An April Fools indeed.

I should have seen it coming. When the doctor gave me an option to pick your birthdate, I jumped all over it. 4/8/16 at 8pm, perfection. I’m smiling now, just thinking about your perfectly picked birth date.

April 1st, my sisters and I started the day in typical April Fools tradition, a good joke on my mom. Everyone was in on it, including Leonie, who was traveling in Germany. Oh how the joke backfired on me. It was Friday afternoon. I only had a few hours until Daddy would be home from work, and Mrs. Menconi was all set to watch you girls that night. Daddy and I were headed to an “escape room” and dinner out to celebrate Uncle Sam’s birthday. But by 3pm, I was seriously second guessing participating in a locked-in-a-room event. I remember calling Kaiser and telling the nurse about my 5-8 minutes apart contractions. She said, “I certainly don’t think it’s a good idea to be locked in a room. I can hear it in your voice, it sounds like you’re scared. That’s usually a good indicator you should go to the hospital.” I was scared. Scared that this baby was coming on April Fools!

It didn’t take long. Daddy came home to me breathing through contractions on the couch, and mom running around our home packing up a hospital bag. He was just as shocked as I was. And just like that, Joe and I were watching the sunset from the hospital room. The doctor announced I was 4cm along, and in the next breath she said “You’re having the baby tonight.” That’s when I laughed out loud. Joke’s on me!

Eleanor Josephine: April 1, 2016. 9:44pm, 20 1/4 inches, 7lbs.

From day one, you brought a whole lot of laughter… may it always be.

Juliet Mae (2 years old): Welcome to the big sister club Juliet. You’ve jumped into this new role pretty well. That top left describes your initial feelings, but ever since, you have loved her so sweetly. You’ve regressed into taking naps again. But that’s not going to get any complaints from your sleep deprived parents. *While on our hike at Daley Ranch, you fell down. And once you’re down, sweet girl, you’re down. There is no recovery with you. Once in a bad mood, almost always in a bad mood. For the rest of the hike, we called you “Big Yeti.” You didn’t mind it. But your preference is “Big girl.” You will often correct Mommy, “No, I’m Big girl.” *At Easter service, you and your sisters sang “Hosanna” on stage. Afterwards you said, “The stage makes me happy.” It really did. No shy bones on stage for you. *Naomi said, “When I grow up I want to be a Queen.” Aria said, “I want to be a Princess.” You said, “When I grow up I want to be a fish.”

Aria Ellen (just shy of 5 years): Oh Aria, you love your new little sister. I mean , REALLY love your little sister. You cannot get enough of her. One morning, after Eleanor “decorated” our sheets, I stripped the bed and started some laundry. When I came back, I found you holding her. You are darling Aria! And a real helper to Mommy. Even at 4 years old, I can trust you to hold your baby sister for long periods of time. You are a natural with babies. *You are so coordinated Aria. So coordinated and so strong. This month you started climbing the door casings all the way up to the ceilings and doing pull ups on our fireplace mantle. Pull ups. Your physical achievements never cease to amaze me.

Naomi Mariam (6.5 years): You’ve got to be the world’s friendliest 6 year old. While at Daley Ranch you shouted to some hikers “Come join us (at our picnic) if you want to!” And while mommy was struggling to walk, I told you that you could go ahead with Daddy and your sisters. You said “I don’t want you to be alone. I’ll walk with you. I want to keep you company mom.” While we walked together on the hike, you started singing worship songs at the top of your lungs. Made up songs, from your heart to God. “This world is so beautiful! Thank you God for the mountains! We praise you!” It was so darling. *Juliet was crying because she couldn’t get out of her carseat. You climbed up to her and reassured her: “You’re not left out sweetie, you’re a part of the party.” *You’re very empathetic. To Daddy, “I’m really sorry for how hard you have to work. I know how you feel.” *You told Mommy, “I love you more than anything, even more than an iPad.”

Maertz Family Memories: *Doctors released Eleanor and I to go home on Sunday, April 3rd. Ele had a blow out in our “take home” outfit, so she went home in a diaper and bow, that’s it. Once we got home, the girls had chalked welcome home notes all over our sidewalks and welcome home pictures were all over the walls. Once we were all inside, they gave baby sister a tour of our home. It was so darling and so surreal. *When GrampBill and GG arrived into town, we all enjoyed breakfast brunch at Copa Vida. And while the girls explored the San Diego Children’s museum, Mommy got a haircut/pedicure on what was supposed to be your birthday: 4/8/16. *Daddy, GrampBill and Paschalls headed to Dixon Lake to feed ducks and have a hike. *First family outing to Snooze for breakfast and the playground at Del Mar Beach, then a quick stop at 7/11 for slurpees ended with a woman tripping over Juliet, hitting her head, and an ambulance rushing her off to the hospital. Scary. *Ava’s 5th birthday party. *Janneke Baby Shower. *Growth Group here. *Joe enjoys a Padres Game celebrating Andrew and Sam. *Family Brunch at 1204 Birch Way. *Chick Fil A and Kid Ventures with all four girls. *Sleepover with the Heinrichs! *Amie/Tins come and join us. (Sweet Amie came to meet Ele at the hospital.) *We hit Costco as a family of six. *Thankful for the many kind friends who brought dinners: Keri, Elisa, Paschalls, Erin B, Kate J, Brooke, Boticas, Davids, Jamie S, Bucks, Hefners and Ama many times.