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There are so many things that I love about where we are, and parties are one of them. I love that this community does parties like how I imagine Italians do. They are these cross-generational, full-on affairs that are fun for everyone involved. Pinatas are popular here. So is beer!

But as much as I like going to the parties, I confess that I wouldn’t have probably have wanted to throw a party at all though if it weren’t for Brianna here:

brianna and me

You see, she threw this super-fun party for her 3 year old only a month or so after giving birth to her fourth baby! I had a lot of fun at her party, and I felt then for the first time that a party is kind of like a gift, isn’t it? I mean, it’s a gift that you give others – a stage that you set for others to enjoy, right?

I wanted to do the same thing, or at least learn how to give the gift of a party. Because I really suck at it.

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I spent over a week preparing – I made around 30 sugar skulls for the kids to decorate, holy cow, I’ve never been so crafty in my life. I made sugar skull cookies too. Oh, and a sugar skull brownie cake!

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Then came the golden moment when I realized that I had to transport all of these REALLY BREAKABLE things down the hella bumpy, hard ride from our yurt to the party venue. It was a total facepalm moment, you know, like, whaaaaaaaaaaat was I thinking????!!!!!! Next year: party at our yurt. Fo’ sho

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Kids and a piñata! Is there anything better?!

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rockin’ roll mamas

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Humor me.

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I don’t know about you, but I remember a bunch of weird crap from when I was a kid. It’s so random – like, those 25 lb bags of carrots that my mom used to buy for us to snack on, and how I ate so many that I could see in the dark something fierce.

I have no idea what my kids are going to remember from this lushly weird childhood that we are giving them. I sure hope it’s going to be good stuff.

Like… I hope they remember how they enjoyed saying, “hi!” to each and every person as we waited to see the doctor – and how the faces of those that they greeted lit up in surprise and delight by their cheerful friendliness.

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I hope they remember how much FUN they made each and every playground visit. How they ruled those small spaces and absolutely wrung out every bit of joy they could.

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I hope they remember stopping to look at flowers with me. I hope they think of me when I’m old, and think of flowers.

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Like I think of them and think of sunshine and bright light.

I hope their memories with one another blend together in a long stream of togetherness and solidify like colorful jello.

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In the midst of all this, I hope they know I tried.

Most of the time, I feel like I’m herding, yelling, nourishing, dressing, praising, admonishing them. It’s like this endless –‘ing. I feel like “no” comes to my lips faster than any “yes” and that bothers me a lot.

I don’t want to be that kind of mother.

But I also don’t want my kids eating crap all day long while being tethered to some device.

“no”, “no”, “NO!”

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I honestly try. I try to rise above my “no’s”, I try to get things going and keep them moving in a happy way. I don’t know if this will be the one thing that they will just happen to remember, you know? Like how I remember the bag of carrots from my own childhood.

Meriah Nichols Effort-5 Meriah Nichols Effort-21 Meriah Nichols Effort-18 Meriah Nichols Effort-16 Meriah Nichols Effort-15 Meriah Nichols Effort-14Solo parenting kicks my ass and I don’t know how single mothers do it.

At least I have Mikey around SOME of the time; at least I have him full time for 5 months of the year.

Meriah Nichols Effort-9 Meriah Nichols Effort-8 Meriah Nichols Effort-6 Meriah Nichols Effort-7But it’s lonely. And it’s hard.

Then somehow we slip into these grooves – like, where the kids just seem to understand me (and I, them) so well – we are on this higher level of intuitiveness. We just seem to gel and I don’t have to actually say much anymore.

Meriah Nichols Effort-13 Meriah Nichols Effort-12 Meriah Nichols Effort-11And then… oh, it’s so sweet.

Like they are sponges dipped in water, soaking it up, soaking it up. And when I need it, they just pour it right back.

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MacQuinn is steadily becoming Mack. Oh, I suppose he can always be “MacQuinn” if and when he wants, but to be honest, someone called him “MacQuinn” a few weeks ago and I had no idea who they were talking about.

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He’s Mack. Sometimes Mac-Q. Sometimes Mr. Mac-Q.

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He’s 2.5.

I was all set to write this post about him being a solid Mama’s boy, but then right before I hit “publish”, I thought I ought to double check what the definition of “Mama’s boy” actually is, you know, since I’m about to throw it out there in the internet that my boy is one.

Wikipedia says that a “Mother’s boy, also mummy’s boy or mama’s boy, is a term for a man who is excessively attached to his mother at an age when men are expected to be independent”

That being what it is, I’m not sure he’s a Mama’s boy. He’s not excessively attached to me – and he’s not at an age when he is expected to be independent! But he *IS* absolutely, unquestionably in love with me in a way that the other two were not, have never been.

In fact, I’m typing this while he stands behind me with his arms wrapped around my neck. 

This boy is ALL about his Mama.

I’ve done nothing to encourage him – I’m not particularly cuddly, I don’t want him staying by me all the time – I don’t like it when kids are clingy. But for whatever reason, Mack grips me with his soft, squishy little arms and wraps his big love all over me. Constantly.

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“Hi, Mack! How are you?”, an acquaintance might ask him, and he’ll nod and smile and point to me, saying, “Mama!”

He’ll be watching a show with Moxie, on the couch where he can’t even see me. I slip out and go to the outhouse. He just senses when I’m not in the yurt anymore and heads out to find me. When he finds me, it’s like, ‘just checking!’ – he’s not particularly clingy or crying – he just wants to make sure I’m okay, wants to know where I am, wants to say ‘hi’.

The other two were not like that – or if they followed me to the bathroom, it was different. It was to play or because they needed/wanted something – with Mack, it’s about his internal homing device or something.

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Moxie goes to school for 3 days a week – that leaves him with 3 days a week that he can hang out with JUST MAMA.

Meriah Nichols Mack-1-5Let me tell you, he shoos the other two out the door – “byeeeeeeee!” and slams it shut behind them.

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And it doesn’t matter what I do – if I exercise, he just wants to exercise next to me. If I take a shower, he’ll hang out by the shower curtain.

Take a walk, a hike, whatever – no problem – he likes it all, just so long as we are together.

 

Meriah Nichols Mack-8It is impossible to not be affected by his love.

Absolutely impossible to not warm up with this little fellow whose hair smells like sunshine

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While I am coming to suspect that he’s the kid who is the most likely to be the eccentric artist living on a desert island when he grows up, he does like large earth moving machines

Meriah Nichols Mack-4 Meriah Nichols Mack-5Tractors, large trucks, trains – they all thrill him

Meriah Nichols Mack-2He likes planes, boats and other large things that transport

Meriah Nichols Mack-1And he likes the idea of swings. Just not the reality

Meriah Nichols Mack-1-2He likes horses. A lot.

Meriah Nichols Mack-2-2Even play ones.

We had high hopes with Mack that he’d be our most “typically developing” kid. You know, after children who have REALLY unique learning styles and needs – especially Micah, who is so utterly cerebral and yet still a young child who loves legos – we thought a kid like Bam Bam (from the Flintstones) would be awesome to balance things out.

So far I’m not sure he’s leaning in that direction. Something about him loving his sparkly boots, wanting his hat on him all the time, carrying his doodle pad around and the way his love runs for Mama – and Moxie – doesn’t make me think he’ll morph into Bam Bam.

But who knows, right?!

Meriah Nichols Mack-1-7He’s 2 and a half now, and starting to talk.

It’s right where Micah was, and he sounds like Micah too. All robotic but not as gravelly. It’s pretty funny that he gets most of his words from Moxie (also means he doesn’t learn many).

Moxie and Mack…they speak their own language, you know, when they play. Like, literally – we don’t understand much of what they say to each other, but they understand each other just fine. Do you remember the Star Trek Next Generation episode with the binaries? Mack and Moxie remind me of them – they put their heads together and speak their squeeky Binary gibberish then turn to us and say something we understand like, “bye” – and run off together

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They are very much in tandem, in cahoots.

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And somehow he’ll still shoo her outside to school, just as he did this morning, slam the door and turn to me and say, “MAMA!”

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My little baby with the Old Soul is all of 5 months now.

I had hoped when I was pregnant with him that we’d be embarking upon the Pan Am Overland at this point, but it’s looking like August will be our launching date. And you know what? That’s completely fine. I am honestly not disappointed about postponing the leaving date – we have a lot of preparation that we need to do still and I’d rather delay leaving and have these ducks lined up then leave and crash into them on the road.

I think this little Bubba will be fine with it.

He’s a sweet, sweet, delicious baby.

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The kind who giggles in his sleep.

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He’s usually a laid back fellow.

Full disclosure: he’s usually a laid back fellow as long as I’m with him, as long as I’m holding him.

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He tolerates other people – any arms are better than no arms! – but I can’t remember my other kids being as attached to me as he is.

Mommy’s boy.

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Yeah…poor mommy…!

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Little Man Mack-aroo is teething something fierce these days

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He puts as many fingers into his mouth as he can fit.

That is, when he’s not nursing ( – or just chomping down on me)

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In terms of “real” food, he’s had it twice now (thanks, Daddy!)

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He liked it.

But nothing – not bottle, not formula, let me tell you, NOTHING beats his love for Mama’s Milk.You should see the way he shakes with joy and jumps around, besides himself in full-bodied ecstatic anticipation when he sees the nursing bra clasp being unsnapped!

So I’m glad that’s working out. Finally.

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He’s tight with both of his siblings.

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You know, having 3 kids hasn’t been easy for me.

It’s really kicked me in the ass and brought me to a new level of humility ( – I can do nothing!) and appreciation ( – I am  sane again!). I don’t mean that in an ‘awww, shucks’ sort of relate-to-me-I’m-a-fun-mommy-blogger way; I mean that in a very literal, this-thing-almost-got-me-way.

“Almost,” though. Almost got me.

But it didn’t.

So I’m taking the best parts – the humility and appreciation. They are rolled up and double dipped in gratitude. Gratitude to have these kids, gratitude be witness to sweet moments like the ones captured above.

The love these kids have for one another!

It’s palpable!

First thing in the morning, before anything, Micah and Moxie clamber over to give their little brother a hug, a kiss.

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Every. Single. Morning.

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This photo is my favorite one right now.

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No, wait, this one is!

Ugh. It’s a hard call.

Which one is yours?

I find myself gazing at these two for hours during their daily naptime. I wonder what it’s going to be like for them in the future, wonder how they will get along, if their love will continue, strong and true. I hope so. I guess we won’t know until the moment comes, but in this here and now, they cuddle tight and caress one another with their dimpled hands, milky breath.

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I’ll leave you here.

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Before I sign off, I wanted to share two quick things:

1. Stay tuned to this blog on Thursday. I’ll be introducing a new series, tentatively still called the “Cool Cats”. It’s going to be a weekly profile on an interesting person with a disability. Same set of questions for everyone. What’s not to love about that? I know! So stay tuned.

2. Making your life a little easier:

All the photos in this post were posted on instagram (I’m @withalittlemoxie there if you’d like to follow the feed).

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Blurb offered me an early bird trial of their  Designer Photo Book Templates and I accepted – I created this book in all of 10 minutes using photos from my instagram feed. No, I’m not kidding. 10 minutes.

 If you head over to Blurb now and create one of their new Designer Books using the code DESIGNMYBOOK, you’ll receive 20% off your order.

photo 2You can thank me later.

Best photo book, ever.

 

 

Happy hump day. Or whatever it is that they call Tuesday these days.

 

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