Saturday, June 20, 2015

Their American passports arrived. Swimming has started at the local elementary school. Branden's final exam at the local JHS this coming Wednesday and a few other bits for good measure...

Branden and Noah's American passports both arrived together, they arrived Thursday, June 18th! Now the boys can travel, and come and go. What a load off our minds, I tell ya! : ) We took their passports to be done, June 2nd. So that means, their passports took only 13 short business days to get here. And while they do offer expedited passport services at the American Embassy, for an extra fee, I personally feel, the United States passport renewal in Tokyo, can't speak for any other location...but it's lightning speed at getting to us and we did not use expedited services or pay an extra fee. We just used the regular speed and it's still SUPER fast at getting to us. 13 business days...is awesome! I triple checked the spelling of both the boys passports and everything is in order. So...done and done! A huge relief to get them back. : )  
A beautiful yellow and brown butterfly. Almost looked like stained glass the design. Anyway this butterfly kept me company all day long Thursday and she even stood out there until it grew dark and I had to close the blinds. The next day, I opened the blinds hoping she'd still be there and she was gone. This morning however (days later), while I was out in the front yard a pure bright vibrant yellow butterfly, with no brown, flew right near me and hung around for a minute or two. Sorta cool. : ) 
Pic from the homemade from scratch, cheesy gratin potato bake. 

Just a simple down home cooked, country...southern type...good old American dinner. We had baked from scratch cheesy gratin. Fried pork chops, we had some steamed broccoli and a store bought salad with Thousand Island dressing. We also had it with some lemonade. Country Time lemonade. : ) Simple, but good. : )

Swimming started for Noah this Friday. Rain was expected and rain like the dickens...it sure did! So...I really didn't expect Noah to swim, on Friday, since I knew according to the forecast it would be raining all day long up, until 7pm. However...Noah needed to bring his swimming kit/set to school regardless. So here it is. Noah has some really cute flip flops we bought a tad big last year from Old Navy, for super cheap, for like 200-300 yen and they can still be worn this year. His name is on each flip flop. At schools in Japan, everything has to have a name label or name written on it. No worries, I'm so long used to it. It's fine. : ) Swimwear has to be navy blue at our elementary school. No color other than navy blue or black would be allowed, however I had lifeguard duty back when B was in 6th grade...and I looked for 1 black swimsuit and didn't see...a one. Everyone definitely brings the classic navy. Noah's rashguard has his name written on the tag on the inside. His swim cap has his name written on it, right on the front. A few years ago...you could wear any color cap, regardless of grade at our elementary school. So both my kids always wore bright yellow swim caps, because...easy to see and find it a sea of dark swim caps. However...last year they changed the rules. And now the color cap... changes depending on what grade. Last year all 3rd graders wore green. @_@ This year was cool...because the color chosen for the 4th graders was yellow...awesome! Because we still had that bright yellow Adidas swim cap... one size fits all, for Noah. So he can use that. Noah's swim wear from last year...still fit waist wise, but length wise it didn't. Noah was lucky enough to inherit Branden's elementary school uniform swim trunks. Noah has worn size 140cm Adidas since first grade all the way until last year, 3rd grade. Noah's super skinny and so they fit. All 3 years. However...they still fit with room to spare waist wise, however Noah may be skinny, but he's not short. Granted he's no giant. But...he's average height. So...they basically looked like booty shorts and there's no way I am letting him wear booty shorts. So, I pulled out Bran's other shogakko swim trunks (he got new ones almost every year, because he just grew so fast)...Adidas size 150cm. A longer length. I do think the waist is a tad big for our super skinny minnie Noah-chan. But...you know...it will be fine. 

Bran only wore these 1 year, he just grew like a weed. But, I bet Noah's so super slim he can wear these for this year and next year too. I did white out the 2 kanji for our last name. But the rest just says...4th grade class 1. And it says Noah. : ) 

99% of the kids do not wear rashguards. But Noah is very sensitive and weak with the sun. He's extremely fair and he'll either turn lobster red or he'll freckle. So he needs to wear a rashguard. Noboru has written a note about it every year and the school is more than aware and they're cool with it. Hahaha. : ) So this is the required stuff Noah needs at the local elementary school. A pair of flip flops to walk from the school to the pool (that rhymed). A swim towel, it says Adidas. His swimming bag it is Nike, you can see the swoosh on the side of the bag. Yellow swim cap since Noah's in the 4th grade. Goggles. And that's it, the rashguard, is something Noah really needs, so he takes it. And he's all set. Noah, brought it to school Friday. For what it's worth it was pouring rain all morning, even when I dropped them off at the plaza, also rained all day and even when I picked up the boys at the plaza yesterday when it was time to come home. How much did it rain?....well, my windshield wiper blades were on the fastest setting type rainfall. Branden on the other hand starts swimming this coming Tuesday at the local JHS. Branden has swam since age 4, at a private swim school and swam competitively during his elementary school years. He had swim meets and the whole shebang. Noah has swam since age 3 at the same private swim school.  Noah has also competitively swam... last year for the first time...his swim school thought he was good enough to go head to head with about 8 other swimming schools. So both of our boys, have competed. Noah at the swimming school and he did receive some medals last year, I didn't share them on here/the blog, but I will soon. Branden on the other hand, has competed for his elementary school against other elementary schools. So...both of the boys are *extremely* strong with swimming. They have *crazy mad* swimming skills. And they look forward to swimming at their local schools this time of year! : ) 

Dinner yesterday. Friday nights easy but home cooked meal. I had that delicious handmade pasta from Costco. I had a nice jar of pasta sauce, olive and extra garlic. Delicious sauce, found at my closest Kaldi. 

I used up the last of the lean ground beef from Costco. And some fresh mushrooms and bell peppers. Then poured the sauce in. The pasta meanwhile boiled only about 7 minutes since it's fresh pasta. 

I just kept things super simple and used what I had here on hand. Some garlic bread, Bran had 2 slices, Noah had 1 slice and I had 1 slice. Noboru had a shift where he unfortunately could not have dinner with us Friday/last night. So...no worries we just kept things simple for us 3. : ) 

You can see Noah's red shirt sitting in the seat in this picture and I love that. Because it's a *real* picture. Of our real dinner hour. The boys were at the table digging right into their spaghetti and meatball dinner. I was about to join them. Snapped this pic and then...I joined my boys. : ) 

Today, Saturday morning, I made everyone omelets. The sliced ham from Costco, some mushrooms, bell peppers. I first sliced some potatoes and made skillet fried potatoes and we had some omelets with cheese and ham and veggies. And toast. Noah had chocolate milk, Bran had a mini carton of almond milk. Noboru and I each had a hot coffee. I enjoy nice leisurely breakfasts with my family. Yeah...a nice breakfast this morning. : )

Last BIG test until the JHS kids go on Summer break, in July! So this is really indeed Branden's final, before summer break. Branden has his last big test, this coming Wednesday. The kids get a syllabus (like college or uni in the US) and they are told exactly what the test in each subject will indeed cover. They are given 2 weeks to study for it. And so Branden's been studying his ever loving brains out, for it. He's been hitting the books super hard you guys! Their test will be all day long. First period they will go for example their English exam. Next class will be their math final. Next class/period will be their social studies exam, next science, etc for example. It is like a flat out...all day...test! The kids by that point... are all fried from studying. So they just want to get the exams over with. So...the finals are this Wednesday. Go Branden go! You can do it kiddo! : )