Saturday, July 18, 2009

Swimming update, blowing bubbles, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince and a few other things for good measure! : )

Remember the Father's observation day thing we had a while back at Noah's yochien? And how they wouldn't let us take any pictures? Well, sure enough we bought the pictures the school sold and so I am finally able to share some pics from that day. : ) I swear it looks like Noboru is wearing a glove, ala gardening, not Michael! But he's not. He's actually holding a mini towel wiping sweat. Ha ha ha. : )
Two teams, and they were racing against each other in an obstacle course type thing. Here was Noah and his dad. I swear, I have an exact same type picture of B and Noboru as well.
During another father and child activity, but other people were having their turn. : )
Group shot of one of the classes kid's and their father's. You get a gold star if you can pick out Noboru, Branden and Noah. : )
A little update on Noah's swimming. I have a little update on B's swimming from the elementary school down below. So this is Noah's little update on his swimming. : ) As you can see in this picture, Noah is swimming underwater now. No floatie device or anything being used for this and that's pretty cool. : )
In this pic, you can see his white swimming cap and green goggles and he was swimming near that girl on the left hand side of this picture. : )
Now with floating thingy on their backs and using the kick board, but they are working on their breathing in the water techniques. She is teaching them the # of counts to keep their heads down and when to raise their head and for how long.
Getting more instruction from the coach. : )
And face down again.
And he is also learning how to swim on his back at the moment as well. So, I guess the update is, he's currently working on swimming underwater, swimming on his back and working on his breathing techniques. He's doing really really well. And mid July of last year is when he started swimming at this swimming school, so he's been swimming for nearly a full year so far and he's really gotten a lot out of it. I have really enjoyed watching our little guy swim this last year and I will enjoy watching him swim for many years to come. Good job baby! : )
Have been slowly getting ourselves ready for Hawaii in bits off and on these past few weeks. And last week, while at the grocery store, I picked up a cheap box of hair dye. I have used this brand a bunch of times and I really like this brand a lot.
It came out to a nice coppery medium brown color. It says orange on the box but it doesn't look orange it looks like a really natural copper color. Anyway I colored my hair one night last week after the boys had gone to sleep. : )
Two of our July movies came via the mail. I picked House Bunny. And Noboru picked the other dvd. House Bunny was really cute. I am so glad I rented this. It was so funny. Anna Faris is hilarious in this.
And sure enough B enjoyed his last field trip/ensoku of the semester. Did he catch anything? Yup, he caught 2 crawfish. But he gave 1 to the girl he likes. Awww, I am very proud of him for giving her one. Good boy, good boy! : ) He brought home this crawfish and he named her. When he got in my car that day, he got in with the bucket and he said, "mom this is Lisa" Why did you name her Lisa, I just had to ask. And he said, because that's a really pretty name. I shook my head and said, you're right, it is a nice name. So, we all went home that day, Branden, Noah and Lisa the crawfish, lol! @_@ He gave her fresh water, lots of fresh water from the hose and she spent 2 nights at our house before we released her. Branden has never been bummed about releasing things back before, but he did have a hard time of letting go of Lisa the crawfish last week. If we weren't getting ready to leave on vacation, I might have let Lisa stay a little longer but sadly she had to go back to a nice little stream and I'm sure she's happier being around her fellow crawfish anyway. Ha ha ha. : )
I made some killer huli huli stir fry last week. It came out so good. And I made some stir fry veggie on the side. : )
The boys have been playing with their bubbles in the backyard. we have like 2 big almost 2 liter bottle sizes of bubbles, but they don't last long, so we seem to always be buying bubbles @_@, ha ha ha. Aww well, good thing they're an affordable thing to play with. So we don't really mind so much. : ) In this pic, Noah was waving that bubble wand thingy. : )
And in this pic, Branden was blowing bubbles out of an elephant shaped bubble blower, ha ha ha.
One of the reasons, I love summer is partly because of the truly wicked fruit we have available to us in Japan. Japan truly has some of the most amazing and sweet fruit around. I buy fruit every single week year round, but in summer, buying the fruit just makes me so happy. I look forward to what I will get from week to week. Last Friday for example, I got these for the family to munch on. 2 huge white peaches, they were so sweet and so good. Would you believe my husband really doesn't care for fruit so much? Yup, it's true. However the kids and I LOVE it. So, anyhoo, just more for us then, ha ha ha. Noah and I shared one peach and it was so big, we didn't mind. And B had the other peach. We had them one night last weekend after our supper.
Teeny tiny grapes, not really sure why but the boys love those tiny grapes. Noah has been asking me to put those in his obento everyday that I made obento lately as well. So, seems we have been on a tiny grape kick this whole month of July. Ha ha ha. And watermelon. I love watermelon as do the kids. We enjoyed our fruits from last week very much. : )
Also last Friday while the boys were at school and after I did my grocery shopping and fruit buying, lol, I ran to Mister Donut and bought 14 donuts for the family. Thought it would be a great way to enjoy it being a Friday and a nice way to start the weekend. : )
Branden brought back more veggies from his school plants last week. Tomatoes and 1 of the smallest bell peppers I've ever seen. Of course I said how lovely his fruit all looked. Awww. And when I made a salad last weekend, I made sure to add all of his tomatoes and sliced up that tiny bell pepper too and added it as well. : )
Last weekend, I took these pics. I was in the house and this pic didn't come out so good. But it's of the boys. It's a candid one and I really like it, even if the quality of the picture isn't so good. The boys were running around the yard shooting each other with water guns. Which is a good way to keep cool for 2 boys. Anway they were taking a break and were chatting but then Noah started singing. What was he singing? He was singing a song in Japanese, a song he learned at his yochien. His favorite Japanese kids song right now is Kaeru no uta. And he was doing the hand movements he learned at the school for it during their break when I snapped this picture. How many times does he sing Kaeru no uta? Umm, about 20 times a day at least. B learned that song at yochien when he used to go there too. So it's been a chain reaction and I've heard that song so much that I now know that song by heart. Ha ha ha. @_@
They're so close, they're really close good brothers. Which is a good thing because we plan to send the both of them to uni in Honolulu when they've finished high school (I've mentioned this a few times before). They can look out for one another. And being fluent in English and Japanese will be to their advantage, especially being in Hawaii.
Yup, the day we let Lisa go. : (
We did find B a pair of 21cm sandals for his jinbei. Remember the summer festival for the yochien is coming up on July 20th. This coming Monday.
The boys on yet another day that they had just played with water guns again. They were literally soaking wet. Look at Noah's shorts, they're 80 % soaked! And the whole back of Noah's shirt is wet as well. And look at B's shirt it's dripping wet too. Anyway the bell for lunch rang in the community at noon, so I made the boys some ham and cheese sandwiches. They also had some mini grapes. And some of those encased Popsicle in the tubes. And then next thing you know they were back at the water guns! : )
A break for lunch! : )
And the fruit I picked up for this week. Big grapes, and some more tiny grapes for the kids, and a great big cantaloupe. This week was the last week of school for both the boys.
Now for some mundane stuff......: ) : ) I made a pretty good egg salad this week. I enjoyed sandwiches for 2 days this week for my lunch. And the kids enjoyed a sandwich when they got home from school too. : )
Also, in part of getting our family ready for our trip to Honolulu, I have been stocking up on sunscreen as well. Five bottles so far and will probably go and get 2 more bottles the day before we leave. Just to make sure. Love Japanese sunscreen, it's so strong and good. : )
Now for some progress on B's swimming. : ) This is what he is doing at elementary school though. Kids in Japan learn to swim at elementary school. This is the cool part of going to school in Japan. Each kid is given a swim card. He had one for when he was in ichinensei. And this is the one he got at ninensei. : )
At our elementary school there are levels from starting as a tadpole, then a regular frog, turtle and a few other things, the highest rank/level for our school is dolphin. Branden was a dolphin for ichinensei and he's a dolphin at ninensei as well. Also according to the Yuka sensei, B's the top 2nd grader at our school regarding the swimming, the Yuka sensei told us this, the other week when we ran into her at the local conbini. Anyway the last day of swimming they tested him at the elementary school. He passed all 13 levels. And B said he was the only one, who could do the butterfly and his classmates were really surprised by all the stuff he could do in the water. He was so proud you guys! : ) And I congratulated him on a job well done of course. Noboru said, he wished they would have tested him more, because he thinks he could have gotten a few more stickers @_@ but, oh well. (such a guy comment the hubster made btw) We were pretty proud nonetheless. : )
July 16th, after sending both boys to school, I met up with my 3 girlfriends/fellow mom friends, in the yochien parking lot and we all left to go to Coco's to go and have breakfast. We all had the french toast sets with drink bar. It was just the four of us. Noriko-san, Mayuko-san and Jogo-san and I. We enjoyed our breakfast and then we headed off to the first showing of the day of the new Harry Potter movie, the Half Blood Prince. Noriko-san had bought all our tickets a week in advance, she got them last week and then we each paid her for our own ticket. She chose us the best seats! At the movies, we 4 bought some popcorn and drinks. Noriko-san and Jogo-san each bought caramel corn and Mayuko-san and I each bought salted popcorn. And we each got our own drinks. We went into the theater and grabbed our seats. The new Harry Potter movie was great! (possible spoiler alert ahead) I really loved it a whole lot. I won't give any major details about it, but will only say... somebody died! : ( : ( Very very sad!!!! I'm sure those of you who have read the books, know who I am talking about. : ( I didn't read the book, so I was *completely* taken by surprise!!!! After the movie, we 4 went and picked up our yochien aged kids, we each have older kids in shogako too, all four of us. I have B who's a 2nd grader, Noriko and Jogo-san and Mayuko-san all have 3rd grade daughter's. : ) Hmm just thought of something here. Out of the 4 of us. Noriko-san (2dd's), Mayuko-san (3 dear daughters) and Jogo-san (2dd's) they all have daughters. : ) I am the only one with 2 boys, ha ha ha. Wow, I didn't even realize that until now. How funny. : ) Anyway....
Last, last, last day of school! July 17th. Oh thank goodness. I swear summer break is as much for us parents as it is for us adults. Not having to wake up at an ungodly hour during the summer. I am so happy, I just can't believe it. I swear if I could do a back flip, I'd do one! : ) The last day of school, was a half day for both of the boys. B got out at 11am. Noah got out at 11:20am. Thank goodness Noboru was home and able to pick up Noah, while I went and got B. Branden played all day yesterday, Friday his last day of school, I swear the whole neighborhood was full of kids playing all afternoon long. Branden played with Genki and Saya-chan and Nozomi-chan. Don't tell anyone but, Branden has the biggest case of puppy love for Saya-chan. He actually made her a necklace out of beads and string and she wears it. Awwww. : ) : ) Meanwhile, Noah did bubbles in the backyard while I watched. We also kept an eye on our pizza dough that was rising in the kitchen all day long. : ) At 5pm when B came home, the boys and I made homemade pizza. A truly perfect way to ring in the last day of school. Noboru got off work at 8:30pn. So he had some pizza when he got home.
My dinner from last night. Homemade pizza, some fresh fruit (the sliced fruit was for everybody) and a soda with ice. : ) It feels so good now to be on summer break!!! Now if we can just finish up with the summer festival then I will be 100% on summer break. I only feel like 90% on summer break right now, lol, because I have 2 more summer festival tasks to do, but as soon as those are done, I'll be over the moon. Seriously though, to surivive doing PTA for both schools, do what's required for both schools. Get all the half days right and not to mention all the ensoku lists packed and done. To get it all done and to have actually survived it all. And still be smiling??? I'm pretty proud of myself. Thank goodness for summer break!!! : )
We bought this near new booster seat for Noah on yahoo auction this week for 500 yen. We have 2 car seats for both boys in the Mazda MPV already, the great big ones. And we have 1 big car seat in my tiny red car and B just uses a seat belt, now that he's 7 and a half when he's in the smaller car. Anyway, in Guam we have a car seat at my dad's place too, so we always are okay there. But we worried about the laws in Hawaii. Noboru checked last Sunday online and found that for Hawaii, B won't need any car seat or booster, but Noah will. Noah needed something. And not really wanting to lug our giant car seat, type car seat with us. The hubby got an idea of buying a nice used one online. Oh and renting one at the car dealership is 8 bucks a day. So by the time the vacation is over you could have essentially bought one for the price paid. So used online sounded right for us and we found this one for 500 yen. As luck would have it, we won the auction. And it was shipped here straight away. I washed the cover anyway, but it was indeed clean, no stains or spots. Anyway like I said, we're really just trying to get ourselves ready for vacation.

What's else is up? : )

Well tomorrow, Sunday July 19th from 10:15am to noon, I will be at the yochien... us "Games ladies" are meeting and decorating the blue badge class. I assume the other ladies groups will also be there decorating their areas too. : )

And then Monday, from 3:00pm to 5:30pm will be the actual summer festival. I swear, us moms..... we've really worked our asses off on this thing! I actually can't wait to see it. Can't wait to enjoy it. And yes I will be taking pictures. I hope I have time to post them on here before we leave to Hawaii but if not, I'll do it when I get back. But I'll try to get the pics up beforehand though.

Tuesday July 21st, we have the first parent teacher conference of the day. The Yuka-sensei was kind enough to do that for us because she knows we're also leaving that day. We already got his report card this past Friday, he has great grades and she also wrote down a lot of good remarks and stuff about him as well. Which obviously made us pretty happy he's doing so well with school. So, I imagine nothing too terrible will be said at our conference. But a meeting must be done nonetheless. So we will do that. And then we will head home, do a few last minute things, maybe have some lunch and then head to the airport. We leave Tuesday early evening. Which means because of Japan being a day ahead, we also arrive July 21st at like 7am or so. Freakishly early is when we arrive. We arrive back in Japan July 31st. So, we'll be gone for all of July basically. I do apologize for not really having the chance to read many blogs and keep up with you all so much lately. But this July was just crazy between the summer festival, end of the school year for the boys, and getting ready for our trip to Hawaii. Hopefully after we get back, I'll have a bit more free time.
Anyway, time for me to go and finish making tonight's dinner. Have a great night everyone! : )
Also have to finish up packing for the boys and I, tonight as well for our trip. Have a great weekend! : )

Friday, July 10, 2009

Happy 4th Birthday Noah!!! : )

This is how we winded up the evening, with all of us singing Happy Birthday to you!!! Happy Birthday dear Noah......happy birthday to you....and many more~!!!!! But let me rewind the day a bit and start at the beginning. : ) : )
Tuesday July 7th. Branden had an early day at school, he got out at 1:30pm. Noah got out at 1:50pm. So, while Noboru ran and picked up Noah, I ran and picked up B from shogako. We all met back at the house. And pretty much left the house immediately, as soon as Noah changed out of his yochien uniform into regular clothes. : ) We hopped on the highway and headed to Chiba City. Sorta near the immigration place, somewhere around there. : ) : ) Noboru had a brilliant idea...since it was Tanabata, and his birthday let's go to the planetarium and hear the story of Tanabata. Lovely story by the way. I thought hubby had a perfect idea, so we went. Once we got there we bought tickets to the planetarium showing. They have them every hour or every hour and a half maybe? Anyway, we had about 30 minutes to kill, so we got to walk around the museum parts of the science museum and planetarium.
This statue head that followed you wherever you went. Seriously whatever way I walked this head still moved facing me. When B tried it, it did the same and Noah too and hubby too. It was funny. : )
This slanted/tilted room, I have seen at other museums, it does make a person feel discombobulated when laying down and getting up. I tried it. : )
Go birthday boy, go!!!! : ) Four years old! Goodness where does the time go! : )
Noboru loves explaining things to the boys. He's a great dad. : )
And now it was time to go into the planetarium. They said to seat farthest back, to get the best look at the stars and they were right. So glad we sat so far back. Noboru said he hadn't been to a planetarium since HE was in yochien. That made me laugh. I had last been in one in uni when I had to take a science class, and I took astronomy. I loved that class! So, I was sorta excited to be at the planetarium.
They said, no pictures, no camera and no cell phones and no eating. So, this was before the show started so I quickly took these 2 pictures and then I didn't take any during the show. Sorry. : ) We LOVED the planetarium so much. We saw the big dipper, little dipper, North Star, the bear in the sky etc. It was all via that big white screen. Such a modern way to take it all in. Then the speaker started talking and telling the tale of Tanabata. How once there was a weaver princess named Orihime and a cow herder prince named Hikoboshi living in the night sky. After they got together, they were playing/goofing off all the time and forgot all about their jobs. The king was really upset with them and so he separated them on opposite sides of the Amanogawa River (the Milky Way). The king allows them to meet only once a year on July 7th. I love this story and loved hearing them explain it to us at the planetarium. This was a really cool way to spend our little Tanabata boy's birthday. No doubt. : )
After we left the planetarium we went to check out another floor of the museum, this museum is really amazing by the way. On this particular floor,they had old radios, ways we listened to music from the past and old TV's etc.
The kids were in awe over the old stuff. Ha ha ha.
Noboru and I remembered the old record players. The boys, looked and said what's that?! We both looked at each other and cracked up! "While that's a record player", I said. Noboru started listing to me the records he used to have, when he was little. I did the same....I said I had the Grease album! And my parents had lots of the Beatles and Fleetwood Mac! Oh it was really funny being there seeing all this old stuff. : )
Branden didn't even know what this was. But then remember he's from the Ipod age though. Noboru and I both said....ghetto blaster!!! LOL. Man we were cracking up so hard, on this floor. Good thing it wasn't crowded.
This sent me laughing my butt off again. I told Noboru. My dad and mom used to own a tiny TV just like that in the 70's. We took it camping. Funny how I remembered something like that. Haven't thought of that in years!
We decided to give Branden and Noah some old school, type schooling! I said, these are records and those smaller ones were 45's, they usually had 1 song on each side, lol. And the big one is an album. And that tape is a beta, way before the VHS. And up there is an 8-track. LOL. They picked out the CD, but even CD's are not really used by our family much anymore, we're all downloading stuff to Ipod, it's just easier. It was a learning experience for the kids but a trip down memory lane for Noboru and I. How funny. : )
Noboru laughed about the rice cookers. And we both checked out the toasters. : ) Anyway, we really enjoyed the Chiba City Museum a lot!!! A definite 2 thumbs up from us!! : )
After the museum, we headed to the Outback Steakhouse for Noah's birthday dinner. We kicked things off with the nachos as our appetizer. They brought out free bread and butter, so we munched nachos and bread and butter while waiting for our entrees. : )
Noah had the chicken fingers kids meal with fries and a pink lemonade. Free refills on all the drinks. : ) B had the cheeseburger kids meal with fries and a lemonade. Hubby had the ribs. Babyback ribs.
I had my usual, Alice Springs chicken and baked potatoes. You get choice of 2 sides. So, I always just pick 2 cheesy buttery potatoes. I also had a pink lemonade. Hubby had a soda.
All the wait staff came out, and shook a tambourine and sang Happy Birthday to Noah, they got the whole restaurant to sing Happy Birthday as well. And they brought out this birthday hot fudge sundae, it was lit with a candle but he blew it out by the time I took the picture. He shared it with his brother. : )
The school also gave him some homemade cookies the encho sensei makes by hand herself. And a card and a small gift. : ) They weighed him, measured how tall he was on his birthday and wrote it down behind this card, they also took a hand dipped it in paint, so he can see how big his hand was on his actual birthday. I love that they do all this cool stuff on the kids birthdays. : )
His sensei who knows him most, wrote the card. And I will tuck this away into his yochien box for when he's an adult and he can read it for himself. : )
After we got home from the planetarium and the Outback, we pulled out the ice cream cake and lit the candles and started singing to our little guy on his birthday!!! And this is how we got back to the picture at the top of this post. How was his birthday spent? Like we always spend them. Just quiet little small family affairs. No great big whoop deedoo type events. Just quiet meaningful ones. : )
And one pic of Noah unwrapping his gifts. : ) He's four years old now, you guys! Happy Birthday sweetheart!!! We love you Noah! : )