Thursday, June 30, 2011

Noah's first over night stay with the yochien!!! The nencho class trip!

Last Friday, Noah had his first time ever over night trip. He's never slept away from us before. : ( You know, when I was growing up, in America with my family. It was normal stuff for all us grand kids to go and stay at my grandma's for an over night. Usually all us girls would go and another time all the boys would go. Or they'd all come and sleep at my house or we'd all go and sleep at one of my aunties house. Staying one night with family was always fun. We always had good food and always had someone to play with. Sliding down the carpeted stairs at my aunties house...bump bump bump bump all the way down. Aww all those good memories. 7 different boxes of cereal out in the mornings and all of us eating breakfast together. My cousins and I also went to the same Catholic school growing up, so we were always together. Just always. It was so much fun growing up the way I did. Or I'd also have friends, my classmates stay the night when I was in elementary school. Like once a month or so often. Anyway with me being in Japan and with us living far away from my family and also away from Noboru's family since they are all in Osaka and Noboru's work is based here in Narita. Sleepovers just have never happened for our children. Anyway when Branden was in yochien. And I got the notice that he'd be having his first sleepover... first time ever one. And it wouldn't be with family. It would be with the yochien. I felt nervous. And a little unsure. I packed everything for Branden on the list. And the day Branden left, I smiled and waved, but inside my heart broke. I feel silly admitting that. The whole evening, just the 3 of us, Noboru, Noah and myself. It felt like someone was indeed missing. I cooked for 4...I always cook for 4, but now there were 3. I tried my best to have a good night, but I missed Branden terribly. I think even around 11pm when no one else was looking, I cried. I missed him so badly. : ( You know...when you leave the hospital and you are now to take care of this little angel baby, protect him, love him and all the good things. When they suddenly say...he's now going away for 1 night. Logically yes you know it's just one night, duh. But you still feel and miss your child and understandably so. Needless to say, I was so relieved to pick Branden up the next morning. And needless to say he was absolutely fine. Awww hindsight is 20/20 isn't it!!!! : ) And when the pictures came back from the sleepover. Branden in a big huge sento with his bestfriend Genki. Branden eating dinner next to his friends. Smiling. Branden sleeping right next to Genki. They reinacted a play and Branden was Captain Hook and all smiles. I realized....I shouldn't have been so nervous. And I wish I could redo it. But the good side is...I never told Branden how sad or nervous I was and so from his perspective it was fun and we were fine. Phew! Now fast forward! Awww the wisdom from having done this once before!!!! Nothing beats experience of having gone this road once before like I said, I tell ya! So, I got a letter a month ago about Noah's upcoming sleep over. Aha, I thought, I won't waste my night moping like last time. Things will be different this time...and they were! : ) Now for Noah's turn! The note was quite extensive and detailed. It said, the towelket "must" be in a bag all on it's own! @_@ Jiminy crickets...this is why we own a handful of different bags. You know for the type of things like, needing a swimming bag at the yochien, or the other many bags both boys often need for things like this. @_@ Ha ha ha. Check and check. If you caught the Branden's first overnight trip" post years ago. We didn't have a towelket, and what that is, is basically a towel material blanket..summer blanket to sleep under since a regular blanket would be too hot with the heat plus the humidity. So think big giant towel and you get the general idea. Anyway since we were ordering Branden's online those many years ago, Branden got a Stitch one. We went ahead and ordered Noah's at the same time too. The list of Branden's said to name label the towelket. Noboru at the time suggested we get a big giant marker and write Branden on it. LOL. And I can't sew to save my life. But I went.... if your remember the original posts years ago, I went and got letters and sewed Branden's name on his, Noah's name on his. This 10 minute sewing job took me, about an hour! But I did it...and I was so proud of myself for surviving putting their names on it! Phew. Flash forward years later to now, Noah's still using his Paddington Bear towelket. And how did he wind up with a Paddington Bear towelket? The place online....the only 2 characters that weren't from a Japanese cartoon were Stitch and Paddington Bear. Branden being 5 at the time, quickly picked Stitch. Noah being a 23 month old at the time... really didn't care what towelket he got, he was more interested in toddling and playing bubbles outside to really have a vote either way. So he sort of ended up with, Paddington Bear by default. Which is sorta interesting too....because so many people have asked cool where did you get that. Boy next doors mom loves it each time she sees it hanging outside for example, or when Noah took it to Osaka, a few years back it was a hit there too, go figure, lol. : ) It is cute...but just interesting because we never went out looking for it, is what I mean. Okay so the towelket all fresh and clean and folded with name on it in bag all by itself. @_@ Check! : )
Some people can sew so good and so fast, it would take them seconds to do this. Meanwhile....I'm so proud because I'm not gifted with regards to sewing type things. So when I see Noah's and it says Noah on it, or Branden's and it says Branden on it...I think wow... I did it. "Ms. can't sew to save her life", did it! Yay! Feelings of great accomplishment. What else did the note paper/list say....
2 sets of clothes, 1 is a spare for emergency purposes that they asked us to pack. In the outfit bag they need 1 pair of underwear and 1 pair of socks. And each outfit must be in a separate bag all by itself. You also need pj's and a comb/brush and toothbrush. And everything must be in it's own bag and named. Again..jiminy crickets! Good thing I started packing for this last Wednesday. : ) To be ready for Friday. : )
Brush and toothbrush bag labeled with Noah's name. Oh yeah and you needed a spare bag for the dirty clothes. Which was the Unqilo bag under the toothbrushes.
And they wanted a chisai towel/hand towel so they could dry themselves after the bath. They didn't want the kids to take standard size bath towel, since they'd be drying themselves. Noah borrowed Branden's Ultraman chisai towel. That's H's favorite character. And both H and Noah know all the poses and stuff. So he asked to borrow Branden's Ultraman one and Branden said sure! Now all these years later now that they have their own favorite Japanese characters, too bad I couldn't have found an ultraman towelket, ha ha ha. : )
I looked at the stuff, turned to read the list, then once again checked the stuff and back to the list again and read it again. Okay every thing seems/seemed right, I didn't forget a thing. Phew! : )And packed it all up, Wednesday afternoon. I also earlier in the day washed and hung dry Noah's towelket outside Wednesday morning, since Thursday predicted rain and it did. So it was really nice and clean.
The last time for Branden's time, we met at the city hall and a great big limousine bus drove them. This time since the school has their own bus, we met at the yochien. Last Friday the entire school, the red badges and pink badges even though they weren't having the sleep over. The entire school got off at 11:30am. This was so the blue badge kids could eat at home.... relax, the mom's could pack. Though I packed Wednesday, lol. So typically me, I know...sorry. : ) So at 11:30am, I picked up Noah. I said, would you like to go to Mc D's for lunch? Yay! So, we went inside, I had a goma cup salad. And Noah had 1 cheeseburger happy meal/set. And he also had 1 shaka shaka chicken. Hmm yet he's still rail thin! Go figure! : ) Anyway. We went home. He went to the bathroom,then he sat in his house clothes. Laid on the couch, had a popsicle and watched cartoons. Had downtime basically. Rested. Got out his zip scooter from the shed and zipped around the patio out back for a while then came back inside and had another popsicle. And around 1:50pm, I had Noah put his uniform back on, put a fresh pair of clean socks on him. And we got his 2 bags and left the house. Noah was talking to me from the back seat as he was all strapped in. "am I going to be okay?" I sensed a little unsure-ness from Noah. I don't want him to be sad, so I said...oh yes, you are so lucky! You get to play with Hikaru-kun all evening now! Really??? He said. Good. besides I said to Noah...did we look at Branden's yochien scrapbook all this week and we saw his cool pictures from his sleepover...didn't that look like fun? Yes, he was with Genki. Yep, he was, I said! And is Branden okay? Did he survive the sleepover? I said with a smile.... Noah thinks for a second..yes of course. Yes that's right. In fact he's better then alright he had the time of his life. Noah thinking some more...yes you're right! Okay...I'm ready to go to my sleepover now. : ) And so, I turned up the ipod a little louder and we Hall and Oates all the way to the yochien. : ) We also talked briefly about the sleep over for weeks. Just basically the same stuff. And so he was ready. The mom's that are first timers, the ones where these are their older kids. Were understandably a little nervous. One mom, was a lot nervous. She's my good friend. But she son, he's never been away from me. I told her... Noah's never slept away from us either and you know what.. I totally understand I really do. I went through that before with my older son too exactly. I even cried at home that night.... I told her. : ) I then said if it helps at all even a dot...they're going to take a big sento type bath. She said...they are? Relief just flashed across her face. And they'll play osumo type matches. Play dress up. They really will have a fun time. But I do totally understand you're feeling 100% because I felt like that before too. From one mother to another...I just wanted to validate her feelings. Although I did tell her what they'd be doing. I think she felt a little bit better. I even told her...if it helps, I'm still going to be really sad this time around too, I know it. : ) Then next thing you know...they all lined up the kids. I smiled at Noah... he was watching my face the whole time. I gave him the thumbs up!
And they all filed to the big yellow yochien bus. 6 female teachers were to be staying with the 20-25 kids (nencho class/blue badge class) plus the secretary and the encho sensei (principal) all ladies. : ) I waved as the bus passed me and my other mom friends all waved too. The windows were half opened, I said...bye Noah have fun!!!!! I waved until the bus pulled away down the street. The meet up time was 2:30pm... the departure time of the bus was 2:45pm. Branden was getting off at 3:30pm. And I live way way in a different tiny town not in that city, so at 2:50pm, I left, drove home. Got home at 3;10pm. Checked email and at 3:20pm went and picked up Branden. He came out at 3:30pm. And he had known Noah would be at his sleep over. So we had a date night set for us.
I told Branden, okay daddy won't be home for supper. Noah's not going to be home with us tonight. So it's just you and I, kiddo. Would you like to eat at Coco's? They have that great drink bar. Or would you like to eat KFC or??? Branden said...KFC. Okay, KFC it is then! : ) So the 2 of us went to KFC. We were like their only was so quiet in there it was almost awkward walking in there. : ) We each had a chicken sandwch and fries and drink set. We talked about Branden's day and I told him all about mine and also how Noah was when he left for his sleepover.
After the KFC, I drove us to the Ministop and we each picked our own dessert. I picked the strawberry one. Branden and I enjoyed our night very much. After we ate our dessert. We played 1 round of bowling on the Wii. And then I sent Branden upstairs to shower and get his pj's on. And when he came out, I ran upstairs and showered too. Came down with night gown/tee. Blow dried my hair and put my hair in a pony tail, wow my hair is getting long! And we popped some popcorn and we watched a dvd. Branden on one side of the L shaped couch and me on the other side, the popcorn in the center and we enjoyed the movie. Branden had told me a few times during our evening, I'm having so much fun with you. And he was really enjoying our time together. And I definitely had to ditto that. : ) Around 9pm, I tucked him in bed and before bed Branden said...mommy, it's really weird here without Noah.....I miss him! That made me smile, I said...I know too. But he'll be home tomorrow morning. : ) I went downstairs. And by now Noboru was about to be home. He also said...the feeling of the house is different. I agree. A house used to having 4 in it...something was greatly missing with one of us gone. : ( We went to sleep. And the next morning we had breakfast and we left. The pick up time was at 10:30am. We left the house at 9am!!!! Yep, we missed Noah too much I guess. : ) To be fair though...the drive was a little far. So we got there around 9:50am. Though we did take the scenic route and drove slowly to kill time.

Noah was in the middle of nowhere. But then we live in the middle of nowhere to begin with, so that's okay. : ) See the scenery...looks like where we live. Yep we live in rice field country that's for sure. : ) If I zoom up a bit you'll see where Noah stayed....I'll zoom up right now...
That's the building right there and see that globe type building too, remember that one....
So many people kayaking. So many girls and boy scouts. And other classes doing over night stays in the facility. Branden said...I remember this place! were here a few years back!
We parked the car, we were set to sit and enjoy being in the car with the windows down and just waiting until the pick up time. By the way....there was 1 mother actually who arrived before us. : ) Anyway...we sat in the car and I looked way way across the parking area and I noticed something! I recognized those sensei's!!!! And I recognized those kids! And OMG! I see my son! Please don't laugh honestly took my breath away. I stood there just watching from afar.
This is with zoom off. I packed Noah that kakigori shirt...the orange one. the really pale orange one. It's more of a sherbet orange. So, I sat in the car and I followed with my eyes watching this beautiful happy little boy with the orange sherbet colored tee shirt running across the field. At that moment I missed him so! But I also saw how happy he was...running and smiling with his classmates and teachers. I still stood quietly in the car watching.
And then the teachers gathered the class and they all went inside the building again. But at least, I saw him. : ) I was happy.
And then a bigger/older class all about to go kayaking came out. And now more parents were parking their cars in the lot. And at 8 minutes beforehand, we all got out of our cars and stood outside. and waited.
Dolphins on the ceiling.
See the round building Noboru was walking near it. : ) Branden was meanwhile saying...we played here...and we played here. He was remembering all that fun he had there years ago. : )
Such a pretty place, such a modern place. Not bad for the countryside, eh? Ha ha ha. : )
And kayaks a plenty! That's what was in the round building. : )
See how the water trickled from one level to the next. You could hear running water, just the whole place felt so calming.

All of us parents were talking about how much we missed our kids. H's mom was telling us..H kept telling her all week, he hopes he gets to be in the same group as Noah-kun, because he wants to sleep near Noah and bathe and play with his best friend the whole time. We told her our feelings were the same : )...Noah was hoping the same thing and so were we. : ) And then who do we see walking towards us....the sensei's were walking the kids to us parents. Sighs of relief. Oh happy day!!! : ) Please don't let me have to go through this ever again, I thought. Ha ha ha. : ) Now the family feels complete again : )
And then I saw him...I locked my eyes on Noah. Couldn't take my eyes off him. A sight for sore eyes, let me tell ya!
Branden quickly helped and carried one of Noah's bags. Branden had a 100 things to tell Noah. Noboru had a 100 things to tell Noah. I think I had a thousand things to tell Noah. And he had about a million things to tell us. Noah was smiling and he said he had a blast!!!! He and H slept right next to each other. He said they had karaage, french fries and melon jello and all other sorts of things to eat. He said they reinacted a play and he was Peter pan!!!! Branden said...we did that play too...except I was Captain Hook and I got to have a cool hook for my hand!!! Noah was saying...oh I wish I could have a hook for a hand. @_@ Typical brother chatter going on...I had to chime in and say...nobody's getting hooks for hands in this family!!! : ) If we can help it! ; ) We all felt tons better Noah coming home. So there you have it...a small rite of passage... but a rite of passage nonetheless. : ) Noah's first over night sleep over...away from his family! : )

And for what it's worth, I hear the elementary schools around here have an overnight sleep over in the 5th grade. Our elementary school does and my friends other elementary that her daughters go to, also does. So, I gather Branden will be doing that next year. : ) Anyway there you have it...Noah's first sleep over. We all survived. While Noah had a blast! : )

Sunday, June 26, 2011

1 week from now, we'll be heading to Honolulu Hawaii

I mentioned about a month and a half ago that we were happily busy with planning our Summer trip. But didn't really talk about it anymore after that.

I guess now is as good a time as any, to share the details. : ) Our family of 4 is heading to Honolulu Hawaii next week. For a full week of fun in the sun! We've got a rental car. We're staying at a really nice hotel. It's honestly all we've been thinking about and talking about in our house. Vacations are exciting that way, aren't they. : )

So next Sunday at this time, we'll be in an airplane on our way.

We've got our beach ball already. : ) And can barely wait to eat all that yummy food that we've missed. Play on all our favorite beaches. To be able to spend the 4th of July in the U.S. Sounds really nice. And to be able to spend Noah's birthday in the U.S. sounds good to us too. We're going to get Noah a birthday cake in Honolulu.

I haven't started packing yet. I wanted to wait until all our other things were finished. Such as Noah's rite of passage thing, that I'll get to tomorrow. Sorry I've not had more time to write about that yet. So this week, I'll be spending my time to pack for the boys and myself. Since Noboru prefers pack for himself. Which is fine. And I have to buy some snacks for the carry-on. But other then that, we're so totally looking forward to it.

Paradise here we come! Kailua beach, Hanauma Bay, Dole Pineapple Plantation, fabulous factory outlet mall shopping. Movies theaters a plenty, not to mention Target! And more. Strolling beautiful Waikiki beach, we can barely wait! Anyway that's where we'll be on our way to, 7 days from now. : )

My dad's 1 day visit and a new swim level for Noah

My dad and Noah around 2:20pm, we had just gotten home after being out all day. My dad and I, had went to lunch, we had tantanmen and deep fried gyoza. Then after that, we went to the Daiso and spent a good hour there. And then we even picked the boys up a donut pack (those mini donut ball kind) before heading to pick up Noah from yochien.
The Lightning McQueen bag Noah used for swimming at the yochien. A beach ball to take on vacation, next week. Mini sodas because my dad said the boys "needed" them, lol. @_@ A ball for dodgeball and for bouncing and 2 flashlights. Because on Skype the boys have told my dad how they now like to sleep with flashlight now. : ) Kids. : ) An origami book. And a whole bunch of other things that my dad picked and said he thought both Branden and Noah absolutely "needed". Life or death situation right? ; ) Ehhh my dad and the boys are really close. And it made him happy picking things for his only 2 grandchildren.
What my dad picked for himself or for his friends in Guam. Yep, he apparently thought one of his friends would get a kick out of toe socks, lol. : ) Also he says he keeps leaving his costlier sunglasses at home on accident. And many times needs a pair, so he bought these cheap pair to keep in his car all the time. He also bought a writing paper set....paper and envelops because he actually enjoys writing his friends real letters as well as email.
2 of those mini donut ball packs for both Branden and Noah. And 1 donut each for the rest of us too.
While my dad and I were watching Noah swim, we phoned Branden on my cell, my dad told him...there's a pack of donuts for you on the green counter. Branden asked my dad...grandpa whose stuff in on the kitchen table. While it's yours...yours and Noah's. meanwhile, Noah ate his donuts before swim class. : ) Noah starts swimming at 3:15pm, so we must be there by 3pm. Branden meanwhile got out at 3:30pm that day so Noboru picked up Branden and was home with Branden while we were able to handle swim class. And then headed back afterwards. : )
So there we were. Everyone in the world has been telling my dad to buy a digital camera, meanwhile he's still not sure : ) Anyway he took about 5 pictures of Noah down in the pool. I took some too. : ) He's so incredibly proud of both Branden and Noah, typical grandparent. : ) He sat there dazzled for the entire class.

It sure takes a lot of dedication to come here week after week. Month after month, year after year. But they love it. And I like them learning a life skill like swimming, it is pretty important. And Branden loved getting that trophy last year so much for mastering every technique and all levels, so he felt really accomplished. And Noah now wants that trophy as well. : )
It turned out to be a test day, go figure. My dad's been to swim club many times before, but he's never seen them actually come out with the "pass" paper. My dad was happily surprised. Noah gave the secretary 105 yen. And she in turn congratulated him and gave him his award paper with new badge on it. : )
When we got home Branden was so totally waiting. He did not want grandpa to go.: ( And neither did Noah. I didn't want them to be sad, so I switched it and made it a positive thing versus a negative one. I said...look how lucky you are, that you got to see grandpa in March and plus we are planning to see him in August when we head to Guam. But look at it this got 1 great day with grandpa. Am I right. Plus also consider a lot of kids who can't see their loving grandparents as often as you. : ( So please consider that too. And you will realize how lucky you are. So no time to be sad now..... Alright? Be happy. Glass half full or glass half's not an...I *only* got to see grandpa for 1 day. Instead how lucky you got to see grandpa for 1 special day. Right. And that seemed to do the trick. Their frowns turned upside down. Back to smiling boys. : ) It's not always what life gives's how you take or handle the situation. How you see things. Anyway... I'm glad they can learn from what I'm saying. : )
My dad asked about Branden's day. And Branden told him every little detail. And then before you know it, we had to take my dad back to Narita airport.
Sky priority is the business class/first class. Noboru went with my dad to check in. Noboru is protective of my dad too and wanted to make sure my dad eased right through the check in process. Because this was not a trip trip...It was a bumped trip. So now my dad was about to head through the TSA part... but there was a line. Branden and Noah were hugging him and telling him how much they love him. I hugged my dad really tightly and then... we all said like we always do...."it's not goodbye's see you later" And we all felt better and said...see you . : )
Noboru said...I don't want to leave the airport until your dad's flight leaves. This surprised me a little bit. He didn't mention it before, but I totally understood why. : ) He was worried about my dad being bumped again, which he wasn't. Anyway so we had an hour to kill at Narita airport. Noboru wanted to head to Uniqlo. He bought himself a pair of house shorts. Gray with an orange and white stripe. Cute ones. We loved this Ohsho tee. : ) But Noboru just needed the shorts. Under 1000 yen.
When we realized that yes, my dad got on the plane. About 5 minutes to departure. We went on the view area..on the deck area.

Noah had a full day. A day at yochien, an hour of swimming and getting to spend time with grandpa. We knew we'd be at a restaurant that evening because with us....being at the airport that long. No worries though. Noboru took us all to Saizeriya after we left the airport. : )
Many Delta planes. Since this is the terminal/area where they are.
Noboru called Branden and Noah over and gave them each 100 yen. Noboru said to me..."you know....when I was growing up, I always wanted to look through those pay binocular type things but my parents never let me. And I never forgot that. So....I don't want to be like that." My heart broke hearing that...though his parents are nice generous people, they were somewhat strict from what I heard from Noboru. I understand, I told him. : ) And so, he unzipped his change area on his wallet and gave both Branden and Noah 100 yen to enjoy the view. : )
And boy did they enjoy it!
Branden saw a few planes take off!
Noah enjoyed himself too.
Delta! : )
Noboru's house shorts in the Unqilo bag. And my eyebrow mascara in the smaller bag. : ) Anyway that was my dad's fast 1 day with us. We went to Saizeriya after leaving the airport, for dinner like I said. And then we drove home. Everyone took showers. A little unwind time and then off to bed. It was a full day but a worth it full day. : )
Noah the newest #9! Congratulations Noah, we are so proud of you! : )