Thursday, November 30, 2006

Beef stew on a cold day like today! : )



The weather has sure taken a turn for the colder here in Chiba! Ha ha ha! Today just seemed like a great day to make a big pot of beef stew. I chopped and cubed the 2 small roast beef's and fried then in a pan with some olive oil and salt and pepper, and when it got all browned, I put some water in there and put the lid on and boiled the beef from around 10:30 am, until about 4:30 pm (obviously I added water as it needed it during the day and yes I have a crock pot and can you believe I haven't used it yet? LOL) The beef was so tender it was falling apart. At 4:30 pm, I added a chopped up onion and carrots and potatoes and mushrooms. Turned the heat off and then added the beef stew sauce and it was done. For a day like today, this really hit the spot! : )

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The order from Second Spin finally came in! : )



You might recall, I mentioned ordering from Second spin a while back. I've ordered from them for years. Like for over 5 years, so I've been ordering from them for a while now. Their prices are great. Their internationally shipping was like $30.00 US, which is pretty ridiculous *but* considering the price I saved on each DVD, it was way more then worth the shipping! I got everything you see here, for under ichiman yen. Which means, for under $100.00. Would have been cheaper if I woulda shipped to either my mom's or dad's home! But as I had zero patience, that's why I coughed up the 30 bucks! I only order from them about twice a year and get the kids a few movies but also a few movies for us adults in the house, as well. I like this place, because I don't care in the least if the movie is gently used or not, if it saves me money and I can double the quantity of movies I can get, I'll go for it! : )

I've seen a few of them so far, Failure to Launch, to be fair I have to say I love the sexy Matthew McConaughey, grrr! And Sarah Jessica parker is cute, because I see her on Sex in the City all the time. but the movie Failure to Launch, really wasn't an Oscar winner either. It was okay, granted not as cute as the movie I saw last month with Jen Anniston, Rumor Has it! But it was cute. Now Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle...this comedy is so awesome! It's hilarious and so worth watching! I have seen it twice so far this week. First time, Noboru was on the computer doing some research, so he couldn't watch Harold and Kumar with me. But he was in the same room with me, I kept laughing hysterically. I think the neighbors might have actually heard me, I was laughing to hard. Noboru looked at me a few times, clearly thinking I had gone completely mad! It was actually funnier then Wayne's World! It was totally non-stop laughs! And the Asian guy in this is hilarious because he has a crush on a non- Asian girl and it's really cute how that plays out! The next night, as I was watching Fox, Noboru put in Harold and Kumar. He said he wanted to see what was so funny, Noboru was laughing his butt off while watching it!



And yes, the Mr. Bean cartoon is quite popular in our household. Ha ha ha! : )

Anyway nothing major to say here, except the movies got here safe and sound. : )

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Moving some furniture around today and making way for the Christmas tree!


What a difference a day makes. Yesterday might have been hard for me to wake up in the morning, but today I was totally energized! Branden's obento is right back on track! Bright, colorful! Not all monotone looking like yesterday! We have a grilled cheese sandwich (because I figured the poor kid must be sick to death of turkey by now, ha ha ha), also one tiny fried chicken cutlet with cheese inside, I can even see the cheese in the pic, this is some good stuff Maynard, lol) and the last of the stuffing, 1 tiny broccoli and like 5 small french fries. I gave him a mikan...come on mikans your vitamin C, did diddly squat protecting him from getting sick 2 weeks ago, ha ha ha! Show us your stuff! Oh and 2 jellies. Anyway, that was his lunch today! : )


You ever wake up with like, "wild hair stuck up your butt type days?" Today I was so genki! I was moving furniture around, even had Noboru helping me and we got the tree out of the attic.

If you know newer American cartoons at all....and you know the Dora the Explorer cartoon on Nick, then you must be thinking....backpack, backpack! LOL, that's the backpack pillow actually that the boys take turns using on the couch!




Okay and nobody wanted to eat the last of the turkey, not Noah, or Branden and certainly not even Noboru. I am even a bit sick of it to be honest. But I didn't want to just chuck it either! So instead of making a normal sandwich, I made a tortilla wrap thing with it. This was my lunch. Noboru and Noah had some instant ramen for lunch. In between our moving of the furniture.



After we finally finished lunch and finished moving all the furniture around and got the tree up. Noah fell asleep for a nap. For some reason he crashed on the floor, wherever they fall asleep is usually where I leave them. The floor heating is quite warm and probably why the boys like to crash on the floor. Ours is set to 40 degrees C. Since I'm American and not really used to Celsius, I'm not sure what it is in Fahrenheit, so sorry American readers. I could check online but as I'm in a bit of a rush, I'll say maybe that's about 104 degrees F? Again, don't quote me on that but our floors are really warm, good place for the kids to play! : )


So this is going to be the configuration for half of the living room for December. I haven't got the ornaments on the tree yet, that will have to wait until this weekend.


So there's our computer, how funny I'm sitting in this very spot right now. Even if I'm online for a bit, I can still see the kids as they watch TV or whatnot. That's why the other half of the living room is for the computer and treadmill and stuff. And yes, that is the 10th anniversary Top Secret Tickle Me Elmo doll on top of our printer, that my mom sent for Noah a few days ago. Thanks mom! : )

I've put these little festive door hangers all over the doors in the house! Some are snowmen and some are Santa. This little guy is hanging in the kitchen on the pantry door. They're everywhere! : )

ABC Meme! : )

Illahee tagged me, thanks by the way, so here it goes! : )

[A is for age:] 34 (1972, started this blog, in November last year, put my age down and as usual, my laziness has delayed me changing my age or adding some stuff on my blog such as my fav music, I wanna include my music of choice, but as usual...I haven't got around to that yet either, lol : )
[B is for beer of choice:] I dislike beer, never touch the stuff, just tastes like warm pee to me...err not that I've ever tasted pee mind you, ha ha ha just seems like it'd taste like that!
[C is for career:] I don't have one anymore. I have a bachelor's degree in elementary education. I was an elementary school teacher in Denver, Colorado for a few years when Noboru and I were newlyweds. But then he was transferred twice and I quit my job with the first transfer because it was to Hawaii ( a daily commute from Colorado to Honolulu was clearly outta the question, lol), then we started a family of our own. I've been offered teaching jobs in Japan like crazy, especially since I have a degree from America for teaching, but teaching ESL, is not really what I'm interested in at all. However teaching native English speaking little kids, was my greatest joy! Maybe when Noah starts elementary school, I'll get a job at the International school in Narita, who knows : )
[D is for favorite Drink] caramel machiatto in winter and a tall glass of lemonade in summer : )
[E is for essential item you use everyday:] umm I could be a smart ass and say toilet paper 'cause that is seriously pretty essential, lol, but seriously I will say it has to be my hot pot (for my cup of instant Blendy in the morning or hot cup of yuzu-cha at night)
[F is for favorite song at the moment:] Fergie, London Bridge....Justin Timberlake, Sexyback...or maybe Jessica Simpson, A Public Affair
[G is for favorite game:] Mario Karts (Nintendo DS)
[H is for hometown:] My home is technically Japan now. Depending on my mood, sometimes I feel like my home is the US and sometimes I feel it's Japan. Hmm, tough to answer, especially being an expat.
[I is for instruments you play:] 3 years of piano as a kid, hated my lessons and I can't play too much.I had an extremely old teacher, the guy must have soaked himself in a vat of formaldehyde every night to stay alive. He was very grouchy and made learning scary like if I got a note or key wrong he would get all snappy! Also he smelled like a mixture of cookies and that "old person" smell (and I don't mean in a good way, lol).
[J is for favorite juice:] My favorite juice is peach juice, like 30% peach juice. Not that thick nectar stuff.
[K is for kids?:] two boys
[L is for last kiss?:] when I picked up Branden this afternoon at the bus stop!
[M is for marriage:] almost 10 years of marriage
[N is for full name:] Gina Lynn (I won't give out my last name, sorry, ya just never know who's reading this)
[O is for overnight hospital stays:] just when I had my 2 kids
[P is for phobias:] don't have anything as bad or severe as to call it a phobia per say. However, bugs give me the creeps, of any kind, but I wouldn't necessarily call it a total full blown phobia though.
[Q is for quote:] I like these but they aren't my own but I do agree with them, "Hard work pays off in the future, laziness pays off now." Or...."Keep smiling, it makes people wonder what you're up to."
[R is for biggest regret:] no regrets for me
[S is for sports:] I was a cheerleader in high school (and in case you're wondering....no, I wasn't a mean person to anyone else in highschool or made anyone's life hell, I was nice to the whole school, kid you not! I was voted, "friendliest girl" in my class. Hey I know how the world works, I know the potential for people to be hateful and catty, I've seen it a million times, I'm not that naive, it's just I choose not to be like that (granted I'm far from perfect I only make about 100 mistakes each day, lol). ButI do try to see the good in people, even if they don't really deserve it sometimes) Anyhoo, Noboru loves looking at pics of me in my cheerleading uniform from my high school days...the weirdo, ha ha ha! : ) Sports I like watching? I love American football!!! I also love to watch a good boxing match! All my cousins and myself included, got good (defend yourself) lessons in boxing when we were little, I've got a killer right hook and a very quick jab, if I don't say so myself! But I'm a total girlie girl and never fight! : )
[T is for time you wake up:] 6:50 am on weekdays and whenever on the weekends
[U is for color underwear:] some powder pink and jet black striped hipster undies
[V is for vegetable you love:] zucchini
[W is for worst habit:] oh this is so easy! I have a nasty nasty habit of leaving semi used Kleenexes on the couch or under my pillow where I sleep or near my seat in the car. To be honest I try to use my 1 Kleenex twice instead of just once. So I use less tissue and waste less. However the one and only person who ends up finding these disgusting tissues is Noboru, and he is about to gag every time he sees them! I do pick them up daily, but he always find the odd one and is totally grossed out! Bad habit of mine!
[X is for x-rays you've had:] hmm maybe some dental x-rays, for yearly check-ups. And maybe a body x-ray once but that's about it
[Y is for yummy food you make:] I always try to make yummy food. Simple but good is totally me! I recently made a delicious Thanksgiving meal. And I'm planning to bake some homemade banana bread this week.
[Z is for zodiac sign:] Aries

Monday, November 27, 2006

I've been tagged!!! : )

Okay so Midori tagged me, and I love a good game of tag! So here it goes! It's a one word meme : )

Yourself: kind
Your partner: smart
Your hair: straight
Your mother: tiny feet
Your father: loyal
Your favorite item: remote control!!!
Your dream last night : hubbahubba
Your favorite drink : Mountain Dew
Your dream car: BMW SUV or Mercedes SUV
Your dream home: my own or *anything* in Hawaii
The room you are in: living room
Your ex: tall
Your fear: dying
Where you want to be in ten years? surprise me
Who you hung out with last night? sons
What you're not? size 2
Muffins: Blueberry!!!
One of your wish list items: Bring on the dream car! : )
Time: never enough!
The last thing you did: Made a snack
What are you wearing: yoga pants/top
Your favorite weather: sunny
Your favorite book: Parents magazine (not a book, sorry)
last thing you ate: popcorn
Your life: good
Your mood: happy
Your best friends: since childhood
What are you thinking about right now: upcoming vacation
Your car: black minivan
What are you doing at the moment: typing
Your summer: BBQ!
Relationship status: Married
What is on your TV: Cops, but literally? Tulips! : )
What is the weather like: sunny but chilly
When is the last time you laughed: today : )

I here by tag Trisha and also Helen. Helen, I love tagging you all the time because I love your answers, you always got some good ones! So please you two, if you'd like to accept, please go for it!!! Oh and like Midori said...it should be answered with one word and only one word. Clearly I cheated a few times. Bonking myself! Ha ha ha. Good-luck ladies, this was so much fun! : )

An ugly obento (too monotone looking today : ))

Now this is an ugly lunch I made today and let me tell you why! Everything is about the same color. The bread and the mozzarella cheese, the mayo, the turkey. Just everything is like white on white where the sandwich is concerned. The fries and corn, yellow and yellow. And the apples and even the jellies. Everything looked either white or tan or yellow in his lunch today. Total accident by the way (must not have been thinking this morning ) But I know that and it's why I mention it. Now if the sandwich woulda had some lettuce or tomato (which Branden doesn't care for lettuce on sandwiches and the tomato woulda made the sandwich totally soggy city, by the time lunch came around. I coulda gave him broccoli instead as well. Oh well, Monday's are always the hardest for me in the mornings, and today especially I didn't want to get out of bed! Just lazy, I guess! But anyway...at least I made him a good tasting lunch still though. It came back empty, but Branden did ask me when we got home in the afternoon "mommy I can't eat anymore turkey"......poor kid! He's turkey'd out as well! Okay, no more turkey for Branden, for a while at least! : )


You know in the US, we just cut a sandwich in half and throw it in a Ziploc sandwich bag and put it in your lunch box. But in Japan things have to be cut tiny, and small. And theproblem with rubbing your breads together is that they get stuck to one another. Therefore if you see the Thomas separator, it stops the breads from different sandwiches sticking together, isn't that nuts? Yup Japanese obentos, are much tougher to make then a simple American lunch box type lunch. And again...soak those apples in salt water (not from the ocean, duh, water with table salt in it) because heaven forbid your apple turns bread and oxidize and the other's mom's hear about it! Yup, sending your kid to school with apples that turn brown, biggest mistake *ever* if you live in Japan! You'll never live that one down!!! Seriously Branden's been going to yochien, well this is his second year....I know all the cardinal rules not to break! Someday I will blog about the rules not to break if you want to send your kid off to yochien with a lunch! Ha ha ha!

I made chicken chow mein tonight/sarah udon. It was so good. I also washed and threw the sweet potatoes into the oven and we had them as a snack after we all took our showers and baths!

Six feet Under was on tonight. And sure enough the guys wife is dead. I nearly fell out of my seat by the time the show had ended, that show is so good, it has been getting so good, lately it's been getting me all riled up! Ha ha ha! I also watched Super nanny tonight as well.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Favorite things about Japan during the winter time! : )


Okay, I blogged this in a paragraph below, however, I wanted to ask all of you as well, what are your favorite things about Japan in the winter time? My favorite things about spending time in the winter in Japan!!! Roasted sweet potatoes, and I love to buy them along the road stands or when sweet potatoes trucks drive by everyone's house in the cold winter evenings, yummm 1 very cool thing about being in Japan in winter time), also yuzu-cha, oh this is fantastic and warm and delicious, it almost tastes like warm lemonade, so good for warming your throat, on a cold winter's day in Japan! And finally last but not least my #3 fav thing about spending winter in Japan has got to be mochi! Nothing weird or funky in the plain mochi just rice and man it's so good in my toaster oven for a late night snack with a bit of sugar, ha ha ha! Anyway, just wanted to say there are some really fantastic things about being in Japan during the winter time! : )

I also love going to the regular old sento/public bath. Doesn't have to be an onsen. Just any ol' sento will do! I love them! They're great! I love eating hard boiled eggs and drinking a cool drink afterwards in the winter time. And in the summer, I like eating and crunching on some lemon shave ice, after a nice long soak in the steaming hot public bath!

So please, what do you all, like or love or look forward to about a Japanese winter? : )

Sunday


I guess with October's happy hurdles out of the way, like a birthday and Halloween and November's hurdle out of the way, You know Thanksgiving and all. And everyone feeling happy and everything pretty much going off without a hitch basically. All that is left is Christmas and being that we just finished Thanksgiving, I didn't do much of anything this weekend just wanted a weekend not to have to give deep thoughts about a holiday just yet, just basically relaxing and feeling happy the holidays went so smoothly!We all snoozed in this morning. Woke up and didn't do much. I sat in my PJ's quite late actually having coffee and watching some Fox channel stuff. Finally I got myself dressed and all bundled up and headed to the grocery store by myself. Since Noboru was off work today, I felt I could shop better alone and also it was a good deal for him because he never had to change out of sweatpants today, lucky guy! Ha ha ha! He sat and watched Discovery channel with the boys, they like watching animal shows together. I guess a guy bonding thing? Who knows! Ha ha : )So, there I was at the discount super (grocery store) in the super small city nearest my house. And I went row after row after row. Didn't get anything very interesting at all. I wanted some steaks but they didn't have any....sometimes if they have specials or deals they will sell out right away especially in a small country city like this one. I bought my stuff and headed home.In the pic above is my Ikea bag that's loaded with groceries. This store is sometimes quite stingy with their plastic bags. Like I'd need like 5 extra bags ha ha ha. So today I brought my Ikea bag and one of my big gray plastic Costco bags and rolled the cart outside and bagged it near my car! I didn't mind at all because, the store was so packed, it was good to get out of there and bag my stuff in peace outside.Just apples and mikans, I also bought bananas but they were in a different bag (I buy mikans every single week in the winter in Japan...btw what is a mikan in English, anybody know...seriously is it a tangerine? I'm at a loss with this, I wondered if it was a different breed/type of tangerine or what, I don't know)


My favorite things about spending time in the winter in Japan!!! Roasted sweet potatoes, and I love to buy them along the road stands or when sweet potatoes trucks drive by everyone's house as well, yummm 1 very cool thing about being in Japan in winter time), also yuzu-cha, oh this is fantastic and warm and delicious, it almost tastes like warm lemonade, so good for warming your throat, on a cold winter's day in Japan! And finally last but not least my #3 fav thing about spending winter in Japan has got to be mochi! Nothing weird or funky in the plain mochi just rice and man it's so good in my toaster oven for a late night snack with a bit of sugar, ha ha ha! Anyway, just wanted to say there are some really fantastic things about being in Japan during the winter time! : )


Bought a whole big bag full of veggies. Again nothing special or exciting.



Clearly you can tell by this picture that I must be feeling a little turkey'd out! I went on a beef buying rampage at the store. Pork too (in my other bag full of meats, just anything *not* turkey, ha ha ha! I also bought 2 kg's of chicken, but that's because Noboru wanted some chicken otherwise I woulda personally passed on the chicken this week, ha ha ha.


Noboru wanted karaage this week, so I got the powder for that. And I am going to make some easy instant type pasta dish this week sometime as well, not feeling like making anything homemade with regards to pasta dishes this week, I like both of these pasta sauces, I just bought both packs and we will have some of both of them. And 5 egg drop soups, Noah and Branden love these like crazy! They are so fast and totally instant and I also mix it with a little white rice and it's a whole quick lunch or anytime snack for the boys, that 1 little soup packet makes so much that it actually feeds both kids a big bowl each of soup. As long as I buy enough things to last us for 5 to 6 breakfasts, lunches and dinners, then I can relax. I think I tend to stock up a bit, because growing up in Denver Colorado, we really would get hit with lot's of blizzards and snow storms, like the snow could reach your waist/be waist high. Roads and highways would be literally closed. Streets would be on accident alert. And schools would be closed. That strange silence after a snow storm, just everything so peaceful and quiet. Grandma's and aunties in the way olden days would can their own fruits and veggies, make wine, just make enough stuff to last a whole winter! Ha ha ha! And even when I was growing up, that mentality of stocking up, especially in winter time was like a must! My mom would always buy the 24 rolls at least of toilet paper, or whatnot, you all know what I mean. So, for me, winter means stocking up. Hey...growing up in the Rocky Mountains, I'd make one heck of a good squirrel! Ha ha ha! So long story short...I got Rocky Mountain, Colorado stocking up for winter type mentality, yet I live in Japan! Ha ha ha! Now if I lived in a snowy part of Japan, I'd probably fit right in! But since I live in Chiba and the chance of us ever getting hit by a blizzard is pretty much never gonna happen/slim to nil. Heck outta 5 years of me living here, I've only seen it snow once! Ha ha ha! Yet I am still a girl who can't shake that stock up mentality. So, every week I shop like we are about to be hit by the big one! Ha ha ha! Lucky for me, since Noboru lived in Denver since age 16, he's used to it, so he doesn't mind.



The oolong teas and 30% apple juice and 30% orange juice are 155 yen, so the price is great. And the sodas and my favorite Kirin straight tea is 178 yen. Pardon my step stool, ha ha ha, all the food stuff hides in the pantry.


I made the beef and cabbage stir fry tonight. Showered and I sat and watched Sex and the City after the boys fell asleep, 2 back to back epsiodes. And then I went to bed and got ready to start a whole other week! : )

PS, I came home with 1 Ikea bag full of groceries and 2 Costco bags full of groceries and you know those bags are huge. Plus 3 white normal plastic bags full of veggies and meats and stuff. Phew! Yup, I am such a total dork! : )

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Saturday and when Noboru called Mitsuko about the weight thing....

We stood home all day and evening. We didn't even rent any movies tonight. We seriously just stayed in and stayed warm. Good movies were on satellite so that was awesome. With Noboru off today (and tomorrow), we both cooked dinner together this evening. We were discussing Thanksgiving and talking how everything went and how much fun everyone had. But then the subject of what Mitsuko said was brought up by Noboru. I'm not sure why, but as I was telling him how I felt, tears started streaming out of my eyes and down my face. I was calm, quiet. Not ranting, nor raving. Just genuinely hurt and the tears came flowing on their own. He was absolutely shocked! He said and I quote..."oh my god, you're crying", I said no duh, don't you know...she *really* really hurt my feelings! And I told him, the fact that she was mean wasn't such a big deal. The fact that he didn't defend me or correct her, was actually more bothersome to me! I told him...you're my husband you should have my back no matter what! Regardless who it is. And I said...problem is, you do always have my back....UNLESS your mom is involved. Marriage built in heaven, flawless in every way except when she (my mil) is involved and then it's clash of the titans. It was more a quiet talk while cooking then a big blown out fight. He heard me and actually listened.

He said, he was going to call his mom right away. I told him not to and forget it....just to defend me next time. He said, no, you are right....international marriages, my mom is aware of (2 out of her 3 kids married gaijins) she should know better. He picked up the phone and he called her. He told her how he felt, and told her that was wrong of her to say and to please never mention the issue of weight when speaking to foreigners and that it could be an uncomfortable thing to discuss. Acceptable in Japan, maybe but for some people from other countries, certainly not very nice. He didn't attack her on the phone either, but he did stick up for me. I also listened to her speaking and sure enough she was on the line. And she did apologize about it. So, I'm over it. Issue totally resolved and I would do the same thing if something like that happened in my family to my husband as well.

My dad left...

The next morning, I woke up and chatted with my dad. My dad's flight was taking off at like 9:20 am. So Noboru left our house around 7:30 am, so my dad would have enough time to get through those crazy check in lines at Narita, ha haha. I was going to go to the airport but the kids were fast asleep, so we said our good-byes here. Besides airport good-byes are the worst, I hate strangers/looky lous watching me cry and looking so sad! So, instead my dad and I said, it wasn't really good-bye, it was more like....see you later. And we hugged and he left. I stared at the black minivan, until I couldn't even see it anymore, it was sad. Total bummer actually.

Well, it's just me in Japan again....well of course my kids and hubby too. But it was a bummer of a morning!

On the bright side, my cold is totally gone...100% completely gone. I do know one thing, I don't want to catch that horrible virus again. Am seriously thinking about either getting the flu shot, like I talked about or just wearing one of those weird funky doctor/surgeon type masks that Michael Jackson wears. LOL. But man that mask thing looks so weird doesn't it? But then again, I also don't wanna be sick again either! Hmmm, I'll have to weigh my options, mask or flu shot, ha ha ha! Maybe I should wear the mask but then those things look so freaky (didn't a guy in Prince's band a long time ago in the Revolution wear a mask like that as well? I think he was called the doctor, ha ha ha). Hmm, maybe I should just buy one and try it out maybe. Anyway...I just don't wanna catch something again this season (knocking on wood here)

Friday, November 24, 2006

My dad's last night in Japan.

So with the family from Osaka gone. Noboru hung out at home for a while and then he went to work. Meanwhile it gave my dad and the boys and I, a chance to have just 1 night alone with each other. This was my favorite night of the whole trip, because I got to just enjoy time with my dad. We got to talk and talk and talk each other's ears off basically. We had dinner and then after everyone took their showers and stuff, the boys and my dad and I all sat on the couch in our jammies and watched TV with each other. We watched a few episodes of the Twilight Zone and some forensic crime shows type stuff. We munched on popcorn and then my dad went to sleep around 11:30 pm. I stayed up for about 30 minutes after that. Knowing my dad was leaving the following morning was sorta a sad thing for me. My dad and I are really close and there's truly nothing we can't talk about. So for me, I wasn't looking forward to him going the next morning at all. : (

A day spent at the dairy farm/ Yume Bokujo! : )


With Thanksgiving over. And having 4 energetic kids, what to do? I suggested the farm. Because it's barely 5 minutes from my house. So that was the plan. We woke up in the morning. And I made breakfast for everyone! I fried a pack and a half of bacon. And my sil made the toast. And I fried up some eggs. Some wanted sunny side up, some wanted over easy and some wanted over medium and even 2 requests for scrambled. Boy oh boy, did I feel like a short order cook by the time breakfast was finished. But breakfast was excellent. Afterwards the kids all got their teeth brushed and got dressed and the 3 bigger kids went outside in the backyard to play. Meanwhile, my dad went for his morning jog (well he actually does some fast walk thing, lol every morning), And the man down the street, whom the entire neighborhood is deathly afraid of (not sure why, because he's so nice). Whom happens to be my friend and talks with me and I greet this man and his wife and their dog every time I see them. I also bring them omiyage every time I go some place. He apparently went to my mother in-law and told her while I was upstairs getting ready. He told Mitsuko, you are very lucky to have such a wonderful daughter in-law like that! And went on about how nice I am to him (he's elderly) and to his elderly wife! Mitsuko was surprised to say the least...she told Noboru about it right away and he went upstairs and told me. Hmm, Mitsuko was wonderful to me all day long after that. : )

Here's Branden going down the slide. The weather this morning was 38 degrees F. So a bit over freezing, I guess. It was cold, really cold!


Kaori and Kobby!



Kaori and Branden and Kobby going back to slide again. Kaori is actually a really good snowboarder actually. Like, as good as could go pro, type good. She's good! Okay, not sure what that has to do with any of this....sorry : )


Noboru going down with Noah. And Branden getting a push by grandpa.



Okay Noah liked it so much they had to go a few more times!

Noah and Noboru going down the slide once more. And there's Ju-chan in the background and Mitsuko.

A day spent at the farm part 2! : )


Noah totally idolizes his big brother, you can just see it in this picture. Also, by the way, we were almost eaten alive by these goats!!! We've been to this farm a zillion times. This has never happened before. We went first thing in the morning and the goats were starved! We walked in there with some food (you can buy a whole cup full for 100 yen near the entrance of the goats), they saw the food, they were starved and as we walked in....(Noboru, my dad, Branden and Noah and I and the goats swarmed us...they jumped on my dad and dirtied his fleece jacket, but he wasn't hurt. And they jumped me twice! My coat had hoove prints on it!!! And we aren't talkin' from Santa's reindeer either!!! I was kicked and beat by goats and so was my dad and Noboru! ha ha ha! They didn't bother the kids, I shielded them pretty good. We all got so shook up, we just gave them all the food immediately, as if we had just been robbed....robbed by a gang of goats, I tell you! Plus...they have weird eyes, like half their eyeballs are like brown and the other half is like white. Like half moon one side is black or brown and the other half is white. My dad said they had creepy zombie eyes! So we were robbed by zombie eyed goats...a whole gang of them! We left right away to another part of the park. I had to go to the little sinks they have all over the park and scrub the hoof prints off my jacket!!! Best part of it is? My sil caught it all on tape. I can just imagine her and my mil rewinding the tape back again and again and laughing their butts off! Ha ha ha! : )


I packed a good lunch of what else? Turkey sandwiches and Ruffles chips and Christmas cookies and some teas and Qoo. And paper cups and napkins and stuff. I made 7 sandwiches.
During our picnic lunch at the picnic tables at the bukujo, Kobby said he didn't want to leave auntie Gina's house and Mister daddy's house (they meant uncle Noboru), ahhh how nice! I just made sure to tell them how much we love them and hugged them all day and talked and listened to them and all their wild crazy kid stories, ha ha ha! And just basically let them know how much we care about them. And I know they left knowing that! : )

So as we sat eating our lunch we were watching from our lunch table all the people trying the stilts and having a hard time doing it. Noboru and my dad tried it afterwards and they both were pretty horrible! Ha ha ha. But at least they tried I guess : )
























After our lunch and after we all tried the ice-cream. And we were about to leave, the kids wanted to ride this just 1 more time. However they ended up riding it about 7 more times.

Here's Branden going up with his cousin Ju-chan. My niece and nephew and sil and my mil all headed back to Osaka around 5:00 pm. Well that's when they left our train station. And they headed to the Funabashi train station and then were catching the bus back to Osaka. A sleeper type bus.

I fed them again before they left. Turkey again, ha ha ha! And packed them some food and sandwiches for the trip and some rolls for the kids because they loved the Costco rolls, actually everyone did, they were a hit. Kobby cried and didn't want to leave. I felt so sad, and I hugged him and told him to be good. And Ju-chan started crying and threw a big fit because she didn't want to leave, my sil actually had to drag her from the house. It broke my heart. She had grown to be such a sweetheart. Noboru told me that they told him they had the best time and that really makes me happy to hear that!


The 3 bigger kids/cousins all going down the hill together! They really all had a blast playing with each other.















Thursday, November 23, 2006

The evening and night of Thanksgiving!


Here's a pic of our hot fudge brownie chocolate sundaes! Pecan nuts on top and even with colorful chocolate sprinkles. Oh man, the kids had these the entire time. And Noboru had about 6-8 servings of ice-cream during the whole time and he actually finished up the ice-cream himself. He had 2 bowls a day! Ha ha ha! I only had 2 small sundaes the whole time but then, I ate more pie then anything dessert wise though. : ) Satoe loved the brownies so much, that when they left I packed her with 4 big brownies and also packed her up with a whole bunch of food for both her and Jun to take home with them : )


Oh man the pumpkin pie was so delicious and really tasted homemade from that little whole in the wall bakery! Next year, I might make my own. And even this year after I couldn't buy the Costco pie, I went looking for the canned pumpkin they had at Costco and it was all sold out! Double bummer! But these pies were exactly the taste I've been craving! So I was happy! Branden ate about as many servings of pie as Noboru had ice-cream. Now Noah on the other hand vomited every time he tried pumpkin pie. 3 times total...somehow he can't stomach the pie, go figure!



Turkey sandwiches non-stop. Around 7:00 pm, I was starting to feel a bit hungry, since we ate Thanksgiving dinner around 1:30 pm (lunch rather, huh?) Even now we still have a turkey in the fridge still. Now making sandwiches for everyone's snack? Try making 7 sandwiches total every single time, ha ha ha! And the kids sandwiches had to be cut in itty bitty tiny squares, ha ha ha!


All the kids played out back all day until it actually got dark. After the last sandwich and sundae and pie was eaten for the night. Everyone took turns showering and bathing. I filled a bath. My sil was surprised by the size of our tub and the extra seat/space on the side for the kids to sit while bathing. I offered for her to shower with her 2 kids first. But she said I should go first since Noah was looking a bit sleepy, how nice of her. So Branden and Noah and I went upstairs. I observed Branden wash his own hair and his own body and of course I made sure to wash extra good between the toes or scrub his hair a bit extra, but he's going to be showering alone come this coming summer in June so he's in training right now, ha ha ha! Noboru dried him and got him in his PJ's. And Noah got all washed up and he also got Noah in his PJ's as well and I got all clean and got in my PJ's as well. As soon as we came down, Kaori went upstairs with her 2 kids and got them all cleaned up. Everyone took turns, my dad showered, Mitsuko showered, Noboru showered, somehow everyone got showered and took baths. Ha ha ha : )


Here's Branden in his PJ's watching the movie Cars with his cousins and his brother. I popped some popcorn and we all watched the movie!


Noah's never seen a futon before, he liked it and ran and jumped on it a few times!







Here's Noah and cousin Kobby playing after Kobby finished his shower. He's going to be six years old really soon and starts first grade this coming year in Osaka.


Here's 3 squeaky clean kids. Where's Noah at in this picture? I don't know, maybe off visiting with grandma who knows. In the pic is Branden, and his cousins J-chan and Kobby.

Aha! Here's a pic of all the kids together. Kobby is 5 years and 11 month's old, so maybe I should just say 6? I dont know. And J-chan is 3 years old. Branden just hit 5 years old and has a whole other year of yochien to go. And Noah is 16 month's old. They are all half American. Noah and Branden had a total ball with them as well. I loved having the kids here.

Thanksgiving


Don't ask me why or ask me how. But this turkey was the juiciest turkey I've honestly ever eaten! Of course my brother in law Jun says it was the *Japanese* butter that did it, ha ha ha! He's so funny. I love my bil. But whatever it was, it was *so* noticeable. Even my mother in law, Mitsuko complimented the turkey saying Jun's host family's turkey was not as juicy as the one I made today. I was shocked, she said that. But happy for the compliment. My dad also mentioned how tender it was as well. The outside was crispy but the inside was really tender and juicy. Okay....maybe Jun could be right...it could have been the Hokkaido butter, ha ha ha. Also in this pic was the chips and dip and black olives. The kids did stick them on their fingers (cough cough) just like auntie Gina showed them how to (shhh) Branden already knows how to stick them on his fingers and bite them off. But it was cute to see my niece and nephew learn it as well.


I had all the stuff for salad and kindly appointed my sil Kaori to salad detail. Ha ha ha. She made a beautiful salad and it was cool everyone got in there and helped like that. In this pic is also the stuffing and the homemade mashed potatoes. We also used the Hokkaido butter for the potatoes as well, and they were some mighty yummy mashed potatoes. : )


The gravy and in the background is my sister in law, Satoe. Jun's wife.


Here's Jun (my brother in law) and my sister in law Satoe. He's a cutie and she's a sweetheart! She's going to have a baby this coming March. She is a flight attendant and is quitting her job in January. Personalities and how are they? They are so awesome! Two truly sweet wonderful people! I am really quite fond of them!
And they are wonderful to Branden and Noah as well. A wonderful auntie and uncle! I'm so lucky to have them as part of my family! I really mean that! : )



Here is Mitsuko my mil in the pink shirt. My lovely sil Kaori on the left of my mil. And Noboru cuting the turkey. : )


Here's a pic of my dad getting his plate of food all put together and served! Yup it was a serve yourself type relaxing atmosphere. That way nobody had to wait to be served or eat something they didn't necessarily want on their plate. Every one picked whatever they wanted and it worked out well that way! : )


Here's a pic of all us adults. The kids are all there as well, you just can't see them because they are all short, ha ha ha. And as usual, I'm not in the pic because I have to be the picture taker, ha ha ha, I don't mind so much though.

And here's my first serving of my Thanksgiving meal, after I took this pic, I put my gravy on everything. But then I realized, I didn't get a pic with the gravy on! But with everyone in the kitchen and dining room and stuff, I didn't really have time to take perfect pictures. So imagine this with gravy and there you go, ha ha ha. Sorry.

After our meal, everyone had a choice of sundaes or pumpkin pie. My dad and Branden and I had pumpkin pie, everyone else had sundaes!