Dog DNA and World Domination by an 8 Year Old Boy

What happens when you swallow 3 dog hairs?


Epic, our awesome dog.

According to the 8 year old we now have (as of Friday), one obtains Dog DNA and the super-power of being capable of sniffing people from across the yard.  He can track them by their scent.  He claims that if he swallows even more dog hairs he’ll get more DNA and improve his tracking skills.  However, he’s put a limit to all of this…he will not retrieve dog hairs for consumption from the garbage.  Good Boy!!

This 8 year old has been working on another power-aspect of his personality.

World Domination.

He talks of saving up all of his money, buying a big castle, building an army (mostly mercenaries) and conquering the world.  And so, for his birthday his sisters made this video for him.

Happy Birthday, Laars-ipan



Dog Agility and Puppy Love

Hotel Perico was the site for the Agility Jalisco dog event last weekend in which famed Ian Dunbar was in attendance (he was our neighbour for most of the week!).

Our kids LOVE dogs, and especially puppies.  So to have the hotel grounds littered (!) with canines was a little bit of heaven for our kiddos.  At the same time it was a bit of a challenge for the resident dogs here who naturally wanted to protect their own turf from all those intruders.

Epic, still in major training-mode as we’ve (Maret, really) had her less than 2 months, did amazingly well.  She barked at the new vehicles and new four-legged potential playmates that paraded past our suites, but for the most part we passed the weekend with little incident.  Was helpful, I think, that I parked our big van in front of the patio doors so she could see less…but she still heard and smelled tons of attractive things.  Walks on leash were undoubtedly tiring for Maret as Epic had a kazillion new aromas to sniff out!!

Collage Dog staffBack to the Agility event…..our kiddos joined the Staff and had their ‘jobs’ for the weekend. Danaka and Toveli (along with Colleen {left} and E, another traveling homeschooler) were helping with the drinks/snacks and got to enjoy the shade of the terraza (terrace/patio) for the weekend.  Gaelyn & Toveli made posters to advertise the concession.  Gaelyn was in charge of Missy, a rescued dog we’ve had at the hotel for a month+  and Anders helped her parade Missy amidst the attendees in hopes of being adopted (its sounding like she might have found her fur-ever home!!)  Anders put flyers under the wipers on vehicles.  Maret was to keep an eye on garbage, but alas the visitors are so used to picking up dog poop none of them bothered to litter!!  So Maret visited, showing herself hospitable, and took photos/videos.  Laars also cuddled with puppies….a non-official job.  Me?…..I wandered (no staff shirt!), kept my kids fed, and Epic quiet.

Puppy Love.  One of the pups was adopted by a resident here at Hotel Perico so Gaelyn gets to puppy sit India now.

Puppy Love. One of the pups was adopted by a resident here at Hotel Perico so Gaelyn gets to puppy sit India now.

Spectators.  Missy watching, too.  And Tina.

Spectators. Missy watching, too. And Tina.

The official event was Saturday and Sunday.  Contestants came from all over Mexico, Costa Rica, Spain and the USA.  Some of the dogs were taking in their first agility event ever.  Some were so distracted by other scents in the course they just couldn’t stay focused.  There were handlers that totally lost it, their frustration and anger resulting in their own public temper tantrums!!  Pure entertainment, I would say.  Others pushed thru, trying to regain their dog’s attention and finish the course in good sportsmanship even though they were eliminated early in the course.  And some recognized the futility of asking their dog to respond when there was this fascinating new world out there for them to explore, and the handler quit and walked off the course….not tantrum-like but just in total acceptance of that which was out of their control!

It sounded like most people/dogs had a wonderful time over the weekend, in spite of being under direct sun in the heat of the day.  I heard that one dog said, “Forget it…it’s too hot!!” and laid down in the shade of one of the tunnels mid-course.  Smart doggie!!

Collage Dog Jump Collage Dogs jump

Sure, there were winners!  I think the top prize went to the handler/dog in the video I shared above.  But it’s more about the Experience than about the Outcome.  I’d say, the Experience was pretty awesome for all.  They’ve already booked to come back in the winter!

Collage Dog winnersTina & Maret are talking seriously about making some jumps and getting their own dogs trained….potentially for a competition, but more so for the fun of it.  Maybe they’ll be able to participate when they come back in November??


Tropic of Cancer: Heading North

We are very content to stay close to Chapala currently and have lost the wanderlust a tad.  Content to be comfortable and build a community.

But necessities demanded that we take a quick road trip to Texas, particularly to take care of the legalities for our van.  So we set out with only 5 of our big family in our 15-passenger van, making it spacious and far more comfortable….each child could have their own bench!!

sunrise trucking

With fewer people traveling we didn’t need to make quite so many potty stops that makes our traveling a bit faster… but add some coffee into our systems (a Starbucks treat in Aguacalientes) and fresh fruit for breakfast, and we made plenty stops.

Collage Starbucks

My cowboy fetches me coffee and even washes my windows (minus the cowboy hat) with a smile.  Oh, how I love that man!!

Collage Gasing UpI’m not sure if it was in Aguacalientes or in Zacatecus where I first heard about this fabulous-sounding man named Everette Russel (boring last name….Johnson) 30 years ago in February, but it was a treat to actually drive this area now by his side.  Who would have ever imagined that Connie’s telling me of him, and my silly comment, “I think I’m going to marry that man!” would have transpired to us parenting 9 children together and traveling the country of Mexico together 30 years later?!!!  But here we are.  Full-circle to this very place.  Collage scenery

Somewhere near Zacatecus (I don’t recall where exactly) we crossed the Tropic of Cancer where Laars sported a smile and a wave.  I recently learned that the Tropic(s) are moving, and that one place in Mexico actually has been marking the changes with signs along the highway.  Pretty cool!!  Always learning something new.Collage Tropic of CancerWe pulled in to Saltillo where we spotted a coveted Pizza Hut where we tried a Hawaiian BBQ & a TexanaIMG_2839

then found ourselves a hotel for 2 nights as our temporary base-camp.  In the morning Everette and Danaka had to make the border run themselves….find out Why in the next post.

Always Our Baby! Happy Birthday


That’s one of our babies!  Up in the tree with one of her own babies!!

Rauchelle is our 2nd born.  And she was our baby for 8 1/2 years before she felt she was dethroned by the arrival of Danaka, and the other 6 that followed.  She found it a difficult transition…and asked if she could always be our baby.  Our answer:  You Betcha!!

Today we celebrated another one of her Birthdays…but we weren’t together with her unfortunately, like we were last year.  Second best was to celebrate in spite of her absence!

Rauchelle, I want you to know that your little brothers (the ones that are still shorter than you) were thinking of you all week, anticipating Celebrating YOU!  Anders walked into the suite with a bag of Queso potato chips the other day and said, “These aren’t for tonight.  These are for Rauchelle’s birthday.”  I asked where he got them from and discovered that he spent his own pesos to purchase them himself for the family.  Sweet Jesse!

Laars came in with initials of family members on a list….the invitation list for your party.  I asked what his party ideas were and what he was excited about most was that he had already made popsicles.  When I asked him ‘how many have you made?” he replied confidently, “Two!”  Wow, don’t think that was going to satisfy our crew so I helped him make some fresh lime/orange juice popsicles, enough so each of the kids could have one each…until I discovered that he ate one for breakfast this morning.  So Gaelyn made another orange juice one in hopes it would be frozen enough for Party Time.  It was!!

Collage selfie

Collage M&G

Collage GirlsWe had Aunt Jo and Uncle Kevin (along with Gatsby) come up for a BBQ

Collage Beer

Gatsby2so they could enjoy the expansive grounds, take in the breeze on another hot day thats saturated with the aroma from the Jacarandas…..and eat cake!  Chocolate with cream cheese from Marisa’s.

Collage CakeSo Rauchelle, I know its kind of late to say this on your Birthday, but we wish you a Fantabulous Year full of all your dreams and plenty of delights.  And you can still be Our Baby!!


Floating Water Balloons

Laars is the curious kind.  And he already knows what can happen when you throw a water balloon at a hard-enough object…including another human being.  That’s a great activity for a hot day!

But he was curious what a balloon weighted down with water would do when put in the swimming pool.

Of course, it floats since there is a trapped air bubble within the balloon.  Then he discovered that it didn’t so much matter the size of the balloon…it mattered the size of the air bubble that would determine which balloon rose to the surface fastest!

Collage Laars water balloons

Laars enjoyed his little experiment while I delighted in our son’s inquisitive mind.