Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Mommy and son lunch date...

Since Noah had an "observation day" April 23rd on a Saturday. The kids at his elementary school didn't have school on Monday, April 25th. So that our day that our "afternoon lunch date" was set. A mommy and son lunch date! : ) I do this with both boys when either one of them has a Monday off school. This just happened to be Noah's day off. So Monday morning, after vacuuming the downstairs, swooshing the downstairs toilet and hanging the laundry. I quickly got dressed and I told Noah as we were eating our breakfast yogurts and toast. For him to pick the place he'd like to go for lunch. I said, "would you like to go and have Indian for lunch? Saizeriya? Ramen? McD's? KFC?" You choose. Your choice entirely! He thought about it and Noah finally said, "can we go to McDonald's for lunch and Baskin Robbins for ice cream afterwards?" I said, absolutely, it's our date but kids choice! So that's what we did! Noah had a chicken McNugget kids meal. And I had a salad. Their salad cups with goma dressing are my favorite thing at McD's in Japan for lunch. I love goma dressing and I knew I would be having some ice cream afterwards. So this was exactly what I wanted for lunch and we enjoyed our lunch chatting away together!

The ice creams are on sale right now 31% off. A fantastic deal, so for that great price... me and my cutie patootie lunch date...we had a regular size double each! Noah picked cookies and cream and choco mint. And I picked cherries jubilee and jamocha almond fudge. We had a nice time together. I always want my kids to know... how incredibly important they are to me. And how us... spending one on one time together, is something really really cool. And really important. I am always here and I will always listen. And they know that.

Hmm, the sale goes away on these double scoops.... May 5th, I think. Don't quote me on that for sure... but yeah I think so. Anyway, I think I'll be taking both my boys to get some Baskin Robbins before the sale goes away. Think, I'll take them tomorrow. : )

Any current updates? How was bowling last night? Amazing! We played/bowled 3 games. I'll share in better detail when I get that up and posted.

Anything else? Anyone keeping up with that whole "Becky with the good hair?" I have been. I love Beyonce, I would most definitely consider myself part of the Beyhive. Apparently... on one of her new songs, she made reference to her guy cheating on her with someone she coined "Becky with the good hair" Now first and foremost is the song even... about her and Jay? Honestly maybe but maybe not. However everyone and their momma thinks it's about Jay Z and everyone at first thought "Becky" was in reference to Rachel Roy. Roy with an "O"...however so many of Beyonce's followers got confused and went over to Instagram and attacked Rachael Ray...Ray with an "A" ...Poor Rachael Ray the chef. They bombarded her instagram. And wrote her horrible things. Mean nasty things about her, about her daughter... about her cookbook. Things that would make... any average normal person cry! OMG!  Made threats to poor Rachael Ray. Threatened her with bodily harm! @_@ It might be Rachel Roy. Might. But it most certainly is NOT Rachael Ray. People please don't go after Rachael Ray, she is not involved even 1 iota, she just has the misfortune to have a very similar name. And for that matter... anyone notice even the way they spell Rachel/Rachael is even different. Apparently someone screen shotted Rachel Roy's instagram and she made 1 post with a pic and it said..."good hair don't care" @_@ again was she hinting...indicating she was indeed "Becky with the good hair?" I don't know. And again...this song might not even be about Jay and Bey at all. It might just be a song... plain and simple. Sometimes folks can read too much into something...that isn't there. Sure it could be about her husband Jay Z. but it could also be just a song people. Either way...I sure wish everyone would leave Poor Rachael Ray...with an A...alone. Poor woman is totally and completely innocent.

Remember that show Bride and Prejudice? That I was watching. It ended and the 3 couples all ended on a good note.

Anything else to add? I ordered 3 DVD's on Amazon.com last week. What's coming? Deadpool! American superheros are the best! And Ryan Reynolds looks hilarious in this one. Can't wait! Also, The Boy (this looks scary and can't wait!) and also American Sniper is coming! I have seen American Sniper and loved it, it was fantastic! So, I can't wait for it to get here!  Deadpool and The Boy haven't been released yet. May 10th is the release date, I think. Which isn't too far of a wait. So, maybe in about 2 weeks they'll get here. : ) No worries. : )

I'm making American style fried chicken tonight and cheesy potato gratin tonight and some veggies on the side. : ) 

Monday, May 02, 2016

Saying good bye to our playground and where it’s living now...

Friday, the week I had 2 observation days. When was that? You know... the Friday that I found out Prince had died. That day. What was the date? Hold on let me go and check. April 22nd, 2016, was the date. Anyway that was the date set to dismantle our great big American jungle gym/playground and give it to a new family. Noboru's coworker (who is the same age as Noboru but with just new kids, seems there are many people having babies in their 40's now days? no judgment it's just to give you a visual and to let ya know... the guy and his family aren't like 29, let's put it that way) Anyways back to the story, our kids went to school. Bran and Noah did go outside and take a look and last pictures of their playground before they went to school that morning. It was gray and cloudy that day. No rain just cloudy. 

The extra/spare swing, never used. The instructions and touch up paint.

Premium playground. It is. And says right here for ages, 3-11. Branden is 14, will be 15 at the end of October this year. And Noah will be 11 this July. So yes, sad but most definitely an age appropriate time to let it go. 

Noboru quickly took apart a piece of our fence because he said he didn't want to carry the jungle gym near the side of our house and hit our house on accident. So this was safer. 

His coworker came. And I went outside and greeted him and then I came back inside. They very quickly started taking it apart. Like 2 fast moving ants taking it apart. 

He had rented a truck for 12 hours to carry the playground back to his home.

I meanwhile cleaned the kitchen like crazy. I think it was just nerves. The finality of the jungle gym going away. So, some people stress eat, that's not me. I however stress clean. Hahaha. So clean I did. I started going after the windowsils in the kitchen. Yes I know, this is stove/kitchen cleaner. But, I have a huge amount of this and refill it into this spray bottle and so, I used this that day for the kitchen windowsils. I wiped and wiped.  

Aha, you see tiles here, so you know this is a different windowsil. I went after every windowsil in my kitchen that morning. 

It was this windowsil. I bleached the green counters because I love the smell of bleach plus it disinfects. It just smells so clean to me. 

I cleaned, I scrubbed, I wiped, I bleached. I mopped the kitchen floors. I wiped down the kitchen table. Noburu's coworker even mentioned loudly, "your wife could possibly be busier inside, than we are outside" Hahaha. That was true. We all laughed. Again...it was just my nerves. and knowing I would be saying good-bye to our jungle gym Yes, it was the right thing to do. But still, sort of sad you know. The end of an era.

And then it was just 1 piece left standing and then no pieces standing. While the floors quickly dried with all the windows and patio sliding window open, I turned on the oven and took out the homemade peanut butter cookie dough out of the fridge and finished up the cookie baking. I wanted Noah to take a fresh cookie for his observation day, the following day. I also wanted to bring out a fresh batch of homemade from scratch cookies and some iced tea for Noboru and his coworker. 

I brought them out 2 freshly baked still warm cookies each. They really appreciated it. And it made me feel nice, to be able to do that. 

And now it was completely dismantled and just laying in the backyard. And I started to have like this "slideshow of memory's" fill my mind. Looking back. Remembering. Remembering all the joy this playground had given to my 2 sons and our family throughout the years and now it would be... no more. So yeah, I was flash backing... to all the smiles my boys had on the playground. All the good times.
Noah sliding down the slide.

The most kindest... sweetest... happy smile.

Oh how they'd wake up on weekends and get dressed and spend the entire day outside on our playground. Hi Noah!

Noah going head first. Be careful, I'd say...

Noah went down head first...but super slowly and he had a nice soft landing. 
Two brothers in their backyard just having fun. Water filled in the rice fields down below. And it was just... peace of mind knowing I could see my boys outside in the backyard while I was cooking dinner or setting the table for a BBQ. It was again just peace of mind... knowing they were within eye sight and in our enclosed locked fenced in backyard. 

There goes Bran headfirst on the slide. He started this whole head first trend at our house. 
12 o' clock, noon lunch time but the boys asked to eat their lunch on their beloved jungle gym. There they were...just eating their grilled cheese sandwich. And just shooting the breeze... chit chatting with each other. All the fun times, they had on this! : )
All the happy squeals and giggles. All the laughter.

And yes, even all the cheesy poses! But bottom line...just little kids... being little innocent kids!

Everyone in our housing community called our house..." our last name koen" Basically in English it's like saying..."Berkley park" Or Anderson park. Everyone started calling it that. My kids friends. We never called it that ourselves. But everyone would joke and say..."oh so and so lives near "Our Last Name Park"...And yes, you have to have a pretty big yard to house something this big... because if you know.. how actually big this is...you'll know the space you need for this. This was not some puny teeny tiny little playground, this was a big one. : ) 

I remember this one...the boys would roll their soccer balls down the slide. This was their game they invented. They would do this often when they were that age. : ) 
If you are an "old school" reader of my blog, you'll remember this one. Branden was at school. Noah was outside playing but he got lonely. Keep in mind at this age...I had...but he hadn't yet seen Castaway with Tom Hanks. So this was his own original idea, he came up with, all by himself. Noah put the basketball in the baby swing. To be his "friend" while Branden was at school. I had the screen door open on the patio and I could hear the conversation from the kitchen because our street is so quiet. I was quietly cracking up inside the house hearing what Noah was talking about. 

Noah said sweetly, "would you like me to push you?" He asked..."yes?" Okay. 

"Here you go", Noah said. I'm in the house thinking...gosh what a sweetheart! Who clearly misses his brother! So much so..."he's made himself a basketball friend!" Hahaha. : ) 
Yay, another day and they could play together. 

Hi BrannyMcB.

Hi Noah with one gardening glove on one hand, hahaha!

Monkey bar fun! The other side had a rock climbing wall too.

And a wickedly cool tire swing.

When you're a little boy, it's almost required to do cheesy comic book super hero... type poses as you slide down! "Up up and away" Bran used to say. Because in his young innocent mind, he was FLYING. Aww. : ) 

Sliding down together. Oh the smiles, these 2 brothers had!

Love you guys! And thank you... jungle gym/playground for being with our family for all these years. The joy you have given to our family. You'll never know. How much we appreciated having you! : )
So yeah... like a slide show of memories filled my mind. And they meanwhile loaded it up and locked and tied everything down with that bright orange rope. I went outside and told them "goodbye." And said in Japanese "I hope it won't be too much trouble putting it back together again" Yes, I have been in Japan long enough to know... that's a good manner thing to say. And he said reassuring me.. "no it shouldn't be any trouble at all" and said "thank you for passing it on" his 2 sons are so eager to be getting this today and they can't wait. Oh good good, I said. : ) I then quickly ran upstairs to take a few pics. 

And then it was going going gone. And don't laugh but...with tear filled eyes, I snapped this picture and said..."thank you for being with my boys when they were little and thank for being with us all these years and I *hope* that new family appreciates you and loves you, the way we did, good bye" 

I took one more picture... this one. And I said..."this is the last time you'll ever be on our street again." "Good bye....thank you!" I could barely see now... with all the tears in my eyes. : ( Yes I am a dork. I know that. I wiped my eyes. And I went downstairs and had a coffee and called it a day cleaning wise. I took an hour break and then I started in on some dinner prep before the boys got off school. When the boys got home... they both just stood in the backyard and stared at the empty space... where their jungle gym used to stand. And I tried to give them the reassuring pep talk and said..."now the jungle gym has new kids to love it and play with it." I had asked Noboru one thing. To take a picture of it... when it gets set up in it's new home. That way I'd have a visual in my head for memory. 
He sent me this when they were mid way building it. Their yard is much smaller than ours, which is totally fine, no worries as long as it fits. And I see the smaller slide is now on their concrete patio on the left hand side of this picture. I did try to crop them out, as best I could. That is the mom's arm and her 2-3 year old son near that stump of a tree farthest right of this pic, their faces aren't shown but you see some limbs. The jungle gym now has 2 new little boys... age 2-3 and age 6 months. So 2 boys. He said the older boy (age 2 or 3) was so excited. Kept asking, when he could play on it. So, I know in my heart and in my mind... this was 100% the right thing to do. Our playground gets a new family and 2 new young kids to love it and play on it... all over again. It's better to get a 2nd home and be loved and played with every day, then to sit here in our backyard being ignored now that our 2 boys are too big for it now. Yes it is bittersweet... but again...it was the right thing to do. And it was time. I'm sharing this picture with you today, because so many of you have been sharing my family's and my life, cheering us on and reading and watching my kids grow up... via this blog and now you can have a visual too...of where our playground ended up. A new loving family has it now. : )

Anything new to add? It's Golden Week for us in Japan, right now. My kids have school today/Monday and then don't go back to school until this Friday. So they're off Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, this week.  Anything else? The 4 of us are going bowling this evening. Noah gets out today at 1pm and Bran gets out today at 1:30pm. So, I'd say... by 2:30pm-3pm we will already be at the bowling alley today. Anything else? We have been doing so much yard work in the backyard. All this past weekend. Any last minute info to add? I have an appointment for a hair color this Friday at my hair salon. At 2pm. Noboru will be home at 2:30pm so he'll be able to pick up the kids from school, while I am finishing up at the salon or on my way home. It's just a hair color. So it shouldn't take too long, in fact, I may even make it home before Noboru and the kids do (Noah gets off this Friday at 3:45pm and Bran 4pm, so I may just be home, before they get home this Friday). : )  

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Throwback Thursday. Noah's elementary school entrance ceremony 2012...

This is the last entrance ceremony themed TBT for April 2016. Yes, I did manage to write posts for the 4 weeks, all this month. I hope these posts can help someone. Or shed some light. Give some food for thought or help or at least something to think about, if you have younger aged kiddos. : )  This is one of the many catalogs that I was given from our yochien when Branden was in his final year at yochien (Japanese kindergarten) These were given at the end of October. Why are these catalogs given out so early? It's actually... not too early at all. Because if you are ordering a handmade/handsewn one and a popular one at that. There could be a wait. Quality made to order randoseru start being ready.... end of January/early February. If you ordered yours in November/early December. You don't want to order your randoseru late! Especially if it's a special "made to order" randoseru. Also, there are also mass produced randoseru too. That can be bought at Aeon for say 19,800 yen (about $198 US) but considering the randoseru is used all 6 years and must last that long. So find the best quality one, of course within your budget. They go up in price all the way to 65,000 yen-70,000yen ($650-$700 US) but again considering it will have to last all 6 years. Hold tons of books and basically take a beating being used for 6 years straight. On the opposite end of the spectrum....I have even seen randoseru at Cainz/Besia for 9,800 yen (about $100US) so not to worry... you will be able to find one within your budget. This is a lot different than how we do in the US and just buy a new Jansports or Lands End backpack every year. : ) I was lucky in that and I know I mentioned it beforehand. But, I was lucky in that.... I had a really fantastic set of girl/mom friends when Branden was in yochien. And same when Noah was in yochien too. But, at the time when Bran was in yochien. I let them know. As honestly as I could. "I know nothing about randoseru, please tell me anything you can. "Should we buy a budget friendly one or splurge?" Everyone of my friends said..."invest in my child's randoseru" (backpack). It's a symbol of Japanese childhood innocence...that randoseru. So again. They helped me a ton. So we agreed and decided to invest in Branden's randoseru. Plus it's also a fantastic keepsake/memory. We flipped through catalog after catalog. And we finally liked 1 place. And had 3 randoseru we liked from that 1 place. See how in this picture they sew them all themselves. We bought Bran's from this place. 

Let me share a little story. Noboru's elementary school in Osaka had their own "school bag" so Noboru never.... not ever in his life had a randoseru. Something he wishes he had the chance to have as a child. Also, another weird fact. Noboru's elementary school in Osaka, they wore street shoes in his school. Yes, no inside shoes for Noboru either. Is this weird or what? If you live in Japan this could sound super weird. However, I do know of one foreign mama, she's a friend of mine and her child's school now days (not in Osaka) has their own school bag too. Same way as Noboru's school did. However they wear inside shoes. : ) Also, my niece J she lives in Osaka and her school requires randoseru. So, again not all schools are the same. So, Noboru not ever having a randoseru. Grew up thinking, boys only wear black randoseru and girls wear only red. We know how wrong my sweetie pie was. But again. He never went to a school with a randoseru, so not his fault. And besides...he was in elementary school in the 80's. So that was back in the day, anyway. Ykwim. : )  I should have asked my friends about this from our yochien but I didn't. I should have asked about colors. There were many backpacks in blue that I really liked for Branden. Like the one this boy is carrying in blue with stars. I really liked this one. This was my #1 choice this blue one with blue and orange stars. I LOVED this backpack. But Noboru was like...no way. Boys have to wear black randoseru! Maybe he thought they'd spontaneously combust, if boys don't pick black or I don't know what. He was not wavering on this black randoseru thing at all. Did I mention how much I loved this blue one with blue and orange stars? 

Bottom row second to the right. The blue randosru, I wanted for B. But, I compromised for the black version bottom row far left. Only because Noboru said, every boy in Branden's class would show up with black and if Branden didn't show up with black... he would be a Weirdo Mc Weirdo-pants. Which was so totally wrong but...there ya go! When 2 parents grow up... neither having a randoseru. It's like...the blind leading the blind! I tell ya. : ) 

This was the model one. But we put in the order for this. Because as Noboru said... every single boy human child in the class would be carrying black. @_@ Wrong. But anyways. 

I wanted the blue one with the stars picture above some place. And my 2nd choice was this 3 toned blue randoseru. This looked super cool to me too. I remember this as clear as crystal...Noboru looked at this blue striped cool randoseru and said..."If Branden shows up with this, he will get laughed out of school" @_@ Umm no he wouldn't. And he said that about that conservative blue one with stars too. 

He was insistant on the black. Yes he has since apologized profusely...though not necessary at all. Hey, it is what it is. Can't change it. The bright side is...at least Bran got a nice black one with stars and quilting stitched on his and stuff. With his name and stuff on it. Made for him. Bran's was about, 59,000 yen. We figured about a $100 a year. Oh and one more thing. Bran's 2 best friend's in elementary. Genki's randoseru was not black and the Jimbei boy's was blue. @_@  Live and learn. But yes I do like Bran's randoseru and it was made just for him. 
Flash back years later. I got a new stack of randoseru catalogs for Noah. From our yochien. But, this time around, I was pickier. I knew I could pick ANY color, this time around. I now had one thing I didn't have when it was Branden's turn. This time around, I had *experience* And that is priceless. I knew exactly what I wanted. I started looking and hunting for Noah's randoseru in September. Yes, I did. I didn't track it down until mid October. Found a place that makes them 100% hand sewn made to order. A place in Osaka. We called them once... emailed with them 2 times before placing our order. And we had our order placed by the end of October. By mid January the year Noah was set to graduate yochien, the handsewn randoseru of Noah's was already shipped out. This place emailed us... the first day they started to make Noah's randoseru, they emailed us the final week when they were near done making Noah's randoseru. They were in contact with us twice a month for the duration since we ordered Noah's randoseru. As they should for the price we paid for Noah's! The cost for Noah's randoseru? About 70,000 yen easy. But he is our last child. We will never have another. And this time around, we had the freedom of any color and...we just knew way more about randoseru the second time around. Anyway,  randoseru usually have charms placed on them. Usually something from a shrine that has good study wishes on it. Or something like that. And some have fun charms but every randoseru I have ever seen... has a charm. Noah's favorite colors are yellow and orange. You all know that. So, I made sure to get these Crocs charms in Noah's colors. : ) 

Entrance ceremony day. And boy oh boy were we ready! Zero nerves, no fear. We've got this! : )

Ready for school! Now you get to go with your big brother! That means fun! : )

Such a preppy randoseru.
Noah's outfit came from Comme Ca, socks came from there too. 
Each new first grader was assigned a 6th grade helper that day. You know how deputy Barney Fife was very gung ho about being a policeman on the Andy Griffith Show? Well Noah's helper was so nice, but he took his job as our helper... very seriously! Bless his little heart! : ) First thing he told me was, "Branden-kun's mom, you can just stand back here (back of the class) not to worry I will get your little one... all set up. He didn't know Noah's name yet. But he learned it within minutes of getting Noah all safely set up. : ) You see just parents in this pic. Yet, all these kids had 1 kid helper. But none really helped except Noah's super helper! He rocked! : ) This gave me time to take pics. : ) 

Our helper was making sure Noah brought all his required bags with tape, glue, scissors, etc. And his red and white hat. This kid rocked so much... he knocked and scratched everything right off the list and hung the bags and everything. In fact right here, he mentioned to Noboru that he could just go and stand at the back too...that he truly can get Noah all squared away on his own. @_@ I tell ya this kid was...super kid! He was amazing and so helpful! Best helper kid ever! 

See all the parents trying to get their kids area all set up. See Noah's bags hanging and seat cover on. Right in this picture Noah and our amazing wonderful helper was getting the clips for the cleaning rags all set up under his seat. See there's another 6th grader standing behind my mom friend but that kid wasn't really helpful like our helper was. Our helper...did so much. We weren't even needed. Hahaha. : ) I salute you... best most helpful 6th grader who helped Noah! : ) You see that blue Ikea bag on someone's table? You need to bring a huge bag with you on the entrance day and bring everything. Branden's time of entrance ceremony, I didn't forget a single thing but I was so nervous, I mentioned I was like... near heart attack type stress. This time around. I was so calm, so chill. So zen. The parents in Noah's class who had older siblings, like the 4 classmates of Noah's who have siblings in Bran's grade, for example. Those mom's were so ahead of the game. They were experts by now. See little K yawning in the row behind Noah? That's because his mom did this once before...when Bran and her oldest son... big K started the first grade. So with her experience, she went in there set up little K's desk and was finished in no time flat. The new...first grade mom's experiencing it...for the first time...were the ones still at the desks. I chalk it up to nerves and just trying to get things right. : ) Firs times always the hardest. Second time...hey it ain't no biggie. : ) This time around...I totally got to enjoy it...100% for all it was. Versus worry and give myself a stress heart attack. : ) 

Remember Noah's first grade seat cover? Green happy elephants with a bright yellow head cover for a disaster. Head protection basically. 

See the seat far left farthest this camera? See how it's missing a seat cover. Yep, seat cover was forgotten. Again...most parents remember everything but some forgot stuff. And you know what. That's A-okay. Nobody's perfect. It happens. Live and learn. 

Noah walking with his 2 helpers. The best helper was that little boy though, He was fantastic!

If you're thinking...you have seen that teacher before. That's because she was Branden's first and 2nd grade teacher. And was Noah's first grade teacher too. 

As soon as the teacher took roll call and announced your name, you were officially a student there. 

All grades except the first grade helped dismantle and get the gym back to looking like a gym. That is Bran in his orange Ralph Lauren big pony top.

I am so glad Noah wore gray!

All mother's in this class are 100% Japanese. Except me and 1 other mom. Me being American and her being from the Philippines. She is so awesome, so wonderful and I am so glad to call her my friend. Anyways, she only has 1 child. Same grade as Noah. She looked as nervous... during Noah's entrance day, as I know I looked during Branden's entrance ceremony. I could understand her feelings 100%. I could understand. Because like me...she was not raised in Japan, she hopes to get things right. She's never experienced entrance ceremony at the elementary school before. So, I totally get that. Don't we all, try to do our best. She brought her daughter's seat cover and randoseru. But she forgot her daughters inside tray that goes inside her desk and I think her little bags and red and white hat. She forgot a lot. And by the stress on her face. Remember, I was just cool calm and collected sitting at the back of the class....as our "wonder helper" did it all for us. She meanwhile looked stressed out...like near stress heart attack levels. I had never met her before. But...again. It is times like these... that determines the type of person you are. What sort of character do you have. Will you sit and watch someone struggle and say nothing. Or will you try and comfort? You already know the type of nerd, that I am. I'm a comforter. I hate to see people in stress. Believe me...I know what it's like. And I know how it feels to live in a culture not your own and feel like all eyes are staring and judging. So anyways back to the story. She's looking super nervous. And I smile first. She smiles in return. She says in English to me, "I forgot my daughter's tray"...I tell her...in the most soothing kind voice I can muster. And I say to her. "It's okay" She lets out a huge sigh of relief. She can see...no judgement here. There's none from me. And again I try to comfort and I say. "I have 1 older son, he goes to this same school, and when he had his entrance ceremony a few years ago. I was so nervous. So doki doki", I told her. She smiled so big. Oh really? I said, "it's okay. It's different for us since we've never been to school in Japan. Harder for us, in a way. Besides, everyone looks so nervous too... see", I add and we both look around. I added..."not to worry, nobody even notices." : ) Just tomorrow come early and bring it, I said. We both shook our heads. She heard kindness. On a very stressful day. We became fast friends that day. And we are friends even til this day. And yeah that's how we met.  You don't have to be perfect in this world...but you should always try to be kind.  

Hi Yuka-sensei. We meet again. : ) Hahaha. : ) 

These were my most easy years! When both boys went to the same school. 

And down the hill we go. 

Walking to our car!

Oh jungle gym! Enjoy your elementary school years Noah! : ) 

When you know this is your last child EVER and you go outside and go nuts with taking about a bazillion pictures. Hahaha. : )

And that was that. And then we went to go and eat! A celebration lunch. Just us 4. : ) 

Any final thoughts on the subject. Hmm. I blogged in great detail all about Branden starting yochien. Noah starting yochien. And course, all the mistakes I made along the way. And I blogged all about Branden and Noah starting elementary school and also blogged about Branden starting JHS. And why? In hopes this information will come in handy to someone in the future. I blogged it all, as it happened all those years ago, but all the very detailed information is all there/here. The one thing I want to say. And the one thing I want to stress to you, if you are a fellow foreign parent living in Japan is...be kind to yourself. There will be times, when you have things down to a science. And times when you feel so nervous and maybe you might feel so out of your element, I have had times like that too, oh yes I have. Or you may even feel like you bombed out, super hardcore. But seriously. Don't beat yourself up over it! Know that...this too will pass. You will eventually get the hang of things. And sure hindsight is 20/20. But if you forget something you needed to bring. Just be kind to yourself, be forgiving. And in a few years it might just turn out to be your most funniest memory. And if you see another fellow foreign parent and they look like they could use a kind word...please give it. That's all. : )