The moon dear, for you

Dear Mai,

It's been awhile! We are well into your kindergarten year of school and couldn't be happier. You love it. You love your teachers, your friends and the work. Its awesome. So last night, I met you and mama out for dinner at Endolyne Joe's here in West Seattle. You say, "Daddy, watch this." and proceed to head to the back of the restaurant. You come back with this book, "Papa, please get the moon for me."

Now, I have never seen this book. I don't think you have it in your school library. To the best of my knowledge, this is the first time you've seen this book. Well, you sit on my lap and you start reading. READING! Woo Hoo! Now, it did take the better part of 20 minutes for you to get through it and you needed a few hints here and there but by and large, you did it! I'm going to call it. At 5 years old, 2 weeks away from your 6th birthday, you're a reader. I couldn't be more proud and happy. 

Up until this point you kept saying you can't read. Saying "I didn't really 'read' it, I just memorized it." As mommy says, that's half the battle with reading in the first place. I can't wait to see where you are at by the end of the year and the pressure is on mommy and daddy now to make sure you continue to grow in the summer. Knowledge is power is such a true adage and reading is the vehicle. 

You keep reaching for that moon sweet pea. You can accomplish anything you want! Until then, use me as your ladder all you want. 



Rebel Rebel

Dear Mai,

The other day we were out shopping for a gift for one of your friend's sixth birthday. We went to a book store to see if we could find something she might like. It's kind of weird, we haven't been to a book store in a long time, since you were little. We go to the library and we have some electronic books but it's been awhile since we actually went to a book store to purchase a book. So it was awesome. We loved it. You are in Kindergarten now and starting to learn how to read. We've always thought you were smart but then again what parent doesn't right? So in Kindergarten, we've been 5-6 year old kids that could already read! Wow, were not expecting that! Turns out, you are doing a pretty good job yourself! You can't read yet but you have about 20 words or so that you know. I think you can spell every single kid's name in your class too! We were practicing a while back at nighttime and you said something to the affect of:

(working through some words)

Maya: "I feel like I'm just guessing at these words. That's not reading!"

Daddy: "Welcome to a lifelong feeling of learning. Life is nothing but educated guesses, guessing wrong and learning to guess right the next time around."

Maya: "Still doesn't feel like reading"

But I digress, we're at the book store and you are going crazy finding all kinds of stuff you want, nothing for your friend of course. You're a loud rambunctious 5-year old. You're hard not to notice in public. I see this book on the end of the aisle: "Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls"

Daddy: (reads the title) "Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls"

Maya: "What does Rebel Girls mean?"

Random Stranger: "I'm guessing it means a whole lot of you"

Daddy: "Yup"

So we buy it and you LOVE it! We read it almost every night since we got it. Each page is dedicated to a non-fiction woman who has been brave, bucked society's norms and made a mark on the world as human being, not to mention a strong, strong woman. It's awesome because it occupies your thoughts outside of the stories. I hear you playing your dolls and you refer to "Ada Lovelace" an inventor. You talk about "Maya Angelou" and brave "Maya Gabeira" the surfer. You are starting to create story books at school and now you want to create a story book for every single woman in this book. You want to do more research, see pictures and videos and learn about them more to create their books. I came home today to find out that you had been talking to Mommy about which ones in the book are alive and dead. You decided that you want to meet every single one of these women that area alive and get them to sign your book. Let's do it kiddo! Let's see if we can find them all. If nothing else, you will learn more about being a brave, independent powerful woman. Who knows, maybe you'll even meet a few of these role models along the way!

Love you my strong, independant little girl,


P.S. - If you are a woman and have a story in this book and are willing to sign a 5-year old's copy to make her day, hit us up!

Green Light

Dear Mai,

We had a fun Daddy and Maya day today. You had a 1/2 of school and you knew I was picking you up to hang the rest of the day. You insisted that we were going to have a dance party and we were going to stay up until midnight partying. In the car after I picked you up:

Maya: "All the kids at school are SO jealous that I'm staying up until midnight tonight partying!"

Daddy: "Um. Is that what you told them?"

Maya: "Yes. They said they wall wanted to stay up until midnight too! And have a dance party like us!"

Daddy: "Dude. Midnight is super late. Let's see if we can make it to 9:30"

Maya: "Nope. Midnight. We'll make it to midnight. I am going to play Green Light (by Lorde) the whole time too."

Daddy: "Let's just worry about lunch first. It's noon."

For the record, you made it until 10:00 PM but said it was midnight. We did listen to Green Light an unholy amount of times today. Here is a video I spent way too much time editing honoring the day. I played part of the videos I recorded on my phone back to you before you crashed out. 

Maya: "Wow. This is pretty cool. I look like a real rock star. That might be what I want to be now when I grow up. The next Lorde or something."

Follow those dreams my tiny dancer.




Dear Mai,

I can't believe it but you've already finished your first week of Kindergarten! I don't think it has really hit me yet or maybe I'm just used to you growing. You've been ready for Kindergarten for awhile, at least us proud, overprotective parents think so. 

I remember when you first starting going to the Y daycare / preschool. You were previously going to Miss "V's" and she ran a Montessori program like a boss. She had you kids on a schedule, cleaning up after yourselves and learning tons of stuff. After your first day at the "Y" you came home and said. "What is this place? We didn't even do any work!?!? All we did was play!!!" Of course we thought you were cute, funny and adorable. After the first week there you were all like "Seriously. They don't do any work here."

Well you had your preschool "Graduation" this past June and spent the summer in their summer pre-k "camp." It was pretty much just more play time. We were okay with that because we wanted you to get used to playing with kids your own age. At the Montessori place, you had mixed aged kids and always hung out with the older kids. Well you were getting to be the oldest kid there so we made the change. The Y was good for you. While I think you did play with others, you played on your own there a lot too. It was good all the way around. Some were along the way, you and your best friend Emma ended up in the same class. Take about trouble, you two... sheesh. :)

Over the last few weeks you discovered your new favorite game. Hangman! Whenever we're at restaurants or in the car for a road trip, 20 questions has been your favorite for awhile now. You're pretty good at it for your age. I've been impressed by your understanding and logic when we play. You know that if you ask and its not a place or a thing, its a person so you don't have to waste a guess on asking that. Then you narrow it down "Does this person live in Seattle? No? Ohio? No? Virginia? Yes? Is it Hannah?" We throw you a few curve balls every now and then but you're pretty good. But now it's hangman. You crack me up because you always ask for "L, Y, Q, Z and G" and half the time none of those letters are in the word. We start drawing out the hangman and you say "MAN! I'm terrible at this game!" But for not knowing how to spell or read, you're pretty good. I love that you want to take your own turn but you can only spell a few things. "Maya, Mama, Love, Emma and Art" I hate to break this to you but, we're going to guess the word every. single. time. :)

But now it's big kid Kindergarten time. You were a little nervous at first but that was probably just feeding off Mama and me. You came home your first day and said you LOVED IT! You already made some friends and on your second day you had science and said you LOVED science class; AND music class!

Who knows what the future holds Mai. During your preschool graduation you had to pick what you wanted to be when you grow up. Here is what you picked and what you have been saying now for probably about a year. You want to be a chef.

You like experimenting with stuff and you like food. Sounds perfect! Whatever it is, all we want is for you to discover a love for learning. Keep being curious, experiment, have confidence to ask questions, ask for help and make mistakes over and over again trying to do stuff on your own. That kind of confidence is key, no matter if you continue your chef ambitions or if you go on to ivy league school and become President, or anything in-between. Confidence and continual learning. A recipe for success, if you will. 

Sleep well my sweet little girl. On to week two here starting tomorrow. This week is your first Math class! Exciting!

Love you sweet pea,


The Goose

Dear Mai,

I'm sitting here taking care of the Shrader animals and I'm putting a cut-up pill in American cheese balls. I realize I can probably, easily just give Gretal her pill with a bit of cheese but doing it this way reminds me of Goose.

It makes me sad you won't remember goose. She was the best dog in the world. That's a fact. If you here otherwise, that's just fake news. Anywho, she was a real jerk sometimes. She and I would fight and fight if she ever needed a pill. It got to the point where she was suspicious anytime she heard the cheese wrapper. She didn't trust me at all. Sometimes I would just give her cheese and no pill just to try to throw her off. She would take the cheese, fight with it so enough was permanently smeared into the carpet just to make sure there was no pill hiding. If there was a pill, she wouldn't eat cheese for a month. She was awful. When that happened it was fight time. I had to force it down her throat. It was like wrestling a wet fish.

But. She had personality. Sure we love Tito and we'll love the dog (s) after tito. But Stella man, she was something else. I miss that stupid dog.

Don't worry, we'll share lots of Goose stories so you can remember her almost like your own.

Love you kiddo,


She's blinding me with science!

Dear Mai,

You are starting to LOVE your "science" experiments. These concoctions are a mixture of glue, paint, baking soda, water, sand, glitter and ribbon. You'll learn real quick that if you mix too many colors it all ends up black. At one point the one was bubbling and you said "This is the coolest thing in the world! I have to show Mommy!"

You ran upstairs to fetch mama.

Maya: "Mommy look what I made!" Mama: "What beautiful thing did you make?" 
Maya: "It's not beautiful! It's science!"

Keep up the experimenting my awesome, curious little girl!



The search for Ellie

Dear Mai,

It has been a busy week for our little family. We're full on in missing stuffie mode. By the time you read this you will realize how absolutely ridiculous we all are but hopefully realize that we love you very much.

The day was Monday, March 27, 2017. The time was 7:25 AM (ish). We had just had a fantastic but jam packed week with our friends the week before and we had your 5th Birthday party the day before. (Which by the way was a smashing success, 19 kids at the Jungle Gym in Burien. Madness) We were (not surprisingly) running late. I had barely slept the night before because I was working on a tight deadline. You grabbed your two most prized possessions, Ellie and pink blanket, I grab Tito and we head out the door to drop you off at your friend's (Emma) house so they can take you to school. Somewhere on that short, short walk... we lost Ellie.

I get a text in the early evening as I'm heading home from work.

Mama: "Do you have Ellie with you?"

Me: "Nope."

Mama: "She's missing"

Me: (heart sinks)

When I get home we retrace all all steps and try to think about where she could be. We decide she must be at school so you and Mommy decide to check the next day.

Tuesday comes. No Ellie. 

Mama calls Grandma to tell her the news.

Grandma hits the Columbus Airport to check to see if they happened to have it still because that is where Ellie originally came from 5 YEARS AGO! No Ellie.

Grandma proceeds to every single store within a 50 mile radius of Columbus that sells stuffed animals in search of a new Ellie. No new Ellie.

I post a lost and found ad on to see if anyone has seen her. No Ellie. 

We've checked with our neighbors, our home owners association and everywhere else we can think of. No Ellie. 

We spent 2 hours online looking for a replacement Ellie. Nothing. We found some that were close but no cigar. Besides. You don't want a new Ellie, you want YOUR Ellie. 

At the end of the day, Mama and I are freaking out way more than you are. You're not crying, throwing fits or anything. It's just sometimes at night when you are in your bed.

Maya: "Mama?"

Mama: "Yes Maya, what's up? It's bedtime."

Maya: "I can't sleep."

Mama: "Why can't you sleep Maya?"

Maya: "I'm just so worried about Ellie."

Daddy: (Heart breaks and heads out to take Tito for an Ellie searching walk)

Mama was trying to ease everything last night.

Mama: "Well, maybe some little kid found Ellie who is less fortunate than us Maya. Maybe she didn't have an Ellie but now she does!"

Maya: "But she can't have MY Ellie! I'm going to ask for her back."

Mama: "But there within lies the problem. We don't know where she is."

Maya: "Let's go knock on everyone's door to ask if they have them. If they do, I'll ask for Ellie back and give them one of my other stuffies."

Again. We're crazy. I suppose this is a good lesson to not get attached to "things." Things aren't what is important in life. What is important is that there are a slew of good people that we don't even know out there looking for Ellie for you right now. People are important. Family is important. Love is important. And that is what this is. We love you and one of the ways we express that is we're bending over backwards looking for this silly, small, stuffed Elephant you named Ellie. 

In all fairness you've slept with her every single night since you've been 2 years old and she is the only other "thing" besides pink blanket that has gone on every trip with us. She's been to Ohio, California, Florida, Arizona, Montana, Las Vegas, Canada and all over the Pacific Northwest. 

Here's to Ellie Mai, whether she turns up or not, she has enriched our lives. :-)



And now for my next trick...

Dear Mai,

Today was a good day. You and I had a Maya / Daddy day, mainly to get out of Mama's hair so she could clean. We have friends from out of town coming! As we were eating breakfast you decided you wanted to go to a children's musuem, the new one in Bellevue you say. Why not I figure, who else would go to this thing on a rainy Saturday afternoon in Seattle? Everyone. Every single person with a child 0 - 15, that's who. What a mess.

But that's not it! Today you also received this month's Little Passports package. AND, it was about FOOD! You were very excited. It had sushi and soup dumplings!

And there's more!

We got home and mommy wasn't quite ready for us to be home.

Mommy: "You guys need to go away for like 1 more hour. That will give me time to finish sweeping and finish watching 'Disappeared." (Mama is kind of addicted to the "ID" or Investigative Discovery channel. Don't judge her.)

Maya: "Probably watching WINE disappear!"

Daddy: (destroyed by laughter)

Mommy: "It kind of sucks having an obnoxious little mirror in front of you 24/7"

But still... that's not even the BEST part of today! It was close through. You're pretty damn funny sometimes.

Today, you're little cousin was born! Welcome to this crazy little thing we call life Madelyn McCabe! (Congrats Adam and Ashley)

Yup. Today was a good day. Love you sweet pea and can't wait until you meet our new littlest member of our family!




Well Mai, it's here.

You'll be FIVE years old in a few hours. Mommy said before you went to bed: "You're going to bed a 4 year old and waking up a 5 year old. This is your last night of being 4 years old!"

It kind of blew your mind. It blew my mind too. 5. years. old. my little girl.

So what are you like at this age? Well let me think.

You're kind.

We're going out to dinner for your birthday tomorrow night and we were asking were you want to go. 

Maya: "Let's go to Talerico's"

Mommy: "Are you sure? We can do wherever you want. Elliot Bay, Endolyne Joe's, um..."

Daddy: (Interrupts mommy to show her on his phone that the new Din Tai Fung opened downtown, your favorite restaurant that we've been waiting for ever to open downtown because it's so much closer to us)

Mommy: "Oh Maya, the new Din Tai Fung is open! Do you want to go there instead!"

Maya: "No. Let's go to Talerico's"

Mommy: "Are you sure? Din Tai Fung is your favorite!"

Maya: "That's okay. You might not like it and I want everyone to be happy. We ALL like Talerico's!"

You're happy.

We were on vacation last week in Arizona and during a car ride:

Maya: "Teacher Justin was on vacation too. He said that he can't wait for me to come back because I always do a good job."

Daddy: "Oh yeah? That's cool. Doing a good job at what?"

Maya: "Filling people's cup."

Daddy: "Filling people's cup with what?"

Maya: "Happiness of course!"

You're inquisitive.

Questions you have asked me over the past few weeks

Maya: "Daddy, how did life start? Like the actual, real life, life. for humans."

Maya: "Why is infinity the largest number?"

You're an unstable, crazy 4 year old

The other night I got home around 7:00 pm. We're trying to head up to bed around 7:30.

Mommy: (at 7:16) "Alright Maya, you only have about 14 minutes left to play before heading up."

Maya: (busts down in a complete meltdown and runs away screaming) "NOOO!!!! I WANT 16 MINUTES TO PLAY!!!"

Mommy: "15 and let's call it a deal"


Mommy: "Maya, with that attitude you'll get NO minutes!"

Maya: (humanity is lost. there is no reason to live. flee to the bedroom and cry it out)

Mommy: (follows cray cray upstairs)

Daddy: (sits on couch wondering how to navigate these turbulent waters. does nothing)

Daddy: (hears calm talking, minute negotiations, breakdowns, make-ups, calm. negotiations. meltdowns. for 20 minutes or so)

Daddy: (finally heads up because it is way paste bedtime now)

Maya: (acts mad at Daddy the rest of the night, through story time and tuck time but cuddles mommy)

Daddy: (gives up trying to understand things. all the things)

You're ambitious.

You are 900% into crafting. You have part Grandma D's gene in you. You can spend a quick $30 bucks at the Dollar Tree in no time! A few weeks back you told me about a new project you want to do:

Maya: "Daddy. I want to build a robot. Like an actual, real life robot."

Daddy: "Wow. That sounds ambitious. How are we going to make it?"

Maya: "Well, we need wood, wires, buttons, paper..." (It was quite the extensive list)

Daddy: "Well, we'll have to plan for all that." (wonders, how do I pull this off)

Maya: "Do you know what my robot is going to be made out of?"

Daddy: "Umm... wood, wires and all those other things you mentioned?"

Maya: "Nope. Meat. Because I'm going to be inside it so I can control it."

Daddy: (contemplates a robot made of meat and how you came to that conclusion) "So you basically want a humanoid. Part robot, part human. Kinda like robocop."

Maya: (looks at me like I'm a loon) "I suppose so."

You're stylish.

I think I've documented a few stories about your fashion sense already. We've added make-up to the mix already. Yay?

You're ours.

You are a beautiful, vibrate young little girl who we love to the moon and back. You've brought so much joy and happiness to our lives. I love sharing my life with you and watching you grow. I can't believe you're 5. Next is kindergarten and it's all down hill from there. I kid, I kid. You're the best Mai. 

Happy birthday my sweet pea. I can't wait to celebrate turning 5 with you tomorrow!

With all my love,


Nonsense and sense of style-y

Dear Mai,

Most mornings our routine goes like this:

Daddy: (Walks into your room) "Rise and shine sweet pea! Time to get uppie!" (Opens window shade, turns on light)

Maya: (grumble, grumble grumble... rolls over, pulls cover over head... grumble, grumble)

I usually leave your room and start to get ready myself. USUALLY you get up, pick out your outfit because I'm always wrong when I do, get dressed and climb into our bed while I finish getting ready. Mostly. 

Today was not like this. You just refused to get up. Now I know I should know better but I figured since I was already ready, you were still in bed, I better pick out your outfit today. WRONG!

I thought I did alright. I had this cute little skirt, some black tights, black socks and this fancy, pretty off-white sweater. WRONG!

Maya: "Um. Those are black tights. Black tights do not go with this skirt."

Daddy: "Sure they do! Black goes with everything!"

Maya: "Nope. I want white tights. With feet."

Daddy: "Fine." (Looks for said white tights with feet.) "I can't find them. How about just these white tights with white socks?"

Maya: "Nope. Well fine. Those tights are okay but I want pink socks. All pink"

Daddy: "Fine. Here are some pink socks."

Maya: "Those aren't ALL pink. I see some white in them."

Daddy: "Deal with it"

Maya: "Fine" (puts on white tights, almost all pink socks and skirt) "I like the belt on this skirt!" (puts on pretty sweater)

Maya: "This sweater is a no. It's too long. It covers my cute belt"

Daddy: (thinking about whisky) "WHAT! It's a beaut... oh whatever. Fine. Try this shirt."

Maya: "I want a white shirt with a pretty bow like the sweater but not too long so I can show my belt."


Maya: "Fine. Just give me that heart shirt and I'll tuck it in. To show my cute belt."

Surprisingly we actually made it to school on time. And you, well you do you baby.