Friday, June 29, 2007

Happy days are here again! Ha ha ha, in other words, I survived! : )

Okay, I survived. I'm alive! Ha ha ha. Now originally, I had hoped and planned to have an absolute blast at home. Make the most of our time alone. Noah's and mine. I didn't want to have any worries. But again. Sometimes you can never tell how things will play out in the end, you know what I mean? Last night turned out better, after I posted my "missing my son post" lol. I had gotten it off my chest, felt much better just saying it and getting it out of my system versus bottling it up. I really don't like things to fester and bottle up anyways. I much prefer get it out and over with. Ha ha ha. So, yeah, I felt much better just typing it all out. After that, I did have myself a cup of hot caramel machiatto. And a toasted English muffin with margarine. I channel surfed for about an hour. Watched TV and found myself dozing off on the couch. I went up stairs and I slept hugging Noah-chan. I did get a pretty good night sleep after all. All the worry must have made me exhausted or, I don't know what. Ha ha ha. I slept like a rock. I woke up at 7:00 am. I am not sure why I woke up so early exactly. I hate mornings with a passion. Could be because I knew I could wake up and get ready to pick up B. So, I woke up. Had yet another hot coffee, checked a emails. Emailed back to everyone. Noboru came home. And in an hour we left.

We arrived 15 minutes early and nearly 80% of the families were already there as well. We all gathered in a circle and asked each other how we all were. Every mother had admitted they cried at some point since they left yesterday, even just a little bit. I admitted, I cried too. Then we all asked. Did you sleep well? How did every one's night go? Everyone said funny stories about how sad or how badly their nights were. I felt so so *so* relieved. Nice to be among friends who admitted they felt the same. Noboru told them all how sad, I was last night. I told them myself how, when Noboru went to work and with Branden gone, my house felt so lonely, so quiet. I was so sad. We were all shaking ours heads in agreement and laughing. These were laughs of relief now, because we knew it was over with. Our kids were coming out of the building at any minute at this point. One older sister, told us all really loudly "my mom was so sad last night without my brother" Ha ha ha. We had all survived. We all stuck it out. Yes, it was hard on all of us. I hoped like heck, it was going to be a piece of cake, and it wasn't! Ugh, just glad it's over with! Ha ha ha! : ) But it was very comforting that we all were feeling pretty much the same thing.

We saw them first walking from the big window upstairs, all us parents were on the outside of the building. I looked at that window hoping to get a glance or glimpse of my son. White shirt, (thinking), "yup I packed that" yellow backpack yup it is him!!! When I saw him from the window on the second floor, I was so happy. I was waving. He waved back. Oh, what utter glee! Insert happy dance! All the other parents were also waving at their kids happily. All the kids were waving back. I was so happy. I was thinking "Hot diggity dog, that's my son"!!! And about 1 minute later they all came out the door. I wanted to do one of those. You of those slow motion runs of embrace, lol, (hey I never said I wasn't a dork here)! The kind you see in the movies. Ha ha ha. But forget that. The teachers shouted, "all kids must stand in a neat line" (ala Madeleine) "and they will call each child's name one by one and then you come and collect you're kid." Now in a way, I wanted to just grab my kid and run for the hills. Just leave. Screw the waiting in line stuff! LOL just kidding. But, of course I didn't. I was actually on such a natural high by just seeing my son. I didn't mind waiting. So, I waited patiently. Lucky for me, it didn't take too long and he was sorta at the front of the line. Phew! : )

They all got these little paper signs, certificates around their necks. That said, "you did really well on your overnight trip" I will be saving this sign in my yochien artwork box. We can look at this and laugh years from now. "The night mommy nearly didn't survive without him." Meanwhile he was just fine! Ha ha ha! Oh yeah, what a laugh, we'll get out of this in a few years!

I had asked Branden if any of the kids were sad or if anyone cried. He said he thought many of the kids were sad at certain points, but nobody cried at all. I asked Branden. Did you miss me or were you okay? He said, "yes he was most sad when he was on the bus and then again when the teacher all read them their book before bed time." That's when he missed me most, but he also told me, he mostly had fun, fun, fun. And I was really glad! So all in all. What do I think about this? : ) I think the kids absolutely missed their parents for sure, no doubt. I know Branden missed me twice, like he said. But I think it was actually worse for us as parents. It was especially hardest on us moms. It's certainly not a walk in the park, that's for sure. There's a love there. A bond there of course, so no doubt, it's tough. So, one of these days I might have one of my foreign gal pals who goes through this very same thing and I'm just going to say (if she asks of course, though I am no expert but I'll share and say something like this), "just do the best you can, that's all anyone could ever ask, you know : ). Try to have a good night without your kid. Key word being *try* of course. But it's tough. It's tougher then I certainly had hoped. But you will get through it, yes, even if just barely and by the skins of your teeth, you will make it (I was really worried if I was going to make it, myself last night in fact, but I did)". And I'd give her a hug for support. Sigh. It really was hard, you guys! I'm so glad Branden's is over with. Oh man....I am so glad! Ha ha ha! : )

Branden was fourth from the beginning of the line. He ran to me right away and gave me a hug. The relief on all us parents, faces. Man, it looked like we all just got "botox" or something! His teacher told us, Branden did really well. And since we told her we were worried about the food and if he would be able to sleep well. She told us, he ate very good! All the foods, he didn't like, he just didn't eat and all the food he liked, they gave him more of those. Ha ha ha. And she said, he said "the food was delicious/oishii" (sp?) and she said he slept well and basically had a great time. There were no men allowed on the trip. And we only have women teachers at our school anyway except the gym teacher. And he wasn't invited. I asked Branden which teacher washed the kids. B said the lady teachers washed all the boys in the sento, but the lady teachers were all fully dressed! Ha ha ha! We all got into the car, and on the way home we stopped off at Coco's restaurant around 11:00 am for brunch. I had the french toast and some hot coffee. Noboru told me I looked about a million times more relaxed and happy. I said, absolutely. Now things are back to normal, and the way things should be. I can finally exhale. Phew! All is right in the world, once again at our house.
Anyway, I just wanted to post this real quick before I go and thoroughly enjoy my day and weekend with my 2 wonderful sons! Have a great weekend everyone! : )

Okay you guys.....I *really* really miss my son! : (

So, we all dropped off our kids at the school at 2:30 pm. All mother's were smiling but I could just sense the nervousness in the air. Mine included, ha ha ha. Branden ran into his classroom, started speaking to his friends in Japanese right away and he didn't even look back. Didn't say "good bye mommy" or anything. I, for surely thought he'd at least look back and wave or something. Nope, he was playing and chatting in the class. A bit sad that he clearly wasn't going to miss me all that much. But also at the same time, happy he was handling things clearly better then I was, ha ha ha. It was no big deal really, we would see him off at the ward office. So at 2:50 pm all us mom's and a few dad's and one grandma and grandpa all showed up and waited at the ward office. The big limosouine bus was already there waiting to drive the kids to where they were going. All us parents waited to see our kids. Our kids were walking from the yochien to the ward office hand in hand down the street. The walk was a short one, but we all waited in anticipation. I had planned to take a few quick pics of Branden. Not hundreds, just a few. I assumed all the other moms were probably going to do the same. However, 2 mom's had asked me, if I had my camera with me. I said yes. And they said they all forgot their cameras. Oh man, what are the odds. Ha ha ha. They all asked me, if I could take as many pics as best as I could. I said sure. I'd do my best, I am by no means a professional or anything of course. But totally sure, I would help if I could. So, with camera in hand, I did my best clicking as many pictures as I could. Suddenly we saw all the kids filing in 2 by 2. Each set holding hands for safety. It might seem like it took a while, but honestly they walked down that short sidewalk and got onto the bus in a matter of about 2 minutes. It was over before we all knew it!
There's Branden, the last row is a row of girls and the row in front of the last row of girls is of Taito-kun and Branden. They are buddies and also swim together, his dad is the local policeman. Remember his mom is an identical twin and they came to my Easter party thing, very nice family. Genki-kun is the guy up front with the orange packpack straps in front and he's holding the little girls hand with the Marie backpack.

The kids were all being silly and funny as they walked.
All the parents, and even grandparents all waved. I waved and B was actually waving at Noboru and Noah when I snapped this pic.

It seems they just breezed past us. In a matter of seconds, they were already getting in line and boarding the bus. You can see Branden, by the yellow school bus backpack on his back. A new uniform was given this year for PE/gym. It's yellow and there's pics of in this blog somewhere. However only about 1/4 of the students wear the new uniform. B has the new one and also the old uniform too. I purposely made him wear the old uniform today. Because he would be better easily identified as being a part of this group since they are all wearing the same exact thing. Sorta just put my mind at ease a bit better. Ha ha ha. Nervous mom here.

I was smiling on the outside but I was feeling sorta sad on the inside. Branden on the other hand was just thrilled, excited and happy about going.

These kids did wonderfully! Each and everyone of them! They were real stars! Not one of these kids cried. Everyone was happy or at least handling it! They truly did...gambatte!!! I was very proud of these kids! Not just my own son, but all of them! Before I knew it, Branden got onto the bus. I couldn't tell which side of the bus he was on. What side should I stand on? Oh heavens! ha ha ha! Ahhh, not to worry, I see him. I stood on his side of the bus and snapped a few pics.

There he is.

I call this pic, the "let me outta here pose" Ha ha ha. Just kidding. He wasn't wanting out of the bus or anything. He just put his hands like that though. It seemed like mere seconds and again before you knew it, the bus took off. We waved. I waved and I waved and I waved once more. Until I was all waved out! We all waved until we could no longer see the bus.

Immediately after the bus left. This mass hysterical laughter hit us all. No, we hadn't suddenly all gone berserk or bonkers. I think it was nervous laughter. Someone said, "I can't believe they are gone" and laughed/nervous chuckle. That nervous sad left. Then someone else said "is everyone okay? Is anyone crying?" Yes, there were 2 mom's crying actually. They cried and laughed at the same time....tears coming out their eyes and chuckling at the same time. They were being so strong. Then we all laughed. Were we all laughing to stop the rest of us from crying? I honestly think, we could have! A few more said "I can't believe they managed to get their kids on the bus" and chuckled some more. I think we were all just a bit sad, but we all really didn't want to show it. I think, I was the first parent to leave. I had a hair appointment in a few minutes. And although it was only about 2 minutes from where we were, I had to leave. I also was feeling a bit sad. Sad my child just drove away. It certainly did sting a little bit, when he left, I won't lie. Sorta gave me that...knocking the air out of me feeling. : (

Poor Noah, he was trying to make sense out of all this stuff. All the big kids just drove off in a bus with their PJ's? He was probably thinking...what the heck? And what happened with his brother, he is probably wondering that too. I did tell him Branden will be back tomorrow though.

I went to the salon. I am *so* glad I went. Because it kept my mind off B for a while. I read my National Enquirer and Parents magazine in the salon. They brought me some iced tea. And I sat there for about 3 long hours. Gosh was it boring being there for that long. But oh well, it's done and now I don't have to have frizzy or poofy (sp?) hair for the summer or the next 5 months at least. So, I'm happy. It's so straight and sleek. Like straight as a freakin' pin type straight.

After the salon, we went to the Tsutaya. I didn't get anything. What I wanted was out, so I'll check back maybe tomorrow again. However we went and got a large pizza. Peperoni and mushroom. By now it was lightly sprinkling/raining. We came home and ate pizza. And then Noboru slept for a few hour and then he left to work. Meanwhile Noah and I stayed downstairs watching TV. At about this point, I really start missing my first born son here. It's absolutely boring without him. The house is so quiet without his laughter and constant chatter. All his funny stories. Weirdly quiet, I hate it being this quiet. And also there were pizza slices leftover. Those were the slices that usually Branden would have eaten. I realized how much I miss him. I didn't want to be one of those heartsick mothers, who missed my child all night long during one of these things. But, I think that's how it's ending up. Because honestly you guys, I am absolutely heart sick without my son. I'm plain ol' besides myself. I've heard the saying a million times that people feel "a piece of them is missing". Honestly, yes I really do feel a piece of me is missing right now. I feel a big gaping hole in my stomach is either missing or turned inside out. It's nearly midnight and I am absolutely miserable. Sigh! I'm hopeless. Ha ha ha. But I will always be honest here, whether it makes me look like a dork or not. I'm just really hurting right now, I'm really sad, I'm besides myself. In a nutshell, I just want my son back! I can barely wait until tomorrow at 10:30 am when we are supposed to pick them up. I swear I will be there at 10:00 am! Ha ha ha!
Noboru on the other hand is fine. He says, I should not be sad at all. That B is not dead. He is clearly having fun. Yada yada yada. Geeze, I know all that. Ha ha ha. Logically, I can see, yes he is fine and well. But it doesn't stop a mom from feeling this aching gut wrenching missing my son type feeling. Clearly there's a difference in the way women and men feel. He's such a man sometimes! Blech! : )
Oh well, I hope I didn't type all this out and it ends up not making any sense at all. I'm just typing down feelings as they come. Sigh. I just miss my kiddo basically.
Anyway, I am going to fix myself a caramel machiatto right now. Lay on the couch flip through some channels and then I will try my best to get a good nights sleep. Good night everyone. : )

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Today is the day!

Okay, obviously I shared this pic on the post down below as well. But yes, today is really the day. We've been packed since yesterday. So, this morning was really easy. I got B ready and dressed for school as usual. He ate breakfast. I didn't have to make obento today, since he just has a half day today. He will come home around 11:45 am. And we have to drop him back off at the school at 2:30 pm. That's where the oldest class is meeting up and will take their bus to their destination. I think the bus leaves at 3:00 pm this afternoon. How am I feeling? I am feeling pretty good about it. I am not so worried about it. I know Branden is a pretty good little guy. He is behaved and he listens, so I think he will do just fine. He'll have a great time. I'm not going to worry myself to death. Or at least I'll try not to, ha ha ha. I have been speaking so positively about this trip with Branden, he is actually not dreading it at all. He is looking forward to it. He is a bit worried about the food. He does try everything but he is a bit worried. So that is our only worry. I figure if I am peppy and upbeat about the trip, he will be too. And if I were all crying and sobbing my eyes out and telling Branden all sorts of worries, he could be in a panic state right now. I have only told him positive stuff. Like, "wow Branden you get to have fun with your friends and bath and play with them and all have a sleep over with them, what fun" "I wish I could go" "wow you are going to have FUN" He is just really looking forward to it. So, I hope he stays that way. Ha ha ha! I'll let you all know how it goes after I drop him off! And of course I think it goes without saying, I am sure there will be a few kids crying or whatnot, but I don't in any means think it has anything to do with how their mom's spoke about the trip at all either. Sometimes kids are just scared. I think everyone knows what I mean though here. : ) I am just trying my best and trying to stay really positive and I just hope it works. Here's to hoping at least! : )
Noboru has the night shift tonight. So he will be working from 11:00 pm to 7:00 am. So, I will be without Noboru and I will be without my Branden. It will be just Noah and I all night long.
I have a hair appointment booked at 3:15 pm today. Just 15 minutes after Branden leaves on the bus for his trip. I am getting my hair straightened again. That Japanese thermal reconditioning thing. I get it done twice a year. As do quite a few of my western friends who live in Japan as well. Because for many westerners (not all though), our hair turns to frizz in the summer. Why is that, really? Anyway, with rainy season underway, I thought it would be a great time to do it. Plus Noboru only has to watch 1 child versus 2. The results are amazing, but it takes about 3 hours! My butt turns as flat as a pancake, after sitting in the hair chair for that long! Ha ha ha.
After my hair appointment, I think I will go and rent Noah and I, 2 DVD's. I'll rent us some funny comedies. And I am even thinking about going and ordering Noah and I, a pizza. Yes after typing this, I will *totally* be ordering us a pizza for our dinner tonight. That way, it turns into a sorta fun night. A pizza and DVD night. Not a sad, thinking about my son, and counting the minutes and whatnot. Ha ha ha. I am sure, I will think of him during the night of course. But I know he is having fun and so I will try my best to have fun too. : )
PS, about our family trip we are taking. And yet another reason why, I have been so busy lately.
We are leaving in a few days. We are leaving on Monday, July 2nd. And we won't return for a week. We will return July 8th, Sunday night very very late. We wanted to go for 2 reasons. First reason is we wanted to spend the 4th of July, in the America and actually enjoy festivities and fireworks and stuff. Heck we are teaching the kids both holiday ways, Japanese holidays and also American ones. So, we really wanted to spend American Independence day there. Also, Noah's birthday is July 7 th. We wanted to share Noah's birthday with my dad. We had asked Mitsuko to join us, since she can use Noboru's flight benefits too, but unfortunately she wasn't able to swing it this time. So, at least this way Noah can spend it with one grandparent at least. Besides we will be going to Osaka in August, so we will see them then. Our neighbors, 3 households are watching and keeping a good eye on our house for us. And believe me nothing gets past these ladies. They are always outside hanging clothes or what have you. Even the slightest creak and they peek out the window. Ha haha. So we are all good with that. Ha ha ha : )
So, you can imagine all this week I was busy with regular stuff, like running Branden to swimming class and stuff, house cleaning etc. Besides my sewing projects and getting Branden ready for this little overnight trip. Friday/today B goes on his first ever overnight trip, Saturday we pick up Branden. Sunday is my only day and time I have to pack for our, week long trip to Guam. So I actually might be running like a chicken with my head cut off on Sunday. And on Monday we leave. So, anyway if I have been a bit quiet, now you all know why. Things are just sorta crazy lately around here. And even now. : )

Getting ready for Branden's first overnight school trip! : )

I haven't shared what Noah's towelket looked like when it came in the mail last week, whoops. No big deal really it's just Paddington Bear, ha ha ha. : )

As the note said, I made sure to iron and sew my child's name on everything! Sigh, man that was some work! For the towelket, I wanted it to have that felt type stitching. I bought the letters at a local little store in my nearest city. Each letter cost 50 yen. My secret I am sharing, not serious or anything but, would you believe they only had 1 letter "N"? OMG!!! I needed 3 for my kids names. Not wanting to drive all over the entire country of Japan and with absolutely no time to order online. I used the one and only 1 "N" for Noah's name. Only because, since i needed 2 "N's" for Branden's name, and I didn't want him to have 2 different looking N's I just used 2 letter "Z's" and turned them sideways!!! Ha ha ha. I think it worked perfectly fine though. No one would notice unless, I told them first really. And both Branden's "N's" look the same, so they match and look great! Phew, a potential disaster, definitely averted here! So, I ironed them on, but because I don't want them curling up and eventually falling off, I also sewed them on. It took me a super long time, since I am new to the world of sewing here. Honestly yet again, sweat beads rolled off my forehead because I was nervous. But, I did it! And it came out pretty good and I think I have a tiny reason to be proud only because i really hate sewing and gosh darn it, i tried very hard! The towels and stuff, I did it the affordable way and used the white iron on labels, and wrote his name on there and I also sewed all around the label so again, the name tag wouldn't just fall off with lot's of washing. So I am happy I ironed and sewed, both ways for everything. These tags will never come off! Ha ha ha. My sewing projects took me an entire morning, one day this week. But I am glad it is done with. And very happy with the results! : )

Close up. Yup, each and every letter was really and truly sewn on there, one by one. Turning the towel and outlining each letter basically, geeze. Oh man, how crazy! What hard work for a non sewing type person like myself! For an expert it probably woulda been a piece of cake, but for me. Ha ha ha forget about it. : )

I washed all of Branden's towelket and bath towel etc, twice for extra cuddly softness (nerdy me). Threw in a few dryer sheets in the dryer before they dried. And I packed things off my list, going one by one. By Thursday evening around 4:00 pm, I had Branden completely packed and ready to go. Nearly a day early. The little yellow school bus backpack has his little Spongebob brush and Donkey *from Shrek* toothbrush, his cup for rinsing. Spongebob PJ's and just basically everything they told me to pack. Meanwhile the Clear Spongebob zippered bag, just has his towelket in there. Both bags also have his name on them. It feel good to be done.

By the way, when I was at swimming on Wednesday, a fellow yochien mom told me in the dressing room that if I can on Friday, to make sure to shower and wash B's hair before he goes on the trip. I was like "what the heck?" but again I listened because any advice is at least worth listening to (I don't have to follow it of course, but I can always at least listen to it and make up my own mind ykwim?: ). Plus I figure, Japanese mom's are the experts on this stuff, not me. I never went to school in Japan. Ha ha ha. So, I listened. She told me, that she heard last year from the mom's from the oldest class last year. And the mom's from last year said that in the night when they all take their public bath. The sensei's have so many kids to wash, that they can't wash each kid too well. And that some kids from last year came home with itchy heads? Again, since I don't speak Japanese all that well. And usually our speaking looks like a game of charades. She was itching her head in the dressing room on Wednesday. I understood what she meant. And I thanked her for the advice. Granted, Branden is able to wash his own hair and body just fine, he actually doesn't need any help from the senseis at all. However, I must say, she didn't have to give me any helpful advice/pointers at all and I know that. I found it kind that she took the time to try and help me out. So I really appreciated it. So, since the kids have a half day on Friday. I will give him a big lunch first thing when he gets home, and throw him into the shower and wash his hair, just in case. Ha ha ha. I really appreciated her helpful advice. Very kind! : )

Also, I wanted to say. The other afternoon while waiting at the bus stop. Genki-kun's mom said to me. She was getting worried about the overnight trip. She worries about Genki-kun. Which is understandable, she's a mom, I listened. Meanwhile on another day (Wednesday). The mom who told me about the hair washing thing. She told me, she was also very worried about the overnight trip. She said "my son doesn't want to go", "and "he's never been away from me before" "he might cry" It was at this point, I realized something. American mom, Japanese mom, doesn't matter. For right now, we are all just mother;s. And we might be worried about different things. However it was very reassuring that we were all a bit nervous and worried about something. Glad to know I wasn't the only one. I told her, as we both sat on the floor drying up our two older sons who just came from swimming. I said, "I understand you, because my feeling is the same" I am also worried about Branden. We both had this milisecond of a moment, we both locked eyes and smiled because, we knew it was true. We *were* feeling the same. At that moment, understanding each other completely, even though no more words had to be said. We really aren't so different after all, I thought, as I dried up my son. At the core, we are all just mom's. Sometimes we do seem so different from one another (American mom's and Japanese mom's) , but at times like these, we just all seem the same. Just worried mothers, worried and nervous about our children taking their first overnight trip. Anyway, Just wanted to say, we are all ready for Friday's trip at our house! : )

Monday, June 25, 2007

Tuesday! : )

I got Branden sent off to school this morning. Made his lunch and sent him off with a smooch on the cheek, waved as the bus drove away! After that, I came home, swept the downstairs and waited until the time for the grocery store to open basically. Many stores in Japan are not open 24 hours a day like in the US, especially where I live, ha ha ha. I drove down to the store, just Noah and I. Right away, I bought a box of 6 bottles of water. And 3 bottles of oolong tea and 3 extra bottles of Kirin straight tea. And we headed back home, put everything neatly in my food pantry. Then, I swept my porch, while Noah looked on and sat on the bench on the porch keeping me company. It was pure "Spider web city out there", I tell ya! Knocked them all down. Swept the porch some more, shook the welcome mat and headed inside.

Having been watching that missing pregnant mom story off CNN all week long, her name was Jessie Davis, This happened in the US. Unfortunately she was found dead and the boyfriend has been arrested. Very very sad.

Today I have a bunch of small/little things to do. I have to stitch Branden's swimming cap. I have to get the #16 off by tomorrow/Wednesday and the #15 on by tomorrow as well. I also have to go and put little name stickers on everything Branden will be taking for that overnight sleeping trip which is on this Friday. I have yet to sew Branden's name on the Stitch towelket yet, sigh. And so I have a bunch of little sewing projects to get done today and name tagging stuff. I want to have Branden all packed and ready for this trip by Thursday evening, that way I won't be running around like a chicken without my head come Friday morning.

Music, I have been liking lately,I like the Song by "Gym Class Heroes" called "Cupids chokehold" the background music for this is from an old song. Anyone remember, Supertramp's song called,"Take A Look At My Girlfriend" okay maybe no one remembers, lol. Yup, so all this week, I have been listening to Supertramp. I burn music CD's all the time. And so I have Supertramps', Take A Look At My Girlfriend And The Logical Song. And since it's a mixed CD, heck it's down right mixed up really ha ha ha. I have a bunch of Lily Allen on there too. I really *really* dig her music! I love her songs. LDN and Alfie and especially the song, The "Littlest Things" and just a bunch of songs by her. I also really like Rihanna ft. Jay-Z - the song is called, Umbrella. Ahh well, good music to listen to, while I do all my little sewing projects today. : )

More on Monday...

I went to get the mail out of the mail box, this afternoon and was pretty pleasantly surprised to get 2 of my favorite magazines sent to me from my dad. Thanks dad! I have been reading Parents magazine since yesterday and am mid way through it right now. Ha ha ha, thanks again! Sometimes it's these little unexpected things that might seem small, but are so very thoughtful and so fantastic to receive, I truly am grateful : )

Since we were in Chiba New Town already and had just finished with an absolutely humongous shopping of groceries, we are talking 2 carts had to be pulled and 4 of those little baskets were stuffed to the gills with food! Geeze, you'd think I was expecting flippin' nuclear fall out or something the way I stocked up! Ha ha ha, oh well I don't mind poking fun at myself! : ) Anyway after all that, and given that we rarely eat out at restaurants. Usually just Mc D's and Wendy's and even that is few and far between for us. So, we decided to head to Capricciosa. It was Noboru's idea. He said "hey let's go eat something really good tonight" I said, sure, what the heck. So we went, it was just a super short drive from the grocery store we were at.

We had the Sicilian style rice ball, large pizza and a very large serving of pasta. We also had garlic bread and for dessert we all shared one of those 2 scoops of vanilla ice cream covered with warm blueberries. Had hot coffee to finish our meal with and we left. Very full and quite happy. Ha ha ha. : )

Now for the boring mom chit chat here, talking groceries here. Ha ha ha. Not very interesting or earth shattering important but, oh well. : ) I like this Qoo peach water/juice whatever drink. It's very dilluted and my kids love it. Noboru likes it and drinks it too. Regular orange Qoo. Sodas for Noboru and I for dinner time. And straight tea and oolong tea. The drinks, I can buy cheaper at my regular store which is much closer to my house, so I didn't buy too much today. Tomorrow I am going to my local store and buy a box of 6 bottles (2 liters of water), and 3 more bottles of oolong and 3 more bottles of Kirin straight tea. I also have obviously 2 cartons of milk, and 2 cartons of 20% apple juice. Phew, we sure drink a lot. Drinking maniacs, we are! But I am ready for lot's of rain this week. I don't mind. I got all my shopping done now. Come on rain! I'm ready to enjoy you now! All that fresh rainy smell! : )

More boring mom chit chat here, I know most of us like coffee. I love it too. I've been drinking, this Maxim brand,Caramel machiatto. I am a bonafide grouch without my coffee. My brain doesn't even function properly in the AM, without it. And since I live really *really* out in the middle of nowhere. Like seriously...(the frogs, mukades and raccoons are my neighbors, lol) It's sad no Starbucks is in my town, not even the nearest city. Bummer. If I want Starbucks I gotta drive to Narita and hit the one at the mall or cruise the "drive thru" Starbucks at Narita. But it's too far for everyday. Double bummer. So I have been quietly buying this boxed caramel machiatto for the past almost year now. It is actually pretty good. Every morning, I reach for one and make myself a cup. Ha ha ha, I am such a dork! But with my coffee, at least I am a happy and satisfied dork. And grouch free. Ha ha ha.

I forgot to share this last week. But Branden passed another swimming level in swimming class, isn't that great? The coaches tested him last week, while I watched with Noah through the glass upstairs. He could do all what he is supposed to, to move to the next level. The paper, shows how he is supposed to complete those 10 tasks, and if he could, the coach put a circle next to it. He could do all of them. I was so proud, you guys! : )

Here is his newest number. He is now level 15!!! I covered our last name on this award/certificate because you can never be sure, who all is reading this. But anyway, now I have to gently take off the old #16 on his swimming cap and sew on the # 15 now. Ha ha ha! Oh well, I don't mind! : )

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Monday! : )

I'm not wanting to do anything today. I am sure I should clean my downstairs or something. But I just don't have any energy today. I'm pooped. So, I'm giving myself the day off. I've been hanging on the couch all morning long. Have had 2 cups of coffee and 1 toasted English muffin with butter. I've been cuddling with Noah in the blanket on the couch all morning, since I walked Branden to the bus stop this morning. I will go back to the couch as soon as I post this. Ha ha ha.

Yesteday, which was Sunday, we stayed home, had leftovers and we sure did rent the movie "Norbit" oh man, it was so funny! I also cut out some fans that we are all supposed to be making for the summer festival at the yochien. Oh man, the fun never ends, I tell ya! Ha ha ha, just kidding! : )

And now today, is my relaxing day. Every now and again a person really needs one of these, don't we? After B gets home this afternoon, I plan to head to the grocery store and get a weeks worth of food. Because with the rainy season about to happen here any second, I wanna make sure my food pantry, freezer and fridge is well stocked. Although yes, I can zip to the store in the rain if need be, but I do like to stock myself up pretty good though, just in case, it's raining buckets here or something. Ha ha ha. So anyway, time for me to get back on the couch and channel surf. : )

PS, we didn't get to go to Osaka. It was a major bummer for Noboru. The person who made the schedule for June screwed up and gave Jun and Noboru days off that didn't match. Jun got the right amount of days off and on the date planned, But they screwed up Noboru's days and so their days were overlapping. And so Jun went to Osaka, he flew there with Satoe and Mia-chan, he didn't wanna drive without us all following each other in our car. Sorta sucked all the fun out of driving there for Jun he said. It upset Noboru a lot. He misses his father and to have missed his 60th birthday and knowing how important the 60th birthday is to people in Japan was absolutely horrible. His birthday was Saturday and so Saturday was a bittersweet day for Noboru. His dad came home from the hospital for that day only. Jun took him to the public bath and washed his father. Noboru wanted to wash his father, but he was happy Jun did it for him (Noboru is the oldest son, first born son). And Noboru phoned home in Osaka and spoke with his father, as did I and Branden also spoke with him. We had sent his father a really cute birthday card with 1 picture of Branden and 1 picture of Noah, so he could keep the pictures with him on his hospital dresser. So nope we didn't get to go to Osaka this time. : (

PSS, we are heading out of Japan soon as well. I will post about that a bit better, when I have more time. But for now, the couch is calling me to go and relax and I have to oblige. Ha ha ha! : )

Saturday, June 23, 2007

A Saturday BBQ! : )

Yup, Noboru bought himself a new lawn mower. We all know he is a bit nutty when it comes to his lawn and his Christmas decos, ha ha ha! God love him, he is a wonderful man though! But those are his hobbies and interests, and I let him, have at it! Heck, he doesn't mess with my hobbies! Ha ha ha. So anyway, he bought this lawn mower. It's originally from America he says, but he bought it here in Japan. So today before the BBQ, he mowed the backyard. Backyard is full of weeds mostly as of right now, but we will be making small upgrades in the backyard after the rainy season is over. So before we all went out back, he mowed quite happily I might add.

All English. I was expecting to see at least a little bit of Japanese instruction someplace next to it or on it, but nothing in Japanese on here at all. I found that a bit interesting/weird. Hey where did my husband buy this again? LOL!

We are not doing anything spectacular this weekend, you guys. Just staying home. It rained a teeny tiny bit yesterday, which was Friday but not so much. Today was gorgeous and sunny, not a cloud in the sky. Hot, but with a nice breeze every now and again. Not the full blown summer type heat today, thank goodness. Ha ha ha. With the busy rearranging and dumping stuff all week long, I was really looking forward to an absolutely lazy "do absolutely nothing" type weekend! I need this as much as the kids and hubby do, I think! Ha ha ha! We have had some ribs in the freezer since last week, that have been just begging to be grilled and cooked up, ha ha ha. So today was the day. Sorry ribs! So with Noboru getting the grill hot and ready with the charcoal and stuff! The boys played outside. Here, was Noah swinging away in the swing. I pushed him off and on through the afternoon. I mostly just lazed under the big evergreen colored umbrella and picnic bench on the patio after I got the food all prepped and ready to go!

Playing around! : )

Riding his bike. : )
Sometimes we do more of an American type BBQ. And sometimes we do more of a Japanese or Korean style BBQ (yakiniku). It just depends, and I like both ways. Today I pulled out a can of Bush's baked country style beans. Man these are good. And pulled out some BBQ sauce and got everything prepped. Potatoes cleaned, chicken rinsed and trimmed. Ribs rubbed with spices and same with the chicken.

Ribs went on first since they take the longest. And then just so on. Meanwhile Noboru and I sat on the patio and we watched the kids playing.

Seven cheeseburgers total. All with real cheddar. But one had mozzarella that was for me, ha ha ha. And one cheeseburger, we ran out of the real cheddar, so it had to be, half real cheddar and half Kraft slices type cheese. Ha ha ha. Oh well, this is truly a regular dinner type BBQ. Not expecting any company, it was just us. So it didn't really matter if one of our cheeseburgers was mixed cheese. Plus the whole slab of ribs and yum, we have enough for dinner, plus leftovers for midnight snackin' or for lunch tomorrow. Ha ha ha.

The boys played until the BBQ was all ready and I had plated everything up. They came in and washed their hands and we ate a pretty early supper. Do you see my favorite flower, the hydrangea growing near the shed? Ha ha ha. : )

BBQ ribs, BBQ chicken, baked beans, baked potato. A fresh simple salad. And some cherries for all of us, after dinner. A soda with ice. I usually drink water or oolong tea or straight tea, all day long but at dinner, is usually when I drink myself a soda. Perhaps not a fancy meal or anything. But it was pretty darned good for a "stay at home" type BBQ over the weekend. It was really good actually. : )

I served Branden, just a little of everything as usual. Cheeseburger and chicken and ribs, beans and potato. Just a bit of everything. : )

Noah ate it all, as well. And yikes sorry, honey, I don't know how I could capture such a horrible picture of you eating. Ha ha ha! Whoops! Gomen ne! : ) Anyway, we all cleared off the table. Noboru loaded the dishwasher. Yay! And I ran upstairs with the kids and started the bath. Good thing our bath area is big, because Noboru and Noah soaked in the tub, while Branden washed himself, soaped his body and shampooed his hair and brushed his teeth. Meanwhile I washed my hair, shaved my legs and washed my body and face, brushed my teeth. Then we switched, B and I soaked and relaxed in the tub. And Noboru and Noah washed up. He washed Noah and then washed himself. Okay I realize my family and friends in the US might be falling off their chairs right about now. Ha ha ha! It's quite normal to bathe as a family in Japan. Not really an eyebrow raiser really. It's very social and that's so nice. We actually have some of the best chats while bathing actually. Its weird, I know. Sorry family in the US. We all put on some fresh comfy clothes. And we all left and hopped in the car and drove to Tsutaya, I swear I go to Tsutaya almost every weekend with zero makeup, fresh comfy clothes and wet clean hair every weekend. I hope I don't scare anyone while there, just kidding! Ha ha ha. We rented the boys another Ultraman DVD. They have been doing fighting moves and poses in the house lately. Clearly an influence of Ultraman, ha ha ha! And we rented, Dreamgirls, with Beyonce and Eddie Murphy and Jamie Foxx. It was a good movie! But I wanted to rent the movie "Norbit" with Eddie Murphy, it was a comedy and it looked so funny. Noboru didn't like it, he said. So we skipped it, but they showed previews on the Dreamgirls DVD and it turns out the movie "Norbit" looked even funnier then we thought. Noboru admitted it looked really funny. So we will get that tomorrow when we return Dreamgirls. : )

Friday, June 22, 2007

Some obentos this week! : )

Grilled cheese sandwich, two mini chicken cutlets with cheese and some steamed green beans. Mini grapes. Branden told me, he didn't want the big grapes because they have seeds, lol. Kids! And 2 mini jelly's.

Two ground beef tacos with shredded cheese. And the remaining grapes. And two jellys.

Fried up ham and cheese sandwich with some miracle whip. One toaster oven, made potato cake. And some fresh fruit, kiwi, pineapple and strawberry. And 2 jellys. I made lunch obviously, the entire week but with being so busy this is all of the pics of his lunches this week, I managed to capture. Sorry! : )

Okay second floor is complete now!

Yes, I am still at it, this week you guys. Sigh! Yesterday, I did my regular weekly cleaning of the upstairs. I wiped down the window sills in all the bedrooms, Windex-ed all the windows. vacuumed, basically just the typical and normal every day/week type stuff. Just basic stuff, no biggie. Swooshed the second floor toilet and cleaned the tub and just my regular junk, that I usually do. Everything in my closet is just summer now. Except for 3 cardigans and 2 pairs of capris, everything else is shorts and short sleeved tops and dresses and skirts, sun hats etc. Cleaned the hallway "toiletry" closet and man that was a nightmare....too much stuff in there! Ha ha ha. Washed all the bedding for the beds. And can you believe I actually took a 5 minute shower after all that and then I picked up B on Wednesday and still managed to cruise him over to swimming school. Man was I tired. I chit chatted with a few of my friends. And came home after his swimming class. Everyone got changed and the kids ran and played in the backyard, meanwhile poor ol' mom here, made dinner. Oh man, I was tired by that point. Oh well, life of a mom, what can I do. But smile! ha ha ha! I'm sure everyone goes through this stuff. Sorta feel badly I haven't commented as much on my friends blogs lately, as i'd like to, but my work and stuff, has just had me quite busy these days, I am trying my best though still. Feel badly for "back blogging" too, but again, just have been so buys lately you guys. : )

Thursday, I got B sent off to school. Made Noah and myself something to eat. And I started going through both the boys toy boxes and looking for stuff to trash. Stuff either broken or stuff they outgrew. Cars with missing wheels had to go! Puzzles with missing pieces had to go too! Many Mc D's toys were trashed. Although some good Mc D's toys we kept like the mini Buzz lightyear they gave away last year, ha ha ha.

A Snoopy baby gate that we had at our old house. We never used for this house. We gave uncle Jun the other Snoopy baby gate. But this one nobody else wanted, who we asked. So we trashed it. Sad, because the thing cost us, ichiman yen when we bought it. But then again we didn't want to just save stuff, for the sake of saving it, know what I mean? So it had to go. Little blue chair that squeaks when they sit on it had to go. Toy shopping cart had to go too. All sorts of stuff had to go. Might sound silly, but it feels so absolutely freeing to get rid of stuff, we didn't really need anymore!

We once again and for the last time this week, we dropped things off at the dump. And were rid of it all. My cleaning and rearranging is complete for this week. Ahhh, it was long, it was work, it certainly was! But it's nice to know my attic is honestly clean, arranged and spic and span. Same with my second floor. Nothing winter hanging around. Everything the right size. Again, clean window sills. Not any dust or a cob web or spider in site. Very very clean attic and second floor now. Phew! Won't have to think about my attic until December or January now, ha ha ha. No more cleaning for me this week, thanks! LOL. Next week, I will rearrange my first floor. But for now, I don't *even* wanna think about it! But it is cleaned up. Just not rearranged type stuff. Sigh! Oh well, no more for me this week regarding cleaning. Ha ha ha! Anyway, I know everyone has their own cleaning ways and style. But this is just how things work at our house. Just thought I would share, what we did at our house this week with guys. Very boring stuff actually. Ha ha ha. : )

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Today's "to do list", finish the attic!

I'm sure everyone on the planet is having a more interesting week them me. Ha ha ha, which I really don't mind. All week this week is for rearranging, purging, and cleaning up. The 3rd floor, meaning the attic and the second floor. It's not in a bad state to begin with, like I said. But heck, it needs to get done every once in a while. That go beyond my regular weekly cleaning stuff. See this white truck? Well he's a godsend and let me tell you why. Like I said in Japan getting rid of stuff can be a nightmare. Because each city or town has their own trash rules or how you can get rid of trash. Say for example, We throw our regular burnable trash twice a week. But where I *used* to live, it was 3 times a week. And for throwing big stuff like fridges or TV's that can be nearly impossible to trash. It can be done yes, but it won't be easy. Not that I have a fridge to get rid of but, you know what I mean. Anyway, we have an extra TV we were not using. It's sat in the shed and so, it was time to just get rid of it. And we also had a stereo system that we brought from when we lived in the US together and, it's been lugged everywhere. And finally it sat in our attic just taking up space. So again we said let's just get rid of it. Here's where the white truck guy comes in. He drives around our neighborhood and with a speaker system, he talks about how he will take off your hands any TV's or stereos or anything electronics basically. He takes it for free of course. But still it helps because it saves us having to get rid of it, on our own. Noboru jumped outside and waved him down, he stopped. We gave him the TV that worked. And the stereo system that worked and had a 3 CD disc changer on it. Noboru being as nosy as I am, asked the guy what do you do with this stuff? He said, he sells it to a place. And then they send them overseas. So that was that, I guess. Anyway back to work for us! : )

I put everything Easter in one plastic, easy to see through box. And put the lid on.

I put everything Halloween in another see through box. And stacked them into the attic.

All of Branden's artwork and stuff he has made at school, I am saving in one big plastic container. He will *love* seeing this stuff someday when he is all grown up, I am sure. Yup I am the memory keeper and storer! Ha ha ha!

This box still has over half the room left. So it will be more then enough until he completes yochien I am sure. : )

This plastic storage box is filled with his yochien clothes he no longer needs. Since he attended a different yochien his first year. I made sure to pack his little straw hat from that school, his little backpack and hats and even his yochien shoes that mommy made sure to have stitched with Thomas on them. He really will get a kick out of looking at all this stuff when he's bigger. : )

I'm happy, I have half the box, still empty, that way when he finishes with yochien next year, I can clean and pack away all his little uniforms, he is wearing now and put them into this box. Okay you guys.....I am officially becoming my mother! Ha ha ha, seriously this is exactly how my mom is. Oh my! Ha ha ha : )

This is my little Christmas corner I have in my attic. Everything here is for Christmas. It's easy for me to know what's where. Most everything is in plastic storage boxes. Except the trees. I have a few Christmas trees. One big one. One small one and one small advent one. And they can't fit into the plastic storage boxes at all, I tried. So they will stay safe in the cardboard boxes. Oh and the candy cane lights couldn't fit into the plastic boxes either. Oh well, but everything is pretty well arranged.

Okay, this might look a bit messy but I rearranged it better and it looks way better now. The thing in the white plastic bag is my wedding dress. I won't ever throw that away. I also have plastic boxes of clothes, whether they be stuff B outgrew, that Noah will get when he grows into that age. Or my winter clothes or Noboru's winter clothes. But everything is packed up against the wall, in a line or little make shift perimeter. Suitcases with suitcases inside of all those suitcases. And I have them in a nicer neater formation now. Then in the pic. An old fashioned looking stereo, but it has a CD player on it, it's new. My mom gave this to me and I refuse to part with it yet.

Mostly everything is in a plastic box and sealed with lid obviously, easy to see through box. All size 4T clothing is all in one box. And all 3T's in another box and same with 2T's. Everything is pretty well organized actually. All my winter stuff fit in 2 boxes. And so on. Was a lot of work for me and absolutely no fun at all! Ha ha ha! : )

A box of pictures and my high school yearbooks and diplomas and stuff all packed in yet another box. Phew and sheesh! Just a lot of rearranging done by me this week. Noboru helped too though.

You can see the Panda box and that is where my Christmas corner is. And I can tell you, I wiped down all the wood flooring in our attic. So not a dot of dust was left. Although it wasn't dusty to begin with. Not a cob web or spider lives there, I know that 100% sure. Shoot, it's so clean up there. And there is an air exchanger up there. So it is cool up there and very very dry up there and mold won't grow there especially with the central air con in the house. The size of the attic is small as most attics are. It's 6 tatami in size. but it's more then enough for us. Besides I never really ever let it get too cluttered to begin with. But shoot, it was some freaking hard work this week and it's not even half done. Now I gotta do the second floor. Sigh.

Everything got a good and proper wiping. Oh man, what a week, what a week!

Now that the 3rd floor or attic is done. We had time to have a nice relaxing lunch. Noboru had chicken cutlet and rice and miso soup. And I had a ham and cheese sandwich with lettuce and tomatoes. Chips and fresh fruit. International couple eating our own comfort foods for lunch! Ha ha ha, how typical! Then I took myself a 5 minutes shower to get cleaned up from all ther work that had been done today. And then I walked down the street to go pick up Branden from the bus stop. Made supper and then finally for the first time of the day, got a chance to really relax at night. It's not going to be an easy peasy week that is for darned sure. Ha ha ha. Oh well. : )