Thursday, October 13, 2011

The busiest week I've had in a long time (work, observation day, undokai rehearsal, a Costco run) Randoseru bought, and a new level in Kumon

You ever have a week that's so busy, that it seems everyday you have a million things to do, that need to get done. And you frankly wonder, "will I survive this week?" That pretty much describes the week I just had last week. : ) On Monday, last Monday, after sending both Branden and Noah to school, one with an obento. I came home, hung laundry, cleaned the house for an hour. Then I went over my 2 lessons that I'd be teaching the next day. I went over them and over them saying them in the kitchen. After that, I had prepped dinner, set the timer on the rice, etc. And then went and did my afternoon pick ups. Dropped of both the boys at Kumon. Ran home started dinner, when my cell rang, it was the boys, they were done. I said, I'd be there in 5 minutes, they know not to leave the building until they see my tiny red car. Which is what they did. Ran back home, they got unpacked and I served dinner. After dinner Branden started in on his school homework. I meanwhile opened my lessons for the next day again. Went through them one more time. I sent the boys to shower, and pj's. And then they rested and watched TV. Noah has been watching TV upside down lately. : ) Noboru came home. Ate. Showered. Tuesday, I woke up, got dressed, put my makeup on. Flat ironed my hair. And put my work clothes on. Fixed breakfast, made obento. Noboru was to drop the both of them off, he was more then willing to. In fact he wanted to make Noah's obento, but Noah was worried about daddy's obento. : ) Poor Noboru. I did dress Noah in his gym uniform and packed him an extra shirt since it's undokai practice. And I left. I drove 1 hour to the hoikuen I teach at. Met my teaching partner in the parking lot, we went over the lesson. This particular school, we leave out the role play. Good morning-ed everyone as we walked in. The kids saw me...Gina sensei....Gina sensei! I waved and got all smiley. Went upstairs and we waited for the kids. They came in. Taught the younger class first. I pretty much rocked it! Went through vocabulary. Sang songs. Went through, the ol' "may I have your name please" which city do you live in?....do you have any brothers..do you have any sisters. Just the little things I go through which each kid, so they are comfortable answering and stuff. They left, I high fived everyone as they left the gymnasium where we teach at. Good bye..bye..see you...buh bye...bye, see you. I must say that 100 times a day at least. : ) Got ready for the next class. This went so well too. They're the older class, they're all very similiar to Noah's age. Half this class is 5 years old and half this class are 6 years old, so same as Noah's age. About 50 kids again. Went through the whole thing. At 11:15, it was over, high fived everyone all over again. Went downstairs, chit chatted with the principal as we usually do, my teaching partner and I. This particular principal. He LOVES America. I mean like really. He says he has tons of books on American culture you name it. And if it's American he has a book on it. He always wears an English T-shirt and this time his shirt read...Converse an American original. He loves the fact that he has an American teacher teaching there. This time, he wanted to talk about....the musical Wicked. We then spoke about the Wizard of OZ. Then the subject turned to Halloween. To Star Wars @_@ not sure how we ended up on that. Then to vampires. I have to be a jack of all trades chit chatting with the principals. Especially this guy. Last time he wanted to chat about...because of obon about to happen that time, he asked about how often I visit my family grave in the US. @_@ When I lived in Denver, how often did I visit. This guy is so interesting to talk to. Around 11:50am we left. I took off my sneakers slipped on my ballet shoes, waved to the principal. My teaching partner and I left, we walked to our cars. She drives a Prius. I hopped into my tiny red car and left. Went to the store. I picked up the miso pork. 60% of the time, I make my own miso pork, but if I'm busy like I was that day, I don't mind buying the kind at the store already marinated. Just makes my life easier. : ) Which I did. Picked up Noah. Noah, myself and the miso pork went into the house. I put the pork into the fridge. No laundry hung that day, so I did 1 load and used the dryer. Switched clothes. Put my hair into a pony tail. Vacuumed and that was it for that day. For dinner, we had miso pork, rice, veggie and the boys had miso soup. Noboru had a swing shift so he couldn't eat with us.
Every evening on the Foodies channel. How it's called here. Not to be confused with the Food Network in the US. Anyway, every night I have been watching.."Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives." Or something like that. They go all over the US. Find comfort food. Not fancy restaurants but good simple American home cooking type places. I love this show. And Mon-Fri, I always check at 8:30pm to see if it's on. Sometimes it is, sometimes it's not. This was Rosie O'Donnell. She was eating there the morning this show was taping there.
The turkey, mashed potato and stuffing dinner.
They said, they roast 2 turkeys every day at this particular place. Yumm. The seasoning on the turkey looked so good.
Another restaurant, American style southern fried chicken. Yumm.
All the country side dishes. Homemade mac and cheese.
Wednesday, was the day we would run to Costco and do a few other errands in the Makuhari area. I was on a time crunch since I had to pick up both Branden and Noah. So, first thing that morning, I quickly made onigiri for Noah since it was onigiri day. Our Catholic yochien has onigiri day every other Wednesday, the lemon tea coin bank collects money and gives it to the less fortunate. They really do send money to different countries because they send letters to our yochien. I read the letters because they're in English and they do post them in the genkan at the school.
Ran to all the spots we had to beforehand. And at 12:30pm, we arrived at Costco. Noah gets out of school at 2pm. Thank goodness, we signed him up for Kagai that day. And he had a set play date to play with his best friend. So, he would play there until 3pm with his best friend. Noah does kagai about once every other week and plays with his buddy's. We still knew we had barely zero time to be at Costco. So, we looked ridiculous because we basically ran into the store, ran through the upstairs, took the escalator with huge cart downstairs and ran all over down in the basement level at Costco. Within 30 minutes or way less we left. Felt like in 5 minutes. : ) 1 Halloween pumpkin. The pumpkins never really look all that fresh to me. I know it's the best they can do, they are brought all the way from America. But many at the store had moldy tops. I usually buy 2, but the looks of these, I bought just 1.
1 box of waffles.
Pasta sauce and dinner rolls.
Popcorn.
And a pizza for dinner.
We picked up Noah at 3pm. Barely barely made it. We just live too far and that's even with the highway and the expensive toll fee. Branden got out at 3:45pm, so we went directly from yochien to the Plaza with food still in the car. It was raining buckets. After all that running around we were exhausted. However Noah had swimming. We quickly put everything away. And after swimming we came home whacked this pizza in the big oven and had dinner. Quick dinner that night. After showers. I let the boys take the first bath of the Fall season. They soaked and I heard them playing upstairs in the tub, singing and splashing. I meanwhile was going through all the things I had to do the following day. I was asleep by 10pm every night last week.
Also can't leave out Noah. Noah passed a test in English reading and writing at Kumon. He is now a level D. Which is quite high.
We work quite hard on their studies. I work on the English with them here at home all the time. I read to them nightly. They each have an English workbook. That is made by teachers and it's a full years curriculum. It does science in English, American history in English...math... verbs, adjectives. homophones. You name it, Branden's learned it. And Noah is learning it. Plus the English Kumon, and I love it because they get to study English and see others study it too. It's all self study so at each persons pace. But seeing others do English is positive for them. And just because I'm an American doesn't automatically mean they'll be English natives like me. But they are....they are 100% bilingual. Speaking, reading, writing. Little American accents the whole shebang. So, I must be doing something right. : )
And he didn't just pass, like barely. He passed 100% out of 100!!! Right on Noah, and yes we are proud of you! Rightfully so!
These are the bath powders I picked. From different famous onsens. The boys enjoyed the hot bath Wednesday. But, I waited until after getting through Thursday. I knew Thursday would be my most busy day. So a hotbath here at home was my reward to myself for Thursday.
Thursday morning. Made breakfast times 2. Made obento for one. Got myself ready. Flat ironed my hair, makeup, got dressed. And ready for working/helping out at Noah's yochien. The oldest class is the sakura-gumi/class. Then we have bara and yuri-gumi.
The kids giving speeches to start off the undokai this year. 1 red hat/1 white hat from the oldest class this year and Noah was picked!!! : ) He's been practicing his speech for 2 weeks now. Bless his heart. I was so proud.
He's also the one leading the entire school in the taiso/exercise. One white hat, that's Noah and 1 red hat will lead the entire school. Yes, Noah is really in the undokai a lot this year as a lead role! Which means he is definitely a good kid! Again, I was so proud.
I saw the entire undokai rehearsal. @_@ I saw the teeny tiny class do their dance number and clapped. Saw the middle class do theirs, clapped cheered. Saw the oldest class, the Sakura class do theirs and I also cheered and clapped. I talked to many mothers.
Then the final race of the year. The one everyone looks forward to all year long!!!! The entire school relay. From youngest to gradually the oldest class. Who is closing this year? Well, if you see the white sash Noah is wearing you'll know he is the anchor for the entire school's white team. Yeah talk about pressure right? Wink wink. : ) At 11:05am, the undokai rehearsal was finished, but they were lingering talking. They all knew I had to get to my town for Branden's observation day. So, I threw on my necklace name tag for our town. Ran to Noah, he knew beforehand though...I said, "mommy has to go to Branden's school now" told a few mom's good bye. And I hopped in my car and quickly got myself to my tiny town. I keep a pair of slippers in my car at all times. So, I grabbed my slippers, with name badge around my neck, parked my car, ran up the hill to Branden's elementary school. Signed my name and ran up 2 flights of stairs.
The boy next door in the red long sleeve top. And Branden in the navy top in front. Branden's favorite subject is math, so he asked me to show up for that particular class.
I watched the math class for the entire class from start to when the bell rang. Branden smiled at me twice, I smiled at the boy next door, a fast wave at Daisuke, and A-chan. I was there. I made it! I went to work that week. I ran to Costco that week. I took the kids to Kumon, Noah to swim club. I managed to make obento daily. Make breakfast daily, and dinner every evening. I showed up for the undokai rehearsal, and I even showed up for Branden's observation day. I did everything I was supposed to do last week. Granted I did not clean the house as much as I usually do during a usual week. I also didn't work out but twice last week either. : ( *But*...I survived the week and that's the silver lining. I did not let anyone down, not my kids, not the yochien, nor my kids I teach. Seriously, I should have high fived myself. : ) After leaving Branden's school. I went home, prepped for dinner. Then swung back to the city to pick up Noah, then went all the way back to pick up Branden. Back and forth, back and forth. : ) Then dropped the both of them off at Kumon. At this point, I was beat/tired, flat out pooped. Brought them home. emailed my dad....I said, "I survived...I have seriously bloodshot eyes, but I made it. : ) Now I am going to make dinner." I made dinner. They ate, Branden did homework. They showered. And you know while they sat watching TV relaxing. I went upstairs. Tied my hair up. Quickly showed, washed my makeup off, soaped my body and rinsed. I then set the bath. The thing I had been longing for. Looking forward to. A long hot soak with some bath powder. Bliss.


In other news. Noah's randoseru, has been bought. Randoseu are the Japanese backpacks that kids in elementary school use and carry. They are quite expensive. You can pick, leather or something that looks like leather. The one thing most people worry about is, the weight of the backpack. Real leather can be very heavy for kids especially when you also add the books. The ones that look like leather, always show how heavy the backpack is when you buy. Because the weight of it, is a concern. Also if you choose real leather you will have to take care of the leather, conditon the leather etc. Which if you don't mind. That's fine. The ones that look like leather are, waterproof and with living in a typhoon prone country and moldy country, we picked nonleather for Branden. It was handmade, just as pricy as real leather but we've loved it. Branden's we bought in October or November of his last year of yochien. When the school sent out the catalog. Now this time around, the yochien gave us 4 yochien backpack catalogs at the end of July. Took me off guard wasn't expecting the catalogs that soon. Noboru's coworkers, , 2 of his coworkers have kids Noah's age. They both said they bought their randoseu in August??? @_@ It was a cheaper time of year, they said. Yadayada. I did not buy in August. Noboru suggested we do. But I wondered would I buy last years model? Not that it matters but.... Hmm. I held out. Though I was looking. I knew the particular color I wanted for Noah. And the style. I looked for month's. I found 3. 1 was real leather. Noboru said, please don't pick real leather it's going to be a real pain if we get that, you'll see. I sort of agree. So, that one was out. I kept debating the last 2. And finally we picked. We picked Noah's randoseru mid September, it is the 2012 model, the new ones came out in September. It is SO cute! It is handmade, being made in Osaka. Will be shipped here to our home at the end of October. We've been getting weekly emails from the company making it. On the progress of Noah's backpack.

So, all in all, we've just been so busy. Especially all of last week. Superly busy. The mini hot bath at home, was so appreciated by me last Thursday night. : ) Another thing that kept me going, was the thought of our trip to Hakone. And the Disneyland trip. Work hard... play equally hard, right? I kept thinking...you'll pull through and next week you can soak and not have a care in the world. That very thought kept me going strong. : )