Friday, November 30, 2012

Christmas party, the boys practice “marathon” and their 2nd and final flu shot for this season done and taken

Okay, I last left off at Black Friday/Japanese Labor Day.   So this is what happened next....Saturday, Noboru worked. And so my dad and Branden and Noah and I stayed home inside the warm house. It wasn't raining last Saturday like how it did the day before. But it was *really* cold last Saturday. And we had more then enough food here at the house so we stayed inside and watched TV, ate, talked. The boys did Kumon homework. We had lunch. The boys went and played in the backyard.  But for the most part, we all stood inside.  Sunday however the boys had a kodomo kai/ kids party but a Christmas one. This was held at the plaza of course. : ) But it was a Christmas kids party and was only for our housing community kids who go to shogakko. I mention this because I thought it was an elementary school, everyone is invited Christmas kai/party. And my dad and I went into the plaza. I was thinking we could chit chat with Sera's mom and a few of my mom friends. And I realized hmmm, there's nobody here except for who lives in our housing community. What's up with that? Hahaha.  And the only mom's present were the 6th grade mom's because they have to host it as a 6th grade/final year mom. That I do know.... since next year I'll be working that.  So, I did chit chat with the 2 mom's whose daughters represented our country town school in swim club like Branden did....they live in our housing community and both have 6th grade daughters. I greeted them and my dad and I left. Noah and Branden stayed with all the other shogakko kids from our housing community. So, since the boys were off enjoying the Christmas dad and I went and picked up some things for Sunday's/that nights supper. And then we swung around and picked up the boys from the Christmas kai/party. This is what Branden got, a snack bag and they have a drawing each year and last year Branden won a Spongebob cup. This year Branden won the One Piece cup. He was quite happy about winning the cup.
This is what Noah brought back, and his Christmas present he won was a badminton racket.  It's a Christmas raffle and you draw a number and that's how you know what you won. Sunday, Noboru came home, dinner was all ready for him. He saw that the boys enjoyed the Christmas party. "Daddy daddy look at my cup!!!! Daddy daddy look at my racket!!!!" So Noboru knew they had a pretty great time at their Christmas party.  Sunday was really nice. It was nice quiet and pretty cold outside.
Monday was just a day for my dad and I. Because, Noboru had to work. Both Branden and Noah had school. And so this was our day together, my dad and I. : ) We lingered here at home until 9:30am drinking a nice cup of coffee or two....enjoying ourselves and chatting away.... until the malls opened at 10am but we left the house at 9:30am.  We went to the nearest mall in the small city near our town.  We walked around the mall my dad and I. He looked at the men's clothing department. We looked at all sorts of things. We stopped at the Daiso. My dad bought a few things at the Daiso and also at the mall. Just a few omiyage type things.  Meanwhile, Noah had asked me for stickers the other day. And said a few of his classmates are trading stickers and could I get some next time I'm out and about. And I said sure. I had it written on my list so I picked up some Pokemon and One Piece stickers and he's been trading them since.  Also, they both were near out of tape and needed more Zousan-/elephant tape. So I crossed that off the list also. I also crossed a few stocking stuffer type gifts off my list as well. And so my dad and I enjoyed walking around and around 11:50am we went to Saizeriya for lunch. My dad had a pizza and the drink bar. I had a pasta dish and the drink bar too.  We must have sat there for an hour enjoying our conversation and drink bar.  I enjoyed my day with my dad a lot. And I knew he was leaving Tuesday/the next morning. We left the mall around 1:30pm-ish and headed back to my town. We unloaded our stuff. I need to hide the stocking stuffer stuff really well. And then we went and picked up the boys from the plaza.  We had dinner. We had a really great last night. The boys went to sleep around 8:30pm but Noboru and my dad and I stood awake watching TV and talking until 11:30pm. I went to sleep and the next morning, we got up, dressed and the boys had to go to school early since we were dropping my dad off the airport afterwards. We dropped the boys off at 7:18am-ish. And headed straight for the airport. Waved my dad a "see you later" since good byes are always sad. And we went home. Feeling pretty good that the time with my dad was so fun. The boys were super bummed out grandpa was leaving. But they know they'll be seeing him soon anyway so that helps.
While my dad was still in the airplane on his way to Guam. I ordered my dad some stuff on Cyber Monday (though it was Tuesday for us in Japan) Stuff I knew he'd love! And as you can see, the message says...Merry Christmas Grandpa (though you can't see the grandpa part, but it's on there. And it says Love, Branden and Noah.  So my dad is well taken care of for Christmas.  The boys, Branden and Noah are 98% done too,
This is a back track, sorry. This happened 2 days before my dad arrived. Tuesday. I  went into the attic and pulled out a few of my small Christmas trees that we usually have around the house both downstairs and upstairs. This one pictured is an advent tree and it has advent ornaments and it has colored lights, this is now out and upstairs.  And the tree with clear lights I put into the genkan/entrance area/hall area.
All my holidays I have in separate plastic boxes. This is one of my Christmas boxes, just one of them. The others I haven't pulled out yet.
I wanted all the Christmas door hanger-on folks on, before my dad got here for Thanksgiving.  Santa and snowmen are on all the doors throughout the house now. And as you know all the Christmas lights are on and done for outside.
This is the tiny Christmas tree with white/clear bulbs in the genkan area. The ornaments for this are fantastic. The detailing. This Santa for example has real glitter on parts of him.
The white "frosting" for this gingerbread man is really glitter. All the ornaments are pretty cool and this tree is, like I said,  in the genkan area. The only tree not up right now is my big tree that stands in the living room and I'll get him up this coming week.  But everything else Christmas wise the decorations are all done. Mini tree upstairs, mini tree in the genkan area, door knocker type decorations are on all the doors inside and the outside lighting is long done. Last will be the big tree in the living room.
Also before my dad got here I went to Sanki.  When I first moved to Japan a friend of mine told me, to get towels and blankets go to Sanki. So, if I didn't pick it up in the US I always went to Sanki. Anyway, I cruised over to my nearest Sanki and they had the fleece blankets that fit the twin bed type sizes 140cmx200cm.  For 999 yen. So hmm 1000 yen seems about the going rate. These were a nice weight thicker then the Nissen ones. Though to be fair, fwiw, both Branden and Noah love their Nissen ones go figure and say they are the perfect thickness for their beds. Anyway these Sanki ones were super cute colors and patterns the price was cheap/great and the size is great. I like something big enough it could cover you from head to toe type.  So I bought 2 from Sanki, because they were cute designs.
I like this one. It's eye catching, and really warm. And the price...loved the price.
This one was the same size and also 999 yen.
I liked the colors and pattern on this one also. Black with white flowers.  Anyway we have plenty of fleecy blankets now for cuddling on the couch.  Or if we do end up driving to Osaka at New Years we'll definitely have enough blankets for the road trip, hahaha.  Pack some pillows some snacks. It would be pretty fun if we go.
One day after my dad left. Wednesday. This was a practice run for the "marathon" our elementary school does every Winter.  This was just a practice run. 5th graders and 6th graders are running together.  I saw Branden walking up the road.  I was in my car and parked. I didn't exit my car I just watched from afar.
They all warmed up and stretched first. I know a few kids saw me. Again, I just wanted to see. And no one else was there mom/parent wise.  Branden is in the orange vest in this pic wearing his school gym clothes/pants and school gym sweatshirt.
And then in the distance...I see a bunch of teeny tiny shrimps walking my way! : ) Could it be? Could it be? While yes it was.....the ichinensei's!!! Yay Noah-chan! Go go go kiddo! But, again I just sit in my car. Trying not to bring any attention.... that yes I was there. I watched the kids stretch, and then they took off running. The 5th and 6th graders together first.  And then the first graders. the other grades ran/practiced a different day.
I saw them start running and then I went and ran my errands for the day. Store run and whatnot. Both the boys did see me. And that's okay.  As long as they know mom always tries her best to be there no matter what. of course I wouldn't want to embarrass them and ...their friends think I'm cool anyway. But yeah...I just wanted to see my boys practice their run.  And I'm glad I got to see it.
Noboru wanted heated grips for his bike. So that's what he's got so far Christmas present wise. Again, I listen to everyone and write down things they'd like.  He's gonna flip when he sees this.  During his commute to and from work each day he often says how cold his hands are. How he'd wish to have some hot grips. So, yeah....anyway I know he'll love these. And I'm still listening to him for any other ideas also. He mentioned yesterday he needs a new fleece so, I might pop down to Uniqlo Narita this coming week.
This has been my favorite drink for the past 2 weeks now. It's Yuzu Mikan. And I love anything and everything yuzu anyway.... but this drink is so freaking delicious! I'm thinking about buying a case next time I go to the grocery store. And when I stick one in the freezer and it turns semi slushy. OMG! Even better. Love this drink! I taste more yuzu then I do mikan and I do love both. But yeah this is my favorite drink this Fall/Winter 2012 for sure right now. : )
A Charlie Brown Christmas was on ABC the other night. Of course we watched it! And while my dad was here, we watched Frosty the Snowman. I am loving being able to catch all these Christmas specials on TV.  Even though yes we do own the DVD's for them.
Linus using his blanket to wrap the bottom of the tree with it.
Endings always cute!
I also made sure to have both Branden and Noah's Advent calendar ready. Looking for the chocolate in the boxes each day is always a special treat.
The numbers are all mixed up so they're really going to have to look very good to find the right date. : )

What else, basically my dad left Tuesday. Wednesday was the boys "practice marathon" and Thursday morning the boys went and got their final flu shot! So they are 100% done flu shot wise! And Noboru always gets reimbursed from Delta for our flu shots so for us they're free basically since he gets reimbursed for all 4 of us.  Anyway that's it for now.

Oh yeah it rained and turned to snow here about 30 minutes ago. Big heavy watery type snow but turned back to rain when it hit the back patio. Started picking up faster and faster. Started to wonder if it would start to stick but just stopped. Now it's not raining or snowing. @_@. But yeah it's a cold one here today.


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Black Friday

Last Friday, was a holiday for us in Japan.  Labor Day type of holiday for Japan.  Meanwhile, our town has an event every Japanese Labor Day. So since my dad is usually here celebrating Thanksgiving with us, the five of us going to the town bazaar is something we usually enjoy all together. Last year was a nice crisp Fall day, but the sun was shining. This year however, was cold and drizzly type rain.  It's held at the plaza parking lot.
Sanma/samma/ and also on the plate was radish. Noboru loved eating this.
Noboru loves ozoni, so he had this also.
I had asked Noah to hold my caramel machiatto so I could get my camera out and he had a sip. My family never let me have coffee while growing up, something about stunting your growth. Yada yada. Again, not sure if it's true or not.... but just to be sure.... I really don't let the boys drink coffee. So this sneaky sip surprised me. Hahaha. : )
The coffee vendor/seller/maker....had his own grinder and was making specialty coffees he had all sorts of flavors. My dad (pictured) and I had a hot caramel machiatto each. It was so good!
I had a hot coffee and this choco banana. These are the only 2 things I had while there. But to be fair I just wasn't hungry plus I was waiting for lunch and dinner at home (Thanksgiving leftovers)
Branden and Noah went and had french fries. My dad got into line with them to make sure they were alright. They were of course, but my dad's just always cautious and protective of his grandsons. Plus he loves talking with them so much. : )
You could choose flavorings like curry etc. but they chose just regular salt. The boys seemed to really like them. Also Branden had some mochi, same as he got last year too.
Most of the folks from our town were there off and on all day. We saw many people we knew. Noah's classmates, Branden's classmates. My recycle fellow mom pals/friends. Mom's from the 5th grade class and 1st grade class.  The 5 of us had a really great time.
Yep, we seem to buy the handmade sewing projects and pottery every single year here and this year we did also. My dad bought some and brought them back to Guam for gifts. And these are what I got. 1 leaf plate (200 yen) and 1 crab plate (100 yen). And 1 tissue cover hand sewn for 50 yen.  All made by the school kids here so for a really good cause....the local school. : )
Back to the title of this post......meanwhile being American, I grew up with Black Friday.  Black Friday was always just something you did. If you wanted the best prices on something for Christmas this was *the* day to buy it!  With living in Japan, I have only had the chance to do this once, when Branden was about age 2 or 3. One day I'll go back and do this for real with the family. But this year same as most years what I do is take advantage of the Black Friday deals to be had on What I did was, I had a small list of DVD's/games the boys had mentioned since Summer that they'd like to have. If they mention something a few times, I'd write it down.  And so 2 weeks ago, I sat online with a cup of coffee after the boys went to school and I went through the list. And put whatever I knew they'd really love getting as a Christmas gift in my Amazon shopping basket/bag. And I let it sit there for the 2 weeks. And then I waited for Black Friday to come into effect and then I took advantage of the Black Friday deals to be had. I did not get these movies up above but if you see the movie in the middle was indeed 96 cents/under a US dollar. About 85 yen or so give or take the exchange rate. The newer Mission Impossible on the left $4.95 US. Again this is the day to get the best deals.  Especially if you have a region free DVD player or an American DVD player.
The Amityvillle remake again 96 cents.  I didn't buy more then what was on my list. I stuck to my list. And no I didn't buy the Amityville remake. : )
The Lorax DVD was just $3.99 US so about 370 yen or so? 380 yen or so. The new Sherlock Holmes movie again $3.99 US.  I did buy the Lorax but then it was on my list. My dad also bought the boys a little order from Amazon also. And the boys also got stuff from Old Navy again taking advantage of the Black Friday deals. The Cyber Monday deals we got, I'll post about on the Cyber Monday post coming up. : )
Soft delicious bread, thick sliced provolone cheese, fresh crisp lettuce and turkey with a sprinkling of salt and pepper.
My lunch last Friday. Everyone had sandwiches last Friday for lunch and we had basically Thanksgiving dinner all over again on Friday night also. Mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing and the whole bit again. Right down to the pumpkin pie.  Meanwhile the deals online we got, we were all like....right on!!!!! So yeah, Black Friday/Japanese Labor Day was pretty cool! And also weather wise it was pretty cool too. lol.  The boys have zero idea what they got online and again when Black Friday took effect and the prices were all cut in half or even less. I checked out! Pressed the order button. Got my fantastic superly cheap deals. When the boys were in the shower, my dad got online and he had an idea too and thrown a few things in his Amazon basket prior too. Because we talked about Black Friday way before he got here. So his basket was pretty much set. When the boys went to shower, he pushed...the order button and everything was done.  So yeah we were all really happy we all got everything at the best and cheapest prices possible. The dollar and yen can really stretch on Black Friday. Making the most of our money and purchases so yeah we were really happy with the deals we got.
Goodies my dad brought to Japan for us. Swiss cheese for the sandwiches. String cheese for the boys. My dad always wants to make sure they get enough calcium hahaha. And then a sliced cheese pack with 4 types of cheese, Swiss, Colby jack, Monterrey jack and cheddar.
Frozen burritos. Yumm.
Homestyle popcorn.
Unfrosted Pop Tarts. Blueberry and strawberry.  These are so good.

Over 2 lbs, 2 lbs 8 ounces to be exact. Of.....
Reese's peanut butter cups! These will last us a year I think! But wow, movie nights with popcorn and also some of these will go down pretty great! Can't wait for family movie night this weekend! : )
My dad also brought us 2 extra boxes of Cap N Crunch Peanut Butter cereal and an extra box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Now we have 3 boxes of peanut butter cereal. We are well stocked in the cereal department now. : )
And he also brought the boys some extra cans of mini ravioli. If they're rushing from school to Kumon, they can share a quick can of this. Enough to fill their tummy's until Kumon is done and they can have supper.
These are a few sneak peeks of the other Black Friday deals we got. You know, I got pjs growing up as one of my Christmas presents always...every year. So the boys have always gotten new pjs for Christmas too. I was debating between the flannel or the fleece pj bottoms until some kind woman/mom left a comment on Old Navy's website and said the flannel wasn't even really flannel material and that she was totally disappointed. That helpful comment helped me, because I didn't buy the flannel pjs then at all. I went for the fleece pjs instead. So, I did ask the boys earlier in the week what pattern they liked best. I said pick 2 patterns. Branden picked these skulls. So Branden got this pair of skull fleece pj bottoms.
Branden also liked this snowboard pair so he got this pair as well. And they are fleece. Noah liked this pair also, so he also got this pair in his size.
And Noah liked this polar bear Christmas type fleece. So he got this pair too. I did pick basic plain long sleeve tops to go with their bottoms. Such as navy blue top long sleeves to go with the snowboard pair. Black long sleeve to go with the skull pair and a red long sleeve to go with this pair.
Plus you already know about this Christmas type Noah got a few weeks back. These pjs will be wrapped. This pair I'll wrap soon. and the other stuff is already at my dad's condo as we speak. Can't believe it shipped already and arrived already (yesterday)
This lamb sweater is so cool. I ordered this on Black Friday. And I will wear this with skinny jeans, my Ugg black boots I got for Christmas last year and a black puffy vest or my fleece peacoat.  Super straight hair (flat iron) length now right at my shoulders currently.
And I liked the boys Old Navy fleece tops so much, that I ordered this in black for myself and it's at my dad's house already too. Wow, less then 1 week to get to my dad's. Unbelievable. We were shocked when my dad got home and my cute lamb sweater and black ON fleece and Branden and Noah's pjs were there the following day is when the package arrived. They arrived Wednesday/yesterday.