Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Bundle of Bentos

Our external hard drive where we store our photos, music and videos filled up completely so I was unable to upload bento pictures from the past week and a half.  M did some transferring, so now we're back in business and I have a bunch of lunches to share.

Hello Kitty and friends onigiri with ham, carrots and apples.

Corn-doggies with attitude, carrot flowers, banana, baby corn and jelly.
Edamame, baby corn, rice, flower hamburger and bananas.
Macaroni Grill leftovers (by request!):  Broccoli, grilled chicken, pasta and a jelly.
Typical Monday hodge-podge disaster lunch - Anpanman sweet potato rounds, Hello Kitty mini dogs, jelly, baby corn, edamame, kiwi, oatmeal chocolate chip cookie and baby carrots.
Wise sammies - Carrots, ham and cheese owls and veggie crackers (underneath).  She had a sidecar box full of apples with this one.
The boy owl
The girl owl
Packed up nice and cozy in a window-box.  :)

Fun-fun-fun!  This catches me up for the moment.  Thank goodness my computer is functional again!
Bento Lunch

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Book Review: The Memory Keeper's Daughter

Book 20/25 in the 2011 Reading Challenge.  Date completed: September 20, 2011.

I found the cover of this book while perusing Pinterest one day and I was drawn in by it instantly (much in the same way I was with Before I Fall.)  Pinterest seems to be one of my main methods for book-scouting lately.  In the case of The Memory Keeper's Daughter, the title sounded familiar, though I couldn't place it.  After I'd gotten through more than half of the book I mentioned it to a friend and she told me that it had been made into a Lifetime movie, which she had seen.

The subject matter of The Memory Keeper's Daughter is a little heavy.  A young woman in 1964 gives birth in the midst of a snowstorm.  Her husband, a doctor, ends up delivering his own firstborn: Paul, a perfect little boy.  And then, unexpectedly, he delivers his own second born: Phoebe, a baby girl with Down Syndrome.  In order to spare his wife the pain he had experienced growing up when his younger sister died as a result of a heart defect, he asks his trusted nurse to take the infant to a facility and tells his wife that their son's twin was a stillborn.

The nurse finds herself unable to leave Phoebe to live her life unwanted in the cold facility and winds up ultimately raising her as her own child.  The secret tears the young family apart in a very slow and painful way as Norah - Paul and Phoebe's biological mother - finds herself unable to let go of the daughter she never even laid eyes on and her husband, David, continues to burrow himself further and further into an elaborate tangle of deception.

The book was good.  It wasn't my favorite piece of literature and there were things I disliked about it - the way David could never bring himself to do the "right thing," the way Norah was unable to control herself through her grief or her failing marriage, and a few strange and unnecessary (in my opinion, anyway) additions to the plot.  But for me, it was worth reading through to the end - even though it took me nearly a month (in the book's defense it has been a chaotic month!) to get through.  I gave it a Goodreads rating of three stars, and I'm looking forward to watching the movie.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Holy moly, these past few weeks have been chaos.  I really am starting to feel like this move will never finally be behind us, and it is driving me crazy!  There has been some confusion regarding our passports and the move is being delayed as a result, much to my dismay.  I love Okinawa but I'm so ready for something new.

On the Tokyo Tower's Main Observation Deck
Let's see, where did I leave off?  Aha!  With my Before I Fall book review - it's funny, I finished reading that one and reviewed it and I didn't post my exciting news!  We went to Tokyo for a week - just me, the kids, and a couple of friends.  It was a blast.  We went to Sanrio Puroland (AKA Hello Kitty Land), Tokyo Disney, Roppongi and Hard Rock CafĂ©, Tokyo Tower (absolutely fantastic!), Ueno park and science/natural history museum, Build-a-Bear Workshop, and a few other sights.  We rode (and LOVED) the trains, we flew Space-A (military charter - basically free flights!), and walked all over the place.  It was a really awesome experience for the kids and me and I'm so glad we finally got to do it.  Unfortunately M couldn't take leave so he was super jealous.  He's been to Tokyo but not for sightseeing - he went directly after the 3/11 disaster and stayed at Yokota AB helping with relief efforts.  Needless to say, he didn't have a lot of time to spare.
At Puroland

So anyways, it's been hectic.  Tokyo, move processing, and A's first week of Kindergarten, two Labor-Day-weekend barbecues, A's first ever Girl Scout function (she's a Daisy - eeeeeek!), and a super crappy head-cold - all within about 21 days.  It's a wonder I've managed to even fit in reading.  I'm about halfway through my current book, too - The Memory Keeper's Daughter, which I'm enjoying.

Last week I sent my sugarpie off to Kindergarten.  It was bittersweet.  She is loving it but I find myself swirling around throughout the day trying to figure out why she isn't following me around any more.  I got so used to her being home in between pulling her from Yochien and this new school year, I don't know what to do with myself while she isn't around.  Luckily things haven't really calmed down consistently at all so my nest isn't too terribly empty, and now M is starting on two weeks of leave so he'll be home with me too.  Of course, we'll be busy.  I anticipate nothing but headaches for the next two months or so.  It's looking like our move won't be happening till December, now.

On the bright side, A's LOVING Kindergarten.  She's crazy about her teachers and she loves riding the school bus and that important sort of feeling that only comes with being a Kindergartner.  So I'm really excited that she'll have a few extra weeks in her current class.  We'll get almost to Christmas break before we have to transfer her, so I think that'll be really good for her.  She's got all sorts of things going on all of the sudden and it's so exciting and so intimidating.  I am not used to being the mother of an elementary school student!  It has been nerve-wracking but it's the sort of thing I think I might be content getting used to.  I love getting up and packing her lunch (miraculously) and making breakfast.  I love picking out her outfits for school, I love packing her backpack and buying school supplies.  I love that she has brought home green dots (good behavior) each day so far (knock on wood!), I love the book orders we shopped through this weekend, and the 100 book club tally sheet and the "shoe tying club" at school...  What can I say?  I'm a nerd.  I'm embracing it.

Anyways I figure one day she may very well be less enthusiastic about school so I may as well soak these times up while I still can.

And I've been bento-ing again, and loving it (for the most part ;) hehehe).

A's first day of Kindergarten bento!
She really loved this lunch - it was so sad though when I picked her up from school she announced to me that she hadn't had enough time to eat her whole lunch and she was SO HUNGRY!  Apparently, her school's policy allows for a 15 minute lunch session for Kindergarten students.  Not hardly enough, if you ask me - my kids are the slowest eaters EVER!  But she is adjusting to the art of speed-eating, and getting better every day.  The first day, she scarfed down her lunch in the car on the way home.  It was too funny.

ABC grilled cheese sammies, star-shaped carrot slices, a google-eyed strawberry and underneath it all she had some edamame.
Dessert, which I'd intended to fit in the same box, but had to use a sidecar because I had to free-hand cut the sandwiches and they turned out way bigger than I'd hoped.  Anyways it's an apple decorated mini-cupcake and some Cinnamon Toast Crunch (her favorite).
Second day bento - mini corn dogs with a Hello Kitty pick, apples and edamame.
Third day bento - macaroni and cheese with deli ham, Hello Kitty carrots, strawberries, and "cherry" tomatoes.
A's fourth day - Friday - was a half day.  So while I'd actually had something pretty neat planned for her lunch, I didn't end up packing her anything and she got home before noon.  So, she and C ate lunch together, which was nice too.  C had been missing her all week.

We're just about in a routine - we read two books each night and we get up early so that we have spare time in the morning which works out really well for us.  She is definitely excited to start her new school week tomorrow and I'm contemplating her lunch tonight.

Will try to update more regularly, but no guarantees!
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