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. :-)



Maya in Ohia

What a trip!!!!

We got home from Ohio yesterday. It was a blazing fast 8 days mixed of tears and cheers. Unfortunately Daddy lost his phone (camera) the last day of the trip so most of our pics are gone. We still got some good ones though! Let's see... what did we do?

Besides kicking it at the Granville Street Fair, You loved to play in Grandma's pond. You should know that Grandma, never, ever, EVER let's any kid throw rocks in her pond. Except for Maya. Because this made Maya happy.

You got to feed the fish in her pond.

You loved to dip your toes in the pond with cousin Hannah. Hannah was pretty cute and ready to play with you the entire time. You were probably a big disappointment for Hannah because well... you're still just a baby! Hannah was cute and even sang  you her version of the "Maya Papaya" song. You did have fun with her in the pond though!

But what comes with playing in the pond? Dirty, dirty baby with pond scum. ew. yuck. That meant you got to take your first hose shower! Yea! You were pretty impressed.

You also got to have your first Tea Party with cousin Hannah! 

You, Grandma and Mommy visited the Columbus Zoo and you loved it! This was a much different experience than visiting the Tacoma Zoo. You actually saw all the animals and were interested! You loved the flamingos and the Elephants were your favorite. You came back able to make a pretty impressive Elephant sound. The Gorillas scared the bejesus out of you apparently though. Any mention of the word "monkey" that day was responded with a prompt "no" from you and a a violent shaking of the head.

The Toledo visit was a blur but it was a great visit. Unfortunately I lost most of those pics. But besides hanging with the family you got to go visit Grandpa again and visit the house Daddy grew up in! I had a great pic of you and Grandma on the front porch but it was still on my phone.

This is the tree outside of that house. Most of my childhood friends climbed that tree at one point in time. Daddy wasn't the most athletic kid on the block so I got as far as up that first stump. You also got about that far already. It is quite possible that you might become a professional rock climber.

We took you to Maumee Bay State Park and you got to take a dip in Lake Erie for the first time!

Now when I was a kid we used to head just east of that State park to Reno Beach Ohio. My friends and I had some good times on those shores and if we were lucky we got a view of Davis Besse (The Nuclear Power Plant) from the beach. 

Aunt Rosie and Uncle John are the restaurant connoisseurs of Northwest Ohio and Southwest Michigan. There is a great Lebanese restaurant they take us to in Dearborn. You loved the Hummus and Pita! After we ventured to this incredible bakery. You walked in like you owned the place and said hi to just about everyone. Twice.

Most of the Toledo time was just hanging with Family. Uncle John was your favorite by far. He had you laughing and you mimicked just about anything he did. In fact if Mommy or Daddy tried to get you to try some food you answered with your favorite word. "No." If Uncle John asked you to you more than willingly did. Beast. He taught you what "stuck" means and now when something is stuck you say "stuck" and proceed with the dramatic struggle to "un-stuck" it. Here you are kicking back on Grandma Castañeda's patio enjoying some watermelon. You got your first taste of real humidity. The pictures don't show the incredible mess you were that day. I think you had to have three baths that day to just not be totally gross.

On the way back to Granville from Toledo we had to take a pause in driving because of the torrential downpour we were in. Now people say it rains a lot in Seattle. It doesn't rain like what we drove though. Not even close. But our pause gave you a chance to cross off another Ohioism kids do. Late night Meijering. 

With such a short visit, most of the time was spent with Family. We did manage to see a few of our friends and you had a blast playing with their kids! Here you and Ryan are enjoying some ice cream in Granville.

Here you are playing with Wyatt and Sophia. You LOVED Wyatt and all his toys!

All in all it was a great trip Maya. The first few days were rough. Probably because of lack of sleep after taking a red eye. I think Mommy and Daddy learned a valuable lesson this trip. No more Ohio red eye trips. We also need to start buying you your own seat. A seat for you instead of on the lap makes a world of difference. You were pretty good on all the planes though. You were pretty attached to Mommy and Daddy the whole trip but warmed up a little bit. I think both Aunt Linda's "won" in the ability to hold Maya category. I think they both got to hold you three times without you throwing a crazy baby fit. All that will get better in time. Overall I think Mommy and I agree that you get somewhere between a "C+" or "B-" for the trip. :)

Now that we're back home its time to catch up on sleep and back to eating healthy. Time to get back on that potty too girlie! You do take after your daddy in lots of ways.

On to our next adventure...



Hangin with Papaw and Mamaw

This second Ohio trip was pretty exciting. Not only did you get to be in your first wedding and hang with the Castaneda clan, Papaw and Mamaw Barker came up from Georgia to see you too!

First things first. Food. You had your very first high chair experience at Panera Bread in Newark, Ohio and you did swimmingly! A natural if you will. Fear not, Papaw was there to lend you a helping hand if needed.

But, as usual, you are pretty irristable so Papaw had to snatch you up!

From lunch we headed over to Aunt Patty and Uncle Gene's for some quality family time.

You even resisted your need to feed long enough to get a couple great family photos with Papaw and Mamaw!

But alas, our visit was too short. Don't worry we'll see them again soon. Papaw gave your mother a great photobook from when she was little. I can't wait to share those with you.

Flower girl Mai Tai

So the focal point of heading back to Ohio last week was for your cousin, Alyssa's wedding. Alyssa, Courtney and Aunt Linda were so excited to see you they stayed up all night waiting for you and made some welcome signs! (I think a little booze added to the"creativity" but it was very sweet)

I think your Grandma was just as excited for the wedding as she was to see you in some of the wonderful outfits she bought for you. You looked so precious getting ready for the big day.

You got to meet your cousin Hannah and she was baffled why you couldn't walk on your own yet. She decided to take matters into her own hands and coax you along. I believe here words were, and I quote: (as she opened her arms to you) "Come here buddy! (smack, smack.. the sound you would make to get a dog's attention) Come here!"

We even got a great family photo! 

So this was also your first experience with the hot summer heat in Ohio. This is pretty much what you thought of that.

That's ok, air conditioning was close by as we took shelter with Nathan the Groom.

As the ceremony began, you did your part perfect. Grammy made you this wonderful wagon and cousin Hannah practiced pulling you. You were probably the two best, cutest flower girls to ever be in a wedding. Ever.

You cousin Alyssa looked absolutely gorgeous as she made the grand entrance via airplane with her Father. (Uncle Rick) The ceremony and everything was perfect.

You had 3 outfit changes during the day. We missed photos of your second pink outfit. It's ok. It's hard keeping things clean when your a baby. Heck, it's hard for Daddy to keep things clean as an adult. It must be genetic. But all that is a big day for a little girl. Luckily you can doze off and catch some zzz's just about anywhere.

What also might be genetic is not wanting the party to ever end. You woke up and had your second wind and got to party with Mama and Uncle Gary (Big G) for a bit. He sure is tall isn't he!

Weddings can be a lot of fun and this one was a blast. Probably almost as fun as Mommy and Daddy's. Almost. ;-) 

With that said, Mommy and I were trying to teach you your first word while we were back in Ohio:


"Can you use it in a sentance?"

"Maya might choose to elope when she gets married. Elope."

Photo Shoots in Ohio

I don't think this Orange outfit fits anymore! :-( Then again, it's 50 degrees here in Seattle so maybe its just won't fit by the time "summer" hits here.

In her Mother's Day outfit


We were finally going to get a "real" photo shoot by our friend Victoria. She can actually take good pictures instead of one off camera photos.  But, Maya decided that the hours between 6 and 8 PM was dedicated "throw a monsterous fit" time. That is when we tried to do our photo shoots.  We feel lucky that we even got these photos.


Thank goodness she seems to be over all that nonesense.

Ohio Trip: The first half

Maya had a blast in Ohio visiting all family and friends. Her first few days were just hanging with Mommy, Grandma Gibson and the Lawrence family and friends, sans Daddy. She had a little trouble adjusting to the heat but luckily Grandma and everyone made her feel right at home. Thought you saw pink overload before? Check out Maya's room at Grandma's. It's blinding me.

She got to hang with dogs her own size.

Check out Grandma's Koi Pond. (We are a little worried she acts a lot like Stella. Stella loved to stare at the fish in that pond. For those of you that don't know Stella; Stella crazy. Maya also adopted another "Stella-ism" and loved watching the reflective light from Grandma's crystals.)

Play time with Grandma

Hanging in the yard with cousin Lyssa and friends.

Got to see the basket...

On the way to the "Corn Palace" 

Drive a golf gart

Check out a little "texas" in the middle of Corn's backyard

Play a little pool

Crash out with Grandma on the outside daybed.

And finally got to enjoy a great Mother's day brunch with the family before heading out to Toledo and part two of the trip. (soon to come)

Thanks Grandma and everyone in Columbus, Granville and Newark! Maya had a blast and loves you all very much. Sorry we didn't get a chance to see everyone but we'll be back... or... Seattle is starting to boast some beautiful weather now. You should come visit Maya out west!

The Good Little Traveler: Coming Home

Yesterday was a long day for little Miss Maya. It started with getting up early and heading out to Detroit Metro Airport to catch our flight.

Hanging out with Daddy while waiting for the plane to take-off.

After a light meal, catching a few Zzz's after take-off. (notice the outfit change. The engine starting wasn't the only explosion on that flight)

Woke up after about an hour an a half in the air and grabbed a quick undercover lunch with Mommy.

Watched a little tube with Mommy.

Played for a bit in my very own airplane seat.

Caught another nap with about 1 hour left in flight. Ahh.. peaceful sleep.

Didn't wine once during the entire 4.5 hour flight! In fact, slept through the landing and even while waiting for Daddy to get all the luggage.

Even slept through the shuttle / parking / flat tire fiasco Mommy and Daddy had to go through

Finally arrived back home to the comfortable crib and mobile friends!

You'd think that be enough to fit in for one day for a little one.  Unfortunately no and poor Maya had to pack it up again and head to the Dr. for her two month check-up.  You know what two-month check-up means? Vaccinations.  Poor baby.

Good news is she passed check-up with flying colors.

Weight: 12 pounds and 12.5 ounces

Height: over 2 feet tall!