Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Update...

Hi, sorry for being so quiet on here. I haven't been using the computer too much. As usual, I have about a million things to share and tell you. But, I won't find the time today. I snapped this pic on May 26th, when Branden and Noah and I went to go and see Solo. We had tickets bought in advance. And the reviews weren't too good. But, we really liked it. Solo was great!

In about 10 hours from now, Bran, Noah and myself will already be on our way to Japan for about 6 weeks. Until the end of July. I miss my husband more than I can even say. So, it's a fantastic thing that we're going home for a good 6 weeks. Noboru misses the kids terribly, he calls them via LINE every other day, and he and I talk daily too.

The kids started summer break here in the U.S.A. yesterday. They have absolutely zero summer homework. They did so well in school, both of them. They have made a ton and I do mean a ton of friends here too.

We're all packed and ready to go. My computer is in the US. So, I won't be blogging until I get back to America. Have a good rest of June all of you. Have an awesome July too. I know my blog will be quiet...but just know...it's quiet because I'm enjoying some much needed family time in the Japanese countryside. : ) 

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Just a fast little catch up...

Last Saturday, Branden, Noah and I went to go and see Deadpool 2. How was it? It was amazing!!! We have tickets to go and see Solo, this Saturday. We can't wait! We have had tickets for Solo for a few weeks now, just like we had for Deadpool too. So needless to say we can't wait for the movie.

Watched a repeat of the Royal Wedding. Americans absolutely love Megan Markle. I know, I sure do. There was a Lifetime movie about how her and Prince harry got together. Blind date and the whole bit and I must say, that Lifetime movie that ran 1 week before the wedding was amazing and I could barely wait for them to tie the knot! I think Megan is extremely down to earth. Intelligent and funny! She's flat out gorgeous. And yes she does have that "Markle Sparkle" as we say here in America. : ) I think she makes Prince Harry incredibly happy. And I think he makes her... incredibly happy too. Like soul mates. I wish them a lifetime of happiness. I loved her makeup on the wedding day, I felt her dress was perfect. Simple, chic and elegant. The neckline which was of course a graceful boatneck was extremely feminine on her. She just absolutely shined the day of her wedding. They truly look so in love.

Anything new to add? Today's Thursday right now and it's Bran and Noah's last day of school until next Tuesday. 4 day weekend here in the U.S. Memorial Day weekend. So no school tomorrow/Friday and no school on Monday.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Getting a little more settled now...

Can you believe that we've been living in the U.S. for over a month now? We left Japan April 9th, arrived in the U.S. On April 9th too. And right now the date is May, 16th! Not sure why this picture came out so dark. All my digital cameras are back home in Japan and my only camera I have here is my phone camera. 
Watching TV one evening...


Pic of the kitchen area from the couch. Things are coming together little by little.

Bought a coffee maker. A Keurig. It's awesome and the flavors of coffee we're using right now is we have coconut coffee pods...and we also have Cinnabon coffee pods too. Also, lol, bought an extremely basic rice cooker. I have a nice fancy shmancy one in Japan. It plays music, you can preset it...the whole shebang. But, it will remain in Japan until Noboru comes. I don't want him to not have a rice cooker. So this basic bare bones one, will do until then. 
Getting everything set up little by little. 
You know, in Japan, we had this amazing house that we had built especially for us. With a huge back yard. And everything. Now, we have 2 places to call home until Noboru moves. We have our home in Japan that we had built especially for us. And we also have this 1 year old townhouse in the US we're renting too. It's got an upstairs and a downstairs. This is what the front of our specific townhouse looks like it's right near my front door.It has a nice rock wall for privacy towards the left in this pic, green grass not much but enough. It's nicely landscaped and I always see horses in the distance every morning when Noah and I leave the house and I drive him to school. Straight forward in the distance is where some horses live. 

The window nearest my right is my living room window and the middle window is the kitchen window in this pic.

An almost door shot. : ) There are 4 units per building and 5 buildings. So 20 families live here in these townhouses. Not a lot. And it's quiet.
The kids went from going to the 1000 yen Japanese barber in Japan, to now they go to Great Clips. LOL. Usually the haircut are $15 US at Great Clips. But last week haircuts were $6.99 and that was awesome. 

Old Navy has been having some amazing sales lately. I'm slowly getting used to not everyone being Japanese. I'm slowly getting used to not hearing Japanese everywhere I go. I am no longer surprised to hear English (my native language) anymore. It's really weird. You know...obviously I am American. But living in Japan for 15/16 years, it does change you. And I'm trying hard as hell to change back, as fast as I can. And I am changing back. I'm getting more and more comfortable each time I go to Old Navy and other stores. 

At the mall, Noah picked a pair of Converse low tops for school. 

We also went to DSW. I always loved shopping there when I was in high school and in college in Denver. And this store is as amazing as I remembered.

Bran, got a new pair of sneakers. Because he has gym class and Vans are not really suited for running in gym class. So these were necessary. 

Can't believe my first born son wears a size 11.5 US. That's 29.5 for those of you in Japan. He's only 16 years old, so he's still growing but...holy cow!!!

I figured with Mother's Day coming up the week after the day we were at DSW. What the heck. Plus I needed a new pair of sandals. I really liked the toe design/area. I also loved the $39 price tag. 

Such cute sandals. And I also wanted another pair by the same brand. But ones that looked more like Birkies. But they didn't have my size, I did mention it to the lady and she said, if I let her order them for me online in the store....and since this was my first time shopping in DSW in forever....then I could get a $10 off coupon for that.... so the pair that look like birkies, I got for only $29. They haven't got to my house yet but they should be arriving today, I have been tracking their shipping. So 2 new pair of super cute summer shoes. 

Also, this is so weird if you know me in real life. But, I usually wear a cardigan. Black, navy blue, gray. Something basic. But you know what I mean, if I go to the movies and my arms get cold. Because usually movie theaters are nice and cool and wonderful, but yeah sometimes a little cardi helps. In Japan I had 2 basic gray ones, 1 was from Gap and 1 was from Old Navy.  As for the black cardis....I had about gee whiz honestly? About 6 black cardis in Japan. I had a longer one, a boyfriend one from Gap. A normal length one from Gap. 2 from Old Navy and 2 Japanese brand ones which I loved!!! When we moved to the US. I was so 100% completely focusing on the kids first and foremost. Did I pack both of their randoseru? Yes I did. Did, I pack up all their trophies and medals? From swimming and cross country? Yes, I did. Year books. All their most important things. And while I did pack for myself too. And I knew we were coming back to Japan to bring more stuff to the US too. But somehow in all the packing. I managed to not bring 1 single flipping cardigan. @_@ Like seriously. Noboru at first told me, "I"ll mail them to you in the US." And after he got back to Japan, he said, "just wait until you get back to Japan." The only problem though...is I can't. I literally use one everyday. So while in Old Navy, And Branden looking for a pair of athletic shorts? I went to the ladies section at Old Navy and found a black cardi and a navy blue cardi for 30% off. And I was like...you know what. Get them. Because I desperately need myself a cardigan. I also found this navy t-shirt.  

With palm trees and pineapples all over it. So cute. So yeah, not a bad little haul for Mother's Day. 2 pair of summer sandals and 2 cardis and 1 t-shirt.  

These are the athletic shorts Branden picked. I'm not so crazy about this athletic style of dressing these days for teens. Branden likes this style. And I'm not so crazy about this style, like I said, but I also want him to decide for himself how he wants to dress too, even if it personally drives me crazy. : )

Noah's not been wearing kids size shoes for a while now. But he's currently a men's size 6 and a women's size 8. That's a size 24.5cm for those of you in Japan.
I like that at most grocery stores around where we live, they offer fresh fruit for kids for free, while they shop with their parents. So a kid can have a fresh banana or a fresh Little Halo or something. 

Monday, May 14, 2018

Mother's Day 2018...

I hope you all had a lovely Mother's Day and spent it with your loved ones. I had a very low key Mother's Day as always, which is totally our style, to begin with anyways. I spent it with my 2 amazing sons who I adore to pieces. We 3 went to the movies on Mother's Day. One of my favorite movies growing up was the original Overboard movie with the amazing Goldie Hawn and her longtime beau Kurt Russell. Just always loved that movie. And so when I saw they were making a remake last year. I figured I would have to see it, whether good or bad. I wasn't expecting to like it. But, I really liked this remake. So seeing a movie that I loved. With my 2 sons, honestly nothing could have been better than that for me. : )

The boys had their own nachos as usual, we had 2 large sodas (cherry cokes) I wasn't hungry at the movies this time at all... so just had soda. After the movie, we 3 went to Dairy Queen, where they have this amazing deal. A $5 buck meal, you get chicken strips, fries, a drink and a sundae all for just 5 bucks, you can upgrade to a small blizzard for a dollar extra, if you want and we 3 did that. So a movie and an early-ish dinner. Anyway, I sure hope you all had a fantastic Mother's Day too. 

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Bits and Pieces...

The couch arrived April 28th. We bought it, the week beforehand, but it couldn't be delivered until then.

So thrilled to have the couches.

I'm so thankful that Branden is just like his dad.... in the fact that he can put any piece of furniture together all by himself. He put this TV stand together like a boss! He did such a fantastic job. 

The living room coming together, little by little.
Long John Silver's and Taco Bell are inside 1 restaurant where we live. So you can order Taco Bell and your family could order LJS or go either way. One night, we went to Long John Silver's and Taco Bell. My kids had never eaten LJS before ever. And I used to have a LJS near me, when I was growing up. And we would go there once every 2 months. I don't like fish. LJS is an American fish and chips type place. I always ordered the "chicken planks" Which is basically just chicken strips. Anyway, knowing my kids had never eaten LJS before, I tried to steer them to Taco Bell that night. Only because I *know* my kids and know what they like to eat. I thought, I would order LJS chicken planks, for old times sake. But the kids wanted to try LJS too. And so, okay. So we 3 ordered the chicken planks meal. It came with 3 strips/planks, fries, 1 hushpuppie and coleslaw. My kids absolutely hated it. Didn't just mildly hate it.. but hated it times a thousand. They told me... it was the greasiest meal they have *ever* eaten in there life. It was extremely heavy for them. And I hate to admit it, but I completely agree with my kids. After living in Japan for 15-16 years. I can't handle LJS either anymore. In Japan, we would have karaage once a month and chicken katsu once a month. If cooked right, they're not greasy at all. In Japan, my family and I seldom, if ever ate tempura. Even at the deli, if we'd get 2 tempura breaded shrimps, after shrimp one, I felt completely greased out. My kids could never handle eating tempura in Japan either. And this meal at LJS was like 100 times worse than tempura. I know Noboru enjoys LJS. And when he comes here, I'll be picking something from Taco Bell instead. 

What else happened? Let's see in the US, Avengers came out on Thursday, 2 weeks ago? It's a school night here. So, I promised to take the kids to the movies on Sunday. I couldn't take them on Saturday, since Saturday we were waiting for the furniture store delivery people to deliver the couches. Also, I made a small mistake at the movies. Again, I'm getting adjusted back to living in my home country. And boy oh boy. So let me tell you the story. In Japan, when you go to the movies in Japan, you have to pick your seat. I actually really like this system of prepicking a seat. And I really love that about Japan. Now, every time I go to Guam or Hawaii or Denver, we always go to a few movies. And the system is a bit different, seats in the movie theater are first come, first serve. And I know that. I get that. I wrongly assumed that was the same system all over the US? So Sunday, morning, April 29th, we went to our nearest movie theater to where we live. I mentioned to the kids, "do you think it's like Japan, where we pick our seats in advance?" "Or like Hawaii, Guam and Denver?" Both the boys said, it's going to be first come, first serve type seating. I agreed. And so to the movies we went. The movie started at like 1pm, we got there like at 12 noon. I figured by the time we park the car, get our movie tickets, go to the bathroom and then hit the concession stand. We'd have enough time to find a good seat. Okay so, I am standing in line to get the movie tickets. And I said, "hi I'd like movie tickets to see Avenger's Infinity Wars for the 1pm showing please" The nice teenage boy looked at me a little bit like I was on crack. Because he looked surprised. And he said, you didn't pre-purchase your tickets and pick your seats? It's nearly sold out. Would you like to buy tickets for tomorrows showing instead? Insert complete shock face from me here. OMG, you guys, never have I felt... more like a freaking "out of the know" idiot! I would have liked to slink away. But, I am the mother to 2 boys. I must be strong. I asked the kids... what do you want to do. And they said see it anyways. So, Noah and I sat together and Branden sat alone, but right in front of us. And my dad sat way up front... 3 rows away from the screen. Why am I sharing this story with you? Because I have *always* been for real with you guys on my blog. The good, the bad, the totally embarrassing. The silver lining? Well, I learned 1 thing. My nearest movie theater is like Japan... in the fact, you must pick your seats in advance. And another silver lining? I will never make that mistake again. That, I know for darn sure. 
The movie tickets are $10. Which is basically considered "cheap day" for me since I'm coming from Japan. So while my fellow American might not care for the movie price, it's normal price for me. What I do love... is that the seats are super wide leather reclining seats. The thickest cushiest seats ever. And a tray table for your movie snacks. Both Branden and Noah got their own nachos. Branden got his own large soda and Noah and I shared a medium soda. I had a small popcorn, but I'm getting the nachos next time too. We also snuck in 1 movie candy or chocolate from Target. Noah brought in Hot Tamales. Branden had picked an Oreo mint chocolate bar and I picked M&M's. The seats are the best and there's only like 15 seats per row at the most, so you don't feel all cramped in this movie theater. 

That's Noah's legs all stretched out.. relaxing at the movies and that's Branden's head in front of Noah. 


Deadpool 2 is coming out soon. May 17th, I think. Comes out on a Thursday again. I have learned my lesson and so yes, I have already purchased our Deadpool 2 tickets for Saturday May 19th. I'm learning ya'll, I'm trying so hard.
What are the pros of living in the US again? The fact that at any given time, I have 3 different types and flavors of ice cream in my freezer for the kids. Peanut Butter ice-cream. Pumpkin pie ice-cream. And of course we have the old school, ice cream sandwiches too. The ice cream flavors in the US are just the best. And so plentiful with the flavors. Just yesterday, I saw a quart of Twinkie ice-cream and Hostess cupcake ice cream too. 

My favorite flavor of yogurt since I was a child, has always been coconut flavored yogurt. While, I loved living in Japan, it always seemed they had the teeniest tiny amount of cereal variety and the teeniest tiny variety of yogurt. In Japan, we had vanilla yogurt, strawberry and blueberry. Perhaps the seasonal sakura flavor, which just tastes like perfume to my tastebuds. But, I often would mention to Noboru, I sure miss coconut yogurt. And I miss the huge selection and flavor varieties. Also our yogurt in the US is thicker. Even after trying the Greek yogurt in Japan, our regular yogurt in the US is much thicker. I know, because I tried both. I have been trying every brand and type of coconut yogurt they make in the US. My faves so far are the Yoplait Pina Colada because it's very tropical, pineapple and coconut. I also like the Tillamook coconut too. It's so thick and divine. But, I have been buying new flavors too. For the kids to try. So many Girl Scout flavors available.


Noah enjoyed the Girl Scout caramel coconut.

So, like I said the pros of living here is having the pure and simple convenience of having American food at my finger tips 24/7 and available. And American food is native here... so it's so freaking cheap. Yogurts are 60 cents each. Japanese food is considered foreign food here, so it's expensive. I have not eaten rice since I left Japan. And neither my kids. Well, wait they have had rice when they go to Panda Express. But not Japanese or medium grain rice. I always pick noodles so I have not eaten rice though since I left Japan.

I'm also learning which grocery store I find the cheapest. I have been to Alebrtsons and Safeway and the local chain here. And also price compared at Target and Walmart too. I personally find Walmart grocery store cheaper on everything. And I love buying their 96 or 98% fat free ground beef.

What do I find the hardest about living here? Being without Noboru. We've been married for 20 years, this year marks year 21 for us. While some people have crap marriages or they fight all the time. I can honestly say, I married my best friend. We have just always gotten along so well. He knows me best and I know him best. I miss him so much, that at times when I am alone, I just want to burst out crying. We were like a pair of shoes. Two sneakers. And now I feel like just 1 lone sneaker, without the other one. We Line message everyday. We talk on Line, most days but not all days.  I'm trying so hard to keep it all under control. And I won't tell my kids how unbelievably grief stricken I am. Or how sad I am. Because again...I need to be their rock.  We're waiting on that green card. And I know that. And so, I have to be calm. And composed. But yes, I miss him so much, that I can't really even describe how sad that I am, without him. Noboru called me last week, asking, how long to cook one of those Costco frozen pizzas and what temperature to put it on. Why? Because he too is having a hard time without me too. As far as cooking pizzas are concerned or anything in the house....I frankly always handled it. And so he never had to think about such things. Because I always did it all. Now I'm not there. And yeah...he's feeling it too. And so am I.

The good news... is that as soon as the kids get out of school for summer break, we're going back to Japan for about 4 weeks. I can't wait. And I know Noboru can't wait either. So in June we're going back. So yes, there are pros and cons for living here. Living in Japan, I always felt like I had 1 leg in Japan and 1 leg in the US. And here...I too, feel like I have 1 leg in the US and 1 leg in Japan too. I think though... when Noboru moves to the US...then I can finally start to feel like I have 2 legs both firmly planted in the United States.