Saturday, November 19, 2016

Branden's 15th Birthday...

Better late than never as the old saying goes! : ) Branden's birthday is October 26th. And this year he turned 15 years old! Can you believe it? What's that old saying? The days are long, but the years are short! So true! : ) Anyway, while we were in Guam in early October, my dad gave Branden his birthday card in person!

My dad always wants the kids to pick their own gift. : )

Birthday card from grandma Mitsuko.

Branden thought long and hard about what he wanted for his birthday this year and he decided on a new cell phone. Branden has never has a new cell phone before. Well unless you count the "kids cell" when they were like first and 3rd graders and used it to call us from Kumon. And it's was a real kids phone, meaning it had no number key pad, you could only call, 2 numbers on it that we programmed into the phone. So it was programed to call either me or their dad. Hahaha. : ) The cell Branden had been using all JHS long was Noboru's very old cell phone. Like so outdated. The GPS or thing to see if you're lost or where you are at.... was broken years earlier. It looked years older than his friends cell phones. All his classmates at his Japanese JHS have sparkling brand new cell phones. @_@ And we just never rolled that way. We gave Branden Noboru's ancient phone and we figured as long as it worked. It was fine enough. But yes...I could see...he was embarrassed by his ancient cell many times. When friends would come hang out. I'd see Genki's new phone and there's Branden's phone that looks like it came from a decade before. Hahaha. And when they all went to that shabu shabu buffet after undokai on that Sunday. Branden said...his friends all had new cells and sorta joked how old his phone was. And I do understand how kids want to be cool... just like their other friends. Do you remember how that feels? I do. I don't think any of us reading this are so old...that we can't recall wanting to fit in. And not be the odd or weird one and my kids are popular it's just the phone was greatly bringing down the cool. And so yeah...when he said..I'd like to get a new cell this year. I said...sure. I agree. If that's what you want. So he researched it and found the phone he wanted. And we bought it from Expansy's. Only because we have bought something from them before and were really happy with that company. 

Branden had researched the phone he wanted. Watched so many "unboxing videos" on YouTube. And he wanted the new Zenfone 3. It's a new release phone. 

His last cell phone was black. And so he picked gold. And I actually think he picked a really nice color. 

This is the model he picked. And he's just super happy with his phone and I'm really happy for him. 

His birthday... so he picked the restaurant. He picked that Italian "all you can eat" buffet type place in Inzai, Japan. Can you see the screen on that table in the background? Every table orders from their own tablet that sits on the table. Also this place used to be a Saizeriya so it still sort of looks like a Saizeriya to me... but it isn't obviously. : ) Here's the items to pick in the middle. 

The pasta and wood fired pizzas are ordered on the tablets. They're made fresh as you order them.

Noboru's pasta.

Noah enjoying some ice cream after he finished eating lots of pasta and pizza.

I took pics for you guys of the center. 

Baguette. Chili oil for pasta or pizza. Tabasco. 



All you can eat Haagen Dazs cookies and cream and vanilla and green tea.

The other flavors are not Haagen Dazs. 

Chocolate fondue and  snackies for dipping in that chocolate fountain.

That one that tastes like a cinnamon roll... is right next to the strawberry one and the one above that is coffee ice cream. Those 2 flavors are my favorites.

Do you see how many plates are stacked up? Hahaha. Noboru was very full and now enjoying a coke float. Noboru loves coke floats and always make those wherever he goes. : )

Branden holding his new cell phone that arrived that very day, the day of his birthday! And he was so full from dinner. And we went home and enjoyed some birthday cake too! Good thing it's about a 50 minute drive to our home from the restaurant. Because it gave us time.. to lessen the full feeling. : ) Birthdays are all about good food and family, right? A day you're allowed to indulge. : ) 

Nutella (chocolate hazelnut) on the bottom and banana on the top. You can always pick your own flavors for your birthday and they have tons of flavors and you can pick any combination you like.

A bit blurry but they're both smiling and super happy. They are so close! 

Branden smiling with his arm around his brother and Noah just admires his brother so much. You can see it on his face clearly in this picture. : ) Aww. : ) 

Noah and his dad and I were singing to Branden and then I turned off my camera and Branden blew out the candles and we all clapped. And we all had a slice of handmade ice cream cake from Nagano, Japan. All in was just a typical birthday for us. A quiet low key "just family" birthday. Anyway happy 15th birthday, my first born! I sure do love you kid! : )

Why do I have quiet low key birthday celebrations? Let me tell you. And fwiw, if you like huge birthday blow outs. That's fine. To each their own. : ) But here's my story.

When I was growing up and before my parents divorced. My mother would throw me the biggest birthday celebrations you have ever seen. Like #1 I always had to invite my entire class. Now as an adult I see my mom just wanted to include all kids and not want to leave anybody out, but at the time there were kids I would have preferred not come (like that bully boy who would bully the other boys in class). One year it was at a roller rink. And my mom had rented a huge chunk of the roller rink out for my party guests. And my cake was this huge roller skate shaped cake and the wheels on my cake were actual real donuts! It was a very fancy shmancy cake. Like top of the line cake. My birthday cakes always were. We had food catered to the roller rink. The regular customer kids that were skating that day would look at us.. in the birthday area with all our catered food and huge roller skate cake. In a way I was embarrassed that it was such an elaborate affair. I mean this was a whole overly fancy affair. Did I enjoy myself? Ugh, I guess. Another year, I recall a clown like a real legit clown. Side note, I am terrified of clowns, along with most people! @_@ The year of the clown we had  an actual organ grinder with monkey. It was a zoo theme outside in my big backyard and we had animal pinatas. And of course my entire class was there. Each year was this huge enormous event. Another time it was at this upscale pizza place that had acts and shows, definitely not Chuck E. Cheese. We had a whole super long table and section sectioned off for my party guests. And I wore this fancy dress my mom made me dressed to the nines type dress. With ribbon in my hair and tights. My birthdays were glam. My birthdays were these huge events that my entire class and the whole school talked about. My birthday's were really well known. I mean now days everyone does big parties. But it was pretty uncommon in the 80's. And I don't want to sound ungrateful. And that I have no gratitude for all the work my mother put into my parties. My mom was always in the PTA. My mom was an alpha mom. A head mom at my school. And when Christmas parties rolled around at my school. She'd bring Martha Stewart type handmade Christmas cookies to my class. My mom was such a wonderful mom and I do know she did all that stuff out of love. But today we're just talking birthday parties. A lot of time, I felt entire birthday. I rarely ever got to spend any time with my mom or dad. Why? Because my birthday was such an extravaganza event. And between skating around a roller rink with Kool and the Gang on the loud speakers playing. Celebrate good time come on! : ) After my parents divorced, my mom moved to California and I asked to live with my dad. My dad didn't really have the birthday knack my mom did. And my birthdays went like this. My dad asked me the week before. What would you like to do for your birthday? What would you like? I'd say..."let's go out to dinner" And we'd go out to Red Lobster or our favorite steak restaurant Mr. Steak. And he'd get me a cake from the grocery store bakery. No more fancy birthday cakes for me. : ) And he'd give me a $100 every year. And I'd go and get a new bag and another coat or just know. Maybe a Wham! or Prince or Madonna album or something. : ) I'm not trying to down my mom at all. I love her so much. Mom's always want to go all out, I know that. : ) But the one thing I really loved about my dad's way of spending birthdays. Is the focus was on me. Versus the focus being on the *event*. That to me was crucial...focus it on your kid, not the event. Kids don't care about having a big fancy shindig, believe me, I've had plenty of them my whole childhood before the divorce. And I recall my dad asked me the day before my birthday is there anything you'd like to do? And I said I loved it when mom used to french braid my hair. And obviously my dad doesn't know how. So, he took me to a hair place and had the lady french braid my hair the morning of my birthday. I had 2 french braids in the back. For my birthday. We went to the movies and out to dinner with my french braided hair, aww. : ) And it was very quiet, very low key, but *quality* time and that's really all I ever wanted and all any kid ever really wants, if we're honest about it. And very special. And yeah my dad drove me to the mall that weekend and I picked out some stuff from my birthday money. But my birthday's just...felt really special very special and centered on me. Given the fact it was my birthday. And honestly...I have had the big fancy birthdays. And I'm not impressed. And I have had the quiet low key parties and I just prefer that way. And I have always spent my 2 son's birthdays that way too. Quiet. Low key. I'm not going to host about 40 kids and focus on said 40 kids, versus focusing on the birthday boy/person. I am instead going to have quiet low key birthdays and keep the focus on the actual birthday kid. So, why do we do quiet low key birthdays? Because I've had both ways and I prefer these types better. Again...if you prefer huge birthday parties. Cool. But that's just not for us. And I personally just think kids want to share their special day with their parents and have a fun day. They really don't care about big huge fancy birthday parties... the way their parents think they do.  So anyways, that's why we always have low key birthday celebrations for our family. And heck...if you love having a great big fancy shindig, then you do you! More power to you. Just not our style. But I'm sure it's someone's. And that's okay. : )

Anyway...sorry about the...whole paragraph about my feelings on birthday party's. This post is really meant to highlight my 15 year old! Happy 15th BrannyB! We love you kiddo! To the moon and back! : )