The day the good food died

It was a sad day today Mai. Today I think we witnessed the final broken straw on your good eating days. Today, your favorite meal was mac-n-cheese and jello.

You used to eat all kinds of veggies and good food. Today. Bread and cheese are your favorites. In fact you wake up in the morning asking for cheese. People say you look like a mini Daddy. Well, we now know what you got from you mommy. Cheese love. The love of all cheeses. Well most cheeses.

Mac-n-cheese and jello. That was your beloved lunch today at the Ikea cafeteria. Meatballs? nope. Mashed Potatoes? Nope. Chicken? Nope. Cheese please. I guess it was ok though. We spent like 3 crazy hours in Ikea. You were a pretty good sport for most of it too.

Highlight of the day though? "Uncle" Shawn. You were asking for Becky all day long and as soon as we said Becky was coming over for a visit, what did you ask? Schaun? You loved hanging with him.

But back to the matter of hand. Tomorrow is a new day. We'll see if Mommy and Daddy can turn the tides back to good food. I guess it's not all bad though. You pretty much ate your weight in grapes tonight too. In fact there isn't a fruit you don't like. Except on certain days you decide strawberries are the devil. Most days strawberries are kool and the gang though.

I love the snot out of you kid.


Coastal Visiting

Dear Mai,

Among all the moving shenanigans as of late, we managed to sneak away for a quick day trip to the coast. Grandma saw this segment on Seabrook, Washington in Coastal Living Magazine so we thought, why not check it out? It's a quaint little town that has recently just been built. It turned into a great little family day trip.

We got to pose as Sasquatch (Sasquatches?)

They have this little local street market and you found this perfect little chair that you loved. I'm regretting every day not buying that for you. It was pretty darn cute.

Then it was off to the beach! It was mid-day and the sun still hadn't burned off the fog!

Here was the trek from the town to the beach. You actually climbed up 3/4 of the all these stairs on our way back up. Of course, once at the top you immediately tried to turn around to go back down and do it all again. Not so much fun for a winded Daddy.

Once on the beach it was exploring time!

Then off to the Ocean!

You loved it! Without hesitation you let the waves hit you. Mommy and Daddy had to take turns going in with you. Surprisingly the water was warmer than you'd expect. Don't get be wrong, it wasn't balmy or anything but it wasn't instant hypothermia like I kind of expected. Either way, you splashed, found shells and sand dollars and got soaked to the bone! It was a blast!

By the time we finished playing and made it back up the great stairwell of Seabrook and did a quick clothes change, the sun finally came out! (see, we had an extra outfit for you. We do learn from our mishaps)

It was a good day trip Mai Tai. We'll come back soon more prepared to spend the whole day at the beach. Heck we might try to talk some friends into renting a cabin for the weekend with us. We'll make sand castles, bury Mommy in the sand and all sorts of fun things. For now, we'll just chalk it up as another good day trip.



Maya's First House

Hey Mai, 

How's it going? Since we returned from Ohio it has been a whirlwind of activity around our move. I can say as of today finally, we are officially moved out of our last place and settled in to our new pad. While this is your third place you will have lived, this is probably the first place you will remember. I think its going to be pretty cool.

Believe it or not, that was a good job by Mama containing you both for that shot. You and Goose just want to go explore, explore and explore your new hood.

While tonight probably marks the dust settling, it has been a journey. We signed the papers for the house the day we got back from Ohio. I think it was an omen that The Mountain was out that day. It seems to come out on pretty important days for us, ever since  you were conceived. It's kinda your mountain. Here is the view from the posh downtown office where we signed the papers.

It's not always out. In fact, this is what morning has looked like the past week here in Seattle. You can barely see the city let alone your Mountain.

Ever since that day, it has been quite a journey. We saw a lot of the Shrader clan as they helped us a lot with the move and painting and stuff. Lorelei was good at keeping you busy too! As a result you can say "Beck. eee" and "SShon" pretty well. You are trying to get Lorelei out but its a work in progress.

Lorelei even built you a little chair and fort!
Yeah, those are 12 pack boxes that your fort was made out of. What? It's hard work painting and going for parents of the year at the same time!
We had many days where we would go visit the house, get a little work done here and there before we actually moved. 
Stella is pretty found of you these days. Especially since you decided it was okay to share your snacks with her.
But when it's all said and done, we did it. We finally finished the move and have our stuff all set up. Happy times for Team Castañeda! Don't Hide Mama, it's happy time!
One of the best additions we have is a little kid's desk that Mama bought for you. You love it and since we've had it you sit in it at least once every day. It's about the cutest thing ever.
One of the things I'm going to miss the most in leaving our last place is my walks to work. On the days that Mommy was off you guys used to walk me to the bus stop in the morning as I left for work. For now, the new bus stop is probably a little long for a little girl and her dog. Don't worry though. I'll never forget those walks. 
And that's about it! We're settled in and ready for our next adventures. Welcome Home Mai!



Vocabulary Explosion!

Dear Mai,

I remember when you were probably about 8 months old. Maybe younger. Mommy was worried you weren't talking enough. Until you are 2 years old I think we'll always worry and be extra cautious about stuff that could be related to your Thyroid issue

Fast forward 8 months. You are a talking machine.

Before we left for Ohio a few weeks back, we thought you probably had about a 20 word vocabulary. On the drive back to Granville from Toledo Momma and I talked about how it seemed like your vocabulary just exploded! So what did we do? We tried to document the words. Give us a break ok. It is a boring drive from Toledo to Granville. This was a good way to kill sometime.

I think we stopped at 36 words! These are words that we think you say on a regular basis and know what they mean. To be honest, we are probably cutting your short on 36. I'll see if I can remember all of them at the end of this post.

One of the cutest things you learned in Ohio was to say "CHEEEESE" whenever we want to take a picture. In fact, anytime you see a phone / camera pointed your direction you say "CHEEESE" and get this awesome photo face going.

Another awesome thing is you can say "Ohio!" It comes out more like "HIYO" but we know what you mean. On the way back to Toledo from Dearborn you must have said "HIYO!" 3,958 times. Suprisingly enough I don't think I was "cuted" out yet. 

When we got back to Granville you said "HIYO!" over and over for Grandma too. Grandma was impressed and impressed with your vocabulary in general. She said something to the effect of "next up Maya, you need to learn to string two words together." Within 2 hours you were saying "YEA! HIYO!" I'm a little worried I'm going to have two girls asking me to move back east now. Mean Daddy is making Team Castañeda stay in Seattle for now.

You are just a parrot these days! I thought we had some time before that happened. We should probably start watching our mouths at this point. It's probably a lost cause though. Mamma and Dada curse worse than a drunk sailor when we drive. Maybe we should just teach "there's a time and a place for everything" type stuff instead.

But the part I'm most impressed with is your comprehension. You might have a close to 40 word vocabulary that you speak but you understand way, way, way more than that. We can give you commands like take this sock to Mommy or put your blocks in their basket, or put the cup in the drawer or put the shirt in the basket and you do it! You do them all! Exactly like we want you to! It's pretty amazing. Sometimes I don't even understand how you can possibly understand so much. I think "Who taught you that?"

We had a final walk through on our house this afternoon. Your room is already painted kid style. We have been trying to decide if we are going to repaint it or what to something more your / our style. You walked in the room, started looking at the animals on the wall and pointed to the giraffe and said "Graffe." WHAT? We have never heard you even attempt to say that before? We always point to giraffes in your books when we read them to you and say "That is a giraffe" but you've never repeated that word. It was pretty cool Mai.

And even more than your vocabulary you can point to your (or someone else's) eyes, nose, mouth, teeth, head, hair. You can do a few animal sounds like Lion, Snake, Monkey, Dog, Cat, Duck, Pig, Cow and Elephant. At this rate we'll be starting matrix addition and Japanese next month.

You're also starting to give hugs and kisses good bye. You'r definitely selective on who gets what but you get the idea. I think this is one of my favorite things even though I'm consistently on the "no" list for these activities.

We're having a blast Mai. Once you start stringing phrases and sentences together I'm going to start teaching you some movie quotes. How cool would it be to have a baby say "I'll be back" as she puts on some shades? Very cool. The answer is very cool Mai.

Ok, let's try to list the vocabulary:

  1. Eat
  2. More (pronounced "Mo")
  3. Please (pronounced "Pease")
  4. No (By far, your favorite and most repeated obnoxious little word)
  5. Yes
  6. Stuck
  7. Dog
  8. Duck
  9. Cat
  10. Mommy 
  11. Dada
  12. Grandma (pronounced "G'ma")
  13. Walk
  14. Coat (pronounced "Dote")
  15. Shoes
  16. Hat
  17. Hi
  18. Bye
  19. Uh Oh
  20. Sock
  21. Ohio
  22. Yuck
  23. Down
  24. Milk
  25. Baba
  26. Cracker
  27. Block
  28. Music (pronounced "Mukic")
  29. Teeth
  30. Cheese
  31. That
  32. There
  33. Book
  34. Keys
  35. Dot
  36. Torrential (ok she doesn't really say this. I was just trying to see if you were paying attention)
  37. Rock
  38. Giraffe (new word!)
  39. Paper (pronounced "p'per")
  40. Pee Pee
  41. Poo Poo
  42. Goose
  43. Diaper (pronounced "diyapper")

43! And I'm probably missing some!

Love you to pieces Mai Tai!


Maya in Ohia

What a trip!!!!

We got home from Ohio yesterday. It was a blazing fast 8 days mixed of tears and cheers. Unfortunately Daddy lost his phone (camera) the last day of the trip so most of our pics are gone. We still got some good ones though! Let's see... what did we do?

Besides kicking it at the Granville Street Fair, You loved to play in Grandma's pond. You should know that Grandma, never, ever, EVER let's any kid throw rocks in her pond. Except for Maya. Because this made Maya happy.

You got to feed the fish in her pond.

You loved to dip your toes in the pond with cousin Hannah. Hannah was pretty cute and ready to play with you the entire time. You were probably a big disappointment for Hannah because well... you're still just a baby! Hannah was cute and even sang  you her version of the "Maya Papaya" song. You did have fun with her in the pond though!

But what comes with playing in the pond? Dirty, dirty baby with pond scum. ew. yuck. That meant you got to take your first hose shower! Yea! You were pretty impressed.

You also got to have your first Tea Party with cousin Hannah! 

You, Grandma and Mommy visited the Columbus Zoo and you loved it! This was a much different experience than visiting the Tacoma Zoo. You actually saw all the animals and were interested! You loved the flamingos and the Elephants were your favorite. You came back able to make a pretty impressive Elephant sound. The Gorillas scared the bejesus out of you apparently though. Any mention of the word "monkey" that day was responded with a prompt "no" from you and a a violent shaking of the head.

The Toledo visit was a blur but it was a great visit. Unfortunately I lost most of those pics. But besides hanging with the family you got to go visit Grandpa again and visit the house Daddy grew up in! I had a great pic of you and Grandma on the front porch but it was still on my phone.

This is the tree outside of that house. Most of my childhood friends climbed that tree at one point in time. Daddy wasn't the most athletic kid on the block so I got as far as up that first stump. You also got about that far already. It is quite possible that you might become a professional rock climber.

We took you to Maumee Bay State Park and you got to take a dip in Lake Erie for the first time!

Now when I was a kid we used to head just east of that State park to Reno Beach Ohio. My friends and I had some good times on those shores and if we were lucky we got a view of Davis Besse (The Nuclear Power Plant) from the beach. 

Aunt Rosie and Uncle John are the restaurant connoisseurs of Northwest Ohio and Southwest Michigan. There is a great Lebanese restaurant they take us to in Dearborn. You loved the Hummus and Pita! After we ventured to this incredible bakery. You walked in like you owned the place and said hi to just about everyone. Twice.

Most of the Toledo time was just hanging with Family. Uncle John was your favorite by far. He had you laughing and you mimicked just about anything he did. In fact if Mommy or Daddy tried to get you to try some food you answered with your favorite word. "No." If Uncle John asked you to you more than willingly did. Beast. He taught you what "stuck" means and now when something is stuck you say "stuck" and proceed with the dramatic struggle to "un-stuck" it. Here you are kicking back on Grandma Castañeda's patio enjoying some watermelon. You got your first taste of real humidity. The pictures don't show the incredible mess you were that day. I think you had to have three baths that day to just not be totally gross.

On the way back to Granville from Toledo we had to take a pause in driving because of the torrential downpour we were in. Now people say it rains a lot in Seattle. It doesn't rain like what we drove though. Not even close. But our pause gave you a chance to cross off another Ohioism kids do. Late night Meijering. 

With such a short visit, most of the time was spent with Family. We did manage to see a few of our friends and you had a blast playing with their kids! Here you and Ryan are enjoying some ice cream in Granville.

Here you are playing with Wyatt and Sophia. You LOVED Wyatt and all his toys!

All in all it was a great trip Maya. The first few days were rough. Probably because of lack of sleep after taking a red eye. I think Mommy and Daddy learned a valuable lesson this trip. No more Ohio red eye trips. We also need to start buying you your own seat. A seat for you instead of on the lap makes a world of difference. You were pretty good on all the planes though. You were pretty attached to Mommy and Daddy the whole trip but warmed up a little bit. I think both Aunt Linda's "won" in the ability to hold Maya category. I think they both got to hold you three times without you throwing a crazy baby fit. All that will get better in time. Overall I think Mommy and I agree that you get somewhere between a "C+" or "B-" for the trip. :)

Now that we're back home its time to catch up on sleep and back to eating healthy. Time to get back on that potty too girlie! You do take after your daddy in lots of ways.

On to our next adventure...



Granville Street Fair

Dear Mai,

So far the our Ohio summer vacation of 2013 has been great. We had a bit of a crazy start with some long flights and a bit of trouble catching up on sleep but we're getting our game on.

One of the first things we did was hit the Granville street fair.Time to get prepared for that hot Ohio sun!

You got to split my taco truck burrito too! I had mixed feelings about this. On one hand, you were eating a taco truck burrito! How cool! On the other hand? You were eating MY taco truck burrito! I suppose it was pretty cool to share with you.

And don't worry, you can get deep fried goodies like this in our state of Washington too!

The Puyallup festival in Washington has deep fried goodness. We didn't try these at the street fair but you got to try your first funnel cake from Grandma! It was super yummy!

We're having a blast and there is a lot more to post. You're sleeping now. You'll probably be on east coast time just in time for us to head back to Seattle. That'll be good. An opinionated baby with jet lag. fun. :-)

Love you to pieces Mai,


Happy Birthday Merkah!

Happy fourth of July! Today has been kind of a lazy day getting ready for our flight back east. You did get to rock your latest fourth outfit. I tried to find matching pants my size but it couldn't be done.

You also got to hang with your new friend Page and enjoy some beach, rock and water time.

Page and her mother just moved here from Ohio too! Welcome guys! Page is our new babysitter prospect so be nice to her Mai!

Happy fourth everyone! MERKAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Little Drummer Girl

Watch out Vinnie Paul, Maya is gonna rock your socks off!

I think our first song we play together as a Father / Daughter team should be off the Vulgar Display of Power album. Because that is just what it would be. Vulgar. Powerful. Awesome. \m/ \m/

I have to find you a red fang t-shirt, size 2 T. That seems to be your favorite band these days.

(Dime) Daddy

Best part about moving: Box forts

Dear Mai,

It appears to be that time of the year again when Mommy and Daddy like to move into a new place. Let's hope we settle a bit in our new place but first things first. Getting ready to move.

Last year around this time we had some dear friends not only help us move but pretty much do everything for us. I like to think that Mommy and Daddy were in a state of shock with you being pretty new to this world and us not wanting to leave our last place that led us to be so lazy. That reminds me of more advice for you. 

Make quality friendships. Your mother and I are blessed with some of the best friends humans could ask for. Not only do they physically help us move but they help us spiritually too. Make good friends Mai. I don't know how else to emphasize it. I wouldn't be the same person I am today without these great people around me. People are what makes the world go round. Live in the moment with them.


So this year we are getting ready to move into our new place with an upcoming Ohio trip in the works. (By the way, we are pretty proud that you can say "Ohio" now. Next up: work on your response to "O H!")

We're trying to be more proactive with moving this year. You're a big help too.

After a few days of casual packing we have our box wall started. With room for a little Maya fort of course.

That's probably about the best we are going to get before we head back east. Look out girl, the next few weeks are about to be a whirlwind of activity. I can't wait for you to get to explore our new house! Soon come... soon come.



Hanging with Big Girl Friend

Maya LOVES her friend Lorelei. 

Lorelei? meh.

Oh she loves you too. Just in that way a big kid loves to hang with little kids. Don't worry, you'll grow on her more and pretty soon she won't be able to resist your constant charms.

Little does Lorelei realize that not letting her push the cart can very easily lead to this.

With a little of this

Oh yes the tantrums are fast and furious these days. What happened the other day? oh yeah, I asked if you were hungry. 

Lost. Your. Marbles.

Wow. You would have thought I poked you with a high-caliber staple gun. Nope. Just tried to offer a little yogurt or something like that.

Makes me want to pour another glass of wine just thinking about it. 

In fact...