Waiting for Daddy

Dear Mai,

Right now I'm pretty cool in your eyes. It just melts my heart how excited you are when I get home from work. Today I was off work and found myself waiting for you to get home. 

Here is just a ridiculous amount of cuteness as you say "Dada" and clap for yourself. You are pretty into clapping these days. You know that it means a celebration. You definitely like it when the celebration is about one of your little accomplishments like saying "Dad."

I don't know if "Dada" counts as your first work. For awhile there it sounded like you pouted out "Mama" a few times and "Baba" because you are pretty into food. 

Let's just say "Dada" was your first word because it makes me feel good today. :)



First Crawl

It was 11/17/2012. Thankfully I wasn't at work this time and Mommy and I got to witness it first hand together. I think Mommy immediately sent Grammy the news via text: "She just started crawling." She also sent these pics and video. At 2 days over 8 months old, you did your first "real" crawl Mai. Check the video. You were pretty proud of yourself.

While we were overjoyed with excitement, we were also a tiny bit sad and a whole lot scared. I know it is cliche to say but it is amazing how quickly you are growing. Moving on from our precious helpless baby and into toddler-hood. We also realized from that moment on, our world was about to permanently change. And it did.

The very next day you used your new found skills to dismantle your room and bookshelf. Mama's not a real big fan of this game. You're even better at it now. I should probably start timing you on how fast you can remove every single book from your bookshelf. There has to be a record for that somewhere. I think you can take it. On the 4th pic in I thought we were in for some trouble. You recovered nicely and nobody was harmed.

Now you are not only crawling like a master but you are quick. You can pull yourself up to stand just about anywhere and just started mastering the whole "cruising" walk while holding on routine yesterday. You were even brave enough to let go and stand hands free a few times.

Sure we've had a few minor accidents but to be honest, less than I expected. I'm not delusional. I'm sure those are just around the horizon. Its time for Mommy and Daddy to start Maya-proofing the house. You are pretty much everywhere these days. You like to venture into the kitchen and check out what's in the panty. I love how you are trying your hardest to pick stuff up that you have dropped while still standing. Again, I'm just amazed those antics haven't led to more disasters.

We're not the only ones having to learn this brave new world of baby on the move. Stellie doesn't know whether to play with you or run from you. One thing you have to realize about Stella; If there isn't anything in it for her, she doesn't really care. Here is some footage of you two getting to know each other. I think she liked you better when you were immobile. She mostly runs from you these days. You love her though and you laugh and squeal every time you see her. And you chase her. There is a lot of chasing the doggie going on right now. (no children or animals were harmed in the making of this video)

Also note the baby tub in the video. That is also one of your favorite games right now. Climb the tub.

So you can see we are all learning together. So far no real walking steps yet. I'm still wagering that will happen as we hit 2013. As they say, baby steps.




The Elusive Tooths

Dear Mai,

I have been trying to get a post up about your little teeth that made their first appearance on September 28, 2012 but it has proven to be more difficult than you can imagine to photograph them.

Mommy got a few pics of the first tooth by force on that day.

Within a few weeks your second tooth appeared. It helps you eat your mum mum crackers.

But that wasn't good enough for me. I wanted to get a good smiling pic with those crazy tooths shining through.

Almost! Your little tongue got in the way. Let's try again.
Nope. That stinking little tongue again! For as cute as your little beatnik poet outfit is, you weren't about to give us a tooth smile, you little stinker.

Finally, when Grandma came out to visit us in November I snuck a quick shot in and got'em!
I was hoping to get a better shot but its been over two months since the first tooth appeared. Let's just call it.

Milestone: Your bottom two teeth were the first ones in. First tooth on September 28, 2012. Second tooth, mid October. Third tooth? I predict 1/1/13.



Maya is, a punk rocker.

Dear Mai,

So your hair is taking its sweet ol' time coming in. But you are finally getting to the point where you can channel your inner Johnny Rotten. Buck the system Mai. Buck the system.



Beets. No te gusta.

One of the cool things we found at the Seattle Center was this little place in the food court called Bean Sprouts. It's natural, healthy, yummy foods for kids. They even had a baby food menu! As you will know Mai, this is a little too much for your Daddy to pass up.

We checked out the menu and they have a few different baby food dishes everyday, made fresh. You are doing great with "solid" foods but we aren't getting too crazy yet. (Although the other day you had your first pinto beans, refried beans, rice, turkey and chicken... not all the same sitting. It's safe to say that pinto beans is a favorite.)

Anywhoo, the least exotic thing on the menu was beets and mango. I know, I know... all you crazy parents we know we aren't supposed to feed our kid mangos yet. Sue us. We were monitoring her closely for allergy attacks. Nuthin. Besides, little to our expectation, it was mostly BEETS!

This was probably the most pronounced dislike of beets I've ever witnessed in my life. It was a down right honest display of beet disapproval. But you were a trooper, you had more than your fair share of bites.Let's hope you always give new foods their day in court. Even if you make these faces a few times.

It was also flippin hilarious.

This is one unsuspecting baby.

"Food?!?! Why yes I'll have some!" (You likey the food Mai Tai)

"Holy smokes! What IS that?!?!?"

"Is it an aqcuired taste? Let me give a few more tries."

"Um. It's awful."

"Criminelly it's awful!!! It's gagging me and giving me the shakes!!!"

I wonder when you can try your first jalapeño?



Dia de los Muertos y los "roots" de Mai Tai

Dear Mai,

Dia de los Muertos is a Mexican Holiday for "Day of the Dead." Don't confuse that with a zombie movie like your Daddy did when I was young. It is a time to remember the people we have lost in our lives. It falls on November 2nd and because we are a tad bit away from Mexico here in the United States, especially Washington State, it is observed on many different days and many different ways.

Either way, it was a good time for us to remember Grandpa together. There was a festival here in Seattle a week before Halloween that we went to. Before we left, we had to find a good picture of Grandpa to take to the festival. These pictures are from March, 2000 when Grandpa, Grandma and I went to Mexico City to see the Basilica de Guadalupe. Your mother and I had only been dating for a few months otherwise she probably would have came with us. Silly Mommy. The boats we are on are located in the town of Xochimilco. You can see it here in the background that were boats jam packed with Mariachi bands filling the air witih music.

Of course as they passed by they would take requests. Grandpa probably requested "Volver, Volver" and Grandma probably teased him about it. Grandma used to always tease him about requesting the same song over and over. It's ok. He liked it that much. (now you know why I play the same songs over and over again) One of my best memories of your Grandpa was how he used to tease and play with Grandma. He used to always make her laugh. Heck, he always made everyone laugh. You can see he was teasing her in the pictures above. Then he was laughing because he cracked himself up too. I hope Mommy and I can give you a similar memory as we grow together.

Anyway, on to the festival! Time to costume up and dig into your roots Mai Tai!

So while it was neat to see this festival in Seattle, it wasn't really a "festival." It was cool seeing the young kids in the bands and dance although "staying in tune" wasn't their strong suit. Everytime the horns kicked in you smiled and smiled. Trumpet player maybe? Your Great, Great Grandpa Plasencio played all kinds of intruments.

It took us about 5 minutes to see all 3 booths they had setup. But, it was in the Seattle Center, so there were a couple of other things we could get into. I call this series Maya and her roots.

After a little play time and some lunch we did what we came to do. We visisted the main altar at the festival. The altars are places were you can leave pictures, tokens or whatever of our loved ones that have passed. Mommy snagged a few pictures of us visiting the altar and offering a picture of Grandpa.

It was a good day Mai. It still hurts because we all miss him so much but it was great bringing you there to help remember him. He was a great man Mai and by the time you are reading this you will realize that from all the stories that we will haved shared with you about him.

My goal at some point in your life is to retrace our steps of that Mexico City visit. We'll stay in a fancy hotel, eat great food, visit the Basilica, climb some pyramids. We'll visit Xochimilco, ride the boats and request "Volver, Volver" over and over again and through it all, we'll be talking about and remembering Grandpa.

Until then just take it easy learning to walk. Eat your vegatables and eat chocolate in moderation. But those are different stories...



Exploring Vashon Island

Dear Mai Tai,

It's 5 AM, Friday November 9, 2012. I'm awake because of you're recent "sleeping" shenaigans. You are quietly sleeping your little head off right now but Daddy is up at 5 because... well... that is what you have conditioned me to do so now... you little bugger.

Anywho, this provides a good time for me to catch up on some posts! I'm remembering our buddy Foz this morning and what a good last day he had. It was a pretty good day for the whole Team Castaneda.

Vashon Island is just a quick ferry ride from our house. It's a sleepy little town with some pretty quirky little spots. I hope this place becomes a regular little getaway for our clan.

We ate at this awesome little vegatarian cafe called Snap Dragon. You had fun making friends with the other patrons while sipping on some high quality H20.

We explored the famous Vashon Island "Bike in the Tree." Whatever the story is, it's a real bike in a tree. 

We hit the southeast coast park and you got to have your lunch al fresco. There were tons of Jellies on the shore too.

You had your first little nature hike too and LOVED IT! You were crazy busy on the trail; constantly kicking your little legs, waving your arms and laughing. You're so silly.

It was a good day. I'll remember that day for the rest of my life. It was a great end of summer family day. I think Foz loved his last day with us too.

I think I hear you now. Time to start this day.