Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Our flight from Narita, Japan to Los Angeles, California and then to Denver, Colorado plus our first day we arrived...

Hey you guys, I originally was going to try and make just 1 huge Denver post in 1 fell swoop. But honestly, with the kids starting school tomorrow. And Noah having a half day tomorrow on top of that. I really don't see myself having a free couple hours to download 80 pics in a row or anything, for one big post. : ) So if it's okay with all of you. I think it just works best for me to cut the Denver posts into smaller posts. That way I can get one up... wait a day or two and then get the next one up. It just makes things tons easier for me this way. Drags out the Denver posts...I know...and I'm sorry. But...I just don't have oodles and oodles of free time to make one super long... huge mega post. So without further delay. Here is the "flight over" post and the "first day we arrived" post. Sunday August 21st was our original day we were set to leave Japan and head to Denver. However a typhoon was heading our way and since we didn't want to postpone or cancel our trip in case the typhoon did hit... we smartly left the day before. So we left Narita Japan to Los Angeles California Saturday August 20th.We arrived Los Angeles Saturday August 20th around 11am or so. This was the starter portion of my meal on the flight to LA. A salad. Some tomato soup and a pretzel roll. I love that soft pretzel bread they have on the Delta flights. Branden and Noah were sitting in front of us and Noboru was sitting to my right. However since our seats are more like, cocoon like capsules, we can't really see each other anyways. But...we were close by. : )  

My first movie I watched on the flight to LA was Allegiant, the last installment of the Divergent series, it was good, not fantastic but definitely good. 

My meal. A chicken breast with gravy some seasoned rice and some veggies, zucchini were under the tomatoes. 

They then rolled the dessert cart around and I picked a sundae, half hot fudge and half strawberry with whipped cream and nuts. Yumm, it was really good. The rest of my family picked sundaes too. : )

The 2nd movie I watched was with Melissa McCarthy (love her by the way, she cracks me up so much) called The Boss. This was so funny! Not sure if you can make out the cocoon sleeping pods. Folks were sleeping. And I slept after I finished watching The Boss. 

I woke up about an hour before breakfast. Went to the restroom to go pee (sorry tmi). Then brushed my teeth in the airplane. Blotted my face with face blotting papers. Woke up the kids so they could use the restroom too, while everyone else was still snoozing. They all went to the restroom and brushed their teeth. We all enjoyed breakfast. 

I only had time for the first 30 minutes of another movie. How to be Single, with Dakota Johnson and the always funny Rebel Wilson. I like Rebel Wilson *so* much!!! I love watching funny movies and I am attracted to funny people in general. I don't like dark or intense...or super serious people. Melissa McCarthy and Rebel Wilson...love them! I did however....get to finish this movie on the flight back to Japan though. In fact I made sure, it was my first movie I started on the flight back. : )

We landed in LA. We quickly got off the airplane. And we transferred to the Denver flight so quickly. Like in 30 minutes after exiting our Narita airplane we were already sitting at the gate in LA about to board the flight to Denver. We did get on the airplane. And I snapped this pictured as we left LA and were heading to Denver! Wow that was so super quick. Clearly the quickest transfer time EVER. The flight from LA to Denver is only 2 hours long. 2 hours later... we landed back in my home state. No tears. Just quiet smiles. I made it, I thought. We made it!!! 

Oh DIA....I know you...the second I see you! This sight to me...marks..I am home. 3 years people.. ...haven't been back in....3 long years! Felt so good to be "home" It was time. 
We had a long taxi to get to the gate, but I never stopped staring at the white tarpy looking mountains.. that to me..means Denver International Airport. Didn't take my eyes off it... until we hooked up to the Jetway. 

It smelled like DIA...looked like DIA, it clearly was DIA. Might be a dorky thing to say...but it's so true. : ) 

The free train inside the airport that takes us to the baggage claim. We grabbed our bags and then took the shuttle to our rental car place and picked up our car for the week.

Beep beep, we loved our rental car we picked!

Our rental car. It cruised us all over the mountains, and all over town while there. 

We loved this Jeep SUV!
We arrived in Denver before 3pm Saturday August 20th. And we first ate dinner before checking into our hotel. I had the chili relleno plate with a side of tortillas for wrapping my food in. This has always been our favorite Mexican restaurant and it still is.

My family eating up!

Noboru had the green chili plate with a side of flour tortillas as well.

Noah had a child's plate. A bean tostada with a side of rice and beans.

First time Branden ever ordered an adult combination plate from here before. Last time around he had a child's plate too. His combo had a shredded beef taco, smothered bean and cheese burrito and a bean tostada. We all had huge cherry cokes. And of course chips and salsa in the center of our table. 

Our hotel we picked had the best reviews on Trip Advisor. And we were so happy with our hotel pick. Because besides the 1 overnight stay in the mountains... we spent the rest of our nights at this hotel. Best choice ever for a hotel. The beds were nice and comfy. The room was super clean. The reviews all said that too. New-ish facility. Very comfy stay.

Hi kiddo. Another angle of our room.

The bathroom was very nice. Granite counters. Nice new shower and big slabs of tiled flooring in the bathroom. Just a super nice room. 

I'm a sucker when a hotel gives customers 2 choices of pillows...soft or firm. Noboru always picks firm. I always pick soft. Hahaha. : ) 

Of course the complimentary microwave which is like a standard everywhere nowdays. : )  However we didn't use it...not even once. 

Fridge. We used right away for our Vitamin Waters.

Last view of the room. You can see the big slabs of tiles near the entrance of our room, they were also in our bathroom. and a huge full length mirror was nice... because as long as I could get my foundation, concealer and powder on in the actual bathroom. I could do the rest in this full length mirror and let the rest of my family use the bathroom. Basically this full length mirror... helped me not hog the bathroom every morning. : ) 

After getting situated in our hotel room, we went to Super Target. We bought essentials for spending the week at a hotel. Things like, a big/standard sized bottle of shampoo and conditioner (Suave knock-off of the Aveda Rosemary Mint.) A regular sized bottle of body wash (Up and Up Coconut Water body wash.)  A regular size of cinnamon toothpaste and a Neutrogena face wash. And 10 XXX Vitamin Waters because they are only $1 each at Target. So buying 10 was a real deal and we used them... since we were there for the whole week. We went back to our hotel. We all took turns showering. And we all forced ourselves to stay awake as long as we could. Why? Because we didn't want to suffer jet lag. We managed to stay awake until 9:30pm and sure enough we all woke up at 3am. We all went back to sleep. And at 4am, I woke up and forced myself to sleep. My eyes opened at 5am. And I could no longer deny the fact....I am awake. So, I went into the bathroom and washed my face in the sink with that Neutrogena Fresh Foaming face wash and a hot steamy wash cloth. I then put some lotion on my face, then brushed my teeth. I kept all the lights in the room off except the bathroom lights. So, I quietly opened my carry-on and got my makeup case out. I put on my face primer (Benefit the Porefessional) then foundation (Nars Sheer Glow in the color Fiji) undereye concealer (Maybelline age rewind this is my favorite concealer ever! Then my Mac Mineral powder, put my brow mascara on my eyebrows (Rimmel medium brown) dark brown liquid eyeliner on my top lid. Some neutral eyeshadow and some Mac blush. Some EOS coconut lipbalm on my lips. Then I went into the bedroom area and put on some lights. Because Noah had woken up. And then a chain reaction and everyone woke up. The kids brushed their teeth and went to the restroom.  Branden washed his face with the same face wash I used and a new wash cloth. And we all got dressed while Noboru was in the bathroom getting ready too. We all went down to breakfast at 6am. Time it takes me to put my makeup on? Honestly? Under 7 minutes. I'm just that fast and I know what I'm doing.

The breakfast was free everyday. And the breakfast was a full on breakfast... every single day. Lots of choices. Cold cereal, hot oatmeal. Fresh fruit. Yogurts daily. Toast, bagels. Pancakes everyday. And each day was a different type of egg and a different type of meat. Sometimes sausage patties or sausage links or crispy bacon. They also had fresh homemade cinnamon rolls daily and Branden flat out *loved* their cinnamon rolls. Our first breakfast. They also had quite a few different juices. Noboru had guava juice and a hot coffee. I just needed a hot coffee asap. : ) 

The boys enjoying their breakfast. I meanwhile tried to take a few pics before more people came downstairs. Good thing I did take the pics, when I had the chance. : ) 

The pool.

The breakfast eating area. There was a TV above the fireplace. Nicely decorated breakfast area. 

Again a very nice big breakfast area. So many choices.

My first breakfast. A cheese omelette, a slice of ham and a buttermilk biscuit and a super hot coffee with hazelnut creamer. 

I love that my 11 year old always thinks outside the box. He had the same exact ingredients I had except he made a breakfast biscuit with his. Genius idea! : ) 

Best idea ever Noah! : )

Noah had a chocolate milk. Branden had 2 chocolate milks. And I had a yogurt with a handful of cereal on top for some crunch. We were all stuffed. It was free...and hey...you can't turn down free! : ) After that... we all went up to our room and whoever had to go pee went pee. And then we went and started our day! I'll share all the details on what we did that day...on my next post, I promise! : ) 

Monday, August 29, 2016

We're back...

Hi you guys! Hope you guys have missed me, I have certainly missed all of you! We are indeed back home in Japan.

We got back to Japan Saturday early evening, which means we left Denver Friday morning at 6am Denver, Colorado time (mountain time). We flew back 1 day earlier than expected because #1 the flight leaving Denver Friday had plenty of seats and meant we'd fly back first class for free all the way back to Japan no problem. Versus, if we left Saturday Denver time as originally planned we'd be in economy for free all the way back to Japan. Also to add to that...we kept hearing about a typhoon hitting Japan somewhere between Saturday and Tuesday. It now appears to be coming Tuesday maybe even Wednesday and maybe even downgraded to just a storm? However we didn't know that days ago. And as you know weather changes daily and in a blink of an eye. So it was hard to determine and we felt safer flying back to Japan while the window to travel easier... was wide open and the flight looked good and the weather looked good too.

I did transfer my pics online already. But to be honest...I haven't had the chance to look through them 100% yet...just a quick look through. 780 pics taken from our Denver 2016 trip. Wowsa, is that a lot of mama picture taking or what?

The kids go back to school September 1st. So not until Thursday. So very nice that the kids get a few days of just relaxing and just enjoying until Thursday. Their homework is all 100% done but gosh...summer homework sure sucks doesn't it? Hahaha. : )  I am not sure if I will get my Denver post up before September first or not.

We purposely left the fridge bare when we left to Denver because well we didn't want milk or fresh veggies or eggs that type of thing... going funky while we were away. So when we got back Saturday evening. We had zero in the fridge at all. Which was fine because we went to Coco Ichi for dinner Saturday night. We all showered and crashed hard. And we all had jet lag and woke up around 4am Sunday morning. LOL. : )

Yesterday, Sunday we drove to Inzai/Chiba New Town and we went to Costco on a Sunday. Which you know... I hate to go to Costco on the weekends but it frankly couldn't be helped with the fear of the typhoon coming. So we went to Costco. Didn't buy too much. Didn't even take a pic. @_@ I blame the jet lag because I always take pics. : ) I bought 2 packs of chicken breasts, so about 2kg of chicken breasts. Shredded mozzarella cheese. Eggs, pasta sauce. A rotisserie chicken. We had for dinner last night. We then hit Besia and Cainz Home. We just bought veggies and misc there. And then we made 1 final pit stop at Japan Meat at Joyful Honda and bought a beautiful pork for pork curry and a beef roast for beef stew. Menu is as follows this week. Sunday, rotisserie chicken (that was yesterday) Monday (today) chicken chow mein (sara udon) we are all craving veggies...Tuesday tomorrow Beef stew perfect if it is rainy tomorrow, Wednesday teriyaki bowl, Thursday chicken cutlet, Friday pork curry and Saturday niku jaga.

If the typhoon hits us, we are safe and have plenty of food. Tons of drinks. So that's the good and positive there. : ) Also hopefully it downgrades to just storm or just rain. We'll see. : )

Umm, Saturday, the day we got back...good thing I was thinking clearly because...I called the hair salon to book my hair appointment. I hadn't been since July. @_@ Boy was I looking like I sure needed a hair appointment. : ) I went this morning at 9:30am. I got a cut and a color. An all one length lob. And my hair is a nice chocolate brown color. Pretty much my natural hair color spot on. Wow, hasn't been this color is forever. Hahaha. : )  I keep surprising myself every time I look in the mirror, I'm thinking...who in the heck is that?? Oh yeah that's right...it's me. LOL. : )  I should be used to it in a day or two. : )  She also said it should fade out a shade lighter. So we'll see. I am so grateful for the cut. It's slightly longer at the front of my hair so it looks...edgy and stylish.

Denver...how was it? Amazing! No tears at all. No tears at the landing and no tears when we flew away Friday either. I just appreciated every day while I was there. We did so much in the short week we were there. We spent most of our time in Denver. Arvada. Westminster, Broomfield and Boulder. And Wheatridge. But we also went to the mountains and went and enjoyed the hot springs (onsen)...we soaked. It was chilly in the mountains. And we ate Dairy Queen twice. We ate so many wonderful things (ravioli, pasta, chili rellenos and green chili cheese tamales, Chik Fil A, Arby's etc etc). Noah comes back to Japan with 4 new pair of jeans for when fall and winter hits. Since he wears regular clothes to school. And Branden picked 2 pair of jeans from the Levi's outlet in Silverthorne, slim fit 1 jean color and 1 black jeans. He also picked 2 sweatshirts from the Gap outlet too at the Colorado Mills the outlet there too. Noah got 1 Gap sweatshirt from the outlet too. We brought back food to help us ring in the Fall and cooler weather. My favorite cinnamon coffee creamer from King Soopers. tastes like a cinnamon roll and really makes me happy having this creamer... in Fall and Winter. And yes...I did locate the limited edition... Pumpkin Spice Cheerios and the Pumpkin Spice Life cereal. And the Pumpkin Spice Poptarts and the Pumpkin Spice hot cereal. Do we Americans love anything and everything pumpkin spice flavored or what? Hahaha. : ) I didn't buy tons... but we brought back 3 large suitcases filled with stuff. I also brought back Olay moisturizers from Costco. My fave products. So yay for that. I did bring back 1 foundation from Sephora. And 1 new MAC face powder from MAC. And I did also bring back 2 cheaper foundations bought at Target, that I really wanted to try. The Loreal Pro Glow that everyone is talking about on YouTube, I brought back one of those. And another brand too. Plus 3 brow mascaras. 2 micellar waters for me to try. Rice a roni. Corn tortillas (60 of them)... I'll be more specific in another post. Branden also got a nice Jansport backpack while at the Flatirons shopping center too. And I brought back necessary basics too like... cute cotton undies from Target, like 20 of them or so lol. And 2 nice bras from Dillards. Walcoal bras (yes I know that's a Japanese brand, lol). Their best seller in the US. The lady went in the changing room with me, she's near my mom's age...she had a very nice relaxing voice and she was so helpful. $68 US each @_@... so super nice bras, they better be....for that price. And very comfy. No wonder it's a best seller. Anyways...we're all a bit jet lagged still. Nothing major. But...just a tad.

I'm going to run upstairs as soon as I post this. Wash my makeup off my face. I hate the feeling of makeup on my face. Go figure. : ) lol. And I want to get on a comfy t-shirt and some house shorts..my hairs too short now for a pony tail...so maybe just a little clip to the front to pull it out of my face. I want to get stared on dinner early. Because we have been crashing dead asleep by 8-8:30pm since we got back. : ) But I did want to touch bases with you. Yes, we are home. We are alive and well. Just terribly jet lagged. I'm actually starting to feel a little zombie-ish right now. : ) Ugh...I need rest. But first dinner. Anyway...talk with ya later. : )

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Throwback Thursday. August in Denver, Colorado 2008...

August 2008, Noboru and the boys and I decided to skip Hawaii that summer and head back to my home state! Denver, Colorado. 

Inside Denver International Airport. Or as we call it...DIA. Just the 3 letters.

I love this airport so much! I always know, I am home, whenever I see it. Makes me so happy!

After getting settled and stuff. We went to eat. The best thing about going back "home" versus a vacation spot... is the fact that I already know the best Mexican food restaurant...best Italian restaurant, etc etc. Best malls. You know what I mean, I hope. Noboru lived in Denver from age 15 to age 28 and 2 years in Hawaii after that until age 30. So, Denver is a place he feels so comfortable too. Noah and Bran each got a kids plate. A bean and cheese tostada and a side of rice and beans. Noboru a smothered burrito.

A happy Branden...

I had the huevos rancheros.

Just relaxing at one of the amusement parks, Denver has 2. Denver has 1 new expensive modern... wait all day in line... amusement park. And this old amusement park too... this is super cheap, all you can ride for like super cheap and there is no waiting in line and the people are just super chill here. We always go here. The boys having a cherry Icee because well...that's what Denver people do in summer.: ) 

There's my Icee next to my backpack. Having fun kiddos? : ) I went here all the time, when I was Noah's and Branden's age too. I love this place! : )

Is grandpa steering or is Branden steering? Hahaha! And see that ride in the background, absolutely zero wait in line. I love this place!

Stocking up and buying clothes on the cheap! : )

Homemade pasta and ravioli at an Italian place I have been going to since I was a kid. 

I know Japan thinks they are the country of onsen and hot springs! But many states in the USA also have the gift of natural hot springs too. Colorado is full of natural hot spring places! I grew up since I was a wee baby being taken to the hot springs. In Japan...sometimes Japanese people will ask me. Have you ever been to Hakone (famous for hot springs)? I smile and say yes. They will then say..."don't you love Japan for the hot springs?" Yes...I will politely answer...*however* did you know my state...Colorado is famous for hot springs too? In fact I grew up going to soak in hot springs my whole life. With snow all around the mountains while soaking in a hot spring. They are always super *duper* surprised hearing that. But yes it is true. : ) I do come from a fantastic state that has natural hot springs all over it. Granted us westerners... aren't too keen on soaking butt naked hahaha...but hot springs soaking, yes we do that too. : ) 

This hot spring is so hot. Your whole body feels so relaxed after wards. The lobby has a sign with all the minerals in this hot spring that are good for your body and skin. : )

Having gone here since I was a toddler. I know to get a hand stamp before leaving the hot springs. So we can re-enter the hot spring at night. : ) We stopped for some ice-cream and some lunch. Told ya...swimming sure makes a person hungry. : ) Dairy Queen...we sure do love you! : ) 

An early dinner after some sight seeing for the kids. And then back to soak. Pizza Hut and breadsticks are always nice.

Family...let's soak until we're all wrinkly and shriveled like raisins! Hahaha. At night in August the mountain air is cold and crisp and the contrast to the hot water...feels so nice. : )

At my auntie's house. She has fantastic peach trees, apple trees, 2 varieties of apple trees. 

My aunties back porch. See that fire pit in the table there. Perfect to roast marshmallows and just talk and enjoy your family.

Yes we need lots of seats because I have a big extended family. : ) 

And my family is very Roman Catholic. 

Our last night in Denver. We went and ate at my favorite restaurant one more time. 

It's so fun going to Denver. This will always be considered my home. My birth place. The placed I was born and raised. I love Colorado people. Colorado people are so nice. So cool. So friendly. I have a whole lot of family there who love me...love Branden...love Noah and Noboru too. : ) So yes...it is super hard leaving. Arriving in Denver is super easy. It's the leaving part that's hardest. If you have ever lived overseas....you will understand my words. And understand what I'm saying. I rarely get to Denver. Every 3-4 years maybe. So when I land in Denver and the pilot always says..."welcome to Denver." I cry. I cry because it is so good to hear that. So not hysterical psycho crying nonono. Just a few happy silent tears. While looking out the window. So no one else.. can see or know. When I fly out of Denver...I always cry for a minute or two too. Because it's pure heart break for me. I never know when is the next time...I can go back. Maybe 3-4 years. So sad tears. Very very sad tears. Again...not psycho loud hysterical crying. Just a few very sad silent tears during take off. And no...I don't want anyone to know or see. After an hour in flight...my funk goes away. And I am back to my peppy ol' self. But yes...leaving is so hard, isn't it. : )  Anyway...that was this week's TBT of 2008. I have been back to Denver since this. But that was in November 2013. Anyway happy TBT everyone. I will not be able to do my TBT for next week. Since I will be on vacation in the states. We leave this Saturday. Am I happy? Heck yes. I so need this trip you guys. The kids are packed, I packed them up 2 days ago and today I went and bought the kids some snacks for the airplane. I will pack myself up this evening after supper. Noboru is getting excited about our trip too. : )