March 28, 2003
Friday Five

1. What was your most memorable moment from the last week?

From this last week? Probably flying with John and the kids to Virginia. Long trip, but the excitement and adventure was, well, an adventure.

2. What one person touched your life this week?

Hmmmm....I'd have to say my husband. He has demonstrated such amazing strength in getting our lives moved to Virginia and has really just "taken the bull by the horns." There would be NO way I would have, or could have, done this big move by myself.

3. How have you helped someone this week?

I can't say that, outside of my job (where I help people everyday), I've really "helped" anyone.

4. What one thing do you need to get done by this time next week?

Ugh! Don't get me started. I just got out of a meeting with my boss about all of the things I need to get done by this time next week.....Just overall, I guess I need to just get through the week with 3 kids in a small apartment without making me or my mother-in-law crazy.

5. What one thing will you do over the next seven days to make your world a better place?

Pray for peace....hug my kids.......talk to my husband......think good thoughts.....

Posted by Brie at 09:32 AM
March 27, 2003
Apart again....

Well, after a whirlwind 5 1/2 days with my wonderful husband, we are apart again. I took him to the Norfolk Airport last night, where he got on a plane and flew back to California, through St. Louis. It's just me, the kids, and the mother-in-law now. At least until April 12, and then hopefully, if the road trip goes well, we will all be in the same state, under the same roof. Woo-hoo!

Random thoughts this morning.....

Drive-In Fast Food

So, I decided to take the kids to Sonic Drive In last night, which is an old-fashioned (well, really kind of modernized) drive-in where they bring the food to your car. I always thought that a cool thing when I was a kid to go to A&W when they had their old drive ins. Okay, not so much fun anymore. We got all of the food and realized that eating in the car, with three kids (2 in carseats) was not really "fun." So, much to the disappointed of the kids Mom and I decided it would be best to drive back to the apartment and eat. Of course Sebastian was quite upset and said, "Why didn't we just go through the drive through, Mommmmm?" Ah the sweetness of children......

War

Don't ask how this become secondary to my Drive-In experience, but such is my life....Okay, so the war has been going on for a week now (I think we are on day 7?). I'm quite torn between all of this. While I wholeheartedly support the troops, again, I don't necessarily support why we are there. After the bombing of the marketplace in Baghdad yesterday, which they are still unclear as to whether or not it was our missile or Iraq's, I am just deeply concerned about the whole situation. If it was our missile, errant or not, this bombing of a civilian shopping center, makes the US look no better than the Taliban or Pakestanian, or Bin Laden. Innocent people were just shopping away (just like people in the twin towers were just working away) when their lives were brutally interrupted. These were parents, children, sisters, brothers of other Iraquis. How is this right? I am sure my friend, Larry, will say that civilian casualities are just a part of war, and I understand that. It doesn't make it right though. In addition, even it was an Iraqui missile (which, really, how can you prove one way or the other?), it's still a public relations nightmare for those who want everyone to believe that this is "just" war. There is nothing just about this.

Posted by Brie at 05:12 AM
March 26, 2003
Survived the Flight....

I am happy to report after a little bit of a rocky start (Maddie wouldn't wear her seat belt for the first leg of our trip), we made it to Virginia. The kids were real troopers, each with their own backpack on wheels. Looked like seasoned travelers. The boys (all 3 of the them!) managed to stay fairly occupied with the Game Boy games. Maddie and I sang and walked up the aisle, argued a little about the seatbelt. In Dallas, we went and got something to eat and then boarded our plane to Norfolk. Maddie and Keegan both fell asleep after take off. Sebastian was so excited, he couldn't sleep. When we started our descent into Norfolk, his eyes were wide open, just looking around at his new "home" state. I'm so glad he is excited about this move!

Yesterday, John, Penny, and the kids met me out at my work and then we drove out to the house. Although I told John we were way out in the country, I think he was a little surprised when we got out there, how far out we were. I know once we get settled in the house and able to go explore the nearest "big" city, it won't seem so remote. Overall, though, I think John liked the neighborhood and the outside of the house. Unfortunately, the owners were clearly packing and moving their stuff, so we didn't want to disturb them. We then drove to Sebastian's new school, which he seemed to like. It was a nice newer school, which was great! After all that driving around, we went to dinner to a Japanese restaraunt. It was quite an afternoon/evening!

Today, John flies back to California. I don't envy him and all of the work he has to do. Unfortunately, the movers are coming tomorrow and I don't think the house is anywhere near ready to be packed. I know that John will manage just fine, it's just going to be a lot of work for him. At least he won't have the kids to worry about, too. And he will have a full week to recover until he hits the road for his cross country tour with the two beasts and Cindi.

Posted by Brie at 05:56 AM
March 24, 2003
Last Bit of Sanity???

Well, I thought I would post one last time before the last bit of sanity I have left is sucked dry because of an 8 hour trip with 3 kids under the age of 10. I'm trying not to be negative, but already this morning Keegan has pitched a fit and Maddie is throwing attitude around like it's a fine art. Ugh! I am so glad John is going on this trip, too. The thought of traveling with the kids by myself was not a pleasant thought. Does this make me a bad mother? Hmmm. Probably not. I just need to remember to BREATHE and keep in mind it's only temporary. I've got 2 Game Boys (the new SP, super cool!), lots of games, Hot Wheels, Leap Frog, puzzles, Uno, and fruit snacks. Still, for an 8 hour journey, it doesn't seem nearly enough. We'll see. Hopefully I will be able to post tomorrow saying, that the kids surprised me and were extremely well behaved, an absolute model of good behavior. Just to note, though, as I type this Maddie is scaling the entertainment center yelling at me. Grrrrrr.

Posted by Brie at 08:28 AM
March 23, 2003
Home again....

Thought I'd post real quickly. It's great to be back with John and the kids. At times, after almost a month away from them, it has been a little overwhelming. Maddie has been a little weepy, but I think it is just her way of saying she missed me. But, when you are away from the screaming, you forget the intensity. I think I've managed pretty well, although John may think otherwise!

Sebastian's party was yesterday, and, I have to say, was the BEST kid's birthday EVER......We had a bounce house, pizza, cake, and a pinata. The kids really had a great time. The adults also seemed to have a good time. Usually the "kid's" birthday party is mostly adults, but we actually had 9 kids here, so it was great. It was nice to have our family and friends here, too. It was so hard to say goodbye, knowing that I probably wouldn't see them again. There are a couple of people that I know we will see again, but it will be awhile. We have made some good friends while we've been here and I will miss them dearly. I know I can't expect them to travel all the way to Virginia to see us, but I think a couple of them will, which will be nice! We are actually very blessed with quite a few friends that have been around for a long time. The distance always makes things a challenge, but it can be overcome.

So, today, we have to go do some more shopping for our trip and finish laundry and pack. Gosh, how do you pack for 3 kids for almost 3 weeks. Yikes!

Will post later.....

Posted by Brie at 08:38 AM
March 20, 2003
Going "home....."

Woo-hoo! Tonight I will be home with my family. I am so excited! I hardly slept last night and got up super early this morning to pack and get ready. I can't wait to see John at the airport and see my kids. Sebastian will be spending tonight at his grandparents, so I won't see him until tomorrow. I'm a little bummed about that, but I know that my step-mom really wants to spend time with him. She's having a hard time with us moving so far away. Even though I haven't seen Sebastian for a month now, I know that after Sunday (he's spending Saturday night with them, too) he will be all mine!

Here are some random thoughts for today.....

WAR
I think anyone who knows me, knows that while I am against military action, I whole-heartedly support our troops and our country. I basically understand the need for it, agree that Saddam is a bad man, BUT I would much rather have seen this end with a nice cup of tea between Saddam and Bush Jr. But the reality is what it is, and now, rather than protesting something that is already happening, I believe that we all need to join together and support our troops over there. I have a friend over there and I say a little prayer for him every night and for all of the Iraqui, Kuwait, American, and British people over there. I think everyone should do the same......

TRAVEL
Of course, the big concern a lot of people around me have is travel. Why on earth would someone travel across the country during a war? Well, there are a couple of reasons......first of all, I am not one to alter my life because of some unknown threat. My whole philosophy is that if it is my time, it's my time (and I don't believe it's my time). The universe has a way of working everything out. Second of all, no damn war or "code orange" is going to keep me away from my husband and children. So take that!

HOME
I've been thinking a lot about this word lately. When I would call John at night and say "I'm heading home" his response would always be "No, you are heading back to your apartment." He's right. That old adage of "home is where your heart is" is true. While I am excited about living in Virginia, it's truly not going to feel like home until my heart is back together. When John, Sebastian, Keegan, Maddie, Emma, and, yes, even George are all under the same roof as I am, then I will feel at home. So do I consider California "home" still? Absolutely! That is where my heart is......

Okay, enough sappy talk......LATER!


Posted by Brie at 05:41 AM
March 18, 2003
Happy Birthday.....

Well, today is Sebastian's 9th birthday! I got a little misty yesterday thinking about it. Can't believe he is nine years old! Of course, as Cait, John, and various family members who were present will remember, he was scheduled to be born on the 17th (a St. Patty's Baby...). However after a long, induced (ladies, don't try this!) labor they wheeled me into surgery for what would be the first of 3 c-sections. Sebastian Michael Sean was forced out of hiding at 12:04 AM, on 3/18. Even the nurse and doctors explained "Look at how big his head is!" My baby was a "petite" 9 pounds, 14 ounces. Ouch! Ah the stories I can tell to embarass him later in life! Even have film of him.........well, I'll use that for another story.

So, here we are.....9 years later. Look how much he's grown! What a great kid! It's such a great thing to watch him develop his own personality, but still with a lot of Mom and Dad in him. He's an avid video gamer and computer-dude. He and his dad will watch TechTV (specificially Extended Play) for hours and discuss things like the timeline of Nintendo. He's stubborn, at times, because he has his own thoughts and ideas. He's smart and enjoys reading and math. He's a great BIG brother, who will just as easily plays with Maddie and her toys or Keegan with his toys. He's had to take on a lot of responsibility especially since Madeline was born. At times, it's been hard for him to accept, but he's been a real trooper about it. I wouldn't trade him for anything! He's unique and I love him for that! I pray he will always travel his own path and find what makes him happiest.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SEBASTIAN!


Posted by Brie at 04:49 AM
March 15, 2003
Another Weekend

So here I am in Virginia, 3000 (I wonder if that's right) miles away from my family, and it was a beautiful day today. One that should have been shared with John and the kids. Wah, wah, wah....I should stop whinning. So here are my thoughts for the day........

GIVING BLOOD

So, I went shopping today and at the mall they were doing a blood drive. I decided to donate, as I hadn't done it for awhile. I don't "enjoy" giving blood, but it makes me feel like I've done something good. The problem is because I have "deep veins" (still trying to figure out if that means fat arms!), it's always a challenge. I feel so bad for these phlebotomists (blood suckers, if I am using the word properly) that have to try to find my veins. God bless 'em! They feel so bad about having to stick me a couple of times. Today, I went through two arms and two phlebotomists. ::SIGH:: Then the topper is that I didn't even give the full amount, because I developed a hemotoma. Great......now I have a large lump on my arm and two bruises. Look like a drug user! Sometimes, I wonder if I should even bother. I have "issues" with blood and getting injured, and have a tendency to pass out, if I'm not expecting and/or prepared for the pain/blood thing. It's called "vasel-vagel syndrome" (probably not remotely spelled correctly). Just yet another one of my little quirks! Came in real handy when John was getting his "surgery" (yes, gentlemen, I mean "the" surgery) and I passed out while they were in the process. How embarassing! But that's another story for another time.

DIXIE CHICKS

I've become quite a Chicks fan of late, and am just irritated with all of the uproar over Natalie's (lead singer) comment during a show in London. She said, off the cuff, that the Chicks were embarassed that Bush was from Texas. Which, I think is hilarious! The country music stations (yes, Larry, I really do listen to them, sorry to dissapoint) are have a "hay" day (couldn't resist!) with this. Having surveys about whether or not to "ban" the Chicks. STUPID! If you don't agree with an off handed comment, in jest, then turn the station when the song comes on. But why waste your time, overanalyzing whether or not to continue to support the band. If all bands were held to this much scrutiny over off-handed comments, the music industry would not exist. FREEDOM OF SPEECH, baby! Get some humor!

TRADING SPACES

Why, oh why do people sign up for this show when they know that they are not going to like ANYTHING that any of the designers are coming up with? It's so annoying, as an innocent viewer, to watch some of these people get downright nasty to the designer. If you haven't seen this show, you've got to watch it. It's on TLC on Saturday nights, and it's a great way to get ideas for your home. Some of the room makeovers are fantastic. Others are hideous. I have my favorite designers (Frank and Vern) like most! So if you are into home improvement, you need to catch this show. It's fun!

Alright....enough rambling.....Later!

Posted by Brie at 05:35 PM
March 14, 2003
Friday Five

1. Do you like talking on the phone? Why or why not?

Umm, it depends on the mood I'm in. I have to know that I have the person's attention. I can't do like John, where he just sits there and doesn't say anything. Chalk it up to my boderline type A personality!

2. Who is the last person you talked to on the phone?

John and the kids (well, Keegan and Madeline). One more week until I see them! Woo-hoo!

3. About how many telephones do you have at home?

At my home in Oceanside (where my heart is) 2 - one upstairs and one downstairs. At my temporary apartment I also have two, plus my cellular phone.

4. Have you encountered anyone who has really bad phone manners? What happened?

I can't actually think of anything. Keegan (the middle child) likes to say "Can I say goodbye, now?" two minutes into our conversation but, that's not rude. At least he's asking!

5. Would you rather pick up the phone and call someone or write them an e-mail or a letter? Why or why not?

I like e-mail the best. I can get everything out that I want to say, without interuption. There are, however, many people (husband, children, parents) that I like to talk to on the phone, just to hear their voices. I've never been much of a "phone" person, though.

Posted by Brie at 05:53 AM
March 13, 2003
Everyone is joining the blog world....

Hello! So I see Amy, Sean, and Cynthia Rebecca have joined our wonderful world of blogging. I can't wait to read their posts! 'Tis a fun thing to share with everyone!

So, if you read John's Blog you saw that I missed my connection in Dulles/DC. Thhhppttthhh. What a nightmare! Four hours stuck in Dulles. Good thing there was a bar close by! I have resolved, however, to NEVER FLY UNITED again. Ick! Made me miss my American Idol. When I flew out to Virginia last time, I flew them and didn't have a great experience. So, in my book, when you get bad service twice in a row, don't go back! They were just tremendously rude. The only nice person I spoke with was on the 800 customer service number. That poor person got an earful of complaints, but remained pleasant, nonetheless. That's what good customer service is! Too bad that person can't go teach others at United how to do it!

John is so good! He's already contacted the utilities, movers, Sebastian's school, doctors, AND is trying to plan our trip to Fresno in August AND plan Sebastian's birthday party! What a godsend! He is constantly amazing me.

Well, one more week and I'm going to see John and the kids! Woo-hoo! I'm so excited. I can't wait to hug and kiss my kids and just have John hold me for awhile. It will be great! The BIG party is Saturday, so I will have all day Friday to just sit with the kids and John and visit with Sean and Amy. Sunday we will have to run around and get things ready for the flight out on Monday. All that packing!

Well, enough for now!

Posted by Brie at 02:35 PM
March 09, 2003
Another Sunday...

Just read John's blog and saw that he and the kids were going to get party supplies. I never thought I would miss going out with the kids, and all the chaos that involves, but I would do anything to be there, too. I feel like I'm missing out. Here I sit in a 2 bedroom apartment watching movies on the TV (so far today, "Girl Interupted" and "The Net" AND got to watch the first episode of "Nashville Star") with no interuptions of "Mom, he's hitting me!" but I still miss it tremendously. I don't think I could be single and fancy free again. I'd get very bored, very fat and very lonely. I miss my kids.....I miss my husband....I miss the chaos. We have so much fun together as a family, I miss that.

Well, I'm off on a plane again tomorrow. Going to Oakland for a meeting on Tuesday. I don't mind flying so much, it's just the length of the trip. At least I have a new book to read. It's not a long book, so I'll probably finish it this trip. I'm excited for the meeting. I'm making sure I have everything in order and perfect, so as to make a good impression.

Well, at least I have access to the internet on the weekend now. I'm able to surf the web and play games with my husband online. Which is all very cool. Thank god for technology!

Later!

Posted by Brie at 12:42 PM
March 06, 2003
Update from Virginia

Thought I'd post quickly with an update.....

This time difference is going to kill me! I'm here, in the office, at 6:30 AM (got here at 6:10 AM). My alarm went off at 4:45 AM. Now, in "normal" time, this wouldn't be a big deal. I would do this frequently in California. But the fact of the matter is, my body is still somewhat on California time. So when the alarm went off at 4:45 this morning, my body was going, "HEY! It's only 1:45 AM, what the HELL are you doing?" I'm getting more and more adjusted to it, but still. AND the topper is that just as my body is truly adjusting, I've got to travel out to California on 3/10 for a meeting. And then the following week I'll be traveling back again on 3/20. This will make 3 cross country flights in under a month (basically one a week!). I don't know how "power" travelers do it!

Other then the whole time thing, things are going well. I'm getting more comfortable in my position at work. I'm am amazed on a daily basis at how welcoming everyone has been. Employees stop and introduce themselves, and say they are happy that I've started. Managers are coming in and talking to me about issues and asking for guidance. It's great! I still don't have a grasp on the "lingo" here, but know that it would be impossible to catch after only 3 days, so I'm giving myself a little leeway on that. I've been working fairly long hours, not so much out of necessity (although there is a lot of work that needs to be done!), but more out of wanting to. I don't have anything, really, to go back to the apartment for, so might as well stay and get some work done. I'm going to try to leave a little earlier today, though, as I've got some errands to run.

Living in Virginia, so far, has been great. People really like to talk a lot, which I am finding to be a cultural thing I need to adjust to. Usually, when I'm done discussing whatever the topic is in a meeting, I'm done. Not here, though. People like to talk about other issues and just "chat." I'm fine with that, but I've got to get used to it. A couple of times, in meetings, I've actually gotten up and thought "Hey, we are done!" only to find out that we are not. Embarassing. Just a different mindset. Everyone is in such a rush in California. It's too bad, too, because I bet you miss out on a lot of things when you are in too much of a hurry!

Posted by Brie at 03:46 AM
March 03, 2003
Whew! What a week!

Well, here I am.....in Virginia. Today is my first day in my new office, but I spent last week in the California offices trying to get oriented. So far so good. Can't stress how nice everyone is! It's been going remarkably well and my new boss is great at laying out his expectations.

Being in Virginia is great, too. I've been out the last couple of days driving around and realizing how much I really like it here. People are so friendly, the trees are getting ready for spring. It's beautiful! I looked at a house on Saturday, which would be just perfect for us. It's totally set up for LARGE dogs, which is great. Plus it has a FROG (finished room over garage) which would be ideal for a playroom/boy's bedroom. I should find out something today whether or not we get it. I'm just waiting for the real estate person to call me back.

It's super hard being away from John and the kids. Night time is the worst because time just starts creeping by, minute by minute. I'm finding there is only so much TV even I, the TV-aholic, can watch.

More to follow tomorrow.....

Posted by Brie at 02:57 PM