Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Happy New Year 2014!!! The year of the horse

Happy New Year, to each and every one of you! : ) This is the New Year's card that our family sent out this year! The top 6 picture cluster, are 6 pictures taken from when our family was in Honolulu, Hawaii in June 2013. Branden and Noah in front of the famous statue of Duke Kahanamoku, in front of the Dole Pineapple Plantation, in Waikiki with trolley behind them (though we prefer rent our own car and drive ourselves : ), and the last 3 of the 6 cluster are of the boys showing off their crazy mad boogie boarding skills! : )  The bottom 3 are from our Denver trip, Sakura Square (I am sure Noboru's brother and sister smiled when they saw that particular picture, when they received their card from us), the hot spring in Glenwood Springs and the sign saying, Leaving Colorful Colorado. I had made these cards, the week we got back from Colorado, jet lag or not, I knew the cards had to be ordered and shipped with plenty of time to get to us, since I do order my cards from the US. : )

This is what the other side looked like, I chose a happy orange background color and looked online for the perfect New Year's horse pic to send. Before we sat down to carve our Thanksgiving turkey, these cards were already shipped and on their way to us here. Though the start of December is when we finally all sat down at the kitchen table, all 4 of us and started to write the message on our own cards. Noboru wrote his message on the orange part to his friends, Branden and Noah also wrote their own messages to their own friends on the orange part of the card, as well, and I wrote out my own personal messages to my own friends, yochien mom friends, my movie friends, my elementary school mom friends, my mom in California, my dad in Guam, and to a couple of my very best friends back in Denver. : ) 

We send out a stack of these each year. We all had hand cramps by the time we were done. But getting them done and all sent off was a nice feeling. : ) 
The boys received otoshidama from grandma Mitsuko, uncle Jun and Noboru. They didn't receive the stack of otoshidama, like last year because we didn't go to Osaka this year, but that's okay. Noboru decided to mix things up this year though! He gave Branden and Noah an envelop of 5,000 yen ($50US) and he also held up this envelop with many cut up papers sticking out. Remember that old show "Let's Make a Deal?"  Well sort of along those lines. He said, Noah, here is your envelop and inside is 5,000 yen! You can take this envelop with 5,000 yen in it right now *or* you can take a chance, in this other envelop there is a chance to win ichiman yen ($100 US), 8,000 yen, 5,000 yen, 3,000 yen, 1,000 yen or 500 yen! Or like I said you can take the sure thing of 5,000 yen! Noah being Mr, Safe and conservative took the sure thing, 5,000 yen. Noah is clearly not a gambling type person. Then as this picture shows, Noboru said the same exact thing to Branden. Except Branden took the risk and went with the strip of paper! By the way for the record, Noah and I were saying..."take the sure thing...don't risk it!!!!" But Branden pulled the paper and....wompwompwomp!!! : (

Ahem! Seriously you guys what are the odds? There were only two 500 yen strips, because we counted afterwards. OMG! Branden was so disappointed. He didn't pout about it though. I meanwhile was making first breakfast of the year, crispy bacon and scrambled eggs with some shredded colby jack cheese, we had toast. Noboru disappeared to the genkan/entryway and came back and traded envelops with Branden. Giving him his original envelop with 5,000 yen in it. He said, your lesson is, don't gamble, don't ever risk a sure thing. Branden was so happy and said...I won't! : ) 
We did hang this on the front door, it's hanging even right now. : )

I made these December 31st, and we had enjoyed these December 31st evening and January 1st. Like rocky road type brownies, with marshmallow and nuts. : ) We had a delicious and hearty pork curry December 31st, not a traditional thing to eat but hey....Noboru was at work, it was just the kids and I, so we kept it good, but we kept it simple. No worries. : ) I had set the tub after supper, after the kids showered they soaked in the tub, we had bath powders in there, by the time they both came out of the tub they looked melting hot. They had their pjs on, I did take a hot shower and soaked too, and after that we all watched TV and enjoyed our quiet New year's eve night. : ) Noah did zonk out around 8:50pm, lol. But Branden stayed up until 11pm, and he couldn't stay up anymore after that. I did wait up for Noboru to get home at 12:30pm. We talked and then he went and had a soak in the tub. Our tub is really big, length wise it's as long as an American tub, could be longer, but deep/depth wise it's as deep as a Japanese tub. There's a bench seat, it's really pretty huge actually and water goes up to your neck, it can be reheated, it's more like a hot tub actually. But it's super big our tub and it's heaven taking a bath in there in winter time. : ) And the color of our tub is like a gray granite type color there's speckles of color in our tub too, it really feels like you are at an onsen when you take a bath at our house. : ) It took us 4 month's of full time searching to find the perfect tub we were looking for, when we were building our house, we went from showroom to showroom trying out tubs. I told the homebuilder, at the time, I want a couple people to be able to be able to take a bath at the same time I was very adamant about the tub size. Because at the time, the boys were little and I bathed with both the boys, because Noah was under 1 year of age, Branden was 3. And I also knew Noboru would be bathing with the boys too. It needed to be family size, let's put it that way. Our tub is probably one of my most favorite things about the whole house. Though I do not bathe with the boys anymore at all, clearly (not for years) but they always have a nice soak together and have a blast during their bath. : ) So anyway, sorry I  lost the topic for a bit...anyway Noboru enjoyed his soak in the tub. Came downstairs and we watched TV for a bit. 

Hot chocolate brownies with pecans, rocky road brownies.
January 1st we 4 all had baked chicken parmesan and some cherry coke we bought at Costco last week. Noboru left to work at 10pm that night. 

New Year's Eve TV, for the most part, I have been watching the Twilight Zone marathon (it's even on right now, as I type), but we also enjoyed the New Year's Rockin Eve on ABC. Hosted by Ryan Seacrest and Jenny McCarthy. 

Jenny getting down to Macklemore!

There were also lots of kids movies on too. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory was on the family channel, the boys watched that for a bit, but then changed it to the Karate Kid (the Jaden Smith one, I prefer the Ralph Macchio one)

Date says, January 1st. 10pm (Guam time) but 9pm Japan time, Noah was zonked out and sleeping in his bed upstairs. Branden was laying on the couch but he had his Beats by Dre headphones on and was deep into playing his Pokemon Y game. So, I changed the channel and after watching many many hours of Twilight Zone, I changed it to one of the crime channels. Watched the Homicide Hunter with Detective Joe Kenda. It doesn't show gore, but he retells his story and it's really good. I watched 2 of his shows and then turned it back to the Twilight Zone, then I went to sleep. 

Joe retelling his story, pictured here.  Today is January 2nd, and we will have yakiniku tonight. Not on the grill outside, just in the house. It's been marinating since 11am this morning. Noboru has the night shift tonight again, but he is off tomorrow. : )  The boys homework is long done however, Noah needs pictures from his baby days up until now. A couple of each. @.@ So, I did put some aside, that I especially thought Noah should take, and tomorrow I'll go and make copies of them and then we'll be done done. @.@ Also, Branden had to have made something with potatoes during Christmas/winter break...but not to worry the pic of the gratin potatoes at Christmas, plus the fact he did peel them and grate the cheese and I specifically knew he had to help with those, so, I had him watch and learn how to make the roux too (in case they ask), so I will make a copy of the picture of those as well, tomorrow. : ) Other then that, we're just staying home, not doing a whole lot, except getting some much needed rest and relaxation in. : ) Branden and Noah go back to school January 7th, so we're basically just enjoying our family time until then. Genki has come to play, 5 times during winter break and Noboru said he called each day while we were in Guam, bless his heart. He is such a good kid, who truly must miss the boys when they are away. : ) They played soccer January 1st for half the day. : )  And Branden and Noah went to Genki's house twice during winter break also, to ask if he could play too, so it's not just 1 sided, it's not 1 sided at all. : )  Anyway that's enough for now. One of my favorite Twilight Zone episodes just came on, the one where these people are really toys, except they don't know they're really toys yet. : )  I've got my bedroom sheets in the dryer, as I type and Noah's sheets will be going in the washer on commercial. : )  Branden's were washed yesterday. It's just an every week type thing.'s just time. : ) Anyway Happy New Year to you all, from our family, here in Chiba, Japan. : )