Another Give-a-way!

Ok, there is another blog giving away a Silhouette. I’m wanting the extra enrty, so here is my blog post. Oh, I hope I win! I love these things!


Silhouette Give-a-way

So, I am posting this because I really, really, really wanna win a Silhouette cutter give-a-way hosted by Thrifty Decor Chick.  Stop by and see what amazing things I can do if I win this.  I know the odds are against me, but wow, how cool it would be to win!

Silhouette Give-a-Way

The First Mini-Meet

Saturday marked the Boys and Adela’s first mini-meet.  What is a mini-meet you ask?  Well,  it’s a meet for minis.  Mini being those that are level 4 or under and aren’t on the competitive teams.  This means that the families get to pay a $25 dollar fee apiece to enter them but get to come watch for free I was informed.  Apparently once they are competitive Mom and Dad don’t get to pull in any freebies.

I was amazed how easy they made it for parents.  You show up at 1,  send your kids off with the coaches to warm up for an hour,  yes,  a whole hour.  Apparently they work on “routines” while they are warming up and are judged by how well they remember the routine on their own and are able to execute without help.

Becky being bored got to bum a ride home with D’net while I played prince of persia on the sidelines (yes you can download it free off the web these days!).  The boys were still warming up when the national anthem was played and the girls started (boys have 6 events girls get 4).  I think this led to a little poorer showing on the floor excersize for the boys (this was Josh and Josephs week event) since they didn’t get as much time there to warmup.

Josh Rings2

Josh did good on the rings and managed to get a blue.  There are three levels,  blue red and white.  Blue means they had good form and needed hardly any help,  red needed some help,  and white needed a lot of help and better form.

Joseph rings

Joseph also got a red on the rings.  The coach here is just helping Joseph tuck his head up a bit I think that is why he got a red, he also took a little step on the dismount.  This is one of Josh and Josephs strong events in my opinion.

Josh Rings

Here is Josh getting ready to dismount.

Joseph Parallel

Joseph was one of only a few that got a blue ribbon on the parallel bars among the level II’s


Here are the proud champions!

Adela Medal

Adela with her medal.  Adela has only been taking the class a few weeks but insisted we enter her for the meet when I said I think we’d let her skip this one.  So we entered all three.  They got a goody bag,  a medal,  and a bunch of ribbons.


  parallel rings floor pommel vault bars/High Bar beam
Josh blue blue white blue red  red  
Joseph blue red white blue  white  White
Adela      red   red red Blue 

Overall I think we had a good showing.  D’Net will get some videos up later.

Back to School

Well, we’ve been pretty busy the past few weeks.  School started a week and a half ago.  I wanted another 2 months vacation.  I am the only mom I know who doesn’t get excited about school starting.  I miss my kids. 

Adela started kindergarten this year.  She was so excited, even if mommy was not.  I’m not sure I want my baby girl to grow up.  Her teacher is Miss Grimes, and Adela loves her.  This is her 4th year of teaching, and she is very nice.  I even managed to go the day without crying.  I was very proud of myself for that!  They have been learning colors, and are supposed to wear the color of the day.  This has been a bit of a challenge, since 95% of Adela’s clothes are pink.  She loves pink, and rarely wears anything that isn’t, so that’s what I buy her.  We’ve gotten creative with hair ribbons and such, so we’ve managed to have her wear something that is the color of the day.

Adela's First Day of School













Josh is in the second grade.  He managed to make it 2 1/2 days before I got a phone call from a rather panicked teacher who didn’t know what to do when Josh had a meltdown.  I talked to Josh, went over to the school, and he was okay after we talked things through.  I tried to talk to Josh’s teacher about how to avoid and deal with potential problems at the meet the teacher before school started.  She completely blew me off, and wouldn’t even listen.  I told her to call me if she had any problems, knowing she would.  I was right, unfortunately.  I don’t think she’ll blow me off in the future, though.

I love this picture of Josh.  He looks so debonaire.  He is very aware of how he looks.  I think he spends more time on his hair than I do, and he’s only 7!  He loves to put various hair products in his hair to achieve just the right look.  I told him he could ask Santa for his own hair things, and he got really excited with that idea.

Josh 1st day of second grade













Joseph is also in the second grade, but in a different class than Josh.  He is doing well, but needs to listen to his teachers.  He got several warnings and a note home about this.  We had problems with that in 1st grade, and I was hoping they would get better this year.  Seems not to be the case, though.  On another note, Joseph lost his 3rd tooth yesterday.  He is a wimp when it comes to pulling teeth, so he was pretty happy to have Josh do it for him.  Our horrible tooth fairy forgot to come last night, though she was up late enough.  Hopefully she remembers tonight, or I will have to have a serious talk with her.

I love this picture of Joseph, too.  He was determined not to smile, and I was determined that he would.  I won.  Doesn’t he look cute in his glasses?  He doesn’t think so.  He just ruined his 5th pair of glasses in as many months.  The insurance with unlimited replacement for broken glasses in is sure not getting their money’s worth on Joseph.

Joseph's 1st day of 2nd grade













Becky is in the 5th grade, and doing very well.  She likes her teacher, though she was taken aback at how strict he was the first week of school.  I told her that was par for the course.  Teachers have to be strict and lay down the law at the first, otherwise they will have a miserable year, especially in the 5th and 6th grades.  The students seem to have gotten used to it, though.  She gets to help her very pregnant PE teacher twice a week with some kindergarten classes, and also helps the kindergartners in the lunch room.  She loves it. Becky 1st day of 5th grade













The day before school, Paul took Becky to a Jonas Brothers concert.  She and her dad had a great time, and Paul kept his promise and didn’t embarrass Becky.  She had as much fun taking pictures of her favorite band as much as she did listening to them.  She took over 160 pictures.  Thank goodness for digital cameras!Jonas Brothers











I started school again as well.  I teach music and Spanish for 3 hours Tuesdays and Thursdays.  I also picked up lots of Monday classes from another teacher that decided not to return this year.  I am teaching Math Facts Fun (3-8th graders in the same class – how’s that for a challenge!) PE for K, 1, and 2, General music, Chorus, Internet Research, Language Arts, Microsoft Office, and Adobe Photoshop.  I think that’s all of them.  It makes for a long day, but I like that I get it done and over with in one foul swoop at the beginning of the week.  Because of the increased school hours, I am only teaching 3 piano students.  I love it.  Now my kids are with a sitter for 2 1/2 hours on Monday afternoon, instead of 15 hours a week.  Much better for all of us, and I love, love, love being with the kids after school.  I feel very blessed.

I’m going to sign off now.  The boys are playing Make-up Artist on Adela with her play make-up.  Becky is the boss, and the boys are also her servants.  I’m going to pretend I’m doing something else while I covertly watch them play.

I’ve got to get better at posting!  We are doing well, and keeping very busy.  We enjoyed our trip to Utah so much last week.  The kids had a blast seeing their Vaughan cousins, and I had some nice visits with my Grandparents.  I took my Grandpa a hamburger meal Monday before we left for home.  He was in a chatty mood, and we had such a nice visit.  He told me about serving in WWII.  Three men in his unit sopke fluent Spanish, with English words sprinkled in here and there.  Grandpa said he could usually tell what they were talking about from the few English words they spoke, and it was generally about women.  They gave Grandpa a hard time because he wouldn’t speak with them in Spanish.  He told them he couldn’t if he wanted to – they were the ones who peppered their conversation with enough English words for him to know what they were talking about!  I had a good time listening to him.

We enrolled the boys in gymnastics this week.  They are going to go on Wednesdays and Saturdays.  We’ve taken them to 3 different gyms for trial lessons, and are very happy with the one we chose.  Both boys seem to have a natural inclination, and they are excited about the classes.  Josh has strong tumbling skills, and they said Joseph is the strongest 7 year old they’ve ever seen.  His upper body strenghth is amazing.  We are hoping the physical exertion will help focus some of their energy, and the discipline will be good for them, too.  Adela wants to take gmnastics, too, so we will enroll her when a space opens up in the girl’s class on Saturday mornings.  That way we can just take them all down at the same time.

Becky is doing well with her piano.  She is learning Fur Elise and Chopsticks.  She doesn’t enjoy practicing all of the time, but she sure enjoys the results of it.  It’s a good life lesson, I think.  She is also enjoying spending more time with her friends.  She gets to spend a few hours at Jayde and Gisalle’s house tomorrow, and is looking forward to that quite a lot.  She even went so far as to tell me she would try to remember to practice when she woke up in the morning.  If she forgets, I’ll remind her though, since we have a lesson in the afternoon.

I got offered more hours at my school, so I will be teaching from 8:00- 4:30 on Mondays.  My boss was going to hire another teacher for the afternoon, since no one was willing to work those hours with only a half hour lunch and no prep hour.  I told her not to worry about hiring someone – I’d be happy to do it.  I’ll be teaching lots of computer classes, Spanish, music, literature, and who know what else.  I’ll still be teaching the same 3 hours on Tuesday and Thursday as well.  It will be good because it will allow me to have time in the afternoon with the kids instead of teaching piano every day until 6:30.  I need to tell my students this week that I won’t be teaching piano anymore after this month.  It is kinda hard, because I have a great relationship with my students, and really enjoy teaching them.  I love my own kids even more, though, and am so looking forward to spending time with them after school.  I have the rest of eternity to be a piano teacher, but this is the only time I will have my children at this critical time of development.  I am blessed to have the pathway opened up so I can spend more time with them.

Just for fun, I am posting some scrapbook pages from our Disneyland trip that we took December of 2008.  We took Joseph’s foster mom, Rosario, to Disneyland the day before she went back to Guatemala.  She had been working in California for 5 years.  We had a wonderful visit.  Hopefully we can make it to Guatemala to see her in a few years.  I’d love to spend a summer down there with the kids.  No better way to learn a langauge than to be immersed in it!

Ch 2 Yosemite


Hey everyone,  here is the next installment of the Layton’s wacky adventure to Bass Lake.  You drive for half an hour through Yosemite and you get a glimpse of something cool up ahead as you enter the tunnel,  and then when the kids have passed out from holding their breath and you come out the other side,  there before you in all it’s breathtaking beauty is Yosemite Valley.  Somehow even the kids think it looks cool, and that’s saying something.

To the left is El Capitan,  one of the hardest climbs in the world measuring in at over 2000′ feet high it is among the largest cliffs out there.  It is incredible to think about people climbing it.  In the center in the back is the half dome,  another very respectable climb among climbers.  To the right is the sentinel and Bridal Veil Falls (eat your heart out provo canyon).


Josh is too cool to be seen near Bridal Veil Falls,  one of the worlds tallest waterfalls.  Isn’t she so beautiful?  Oh,  yeah and I guess the waterfall is pretty impressive too.


The scenery is good but people really go there for the fine cuisine.


Becky tries her luck at singing.


We are looking nearly straight up.  The camera lense had to be wiped after every picture as it was really wet on the observation area.


Joseph earned the title of small bladder boy on this trip using his super powers to stop time and progress for 5 minute blocks without warning.


Yosemite falls as seen from swinging bridge (which actually doesn’t swing and is pretty darn solid).


The mighty half dome.   (And a fine picture of it too if I may say so myself,  This was taken from an illegal stop in a bus stop turnout with my camera pointed backwards over my sore left shoulder, yeah the one the bus hit a week ago)


We had a lot of fun checking out the water fall and all the wonderful area around it.  It was nice realizing that since it was the off season all the people around were nothing compared to the zoo this place must be during the summer.


Yosemite is a very picturesque park.  It has been around for a long time and is just in a very grand setting.  I found myself wishing we could go do some hikes but that is for another trip I think.


The sentinel



Ok,  I think that Becky looks like the weird guy in Men at Work in this shot but you tell me what you think the caption should be.


Every vacation has a day when all the rushing stops,  everyone is sick of the car, and things just ease off a bit and the kids start having fun doing something completely unplanned and unforeseen.  The pebble beach at swinging bridge was that place.


Paul,  contemplating the grandeur of it all.


Becky, risking it all by dipping the sole of her shoe in the frigid water.


Here’s Josh’s girlfriends and their buddies.  Josh,  the social butterfly that he is got in good with these girls and got in a rock throwing/skipping match with the guys.  Adjusted for age he beat them soundly since he was only six.  He really did impress them with his throwing strength though.  As we left, in the parking lot Joseph teased Josh that he was kissing his girlfriends and of course, the lady’s, liking the idea gave Josh some serious cheekage.  I can see this kid having to set his brother’s dates up for him in around 10 years.  I hope he forgets all the teasing Joseph did.


Here is the foliage on the way home.  The poppies made it look like the hills were covered with cheese.  It was interesting going from spring to winter and back depending on how high you were at the time.


Home for the week

I will be blogging the family vacation into 4 posts.  The first will focus on our activities around Bass Lake.  The second will pertain to our trip to Yosemite,  the third with our trip to San Francisco,  the fourth with the trip to Sequoia national park, and lastly our visit to the land of the infamous rodent in his natural habitat in Annaheim California.

Bass Lake is best know for it’s use as the backdrop for the film “The Great Outdoors”  which erroniously depicts it as wisconsin/minnesota type lake.  We did not select it for this though.  Bass Lake as luck would have it was a place within driving distance that had an opening during our spring break , had units that would sleep 6, and also looked like it was in a location where one could do more than contemplate their navels and watch Disney Channel all day long. Of course there was much watching of the Disney Channel,  but many exciting and interesting activities were had as well.


Cool scenery outside the Oakhurst Chapel

Saturday night was a late night but they were able to check us in at 11 pm thankfully.  I am still amazed we made it after a late start at 11 and having to stop for what would become an epic week of inopportune bathroom breaks for Joseph (He has marked his territory up and down the california highways this week).   It reminded me of the girl in the Apple Dumpling gang.  Anyway,  we did get a dinner at Jack in the Box out of it in LA.  The kids watched a whole bunch of movies we rented from redbox in the back seat.  Since they have infrared headphones,  D’Net and I could talk in peace with the occasional spontaneous giggle coming from the backseat.  As an aside I must say this is an excellent way to let the kids watch their excrutiatingly annoying movies (can we say, “Beverly Hills Chihuahua?” ) without having to inflict the punishment on ourselves.

Sunday morning we attended church at the Yosemite ward in Oakhurst.  The kids were strongly opposed to staying all three hours but didn’t want to leave by the time church was over.  It had a really cool primary.  There were a lot more older people there than I would have expected.  A few people gave us pointers on seeing Yosemite and we took a few pictures in the front where the boys had discovered some rocks and a gnarly old oak.


Kids checking out Bass Lake

In the afternoon we walked down by the lake and the kids had a ball throwing rocks in it and exploring.  We discovered at this point that it was definitely the off season as the lake was low,  most of the many many docks were lying out of the water,  most of the picnic areas were closed,  as well as all of the campgrounds.   Judging by the amount of private docks and houses around the lake this must be a really happening place in the summer.  We found it quite pleasant though.  The kids didn’t really care that it was the off-season,  and I kind of liked it too since it meant a lot of cycling in the mornings on very light trafficked roads.


Jedi arena, or national forest amphitheatre,  you decide.


Joseph eventually figured out the fireplace was a gas one and you couldn’t open the glass to put wood in it.


On Monday when D’Net went shopping, I taught the kids to play Tennis.


Josh even has a good John McEnroe attitude when he gets frustrated


Dad rescues Becky

On Monday afternoon I took the family down to a cool stream I found during the morning bike ride.  After a long time of playing and exploring a startled cry and sobbing could be heard.  Alas,  poor Becky had fallen in the stream face first and in her consternation to save herself climbed out on the wrong bank!  Dad was quickly summoned and with a quick request to get the car heater started (the water was cold and the air temperature was cool) he waded in to save our damsel in distress.  After this adventure the girls went back to the condo and Paul was requested to hike the energy out of the boys so they went to climb the Mono trail (I guess indians used to kiss up there or something,  …just kidding….,  Mono was the name of the tribe).  Of course they didn’t run out of energy,  so we lived with it.


The boys,  still not tired out from the hike.