tag:mayarosecastaneda.com,2013:/posts Maya's Travels 2018-03-07T17:12:07Z Ed Castaneda tag:mayarosecastaneda.com,2013:Post/1258119 2018-03-07T17:12:06Z 2018-03-07T17:12:07Z 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. 



Ed Castaneda
tag:mayarosecastaneda.com,2013:Post/1204583 2017-11-11T06:49:17Z 2017-11-11T11:41:35Z 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!

Ed Castaneda
tag:mayarosecastaneda.com,2013:Post/1198219 2017-10-14T08:20:12Z 2017-10-14T11:21:17Z 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.



Ed Castaneda
tag:mayarosecastaneda.com,2013:Post/1190300 2017-09-11T07:35:05Z 2017-09-11T13:42:23Z K_nd_r_art_n

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,


Ed Castaneda
tag:mayarosecastaneda.com,2013:Post/1184846 2017-08-19T00:03:16Z 2017-08-19T00:03:17Z 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,

Ed Castaneda
tag:mayarosecastaneda.com,2013:Post/1158387 2017-05-29T03:20:29Z 2017-05-29T15:03:49Z 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!


Ed Castaneda
tag:mayarosecastaneda.com,2013:Post/1142982 2017-03-31T22:24:20Z 2017-03-31T22:24:20Z 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 nextdoor.com 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. :-)



Ed Castaneda
tag:mayarosecastaneda.com,2013:Post/1139874 2017-03-19T02:45:23Z 2017-03-19T02:46:51Z 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!



Ed Castaneda
tag:mayarosecastaneda.com,2013:Post/1138869 2017-03-15T07:29:11Z 2017-03-15T11:17:32Z Five

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,


Ed Castaneda
tag:mayarosecastaneda.com,2013:Post/1126690 2017-01-27T21:03:49Z 2017-01-27T21:04:05Z 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.



Ed Castaneda
tag:mayarosecastaneda.com,2013:Post/1118489 2016-12-27T07:56:59Z 2016-12-27T12:01:09Z Bedtime routine

Dear Mai,

We just arrived home yesterday from another whirlwind Ohio trip. It was a fantastic trip. We had such a good time and I have so many good stories to share but I wanted to share this one with you. It happened tonight, it's funny, sweet and speaks volumes about your personality and things that stick with you. 

First let me introduce your buddies Wyatt and Sophia to the blog. They are both a few years older than you and Wyatt has been excited to meet you since you were born. When you were zero he was 3, he hadn't met you yet but kept telling his parents "I can't wait to see baby Mica Rose." Wyatt has quite the personality which I'm sure you know by the time you're able to read this post. Wyatt and Sophia are two of your Ohio buddies that you see at least once a year. Since they're older I think what they say has more impact on you. It's the whole "older kid" syndrome. I love that you know them at least a little bit and more than just the occasional person. They're parents are good people. 

Of course I don't have any pictures of you three from this past visit because when then came over you wanted to impress them so you spent pretty much the entire time in the bathroom putting on and washing off temporary tattoos... and you're a little be cray cray.

Anyhow, tonight was the first night in a long time we did our bedtime routine. We read some books and then I tucked you in by singing you some songs and having a little chat as I tuck you in. As much as I know that you are a master at stalling in going to bed and you abuse me in the nighttime tuck routine, I love it. No matter what is happening at work or whatever, I always try to make it home in time to tuck you in every night. Most of the nights are routine but every now and then there is some substance in our little bedtime chats. Here was our conversation tonight. You pretended to hide under your covers and said:

Maya: (dramatically pulling covers off head) "BOO!!!"

Daddy: "Whoa! You scared me!"

Maya: "Like really scare you? Like scare you in your heart or scare you in your brain?"

Daddy: (thinks he knows what you mean) "Umm... my brain. I was just playing with you."

Maya: "Phew. I didn't want to scare you in your heart. Did you know I had a scare in my heart?"

Daddy: "Um no? What do you mean?"

Maya: "Well Wyatt said that if you have a nightmare and have a high bunk bed you will crack your head open. And then you'll have to go to the R.V."

Daddy: (trying to quickly process) "Do you mean E.R?"

Maya: "YES! The E.R.! He told me that and it scared me! In my heart!"

Daddy: "Oh no sweetie! You don't have to be scared. Did that happen to him?"

Maya: "I dunno. I checked his head and didn't see any brain but I was really scared I'd crack my head"

Daddy: "Well don't worry. You're not in any danger of cracking your head and Mommy and Daddy are right in the next room, okay?"

Maya: "Okay. Phew! One more song and then one more kiss / hug from Mommy?"

Daddy: "Of course my sweet pea." (breaks into the chorus of "American Pie")

Sleep well my princess and no nightmares!



Ed Castaneda
tag:mayarosecastaneda.com,2013:Post/1114997 2016-12-13T03:23:14Z 2016-12-13T03:23:14Z Ellie
Dear Mai,

Sometimes you just kill me. I can't stand how friggin cute you are! okay, I'm biased but I tell ya.

This is Ellie. She is your most prized possesion next to pink blanket. Before you leave to go anywhere you leave her somewhere where she can see and you kiss her goodbye. You are totally into crafting and accessorizing these days. Today you gave her on of your barretts. so. stinkin. cute.


Ed Castaneda
tag:mayarosecastaneda.com,2013:Post/1113267 2016-12-06T08:28:53Z 2016-12-06T08:28:53Z Dear @Santa, ISO 3 items for Xmas. kthxbye, <3 Mai

Dear Mai,

The whole Santa situation has taken many turns in your short time on this planet. We thought we turned a corner last year when you went and visited Santa. We thought for sure that this year you'd be geeked to see him! We even booked a trip on the Santa train this year! This was our conversation before we left.

Mommy: "Maya, aren't you so excited to get on the Santa train to meet Santa?"

Maya: "The Santa train? Is that like the Polar Express?

Mommy: "Yep!"

Maya: "I know it's not the real Polar Express though. The real Polar Express goes to the North Pole. The real North Pole is really far away. We wouldn't have time to get there by train today."

Daddy: (with exhaustion and admiration) "You're right. This is just the Santa train. Santa is visiting Snoqualmie where your friend Noe lives. We get to take the train to see him there!"

Maya: "Can I wear my pajamas like in Polar Express and each chocolate nougats and hot chocolate with marshmallows?"

Daddy: "No pajamas."

Mommy: "But they'll have cookies and hot chocolate!"

Maya: "With marshmallows?"

Daddy: "Yes. Probably. They might have marshmallows."

Maya: "Fine then. I'll go. I'm not talking to Santa though."

Daddy: (wondering how early is too early for Bourbon) "What?!?! You loved Santa last year. PLUS you have to tell him what you want for Christmas!"

Maya: (groaning) "Ugh. Can't we just text him?"

Daddy: (goes in search of Bourbon)

Mommy: "No way! You have to tell him in person! Santa is old school!"

Maya: "Fine. Let's go"

Well, we took the train, had cookies and hot chocolate. (no marshmallows, you don't even like hot chocolate anyhow) and had a fun time. You were still pretty nervous about Santa. While we were waiting in line you were practicing what you wanted to tell him and made me promise to hold your hand while you talked to him. BUT, by the time we got in there and you had a conversation with Santa's brother, Bells Nichols, you marched right up to Santa and sat on his lap. You weren't nervous at all. In fact you were very serious and told him exactly what you wanted:

Maya: "Hi Santa. For Christmas I only want three things. Barbie's dream house, Doc Stuffins toy hospital and Barbie Camper like Grandma has."

We've been trying to explain to you that Santa can't bring everything you ask for. BUT, if you're a good girl, I'm sure he'll bring you something from your list. If so, maybe we can send him a thank you email. You know, get the old man up to speed on technology. ;-)

Love you sweet pea,


Ed Castaneda
tag:mayarosecastaneda.com,2013:Post/1112838 2016-12-04T17:37:15Z 2016-12-04T17:37:16Z Christmas Elf

Dear Mai,

We've been upping our Christmas game every year. This year we have already done a ton of Christmas stuff and have a lot in the works. Today you woke up to find your Elf on the shelf on your table.

Mai: "Daddy, Daddy! Look what showed up!"

Daddy: "Wow! That's cool, he must of came in last night"

Mai: "I know he is just a decoration."
Daddy: "What do you mean? He's your elf that shows up every year."

Mai: "Yeah but he's not real. He's just a decoration. He came from a box."

Daddy: "What? He's from the north pole isn't he?"

Mai: "Nope."

Daddy: "But doesn't Santa live in the North Pole?"
Mai: "Yes"

Daddy: "And the elves live with Santa right?"

Mai: "Yes. But this one is just a decoration. I know a lot about the North Pole Dada."

Daddy: "Maybe he's like Pinocchio. He's a doll but he becomes a real elf at night when we're sleeping in bed."

Mai: "Well that's a little creepy."

You're too funny and smart my little Christmas Elf.



Ed Castaneda
tag:mayarosecastaneda.com,2013:Post/1106543 2016-11-08T15:55:09Z 2016-11-09T08:04:46Z We did it

Dear Mai,

We did it. We voted in this crazy, circus of an election. (okay, we actually voted about a week ago) Today it all ends. (hopefully) I am proud of you for your involvement. You and I watched every single debate, while playing play-doh of course. You are excited to find out who wins and I can't wait to watch it with you. You are not to be silenced!

I went as Ken Bone for Halloween and we were at a restaurant over the weekend and a political commercial came on. "Daddy, I saw who you went as for Halloween on the TV!" I guess the costume was good. :)

At one point you saw something else on TV mention the election in passing and you screamed, "Are they doing it! Are they choosing now! I don't want to miss who wins!" At one point during the debates you even drew a picture of Hillary and The Donald.

Whoever wins tonight it will be okay. We're hoping for our candidate but remember in the future that despite all the campaign negativity, ugliness and unreasonable dichotomy in the United States, we're all more alike than different as people. We live in an incredible country. Love and honor country but visit other countries too. Visit, explore and learn. It's important to understand different views of the world. You'll love our United States even more. Be fierce. Be powerful. Be fabulous. Be intelligent. Be Maya.

Love you sweet pea,

Daddy & Mommy

Ed Castaneda
tag:mayarosecastaneda.com,2013:Post/1100390 2016-10-20T08:00:14Z 2016-10-20T08:00:15Z Sailing on the "Dora"

Dear Mai,

A few weeks back you and I were just bumming around town and we stumbled upon the Center for Wooden Boats at South Lake Union. It was one of the last bright sunny days of the season and what do you know, they had a final sailing on their only battery powered boat named Dora. 

We had no idea but every Sunday, year round, is free public sail day. They take people out for a short ride on the lake. We had no idea and apparently they usually fill up fast. We got there around 2 pm and we were perfectly happy just walking along the docks when you heard someone call a boat "Dora." We went over to it, talked to the captain and he said he was looking for a few more people to go on one final tour. Perfect timing for us! We got to see and learn more about lake union, living on the water and all that jazz. I had no idea that there are city "streets" (canals) within the little house boat neighborhoods. 

We got up close with the Sleepless in Seattle house boat. (it's a movie that you'll have to watch at some point in your life if for nothing else to see some iconic landmarks of your beloved little city)

It was an awesome time and we had some great views of Seatteale.

You said, "that was so much fun Daddy but maybe the boat ride was just a little bit too long." Being on a boat out in the sun is tiring for my sweet girl!

We capped off our day with your favorite, dumplings! You were still pretty tired from our little excursion.

But once the dumplings came, you were after them. The restaurant (one of our favs), Din Tai Fung, has "training" chopsticks. Yay for me! </sarcasm> I couldn't imagine a world were it took you longer to eat than normal. I was wrong. You picked up each individual piece of rice with these damn things.

You have swimming class once a week in school now. Hopefully you can become an excellent swimmer soon and we can up our water game to renting our own boat > canoe > paddle board. Baby steps.

Love you sweet pea,


Ed Castaneda
tag:mayarosecastaneda.com,2013:Post/1100073 2016-10-19T07:20:59Z 2016-10-19T17:09:03Z Fabulous

Dear Mai,

We saw this sign the other day on a Maya / Daddy adventure day. I just asked you if I could take a picture of you in front of the sign and you struck a pose. Perfect. Couldn't have said it better myself.

Work it girl!

Now dance!

Drive it on home!

Okay. Don't ever drive like that. Ever. Good night princess.



Ed Castaneda
tag:mayarosecastaneda.com,2013:Post/1099699 2016-10-18T07:35:36Z 2016-10-18T07:35:37Z Miss Indy Pendant

Dear Mai,

I'm trying to post one a night, every night until January 1, 2017. Day 2. Let's do this.

You know Mai, as a parent, we just want what's best for our little people. Sometimes knowing what's best is difficult. I know I'm a bit too lenient but hopefully we're on a good path. One of my friends gave me some advice about a year ago when we were out having a few beers. We were talking about the whole "testing boundaries" phase and he said "let them have one thing." His advice was to let you have one thing you own. One thing that is yours. One thing that you control alone. One thing that helps you build your confidence that let's you grow. I decided that one thing was going to be your wardrobe. Okay that might not have been the best decision but yes, I don't have control over wardrobe decisions these days. Okay, in full disclosure that is probably not the "one" thing I let you own either. I'm weak to your cuteness powers. 

Most mornings when I get you ready for school, go like this. Mommy leaves clothes out before she leaves for work. We wake up late and have to rush. You come busting into our room, already dressed. "Daddy. I'm wearing this to school."

Fine. Whatever. That pic is from when it was just starting to get cooler this year. I had to coax you into putting on tights. The other day you came bursting in with the same exact outfit. You love fancy dresses and this is one of your favs. But this day it was 40 degrees outside. I tried to get you into pants and a long sleeve shirt. Nope. You were having none of that. Okay I say, tights and a sweater over the top? Nope. Tights make you cold (WTH? Really?) and you don't want to cover your pretty dress. I finally make the impression that it's cold outside and convince you to change. You come back into our room 5 minutes later:

Whatever. You'll be warm.

During the night when we're sleeping you apparently go through several outfit changes. In the morning we find your dresser and closet ransacked and you usually have a skirt on. Sometimes your skirt is over your PJs. We don't ask questions anymore. On weekend mornings 9 times out of 10 you show up in our room in this dress.

This is your favorite by far right now. You call it your Christmas dress. We're trying to get you not to wear it so much so we can wear it to an actual Christmas event. Whatever, do what you need to do man. At least we moved on from the yellow, spaghetti strap summer dress. I can't believe I don't have a picture of that but you wore that all summer long.

Independence doesn't end with clothing either. You're trying to manipulate us to having a Halloween party for you. By manipulating I mean Mommy overheard you talking to your friend Emma, her brother and their mom the other day about your Halloween party. Mommy was like "Um, what Halloween party?" Emma's mom said "oh, she's been talking about it for weeks." Funny. First we heard of it. When asked about this you obviously just assumed we were going to have one because you had already picked out a few recipes from a cookbook that I'm supposed to make for the party.

You just started "threatening" us that you are going to wake up by yourself, get changed, head downstairs, turn on the TV to some recorded versions of Elena of Avalor and cook yourself breakfast. While in reality this sounds like heaven for us, we're a tad bit frightened by this. I guess you've already made your own waffles. (okay toaster kind. sue me)

You've also poured your own cup of milk and cereal before. You're a professional corn husker. You like to use your scissors to cut every hair and leaf. You take awhile for one ear but you're thorough.

More importantly you've also been able to fetch us beers. I think this is one of most parents' proudest moments.

You have a chore that you earn real money by doing. You feed Tito every most nights.

You and Tito like to team up these days. The other day we yelled at Tito for doing some stupid dog thing. You: "Come here poor Tito. It's okay. They shouldn't yell at you." He eats your attention up!

In fact, I think you've influenced his behavior. You have this weird habit of having to bring something upstairs to bed with you every night. It has to be something from downstairs that usually doesn't come up. This has been going on since you were 2 I think. Very strange. Guess who's following your lead?

Yup. Every night I come up to bed, Tito absolutely has to grab one of his toys and bring it up stairs too. So strange.

Well my sweet little girl, let's hope this independence is good and you're growing up strong and not too spoiled. 

Love you to pieces,


Ed Castaneda
tag:mayarosecastaneda.com,2013:Post/1099355 2016-10-17T06:34:58Z 2016-10-17T14:38:47Z Country Girl

Dear Mai,

I should preface this post by saying you are not a country girl. At all. You are 100% city much to your mama's dismay. You can dress the country part and wear it well but as soon as we got to this place you asked me to carry you because the grass was getting in your boots. After a near meltdown, avoided by seeing large pumpkins, you got used to it and had a blast but it was a little bit of a ridiculous start. Anywho, I digress...

The rain has kicked in here in Seattle but I feel like we snuck in a lot of summertime fun this year. A few weeks back we did our annual Pumpkin pickin trip. This year we decided to change it up and hit a farm that had some apple pickins going on too. We've always wanted to go apple picking out here and we finally did... and the apples? They were delicious! We bought just enough apples that we could eat and some we could cook with. You're pretty into *trying* to help cook these days. I said I wanted to make an apple crisp. Your version of an apple crisp included: apples, cinnamon, sugar, chocolate, chocolate milk, chicken soup, dumplings, raisins and orange juice. This was a different version than what I wanted to do for apple crisp. We were at an impasse. We just ate those apples. But we had fun!

This place was called "The Farm at Swan's Trail" and it was up in Snohomish county. We did some apple picking, went on a tractor / hay ride, got a few pumpkins, you had your first ever caramel apple and got to play in their little kid zone. They had this hay maze that you and Mommy went through. I was waiting to see you guys come out to get a few pics and as soon as you saw the camera you started posing. You crack me up. See camera, must pose. You can see in these picks that you tried to pose ever step down from the maze. Too funny kiddo. 

Here are some highlights of our day set to the tune of "See what I can see" by Frances England, one of your favorite music persons. 

Thanks for a good time kiddo! Grandma is coming out soon so she can help carve our pumpkins up for Halloween!

Love you sweet pea,


Ed Castaneda
tag:mayarosecastaneda.com,2013:Post/1087037 2016-09-06T08:24:43Z 2016-09-06T08:25:07Z Through your eyes

Dear Mai,

Well we just got back from a great little vacation. We took a long road trip to Northern California to see some redwoods and spend some R&R time on the coast. One of the things that Mommy and I discovered on the trip is that you like to take pictures. We picked up an iPhone for you a few months back. Now wait one minute, what is a kid doing with an iPhone you ask? Relax. It was free from a friend. You don't have any kind of wireless / data service or anything. We figured we could get some games for you and it will help us all out on road trips. And it does. A lot. A 4 y/o on a road trip is a lot to take without distractions. You recently got back from an Ohio vacation and as you were getting in our car: "I wish we had a magic car like Aunt Linda's. She has T.V.s in her magic car." Sorry kiddo, no magic TVs in cars. 

Anywho, back to the pictures. Most of the over 1,000 (literally) pictures you have on your phone are just what you'd imagine a kid taking pictures of... a whole lot of nothing. However, there were a few you took from this vacation that stood out. Mommy and I even questioned each other not convinced the other didn't take the pics. So I decided to create a photo blog for you, to archive them. Who knows maybe photography will be your thing and this can be your beginning. Either that or it will just be a place to post bad selfies and a lot of pics of TVs. Anywho, here it is. Your first photoblog with you very own photos:


I'll be posting more of your pics later on that site and more of our trip with our pics here later. 

Learn and be curious my tiny photographer. 



Ed Castaneda
tag:mayarosecastaneda.com,2013:Post/1085555 2016-09-01T07:13:59Z 2016-09-01T19:42:02Z Shirley, you must be joking!

Dear Mai,

All this growing up business is for the birds. You think you're pretty cool these days with your slick talk and your confidence growing right along with your height. Just be careful; you have funny, funny parents. I remember when your mother and I were first married many, many moons ago (or like 14 years or something like that), we used to watch late night TV together. You'll know you're in a good relationship when you like each other's company so much you stay up late watching or doing something dumb just to hang out together, but I digress. I remember watching old episodes of this sitcom called "Roseanne." We used to say to each other, "someday if we have a kid we're going to model our parenting style on Roseanne and Dan." Unfortunately for you it comes all too natural for us.

Maya: "Daddy, can I please play with your phone?"

Daddy: "No sweetie, the battery is almost dead and it needs charging. Besides it is past bedtime."

Maya: (going for the oscar) "I won't play with a phone ever again! You never let me do nothing!"

Daddy: "First off, you mean I never let you do anything and second drop the tude or you won't be playing my phone ever again for reals."

Maya: (now with almost real tears) "I'm LEAVING! I'm going to get my stuff, pick up Emma and we're going to California!"

Daddy: "Can you take Tito too? He's being a pain in the tookus tonight too. Mommy and I will meet you down there later."

Maya: (storms off in more frustration than a 4 y/o should ever have)

Daddy: (finishes his dinner in peace)

Then much later when the whole California thing didn't pan out, we're getting ready for bed. Mommy and I are playing a ferocious game of words with friends with each other while laying in bed waiting for you to pick out a book. 

Maya: "You two need to make up. seriously. give each other a hug and stop fighting."

Mommy: "We're not fighting. I'm just kicking your Daddy's butt!" (She's not by the way)

Maya: "Just give each other a hug please"

Mommy: (exchanging hugs with your awesome Daddy whispers some of dopest smack talk you can deliver while hugging and whispering)

Maya: "I heard that. That's not making up."

Mommy: "What? We made up. What did you hear?"

Maya: "I will DESTROY you! Surely you can make up better than that."

Daddy: "I suppose we can sweetie. Just don't call me Shirley."

Maya: (Laughs but is obviously frustrated) "No. I said SURE-LY."

Daddy: "Right. That's not my name. Don't call me Shirley"

Maya: "UGH! No. Its like 'FOR REAL' for real and Surely mean the same thing?"

Daddy: "You mean someone has the name 'For Real'? And please stop calling me Shirley. Seriously."

Maya: (storms off in total frustration)

Mommy: "Back to plan California?"

Mommy and Daddy erupt in fits of laughter and continue the bitter words with friends game.

This is only the beginning hot shot. Not only are we funny but we're masters of sarcasm. You might not know what sarcasm is yet. You know what I always say about things you don't know; practice, practice, practice. Unfortunately you might be on the wrong end of sarcasm practice for a bit. 

Its all in good fun my sweet little princess. We're actually probably creating a monster with our "good fun" but hey, nobody's perfect. It's just so much fun messing with little kids! 

In other news you and I hit another all ages concert at the record store. You made a boyfriend at the show. Let's hope that's not a trend. At one point you and him were standing on the side and he started giving you a belly-bump. I was thinking wow. That's inappropriate. Starting a mosh pit at an acoustic rock show. His dad scolded him: "Dude! Never, ever give a girl a belly-bump. Ever!"

Mama has two days off with you a week and takes you everywhere. I could post all day long and still not keep up with all your activities. Most recently you and baby Finley like playing together at the various kid play zones in the area. It's so weird for me seeing you as the big kid.

We're having fun kiddo. Please know that if you're reading this at some point in your crazy teen years and get all made at us we love you very much. We also love to have fun but we like to mix the two up sometimes. 

Love you very much kiddo,


Ed Castaneda
tag:mayarosecastaneda.com,2013:Post/1084399 2016-08-27T22:20:09Z 2016-08-28T12:28:16Z A few words from the princess fairy

Dear Mai,

Its beed awhile since I've posted. I have so much to catch you up on, we've been very active this summer. But this is not that post. This post is about your dialogue.

We agreed to make mommy a veggie tray for a baby shower she's going to today. We were getting ready to go and I wanted to check out who this Jason Kerston was since he's playing at the record store tonight. So I'm at my computer watching one of his videos when i feel the eyes of a watchful child from behind me.

Maya: "Umm... shouldn't you be researching veggie trays?"

As we get into the car...

"Hey daddy as soon as mommy goes to the shower, we can do whatEVER we want!"

On the way to the store black sabbath came on...

Daddy: (singing and headbanging to war pigs)

Maya: "Umm. Shouldn't you be concentrating on driving instead of rocking out?"

At home you were helping get the veggies and the dips ready.

Maya: (takes off apron and leaves the kitchen) "I'm done with all this 'working' stuff."

After everything is ready and looks very nice.

Maya: "I wish i was having a sister so we could have a shower. Waah."

Mommy: "You would have to share all your stuff with your little sister."

Maya: "Woah! I don't want that!"

Daddy: "So you don't want a sibling, you just want a party with people and food."

Maya: "YES! Let's do THAT!"

what are we going to do with our crazy little girl!



Ed Castaneda
tag:mayarosecastaneda.com,2013:Post/1066540 2016-06-24T02:36:55Z 2016-06-24T02:36:55Z 1st cooking concoction

Dear Mai,

Today was the first day you created a "dish" all by yourself. It's a right of passage I think for kids. Today was a pretty good mix. I worry for what is coming.

So today you and I cooked dinner together. I find myself unemployed again, by choice, and I actually have some time before starting my next gig. Having a little time off has inspired me to start cooking again. Tonight was your favorite corn on the cob, pork chops and some beans. You totally helped and shucked all the corn and helped spice the pork chops. You said it was so much fun and wanted to do it more. You want a little apron and your own cooking utensils. I think we need to take advantage of this.

As we waited for stuff to cook, you wanted to cook more. I was cleaning up so i let you open the fridge a few times to get things out. Scary? Yes. But this is what it is all about. Experimenting and having the freedom to experiment and try new things. I just let you go, terrified of the end result.

Maya: "Daddy, Daddy! I'm done making our salad!"
Daddy: (holds breath) "great! Lemme see!"

You made a peach, spinach and mixed nut salad! Impressive! Luckily i talked you out of the skittles. You settled for having a side of cracker jacks.

Of course you took one bite and said "The rest is for you daddy." I have a feeling I'm going to be eating a lot of gross things in the near future.

Keep on experimenting my budding little chef!



Ed Castaneda
tag:mayarosecastaneda.com,2013:Post/1059411 2016-06-03T15:57:18Z 2016-06-03T15:57:18Z Bus talk

Dear Mai,

We're starting to have more interesting conversations on our commute to your school. I'm not the best planner in the world and busses are all about timing. We have to catch a certain bus to get you there in time for breakfast. If we miss that then we have to do breakfast at home. Of course busses are notoriously late or early so that adds to the fun. It seems like just yesterday i wrangled together a breakfast of champions consisting of pirate booty and a chocolate bar. After a quick tooth brushing we ran to our stop. I looked at you and realized i didn't wipe your face. Is it bad that i thought you looked like Tyrone Biggums from the Chappelle show? Don't judge me, that show was comedy genius. 

I'm getting better and we're getting our routine down. We even have time for doing a live action role playing version of candyland on our walk most mornings. And the conversations. The conversations are giving me a glimpse of what is happening in that complex little mind of yours. The other day you asked what is that on the ceiling of the bus?

I said "that's an emergency exit." As soon as the words came out of my mouth i regretted saying that. The next 10 minutes were filled with your crazy questions dreaming up the worst situations why someone would need an emergency exit on a bus. I had to reassure you that our volcano was not going to erupt causing hot, molten lava to instantly come on our bus, causing a big fire, causing us to use the emergency exit, save everyone else then have to walk the rest of the way to school. Luckily you asked what the other thing was. I was able to divert the original conversation by telling you that was a camera and talk to you about big brother and our dwindling lack of privacy as a nation. I believe you then asked for your bus snack.

Stay inquisitive my silly little girl!



Ed Castaneda
tag:mayarosecastaneda.com,2013:Post/1057170 2016-05-29T17:44:36Z 2016-05-29T17:44:36Z If this is 4, what is 14 going to be like?

Dear Mai,

Today was ridiculous. We were trying to head out of the house for a quick road trip and this hit. The sad club.

Mommy and I were trying to have fun and said "c'mon! Join the fun team! We're ready to go!" Which you moped to the chair at the opposite end of the room and replied "I'm in the sad team"

So not only did you pull your typical 4 y/o BS like us asking you to put on your shoes and you took off your socks instead, but we also had to deal with this emo driven, teen-like BS!

At one point we were on track again and then you slipped back into your morrisey loving like behavior, "I'm in the nothing club." And you sauntered off with your head down at the slowest, saddest pace i could ever imagine. Drama. Wow.

You also have this fixation with taking something, anything upstairs when it's nighttime. Yesterday you took up the chair cushion. What is that? Is that normal 4 y/o behavior? Ayiyi...

Love you my complex little girl,


Ed Castaneda
tag:mayarosecastaneda.com,2013:Post/1056245 2016-05-26T20:56:10Z 2016-05-27T02:39:02Z The haircut

Well Mai,

You did it. You earned a rite of passage as a kid. You took matters, and your safety scissors, into your own hands and did it. You cut your own hair.

Now let me walk you through a bit of history here. At one point we were a bit worried about when you hair was going actually grow. The following pictures were all taken between February and April every year from 0 - 4 respectively.

 At age zero, nothing. Okay, most kids don't have heads of hair at zero. We're okay.

Age 1. You pretty much have the same "hair" as you did when you were zero.

Age 2. You finally have "some" hair but it is all kind of weird still. 

Age 2.5. It's finally growing in a bit. Ironically your hair in these pics look a bit like you look now.

Age 3. HAIR!

I remember when I first saw this picture of you at 3.5 and the first think I thought was "holy crap! She has mommy hair!"

Age 4: it's even longer! You kept saying that you loved your hair and you wanted Rapunzel hair so you were never going to get it cut.

This picture was taken 4 weeks ago, last week of April, 2016. Um, first off, where did you learn that move? Second, your hair is well on it's way to Rapunzel like.

A few days ago I came home to this.

Mommy and I were shocked. So shocked we upset you! When we finally came to grips with it your rational was "I wanted to see if I could do it. Cut my own hair." In all reality it could have been worse and you didn't do a bad job. For a four year old. With safety scissors. Who couldn't really see anything hiding in a corner. Oh, and doesn't know a thing about hair cutting. Afterward we talked a lot about how all kids do crazy things. Mommy told some stories when she was a kid and so did I. Our Facebook friends listed all kinds of stories of their kids doing the same thing. You loved hearing those stories. I think it made you feel better. 

We did pop into a kid salon to do a quick "fix-it" cut.


and after!

Who knows what you'll do now. You say you want to grow it long again but you also like it short. It's up to you baby, it's your head crazy town!



Ed Castaneda
tag:mayarosecastaneda.com,2013:Post/1054099 2016-05-21T19:55:06Z 2016-05-21T19:55:07Z A girl and her dog

Dear Mai,

Well, we've had Tito for over a year now and you guys are good buddies. When he first got here you could tell he was timid and careful around you. Now that he has become used to you and realized you aren't a fragile little thing he doesn't mind bowling you over every now and then. That is okay. It's a small price to pay for the amount he puts up with you.

He has to play dress up with you

He has to obey your every command and wait for his treats. (and your scraps. Kids drop a lot of food)

And pose for pictures with you

but mostly just hang out and play with you

He loves his family time

but sometimes just waits for you

All this makes for a tired boy. That's okay as long as he has his lamb-y with him

I'm glad Tito found his forever home with us. It's awesome seeing you grow up with him. Foster and Stella where perfect companions for Mommy and Daddy pre-baby life and Tito is a great fit for this phase. We love our dogs. It's funny, dogs weren't a part of my life until I met Mommy but now I can't imagine life without a large canine creature.

Love you sweet pea,


Ed Castaneda
tag:mayarosecastaneda.com,2013:Post/1043215 2016-04-28T23:52:28Z 2016-04-28T23:52:28Z Take your daughter to work day

Dear Mai,

Today was the first time we participated in national take your kid to work day.... and you were fantastic. Respectful of everyone, funny and social. You attended two hour long meetings and were just perfect. 

We have this app called "maily" and it is your first electronic messaging system. I feel bad for both grandma's and mommy. Part of your "being good" included unfederated access to my phone. Lots of maya messages today.

You are so tired right now my sweet girl but trucking through an early dinner and dessert! 

Oh and it's uncle chuck's birthday! Happy birthday uncle chuck!

Love you sweer pea,


Ed Castaneda
tag:mayarosecastaneda.com,2013:Post/1039774 2016-04-24T08:39:56Z 2016-04-24T08:39:56Z Prince

Dear Mai,

On Thursday the world lost an icon. I don't normally get all emotional or anything with deaths from people that I don't know but this one hit me. Prince Rogers Nelson died April, 21 and I will forever remember where I was when I heard.

I feel that as a parent one of my duties is to make sure you are exposed to good music. Music has played such an important and constant part of my life I can't imagine what I would be without it. I felt ashamed of myself that I hadn't introduced you to much Prince prior to this weekend. When I got home from work on Thursday Mommy had already started in and explained to you who Prince was. You of course immediately liked his tunes.

On Friday morning as Mommy was getting ready to leave for work she was singing purple rain.

Maya: "Aw mommy. Are you sad Prince got dead and that's why you can't stop singing his songs?"

Friday night we had a little dance party and you got a brief education on some Prince tunes. I have to say you liked everything we played and I was impressed that you liked "Sometimes it snows in April" so much. That is probably one of my favorite Prince tunes.

Today was Daddy and Maya fun day and you were bummed to hear that we couldn't listen to Prince in the car. At the moment his music isn't instantly available on the music services I use. I can't get over the amount of instant gratification you and your generation is going to rely on. 

Before bed tonight I found a poor quality video rendition of Raspberry Beret. You loved it and made us watch it 4 times. When you first saw him in the video:

Maya: "That's Prince! He's in his jammies."

Maya: "What is Raspberry braid?"

Daddy: "It's Raspberry Beret. A Beret is a kind of hat and calling it Raspberry means it is a shade of red."

Maya: "so like... Red hat?"

Daddy: "In essence yes. But it would be boring if he sang 'she wore re-ed, hat' wouldn't it"

Maya: (bursts into laughter) "Yes Daddy. You're funny. Red hat is boring"

(after another time of you intensely watching the video)

Maya: "Oh. Actually I remembered something. It was me wearing the Raspberry Beret."

Daddy: "Oh really? This song is about you?"

Maya: "Yes. and Prince."

Daddy: "When I used to live on seal island."

So let me explain "seal island." You started making up this whole life you had prior to living with us many months ago. You used to live on Seal Island. It started with you talking about your Grandma. Not my mommy or Mommy's mommy. Your other Grandma with Flowers in her hair that lived on Seal Island too. Since then we just started rolling with the whole thing and you have all kinds of things you did when you lived there. I think you used to be a real fairy on Seal Island too. So saying that you wore a Raspberry Beret on Seal Island isn't too much of a shocker. However...

Maya: "Ah yes. And I've met Prince before"

Daddy: "Interesting. I'm assuming on Seal Island?"

Maya: "No. In Portland. At one of his concerts."

Daddy: "..."

You're an odd duck little one. I'm a little worried about how much you have been mesmerized by Prince. I love that you like the tunes but I don't know what I would do if you ever bring someone home "like" Prince. Aw hell, you're going to do you own thing. The best I can hope for is that we raise you to be a confident, strong woman that can handle her own. 

But anyway... Prince. Yeah. This is a loss for the world Mai. Just like always, the best we can do is let him live on through celebrating what he have us and listening to his tunes. I plan on hitting the record store tomorrow for breakfast. Maybe I'll buy you your first Prince vinyl. 

Here are some random picks from our Daddy and Maya fun day. Other thoughts from the day. You prefer our local Chinese hole in the wall restaurants over places like P.F. Changs. Mommy did an awesome job on your hair trying to give you Princess Leia inspired braids. You wear it well no matter what ensemble you pick out and look like a seasoned city girl waiting for the light rail. I wore you out today to the point where you fell asleep. On the train. While eating a chocolate lollipop. You're tall enough to pretty much stretch out the full length of our couch and look like a teenager. 

Keep rocking my Princess..



Ed Castaneda
tag:mayarosecastaneda.com,2013:Post/1036054 2016-04-18T15:55:19Z 2016-04-18T15:55:20Z Weekend conversations

Dear Mai,

We had an awesome weekend. I'm transitioning jobs again so theoretically I was unemployed for 3 days. I should have taken a longer break. It was carefree and liberating. 

Saturday we headed to Gig Harbor. Great weather, views and a relaxing ferry trip. The only minor setback was you having a total Wipeout. Just kid stuff, running down a ramp. Well that ramp had a cliff. Boom. Down go Maya. You don't take falls and owies well. "There's blood! THERE'S BLOOD!!!" was heard loud and clear on the Gig Harbor waterfront. Momma has the right words though:

Maya: "I was just crying, crying and crying!"

Mama: "That's what happens! We all fall, bleed a little. Then it's just a little clean up, a bandaid and no more crying! Everything is going to be okay!"

Maya: "Really? I didn't know that!"

Although I've never seen anyone, especially a four year old nurse a knee scrape quite like you. You we're actually limping for about 20 minutes after. "I don't think I can walk any more dada. I never want to use a ramp again."

Sunday was just a normal Maya / Daddy fun day. Record store, farmer's market, a target run and some water fun with the hose. Yup. It is actually warm enough for water fights. In Seattle. In April. Sometimes you and I lolly gag around and take forever. Mama tried to give us advice about being quick and not buying the entire store on our target run.

Mama: "You guys should just think. What would mama do?"

Maya: "watch TV?"

Daddy: (shuffling our little comedian out the door) "let's just go Mai."

Today on our walk to the bus:

Maya: "Aw Daddy. Why did you kill that little bug?"

Daddy: "Oh I'm sorry little bug! I didn't mean to kill you! I didn't see you!"

Maya: "He can't hear you Daddy. He got dead. You killed him. By stepping on him."


Maya: "What is that awful smell?"

Daddy: "Mulch. See right there. That's mulch. It helps keep gardens looking nice."

Maya: "I don't like mulch. It's not my style."

You definitely have you're own style kiddo!



Ed Castaneda