Baby Stair Master

So we get home from a long day of doing fun family stuff, Maya eats her dinner, gets down and decides to climb a flight of stairs. No warning. No "oh she almost climbed her first stair" last week type thing. She never even hangs at the stairs when she's free. Just climbed them all like she's a champ. No practicing needed.

I guess its time to start putting up more baby gates.


You go Maya! Maybe you should your hand at walking one of these days.

Growing up (too) fast

I know it is cliché to say but Maya, you seemed like you grew up so much in only the few days you were away! I guess looking through some of your recent pictures you can tell how much of a big girl you're starting to be. We're going to have to treasure these last precious moments of babyness. 

Mama still has a few days a week where she is home with you. I'm sure this is a blessing and a curse all in itself. Here you are hangin with Mama on one of those days.

I'm really worried we created a little monster by taking you all over the place. I swear if we're just hanging at home for too long you get all antsy and crabpants like. You want to be out doing something! Sometimes Mama likes (has) to take you places. We're learning some fun little toddler friendly spots here in Seattle. Like the Children's Musuem. The Aquarium is by far your favorite attraction there.

Sometimes you go to different play areas. This is at one of the local malls. Check Maya out making friends.

Other times a trip to the local toy store is enough. You're pretty found of kitchen sets these days... hmm... someone has a birthday coming up too. :) I think this was the first time you protested when we were ready to leave and you were still playing. That bodes well for our future. Sounds like good times Mai, good times.

And then some of the best times are just hanging over Aunt Becky, Uncle Shawn and Lorelei's place. Lorelei was being such a good role model picking up after your game of "DESTROY ALL BOOKSHELF THINGS!" It might look like you were helping here. You weren't. To quote Lorelei: "She's doing the opposite of helping."

All this growing and traveling makes for one tired baby! You slept for 13.5 hours straight yesterday! Silly jet lagged baby.

Speaking of sleep, Daddy needs to catch up on some Zzzs....

Love ya Mai, hasta mañana 


Birth Story: An end and a beginning

Dear Maya,

Your due date was 3/7/2012. "They" say that you should try to tackle big life changes in doses. Don't have big changes occur too close together. Then life happens and the changes just kind of come. My first words of advice for you are cliche but true. Take it easy, relax and be flexible. You can only do a few things when change comes your way. Ignore it, fight it or go with the flow. There is only right answer there if you want to live peacefully. 


Grandma (Mama's Mom) arrives. She is uber excited to visit Mommy and can't wait to meet you.


We lost Grandpa Castañeda one year ago today. Grandpa had been sick and in the hospital for a few months now. He was such a strong good man and I wish you could have met him. I think he knew it was his time but our family wasn't ready for that. He was such a trooper and kept fighting and working to get better. I think he did it more for his family rather than anything else. That is what he was about; family. He sacrificed so much of himself to provide for his family.  I was too worried to leave your Mother and worried that I would miss your birth so I wasn't there when he passed. He knew you were coming and understood. He would have wanted me to be here with my family because that is the way he was. Unselfish always. We miss him dearly. He was the Castañeda glue, if you will.

3/5/2012 - 3/8/2012

Maya, Maya, Maya. We should have taken your delayed arrival as a sign. You were going to come when you were ready and not a moment sooner. Your due date came and went. We thought there was a sign every day; every hour and nothing. Surely it is going to be any day now.


I decide at the last minute to fly back to Ohio for Grandpa's funeral. I was so worried that I was going to miss you being born but Grandma Gibson was such a great help with Mama that I decided I had time to go. I jump on a red-eye on Friday, 3-9-2012 at about 11:30 at night.


I arrive at Detroit airport at  7 AM. I have time to change into my suit at the airport bathroom, get my stuff and drive to Toledo for the funeral that I believe started at 9 or 10 AM. I get there just in time. It is hard for me to imagine a world without my Dad but it never felt so empty as it did that day. I got a text from one of my good friends the day before. He went to Grandpa's calling hours and texted me a simple line. "Tons of respect in that room, man." That made me feel so good. That is what Grandpa deserves. Oodles and oodles of respect. I'm so glad I was able to go to the funeral. It was a theraputic emotional ride. 5 PM hit pretty quick and I was back on the road again back to Detroit to catch a 7 PM flight.


I thought for sure you were going to be born on 3/11. The one thing I forgot to schedule was sleep. I was going on 48 hours without sleep so I thought for sure you were going to come that day. I guess I should thank you for holding out a little longer?

3/12/2012 - 3/14/2012

Okay. At this point it is getting a little ridiculous Mai. C'mon out . Join the party. The water is warm. At this point Grandma's visit was nearing an end and she still hasn't seen you! She was super helpful for us and couldn't fathom missing you at this point so she decides to extend her trip another week. It was getting to the point where we started to worry she was going to have to extend it a second time.

We also had something else to worry about at this time; induction. They had scheduled an induction on 3/13 for 3/16. 

That led us to the whole crazy accupuncture adventure. It all seems like a dream somtimes.

Then the next day hit. It hasn't been the same since. 

The Glue

Grandpa was truly the glue for our family. We gathered because of him. We laughed because of him. We are, because of him. There are a fair amount of years between you and your closest first cousin on the Castañeda side Mai and I think that is proving to be a blessing in disguise. The life you bring helps us. Even though we are far away right now, the amount of support and love that we see from all of our families and friends is overwhelming. I know it is a lot of weight to put on your shoulders but you are becoming that glue. Helping us through this time.

You're also pretty darn funny and cute, so that helps.

And here are some random pics of you eating Pho with Tofu. Why? You know, to not be too serious. My second piece of advice. Never take yourself too seriously and smile and laugh at least once a day. Heck, make smiling and laughing what you do MOST every day. Life's better with smiles and laughs.

Baby's New Tricks

Dear Mai,

You are going through a whirlwind of growth and its awesome to be able to capture some of these moments in time. You might not appreciate it all as you grow older and go through that awful period of time known as "the teens" but hopefully someday these little glimpses of life in your first year will be more than amusing for you.

Let's see... what can you do now? You use your favorite word, "uh-oh", in the correct context. (Okay, actually you abuse the heck out of this word. It's not an "uh-oh" if you drop it on the ground on purpose only for mommy or daddy to pick it up.) 

You know who you are. At least you respond to the "Who's Maya?" question correctly. You can also point to Daddy when we ask "Who's Daddy?" (Please try to resist the urban translation of that question) You also point to Stellie when we ask "Where's Doggie?" Poor Mama though. We ask "Where's Mama?" and you point at yourself. To be fair Maya and Mama probably sound a lot alike for someone first developing their language skills. Don't worry it only gets more confusing. You can probably tell from my posts that I haven't mastered the English language yet either.

You're starting to stand on your own without holding on to anything. You haven't started walking yet but you're probably close. I bet as soon as you master balance on your own steps will follow shortly after. You have started walking with the laundry basket. That was a trick your cousin Matthew did when we was growing up too I remember.

With walking around the corner so comes shoes. At this point you are not very found of shoes and give us this "what the french toast" type look when we put them on you. It's kind of like when you put socks on dogs. You just don't know what to make of it.

You're becoming a master at stacking your blocks. Personally I think it's pretty genius of you.

Here are some moments captured on camera for proof and documentation sake.

You are pretty darn proud of yourself with your stacking abilities.

Such a silly girl. I probably sould have edited that last one a bit but meh. 

You're also starting to learn a few words in sign language. The most important one is "more." Before this the way you asked for more was by screaming as loud as you could and as high pitched as you could. (see the crack onion soup video for an example of this) Until those language skills come in more let's hope this sign language thing works for a bit.

In addition to all the new tricks you can do you are becomeing more and more adorable every day. I didn't think it was possible the day before but then the next day you do it again. Here are some rediculously cute pics to prove it.

And some more... It was such an ordeal to get this outfit on you. We thought for sure we were gong to have to cut it off with some scissors at the end of the day. Luckily it didn't come to that. Glad we got a few pics of you in it too.

That's about it for now Mai. Hurry back from your trip okay?





The Ghosts of Winter

Dear Mai,

As I started writing this post last night you just landed in Tampa Bay, Florida with Mama. Much to Mama's chagrin, you flew as a lap child instead of in cargo. (You're kind of in this "screamy" phase right now. I'm sure 6 hrs on a plane with you wasn't the most enjoyable time for Mama)

Grandma flew there too. It's going to be an all girls Florida vacation weekend. What is Daddy supposed to do without his little screaming banshee?

Well I know what I can do. I can catch up on some posts long over due. Here is hopefully the first of what will be daily posts until you get back.

So this Florida trip marks the 4th trip you've taken via plane. All before you are 1 year old! I didn't have that many flight trips under my belt until I was 26!

We flew back to Ohio for Christmas (post coming soon) and in-between now and then it has been quite eventful for team castaneda.

First off, this winter in Seattle hasn't been terribly cold but it hasn't been terribly warm either. What i has been is damp and dreary. Seriously dreary. I think it's noon in this picture. There was a good solid week (at least) of low fog. It was crazy.

To accompany the dreariness, the cold season here was nasty. In fact it landed us in the hospital. Let me see if I can recall the journey.

January 15, 2013

You've been sick for close to 3 weeks and had flown from Seattle to Ohio and back for Christmas. The windchill was like -13 in Detroit. It was pretty stupid.

Mama picks you up from day care and you have this champ on you.

I thought it was "just a bruise" and we shouldn't worry about it. But Mama knew something was up. Mother's intuition indeed.

January 16, 2013

Mama made you a Doctor's appointment to get you checked out. In addition to the goose egg on your head there was another bruise on your shoulder. A nasty one. And then Mama noticed these little red dots on your skin. 

At the Dr. Appointment they tell Mama to go to Childrens' Hospital to get your labs done, stat!

Mama picked up Daddy from work on the way to the appointment.

All this time I'm still thinking, "It's nothing!!!"

We get home from getting your labs done and are about to start Dinner and we get a call from the Doctor. In her best "take it easy" type manner she says "Maya's platelet count is pretty low. A lot lower than normal. You need to go to the emergency room. Now."

You know. I'm actually pretty proud of Mama and I. We didn't panic. You didn't have any other symptoms except for your bruising which was unusual. Other than that you were happy, energetic and still had your good appetite. We casually got ready and even packed some overnight things. Just in case.

After a long night at the hospital they finally give us your count. It was under 5,000. Apparently normal for infants is > 250,000. Yowsa. 

You had to get admitted overnight and they started treatment for ITP. The entire time I thought of ICP. Don't ever listen to ICP. Please.

It was a long night for the fam, especially you. But you were a trooper! 

They had this crazy crib contraption there. It was probably the most fun thing in the world.

Until you conked your little head again. Sheesh.

They released us the next day because your counts were going up and you were responding well to treatment. Yay! But they said we had to watch you and try to avoid any nasty spills. You may not know this but kids sub 1 year old are prone to nasty spills. Especially adventerous ones who haven't mastered gravity and balance yet. But we did good and had nothing to worry about.

January 17 - March 27, 2013

We had to take you twice a week to get your blood drawn to check your counts. Twice a week for six weeks. By the time the sixth week came you were a pro at this. Still a little screaming but nothing like the first time.

The day before this Florida trip you're on we had the final lab and consistantly now your counts are normal! Yay! The Doctors believe this was a one time deal and probably the fact that you were battling a nasty cold for 3 weeks triggered this. 

Either way, you are better, not sick and growing up every day... healthy. It was a little scare but we powered through it. I'm just glad it is finally over.

Hope you are having fun in Florida punkin face. Daddy misses you.



Crack Onion Soup

Dear Maya,

You love food. Absolutely love it. Here is a video where we believe you were pretty much possessed. We thought at any minute your head might do a 360 ala Linda Blair.

Its only French Onion Soup. Take it easy man. It is one of Mommy's favorite soups and she makes a pretty mean version. But really. There is no need to get carried away. We can always make more. This is even after you ate dinner already. Beast. Sheesh.

You also experienced your first Indian food earlier this week. At first we started out with just rice but moved into some lentils and other stuff. You loved the Aloo Gobi and the Naan. You tried the Tandori chicken but weren't a big fan. I don't think it was the spices. (heck the French Onion Soup was 10x more spiced then the chicken you had) I don't think you're a fan of the texture yet.

Then yesterday we hit Elliot Bay and you DEVOURED the grilled Zucchini. You also loved Mama's Mahi Mahi. Pescetarian Maybe? Maybe we should have sushi for your first birthday! (Ok, I just saw a documentary on Sushi and I have a mean craving for it right now. Give me a break.)

I'm going to relish in these days when you like food. I know (and fear) the day when you'll turn your nose up to just about anything. Let's hope we can avoid that. A Daddy can dream right?

In addition to your food adventures you have also discovered the tupperware drawer. Not only did you empty everything you could reach but you licked everything before you put it back in. Ew. 

But that means you are getting taller too. I swear the other day you could barely reach the top of this table.

Now you're just about able to make some pretty bad "uh-ohs" up there.

Yes I yelled at you and told you "No!" That didn't go over well. I think you even managed to work up a few real tears on that one. 

Good times Mai. Good times. :-)



Maya's first Cubby-hole

Dear Maya,

Your Mother and I are trying to learn how to do this whole "parenting" thing now. You are at the stage where we have to change our game plan up. Instead of just making sure your basic needs (food, diapers and belly laughs) are met we actually have to worry about "parenting" and how to help you be Cool like Fonzie.

<tangent>Ok I get that most young folks today might not know who Fonzie is now, let alone expect you to know who he is by the time you are reading this. We'll do our best to keep you abreast of important pop culture icons as you grow up and when the time is right we'll even have a Pulp Fiction screening together. But I get ahead of myself... It will all make sense later. Hopefully.</tangent>

Anywho, one of the things we are trying to learn together is "freedom." Do we keep you penned into a 4x4 square where you can't get into any (much) trouble? Or do we let you have certain freedoms and help you learn what is "ok" and what is off limits.

Well I don't have much wisdom yet but what we do have is grossly over the top cuteness. You've found a new favorite playing spot. Your first little cubby-hole.

I don't think Stellie is found of your new freedoms.

Sure you still like buming around with your own little toys. But no matter what the toy is, you always work yourself over to your beloved cubby.

What's even better than the cubby? Banging your toys with wild abandon in your cubby. Yeah. That's great. We all love that. Luckily Stellie is getting old and going deaf so she can sleep through your racket.

And don't worry, you still love the good ol' "Let's toss these books from this bookshelf" game. Now the trick is can we teach you it is ok to do that with your books in your room and not ok for Mommy and Daddy's books downstairs? We'll see. So far so good. (for the most part)

I'm gonig to be so sad when you are too little to fit in your first cubby; and I'm afraid that time will come in a matter of days or weeks. I know you'll find some other cool hangouts as you grow up but watching you discover your first one is pretty cool. Cool like Fonzie.



With new teeth come new responsibilities

Four top teeth! Four of them! At the same time!

There have been some crabby days but for four new top teeth coming in at the same time! You have been a champ. Daddy probably would not have dealt with that situation as well as you have.

Not all four are through yet but they're getting there.

You know what that means! Time to cut down on the baby mush food and start self feeding "real" food. (at this point in my life I like to refer to it as "people" food. Give me a break. I've only known dogs up until this point and Stella isn't allowed to have "people" food.)

Your first try at self feeding with some peas wasn't a great success. Even so, there was some mild applause given. How about carrots?


You are pretty darn good at it already. It's so damn cute watching you grab those little bites. Cheerios are a fav and you've already joined us for taco night and pasta night. I'd say that you are well on your way from moving from baby food to "people" food.

When do you think you'll be up for some spicey food? This whole cooking non spicey versions of stuff is for the birds. :-)

Much love little one,



Tuckered out

Christmas in Ohio has been a big trip for the little one. More posts to follow but this pic captures the feeling of our last day on the trip. Sigur Ros Heima is once again providing the lullabye for this morning nap.