Wednesday, September 26, 2018

How is American middle school and high school going?

One of the most common questions that I get from absolutely everyone is, "how are both Branden and Noah doing in school, now that they're here in the United States?" My Japanese friends back in Japan want to know. My "fellow foreign mom friends" back in Japan are wanting to know too and will email me and stuff with questions. Long time blog readers who still remember how to get a hold of me before my email address changed... but if you and I emailed/talked often then you were most likely one... who got my new email before it changed, so the handful or two of you who have my new email... have also...sent me a message and asked, "how are the kids doing in school?" My family in Colorado are curious and even Noboru's family is curious too. I usually just keep it short and say "they're doing great" and leave it at that. But, I do also understand most of you have literally watched the boys grow up. And so, I'll be a little more detailed about it in this post. That way you all can just read it here. Then you will be all caught up and know. : ) I snapped this picture  May 4th, 2018. I receive emails from both Noah's middle school and Bran's high school here in the US, the same way I used to get the school emails in Japan too. That way any events that happen, I'll know immediately and I can make sure that I'm there. That, I show up. For any event, I will 100% be there. On a Thursday, I got an email inviting all us mom's of this middle school to attend and enjoy coffee and donuts with your middle schooler. It landed on a Monday. This was Noah's first event and he was a little nervous and truthfully, I was a little bit nervous too back in May 2018. But, rain or shine. Come heck or highwater, I will be there. And so I woke up, showered at 5:30am that Monday morning. Put my makeup on, did my hair. Got dressed by 6:20am. And we were both there by the 7am,  donut start time. Krispy Kreme donuts and Starbucks coffee. Kids were given milk. All for free, I might add. I gave Noah, my donut because it was just too darn early for me to eat anything. Coffee on the other hand, I am always ready for. So, I enjoyed a hot cup of coffee. Spoke with Noah's teacher. Another school person came around and took our picture. It was just from 7am until 7:30am. I'm so glad, I showed up.  I will *always* be there to support both my kids. 
This picture was taken at B's high school. After we got back from Japan, we had to be at B's school twice. Once for schedule pick up and school pictures were taken the same day. About half of the kids brought their parents. Which made me glad I showed up. Plus, I had to pay for the pictures and pay some yearly school fees anyways. Noah went with us. And like 2 days later, we 3 needed to go back to B's school yet again. Notice Branden's school is so brand new looking and nice and modern.
This day also at Bran's school, this was a "parent meeting" a mass meeting held in this auditorium, kids were invited too. And this was also the day your high schooler picked up their laptops/Chromebooks. Also, important to note. In May/June. The wrestling coach wanted Branden on their team, he had spotted Branden in a gym class wrestling around with his friends before class started and he thought Branden would be a perfect fit for that. However Bran, was also considering joining the boys swim team too for the new school year, Fall semester. I told Branden he can join whatever he likes, as long as his grades stay strong. He has since joined the swimming team for his high school. Not the wrestling team, sorry wrestling team. I think it's a good idea he chose swimming, because both my kids have been swimming since they were age 3 (Noah) and 4 (Bran). So, they've swam forever. I did tell Branden it would be a great idea for him to join student council/leadership his senior year. And he agrees. Because I personally was in student council all 4 years in high school and I also was a cheerleader in high school. So, American high school stuff, I know.  
We also had to go to Noah's middle school twice too. Once to pick up Noah's class schedule and for him to take his school picture. And once for an evening "ice cream" and Open House night that followed. I snapped this picture of Noah around 4:50pm, the evening of the ice cream party and open school. School lets out at 2:25pm 4 days a week. 1:25pm Fridays. And the icecream party started at 5pm. This gave us time to go home, I made dinner. And then we went back to the school for ice cream and the Open School.  

Inside Noah's middle school. Such a fantastic middle school. 
There were so many huge variety boxes of ice cream from Costco. Noah had 2 ice creams. And Bran had 1 ice cream. I had no ice cream. I just didn't want any. : ) After that, we 3 went from class to class, following Noah's daily schedule and each class lasted 10 minutes and we heard from each teacher and what the kids will be learning this year. Again, I firmly believe... it is so important for the teachers to see firsthand which kids parents are active participants at the school. In one class there was only 2 families present. Us and another family. And in English class there were just 3 families, us being one of them. And in science class... a ton of families showed up. And in gym class a huge amount of families showed up. In math class about 6 families showed up. Etc. It varied.
These are Branden's grades and classes he's taking this semester, as of right this second. Branden, has straight A's. He currently has a 4.0 GPA. This is the highest GPA in America to have. I have asked Branden to bring up that Geometry grade from an A- to a A. His dad has mentioned that too. But honestly? His grades have always been straight A's whether he's in Japan or in the U.S.

These are Noah's grades. He has straight A's except 1 B. We are not too thrilled about the B. But having a 3.8 GPA is actually pretty freaking amazing. I did ask Noah to ask his history teacher, for extra credit homework already. She asked Noah why? He said, because my parents watch my grades daily online (you can do this is America now) and they're wanting me to bring up my B to an A. He said, she smiled and said there's still plenty of time to bring up his B to an A between now and December. At least she knows we're watching his progress daily and we care quite a bit about their grades. So in a nutshell how are both Branden and Noah doing in American school? Honestly? They're crushing it! Because my kids are 100% true bilinguals. Native English speakers, same as me. And I sent them to English Kumon since age 3 in Japan, because I wanted them to get English from me at home, plus an outside place too, where they could study English near others studying English and working on the technical stuff too. Plus, I bought those American school...whole year curriculum books from Amazon USA and had them sent to Japan and they did those since kindergarten, all the way until the end of 6th grade. They were cheap in price and useful. Plus I would have THEM read to me daily. Mama (me, I already know how to read) I would have *them* read to me. For practice. So, I always knew they were basically right up to their grade level in the US. And believe me! That didn't happen by osmosis or by itself. Hafu kids being raised in Japan are NOT automatically bilingual. And are not automatically native English speakers. It takes diligent hard work. They (my kids) heard Japanese language the second they left our front door in Japan. So we kept this English insulated bubble inside our house. And that just happened to work for us. You know, I often have had deep discussions with my fellow foreign mom friends, the ones I'm really really close with. The question we have dove into while at Starbucks many of times is.... What qualifies as a true 100% bilingual. Or native English speaker? We all have very different opinions on what *we* feel qualifies. What we would discuss over coffee... is accent. We would have lively fun debates "that if your kids have a thick Japanese accent, can you still be considered a 100% bilingual?" or a native English speaker? I say, absolutely not. But then I'm more so... the honest Simon Cowell or Gordan Ramsay of the group. Having raised 2  100% bilingual kids in Japan, (2 native English speaking kids in Japan) I find I am very opinionated on the subject. I'm not going to "Emperor's New Clothes" anyone. And my group of foreign mom friends were split meaning half said no too, and half said yes.  Again this deep conversations were fun and it was always great to see our respectful but varying opinions. What about "what if you... have to translate English that your friends or family is saying to your hafu child...can you still call them 100% bilingual?" Again, I say, absolutely no way! Nice kids, but 100% bilingual?, I don't think you can call them that. And again, this particular question mostly every person agreed and said no! They would not consider that kid a 100% bilingual either. And most certainly not a native English speaker. It was always nice meeting up throughout the years and chime in and talk about something important to us all. In a supportive manner. And get food for thought, from each other. What, I personally consider 100% bilingual and also a native English speaker... is when an American person who has zero connection to my family (meaning they're not going to say it to be nice)...such as a flight attendant or a person working at Target, can have a 100% conversation with Noah or Branden. And they, meaning the person, can't detect any Japanese accent from my kids... other than a strong American accent. And they don't realize my kids came from Japan. If you can blindfold yourself and hear 3 American teens speaking and not be able to tell *which* kid came from Japan. Then I would consider your kid, a 100%  true bilingual. And also a native English speaker. And if you blindfolded yourself...seriously... you could not tell the difference between *my* kids speaking and any random kid in the U.S. So when I say my kids are true 100% bilinguals, and native English speakers, that's what I mean. The only accents my kids have are American ones. Meaning they can have a 100% fluid conversation with my kids. You don't need to dumb down the conversation for my kids or the vocabulary. To me...that's what I personally consider a true 100% bilingual. And native English speaker. And my kids have always been that. You don't have to dumb down the Japanese or the English. My kids speak Japanese as much as Noboru does and English as much as I do. My kids didn't need to join any ESL class or remedial classes at all, when we moved here. Because of their native English level, they were able to join regular classes according to their grade. Which is kind of really remarkable really, when you think about it. Also if you see the schedule, they don't call English class...English anymore. Like they did in the old days. Doh! They call it Language Arts. And because Noah is a 7th grader, he's in LA 7. And advisory you don't get a grade, you go there, before first period every Friday. 
Here is a pic, that I snapped one morning to send to Noboru on LINE. Just Noah getting his Jansport all packed up before school. Super stylish hair.
An American high school football game, that Branden went to. They're both settling into their American lives really well.

Bran had a hot dog during the game.
This is Branden and V at their high school football game, 2 weeks ago. She is really interested in Japanese. She reads Japanese and speaks Japanese. I'm so impressed. I feel she is a good girl and quite pretty. So how are both my kids doing in school here? They're having zero problems. They have tons of friends. They have excellent grades.They're so truly deeply happy my kids. Branden is about to start driving school soon. This part scares me!!! Ha ha ha! : ) By mid November Branden will be a licensed driver! Yikes!!! LOL. : )

Isn't she pretty? This is V, again. I will be coming back here tomorrow and take down the girls pics. 

Meanwhile, Noah's just barely in middle school. But a group of boys hang out from time to time. His good friends, all made a plan to go and buy a dozen donuts and some drinks and go and kick it...middle school style near the school. Noah asked me 2 days beforehand. He said, "mom can I go?" "I really want to go" LOL. I said, "of course you can go Noah!" And so, he snapped this pic for me, as 2 of the bunch rode their bikes to the donut spot. A few others walked, it's about a 2 minute walk from the school. 

Noah sent me this pic, I blued out his friends face, so this pic can stay. He gets off school at 2:25pm. I told Noah he could stay until 3:20pm. But he messaged me at 3pm and said..."mom please pick me up" LOL. Middle schoolers don't stay out so late! Ha ha ha! A lot of kids in America are drinking this ICE drink. This was Noah's drink.  Bran says his high school friends do too. @_@ I have not drank one yet. They went on a Wednesday to get donuts. Noah was invited 2 days later on Friday to meet up back at the donut place. They made that plan on Wednesday, I told Noah, he could go too. : ) 

This time a girl from the 7th grade joined them too. Hence her pink girly sweatshirt and girly Jansport backpack. : ) And of course a group of boys went too. They went and had some snacks. Hung out for about 30 minutes before they all had to be home. I was there and picked Noah up. : ) So how is Noah doing? Noah's doing so well. He has so many friends, I  told Noah too. I want Noah to join student council next year too. For his final year of middle school. And I want him in student council in high school too and the swim team too, same as his brother. So how are they doing? They fit in extremely well here.

This picture has a sorta funny story. I was in my car picking up Noah one afternoon. And I heard a girl as she was about to get on the yellow school bus..."byyyeee Noah!!!!" And just her stare. Made me think. Does she like my son or what? LOL. Again, my kids are only with me temporarily...until they grow up and leave me after college and jobs. I know that. But yeah...She popped her head out the window and watched Noah get into my car. And then the next day...as Noah was walking to my car...I again see this very pretty slim girl approach Noah and hand him something. He got in my car and I said..."what did she pass you?" He said these fruit snacks. LOL. I asked Noah, "does she have any classes with you?" He said nope. She seems to wait for me sometimes but always tries to talk to me in the halls between classes. @_@ I told Noah, she likes you. Hahaha. 
For Branden's English class, the kids needed to decorate their comp book. He was told on a Friday. And Saturday, we went and found this magazine and Bran decorated it himself. This is the front of his English comp book.

And the back. He got an A on this. : )

On Open School night at Noah's school, the English teacher said she wants her kids to do 10 minutes of quiet reading every Wednesday before class starts. She said this will foster a love of reading for her class. I agree. So, I went to Target with Noah the very next day. We went to the middle school section for books and Noah is now reading the Hunger Games. LOL. : )

Anyways, I am writing this post not to show off. I'm not like that and ya'll know that. It's just since April. I have been asked honestly about 15 different times..."how are my kids doing in school." Just saying..."they're fine." Really isn't saying much. They're both doing *extremely* well. One kid has straight A's, that's Branden. My other kiddo (Noah)... has straight A's with 1 B. And a 3.8 GPA and a 4.0 GPA is actually quite amazing. Considering they have had no schooling in America before that. Socially, they have zero problems, they fit in immediately. They both have tons of friends. Bran's in the swim team. Both kids will be joining student council next year too. Bran is having a hard time deciding between which beautiful blonde he will invite to the homecoming. Noah goes out with friends sometimes after school... because I know friendships are really important. And Branden attends high school football games often. He attends 2 a month. So about half the time. If he's not at a football game, he's out to the movies with friends too. Hanging out with friends at Dairy Queen or wherever. And he's about to start driving school.

Anyway, Noboru has just landed in Sea-Tac. So, he's in America right now. He will be here for 3 long weeks. Until October 16th. Which is so important for us as a family to spend time together.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Four movies we've seen recently. Slender Man. Crazy Rich Asians. Searching. And The Nun...

Besides all the "back to school clothes shopping" And school supplies shopping we did. We also did a lot of other fun things after we got back from Japan too. Like going to 4 different movies. I personally absolutely have *always* loved going to the movies, since I was a little girl. And my kids love going to the movies too. The first movie we saw as soon as we got back from Japan was Slender Man. Branden *really* wanted to go see this movie. And so, we went to check it out. 

How was Slender Man? An absolutely horrible grade B movie. Would, I buy the DVD? Absolutely not! Would, I watch it in the airplane, if I were on my way back to Japan? Nope, I'd pick something else to watch. It wasn't scary at all. Like on a scale from 1-10. It was a zero on the scare factor. The story itself? Dumb. However the bright side is, it was a great way for us to spend an afternoon as a family. And another positive is...at least Bran got to see it. Noah and I thought it was absolutely terrible though. And Bran agreed too. 

We went to see Crazy Rich Asians on opening day! I had been waiting all summer for this movie to finally be released!!! I had preordered the tickets the week before. We were ready! 

We had our freshly popped popcorn, large sodas that are free refills. And movie snacks. What did we think of Crazy Rich Asians??? This movie was amazing! This movie is legit hands down, my favorite movie of summer 2018!!! I had been hearing that there hasn't been a movie, with an all Asian cast since The Joy Luck Club, 25 years ago!!! Which I *love* The Joy Luck Club too, by the way and own the DVD. Would, I buy the DVD for Crazy Rich Asians? Of course and I will!!! The story line of Crazy Rich Asians. Is of course all over the internet anyways, unless you're living under a rock. But basically, an Asian American college professor has been in a long term relationship with an Asian guy from Singapore. He has absolutely never talked about his family. She's never met them. She even mentions to her own friends. "Maybe he's from a very poor family and he's embarrassed so that's why he's never mentioned them." It's actually the opposite. Anyways, he ends up needing to go back to Singapore for a wedding that he has to attend and he decides to bring his girlfriend. Turns out he's beyond super mega rich. But of course she fell in love with him.. for him and truly had zero idea he even had 2 nickels to rub together. As she told him, "you use my login information to use my Netflix account!!!" Meaning she thought he couldn't afford his own account. However, once they land in Singapore. His mom hates her, the girlfriend. Says mean little digs to her every chance she can get. Little verbal jabs here and there. Other girls who wish to date him too. Treat her horribly, like go and jack up her hotel room etc. She's basically treated like complete crap!!! This movie made me have all sorts of feels. It made me angry when she was being bullied. It made me laugh so many times during the funny parts. It also made me cry once. At this one scene where his mom tells her on the stairs..."You will *never* be good enough for him!!!" And you can see on her face...watery eyes and she's just so defeated. So freaking defeated. Also that pivotal mahjong scene was killer!!! Amazing! I won't tell you how it ends or anything. But OMG! Best movie ever! A real must see!!! Both my kids absolutely loved Crazy Rich Asians too!!! I am also so happy that in America, Crazy Rich Asians did *so* well at the box office. It crushed all other movies that opened at the same time too. It doesn't matter if you're Asian, married to an Asian or not. I think if you're just a human period! Point blank... with a big sentimental heart. This movie will be for you!!! You will love this movie. This is a story that everyone and anyone can relate to. You will be rooting for "Rachel!!!"  Who was played by Constance Wu. And for what it's worth, Michelle Yeoh who played the mother of her boyfriend, was phenomenal. You will *not* hate her character that she plays, granted you will be frustrated with her behavior yes, but you will also understand where they're both coming from too, both their point of views. They really are amazing actresses the both of them. Oh, I'm sorry, but 1 more thing, I loved the way this movie first started. It was shown in the old days. When the "boyfriend" Was a little boy and it was night time. And he and his mom (Michelle Yeoh) walked into a fancy ritzy hotel in London England. And she was treated horribly. It was racism point blank, because they were Asian. She said, politely "we have a reservation and my name is" And they wouldn't even look or check. Just said, sorry you don't have a reservation here. They told her to go and try a hotel in China Town!!! How rude right? She left the hotel in the pouring rain and called her husband back in Singapore from a phone booth, since this was the... before cellphone era. In a nutshell, her husband was so mad at their racial discrimination, he bought the hotel, right then and there!!! She went back inside the hotel. The owner an old Englishman came down the elevator who was just woken by her husband. Told the manager and staff who just treated her so badly... this is the new owner of the hotel!!! That's how the movie started! It was such a...right on!!! Type of moment! Definitely go see this movie if you haven't already. You will feel for both of the 2 main ladies, I did. There's also another character named Astrid and you will feel for her too. She's married and mega rich but her husband isn't. She loves him but she's embarassed that she's the richer in the marriage, so she hides the things she buys and pays for herself around the house. He's cheating on Astrid. She's so nice. Anyways, enough of me, gushing about this movie. It's a fantastic movie though!!!   

Searching. A cliffhanger. Mystery type movie. Again the main cast are Asian in this one. The actor who played Harold, in Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle. John Cho. He's a dad and his daughter goes missing. Debra Messing is also in this too. This movie is good. Would I buy the DVD? Nope. Am, I glad I saw it? Yes! The ending? Completely unexpected. And I can always figure movies like this out. Way before the end. But this one really will throw you for a loop. I figured it out about 15 minutes before it ended. But before that? Not a clue. 
The last movie we saw was The Nun. Again we saw this on opening day. And again, I prebought the tickets the week beforehand. Commercials in the U.S. have been running all August for this one. It came out the beginning of September, but by then everyone who's into scary movies went to see it. My kids love scary movies. They have always understood it's a movie, it's for entertainment, it's fake. Duh, so... With drinks and popcorn in hand and snacks in our pockets. We went and enjoyed The Nun. How was The Nun? It was so scary! Like a 10 out of 10 on the scare factor. I usually cover my eyes during the scary parts. But, I didn't for this movie. And I mean, I was scared too many times to count. From beginning to end. Would, I buy the DVD? Yes, I would! Would, I watch this on an airplane back to Japan? Yes, I would. Not a waste of time. Very entertaining. 

A week from now, Noboru will already be here. And he'll be here for a few weeks. I wonder what movies we will go and see while he's here. : )

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Getting ready for their first full year of school in America. School clothes shopping. School supplies etc...

The day after we arrived from Japan, at the end of July, I went online to the Jansport website and I had the boys decide which size, which style, which color of Jansport backpack they wanted. They each picked navy blue, but Branden picked a larger size than Noah picked. And that's understandable, he's so much taller, bigger and older than Noah is. I ordered them in the morning. Later that day, since we were jetlagged and ordered before 8am. And later that day, I had received an email, saying they had been shipped from their factory in California and would be arriving within 2 days. Free shipping. And they arrived perfectly. Nicely packed. And Bran's went into his closet in his room and Noah's went in his closet in his room. So backpacks for the new school year were no longer an issue. Also wanted to point out, I saw Jansport backpacks all over town all August and September. And they were about $7-10 bucks higher in price at Kohl's and elsewhere than what you could buy directly from the actual Jansport website. Just FYI, for you in the states. 

They each have a laptop pouch built in.... in each of these backpacks, which is perfect for American kids, like mine because now days every school in the US has kids use Chromebooks for much of their homework assignments.So kids bring their laptops back and forth from school to home, back and forth.
School supply list. In America, each grade for each particular school, provides a school supply list. Things your child will be needing for class. And remember 3 ring binders? Now they call them D ring binders. Good thing my kids started last April, because they both told me, all the kids at both their school "prefer" the Avery brand D ring binders... over other brands, because they're super gentle to open and close with just the lightest touch of the button. Since, I clearly came from the Trapper Keeper era. This fact was helpful for me. So, when we went to Target and also Walmart to get school supplies. We made sure to pick the Avery binder at Target immediately. 98% of their school supplies came from Target. Composition notebooks. Or as my kids call them..."comp books." These are required in almost *every* single class now days? Noah wanted a pencil pouch, and his school supply list says he needs one. Branden did not want one. He wanted to use his one from Mujirushi. @_@ Which is fine. I offered him a new one, he said no thanks. : ) Also, I made another mistake last April, I bought my kids Mead paper/cardboard but definitely paper-based type folders. You know, in the old days we used to call them, peechee folders? Well, Branden said, the paper ones...cardboard type ones are bogus. And they tear easily. So I made sure, to buy them plastic folders for like 59 cents instead. Again, I am learning this stuff all over again. As a mom, not a student. And in a new era. : )

Stuff on the left is Branden's. Stuff on the right is Noah's.

Loose leaf paper was $1.79 at Target in Augus,t but like 69 cents a pack at Walmart. I bought 6 packs of college width loose leaf paper at Walmart. Both of the kids got a calculator. Not sure where the pic of Bran's calculator is. His is for harder math though. Same price as Noah's, but more technical than what Noah needs for middle school. By August 5th, I was 100% done with their school supplies. 

I also did go and buy a few extra comp books for the boys. And OMG, am I glad I did. Branden ended up needing an extra one and said, "mom can you take me to Target later tonight, I need another comp book?" I walked to my closet and grabbed a navy blue one of these and handed it to him. I told both my kids, I bought extra loose leaf paper and comp books and spiral notebooks too. If you both need anything, more than likely I have it. I also bought Noah this mirror and magnet holder for his locker, he says he keeps spare pencils in there. High school kids don't use their lockers here??? They can have one, but none use them? @_@ But middle schoolers do. 

As soon as they both got their school schedules. I set up Branden's and Noah's D ring binders. Wrote the little name subject for each class. Bran was impressed after his first day of school. He said, "wow, you really were raised in America...how you set up my binder, is the same way, everyone set theirs up too." I said.."duh, no kidding" LOL. : ) In Japan, I would ask for help from my senpai mom friends. Until I didn't need help anymore. But here...I naturally know this stuff. And honestly? It's kinda easy...and sorta cool. 
Living in Japan for 16 years. It was wonderful. And we sorta just buy clothes throughout the year. On a need it..basis. If you outgrow something, go and get another one. And sure, being American...I did stock up according to the season, in Winter and Summer. And we do that here too. But the "back to school shopping" in America is huge. And I guess, I sort of forgot how exactly huge it is... until we moved here. From the end of July, every time we'd go to Walmart or Target or the shopping mall. There were posters or signs that read "back to school savings" Sort of mentally revving up the nation... if you're a parent. Seeing the signs you start to think...Everyone is preparing. I guess I better prepare my kids too. Plus again, I do have memories of myself getting prepared as a teen too. So, backpack check! School supplies check! New underwear check. And all August underwear was on sale in packs. A gentle reminder for us parents to stock up. Okay both kids new underwear done. Check! 

Some socks, I bought for them at Target, which is what is pictured here. And another big pack each... we bought at Walmart later. And that Aveda knock-off Suave brand Rosemary Mint shampoo was for me. I love that shampoo. 
Back to school shopping. We hit Kohl's, we hit Marshall's. Ross. The shopping mall. We were so busy in August. With back to school shopping.

We'd go out one day and collect some back to school stuff. And then go out another day and buy some more stuff. 
The shirt on the left is Noah's, we found it at Ross. He saw it, loved it. Size men's small. It was like $4.99 or something. B's shirt was equally cheap in price. But big on style. These Savage shirts we see everywhere! 
Kohl's, these 2 Vans tops are Noah's. 1 short sleeve and one long sleeve. 
Two pair of cargo shorts for Branden. At Kohl's.

Both Levi's brand shorts. 
Plus 2 pair of Levi's jeans for Branden too. That way if it should cool down unexpectedly, he wouldn't freeze to death. He'd have at least 2 pair to fall back on. Branden needs at least 3 more pair of pants, but this is a nice start.

Two Vans shirts for Branden from the actual Vans shop at the mall.

Noah's stuff from the actual Vans shop too. Noah's shirt is a size S in the men's size now. And he's been wanting a pair of checkered Vans forever. And now that he's going to school in America, he can. Plus he got that new pair of Nike's we brought back from Japan too. 

Noah's tops to start with. And second pair of school shoes. Plus remember, he also got shorts and pants in Japan. And the 2 sweatshirts from Gap in Japan too. Noah's not 100% done with school clothes shopping, but he has good stuff to start school with, no doubt!

Bran's stuff. Plus he still has 3 pair of Uniqlo shorts that still fit him. 

Plus the jeans.

We did go back to Marshall's another day too. Marhsall's round 2. And Branden picked these 3 tops. The mountain scene is from the Gap, but bought at Marshall's. And he was thrilled to get another Savage shirt too. This one is a short sleeve. 

Also bought on our return trip to Marhsall's. Round 2. Noah found these 2 Abercrombie tops. Abercrombie is expensive. I know, because I used to wear it in uni myself. And to find these 2 preppy Abercombie tops at Marshall's. Noah was so happy!
I also drove back to the mall another time and bought Branden a new pair of Vans. This makes his 3rd pair right now that he owns and wears. And gets to mix and match with his outfits.
We found another bigger pack of "no show" socks the kind of socks, you would wear with Vans. And bought another pack of undies, because they were 50% off. Again those back to school sales. Totally cray cray. And such a steal at that price. 

Marshall's trip round 3. They had zero long sleeve in B's size. How unbelievable but true. Only ugly stuff in his size that time. However the trip was not a total waste, because they had 2 long sleeves in Noah's size. Ralph Lauren. With the preppy pony and whole shebang. Are the kids 100% done with clothes shopping? Nope not yet. But, they each got a nice big chunk out of the way. And nice cool brand name stylish stuff too. And at great prices.
At Noah's middle school you are asked to donate to the class. A box of tissues and disinfecting wipes. Fact of life is kids sniffle and sneeze throughout the school year. And I know firsthand, that often more than people realize... things like keeping tissue stocked in the classroom is paid for by the teachers themselves. For the kids to use. And so, I have absolutely no problem helping. I was sadly surprised though... when Noah came back and told me...he was the only one who brought it to the class. I reminded Noah..."teachers are human too and they *will* remember which kid brought this type of stuff" Since I do prefer think the best about humanity and people....I will just think positively and hope the other kids brought it on a different day or something. : )