June 2014


Somehow, somewhere along the line, I stopped disciplining Moxie the same as I discipline Micah, or rather even, the same as I disciplined Micah when he was Moxie’s age.

And I don’t know what happened exactly to change that.

I suspect that her  inexhaustible appetite for adventure and mischief  had something to do with it – she simply wore me down and I was too tired to muster the energy to do much else but sigh.

I suspect that her relentless adorability, the fact that her eyes take up about half of her face, her precious pout and infectious giggle had something else to do with it.

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But I also think Down syndrome had a part in this.

Not disciplining Moxie because she has Down syndrome

I know Moxie is clever and yet I’ve caught myself wondering if she understands what exactly is going on, if disciplining her is going to work.

My Mom called me on it – she has been here at the training center with us, watching the kidlets the entire time that I am in training with my hearing service dog. On break one day, I was helping out, Moxie did something she wasn’t supposed to and I just started cleaning, maybe after saying, “noooooooooooooooooooooooo Moxieeeeeeeeeeeeeee!”

My Mom asked me why I wasn’t doing anything about it, that she saw that expression in Moxie’s eyes of, “oh YAY! got away!” At first I denied that I was letting her get away with it, but thought about it all for about two whole minutes and knew that my Mom had hit the nail on its head: I was totally letting Moxie get away with it. 

No way in high hell would I have let Micah dump a cup of milk on the floor and not have a time out AND clean up his mess. No way would I let ANY kid do that; why on earth was I letting Moxie out of a discipline?

Huh. Oh, hi there, Down syndrome. 

I’ve revved it all up about 50 million notches and Moxie’s getting immediate time outs for the things that she knows very well that she is not to do. She dumped a cup of milk in the kitchen last night and I said, “no!”(- firmly, clearly, without the drawing out of the “noooooooooooooo”) then placed her in a 3 minute time out. When the time out was over, I went to her, looked at her in the eye while crouching down in front of her and said, “no dumping milk, Moxie. No. Say you are sorry.” – she signed “sorry” “now clean up this mess, Moxie” – I gave her a towel and she got up and cleaned the whole mess up.

Every little bit of milk.

://the end

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It was a fair day in the Lost Coast as our young graduate walked the stage and received his diploma.

meriah nichols_micah graduationUnfortunately, we missed that actual moment in which he was handed his diploma because HIS SISTER decided right before he went on stage that she just HAD to run outside the building and roam the parking lot

meriah nichols_-2- moxieBy the time we found and collected our cackling minx, he had walked and graduated.

We were totally bummed.

BUT – we did get this awesome little video of about 4 grades from his school singing the school song.

It’s totally adorable – here it is, to make your day 🙂



3 Days Only: Extra 30% 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.

For just three days, Tea Collection has turned up the heat on their Semi-Annual Sale. Starting today (6/17) through Thursday (6/19), you can get an additional 30% off of the already discounted prices on their entire Morocco line! Sweet dresses, tees, onesies and more all filled with the rich colors and intricate patterns of faraway Morocco. Simply use the promo code: MORE30 when you checkout with all of your great deals. Have fun shopping! 

I’m at the training center, working hard with my new service dog, and better believe it, I cannot WAIT to tell you all about it!

But I can’t right now and I have about 50 million photos from what’s going on at home on the Lost Coast scattered around on Lightroom – so I thought this would be a good time to catch you up on some more doings there:

Mac-Q is discovering trains
Mac-Q is discovering trains
Moxie is discovering headlamps
Moxie is discovering headlamps
and how fun it is to work with them on Mac
and how fun it is to work with them on Mac

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these guys are blooming wild
these guys are blooming wild
she tried to smell it
she tried to smell it
and I swear, a hummingbird came RIGHT UP as I was taking this picture, looked like it was going to join Moxie, then flew away
and I swear, a hummingbird came RIGHT UP as I was taking this picture, looked like it was going to join Moxie, then flew away
but of course. hummingbirds would want to hang out with this one
but of course. hummingbirds would want to hang out with this one
these are also blooming
these are also blooming
and the grapes are starting
and the grapes are starting
she's checking it all out
she’s checking it all out
the solar panels too
the solar panels too
dinner included a leg of deer that Mikey and my nephew shot, skinned, dressed.... and grilled
dinner included a leg of deer that Mikey and my nephew shot, skinned, dressed…. and grilled

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Micah is REALLY INTO floss right now
Micah is REALLY INTO floss right now
like, I get to say stuff like, "Micah, if you put away your toys RIGHT NOW, I'll let you floss!"
like, I get to say stuff like, “Micah, if you put away your toys RIGHT NOW, I’ll let you floss!”
God, I love this kid
God, I love this kid
this one too. Mr. Bucket-Head
this one too. Mr. Bucket-Head
NEWSFLASH!! The washing machine is hooked up!!!
NEWSFLASH!! The washing machine is hooked up!!!
oh, how sweet this is. clean clothes that cost me no pain
oh, how sweet this is. clean clothes that cost me no pain
and a little buckaroo on it too (- seen from the kitchen, looking out)
and a little buckaroo on it too (- seen from the kitchen, looking out)

Other news from the Lost Coast:

Josie runs the Lost Coast Camp and Josie is also the mother of Moses, who has Down syndrome. She’s one of those women that are the glue and glitter of a community – they hold it all together and make it sparkle at the same time. Read more about Josie’s story here (-  it’s pretty amazing in that goosebumps-on-your-arm way)

The Lost Coast camp helps gives kids in need scholarships, and operate generally on a shoestring budget as a nonprofit. They need help, and 2 really easy ways to help out are:

1. Shop AmazonSmile to Donate to Lost Coast Camp 

  1.  sign in to your amazon account first! Now:
  2. Type into your browser
  3. Look for the box that says “Pick Your Own Charitable Organization
  4. Type “Lost Coast Camp” there
  5. Select Lost Coast Camp, the one that is in Petrolia
  6. Now it will ask you if you want to install a plugin for your browser. Do it! It’s much easier to remember to use Amazon Smile if you have a little orange button on your web browser.

2. Support the Sun Salutations!

Josie and a few others are going to do 108 Sun Salutations on June 21st to raise money for the camp. Join! Donate! Support!

It’s all here on their CrowdRise

AND! If you live in the Bay Area and have a child over the age of 6, consider the camp and/or help spread the word about it – thank you!

Over and out: hope you are having a great week and thanks for giving the Lost Coast Camp your attention

The first word out of Moxie in the morning is usually, “oooooo-RA!”; the last word from her is usually the same. Out of the 10 or so words that Moxie speaks, half are related to Dora the Explorer.

Moxie has it bad, really, reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaallly bad. And yet we don’t tune it down a notch; in fact, we bumped up her access to the shows, bought her a Dora doll, backpack and Boots. And yet Dora is second only to Caillou in annoyance-levels for us – hearing the questions Dora asks on repeat is like listening to a bad, broken record that mated with nails on chalkboard.

This is why I think Dora the Explorer is worth it:

  1. Dora is interactive: Moxie cannot sit down and watch Dora – she jumps up and participates. She answers Dora when she is asked a question, she hand-stops Swiper from swiping, she cheers them on and “sings” along.meriah nichols_dora-the-explorer
  2. Dora is repetitive: yeah, sure, it drives ME nuts and I think I’m going to tear my hair out if I hear those directions drawn out ONE. MORE. TIME, but this is perfect for Moxie. Lots of repetition helps her get it and helps her be confident and in charge. She knows what’s coming next.meriah nichols_dora-the-explorer
  3. The Spanish – I thought it was a crock but then I heard Moxie saying “- asssssH” and realized she was saying “gracias” – holy cow!
  4. Dora is self-sufficient: she brings what she needs and she finds what she doesn’t have. I like Moxie having a role model that uses her head.meriah nichols_dora-the-explorer
  5. Dora is a practical problem-solver: Dora’s like the Spanish-speaking Nancy Drew for little kids – she has the inexhaustable backpack, she uses maps, she solves problems using logic. She approaches everything in a calm, level-headed way, and finds a way through obstacles. Sometimes the way through just happens to involve going through a volcano.
  6. meriah nichols_dora-the-explorerDora celebrates accomplishments: that “we did it” song and dance?! It’s actually pretty great – a recap of the adventure, celebrating what they did that was hard for them. We use that with other things at home now – when Moxie clears her plate, puts on her clothes by herself, makes her bed, “we did it, we did it, we did it, YAY! Moxie cleared her plate and put her dish away, YAY!” – she loves it.
  7. Moxie’s Dora and Boots dolls: They provide Moxie with an opportunity to role play. Which she does. She puts the Dora doll to bed, she “talks” to the doll, brushes her hair (- she also throws her out the window and out of the loft but that’s a different story).meriah nichols_dora-the-explorer
  8. Her clothes: this is more for the original Dora – but I really liked that Dora was always wearing something simple and non-frilly. Just shorts and a t-shirt. Sensible shoes. She wasn’t trying to pander to anyone except the adventures she wanted to have and be prepared for.
  9. Her family: her family plays a small role in the series altogether, but her mom is pretty empowering – an archaeologist! Even though her parents let her wander around alone in a forest with a monkey, they seem to be solid and caring with wholesome values.meriah nichols_dora-the-explorer

…and, a bonus reason!

10. Dora is great bait for US: we use Dora shamelessly to get Moxie to come back, to turn around, to eat, to clean up – “Dora eats!”, “want to watch Dora?”, “Hey Moxie! DORRRRAAAAA!” – it’s gold.

So, Mikey and I both speak languages other than English. He’s fluent in French, proficient in Spanish. I’m proficient in Japanese and have okay travel-Mandarin Chinese.

Have we taught these to the kids?


LAZY BUMS! I know,  right?!

We suck! Sometimes we get hit with a bug to be better parents and we are all, ‘let’s do it!’ and talk a mouthful of French or Japanese and thennnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn……. it just slooooooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwly fades again like one of those sad deflating party balloons.

My lovely friend Heather came on over  recently with her tribe, husband Fran and scrumptiously adorable (and fierce) twin girls. Heather is fluent in Spanish and BAM, she gets going with her daughters and it’s all Spanish, only Spanish.

I am so inspired.

Child language learning –

I want to be able to do that with our kids – and I think despite the fact that my Japanese is far from perfect, it’s still something, right? I mean, one of the reasons I’ve been holding back on teaching them Japanese is thinking, ‘oh but they’ll learn my mistakes’ – but I guess even learning it that way, Japanese by a non-fluent speaker, is better than no Japanese at all?

Well, we’re going to get going with it try to keep it all going this time. Like, really, really, really. We’re going to pull on our stick-to-it gloves and keep ’em on.

 The Plan:

1. Just talk to the kids in the respective language. We can sign along with the newer words to “translate” an unfamiliar word without having to speak English

2. Keep talking

3. And talking

4. More talking

5. Slip in some TV shows – Japanese kid shows, French shows, Spanish version of Dora the Explorer?

6. Apps on the iPad

7. Read books to the kids in the target languages.

8. ????


Any advice? Are you doing this too?


I’m getting ready now to go the Hearing Dog Training (did you miss that post? It’s here)

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I’m terribly excited and terribly nervous – terribly, terribly. It’s just because I don’t know what TWO WEEKS of training is going to be like, and also because,(holy cow!)  it’s going to be TWO WEEKS with just the kids and my mom and I .

That’s long enough to turn the rest of my hair stone grey and that’s a fact.

I’m probably going to be sending you updates from the camp so those of you that are interested can follow along

Moving on,

Round here this week:


My friend Heather came by our yurt with her clan for JUST ONE NIGHT. We had a lot of fun speed-chatting and catching up and talking even more – Heather’s been on the road full time with her family for over a year now and she blogs at Stoll’n – “What RV Thinking?!” – and she’s a riot – and I love her. And miss her.

Other ’round here’s:

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washing Dora
washing Dora

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she takes care of him
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and more –

morning boogie
morning boogie

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inspector moxie
inspector moxie
grins like that are effective tools in keeping us wrapped around her little finger
grins like that are effective tools in keeping us wrapped around her little finger
mr mac-q, also known as "velcro"
mr mac-q, also known as “velcro”

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Meanwhile, Mikey and my nephew Jrin De are working their butts off:

meriah nichols_-10Mikey has lost so much weight from farming that his belt LITERALLY is what is holding his pants up.

Not to be outdone, Project #slimkitty4thewin is going strong:


Yeah, I didn’t take any photos for the first few days… that’s because I was curled in fetal position, shaking for some BACON…damn but that was hard!!

I’ve learned that this food stuff is pretty serious. I’m learning so much – as a former anorexic/bulimic, my approach to weight loss was always just to not eat, or purge whatever I did. This is kind of a big deal for me to be actually learning how to eat well, eat clean, eat nutritiously and keep it going the good way, the right way, the way I’d want my kids to.

And speaking of kids:

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He got all excited over chia seed “pudding” – that there is just coconut milk + coconut water + chia seed. We poured some grade b pure maple syrup over it all for the kids, but that there is desert these days.

They are adjusting, so much so that they REFUSED mac n’ cheese two days in a row. I was shocked. What is happening to them? Wait, I NEED them to like mac n’ cheese, that’s a go-to, easy-feed!

I guess I’ll get that quinoa pasta stuff and try it the old school way. Maybe they’ll go for that?


That’s all the news round here – most of these photos I had posted on Instagram (- I’m meriahnichols there, if you’d like to follow my feed) – I hope you have a great weekend and I’ll be checking in next the hearing dog training center (squeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!)

photo by Fran Stoll
photo by Fran Stoll


My site transfer wasn’t as clean as I thought it was (- but is it ever?!!) – if you were lost in the shuffle or if you’d like to be added to the email list (to receive posts by email), here’s the sign up form:


Tea Collection’s Semi-Annual Sale: Up to 50% Off Entire Morocco Line
**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

It is here! Just in time for pool parties, backyard barbecues and summer adventures; Tea Collection’s Semi-Annual Sale is featuring the entire Morocco line at up to 50% off! This line is bold, filled with the brilliant hues found in the Marrakech medina, and buzzing with patterns that line Morocco’s streets in the intricate tiles. And now, all of these beautiful styles are on sale—desert and surf inspired graphic tees for boys, twirly patterned dresses for girls, colorful floral onesies for babies and more—all filled with the magic of Morocco. 


meriah nichols alligator lizard


This little fella is a what is called an “Alligator Lizard” and he’s a native of this area.

He was also in my dishes the other day.

I did not get a photo of him in the dishes because by the time I peeled myself off the ceiling (- where I had jumped and plastered myself), he was gone

You’d think I’d learn my lesson with that, huh, and get with it and have an empty sink at all times? But no! I didn’t!

I left dishes in the sink overnight and look what I found:

meriah nichols mouse in dishes




I’m one pent up Mama right now, chock full of stories that are begging to get out. I want to talk about my friend Heather visiting, about the yoga class I went to, about how we went swimming in the river. All of these will likely come on out in due time, but I haven’t been able to write ANYTHING for the past week because of all the blog cleaning up I’ve been doing.

Did you notice? Take a look up at the header – this blog has shifted from to . Same header, the blog title is the same, nothing has fundamentally changed except that I finally decided to put everything under one umbrella. That’s all of my sites:, and – all in one place.

In anticipation of your questions, I’ve got some answers!

Where is ?

The navigation bar (above the site logo – see it? On the black strip up there?) has everything tucked into the categories. If you hover over “Down syndrome Blogs”, you will get the whole ball of wax – categories, ultimate blogroll, etc – something to bookmark!

I’ll still work on Down syndrome Blogs and I’ll add new blogs once a month, more often if possible.

Why’d you do this, Meriah?

1. It’s a pain in the ass maintaining 3 sites with limited internet access. One site, I can handle. Three, no.

2. I am claiming ownership on it all. I’m really putting my name to my game.

Are you thoroughly exhausted with trying to figure out stuff?

Uh…. yeah… how you’d you know?! Plugins, schmugins, filter this, and code…wwhhhhaaaaaaaaat? Seriously, I couldn’t have done it without my friend Susan – I got really lost around the FTP process and she guided me through that whole maze – then served as my sounding board with all the issues that cropped up. Someone who has patience for someone else asking them about mailchimp plugins at the crack of dawn…yeah, she’s a saint. Bless & thank you, Susan! 

Will you miss

Yeah. I will. But change is also exciting.

It does suck  big time that I just lost all of my post-share counts. My post on the 10 Dumb Things the Hearing Say to the Deaf? Last I checked (on Saturday), I had 5,900 shares and over 40,000 views – I’ve never had so much traffic on my blog from one of my own posts, and it was pretty ‘YAY!!!’ (- coupled with a Dora dance) – but now it just shows “o”. So sad.

I took a screenshot to frame and smile at –


Just looking at those numbers make me droop a little inside – they are ALL GONE NOW.

But I’m pretty sure it was worth it. I lost all my numbers before, with the installation of multi-site (which I ditched), so basically it just looks like nothing I’ve written has ever been read or shared.

Blah-blah-blah blog-yada-yada – I don’t care, just give me a cute picture of something!

Here ya go:


for the last of our cherries
for the last of our cherries
oh yeah
oh yeah
tea roses explode
tea roses explode
and these guys. ouch
and these guys. ouch
little hands
little hands
say, "ahhhh!"
say, “ahhhh!”

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Hope you are having a good one

– oh, and I almost forget – the last question I thought you’d ask:

Am I still getting my posts via email?

I sure hope so! If you don’t, please sign yourself up:

Email address: 





**The links in this post are affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.

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You know that Facebook/Reality Cat meme?

I made my own little version of it…


I don’t know if you remember, but I got started and really going on the Couch-to-5K app while we were in Mexico and it was AWESOME. But! Then our world turned upside and all around and the running thing went out the window and I’m afraid it’s not coming back until we hit the road again. It’s just waaaaaay too cumbersome with the hills (not to mention the *things* in the hills – our neighbor was asking if we’d seen bobcats “yet”).

The gym? Well, sure with a 2 hour drive each way to it! What else?

With what little weight I had lost climbing back and settling back in, I’ve found myself freaking out some – So!  I took action and this is what I have done:

Mama’s Slim Kitty Weight Loss Plan

1. Standard Process

Signed up for the Standard Process 21-Day Cleanse (- if you are interested, holla and I’ll refer you to my Mom – she’s a distributor). This is not one of those big time hard-core euphamisms for a bathroom fest; it’s really more of an overall food re-set. You get eating HEALTHY with this, “healthy” with a capital, “H”.

2. BeachBody

Signed up for the T25 videos – basically, it’s supposed to be a really intense, focused work out that only lasts 25 minutes. Okay. I’ll give it a shot. In conjunction, with this, I ordered the Shakeology thing from BeachBody – I used my friend as a coach, and if you are interested, please sign up under her too – let’s support our Mom-run businesses!  

– the Shakeology is for after I’m done with the 21 Day Cleanse.

– the T25 workout is for NOW (whenever I receive it)

3. Workout Aids

Ordered an elliptical to have here in the house and also some free weights


A lot of stuff

I feel pretty gross about spending money to lose weight, I feel like I should be like Rocky lift logs for exercise while running up and down these steep dirt roads – FOR FREE – but who am I kidding? Like that’s going to happen?! And DAMMIT! I’m SICK OF THIS! I don’t want another month to go by without actually doing something about this and feeling better about my body, my self.

For those of you who are interested, I’ll be updating on Instagram daily under the hashtag #slimkitty4thewin

My Goal:

I talk more about this on the page I set up – how much I want to lose and a little more detail. But my goal is really just to be a Slim Cat. Like, I want to not be like a Japanese schoolgirl when I take a photo, angling for *the best angle*, I want things to just be slim, trim and real:


The page where you can stop by if you are interested and follow my progress and goals and all that good stuff is here.

If you are on a slim kitty journey yourself, PLEASE HOLLA because man! The more of us doing this and patting each other on the back – or even getting competitive, whatever it takes within loving reason, right? –