Sunday, April 25, 2010

Bits from the week including, how the mother's yochien luncehon went and getting Noah enrolled in Kumon! ; )

All this past week during the afternoon. A show has been coming on MTV. Called the "40 most slimmed down celebs" It's been a very fun show to watch. I find myself doing treadmill while watching this show. Because it inspires me to stay fit.
Marie Osmond, according to the show lost 50lbs? Tina Yothers from Family Ties was on there. Janet Jackson was on there. Kirstie Alley. Tyra Banks. Candace Cameron, (I watch Full House in Japan and still think of her as DJ Tanner, lol) but wow did she slim down and she looks so good! The original Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Kristy Swanson (didn't even knew she gained weight after her baby or even had a baby, guess I was just not up to date with her) anyway they said, she went from Buffy to puffy. : ( Mean thing for them to say. Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Melissa Joan Heart, watch the show and knew about her weight gain and fabulous weight loss as well. Quite a few of these episodes aired everyday last week. Different countdowns of new slimmed down celebs each day. Anyway so many great shows on satellite here in Japan now days. Loved this show all last week.
Back to shuji. Last week, in the renrakucho. The note written said to bring the following day...a big plastic square to cover their table for shuji/Japanese calligraphy. Good thing, I had that big giant piece of plastic kids table cloth that I use as a kids, clay mat. I cut Branden a huge oversized one, knowing how big their desks are at shogako, so I was pretty spot on with the size I cut. Also, Branden has been telling me a couple stories. Like when the Boy next door accidentally dropped the container that held the black ink in it. And it fell all over his outfit. From head to toe basically. I bet his mom wasn't too thrilled about that one. : ( That's happened to 2 little kids in his class so far. A few kids brought an old tee, a few other kids brought, aprons. And B's been using the smock and black tee we gave him. So far no accidents or mishaps from Branden. But I'm sure it'll happen eventually. ; ) We don't care if the smock would get ink on it or the black tee. We're sorta expecting that. Anyway nothing yet.
The rice has been planted already on all the fields to the right. But the rice fields directly behind our house were finally planted last week. I can see little rice seedling plants already and the croaking of frogs in the fields has already begun! I love that sound! : )
A close up of the farmers planting the field behind our backyard.
One meal, I have never shown on my blog before, not sure why not though because it's fast and good. But it's a meal we have at least once a month. It's curry spaghetti. Yup, curry udon's okay, curry ramen's not bad either. But, for me, nothing beats curry spaghetti. I love spaghetti, And everyone loves curry. It's so good. A side salad. And a fast dinner. Fwiw, I made a pack of curry, like I normally do. Added, my veggies and chicken for curry spaghetti. And basically whipped up a quick pot of curry. Only difference is we had it on top of spaghetti. The next night we had curry and rice. leftovers are not bad. But, boy do we love curry spaghetti around our house. Yumm, yumm, yumm.
I made my regular blueberry cheesecake for the family last week. This is really starting to become a family favorite around here. ; )
Also last week another envelop asking for us to buy something at the elementary school was brought home last week. This time, it's was a dictionary. It seems even in public schools in Japan the things one needs to purchase is endless and never ending. ; ) It's pretty different then schools in the US. So, I'm learning as I go. : ) Shuji sets...a recorder instrument...the paint set where everyone's had to look alike ; ) And now a dictionary to buy. *Smiling* Anyway the dictionary has been ordered.
The cost of said dictionary.
The 2 dvd's we rented, the final 2 for the month of April got here. We rented "The 4th Kind" and "College Road Trip", we saw College Road Trip last night and will watch "The 4th Kind after the boys go to bed tonight. Noboru's been dying to see the 4th kind.
On Friday, we had a quick but delicious meal. I was so thankful the weekend had gotten here. And after Branden finished swimming school, we had dinner. Salad, with cheese, pepperoni, Italian dressing, such a delicious salad. Garlic bread was wrapped in the tin foil and a big lasagna was had for dinner Friday night. It was great because by the time Friday rolls around, I'm always a bit tired, exhausted. But the family still needs to eat a hearty dinner. We still wanna eat together as a family. And this is the perfect answer to that. Quick, yes but delicious all the same.
The back has a blurb about how important family dinners are, yup, I think we all know that. And I agree. : ) We enjoyed our family dinner on Friday.
Saturday, a package addressed to me . Came for me from my MIL, from Osaka. She sent me a care package of food. I loved that she did that. That was VERY thoughtful. In fact, in return I am baking her some homemade Tollhouse cookies this afternoon.
Saturday (yesterday) was a somewhat busy day. Not hectic busy, sorta getting things outta the way, getting things accomplished but still enjoying family time. At 10:30am, Noah had his appointment at Kumon. The whole family went with. Yup all four of us went. Branden went to show Noah where to put his shoes, where he'll place his homework that needs turning in, etc. We went to watch him test and talk with the Kumon sensei. This pic was taken yesterday right before we went inside and up the stairs.
Branden showing Noah where to put his shoes, where to slip on his inside shoes. It gives me a strong sense of relief knowing they're going together. I know, Noah will indeed be okay.
"Studying in session, please be quiet when you come in" ; ) However class was not in session on Saturday, she came there to meet with us and get Noah tested and signed up. She had known Noah since Noah was a real itty bitty little guy and Branden was getting enrolled and he sat as a little guy on my lap. Now years later, here he was. Because the Kumon sensei has known Noah for honestly years. She calls him....Noah-chan. ; ) It's okay, Noah-chan, Noah-kun either way is okay with us. Actually I notice 80% of people that know us call him Noah-chan and only about 20% call him Noah-kun. Again though either way is fine. She showed him some cards, hiragana flash cards and he knew quite a bit. So he wasn't started on the lowest of the low levels. She then checked if he knew how to hold a pencil properly and she said he does. So he got quite a lot of "how smart you are" and other comments from her on Saturday. Hubby filled out the paperwork. And so that's it. He starts this coming Monday with Branden. She let him choose the bag he wanted, he chose the same bag Branden has. Of course little brother wants to have everything big brother does. ; ) She even gave Noah 1 packet of homework to be turned in on Monday. She also told us the grade of pencil he needs since he's a beginner writer. And we just went ahead and bought the pencils from Kumon.
After leaving the Kumon, we headed to the small country shoppette. And went to look for a jet black pair of shorts for Branden to take to school for shuji. The mother's at the lunecheon had strongly adviced me to let him wear all black.
And after leaving the store where we bought his black shorts. We headed to check the flower shop and to see if any impatiens came in. No they didn't. : (
After leaving the flower shop, we headed to the farmers market. This view is right near the market.
It was a sunny day... sorta chilly but a nice day.
We saw this enormous sized mushroom. Did not buy it obviously, but had to take a picture of it. Larger then a hand, let's put it this way. Clearly drwafed my camera case. We definitely had a laugh about this mushroom.
Adults salad. And kids salad mix. They sell, farm fresh eggs, milk, fresh bakery goods. Rice from this area, and lots of veggies. And even freakishly sized mushrooms to boot! ; )
Noah checking out the salad stuff. Think I'll buy us some salad mixtures next week.
We bought some farm fresh eggs, a head of lettuce and some fresh baked raisin bread, so fresh the bag was all steamed up and the bread was still hot. Not warm, hot!!! : )
We sliced this, toasted it with butter. Holy goodness this was good.
Noah's new Kumon bag and an extra new pair of inside shoes to be left at Kumon.
Branden's jet black cargo shorts. They were only 980 yen. They'll probably end up with ink on them and, thats fine. We didn't buy them for cruising to a fashion show in. We bought them for their sole purpose to be.."shuji shorts." And when winter rolls around next year we'll look for an equally cheap pair of "shuji pants" ; ) But these will definitely work. This way...whenever he does Japanese calligraphy, B will switch into his black tee, black cargo shorts and denim smock. Any stains...don't really mind. It's his shuji outfit. And it seems quite a few kids also are bringing shuji outfits as well. Like the boy next door for starters and a few other kids in the class. And again after talking about this subject at the mothers luncheon, I feel comfortable enough knowing lots of mothers do send them with an all black outfit.
At the Daiso, on Saturday, I picked up only 3 things. 1 bag of hard candy's for B to take on the swimming bus when he starts that after Golden week. All the kids in 3rd grade around here switched to the D course because of the extended time they spend at shogako this year. And the swim bus is free. All his friends ride it like. Keita, Saya, Nozomi, Daisuke, etc. So, since I usually drive him and sit and watch him. Branden has been asking me to let him take the bus, and this year, now that he's a third grader I'm going to let him. I'll still show up and watch him from time to time, but I also understand he wants to socialize on the swim bus and as a 3rd grader, I'll let him. : ) Also the kids are allowed to bring hard candy on the bus, so this is for that purpose. Noah needed new obento fruit sticks. And with Noah starting Kumon he needed erasers, he wanted orange scented soda ones like B has. : )
Branden meanwhile has a field trip/ensoku this coming Wednesday (April 28th). He needs to bring all this stuff in the picture! Where are they going? They're going to the beach! To play and frolic in the water (however if it's a rainy day their backup destination will be the aquirium). They'll also need 500 yen to buy omiyage. And have lunch there. Branden is in charge of entertaining the bus, him and 3 other kids were chosen to do that. What needs to brought for the day of the field trip.... An extra pair of shoes, and extra set of clothes including undies. Raincoat. snacks. Obento, thermos. Trash bag, barf bag @_@ in case anyone gets car sick, mine don't get it, but they have to bring one anyway. And a billion other things need to get packed up. So, I've gotten started on the list of said ensoku already a bit.
The ensoku snacks, Branden picked out himself on Saturday. Kids can bring anything. Here's what B chose for next week.
I have since packed all his snacks up, placed them in a ziplock and written his name on the ziplock. ; )
Noah's test from Saturday, he got 100%. And his first packet that need to be done by Monday. And his pencils and pencil sharpener.
A basic raincoat for the ensoku and the wet wipes he also needs according to the ensoku list. ; ) Hey, at least I'm getting things knocked off the ol' list! : ) I'm so good with a list! You give me a list? I'll have those listy things knocked off and scratched off in no time! ; ) True that! : )
In other news. Branden had his eyes tested at school. In Japan, schools test at the beginning of the school year (April)...Branden tested for his hearing, perfect, his eye sight, which has improved, his teeth which are flawless and never had a cavity. And Noah also was tested for sight and teeth which both were fab as well. This paper says....in October Branden tested, a C in one eye and a B in the other eye. Which we were not notified until December about it. And then we took him to a thorough eye doctor and got him glasses in December but with the end of the year and the first week being closed because of New Years. He got them first day they reopened after New years. Like January 6th or something. Anyway....he was tested again just recently. And now it says....with glasses he's obviously an A in both eyes. But now without glasses, he is a B in both eyes. So that is definitely an improvement. From a C to a B with vision. Anyway, if his eyes improve even further, we will get him a lighter prescription of glasses in December when we get him a new pair anyway. Or perhaps he might only need them for reading and homework situations. We don't know, we'd have to talk to the doctor about it, in Decmber when they test him again. But in anycase. It's a step in the right direction at least. An improvement in vision for Branden. Yay! : )
The mother's luncehon was fantastic and so much fun! The food was yumm! The pasta, salad, pork, dessert. a 5 course lunch was had. The bread, just everything. We decided who would work on the album or the graduation party. This is for next year obviously but they plan that in advance. My friends went with...handling the end of the year party when they graduate, so I signed up for that as well. So that's been done. We also got to lightly talk about what tasks we might want for the Summer festival this year. I said, I'd be doing the games. Because I absolutely love doing the games. It was not decided decided last Thursday but lightly discussed for sure. The info packets on each child were so fun to read. I learned so much about the other pink badge kids. One of Noah's friends favorite thing is riding his bike and his other friends favorite thing is ultraman. Very good to know. ; ) A lady is about to start hula and my good friend the Jogo-san is into gardening. I think this was a creative way for us all to get to know each other. Hopefully they got to learn something new about Noah and I, as well. ; ) I also asked the table I sat at, during our meal....what do you ladies with older kids do about shuji? Meaning do they wear aprons, smocks, change of clothes? Seriously, I didn't go to school in Japan. I really have no experience myself. This was a great topic, they all knew so much. And I was amazed how much information these ladies knew and their knowledge helped me out big time! One said...oh you know that anti staining stuff...didn't work. I was thinking...what anti staining shuji stuff? ; ) And others chimed in yup yup. I was like...@_@. Best thing and what everyone agreed was...send your kid with an old or cheap black outfit that you wouldn't mind if it got ruined. And a smock or apron on top. I took their advice to heart and thatis why, we did buy B those cheap pair of black cargo shorts. Because we did not own any black shorts or pants. Anyway the mother's luncehon, such fun! : )
This week, I have my movie meet-up with my two good friends, Noriko-san and Jogo-san. I can hardly wait, to see Alice in Wonderland. Anyway I guess that's all for now. : )

Monday, April 19, 2010

Stuff from the week!!! : )

Branden's class started with shuji last week. This is the first one he brought home. It says...1. ; )
I think he did pretty good! And I have it proudly hanging on the refrigerator as we speak.
Made tostadas last week.
Man, they were good. Americans sure do love Mexican food. If we had a Taco Bell here, we'd be thrilled. ; )
Could not send Noah to school with tostadas the next day, so defrosted one of the frozen chicken breasts in the freezer.
Skillet fried it and made chicken teriyaki out of it, last Thursday.
White rice with sprinkles, chicken teriyaki, veggie and peaches and 2 jelly's.
Thursday after the boys went to school, I went to a DIY to look for some flowers for our hanging baskets on the front porch. If you can see it was indeed raining last Thursday. I was looking for,
"impatiens", they're a nice flower and I planted them in the hanging baskets last year and they really did well on the porch. They really thrived. So, I'd like to get them this year as well. But the lady working there said, this season has been very cold and so it's too cold yet to get them in. This year they've been delayed. So, I'll wait another week or two before heading back to the FIY place again. At least I tried though. : )
After leaving the gardening shop, last Thursday I headed to swim club. I had the paperwork ready to be switched and so, as of May 7th or 8th. After Golden week, let's put it that way. Noah will be switched to the B course. So, he will have a few more swims in the A course until after Golden Week. I also signed Branden up for the Golden Week compressed course for swimming. I showed him the flier, and he said he'd like to do it. For Spring break, they also had a compressed course and I showed B the flier from then and he said..."nah he wasn't interested for Springbreak" And I said, okie dokie. I showed him the flier this time around and he said..."he wanted to do it" So, it's always Branden's choice. And he wanted to do it, so I signed him up.
This is the compressed course Branden will be lucky enough to take part in for Golden Week. He's gonna love it. Noah and I will be taking him there all that week.
Last Friday's obento for Noah. Pizza toast, a couple fries and veggie, peaches and jelly's.
While the boys were at school last Friday I zipped to the grocery store. Bought our weekly groceries and headed home. Hmm. I tell you..everyday, I am here or there. I'm always doing something.
Branden needed more of those cleaning clothes. Apparently they use them for shuji as well as cleaning the school. Hmm. Another umbrella for B.
And then I packed up both the boys swimming bags for last Friday. And headed out. First stop? Pick up Noah from yochien.
Popcorn, in a ziplock. I always bring snacks because being as active as they are at swimming school they need them.
Noah went downstairs for exercise warm ups. And I read a magazine, while I was waiting for the kids to come out to swim. Noboru brought B to swim club and that saved me a trip.
Oh yeah, so Friday Branden tells me..."mommy, I need an obento for school tomorrow" Whhhhat???" I thought holy batman! Noboru confirmed I needed to send him with an obento. The sensei did not tell the kids until the day before, Branden quickly wrote that down in his renrakucho Friday.Talk about being a bit taken off guard. If I had known earlier, I would have bought something special at the grocery store that day. We reread every letter he brought home and nowhere did it state.."needs an obento." I knew ahead of time obviously he had class Saturday, I knew us parents would attend observation day Saturday. But nowhere did it state obento. Bless that last frozen chicken breast in the freezer I save for emergency obentos. Because it was indeed a surprise. ; ) I thawed it Friday night, And Saturday morning, I made Branden some yakitori, rice, veggie, a couple fries. A banana, some jellys, a Snickers mini and a Milky Way mini. And a thermos with drink and ice.
Saturday morning dropped of Branden at school after making his lunch and stuff. And in the afternoon. Around 1:30pm, we headed to the shogako. Noboru, Noah and myself. We waited in the hall until the bell rang. Aha, this was the 3rd graders class. The shuji hanging in the hall, was a dead giveaway. : )
The entire class had to stand up and give a speech. Branden's turn came up and here he is. Love the new flat screen TV's our school just got. Three cheers for the revenue we get from Narita airport. They also have a state of the art computer room. Branden and his class used the computers last week for the first time. Granted he uses our home PC at home sometimes when he's searching for a Beyblade or pokemon. Or emailing grandpa. But first time at school. Looks like the 3rd grade is going to be a good year.
Well done kiddo!!! Oh yeah about the teacher. Her pic is above. She's the short lady on the left. ; ) Branden's description was old and short. Here's my thoughts. I personally didn't find her all that old. I was half expecting to see the "crypt keeper" by the description. Granted she is not as youthful as the Yuka-sensei. I think the Yuka-sensei, was a year older then Noboru and I. And the Yuka-sensei had tons of energy. So while she is definitely quite a lot older then the Yuka-sensei. To be fair this new teacher is not like 108 years old or anything. ; ) But short was very accurate and that's okay. : )
After coming home from the Observation day this Saturday. We all relaxed. And around 4pm Noah took himself a nap. Meanwhile I had Branden roll out the pizza dough. I had made it in the AM and let it sit all day.
Pepperoni for the kids and pepperoni and veggie for me. Hubby had to work Saturday evening so it was just us for dinner.
The boys and I enjoyed homemade pizza Saturday night. Some tropical punch with ice. We watched TV and just hung out.
Sunday, the rice farmers came to plant the rice.
See the close up? They sure did a lot of work on that Sunday. They work so hard!
Any tidbits? Anything to add? (thinking) Nothing really major that comes to mind. I think every one's caught up with us here. Besides running the kids to school and swim club and Kumon. The only thing I have to do this week, is go to the mother's luncheon on the 22nd. At 11am. This is the first time ever in the history of "mother's luncheon" that I literally cannot wait to go. Why? Because this seasons new PTA members decided for the pink badges. No standing up and speech giving was needed and/or necessary. Why? Because we already did that before. Whoever came up with that idea is a genius. Let's be honest. I have read top 10 lists of fears. In the past and something that often comes up on the list is..."a fear of public speaking in bigger crowds" and I know that and believe you me...I REALLY "get that" . It's not just a Gina thing. It's a common dislike for a large number of the population. Granted, teaching a group of kids is fun for me and no big deal at all. Or chatting with my close friends during lunch. Chatting with anyone really I don't mind at all. But just standing up in front of many many people. Forget it. When Branden went to yochien, they made us, get up and stand up.... Every. Single. Freaking. Time! I know lots of people dreaded it. I know I certainly did. Dreaded it like the plague, I tell you!!! Dread! And now that Noah's in yochien. I thought, oh great....I expected to endure this torture 3 times a year, meaning the speech giving. I know I wasn't the only one dreading it either. And then...this time around, some really brilliant members of the PTA said...we will instead write our answers, and I gather they'll all be configured in a booklet? Or I don't know. The questions were as follows....What is Noah really into these days? I just said, beyblade and kori-oni
Does Noah have any siblings? I answered, yes he has 1 older brother, and he is a graduate of this same yochien and currently a 3rd grader.
I forget the last two questions. But it was actually really very very fun. To get to answer these questions. Versus standing up and feeling 100's of sets of eyeballs all on you. I am 100% looking forward to this luncheon. And I cannot wait! Thank goodness for the new PTA for the pink badges. 2 big thumbs up from me!
Noah's Kumon update: we have a meeting with the Kumon sensei this coming Saturday for Noah. He will be testing and enrolling this coming weekend. So, he will be starting shortly.
Branden is home with me today. No school for our shogako today since the kids went to school Saturday. And we have been just hanging out together all day. : ) We'll be picking up Noah from yochien later today. And be taking Noah to swim club.