Monday, February 28, 2011

Arriving in San Francisco and the drive to Los Angeles.

The flight from Narita to San Francisco was smooth. The boys were quiet, they enjoyed the flight. They also enjoyed their obento and snacks. They watched DVDs and played DS. I meanwhile watched 4 movies in the airplane. Since Noah's not 6 yet and we're still in economy seating, they blocked 6 seats for us. So, we had the whole 3 middle seats and 3 behind the first row. Configuration for this plane was 2 seats then the middle row was 3 then the right side of the plane was 2 seats, so 2...3 and then 2. So which is why we had 2 rows of 3 seats. Branden was able to stretch out and stretch his legs on the empty seat. And Noah did too. Noah also slept for quite a few hours of the flight and Branden did too. I meanwhile sat and sat and sat and sat. @_@. : ) : ) The flight attendants recognizing my husband right away, knowing we were non-revs took very good care of us for the whole flight. So it was a nice uneventful flight.
We zipped right through immigration and customs. And took the public transportation. The train to our rental car. It's called the BART. Bay Area Rapid Transit (which equals..the BART: ) See behind the boys, it's says BART tickets. : ) Taking the BART was very nice, very convenient and very easy to use. Which is interesting because I can't take a train in Japan if my life depended on it. I drive here. But the BART system was so easy. It was raining like crazy from the time we landed in San Francisco until we drove away and left San Francisco. It seriously never let up. And the weather was cold. It was seriously so cold. We were actually shivering as we were at the car rental place looking for our car in the parking lot. Which basically meant any plans and hopes of site seeing around San Francisco were just not going to happen. This bummed Noboru out a lot because he loves San Francisco. And wanted to site see with us as a family. But...with the weather the way it was...it just wasn't possible.
About to enter....
Now safely in our toasty warm rental car. But look at the rain...we could barely see out the windows it was pouring down so hard. And the visibility was so bad, we could barely see. : ( We headed straight to the hotel. Checked in. Grabbed some extra jackets and went and had lunch right across the street from the hotel. At a Jack in the Box.
It was cheap....It was fast. And we were exhausted. The flight was 10 hours long. We ate and went right back to the hotel. We said we'd take just a one hour nap. But we ended up sleeping until 5pm-ish (we arrived at the hotel around noon). We slept for a few hours. We all brushed our teeth, popped our clothes on and went to Target. Thank goodness for Noboru's friends portable GPS, that thing helped us find everything including the closest Target to our hotel. The Target was huge...we just got a few things...like toothbrushes, toothpaste...shampoo and conditioner. Etc. And then headed to dinner. And then straight back to the hotel. We all took turns showering. Stayed up a bit watching TV. And then we went to sleep. We woke up freakishly early. Showered and dressed and had breakfast and left for the long drive to L.A.
This was our room in San Francisco. Nice, clean and a very warm heater which we had on high all night long. Considering the chilly temps in San Francisco.
Anyone see that new Neutrogena Naturals line? It's new and omg! It smells so good. We all used the face wash the whole trip. Noboru said it smelled lightly of green apples. It does smell amazing though.
It was part dark yet the sun was sorta coming up during our drive. And as you can tell by the rain drops on the windshield it was still raining.
There were cows and sheep all between San Francisco and Los Angeles. And many many fruit trees and fruit stands along the way.
It was such a long drive.
Fruit trees.
More fruit trees.
Fruit stand....one of the many.
More fruit trees and see the bee hives in the white boxes? So many of them too.
So much farmland.
Getting closer. And the weather was getting sunnier as well.
These mountains look a whole lot different then the Rocky Mountains. ; )
We saw many gas conserving Prius on the roads. Meanwhile we also saw many families driving in big RV's. So there are so many different types of people, different ways of thinking and mentalities. I found that all very interesting. : )
Entering Los Angeles city limits now for sures. So many cars, traffic, many different lanes. A 6 hour drive. But we made it! Woohoo! : )
A Raiders car. Hmm, definitely not in Bronco land. ; ) But we were happy to be there nonetheless! : )
Anyway you guys....I have so many posts to put/get up. I went through all my pictures first time this morning.... I felt overwhelemed by the sheer amount of pics. I am not sure how long it will take me to get every post up....I'd guess a few days. So bare with me. I will try to get one more post up today. But know...I am working on it. We are also battling jet lag here at the house. The boys went to sleep last night at 7:30pm. Woke up at 5:20am this morning. I went to sleep at 8pm last night. So yeah the jet lag is kicking our butts also. We did get back to Japan Friday in the evening. Saturday we went to the store to get food (groceries) and unpacking all the suitcases. And Sunday we spent the day just trying to get back into life in Japan. Noboru and Branden and Noah did yard work out back. And I cooked dinner. And did massive amounts of laundry in the day, which is all now done. Phew. Branden did all his homework while in California so he is caught up. But he has 2 makeup swimming days to do. He swam last night at the swim club. And came home afterwards and sleept right after eating dinner. We're all mixed up time wise, right now. : ) Anyway...just give me a few days and I'll slowly try to get everything posted and up.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Heading to San Francisco today and then on to Los Angeles.

Good morning everyone, I didn't feel right just leaving on vacation without saying good-bye first. : ) So, anyway....today we are leaving to California. We will be flying into San Francisco. The flight is 10 hours or so long. Umm, I haven't been to the US mainland in 2 years, so this is sort of exciting for us. : ) We will leave today (Thursday) and arrive US time very early Thursday morning (yep we will have 2 Thursdays : ). Get our rental car. Check into our hotel in the San Francisco area drop off any luggage and we'll freshen up. Then we'll sight see a bit in San Francisco. Because we will be no doubt jet lagged and our days and nights will be a bit mixed up, we are assuming we'll start getting really tired around 6pm. So we're sorta planning that. Going to sleep early and we'll probably wake up ridiculously early thanks to the jet lag and wake around 3 or 4 am. We plan to leave San Francisco Friday morning around 5-6am and drive the 6 hours or so to Los Angeles. We have a hotel booked there already too. We have a lot planned on that end (Knotts Berry Farm included and a trip the the museum etc). And then a day before we leave we will again drive all the way back to San Francisco stay one last night in San Francisco before flying out. We will be gone 1 whole week. Anyway so now you'll know why my blog is quiet this coming week or if I'm not around the blogosphere you'll at least know why. We're gone for the week. : ) Anyhow...what's with the picture up above? I'll be taking a small bag, that bag of mikans with us for the long flight. I know if we don't eat them, we will throw them in the plane since you can't bring any fruit in. But more then likely the family will have these eaten in the plane. : ) I know my family they'll eat them. Which is good. Fruits good. : ) I am also making 2 trays/disposable obento full of karaage and 1 plastic disposable obento of rice balls/onigiri. For the kids when they get hungry on the flight.
And what's in here? It's the carry-on snacks.
3 curry mini senbei.
And 2 salad/salt senbei plus the 3 curry ones.
2 mini packs of strawberry chocolate chip cookies and 1 regular chocolate chip cookies.
They're all the petite series so they're small. But they'll come in handy if the kids want a snack during that long flight.
Mini donuts and those chocolates are sorta like plain M&M's. And gum and hi chews (sp) (which are a real rare treat to have for my kids). I just think it's hard on their teeth and don't want them to get cavities. But for the flight I sorta let them. They're very quiet on the plane. : )
Okay so that's all folks. Plus the karaage obentos and rice balls. I am also going to buy 4 cheeseburgers at Mc D's right before we head to the gate. So they can have those too if they want. No fries they'd get cold and greasy and yuck by that time. But the burgers they can enjoy.
Packed all up. And ready to go. Branden and Noah's mini dvd player is all charged up, they have plenty of dvd's they picked out last night. Their ds's are charged and games packed in their backpacks. My ipod broke last week. Can you believe it?! Right before a trip. My goodness! What are the odds! ; ) But I can use Branden's. I downloaded, Keri Hilson's Pretty Girl Rock and Check it Out the clean version with Will I.AM and Nick Minaj last night. Hmm, I wonder what the 2 movies in the airplane will be. I'll probably watch those knowing me.
And an extra bag for the trash. And I even have hand wipes. Phew. We're ready. The kids are packed, I'm packed. Noboru's packed.
I took this pic while I was packing for Noah. Getting his jeans and pj's and undies and sweatpants for the long drive all rounded up.
This pic has zero to do with leaving to San Francisco today. But...we went to Makuhari yesterday because a friend of Noboru's is lending him his navigation handheld device that works in the US and Japan. And Noboru wnats to use it for the drive to LA. So, we were in Makuhari anyway and Noboru then suggested why not we have pizza from Costco last night. For dinner because we were all sorta busy doing last minute stuff for the trip. So that saved me cooking. So while we were trying to make our way from the top floor we were on the escalator and saw the raincoats. Even from the escalator, Noboru mentioned this raincoat. He said...those colors reminded him of Noah. I said..what? : ) He said he wears lots of orange and yellow. Which is ture, he is right. That this would be good for him. I said he has a Gap one. But he bought this for Noah because he said it's got a longer length and will be better protection from the rain. @_@ Noboru isn't really into shopping at all. I mean at all at all. So, if he was pushing for Noah to get a raincoat. I said...why not. So, he bought this raincoat for Noah. Before we went to the bottom floor and checked out and got our pizza. : )
A size 6. I tried it on Noah and it's big but good big... he'll grow into it. He's skinny and 5, so yeah he'll grow into it. : ) Anyway...sorry if I didn't put this here. It would be all out of order if I put the pic up after the trip. It would be weird and out of order. So...doesn't have a hill of beans to do with San Francisco. But...anyway...sorry. : )
The pizza we ate last night. We whacked it in the oven and reheated it. Anyway you guys I have to go...I have to start up the oil and get the karaage frying up. Our flight leaves around 3:30pm. So it's not a morning flight. The granny next door is house sitting. And the boy next door and his mom are watching for us too. They're good house watchers. : ) We're in good hands there. Anyway I have to motor. See you all in a week. : )
PS...sorry I have not had enough time to reply to the last post comments yet. Forgive me. Now it makes sense why though right. I have been busy trying to get ready to leave. : ) I will reply after I get back though. I promise. : ) Alrighty you guys....see you all in a week. : )

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!!!

Happy Valentine's Day to those in the US. It's still Valentine's Day there. And for those of you in Japan. Happy Valentine's Day to you too. I hope yesterday was a nice Valentine's Day for you all no matter where you live. I baked these cupcakes for Noboru yesterday in the day but the boys and I decorated them last evening.
Both Branden and Noah helped me decorate them and when we finished they said..."these came out so pretty mama" I also took a pic with my keitei and sent it to Noboru who was about to head home. He said...he couldn't wait to eat them. : )
The sprinkles were chocolate which you can read it says chocolate on the left. So he did get some chocolate in there.; ) And Noboru doesn't care for overly sweet anything. So, the light strawberry cupcake and whipped cream frosting was light enough for him. He had 3 last night and 2 this morning with his coffee. The kids had munched them last night and this morning as well. I had 1 cupcake last night. Just the one. I enjoyed every single bite of it though. Ha ha ha. ; ) This morning I would have loved one...but I had a yogurt instead. Coming from a person who used to have zero will power at all. This is actually pretty impressive. : )
I loved the cup cake cups. They went perfectly with the toppings and sprinkles.
Noah enjoying one! : )
And not sure if you can read the name on the bag. It says...Branden-kun. Our doorbell rang around 8pm Sunday evening. We had already taken baths and showers. I was wearing a night tee. So, I couldn't answer the door, Noboru did. Kids were winding down about to go to sleep at 8:30pm. Anyway...it was Nozomi-chan and her mom. With Valentine's goodies for Branden. Branden thanked her and bowed and smiled. Noboru also went to the door because he had sweatpants on. I popped my head into the genkan and thanked her as well. She said they were fresh and it was raw chocolate or something so they had to be eaten right away. So...Branden ate them Sunday night and went and brushed his teeth a 2nd time. But he was very happy receiving them from her.
Many homemade things from her inside the bag. He will be getting her a fantastic gift in return while we are in the US for when White Day happens next month.
And then on Monday. Mana-chan. His classmate and also she swims with him and is also a level 1. Anyway. I have to back up. I think we might have an actual crush going on. In December. Right before Christmas break. She gave him a small note in Japanese. He still has the note. And it reads. "You are my type!!!" Branden brought it home in December. Anyway now back to V-Day....she made homemade from scratch donuts. She wrote a little lovely card inside the envelop. And she said ..I baked these for you Branden-kun. Branden's cheeks went a little red while reading the note. And I didn't want to make a big deal out of it, as to not embarrass him. I just said...how cute honey. He went upstairs and took her note and hid it away in his locked drawer on his desk. Where he keeps all his important letters he gets. ; ) Anyway...just keep this between you guys reading and me. I think a little girl has a little crush. I sort of think it's cute. I saw her on the intercom when she delivered the donuts. She had a cute little rhinestone barrette in her hair. And wearing a pink sweatshirt. She was quite the little cutie. : ) She's really short, like the shortest girl in his class but very pretty. And heck, nothing wrong with being short. : ) I'm not exactly the tallest person on the earth either. : ) I will be looking all over while in California for a present for Mana-chan.
Anyway hope you all had a wonderful Valentine's day. And if you're wondering what I got for Valentine's Day. I'll share. Noboru mentioned a V-day gift last week. And I suggested I'd prefer get my hair straightened and cut versus getting some chocolates or flowers. My hair straightening will last 4-5 months until I get regrowth. So it'll last a whole lot longer then flowers would. Do you know what I mean. So....probably a very unromantic gift. But a very useful and practical gift. And I am so happy with my V-day gift. : ) Anyway, just wanted to say....Happy Valentine's Day everyone! : )

Bits and pieces and odds and ends from the weekend. : )

This pic was taken last Friday about 30 minutes after I got home from the hair salon. It snowed off and on for our part of Chiba through the night but Saturday was gone and melted away. Also the day Noboru got his sneakers it snowed a bit that day as well, but after about 30 minutes it turned to rain. Big clumpy rain...but rain. And even this morning Tuesday...we woke up to a light sprinkling in the backyard. It's all melted now of course. But this at least gives you an idea of the weather we've been having lately.
Last Friday after taking Noah swimming. We 4 headed out to a ramen shop. Noboru had a ramen set/combo with gyoza. The kids had ramen kids sets with fried rice, ramen, dessert, drink and a toy. : ) And I had the spicy ramen but something very interesting happened. I could only eat half. See all the noodles in my bowl? I left them. That's not happened to me before. I usually can finish a lone bowl of spicy ramen. But this time I couldn't. I think with me working very hard with cutting my portions down, my stomach shrank? Or I don't know. Also, I still have not lost anymore then the 2kg. And I also have not gained it. So a 2kg loss. However, Noboru measured me with a tape measure 3 weeks ago or so. And then he measured me last Friday and I lost 3cm on my waist measurements. So, that's a really good thing, I guess. : ) Anyway enough fitness talk.....
Saturday morning I baked the boys a homemade apple pie. With the weather being very cold. And with us just going to be staying home anyways for the weekend. It sounded perfect. I made the crust...a homemade butter crust. And peeled the apples.
Some flour so the apple juices don't become runny. Thickens it up a bit. Some brown sugar and some cinnamon. And a little lemon juice.
Mixed it all up. Rolled out the crust.
Smelled so good. I had 1 slice the whole weekend. Both Branden and Noah and the hubby loved and munched it all weekend. I think it was gone by Sunday afternoon. @_@
I also asked the kids a few days earlier what would they like and they said we haven't had pizza in a long time. So, I agreed and I made the crust Saturday morning. The 4 of us, enjoyed pizza Saturday night. I had 2 slices and enjoyed every bite. : ) We watched a dvd. And just had a good time with family night last Saturday. : )
This sort of didn't happen over the weekend but I haven't posted it. I placed an order for the kiddos in mid January. I had that 30% coupon. So the stuff was ridiculously cheap. So smart buys. Thanks to the 30% off coupon.
Misc boys stuff. With a few flippies for me.
Covered the rhinestones with paper which was nice.
Two have rhinestones and the other ones have a nice sized corsage on them.
Branden's stuff.
Undies and a university tee.
Being 9 has been a bit weird because they don't sell size 9 stuff at most clothing shops. They sell size 8 which is supposed to be 8-9. And he has that swim trunk size and it's more like a size 8. So he's outgrown it. So I went with a size 10.
Rashguard.
Size 10 swimwear in kelly green for Branden this year.
A nice yellow sweatshirt with pale blue writing.
Noah's stuff. a basic striped shirt and a shirt that says...Today Rocks. I use the word..."rocks" a lot. So, I smiled when I saw this one.
Peace. : )
And the same sweatshirt.
This is the magazine I read while getting my hair done last week. I also finished up a good book. While there too.
Branden being silly. ; )

I didn't tell either of them to do anything when I took this pic. No direction from me at all. I actually wanted them both just to smile and say cheese. It makes me laugh though that Noah is always looking and staring at Branden. He truly adores his big brother. He just loves him so much. : )
What else...The movies were so good. Knight and Day was so good! Better then I thought it was going to be. I'm usually not a fan of action flicks. But this was great. And Eat Pray Love was really good too. Noboru didn't care for Eat Pray Love at all. But he's a guy and maybe he didn't get her need for her "year to find herself" or I am not sure. I liked it though. : ) He loved Knight and Day though. : )