Monday, August 27, 2007

Over the hills and through the woods, to grandmother's house we go!!! Getting ready for our trip to Osaka! : )

Yup, we leave tonight. I've been slowly getting prepared for this trip in small bits and pieces since last week. Such as, last week, while I was at the grocery store, getting "normal dinner, type food" regular groceries, if you will. We also bought these snacks up above. Pretty self explanatory snack stuff really, ha ha ha but thought, it might be interesting for you in the states, that way you can see what sorta snacks we can get in Japan. So, in any case, just 1 bag of salted regular normal popcorn. Senbei (plain for the kids and black pepper for Noboru and I), 2 packs of those Snyder's garlic pretzel pieces, oh lordy are those delicious! Corn potage puffs. Sorta the consistency of cheese puffs or cheese doodles. But they are flavored with corn potage though. The one with the frog face on them, are not frog flavored snacks. Ha ha ha. Just in case any of my family or friends back home, were thinking that and fainting at their computer screens right now. They are actually puffs too, but flavored with tonkatsu sauce and seaweed. I don't even taste the seaweed actually. Those are pretty good. Ha ha. Mixed, roasted and salted nuts. Quite a few of those. And some plain biscuit type cookies, think Nilla wafer-esque or those teddy-grahams type things. No frosting. Just plain chocolate flavored or plain vanilla flavored. That's it for the snacks. I really doubt we will finish all these snacks going to Osaka. But they will be eaten for snacks while we are there, no doubt. : )

I bought the kids a few books and sticker books to keep them occupied during the drive, as well. Again, they might end up sleeping the whole way there. Knocking on wood about that. But again, good to have them, just in case. Plus if we stop along the way at a restaurant or rest stop, this could keep them busy. : )

I am also grateful to have the DVD player/TV in the car. Because the kids will enjoy watching the movies. And honestly so will I. I made sure to rent movies that were not new releases, that way we could keep them the full 7 days, even though we will be back way before then. The movies I got are, 1 Ultraman movie, The new Herbie movie with Lindsey Lohan )we have this one, but the US DVD and it won't play in our car, so we rented this. Spiderman 2 (I got this for myself because I haven't seen #2 yet), Cat in the Hat, with Mike Myers (again we have this one, but we have the US DVD, and again it won't play in the car, so good to rent this. Open Season, this movie looks great, none of us have ever seen it! Looking forward to this one! Elmo in Grouchland, this one is for Noah-chan, have seen it a billion times. Ha ha ha! Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, with Johnny Depp! The new Spongebob movie, again, we have this but not the Japanese DVD version, so the kids will like watching this one. And finally, I picked, the Coneheads! Hilarious old funny movie, with some old SNL comedic geniuses, ha ha ha. I love Dan and Jane, they crack me up! So, we will have plenty of movies to pass the time as well. And, I got them all for 50% off! They were having a special that I made good use of! Nine movies total. : )

What else, should I say. I am going to be making karaage. A whole heap of it actually. Here's why, I am making obento though. Because they do have many restaurants and good places to eat along the way. However, in Japan when you ride the highway, since it's toll roads, you can't really get off and on like if you were in the US. However they have actual rest areas, along the highway. Restrooms and small restaurants along the way as well. One I've seen before, was even a Mc Donald's and one was a KFC, many curry shops, ramen shops, and many conbini's, etc. However, Noboru doesn't get off work until midnight tonight and as soon as he gets home, we will be leaving. So we will be driving at night through Japan tonight. And many of the places along the way will be closed. Granted some are still open, but some will be closed. So, for just in case, that is why I am making some food to take along the way, for just in case. : )

This is what else I will be bringing. I will be making about 5 ham,lettuce and cheese sandwiches. 2 bags of chips for munching with those sandwiches. So that explains the ingredients for the sandwiches. They will be made around midnight by me before we take off, tonight. I am also bringing a travel pack of honey nut cheerios for Branden for morning cereal. I know I can find a cold carton of milk any place, so he is covered for breakfast. Noah will more then likely have miso soup and rice for his breakfast some place. 4 bananas. Fresh fruit for a journey, a definite good thing here, ha ha ha.: ) 2 iced teas that are sitting in the freezer, even as I type this out. An apple juice for B. 2 iced coffees for the hubster, he'll need them, for all the driving he will be doing. That's about it. Not too much. Just enough snacks to munch along the way, in case anyone gets hungry : )

Ugly, basic plastic boxes with matching lids is what will hold our food tonight, ha ha ha. One will have nothing but little sandwiches, cut and sliced up in little rows. And the other will have a heap of fried chicken/karaage and heaps of rice and steamed,buttered and salted broccoli. Think a typical obento lunch that I usually make, but super sized for a family of 4, lol! That should be enough food for us all. Crosses fingers about that! : ) But I'm sure we will be buying hot french fries and whatever else we find in the vending machines too though! : )

Kids and everyone else, are all packed up now, thanks to mom, here. I fit every one's stuff in 1 medium suitcase. We also are taking the stroller because we will need it for Universal Studios. What else? I am being a typical worry type mom, here, I worried, what if the kids get sick while in Osaka? I wouldn't have access to any meds, I have here at home in Chiba. So for just in case. I am bringing, a brand new bottle of fever reducer/pain reliever for age 2-11, so it's for both Noah and B if either should need it, though I doubt they will need it. They very rarely get sick. Cold and cough strips for the boys, again I highly doubt they'd get sick. Geeze they haven't been sick in like 5 month's. But again, better to be safe then sorry. Children's Pepto, again, I seriously doubt they'd catch a stomach bug, but again just in case. And a small bottle of Advil for myself, again I doubt I'd need them, but just in case. And a travel pack of Rolaids for myself just in case too. Nice to be on the safe side, you know. : ) Okay, I'm a nerd, I know it. But, it gives me piece of mind, to bring the emergency meds, just in case. But I do seriously doubt I'd even need them. I am also taking our health card just in case as well. Ha ha ha. I've got the summer blankies/towelkets and pillow cases in the dryer right now. So, I'm bringing the boys 2 summer blankets and 2 pillows.
Anyway, I better hurry up and post this so, I can get to cutting and frying up that fried chicken. And steaming the broccoli and get that karaage obento finished right away. I will miss you all. Catch up with all you guys when I get back. I'll be back in about 4 or 5 days. We already have the neighbors on "watching our house duty" (which means omiyage for them in return, ha ha ha) so, looks like we are all set. Now I will just wait for Noboru to get home at midnight tonight and then we will be taking off around 12:30 am. Okay, talk with you all when I get back! Osaka, here we come!!! : )

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Saturday's super huge fireworks display and a BBQ! : )

We had gotten an invitation in the mail a couple weeks ago. It was from our home builder. It was an invitation for everyone who had been a client of theirs. Basically everyone who has bought an import home from them, was invited to watch the huge fireworks display at their office and parking lot. Because where their office is, it is quite possibly the best location to view them. The fireworks display was located in the city where we used to live, so somewhere around Chiba. They closed and secured the parking lot quite well. Didn't let anyone in that wasn't a home owner from them. And no one was allowed to bring a guest (sad for us, we woulda liked to invite my BIL : (. So the number of people was really small. Which really made the whole thing really cozy, and really fun! Unlike how most of my experiences have been watching fireworks before in Japan, meaning cramped like sardines, people galore and pushing like crazy, not even caring if you have a child or stroller with you. So this was the total opposite experience. We will be going back here every year from now on! It was so much fun!

They had 3 BBQ's going all at the same time. They had yakiniku, grilled rice, I thought it was mochi at first but it wasn't. Bacon wrapped asparagus, takoyaki, grilled corn, which I just loved and so did Branden. Two giant sized plastic trash cans (never used for trash though) but they filled them with ice and water and tons of drinks for kids in one and the other contained beer! Ha ha ha. All of our cars were parked right on the lot. We were all really comfy there. No pushing of crowds to deal with. Many people would walk by and watch us all eating and I am sure they all wondered about it, a bit. Ha ha ha. Sadly it was closed off to the public though.

All the kids. There were just a small handful of them. Maybe 10 total (including B and N). They loved playing or trying to win the water balloons. Funny part is, since it was a private thing, nobody had to pay even a single penny. So, the kids just kept taking turn after turn, after turn and turn again. You'd think they would grow tired of that at some point. Nope not them!

The tables and chairs. And you could see some child just left her cute bumble bee stuffed animal on the table and with it being such a small amount of us, it was fine. It didn't matter because there were so few of us, nobody bothered anybody else's stuff. I left my bag of snacks on my chair and not a single soul bothered or touched it. We probably had the best time we ever had, watching fireworks here in Japan! It was really nice and not all cramped and smashed together, that's what I liked the most. Ha ha ha : )

Okay this is the funniest part. Seriously don't miss this part, you guys! So, someone said, it's now time for the "true and false game", I was like "huh?" I've heard of the "truth or dare game" but never that one. But then as they say, in Rome, do as the Romans do. Ha ha. So, I thought, okie dokie. I've never heard of it, but yes okay, I will totally play and give it a shot! I mean the title of the game was sorta self explanatory, but I wanted to make sure. So, the lady wearing her yukata, you can see her in this pic, she was the one calling out the questions! Meanwhile we all listened intently! Especially me, since Japanese is not my first language, English is. So I listened super hard! Ha ha ha! : )

This obviously was the big giant circle and if you thought, "yes" then you walked into that empty parking space marked with the circle. And if you thought "no" then you walked into the other empty parking space marked X. After a while Noboru got the boot. And in the end, it was down to myself and 2 Japanese men in their 40's, I would guess were their ages. Last question, I answered no. Meanwhile the 2 guys answered yes! Talk about the cheese standing alone here! Gulp!!! I stood in the X parking space all alone, by myself. And she reread the question one last time, since this was getting down to the wire. She waved her hand at me and yelled out...Seikai!!!! Meaning, correct.

Everyone was shocked, yup the foreign wife won, she beat them all! And in Japanese nonetheless! Holy crap! Honestly, deep inside I was *just* as surprised as they were! More clapping from the crowd, my cheeks must have been glowing pink, by now from the embarrassment, ha ha ha. The lady in the yukata went inside and got the prize. I was thinking, gosh is it going to be something lame like a toaster? Ha ha ha. But I waited and smiled (no matter what, be polite, I thought to myself). She brought out a Nintendo DS lite game! Everyone said, sugoi and how cool! If you have kids, you'll know, this game was damn near impossible to find in Japan last Christmas. Branden has a regular DS game, but not the lite! I don't think we really needed one, since B does have that DS regular anyway. But, what the heck for free, I won't pass it up! : )

Here it is, the DS lite that I won. I'm still surprised that I, won! Ha ha ha! : )

What am I going to do with it? Well, I don't play too much. Although I am pretty good at Mario Carts though. But, I will give it to Branden. I woulda given it to Noah, but he's way too small. Would end up breaking it, so no way about that. And Branden loves his DS, the games are compatible, so, he can just have this. What the heck, it will make him happy to have this. So, that's what I will do. I'm not even keeping it for myself. Ha ha ha. : )

Right after the "true and false game" ended. The first big boom, went off. We all sat on the giganto leisure sheet that they provided all of us. Here Branden's doing some Ultraman fighting moves. I think he was trying to impress the two little girls, ha ha ha. There's the yellow line they put up in the background. No one could enter, I felt really badly about it, so many people walked by and said what a good spot we all had. Boy, did I feel guilty. : (

Sorry about my foot getting in the way there. But there was so much room. We really enjoyed the fireworks.

The fireworks lasted about an hour. They lasted a super long time and they were just gorgeous!

Great big purple one!

Many different, multi colored ones, all at the same time!

With so much space, Noah layed himself down really spread out and since we had the best spot to watch them. He sat back and enjoyed the entire thing! Even his sippy cup had room to lay next to him! Ha ha ha! : )

Branden joined Noah after he finished chit chatting with those 2 little girls and then the boys just enjoyed the show!

This was a nice one.

Good thing I bought a bag of popcorn at 7-eleven on the way there. The boys munched on that while watching the fireworks. Here's Noah-chan being silly! : )

This was a flower, no doubt, I was thinking it was a morning glory. : )

I liked the 3 different colors of this one!

This red one *really* lit up the sky! : )

Even Noboru lied down. Noah, was pointing and saying..."more, more."

A white and green one!

After the fireworks had finished, the boys went right back to the water balloons. They hooked some more and yup we lugged all those water balloons home with us! They now sit in our bathroom, ha ha ha! And they play with them in the bath tub during bath time. : )

This is one of the big plastic bins that held the drinks that were left over! So much food and so many drinks! It was really a ton of fun! We will totally be going back next year : )

Oh yes, I almost forget to tell you, B lost his 3rd tooth ever in his life! Remember he lost 2 at the same time about 5 month's ago or so? Well, he lost this one a few nights ago! And yes,the tooth fairy brought him some cash to exchange the tooth with! He he! : )

On our way home! So much fun was had with the fireworks and BBQ and all, that Noah fell right to sleep in the car! He snoozed all the way home actually! And yup, that's his yellow sippy he had right between his legs. What's up with that? Must have been cold, ha ha ha! : )

Sweet dreams sweet pea! : ) Both the boys went straight to bed when they got home. No showers, only because they were just super dead tired. Noah in fact never even woke up, even when we took him from the car and walked him up the stairs to bed, go figure. It was a pretty awesome night yesterday, though. Beautiful fireworks and all! : )

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Tuesday and Wednesday! : )

Tuesday, with no classes to go to. The boys played out in the back yard for most of the day. They did come in for lunch and an afternoon movie. We had leftover cream stew for dinner. When the boys went to sleep, we were wanting to watch a movie. But we couldn't really run to Tsutaya (video store chain, like Blockbuster for you in the US) with the boys sleeping and plus Noboru really didn't want to go anywhere and neither did I (otherwise just one of us woulda gone). So since the satellite TV in Japan, also has movies you can purchase to rent. Exactly like pay Per View movies in the US. So, we surfed the channels. Noboru in his tee shirt and house shirt, freshly showered, me in one of my night shirts freshly showered as well. Big bowl of popcorn in hand, my hair in a pony tail. And we settled on the movie of choice, Jackass 2. These guys are from that TV show on MTV. These guys are crazy and borderline obscene. I would not want these guys as my neighbors or as my children (knocks on wood, ha ha ha). Oh good grief, the things they do to their parents, ha ha ha. I really am not sure about these guys or the show. But Noboru loves this show, go figure. My gosh he was cracking up from the beginning to the end. Wee Man is Noboru's favorite guy on the show, he thinks he's hilarious. So that's what we did on Tuesday, we watched Jackass 2.

Wednesday at the swimming school, sorta sucked but that's, only because the swimming school was *so* flippin packed! You wouldn't even believe it! Parking lot was full. Even the lot next to the swim school was full. I think it was full, because everyone had gone on vacation and with o-bon and the swimming school closed for nearly a week. Everyone had finally returned and obviously decided to show up on the same day! Monday through Friday. Usually about 30-40 parents and 30-40 kids show up on any particular day, Mon-Fri. And 40 kids isn't so bad, considering each kid is separated by their swimming level. So it's not so bad or ever crowded. But if you add 40 parents times 5 days. That's like 200, yikes. And obviously many go twice in a week, so there weren't nearly 200 parents. But honestly there were about half that. Yup about 100 parents all cramped upstairs. Many from the same school, many from different schools. It was a real fat chance to get a seat. People were sitting on the floor. No air conditioning. No open windows and usually that's okay and fine, but with *that* many people. Noboru was with me, and we looked at each other and he said. "Let's go wait in the car" It was just too crazy to be in there. Besides we couldn't even see B swim, so that sucked. We went in the car, Started the car, turned the air con on full blast in the car, turned on the TV and Noah watched some NHK kids TV show. Also, since 90% of us mom's are no longer helping our 5 year olds change anymore at the swim school. Honestly in my opinion though, they are old enough to change themselves at this age. So, I waited in the car, knowing he gets out of swimming school at 4:30, I added time to shower/ or rinse off like the kids all do, and the fact he needed a good 5 minutes to change. So I went into the building at 4:40 pm and waited for him, to come out of the locker room. Bitter sweet, how they grow and need us less and less, isn't it? A few moms who do still change their kids still, their kids leave quicker/faster then the kids who go it alone, because their mom's change them. Again if you still change your 5 year old or older age kid, that's totally fine, no worries or judgments here (I never would). But Branden and the kids dressing who do dress themselves take *so* long (an eternity is more like it, lol). They might take the longest, but they are doing it themselves, so I am so very proud of him, no matter how long he takes. And they are getting faster each week in the locker room. So knock on wood with regards to Branden becoming even a bit more independent from mom here, *sniff, sniff* : )

After swimming school, we hit Tsutaya, rented 3 DVD's. An Ultraman Max DVD for the boys. And 2 movies for me. Noboru has the night shift tonight. So, I picked 2 movies, to keep me company while I curl up on the couch tonight. What did I get? I will tell you in the next paragraph, ha ha ha. We then ran to the grocery store. Turns out the store was closed. Why, we don't know. So, we went to another one, sorta far. We got about 5 days of groceries. And left. As we were leaving the store, we saw rain. It was raining buckets outside. You should have seen it guys! The temperature, felt around 77 degrees and very windy. Really Denver like temperatures. We ran to the car with groceries and cart. Loaded the kids into the car, the groceries into the car and we drove through all this rain all the way home. By now it was much to late to make dinner. So, we decided to drive through the drive-thru at KFC. So that's what we did. : )
Yes the centipede, I almost forgot, I have to tell you this! So, as we were running into the house, because of all the rain. We didn't have the porch light on, because we didn't want to attract bugs so the hubby says. Ha! So, as I put the key into the door and I was walking in with my flip flops, hence no socks, nothing. Noboru screams get in the door, move move. My husband is normally as calm as a cucumber type guy. Nothing makes him nervous. Everyone who knows him, knows how calm he is. So, when I heard his voice get panicky at the door like that. I sorta freaked! He screamed, mukade, meaning centipede. And in Japan they are gigantic and super poison. Okay, so I freaked. It's pure dark, I *know* my feet are exposed. And in the dark, where could he be for crying out loud! It happened in mere seconds. And in Japan it's not good to wear your shoes in the house. Under any circumstances. However, from the second he screamed...."move move" centipede, mukade! I leaped, jumped and right out of my genkan and into my entry way. Yup it was a no no, but I was so scared, I didn't care at that second. I think I grabbed Branden and Noah by their hands or arms and lifted them outta the genkan area. Wearing their shoes and all as well. I turned the light on ASAP. Didn't take me longer then say 5 seconds. And I saw it. We all saw it. The boys and myself who were all wearing shoes still, watching Noboru and the centipede square off in the genkan. Noboru whacked it with his shoe. Not my shoe, thank god. Nope, he didn't die. I think he actually got more pissed off. So Noboru whacked it again about 5 times. Nope again, it didn't die or seem to be hurt in the least. It just pissed of the centipede real good. And the ones in Japan are really big. This centipede was flapping about. Really angry like. Moving his pinchers. He was ready for a fight. Poor Noboru. Meanwhile we looked on. Finally after being bashed about a hundred times we thought he was dead. Big emphasis on the "we **thought** he was dead part!!!" Noboru asks me to go and grab him a paper towel. I get it so he can take this centipede outside to the trash bin out back. Wrong! As he was moving this centipede, the thing came back alive. Sorta like that lady (Glenn Close) came back to life in Fatal Attraction, remember when everyone assumed she had drowned by Michael Douglas. Noboru, was off screaming "shit shit shit, he's alive". He still had him in the paper towel and he took him outside and killed him finally once and for all. Ahhhh, shivers just thinking about it. Yup, life in the country side. The good and the bad. Creepy crawlies, blech! Ha ha ha! So anyway after that. We all ate quickly. And Noboru got ready for work. Good thing he slept all day until 3:00 pm. And the fact he is naturally a night owl anyway. So he left. The kids and I got ourselves all squeaky clean and headed downstairs.

Noah fell dead asleep, right away. I tell ya, he is so predictable regarding his sleep. Ha ha ha. Then I pulled out some corn chips and dip. And I also bought this fruit plate, it was on sale. And it looked really fresh, so during the movie, Branden munched on some fruit with me. And then he fell asleep as well. The movies I rented was "An Unfinished Life" with J Lo and Morgan Freeman and Robert Redford. I really like J Lo's singing and she was pretty darn funny in the Wedding planner. And I love Morgan Freeman, he is such an amazing actor. However I thought this movie sucked. Whoops. Sorry whoever made this movie. But it just wasn't so good. By the time the movie ended, it was super late. So, I went to sleep. The other movie, I will watch tomorrow evening. It's Marie Antoinette, with Kirsten Dunst. I really like Kirsten Dunst a lot, she's a good actor. Anyway so that's what I will be watching tomorrow. Have a good night everyone! : )

Monday, August 20, 2007

What we did at home on Monday! : )

I knew Branden had his Kumon at 3:00 pm today. And although, they were about to play outside today. But first, I asked them if they would like to make a cheesecake together with me. They said, sure! So, we turned on some tunes in the kitchen and we got cooking. Tonight's menu? A simple no bake cheesecake, that says it can be made within 15 minutes (hmmm we will have to see if that's true or not, ha ha ha). And a nice pot of cream stew. The weather has been cooling off some, where we live. So thought this might be a nice change of pace.

The crust was really easy. Just a few spoons of sugar (gosh that sounded *so* Julie Andrews ala Mary Poppin's didn't it?) and melted butter and then spread it onto the pie pan. Hmm, this *was* pretty easy. Could they have been right about that 15 minute to make this? Still holding my judgement until it's done. So, we shall see. Ha ha ha. : )

Pardon the cardboard box in the background, we had that shoe shipment earlier in the morning. I did crush it and move it into the trash bin outside after this though. But anyway, I might have some kitchen gadgets and tools. Like my blender and food processor that I brought back from Target when I came from the US on vacation a few years back. But can you believe, I don't own a handheld mixer? Seriously! What's up with me? I really better buy one, the next time I head back, sheesh! So anyway the direction said to use a handheld mixer. Since I don't have one. Branden and I agreed to take turns stirring. Why? Because after stirring for a while, it feels like your hand is about to fall clear off. So I stirred for 2 minutes. Passed the bowl to B and then he passed it back to me and it was done. Phew! Not bad for having no mixer. It turned out thick and it really started to look like the filling for cheesecake. Hmm, this is fast and easy afterall : )

Poured and spread it in there and it said to let it chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour. Perfect for us, since Noboru wouldn't even get off tonight until 8:00 pm, and be home by 8:30 pm. It didn't really matter, I let it stay in the fridge for a good 6 hours before I ever put the strawberry topping on. Meanwhile the boys got their hats on and they popped outside for a an hour or two to play while I cooked dinner.
Back when we were working with the architects to build our home, I made certain that part of my kitchen counters would be facing the backyard, so I could always keep my eye on the boys. Yes, even while cooking. And yup, see the flowers on the kitchen table moved to the side? I move them every time I cook. I don't want anything to block my view from keeping my eye on the kids. They already know, nothing gets passed mom. Ha ha ha! : )

Taking turns going down the big slide! : )

Then, they came up with another game. They both went down the slides at the same time. They would look at each other, match up their timing and both go sliding down. It's very interesting to watch the games they come up with.

Branden looking on. They sure do get plenty of exercise and fresh air. Man they would play forever, if I let them. Ha ha ha : )

Geeze that leg extension is pretty amazing! Even though he just turned 2 in July, he's been up and down this jungle gym about a billion times, so he is really comfortable going up and going down. And he does it so fast, even for me, I worry. "Be careful honey", "you're going up too fast" I swear my boys must secretly give me teeny tiny mini heart attacks each week. Ha ha ha. : )

Aha! He made it! Phew!

Smiling, just about to go down the big slide!

Trying to steer this ship! Ha ha ha! : )

Meanwhile, my cream stew, was already fried up. Chicken and veggies and now it was boiling on the stove on a nice medium heat. Meanwhile rice was cooking in the rice cooker at the same time. And I still had to take B to Kumon at 3:00 pm still. I think it was about 1:45 pm when I snapped this pic. Or somewhere about that. Yup, for stews and stuff, I usually don't mind making those a bit early in the afternoon, that way I get my cooking done and outta the way. So when B gets outta Kumon, we can all just rest and there's nothing else to do, but hang out and be lazy! Ha ha ha, because my work is already done! Anyway that was my game plan for today, he he. : )

Noah watching the two dogs next door, sleeping. They usually sleep on top of their dog houses in the summer. Those dogs are so funny to watch, no wonder Noah was watching them in this pic.

Sliding down yet again! By the way, the rice is starting to get yellow. Can you tell in the background? It used to be a vibrant kelly green. But now the rice fields are starting to look more yellowish green. Yup the rice crops in Japan will be ready in a month or two, I think. In Denver, we used to always have a nice seasonal change, I used to love watching the aspen leaves turn from a green, to a brilliant gold. Those helicopter leaves in the great big ol' tree my neighbor used to have. Or the leaves that used to turn a nice orangy red color. And stepping on those crunchy leaves. I think those experiences that I love so much. No wonder, why I really like living in the country side in Japan, to be able to see the seasonal change of the rice fields and other seasonal changes here, hmm, I guess I just really like seasonal change. (bonks self, feels really dorky saying that) : )

Adjusting the ol' hat! : )

They were having a little brother meeting here, trying to decide what to play with next. Ha ha ha! : )

They decided on the swings. And after I snapped this pic, I gave them both a couple of great big ol' pushes! Noah was squealing, "weee!" And Branden was saying, "push me more", so I gave him a great big push and he swung away like crazy!

More happy swinging! : )

Next thing, was they grabbed some weeds and played with those for a while.

Okay, what are these weed type things called? Anyone remember? Only thing that comes to my mind, is that they stick to socks like crazy. We have those sticker weed things in Denver. And many times, if I was in the mountains or walking my dog, I would get those sticker weed things stuck on my socks and I would be puling them off and I swear they were, hard as heck to pull of my socks. So, even though I came in the house to give the stew another quick stir. When I looked out the window and saw the boys playing with these. I got a great big smile on my face and thought. I know those things! I watched for a minute or two and wanted to see what the boys did with them. Here's Noah, showing me his sticker weeds things!

He's clearly giving me the look like...."Hey mom did you check out my cool new find?", "yes Noah honey, I certainly did see your sticker weed things" Insert a motherly "ohhh and ahh" here. Ha ha ha. : )

Branden stuck said weed thing in his mouth. My first thought was. Hmm, we live in Japan, where did he learn that from? I certainly didn't teach him that. I figured he must have gotten that from one of the cartoons he watches. Tom and Jerry, Bugs Bunny, hey doesn't that Yosemite Sam guy do that? Spongebob or someplace. Meanwhile I looked on in amazement at the things kids do and come up with.

Part of being the youngest brother means he is forever the "copy cat" brother. Yup, monkey see, monkey do. He does whatever Branden does. So Branden put it in his mouth. So, Noah followed suit right behind him and did the same exact thing. Again, I tell ya. I love being a mother at times like these. Kids just amaze, the ever lovin' heck out of me. Even when they are doing the most silly or boring mundane thing. They still manage to impress me.

Time to come in the house. I made a grilled cheese sandwich and a cup of pasta soup a really good Italian one, by Knorr. Cut up the sandwich in tiny little squares. They each had half a grilled cheese sandwich, and half of a pasta cup of noodle. Some iced tea. And then, Branden got changed and the kids and I got into our white minivan and I dropped of B at Kumon. Noah and I came home. We hung out for about 30 minutes and then we went to go and get Branden. Once he came home, he again got on his comfy clothes. And the 3 of us, just lazed around. Watched TV. The boys crayoned a bit, Branden's drawing is getting really good. And then around 5:30 pm, I warmed up the cream stew. We had a nice warm bowl of cream stew, a side of rice. And some crusty french bread with butter. For dessert we had strawberry cheesecake. The boys were showered and so was I. Noah zonked out about 30 minutes after Noboru got home, so he saw him, but just barely. Branden stayed up until 10:00 pm. Noboru did eat, around 8:30 pm. I fixed him a plate when he got home, right away. He loved the cheesecake with some coffee as well. And then he showered and we watched TV. We talked, he told me a funny story about what happened at work. Told me how our friends, "such and such" just came back from Hawaii. Both kids sleeping upstairs. We actually had a second cup of coffee and a second slice of cheesecake around midnight. Ha ha ha. Not so shabby for a Monday! : )