Where it all began…

The San Diego County Fair is a special place in our story. Daddy and I met here. He had on a backwards blue ball cap and the afternoon sun lit up his hazel eyes. He had my attention. In a strange string of events, Daddy and I wandered the fair, just the two of us. I ran into a friend and decided to have a little fun… I introduced Daddy as my fiancé. This friend was so excited for us, she pushed us onto an empty dance floor with live music playing. 15 years ago, on the night we met, we danced our first dance as an “engaged” couple. It was magical. Now we roam the fair with our four daughters and it still holds so much magic.

Naomi Mariam (6.5 years): *You graduated from Kindergarten! They announced your name and our section went into a cheering frenzy. I watched you soak up the love, savor the celebration. I savored it too. *Your teeth! All I want to do is knock out your teeth. You won’t let us touch them, you won’t let us talk about them. We’ve bribed, we’ve begged, we’ve unsuccessfully tried to tie your tooth to a drone (oops). I am documenting this so one day you can see what we’ve had to look at for weeks! *You’ve been asking to be in ice skating or hockey. Bundling up four kids through summer heat to an ice rink… I’m sick thinking about it. Last week, as we were taking Aria to her gymnastics class, I suggested you try gymnastics for the summer. “Like now?” Your eyes lit up. “Yea sure!” Inside, I bought you a sparkly purple leotard and a spot in “Cartwheels”… and you bought me one trip to one activity for two girls. I’d call that a win.

Aria Ellen (5 years): *You adore Eleanor! You have a natural draw towards baby Ele. You love holding her, sitting with her, cuddling her. Mommy is so thankful for your helpful hands with baby Ele! *While you were at “camp” in Fairfield, you sat on the steps of the community pool and watched a swim teacher give a lesson to a young girl. You watched and watched and watched. When they were done with their lesson, you went directly to GrampBill, “I want her to teach me.” Just like that, she gave you quick instruction, and you’ve been swimming ever since! *You asked for help with some tricky origami. I was trying to explain “Even when we try our best… ” You looked right at me, smiled, and finished it yourself “… sometimes it doesn’t work out the way we want. And that’s okay Mommy.” From day one, you have always stunned me with mystery and wonder.

Juliet Mae (2.75 years): My big girl. You love being called Big Girl. But lately, you’ve denied us the name Big Girl, and delightfully corrected us, “No, I’m Princess Sparkly Mean Girl.” And so, your personality soars. You are so much fun. You’re confident, cuddly, if there’s a way to do something with a pinch of sassy sweet— you’ll find it. You’re independent, yet always inviting others to join you. Laughter and life, you’re full of both. *During some very unpleasant squabbling between your older sisters, you threw your fists down to your sides, leaned your little body forward and shouted “We haff to wuvvvv eachadah!” Drop the mic. My job is done.

Eleanor Jo (2 months): *I {heart} AD: Abu Dhabi. Our Middle East souvenir in her Middle East Souvenir. *You started smiling! The joy to see your joy erupt! *You are a dreamy baby. I can leave you in the arms of your 5 year old sister for a good while and you are content. Over and over I feel myself bracing for a turn towards tricky… and yet you remain so easy and effortless (minus the loss of sleep— but even that hasn’t been terrible). At six weeks I started putting you down for more regular sleeping intervals, and you did great. After 45 mins up, you were ready to go down again. And at 8 weeks you even slept “through the night!” (6 hours straight!) *Do you see that passport picture? Half the passport office watched. Me, Daddy and three darling sisters hovered over you, making an absolute spectacle. And just as the agent was about to give up, you looked!

Maertz Family Memories: *Daddy loaded up all three girls on the plane, and took them up to GrampBill and Gigi’s camp! For five days and four nights you girls got spoiled! A Jelly Belly factory tour, a boat ride to Angel Island, swimming, ice cream, kite flying, and tons of summer play— you guys had the best time! And Mommy enjoyed her own vacation with baby Eleanor! *Ballet recital for Naomi and Aria— another darling Friday night where my heart soared to see you shine. *Trip out to San Elijo with the Woodalls. *Kristin Rinehart and her crew. *Baby sprinkle tea for Jamie and her fourth baby boy. *A morning with Brenda. *A quick playdate with Natalja and her three darlings. *Irene was a nice familiar face for a few mornings. *Swimming, dinner, and s’mores at the Paschalls. *Keri and her crew joined us for lunch and gelato. *Swim at Hillary’s with her crew. An afternoon with them here for play (she cooked me dinner!), In-N-Out picnic at Double Peak Park. *Mommy’s first trip to Trader Joe’s with four daughters. *Katie and Matt spent their five year anniversary with us! *We held our breaths for another chance to get our family overseas— and another oh-so-close attempt. But when you consider insider politics, 3/11 actually isn’t that much of a chance. *At Northrop Grumman, Daddy’s manager was trying to help another manager find more quality people for his team… she gave a ton of names, and ended with “You can’t have Joe.” Your daddy is so good, people are fighting over him at work. 🙂 *Ama made you custom mermaid blankets!