Monday, January 09, 2012

New Year's, otoshidama, enjoying our final week of winter break to it's fullest. TV talk, laser hair removal and no more training wheels!

Sorry, I didn't blog this past week. It's just this was our last and final week and tomorrow both Branden and Noah head back to school, January 10th. So, we decided to keep, January 1st, to now...just our time. : ) But with this being the last and final day, I thought it would be okay to get this up and posted now. The pic of Noah riding without training wheels! Here's the story on that.....I have to get this posted before my memory fades on this and I forget. In fact, I wish I would have posted this sooner. Sorry Noah. The last week Branden had school. The week after Noah let out for Winter holidays. Is when Noah officially no longer needed his training wheels. If you recall, two years ago, when he was 4, Noah had asked for his training wheels to be taken off. It was way too early we thought, but if he felt ready we took them off and Noah did okay. And then, well...he had a little crash, on our quiet rode, he dropped his bike, but wasn't injured and after that Noah asked for his training wheels to be put back on (I was relieved ; ). We obliged right away of course. So last year Noah's tanabata wish that Noah tied at the school was for him to ride without training wheels. The school knew of his great wish. Mom friends of mine would ask. Nope still not yet I'd say. : )And finally this last year. Once again...same wish as last year, bless his heart. When the Yayoi sensei asked Noah to write his wish, he once again said..I wish to be able to ride without my training wheels. By July of 2011, about 70% of his classmates could now ride without their training wheels. We would tell Noah, if you feel you're ready, by all means, we'll be outside with you forever if need be. But he said..I'm not ready. This kid was a fast/early crawler, early walker, talked early. Swam early. Learned to read early. So, if Noah felt, he wasn't ready for his training wheels to be off...then so be it. We patiently waited. We were in no rush. Meanwhile Sera, learned how to ride without training wheels. But for us...nope still not ready, which was and is totally fine. And then one day....Kouki came over to play in December, Branden's classmate Kouki not Noah's classmate Kouki. Anyway, you know little brother Kaito will be Noah's classmate this coming April. Anyway, Kouki told Noah while outside. My brother just learned to ride without his training wheels (he didn't say it in a mean way). Next day....Noah told us. I'd like my training wheels taken off please. @_@ A little surprised. But we said...alright. Branden went to school. Since it was his last week of school and Noah was home with us on Christmas holiday already. Noboru took them off, for the 2nd time. In Noah's life. I was a bit worried, still. : ) But, I stood quiet about my worry or fear. And I cheered. Noah went back and forth, for an hour. It was indeed cold outside. But standing out there to support Noah we did! It was just Noah's time. He was ready. No hesitation or wobbliness like when he first tried this 2 years ago. He was just ready. Go figure.
Noboru even put some work/garden gloves down to see if he could weave between them and he did really really well with it.
Yep, it was just his time. : )
Do you see our neighbor on the right? The boy next doors mom. You see, even everyone who lives near us...knew of Noah's wish to learn to ride without his training wheels, the yochien knows too. So, yeah The boy next doors mom had to come outside and say..."wow Noah you did it...well done" In Japanese of course. But yeah everyone on our street knows now. Noah cannot wait to go back to yochien and tell his best friend H and the Yayoi sensei what he learned while on Christmas break. : )
New Years eve, was spent watching Noboru's favorite Japanese TV programs. And he watched them for a few hours and then he had, had enough, so then we watched Crazy Stupid Love. New Years morning, we woke up, and decided to start our New Year at home, and have our first family breakfast of the year. It was a nice quiet New years breakfast. We had crispy bacon, fresh bakery bread which we toasted, and I made eggs to order, Noboru had over easy, The boys had cheese omelets and I had a veggie and cheese omelet. Branden and Noah had chocolate milk and Noboru and I had hot coffee. We lazed in the kitchen enjoying the view outside.
January 1st plans. Stay home and relax. No pressure, no place to be, house was clean so nothing really to be done. There was a Jaws marathon on TV. All Jaws movies played on one channel.
Twilight Zone marathon was also on, and I watched quite a few episodes of this. In the US, we have a lot of marathons on TV for New Years.
The E channel is always interesting too. Fascinating celebrity weddings. And not to forget those crazy Kardashian's. : )
Crime shows, like Body of Evidence. Nick channel has all the good ones. Plus the Cartoon Network, etc and Nick Jr, Disney. etc. There is always something good to watch. So we did enjoy the first day of January just relaxing here at home.
Love Phineas and Ferb. Noah's absolute fave. And I enjoy the Food network. Paula's Best (Paula Deen) It felt nice honestly to just enjoy the first day of the new year at home with family. Watching good shows.
This was the last treadmill I did for December 2011 84 minutes is honestly great for 1 good walk! All last year I managed to stay on track and keep myself fit, and this year...I am going to stay with my same goal and keep fit too.
December 31st when we went for ramen after finishing our year end clean up. We bought all white meat, skinless breast meat mini chicken cutlets, these are great for sandwiches. 190 yen a pack, so we bought 2, this was for our quiet New Years lunch here at home. With 8 slices of bakery bread, lettuce and Miracle Whip. So chicken cutlet sandwiches and chips, is what we had for our New Years lunch. And I did warm them and they got crisp all over again in the toaster oven that day for lunch, yumm.
New Years dinner, was Cocoichi curry nabe. Noboru's pick. It was easy, chicken, chicken balls and tons of veggies and udon noodles. Our family sat around the dinner table, happily eating from the big family pot. It was an awesome dinner. Simple dinner but awesome nonetheless. What is this picture of? Branden, Noah and Noboru skyping with Great grandma, grandma Mitsuko, auntie Kaori. Various aunties and uncles of Noboru's. Noboru only got 1 day off for the New Year holiday so sadly he could not go to see his family for New Years. : ( Jun was also sadly working. I hear my SIL S and my niece went to Osaka. Which is awesome they went.
Otoshidama. Not only do we celebrate Christmas and get presents for that holiday. The boys also celebrate New Years Japanese style. With the cleaning and whatnots. And the kids get otoshidama. Some years the family in Osaka sends all the otoshidama in a big envelop. And sometimes they wire it, they give it to grandma Mitsuko first and she will wire. This year it was wired to Noboru's post account. They always get quite a bit of cash, this year about 30,000 yen each. Noboru has a very generous family and also a very large extended family so the sheer amount of the extended family is why the boys end up with what they end up with.
Their envelops, the boys did have to skype their family in Osaka. Thank each and every one of them and wish everyone a Happy New Year. I also wished everyone a Happy New Year as well. Manner wise it just has to be done. Plus I enjoy doing it anyway.
January 2nd. We drove to another prefecture, it's just closer to us is why. And us and about a ton of other Japanese families with parents in tow went looking for things to buy with their otoshidama money.
Stapled and taped. See the shiny stuff on top of each bag...yeah that's tape. No peeking. The boys bags were long gone. These said girls on them.
And some not so mysterious mystery bags. : )
We walked every single aisle. And with that large crowd, and pushing that empty blue cart down the skinny aisles.
And then Noah found exactly what he wanted. This remote control Ford right here. : ) Could barely fit in the cart. Not to mention their other toys. @_@
Screen covers so your 3DS doesn't get scratches. @_@
And then to another shop January 2nd and we picked up...some fresh made taiyaki.
The boys and I picked custard taiyaki and Noboru picked just a regular one.
Their New Year haul.
Noah's picks. A huge remote control truck. A pretend policeman kit. Noah loves pretend play. Upstairs he's always playing with his cash register. And Noah and Branden together like to play "grocery store" except they modernized it...and call it "extreme couponing" LOL @_@ They make coupons and everything. Noah also picked a 3DS screen cover and some extra Nerf bullets. Noah has most of his money and is saving it, same with Branden.
Branden picked binoculars, a Mario 7, cheat/help book. 3DS screen cover.
A remote control desert racer...looks more like a dune buggy if you ask me and a new Nerf gun. For when they play this zombie type game with all the boys in the neighborhood. Boy next door has fake bows and arrows. Rin-kun has a few play guns. All the kids play this game on our street. Go figure.
Every single day since January 1st, I have walked about 30 minutes each day. I also do my core exercises still 3 times a week. Working on my abs. I love working out now. It's something I find very relaxing. Which is funny because 2 years ago, I greatly disliked working out but did it anyway. But now...it's a great part of who I am.
All this past week, the boys have enjoyed playing with their new toys.
All this past week, they have enjoyed playing and I have enjoyed sitting outside with a hot cup of coffee watching them and talking with them.
This week, we ate curry nabe Jan 1st night. We also had yakiniku fried on a skillet on the stove. But it was nicely marinated, and we enjoy it at the dinner table, eating with with rice and wrapping with lettuce leaves. We also had chicken enchiladas. Lasagna (a bit of a cheat, frozen but so good and with salad and garlic bread). Miso pork. Chicken cutlet and last night we had yakisoba. Also this past week, we baked gingerbread cake. Branden made this 99% himself. Noah and I went in the kitchen and observed. Branden read the box, preheated the oven measured out the ingredients. Greased the pan. he really did it all. He did so good.
Gingerbread cake with a dollop of whip cream, so delicious. This cake only lasted the 1 night. It was fantastic.
All sorta of weird/unusual sales during the New Years holidays. At one of the local DIY's. The ads said, this regular 18,0000 yen gas weed whacker is on sale for the first 3 days only..for ichiman yen. 10,000. Noboru has an electric one but doesn't own the ever popular gas weed whacker. So, he went and bought one. This Spring and Summer he'll put it to good use.
And on yet another day. Both boys playing with their RC cars.
A very quiet week here. We got to spend it the way we wanted. : )

In January we started a new season of the Biggest Loser. I'm enjoying this new season. We're only in 1 episode so far. But it was a good one.

Anyone watch Trading Spouses? I know many of you are in the US. I enjoy this show a lot. where a mom moves in with a different family for 2 weeks. They always seem to be a completely different family from hers. And vice versa.
And yet another night we made a tin of cinnamon rolls in the oven They were great...fast and great. And this night, we had baked blueberry muffins. Noah did 50% of the helping with these. He helped stir, Branden did all the measuring. And Noah also put the cupcake papers in each of the tins. We all enjoyed the chit chat while whipping these up quickly.
Yet another night this week. From a box yes, but fresh and hot and oh so delicious. These didn't last the night either.
November 30th is when we mailed back our tuner for the satellite we used to have. We had the Japanese satellite and the American cable for the entire months of Novemer and half of October and we didn't watch the Japanese satellite anymore at all. Don't get me wrong it helped us for many years. And we'll always be grateful. But with regular American cable, with all the tons of channels we have and no 1 -2 years behind stuff depending on the show, I think American Idol was only off 3 weeks though so the delay did vary per show. However we just didn't need it anymore. No more delays at all, and we now get literally everything. Watching Glee here in this pic.
Singing the Go-go's in the cafeteria.
Possibly spoiler on this Glee pic so maybe avoid this part if you're worried. This new girl meanwhile audtioned and her singing was horrible. However her dad is like a diplomat or something so..not sure if they'll take her or not.
You see, outside is 31 F and dropping since the arrow is going down. That means it is dropping. Freezing is 32 degrees F. At leastyou know...it was indeed below freezing here at our place outside. Inside meanwhile is a nice and constant 71-73 F, and with central heatng that temp is for every single room, bathrooms, shower rooms, bedrooms, closets everywhere. And with the floor heating our feet are toasty warm to the touch.
Jinbei blue in the light blue jacket. Branden in navy blue and Noah in red and Ako-chan (Jinbei's boys 3rd grade sister in the pink.) All playing soccer. He comes to play almost every single day. Which is fine. Branden and him are such good friends. And they cheer Noah on all the time. It's like Noah has 2 extra siblings. @_@ They were very proud in December when they saw Noah ride without his training wheels. The Jinbei boy carried Noah all over the front yard. Hugging him. LOL. Ako-chan too. Her name is really Akiko but we all call her Ako-chan for short. : )
Also anyone watching Bones in the US? Isn't it getting good! For those of you in Japan this could definitely be a Bones spoiler so please don't read ahead on this one if you are worried about spoilers at all. Bones is now preggers by Booth. She's like mid preganancy right now. They're looking for a house to move into together at the moment and they're having a baby girl!!!!! Very exciting stuff lately. : )
Also the first week of January also meant the new season of the Jersey Shore, possibly spoilers, though I don't think anyone watches this. Noboru is just not crazy about the cast or this TV show at all. As for me. I like this show, I like the cast. Granted I am very diferent from them. For starters I don't fist pump. ; P And I do not tan. Actually, Noah has extremely pasty white colored skin. And I'm actually fairer then Noah or about the same color as Noah. So he got that trait from me, for sure. I'm also very conservative personality wise. And I dress very conservative. I do not drink at all. Meanwhile they're always at a bar getting quite drunk and being involved in brawls. However that being said. I do like Vinny a lot he's quite close with his family and so am I. I like they do have that respect for Sunday dinners which is very important. That's something quite important and I respect they keep that up. And I guess they just grew on me, go figure. Also all the girls use a flat iron and so do I. : )
Sammi's my favorite of all the girls. I also think she's the prettiest of all the girls.
They landed back in the US, that's how the season started with them leaving Italy. Which that's how the last season ended too. And they flew back. They were cheering.
Overjoyed in the car being driven back to their place at the Jersey Shore.
Deena is still after Pauly but you can tell he thinks she's a grenade. Anyway...she was so happy to be back.
Boy did they have a ton of suitcases. @_@
First stop for the boys...a tan and a hair cut. Pauly D got a fade. And the rest got their own hair cuts they wanted.
These were on sale and that's the only reason we ended up with so many @_@, a huge sale! These are usually 298 yen a box of laundry detregent. These were on that New Years sale though, 198 yen a box however if you bought 5 or more, you got an even deeper discount, 25% off 198 yen. So, detergent isn't something I worry about goung bad too quickly. And it won't last over 6 month's anyway with all the wash we have weekly anyway. Plus it really was a fantastic deal. The total amount paid was shockinly low.
Downy detergent always smells so good. And no, I would not have bought that many under normal circumstances it was just a freakishly good deal and will save us money for the long run.
The hair laser I've been wanting, originally $395. But there was a before Christmas $50 off coupon which I used online. And I bought a laser. It's quite popular now days in the US. It has great reviews. And considering I bought this myself with my own income from teaching and again, considering I make yen and the yen is so strong right now. The day I paid for this, it was only 28,000 yen. So for me, I got a really great deal on this.
The Tria laser. The only FDA approved laser for at home use.

Created by the people who made the laser for dermatologist offices. It is permanent. And considering how much getting it done in a doctors office would cost. Thousands and thousands of dollars no doubt. Versus just 28,000 yen for me. And yes I'd like to never have to shave my legs again. And I am not an overly hairy person, but yeah I'd like to laser a bit of peach fuzz here or there in the privacy of my own home. This may not be a purchase for everyone but it was for me. So, yeah I'm really happy with this purcase. They do sell Tria in Japan, at Triabeauty.jp, or something like that. But it's like twice the price. Forget that. And Trianbeauty.com won't accept a foreign credit card. However Amazon.com sells it from Tria directly and they do accept foreign credit card, but I did have it sent to my dad's since they won't ship this to Japan. I slight pain to get here but a worth it pain for me. : )
It's easy to carry, like a small travel blow dryer. Anyway. so besides working out this past week. Spending time with my husband and my lovely sons. And watching good things on TV. Well, I've also been lasering my legs. Quietly here this week. Noboru when talking about my laser. Puts air quotes...you know like on Austin Powers. he says, aha mommy's (insert air quotes) "laser" arrived today. @_@ It's all in fun and I laugh it off too.
So far for January I am in the #3 spot. I am working so hard on my fitness still. Over a year later and I'm still at it.

Basically, what have we been doing since January 1st? Staying home. A small trip to Toys r us but that's it really. Watching TV, having family movie night quite a few times this past week also. Enjoying family life. Cooking, baking. Same stuff really. I have been working out, treadmill Wii exercises, but it doesn't take much of my time away really.

What are my resolutions for 2012? I don't know if I have any hard core resolutions. But I have some things I will aim for this coming year.


  • Keep at my fitness.


  • Go to the salon, at least 4 times this year. This was a brilliant idea last year by an online friend. And I asked to be able to use this last year. She said I could and it was something I really tried and aimed for last year. I only went to the salon 3 times last year granted, but it was 1 time more then the previous year. So, I am going to try this same goal this year as well.


    1. That's it really. I don't want to make a list with 100 resolutions and just fail miserably at them, know what I mean? : ( This way, I keep my goals short, that way it's easier for me to keep track of. Anyway I sure hope everyone had a nice New Year. And nice Winter break/vacation.

      Oh sorry one more thing. Beyonce and her husband Jay-Z had their baby! A little girl! Named Blue Ivy! So happy for them! And also, Noboru and I watched the Denver Broncos game this morning versus the Steelers, here on TV! It was amazing! It went into overtime. QB, Tim Tebow threw that ball. And all I can say is an 80 yard TD (touch down) was made! It was freakin' awesome! We were happily cheering in our house this morning! And I already talked to my dad about the Denver Bronco game already today. : )