Dog DNA and World Domination by an 8 Year Old Boy

What happens when you swallow 3 dog hairs?

Rescue-Dog-Mexico-Epic

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

Laars2

 

Fishing New Jersey’s Sea Bright & How Engaging Strangers Makes Our Day

I started fishing with my dad but I always expected him to thread that worm (or portion of) onto my hook.  We would cast while Mom and my youngest brother Dave would build the fire and start supper in case Dad and I didn’t bring supper home (we rarely did!)  Then I carried on a bit with Everette once we married, but I eventually developed the unique talent of getting my hook snagged on sunken branches in river bends so Everette would busy himself at retrieval and end up with multiples of that which I lost.  We both had fun!

New-Jersey-Beach-Congratulations-Unlimited4Life

Everette has always enjoyed fishing.  As a kid he fished in the streams around Lake Cowichan on Vancouver Island, and I’m sure he spent time fishing in northern BC as a young adult along with all his hunting.  He went through a period of time when our two eldest girls were still small where he would go fly fishing, or take our girls jigging at the marina.  And I think it was the summer between babies 3 & 4 that he spent basically the entire summer helping out a friend on his shrimp boat.  Progressively far less fishing has taken place for my man since the introduction of the last 7 kids.  Where does all the time go?

It was Father’s Day this past weekend, and it found Everette stuck with me and the absence of his nine children.  How did that happen?

We spent the weekend at Tinton Falls & Red Bank, New Jersey with another 50 or so people at a conference, and then spent the Sunday at Sea Bright walking the beach….until we stumbled upon 3 guys fishing from the shore.  Of course, Everette had to investigate into what they fished for here.

Friendly Nick-with-that-New-Jersey-accent let Everette reel them in, and in 4 catches Everette got a Triple-Hitter.

The first catch we were told was a Sea Robin Fish.  Never heard of it before but it was totally cool, as you saw in the video.  With fins spread out one could imagine it flying through the water (if not the sky).  And using those feelers to crawl across the bottom of the ocean.  Unfortunately we didn’t hear it grunting.  Maybe next time!

 

 

Then it was time for some little sharks.  Called by various names, I think Nick called them mud sharks but out west we call them dogfish.  Certainly sharks, though these were just in small packages.

The third participant in the Three-Hitter was a Skate ray which was  never touched but always handled at a distance and with tools.  When Nick was returning him/her to the ocean by its tail, the way it arched reminded me of an overgrown scorpion.  Keep away!!

We were so thankful to Nick for sharing his enthusiasm and gear to make it a great Father’s Day for Everette doing one of his all-time favorite things to do.  And Nick declared that we made his day special, too.

You know, whenever people ask our kids about what their favorite part is about our big family traveling, the majority of our kids usually say “It’s the people we meet!”  And I totally concur with that.  If it hadn’t been for the interaction between Everette and Nick along the water’s edge, our day at the beach would have just been another day.  Sure, we had interacted a bit with a few other people on our walk, but it was more of a sharing of special moments with Nick.  We aren’t likely to ever see Nick again….but in a sense he touched our hearts.  He gave a stranger control over his catch and his fishing gear.  He poured out his knowledge and love for the sport in enthusiastic ways while we gobbled it up.  He spoke of his family he was anticipating having Father’s Day lunch with and had to soon run off to meet, but he took time out to connect with us.  He seemed very present in the moment, totally embracing the interaction with us.

That’s what we love about traveling.  Far and above the beauty of natural surroundings, more than the ethnic cuisine, more than investigating the businesses of the town or city, its the local people who make (or break) our visit rewarding.  The ones who aren’t so rushed that they stop to interact with us, telling us about their craft, or their boat, or their children, or their business.

These are the people that jump out at me, the ones who make my travels so enjoyable.

But makes me ponder….what about how we treat others?  Are we engaging with strangers whether they are new to our area or not?  Do we take a few moments to devout to them, to let them know that we appreciate connecting with them today?  Do we take the opportunity to encourage them, to guide them to somewhere they wouldn’t otherwise have known about?  Do we instruct them on how to reach the hidden waterfalls, or discover that great local restaurant they would otherwise not stumble upon?

Nick had his buddies there and could easily have brushed us off.  He had told his wife he’d be home by 11 to go for lunch and because of us he was running late (just a bit).  I trust that she’s as engaging and caring a person with strangers as Nick is, that she will forgive these traveling Canadians who interrupted her husbands morning of fishing and made him late.

Because, although we had a fantastic time the previous day with The SFM people at Momentum Day, it was really Nick letting Everette go fishing that painted a great picture in our minds of the people of New Jersey and endeared us to this place.

I must remember that most people are absolutely wonderful and good.  The are like Nick.  And don’t let the few bad apples ruin the whole crate.

Travel to Community: Momentum Day with SFM

We aren’t created to be independent.  Or so I personally believe.

As humans we are better suited for inter-dependence, and I, as a mom of many look forward to seeing how that plays out in our lives as our kids grow and develop their adult life, with or without partners and children.

We are part of traveling family communities online thanks to FB!  Today’s technology changes so much, bringing those from afar into our living rooms and lives.  I appreciate that, to connect with people who have also left the rat race for a simpler life with their kids in tow.

Establishing one’s business online leads you into a whole ‘nother community of people to connect with, to learn and earn with.

Not all communities have equal value, nor of the same calibre.  One needs to pick and choose.

I’ve been poking around a few communities over the past year, looking for one that we felt we could work with.  Something with a strong leadership, that attracted people with integrity.

A few months back I stumbled into The SFM community and decided that it seemed a good fit for us.  We delved deeper and deeper and found we liked it the more we dug.

So, we decided we might as well jump right in and go meet them in person!   And that’s exactly what we did this past Father’s Day weekend. With NO KIDS!!

Our Travels

Everette and I flew to Newark (that always sounds funny to me, like somebody with an accent pronouncing New York!) late Friday night.  This was most certainly not a romantic and relaxing weekend away, although it was peppered with some enjoyable down time.  But for the most part time was tight, the mind was in perpetual motion and activity and….we’ve got some sleeping to catch up on!

Richard Branson

Travel from Guadalajara to Newark was the perfect time for my beloved activity of reading. I was really looking forward to that uninterrupted time.

I was able to read all of Kisses from Katie, about a young girl from Tennesee giving her life, basically, to the people of Uganda, and particularly to the children, including the 14 children this 20-something woman has fostered and eventually adopted.  As a single parent.  It’s unashamedly written from a Christian perspective, but I was moved by her simple love for a people and acceptance of a life so different from the comfortable one she could have had back in the USA.  She chose to identify with that community of people and give her all.

Everette brought along Richard Branson’s Screw It, Let’s Do It and got that finished, too, so he’s passed it on to me.  Branson is a fascinating person but I have yet to read any of his books.  This will be my first one.

Our SUV

We arrived in Newark after 11pm, so after getting our rental SUV it was already late. Figuring out how to get that none-key starter going, that was a hurdle we hadn’t expected.  I should have been recording those puzzling moments when two 50+ year old adults are befuddled by the simple act of trying to get a vehicle started.  I mean, how hard can it be?  I know the confusion started the moment we discovered there was no place to put the key….and that actually we weren’t even in the possession of a key.  Well, not like keys used to be.  Obviously for some of us….its harder than we imagined!  Good thing we could read when the dash told us to step on the brake.

Our Hotel

One doesn’t know what to expect when you book everything online.  So I admit, I was disappointed on my first approach to our hotel suite in Tinton Falls.  I had stayed in the car while Everette signed us in at the front desk, and I guess there hadn’t been anything to put him off.  But our suite was at the back of the hotel, a different section thru a whole other entrance.  Paint peeling, rips in old indoor/outdoor carpet, glass windows looking gross.  At least the interior garden looked decent.Comfort-Inn-New-Jersey-Laptop_Lifestyle

I was relieved when we opened the door to 311.  Not shabby at all.  I could relax now, our money wasn’t all spent on a dump!

So, we crawled into bed about 1am, with those crisp white sheets I want to have an affair with.  That is the luxury I dream about when I’m going away to stay in a hotel.  Big king-size bed with a down quilt, and an abundance of pillows to fall into.  Ahhh, simplicity I love.

Our New Community

Connection with the SFM community started at 8:15am in Red Bank at the Oyster Point Hotel.  With a beautiful display of breakfast treats of fresh fruits, chocolate chip muffins, pastries and organic yogurts, I wished I hadn’t eaten the continental breakfast back at our hotel.  I had thought this was just going to be coffee and tea, but instead this was the first indication that SFM does things differently; with class.

Six-Figure-Mentors-SFM-Momentum

We were all welcomed by Stuart Ross and Jay Kubassek themselves, both down to Earth men with delightful and entertaining personalities.  They spoke casually and very interactively with theSix-Figure-Mentors-SFM-Momentum-Day rest of us present.  They had material they wanted to go over, but they certainly provided an environment for others to share experiences & teaching tips.  Right away you could tell this was community, everybody helping and learning together.

The People

We met plenty of interesting people who originated from all around the world (Nigeria, New Zealand, Thailand, Israel & Sweden, that I can recall) but that mostly hail now from the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States.  Great variety.

Six-Figure-Mentors-SFM

Jan (pic to the right) is living in Monterrey, Mexico…practically our neighbor!  And Swedish, to boot!!  (Everette’s ancestors are from Sweden).  Now maybe we have somebody to visit on our next border run?

Wesley has been focusing as a full-time college student and is now ready to take his SFM business to a new height.

Ilan and his brother Guy are the men behind SatoriPrime and do a lot of the marketing training for SFM.  I listen to them every week so it was nice to meet at least one of them in person.  We had a pleasant visit with him and his wife in the evening, and he’s on top of his game for sure.  I had hardly said a sentence regarding our dreams and he was checking me on my mindset!  Our words are powerful, and he called me on it…in a pleasant enough but firm manner.  Thanks, Ilan.

SFM-Six-Figure-Mentors

After an incredible buffet lunch with a view over the water & a chance to connect with more people, we finished the formal training shortly after 4pm and moved casually down to the hotel’s bar where there was a private room for the SFMers with appetizers, cash bar, and draws/prizes.  Jay attempted to launch his career as a comedian, and because of or in spite of Jay there were lots of laughs!  This provided more opportunity to connect & brainstorm with people and even meet some of the spouses that came to socialize but weren’t at the days’ meetings.

Entrepreneurs-Six-Figure-Mentors-SFM

I appreciated those that shared nuggets with us.  I don’t know all of Everette’s conversations, but I know I appreciated what Oliver from Montreal shared with me, and Tal from Toronto.

I connected with Audrey (in the lower right pic) who came from OK with her homeschooled son, Jacob, who chose to come to Momentum Day as his Graduation event!!  Smart guy, building a business he can design and control rather than spending money for some letters after his name and then go looking for a J.O.B. so he can be bossed around.  This is a career-changer.

It can be difficult to set aside time/money to invest in your own self-development (a biggie within the SFM community) and go to seminars, workshops, conventions.  As a mom of many I have always found it difficult to leave my kids for a weekend, even when I knew I would have a fantastic time away.  I admit its much nicer now that our youngest is 8yo (well, officially at the end of this week) and we have not only responsible teens here to manage the place, but the community here at the hotel.  We know our kids will be helped if there was an emergency.

This was a stretch for Everette and I to attend this SFM Momentum Day in New Jersey; it was expensive (quick travel can be), time consuming, tiring, and ….worth it!

Next Momentum is in London, then Australia.  I want to go meet more of the community, network with others, glean from their knowledge and experience.  There’s so much value in SFM…like a University education.  I think Jacob made an excellent choice.

SFM-Entrepreneurs-Oyster-Point-Hotel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Selfie Stick in the Hands of Silly Man

Everette and I are busy working on some other websites for our business and part of our (self) development is getting into making videos.  Its something I’ve thought of doing for years now here on AcrobaticThoughts…but just thought I wouldn’t be good enough, I was too self-conscious, blah blah blah.

But the time has come…and its FUN!!!  So I chose to do my own 90 Day Video Challenge, making a video everyday. Not that I have to share it with anybody because Heck, some of them are pretty nasty looking. The idea is just to get myself on the screen and evaluate my ‘performance’. Do I overdo the umhs and ahhs, stutter, squint too much (Yup!), talk at a good speed?

Once Everette saw me having fun with it, well he knew that he could have fun with it, too.  Especially since he has a sillier side to him than I do!

The other night we came home with a selfie-stick, which in and of itself seemed to give our teen kids a giggle. What? You think us old folks can’t get into this technology??

Well, let me tell you something!

No, rather let me show you something!! Cuz proofs in the pudding, and we undoubtedly know how to use this stuff.

PROOF:

First Video:

With the Selfie Stick
 

Scooting Around

It’s not ours but we dream of having one.  BIGGER!!

BMW maybe.

We aren’t quite there in our lives yet.  In the meantime, Everette borrows Tom’s scooter for cheaper trips into town.  Each of the kids that have jumped on the back have LOVED it.  Nothing like Matt-the-Frenchman’s bike but nonetheless its enjoyable.

Collage Scooting

Some afternoons when we need a break we jump on and head to Chapala or along the lake just to feel the wind on our faces.  Perspective is different on here than it is from the comfy seat of the van.  I see so much more even though hubby blocks much of the forward view.

We feel FREE.

Even if its just for an hour.

One of our favorite places to go is a new restaurant in Chapala that we refer to as The Patio although its really called il Giardino.

There are four levels (patios) to this restaurant tucked discretely off the sidewalk of the main street.  We can sit up at the highest level amongst the palm trees and fountain like we did with Dee and Gerry, or on the first level (as in pic below) where we can people-watch on the sidewalk.

Twice now we’ve gone for drinks and were given soup ‘on the house’ along with savory buns….I think they are looking to expand their menu.  This day we were treated to very tasty carrot soup.  All the food we’ve experienced here has been great.

Collage il GiardinoWe understand that this is one of the few restaurants open late at night, tip 1am or something like that.  A great place for after an evening show.

The biggest challenge would be the four flights of stairs if one has had too many drinks.  But go ahead, try it out….I dare you!

 

Beautiful British Columbia on Caffeine

Everette and Mitchell are once again in BC working their buns off….and try and take time to visit family and a few friends.  Driving up island Everette got a visit in with his sister+  and then yesterday he was able to meet his mom and niece, Tasha….and if I say so myself, Grandma J looks happy to have some of her Boys around!  Everette is her only son; Mitchell, her eldest grandson….actually, our 3 boys are her only grandsons!

Johnsons

They picked a picture perfect day today for traveling BC Ferries to the mainland.  Work, and more work.  And then off to Portland and back to us.  Busy week for the guys.  But an hour+ of quiet on the lazy ferry, Everette gets his Canadian/ferry treat…..a Coffee Crisp.  However, I have a suspicion he’ll be a bit too jittery to just sit and read that Branson book!!!

ferry

Have I told you recently, Everette and Mitchell, how much we appreciate ALL you do for us?  All of your hard work  (and God-awful hours) to provide for us…..a Life We Enjoy!!  THANKS!!!!

Renewing Our Canadian Passports Abroad: A Mexican Version

With such a large family it can really hurt the pocket book to have all passports applied for at one time…so an option is to have them staggered, but not too much so that keeping on top of them becomes a nightmare.  We had 11 of ours limited to just 2 different expiry dates, but now the eldest two girls have flown the coop and so it is not my concern when they expire, or even if they have them!  (well, actually that isn’t true since they need them to come visit us!)

Everette was heading back to Canada so he just did his Renewal back in BC.  Straight forward and simple…and cheaper!  Well, the same cost as other Canadians would be paying if applying for renewal while on Canadian soil.  The savings, however, didn’t warrant a trip back to Canada so the youngest 3 kids and I did ours here in Mexico.

First step was to get our passport photos taken.

We stopped at a photo shop in Chapala where we met the delightful and talented Paulette.  She made the kids comfortable and welcome, making the photo-shoot easy.

Collage Passport Photos

Although a man at the Cdn Passport office in Victoria raised questions about Everette’s photo being taken in Mexico, he was just an uninformed employee who pre-views to make sure you have all the pertinent paperwork before you enter the actual line-up.  When Everette presented all his paperwork to the actual person that accepts the application or renewal, having the photo taken in Mexico seemed of no concern.  It was signed and labeled by a professional photographer as required and that’s all that seemed to matter.

Since it was years since the last time we had to apply for the kids’ passports I had forgotten that both parents needed to be involved in the paperwork, so I neglected to get Everette to fill in the papers before he headed back to Canada.  So off he went to BC, applied for his renewal.  Weeks later I thought I should get our 4 applications sent in only to (re)discover that I needed his signatures on original papers.  So I waited for his return.

Weeks passed and when he received his new passport in Canada he booked a flight back and we ventured into the big city to have everything looked over.  We had to make an appointment for that.  At the Canadian Consulate located on the 8th floor of one of the World Trade Centers.

Collage Maria Bistro

Arriving early for our appointment we checked out Maria Bistro

Collage WTC

Everything seemed in order; we paid mucho dinero and made a stop at a DHL to have our package couriered off to the Cdn Consolate in Mexico City.

Collage DHL

We couriered them out on April 6/15.  One day to get to Mexico City, one day to return to us at Chapala, the rest was time spent at the consulate.  We received them May 21/15.  Thirty-nine days!! 6 1/2 weeks.

And I’d like to point out that the one Canadian brochure we received about our passports….was in French!!  I got a chuckle out of that.  I guess I need to brush up on my French.

passports

We are thrilled that they were all approved and finally received.  These ones at least are good for another 5 years (mine is good for 10 years) and we only have a few others to worry about I think in year 2017.  All the adult kids can worry about their own.

Because our passports didn’t arrive before our T.I.P. was to run out on our van, our border-run was only partially successful.  Some of us couldn’t cross the border so Everette (& Danaka) did the van business and applied for their own tourist visas*.

By the way, for those that are curious, our T.I.P. costs about $42US (the actual permit) with a deposit of $300USD (either cash or credit card).  Prices are dependent on the age of the vehicle, so I don’t know how the deposit varies.

 

* Every time Everette (and Mitchell) fly back from Canada, included in their airfare is a new tourist visa for 180 days.  In essence, Everette didn’t need a new tourist visa as he had only been in Mexico 5 weeks.  But as the driver bringing the vehicle into the country (since I couldn’t cross) he needed a visa for the duration of the permit of the van.  A tourist visa costs approx $25US so it isn’t a biggie, but a necessity.