More Christmas Preparation

Dear Mai,

Today was a pretty casual day. We've been having fun getting our house ready for Christmas and today was the day we finally went and got our tree. It was decision time. Since this is our first year spending Christmas in our own house, do we start a new tradition and go to a tree farm and cut our own tree? That sounds like fun!

We didn't do that. Between our procrastinating and my over researching tree farms on the Intranet we decided to just go to our favorite local tree lot and get one there. Oh and it was raining. And we're lazy.

So it's not cut your own and you wanted to help Mommy get decorations ready so Daddy was sent off by himself to get a tree. 

Plus you insisted on wearing this outfit without a coat because you are apparently aware of your own cuteness.

Come to think of it, THAT is our tradition. Send Daddy off in the rain to a tree lot to get a tree. Mommy and I have been doing that even pre-Maya! This year I apparently mastered the "I work here" look and was asked by several people to help get a fresh cut or load their Christmas trees.

But after a quick brunch stop at the local Elliot Bay with some homemade donuts...

We finally got our tree up and got it decorated!

It's a pretty tree and you are a pretty girl. Mommy and I joke that we hope you have an awkward phase from about age 14 through 22. Okay we don't. Not really. Kinda. I just don't know how many high school boys I'm going to have to destroy. I worry about these things. 

We also bought your first Advent Calendar (chocolates for 24 days? Who doesn't like that?) and the Elf returned to keep an eye on you the remainder of the year. We're having a blast with all of it this year Mai. Seeing your excitement makes us happy. Now the trick is how to not make it all about commercialism and all that jazz. I don't think we've started on the right foot. We're having fun though! :-)

Good night Mai!



Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Dear Mai,

Wow. Christmas. This is the topic of our daily discussions these days. Christmas lights! Santa! Christmas Lists! Snow! Ohio! Prizes! Candy Canes! Snowmans! And yes, you still insist you're on the funny list. Its a hoot and crazy time of year.

To start things off we had our annual "snow" day here in Seattle! That usually just means a dusting and indeed that is all it was this year but you saw it out our window when you first woke up; "DADDY! DADDY! SNOW! YOOK IT! SNOW!" Unadulterated, ecstatic enthusiasm. We immediately got all our winter gear on and headed out to play, even before breakfast! We ran into your friend Noelle and her Mommy and Daddy. She is one of your first neighborhood friends. Its pretty darn cute watching you two interact together. This first set of photos are courtesy of her mother Sonja Hunt from I think this emphasises the fact that we need to get a professional shoot done with you instead of just capturing everything with our pitiful little cell phone cameras. 

<tangent data-attribute='get-off-my-lawn'> When I first met your mommy we got our very first cell phones together. A few years later was when they introduced cameras on cell phones for the first time. I remember saying "There is absolutely no reason I would ever use a camera on my cell phone." Combined we both have over a gagillion photos on our phones. </tangent> 

Thanks for the pics Sonja!

And of course more shots with our pitiful camera phones. You were pretty into the whole snowball concept.

So you're pretty excited about your Christmas list. Here you are at target checking out a book, you know to see if you want to add it to your list or not.

You LOVE decorating for Christmas. We got our tree last weekend and again, pure toddler excitement with helping decorate it. Notice the first ornaments you hung this year. The purple ones. Quite different from last year's Red Fang Christmas. We lost your Red Fang patch too. You still wanted to hang it after I mentioned it, but after the purple ones.

Thank goodness Grandma sent us Christmas decorations this year. You probably would not have been satisfied with our normal minimal Christmas display. I'm so impressed you've managed to not touch the Christmas blocks so far!

I made the mistake of saying that we could put Christmas lights in your room. As soon as you hear that, it had to happen. But what kind of lights? Yup. You guessed it. Purple ones. It looks like a damn kids room from the 1970s. All you need is a black light poster and you're all set!

You're getting to be such a big girl Mai! You're stylish.

Love to help cook.

Love to play dress-up.

And love to build things. This is your chair you built out of your footstool and cushion. "It helps my back" you say. Yup. You will have many funny sayings because you have older parents. I guess that's why you're on the funny list. 

<tangent>If there is such a thing as the funny list, your mommy and I invented it. We're pretty damn funny. Let's not forget that. I'm sure you'll appreciate our humor as you grow. Either that our resent us but whatevs. </tangent>

Today you and Mommy are picking me up from work to ride the carousel and see the big tree downtown. We have many other Christmas fun times planned AND we leave for Ohio soon! Let's keep this Christmas train rolling!

Love you my little funny girl,


The funny list

Dear Mai,

Its Thanksgiving eve and I've just finished brining our turkey. I can't believe the holiday season is already here. I still have to post about our Halloween fun! In addition to all the holiday fun, we also celebrated Mommy's birthday! Your teacher at your daycare says you are the one that LOVES birthday parties. She even tries to rearrange the days that you are there to coincide with the parties because you like them so much. For Mommy's birthday you helped me bake her cake!

Your also recovering from being sick. We don't like our sweet girl to be sick but... when you are, it is when you are the most "cuddly" so we try to take advantage of it. 

Even when you're sick you want to help. Here you are "helping" me make your bed.

This is also the first year you are old enough to really "get" some of the holidays. You loved Halloween and we are all pretty excited for our friends to come over tomorrow for Thanksgiving. We've also introduced you to more Christmas concepts. 

For example, we told you about Santa and Christmas lists. Since you are watching more TV / cartoons these days, you see stuff on the commercial and exclaim: "I WANT THAT!" We need to instill a better "can't always get what you want" and "you have to earn it" type mentality but.. you're 2 so for now we are saying "You better put that on your Christmas list!" 

Again, being two, the concept of being "nice" or "good" lasts for about 45 seconds before that naughty side kicks in. You want to be good. You really do but you just can't help yourself. Well, at least you USED to want to be good. Here is a conversation from last weekend.

Mommy: "Maya! Its time for bed!"

Maya: "No. I don't want to do that."

Mommy: "Maya, that isn't being a good girl. Do you want Santa to move you from the nice list to the naughty list?"

(This is after at least 1 day of you trying your best to stay on the nice list)

Maya: (after a pause and some pensive thought. You kind of mutter under your breath) "no. I'm going to be on the funny list."

Daddy: "What?"


Daddy: (erupts in laughter)

Mommy: "Honey, there is a fine line between funny and naughty and I don't think you have the experience to pull that off."

Daddy: (more laughter)

Maya: "no. I can do it. I'm funny."

Good Lord, what are we in for.

In addition to the "wish list" you've also taken a shine to all the holiday decorations. We bought you some purple Christmas lights that we are going to put up in your room tomorrow. You're so excited you can't stand it. I can't wait to take you to see the lights this year. You're going to love it!

Besides all the materialistic things, we are also trying to introduce you to the concept of giving. We want you to understand the joy of giving during the holidays and not just all about "me, me, me." So far so good. You're excited to give away more of your old coats, clothes and toys. Let's keep that up.

Well, its late and I'm rambling. Happy Thanksgiving my funny girl!



Christmas at Grandma's (wa won)

Dear Mai,

You speak very well... for the most part. You're vocabulary has been bursting since 16 months old and now its over the top. You sling together 3, 4 and even 5 word sentences now like its nobody's business. I came home late from work last night and almost missed your bedtime. Mama was just about to tuck you in when I walked in the house. I hear this exclamation immediately. "Want water meddon (melon) pease Daddy!" That was your chant as you trucked down the stairs, right passed me (no kiss, no hug) and straight to the refrigerator. Mama had said you could have watermelon for dessert when Daddy got home. That was 2+ hours before I got home. Our girl likes her fruit. (you like food in general. Mama said you had a 45 minute dinner last night)

Besides "meddon" for melon and "micky" for music the only other word(s) I can think that you constantly alter is "wa won" meaning "other one." They day after Christmas we had to drop Mommy off at the airport and head to your other Grandma's house. Mommy and I were talking about how we should refer to each Grandma. Grandma C? Grandma G? Big Grandma and Little Grandma? We were telling you that we were going to see Grandma, the other one and you seemed to get it right away. You understood that you have 2 Grandmas. So that's it! It's just Grandma and when we are talking about a different Grandma it's just "Grandma. wa won."

You thought you were pretty cool eating your meals at the big girl chair. 

Eating breakfast with Grandma

But then I made the mistake of sitting you on the high bar stools. From there on out. "big gurl chair."

Both Grandma's always have a lot of Christmas decorations out. Your favorites were the ones that play music, sing, dance and light up. At the other Grandma's your favorite was the Christmas Hippopotamus. At this Grandma's your favorite was the snowman even though it scared the bejesus out of you a few times. We heard the words "more noman" more than we ever wanted to. And that darn thing sang winter wonderland. Every. Single. Time.

You started coming out of your shell a bit more and saw my whole family again. Cousin Maria adores you and you warmed up to her. A little. :)

We got to see cousins Deb, Mel and Holly, William, Aunt Terry and Uncle Chuck!

But your favorite person by far (you're BFF if you will) was Uncle John.

While we were there you played pretend for the first time. At first I didn't understand what you were doing. You kept saying "choo choo train. On choo choo" And made Aunt Rosie and Uncle John sit with you on the floor. You pointed to the side of the coffee table that had box like frames and said "choo choo trian. on choo choo." Daddy:" Oh! You're on a choo choo train?" Maya (with excitement) "YA!" You tried to get cousin Matt to play too but he wasn't budging. :)

When it was time for them to leave you whined "John. want John." and pouted at the door.

You're kind of the center attention when we go back to Ohio. Whether it's watching you be goofy, try out your new outfits or just watching you play the iPad. Seriously, you had at one point like 5 people watching you play your iPad games. Spoiled much?

At the end you started getting really, really clingy to Daddy though. (we sometimes refer to you as our Klingon) We went to a Japanese steakhouse and you wouldn't get off my lap. Usually you love to sit in your high chair but too long away from your routine was tough on our little one this time. We finally got you in your high chair. Then the chef lit the fire. Wow. 5-alarm screaming. I even tried to prepare you for it. Did not help one bit. In hindsight it was kind of funny. You're a kid. You're resilient. You bounced back. I'm allowed to laugh. :)

You did finally get back to a normal sleep / nap schedule. Although as I'm remembering this, I think this is when I created the "30 minute tuck-in" monster. Ugh! Bad Daddy! :)

Even though it was a long time for you, it seemed like in no time are visit had to come to an end. It was goodbye to both Grandma's and all the cousins and friends. Off to the airport with our seasoned littler frequent flyer.

And home to Mommy! We landed in Seattle around 11:00 PM on New Year's eve so we even got to party with Uncle Shawn and Aunt Becky when we got home! You're first New Year's eve party! (Daddy likes to have New Year's Eve Parties you'll soon find out. Heck that is how Mommy and I met but that is a story for another time. Or maybe never)

There were some trying times Mai. You were crazed, funny, whiny and a partial lunatic. Most of all you were a trooper and it was awesome seeing you spend time with everyone back home. Like I said on my last post, Grandma (wa won) is coming out in 2 days! After that Aunt Rosie and Uncle John are coming! Hopefully we can get this Grandma out here soon too. Before you know it, it will be Christmas time again and we'll do it all over again!

Merry Christmas Maizy!


Christmas at Grandma's (Catching up series)

Dear Maya,

It is sometimes difficult living so far away from our friends and family especially around the holidays. On Christmas we definitely like to get back to visit though. This year we decided to try something a little different. In order to maximize your time with everyone you and Mommy flew out together first. I came out a few days later and you and I flew home together; Mommy left a few days before us. It worked out for the most part. You spent 2 whole weeks in Ohio and were able to spend some quality time with both of our Families. What we didn't count on was that a break from the routine for a 20 month-old was for that long was pretty tough. But, as they say, sometimes you have to learn by jumping in the fire. Get used to it kid. We like to travel.

We were dreading the flight, didn't know how you'd behave with a single parent on the long travel day(s). It is about a good 10 hour day of total travel time from door-to-door, if not more. Of course, you came through with flying colors. You're a pretty seasoned flyer already and are even equipped with your own suite case. (that you carted around by yourself a total of 2% of the time)

You and Mommy upgraded to first class on one of the legs! (Don't get  used to that kid. we don't usually live with that kind of luxe)

And finally you arrived at Grandma's! Yay!

So the whole "Grandmas spoil Grand kids" adage is alive and well here. I'm pretty sure Grandma supplies about 90% of your wardrobe and has since you were in newborn sizes. In fact we are getting ready for another Grandma visit soon for your birthday so we were doing some cleaning today and we donated a lot of clothes to a local charity of stuff you've already outgrown. It was sad parting with some of the stuff. Grandma buys you some cute clothes! 

I present to you the Christmas Elf!

And the Baby Biker!

Maybe a classic movie star look? Or a nod to Jackie O?

And those are only 3 new outfits. Out of maybe a gazillion of them... give or take a few.

The one routine that we were kind of worried about was sleep. Typically, you are very good about taking your naps and going to bed. Yeah, you try to stall sometimes and you know how to totally play me. When Mama puts you to bed its done in less than 5 minutes. When I put you to bed it is more of a 10-20 minute ordeal. You want me to sing "one more" song to you or "one more" book. You have no idea what "one more" is either; or you have a blatant disregard for the meaning. I cave because I'm a pushover and you're so stinkin cute! I know, I'm setting us up for pain in the long run. No wonder when it's time for bed and we ask you: "Do you want Mommy or Daddy to tuck you in?" Maya: "Daddy tuck you."

But for your first few days in Ohio, you didn't have your normal crib that you love and you and I had to say goodnight by phone. Let's just say its safe to assume that we let you break a lot of rules in order for you to get some quality sleep. Mommy said the first night you were cuddling with her on the bed and it was time to go to sleep in your own bed. You said: "More cuddle please." Who can resist that? No one. Not even the Mominator.

You also began you're whole "i'm going to totally mess around at nap time instead of actually sleeping" routine in Ohio.

But if I'm a pushover, your Grandma is just as bad. Most days I heard this. Maya: "Grandma. Phone." 2 seconds later... this:

And every time Grandma got her phone back something was different. Icons were moved, deleted and all kinds of settings changed. Its almost like you did it on purpose challenging her to get it back to normal.  But still, everyday (and multiple times a day) Grandma relinquished her phone to you every time you asked. You also at one point decided to take some Maya selfies on her phone. I believe those 20+ photos of just your eyes and up are still on her phone today.

Grandma had you on a busy, busy schedule while were there. We went here, there and everywhere. She wanted to show you off to everyone! (I'll have a few catch-up posts on some of those visits shortly) But what I remember most is Christmas Eve and Christmas. You and Grandma set out some cookies and milk for Santa on Christmas Eve after the annual Lynch Family Pizza Challenge. It was so crazy cool watching you engage in some Christmas traditions for the first time. I don't know what you were thinking but you sure were excited and happy!

Speaking of Santa, you talk a pretty big game but when the rubber meets the road, Santa is not on your favorites list. You know who Santa is and like the idea of him but this is about the closest you wanted to come to him.

This is what happened when you met the "real" Santa.

By the way, that is my favorite Santa picture ever. It looks like it is right out of a horror movie! Cousin Hannah even has a scary little grin on her face. You're not going to believe this by looking at that picture but you weren't the "most upset" kid to see Santa that night. Another little boy was there that was young and afraid. His Daddy put him on Santa's lap. Kid lost. his. marbles. 

I guess visiting him with Mommy and Daddy is okay.

You also learned about presents this year. You were on and off about them though. Sometimes you went gangbusters on them and sometimes you were kind of "meh" about them. On Christmas morning you were pretty happy opening your gifts though!

You got your first taste of stocking stuffers too and LOVED your cutie!

But the best present was waiting for you back home in Seattle! A TRICYCLE! 

Grandma to the rescue again! That's right she had this shipped out to you and you love it! It is pretty much your main transportation mechanism when we take goose for a walk these days. Mommy likes to call it your "Tryke" which in turn makes you call it your "Tryke-cycle" 

It even has a basket to carry your special things like rocks you find out on our rides and of course your "FANG" patch. Fang was the first thing you put in there.

At the end of the day, just chillaxin in the doggie beds was more than enough fun.

It was a crazy few weeks and a great Christmas Mai and this is only a portion of our adventure. We'll catch up on the rest soon. For now I think the least we can end with is:

"THANK YOU GRANDMA! See you in a few days!"

Mai, where should we take Grandma on this visit? Let's sleep on it. We'll document it soon enough. :-)