Sunday, June 21, 2009

Bits from the week! : )

Haven't been up to a whole lot this week, but on Tuesday June 16th, I indeed met my two friends at the movie theater at 9:40 am (after we all got our kids sent to school), our movie started right at 10am. : ) We went and saw the sequel to The Da Vinci Code, called Angels and Demons. I went to the movies with Rieko-san and Mio and Mao-chan's mom. They both got coffee and a pastry at the snack bar before the movie started, very appropriate for a morning movie. : ) And I picked popcorn and a soda.: ) I really liked this movie a lot, I thought it was even a bit better then The Da Vinci Code. We went on ladies day, so it cost each of us just a thousand yen. Also, I was gonna say, they have the new Harry Potter poster hanging already at the movies inside already. I think it said it was coming to us in Japan in July? Is that right. I would love to see that movie. I hope I get a chance to see that. I wonder how far in advance someone could buy their ticket? Would a month in advance be allowed? Hmm. : ) : )
Branden's ensoku went great on Wednesday. I think in these pics you can see sketch pads with the kids. The sensei asked each of the kids to also do some sketching of the nature they saw and draw it.
Getting his pencil out to start sketching. : )
Four friends, after lunch. : )
The elementary school sure does give a lot of things for the kids to bring home and grow. Last year it was the flowers. And this year, it was the tomato plant and now this week he brought home 4 corn. Branden said the Yuka-sensei wants us all to grow 4 corn. @_@ So, sure enough I drove this week to the local DIY and bought a bigger container for the tomato plant because she's gotten so big lately she needed to be replanted. And another container for the 4 corn. Also, something that's sorta been on my mind, is, you know that strip of bark area on the left hand side of my yard? Anyone know what I mean? I was originally going to plant a nice row of trees there, that was my first thought about that last year. But then we held off. And now, I am sorta thinking that I will grow a flower garden there instead. So, this coming week, I think I will be spending a great deal of my time at the DIY in the flower area, trying to get some flowers picked and stuff. : ) Pretty boring stuff, I know. Sorry you guys. : )
Two of our DVD rentals came at the beginning of this week. I have yet to see the Kate Winslet one. I will try and watch that tonight. But the Boston Strangler one we saw last night after the kids went to sleep. It was a really bad movie. A grade B, no doubt, I do feel bad for saying that but it really was a stinker of a movie. : (
Today is Sunday, and it's raining cats and dogs here today! Today looks like it's going to be a great day. A nice stay at home type day for sures but a good day nonetheless. Anyway I just wanted to touch bases with all of you. Have a great day you guys. : )

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Terminator Salvation, El Torito Mexican restaurant and a few other interesting bits for good measure!!! : )

Noah and his swim friends as they look on at the coach. And listen to him. : )
Aww, Noah is now 3 or 4 levels passed from the starting level/point. So many of the kids are much bigger and older then he is. But he doesn't mind, he thrives in swim class. He really enjoys it a lot.: )
Listening to the coach again.
The bigger boy on the left of Noah, is a good friend of Noah's. They go to the same yochien as well. He's a pink badge though. : )
Friend chit chat!!! The day Noah swims there are actually about 5-6 kids from our same yochien swimming. It's nice because when we walk in, he hears, "Noah-kun...Noah-kun" from his buddies/classmates. And he runs to them and greets them and starts talking and joking with them. It's amazing how well he's adjusted to not only swimming school but also yochien life. : )
And of course Wednesday is also the day Branden swims as well. How is life as a new #6? He likes it. : ) It is a tad more competitive now, lots of emphasis on time and also technique now. Each child is paired with their own swim mate. The coach determines who has the same skill and same speed and level and pairs off that way. This girl down in the pool in this pic next to Branden, has the same speed as Branden and same skill. Obviously they're both #6's. And so each week, since he started as a #6, they do practice after practice and swim lap after lap. And then the last 15 minutes you and your partner must swim against each other. Coach is watching her stop watch and they go back and forth. And race back and forth. Have you ever heard the term...."you've met your match?" , Funny because these 2, are so equally matched it's a tough call who will win 1 round to the next. First round last Wednesday went to Branden, second round totally went to the girl and 3rd time, Branden beat her, but it was by a split split hair, I might even call it a tie to be fair. They are THAT equally matched. And yes they are friends, they do chit chat between taking their turn in the pool. They joke with each other etc. But it's right back to business when they enter the pool. And then they get out and they laugh and smile with each other again.
A very blurry picture of Branden and the girl racing to the end of the pool. Meanwhile some boy behind them, just smoked his partner. I tell ya, watching these kids is amazing, all of them are so good. With everyone being so equally matched one might win one time and lose the next, talk about having to "bring it", each and every week they sure do. These kids swim their hearts out. After swimming Wednesday is when we went to buy our movie tickets for Saturday's Terminator movie. We picked our seats and everything, it was pretty cool. Also, we 4 ran to the 100 yen and bought some scissors and stuff that I would be needing for Friday's "game group" craft work session.
We got back and it was still light outside and so Noboru did some weed spray stuff on our lawn Wednesday while I got supper ready. : )
I didn't want to ruin my scissors from home, so we just bought a pair at the 100 yen. A box cutter type knife and the pair of scissors. And 2 bottles and I was ready for Friday. How did it go? About half of us "games ladies" showed up. And we spent about an hour and a half making purses/bags out of pet bottles. I really enjoyed myself. I had a lot of fun, time seemed to just breeze on by. All of us joking, talking having fun. I thought I made 2 really nice looking purses. I did try my best and I felt proud of my hard work. We also got to choose what games we will work at during the summer festival. Those of us who showed up, got first choice/first pick. Whoever didn't show up on Friday, unfortunately will have to take the games and times leftover. : ( I don't make the rules, that's just what they said. Anyway, Rieko-san and I will be partners and we chose to do the ball toss game together (her son and Branden were classmates at this same yochien, so we both have 2nd grade sons and her daughter Itsuki-chan is a blue badge this year, I've known her daughter since she was a yellow badge and now she's a blue badge, so we're old friends Rieko-san and I and she's known Noah since he was 10 month's old and now he's a red badge, my how time flies, sniff, sniff. : ). And we chose to work the first half of the festival that way we don't have to do the cleanup afterwards. *But*, we will be there beforehand and help set up which is more then fair because setting up is hard work all on it's own as well. I prefer that way anyway. Sorta just get it over with and then enjoy the end of the festival walking around etc. After our games meeting ended Friday, Rieko-san and I went to have lunch together. We went and had tantanmen for lunch it was so delicious! : )
Friday after school, and after the boys came home, Branden went zarigani hunting, crawfish hunting with Genki-kun! They both wanted to practice before next weeks ensoku!!! So, I waved off B and Genki and they went trotting down to the rice fields and down to the canal. Genki caught 2 fish. And Branden caught 1 crawfish and 2 dojo! : ) For those of you that have been reading for a while know that Genki-kun and Branden have been friends since *their* yochien days. And they live in the same housing community and attend the same elementary school and are in the same class together. They have been in the same class together since both were pink badges, blue badges, and first graders and second grader's. LOL. They've been in the same class for 4 years together. It's good they are such great friends after all this time. : ) : )
Branden with his 99 yen bucket, very handy! And 1 tiny crawdad and 2 small dojo, he did release them back the next morning. : )
Saturday from 9:30am to 11:15am. We were at Noah's school for observation day. They sent a note saying beforehand, no cameras and no camcorders allowed at all. This really sucked. : ( I would have loved to take some pictures!!! Branden showed up and Aoi-kun was there since his little sister is a blue badge. Shion-kun showed up too. All these kids were classmates of Branden's when he went to yochien. They played their little hearts out. They still see each other at swim club, but it was good they got to hang out for a few hours at their old school/yochien. I wish I could have snapped a few pictures. : ( Also Noah did great! There was a father and child race and they ran so good, their team won! It was just really cool being there. The school's photographer took pics Saturday, we will buy some and hopefully I can post some then. All the kids had to show up in their gym uniform. So, those yellow shorts and white shirt. Anyway, at 11:15am, the observation day was now finished and we went to have lunch at Coco's. The kids told us...."we haven't been there in 100 years!!!" Noboru and I just smiled at each other, because we actually go on dates there quite a bit.: ) : ) Anyway hubby had the hamburg set, Noah had a kids hamburg set, Branden had the french toast and I had my trusty chicken, cheese and veggie quesadilla and fries and drink bar. : ) : ) By now it was noon, and with the Terminator not even starting until 2pm, we went home. Everyone went to the bathroom. Noah changed clothes from school gym uniform to regular clothes. And at 1pm we left to the movie theater. This is the pic of the boys outside the movie theater. : )
We bought 1 large popcorn, plus 2 small popcorns for the boys. And 2 large drinks. 1 very large orange Qoo for the kids and 1 very large coke for us. A lot of people showed up, a lot, a lot. It wasn't packed to the gills, like no seat to spare but it was indeed pretty full..... good thing we got our seats picked out from Wednesday. The Terminator Salvation was great! I won't give any spoilers, but I will just tell you, it was dazzling! It did NOT disappoint at all. And yes they did have Arnold computer graphically added towards the end, at the most edge of our seat type moment. It was so cool!!! Helena Bonham Carter was in this. As was Dallas Howard (Ron's Howard's daughter who I think is really great) we left the theater talking nonstop about the Terminator as we walked all the way to our car and even as we drove to Tsukuba. We loved this movie. : )
After watching Terminator Salvation, Noboru said, "since it's the weekend, let's go enjoy it some more. Let's eat out", he said. So we headed to Tsukuba. For those of you who may not know, Tsukuba is located in Ibaraki prefecture. And it's actually closer for us to drive there, versus driving to places like Makuhari in Chiba. I have mentioned before we live close to Ibaraki prefecture. : )
We went to El Torito in Tsukuba.
We enjoyed 3 appetizers. Kids shared chicken finger appetizers, Noboru had calamari and I chose the nachos appetizer, which is pictured right here. They were so good. : )
I had the fajitas, they came out *sizzling* and they even lit a candle and it fried some more on our table. Ha ha ha. : ) Noah had the kids meal. Noboru had a combination plate and Branden had the chicken enchiladas. We sat and ate and enjoyed our time there for about an hour to an hour and a half. Talking about quite a few things, also about the movie we just saw as well of course and other things too. Between our appetizers, entrees and the 2 baskets of chips and salsa they gave us. We were stuffed. Now, of course always a bit of room leftover for dessert though, right? :P
Wendy's is, right across the street from El Torito, so we just cruised through the drive thru. And picked up some dessert for the drive home. : )
Wendy's drive thru menu in Japanese, very cool. : ) : )
Four, 99 or 100 yen frosties for the drive home. It's a 30 minute drive home on regular roads, not the highway, so not too bad of a drive at all. We got back home, the kids took a fast shower, quick brush of their teeth and right to bed they went, they were exhausted. It was a long day for them. Hubby and I meanwhile enjoyed watching American Idol Saturday night. What a truly awesome Saturday. : )
Sunday was spent at home. And that was fine, after our perfect Saturday, it was good to spend a nice Sunday relaxing. Noboru worked on the grass a bit, he mowed the lawn with our big American lawn mower. And did the edging around the lawn. Branden meanwhile played with Keita-kun all day long! They played DS games on our front porch and then after a while they went and played in the backyard. He stayed at our house playing from 10am to about 4:30pm. He did go home at noon when the lunch bell chimed in our community. But he came back. And yup, I provided snacks and stuff throughout the day as well. Noah meanwhile cruised his bike on our back patio all afternoon.
Sunday, I did vacuum the upstairs and I cleaned the toilet downstairs but mostly just relaxed being a happy lazy bum. : ) I had Noah straighten all the shoes in the genkan, that's his chore he is expected to do. It's not a lot, granted but it does give him 1 task to always do and he is really good at it. : )He checks the shoes everyday. : ) Each of the boys have their own little chores. Not huge chores just little ones. It's good for them. : ) Anyway where was I again? Oh yes, I checked my calendar and saw that today/Monday was a "no school day" for the boys. And that swimming starts this week for Branden. So, I got his swim bag prepared and ready to go. Last week, I had B try on his navy blue swim suit and it was plenty big still. Last year if you check my old blog posts, I bought it in size 140cm. The swimsuits are quite affordable so rebuying is no trouble at all. In Japan for elementary schools, they wear navy blue, the boys and girls. We bought Branden this Adidas one for cheap last year at the Aeon, for like 1500 yen or so? I forget the exact price, but it was a fair price. We bought it in 140cm. It wasn't baggy and it wasn't skin tight, it seemed to be a great fit. I was set to buy him the same thing just a size bigger this year, but had him try on last years one anyway, just in case. And sure enough it fit great still. Not skin tight just perfect. It's 140cm so it's plenty big enough. And the swim cap is an Adidas one size fits all. So, I made my momly decision that yes he can wear it again this season. And I mean, if it was even a pinch too small I woulda replaced it in a heart beat, no problem, but it honestly was perfect. The size regular shorts he wears is 130cm anyway. So this 140 swim shorts are perfect still. I did switch the name label and put, 2nd grade versus first grade. Plus the kids only swim for about 5 weeks. From June 16th to July 20th or whatever when school goes on summer break. So, he can wear it for a mere 4-5 weeks and call it done. Next year he will get the same thing but a bigger size. : ) : )
His towel was freshly washed and dried. I packed it all up into his Spongebob swim bag.
His O'Neil flip flops, we bought for swimming at shogako last year. I think we bought these in 21 or 22cm and they were a pinch big last year, but perfect this year. Name has to be written on everything, and it is, sewn label on his swim cap and swim suit, and sewn on label on his towel. And hand written name on his flip flops. And even his bag is labelled. And next week, I will do this for Noah and get him packed up for his swimming to start at yochien. Except no navy blue regulation swim suit though, at their yochien they can wear any swimsuit : )
All nicely packed and ready to take to school on Tuesday! I was glad I got my son all packed up on Sunday. : ) : )

Any interesting things? Well, we picked our 4 DVD's for June. I somehow forgot to pick them and when I realized, half the month was over, I sat online and picked 4 movies, I had to get my butt in gear regarding those movies. Here is what I picked Sunday afternoon. "Revolutionary Road" with Kate Winslet and Leonardo Dicaprio. Underdog, anyone remember the old cartoon Underdog? LOL. Anyway the new movie was just relased in Japan recently on DVD, so I picked that so the boys can watch it and the whole family could enjoy this. I also picked, the "Boston Strangler" It's a new movie and with David Faustino, the younger brother character on Married With Children. This one obviously the kids won't watch but I wanted to see this. : ) And the last DVD, I chose was a kids film but perhaps more aimed at girls called, Tinkerbell. Anyway, it looked good to me. And I wanted to see it and I thought since it's a kids film, the boy's might enjoy it. Same as, I totally dig little girls who like to play with trucks. I myself used to climb trees! And on the same token I dig boy's who can cook. My kids love watching Jamie Oliver. And I let my boys cook. I don't believe in pigeon holing my kids, just because of gender. And I think they will dig the movie Tinkerbell, as will I. : ) Anyway those are the 4 movies we will be getting in June. They come 2 at a time, anyway I am glad I picked our 4 movies on Sunday. : )

What else is up this week? Hmm not much. : )
American Idol ended for us in Japan! (if you are actually behind us in Japan please don't read ahead) Anyway... Kris won!!! I think he's a nice guy and he'll probably make a nice album. I personally think Adam shoulda won though. But I'm not going to lose any major sleep about it, because I think they'll both end up with great careers the both of them! And they both genuinely seemed like 2 nice guys. So, I'm happy. : ) : )

Tuesday June 16th (tomorrow), is the day Branden starts swimming at the elementary school. Also tomorow/Tuesday the 16th is when I will be meeting Rieko-san at the movies at 10am. We will go and see, Angels and Demons, the sequel to the Davinci Code. As soon as I get both boy's sent to school, I will be driving to the theater and we will meet up there tomorrow morning. And Wednesday is Branden's ensoku/field trip to the fields behind our house. That means I will be making Branden and also Noboru an obento for that. Which means tomorrow after the movie I better go and get some fresh fruit for the ensoku the following day. That's basically all that's going on this week. Have a wonderful week, all of you!!! : )

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Bits from the week!!! : )

Not a whole heck of a lot going on over here!!! Just regular daily living type of stuff! But that's okay, right?! : ) Sunday evening, my husband made us dinner! He made us ebi chili!!! It was so good and I enjoyed sitting in the kitchen talking with Noboru as he cooked. A very good way to end the weekend. : )
Can you believe, I am still at it, you guys? I almost don't want to mention it in fear of ruining my current exercise *mojo* that I have lately. Ha ha ha. : ) : )
Monday hubby took me out to lunch. Since there are no restaurants or anything like that in our tiny town, we settled for the small city-ish type place where Noah goes to yochien at, and we went to Coco's. I had the quesadilla and fries and drink bar. It was good.
Hubby had the hamburg lunch combo. : )
After lunch, we stopped off at the "mom and pop" type grocery store in the smallish city and Noboru bought some small type of eels? Errr or are these fish. Look like eels though to me. Good grief they're ugly though, (shudders) I do know that. LOL. Sorry little fellas!!! :P Anyway he uses these as bait. He saved them for Tuesday when he went fishing for sea bass! : )
After picking up Noah from yochien we swung by a local little canal, this is where Noboru has been keeping his crawfish trap. Now I am not really into the whole fishing and catching stuff category myself, but my husband loves this sorta stuff and so do the boys. Usually I just have one of these types of faces @_@. But no complaints from me though. : )
Yup 2 were caught that day! @_@
Last week when I went to Noah's observation day thing, everyone in the "games group" was handed this.It says the meeting/get together is this coming Friday. So, I will indeed be there this coming Friday at 9:20am to help put some prizes together. Marked on the ol' calendar already. Check, check, check!!! : )
Also Branden's ensoku/tiny country type field trip to the back of our yard. LOL. The rice fields back there is coming up next week, so I picked up some stuff that Branden might be needing for that day. Just some things for the field trip is all. : ) I bought him a nice metal handled net at Beisia/Cainz Home. He has a bamboo one now, but I thought he might need a stronger sturdier one. This was only 250 yen, so it was a great deal. And I know since we live in the inaka, he will get a lot of usage from this, so I am happy about the purchase.: ) Also picked up a see through type plastic bucket for whatever he catches. For the ol' catch of the day!!! : ) This was just 99 yen. And a straw hat, this was right near the fishing and nets. I think this will be good for him to wear. :D
Just the basics. : ) Keeping it simple as always! : )
The hat was a great deal at that price. That's $3.00 for you in America. : ) And with all his playing in the fields they do anyway, he'll get good usage from it anyway. : )
Good to get things crossed off the list!!! Am I right, or am I right?! : ) : ) Let me see, I had Noah's umbrella and Branden's rainboots on my list, right? Well, I bought Noah this basic for school yellow umbrella. It has reflectors and a great place to put his name. And the size is small enough for yochien age.
The price was fantastic at only 498 yen. I felt really smart with this purchase. : )
I pulled out one of my computer made name stickers and stuck his name on the umbrella in 2 places. This place where the name tags go was the first spot. : )
And the handle part was the 2nd place, I placed a name sticker. That way when his umbrella is facing down in the umbrella stand with heaps of other kid umbrellas, it will be easy peasy for me or the other parents to tell which umbrella is which. Anyway, may sound like peanuts to some, but I was pretty glad to get this crossed off my list.: ) Just in time for rainy season! Yay!!! : )
Monday after both the boys came home. I made some cookies and started in on Monday nights dinner.
Branden helped make the Rice a Roni! He actually made this 90% himself. He is such a great kid. Very very helpful. : )
Cookies now done. And oven turned off. Meanwhile I am steaming the broccoli and getting plates served up when I clicked this pic. I made 8 pork chops total. : )
Monday nights simple easy dinner. Again no bells and whistles here. Just simple basic meals. What did we have? Fried pork chops, chicken rice a roni, and broccoli. Some iced mango tea and that was that. Oh yeah and homemade chocolate chip pecan cookies for dessert. : )
Tuesday morning after B left walking to school with friends, and I waved him good bye from the front porch, I went inside, and started in on obento. Leftover city for Noah-chan. And that's okay because it was great. Rice a roni, a fried pork chop that I cut into bite sized pieces, some steamed and buttered and salt and peppered broccoli and some diced up apple and 2 jelly's. The rice a roni I microwaved and placed in there and from start to finish, it was done pretty fast.
I make weekly menu's and sometimes I let the kids choose from the already chosen menu what they would like. Monday night they both agreed the next night we should have..... tacos. So, I said, okay Tuesday night will be taco night then. Tuesday after school, Branden played at Saya-chan's house until 5pm Tuesday. Meanwhile I got dinner all made. Noah meanwhile napped after yochien. At 5pm, Branden came home and we four all had supper.
Beef for the hubby and the boys. And chicken for me and the boys. : )
Dinner at our house last night. Tuesday night's taco night. We have so much leftover that we will be having tacos tonight as well. This is actually a great thing though, because tonight is swim night for the boys. So tacos again will take a load off my mind "dinner wise" tonight. Phew! : )

Any other random bits? Well, we purchased Branden's rain boots online they should be here this week. He got bright yellow Crocs rainboots. They're called, Crocs Georgie. LOL. Anyway glad to have gotten his rain boots crossed off my list as well.
Umm Observation family day for us this coming Saturday at Noah's yochien.

My Friday "games gathering" is this coming Friday.

The Terminator 4, starts for us in Japan this coming Saturday!!! We *love* the Terminator at our house. The whole family does. Branden's whole class at ninensei has been gabbing about Terminator 4, for weeks now too. Anyway our family will be going to see it opening day. So this Saturday we will be spending it at the movies watching the Terminator!!! I think they said The Governator wasn't going to be in this movie. Ahhh no....no Arnold! LOL! But that they used computer graphics and added him in a few scenes. I will be curious to see if that's true or not. : ) We will be buying our movie tickets this evening on our way home from swimming. So we have the tickets in our hands and that way we will know we will be able to see the movie opening day. Yay.
Anyway that's basically what our family has been up to over here! Just normal basic, every day type stuff! Nothing too major or anything, but just wanted to touch bases with you all anyway!!! : )
Have a fantastic week all of you!!! : )