Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Flu shots taken, homemade apple crisp and our Hakone trip canceled for this week

This is what our family has been up to since we've been back.  All four of us went and got our flu shots. We walked the 1 minute walk to the doctors office from our home, it's right in our housing community, so pretty close. He was expecting us and we went in bright and early in the morning. The boys need to come back and get a 2nd flu shot, the doctor said to come back after November 27th for their 2nd one. They usually want kids to wait 3-4 weeks between the first and 2nd flu shot.  In Japan, us adults get 1 flu shot and the kids usually get 2 half or lesser strength doses. However last year they just got 1 dose since it was stronger last year. Not sure what was up with last year. : ) But anyway, Noboru and I are flu shot done. Phew. And the boys are half done. : )
We also had curry nabe yet again.
Branden is cooking up a storm for the 5th grade. Last week he brought home a note that said that this Monday they were all making pancakes. And Branden and someone else was in charge of bringing a syrup. So 2 kids brought syrup. Two kids brought pancake mix. Eggs,milk and so on. Somebody even brought a chocolate pen for decorating them with. : )  Monday morning this week, Branden left to school with this in in a little bag all tied up. I said have fun! Enjoy cooking today. He came back. He loved it. He told me tales of someone burnt their pancake. Someone made a raw-ish pancake but mostly everyone got it right. Who ate the most pancakes. I heard all the fun and crazy cooking stories kids love to share. : )
Meanwhile, same day... Monday this week a big group of senior citizen volunteers came to visit the ichinensei/first graders. And teach them and spend the first 2 hours/classes with them. I am sure some of you remember when they came for Branden and his class, when he was a first grader. Because that overlapped with observation day and we got to watch the seniors spend time with them. Gee Noah must have been an itty bitty little guy at that time. But finally....it was Noah's turn. I had told Noah beforehand. "Today besides Branden making pancakes you will be busy having fun with the older folks. Do you remember when Branden played with them and Genki did too?" I asked? He said no. : ) But then, he was real little, so no wonder.  So he knew ahead of time thanks to the weekly note last week that Noah brought home. That this Monday was his playing with the older folks day. So they came. And Noah had the greatest time. The grandma's came in and showed them how they used to play games with yarn woven in your hands. Noah loved that. And the older men showed the whole class of ichinensei how when they were younger they used to make homemade tops! From nature. From donguri! Acorns. And the older gentlemen said let's go and collect at the back of the school grounds and look for donguri with the Yuka-sensei as well. So the whole class went and collected donguri/acorns and came back and then the grandpa's made holes into each acorn. And they could leave the acorns plain or color them with their markers. These are what Noah made, he made 3 acorn tops! Two plain/natural ones and 1 Noah colored with marker. And you know what, they spin really REALLY well. All in all the boys had a fantastic Monday this week. Branden cooked and Noah made tops old school style! Hahaha. : )
Little boy hangout at my house at least 3 times a week. Hahaha. Noah's fellow first graders cruise over. Branden meanwhile was busy hanging with the Jinbei boy and Keita. I brought out a carton of apple juice and I popped a bag of popcorn for Noah's little friends. And Noah brought out 2 fun size of his Wonka Gobbstoppers so he and his friends had their snacks all covered and they played until 5pm when the bell chimed in our area.

I go to the store about twice a week. Whether it's for a big weekly shop type shop or a milk or fresh bread run. But I always check for apples on sale in Fall and Winter. Finally they were and so I bought 2 bags. Apple crisp in mind completely of course. ; )
Quick oats in a ziplock. ; )  Cinnamon and diced apples. I don't put any sugar on my apples at all. I find Japanese apples so nice delicious and sweet enough to be honest, so the only thing I throw in my apples in cinnamon and a spoon of margarine to give it a very good flavor.
Apple mixture into the tray. 1 spoon of margarine put into little bits throughout. And the crumble/crisp in the blue bowl. I do use brown sugar in the crisp topping part though.
And fresh out of the oven.
What else have I been doing. Well I was down to my last box of detergent so knew I needed another case. So I cruised myself to Besia/Cainz to see what case they had and they had this case of 9 boxes inside.
A dual scent, this honestly smells so good. We've used this kind before.
Bought 2 snuggly blankets from Nissen.
They were 980 yen each or something like that. My first thought when I got the blankets was..... were, they were too thin? Our other fleece-y type blankets are much thicker. So I did wonder. But Noboru went online and said that's one of the selling points for this blankets, thin but warm? @_@ It is to be used for each of the boys bedrooms/beds. Orange for Noah and blue for Branden. I did keep them though. And the boys love them. If I'm to be honest, if I were living in a house with no central heating though, I might of sent them right back. I think I would have needed thicker in that case. I kept them and am happy I did, but I'm just saying. : ) I think Nissen could have made them a bit thicker.
 
998 yen at Trial a fleece blanket for the couch to snuggle while watching TV. And we have 1 big one and 2 tiny ones and the small ones will be packed up and replaced by this one. This is the same size as the Nissen ones up above and twice thicker then the Nissen ones. And Cainz had a very nice thick fleece blanket for 1100 yen same size too. out of all of these so far Nissen's was the thinnest by far.  And no I'm not anti Nissen at all, love Nissen. Just a little fyi, hths (hope this helps someone) on the fleece blankets this year from them though, the colors from Nissen are pretty indeed but you can find thicker fleece blankets elsewhere and for the same amount.
Noah's swim towel (used to be Branden's swim towel he outgrew length wise but perfect for Noah now) from his weekly Friday swim school run. And the Trial warm fleece blanket and 1 other blanket drying up outside last weekend.
Trial does have nice/cheap hangers. pack of 7 for 78 yen? 85 yen? Under 100 yen and I like that price. Branden uses adult size hangers now and so do Noboru and I. Noah uses kids size hangers still. He's got everyone in the house in his closet now. But Branden needed new hangers and so I picked up 2 packs for Branden and 1 pack for me.

What have we been up to since we got back? In a nut shell not much. We're basically happy homebodies, and relax on weekends, go walks, decorate for the holidays, watch TV and enjoy the free time when we get it.

Okay so now the canceling the Hakone trip part of the post. Disney Sea done, check. Guam trip taken, check. And now we were set to just be homebodies again happily. Except we would use that free hotel stay in Hakone and go to the pools and relax and enjoy. That was supposed to be for this week. And just something we've quietly looked forward to. However everything is set so...Noboru has the time now to look for New Years rooms.....he's been looking for hotel rooms for New Year's to Osaka. Branden was 1 year old the last time we spent New Year's with his family for New Year's. He'd like to go this year, so if it's important to him, it's important to me too. He told me Monday night, "I am going to call my mom and ask her which day everyone is getting together. That way we can make sure we're there for that day". I was in nightgown on the couch. Snuggling under a blanket. The boys were in their rooms asleep upstairs. And so he calls the restaurant, the main one. A part timer answers and he says can I speak with the owner please. And in a minute my MIL comes on the phone. Noboru basically tells her. In Japanese of course but this is the basics of it. "Hi mom, Gina and the boys and I would like to spend New Year's with you and everyone, so can you tell me which day you all are getting together all the aunts, uncles, cousins and stuff?" ......"ugh huh...omg...oh really?" Talk talk talk. OMG  really....I can't believe it. Talk talk talk. OMG. Please keep me updated." And so Noboru hangs up!

Umm that wasn't the conversation Noboru was supposed to be having. It is quite clear that something really horrible is happening? Has happened? What what what? So, I said..."what is it, is everything okay?" Noboru said, "no things really aren't okay.....my mom says that my grandma has not been feeling well for the past few days. And so my MIL, her sister went to visit Noboru's grandma o-okii obaa-chan. Mitsuko's sister said something looked really off about her mom so she drove her to the hospital. The doctors said she has had a stroke. She is babbling/mumbling not really speaking words you know what I mean. And as of 2 nights ago was unresponsive.

My mil is so close to her mother, I don't know what my MIL would do without her mom. : (  When Noboru was growing up, they were so busy getting their restaurants going Noboru spent a great deal of time with his grandma and he views his grandma as like a 2nd mother really. Noboru absolutely adores her. She's like the #1 most important person in their family right now. She's their matriarch. And this has just frankly shocked everyone.  I think I wrote back in the post for May or June when we were there....how much Branden adores o-okii obaa-chan. Noah too. O-okii obaa-chan has always been 100% awesome to me. And I'm just really really sorry. And I'm just at a loss of words.

Anyway....my MIL told Noboru please come back to Osaka if...... If god forbid she were to...pass. We would no doubt all be flying into Osaka. The boys would have to be pulled from school. She also said if o-okii oba-chan passes clearly there would be no gathering for New Years. As we'd have no reason to celebrate.  So that would mean we wouldn't be going to Osaka for New Years understandably. And also my MIL said, if o-okii oba-chan pulls through but is just really really weak then New Years would also be canceled. However the whole main message my MIL said was...simply be prepared.

Noboru double checked with me, if I did indeed have my black outfit, which I do. Noah I would have to run to Nishimatsuya and get him a black turtle neck or something.

Anyway, as of right now.... I would really like for Noboru to fly to Osaka on Thursday or Friday and at least visit her, bring her some flowers, give her a hug and give her our love. Depending on her condition, he will go or not.

And so that brought a bump into Hakone. Which is totally fine. If god forbid worst came to worst to great grandma. And there we are in the mountains where cell reception is spotty at best. It was be a nightmare for us, if something happened and we got no word and nobody could get ahold of us. Also, who wants to go and relax when we are all very worried about great grandma in Osaka. So, Noboru asked me, do you mind if we cancel our trip? I told him, not at all, in fact I agree, i don't think this is the right time. We'll get another chance. family first seriously.  So....anyway now you know, everything that we know.   And so for now, the Hakone trip is canceled but honestly it's just postponed...for when great grandma hopefully pulls through and we can go to Hakone with no worries. We'll still go, but for right now unsure when. January sometime maybe? I'm not sure.

Double sigh. I think I will phone my MIL today and see what's up. Noboru did tell Jun yesterday about it, he didn't know and was relieved to know and that way he can also call back in Osaka and keep updated too.

Noboru and I are going to the movies though in the day time tomorrow. We are going to see Paranormal Activity. Reason being, it will keep Noboru's mind off worry for a few hours, plus it's 1000 yen day. And it's fairly close. The boys will be at school and again if anything happens regarding Noboru's grandma, we could always run home, check flights, grab the boys from school. But still it's better then being stuck way far away on a mountain top without black/funeral clothes especially when the airport is closer to us here versus in Hakone. And have to drive all the way home to grab black clothes. So....like I said, plus the movie can keep Noboru's mind off things a bit.  Anyway, just wanted to keep you all in the know about everything. That's everything that's going on at the moment.