Thursday, August 31, 2006

Getting ready for our trip, this coming Monday.

We are heading to Guam next Monday. We will leave September 4th. And we will stay 3 nights. So the trip length will be short. My dad called the kids pediatrician already, like I asked him to. And since Branden is finished with regards to immunizations. Noah is not. So Noah has an appointment on Tuesday September 5th at 9:00 am for about 4 or 5 more shots, poor little guy! : )

I'm starting to get ready for our trip already. I have gotten almost all the snacks already. I will just buy some senbei's for the boys and a small bag of popcorn for them as well. And I know it looks like they got enough snacks for a trip around the world versus the short 3 hour flight. but whatever they don't munch up and eat, they will no doubt be snacking on them pool side when we stay at the hotel.

No major shopping trips planned. Just his immunizations are in my mind. Eating some normal Denny's, ha ha ha! And maybe some Taco Bell! I just want to chill out and rest and get some sun and fresh air on a tropical island for a few days. Maybe even get myself one of those little drinks with the funny little umbrellas in it! LOL, why not! : )

PS, those pineapple pocky rock! My store has been selling them for only 78 yen all summer long. Meanwhile other pocky is between 100 to 280 yen depending on how fancy you want it. So I guess maybe Pineapple pocky wasn't too popular here in Japan. Fine with me, because I have been buying 2-3 boxes each week for us to munch during movie night all summer. They taste really good! I figured they'd be good for the airplane next week as well, especially with my store nearly almost sold out of them, this might be our last chance to buy them/eat them.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

My husband cooked me dinner tonight! Ebi chili : )




Just a relaxing day here at our house. I took Branden to his swimming class, yet again. Nothing special or different going on here. Noboru went to swim class with us today since I didn't let him go the day before, ha ha ha, he likes to track and watch Branden's swimming. After class, we all got our ice-creams from the vending machine and we all headed home. Noboru made ebi chili tonight! It came out great, we had it with rice of course. He also tempura battered some potatoes as you can see in the picture since he had the batter already made since he tempura batters his shrimp for ebi chili anyway. He made Branden and Noah some tempura shrimp and potatoes and some veggies, so they did okay for dinner as well! Dinner was wonderful and I appreciate Noboru for being such a hands on type husband and hands on type dad, meaning how helpful he is. He really is very helpful. : )

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Just a typical Tuesday here at our house! : )


Today, Noah got to spend an hour and a half alone with Noboru. And I got to spend some quality alone time with Branden (we like to do this once in a while and give each kid our undivided attention, lol...just our little special time, I guess.) I drove Branden to swimming class. We sang songs in the car. Today's music of choice was the soundtrack to the Wedding Singer! We got there, I watched him swim. We waved to each other through the glass! Ha ha ha! And after swimming class, I bought him his vanilla ice-cream out of the vending machine that sits outside the swimming school. This ice-cream machine does fantastic business, because all the kids have these ice-creams after *every* class. I do admit to buying myself a choco nuts one once in a while.....oh curse you choco nuts! For tasting so darn good! : )

When I got back, I picked up Noah and Noboru and we drove to Chiba Newtown to go grocery shopping for a weeks worth of groceries! After that, we ran into our favorite Chinese restaurant for some dinner. I had some karaage and fried rice. Branden had some kids combo that included fried rice, egg drop soup and chicken meat balls, french fries, 1 karaage and some other stuff. Noah had, egg drop soup, 2 chicken meatballs, fried rice and some orange Qoo slushie! This kid eats like a 3 year old (and he's only 1 years old!), and yet he's a total skinny minnie! Ha ha ha! Same with Branden though too.

We went home and thank goodness for Japan having those cool packs that keeps your cold stuff cold, because it stayed all nice and cold by the time we got home. : )

Nothing major or earth shattering going on here, I'm afraid! Ha ha ha : ) Branden starts yochien this Friday (Sept 1st), so until then we will enjoy every last second of it and rest and relax as much as we can! : )

PS, anyone catch the shirt Branden's wearing? Ha ha ha! : )

Monday, August 28, 2006

My best girlfriends came visit me all the way from where we used to live! : )



At Branden's last yochien, I ended up making two of the best girlfriends that anyone could ever imagine! Miho and Aiko. Miho has a daughter (3yo) and a son Branden's age, who goes to school where Branden used to go. And Aiko, she has a son Branden's age and a son Noah's age! For whatever the reason was, we clicked so well together! These two ladies and I would drop off our kids each morning and take our younger kids to Starbucks. Or I'd go hang out at one of their apartments. I used to blog about them a bit in my older posts, when I used to live in my other house. Because they were in my life on a daily basis. For the most part, fellow yochien mom's always end up being super close or becoming good friends, and we also end up seeing each other at our worst. You know, every morning with no makeup on. The days when I couldn't find my 1 missing sock, that I blogged about, so I ran to yochien with just sneakers on and with no socks on in the dead of winter (yikes, lol) or even the other time I found my missing sock and was 10 minutes late dropping off Branden because of said sock, lol! Or the grand ol' time I forgot Branden's hat/boshi! Oh yay! Good times, we all think about fondly and get a total good laugh about! We saw each other twice a day for a year! So much so, they even noticed if I got a hair cut before my husband did! Ha ha ha! Now that's a good friend for ya! Anyway, they came by my new house since we have all been wanting to get together before school starts! It was awesome seeing them! I didn't put my face on, or do anything with my hair that day, unless you count the pony tail, I threw my hair into. Why should I? These are the girls, I am comfortable around! And same for them. We had a nice relaxing day and the kids played their hearts out!

Aiko and Miho and the kids all eating some BBQ. They all swam in the little pool earlier, so they were all starving by then.
Branden was so happy! He had really missed his friends!

This is Miho's son Take-chan. Miho speaks English and Take-chan is taking English classes. He and Branden pal around really well together!




These are the treats the ladies brought for me from Kaldi! They also brought a 2 liter of Calpis and some mikan juice. It really was thoughtful of them. Those Thomas shoyu senbais were really good. And the butter animal cookies were delicious. : )

First friends! : )

Aiko and I met in April and we were both pregnant at the time with our second sons. We went through the second and third trimesters together. Each day, we would ask each other how we are. Is it getting harder as the time went on, yes it was! Noah was due July 4th, which was sorta cool since it's American independence day! Ha ha ha! I was thrilled with the date! But he was born on July 7th instead, which is fine because it's still a lucky day, because he's a tanabatta boy ( a good day in Japan) Aiko was due the 3rd week of July and he was born a week early. Kazu-kun was born the second week of July, July 12th I think. So they are about a week apart! Ps, this pic is when Noah and Kazu-kun were about 2 and a half month's old, so this was their very first pic together as friends. : )

We want and hope our two sons will grow up, to be the greatest of friends and hopefully they will be!

Last year, I lucked out because Noah was born a week before Branden went on his summer vacation. Noboru took him to school the last week. I flew the boys to Denver with me last August. But when September of last year rolled around, Aiko and I were back at yochien with our little babes!

Nothing changed, we'd still go and hit Starbucks, with Miho and her daughter. Anyway, this pic was taken of Noah and Kazu-kun at Aiko's mansion! They were each other's very first friends! : )

Here's Kazu-kun and Noah after a splash in the pool today at my house. They loved playing together but they both hated us wanting to take a picture of them! We all tried very hard! Oh that Kazu-kun is such a little cutie patootie!





Noah after his swim and his cheeseburger and some hot dog! He has a chip in his hand right here! : )

Here's Noah, sliding down the slide on his own! Whatta funny boy! Noah had so much fun playing with Kazu-kun. They'll get to play together again for sure! : )

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Branden, loves working in these workbooks! : )


Our weekend has been a good one. We've just been mainly getting plenty of R& R, rest and relaxation. Bike riding. Watching TV. Baking brownies from the yummy mix I get at Costco. But we've also been busy working on these work books all week. Branden and I do these together. They are work books and also have computer learning games as well.

He's doing about 30-50 pages a week. Their challenging, but really a lot of fun for kids, Branden's age. He wants to work on them. So, this weekend we have been doing these a lot. They were really affordable and I like that. I also think I will take one of these books, on the plane with us, so he can use it next week.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Doing something good, always feels good doesn't it? : )

I wasn't even going to post about this and most of the time I do something like, this I won't post about it at all. Some friends of ours who are really low on money and are having a hard time. They have a 5 month old son. The guy works were my husband works. And they mentioned to a few people that if anyone has any spare kids clothes they would greatly appreciate it.

After I had Branden, I knew, we knew 100% sure, we would have kids in the future, so we saved all our clothes for our future kid, so that we could use them in the future for our own child. However, now that we have Noah we've used them already, and we only might and I say *might* have another child. But chances are, 97% sure, we won't have any other kids. But there is always that hope for a daughter, ha ha ha!

So anyway, a few weeks ago, Noboru mentioned to me during dinner that this family that is having a tough time financially really could use some kids clothes. This tugged my heart a lot! And Noboru as well, which is why he mentioned it. I also figured we might not have kids again. So why not help, it's not like my kids need them still, you know what I mean?

So I went through a great big ol' plastic box of my 6-12 mos clothes. Good stuff, super nice clothes actually! And I got a massive good pile of clothes and washed them. Got them all folded and we made a date for today.

They came to our house to visit. But they mainly came for the clothes! They went through them and couldn't believe it! They were beyond grateful, happy and whatnot. They said thank you, about a bazillion times. I got to see the little boy who they were going to. Honestly? It made my heart feel wickedly great and fantastic! The feeling rocked!

Anyway, just wanted to say for whatever reason, I felt really good today.

Edited to add, recyling clothes aren't just for people in financial situations either. I don't want my post to sound that way at all. I recycle Branden's clothes to Noah. And I gladly would share or recycle them with anyone...whether they needed it or if it was just a kind thing to do for a good friend. My friend Rie-san gave me a sack of clothes for Noah a month ago. Didn't really need them, but I appreciated the hell out of them and the kindness she had to give them. However the family we gave them to today.....really needed them. Such as, their son might go without a winter coat type situation. So in this case it felt good, because it was a different situation.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Fireworks tonight with friends! : )


Our friends, who also happen to be Noboru's coworker, who also lives where we live at. This also is Ryu-kun's parents, the boy Branden sometimes plays with. Anyway they wanted to do some fireworks before summer is finished. They said they had 4 big packs of them saved up and they wanted to do them with us. We said sure! So we all headed to the park away from where we live at, ha ha ha. So we wouldn't bombard our neighbors with the noisy ones. So we all went to the park and lit fireworks for 3 hours! We met at the park at 7:30 pm and we didn't even leave the park to 10:30 pm! Noah actually fell asleep in the stroller 30 minutes before we left. Here's a pic of Noah right before we left the house.


These are Ryu-kun's and Momo-chan's parents, the Tomizuka's! : ) Branden is sitting between Ryu-kun and Momo-chan.







Hmmm! Branden is easy taking pics of, he smiles and looks directly at the camera in 1 easy shot! Noah's on the other hand, has always been so hard taking pics of! I often tell/complain to my husband, how I gotta post 5 pics of Noah, just to show his entire face, because he never looks directly at the camera. Ha ha ha. Branden is just 1 easy pic to take and blog. Tonight was no different. Noah looked directly at my camera, the second I shot it, he moved and I got a side view shown here.

Again, here he looked right at me for a split second, I snapped the pic and wouldn't you know it, he was so fast that all I ended up was a pic of his head! What a kid! LOL!


I even waited about 30 minutes and I *thought* I got a good pic, but as soon as he figured out I was actually talking his picture he again moved his head and all I got was a side profile! Yeesh!


I waited a few hours, fully just giving up! An hour before we left, I tried one last time, I got good and close and poof! He moved and all I got was a shot of his head again! Grrrr! So, no pics of Noah tonight! Again, it's nice that we will try and do as much of summer stuff, as we can while summer is here. And sadly, summer is almost gone. Ha ha ha. : )

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Just biking around! : )

Today after lunch, the boys and I went out for a spin on our bikes. We rode all over the Japanese country side. We saw so many rice fields. And the wind felt so good on Noah's face when I rode, that he squealed with delight! Branden was ringing his bell like crazy and having fun! After our bike ride, we all hopped in the car and I took Branden to swimming class. Noah and I watched through the glass. After swimming class we all headed home, to a quiet relaxing night at home. : )


Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Swimming school, a bike and lasagna, oh my! : )

Today was Branden's day to go to swim school. The pool is empty waiting for the kids to enter, meanwhile they are doing exercises to warm up first.

You see that blue cap half under water? That's Branden. See the arm floaties along the side of the pool? He's swimming it without the floaties. And he's showing he can hold his air under water for at least 10-15 seconds. They will work their way up to a longer time. The little girl tested like that after Branden did and she did wonderfully!

Here is the sensei and the cute little girl and Branden. They learned the proper technique of using a small board today. In this pic Branden wasn't using it correctly. You know Branden was born in Hawaii, right? So he grew up around the water. We always call him our little aloha boy or our little surfer boy. However in truth, we plan to send Branden and also Noah to university in Honolulu. If Branden and Noah wanted to, they could be able to get part time jobs as life guards on the beaches there, maybe even Waikiki, just for some extra spending cash for them. So for us anyway, their skills at swimming should be sharp. Also most of you know Noboru and his friends used to surf daily in Honolulu when we lived there. He also boogie boarded as well. Noboru's an excellent swimmer and he wants to enjoy those things with the boys. So for us swimming lessons are important. We have two future surfers to join daddy and all his friends. And the thing is Branden loves every minute he gets to spend in the water. Noah does too, he loves the water as well. Noah at age 1 can submerge his head, face down in the water. It scares me, but he keeps doing it in the bath tub! Ha ha ha! Noah has absolutely no fear of the water, neither does Branden. So even though they will be doing univeristy in Honolulu for sure. Even if they didn't want to be life guards, that's fine. However they still need to be strong swimmers, especially with them living in Honolulu for university, it will come in handy and they'll appreciate that they know how to swim for sure!

After swimming class, we went and picked out a bike today. I got the cheapest bike they had. Reason is, it's not my main mode of transportation. I drive a car. This bike is just exercise, so I didn't need a fancy one. We bought a seat for Noah as well. Branden gets to ride his own bike. This pic is without the seat/before Noboru put the seat on.


Here's my bright shiny red bike! Yay! I can't wait to take it out for a spin! But sadly not today since I've got to get dinner started.





Yesterday I made my own marinara sauce, my grandmother's recipe. Today, I made homemade lasagna. All day long, Noboru kept telling me, "oh man I can't wait to eat your lasagna", so I know everyone was waiting for it. After we got back from the bike shop, I made it while Noboru played in the living room with the boys. I also made garlic bread. Oh man! It was so good! I bought my ricotta cheese at Costco the day before. I made enough for dinner tonight and for dinner tomorrow. I am planning to make a salad tomorrow to go along with this as well. I also had Branden take Rumi down a great big serving of lasagna as well. : )
Noah ate a lot, he was covered in sauce and had eaten so much. Branden asked for another serving and got one of course. And Noboru had two servings. : )

We watched the TV show on Japanese TV, channel 12 called TV Tokyo, the show of, I married a foreigner. Today was a great show with two great interesting foreign wives! Today was a good day and a very relaxing night. : )

Monday, August 21, 2006

Driving into the city today : )


Today we headed to Ikea and Costco. Nothing to buy at Ikea except for some dishes. With company coming this week and with us only having a 4 person set, plus one is chipped. We figured it was time. We bought plain white ones. Nothing pretty or anything, just plain. They got sets for 3900 yen and a set for 7000 yen and a set for 12,000 yen. I mention this because, I like that they have sets, that all families can afford and what fits someone's budget best.







This is the main view we have where I live...rice. Yes, fields of bright green rice. I love looking at the view every day. I love the quiet and peace I get from living out in the country side. My mil, always jokes with us, especially since she's in a big city like Osaka. She calls Branden, a country boy! I really don't mind because I wouldn't trade living out here for anything.

There's lot's of old rusty type buildings like this one in Japan. I like them, they got character! : )

We always see the great big jets in the sky. Thank god we can't hear a thing. So we don't get any noise since we don't live that close to the airport, but we do get to see the airplanes way up in the sky and I love that. I always imagine, some happy expat is on that plane going home or coming back to Japan. I am not sure why...maybe because I'm an expat. But I usually smile when I see planes like that. : )

Arriving in the city, lot's of traffic and a whole different view then the green fields of rice that we were just looking at. Ha ha ha! After shopping and getting what we needed done, it was nice to get back home without all the gridlock and traffic. Phew! : )

PS, and not that I'm knocking the city life in Japan I've got lot's of friends who prefer the city, but it really wasn't for me. I loved living in the city in the US or even the burbs. But living in the city in Japan wasn't my cup of tea at all. Always getting stuck in traffic. Guys taking a piss along the street, even though, theres a restroom at any conbini. The smog filled air, the sky that seemed to be permanently gray when living in the city due to smog, etc. I understand the convenience factor, but it just wasn't for us at all.