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A tree branch was blocking our direct satellite link to the sky. That is, a tree branch was blocking it when the wind was blowing, so that meant that if the wind wasn’t blowing – or moving at all, really – we’d have internet access and if there was any kind of puff at all, there was a fresh hunk of nada moving across our router, with an endless “connecting” circle playing.

The internet guy told us all this, while he moved his little device (that looked a lot like a tricorder from Star Trek) around and found “readings.” I was impressed. I was even more impressed that he fixed it, and also maybe most impressed that he found our place all on his own.

Meriah Nichols-11Our place is not an easy one to find.

Meriah Nichols-10My own niece can’t find it.

I ask her why she never visits me, her poor old auntie all out on the hill by herself, besieged with children and animals and longing for adult-niece company, and she says, “cuz you live out in the middle of nowhere and I can’t find your place.”

Meriah Nichols-8Hurumph.

Meriah Nichols-9Mack came flying inside when he spotted the “ca-ta-pi-wah”, just squirming in excitement because he wanted to see it change to a “bu-tah-fwhy” and wanted me to take a “pik-cher” of it before it did, but to be extremely careful not to hurt it – “DON’T TOUCH IT, MOMMMMMYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!” he bellows, and I’m marveling partly at how well his teacher has taught him the life-cycle of these things (because I sure as hell didn’t), and wondering at where he got this idea that I’m some kind of Caterpiller Crusher? What’d I ever do to make him think I’d like, reach over and whack that cute and furry critter?!!!

Sheesh. Kids.

Meriah Nichols-18“KISS ME”

Meriah Nichols-14Fur-kid.

Meriah Nichols-13California Poppies are all over the place and I do believe my heart melts when I see them.

I remember when I was really little on our sheep ranch in Cloverdale (before we moved to Fiji). I had been told in school that picking California Poppies was highly illegal. One day after school, I was wandering around our ranch and I surreptitiously reached out and plucked one. I held it in my (probably really grubby) hand and waited for either God to send over a bolt of lightening or for swarms of helicopters to swoop down, cuff me and lead me away.

Thrill seeking, hick-kid style.

Meriah Nichols-15This kid gets her thrills by bolting!

This is a Down syndrome thing that I’ve gotten into hot water by talking about in the past. It’s like, ‘zero impulse control’ – which is to say, when she wants to go, she just GOES. She doesn’t think about the consequences sometimes, doesn’t do anything other than GO.

It’s a real pain in the butt and a total nerve-wrencher. Imagine living out here with a kid who just bolts, when you know there are things like, scorpions, bobcats, mountain lions, snakes, bears and wild boar (with tusks and stuff) out there, and moreover, you know it’s not some “talk of wild animals”, it’s like, you’ve actually SEEN them (and EATEN some).

Plus side is that she’s older so she will reason sometimes.

Sometimes the “Moxie, come back NOW or Mommy will spank you and put you in time out and you will NOT LIKE THAT” sinks in and she returns. The other week, she slipped out and ran over to the next hill – through the valley of poison oak! – and I only know this because the dogs were with her, and herded her back a bit. Then she got stuck in blackberry brambles and I had to find her and unravel her.

I was not pleased.

But I had also been so scared shitless that I was completely pleased, just to see her precious face and hold her in my arms and tell her over and over to not do that, please, it’s so scary for Mommy, please don’t do that, no, no, no. I can’t take it, honey.

Meriah Nichols-17Kids.

Mack likes to drive and have Moxie ride next to him. Meriah Nichols-16He says, “Moxie is my lady”

Meriah Nichols-19He says, “you are Daddy’s lady, Mommy, and Moxie’s my lady”

Meriah Nichols-7

I don’t buy that many toys for the kids, but I’ve started to buy more than I have in the past, because it’s fun to watch them play (right, it’s all about me?! haha)

Meriah Nichols-5This helicopter thing was a total winner.

$25 as Micah’s birthday present, and all 3 kids just soaked the living sauce out of it!

Meriah Nichols-4So. Much. Fun.

Meriah Nichols-2Mikey wanted his turn too.

He just about broke the thing – I might need to get him one for his birthday, too.

Meriah Nichols-1Over and out.

Meriah Nichols-12

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  1. deep sigh of joy and love…heart overflowing 🙂

  2. Fiona Willis says:

    Love your photos and writing- it is ‘just an honest slice of life’ that ends up being such a lovely thing to read. Meriah, is there any way I can send you my art book for your three gorgeous kids? I am a primary school teacher and also children’s art teacher. I wrote an instructional, full colour art book with 33 activities that can be adapted to suit materials you have etc. Many of the activities are about using recycled things and what we find in nature. I’d love to give you a copy but can’t find anywhere to privately message you.

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