Saturday, December 19, 2009

Noah's Christmas recital and I just wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas before we leave for vacation! : )

This is the yuri-gumi class. Noah's the first row, 3rd one from the left. : )
They're singing a song here. : )
Still singing. The note on the gate of the yochien said long socks required for all kids. I was thankful for that, only because Noah has only long socks anyways. Well except for that pack of medium length socks we had to buy for undokai. ; )The kids just about ready to switch to a different song. Next one...with jingle bells and a few other instruments. : )
Kids were singing and about to start jingling!: )
And as you can tell, now it was indeed time to ring those bells. Noah did his and his friends on the right and left were also jingling their bells. Well done Noah, well done kiddo! ; )
Then the red badges left, pink badges went on and the nencho in between. And then the red badges came back on and did this performance. Noah was a squirrel! : ) : )
Really getting into it here! And all smiley! : ) Go Noah, go!!! : )
As you can see behind the kids. That chairs name was "dozo" and so people kept taking what was left on the chair and replacing it with something else! As you can see in this picture, the squirrels, left the baguette of bread for the chair. And took what the animals before had left. Then the red badges performances were done for the day. The pink and blue badges had two performances left, one each. Three red badges were chosen to be in the nencho-san's final performance and Noah was asked to do that. He was quite happy about that. : ) What part did the 3 red badges play???? Look at the next pic to find out! :P
They were sheep. They had to sit behind the grass and not move! Ha ha ha.
A little smile from Noah. : )
Some of the nencho class plus the 3 sheep. Some angels and the 3 wise men. : ) : )
Okay here is nearing the finale. We have Mary and Joseph. They are really into their roles here! Awesome job kids! And then.....
Our "Joseph" cracks a little smile, bless his heart. And mind you I can see in this pic he is missing at least 1 front tooth. : ) That charming toothless grin made me smile. Yup, a toothless grin from our Joseph. But he did such a fine job and he's probably only 5 years old, so he really did a fantastic job as Joseph considering he is only 5 or 6 years old. None of us expected him to be all serious anyway. Well done little guy! I think he did a fine fine job! All of the kids did a great job! They all did their best!
The 3 wise men brought gifts and so did everyone else in this particular play. The sheep herder and her sheep *ahem* (Noah-chan) walking and just brought a gift for the new born baby Jesus.
Nearly done, well done kiddos, well done all of you!!!
And then that was that! It was all over before you know it. It was an awesome play! All the classes, red, pink and blue all did so well!
Finishing up the final song, applause from all of us parents. Then we parents went downstairs and waited near their classrooms. And we headed home. Got the pizza dough made and sitting. Final vacuum around the house.
Everyone at the yochien were given a wrapped present. That was very nice of the school. It was a book by the way. : )
Meanwhile I had a lot of missed delivery notes in my mail box PLUS the 2 final December DVD's came in the mail. After calling the kuroneko and the regular post office, they said they'd redeliver within 30 minutes. Which was great for me, because I was due to leave and get B from shogako and meet my MIL at the swim school. So glad the redelivery was going to be fast and to just get it over with and done. This was from my MIL (mother in law)
Karaage, potato salad and her super hot buta kimchi sauce. Man she must have been reading my mind because I have been eating buta kimchi a lot lately and working on my own make shift sauce. Hers is delicious and way better then mine, so I was happy to get some.
The kids last presents from us. But these ones are from Santa. (wink wink) And will be hidden and even taken to Guam so we can lay them out in the middle of the night all nicely wrapped. There are 2 smaller things in the box so it won't take up any room in the suitcase.
A batch of cookies for my BIL and his family. I wrote to Satoe-chan. And I did that because as a wife myself, I know how good it feels to be included especially from my husbands family. And I want her to feel the same. And my BIL knows we love him already. And she knows too. : ) But I wrote to Satoe-chan. And I gave these to her at the swimming school and boy was she happy! Her face lit up and that made my BIL happy. So, I was glad the way I did that. And would you believe she brought us something too?
She brought 2 snack packs for the boys.
Cookies and cakes from Kaldi and I thought that was really right on of her to do that! Man, my SIL is so cool and so nice!
A whole array for the boys. Hmm, next time I give them something I'll put to Mia-chan, sorta mix things up that way. : )
Mitsuko and Noah watching Branden down below Wednesday evening. Noboru was sitting to my left. Mitsuko really enjoyed watching her grandson swim!
Branden with the turquoise swimming cap. One of the boys on the left of B with one of the black swimming caps is his very good friend since their yochien days. That is Aoi-kun! : ) Since they were pink badges is how long they've known each other. And the girl on the right with the pink swimming cap and pink goggles with her hands on her hips. That's Saya-chan! She went to a different yochien completely. Branden and her did not know each other until they started the first grade. They were in the same 1st grade classroom together and are in the same 2nd grade together now. And she lives in the same housing community. For whatever reason, Branden and Saya-chan get along REALLY well. They're like really close friends. Branden has best guy friends for sure, but she is his best girl friend for sure. She's always riding her pink little bike to our house and playing. She was at our house just this past week. And B also goes over to her house to play too. Her mom is really nice too! : ) She's an only child. So Branden going to swimming club is a learning experience yes, but it's also a really fun social time for him too. He gets to be and hang with all his friends.
The kids are paired up in groups of 3 and they must swim against each other and work on timing. By now they all have the techniques and swim moves all down already. Now it's timing. The timing has to be right or it's a no go! So you are matched with your level and then you swim against each other. Branden is the one closest to the bottom of this picture.
You can see the 3 kids in the water racing, B is on the bottom of this picture, the turquoise cap, far left I guess would be the description? He's ahead by a hair in this pic, and Branden won the race. My friend told me, "Branden's hayai" I thanked her, but told her, sometimes he can "run out of gas too though" Ha ha ha. : ) You know, don't wanna seem boastful so it was a better way to reply. The kids all by now, know how to do those wicked cool underwater turns to switch direction in swimming. Dykwim? Like you swim one way get to the end of the pool, and wanna switch direction so, they do a little flip under water and it's amazing to watch them do that turn.
The coach determining who to pair up against one another next! My MIL meanwhile said, geeze if the pool is 25meters and he has swam way over 4 times back and forth, he swims more then 100 meters in one swim class? We said, yup they swim more then that actually. She was like @_@ And they go *fast* I mean like super speed competetive type fast, they all wanna make the time, so she was like doubly @_@ They must have gone back and forth 6-8 different times just during the matches/races. Mitsuko loved watching the kids swim. My BIL stood and watched it for a bit as well. Mia-chan was asleep in the car so Satoe could not come in.
Branden's in the middle in this pic. His one friend in the black cap on the left (but not Aoi-kun). It always sucks to have to swim against your good friend. : ( But they do it. When they're in the water and swimming against each other it's not personal at all and they know that totally. And when they get out.... they get back to chatter when they're outta the pool.
Branden ready in the dive position, waiting for the couch to blow her whistle for the kids to GO! The coach paces along the sides of the pool back and forth. Keeps checking her stop watch. Making corrections, you need to do this or correct that. Kids hear and make the correction for their next turn in the water. This goes on for a good length of the class. But kids rest when it's not their turn.
And then it was over, and for literally 2 minutes before class ended they got to play. And only about once a month they get to play after class so it is rare so they made the most of it. It almost seemed like only for 1 minute. Ha ha ha. Also, I think Branden was having trouble deciding if he should play with the guys or Saya-chan. But Saya-chan called him over and so together they went and got this floating mat thing and they went in the water and splashed together. Yeah they really are good friends. : )
Saya-chan smiling and leaning in to tell B something. : )
Man, she's still telling him something. Branden's face is a bit blurry during this pic, but he's smiling. What she told him? You sure got me! He didn't say! : ) And no it's not like hubba hubba they like each other. They'e truly just good good friends.
We went home, all 5 of us. I showed my MIL to her room, gave her a clean towel for her shower (she knows which room to go obviously, but manner wise it was nicer of me to go upstairs and show her anyway). Told her she could go ahead and shower first, since I have to get dinner made. I took care of everything. She said okie dokie. And took a shower. I meanwhile got the crust rolled out, toppings on the pizza. Salad made. And we all ate dinner in the living room on the coffee table. It was just a casual dinner, nothing fancy at all. She loved the pizza and the salad. We all ate dinner. Branden was STARVING because he swam so much. After we ate, I showered a fast shower, Noboru cleaned up the dishes, just put them into the dishwasher. I came out in like 7 minutes, Then Noboru and the boys showered. Real quick. My mil was in bed by 8:30pm. The kids too. And I stayed awake until 9pm. I need that little 30 minutes at least to unwind, to decompress. Sorta surf the channels watch a little TV before bed. It helps me relax.
The next morning. My mil went outside and enjoyed the view and did some light stretching. She told me the way the sun rises right behind our backyard and the view always takes her breath away. I smiled, let her have at it back there. And I meanwhile got B sent to school, Noah ready for his 2nd and last Christmas recital of the season. And got myself dressed as well.
Thursday morning you will never know how busy I was...man it was crazy, I was like a flash or a blur that morning. Rushing one kid to elementary and 1 kid to yochien with his granny, plus getting myself ready. You truly have no idea how I zoomed from here to there that morning. But with it being the 2nd to last day of school, I could see the light at the end of the tunnel for sure. While Mitsuko and Noah were at the yochien enjoying/performing the recital. I was at home baking my mil's batch of Christmas cookies. I wore my apron so I didn't mess up my clothes. Music cranked up in the kitchen and baked her a few dozen to take back to Osaka. At 11:45am Noboru and I headed to the yochien to get my MIL and Noah. She loved the recital. We went to lunch afterwards. We went and had Indian. Yup 3 weeks in a row! They must think that's my favorite place by now! LOL. I had as usual, the kobocha/pumpkin curry and I debated whether I should choose hot or medium, medium or hot? Hmm. I went for the hot. It was so good and not as hot as last time. We went home, and I got her all packed up with cookies and stuff. At 2pm, Noboru and Noah left to drive my MIL to the bus station so she could cath a bus to Haneda airport. Meanwhile at 2pm (same time), I left in my little red car to go and get Branden from school! I hugged my Mil said good-bye and we both drove off, Noboru driving away in the MPV and myself in the R2. Thursday was nearly over. B did Kumon after school and came home and enjoyed supper and just relaxed. I have been doing the count down. And that night I told the kids, only *1* day of school left!!!! Woohoo! Friday morning, I got both kids breakfast, made sure Branden got dressed and stuff. Branden was driven to school, by me in my fleecy yoga pants and sweatshirt (as usual). Noah in his jammies. But he ate breakfast already. Rushed home with my Starbucks tumbler with hot caramel machiatto (instant store bought but delicious). Rushed in the house, got Noah's teeth brushed, his hair combed. He sat watching cartoons while I got myself dressed and my face on. The ceremony said, the start time was 10:15am. I arrived at 10am. I am a tad embarassed to always be a bit early but then again, it is better then being late right? ; ) ; )
The candle light ceremony was gorgeous and lovely as usual. All the kids came in and brought a Christmas stocking to the baby Jesus. Us mother's all lit candles Manami-sensei lit my candle, then I, in turn lit Jogo-san's candle with my candle and then she in turn lit Rieko-san's candle and so on and so on. It was very beautiful. The nensho class sang a song that is one of my favorites. Then the other classes sang. So the nencho sang then the youngest class, the red badges sang next, then the pink badges (the middle class) sang last. It was really really cool. From 10:15-11:20am and then it was over! At 11:20am, we went downstairs and collected our kids and went home. School was officially on Christmas break for Noah! Woohoo! I thought, 1 kid down, 1 kid to go! : ) : ) We sat at home and relaxed. Noboru took Noah to swim school at 2pm. Meanwhile I went and picked up B on his last day of class at 2pm, as well! All the kids for Yuka-sensei's class came walking down the hill, wearing Santa hats. The ninensei #1 class did not make hats. : ( But the Yuka-sensei's ninensei #2 class (the class B is in) made cool Christmas hats! All the kids were lugging all their school things and seat covers etc back home for the winter break. Loaded up my son into my car and we went home! Now we were officially on winter break! Both kids now on winter break! And yes, I honestly really did do my happy dance.
These are the presents Noah had received from the school. All kids received them. The book, it's a really nice thick hard cover book. And a bag of snacks. Our school rocks regarding giving really cool gifts to the kids, it certainly makes the kids faces light up. : )
My good friend Jogo-san went to Disney-Sea this week. And she brought me back an omiyage. And I really appreciated her thoughtfulness. The Nemo ride just opened, October 1,2009 and so this gift was realy cool. Chocolates are inside. Chocolate with rice krispie stuff inside. So think along the lines of a yummy Nestle Crunch but a different shape and they're all wrapped individually.Yumm. : ) It's nice to have good friends, and honestly for that I feel really really lucky.
Christmas art projects for both of the boys! The Christmas stocking was Noah's. : ) And the hat was what Branden made at school in the 2nd grade! : ) I think they both did a great job! : )
Awww! : )
These are the DVD's. The last 2 DVD's we rented for December. Two comedy's. Night at the Museum 2. And Year One with Jack Black! We saw "Year One" last night (Friday) it wasn't as funny as I hoped. : ( And tonight we will see the other one. And tomorrow morning before we leave we will drop the DVD's in the mail and get them sent back to Tsutaya Discas right away.
All the baking I've done. This batch of M&M cookies I baked on Tuesday. : )
They came out really good and colorful. perfect for Christmas, everyone got some of these as well as the butter Christmas cookies. : )
Any last tidbits? Hmm.
Jun is in Guam right now. He left Thursday or Friday, I forget. He leaves Guam earlier then us. I think he leaves the day after we get there. So we will have a 1 day overlap, at least. Maybe we can go out to dinner. We'll see. : )
Kids and I are all packed. Noboru got himself packed this morning, thank goodness because man, he makes me so nervous waiting until the last second, lol. Snacks and carry-on are packed.
And this evening we will be BBQ'ing. Yup, it's true, it's winter. And it's freezing cold. All week I have frost on my car windshield. It has snowed in a few parts of Japan already. But not here. But yeah it's been darn right cold. And at night it has been dipping below 32F so indeed below freezing this past week. However, we have been craving yakiniku. And instead of going to restaurant, we figured why not just fire up the grill? So, why not, what the heck! : ) So many neighbors have their fireplaces burning, and the farmers always seem to be burning something anyway, ha ha ha. So, yup, a BBQ we will do this evening. Probably will start it around 3:45pm, so really soon. We'll eat in the house obviously but, we can't wait. : ) So tonight we'll just take it easy with a small quiet backyard BBQ in Winter nonetheless. And then shower, bathe and get ready for Night At The Museum 2. And tomorrow morning we head to Guam.
Please everyone have a very Merry Christmas!!! And I'll catch up with you all when we get back! Happy holidays, peace and love!!!! : )

Monday, December 14, 2009

My baking seems to be in full swing and a little update! : )

December is here and I really like all holidays, but *especially* Christmas....ahh it's such a nice time of year, right? I think so. : ) I enjoy it a lot. Also with school nearly on Christmas break and many half days ahead of me and Noah's Christmas recital coming this week (two days in a row, goodness can you believe that?) Just been sorta focusing on stuff going on here at home lately, sorry for being a bit quiet. : ) Anyway little update, last week, with a bag of apples that went uneaten. Hmm, we usually eat them right up. Anyway not wanting anything to go to waste, I decided to make the apples into a pie. So last week with the boys at school, that's exactly what I did. Think that was last Friday.
Got my homemade butter crust all rolled out. You know the more pies I make, the faster at it, I become. Practice practice practice. : )
Lots of apples, some cinnamon, a bit of lemon juice, a tiny knob of butter and a bit of flour for thickening the apple mixture and then I was rolling out the top crust.
Closed and sealed up the pie.
Made a few tiny slashes in the pie. And whacked the pie in the oven.
And hour later, it was ready. Self control. This was for last Friday's dessert. Mind you, I walked past this pie all afternoon long and resisted any and all urges to get a slice. Noboru on the other hand couldn't stand it any longer and said, can I have a slice? I sadly had to say sorry but it's for dessert. When the boys came home, they said the same thing. Thank goodness when dinner was over, we were all waiting for dessert. What was for dinner that night? You know it was a blur, all I can remember from that night was the pie. :P
Curses on you pie, for tempting us all day long like that. ; ) ; ) But man, it was totally worth the wait.
And now for this week. On Tuesday I baked my first batch of Christmas cookies, they didn't even last 24 hours, between the boys and the hubby and some for me as well. Wednesday December 9th, I went to lunch with my 2 good friends, Noriko-san and Jogo-san. We went to an Italian restaurant. A small little restaurant that is packed to the gills during the day with ladies eating the lunch sets. Hmm, have I ever seen a guy in this restaurant? You know that is a good question. Lots of mom's eating with friends at this place. And even a table of older granny types (late 60's) all eating lunch together as well. The cake we had for dessert was enormous, I mean seriously it was huge. It had caramel sauce dripping along the cake. How on earth could we meet at 11am and stay until 1:30pm until it was time for the kiddo pick up time? You got me. But we always seem to have good conversation. Talked about Christmas, stuff like what are we planning to get our kids for Christmas. Also talked about New Years. Any new DVD's or movies we all have seen. You know just fun chitter chatter type stuff. Time seemed to breeze on by and then it was time to leave. Friday December 11th, Noboru and my plan was, as soon as the boys were sent to school, we would hit the Toys r us in Narita and then head back to the country side and go and have lunch at the Indian restaurant I went to with Jogo-san the week before. I have kept talking and talking to Noboru about HOW good the kobocha (sp?) curry was. And he finally said, let's go there to eat lunch. So that was our plan for Friday.
So, after Toys r us. And a brief stop at home to hide the few things into the attic. We then went to lunch. From noon to 1:10pm is when we left to go and pick up Noah from yochien. Anyway when I was at this restaurant with Jogo-san I ordered my curry in medium. You can choose the degrees of hotness you want for your curry. I felt the medium was a tad too mild and wanted to step it up a notch. So this week, I asked for my pumpkin curry in hot. Holy goodness! This was so hot, I almost thought it was too hot??? Almost inedible hot, but not quite, but almost though. Ha ha ha. I love hot, but gee now I don't know. Maybe next time I go there, I can ask them to make it somewhere between medium and hot? Hmmm. : ) It was delicious though, but wow it set me on fire! : ) : ) Noboru had the keema curry. After we picked up Noah, we then went to go and pick up Branden and then the 4 of us all went home. I was so happy for the weekend to be here. Although it was a nice quiet week and I did get to go out to lunch twice in a week which is a bit unusual for me. Maybe once a week, but very rare for me to go twice in 1 week. So, yeah it was sorta quiet but a definite good week. : )
Friday this week, Saturday and also Sunday, we had kids come to play. Just 2- 4 of Branden's good friends. Friday (2 friends) and Saturday it was 3 of Branden's good guy friends (they played dodgeball and beyblades so including B that was 4). And on Sunday 1 of B's guy classmates who lives in our same housing community plus Saya-chan came to play.
Our second batch of Christmas cookies of the season! These are the Christmas tree ones. : )
What a good little helper! : )
And now some stars!
Aha and my other helper adding the sprinkles to the cookies. Well done boys, well done! : )
Two and a half dozen cookies later and we were done baking. Baking Christmas cookies with the boys has really become tradition for us. We all look forward to it. These didn't last 24 hours either. Smiles : )
Some of the boys presents this year so far. And a few were ordered online and should be here this week. You know, we usually set up our Christmas tree, every year but this year with going to Guam, I didn't set up the tree. That way it'll be one less thing for me to take down when we get back after Christmas.
Look the cookies almost gone by the looks of this picture, lol over a dozen cookies eaten by the time I snapped this pic. Happy smiles. : ) : ) That's why we baked them so.... that makes me happy. After dinner, and after baths on Saturday, we got out all our Christmas DVD's and watched 2 of them. We watched Elf and a Christmas Story. With big bowls of popcorn and drinks and the rest of the cookies, we enjoyed watching Elf and A Christmas Story very much! These stories always make me laugh and are good to watch every year around the holidays. Goodness that boy who wanted the BB gun and the mom who kept saying..."you'll shoot your eye out" LOL! Anyway this is what we've been up to. Not anything too earth shattering, I'm afraid but this is it. : )

Last bits and pieces:
Noah's last day to have lunch at school was today. The rest of the week are half days for Noah. So I am on a very wonky schedule this week and I have to check my calendar on the fridge daily just to make sure I don't muck up anything. ; ) Branden meanwhile has a normal schedule all week this week.

Noah's Christmas recital is this Wednesday and also this Thursday. Wednesday is for us parents. And Thursday is for grandparents only. So my MIL (Mitsuko) is flying in from Osaka, Wednesday morning, will be spending the morning and afternoon with my bil Jun and his family. While B is at school and we are watching Noah's Christmas recital. And then we will meet her either at our house around 3:30pm or we will meet her at the swim club around 4pm. Not quite sure. I am going to be making homemade pizza and salad the night she comes. So after Noah's recital Wednesday for us parents, we will run home, I'll get the pizza dough made and resting. Prep the salad stuff. Pack Branden's swimming backpack and then we will most likely meet my mil at the swim club around 4pm. She'll get to watch B swim and then the 5 of us will head back home, and I'll turn the oven on and start the pizza right quick and dinner shouldn't take too long. That's another reason I chose pizza, because it's quick and easy to make and plus I know she enjoys it too. So, I do have a plan, loosely forming, coming together, hopefully. : )Thursday we will drop off my mil and Noah at the yochien. And her flight isn't until the evening, so maybe go to lunch after his play? Hmm. Haven't gotten that far in the thinking or planning yet. : )
Both the boys last day of school is this coming Friday. We leave for Guam this coming Sunday morning December 20th, we get back to Japan, December 26th around 7 or 8pm at night, so it's a late arrival considering by the time we get our luggage from the carousels, get our car and plus we usually eat someplace and then drive home. Oh yeah, just forgot, Friday December 18th, I have a candle light service at the yochien. It's a really beautiful ceremony probably one of my most favorite things that this school does. All us mothers hold candles and the kids come in and the room is all dark and the baby Jesus is at the front. My description doesn't do it justice, but it's so pretty. It's a very nice service. : )
So in a nut shell, lots of half days for Noah this week. A MIL coming this week. Business as usual for Branden this week, thank goodness about that. And I have to get myself and the boys packed for our trip (hubby packs himself, bless his heart: ). A week from now we will already be gone. I will try and blog one more time before we leave. Probably just a quick fast one about Noah's recital.
I went to the grocery store this morning, bought food to last us the week. And I also bought 3 packs of butter, an extra bag of flour and some sugar, I plan to somehow find the time to bake 3 more batches of cookies still. Why? : ) Because I'd like to give some to my bil and his family when I see them when they drop off my mil. Give another batch to my dad, and some to my mil and hopefully we'll keep a few for ourselves to snack on and enjoy too. : )
Anything else to add? (thinking) Oh, I went ahead and ordered the Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs DVD for the kids. And Paranormal Activity for the hubby and myself from Amazon.com. They should get here the first or second week of January, hopefully.
Okay I better get going now, I have to start dinner right now. Spaghetti and meatballs and salad tonight (lol and I just mentioned that movie with meatballs in the title, talk about a coincidence, how funny). Anyways, I also have to go and pick up Branden from Kumon soon too. How's the weather? The weather outdoors has been really cold. Definitely feels like winter around where we live. Anyway just wanted to catch up with you all and say, stay warm, stay happy and talk with you all, in a few days. : )