Thursday, September 08, 2016

Our 6th and final full day spent in Denver Colorado and on the 7th day we flew out via Los Angeles back to Narita Japan...

Ahh, Thursday. We would fly out the very next day Friday. So this would be our last full day in my home state. First thing we did was go and see my auntie around 8:30am. We were up already and already had breakfast at the hotel. We spent about 45 minutes there. Talking, hugging and taking pics. Then we left. Next stop was Boulder, Colorado. There was one store Noboru thought Branden's backpack would be, but it wasn't. The store didn't open until 10am. So anyways after Boulder, we were heading to Flat Irons shopping mall which is actually on the way towards the Denver area from Boulder anyway....we were going to go and get my bras anyway and I had a thought and said, you know what, Flat Iron shopping mall is one of THE best shopping malls in the Denver area and if your backpack is not there, it's just not anywhere. So that was the plan. We would shop for some necessities for me like bras. And have 1 long thorough hunt for Bran's Jansport. 

We arrived at Flat Irons. And I price checked bras at, Nordstroms, Dillards and Macy's. And though the prices were all about the same. I really clicked super well with the lady at Dillards. For starters she reminded me *exactly* of my 7th grade choir teacher. She was such a fantastic teacher. She had us singing the theme of Fame and Star Maker from Fame too. Seasons in the Sun (Terry Jacks?). She was just very cool. And she had the softest voice. This bra sales woman had the same hair, same face and same soft voice. Of course I had no idea what my former teachers first name was...so I didn't ask her. But she was like telling me..this is our best seller. I'm always skeptical. But I tried the bra on after trying on about 5 other kinds/types and wow! Amazing! So amazing Noboru bought me 2 of them. Bras done. Now the backpack. Ohhh it's also fair to say every big store we went looking for bras at...we also checked for backpacks. And yes we did check Staples and they were not in the system in Colorado of the color needed. @_@  As we were walking passed one store, I saw a massive wall with nothing but Jansport backpacks! Was I seeing things? Was this a mirage? Nope, it was true and I saw the one and color we were looking for. We walked into the store. A platinum blonde 18 year old-ish in age was helping us and she was so cool. She was like...I love Japan! And we thought...she's too cute! Branden wanted the navy blue backpack in the model "Cool Student." They didn't have it but they had an identical one, but it was 1 liter smaller than the Cool Student model, other than the 1 liter size difference it was exactly the same (34 liter to 33 liter). Branden was so overjoyed he really didn't care. So he happily picked this one. Branden's backpack found and bought. Thank you and hallelujah on that one! Phew! A real load off of every one's minds. We oddly didn't want to eat at the food court. We wanted our last lunch to be Arby's. Go figure. Must be all those commercials we always see at home with..."Arby's we HAVE the meats!" 

This was the happiest lunch ever! Seriously! Backpack had been found! Scratch that right off the ol' list! Bras found and bought too. Said good bye to my extended fam-bam. Done! We were scratching things off left and right. 

Noah and I shared. We each had half a turkey swiss on wheat and half a beef and cheddar. Branden had a mini buffalo chicken sandwich and a beef and cheddar. We shared potato cakes and curly fries.

We had only 4 cinnamon cream, coffee creamers so far. So we stopped off at the King Soopers in Northglenn (a suburb of Denver) this was about 1 minute or right across the street from the Arby's we were just at. I am by now an expert of the shopping carts, no more setting off alarms for me, I hope. Hahaha. : ) And we found a good amount of cinnamon cream coffee creamers in fact we bought all they had. I left Denver with 11 cinnamon cream coffee creamers. #Sorrynotsorry about that. I use them and I love them. : ) Before I forget... did I tell you how unbelievably cold it was that Thursday! Super cold that day. Gray and drizzling down rain.

On our way to our hotel and to drop off our backpacks, coffee creamer and bras. What an eclectic mix of things in our trunk wasn't it? Hahaha. 

This is a very lucky backpack. It was wanted *very* much! In fact we looked all over for it. Branden has since been using it every day at school. : )

I also got a backpack. In fact, I was the original person in the family planning to bring back a Jansport to begin with. Before we ever left Japan in fact! Reason? Not that I really need a reason but I'll share with you. I used a Jansport backpack all through my JHS/middle school years, all through high school and uni. In fact Noboru remembers meeting me and I had my bright red Jansport with me. With brown leather details much like Branden's but mine was red. And if you recall a few weeks ago, that TBT of us in Denver in 2008. There was a pic of the boys and my navy blue and white hibiscus backpack was right near the kids at Lakeside Amusement park. Because I used to carry diapers or baby/kid/toddler things in my backpack. Made carrying things easier. When my 2 boys were toddlers I always wore a backpack. Mostly the hibiscus one though. Anyway for the past 5 years, I have been backpack-less. And yeah sometimes...I wished I had one. Like when we went to Bangkok Thailand and had to walk on foot all over and lugging my purse got heavy (my bags really are way too heavy for my own good, I carry too much darn stuff, I know, guilty for sures on that one). Sure...I wished I would have had a backpack because it would have made things easier. Or how about every time we hit Tokyo Disneyland or Disney Sea. I always have to lug a heavy bag on my shoulder all day long... while the husband and kids carry backpacks with ease. It was in fact...when we were at Tokyo Disneyland for Noah's birthday this year, did I finally say to myself...you know what? This is it! The buck stops here. I will be getting a backpack. So, I mentioned to Noboru. I need a backpack. He was like, no problem. find one you like. I put it off and said, when we go to the US, I will buy one. And then 2 weeks before we left, I thought. I don't need a Prada one or Kate Spade one. A simple...Jansport. basic black model that goes with everything is for me. However I wanted the biggest model they had (for carrying stuff or just having the ability of having the extra space) and so I wanted the model called...The Big Student. 34L. I mentioned to Bran I was going to get this. And he said he would like one when he starts high school. He was not planning getting one now/then in August. However it is what it is and well...his zipper busted. And it had busted once before and Noboru fixed it. But this time it was for real 100% broken. So yeah...my main priority was Bran getting the backpack. Sure I was still looking for a Big Student one for myself in black but I pretty much gave up hope... when I saw Bran having *such* a hard time finding his. And then as luck would have it....one store at Flat Irons had a jet black Big Student (one I was exactly looking for, in the first place) in fact he had 3 of them and the price was super affordable. Noboru told me..."honey this is what you were looking for to begin with...you have to get it. In fact...I am getting it for you right now!"...so I was like...alright and thank you. : ) So done and done.

A very fair price. And yes the tag is right we bought it from a store called the Colorado baggage Company at the Flat Irons shopping mall.

We did go to Target and bought the kids some snacks for the plane back to Japan. The Reese's big boxes of candy here are just $1. And the gum, they can chew 1 pack on the plane home and the rest keep in Japan and have whenever they want. We also bought grab bags of chips for the kids for the plane too. Noah picked Cheetos and Branden picked Chili Cheese Fritos. So they had airplane snacks. We packed 100% everything up. And we then went to dinner. Our last dinner in my home state. *Sniffle sniffle.* : ) 

My favorite Italian for when I'm wanting pasta because everything is homemade from scratch! I love their salads so much. 

I had the half and half. Branden ordered a half and half too. Half homemade pasta and half homemade ravioli. And the meatballs are pure *love* right there. : )

Not sure if you can see the stuffed shells on the left, Noboru had the stuffed shells that night. Bran was in front of me in the white tee and yep he had the half and half too. : ) Branden and Noah kept saying...their meatballs are SO good. : ) We also had cherry cokes with our dinner.

Noah had the child's homemade pasta and meatball. Plus all the homemade bread and butter, he was stuffed. Super stuffed. We went back to the hotel. Took showers. I blow dried my hair and we went to bed by 9:30pm. Our flight would fly out of Denver at 6am the next day which means we had to be at the airport checked in by 4am or we wouldn't be flying that day. You have to check in 2 hours beforehand and DIA are sticklers. Which means, we had to leave our hotel by 3am to make it for that long drive back to DIA. Plus drop the rental car off. Which means, I had set the wake up call for myself at 1:30am. And yes I woke up at 1:30am. And yes I was tired AF! I wished for a few more hours of sleep. But that wasn't happening. So, I got up, washed my face with a steaming hot wash cloth and some Neutrogena. Put some moisturizer and put my makeup on. I knew I had to have that bathroom free for everyone else by 2am or else! So, I was quickly washing my face (5mins) makeup (5 minutes) hair flat iron (5 minutes), go to the bathroom, like 1 minute. Brush my teeth 3 minutes. I was motoring as fast as humanly possible. Then I woke up Noah next. He brushed his teeth. Splashed water on his face, did his hair and went pee. And then I woke Branden, he washed his face got ready. And finally Noboru. He dislikes being rushed and prefers going last. It was too early for even the free breakfast. We were all dressed. Grabbed all our stuff and checked out of the hotel at like 2:45am.  

We dropped off the rental car. Took the shuttle to DIA. Checked in at Delta. The nicest Delta person helped us check in by the way. For being that early in the morning she was just a little ray of sunshine. I'm not kidding. She was so sincerely nice. She's going on vacation and her 2 places she's trying to decide are between...New Zealand or Palau. I told her both places sounds absolutely amazing! We wished her a fantastic vacation. She wished us a wonderful flight back to Japan! Man...she was so nice! : )  We bought some Colorado souvenir tee shirts for the kids and us at the actual airport. I had been looking the whole trip but didn't find any I liked, but they had nice ones and 2 for $20 was a fair price. We boarded the plane fairly quick. We were in first class but if you've ever flown first class domestically... you know that it pretty much sucks and there's nothing too special about it. : ) Anyways...I had no tears leaving Denver. Although I did snap these few pics as we were about to fly off into the air. It was a fantastic trip. I had an amazing time. If you are living away from your home country...then I don't need to tell you how very good it is for your soul...to go home! It was very good for mine! I felt happy. Complete. Totally recharged. Invigorated. I needed this trip very much!

Good bye Denver...I *love* you so so so much! And will miss you! They do pass around great good snacks in domestic first class. But...I didn't need anything. Though I did see Branden and Noah eating big fat oatmeal raisin cookies. I preferred sleep. So, I slept the 2 hours to get to Los Angeles. 

We 4 had breakfast at LAX. The kids and Noboru each had a breakfast sandwich. Branden had a bacon one, Noah and Noboru each picked a ham one. 

I picked a cheese omelette, potatoes and toast breakfast meal. It was a nice breakfast. we boarded the flight. We 4 were in first class. And first class international is divine. A real treat. We really appreciate it.

First course. She even gave me a lime coke. 

This soup was amazing, it was green chili corn chowder. It was so green chili-y. I loved it. I somehow forgot to take a pic of my meal. It was chicken. 

And a hot fudge sundae with a cup of Starbucks coffee. And you can now see my lime coke. I finished the movie "How to be Single"... And then I laid my bed nice and flat and I slept. I was just so tired, because I woke up so early that morning. I slept for hours. I woke up 3 hours before we landed. The flight attendant was passing around mid flight snacks. I had some cheese popcorn and another lime coke and then I went and brushed my teeth. Watched another movie. Talked to the kids off and on, made sure they brushed their teeth and used the restroom before everyone else woke up as usual. And also talked to Noboru off and on too, but he was snoozing in his cocoon sleeping pod... for a long while so I didn't bother him while he was sleeping. And then we landed in Japan. The flight was 10 hours. It felt nice to be back home. But boy were we jet lagged. We woke up naturally at like 3am Japan time for like 3 days straight, until we could get over our jet lag. : )

What have we been up to.... since getting back? Lots and tons. I've been busy here cooking and cleaning, you know the usual. Plus kid pick ups and drop offs. Branden needed a new JHS uniform. Pants and blazer. Which if you didn't know they're so insanely expensive. Like for the blazer and pants it was like 50,000 yen type expensive! Holy crap expensive! And yes he's in his final year of JHS. And yes we would prefer not to have to buy him one since he'll only get 7 months or so use of it. However the fact is.... he needs one plain and simple. And letting my son walk around like a raggamuffin, no thank you! When your kid is in the 6th grade they tell you. Buy a uniform 7cm too long... that way they can use their uniform the whole 3 years. We listened, we agreed. And we ordered it...whatever the uniform expert said to order it. That was the size we went with. However....the fact though is Branden is half western. And he grew OVER 7cm!!! So....the uniform is like ridiculously too small length wise, width wise...everything wise. It's like Barbie sized on Branden. And Noboru said...he's buying him new uniforms. So that happened since we have been back in Japan. We got them back before school started. The cost of uniforms in Japan is outrageous. But likewise...you don't want your child embarrassed and mortified walking around in highwaters and an extremely too small blazer either though, ykwim. So Noboru was right. So Branden looks really nice. And no fwiw, Branden was not walking around in high waters, we just had them lengthened/taken out in June and that was as long as the pants could go...but they were like 1cm from being too short and we could tell they would not last the rest of the school year for sure...so we were on top of things. We didn't want them to become highwaters.

Branden's undokai/sports day is this Saturday. So I'll be making a lunch for that. And Branden's school practices hardcore for only 1 week. But they're sick of it. They're over it and want it done. So, hopefully we can just survive Branden's final undokai in our town. It's this Saturday. So we have been busy with that stuff too.

Eiken, Branden is signed up for the level 1. And Noah is signed up for the level 3. So that's another thing that's been happening. Just a whole lot has been happening here. Busy busy. : )