Sunday, November 30, 2014

Saturday, November 29th in dad catching his flight back and the Christmas party, I went to that evening...

Saturday morning, November 29th, we dropped my dad off at the airport. It was such a wonderful visit and time spent with my dad! The whole family dropped him off and gave grandpa many big hugs and waved and we watched him walk into the building, before we drove off. : )

We always go to Mc Donald's after dropping off my dad and the reason is 2 fold. Reason one is because we're hungry. : ) And reason 2 is we always stay close to the airport, especially since my dad is flying stand by. That way if the plane broke down or if he'd get bumped (which has never happened to my dad, yet but that's because we carefully pick his travel dates) But it's still smart to stay close by Narita airport. Just until we can see online that yes, he was given a boarding pass and his seat is # such and such. Then we're happy and can go...phew! : ) I had a pancake/hotcake combo with a hashbrown and a hot coffee. Noah had a combo and so did the rest of the family. : )

Both of the boys have very nice clean cut haircuts! Very preppy and nice! : ) And Noah eating his breakfast that morning. : )

Bran eating and Noboru eating and in between he was checking the status of my dad. I love that Noboru worries about my dad just as much as I do! He's such a fantastic husband! A real keeper! : )
This is a picture of the gift that I gave at the 3rd grade mother's Christmas party Saturday evening. The party started at 6pm and it lasted until closing at 10pm. The Christmas party was truly wonderful and so much fun! Guess how we decided how to mix up the gifts? You know musical chairs right? Well this was sorta like musical presents. One mama played the theme song of Yokai Watch on her keitai (cell phone) and while the song played we sat on the tatami mats around the short mini table and we passed all the gifts around one by one...all the gifts were moving around the table being passed around. And when the song stopped/finished that was the gift we got!!! Hahaha. We each took turns unwrapping the gifts one at a time. We all ohhhed and awed and clapped. It was super fun! While I don't drink. I really appreciated that nobody made me feel weird for not drinking. We all had salads, okonomiyaki all sorts of stuff. I had a Hi C lemon soda and 1 cola/Coke. We had icecream and the owners of this super tiny restaurant in our town, an old man and woman  (the man cooked and his wife was our server) My fellow mom friends all drank, a few smoked. One fell but it wasn't because of drunkenness, it was because she stepped on a slippery plastic file folder. A lot of information is shared during these parties. A lot of bonds are formed. And ties tightened even tighter than before! 2 of the mamas are moms of baseball kids. The talk was that they need more kids... not enough kids on that team. And 3 of the moms are soccer moms and their husbands are the actual coaches for our town and they told me personally at the restaurant. One lady said my husband (head coach) really wants Noah on the team...the other coaches wife too chimed in and said yes...our husbands want your son on the soccer team *so* bad!!! They elaborated a bit and said the papas see Noah's speed on the marathon day and they know he has the *it* factor for soccer. He has the stamina...coming in 3rd place! Winner First and second place are already in soccer, even the kid in 4th place is in soccer. I guess it's true...Noah is hella fast! And they all know Noah is interested in soccer. I admitted yes Noah is interested in soccer but I am unsure about weekend mornings. How that would go...because it's my only time to sleep in. So...I agreed to let Noah go once... to see if time-wise it meshes well with our family. But yep...they made it crystally clear our town soccer team and the coaches want Noah. So we will see. Also not all moms were invited (though I don't get into or am not interested in mom politics, meaning who likes who that type a thing...if I even hear anything like that I start to tune myself out of the conversation really quick, that's just not interesting to me at all and no for the record nobody talked negatively about anyone else at this party at all, which I really liked that about these ladies.) There was just 14-15 of us total. The like...core moms. The moms in the know. Father's club husbands wives. Coaches wives. Rep for our class, that mom. One mom and myself are in the kids club for our housing community, and my husband is in the father's club.  All of the moms were the hoikuen moms before 1st grade. So, I am accepted. Totally. They made me feel so yeah I am so glad I went. These ladies are hella funny! OMG they are! The papas of the soccer team have approached Noboru about Noah already. But you know as well as I's really up to us mamas. : ) So it was much better to talk to me about it. So promises but I did say we can go for a 1 day try out. One of the moms is a nurse at the bigger of the 2 clinics in our town. Again if my kids ever get sick or something having that good relationship, friend connection is gonna be fantastic for us. The restaurant closes at 10pm but we were still there at 10:05pm. The woman owner who served us..liked our group you could tell. Slightly rowdy super funny inaka mamas! 15 members strong, lol. It was a funny night. I would love it if the whole class of mamas could get together next time. The more the merrier in my opinion! But yeah super nice ladies. : ) 

I loved the gift I received very much! It was perfect for me! And the one who gave this to me is the nurse...she has a 6th grade daughter, a 3rd son and a 1st grade son. Her daughter is such a fantastic swimmer and she and Branden are such good friends... her kids and my kids catch the swim bus together and swim together. She personally told me...our town just started a night market 2 weeks ago, they have delicious tofu donuts and stuff. It starts at 4 or 5pm. Again this word of mouth information share is so important. Two of Branden's 7th grade class mom's who also have 3rd grade siblings were there. We just had the best time.  I also found out when out town grocery store will open....end of December, the date was postponed from November to then. Again good to know. : )

Wonderful card...

It says time...wonderful! With a heart! When I was first invited to this party, I asked Noboru..."what do you think...should I go?" He said...."oh you have to...relationships like this with fellow parents of our kids classmates and stuff...this is so super important" The ties that bind, you know! And I agree. The closer us parents are....the closer the kids are too. : )

I love these and if you know me at all, even a tiny bit from my blog, you'll know I dig the ease of paper plates and I like cute holiday plates! So to get Christmas cups, napkins and paper plates! Right up my alley! The best gift, I could get! Perfect match! : ) 

I also ended up with 2 cup bags. Noah can use the Mickey one and I love the Minnie one and if I ever go somewhere and need a cup bag, I'm covered now! : )  Just a very thoughtful gift. And a wonderful night. : ) Anyway, that was Saturday November 29th in a nutshell. : ) 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Gobble gobble gobble, Happy Thanksgiving from our family here in Chiba, Japan!

Happy Thanksgiving my fellow Americans, no matter where you live or where you are reading this from! : )  I hope you had a wonderful day surrounded by family and much love! We had a really nice quiet Thanksgiving here at the house. I like tradition and know how important it is especially when raising kids so... for both Branden and Noah, we always do Thanksgiving here every single year no matter what. So they understand just how important and just how special today is for us! : ) We have the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving DVD and enjoyed it a few times this November! They know as everyone knows... we will go round the table from person to person... about what we are each grateful for. And that's probably my favorite thing going from person to person and it changes from year to year, so it's always interesting to see what each person felt what they were most thankful for this year. Branden's this year was...he was most thankful his *huge* test was over with and now he can relax for December... of course regular homework and stuff he will still have, but no huge test will be looming. : ) So yep that's what Bran was most grateful about, as of last evening. : )  Here is our table, and it just has regular traditional American Thanksgiving food. Turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, black olives, green beans, huge mixed salad, croutons next to the pilgrim girl on the table. Hot dinner rolls with melted butter, cranberries on the left of the pilgrim boy on the table. : ) We had soda and  2 homemade from scratch pumpkin pies. We still have 1 whole one and about 2 slices of the first one in the fridge. : ) That's Kraft Thousand Island dressing next to the salad. 

Some people eat their turkey feast on fine China and I think that's super okay! But that's just not how we roll here at my house! Do you have any idea how many dishes it takes to make a Thanksgiving feast? A ton! Luckily I have a huge normal sized American dishwasher. But I do 2 loads on this day! So, I find cute paper plates for us...a perfect match!!! They're cute and useful, no extra added dishes and can toss after use! Perfect for us! No added dishes!

Mashed potatoes, stuffing and turkey all drizzled with gravy and green beans and some black olives. I also had a dinner roll and some cranberries. And I had a slice of pumpkin pie with whipped cream for dessert. 

Again, I know some folks dress up and if ya do, that's totally fine. Again, it's just not how we roll around here! It's a gratitude..being thankful type a holiday, being with family and also...yes it's a stuffing your face holiday too. : ) Thank goodness for my daily morning walks and weekly exercise and stuff, so this is a day not to feel guilt... it's a day to just enjoy! And I find I can eat a lot more food and feel a whole lot more comfortable wearing comfy yoga pants then constricting skinny jeans. For me it's just a no brainer. The boys were wearing sweatpants too. My dad was wearing a nice sweater and slacks. : ) But he's switched to sweatpants too after dinner. The kids and I smartly switched before dinner hahaha. : )  Also, sadly Noboru had to work yesterday evening, so he missed eating with us. He could have requested and got off yesterday. But he requested another day off instead...Noah's marathon day in December. Also Noboru is leaving Japan in less than a week for a couple days training somewhere in the US. I won't say where just yet. But yep...he couldn't be here on Thanksgiving because he had work, but that's okay, he can feast today. : ) 

Best part about Thanksgiving is the leftovers! Especially the sammys. And with a sandwich goes chips! 3 bags of Lay's potato chips will ensure enough chips for the sandwiches. : )

I went to 2 different bakeries. I *really* like both. I bought 2 loaves from 1 place and 1 loaf from the other bakery. On Saturday/tomorrow after we take my dad to the airport I'll be sure to buy some more bread, because I'm sure we'll run out by then. : )  Which makes me happy because I want people to eat! Have another sandwich...have another slice of pie..put some olives on your fingers and munch on those funfunfun...would you like some more mashed potatoes? How about a bit more gravy? I am the...stuffer! You come here...I will surely stuff you! : ) Hahaha. : )  See and that's why you'd need to bring your sweatpants or yoga pants. We dress for comfort around need for airs around here. Slap your hair in a pony tail and dig right in! Hahaha, I'm smiling... : ) 

All white meat is sliced and put on this plate and in the fridge and we have another plate with all dark meat sliced. I made a sandwich for a family member last night while we were all watching TV. : )  Anyway, to those of you who celebrate it...I hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving. : )  Today here is Friday. I will be enjoying my last day and evening with my dad. The kids are at school but today is Friday so the weekend will be starting for them as soon as they get out of school. 3 guesses what we'll be eating for tonight's dinner and tomorrow nights dinner. : ) Turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing and gravy dinner or sandwich and chips. You can go either way. : ) 

Side note, I did find the perfect Christmas gift for Saturday/tomorrow night's mothers' Christmas party for the 3rd grade class mom's only. Remember everyone must buy/bring a gift 500 yen or under. I found one for 500 yen, plus tax...a really cool one, at a really nice shop, ladies shop at the local mall yesterday morning while I was out buying bakery bread. I walked by hoping to find something. It has bath bombs, bath gels and nice stuff in a snowman package, very Christmasy! And I also paid an extra 200 yen for them to wrap the gift and they wrapped the gift so nice! It's a really pretty package and it has actually really nice stuff inside. Not Daiso or cheap type stuff. Just really nice ladies stuff and the box has the name of the shop, which everyone around our area knows that shop. So...I think whoever gets my gift, will totally enjoy it! I am happy about it, because I was worried, if I could find a good gift or not and I did. So....phew! No worries for me about that now. : ) 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The pumpkin pies are done...

The pumpkin pies were baked from scratch yesterday! With a a delicious real butter crust! Pie crusts made with sweet cream butter! Whole house smelled like pumpkin pies all day and night last night. : )  The boys are both at school right now. Today is Branden's huge end of term test! It's the BIG one today!!! @_@  As soon as I publish this, I am going to put the turkey in the oven and prep and decorate the dinner table and in a bit, I'll run to the bakery to get some fresh baked bread for left over turkey sammys. After we have our big meal first of course. : )  Noah gets out of school at 3pm today and Branden around the same time too, since he'll get out early because of it being huge test day...and we will let them, miss swimming school tonight because of Thanksgiving.

Tomorrow Noah needs to bring a lunch to school. I knew in advance 2 weeks ago, so he'll be taking turkey sandwich, and mashed potatoes and stuffing and whatnot tomorrow. : )

Saturday, my dad leaves. : (  And Saturday evening is my Christmas party for all 3rd grade mom's. It's going to be at an okonomiyaki restaurant. And we all need to bring a gift...wrapped and it can't cost more than 500 yen. So, I'll go and shop for that Friday. : ) And Monday morning is my morning...greeting of all shogakko/elementary kids in the morning. Hahaha. Me with huge yellow flag standing in the freezing cold saying "good morning" or "ohayo"...many many times over for me! : ) And December 13th is when I will be hosting the kids club Christmas party and I'll dress up like a reindeer. After that though...I am done for this year...hahaha. Oh I do have a fun lunch date next Wednesday...December 3rd with two of my really good friends from yochien (our kids went to the same yochien), we will go to an Indian restaurant that day, I can't wait! : ) 

Monday, November 24, 2014

My dad’s arrival to Japan on Sunday...

Christmas decorations at the International Arrivals at Narita Airport! I especially liked the 2 trees with Christmas ornaments on each side. : ) 
So happy you guys! : ) My dad arrived safely Sunday, November 23rd around 6pm-ish. We were all waiting and excited. The kids kept looking..."is the next person going to be grandpa???" know...meaning the next person coming out of the arrival doors. And there he came, with great big happy smile and his hand is a bit blurry in this picture, but that's only because he was waving at both Branden and Noah! : ) I luckily prepped dinner beforehand. Dinner that night was to be chicken parmesan and pasta. A very filling and hearty dinner. I did skillet fry the chicken breasts beforehand and so when we got home, all I had to do was, place in a baking dish on top of some sauce for about 30 minutes, boil some pasta and dinner was served! : ) Plus it gave a few of us time to shower while it baked. : ) My dad has brought goodies for us and my Bath and Body Works order. And so far we have just been visiting and enjoying every one's company.

Yesterday was yet another holiday here in Japan and so the boys were off school. Yesterday around 2pm-ish I made curry for supper, turned off the stove after it was made. I even bought 2 baguettes from the bakery, sliced them and buttered them to go as a side with curry since my dad's here and eating bread with a meal is pretty standard. : ) So, I did all that. And then the boys took the swimming bus last evening to swim school. But they knew we were going to show up and Noboru and my dad and I showed up and watched them swim upstairs, I took pics and then the 5 of us drove back to our town. And we then ate our curry dinner after swimming.

Anyway, Thanksgiving update. The turkey has been in the fridge thawing since Sunday night. I am flipping him over once a day to make sure he is thawing evenly. Today my dad and I are going to go and buy 5kg of potatoes for mashed potatoes. Don't think I'll make all 5kg worth of course, but it is nice to know we'll have extra or plenty if we need to. I have a few shops we will be cruising to today. You know me...I'm a little cruiser. : )  Just hop in the car and I'm off, hahaha. : )

Weather-wise. It's chilly today. And this afternoon rain is expected and it is expected to rain all day long tomorrow. So rides to and from... for both the boys today and tomorrow. Good thing I have my eyes on the weather every morning. : )

Anything else to add? (thinking thinking thinking) Nagano seems to be having some earthquakes lately. Be safe ladies living in Nagano. Please you guys. : ) Yes, I'm worrying. : ) Of course. : )

Also, that whole Bill Cosby thing in the news? Sigh! You know what...I think it's hard on a lot of us Americans. His character on the Cosby Show...such a beloved character. He was like "everyone's TV dad somehow" Do you know what I mean? A trusted character, a trusted guy. And those Jello commercials. It's like saying Mister Rogers did this or Leave It To Beaver's dad! It's just like unthinkable...unfathomable. Shocking. Do, I believe it? Sadly...yes I do! I could see it if it was just 1 or 2 people coming out of the woodwork (I still could believe it but it would be more of a he said, she said). But my gosh...Janice Dickinson. And the lady from Law and Order SVU...and so many others. They said they just didn't want to say anything bad about the guy because they knew they wouldn't be believed. But they all seem to pill and blacking out. It's probably his M. O. Just super sad...all of it. And now that man has come out (Ex-NBC employee) and said he helped pay off a lot of the women for Cosby. @.@ I don't's just like the story is getting worse and worse by the day. Anyway...that's enough for me for now. I just wanted to touch bases with you all real quick. And I better go get some jeans on and go and put my makeup on, so I can go and run my errands and prep for gobble gobble gobble...turkey day! : ) 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Noah's observation day at the local elementary school...

Thursday, October 30th, was Noah's observation day! This was all day type of observation day, meaning you could go anytime you wanted. However the note said for 3rd grade parents you were needed for the last 2 classes of the day, because the activity would be dancing and dodgeball, parents with kids. And of course you don't want your kid dancing alone with no partner, so...that's why they asked for us all to be there... the last 2 classes, meanwhile the rest of the school could be at the school anytime. Anyway, I arrived about 15 minutes early and given Noboru's work schedule that day, he could also attend Noah's observation day. Sometimes his work schedule works out so he can attend and sometimes it doesn't. Lucky for us this time...he could enjoy watching Branden's the day before and Noah's that day. : ) So anyway Noboru and I arrived 15 minutes early and we watched the kids all playing outside during recess. There's short recess and long recess, this was a long recess and kids play with their grade and teacher. I spotted Noah and his class way way in the back near the colorful tires. 

Being a really western looking hafu means that I can spot Noah superly easy! I spotted him immediately with red hat way in the back on that big tube looking thing, he was standing way at the back. Also the downside of being the lone western mom means, that I am really *noticeable* very Noah noticed me, immediately. I wanted to watch without anyone knowing. Oh well. : ) 

The kids were taking turns jumping over the colored tires. Doing a rock paper scissors in the middle of the game... and if you won you got to pass and if not, you had to start again. I really enjoyed watching Noah play with his friends and classmates. Noah was doing rock paper scissors in this picture. 

Then the 3rd grade teacher took the 3rd graders to the swing area and they did that until the bell rang. All of the grades went to their classes, except for the 3rd graders...they went to the gym. 

The entire 3rd grade population in our school. Biggest class of the whole school. The teacher told the kids run to your parents and Noah ran to the both of us! 

Every parent there sitting with their child. 

Noah and Lily! They get along like peas and carrots! Or peas in a pod! Noah told me the other day..."Lily-chan always goes into my desk!" I asked, "why... for what?" : ) Noah said..."because she goes into my desk and cleans out my desk, rearranges everything PLUS she sharpens all my pencils mama!!!!" I told Noah...what a good little girl Lily-chan is! "You are so lucky she is your best friend Noah!!!" I thought that was so cute when I heard that. Sounds like she takes very good care of Noah, while he's at school! Hahaha. Sharpens all his pencils for him! Probably the funniest thing, that I have heard all month! Totally cracks me up, just thinking about it! LOL! : )

I love this picture of Noah, such a good picture!

Such a happy child! : )  The first thing we did was we danced. We were all in a line, but it wasn't an old song or a typical square was a new-ish song and dance. I did the I danced with Noah! We did really good! The mom in plaid or checkered shirt to the right of Noah is K's mom, the one who has 2 sons who are same age/grade as my 2 sons. : ) So we know each other really well and we exchange New Year's cards every year so... we both danced next to each other while dancing with Noah and K. We had a great time and Noah and K are great friends. Remember they went "trick or treating" the next day together. : )  Next was dodge ball. I'm sorry but I really hate/dislike dodgeball. I have disliked dodgeball ever since I was a kid myself. So, I let Noboru take over and be Noah's partner for that! I stood along the sidelines and chatted with 2 mom's who also didn't want any part of the dodgeball part. : ) 

This round was mixed with parents and kids mixed together. The last game was kids versus their parents! See the lady nearest my camera with blue long shirt, long hair and black and white checkered leggings. She is so funny and so nice! During this round...she...don't ask me how it is possible but she...jumped away from the ball trying to avoid being hit and she fell and I mean she fell freakin' hard! She laid on the floor for 1 minute which sounds short... but in reality it was really long...she was still smiling so she seemed okay or not badly injured. The next round...parents versus kids...same mom..she accidentally kicked her own son super hard...again it was on accident...she was just really moving and jumping around (like the matrix!!!)... her son was out of the game standing along the sidelines since he was hit with the ball already. Anyway she kicked him so hard he started crying...everyone knew it was totally an accident, she apologized and he cried for most of the game. And he really was kick super hard so I am sure he was genuinely in pain. Her best friend was laughing at her so hard...telling her..."you have been so hurt/damaged today and now your son!" She was laughing. By the time we left she/the mom was limping down the hill. K's mom was sweating and had to take a break on the sidelines. This game was wild...those balls were a flying all over the place. People were jumping and leaping, trying to dodge the ball... everywhere. It was so funny to watch. And everyone was in such good spirits. The little boy eventually stopped crying. and he rejoined the game. Oh and this is the funniest or worst part, you will not believe this @_@...Noboru likes to throw...psyche balls at people. Meaning he looks like he's throwing the ball forward but he instead throws it right or to the left. Therefore hitting someone who wasn't expecting the ball. So anyway...there was 1 mom. She has a daughter in Branden's grade and a son in Noah's grade. Again so we know that family doubly well. Noboru throws one of his...psyche balls...and on total accident he hits that mom and she's out! Hitting her and making her out is part of the that's not the bad part....the bad part is Noboru accidentally hit her right dead center in the freaking face with the ball. OMG, you guys my mouth was on the floor! I was like...@_@ Holy freakin' crap...please don't say you just hit H's mom... right square in the face. @_@ Given her expression..(eeek)  I don't think she was all too happy about Noboru for that day! I told Noboru...please go over there and apologize. He said..."No, it's just a game and it was an accident."... (okay I would have apologized, but then that's just me personally) Noboru thinks I'm a worry wart...which yes I am but...omg, you guys! was a great day...minus the mom kicking her son (on 100% accident) and Noboru hitting Branden and Noah's classmate's mom dead square in the face (also 100% accident) @_@ It was right in the middle of the I couldn't just jump in the middle of an active game either and say sorry....and I was then going to say something afterwards...however when we all left, we were not in the genkan area at the gym at the same time...or I would have apologized.  And now so much time has would be creepy weird to even mention it now. So...sigh. yes I do worry too much! Now we know where Noah gets his worry wart tendencies from. : )

However, all us 3rd grade mom's are planning to have an end of the year party, get together. Just for us 3rd grade mom's. I think it's going to be a blast! : ) 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Branden's observation day at the local JHS...

Branden's JHS had observation day for 2 days. A 2 day observation day? This was a first for me, to ever have something like that (2 days in a row) : ) Apparently that is because in case some parents couldn't come on, one of the days the other day was available too. The days were right before Halloween, October 29th and October 30th. However, Noah had observation day at his school October 30th. And for us 3rd grade parents there was a specific activity at the last 2 classes, so we had to be there for that. Plus I was making pizza for our special Halloween supper, remember that? : ) So, I knew on one of those 2 days, I absolutely also had to swing myself to Costco Chiba New Town. So, I decided I would attend Branden's observation day on October 29th plus, go to Costco that day. Knock 2 of my things off the list for that day, plus get home and make dinner and prepare for the kids swimming later that evening. So October 29th was a super busy day for me. And since Noah's observation day was the next day only...I had to go to that of course (which is totally fine). Plus prep for dinner later that night, clean house, do laundry.. all that normal stuff. You know what I mean, I hope. : ) So yep that was the plan. So, I decided to attend Branden's English class, on October 29th. His English teacher is that *lovely* Japanese teacher who is the 7th grade teacher for the other class. She helped us set up our spot for undokai, remember. : ) I was at the JHS, that morning, here is the spot where all the kids who ride their bikes park their bikes.  A few scatterings of houses and on the left of that house in the background is a rice field. You won't see anything higher than a 3 story building in our town...we honestly just don't have anything like that. Again it is a town actually smaller than Mayberry on the Andy Griffith Show, population wise. Our town is a tad under 5,000 folks. It is a *very* small town. Our town is not merged with any neighboring cities. It is just simply a town with about 5,000 nice folks in it.  Interesting fact, about half of Branden's classmates parents grew up in our town. Truly true...many of Branden's classmate mom's were actual classmates of each other, back in the day, hahaha. : ) I think you see a 2 or 3 story apartment building way in the background but that's really about it.  

I'm giving you a little peek of our town via the view from Bran's school. : ) Okay to the right forward but background is rice field and then to the see a 2 or 3 story building, could be the biggest building of the whole town. But shrimpy compared to bigger cities, but that is our "big" clinic for our town. That is where Branden went for the x-ray on his foot after his undokai. The wait is very long, you could wait all day... because so many older folks find going to the clinic... as social...a social gathering with their senior friends... meaning a lot of their friends are there. So the wait could be eons before actually being seen. However they are good, the wait is just forever. Which is why 98% of the time, we choose to go to the tiny clinic 1 minute from our house. : ) 

This is the new-ish main street behind Bran's school. Mostly just houses. Farm equipment showrooms/stores. And we can even... boast that we have one 7-11 (should we do a group...ohhh and ahhh, hahaha) : ) We used to have a grocery store! I tell ya we were rocking! With 1 grocery store! Modern eh? However sadly... it went out of business last year and just my opinion is... because their prices were insanely expensive. So for the past year our town has been utterly and quite literally grocery store-less. However...there has been a huge sign where the old store used to be for the last 4 months that a new store would be there in November. This month! The whole towns talking about it! And it is under construction now and it's not finished yet...but I think when it finally does open that it will be on the monthly news bulletin...front page even!!! :  )  Our town also boasts 1 Mini Stop (ohhhh ahhhh) (think along the lines of sorta like a Circle K, another convenience store) : ) And all the kids seem to hang there if you are a kid. : ) No Mc D's or any fast food for our town. It is a nice town. Just a very rural town. Like very VERY rural town. : ) Again while Tokyo has fancy stores like...Prada and Gucci...the only stores our town has with big huge show room type windows are ones... showing their product is...a new tractor...and the likes. 

Yep, there are truly no buildings taller than a 3 story building for our town. And that's okay. We wanted to live in a small town like this. It's so wonderful for the boys to grow up here. 

Anyway enough town talk... back to the observation day...Noboru and I walking towards the school. 

Yep, it was indeed October 29th. : ) 

She is a very nice lady, a very good teacher. Although, I definitely think I made her nervous, because Noboru even whispered in my're making her so nervous. : ( Even Branden mentioned that later that evening. @_@ : ( I really am unsure why, perhaps because I'm American. but seriously no worries, I think she's absolutely fantastic. I am a fan! In fact when I filled out the form what I thought about it...I wrote in English how fantastic she was and how she kept the kids interested and me too! : )  Branden said I was the *only parent* Noboru and I...who showed up on October 29th. @_@ And he said that only a handful showed up on the next day. : ( Not sure if many had to work..or if parents think their kids are getting too old to watch/observe. I'm not sure. But I always want to go. I want to see how Branden does in class. How he interacts. I want to check his inside shoes (do they need replacing? No they don't but at least I checked)...I just want peace of mind. I left feeling pretty good. Everything seems pretty good.

In JHS, at least at our JHS in Japan. You are ranked. At the end of each midterm or final or huge test. You will bring home how you ranked per each core subject you tested on. You are not told what # your classmates are, that is all private, as it should be. But you know *your* scores and your rank. Branden is ranked in English after all his mid terms finals and major tests in 1st place for his class and for his grade (combining both classes) he is again ranked #1. For his math he is ranked 3rd for his class and like 4th or 5th out of both classes combined. His Japanese/kanji is incredibly high he is ranked again like 3rd or 4th and like 6th out of both classes combined. Out of all his core subjects a person tests from... he is under 10 (which is fantastic really) he is doing incredibly well. I credit Kumon English and Japanese for a lot of it! Because though I am American, and I taught him to speak English fluently and read at home and write and stuff with workbooks.... he learned the translating and specific ways the Japanese like to *see* English translated and whatnot...he learned a ton at Kumon and for that...I can really see, the benefits now that he is in JHS. So for his English for example he has absolutely zero problem. The teacher wanted somebody to read this dialogue with her...she picked Branden to read it with her. This picture...he was reading it with, his sensei. He fluidly speaks like I do, and when he finished...the class clapped, and according to Noboru, a few of his classmates said...sugoi (wow!!!) lol. : ) He did really well. I stayed for the entire class. Filled out the what we thought of the class...the class form. And left. Remember we still had to run to Costco for mozzarella cheese for the pizza for our Halloween dinner. 

Brand new bathrooms/toilets. Because the airport is semi near-ish. Our town gets money from the Narita airport so although our town is small, the elementary school was rebuilt about 8 years ago (which is why...Noah's school is pretty new) and Branden's school gym was reformed at the local JHS. And they also got an additional toilet area for outside, right here. So both schools have nice stuff. Really nice stuff. And both schools have out of this world computer labs. Anyway so we hopped in the car and headed to Costco.

October 29th stuff bought from Costco. Mozzarella cheese for pizza for our fun Halloween meal. Kraft processed cheese slices... for the best grilled cheese (this will last us about 3-4 months easy)...big hunka blunka of Colby cheese (they have Tillamook but for 300-400 yen cheaper...I prefer buy the Kirkland store brand.) Provolone and sliced ham for ham sammys for the month of  November. So lunches for November can be grilled cheese or ham sammy. And of course I always keep instant noodle soups in stock at home too. But yep lunches are no worries now. And they had Classico pasta sauce...I totally prefer Prego...2nd choice would be Ragu. My last choice would be this...but still better than Japanese spaghetti sauce. To me, Japanese pasta sauce tastes so carrot-y. Plus remember I have all that Hunt's Four Cheese I brought back from Guam and that 1 Prego I brought back from Guam too, for a possible Christmas lasagna or ham (don't need the sauce for the ham...hmmm or I could do ham for Christmas and lasagna for New Year's...clearly still thinking about all that still). So pasta sauce wise, ehhh I am pretty stocked up until mid- January, or maybe end of January. 

We did have lunch there that day, we then rushed back to our tiny town. I got dinner underway. Packed both their swimming bags. And swung around and picked both Branden and Noah up quickly so they could eat a quick ham sammy, before catching the swim bus.  The next day was to be Noah's Fall observation day.  Yep, it was a busy week that week. Hahaha. : ) 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Pics from this week...

Alrighty ya'll this post is going to have to be short and sweet, because I have an apple crisp baking in the oven that is about ready to come out! : )  Each week something fun is going on in Noah's class. Either a walk around their school collecting pine cones and leaves. Or a field trip to the grocery store as a class. or something...but always something fun! : ) This Monday Noah needed to bring "shiny origami paper" and beading or other small things to be used. What are the kids making? Each child is apparently making a small globe/earth scale model. The minute it said earth and they needed origami paper, I tried my best to find blue colored paper. I think I did a pretty decent job...thanks to the Daiso/100 yen having it in stock. : ) I picked up 1 pack of "shiny" lol origami paper and made sure blue was in there. I actually really love this color of blue and think it will be perfect. Noah and I together went to Daiso to pick out the small decorations that he'd like to use, again keeping with the whole "earth" theme we tried to pick predominately blue beads and whatnot. I did write his name on the paper and used a name sticker for his bead box, the bead box... I also picked up at the Daiso/100 yen. : ) And last night Noah mentioned he'd like to take some tin foil from home and use that too. To fill in his round earth shape? Or I don't know...we'll see. : ) So what's Noah up to this week? Noah's busy on an art project at school along with the rest of his class. What's Branden doing this week? Studying his brains out! His final for this semester is next week. So he will be major/huge test free... until way after New Year's, so he has been studying his ever lovin' brains out since they first gave them their study syllabus last week. They give you a set study syllabus and give you 2 weeks to prepare. So imagine Branden at the kitchen table studying with book in hand. Imagine Branden laying on his bed with a science book in his hand. Or on the couch with a social studies book  in hand. At his study desk in his room with his English text book. So until his exams are over...there's just not much time to play or enjoy. Only 1 week left! Then he can be ready..take the tests and feel relief that he did it...and a job well done! But for now...he's studying really hard this week you guys. : ) Ganbatte can do it kiddo! So anyways that's the weekly blurb on the kiddos. : ) 

A close-up of Noah's beads that he took to school, this Monday.
Tuesday, we went and bought our turkey! We went through every turkey inside this freezing cold door/area until we found the biggest one of the bunch. Considering we'll have my dad here and we do love the leftover turkey sammys, we'd like a big one, if possible. A turkey that feeds 5 with plenty of leftovers. : ) 

Noboru and I went to lunch right after we hit Costco. We went to the Ohsho. 
Didn't buy too much. Just toilet cleaner. We had the roasted chicken last night with side dishes too.

The turkey, Butterball Premium. And some tortillas. 

7.24kg, which means 15 or so pounds. And the price was super fair for Japan, 3548yen about $33 US give or take considering the daily exchange rate, and the yen is weaker now and the US dollar stronger so yeah for right is about $32-33 US for the turkey we bought. : ) Not a bad price at all, for Japan. : )

TV Talk: The Black List ended for the season last week. OMG, it was so good. So good! American Horror Story Freak Show is getting *so* good too. Also a new season of 90 Day Fiance has started and I like it and I have been watching every week.  Blackish, is a good show, that I watch sometimes too and it's funny.  The Mysteries of Laura (starring Debra Messing from Will &Grace) this show is so good too.  I also enjoy Law and Order SVU, the new ones. I have watched  2 episodes of Gotham and I am still undecided, if I like it or not yet.

What else is up and in the news, as of late? Did any of you see the pics of Kim Kardashian on that magazine cover. That was all in the news this past week. Then some said, she was going to break the Internet with her butt pics. LOL. Then some were mad and didn't want to see the pics. Then some gotta see those pics. Some said the internet would break right down. And yep all week...all I heard was... she was gonna break the internet with her naked butt pics. LOL. Then as if that wasn't shocking enough the next day they showed the naked frontal pics? @_@ Hahaha. What do I think about this? Well, I being nosy...I did go and see the backside butt pics. Hey...I'm just keepin' it real ya'll. I thought it was an okay pic, artsy (I mean if she has the confidence for a pic like that, more power to her, I'm not going to criticize). Granted, I would not like to see the front pics, that is just way too TMI for me personally. @_@;;;  : ) Hahaha. And I am thankful to have perhaps the internet is safe for us all for now. : )  Then apparently the girl from Glee, oh what's her name...hold on let me go and google her name real quick... brb....Oh yes...Naya Rivera. Apparently she threw some SERIOUS shade at Kim regarding the butt pics. And Kim's best friend went to town on Naya! He put her on blast! Sharing like 4 pics Of Naya next to a Kim pic... wearing almost identical looks/outfits.... where he says Naya is trying to rip Kim's looks off all the time. And boy oh boy he/Jonathan Cheban went on the attack. And I think she just didn't have anymore to say after all that. Because the next day she said...something about she "got into trouble" @_@  Perhaps she better be a little more careful who she throws shade at! @_@  Anyway... : )

The boys swim tonight. This coming, Saturday I have an evening meeting for the kids club Christmas party. Get this...I'm going to dress up as a reindeer. @_@ The prez is going to be Santa and my fellow VP is going to be Mrs. Claus. When someone suggested we dress up...the prez wanted to be Santa. Both of us were asked to be Mrs. Claus. I politely said I'd not like to be Mrs. Claus. White/gray wig, itchy red and white suit. Yeah...not really. So the other VP said she'd be Mrs. Claus. They asked if I could be a reindeer. I think that's totally doable. The reindeer headband I can buy affordably at Daiso. And I can either paint my nose red or find a red nose. I might wear a brown shirt or I may not. It's just for a few hours, so I don't want to spend tons of an outfit I'd wear only once in my life. But yeah...reindeer for me. : ) And I also have to buy about 5 gifts for the kids club, and I'll be reimbursed the money. Each of us yakuin is buying a set # of the gifts for all the kids.

Okay the oven is beeping, I better end this. Talk to you all soon. : )