautiful dinner at C-Level together. He took you girls everywhere and gave mommy hours off her feet. Bless him.*Mommy enjoyed meals at Banker’s Hill Pub and Grill and C-Level with Shelly. *Children’s Museum with the Kubos! Saturday trip to the Poway Farmer’s market! *Mommy’s iron levels dropped to 8, so she took many trips to the hospital for iron infusions. *Daddy and you girls joined the Paschalls on a hike up Battle Mountain. *On Palm Sunday, all three of you sang your hearts out on stage. You guys are naturals. *Celebrated Manoah’s 9th birthday at his football game, best cheering squad around. *A simple and beautiful gathering of friends and family in the Paschalls’ backyard to celebrate the coming of our 4th! *Growth group girls surprise me with a night of gifts and words to honor the coming babe. Such a gift. *Park and ChickFilA with Amie and Tins. *Ama helps out tremendously as the days get harder and the nights sleeplessly longer. Baby girl’s clothes are organized, crib is up, itty bitty diapers, pretty new bows, we are ready. All we need is a baby.

How we do vacation

Our final babymoon, and let’s be honest, likely our final getaway for a long time. Three glorious days and nights, just the two and a half of us. I like how we do trips Joe Maertz. The process of deciding a vacation is almost just as fun as the vacation itself. We have a madness to our method, and I think we can both agree, our method is always a bit of a game. This trip was no exception. You started by throwing out seven possible babymoon destinations and then we took turns eliminating one destination at a time. I know you, I know you’re strategically playing me, but that’s the best part, cause I’m playing you too. It’s our game. The list began: Cabo, Catalina, Idaho, Santa Barbara, Seattle, Sedona, Vancouver. Those were my options. One by one, we eliminated destinations with our interests in mind, skillfully guessing what our opponent’s next move would be in order to strategically get our top destination to win. After we tossed out five destinations, it was down to Santa Barbara and Sedona, and it was your turn. Well, you got rid of my favorite, Santa Barbara. Sedona won. Here’s the irony: After playing out our big game, neither of us were that excited about Sedona. I did some research, and by research I mean I text some friends. Even painted in their best light, Sedona sounded meh. We hoisted white flags and very quickly started over. Part two of the game. I carry the baby, I call the shots. Your new options were Palm Springs or the oh-so-close-to-home Rancho Bernardo Inn. Wouldn’t you know it, Palm Springs won. Together, in the sun-shiniest of days, we did nothing but lounge around and enjoy quiet. A dream come true— a weekend of quiet with my Joey, and a rumbly tumbly 34 week in-utero baby, in Palm Springs.

From the Middle East to Palm Springs, this baby girl is going to have a thing with deserts.

Naomi Mariam (6 years): *You surprised all of us with one very gutsy move. You told me you were ready to lose your tooth. So I very nonchalantly attached your tooth with floss to the front door and started recording a video on my phone. I really did not think you’d actually do it. You shocked us both! You slammed the door, and your front tooth went flying out of your mouth! I absolutely exploded with joy! I love celebrating you Naomi! You did it! *Upon entering the shower one evening, you let out a giant “Ahhhh. Now this is a dream come true.” *During baking class, you didn’t enjoy mixing and measuring as much as you enjoyed bossing, ahem, reading the directions and telling us all what to do. *You got your first report card and MAP testing results! Naomi you nailed it! 96th percentile for reading and math. So proud of you!

Aria Ellen (4 years): *You see that pink purse you’re holding up there? It’s filled with about $1.75 in coins. You very strategically bring this money to Phil’s. Of all things, the mini toy vending machines have your heart. And now our money. *You continue to amaze us with your coordination and strength. You flip upside-down on the rope swing, with your toes pointed of course. You love flying down the hill on your scooter! You are tough, with bruises and scrapes all over. Can we say active? *You visited our room in the dark of night, complaining of a stomach ache. In the next second, you barfed all. over. me. The only silver lining in this story is that I caught all of your barf entirely in my shirt. All of it. You could say I took one for the team. The next day, while at Baskin Robbins, you were halfway through your bubble gum ice cream when you walked it over to the trash can, and threw it away. “It’s too sweet. If I eat too much my tummy will hurt and I’ll barf.” *While we were driving, almost to our street, Daddy told you “Hey Aria, who said you could unbuckle?” In perfect Aria: “But you’re unbuckled.” Daddy had no response.

Juliet Mae (2.5 years): *Big news this month— you are sleeping in a BIG GIRL BED!! Last month we got you the bed and assembled it, but you really weren’t too keen on the idea. This month, all that changed. You love your big girl bed. And are you ready for this? You stay in bed!!! You don’t even try to get out of bed. It’s bizarre and incredible at the same time. We kiss you goodnight in your big girl bed, and that’s where you stay until the green light turns on! We are in awe. Now, can we talk about how loud you breathe at night? *You are obsessed with getting dressed and changing clothes. It’s a constant drive-us-crazy-all day request from you. “Mommy, I caynge?” *Out of nowhere, you asked Daddy, “Hah wah wahk today?” (How was work today?). Juliet you are sooo cute and sooo dang talkative! Another day I told you that Aria was sick, and you responded “I weeewy wike Awia. Yea, see so bootifuw” (I really like Aria, yeah, she’s so beautiful). I just love your heart Juliet. It shines.

Maertz family memories: *One of my favorite days this month. After church, we headed to Phil’s BBQ for lunch, and after a quick run home, we were off to the zoo (our season passes were about to expire)— a spontaneous, beautiful, wonderful day!  *For the fifth time in six months, I killed our car battery. I just have a knack, what can I say. Unfortunately, the compromised battery left GrampBill and GG stuck in the Sprouts parking lot with you three girls. *GrampBill and GG came into town, loved on you guys while we enjoyed our quiet getaway! *We got reimbursed by the state for our water-saving yard efforts (!!!) — it worked! *Lunch with Leonie, Ama and Papa for a spontaneous President’s Day! *Girls night out at Brother’s Provisions to celebrate my and Krissa’s birthday! *Joey became a real man, he bought a lawn mower. *Week night painting with Leonie for our birthdays! *Hosted Denny, Lauren and Autumn for a weekend. Easy and real company, the best. *Uncle Jim and Auntie Melissa stayed a night with us while they searched for homes in San Diego! So fun to have them close by and enjoy spontaneous “sleep-overs”. *Celebrated Leonie’s and my birthday with a family Super Bowl dinner here! *Bit of a scare this month, a $6,000 scare  (thankfully completely covered by insurance). Woke up with a tingly left cheek, blurred vision in my left eye, and a numb left arm. A quick call to Kaiser got me almost immediately admitted into Palomar Hospital. After seven hours of monitoring and an MRI (which involved my and baby’s first trip in an ambulance), all looked fine except my glucose. I failed my glucose test. H o r r i b l e. This mommy is very dependent on her sugar to get through the day, and big changes have to happen to get my glucose under control. Horrible!