Potty Lessons: First Success

Saturday, June 29, 2013 at approximately 7:30 PM. We achieved our first pee-pee in the potty.

Now this is probably nothing more than a happy accident and the road to potty trained is still going to be long and arduous but you did it Mai. You made your first pee-pee in the potty. I know that you probably don't get the concept fully but you can say pee-pee and you associate that word with Maya on the little potty and Mommy and Daddy on the big potty so there's that. After the initial shock we gave you by celebrating this when you got up like a bunch of high school cheerleaders, you seemed to like the acclaim. Hopefully that will lead to more successes in our future.

Good job Mai!

Mama and Dada

author notes:

Ok, Maya obviously didn't pee out roses or anything crazy. I just didn't want to offend anyone. But then again for documentation sake I feel the need to post the true, unedited first potty picture. 

Avert your eyes now if you are easily offended.

Ok, I admit. Even with the whole proud parent thing going on that's still pretty gross. But then again, this IS the internet isn't it? Eat your heart out NSA!

Visiting Family on Vacation

Dear Mai,

In addition to checking out the desert, sun, warmth and sea, our vacation was also blessed with some great family time. Sometimes living so far away from most of our family in Ohio can be hard. But it is also nice being closer to our extended family that lives on the left coast too.

You always love Uncle Gary. It's probably because he is as goofy as you and when he holds you you're like 10 feet tall.

He's a pretty cool guy to just chill and hangout with too.

We also got to hangout with your Tia Abuela Lydia and prima and primos Poncho, Yvette and Julio. Grandpa Carlos would have been so happy to see you hanging with his family.

I always forgot how kind and nice the kids are on the Castañeda side of the family are. Your cousins Miguel and Juliana are Yvette's children and the first thing they did when they came into the house was kiss, hug and say hi to everyone. That is a sign of respect and courtesy that we should adopt little one.

Finally we got to see Prima Alma. It was touch and go if we were going to be able to see her but she met us at the airport and we were able to spend a little quality time with her before we jetted back home.

It was a great trip little girl. Jam packed 4 days. We'll see our family over here more often too. It's always a good time.

And if said family is reading this, this is a not so subtle hint for you all to come see us in Seattle. That means you Gary, Alma, Yvette and Poncho. And everyone. It's a quick plane ride up north and the summers are fantastic up here.


Anyway Mai, we're about to get ready on our next trip back east. Let's try to get some Castañeda kid manners in place before this one. ;-)



Where the streets have no name: Baby Vacation Part 2

First a disclaimer. There are a lot of pics in this post. Believe it or not I spent a good deal of time pairing down to what I'm documenting here. Whatcha gonna do?

<now back to our regularly scheduled content/>

Welcome to Joshua Tree

Dear Mai,

I hope that one of the life values you inherit from us is exploration. You seem to already be loving that part of life and love to check out new and unknown things. That's good. Keep it up. And when you get old enough, head back to Joshua Tree National park and plan for like 3 days of exploration. The place is crazy cool. In fact Mama and I are thinking about heading back to do some exploring sans a 1 year old. We'll map out a path for you when you get old enough.

There is no way I can do this place justice with our phone cameras and a few words. Don't get me wrong, I'll try but...

Check us out exploring the park as a family! Go Team Castañeda

First the landscape is incredible. We got to check out the Mojave desert and the Colorado desert.

We loved all the desert vegetation. Especially the Joshua Tree itself. We tried to get a little artsy with some of the pictures. We're just not that good at it.

Mama was worried we were going to get bit by a snake and kept her eyes on the snake holes.

Then there are the rocks. The rock formations were out of this world.

Skull Rock was crazy fun to explore.

At the elevation height of the park there is an overlook where you can see St. Andrea's Fault and Mexico.

As we exited the park we found this awesome little cafe called Crossroads in the quirky little town of Joshua Tree, California. We made friends with another couple that had a baby your age and had some good food.. It was the end to a perfect first visit to the park. 

We'll put this on our list of places to visit again. Until then know that you got an "A+" for your day at Joshua Tree.

Much love my dear,


No food left behind

Ah... The good 'ol food coma. I have a feeling these are going to be quite common. This is the kind of rest you get by eating an entire large plate of fruit, one egg, at least 3 handfuls of puffs, some of mama's pancakes, milk and some of daddy's french toast for breakfast. What. A. Piglet. I thought I was going to be able to finish food that you leave behind. There is none of that with your "no food left behind" attitude. Our meals are no longer safe with you around. Lock up your pantry. Hide the Avacodos. It will be time for lunch soon. Be afraid. Very afraid.

Set the controls for the heart of the sun. (a baby vacation)

Dear Mai,

About a month or so ago we did our first family vacation that wasn't a trip back to Ohio. Where to? Palm Springs, California. Sun. Desert. Hot. That is what were after. Mission Accomplished.

Of course Mommy and Daddy aren't the best pre-planners so the day before involved last minute trips to Kohl's. We needed some new summer digs!

Despite the last minute errands, there's always time for a little playground action, some good eats and a quick nap.

Just in time to get up and help us pack the night before our flight left! Notice your little necklace. You just started this phase where you like to accessorize. Necklaces are your favorite. Apparently they go with all kinds of outfits.

You did a quick little fashion show to make sure that 2 piece looked good. (BTW, you are to never ever wear a 2 piece outside the safety of  your beloved home. There will be hell to pay missy.)

Then we were off to catch our flight the first thing the next morning. Your mother and I like to grade your behavior these days. For the most part you can pull off a "B" or higher at restaurants and such. The plane right out to LAX you got about a "C." The plan ride home was an "F." F minus maybe. You were bad. Real bad. I can't put into words how bad you were. As soon as we landed you were sweet as pie again. Just decided to be all monster-like on the plane.

But I digress. We landed in LAX, drove to Palm Springs, soaked up some sun and got some eats! You just about ate southern California out of avocados while you were there.

You got to practice your walking skills, take your first swim and just explore the place where we stayed. It's amazing thinking of how much your walking has improved over this short period of time. Here you were pretty unstable and had to hold your hands up for balance. I'm beat tired as I'm writing this post because all you want to do nowadays is go outside and take doggie for a walk. You first words in the morning and last words at night are usually "Wok, Work, Wok, Wok, Walk! Peese!"

You find great enjoyment in climbing things. This trip you were conquistador of chairs. (over, over and over again)

And hotel room and balcony explorer extraordinaire.

When were done with the Palm Springs area we decided to hit the beach and the coast. But before we left we hit this hip little brunch spot called Cheeky's. You gave it a huge thumbs up! You even tried your first piece of bacon!

Then it was off to Huntington Beach! You loved the sand but decided you needed to see how it tasted. As we were wiping sand from your tongue all we could think was "Isn't sand made of rock, shells and glass." Luckily we all survived without incident.

It was a great vacation Mai. Lots of sun, relaxation and exploring. We also got to see some family and visit Joshua Tree National Park... but those are different stories. 

Oh and food. Lots and lots of good food. 

Overall you probably deserved a "B" for the whole trip. It might have been an "A" had it not been for that disastrous plane ride. We should also cut you some slack. That is a lot of activity for a little baby. 

We're headed back to Ohio in a few weeks. Let's shoot for an A+ on that one!

Your forever self imposed teacher,


Tide Pool Girls

Dear Mai,

One of the things that Mama and Grammy love to do is go tide pooling. They love getting out climbing on the rocks and discovering all the little treasures and creatures the sea brings to shore. I've watched them do this many times. It just so happens that very near our house there are some great tide pools when the tide is low. We've taken you there before and you seemed interested but were definitely too little to explore. In fact I thought you'd still be too little to explore. Boy was I wrong.

Last Saturday the tide was about 3 feet below sea level at Constellation Park. We decided to hit the park to explore. After about 2 minutes there you said "down" and squirmed out of my hands.

Now you've only been walking for a little bit. I didn't think you could navigate the terrain. Again, I was very wrong. You are quite the little climber these days. I don't even think you fell once while exploring. You found all kinds of treasures. Rocks, Sea Shells and Seaweed. The seaweed was your favorite part. You loved touching the slimy gooey mess.

I know Mommy loved exploring with you. We'll have to take Grammy with us next time she visits so there can be three generations of you girls exploring together.

You did such a good job I wanted to see your climbing skills in action more. I took you to Bellevue Square play area and you were a maniac. So much a maniac in fact I couldn't get an pictures. I was too worried you were going to plummet to you death as you scaled the boats and bridges in the kid cove. Luckily only fun was had that day. You came down your a slide all by your own for the first time that day. As awkward as it was, you were all smiles and laughs as you reached bottom. So much so that you had to re-climb and do it over at least 100,000 times in a row.

It was a pretty great weekend. And weekends like that make rest time even more enjoyable than ever.

Always remember to have fun like this Mai. Take time to scale obstacles, explore new heights and sleep in new comfy spots. That's what life is all about. Oh and laughter. Never forget the laughter.


Love you dearly my little one,



Dear Mai,

We had an excellent Holiday weekend. Let's show our support for our Armed Service Men and Women by wearing your least "in your face 'Merica" outfit you have.

Our little 'merican looks pretty coute!!!!

We'll wait until the Fourth of July to wear the "crazy" 'merican outfit.



Hangin with Dada

Dear Mai,

We've had the opportunity to get some quality Maya and Daddy time in over the past few weeks. What is quality time? Listening to some Red Fang, wearing black concert t-shirts, watching sigur ros videos and singing Police songs and other age appropriate things. Mostly we like to do stupid things together like make faces at the webcam.

Although I haven't been able to capture it on film you're starting to sing too. I know, it's kind of far fetched but there are a few songs we sing that you can hit a few notes here and there. Especially our "ooh ooh ooh" song. (wish I remembered what the actual song was)

You're also starting to like some nursery rhymes and this might come to a shock but I don't really know many nursery rhymes. The one I do know is that itsy bitsy spidy song. You're pretty found of doing the hand motions to this one but of course won't do most of them on film. You definitely like the whole "wash the spider out" motion. Probably because its all wild and crazy like.

video doesn't play? Watch it on youtube!

Maybe someday when you're old enough to pick up an instrument and we are in a heavy metal band together I'll look back at this moment and think.... ah, that's where my little thrasher got her start.

Keep on rockin' the free world Mai,



When absolutely nothing stands in your way when you try to get that elusive red ball. Oh wait, is that a crumb? Let's check that out...