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I’m pretty excited right now.

I am making a road trip with just me the chitlins – from the Lost Coast to Washington State. We’re going to get some last-minute fixes for the camper so that our trip south will be a bit more comfortable. Specifically, we’re getting the hydraulic poles (the things that lift and lower the camper) worked on so it won’t be so hard to crank it up – and we are also going to swap out the propane fridge for an electric fridge. That swap will allow us to hook the fridge up to our solar panels.

We still need to get our cushions and bed mattress revamped, but that shouldn’t be as hard to arrange as getting the camper worked on – we’ve been trying to make this happen since JUNE. Yes.

I’m really excited because this is the first major trip I’ve made with just me and the kids. I think we’re going to have a great time.

map

Lots of Portland.

My problem with going to Portland – is this really a problem? – is that I love Portlandia so damn much that when I think of Portland, the theme song starts running like an ear worm in my head and won’t go away. I’m going to see if there are Portlandia tours or something.Put a bird on it!

haha.

DSC_0470It’s been raining over here on the Lost Coast.

Sweet rain. We love it, we need it. And I want to be gone before it starts in earnest, for the whole winter. Our yurt simply is NOT equipped for this sort of thing. I mean, you don’t understand: we can only even get electricity in spurts. It’s nuts.

But gorgeous.

DSC_0477This place.

There is no place like it.

Where else in California are you going to find such isolation, such heart-clenching beauty, such wilderness?

DSC_0491Horses on the beach. Free.

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This young buck was RACING me. He stopped, looked at me, continued, racing, then he bounded over that fence and ran in front of me, sailed past the next fence and off, over the meadows he went.

The beauty made my eyes well.

DSC_0514The forests, the trees. The light.

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The road to town.

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It’s impossible to articulate how it feels to be driving on this narrow little road, ABOVE THE CLOUDS, then descend up and down, twists and turns, with the farms and trees so far below you.

It’s like that ‘eye of an ant’ thing – that in the scope of the universe, this earth is like the eye of an ant. Riding these roads, I feel so small, so utterly tiny in this picture.

There is not much like living on the Lost Coast for gaining a sense of perspective on the entirety of this world, on meaning, on life.

Speaking of life.

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The eggs were from our chickens, the ham from a wild boar that Ken shot.

We took the boar into town to be butchered; I went to pick up the meat.

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This business here of our food being in our face, of life being seen, respected, consumed. People here grow their food for the most part, a great deal of it. That means livestock, greens, vegetables, fruit, everything.

There is respect and appreciation for the plants we grow as well as for the living creatures we kill and eat. I like that and I like our kids being raised with that.

I thought that type of respect was dead in the United States.

It’s not.

You just have to be in a place like the Lost Coast to experience it.

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Other news:

I’m still making the t-shirts!

 

This has been a lot of fun.

Making the t-shirts has been, anyway – I’ve been pretty frustrated with WooCommerce and setting it up for purchase.

IMG_5932It’s all far from a deaf-friendly experience. I finally wrote to WooCommerce and I was like, “if you send me one more non-captioned video to explain it to me, I’m going to SCREAM!“.

Everything is set now except for the frickin’ cart. Not like that’s important, right?!

If you want to place an order for a shirt, just take a look at the pictures, see what you like and email me (meriahnichols@gmail.com). I’ll send you an invoice through PayPal. It’s $15/shirt (- they are all American Apparel too), flat $3 for shipping. They will only be sold until the end of October.

Moving on!

IMG_6081Roadtrip!

Woot! Can’t wait

PS

If you are on the way to Portland or around there, HOLLA!

PSS

Real time shots will be posted on IG – I’m @meriahnichols there if you’d like to follow my feed

 

Since we’re cranking up for leaving in October, hitting the road again, I’m re-visiting books and the ipad…

Both kids use the iPad quite a bit and I give it full credit for teaching Moxie the alphabet, making her super interested in phonics.

It’s making yogis, readers, artists, singers and problem-solvers out of the kids and I couldn’t be more delighted, even if recent articles would have me believing that they turn the kids brains to mush and stuff like that.

Anyway. Here’s a list of apps that we use for each child:

Moxie:

Speech Apps:

  • Vast Autism 1
  • Vast Pre Speech
  • urTalker Pro

Sound Touch

Starfall ABC’s

Words with Tots

My First Words

Little Reader

Sentence Builder

Learn to Talk

First Words

Montessori Words

Little Writer

SignShine

Duck, Duck Moose

Elmo Calls

Elmo Potty

Elmo Stories

Elmo’s ABC’s

Sesame Street:

  • Farm
  • Books
  • Playground
  • Nest
  • Look Find Elmo
  • 123
  • Birthday
  • Fix It Shop

There’s a Monster at the End of My Book (1 and 2)

Dr Seuss’s ABC

The Cookie Thief

Miss Spider’s Tea Party

Cat in the Hat

Alphabet

Dora’s ABCs

Lots of kindle books on the kindle app: 

  • Moxie’s favorites, hands down, are the Boynton books. She has them all and reads them daily. She also LOVES ‘chicka chicka boom boom’, ‘Draw Me a Star’ and ‘Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You?’. But her very favorite book in the entire world without question is ‘Snuggle Puppy’ (- Boynton book).

Dora Vacation

Dora’s Great Big World

Super Stretch (yoga app)

SpiroDoodle (art app)

Fingerpaint (art app)

SketchbookX (art app)

Bugs & Bubbles (fun)

My Play Home (part fun and part for learning about home orientation, etc)

Talking Tom (practices words)

I haven’t updated this in a long time because our wifi is so sketchy/non existent. If you are in the same boat as I am or if you are just into my top 5 recommendations for apps (Kelley, I’m looking at you here!), they are:

  1.  Vast Autism 1: absolutely first rate app for speech development. It costs around $10, totally worth it
  2. Vast Pre-Speech: this might be less than the first one? I don’t know, but if you have a child that is learning to talk or will have potential speech issues, this app is gold! I’d even say that it’s great for people who want to learn (American) English
  3. Little Writer: great app for learning to write. I like it because it’s pretty clear on the stroke order
  4. SignShine: pain in the ass because you have to keep downloading it, BUT if you have fairly steady wifi, this one is awesome for your little signer. Moxie LOVES it, all those songs in sign… sigh.
  5. SuperStretch: yeah, it’s a yoga app but Moxie really loves it and we all get a kick out of her taking her yoga breaks. I think it’s free. How great is that?

The urTalker Pro thing was on sale for $10 but they said it’s normally $100. I haven’t figured out how to use it yet, to be honest.

The others are all great in their respective ways. They stay on the ipad mostly because Moxie likes them and uses them all.

There’s a Monster at the End of this Book would be torn and dog eared if it were really made of paper – she has read and re-read that about a billion times. Same goes for ANYTHING DORA. Moxie is a total Dora crackhead-junkie-fiend. I’m starting to use this to our advantage (“what would Dora do?”; “does Dora wear clothes?”; etc)

* ALSO – working through all the app suggestions from NDSC – the link: http://tinyurl.com/dscongress *

Moving on!

Micah’s apps

Little Writer

Handwriting Without Tears

GeoWalk

Rocket Speller

Painting with Time

Montessori (- writing, math, words, games, calendar and more)

Playsquare

Montessori Crosswords

Kindle: he has dozens of books on his kindle app: the link to the post on his books is here: Books & Boys

Audible: he listens to books on audible and follows along with the book on kindle

Magic School Bus: Oceans and Dinosaurs

Solar Walk

Misty Island Rescue

Cat in the Hat

Treaure Kai

Big Business

 

Spanish:

Mind Snacks

 

Japanese:

Kanji Pic

Skritter

Hiragana Book

Flashcards

Math (suji)

Sushi monster (- math)

First grade words

 

Silly stuff/games

Talking Tom

Talking Newsletter

Go, Diego Go

My Play Home

Construct Bots

Transformer Ruckus Reader

 

Art:

Comic Book

Fingerpaint

Sketchbook

 

Music:

Piano DX

 

The big debate now is around MINECRAFT. Do you know about this? This app basically consumes your kid and I can’t decide if it’s a good thing or not. Is it?

I’m on the fence about TRANSFORMERS too. Ugh. I wish he could be obsessed about something really easy to approve of, like…. oh, intellectually stimulating things from Sesame Street?!

I think my top 5 for Micah – based on what I see him going for and what his personality is like are:

  1.  GeoWalk – very cool app with lots of information
  2. Solar Walk: I think he may have memorized this entire app already. He can recite most of it verbatim
  3. Magic School Bus – I don’t care for the sass in it, but holy cow! It’s so full of good learning!
  4. Spanish Mind Snacks – this is a game and it gets him to build his Spanish vocab. He likes it and is learning a lot
  5. Audible – he listens to this almost every day. He usually reads along to what he hears, by opening his kindle app. The book he is listening to is downloaded automatically

That’s the full list. I’d love to hear your own recommendations – what apps do your kids (with and without an intellectual disability) love? What apps do you as a parent love for your kids? Any good books you are reading these days? Please tell!

a little moxie apps

 

A photo essay…

… from the time I thought I’d finally have the perfect photo of all of them! meriah nichols july (11 of 16) meriah nichols july (10 of 16) meriah nichols july (9 of 16)   meriah nichols july (8 of 16) meriah nichols july (7 of 16) meriah nichols july (6 of 16)

meriah nichols july (5 of 16)…and…

meriah nichols july (4 of 16) meriah nichols july (3 of 16) meriah nichols july (2 of 16) meriah nichols july (1 of 16)********* Additional 40% Off at Tea’s Semi-Annual Sale
**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

This is it, Tea Collection’s Semi-Annual Sale is going all out and marking sale items down an additional 40% off starting today (7/3) and ending Monday (7/7). Sweet dresses, tees, onesies and more all filled with the rich colors and intricate patterns of faraway Morocco. Simply use the promo code: MORE40 when you checkout. Don’t wait, styles will sell out!!

Confession: sometimes playing with my kids is about as much fun as pulling a tooth out, sans laughing gas.

The crying! The wailing! The knashing of teeth over this or that thing to play with! I get so sick and tired of saying or signing “share”, talking about ‘sharing is caring’ or ‘sharing is the WAY to PLAY!’ that I just want to throw my own body down in the sand in one big tantrum, SCREW SHARING!!! Whoever said sharing is so great DIDN’T HAVE KIDS!

 Sharing is sooooooooo over-rated.

Oh, I suppose it teaches them something, but frankly, I don’t care after I’ve been playing on the beach with them for half an hour. I just want them all to have their own damn sand-toys, and sharing can take a hike where the sun don’t shine.

Towards that end, when we went to Soriana, the big box Mexican store that sells everything from cilantro to enormous flat screen tv’s, I headed straight to the kids section, searching for beach toys. I wanted 3 buckets, 3 shovels and 3 of anything else that was being sold for a good price that would bring joy to 3 pissy cherubs.

 I found nothing.

I turned around and asked Mikey how to say “sand toys” in Spanish, he told me, then I ran off to find a person who worked there before I forgot how to say it. I found her, asked her and she went off on a rapid stream with a ‘it must suck to be you’ look on her face that told me all I needed to know. Mikey translated the rest when he caught up with me.

 It’s winter here.

Oh sure, it’s 85 degrees on the beach, full sun every day, but see, that’s a MEXICAN WINTER. When Mexicans come to the beach we are at, they are wearing their woolens and fur boots. I kid you not. We are bordering abusive-parent status with locals, having our kids frolic in this, this… 85 degree sunshine. No Mexican in her right mind, apparently, would let her kids play in this hypothermia-inducing condition, so no sand toys are being sold now.

I repeat: NO SAND TOYS ARE BEING SOLD.

The lady at Soriana said to wait for Spring, that’s when people start warming up.

So, we’re stuck. I’m just glad Mikey and I drink so much instant coffee. We’ll have 3 coffee bottles for the kids to play with pretty soon. Then we can be over and done with the “sharing” already.

sharing is overrated

 

 

Speaking of Spring…

Stella & Dot New Spring Arrivals

Spring is in the air… can you feel it? The days are getting longer, the birds are singing louder and the air just a smidge warmer. It is hard to contain the excitement, and Stella & Dot is happy to help you celebrate. Take a look at these new spring arrivals ! The Stella & Dot Rory Necklace – Blue is the same delicate blue as a robin’s egg and looks so perfect with a scoop neck tee. The matching Stella & Dot Sardinia Bracelet – Blue and the Stella & Dot Aviva Chandeliers bring to mind a lively mix of sweet spring blossoms. Check out all of the Stella & Dot new spring arrivals and get ready to bloom!

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. 

Travel with kids. We are really learning while we go. Trial and error, tweak and re-tweak (and that’s “tweak”, not “twerk”!). But these are some things that are working for us:

1. Audible: this is the #1 thing, it’s THE BEST. You can tap into something like this – a  Special Offer – Get Your First 3 Months at Audible for $7.49/month – that’s how I started. After the first 3 months, iIt’s about $14/a month for a few credits, which you exchange for books. We go for the LONG, meaty books – it’s the same number of credits, more bang for your buck. So far, we’ve “read” The Princess Bride, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and Alice in Wonderland. I like the fact that it is an Amazon company and the book downloads onto the kindle automatically. This means that when Micah loves a book (- as he absolutely loves The Wonderful Wizard of Oz) he can read it on kindle (later – not when we are driving) while listening.

Strangely enough, I also like Audible for my own. I use a headset that connect with the t-coil of my hearing aids so that I can hear. I listen to the feel-good stuff while I am walking/running.

(I’m putting in some kind of ad thing at the bottom of this post whereby you’ll get a free book if you join up with them)

2. Individual (purchased) toys:

MacQuinn likes loves is a fanatic for stacking cups. Give him at least 2 stackers and he’s happy.


Moxie is more of a challenge. She can start out with her Dora dollie, but will lose interest pretty fast. I put the milk crate with simple toys at her feet and she can actually pick up stuff with her feet. Clever child. She usually settles for something, falls asleep, wakes up and goes for what Mac is holding.

Micah is pretty easy, like Mac. He still digs his transformer that he bargained for and purchased at the Laney Flea Market. 50 cents. He wants another one but he rolls with this pretty steadily.

3. The cookie sheet:


We have a cookie sheet tray with a bunch of story magnets. It’s pretty great for Micah – he can make up stories while he sits by arranging the magnets on the cookie tray. We also have some picture magnets that can accompany the story words – I hope to be able to let Moxie use these at some point but honestly, right now I’m nervous about her chucking them out the window. So far, it’s just been Micah and he loves it.

 

4. Spotify: 

A while back I asked friends on facebook for new music. My friend Allura recommended Spotify – if you subscribe ($10/month), you can actually download the music onto your iphone/ipod – up to 5 devices/computers – and listen. They have just about every album in the world, an unbelievable selection. I think it’s cheaper to just subscribe than it is to purchase anything off of itunes, plus, when space is at premium like it is with us, it’s gold. We can change the playlists when we have wifi connection, we have the kids playlists (- the best of Sesame Street! Raffi! ) and ours (Kingston Trio and Johnny Cash coming out of our ears). I also downloaded a bunch of Spanish language music so we are learning to singalong to Enrique!

5. Food:

Food is big with us. I prepare individual snacks for the kids, water, sometimes juice. I start doling it out to them after we’ve been on the road for an hour or two. It’s great – it takes a lot of their time and energy to eat and they like it.

That’s really it. I am hoping I can update this list later with all kinds of intellectually stimulating things, but right now that’s just not happening. We’re too new at this – just looking at the desert with Willie Nelson singing “On The Road Again” is often enough, and if it’s not, a book will hit the spot. For now.

What do you guys do?

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As promised – here’s that coupon thing –

1 FREE Audiobook Credit RISK-FREE from Audible.com

We weren’t sure why or how we missed San Ignacio the last time we drove through Baja, but HOT DAMN! That place is fall-in-love-able. How could it not be? Full-on oasis, jam-packed with date palms laden with fruit. Clear waters, swaying fronds, ducks.

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Cobble stones in the main square, beautiful 200 year old Mision.

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Lovely winding streets, old houses, colourful paint.

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And best of all? The people. The people were so, so nice. Chatty, friendly, it reminded me so much of Fiji, where growing up, you were considered rude if you didn’t greet each and every person who passed by with at least a smile.

San Ignacio was like that. We felt welcomed there, wanted. We felt so at ease in fact, that we briefly considered just stopping and building the Inn right there. Mikey and I totally cracked up over that one, “wouldn’t it be funny?! We’re all, “HEY EVERYONE! We’re going to drive the PAN AMERICAN HIGHWAY all the way to freakin’ USHUAIA, ARGENTINA and oh, but wait! We really love this little town about 10 hours from uh… San Diego!”

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Oh man, we thought that was HILARIOUS! But we still would have done it if it felt perfectly right – which it didn’t. We think we really do need to be by the ocean. The lagoon is gorgeous but it’s just not the same. Plus, the wind ended up kicking us out – it was got to be like a low grade howling typhoon. Yikes.

 

when it WASN'T windy
when it WASN’T windy

Baja so far has been packed with cyclists, who may or may not bike the whole Pan Am. Most of them just kind of shrug when asked how far they are planning on going, “oh, I dunno…. ?” and it all trails off with a grin. They are so laid back and chill about it all I half suspect they are just completely high. Or maybe the road gets them to a higher state of zen or something? Either way, talking with them makes me keenly aware that a) I am not as laid back as they are and probably never could be and b) they are approximately half my body weight, if that.

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They are also extremely pleasant. Micah loved hanging out with them – and you know what? I think they genuinely enjoyed hanging out with him too.

Here’s the full on slideshow – a picture being worth a thousand words, here are 48,000 – probably more than anyone except my Mom and Mother in Law want, but there you go 🙂

 

More Info:

San Ignacio is OFF the main highway. You need to turn right at the road right off the PemEx gas station and follow it for a couple of miles and you will reach the main square. San Ignacio is a hot spot for whale watching from the end of December through March (we were too early, worse luck).

We stayed at Los Potates, very clean and the owner Manuel, was full of good vibes. Cyclist who grows dates. Nice guy. We got a bargain by staying a week – something like $5/day. We bought our groceries by the PemEx on the main highway once – it was okaaaaaay, but we liked the local supermarket that is just past the Mision much better. Fresh mole paste! Fresh cheese! Tamarind snacks! YUM.

One thing to note about this town – the only major downer besides the wind which can be relentless – the town is in dire need of a good mariscos/adobada stand. The ready-made food here isn’t much to write home about.

ACCESS: I thought this town was on the better side of wheelchair access. There were ramps everywhere. I followed all the ramps that were around the mission and main square and they ramped out – didn’t end up in stairs. It seems to be the most well-thought out place we have been to yet.

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Note from the Tea Collection: 

 Tea Collection’s Semi-Annual Sale
Starts 12/26  – Up to 50% off the entire China Collection – don’t miss it – your last chance to snag awesome Tea stuff

My favorite child:

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No, no, no – wait!

My favorite child:

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No, no, no – WAIT!

My favorite child:

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Three favorites…

That’s okay, right?

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Three isn’t such a big number, is it? And who could possibly ever have only one favorite with kids so chock full of good stuff? With such kissable cheeks, huggable arms and loveable selves?

Right?

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It’s okay to be totally in love with your kids, isn’t it?

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xoxoxox

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What’s new on Zulily ?
UGG Australia up to 50% off for 2 days only! and…. what else?

Running skirts, Nikon & Canon gear, handstamped charms and necklaces (- including ASL “I Love You”!), lots of plus-sized stuff, sexy maternity wear (haha) and more:

PicMonkey Collage

Check it out, something for everyone: Zulily

Mack was crying. Moxie chimed in, bellowing full force. Mikey turned to me, raised his eyebrow (just one, which is impossible for me to do) and wryly asked if we should somehow get Micah to cry too, so you know, we’d have all 3 going at the same time.

I facepalm-laughed.

***

It’s all the truth.

3 kids means someone is always crying.

Or someone’s nose is running. Or someone is hungry/thirsty/tired. There is always a need that simply *must* be met and it *must* be met at that instant.

On good days, I think a little of my (former) office where I once worked, remember its SILENT confines and kind of wish I could sit down for a day and just write reports or talk to people – REAL LIVE GROWN UP PEOPLE – that only want me to help them find a job.

On bad days, I can’t even think.

My brain gets tied in knots and I end up unable to form a sentence.

***

I was enjoying the light with my precious smallest people when Micah was at preschool.

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Moxie had drawn all over her legs and wanted to wash Mack’s face with a hand towel she had found.

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It was a tender moment. It captivated me completely.

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Then Mack decided he had enough, he was hungry or something, he started screaming. He was hungry. Hungry. Okay, I lifted up, started nursing.

Not long after, Moxie did something (I don’t know what), Mack turned his head with my nipple still in his mouth and while the pain shot through my entire body, I saw Moxie dip her fingers into the diaper, I yelled out, NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO – but it was too late, she  had brought those (now brown) fingers up and smeared them all over the wicker chair. WICKER. While I was trying to put the baby down, she went on repeat mode, dip, smear! Dip, smear! Oooh, this is FUN!

 

Mack down – and screaming – I wisked Moxie off for a full  body cleanse, finished that and tried to put a fresh diaper and clothes on her and then she started screaming because she wants to do EVERYTHING herself. I let her do it. Went back to soothe Mack, saw all the poop on the wicker chair – WICKER – and started cleaning. Mack still screaming. Moxie stopped. Finished cleaning, got Mack, checked on Moxie, OH NO, I forgot to close the bathroom door and she just unwrapped the whole toilet paper roll into the toilet and flushed and now the toilet is flooded.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO, Moxie! 

I take her, move her to the living room, she’s screaming now because I moved her, I go back and plunge the toilet, wipe the floor down, wash my  hands, CLOSE THE DOOR.

Mack is still screaming. So is Moxie. And Moxie is still naked, with only a shirt around her neck.

I dress her. She’s screaming. I don’t care, I don’t want more poop smeared.

I pick up Mack, take him to change his diaper. TV is on, Moxie’s turned it on, she’s going through Netflix trying to find Dora. She’s sitting in my chair. I ask her to move so I can feed Mack, She refuses. I lift her up and out. She screams, walks over to the TV and pumps the volume to max, knowing I’ll need to walk over and turn it down (the TV remote is never working), I go. While I am gone, she scampers back into my seat. I turn around and she’s sitting there with a big grin.

SUCKAH!

So I go and turn the volume down and TV off, knowing all of this simply buys a little time. Anything short of simply getting rid of the TV is moot – she can turn the power switch on now, find the cord, turn it on – you name it – if she has seen us do it, she knows how to do it, too.

I nurse Mack, Then top him off with the bottle. Moxie’s tearing the room apart looking for the right book. I guess. Or something. It’s nap time. I saw her rub an eye. I take Mack and signal to Moxie to come to her room, naptime. She trots along with fuss (!!!!), but the minute her door is shut, she starts screaming. Her screaming wakes up Mack, asleep in my arms. He starts screaming. I give him the bottle. Moxie wants to feed him, but is jabbing the bottle at him, making him scream. I say, no Moxie, please lie down! And she starts crying.

They are both crying and I get Mack back to sleep.

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But Moxie isn’t having it. She’s exhausted. But she’s moving up, down, moving back and forth, up and down. Finally – finally! – she falls asleep. Right at the door. Blocking the door.

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So my choice is to move her – and wake her, and by waking her, wake up Mack – after all that. Or stay in the room and feel my bladder slowly burst.

Choices, choices, man.

So many choices.

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I’ve written more about Moxie in this particular post than the others, but that’s really more because she is now the craptastic age of 3, which is just 2 with intent.

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The only way Down syndrome plays into this is

  1. my extreme fear of her bolting now and
  2. communication frustration.

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I don’t even know why I’m saying this. Why am I saying this?

I don’t know. So, moving on.

None of my kids are easy people.

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They all have special needs.

They are all challenging.

They all make me hit my head to the desk.

They all have strong personalities that continuously challenge my preconceptions of what having kids would be like, what being a “mother” is all about.

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They are sure cute and yes, they perpetually enjoy shoving me to the toe-line with sanity.

***

One last note. I saw something on facebook the other day and it made me cry. I think it made me cry because I was just getting through a particularly bad day and feeling like shit rolled into human form. One big horrible excuse for a mother – trust me, someone always crying can have that effect on you after a while.

Well, I read this and cried and so I want to share it here:

To the mom who’s breastfeeding: Way to go! It really is an amazing gift to give your baby, for any amount of time that you can manage! You’re a good mom.

To the mom who’s formula feeding: Isn’t science amazing? To think there was a time when a baby with a mother who couldn’t produce enough would suffer, but now? Better living through chemistry! You’re a good mom.

To the cloth diapering mom: Fluffy bums are the cutest, and so friendly on the bank account. You’re a good mom.

To the disposable diapering mom: Damn those things hold a lot, and it’s excellent to not worry about leakage and laundry! You’re a good mom.

To the mom who stays home: I can imagine it isn’t easy doing what you do, but to spend those precious years with your babies must be amazing. You’re a good mom.

To the mom who works: It’s wonderful that you’re sticking to your career, you’re a positive role model for your children in so many ways, it’s fantastic. You’re a good mom.

To the mom who had to feed her kids from the drive thru all week because you’re too worn out to cook or go grocery shopping: You’re feeding your kids, and hey, I bet they aren’t complaining! Sometimes sanity can indeed be found in a red box with a big yellow M on it. You’re a good mom.

To the mom who gave her kids a homecooked breakfast lunch and dinner for the past week: Excellent! Good nutrition is important, and they’re learning to enjoy healthy foods at an early age, a boon for the rest of their lives. You’re a good mom.

To the mom with the kids who are sitting quietly and using their manners in the fancy restaurant: Kudos, it takes a lot to maintain order with children in a place where they can’t run around. You’re a good mom.

To the mom with the toddler having a meltdown in the cereal aisle: they always seem to pick the most embarrassing places to lose their minds don’t they? We’ve all been through it. You’re a good mom.

To the moms who judge other moms for ANY of the above? Glass houses, friend. Glass houses.

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Big love to you today, my friend.

xoxox

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It’s not just kidstuff; it’s pregnant lady stuff, plus size stuff, trendy skinny-mom stuff, camping, educational and Dad stuff too. Up to 90% off! zulily.com is a membership: only members can shop zulily events, but membership is free .

Trust me, this is one thing you are going to be glad you did. New, cute stuff for the price of what it costs at a Berkeley second hand store.

Adorable girls’ clothes on zulily.com

 

Ugh. That awkward moment of running to the store in a swift frenzy of waddling post-partum action, desperate to buy a few groceries while my Mom has two of the kids. The baby starts screaming as we walk through the automatically opening doors – just as I realize the store has been completely re-arranged, the coffee is not on Aisle 11 anymore!! My milk comes in with startling ferocity and lo! I’m leaking. Right then and there and I still don’t know where the damn coffee is.

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Oh yeah. I’m getting moments like this. Lots of ’em! I have no clue how these moms of 6, 7, 8 do it. I have no clue how other moms of 3 do it. I have no clue how I thought I could handle this, I’m so swimming with my head barely above the water now.

So let me talk about one bright moment – we went on over to the Sutro Baths in San Francisco.

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This is the thing about Sutro: it is gorgeous.

The tourists know this, of course, so it’s usually packed with camera-toting Asians, Indians with their cardigans draped over their shoulders and healthy-looking Europeans. Locals don’t hang out there anymore.

They did in the time of my Grandpa Jack though. Grandpa used to swim at Sutro, back when it was the Sutro Baths. Evidently, my Great-Grandpa knew Mr. Sutro.

Well, last Saturday Great-Grandpa’s Great-Great Grandchildren walked with the tourists on the walls that were once baths.

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 The ocean is fierce over there. Big, huge waves. Signs saying clearly that you had BETTER WATCH OUT – in a multitude of languages – because big waves have been known to snatch people and swiftly drown them.

I know these stories. I heard them often as a small child – Meriah, you’d BETTER WATCH OUT because those waves can sneak up and GET YOU. Just like The Blob.

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The light at Sutro can be perfect in only the way that light can be when it kisses the shore with love.

It’s magical.

I wanted to plunk myself down and spend hours counting waves.

Not that I did; you really can’t do that sort of thing anymore when you have three little kids. At least, I don’t know how to do that sort of thing yet.

Maybe someday though.

In the meantime, I’m just thrilled we were able to get out. Sometimes that’s all I can hope for right now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a replay of our month-long trip to Mexico earlier this year (which was the inspiration for our current  plans to leave for the Pan American Highway as soon as we can).

This expanded entry was originally posted in a simpler form on 1-3-12 on my now-retired travel blog. I left you here, in which we had spent the night in Catalina, "Mad Max Land", and were once more – very gladly – on the road again.

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We drove from Catalina to Mulege.A drive through a desert land to an Oasis, complete with palm trees.

We knew there were too many white people in Mulege though when we hit the grocery store to stock up on camping provisions and the grocery store workers were pretty flat out rude to us. That only – but only – happens to us when the people we're interacting with have hit "white man fatigue" and their eyes start to glass over with "typical" white-people-grocery-store demands. All white people merge in the minds of these folk, and they don't really even see us anymore; they just see SKIN.

 

Anyway. We spent a lot of money there and were pissed they wouldn't let us use their bathroom. I ended up having to rush Micah over to the gas station bathroom across and down the street – no toilet paper! bucket of water! poopy job! – and was grateful for it.

 

Stopped by a very cool dive shop – run by a white guy from someplace Northern, I think. They had low prices by American standards for good quality, highly useful things. We bought a couple of snorkeling sets, one for kids, one for adults. Headed out to find our perfect beach to camp at.

Like Goldilocks and her bed and porridge, we searched through beaches surrounding Mulege until we found our 'just right' spot. This wasn't particularly easy – the Mulege area is chock-full of beaches. Lovely bays, gorgeous glimpses of tantalizing beach-space would lure us down from the highway off and down roads, just to discover at the very end, it was more like a parking lot full of RV's and "snow birds" (- people escaping Canada and the Northern US States). Or there were no pit toilets and no bushes or space private enough to do some business.

Or it was really super windy ( we had a tent to stake down, remember). Or something.

 

It took a while. But we found it. And it turned out to be Playa el Coyote.

It was great.

Close to the water but not too close. Sheltered but  not too sheltered. Wind but not too much. Neighbours but not too many.

See? I'm around Mikey so much now that my "smile" is changing

Sublime.

Now, for what we have learned:

– Vendors will bring everything to the beach. Everything. Water, fruit, raw seafood; they'll take your produce/store order and deliver it the next day. Tamales, eggs? No problemo. It felt a little silly to be hauling most of Safeway with us.

– Kids will play with anything. The less you give them to work with, the more creative they become in the making and what a delight it is to see that unfold.

– There is absolutely no down-time for parents on the beach. On. The. Watch. 24-7. We were tired, far more ready than the kids to crash into sound slumber at 6pm.

– The moon by night through the tent screen… sigh.


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