I L-O-V-E love you!

Dear Mai,

Grandma came out for a visit again recently and we had a ball. Of course you were spoiled with candy and all kinds of other awesome things but I think the thing you liked most was spending time with Grandma.

Mommy and I often talk about what's next for us. Is Seattle our future or is something else. You seem to be a strong Seattle proponent and keep saying you want to live in Seattle. Pronounced "Sat-ee-iel" or something like that. You speak very well but Seattle is just one of those words that hasn't made the cut yet. It's okay, the way you say it is pretty darn cute. Anyhow, when we talk about it, it usually goes something like this:

Daddy: "Do you think we should move somewhere babycakes? New York? Australia? North Carolina? Spain?"

Maya: "No! I want to stay in SATEEIELE!"

Mommy: "But what about Grandma? Don't you want to live closer to Grandma so she can visit more?"

Maya: "I want Grandma to move to SATEEIELE too!"

The other day we heard the ice cream truck in our neighborhood. You about lost your shiznit. 


Daddy: "I don't have any dollars on me!" (Will paper money still be a thing by the time you read this?)

Maya: "Oh... Grandma always had dollars for the ice cream truck."

Yup. I wouldn't doubt that every day Grandma stayed home with you and you heard the ice cream truck, you both sprinted to get you some ice cream.

So I was prepared the next time. We heard the ice cream truck again a few days later and just like Eddie Murphy describes in Delirious... "ICE CREAM!!!" This time I had dollars. We sprinted to the truck and got our ice cream.

While we wear eating our ice cream you said

Maya: "Daddy? Do you remember that song Grandma always sang to me?"

Daddy: "No sweetie pie, I don't."


That was the best version I could get you doing on camera. Of course the first one was the best but we don't have cameras wired up to our eyeballs (yet... not just yet) so I missed that version. 

I love you sweet pea and this post is for Grandma because I promised you that I would share it with her today.



Happy Birthday Grandma!

Dear Mai,

Today is Grandma Castañeda's birthday. I'm not sure if Facebook will be still around by the time you are old enough to read this but Grandma isn't connected to the whole Facebook thang so we're left to blog posts to share with here... you know, other than the whole calling / face-to-face type connecting but whatevs.

Hi Grandma!

Maya was a little bit of a goof pants when we went to record your birthday video last night. She kept insisting that she tells you "comb blah blah." I don't really know what that means but my guess it had something to do with being overtired. 

Yesterday we played around in the tide pools at the rock beach close to our house. It was low tide so we got lots of good exploring in!

This past weekend was also our Seafair weekend which means the Blue Angels we're in town. We took in a Mariners game and got to see them fly over the stadium! It was pretty cool. I told Maya that I took you to a Mariners game when you came to visit last. She said she wants you to visit us again soon so we can go to another baseball game.

Amy also passed her PHR certification exam on Friday! We're very proud of her!

It was a long but tiring weekend so hence Ms. crazypants on the video.

Happy Birthday Grandma! We love you and come visit us!

She's a maniac, Maniac!!!

Dear Mai,

I had to capture this moment today as i was walking by the bathroom. Grandma and monmy were cleaning out old stuff earlier today and mama found your old baby leg warmers. Of course you had to try them on... er have them on all day.

So I walk by the bathroom later in the afternoon and I see this; our little threenager in sweat shorts, baby leg warmers, on a stool drinking water from a toy cup. In a purple shirt even though green is apparently your favorite color now.

And my heart melts cause you're the cutest frickin thing ever.

No wonder you're a spoiled brat. ;-)



Enjoying an early summer

Dear Mai,

It is almost 1 AM and I'm up working. Well, I'm trying to work but I keep getting distracted. In my distractions I realized that is has been nearly 3 months since I've posted anything!!! 3 MONTHS!!! That is way too long. 

It's late. I'm tired so I'll keep it short. Let's just say that Seattle has been having an unseasonably early, hot and sunny summer so far... and we've been enjoying the heck out of it. Let's see, what are the highlights for the past 3 months...

We took Tito on his first road trip back in April. Whidbey Island is one of our favorite places to go. It has this awesome off leash dog park. Stella and Foz used to love to run around like idiots on that beach. This was Tito's first test on the road and I'm happy to report he did outstanding. He's a good car rider just like Foz and Goose and was very good off leash. He pretty much wanted to stay around us the entire time but whatever; that was only his first month with us. You got your first taste as a Washington State drift wood artist too. I like to call your first piece "wood. in sand."

And hey, guess what? You're getting more and more opinionated each day! Who would have imagined! It has gotten nearly impossible to dress you because you have your opinions on what you want to wear. It is ridiculous that you have this many pairs of sunglasses. It takes nearly 10 damn minutes every day for you to just pick a pair. In your words "I want them to match." Sheesh. We're in for it as you grow up. Mommy refers to you as our threenager. Maybe that means you'll get it out of your system before you hit 12. A daddy can dream right?

You're still our good little eater too! I love the fact that you'll try anything once.. for the most part... if you feel like it. Forget the fact that you're on a hotdog kick right now. (You had your first hotdog when we went back to Ohio in May) When we play though you like to eat sushi, dim sum (Dim Sum Party!) I work in the International District now and we've been trying out new restaurants! Japanese noodle soup! Dim sum! Sushi and Chinese! It's all very yummy. We also went to a taco truck show down in the International District which you loved. Of course you were excited to eat tacos but when we got there the lines were crazy. We had to settle for chicken and fries at Ezell's. (Not a bad thing) You also got to see your first luchalibre big time wrestling! You liked it at first but then got a little concerned for their safety. We often refer to you as our safety first girl. You're buddy Genevieve loved it though. In one of the pics you can see her on the fence in the front row! 

We had a blast at that little festival and topped it off with a little Mariachi band and some dancing and falling down. You and I love the ID.

Okay, I'm wrapping it up for tonight. You just woke up and had to potty. I'm very proud of you for doing that but... you also threw a fit when I told you it was still nighttime and you had to go to bed. It's definitely not all sunshine and roses over here. The fits you have these days are epic. I think they are starting to wind down in terms of numbers. You are understanding more and I think dealing with life in general better. But man, catch you in a tired or hungry mood? Hangry isn't the half of it. Epic fits I tell you. Epic. 

Anywho, I intended this update to be a summary of the last three months. We pretty much hit some key points in April and that's it. I'll continue more later. Until then, sleep tight my complex little threenager.



Kicking it old school in our Lellow Submarine

Dear Mai,

It was recently my birthday and you told Mommy what to get for my birthday.

Mommy: "It's almost Daddy's birthday! What should we get him?"


I swear I didn't even bribe you to say that. (much)

And you gals did it! This is the first record player I've owned in over 20 years probably... and it's awesome. I've been carting around this old charcoal grill box filled with records since I left my home nest in Toledo. Some of the records used to belong to your Uncle Chuck, Aunt Rosie and Aunt Linda. I think I just snagged what I could in hopes of some day being able to play them again. Luckily for me that time has come. I found a couple of real treasures in there. My very first album I paid for with my own cash was The Who's "Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy." I remember listening to that album over and over just holding the cover and looking at it. If I recall correctly my favorites were "Happy Jack" and "I can see for miles." The second treasure was one of Grandpa's albums. It was this yellow Mexican Polkas album. I don't know how young I was but I remember when we would play it I was just happy and dancing. We listened to both of those albums on my birthday. It was quite the treat for me to be able to do that with you.I was disappointed we didn't find Linda Ronstadt's "Canciones de mi Padre" or Cheap Trick's "Dream Police." I remember listening to those a lot when I was little too. We might have to seek those out on our own. 

Here is our collection that we've bought so far:

  • Frozen soundtrack
  • Red Fang (self titled)
  • Iron Maiden (Flight 666) (you like Eddie the monster)
  • Beatles (Yellow submarine)
  • Hair (Original broadway cast soundtrack)

I think maybe a Sigur Ros and a Floyd record for Mommy is up next. 

I love the interactive-ness of using a record player and you are getting pretty good at putting on or flipping sides yourself! All good stuff Mais.

Here you are in a random picture with some Frozen pants Grandma bought for you, followed up by a video of you singing "The Lellow Submarine" and giving an off key rendition of a Frozen song.

We're bringing music back Maisy, one album at a time! 

Love you sweetheart,


Tito - A new furry brother

Well Mai,

It finally happened. We are a dog family once again. Ever since we lost Foz and then The Goose, we've been wondering if we were ever going to be a dog family again and if we were, what type of dog would we have? Mama works and has been working at the Humane Society for years and we've had more than our share of shelter dogs to foster. While most of them were great, we never felt that "connection" that we had with Foz and Goose. Its so hard to tell within a weeks let alone days but Mommy always asked you:

Mommy: "Maya, should we keep [insert name of shelter dog here] or take him back to Mommy's work to get adopted?"

Maya: "Take [said dog's name] to get adopted."

This was not the same conversation when Tito entered our lives on Friday, April 10, 2015.

You're first words to us that Friday: "Tito is my doggie. He's going to stay in our home forever and ever."

So here's a brief story on Tito and his previous family. Tito has been a much loved doggie since he was a puppy. His family brought him over to meet us on Friday because their little girl is severely allergic to poor Tito. As much as they loved and wanted to keep their beloved dog, it was just an impossible situation. Poor Tito spent the majority of Friday looking out the window for his people. He loves them too.

By Friday night, Tito and Daddy bonded a little bit.

You tried to talk to him and play with him but he had a long day and just wanted to rest. Sometimes its hard for a 3-year-old to comprehend such things.

Eventually Tito was able to drift off to sleep. Poor guy is using Stella's old bed. It's small but he seems to like it.

On day two, Tito seemed to transition well. He's still missing his old peeps you can tell but I think he likes us okay. He's pretty much my shadow and follows me wherever I go. You'r a close second Mai. He's working on Mommy but she's a tougher sell. :)

He's proven to be a pretty smart boy too. We decided to grab some breakfast on Saturday morning / afternoon. We didn't know if we could trust him in our house alone yet so we decided it was nice outside so let's just leave him in our backyard. When we get home from breakfast there is a note on the door from one of our neighbor friends: 

Note: "Um. Your dog was out running loose in the neighborhood earlier today. By the time I was able to get out and check on him he was back in your yard and the gates were shut."

Mommy & Daddy: "Oh shitake mushrooms."

We rush inside and he's just on the back deck like "Hey guys, what's up!?!?  Good to see you!!!"

We suspect we found his escape root he made for himself.

Later on that day, you and I were running in the store and Mommy let him out back for a quick potty break. Sure enough, he was out front to greet us in a matter of seconds. 

So not only did he dig his way to freedom, he obviously trolled the neighborhood and was smart enough to know where his new house was and let himself back in all Ferris Bueller like. 

You and him are pretty good buddies so far and It's probably only going to get better soon. Poor guy is going to have to accept his fate as a prop for a 3 y/o girl's dress-up time. And you're quite the fashionista these days.

So far, so good with Mr. Tito Jermaine Randy Jackson Castañeda. (Or Tito McBrain. I'm sure he'll have tons of nicknames before too long) He's a good boy that listens well. He knows he's not allowed in your room but he wants to be close to us when it comes to tuck Maya in time.

Here is a quick glimpse of what Tito's first day was like in our house and then his second and what he'll have to put up with for a long time now.

Welcome to the family Tito McBrain!

I'm excited you get to grow up with a furry brother Mai. Who knows what kind of trouble we'll all get into this summer!



Family dinner conversations with our 3 y/o

Maya: (referencing the combination of corn and egg in her fried rice.) "Corn and egg? What's that?"

Mommy: "it's corn. And egg. I'm not sure it gets more simple than that."

Maya: "I don't want that. Forever and ever and ever."

Daddy: "Have you been watching the Shining?"

Maya: (with a dismissive look) "I don't even know what that means."

Maya: (continues to shovel fried rice with corn and egg down her gullet.)

I can't make this stuff up people.

Checking out daddy's new digs

Dear Mai,

I've been working like mad lately since I've been transitioning to a new job. I thought I'd  be a cool Dad and take you to my new office digs and bum around the international district.

I'm sitting here in (of course, your favorite ) a Chinese restaurant and there is literally 5 other tables with Dad +kid only. I sense a trend.

Also you talked me into taking the bus/train down here. Now I'm full and just wish we had the car. Little stinkbutt.



A karaoke star (or two) is born

Dear Mai,

The date was Friday, March 6, 2015. It was a warm (by Seattle's standards) spring night in our West Seattle neighborhood. The venue was "The Corner Bar." Which is a make shift neighborhood hangout for families the first Friday of every month. This is the night that you made your first stage appearance. 

You and your friend Genevieve got on stage to belt your little hearts out to some kiddie karaoke. What song did you choose? Frozen of course. Your first choice was that stinkin "Let it go" song but to be kind to the patrons, the karaoke police only allowed one person to sing that song for the night and we didn't get your entry in soon enough. "Lucky" for us, he was able to accommodate ANY song on the frozen soundtrack. I tried to get you to sing a more upbeat one but nope. You insisted on singing "Do you want to build a snowman?"

So without further ado, here is the video. Please excuse the poor videography. I don't think Mommy was prepared. Also notice how you didn't just want to sing. You wanted to dance like a ballerina too. Luckily Genevieve carried you. At one point in the song you insisted on going to the dance floor to cut a rug. That was during the instrumental break. You made it back on stage right before the vocals kicked back in. Just like my little. rocking. girl. BOOM!

Also dear reader. I was going to edit this video. Its kind of long and bad footage, but for documentation purposes I decided to post it unedited. Sue me. 

Love you sweat pea,