Monday, March 14, 2016

Our second week! What we both did. Branden’s school performance. Baked chicken parmesan with pasta. Care package from my dad. Cheeseburger night at home and peanut butter ice cream. Plus passing the Eiken pre- 1 big time! Crushed that test! And Noboru’s side, lots of restaurants and his training...

This right now as you read this, we are in our final and 4th week. So I better step up my updates... on how we did during Noboru's absence. Everything you see in this post is from week 2. One evening my doorbell rang. Hmm? Wasn't expecting any deliveries or anything. Haven't ordered anything. My only thought was, perhaps the kairanban? Information booklet. Nope it was the mailman delivering a care package from my dad! He wanted it to be a surprise. And boy were we surprised! Just some American essentials. Pop Tarts and some delicious homemade type of flavor... microwave popcorn. Called "homestyle" What a wonderful surprise and what a very thoughtful dad, I have. Thank you dad! : )  
The results for the Eiken were available online first and then they sent out a real copy to us, in the mail. I usually won't share his actual scores. Although honestly... his scores and grades are always seriously *super* freaking high! Same with Noah too. If you don't read Japanese. Let me explain this to you. Branden's score was 36. The highest possible score to get possible. Highest highest. Is 38. And the passing score was 22. He was 1 answer away from getting an absolutely perfect score. 36 out of 38 is fantastic. So, yeah....he didn't just barely pass. Like with a score of 22 or something. He crushed this test! That's why I say...no worries. It's not really being arrogant. It's just...their English is really not a worry. Or a concern for me at all.  Thank you English Kumon! And me too, I definitely deserve some of the credit too, because we intentionally speak in only English at home and our home is an English only environment. I bought English workbooks, that were fun and that they loved to work on and I used to read to them when they were small and taught them to read when they were little kindy aged kids.... but since they were in elementary school, I switched it and made them read to me. We're talking big thick couple hundred pages type YA or kid thicker books. Because I already knew how to read. I wanted them to be strong readers and read...smoothly and that really helped them a lot, when I switched who reads to whom, in the first grade. And so Branden has been reading me books for 8 years and Noah has been reading me books for 4 years. But yeah...thank you English Kumon and thanks to me too! : ) Just because somebody is half American doesn't automatically mean you will be a native English speaker. It depends on your environment. It depends on if you parents made it a priority or not a priority. Or if you had the opportunity or not. I heard a horrible thing over New year's dinner with my in-laws remember when we went to the Italian restaurant for New year's? My amazing niece J, who is also hafu, American and hafu Japanese. Anyway, some horrible ALT told my niece J, in JHS. She's a 7th grader. Anyway the teacher told her. "How truly sad and weird that you are half American and can't speak English?" I have never heard of a teacher being so rude before! Apparently it traumatized my niece J and my MIL. So much so.. she mentioned it to Bran and Noah and the rest of our table. When I heard that. All, I could hear was...JUDGMENT...judgment from that teacher to my niece. And how can you say that to a child?! How dare you?! Would you want someone to say that to your child?! For what it's worth. My niece...her parents got divorced when she was a little baby, like in diapers type itty bitty baby. It wasn't her fault or choice for her parents to not be married anymore. It wasn't her choice or fault...why she had no English speaking person in her household growing up. You know...sometimes shit happens in life... that you cannot control. And she's just a kid, man! How could a teacher say that to my niece. Sadly to say everyone in Osaka was pretty traumatized by that. 1 thoughtless heartless remark...that 1 phrase heard around the world...that 1 ALT muttered and probably forgot her sentence or what she said as quickly as she said it...But she hurt that child and family...pretty deeply. And embarrassed her in front of the entire class. I was so mad back in January! I felt so sorry for my amazing niece, she just didn't deserve that. So not every hafu can speak English. And it may not be any fault of their own. Please ALT's reading this, if you have a hafu in your class (half western /half Japanese) and they speak English great! But if they don't, like my niece, please consider why they don't speak English before traumatizing said child. Perhaps their English speaking parent died? Which is possible. Or perhaps on a less serious scale... maybe their parents divorced and their English speaking parent is not in Japan. So please just be considerate, there could be a real legit or serious reason why they don't. Or maybe not. Maybe their parents just didn't put any effort into their English study at all too, that could be a reason also, and again no judgment there either. But to be safe...just don't mention it. If that makes sense. But yes maintaining 2 languages for kids, being bilingual....it does take work, constant daily work. A lot of work. And that's one reason why... when our 2 sons were babies, Noboru said, they'll learn Japanese naturally, since their whole world will be Japan, as soon as they leave our house. So we intentionally made English our primary and only in our house. I'm sure my niece would have loved to grow up knowing both languages too. But it... at no fault of hers...wasn't in the cards. And heck...I wish I lived closer...or else I would have stepped up and filled the role...since her dad couldn't be here. And speak English to her every second...that she was awake, hahaha I would have been glad to fill that role. It sincerely would have been my pleasure, she's family. But..we live on opposite sides of Japan. Think of like New York and California (on a slightly smaller scale but you know what I mean, I hope). And yes for our 2 boys, they did learn Japanese naturally. From being at school, from hanging with friends. And with Japanese Kumon too. I'm just saying what worked for us. : )    
This is Branden's award. He will be presented this at his JHS after Spring break. He is the only student at his school to ever take and pass the Eiken pre-1. Noah meanwhile took the Eiken 4 online for fun (he wasn't registered or anything, just the practice test). And he passed with flying colors (got every single one right). So he mentioned he might like to take one of these for fun. He's still really young. But, I'll have to think about it. Maybe though. : )
I made 4 breaded chicken parmesan. After they were skillet fried, they baked in the oven smothered under mozzarella cheese. The breading has parmesan and Italian spices in it. 

Those homemade pasta noodles from Costco. 

We had a very nice Italian American style dinner, with a crusty baguette from the bakery, sliced and buttered and a simple salad. The 4th chicken, I had for my lunch the next day. While the kids were at school. 

Usually Friday night and Saturday night I'll make something "fun" for supper. This night we had cheeseburger night at home. You know that 100% lean ground beef bought from Costco. You can see some burger toppings in the back, sliced onion, tomato sprinkled with salt and black pepper, lettuce, we had pickles, the works basically. And those delicious potato wedges.

A fun Friday meal, is the perfect way to kick off the weekend.

Pickles, onion, tomatoes. This was a very good burger. 

I have mentioned this on my blog once or twice before. A way for us in Japan to make fun flavors of ice cream...but a much easier way! I was emailed a week ago from a friend in Japan, saying she has since made some flavored ice cream and that she heard from the grapevine, some other foreign mom even made her child a birthday cake with flavored ice cream, thanks to my short cut. That really made my day hearing that, because being a mom, especially a busy mom, if I can think of an easier way to do things, I don't mind sharing tips and shortcuts here. I just use 1 scoop of peanut butter for the amount of ice cream and that's surprisingly enough. You don't want too much peanut butter. It doesn't take tons. Just 1 scoop is enough.: )

We just used 7 mini Reese's peanut butter cups and that was plenty for 1 tub of icecream.

And then thrown back into the freezer. And you now can... have tons of "homemade" from scratch peanut butter ice cream. Did we use a shortcut? Yes! We didn't make the vanilla from scratch...but does that really matter? I say no! Whatever is easiest for us. : ) 

Saturday meal. And we'll be getting back to regular meals on Sunday. But for now it was fully loaded nachos for Saturday. Sour cream, salsa, homemade guacamole and some lettuce.

Chips, cheese. We also had another full/brand new one of this cheese too. 

Pretty simple assembly really. Cheese on chips, microwave for 1 minute or until melted. You see 1 is done, which was Noah's and Bran's and mine were not nuked yet. Then add whatever else toppings you'd like. Super easy. And super yummy. 

Nachos. Cheese, spicy beans, salsa, chicken (with taco meat seasoning, so taco chicken maybe) lettuce, sour cream and guacamole. Man, the kids loved these! These were bomb! In fact, I am making these tonight too. 

We had ice cream after our nachos. Everyone took showers and baths. I did clean up the kitchen 100% though before showers. The boys always help with the clean up too. Good kids, good kids.

Sunday morning breakfast. Bacon and eggs. The eggs have some red chili pepper flakes, as they fried up, these are so good. I had a tortilla, the kids had toast. And chocolate milks and I had coffee. It was a nice Sunday breakfast. I like to cook a nice American breakfast every Saturday and Sunday. Since we have time to actually enjoy it. Versus Monday through Friday's.... where breakfasts need to be fast fast pronto pronto! : )

Sunday dinner, back to normal dinners. Sunday through Thursdays regular meals. Ginger pork, steamed broccoli, rice and we had a side salad. And sugarless tea. Either mugicha or jasmine tea. : ) 
Our 1 and only JHS in town, had it's "good bye to the 9th graders" skits and performances. It was held March 2nd and on a Wednesday. Branden had asked me to come. He was performing a skit. And so, I packed 3 obento that morning. And I went and spent my entire Wednesday at the plaza watching and cheering on... all grades and all persons performing. It was a very touching and fun way to send off the 9th graders. Here is Branden performing his skit. He was doing that Jason skit..."Why Japanese, people why???!!!" Some of the teachers had actually asked Branden to do that because they thought he would be perfect for doing that! Branden was so awesome in that! The whole audience was roaring in laughter, they were cracking up! And in fact, Noboru's coworkers wife. Enjoyed Branden's performance SO much... that she told her husband all about it and even though he knew Noboru was in America, he emailed Noboru and said, "I heard your son was hilarious!!!" Noboru was so proud. That he called me that night and I showed him the videos while we were video chatting/talking. So he got to see Branden that way. : ) Awww. : ) 





He's such a happy boy! Happy teen! : ) 

Aww, my baby's growing up, you guys! Sniff sniff! : ) I couldn't be prouder! So anyway, that was our 2nd week. On our side of the world. Here's Noboru's week down below.
Monday through Friday he eats Wendy's for lunch and that's only because... it's closest to the training facility that he's at.  They also have to wake up early once a week and use the simulator. So they have 1 day a week where they need to wake up and be there by 5am and do their sim time stuff. 


Lunch yet again, but this time it looks like he went for a chicken sandwich this time versus his regular cheeseburger. LOL.  And cesar salad and chili are his staple lunch items. 

He clearly went back and had Thai yet again. 

Hi Wendy's yet again for Noboru hahaha. This time he went for a BIG salad and a chili. Hmm, I feel so Elaine from Seinfeld saying..."a big salad." Hahaha. 

Chinese.

Sub sandwich...

He picked me up some magazines. Thank you. Now I will have something to read while picking up the kids at the plaza.

A shrimp and beef bowl? Interesting. 

He says when he's not in training... it's so quiet and it's so boring. : ) He says he misses the kids a lot and misses me. He calls to talk to the kids on weekends but their times don't match up on weekdays. Though I talk to Noboru daily. It's just when he gets out of training, the kids are already at school. 

He gets free breakfast daily at his hotel. He says it varies, which is nice for folks staying freakishly long...for like a month. : ) He says sometimes it's eggs benedict, omelette, sausage, bacon. Pancakes, french toast. Yogurts and cereals are daily. And coffee and juice etc. This day he had french toast.

Yogurt with a cereal crunch on top. That's how we roll in our family...gotta have that crunch on top. : )

Okay but..this is over the top amounts of crunch here...Ru Ru!!! Too much crunch Nobo-chan!

Chick fil A. I miss Chick fil A. : ) 

Okay you guys...I seriously want to eat this! : ) 

Noboru cruising through Target with his coworker. 

Okay clearly Noboru is a cesar salad addict, you guys! He eats cesar salad Monday-through Friday at Wendy's. And even at other restaurants too. We should stage him an intervention. This was his salad before he ate his filet mignon. 

The bright side is...he's clearly not starving to death over there. Hahaha : ) Okay so that was his 2nd week and our 2nd week.

Update from today? Can you believe 7 days from now... the hubster will already be back in Japan! Finally. : ) He gets back this coming weekend. He's so over it, you guys and says he's so sick of eating at restaurants and fast food, he says! And he very badly wants to come home! I'm frankly over it too and want him to come home too! He misses the kids terribly. They miss him too. We're all just over it. And would like our life and family... to go back to normal.  : (

Ahh, my birthday is coming up. Next week. He meanwhile ordered me, my ice cream cake for my birthday while in America. So my cake gets here this weekend too. A few days before my birthday. : )

Another thing is...we, all 4 of us, will be going to Guam soon too. Spring break is coming up. And so that is something the kids and I are really looking forward to. Branden hasn't been in America  since July or August. Hawaii and Guam. and Noah and I were in Guam November 2015 or last week of October 2015. Not sure if it was the last week of October or first week of November?  Doesn't really matter really. But a long time...let's put it that way. It will be just 2 nights, but that's okay...a 2 night get away.... is better than no get away at all. Am I right? Or am I right! : ) So we can go to a movie and the kids can go and eat some Wendy's and stuff. : ) We all know how much Noboru likes their cesar salad... so he'll be fine...plus he'll be with his fam... so he'll be happy just as long as the kids are happy. : )  Some Yogurtland for some fro-yo. Oh yeah! We're sorta semi keeping it on the down low for now. This is the first time, I am mentioning this at all. But yep...that's coming up.