Shake Rattle n Roll

This is one of my favorite things the kids have done this year.  I could watch this over and over and over again.  And just one more time because it makes me happy 🙂

When we came to Hotel Perico virtually nobody in our family knew how to dance….because Everette and I were both raised with the belief that dancing (and the environment in which it took place) was sinful.  We’ve not passed that belief on to our children. However, because Everette and I don’t know how to dance (well, we did take some ballroom dance lessons back in 2007 but we suck, big time!!) we haven’t actively sought to change the absence of it.

Thankfully we’ve had some Leonard-Ladies full of spunk who’ve taken it upon themselves to give some instruction to our stiff offspring.  Tina started over (US) Thanksgiving last year and the young ones in particular were willing to get on the dance floor and wiggle their booties.  Then her cousin was here for the summer and she taught the kids some moves.

I think you’ll be surprised by who the dancers were, and the moves that they choreographed.  Enjoy it Here.



Worldschoolers Unite: Well, 3 Families Did!

What a hectic weekend….glad that weekends aren’t our only time to socialize.  The laptop lifestyle provides a flexible time schedule….we do actually have to work, but we can adjust our day/week/month to what suits us better. So getting 2 big traveling families together worked out best for a Monday afternoon and we invited our neighbor/friends Mark, Renee and their daughter, E to join us. The Inions have been in this area of Mexico for well over a year, and somehow we never knew it when we were here in early 2014.  But this time around we’ve run into them several times in town, just never got our families all together. With 2 big families you have an instant party.  Inions travel with their 9 children, and we with only 7 of our 9.  So between our 2 families we have enough for a full-fledged baseball game!! But we didn’t.

Stacey Inion with her youngest son, and Mark D.  Everette and Brent manning the BBQ

Stacey Inion with her youngest son, and Mark D.          Everette and Brent manning the BBQ

We had a Barbecue, and some played cards while others played frisbee on the open field.  There was plenty of talk….comforting talk where you are free to share not only your successes but more importantly your struggles without feeling judged for living outside of ‘Normal’.  Ideas were thrown around of how to handle some of our difficulties such as dealing with insurance, tourist visas and mail while you internationally travel.  No judgement, just help and camaraderie. These fearlessly independent world schooling families paused long enough for an afternoon together and a quick photo-shoot.  Before everybody goes on their merry traveling ways. You can check out Stacey’s post here.

What watermarked


Johnson tongue always showing up. Rude group of people. But you can see which parent to blame 😉

pic courtesy of Stacey Inion

pic courtesy of Stacey Inion

1,000 Days of Travel

Hard to keep things straight.  Our big family has been traveling most of the time since Sept 2007, so that’s 2,866 days…

since 2007

but we did move to Sooke (south Vancouver Island) to start a business and stayed 23 months.  So take that off the grand total and…

1,000 Days!!

1,000 Days!!

We’ve made it to ONE THOUSAND DAYS of Travel.

Its been a hectic week, and all my good intentions of putting together a montage of our 1,000 days of travel thru western USA and Mexico didn’t materialize.  I’ve got a bright kitchen now (we’ve been renovating) but the montage didn’t happen until later this afternoon and I only covered the USA in 2012.

But I chuckled as I went over the pictures and videos from not-quite 3 years ago.  I have some pretty silly family members that make me laugh.

And so I hope you’ll get a laugh, too, and enjoy it.  It’s only eight minutes long….but like I said, its only the USA so there’s still all of Mexico yet to come.

Stay Tuned for Baja California, Mexico.

PS  Very Late in posting this since the internet has been atrocious this week/end, even notifying that it would take more than 111,050 minutes to upload.

Eat Dirt and Rescue Birds

I think kids are natural nature lovers.  They would naturally play in the dirt (and many will eat dirt) but in our high-hygiene culture we train it out of them.  Ok, I’m fine with teaching kids to not eat dirt, but lots of people are paranoid of dirt and germs in general.  Hyper hygiene has turned out to be bad for us.

Its never been a problem for our family.  We’ve raised our kids playing in the dirt and being connected with nature.  Our first 2 girls were raised on acreage where we built our log house and later another house.  They played with snakes, washed shrews, climbed trees (beyond my comfort-zone) and watched an injured mouse give birth prematurely to her pups.  Their hands and feet were dirty but their hearts were full of wonder and joy.

The last 7 kids didn’t have the privilege of forested acreage, but they did have space to dig and explore, and have had more of an unconventional upbringing with our travels over the past nearly-8 years.  They, too, have played with snakes, collected ants, kept mice and hermit crabs as pets.  They play in the sand and dirt, creating fairy lands from their imaginations.

Our kids have had the typical flu every couple of years, but for the most part we have a pretty healthy crew.  That’s quite an accomplishment for 11 people not to be bringing sickness home to base camp.  And let me tell you, when base camp gets sick it can literally take 2 months to work its way thru the ranks.  Usually a few people miss it, but just one new patient getting sick every 5 days or so one-at-a-time means we’ve got sickies for 7 weeks or so.  Not Nice!  Although it wasn’t nice at the time, it was good to have all 7 kids get the chicken-pox at basically the same time.  Otherwise, we could have been in quarantine about a kazillion-weeks!!

I personally believe we’re not sick as often as other families for a few reasons:

  • their frequent/constant outdoor play which helps build up their immune systems
  • we predominantly eat whole foods (limit grains and sugars so they aren’t an everyday thing)
  • and from my consistent forgetfulness to remind them to “wash up” before a meal.


So with their outdoor play they find things.  Like rattlesnakes in the swimming pool, and bats hanging in the trees.  And birds that have fallen out of their nests.

Nest builders can be pretty quick, and us humans can be somewhat unobservant.  So how fast those swallows built their nests and laid those eggs above the hotel doorways, I’m not sure.  But before we knew it there were eggs and thus the invisible but obvious No Disturbing Signs went out.

They crapped at our doorstep.  Thankfully, never got our heads.  But they made a mess right where we step.  And pooping in the wind resulted in poop-patterns on our screens.  Thanks a lot!

We occasionally peeked into the nests, but its hard to get a glimpse between how tightly they build those nests under the roofline, and the darting parents desperate for us to keep-on-movin’.

Then one day we heard chirping from the 2 eggs and the busyness increased as the parents had 24-hour delivery service on the go.  And we wondered how long before the birds flew the coop and the poop stopped collecting.

Typically we find babies fallen, or possibly kicked out of the nest.  Is this natures way of eliminating the weaker?  Last year the girls ‘rescued’ a dove, and as diligently as they tried to save it it died.  As did this bird.


One Sunday in rainy season Everette and I sat outside our suite with our morning coffee and there, sitting beside us was a baby bird.  The nest was empty and we found the second baby in the same shrub beside us.

The hotel was busy with people coming and going as it usually is on weekends.  The cobblestone driveway was littered with other young birds trying desperately to take flight.  As far as I know, no babes were run over, and all seemed to disappear by the end of the day.

So I put together a few clips of the progression from eggs to flight, although we didn’t catch them actually in flight.  And now its time to remove the nests from above each of our doors, and clean up the crap.

Until next year.



I Basically Met Michael on His Way Out

One of the greatest things about our big family travel in Mexico has been the fantastic people we meet.  Well, that goes for travel wherever, not just Mexico.  My kids agree, whole-heartedly.

Sure, there’s been some great activities:

but all of the activities are made even better in their memories because of the people they associate with the event.


Staying here at Hotel Perico is good, but it’s made better because of the visitors that stop by and stay awhile!  Over-nighters come and go quickly, but those that stay longer tend to connect with at least somebody in our family.

Our kids are out and about all the time and are often peoples’ first introduction to our family.  Or Everette meets them because he’s cooking supper down at the terraza, or ‘covering’ over at Reception.

Me, I’m often the last to meet them because I have my face attached to a computer. Or my nose is in a book.  Or I’ve fallen asleep while listening to some subliminal audio.  Or I’m cleaning up dog hair or dirty dishes or dishes with dirty dog hair.  I don’t know what happens to my days, but I am 99% Home-Body.

When I finally do my own introductions the person already knows all about me!  It’s creepy, when from my perspective I’m meeting a stranger but from their perspective they already know who I am.   Security HectorToday I met Hector (this is not hotel security…this was outside of the bank) and he already knew that I had 9 kids.  And he says my husband told him that I was beautiful.  Thanks, Everette!!

I’m hopeful they aren’t telling people all our personal secrets….embellishments, possibly, but don’t tell all our secrets!

Well, Michael was one of those guys that basically met all the family except for me for the longest time.  I don’t think we even had a proper introduction, Michael and I.

He would quietly swim some laps at the pool while the kids and I were down there, or he’d say Hi! on his way to the office.  He was quiet, & reserved.  But we really never had a conversation, did we Michael?  Until maybe at your Farewell party where I commented to you that we hadn’t really talked before!!  Weird.

After his initial shock of “this is way out in the boonies and boring”  wore off a bit that first week, he seemed to be more active and engaged with the kids and his surroundings.  It’s totally understandable…Michael comes from NYC.  Not NYC proper, but close-enough, like Manhattan or something like that.  So when he steps out his front door he’s in town.  IN the city.

Not here at Perico!  Here you’re surrounded with space, and green, and a drive into any town of any size, shape or form.  Don’t get me wrong, Perico is a great place.  If it didn’t have plenty of up-sides then we wouldn’t still be here, would we?  But being out of town can be both good and bad, and coming from the Big Apple I can see this being…..remote!

So it was a big adjustment for Michael coming not only to Mexico, but to Perico.

And then getting plunked down in the middle of a loud gang of rainbow-coloured munchkins.  That’s Culture-Shock.

He couldn’t really ignore our kids, because his big-little sister (or should I say older-little, right Layne!?) got Michael and the kids hanging together as she is so good at herself.

Michael is the younger brother of Tina who helps manage the hotel here.  Because Tina welcomes our kids into her world, there was an obvious, mandatory overlapping when Michael arrived.

Tina organized events, like another day at Tobolandia.  They swam or played frisbee out in the field.  There were work projects she initiated to use the available work force…(p.s. did the dog run get finished?)  Some nights I’d go into the back of Reception and find Michael, Tina and the kids zonked, watching movies.

Michael endured some unusual conversations with Laars, I’m sure.  Talks of castles, and rocket ships, and his future inventions.  Michael listened to Laars explain how he was part dog…but Michael wasn’t convinced.  He was most certainly humored, but he wasn’t convinced.  And neither am I.

Anyways, we’re glad you stopped in at Hotel Perico, Michael, and at least our kids got to know you somewhat.  They talk about you, and the time while you were here. All very fondly.

We wish you well in your endeavors in the Big Apple.

Party On!