Monday, April 30, 2007

For my family, I just wanted to say thanks! : )

This post is really for no one else today, except for my family. (I guess, sometimes some appreciation and some much needed gratitude needs to be sent out to my lovely folks) I coulda emailed them personally, but I just want it thrown into the world, shout it from the highest roof tops or what have you. But I love my family so very much! I am truly blessed to be a member of my family. How I ever got so lucky, I'll never know. But I just wanted to say thanks. When I lived in Denver. My family seldom gave me gifts. Sure, Christmas or birthdays, what have you. But we expressed our love for another by simply being with each other. By our weekly family Sunday dinners after church. And so on. With me now, in Japan, it's hard for my family and I to sometimes express our love for another with this great ocean between us. Family dinners are few and far between. Sure I send letters (snail mail ones), emails with pics. Hell, I set up this blog years ago especially for *them*, my mom, my dad, cousins and all. They send gifts, not because they're Veruca Salt type people, but because it's a small way, they want to say, we love and miss you Gina. We love and miss you Noah and Branden. You *are* missed. You are thought of and we won't forget you, no matter where you live. So it's not the *thing* so much as the thought. Every month, I open my mail box and get something from either my mom, my dad, one of my many aunties or cousins, even from a few of my best childhood girlfriends etc. And it puts me on a verge of tears. Yes I send care packages back to them all as well. Anyway, to my family, I just want to say thank you and to my mom and dad especially. I'm so sorry I live so far from you guys (well dad you aren't too far though). But you all are ALWAYS in my thoughts and in my heart! Mom, thanks for the Old Navy gift card. And thanks for sending the boys all those flip flops and clothes and stuff. Be on the look out for your Mother's day gift as well. : )

And again mom, thanks for you sending the boys the special Disney Crocs. Geeze, when I asked you if you could maybe locate 1 pair for Branden. You could imagine my surprise to get, 2 pairs for Branden, (1 pair for this year and 1 pair in the size bigger for next year, lol) and a pair in a larger size you also sent for Noah. Wow. Thanks mom, I was beyond surprised to get this in the mail from you. Just looking at the Disney crocs you sent plus the ones we had before that we got in Japan. And I think we are not needing anymore Disney crocs. So please family, please don't send us anymore Crocs. Ha ha ha! We are all croc-ed out! Heck, the boys are all shoe-ed out! LOL. They need nothing more for summer, that is for sure. But I do want to show my appreciation and say thanks. Which is why I am saying it here. It means more to me then you even know! I love you mom! : )

And dad, you gave me the biggest smile when I opened up a little yellow cushion envelop today and out rolled some "island hot sauce" lol! And you even sent me pens to write with. Yes, I coulda bought my own writing pens, ha ha ha. But it was just so thoughtful of you! Love you bunches dad! I'll try the hot sauce later this week and let you know by either email or by calling you up and letting you know how it was!

Made in Guam, how funny! : ) I love you all, from Colorado, to California, to even you dad in Guam! : )

Monday afternoon karaoke! : )

Our plan for Monday was to head to the bokujo/farm. Because, we have a year long family pass. It's somewhat near us and it would be a nice way to spend an afternoon. However, with the rain and all, it sorta threw our plans off and we needed a real rain check. Ha ha ha. So we decided to head to karaoke instead, for some family fun! It's cheap, only 600 yen for all of us for 1 hour and free unlimited drink bar, if you go in the afternoon, which we did. So we stayed for 3 hours. And had a medium peperoni pizza (so small, it seemed like a small, lol but it really was a medium) and a large fry. And we munched and sang and munched and sang! It was a great way to spend 3 hours on a rainy Monday! : )

Noboru sang!
He sang this..."hold me tight, Osaka bay blues song", lol! : ) And many many others!

Branden sang a few songs with Noboru and I! Mostly Disney songs and some Japanese school songs he learned from yochien. Noah even attempted singing some Karaoke. Seriously, he did! And I sang many many songs! A lot of my regular songs, I always sing. However, I tried to sing Avril lavigne's new song...Girlfriend. And I got the..."hey hey you you, I don't like your girlfriend" part right! But after that, it was a complete mess. As Simon would say, I was "pitchy in spots" and my tune was a little off. Sigh. I knew it was a butcher job! So I pressed the red button and stopped the song, before it even finished! Ha ha ha. But it was fine, we had so much fun being there, whether we sang great or we sang horribly. : )
Noah looking on, as his dad sang another song!

It was about 3:45 pm when we left karaoke. We headed to the grocery store. Picked up some instant caramel machiatto for the mornings and some croissants. Some fresh watermelon for after dinner snackin'. And we were just plain ol' stumped what to do for dinner. We could go home and cook dinner, like I always do (problem is, we didn't feel like cooking today) Or we could go and eat a proper dinner at a restaurant, nah, we rarely do that, don't we? Or we could head to the nearest Wendy's and hit the drive thru and get some take out and go home and switch to our comfy clothes, eat some Wendy's in front of the TV for a change. Since we usually eat in the dining room. Hmmm. We thought that sounded like a good plan. So we did just that. We sat right in front of the TV. Watched satellite and kicked back for the rest of the night!

We all got just the sandwiches, only because we didn't want yucky cold fries. We figured the fries would be ice cold, by the time we got home anyways. So I had the Monterrey chicken ranch sandwich. Branden had a cheeseburger, Noah had 2 of the 105 yen nuggets. He shared some with Branden. Noboru had, 2 burgers of some sort. We went home , fried up our own fresh fries and they were hot and great! Dinner came to 1200 yen for all 4 of us. And yes, we 3 had choco frosties for the drive home.

Damn these were great for the ride home! And it was just a 10 minute drive, tops!

Still odd that in all this utter country-ness there is stuff like Wendy's and stuff. And if you ever flew into Narita airport and saw the view from the window of an airplane. You know what I mean, there's seriously literally nothing around Narita. It's country! Ha ha ha!

After Wendy's was done, I chopped up this watermelon in half and we all had 6 slices of watermelon to munch on for after dinner. Thirty minutes after that, we all hit the showers and then got in our jammies and lazed around for the rest of the night. Ahhh, I am loving this Golden week stuff, I really am! Ha ha ha! : )

Sunday, April 29, 2007

A lazy family Sunday BBQ in the backyard today! : )

Now we had been planning to have a quiet relaxing BBQ today, it's been on our plan for days now! But we seriously thought with all the rain yesterday and stuff, might actually change our plans. We worried if it would rain today. But the weather report was right. It was a gorgeous beautiful and hot day today! Very different from yesterday completely! Go figure! We got dressed quickly and the boys and I went to the store and bought some cheesecake sticks! Oh man they are so delicious! I love them and have been buying them off and on for the past year since we moved here. And I thought they'd be great for our dessert, for after the BBQ! So, anyways that is where we were off to, when I clicked these first couple pics! And the thing that Branden is carrying is his Pokeman bag that carries his DS games and cards! Total boy, with all his video games and stuff! LOL! : )

Geeze, Branden has grown so much! Yet, I still remember all the hiccups he would have, when he was in my tummy before he was born. And I still very clearly remember him as a little baby, it's so crystally clear in my mind, just like yesterday almost. Ahhh, typical mom, here! Sigh! : ) And there's a few cute little girls at the yochien who have crushes on my little Branden already! Yes, it's true! Quite a few actually! And I still think....what? But he's just a baby! Ha ha ha. Yup, typical mom here! : )

Okay, so after we picked up the cheesecake. The boys got changed into their play clothes, right quick. Because if they are gonna be in the backyard, and if they wanna get a bit dirty, during play, I won't mind in the least, if they get dirt on their play clothes! And again with the play clothes, who in the heck cares if they smell like BBQ city afterwards! Ha ha ha! : ) Here's Branden steering the ship! Ha ha ha! And you can see a tiny pinch of Noboru's head as he checked on the BBQ.

Sliding down the slide! : )

Noah sliding down the slide with 1 of our gardening gloves! What's up with him and the 1 gardening glove? You got me, at this age, he wants to wear gloves, socks and shoes on his hands! Go figure! But Branden did the same exact thing when he was this age too though. So maybe it's an age thing? Who knows! : )

Rice fields all the way to the left and even wraps around a bit. The rice fields have been planted and they are growing nicely right now by the way. Ha ha ha! The boys like to watch the 3 farmer ladies work in the fields in the backyard, meanwhile they like to watch the kids play way up on their playground. Mostly old grannies are back there! Very nice old grannies by the way! We usually just wave, hello! LOL! It's very quiet. Very serene and peaceful. Well unless you count the sound of the frogs and crickets at night! Which I totally love that sound, sorta reminds me of the summer time, in Denver where I grew up! So I really enjoy hearing chirping at night! : )

And rice fields all the way to the right as well. Okay trying quite hard not to sound like a complete cornball, but....It's just so much greenery, the air is just so fresh smelling. The sky is actually blue, and in Japan that's rare! LOL! It's like our backyard goes on forever. No neighbors to peek through our windows or who live too close, like smack right next to ya, type of thing. Or sounds of factories or highways near. It's just like....quiet. No wonder it took us nearly a year to find our land, where we would eventually build this house. I am so at peace now with living in Japan.

We saw a big caterpillar today. We thought it was cool. We showed the kids. And showed them the, poky things on his back and told them some of these little guys can actually be poisonous. So we just watched him instead! And in Denver, there were also caterpillars cruising around, as well too. So for me, I don't mind seeing this type of stuff. : )

After just seeing the caterpillar! Hmm, he had to think about that one for a sec!

Noah looking on, as daddy flips the BBQ yummy's! : )

Okay 5 more minutes of play before we eat. Dinner is just about done! Noah went down the big boy slide a few more times!

Branden meanwhile was "just hanging around" ha ha ha! : )

And then of course, since his older brother did it first. Then Noah wanted to "just hang around" too! : )

Okay kids, time to come inside and wash your hands! I'm gonna go pour us all some rice and it's time for dinner! We ate and as you can tell it was still early outside. We had an early supper on the back patio/terrace. We were stuffed! It seriously was an awesome family BBQ at home today. In our comfy clothes and my hair thrown in a pony tail. Nothing fancy and why should it be, you know what I mean. It was an absolutely fantastic and simple way to spend our Sunday! I imagine just like last year our summer will be filled with many BBQ's and I don't mind! It's what I look forward to actually! Plus we save lot's of money staying home and BBQ'ing you know, ha ha ha! : )

After we ate, I cleared the dishes from the patio. And I went inside and got some cheesecake sticks. I bought 12, but we only used 6 for dessert. Ha ha ha. I made 2 hot coffees and brought 2 cheesecake sticks each on a plate for both Noboru and I. Branden had 1 cheesecake stick with a glass of milk. And Noah, had a half of cheesecake stick with a sippy of oolong tea. We sorta sat in the backyard for about 30 minutes and just did nothing, just sorta soaked in the moment, if you will. Well, the boys played a bit. And Noboru and I just sat looking at the view. Sipping our coffee and chatting about stuff. It was actually a pretty simple day, but it was still pretty great. We went inside. Loaded the dishwasher. Noah and I hit the bathtub and shower first. Noboru and Branden hit it afterwards. We all sat on the couch, watching TV. Noah as usual fell asleep first. Branden actually was awake for American Idol tonight. So the 3 of us watched the results show from American Idol. Then Branden drifted to lalaland himself. Then Noboru and I watched TV for about 2 hours afterwards. Just sorta vegging out. But also chatting in between. And we even had another cup of hot coffee around midnight and we each had an extra cheesecake stick, as well! Ha ha ha! Sometimes a day of just relaxing with the family, is really needed! : )

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Our rainy Saturday, oh what a down pour! : )

Today it rained, like cats and dogs! Seriously it poured rain all day long and then around 9:00 pm it stopped! It's basically been Spring warmer type weather, but there are still a few rainy spring type days thrown in here and there! Today was one of those! The feeling is nice knowing I can be on "total relax mode" for a whole week! Ahhhh gotta love Golden week! He he! Tonight's plan? Just kicking back and popping some popcorn and enjoying American Idol! : )

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Thursday! : )

Okay, I am back blogging a bit, but again that's nothing new. That's what I get for being such a lazy blogger : ) It's all still fresh in my mind though, so bare with me here, my family and friends! Today's lunch, ginger pork placed on a lettuce leaf. The lettuce has zero purpose, except to make it look cuter, lol. Bonking myself for just saying that! Ha ha! Broccoli and rice. And fruit cup of fresh kiwi, strawberry and fresh pineapple. Oh yeah and 2 jelly's. Pretty simple and you betcha they are leftovers from last night! : )

As I was cleaning down the downstairs. And yup the upstairs is clean, but I focus on the downstairs a lot in case of unexpected company. And yup, I really dislike unexpected company, ha ha ha! My doorbell rings. I go check the screen and see it's our post lady. The gap package got here. Dad, if you're reading this and I know you are, thanks! : )

Now, I'm not going to show everything we got in the package. But Renee, I was speaking to you the other day over the phone and you asked me which summer sandals I got for my boys. I know you sent me pics of what you got for J. Her shoes are very cute by the way. Anyway here's a pic of some of the Gap ones. We got clothes and stuff too, but I won't be sharing any pics of those this time, sorry! : )

So here is a funny story or wee little blurb while I was at the bus stop this afternoon. For those of you that know me, know I have been hooked on the Disney Crocs for weeks now! Tracking down the key lime ones for both the boys has been fun! I've got my mom in California on the case as we speak! The other colors are not so hard to find in Japan. But the key lime green ones are superly hard to find. So anyways, here's the story. I bought Noah a pair of the key lime Disney ones at a Croc shop near my house in Japan. Even they could order me any other color of Disney for Branden but they can't locate the green ones for B at all! So anyways, that's another story and why my mom is on the case. I digress, so again, anyway. I was at the bus stop. With Noah. And he was cruising all over. He happened to be wearing his Disney crocs, no big deal, he's been wearing them all week. And my friend, fellow yochien mom (Genki-kun's mom) tells me those crocs that Noah-chan is wearing are really cool! And she heard they were really in style right now! I was like thank you, thank you. And then I told her that there is actually 2 croc shops right near us and told her where. Anyway, as I got to thinking and I glanced at my own croc wearing feet. I thought. "hey what's the big idea!!!" (in a joking type way of course) I have been wearing mine since last flipping year! Actually since the last 13-14 month's. Check my blog, here's the links. See for yourself! Seriously it's sorta funny! And the nerdy post I wrote is even funnier, seriously you all should read those 2 links, I provided they're a hoot! I know many of you will actually recall those old posts from last year too and laugh! : ) Anyway I thought, doesn't anybody notice what I am wearing at all? Funny my shoes go unnoticed for 13 some odd month's. But my kids shoes don't. LOL! Hey, I'm not complaining. I actually think it's sorta funny! On a positive note, maybe they didn't notice mine because they were just the "plain or regular crocs?" versus the Disney crocs, who knows. Well whatever the case. I just smiled at my friend and said yup, I guess they are the latest thing (psst I guess my wearing them for over a whole year before, escaped everyone, lol). Yup, it must be the bright color of the Disney ones, that got her. Because B has had a plain colored regular crocs since last year and nobody noticed either. Hmmm, oh well no worries here, it's all good! Just thought I'd relay that funny little thing at the bus stop today! : )

It was such a hot day today. We came home, Branden changed from his uniform to his play clothes and we had our first shave ice of the year! Yippy! Ha ha ha! : )

Lemon shave ice, yummm! : ) With one more day left of school, we are just hanging home, and waiting for Golden week to begin! Which means no school for us for the entire next week! : )

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Wednesday! : )

This morning, Noah and I went out, to meet up with a friend/ fellow yochien mom for some coffee and yummy breakfast (baked breads of all sorts) from a local bakery. We met right as soon as Branden went off to school this morning. It was sorta raining off and on all morning and so I rolled up Noah's pants even a bit more then usual, lol! Poor Noah! Ha ha ha! Also, today was only a half day at the yochein today. So at noon, when I told Noah, "okay let's go get Branden" he was so excited that he ran and was practically jumping for joy to see his brother. He kept saying, "go go go go" : )

Now, we usually walk to the bus stop, but with the "on and off" rain, the way it was all morning, I didn't want to chance us being caught in the rain. And so it was just easier for me to drive since their was a chance of rain. And ummm err, I told Noah, he was sitting in the wrong seat! That's Branden's seat. Not sure why, but he keeps hopping into Branden's seat, versus his own lately. His seat is still plenty big, like a few years still. Ha ha ha. Silly kid! : )

Noah, just jumped and hopped along, as we waited for the school bus to pull up. Amused himself, to no end basically. He then kept saying "Bamden Bamden" That's Noah, language for Branden, Branden. And I said, "yup soon we will see, Brrraaa Brrrra Brrrrranden" LOL, when kids are this age, they crack me up, the way they speak! Ha ha ha. : )

Did Noah amuse himself while waiting for the school bus or what? He even jumped up on one of the seats. And piddled up there for a while, before jumping down and skipping along once more. All the while, singing along his brother's name..."Bamden"

He even checked our community tennis courts where we live. He was looking for the old grannies that usually play there and that he likes to visit with. But looks like the rain kept them all away today. Bummer, for Noah.
And then I saw it, the school bus. I said..."he's here" "Noah, he's here." He turned around, just that second. Knowing I meant his best buddy on the entire planet, his brother Branden. I clicked the pic in a split second then, put my camera away and we greeted Branden and drove home and I prepared lunch for the 3 of us, since daddy is at work today. What will we do this evening? How will we spend it? Same ol' same ol'. Just staying home and having family time. Have a wonderful night everyone! : )

How our parent/teacher conference went on Monday and what we did on Tuesday! : )

Monday, at 3:00 pm, we had our parents teacher conference, where they come to your house. In Japan a lot of yochiens will come and do a home visit and do a conference at home. The rest of the meetings are at the school, during the year. So, Monday was our once a year home conference. The new teacher came to our home. The teacher and Noboru and I sat at the kitchen table. I made coffee, and brought out some small snack cakes from a local bakery. She told us that Branden is doing wonderfully. That his work that he does in class is quite good. And that he listens very well. Ahhh, same type of stuff the old teachers from last year told us. But still it's nice to hear and it's reassuring that he is doing good in school. That totally took a load off, ha ha ha! So Monday was spent basically just hanging home with my hubby and our kiddos. And then the teacher conference and then I prepared dinner. A very lazy Monday. On Tuesday, I got up, bright an early and whipped out a fun and yummy obento! And then B was sent off to school. Noboru had Tuesday off, and so we sorta wanted to check an area to the right of us. A very close area to us. But we've never been there yet. So, as we were driving we saw this, which is what I am sharing a picture of. Well, it's up on another truck/flat bed that's transporting it. But it is a rice planting machine. It's pretty neat! I see them all the time living in the Japanese country side and I wanted to share a picture of what one looks like. : )

So Noboru ran into the building on the right of me, real quick. Meanwhile I was sitting in the car people watching, to be more specific, the guys at the ATM. And then.....I noticed in the background of the guys waiting at the ATM, a man wearing a little orange jumpsuit scaling the rope. It got my attention right away. First thing I thought of was "oompa loompa?" Err, obviously they don't exist and they didn't wear orange jumpsuits in the old/original Wonka movie with Gene Wilder. I know I saw the newer one with Johnny Depp, I wondered if they wore orange jumpsuits in that or not, maybe that's why I thought, oompa loompa or who the hell knows. It's funny the first things that pop into our minds sometimes, isn't it? Ha ha ha. In this pic, if you look really closely you can totally see a man in the background with a orange jump suit.

And then there went another one! Weird thing is. They were all long gone by the time Noboru came out of the building he was in. I told him, I saw some men wearing neon orange jumpsuits hanging upside down and shimmying across a rope over there". Yup, he totally gave me the "stink eye" He was like....really? I said, yup really! And I turned my digi cam back on and, see this pic? He was like. Oh maybe they were doing a training thing today. Ugh huh! Told ya! I said! : )

Errr, okay please forgive me, I know I just posted pics of another Wendy's a couple days ago. However I tell ya, I think Wendy's is invading all over the country side, "where I live you guys!" Ha ha ha, seriously! Totally different Wendy's today, from the other day. So anyway, We were driving along and heading to a city where Noboru wanted to check out near here. And as we were driving down the road of that city, sure enough we saw yet *another* one. It was 11:30 pm and we were all getting pretty hungry anyway. And with this Wendy's just staring us in the face like this, we said what the heck??? It's so weird. I have never seen Wendy's *that often* before moving where I live now. Before I only knew of the Wendy's at Lalaport. However where we live now, we seem to be running into them left and right. This one is about a 15 minute drive from our house and it's open to 1:00 am. Isn't that funny? Yup, I really think Wendy's is indeed invading the countryside where I live, ha ha ha. And it's just fine with me! : )

I had a spicy chicken sandwich this time and a cheesy baked potato. Noboru had a fish sandwich and a cheese burger and fries and stuff. Noah had nuggets and fries. And Branden was at school.

Noah watching daddy unfolding his bib.

Passing Noah the straw so he could have some iced tea. After this, we ran to the grocery store, got a weeks worth of food. Took it home and put everything away and picked up Branden at the school. At the school, I chatted with a few of my girlfriends, while we all picked up our kids. Said goodbye and in a mad dash we were on our way to swimming school before you know it.

I haven't shown any swimming pics lately even though we go every single week, ha ha ha. So I'll share some right now. Here's Branden paddling laps. They do a few laps back and forth. Then they swam under water. And are now beginning swimming on their back and working on their arm strokes with that.

Here is a blurry pic, whoops, sorry! But it's of the kids practicing their under water techniques. Everyone takes a turn with that. Obviously B is the one facing the camera and in the blue swimmers cap. If you recall Taito-kun from the Easter party (his father is a cop and his mom is an identical twin, anyone remember?) well, anyway Taito-kun was the one about to take his turn next and was wearing the black swimmers cap.

Now the kids got to play on the big mats. And Branden was the one jumping from the mat on the left, to the mat on the right. Ha ha ha. He couldn't figure out if he wanted to sit with the friends over there or the friends from over on the other one. LOL.

After swimming class, we didn't even drive home first. We instead hopped onto the highway and got off the exit for the center of Narita city. There we went into Aeon first and got some fresh bread from the bakery. And a few bottles of drinks, like juice and tea and stuff. Not much. And then we headed to Kaldi. Reason? Well Branden, asked me if I could bake him a homemade pie. Of course, I said! However I only have a little bit of Crisco left, so I went there to buy some more for the homemade pie crust, I will be making. Now here's the funny part. I walked in there and was strolling around and with both Noboru and I trying our best with those 2 Aeon carts in those skinny puny hard to maneuver aisles, ha! forget about it! So we muddled through the best we could, trying not to knock things down with those clumpy Aeon carts, versus the narrow Kaldi aisles. We couldn't find it at first. However to be fair, I wasn't even done looking in the store for it yet though either! Noboru took it upon himself, to ask the lady working there (he shoulda let us look first). She said, in Japanese "what's Crisco???" Noboru told her it's vegetable shortening. She continued to give us both a blank stare (blink, blink, blink blink). Hubby and I both looked at each other and then looked back at her. He told her in Japanese, you know Lard...(but between you and me, in Japanese it sounds more like Lard-o.) She said. oh lardo, we have nothing like that, here at all! And that was it! Absolutely dumb founded, he asked me, "honey have you *ever* seen it here? I said yes *honey* (now a bit annoyed by the whole thing) I have seen it here every single time I have ever been here. She walked off. He told me, "I think they carry it" I said, me too. I left him with the carts and in less then 1 minute I found it right away. It was moved to a different aisle but it was indeed totally there! They had both sizes, the small one (I had the small one at home that was almost empty) and they had the huge one for 850 yen, that will probably last me forever, lol. I bought the huge one this time. Just because with making the pies and stuff. And since she scared me with the whole...."we don't have any Crisco" ever ever ever routine! I told Noboru, You ought to go and show this to her, that way next time, another expat wants to bake a pie. They won't be given the wrong information! " Just at that second she saw us with the giant Crisco in hand. She said, sheepishly "ohhhh is this it" So sorry. (In Japanese of course). So anyway that was our Crisco encounter at Kaldi this evening! : )

Here we sat waiting for daddy to pay for the Crisco, lol. Branden was really exhausted by now. He was awake since 7:00 am for school. And then it was right to swimming school after that. And then right to Narita Aeon right after that. We went home and had leftover cream stew! Hey, at least I'm honest! Ha ha ha! When we got home, Noboru put the pot back onto the stove from the fridge and warmed up the stew. Meanwhile I threw the kids into the shower really quick for a super quick shower. And then we ate (a bit backwards from our usual, of us eating first, I know), after our shower, we had supper, and then we watched the video we rented. We rented a DVD this afternoon as well. We rented "Letter's from Iwo Jima" It was a really really really good movie! I liked it a lot. We watched that and then we went to sleep right after that! : )