Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Branden’s last Kids Club event! Going to the movies with friends. Hitting Costco with some other friends. Gap, Old Navy and Lands' End shopping

There has been *so* much busy-ness going on around here! And I really haven't had a chance to write anything about any of it. I am hoping this post will be a chance for me to catch up with all the little bits and pieces of life and happenings around here. Branden graduates this Wednesday, you guys!!! From elementary school, holy cow, how did that happen so soon! : ) Anyway....here's a bit of a catch up. : ) Sunday, February 23rd when this picture was taken. It was the last hurrah...last kids club event for the 6th graders. On a personal note, this was Branden's last kodomokai (kids club event, like ever ever ever!) It was wonderful! Here the younger grade kids wrapped a 6th grader up as a mummy! Roar!! Rah! lol! I think these 2 kids who wrapped Branden had just the hardest time. Their toilet paper kept breaking and instead of just tucking the broken piece in and keeping pushing forward... they would unwind from the beginning. @.@ But...they were having a good time. I was working this event...as a support member of the kodomo kai since I am a 6th grade mom. The next event we have...Branden won't be there and I will be a fukukaicho/vp of the new 2014 kids club.  

Noah was meanwhile wrapping another 6th grader...Branden's friend K. 

Noah did an excellent job and wrapped K so well! 

Since, I was indeed helping wrap up K. K's mom went and helped wrap up Branden, I must say...she did a wonderful job! She works at my cheap fruit/veggie and drink store. : ) So, I always hear about upcoming sales from her. Hahaha. 

Noah won a lawn chair on bingo! Hahaha. The mom's made sure every child won at bingo, so every child left with a wrapped present. : ) 

And then at the end...before it was over. They called all 6th graders to come up onto the stage. And if the 6th grader had a younger elementary aged sibling.. they were also asked to go up onto the stage. The kids club were giving each 6th grader 2,000 yen about $20 US in a book gift card. Noah presented it to his brother. This part was so very sweet to watch. 

I am personally going to miss this bunch of kids at the kodomokai next year! And Branden...I may just have you tag along at this coming year events... to help out...but only if you want to. : )

What Branden received. A nice super soft leathery type of pencil case, not sure what it's made from exactly.. but boy is it soft. He also got Puma pencils, eraser and sharpener. Snacks, a soda and the gift card for books.

Branden has bought 1 book so far, for 400 yen that is really popular right now..he will probably get a few more during spring break. : )

Noah's treats from the kids club and his present was the camping chair. : )
What else have we been up to around here. Well, I also went to the hair salon Sunday, March 9th at 10am.  First appointment for my stylist that day. March is my birthday month. And for the past, 6 years or so, every last week of February they mail me one of these 20% off. And I always use it! Because, hey saving 20% is music to my ears! I got my hair slightly trimmed, but almost nothing really, just any dead or split ends. I am still letting it grow and omg, it is so long, my hair! I also got a Japanese thermal hair straightening, my hair is so super straight and silky smooth now. And again, holy cow... is it long right now!

Another day, while I was shopping at my cheap meat store. They had, however....as many potatoes as you could fit into a bag for that day. The price was too good to pass up! So there, I was and the rest were Japanese older grandma types, and we chit chatted and tried to stuff our bags as full as we could get them! They also had onions but they were too small and I didn't need *that* many onions... but potatoes shoot... we can always use potatoes around here...for potato salad, mashed potatoes, gratin potatoes, for breakfast, anything. : )

Also, as if I wasn't busy enough already, right! But as luck would have it...my drivers license needs renewing! @>@ However the bright side is....I am getting a gold license! However, to renew my license, I had to go and get pics from a photo booth, take them down to the police station, I did this the same day, we had to register for our new cars parking space, it saved me a double trip, lol. I had to take an eye exam and then sign up for a 30 minute driving lecture and after that, I get my gold license. So that driving lecture will be in April, yep it is written on my calendar already. 

What else...our house is almost officially not the hancho house or fukukaicho house starting from April something. So though we are technically still the heads now, our duty is over and we are sorta just riding it out. There will be a huge handover meeting in April and then that will be that! April the day of that meeting will be the day we dance a jig! The last meeting in March has happened. The new people were chosen. There was 1 shocking thing happen during the meeting. All hanchos for 2014 had to show and choose an additional job. The boy next doors mother will be the hancho for our street. She is a divorced mother. She works, she deserves huge respect, she's kicking butt, in my mind. Half the time she works Saturdays too. Her mom, grandma next door was deeply worried about which job her daughter would get. I asked Noboru if she could get out of doing an extra job because this lady is hard working already! Slightly switching subjects. Anyway...1 old grandpa walked into the meeting around 60-70-ish in age and he said...his name and he was the selected hancho for his street but said immediately after that..."I WILL NOT TAKE ON ANY OTHER JOB" The whole room went dead silent. That is very unusual for someone to do in Japan. And then 30 minutes pass and they are asking for volunteers of jobs. And some other person said, I really don't wish to have another volunteer job, because I need my free time. At that point, I guess somebody lost it and shouted..."Look, do you think you are the only one with a job or with a family waiting at home? We all have that! You are no more or less busy than the rest of us! None of us want to be here...yet we are!!!" Noboru said at that point, everyone started looking at the floor, at the table, at their shoes. Long story short, there already is a new Kaicho who will start in April after the handover meeting. (she is a newly retired lady who is smart and up for it!) and the next 2 VP's are on board too and just waiting for the handover. And our neighbor...she got according to Noboru...the worst jobs possible, she got 2 extra jobs! She is the one who keeps notes at all meetings, she has to show up now 30 minutes before everyone and prepare. : (  And I guess, she told Noboru...please don't tell my mother about which job I got please. I want to tell her, but I will need a few days. : (  Poor "boy next doors mom". A week later, the heads for the 2013 term went out to dinner, just some little Japanese local place. From 5pm-11pm, they enjoyed a meal and drank. Noboru said, 1 woman who said she had a 3rd grade child, asked "how Noboru and I met" @.@ lol. An older lady who used to be an art teacher in Tokyo who moved here 18 years ago, said, I have seen your American wife at the grocery store twice and the shopping center once. Someone chimed in...I saw your American wife at the library once! @.@ And then the funniest story of all...the other fuku kaicho...admitted. "I did not know you were the spouse of the American lady who lives in our housing community...until the day of the summer festival, and I went to your booth...he added, I didn't realize she was married to you until that very moment. @.@ Geeze Louise! Apparently I was one of the topics of their meal. And again...Noboru really is tight lipped, he never mentions who his wife is, I mean of course not, it shouldn't matter.  @.@  Noboru later mentioned to me..."you are the only American and western woman around here" and he didn't realize, people take notice of me as much as they apparently do, until that meeting. @.@ : )  Anyway...for the 2 jobs our house did, I did some of it too (stamping when the grounds were cut and done), but Noboru did most of it....but the pay was a total of 30,000 yen or around $300 US.

March 10th, Noah needed an obento. Seems the 2nd graders had 1 extra meal than the rest of the grades or something weird... (how is that even possible? oh well whatever, he needed one, lol) and so all 2nd graders needed to have a lunch that day from home. Branden that day ate at school and same for all other grades. You know when Noah was in yochien and he got mommy obentos 5 days a week, he'd have pizza toast, or egg salad, ham sammy, yakitori, many things but now he barely gets 2-3 obentos a year, so he always seems to request his most favorite lunch of all, which is fine. And since, he rarely gets it...I made it for Noah. 2 rice balls/triangles, broccoli, 3 fries and karaage, I make at home and a slice of roll cake from the store... with sprinkles that I add and 1 Easter napkin and a nice full thermos with tea and ice. : )  Yep, this was the same day we went to Makuhari to look for my car. No wonder, I woke up extra early to make obento, make breakfast, and get myself ready and the kids sent off to school. March 10th morning....crazy around our house that morning! But, they got to school, nice and with full tummy's. And we got ourselves to Makurhari safe and sound and found the car! 

March 11th, I went to the movies with my two favorite ladies! My very good friends, I met years ago, at the yochien. We went to see, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. It was a *very* long movie, but a very good movie. 

They were sitting to my left. And the screen is much bigger but it unrolls and stretches once the movie starts. The one thing, I regret is....when I was making this plan with my friends. I asked my husband, who was in the kitchen at the time...next Tuesday..."is it a regular school schedule??? Noah and Branden both get out at 3:45pm, right???"..I could hear foot steps and then he said, yes, 3:45pm. Well, as the movie lets our 3 hours later, at around 1:20pm. I get a Line message that reads..."don't forget Noah gets out at 2pm today!" @_@ What the????? My friends and I were just about to walk into Saizeriya and have lunch after the movie. Of course, my child is my child and I can't strand my child. And of course, we only have 1 car right now. So, I have to leave...I really have no other choice or option. But...I felt like extremely bad about it #1...and also extremely taken by surprise also.  I wanted to have that lunch...because again, they are my sempai's. They have 7th grade daughters right now. And I trust their opinions. And plus I like spending time with them...I wanted a sit down lunch to talk...really really talk...you know what I mean. I am so nervous about Branden starting junior high. Should he join a club...should he not. These 2 or my husband are who I go to...when I want to hear reason...from a person who has gone to junior high school here. And to understand my fears. And...here when I really needed to talk to them the most...I had to leave.I know they understood, I did explain myself why I had to leave and I did say I was sorry. Sometimes crazy stuff like this just happens. Good movie though. : )  The bright side is, the next time I meet them, we will be back to being a 2 car family, so this problem should not happen again.  Also, I regret not checking the kids schedule myself too. Live and learn, nobody is perfect and sometimes mistakes like this just happen.

I remember when we bought Branden his shuji set at the end of the 2nd grade. To use in the 3rd grade. Now it's Noah's turn! Noah brought home 3 papers with choices of shuji bags and sets to choose from.

The black Mizuno bag is what Branden has, I am packing this bag up as his memory of one of his things from elementary school life. Not the paints inside of course, just the bag. : )

Noah picked this very cool navy blue Adidas bag! I think he picked a really good one. 

You can pick the full kit, in blue above or order your own things, 1 by 1 below in pink. We always pick the full kit/complete kit and if he needs any replacements we can pick them up through the school year. 
March 10th on the way home from buying the car and on our way to pick up Noah, since he got out first that day. We zipped into Costco and bought eggs, butter (for White Day), margarine for grilled cheese or toast and cheese and tortillas. 

We also picked up dinner for that night because, I had been up so early that morning making obento and stuff. We needed a quick dinner March 10th. So the boys ate, then went to swimming and had another slice when they got back from swimming that night. 

Meanwhile, March 13th, we made homemade chocolate chip pecan cookies from scratch for all the lovely little girls who made something for Branden and Noah this year. 

I bought these bags from the Daiso for 105 yen. 32 bags, I thought it was a fantastic deal...and I liked that they said, especially for you..in English. : )  I tell ya, I was a cookie baking machine March 13th! And the boys did help. 

7 White Day gifts went to the boys elementary school and 3 White Day gifts went to swimming school! 10 White day gifts total. Holy moly...was that a lot!  Also important to add...in the day time on March 13th, starting from 1pm-2:10pm, the president/kaicho...and us 2 VP's..had dance practice. The original plan was we were to dance to Footloose. However, I show up and the prez has decided to change the song to...Dead or Alive's...Something in My House. I mean...if she was going to switch it to Dead or Alive, I wish she would have switched it to...You Spin Me Right Round. But...you know...to be honest...I personally don't care for the song Something in My House....I think another choice would have been better. And sure, I could have argued it and dug my feet in the sand. But...in my opinion...if you pitch the fit to change the song...in my mind..I'd now be the person responsible to choreograph a whole other dance and find a new song. Know when to pick your battles and when not to. So...forget it. That song is fine. It's 3 minutes of my life...I won't die by dancing that song. And also...she didn't even make a dance, it looks like a Jane Fonda workout from the 1980's...running in place, making circle hands and whatnot...seriously looks like an old 80's aerobic workout versus an actual dance. But again...I am busy with my own stuff.. as are they...and believe me...between drivers license renewal...electric charge up station people, coming to put that up...going back to Makuhari to get my car...Branden's graduation, plus making supper every night, cleaning house in the day, you know what I mean... etc etc etc...so if I need to Jane Fonda-it for 3 minutes out of my entire long life...why bitch about it...is my opinion. Sure, if I felt like my life would be damaged beyond repair by dancing this mere 3 minute dance...of course I would say something...but really a 3 minute dance, in the grand scheme of things in life.. is nothing to complain about...I can more than handle it. So when they asked what did I think...I said it's fine. Because truly...I've got bigger fish to fry at the moment...I am truly busy as all heck, these days.

Friday, March, 14th, White Day. I have a Costco date, with the prez and my fellow vp. They had never been to Costco before... but they saw it on TV. I let them come with me, since I can bring 2 guests on my card. We met at 9:30am and we went to Inzai/Chiba New Town immediately. They loved Costco so much! They each bought a rotisserie chicken and also each bought sandwich wraps. 1 bought some cheese, curry paste, quiche, they both bought dinner rolls. I meanwhile bought hand wash pictured here. 

Cheese.

A fast quick meal helper, haven't tried this yet...hope it's good. 

Dinner rolls.

Chicken for Friday and Saturday. Saturday because I had a yakuin meeting for the kids club from 7:30pm to 9pm. And in the day time, we went buying junior high school, last minute tidbits like undershirts for under his dress shirt, white socks that must cover his ankle...busy...plain and heck busy... so these chickens helped. Saturday we had chicken sandwiches and chips.

And last but not least, popcorn. They loved Costco so much. I said, see you tomorrow at the yakuin meeting for the kids club. : )

Friday night, after Branden and Noah were home from school and after we enjoyed 1 of the roasted chickens with white rice, broccoli and a simple salad. We were all sitting on the couch quietly watching TV and the doorbell rings. @.@ We answer it and it's the prez...she says she loves those dinner rolls so much, her 2 sons love them so much too and she is about to eat the chicken and so she wanted to say thank you so she brought me these. Eclairs, minus the chocolate, they had cream and whipped cream. They were so good. And I thought it was so thoughtful. For 1 year we will be working very close to each other and though we've known each other for 6 years, we 3 especially have to get along. And so, I was glad we 3 started off on the right foot. And I am glad, I chose to not say anything about the song/dance choice, because I don't want to be a whiner about everything. I mean if it's something I really disagree with sure, I will not hesitate to speak my mind, but if it's something minor and really acceptable, I'll just roll with it. And they're the same way too. And again, same with Noboru's meeting...nobody really wants to do this job, but we have to... so, I am glad I am getting it done. : )
It is, like I said, my birthday month. This package came from my amazing dad!

12 Years a Slave movie, this won so many awards and it looks so good to me, The Book Thief, it has such great reviews and I can't wait to watch this. And Prisoners, I saw the trailer for this and it looks....hanging off the edge of your seat, type good. And the Pioneer Woman Cooks. I love her, I watch her show on the Food Network and I was beyond excited to get this.

Noboru got me, my hair straightening and cut as one of my birthday presents too.  And also these 2 packages.

I'm walking my housing community now that the weather has been nicer and more spring like. This arm band will be perfect for holding my Nexus and I can listen to all my music on my walks.

Nimbus, my dentist in America rec's these and I love them.

I am grateful that, Amazon Japan, sells them for around 200 yen or so. Could be 225 yen but a good price. Also, Noboru ordered me some DVD's from Amazon as well. : ) 
I don't think it's any big secret but our family is most definitely water type people. We're beach people, we're going to the wave pool type people. I ordered this gorgeous rash guard from Lands End! And I liked how it looked with her mini skirt, but wasn't crazy about the slit in the skirt. But I found a different mini skirt on Lands End. Clearly these few pics are from Lands' End, since I just ordered this a few nights ago from their website. : )
I love this swimming mini skirt. It's called a skort on their website, all the reviews say it dries so fast because of the material.
Cute little boy shorts underneath.
This is how it looks in white but I am happy I got mine in black. I might mix and match some other tops though in a few months, but I am so excited to get this skort. Can't wait to hit the beach this year, hence all the walking every morning in my housing community. : )
I love shopping at Gap, I also love shopping at Old Navy! And I like shopping when they have good discount and huge sales!
I'm preppy, so Gap and Old Navy for me, works! I love this top so much. It's a 3/4 sleeve, love the detailing that the stripe colors are different than the main part or the shirt, so instead of it being a boring typical shirt it kicks it up a notch too and keeps it modern and current! Can't wait to wear this, this Spring and Summer, with skin tight jean shorts, Bermuda type length and my black low top converse! Either hair down and long or a high pony tail. These pics are from Gap and/or Old Navy. : )
I love ballet necks, they're so feminine. I also like the 3/4 sleeve. I have a cute pair of black shorts 7 inch length with a cute white pattern on them and this will go perfect with that. 

Same top as above except it's in bright red! I'll with this with a pair of jean shorts and my low top converse too, or maybe a cute pair of flip flops and red toes, we'll see. : )
For Noah, he is getting this bright yellow top from Gap. It's already been shipped out. 

This is also for Noah too.
This is for Branden.

This is also for Branden as well. A picture of a shark and the chomp pattern, it's also from Gap!
Rash guard for Noah this year.
Noah had a very similar swimsuit when he was in yochien, but this one, I really loved because it's his 2 favorite colors, orange and yellow! This is, so Noah! : )
Genki's family brought us this beautiful basket with delicious treats inside. They are so nice!

What else...almost done with this blog post. : ) Went and picked up a pack of socks for Branden and also a pack for Noah. Again trying to make sure they're covered and getting ready for Spring. 

And my other package came yesterday, thanks Noboru. : ) The Butler. The Hunger Games Catching Fire. Jungle Fever and The Joy Luck Club. I owned the last 2 on VHS, but wanted to get them on DVD. : )


I also received the Pioneer Woman holiday book. My birthday isn't until March 22nd, so I'll hold off, watching them until then. It's hard not watching the movies yet...but I'm holding strong. Hahaha.

Today, I have to paint my finger nails, that's it, other than that, I am ready. Noboru and I are running to Narita City this morning for something he needs for Branden's graduation for tomorrow. Graduation starts at 8:30am tomorrow and ends at 11:30am. I will be taking lots of pictures tomorrow. We will all be going to a dinner in Narita tomorrow evening. I did however...snap a picture of Branden today...his last official pic of regular elementary school life, wearing his randoseru and regular clothes, since tomorrow he will wear his junior high school uniform. Tonight we are having our last nabe of the season. Anyway that's all for now, next time I update, Branden will have already graduated.