Thursday, June 29, 2006

Our evening : )


The kids playground was built two days ago, however with Branden being sick and whatnot. We couldn't really enjoy it yet. Today now that Branden is fine, we got our first day of usage out of it. His friend Genki-Kun came over after school today. Branden and Genki both live in the same community and go to the same school. Genki is a good kid. They played out back for about an hour and a half. Then after that, Noboru and the boys and I had a small family BBQ out back. Nothing special, just chicken and cheeseburgers and corn, just simple. Oh yeah and some rice on the side. It was a nice day. Not blistering hot, but a nice windy day so it felt good. We are going to start growing grass in the backyard in a week or two. It's coming along slowly. Also, you all know we've tried building this playground for the past 3 weeks, but got rained out by rainy season, lol. So it felt good to finally get the darn thing built. Now we can just enjoy our nothing days/simple days here at home in the backyard.






Here are a few pics of Branden playing after we had dinner on the patio this evening. Actually he ate so fast and finished way before Noboru and Noah and I did. Just so he could play on his playground. He had fun! We are planning to BBQ tomorrow night as well. We're just BBQ'ing maniacs in the summer time! : )

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Phew what a long day, but everything and everyone is fine so it's all good! : )

I took Branden to a different doctor this morning, partly because even though the doctor's office in our community is a doctor, he is a general doctor and not a specialist. So out of worry since he hasn't been getting better, I took Branden to an actual pediatrician this morning. This is a pediatrician my friend Rumi recommended to me since she takes her own two kids there.

The doctor is very good. He said the same thing the doctor from the day before said. Stomach flu! So the doctor in our community was also right then, hmmm. However he prescribed more and stronger meds. He gave him 3 kinds of meds.

1: for his stomach
2: for his high fever....I haven't given this to him since I have been using the fever reducer I brought from the states.
3: actual antibiotics

I've been giving him the antibiotics three times today like prescribed and the stuff for his stomach. I've also give him the American fever reducer/Children's Advil every 4-6 hours. And he's absolutely fine now. I think the antibiotics really did the trick, because I'd been giving him just the fever reducer for days now and it didn't work on it's own. And yesterday I gave him stomach stuff the other doc gave me and also the fever reducer, as well and those two alone didn't work. I think Branden really needed the antibiotics this time.

Branden seems chipper and back to his ol' peppy self. I'm still going to think about sending him to school tomorrow or not. I'd like to send him, but I'll see how he looks in the morning. I know he misses his friends, but I also want to make sure he is physically well though.

My dad made it to Guam. He called me about 8:30 pm tonight. He was sleepy from the long flight but happy to be back. Apparently some flight attendant serving the flight from Narita to Guam had a thing for my dad, she is Japanese and she told him she is originally from Chiba and now lives in Guam. He told her, "my daughter lives in Chiba!", They got to talking more. He said she actually sat right next to him, lol. And then he told her he moved to Guam and has been living there for the past couple month's and is still new to the area. And she then asked him if he was single.She asked for his phone number, he gave it to her. And said she will be calling him so they can go out for breakfast together. Oh and she also asked him if he'd ever consider getting remarried! Ha ha ha!

Sorry dad, if you're reading this I just had to share this story!

So my dad and I spoke on the phone for about an hour. He also spoke to Branden and also Noah on the phone. We then hung up because he was sleepy. And plus he said he was about to throw on his swim trunks and head down to the private swimming pool that is at his condo. To go for a swim in the pool, cool off and refresh himself from that long flight. And then he said he's going to get some much needed sleep.

All in all it was a good day. Branden is fine now. Knock on wood! And My dad is home and well. Phew!

Both the boys are asleep now, have been for a long time. And I'm just sitting on the couch and watching some TV trying to unwind from my day! Soaking wet hair again, what's new! Ha ha ha. And a night gown/night shirt. And I'm about to go pop myself a bag of popcorn. Noboru's shift tonight is a late one, so he should be home around midnight.

Oyasumi nasai/good night~!

I'm taking him to the doctor right now!

This morning when I woke up, I felt Branden again. Gosh he feels scorching hot! I got out my US thermometer and he is 103.8! That's dangerously high! Noboru asked me to use our Celsius one too, it reads 40! That's too high! We just threw all our clothes on from our PJ's and we're rushing to the hospital right now, Noboru is actually changing Noah as I type this. So, if I'm not around today, that's where I'll be, at the hospital.

Monday, June 26, 2006

The stomach flu for one and a super long flight for another! : )

Branden woke up about midnight last night. He ran to the bathroom and threw up! I felt his head and he was burning up! I gave him some fever reducer. I soaked him in a cool bath. He cooled down. Four hours later it came right back after the meds wore off. I know he had a small bit of this a couple weeks ago, but it went away quickly. This however made me worry because I heard from the bus driver, the other day half the kids in Branden's class are out sick. And the twin girl's in his class are in the hospital with Pneumonia, totally unrelated but it made me think. Some funky flu virus thing is going around.

He had a loose bowl movement all night and all day today sorry, too much information, lol. His tummy feels very hot to the touch. This morning, I walked him instead of the bus stop for school. I walked him to the doctors office in our community. The doctor said he has the stomach flu and gave me some meds for it.

Branden has no appetite. I've been giving him plenty of fluids. Hot tea. Room temperature 7 up. I have been soaking him in the cool tub off and on. I had him eat some toast earlier.

I'm not sure if I will send him to school tomorrow or not. He's sleeping now. I'm making homemade chicken noodle soup for dinner, it's boiling now actually, and grilled cheese sandwiches for everyone. I'm doing that because I know Branden needs some soup, since he's sick and plus I don't wanna make two different dinners. I thought, oh what the hell, I'll just make Noboru and Noah and myself some grilled cheese to go with the soup. Branden will skip the sandwich, it wouldn't be good for his tummy.

It's been gray and rained all day long here in Chiba.

My dad on the other hand has been in Denver visiting my aunt. He has been there for two weeks now and is leaving *very* early in the morning on Monday June 26th US time, which is *this* evening Japan time. He will be flying back to his condo in Guam. but he will be stopping in Narita for an hour and a half layover for an airplane change. We won't be able to see one another, which sucks but since he can't leave the airport meanwhile, I can't get in that area of the airport but, he is going to call me when he arrives to let me know he's here. So he should be calling me tomorrow sometime. It'll be sorta nice to know he's back on my side of the world at least, ha ha ha.

And for those who don't know. My dad and my mom are divorced, have been for a long time. And I'm the only child of either of my parents. And my dad suffered a heart attack last March 2005 at work, he used to work at Denver International airport actually. He didn't stop working though, because he loved it! However he had another heart attack in the summer last year in 2005 which forced him to retire. This one was more serious. Especially since my dad had heart bypass surgery about 9 years ago. My dad is still healthy but we decided that it be best that he move closer to me. That way if something happened to my dad, god forbid, I could be there in a heart beat! We offered my dad to live with us in Japan. But he's set in his ways. And he would be miserable living anywhere but the good ol' USA. So that's the short story of why my dad relocated to the island of Guam, which is only 3 hours from me here in Japan.

So anyway that's a little bit more about me, I guess. Between taking care of my two boys all the time and whatnot. And worrying about my dad! I just try to take life easy and not stress the little things!

But seriously, when my dad was in the hospital last year and I got the call here in Japan at 2:00 am from my aunt telling me to come home! My stomach dropped! I was panicked! Wondering if he would be alive, before I could make the 16 hour flight and transfer two freakin' airplanes! Plus being on the airplane and Noah was just about 5 weeks old when this all happened! Anyway, I digress.....I'll just be happy when my dad is in Guam and is closer to me, makes me sleep easier at night! Because I know I'm really the only one my dad has to depend on and to take care of him/look out for him. And I don't mind one bit, I'm just happy that he lives closer to me. Because I never wanna go through that 16 flight of panic and worry and not knowing ever again. Absolutely nerve racking really.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Sunday




I made yakisoba for dinner tonight. This picture is of Noboru's, so it's a huge serving, lol.




Noah in his pajama's right after bath time. Cruising around the living room.


Branden watching Spongebob and relaxing on the couch after bath time in his jammies. He's getting sleepy in this pic. Actually, he did fall asleep about 5-10 minutes after this picture was taken.



Taken right after bath time, and the minute after we got downstairs. He was much more awake in this pic. Then he started to get sleepy and drifted off to lalaland.


Noah after bath time, watching Spongebob with his brother.


Aha! I caught Noah in the act of some mischief! Ha ha ha, he loves climbing! For being 11 month's old, this kid climbs onto sofas by himself! He climbs onto chairs. I even caught this kid flip a basket near the coffee table and use the basket as a make shift stool and he actually climbed onto the coffee table! Scary! Today he climbed on the kitchen chair and got onto the kitchen table! Yikes, and I was in the kitchen with him, I was just wiping the stove and turned around and saw him sitting proudly on the table! He's a daredevil, our little Noah is. He's always up to something! I swear I can barely take my eyes off him for a second, which tuckers me out! And as you can tell by the pic, the bookshelf nearest the computer in the living room is his little cubby hiding spot! He has been hanging out in this little cubby in the book shelf for the past couple days now! Hmmm! Also, he's been walking 5 steps completely unassisted and then he fall's. He does that about six times a day now. So, I'm not saying he's walking yet, but he should be getting there soon. But as usual, I'm not going to rush him either, he'll get there, when he gets there!

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Later on Friday..about the BBQ and the playground.





Hmm, what does a little BMW sports car sitting in our drive way mean? It means uncle Jun has come for a visit! Ha ha ha! Cute car, but just wait until uncle Jun has kids of his own, then he'll have to get himself an SUV or minivan or something. LOL. But he's still a newlywed so they can still enjoy the car for two, while they can! : ) Jun and 2 other of Noboru coworkers/friends came to help build Branden's and Noah's playground. They got it only 75% done. They are going to finish it this week. However since they got a late start and with the BBQ about to start they stopped. I'm glad that they started on it at least, especially since the rain has totally squashed their plans to build this thing 3 weekends in a row! So anyway it'll be finished by the end of this week! And it's cool.

Jun was elected to be the master of the BBQ (this means Noboru being the oldest brother, picked Jun to be stuck at the BBQ grill the entire time, lol and Jun accepted.) But Jun did have fun cooking though. So he did all the cooking and drank beer and chatted with the rest of us. The rest of the guys just all sat, drank beer and smoked themselves into oblivion. Branden helped uncle Jun with the BBQ. Jun let him flip the meat a few times and help adding the BBQ sauce the chicken leg quarters and put the cheese on the burgers. He's a very good uncle.

All the wives and kids started coming about 4:00pm. And I went and picked up my sil/Jun's wife from the train station which is just a short 3 minute drive away or bicycle ride away. I drove and got her. She's very nice! She's a flight attendant for Korean Airlines. Her name is Satoe (sp?) but we call her Sato-chan.

I'm sorry I don't have more pictures to offer from the BBQ. I wish I woulda got a pic of all the food we had. Or a pic of all our guests smiling and having a good time! But we were all so busy with socializing, that I didn't even think of snapping any more pics. I sent everyone home with some food. And I still got so much that we will have some leftovers tonight. Ha ha ha. We even got a six pack of beer still left in the fridge.

Somebody brought a whole bunch of Mister Donut, donuts and we still have a dozen left just sitting on the dining table.

Two more pics from Friday's BBQ : )


Here's my brother in law, Jun. If you can see the BBQ grill was full of meat already and look at all the packs of meat sitting on the plate on the patio waiting to be cooked as well. I think we actually had way too much food. There were 4 guys and 4 of us wives. And our two kids and three other kids. So not a bad turn out for our first BBQ. Hmm just looking at this pic just now, I spot uncle Jun's beer on the patio as well. Ha ha ha. : )




I brought out the spare bikes and stuff for the other kids. I brought out the tricycle for the little girl that was here. And I even brought out the little anpanman car for another little kid. It was fun watching all these people just kicking back and enjoying themselves. Noah stayed in the safety of his highchair for a long time. He had a birds eye view to watch all the kids cruise the bikes in the backyard. Without getting run over or smashed like a pancake! Ha ha ha!

Here's how the lunch went yesterday! : )

The lunch with the ladies was pretty cool. Rie-san picked me up. The building of the playground out back was scheduled for 2:00 pm. So since Noboru was free and had nothing to do in the morning, he kept Noah with him, while I went to the lunch with the yochien moms.

Rieko loved my house. She told all the other mom's how cool she though it was. That made me blush a bit, and I also felt happy. Happy that she was so nice. Sometimes finding people who speak with kind words are rare indeed. : )

Rieko used to be a flight attendant. She had many photo albums and all of us ladies looked at them. It was neat to see pics of her and all the things and places she went before.

All us mom's, there were a total of 9 of us, snacked on total junk food. One mom brought out 2 bags of chips. One other mom brought blueberry pocky. One mom brought cookies and senbai. Another mom brought some sour plum type pocky. Tons of junk food. Yup, we all ate stuff most of these mom's won't let their kids eat! Ha ha ha! We drank oolong, iced coffee, muscat/white grape juice and apple juice.

Then came out the cheese cake. It was large and very good. Then some other mom whipped out a homemade coffee biscuit type cake thing. It was good.

Then we all whipped out our obento's and we all ate. Many had sandwiches. I was thrilled to see many had store bought sandwiches, phew! I made my own though this time. Some mom even brought some cold noodles from a conbini and some other mom brought a UFO instant yakisoba! Very cool and unpretentious, which I just love! And yes some other mom used her son's old Shinkansen obento box! Very cute and practical, I thought!

I just brought a ham and cheese and lettuce sandwich. A small pack of Calbee consomme potato chips. Nothing more. I didn't really see the need to dazzle anyone. I wasn't there to impress anyone...I just wanted to have fun and be myself!

Shhh! If you've ever wondered what Japanese women talk about at get togethers, when their husbands aren't around. I will tell you. This is quite funny. One mom asked the question among questions.

If you have nothing but a tiny/chisai towel. Like the size of a wash cloth. Meanwhile you're completely naked! And your husband sees you! Which part of your body will you attempt/try to cover of yourself with the chisai towel! Ha ha ha ha

This question had everybody laughing their asses off! Everyone had to answer, there was no escaping this! Including me! Some ladies yelled...their chest except they said, bust/busto! Ha ha ha. Some ladies said they would cover their butts! One lady said she would cover her eyes to hide her face! Ha ha ha!

What was my answer? Well, I said I would use the chisai/small towel to cover my husband's eyes! Ha ha ha!

Then someone asked us all to say how old each of us were! Damn this is rarely asked in America, this is like the dreaded question for some, lol. I don't mind so much. Everyone answered! One lady proclaimed that she was 24! The other ladies said, "yeah maybe if you switch the numbers from 24 to 42!" Ha ha ha! She was joking and also laughing, she really was 42. Many were 33, 34, one was 37. The youngest one ws 27. And I think the oldest was 42.

It was a hoot! Everyone had a blast! I had so much fun!

We also posed the question...which movie star do you think is hot? I told them, I'm attracted to mostly/not always though to dark haired guys. I like Nakata and also the guy who played in the Last Samurai. Drool! And I like Keanu Reeves!

They all laughed and some said names of some Japanese actors and one even said Tom Cruise.

We were there from 9:30 am to 1:40 pm when it was time to go pick up Branden from school. Instead of the bus dropping Branden off, Rieko and I went and got him ourselves, She's fantastic with Branden, so sweet!

All in all, I'm glad I went to the lunch with the ladies yesterday. I think I'm really finding my niche with lviing here, in the Japanese country side. I'm making a ton of friends. : )

Friday, June 23, 2006

Today's plan so far...

I have to make Branden's obento and send him to the bus stop by 8:20 am. (just finished with that.) Raced home and now get myself ready because Rieko-san is coming to pick me up at 9:30 am. Then 9 of us mom's, will be sitting having lunch and doing god knows at Rieko's house.

I have to make my own obento. Which is fine. I know 8 other mom's will be there. But I have no idea *which* of the mom's will be there and I'm afraid I don't know *any* of their names, except for Kumi-san or Rieko.

I'm really wondering what I should wear. I really don't wanna end up embarrassing myself or looking like a giant dork! Ha ha ha.

Meanwhile, if it does NOT rain, which I hope it doesn't. Because if it doesn't rain Noboru and his friends will be putting the boys playground together in the backyard. Which also means I will take Noah to this mother lunch thing! Geeze I hope Noah behaves like an angel instead of a turd! Just kidding Noah, but please behave!

However if it DOES rain, then the playground being built gets put off for yet another week. Sigh! However Noboru will be watching Noah while I attend the lunch thing! Yippy about that!So as well all know, the weather can change at the drop of a hat...this is the plan and back up plan for today.Wish me luck for my lunch today. I'll need it! : ) I hope I don't commit any giant faux pas like tripping/slipping and knocking down some cake or something. Ha ha ha! Crossing fingers everything goes smooth as silk! : )

Update: Seems no rain over here in Chiba, so the guys are coming and they will be building the plaground today. Anyway I have to motor, she'll be here shortly! : )

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Good night/Oyasumi nasai! : )


Between putting the couch together and the book shelf. And the couch itself was actually a huge pain in the ass, because we had to put each pillow sham on each and every pillow. And at the time it seemed like there were a billion pillows. A never ending amount of pillows and seat cushions actually, because we just kept throwing them in the striped cases and zipping up zippers again and again.The couch came white and with no covers and we had to basically in a nut shell put covers on anything and everything.

Then we had to make the book shelf. And separate the blasted books to boot, put them into categories. Kids books, my books, Noboru's books. Phew. Oh yeah and the stack of magazines that I have here at my house too.

By the time we finally finished. I wasn't in the mood to cook at all. And although Noboru is no slouch in the kitchen and will cook for us no problem. Honestly neither of us wanted to cook. Hmmm. What to do...hungry family? Nobody wants to cook. Hmmm. Ha ha ha. So we drove to our nearest town, this is the city where Branden goes to school in, so it's quite close ( a 10 minute drive maybe). And we went to a small mom and pop type Italian restaurant, the sign out front said, that they do take-out orders for pizza and pasta. So we went in there and ordered 2 pizzas to go. We got 1 pepperoni pizza and one cheese pizza. These were 700 yen each, which is about $7.00 US, so a very reasonable price for a large pizza. However, the pizza was actually more the size of an American medium size pizza. So all in all, it maybe came to the size of a large American pizza probably a dot bigger then that though. However the boxes were enormous. We joked in the car on the way home, they were false advertising their pizzas, huge box and medium sized pizza! LOL!

We figured with the smallish size of the pizza we'd better drive through the drive-thru at KFC on the way home too. The had a cheap special for 6 pieces of original chicken. Very cheap actually.

We drove home with our two enormous sized pizza *boxes* with yet only the equivalent of 1 American sized large pizza, ha ha ha! And our 6 piece chicken. It actually was a delicious pizza. Very good actually. With the chicken and the pizza we were filled. All of us.

All of us cleaned up the kitchen tonight. Ahh, it's nice when Noboru is home. I appreciate the help with dinner, cleaning up the kitchen and more. We then all showered and bathed. Noah fell asleep, probably less then 5 minutes after I put him into his PJ's. He's asleep upstairs already. And Noboru is sleeping as well. Why? Because he's going to wake up at 4:00 am and watch the soccer match. Yup, is that nuts or what? Japan VS. Brazil tomorrow in the wee hours Japan time. Noboru asked me to wake up and watch it with him. Ugh huh, yeah right, like that's gonna happen! LOL! Not even in his dreams! Hey, I can use all the extra bit of sleep I can get. I love him to pieces and all, but anything that messes with the amount of sleep I can get...forget about it. Not happening.

Branden crashed on the couch already and here I sit, with my cotton nightgown/nightshirt on. Wet hair, hmm, I really should go blow dry it soon. And as usual I got a tall glass of iced tea right next to me as I type this. Hey I gotta have a cold drink after a hot bath. : )

I'm about to shut this computer down for the night and go grab me a bag of microwave popcorn and curl up on the couch and watch some TV just me, my soft fleece blanket and my fluffy pillow. If nothing good is on, I'm thinking about putting in My Girl or Something About Mary. Not sure which one yet though.

Alright, no more computer for me tonight, good night/oyasumi nasai : ).

Woohoo! Our couch finally got here from Ikea! : )


Our old couch is gone. We sold it to a recycle shop, who came out to the house and picked it up this morning. They gave us diddly squat! Just 4,000 yen, which is ridiculous since we spent 50,000 yen for it three years ago. But what can you do. Stuff is quite hard to get rid of here in Japan.

Anyway we are happy about the new couch and happy to at least have gotten rid of the old couch. : )

Here it is all set up. Hmm, do you spot two little munchkins taking a snooze of the new couch? Yup, our kids approved of it already, here at our house! Ha ha ha. So much so, that they both took the first nap on it! : )

We are still in full decorating mode over here, so that's why I am not showing the complete house in it's entirety yet. It's getting there you guys! : )

Love to you all,
Gina

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Cream stew for dinner! : )

First thing I did was fry some chicken with a little bit of butter. When it was nearly done, I threw in the onions and cooked them as well.



















Here's the veggies I used, just some mushrooms, potatoes and carrots. I stir fried them after the onions and chicken got brown.














Yumm, this Hokkaido corn cream stew is what we always use at our house.














Here it is all done. Everyone had seconds, even Noah. : )

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

As our day comes to an end! : )

Noboru is working the swing shift tonight, which means he is working the 4:00 pm to midnight shift. Which means it was just the boys and I for dinner tonight. Which means it was just me cooking and me cleaning up and in charge of getting them all fed. And showered and cleaned up afterwards. No biggie since I do most of it all anyway. Ha ha ha but it is sure nice to have him around to help out once in a while too though.

I got both boys sitting down in their jammies now and Branden will be off to lalaland shortly because he looks like he's going to crash on the couch right now actually. Noah is up to utter mischief, even as I type this! He's a little dicken's that Noah! Ha ha ha! : )

I will be sorta ready for them to both go to sleep because I'd like an hour of time to myself to sit on the couch and recuperate from my long day.And maybe just sit and do absolutely nothing for a change and just watch a good TV show and drink a super tall glass of iced tea.

Here's a few things I got on the agenda for this week so far.

Thursday's plan...the couch is coming from Ikea! Geeze about time. You all know we've been waiting and looking forward to this for a long time. I'll be doing my happy dance on that day.

Friday's plan. I got invited to a lunch at Rieko-san's house. Her son (Aoi-kun) is in the same class as Branden. And so 8 other mommy's along with myself (total of 9) will be going to Rieko's house on Friday for lunch. She lives righr near the yochien, I can drive there so easily, however she wants to come pick me up because she wants to come see my house. Shit! I better tidy up before she comes on Friday! : )

Waiting for Branden at the bus stop today!


Geeze it's really been hot here in Chiba lately. Noah and I strolled down to the bench in front of where the tennis courts are and waited for Branden's bus to come. It's a bright sunny day over here but it's humid and hot. We were melting actually! I tried to keep Noah under the shade as best as I could but it was still so hot! Now that I got both my munchkins home with me, I'm happy! I just changed Branden's clothes from his uniform into some play clothes. Both the boys are sitting on the couch right now, each munching on half of a chu-chu/one of those Japanese Popsicles that are cheap and wrapped or incased in plastic also they aren't very sweet either which I prefer. These are great, because they don't make too much mess and their hands stay pretty clean. Phew. Ha ha ha. Of course nothing is 100% fool proof, I still gotta rinse their hands off a bit afterwards though, just incase they got any drops on their hands. : )

The house is cool inside, so we will be staying in. I'm about to make some after school snack. Instant cheap curry udon, in it's own Styrofoam bowl ha ha ha. I bought two of them. I figured even though Branden ate his homemade obento at school, he might be hungry still. And Noah will have some too, even though I fed him earlier too.

As for dinner, I've got a bunch of meat in the freezer and I'm still deciding what I should make, hmmm. : )

By the way, did you know when Noah sits at the bus stop waiting for his older brother Branden, whom he absolutely adores to come home. The second he sees Branden exit the school bus, he starts clapping for him! And smiling ear to ear!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Happy Father's Day : )


Today is also Father's day. This is what Branden made for Noboru at school. The teacher's also made sure each father got a toothbrush and a tube of toothpaste. Because? Nothing says Father's day quite like some nice fresh and minty breath? LOL! I don't know, what on earth the sensei's were thinking. Ha ha ha. But it was the thought that counted! I think being that a picture of Branden is attached, we should not be putting wet toothbrushes near it because the photo could get ruined. So, we will use this as a pen and pencil holder instead. Noboru really liked it.I was especially fond of the portrait Branden drew and colored of daddy!

And, I bought Noboru some dried squid on a stick, a whole jar of it for Noboru from the boys. I did this because he loves this stinky little treat! I also bought Noboru a pair of grass trimming sheers for his edges. We all know Noboru is sorta obsessed with the lawn, lol. He was thrilled with these.

Noboru had to work today, unfortunately, but I'm making one of Noboru's favorite dinner's tonight! I'm bought some enormous tiger shrimp and will make some ebi furai/fry tonight. And I'm also baking him some blueberry muffin's later after I watch Term's of Endearment. : )

Yup, it's the rainy season alright! : )

It's been raining cats and dogs, ever since last night around 8:00 pm! Yup the rainy season is here in Chiba in full force! It's even been raining all morning and even now! Today is a perfect day to stay indoors.

I cleaned and vacuumed the master bedroom upstairs and also vacuumed both the boys bedrooms and the hallway. Made breakfast. And now we all are just going to stay home all day long. Stay home and stay outta the rain. I'm not doing any cleaning today, just not in the mood. I'm cooking dinner this evening and will make lunch soon. But for today and tonight, we will just hang home and watch plenty of DVD's.

Branden's watching Finding Nemo right now. Noah is taking an afternoon nap and I'm waiting to throw in my movie, Term's of Endearment, as soon as Nemo is done! I'm going back to the couch where my pillow and blanket await my return, ha ha ha! Have a good day everyone! Lazy day here at our house!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Whoa! Now that's a whole lotta Buddha!!! : )


Today Noboru and the boys and I, went to see the Ushiku Daibutsu/ Buddha statue, it's located in Ibaraki Prefecture which was formerly known as the province of Hitachi. Ushiku Arcadia lies at the southern end of Ibaraki, and is about fifty kilometers northeast of Tokyo, in an area surrounded by abundant forests and rolling hills. The statue is 100 meters tall, standing on a 10m lotus base and a 10m platform, total 120 meters. Since its completion in 1995, Ushiku Amida Buddha is the tallest statue in the world. The monument is three times taller and thirty times larger in volume than the Statue of Liberty. The statue weighs 4000 tons. Its first finger is 7.0 meters long. An elevator takes visitors up to 85m off the ground, where an observation floor is located.

We actually live about a 20 -25 minute drive from this giant Buddha. The drive from our home all the way up to see the gigantic Buddha is quite scenic. It's gorgeous actually, with greenery everywhere! It's so peaceful and tranquil where the Buddha is. And although, I'm Catholic and so are our two children, with them being baptized and all. I can still really appreciate the beauty of this Buddha and like I said, it was just so peaceful being here today!We spent about an hour and a half at the enormous Buddha statue. Looking around, the view from the platform inside the Buddha was breathtaking. Strolling the tiny little shops around the big Buddha was pretty cool. We all had some ice-cream at one of the tiny little shops at the base of the Buddha statue. It was fun! And such a hot day too!

After that, we were all starved! Ha ha ha. So we drove to the city of Tsukuba, we went to Saizeriya for some Italian lunch. It's cheap here and we like cheap lunches, ha ha ha. It saves us money. Then we headed to the great big mall they have there and window shopped in Baby Gap, Gap Kids and regular Gap (we didn't buy anything because the boys have plenty of clothes for summer and there's no need for anymore, it would be overkill.) Had some iced caramel machiatto's at Starbuck's. Then we headed to the Akachan Honpo and bought Branden a jinbei and those traditional flip flops, that go with the jinbei. And we also bought Noah a jinbei as well.

Summer festival season is coming up soon. Most start at the beginning of July. And go until the end of summer. I got an email from my good friend Kumi-san, who's in the PTA at Branden's yochien. She also works as an ALT supervisor for this area. Anyway she's a pretty good friend of mine, since I moved here and anyway she emailed me the other day, reminding me. That NATSUMATSURI season is almost upon us and if you want the best selection of jinbei or yukata for your children, buy them in June before all the other mom's buy them here in Japan. If you wait until July, all the good ones will be gone and you'll be left with just the leftover ones! I thanked her for her reminder. So seriously, any mom's reading this, go right out and buy yours ASAP!

I am glad I took my time choosing and deciding which jinbei looked best and matched each of my boy's perfectly. They both got different jinbei's with different patterns and different coloring, because well, my son's don't look alike (even though each is equally cute), so I figured their jinbei's should look as unique as they are. Branden's jinbei was chosen, because it complimented Branden's golden tan skin coloring and his hair color best. Meanwhile, Noah's jinbei matches his pale skin coloring and hair color best, as well. They will both look wonderful for summer festival season. And good thing, I got there when the selection was still excellent and well stocked! My boys are now ready for the summer season now. Ha ha ha : )

After that, we went to Tokyo Interior's, in Tsukuba, and didn't buy anything, but we looked around. We then stopped at Toys R us, Noboru bought Branden, some stuff from the new movie Cars, that's coming out. He got some cool cars from the movie. We also bought Branden a round intertube, for going to the beach this summer or the big pool near our new house. We wanted to buy him a Nemo or Thomas one, but they didn't have his size, they only had 50 CM intertubes and that's for wee little kids. Yup, in Japan they even tell you what size intertube to buy, by age. It's actually quite helpful, because if it's too big, the kid can't hold onto it properly and if it's too small the kid won't fit into the hole. So, we wanted to buy a 60 CM intertube, which is for 3- 7 year olds. They had slim pickings though in that size for boys! Our choice was only Pokemon or Buzz Lightyear. Hmmm, Branden chose Buzz Lightyear. Ha ha ha, oh well, at least he will have one for this summer. And we bought the cheapest ones they had, for 800 -900 yen. They had some that were 1900 yen to 2900 yen. Hell no, would we pay $20.00 or $30.00 for a plastic intertube he'd only get a summer or two's usage out of! Besides, I actually thought 800 or 900 yen, for a mere plastic intertube was sorta too expensive already! Noah got some more Sesame Street bouncy ball's. And another small toy. And we also bought 3 packs of batteries, so we can change some batteries on some toys that the boys have here at the house.

We did all this stuff well before 5:00 pm. Because we got home at 5:00 pm. We all changed clothes. Noboru mowed the lawn. And I made dinner. Just simple cheap gyoza and rice and some egg drop soup. I made the egg drop soup myself. The rice was left over from breakfast and warm in the rice cooker. We had about 3 cups of rice in there still, so it was enough. And the gyoza was premade and from the freezer section of the store we shop at. So dinner was easy and fast!

We ate before 6:00 pm. All four of us showered and bathed together. I showered with Noah first. Then he and I soaked in our big bath tub. And then Noboru and Branden got in and showered and soaped up. We all chatted in there. Branden and Noah blew massive amounts of bubbles together in there and also played with the Spongebob squirt toys. Honestly? Bath time is a blast at our house. Then when it was Noboru's and Branden's turn to soak in the tub, Noah and I got out. Got our jammies on. And went downstairs. Noboru and Branden joined us downstairs with their PJ's on as well. We all watched TV and all four of us, munched on a bag of microwave popcorn, that I threw into a big plastic bowl. Noah fell asleep first, he fell asleep right before 9:00 pm. After Noah fell asleep I took him upstairs to sleep, we all got out some tortilla chips and salsa and some soda's. Branden had oolong tea though. Deeply into the movie, the three of us, munched and munched and munched. Branden fell asleep around 11:00 pm. And Noboru and I carried Branden upstairs and put him to bed. And then Noboru and I watched TV together until midnight. My eyes actually kept shutting and opening a few times, during the last ten minutes we watched TV, because I was so sleepy. Even the last few things he said to me, I just said, "uh huh!", not quite sure what he said, but I was agreeing with him, whatever he said! : )

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Immigration, Ikea and Costco. Phew what a long day! : )

Today was a holiday here in Chiba. So we figured since Noboru had the day off and Branden did too, we'd all head down to Makuhari today. We first stopped at immigration to pick up my visa. We got a postcard telling us it was ready a week and a half ago, but since it's a long drive, we waited until we had a few other things to do in the city, so it wouldn't be such a waste to drive up for only one thing. The wait was super short and we were back in the car and on our way within 10 minutes. Very nice!

Then we went to Ikea. The couch we were waiting for finally came back into stock, so we went to buy it and since it's huge, we are having it delivered to our home. So we arranged that as well. We also bought a book shelf that is a matching set to our TV stand. This piece will be delivered to us as well. Because it was just too big to fit into our minivan. We did however buy two platters. One is a huge/good sized turkey platter. And the other is a smaller platter, I was hoping to put a roasted chicken on this. I think it'll be perfect for regular/ordinary roasted chicken dinners at home and the other one will be great for the holidays. Also they were very affordable and with me living in Japan and the high price for everything anyway living in Japan, I can appreciate a bargain. No wonder Ikea is so popular in Chiba and it's always crowded. And no wonder, most my other foreign friends, that I talk with, also buy tons of stuff from here as well, is because it's stuff we'd usually only be able to buy back home and plus it's affordable for us. So really, why the hell not shop here, you know what I mean! We also got a big wooden salad bowl, some steak knives and a small omelet pan and a wooden step stool.





















After that, we headed to Costco. We bought some chips. Cranberry juice, and some cleansers. Nothing very exciting really at all. Can you spot the donuts in the back? Ha ha ha.

We went to a yakiniku restaurant on the way home. It was good and it was also nice not having to cook for a change, ha ha ha. Errr, wait a minute, come to think of it, I did cook at the restaurant, we all did! LOL, oh well this was fun though! : )

All in all it was a very nice day, but it was also a very long day. Good night everyone. : )

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Wednesday : )

My friend Rumi is coming over my house today, she lives in the same community where I live and only lives about a 1 minute walk from my house, ha ha ha. She speaks English pretty well. She is making a cake. And I am making us lunch and then coffee to go with the cake. She'll be here at noon today. So, I have to get myself dressed and do a light pick up around the house, before she gets here. I'm making a lot of new friends over here, where we moved to and also with the mom's at Branden's yochien as well. Have a good day everyone. : )

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

And so my day begins....

Having to wake up at 7:00 am when everybody on the planet knows I hate mornings, I am not a morning person and never have been one. After smacking my alarm clock around a couple times, I drag myself downstairs around 7:17 am. While making Branden's obento this morning, while taking sips of my hot coffee in between here and there. My hair is all uncombed. I'm looking a bit disheveled to say the least. I flip on the Spongebob CD player in the kitchen because I need to hear something to get me going for the day. I begin to feel a bit more awake now. Is it the coffee or the music, I'm just not quite sure. Hmmm. So, I'm listening to Pink, singing Stupid Girl (hey I know a couple of those, lol.) I'm singing along now. Branden's obento is nearly done. Wait....wait. Did I just hear Noah upstairs crying or whimpering? Shit!

I'm thinking, Oh Noah, couldn't you just have slept in for 5 more minutes? Then the lunch could've been finished! Yeah right! Not a perfect world! So, now I am trying to amuse Noah as I finish the obento. He sits quietly, thank god! In the high chair eating some Cheerio's and drinking some iced oolong in his sippy. Okay the obento is done.

I now run upstairs, thinking I gotta drag Branden outta bed. Hmmm, this kid can sleep through anything. Nudge him a few more times. Make sure he gets his teeth brushed and face washed with a steaming hot wash cloth, hair combed. Put his uniform on. He and I both race downstairs. Noah's still in the high chair, munching Cheerio's and listening to Beyonce now! Ha ha ha! I throw some Frosted Flakes in a bowl, ad some milk. I make two slices of toast. One is for Branden and one is for Noah. that I cut into squares. Branden eats. I pack his lunch stuff into his backpack.

I run upstairs because I just remembered, I forget to put my bra on. Shit! Throw on my flip flops and race with Noah in the stroller and Branden walking along side me to the bus stop. Phew!

All of this happens, every single day in my house before 8:20 am every single week day.

Most mornings when I walk to the bus stop, I walk down in flip flops and certainly wearing no makeup. I'm actually amazed I can even make it to the bus stop some days ha ha ha!

Now I've got to go clean my front porch. Because well, I'm sure some spiders might've made some webs over night! Ahh, this truly is my battle, I actually go out there with my broom once or twice a day! I do this because I detest spiders and so I try to keep them at bay, the best I can.

Then I will come in and make breakfast for Noah and I. And probably clean the house. Then I'll go get Branden from the bus stop again. And by that time, when Branden gets home, is when I have us three all take a nap on my big bed. Because honestly I'm exhausted at that point. If I can just get an hour or two nap, I will be ready to start round two with dinner and bath time.

I truly think the weekends are for the parents, as much as they are for the kids! Ha ha ha! I keep thinking and chanting, weekend, weekend, weekend! : )

Monday, June 12, 2006

Our porcelain prince is 11 month's old! : )


Noah's 11 month's old now! It so hard to believe it, but it's true. My how time flies! I'm glad he's getting older, because it makes my life easier! You can see by his face in this picture just how much he has grown.




Noah, still gets stopped by people on a daily basis, commenting on how much he looks like a beautiful porcelain doll. If you recall even the big wig modeling agent in Osaka, who scouted Noah and actually stopped us on the busy street in Osaka near the Hankyu, asking to use Noah in big campaigns as a model. If you recall reading that in my blog back in February. We turned her down because the center of Tokyo's too far. But we did keep her card though, if we ever change our minds. But just somehow knowing he was even scouted by a top modeling agency to begin with, was enough for us!


Here's Noah clapping. We were singing, "the wheel's on the bus" song together while we waited for Branden's school bus to pull up today.






These are the private tennis courts for us residents who live within the walls in the community, where I live at can use. Rumi and I are going to start playing tennis here. I have been looking for a tennis racket lately. Haven't found one, I like yet though. I will take more pictures this week or next week, so you all can get a glimpse of the area where we live at, here in Japan.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Sunday dinner! : )

I washed all our blankets and bedding first thing this morning.




And all afternoon, I've been making and preparing our dinner for tonight. I've been making Sunday gravy all day long, just bubbling and boiling away in a big pot all day. In case you don't know, for us Italian's or perhap's I should say, for us Italian American's, tomato sauce with meat is usually called gravy because the meat drippings become the base, so to speak for the sauce. I used a piece of pork tenderloin for flavor for my homemade sauce, I fried it in some olive oil and garlic and then I added it and the drippings to the sauce, when the sauce was ready to start it's all day long boil marathon on my stove! I also made a whole bunch of meatball's. They came out so crusty on the outside! And full of flavor, I'm telling ya! Recipes that have been in my family for generations!

I made so many meatballs that I'm sending Branden to yochien tomorrow with a homemade meatball sandwich with melted gooey mozzarella on top, for part of his obento tomorrow.











I also bought this gorgeous piece of mozzarella cheese at Costco last week. It's Italian of course, and it's a braided hunk of mozzarella with extra virgin olive oil and crushed red pepper and a couple other spices. It's damn good, I use this cheese, for lot's of different dishes in my cooking here at my home actually. Tonight since I bought 1 big whole loaf of crusty Italian bread and one mini loaf for Branden's obento tomorrow. I'm using the big loaf for cheesy garlic bread tonight! Talk about yumm!

I think I made too much food though, so we will probably have left over's tomorrow for dinner as well. Doesn't matter though, because we all love pasta here at our house. Especially when mommy makes her homemade Sunday gravy. And since, I don't have to make dinner tomorrow, since we'll have left overs, I can just make a fresh Italian salad tomorrow to add to tonight's dinner. : )

Saturday, June 10, 2006

I avoided attending a Japanese wedding today. Shh! : )

Noboru went to a wedding today. A coworker of his, is getting married. I've met the guy once or twice and he's a pretty nice guy, he hails from Osaka, just like Noboru does.

I choose not to go to the wedding though, because they can tend to be a bit on the boring side. American wedding's can be a bit fun. You know with the wedding singer singing songs like "Celebrate" from Kool and the Gang, lol! And it's sorta hilarious to see grannies start dancing up a storm on the dance floor! And little kids dancing too. Japanese weddings on the other hand are quite long and there's certainly no wedding singer. It's an extremely structured and formal event.

Case in point, my bil's wedding last month. The wedding coordinators were on such an extreme time table that, the second we all went outside to have a drink right after the actual ceremony. And these drinks were all brightly colored, exotic looking fun sorta drinks. I barely got two sips before they all rushed us inside. Once we were brought inside, the first course came out, whether you finished it or not and most of us, had not, The wait staff starting taking the first course away! I thought sheesh, I didn't eat half of the first course yet! Bring back the first course! Ha ha ha! We ate at such a strict frantic fast paced time table, you would hardly believe it and when dessert came, and the coffee came out, was the exact time Branden, needed to go make a trip to the restroom. I was gone for barely 1 minute, but by the time I got back, the second I got my creamer and sugar mixed into my coffee, would you believe they were already starting whisking the desserts and coffee away. Why? Because we all had to run outside at a precise time and let a balloon go into the air! Roll's eyes!

The wedding was lovely and all, and I adore my brother in law to bits! But the wedding was so freakin' structured and zoom zoom zoom, that it was honestly impossible to enjoy it at all!

So, when the invite came for Noboru's coworkers wedding, I decided to not attend. Noboru knows how boring these things can be and so he totally understood. Plus consider taking care of two small children, at one of these extremely structed events and you can just imagine why I decided not to go. Plus with him, just being a coworker of Noboru's, it's not like it was mandatory that I be there, do you know what I mean.

The boys and I have had such a nice lazy day today! We had waffles for breakfast (frozen, lol from Costco). Then the boys and I drove to the go buy diapers. Then we made a trip to Mc Donald's. Branden got a cheeseburger happy meal. I got the new grilled chicken sandwich combo/set. And Noah got a cheeseburger, which I cut into tiny little bite size pieces. We watched the third remaining DVD, we rented last night. Noah and I sat on the front porch, later in the afternoon while we kept an eye on Branden who played with the neighbor kids. We had a couple popsicles. Hell, we even took an afternoon nap! We've truly enjoyed our day today!

Now, the boys and I are watching TV and I'm about to start dinner, I'm making steaks and cheese and butter baked potatoes and a little rice also on the side and some broccoli. And I bought some brownies, yup some prepackaged cookie company in Japan, that usually sells cookies at the stores is making brownies now. I bought a pack of these and they're actually pretty good, so we'll have some brownies for dessert. So we'll be enjoying a good meal pretty soon. And then we'll be off to the bath and shower and back to enjoy some good movies on TV. Then it'll be a story from one of their favorite books before bed. What a nice carefree relaxing weekend!

Noboru called me about thirty minutes ago, he said the wedding is fine, but he's hoping it'll be finished very soon because he's ready to go home. Poor Noboru and the wedding is clear out near Tokyo Disneyland, so he's going to have one heck of a long drive home as well.

Well, I better get dinner finished, have a great night everyone!

Friday, June 09, 2006

Called off due to rain and Illness! : (

This morning, when I got up, Branden was laying down on the couch downstairs and crying! He woke up Noboru and apparently he felt very sick! He had a horrible fever! Noboru called the school and told them he wouldn't be going today. Branden then vomited. Thank god, I stock up on my fever reduction med's for both the boys (both the children's formula and the infants), so I gave him some and it broke the fever within the next thirty minutes. He was happy and dancing around. I still made him lay down all day long, even though he said he felt fine. Sure enough though, when the meds wore off 5 hours later, he needed more meds. Because he was crying again. Hmmm, see? No wonder I didn't want him dancing around and made him rest! Ha ha ha! Us, mom's we know!

Meanwhile, today started the first day of rainy season, for us in Chiba. We were hoping to not be slammed with any big rains, just because today kicked off the season and all. However, we weren't so lucky! It rained hard all day long! Sigh. We had to cancel our BBQ and cancel the building of our playground out back.

So today was a disappointment about the BBQ being called off and the play ground not being built. However with Branden being sick, I'm glad we cancelled today! It wouldn't have been fun anyway with a sick child.

Anyway, Branden is napping right now. And I got dinner in the oven. I'm roasting chicken leg quarters, just five of them. The rest of the meat we threw into the freezer for next week, we will probably reschedule the BBQ and stuff.

Tonight we are going to have chicken leg quarter's and white rice and corn on the cob. And we will also have guacamole dip because we had to use the avocado's. So we will have guacamole and chips as well, for snacking.

We also just rented three DVD's just now. We have, "A Series of Unfortunate Events", with Jim Carey. And we got "Four Brother's" with Mark Wahlberg, and "Fun with Dick and Jane" with Tea Leoni and Jim Carey. Hmmm, I just realized two of the movies have Jim Carey in it? Anyway we will be watching two of these tonight and the other one is for tomorrow night!

Anyway, have a good night everyone! : )

Thursday, June 08, 2006