Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Decluttering the shed, a Kumon update, and a father and son fishing trip! : )

This post is an update of sorts from the Sunday right after undokai all the way to this past Saturday. Other updates coming soon. But let me get this stuff out of the way real quick. I just don't wanna let it sort of.... snowball into another slew of back blogging posts yet again. Yikes. : )
So anyway where was I? Oh yeah, the day after undokai. It was hot and gorgeous and we were going to put our leisure sheet and umbrella back into the shed right? Well, we sorta just said perfect time to clean out the shed. I mean we were in there already, so why not. So the day after undokai was sorta a "clean the shed" day. Oh yeah it was also the day we went and bought a seat for my bicycle so Noah could sit down and ride on my bike as a passenger. : ) They have really fancy shmancy kids seats in Japan and also basic run of the mill types too. Now personally for me, my main basic form of transportation is my car. Riding my bike is not my primary transportation. If it were I would probably invest more money into a fancy seat perhaps. However since it's just an alternative way of getting around and not used on a daily basis. Just the basic run of the mill seat was fine for us. No fancy shmancy seat needed for us. : ) I did however ask my yochien mom friend's. Yoshiko-san helped me a great deal. She said she uses a metal type seat and she said I should check out what the yochien mom's are using, I thought that was a fantastic idea. So, I did...I looked and they were all using basically the same type of seat. So, I got the same one basically, that they are using too. : ) So, Sunday afternoon, we went to the small country DIY. They had the basic metal seat plus seat cushion for 1900 yen. The price was really fare and about what we wanted to spend. Again it's not my main transportation. Didn't see the need to spend an arm and a leg on a bike seat we will just ride around our town for my exercise and for us to enjoy some bike riding as a family a few times a week.
Now that Fall is upon us, I went and cleaned up their bubble things. Rinsed and dried and put into a ziploc bag the extra wands and stuff and put those into the shed in an easy to find spot.
Ahh, I used to have that baby seat in front for Noah. I would just use it to ride to the little country store on weekdays with Noah to go and pick up a loaf of bread or an extra carton of milk mid week. It was great for zipping around our tiny town in. And it kept me nice and fit doing my zipping around town by bike versus car. But then Noah outgrew the seat and I was going to get a big boy seat for the back of my bike last year. But then we went to Denver last Fall and yada yada. And next thing you know, we just didn't get the seat. So, my bike went unused for the past year. And it's such a shame because I really do enjoy riding my bike around my town. : ) But this year I was sure, we were gonna get that seat. And so last Sunday hubby was kind enough to switch the seat for me. He took off the baby seat. And put on the big boy seat. : )
Every box and pile you see on the patio in this picture is long gone by now. It was just unneeded stuff. The Thomas train stuff we gave to one of my husband's coworker who has a son who's just crazy for Thomas right now. And yes Noah has a crazy amount of Thomas stuff in his bedroom, in his toy boxes. This was just the excess. We managed to sell 2 car seats on auction. The legos went to my husband's coworker. And whatever didn't go to friends or we couldn't sell on auction which that's our 2nd choice, to friends or family is obviously first choice. Then we just went to the trash center on Monday, last Monday. But it was good we decluttered.
The baby bike seat went to another coworker of my husband's, and it was awesome that someone could use it. Better for us to give to a friend that could put some use to it. Anyway...long story short the day after undokai we spent all afternoon cleaning out the shed. Monday is when 2 friends of Noboru's came while the boys were at school to get what they wanted, like Thomas stuff and legos and whatever was not givable to friends or sellable, we then took to the trash heap. And see my bike? No more baby seat. Ahh. : ( Only a big kiddo seat in the back now. : ) But it has a seat belt, leg and foot rest things and everything, we are really happy about our bike seat and Noah absolutely loves going for bike rides!!!
And totally cleaned up. Decluttered. We do this every 6 month's or so. We do keep things really decluttered in there anyways. But now it's really good. The table we keep on the patio in Summer is in there. The BBQ. My bike stays in there and so do all the kids bikes. Though B was out riding his when I clicked this picture. But every thing's right where we can see it. The Fall wreath is up in the back of the shed and will be put on the front door October 1st. The winter hanging baskets have their bright red flowers in there waiting for their December yearly debut. : ) Everything is so easy to find in there. No overflowing amounts of junk or anything. : )
Hubby mowed the yard on Monday.
I meanwhile cleaned house last Monday. Boy did it need it. House was a freaking disaster. And it usually isn't. But, the last Thursday I went to lunch with friends. Friday before undokai I spent the whole day doing, errands like running to the grocery store, prepping for the undokai meal, blah blah blah. Saturday the undokai. Sunday the shed clean up. By Monday it was 4 long days and boy did the house look like a tornado had hit it inside. So, Monday after doing all what we had to. And running to the recycle center and giving stuff to friends. Though 2 families just came and picked up stuff from our house. So it wasn't really hard. : ) Anyway I spent most of that Monday cleaning. I vacuumed down and upstairs. Cleaned both toilets. Cleaned the shower and laundry room upstairs. Washed every one's sheets at home in the washer at home. Washed a load of clothes. And then prepped for supper. We had ebi furai/fry. Fried shrimp, steam veggies, rice and a salad.
In other news. This is sorta older news but on September 3rd if you check the date on the award, but it's still something I should at least give a shout out about because he does work really hard. Anyway Branden moved to another level in English at the Kumon, he moved to the G level. He is doing so fantastic with his English and his Japanese.
The test he passed was the level F. He passed the test where the star is. The average kid his age in Japan is where the circle is, that's the level B. So, according to this chart and his Kumon instructor Branden is about 3 years ahead of the same age kid doing Kumon in Japan. Meaning most kids age 7 doing English at Kumon are a level B where Branden is a level G. So, we are indeed rightfully pretty proud of him. And just because he has an American mom doesn't mean he automatically will read English or speak English. And yet he does. And he does amazingly well. He speaks like a native and reads at a native level for his age. And I personally do not think he is 3 years ahead. So, no big head here at all. However I do think he is right at the same level as his American 2nd grade peers for sure. He reads books for an 8 year old level no problems at all. And his Japanese is great, his kanji is beautiful. Nice strokes. So anyway.....I haven't updated about his progress at Kumon in forever. So, anyway he's doing good is all I wanted to say. : )
Oh yeah sorry one more thing. : ) The level he is at right now. It's a really really high level. He got this really cool award.

He was given this key chan for his achievement and good work. He was really proud and we were really proud as well. He works pretty hard. : ) And he and I read books together in English every single night. And Noah enjoys listening to us read. So we read and Noah flips the pages. : )
We have still been renting 4 DVD's every month. We rented the movie, Valkyrie with Tom Cruise back when my dad was here and it was really good. We have also rented the DVD Mirrors with Keifer Sutherland, that was scary! And this time, we rented Ghost Town, it was a cute movie. We also rented, "Burn After Reading" didn't really care for that movie, I'm sorry to say. : ( We have 2 more movies that are coming this week. One is called Seven Pounds and it's with Will Smith. We really love Will Smith movies around here. So, I can't wait for it to get here. : )
Made a little mid week stop to the bakery. Bought some french bread. I made some garlic bread with that because we had spaghetti during the week. And some breads just for munching, some with custard and some with other flavors. : )
Branden's thermos broke while at school. He had a hard plastic one last time. But it got cracked. How it got cracked? You sure got me. : ) Ha ha ha. I did however see a great deal of kids with bigger Thermoses at undokai and metal ones. I think I sorta noticed that since B's had broke that week. So, last week, I went and bought him this metal one. It's just a cheap store no name brand one. Basic but hey...it does the job. : ) It's metal, it's hard and it's solid. I hope this lasts the remainder of his elementary school days but heck. It was only 1200 yen or so. So, even if it doesn't last that long, I won't be too terribly upset. But it seems sturdy so, I think he'll have it for a long while. : )
One of our favorite restaurants Coco's was having a buffet. It's a morning buffet and it's only for a limited time only. One day last week while the boys were both at school, the hubby and I went to try it. What did we think? We honestly didn't really like the buffet all that much. Which is odd since we like that restaurant. So, we'll be back, just not for the buffet. : ) Anyway it was a good morning the hubby and I had though.
And last Friday September 18th, was yet another meeting. A PTA meeting about the upcoming undokai. The yochien undokai. What task everyone will have. I know I will be working the undokai event, where the red hats and white hats compete and try and throw little red or white balls into a basket and whichever team gets the most balls in their basket wins. Noboru and I are working 1 side/team and my good friend, Jogo-san (Yoshiko-san) and her hubby will be working the other teams basket. So, we were sorta having a good chuckle about it at the meeting last Friday. I look forward to working this with my husband and also my good friend and her husband too. : ) Anyway after the meeting all of us that were in the meeting went and picked up our kids downstairs since the meeting was held upstairs. And once we got at home. Noah had these candies in his backpack. So whoever's mom is in the PTA, their child got to bring home some candies. : ) I thought it was really cute. And it makes my son proud that mom always helps out at the school. You know like helps with the summer festival or undokai or bake sale, just anything. I really don't mind helping out at all. It's fun actually. : )
And after school on Friday, the kids were both home and Branden had invited his classmate over. His friend lives a bit far away, and couldn't ride his bike here obviously, there was a distance so that's why his grandpa drove him. So, his grandpa dropped him and his sister off. And he and his sister played with Branden and Noah. And when it was time to go, at 5pm, his grandpa swung back and picked them up. : ) I brought these snacks for the kids out to the patio. So, you see 4 drink cups with oolong tea, popcorn and a little blue bowl with the candies from the PTA. The kids played their hearts out back there. And B had invited him since Tuesday and was looking forward to him coming over all week. The grandpa was driving a white colored K type truck (yellow plate) the farmers use, do you know what I mean? So, he had brought the kids bikes and the kids rode their bikes in the neighborhood. And then they came back, snacked. Played some soccer. Swung on the swings. Rode bikes. Kouiki came over and joined them. And then at 5pm like I said is when the grandpa came back and then Kouiki went home too since it was 5pm. And time for my kids to come inside and eat their dinner. : )
We have been eating a lot of salads last week. Some simple green salads with goma. And then on Thursday and Friday I made a big salad with lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, avocado, cheese, croutons. Just a really filling type salad. Anyway, last Friday, hubby and the kids had Philly steak sandwiches and baked potatoes and salad. I just used lean beef, and veggies and cheese and put the meat and veg in some baguettes. I used chicken on mine. And had onions and bell peppers and mushrooms when it was done, I melted some cheese on top, toasted the baguette. I didn't have a potato. But dinner was really good last Friday for sures. And blueberry tea with ice. : )
On Saturday September 19th, hubby took Branden fishing. They went all morning and all day, they came back home around 5:30pm, just in time to wash up and have dinner. : ) Anyway they caught lots of black bass. Noah is a bit too little and so he stayed home with me, where he and I went on a very scenic bike ride. : )
This one was enormous that Branden caught all by himself. Noboru said B caught about 6 or 7 fish, they do catch and release for the bass fishing. They really enjoyed their father and son time. Their one on one time like that. : ) Anyway....for us in Japan, it is a 5 day "weekend" no school Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday. The kids return to school September 24th. So, it's been sorta awesome just enjoying these past few days. I did *not* tackle Noah's closet yet. However the house is very clean. And hopefully I will tackle his closet this coming week. : )