Monday, September 24, 2007

Feeling sorta like a ping pong ball, Seattle or Oregon, Seattle or Oregon, ha ha ha! Anyway, we leave today! : )

Well as the days have grown closer to our trip. And since we didn't really know which of the 2 cities, it would be, almost until the last second, ha ha ha, all I could do is pack all our stuff neatly into the suitcase and see how it all played out. Good thing is I finished all our packing by Sunday evening, thank goodness because I usually procrastinate with the packing for the trip part, ha ha ha. Weird thing is, I only packed the boys 4 outfits in the suitcase each. Though we will be gone a week, I think. But since they are wearing an additional outfit to the US and I am packing an extra outfit in the carryon as well, I think they will be fine. I am purposely packing super light, because of all the things we plan/hope to bring back to Japan with us. Therefore, if we lug a ton of stuff to America, we only cut space of what we can bring back to Japan.

We are going to be flying and staying in Oregon afterall. The flight is open going there, as I have said. We already booked the hotel room that we have been wanting to stay at (we did this Sunday night). The car was rented Sunday night as well. We know where the outlets mall is, geeze having a computer is really useful for stuff like this, isn't it? Ha ha ha. As well as Target, and Walgreen's, etc, lol. We have print outs, yes we really are dorks! : ). We also wanna do some scenic driving and whatnot. Just really enjoy the city.

Getting back to Japan? Well, we will try to fly back from Portland. However, we have a plan B (we both like plan B, the best). Plan B is we will drive the rental car the 2 hours or so to Seattle. Stay an extra night in Seattle. This way we can get a scenic drive along two beautiful states. We can site see an entire day in Seattle. Have lunch and dinner there. Get a good night sleep in Seattle and then fly out on the airplane that has a good amount of seats and get home that way. So, if the agent in PDX says, the flight is full, blah, blah, blah, or we might not be seated together or whatnot. That's fine. We will just say thank you, but we changed our minds. And instead drive to Seattle.

The weather? Well the weather sounds gorgeous. Perfect fall time weather for America. The highs are like mid 60's, in F of course. And the lows are like 47-mid 50's in the night. So it is gonna be a bit chilly willy. I packed the boys all long sleeves and pants. A few sweatshirts. I didn't pack their coats. Heck I hope they don't need them. I didn't pack the coats because. I wanna buy new ones, if I can find some I like, that is.

So long story short, we will spend our trip in Oregon. And we might be lucky enough to fly out of Oregon and back to Japan. However if the flight is full. Then we will just get an extra day in the US, which is totally fine by me. And we get to explore beautiful Seattle, again really fine by me, sounds better then great to me actually. So either way, we are happy. So, anyhow, I just thought I better update.Ha ha ha, good thing on my last post, I said, I think it's Seattle, * but don't quote me on that.* Ha ha ha. Because things did change and now it is officially, Oregon 100% sure. Heck the hotel is booked and nonrefundable, that's how certain it is. Yup it's Oregon this time, you guys.

Anyway, I'll miss you all and I'll see you all in a week! We leave today, which is Tuesday, September 25th. But since Japan is a day ahead, we actually arrive Sep 25th too at 8:00 am Oregon time. Okay, I have to shut the computer down now, we are leaving to the airport in an hour! Bye friends/family, see you in October. : )

Friday, September 21, 2007

I think, Seattle will be our destination! Though don't quote me on it yet. : )

Friday's obento. Pepperoni pizza. I made this pizza out of bread. In Japan it's called pizza toast. The pepperoni, I bring back every time I go to Guam or Hawaii, or the US mainland. I actually have a bag that is 3/4 full still. I will still be bringing back more pepperoni with me this time though. And a bit of the leftovers from the night we had hamburg. Not last night, but the night before that. Sorry, last night we had tacos. And I usually make taco obento. But today, when I woke up, I just decided, I am making pizza for his obento. Ha ha ha. Not sure why, must have just sounded better to me this morning, for some odd reason. So no taco obento for B today. Ha ha ha. Oh well, we will have tacos for leftovers for dinner tonight then. So where was I? Oh yeah, okay what's in his lunch! Pepperoni pizza, leftover oven roasted potatoes, green beans and a mixed fruit cup of fresh fruit. 3 different colors of grapes, dark purple, green and a wine color. 2 pieces of fresh pineapple, 1 piece of mikan and 1 slice of kiwi. We love eating kiwi at our house. And 1 peach jelly. Yup, I bought a new bag of jellys yesterday at the store. That's it, a very fast obento to prepare. The pizza was done as soon as the toaster oven worked it's magic, ha ha ha. : )

Anyway, as of yesterday, we were pretty much set that we were indeed going to Oregon, because of the flight info we were getting. This made me really happy. I did research this place the most, so far. I really had my heart set on Oregon. And after so much research we found the perfect hotel. After reading customer reviews for hours on end, from Expedia on hotels, yahoo, hotel reviews and so on. This hotel seemed perfect. The price was right. The location was prefect. They had rooms available. And get this. This hotel had free big breakfast every morning and I don't mean just the continental breakfast either ha ha ha, cereals galore, waffles, sausages, omelets etc, etc. So many customers remarked/reviewed how delicious their breakfast was. And then, get this. They also commented that every night they make a homemade soup and also baked homemade cookies every single night!!! Oh my gosh! And hotel guests can go downstairs and get some warm cookies and some soup and go back to their room! Oh man! I was so happy! Noboru was happy. We did not book the room because, with flying stand by, you gotta be a bit more sure. But we knew 1 thousand percent sure this was the hotel for us. I was imagining how I would walk down and get some cookies with the kids. Ahh, what bliss. And then, we got the wind knocked outta us and now we must change our city. Wahhhhh! : (

So, this morning. Friday morning. Noboru checked the employees private website. He checks every morning and every night before we leave on a trip because things can change in a blink of an eye if you fly non rev. Sigh. So, anyway he said. Looks like we won't be staying in Oregon now. However we will be flying to Oregon. Here's the skinny, the flight going to Oregon has many open available seats leaving from Narita. So, yes we will get back to the US mainland. The problem is when we leave back to Japan, the day we need to fly back to Japan is full from Oregon. So we can get to Oregon yes, but we can't leave Oregon to get back to Japan. So, for now. And remember things can change tomorrow, so take this with a grain of salt. So for now, and actually Noboru called me from work this afternoon. He told me, we will leave Japan and head to Oregon. However, we will be leaving Oregon and instead we will be heading to Washington state. Which Washington state seems really attractive to our family too, it seems really nice. So we were still pretty happy about our destination. He asked me to research everything under the sun on Seattle and the surrounding areas. From hotel's, shopping centers, outlet malls, restaurants, just everything I can get my hands on. The reason is, the flight to get back to Japan from Seattle is wide open the day we need to head back, like 100 seats type open. So, anyway it's not bad news, it's just a change in plans. We are really thrilled about Seattle too though. Like I said earlier, we like anywhere on the west coast. People are really nice. The landscaping is beautiful. So, anyhow. I guess I better hurry up and post this. I have to get taco stuff reheated. Yup, the boys and I are having leftovers tonight, meanwhile Noboru is eating dinner at work tonight. And after that, I will make sure everyone gets showered. And then I am going to spend my evening researching every hotel, everything I can about Seattle. So for now, we think this will be our ultimate destination. However, as the days grow closer, we will know 100% sure or not. But, we know how things can change so we do take things with a few grains of salt. So, I hate saying for sure unless we know for sure, if that makes sense at all. Anyway, I have plenty of Seattle research to do tonight. Like, where is the nearest outlet mall? Where is the nearest regular mall. Where is the nearest Target? Ha ha ha, just stuff like that. And a ton of hotel reviews to start reading through. Ha ha ha. Anyway, just wanted to say, have a wonderful weekend everyone! We are spending our weekend at home, relaxing and doing some Seattle research, ha ha ha. We will ultimately be leaving Tuesday. So, if I am really quiet in the blogosphere, I am still around. I'm just really super busy getting ready for our trip. So, anyway, again have a great weekend everyone! : )

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Thursday's hamburg obento! : )

Aha, once again thank goodness for leftovers. These truly are a mother's saving grace! Ha ha ha! I quickly threw in some Men at Work in the CD player in the kitchen, got my coffee going. And started putting the potatoes from last nights supper in the microwave to warm them up and veggies followed and so on. I made 4 extra hamburgs last night. And so this morning, all I did was put some mozzarella cheese on the 4 mini hamburgs and warmed them up and melted the cheese on the hamburgs really good. : )

And here is B's lunch/obento from Thursday. Again just really simple, everything was leftovers from the night before. As usual, I didn't go all out. I didn't wake up hours beforehand to whip out his lunch or anything. It was just really quick and simple. So what is in this, you may ask? Let me tell ya,: ) it's white rice, 4 mini homemade hamburgs. Oven roasted potatoes. Green beans. And in the center of the rice in our little cheap plastic bear from the 100 yen shop that is where I put some tonkatsu sauce, so Branden could dunk his mini hamburg in there. Diced up fresh apple. And 1 jelly. Not too shabby for a Thursday lunch! : )

At 9:00 am, my dad and I chatted on the telephone together. At 9:30, I had to let him go, to get ready to run to the store. Since it was Noboru's day off, and he wanted to go to the homecenter that is attached to the grocery store. The 3 of us went shopping at 10:00 am, while B was at yochien. After getting all our food that we will need to last us until we leave back to the US next Tuesday. I also got all our snacks that we will be needing in the airplane. Mostly stuff for the boys. After all our shopping was done. And yes, Noboru got top soil at the DIY part of the store for his grass, lol, and a few other things. Ha ha ha. We went to the food court and had lunch. I chose KFC. Hmm, didn't I order this same combo last week at a different KFC? Ha ha ha. I guess I really like this combo or something. : )

Noboru and Noah had ramen and rice. Noah took all the nori or seaweed from the ramen. Yup, Noboru was robbed for all of his nori. He didn't mind in the least though. : )

Did, I mention that we let all the kabuto mushi go? Yup, we released them, a while ago. We did that after we got back from Osaka. They were good little guys. However, they looked unhappy. Even though we bought them wood sticks to run on, etc. We watered their soil every other day. Gave them jelly every day and fruit. But after we got back from Osaka, we just wanted to set them free. We took them all out and set them on our front porch and we left them and went into the house.Branden and Noah said goodbye to their 5 kabuto mushi that remained.And then we went into the house. An hour later we went to check and they were gone. I am sure they were happy to be set free. So anyway, sorry a bit off topic. But anyway. The plastic box we had bought for the kabuto mushi, was empty. And so Noboru has one mantis in there. For the past week and a half, Branden and Noah and Noboru have been collecting butterflies and what have you, to feed to the praying mantise. So funny thing is, while driving back from the grocery store today. We were about 2 blocks away from our house. I swear to you, Noboru must have the best vision on the planet. Because as we were driving. He stopped the car outta nowhere, and actually put the minivan in reverse, meanwhile with groceries all neatly packed in the back. I was indeed watching the front of the road, but heck, I never saw it. He said, there is a mantise on the road back there. I said, are you serious? How could you see something, that small from being in the car while driving a moving car? Thing must have blended into the road pretty much considering how small he was. How he saw it, I will never know. He got out of the car. And by now I saw it. He was indeed a praying mantise, he was standing in the middle of the street. Good thing he didn't get run over! Meanwhile he was in his fighting or prayer stance. Noboru bent down and picked him up. Yikes! He actually drove the 2 blocks, while holding this praying mantise in his hand. I was not really comfortable riding in the front seat with my hubby and the mantise. The hubby was fine. But the mantise made me shiver a bit. Ha ha ha. We got home. The hubby, released the smaller praying mantise he had before. And then he put this big guy in the bug box. Noboru's plan? He was set to tell Branden that the mantise grew from that small size to this huge size over night! Ha ha ha! And no, Branden didn't believe that at all. But definitely pretty funny though. : )

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Wednesday! : )

Wednesday morning, the obento was made, Branden went to school. All our usual stuff happened in the AM. My doorbell rang around 10:00 am, it was my mailman. It was a small little care package from my dad. It contained a National Enquirer. I love this gossip mag, ha ha ha. And sent some Corn Nuts, which happens to be mine and the kids favorite treat and my dad knows it, so he sent it. So, seriously, thanks dad for sending this. I really wanted to know why Brad moved out of Angelina's house and the whole skinny, why Star Jone's needs another surgery since her gastric bypass, lol, seriously I am curious about all that stuff! Bonks self! : ) Granted some people might not care about this stuff and that's fine, to each his own, but I do. Anyway, thanks dad for always being so thoughtful. The pics of little Suri Cruise were nice, I think she is just such a cutie. I really think Tom Kat's daughter is absolutely gorgeous. So, I did enjoy those pics in the mag and all the stories. Thanks for the thoughtful care package dad! And just for being so awesome in general! : )

After Catholic kindergarten, I gave both the kids a quick snack and some drink. And Branden quickly got changed. Before you know it, we were out the door and heading to the swimming school.

Each child was paired with another child. They would swim next to them. They could pace themselves next to their partner. Branden's partner was this little girl, she was older then Branden, I'd say she was at least 7 years old, more likely 8 years old.

Aha, my Mr. Green Goggles, swimming exactly the same technique as his partner. : )

There is B and the little girl, in the water. His good friend Natsuki was standing waiting for his turn next. Natsuki's mom is one of the ladies I went to karaoke with last week. : )

Again there is Branden and the little girl/partner, doing the same exact technique. This time, it was the face down in the water swimming move. The coach makes them do so many repetitions during every class.

During the middle of class.The coach had the level 14's all get out of the water. Hmm, they never did this before. So I looked on. She was in front of them, showing them the hand movements she expected out of the level 14's. Moving their arms way up high above their heads. And back down. She did this over and over again. All the kids got it and then they all got back in the water and did the new technique they just learned. Swimming school was nice, B had fun. And then we all went home. So I could get dinner started.

Hamburg tonight. I like to use the spice packets they sell in Japan for hamburg. Granted it is easy doing it without the box. Just add the panko, and stuff myself. Not really rocket science really, lol. But yes, it helps on days that I am busy, which I am always busy, ha ha ha. And plus I do add my own stuff to it anyway. So, like I have said before, I use this just as my base. I do add to it. But it is a good base flavor for hamburg though : )

I use and prefer using 100% beef for mine. But Noboru and the kids prefer using a beef and pork mix. Which is fine. I just make both ways. I also fried up some diced onions to add to the hamburg. Added a bit of white pepper, black pepper and a bit of salt. And I got the hamburg all mixed up. For those of you in the US, I am not really sure how to explain hamburg. I guess I could describe it as meatloaf but better, but then not really. Hmm. Hard to explain. : )

Branden rinsed all the potatoes for me. He wanted to help. Ha ha ha. I diced them all up quickly. Put a few knobs/blobs of butter, black pepper and salt and again, I whacked it into the oven. Didn't take so long to cook. A shallow cookie sheet. And diced up in smallish pieces. Waiting for the potatoes gave me time to email a few friends back and watch an episode of Friends, ha ha ha. : )

Potatoes got nicely brown.: ) As soon as the potatoes were done, is when I started to quickly fry up the hamburg.

Our family of 4's dinner. Noah had the smallest serving in the Elmo plate. Branden's was the big size on the kids Cars plate. Noboru's was the biggest with the 2 enormous hamburgs up front in this pic. And mine was smaller with my hamburg with cheese in the background. : )

My meal, hamburg with mozzarella cheese. yes, I like mozzarella cheese on my hamburg, sorry. white rice, green beans, oven roasted potatoes and tonkatsu sauce for dunking my hamburg in. Oh yes and an iced tea, can't forget the iced tea. Ha ha ha : )

A full day of school, plus swimming school to boot? No wonder he ate all his dinner. B was starved by the time dinner rolled around. And he also had a slice of choco cake, afterwards with a nice glass of milk for dessert! : )

Talk about a hungry hubby and a hungry Noah! Ha ha ha! They also had choco cake for dessert as well. : ) A nice shower and bath for us all. And a quiet relaxing rest of the night watching TV and truly just resting and enjoying being home! : )
Oh yes, I also have been getting into the TV show called Dexter. I really like this show. I watched the new episode tonight at 11:00 pm. : )

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Mini roasted chicken sandwich with mozzarella cheese

If you go to Costco, you will surely know these tiny delicious yeasty dinner rolls. You all know how I freeze about half of my big bag, whenever I do a Costco run. Well, anyway, today I was making Branden a roasted garlic herb chicken sandwich for his lunch today. I sliced up some chicken breast from the leftover chicken from last night. Pulled out my mozzarella cheese slices. Put some canned mandarin oranges in his fruit cup. No fresh fruit today.

I nuked the baked potato half way. Then I added the margarine, salt and pepper, and cheddar cheese and microwaved it the whole way. Meanwhile I placed the roasted garlic chicken on the tiny yeasty dinner roll. Put a slice of some good mozzarella on it and melted the sandwich so the cheese got all hot and melty and gooey. Sprinkled a pinch of black pepper and salt and I miracle whipped one half of the dinner roll. And closed the sandwich up. Such a quick obento this morning.

Here is his lunch. One teeny tiny, roasted garlic pepper chicken sandwich with mozzarella cheese. One baked potato. Some steamed green beans, that I made this morning. Some canned mandarin oranges. And one grape jelly. I started B's obento at 7:00 am. And I am kidding you not, with everything being just leftovers and mostly just using the microwave this morning. His lunch was done by 7:15 am. He had waffles for breakfast and a glass of orange juice. I enjoyed a hot caramel machiatto and we weren't in a rush this morning at all. His lunch came back totally empty, as usual. : )

Monday, September 17, 2007

Garlic, pepper, herb roasted chicken! : )

Monday was a holiday here in Japan. Respect for the aged day. Or I think they maybe say, respect for the Elder day or something like that. Anyway, with both kids home. We all got to sleep in pretty good. Branden did have Kumon in the afternoon though. For dinner, I decided I was going to make some roasted chicken for dinner. I don't do anything terribly exciting with my chicken. Just a very basic of basic recipes I guess. I got some margarine. Added garlic salt to it. Regular salt, black pepper, parsley. And mixed my butter or margarine mixture rather really good. Gave the chickens a very good cleaning and rinsing. Salted the inner cavity of both the chickens.

I had whole garlic that I diced up in huge big pieces. I placed all the garlic pieces into the cavity or inside of the chicken. That way it would steam and cook the garlic flavor up and throughout the chicken. I then, got my butter/spice mixture and lifted the chicken skin on the breast areas. And I stuck and shoved all the butter/spice mixture underneath the chicken skin, that way the meat would be very well seasoned.

Finally added a few sprinkles of black pepper and whacked it into the oven all afternoon. It definitely smelled like roasted garlic herb chicken in our house. Yumm! : )

Heck, I was pretty surprised/disappointed when I opened my food pantry this afternoon. And checked on my baking shelf. I only have 2 cake mixes left? OMG! That is not so much! I better stock up a bit better when I head to the states. My frosting's are an okay amount, I guess. But I need a few more flavors I'd like to add. But yeah, geeze to get down to only two cake mixes left, was surprising for me. : (

The boys and I made a chocolate cake today. I thought it would go perfectly with our roasted chicken dinner. : )

I turn the oven light on sometimes so the kids can peek through the window and watch things bake. : )

Garlic herb chicken, baked potatoes and chocolate cake too? Man, is Noboru going to be stuffed, when he gets home tonight from work, he he he.

Noah took a nap while the chicken finished baking. I asked Branden, if he'd like a small slice of cake before dinner. Just a little slice. He said sure and he ate it watching the Nick channel and enjoyed the cake.

The chicken came out perfect. Crispy skin. Meat was really tender and juicy. Excellent garlic pepper flavor. : )

Again, nothing fancy shmancy here. I didn't go all out, and make an extra veggie like I should have. I guess I just figured, we have nobody really we need to impress here, ha ha ha. Just really simple. Baked potatoes with butter, salt and pepper and melted cheddar cheese, a wee dot of rice and some garlic pepper chicken. Kids ate so much. I left a plate for Noboru and he had it when he got home.

And these were the leftovers. One whole chicken was left. This is fine, because we use the extra chicken for B's lunch for tomorrow and also for lunch for all of us tomorrow basically. We do enjoy our roasted chicken sandwiches at our house, which is why we always try to make extra chicken for the leftovers. And yes I made extra baked potatoes, because I always have the obento of the next day in mind. : )

Friday, September 14, 2007

Bacon, egg and cheese croissant obento! : )

Today, I made one of my usual obento's that I like to make for B about once a month or so. I made him a bacon, egg and cheese croissant. I got up at 7:00 am, turned on an 80's CD mix that I burned myself (as usual : ). And fried up a few slices of American bacon in a pan. After that, I fried up an egg, "over medium." Melted some cheese on one half of the croissant.

I added a good amount of some crispy bacon on his egg sandwich. Closed the sandwich with the other half of the croissant. The 2 extra bacons are for when Noah wakes up, that way he will have something to munch the second he wakes up. : )

I put a frozen hash brown in the toaster oven. Put some steamed green beans, that were really lightly buttered, salted and peppered into a tiny little paper obento cup.

And here is his lunch. One bacon, egg and cheese croissant sandwich. You know, breakfast is excellent anytime of the day or night, right? Ha ha ha. One hash brown in little slices. Green beans and some fresh diced up apple. Oh yes and one lemon jelly. I was done by 7:30 am. At 7:30 am, I sat with Branden as he had a bowl of frosted flakes. And we watched Jimmy Neutron on the Nick channel together. And then he got dressed and we were all out the door in no time.: )

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Karaoke with good friends, meanwhile Branden passed to another level in swimming today as well! : )

I had a "little get together" planned with a few of my girlfriends to go sing karaoke today at noon. However, we decided that it would also be a good idea to get together beforehand and have a good ol' chit chat. I spent my day with my friend, Kaya-san and Rumi-san. Kaya-san is a mother of a good friend of Branden's. We first met at the Catholic yochien both our sons go to. Also, our sons also happen to have the same swimming day as well, so we see each other through, school functions and also get to chit chat every Wednesdays at the swimming school. It's no wonder we became good friends as well, because she's really nice. Rumi-san on the other hand happens to be my neighbor, she's literally a 2 minute walk away from my house. And on my path to walk Branden to and from the bus stop everyday. I happen to pass her house, on a daily basis. And how do the both of them know each other? Well they both went to the same English conversation school together. They were both in the advanced English class, I guess. So since the 3 of us know each other, we thought, let's go have some fun, all 3 of us. So, what the heck, we did just that! : ) So, since Rumi was set to pick me up at 9:40 am, I knew I had to get dinner prepared some before I left. Yup, my Thursday morning was busy. Between getting Branden sent off to school. Obento made. Getting myself ready and getting dinner prepped some. Sheesh was I busy Thursday morning. Just like one big giant blur, I was moving so fast. See the 2 big roast beefs in the pic above? Well, I diced them up, and fried them in a big pan with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. And then I covered it with the lid and put it on the back burner and asked Noboru to keep an eye on it, since today was his day off. No real work for him really. No water to add or anything, just ignore it and check on it from time to time was all he had to do. : )

A large crusty loaf of French Bread. This is great for slicing and buttering, will go so great with the beef stew. And the 2 stew packs of roux (sp?). Yumm, I was really looking forward to eating dinner tonight.

I had never been to my friend Kaya's house before. Her house was so nice. Really exceptionally nice. She has a built in garage with door that opens and closes, this reminded me of the garage door and opener at my dad's house in Denver. Her home was 3 level, very nice. And she had an actual backyard, which is pretty uncommon, most people in Japan have side yards. I really loved that. And she had mikan trees. I was just really impressed. She really had a fantastic home! Kaya-san's husband has been transferred by his job to Malaysia for the next 2 years. He went in June. She went to visit him in Malaysia at the end of August. She was telling us, how nice it was. The foods she ate and how her trip was. Hearing how wonderful Malaysia was/is, that really made me wanna go visit Malaysia someday. Meanwhile Rumi-san told us how when she travelled to the UK, she went to Mc D's and ordered a fillet o' fish and yet they gave her an orange juice instead. She is so funny, like that. We were cracking up over that one! Even now as I type that, it makes me smile and shake my head at the funny and wonderful sense of humor she has! : ) In this pic is Rumi, she sang many songs. I knew them all. She sang about 4 or 5 Madonna songs. She did, Vogue, Express yourself. Her voice was really good. Samantha Fox. Bon Jovi. Many songs. We clapped and cheered her on! : )

We each had ordered our own small pizzas. That was a really good idea! Man were they good! We also had french fries. And the free drink bar was great!

This is a picture of my good friend Kaya-san. She sang many good songs too. I really enjoyed the songs she sang. She sang a bunch of Beatles songs. I really was happy she liked to sing the Beatles. Me too. She also sang Whitney Houston's the Greatest Love of All. Basically the three of us, had a blast! We all cheered and clapped for each other! I really had a great time. We sang for 2 hours, because we all had to get our kids afterwards and whatnot. And I had to get B sent to swim school and such. But 2 hours was excellent. It gave us the perfect amount of time to enjoy ourselves and just hang out with each other. I am very happy, I met these fun and wonderful ladies! And I'm so glad we are friends! Having good friends, makes living in Japan really fun! : )

I haven't shared any pics of B at the swimming school lately, so here are a few. Giving us the peace sign. Ha ha ha.

The instruction Branden gets from this swimming school is amazing. Stuff he knows, they praise him. But the stuff he doesn't, she goes over slowly and gently again and again until he gets it.
He has everything down pact for level 15 right now. How did we know? We didn't, ha ha ha, but the coach told us. Yesterday, the day before, the coach had said that she would test B the following day (which is today) because she felt he was ready to move onto the next level. We had no idea, but we said, okay, sounds good! : ) So, during the class today, she was giving him instruction like this. Make sure your arms are straighter. Or bend them more like this. One two, one two. We mean while watched through the window.

Again during the class itself, she was going through many last minute things with him. Making sure he indeed had it all down. Because the last 5 minutes, she would be testing Branden and one other little boy. In this pic, again she was making sure.

I clicked this pic too soon. Second after I clicked this, she made the , "okay sign" with her hand. She was in the middle of doing it, when I clicked this pic. Darn it, I clicked the pic too soon. The coach gave us the head nod a few times during the class. And by all the okay signs she made, and she even gave him a few "high fives", we hoped he would do okay with his swim test, but again we were unsure. We just let it all unfold before our eyes. And we wouldn't have minded truly either way.

All of us were there today. Especially with today being his testing day. That the coach told us about yesterday.

And yes he got it! I covered our last name on both certificates. Although those of you who know me more personally, obviously know our last name. But, for safety sake, especially since you never know who is reading. I felt better just keeping that part out. But yup, class gets out at 4:30 pm. And at 4:25, the coach asked all the kids to get outta the pool and stand along side the side. Except 2 kids. Branden and one other little boy. The guy coach jumped in the water and pulled back the rope because the test was going the entire length of the pool. On your back one way and another type of swimming the other way. The three of us were saying...."go Branden go, go Branden go!" upstairs! Even Noah was saying it! The other boy went first. He made it. Then the coach told Branden to go. We watched. Cheered. And he made it! He did it! When he made it and it was clear he passed, but the lady coach gave us a nod through the window anyway. Noboru and I high fived each other! We were like...Oh yeah, boo ya!!! Okay 2 nerdy proud parents here, it was expected we'd high five each other! He, he : ) See the little #14 he has now in the pic? Yup, 5 years old and a level 14. We are pretty proud of our little Branden here. And OMG, I just thought of something. Now I have to sew the #14 on his swimming cap, huh? Oh man! Oh well. Ha ha ha. : ) Anyway, not real earth shattering news or anything. But I just thought I'd share that B, passed to another level in swimming today! : )

We came home. Lucky for us, the beef was so tender it was, fall apart type tender. It was soft like that by the time I got home from karaaoke though. So the stove was obviously turned off during swim school. When we got back from swim school, I just turned the stove back on. It warmed up quite quick. I added the onions, potatoes mushrooms, carrots. And in 30 minutes, I added the roux and we ate. Here is what we had for dinner. A bowl of rice with a nice serving of hot beef stew on top of the rice. And plenty of sliced french bread with butter. Everyone got nice and full. Noboru had 2 big bowls of beef stew. Branden also had a second helping. Noah just had one bowl. Everyone had the bread. We have so much stew left, that we will most likely be eating leftover beef stew tomorrow night, ha ha ha, I'll probably go pick up another loaf of french bread tomorrow from the bakery again. After dinner, we all had showers and baths. Kids in their jammies. Me in my night shirt. Noboru in his PJ's. We all sat and watched TV. Noah went to sleep first. Branden followed around 10:00 pm. Noboru and I sat watching TV until 11:45 pm or so. We watched some pretty good stuff. The weekend is almost here and I can barely wait! Nothing planned this weekend, except some rest, relaxation and maybe some DVD rentals, ha ha ha! : )