June 27, 2003
Friday Five - Vacation

1. How are you planning to spend the summer? Try to stay cool and get used to this humidity! We are also going to fly to Fresno for my youngest brother's wedding in August. It will be our first family flight back to California since we moved.

2. What was your first summer job? Other than babysitting and working for my parent's company, my first "real" job was playing Billy Bob the Bear at Showbiz Pizza. Yes, I was actually a costumed character.

3. If you could go anywhere this summer, where would you go? I'd probably take the kids to Disney World for a couple of weeks. If not that, a nice European vacation for my hubby and I would be great.

4. What was your worst vacation ever? I can't really think of really "bad" vacations, although the trip to Chicago in July when I was 2 months pregnant with Sebastian, was probably one of the most uncomfortable. Also, believe it or not, the last couple of days of our honeymoon in Puerto Vallarta was uncomfortable. So much so, we cut it a day short. Sunburns, illnesses (DON'T DRINK THE WATER......) and the fact that we were a 21 year old couple staying at a resort where the average age was 50.

5. What was your best vacation ever? I'd have to say any of the trips we've taken to Disneyland. We would try to go once a year with Penny, Cait and her mom. One year, Daryl (another friend), Cait, John and I had "adult" night where we left the kiddies with Penny and Elsie and had a ball at Disneyland. That was the most fun! Got soaked on the water ride in December and froze our butts off.

Posted by Brie at 09:45 AM
June 25, 2003
Meeting with the specialists.....

Today I met with the school specialists at Sebastian's school to discuss the findings of all of the testing that they've been doing the last few weeks. I'm not going to bore everyone with all of their descriptive, detailed reports about my son. In summary, the IEP (Individualized Education Program - most, if not all public schools use this in order to get special education programs for kids, it's a rather lengthy process) team cam to the conclusion that Sebastian does qualify for special education service under the category of Autism. While this wasn't any big surprise for me, as John and I have been suspecting something for awhile, it was still a little gut wrenching to hear the words "your son's disability" coming out of the mouth of the school psychologist. So anyway, we move on.....

The good thing is that we know that he definitely displays characteristics which are consistent with Asperger's Syndrome. Now that we know the issue, we can adjust, accomodate, and challenge him appropriately. He will be seen by one more autism specialist once school starts and at that point, John and I will decide whether or not we will take him to Norfolk for a psycho-neurological evaluation to get a "real" diagnosis and to get a better understanding of where he is on the scale.

So anyways, that's the news from here. We are dealing with the news from the meeting in our own ways. We both just want Sebastian to be a happy well adjusted person, and it looks like it's just going to take a different way to get him there.

-Brie

Posted by Brie at 08:31 PM
June 24, 2003
This or That - Surfing

1. Surf sites at random, or have a set list of regular reads? Sometimes random, but I do have some "regular" reads.

2. Do you visit mostly blogs, or news or other sites? Mostly news and other sites (Silveriafamily.com, Petfinder.com, My Yahoo!, Aromaleigh.com)

3. Do you go online every day, or just a couple of days a week? I'm on every day.

4. Do you allow comments on your blog, or not? Yes! I love comments!

5. Do you shop online at all, or at regular stores? Yes, I shop a lot online. It's more convenient, given the distance I am from the mall. In general though, I only shop for things I've tried before or familiar with, so I know what I'm buying.

6. Have you ever done online bill-paying/banking, or not? Online banking and bil-paying ROCKS! It's the only way to go.

7. Which news site do you prefer... MSNBC.com or CNN.com? Or do you prefer some other one? Whatever is on My Yahoo page. I don't really pay attention to the source, although, I do like MSNBC.com.

8. Live chat rooms, or message boards? I prefer message boards, only because I can pick and choose what I read and respond to. Some live chats are just too chaotic.

9. Instant messaging or e-mail? Both? Actually, I prefer IM, only because of the "instant" part.

10. Yes or no: have you ever met, or at least talked on the phone with, another blogger? If not, would you want to? Why or why not? Only the other bloggers I knew before there was blogging.

Posted by Brie at 10:58 AM
June 20, 2003
Update on life....

Hello! I actually don't have much to update but thought I would post something other then responses to F5 or This or That......

Someone is a'comin' Today is the day that the specialist comes to the house. I'm a little nervous, because I don't know why she's coming. Is she coming to observe, interview or what??? John and I scoured the house and yard last weekend in preparation for the meeting. And John's been doing more work on the house this week. I realize I'm probably overly paranoid, but I don't want her to walk in the house, and think we allow our kids to live in a messy house. Not that we live in squalor or anything but our house, with 3 kids, can looked very "lived" in at times. Anyway, I'm babbling about the house. Crazy broad! I'll post later to give y'all an update on what happened.

Death There's a happy-go-lucky kind of Friday topic for you, but it's been on my mind lately. One of the odd things about the southeast is that there are graves everywhere. Every church (and there are many of those!) has it's own cemetery. There are even graves in people's yard. Very odd. In addition, I've had three employees here have one of their parents pass away (happens in threes right?). People here were asking me if I was going to one of the funerals today, and I've declined. I have a funeral-phobia. I can't think of anyone who "enjoy" going to funerals, but they really freak me out. I've been to 2 in my entire life and don't plan on going to another until someone in my family passes. When I pass on I do not want to have a funeral. I'm going to be cremated and John knows that he's to take some of the money from the insurance and have a nice celebration of my life. No stuffy funerals or anything like that. Don't stick me in a box. I also started thinking, okay, where will this happen? While we are living here, my family and friends are mostly in California. Hopefully I won't have to worry about this for awhile and it's not like I'm depressed about dying, because I know its inevitable. It's more of a logistics thing for me. I know I'm odd, but that's me! And really, isn't that what a blog is for.....to share odd thoughts?

Okay later.....

Posted by Brie at 08:43 AM
Friday Five - Hair

1. Is your hair naturally curly, wavy, or straight? Long or short? My hair has become increasingly curly over the last couple of years. It is now short.

2. How has your hair changed over your lifetime? It seems that with each pregnancy, my hair changed. After Sebastian it was straight, after Keegan a little wavier, and after Maddie, afro-curly! It's always been a little frizzy though. It's never been that smooth straight hair like Cindi or my niece Beth.

3. How do your normally wear your hair? Since it's short now, I usually wear it down and naturally curly.

4. If you could change your hair this minute, what would it look like? I'd like controllable, always-looks-good long curly hair like Laurie's on Trading Spaces or the main character on Providence. I've always admired long hair that looks that good.

5. Ever had a hair disaster? What happened? I've had a couple of bad perms in my life, but never anything major. My theory is that it will always grow back so why stress about it?

Posted by Brie at 08:27 AM
June 17, 2003
This or That - Books

1. Newspapers or magazines? Magazines for the entertainment value; Newspaper for the information.

2. Books-on-tape or regular books? I did audio books for awhile when I was commuting from Oceanside to Long Beach, but now I'm not in the car long enough. I do enjoy audio, but I much prefer the whole book reading experience (page turning, type of font, words flowing together, your own imagination of how the characters sound).

3. Paperback or hardcover? I always try to get my books in hardcover format. I will usually wait until I can get them used or discounted, but I prefer hardcover. Although they now have these special paperbacks that don't come in hardcover. They are bigger then "regular" paperback.

4. Fiction or non-fiction? I love a good fiction novel. I also like memoirs (of non-famous folks, i.e. Riding in Cars With Boys; I Remember Mama) and some autobiographies. I can't read non-fiction books that have no human value in them. It's difficult for me to get through those.

5. Sci-Fi/Fantasy or romance novels? Neither, really. I'm not a huge fantasy or sci-fi. And when someone says "romance" novels, I automatically think Harlequin Romance or Fabio. Ick. I enjoy humorous fiction (i.e. Bridget Jones, Good In Bed, Getting Over it).

6. Borrow from library or buy books (either new or used)? I buy books. Recently received a Half.com gift certificate from one of best friends for my birthday and used it to but 8 new (used) hardcover books. Yippee! Can't wait for them all to come in.

7. Subscribe to magazines or buy on newsstand? I prefer the subscription method. It saves money and time.

8. Current best-sellers or classic literature? I'm a sucker for new books. I don't really read "period" pieces (taking place in other time periods), so the newer books work well for me. Usually I choose the more "off-centered" books, not necessarily the bestsellers. I enjoy quirky stories. My all-time favorite book is To Kill A Mockingbird, which is a literary classic!

9. Read books once, or re-read favorites every so often? I re-read my favorites every so often. I've read To Kill A Mockingbird more times then I can remember.

10. Here in the U.S., we have two hot best-sellers...former First Lady Hillary Clinton's memoirs, and the new Harry Potter book (coming out June 21). If you had to read one, which one...Hillary or Harry? Why? Duh! Harry Potter. I'm not interested in reading Hilary's book.

Posted by Brie at 09:02 AM
June 13, 2003
Friday Five

1. What's one thing you've always wanted to do, but never have? I've always wanted to get a full makeover like they do on some of the TV shows. I thought that would be fun. A whole new wardrobe and haircut and makeup. A whole new me!

2. When someone asks your opinion about a new haircut/outfit/etc, are you always honest? It depends on who it is. If I know them well, I will be truthful, but if I don't know them that well, I may lie a little.

3. Have you ever found out something about a friend and then wished you hadn't? What happened? I can't think of this happening.

4. If you could live in any fictional world (from a book/movie/game/etc.) which would it be and why? Aren't we all in a fictional world??? :) Seriously, I don't know. I've always thought it would be cool to live in the world of a musical, like Singin' in the Rain or White Christmas.

5. What's one talent/skill you don't have but always wanted? I've always wanted to be a better singer. I sing my heart out, but can't carry a tune to save my life.

Posted by Brie at 09:02 AM
June 11, 2003
Weekly Update....

Hello! Not much really to update....but here goes my daily thoughts/activities......

Pets and Their Care We finally took Emma Jean to the vet yesterday. Poor girl was panting and has fleas. We've been quite neglectful of both dogs since we moved here. I was actually losing sleep over concern of Emma. I started wondering if maybe she had heartworms (she hasn't been on heartworm medication for year, as California wasn't a big heartworm area). A little paranoid, I know, but I was concerned. She has also had this lumpiness on her side the last couple of months. Bottom line, after $150 vet visit, we found out that she didn't have heartworms, got her a heartworm shot (lasts 6 months!), found out that she could have hypothyrodism (which would explain SO much) and got both her, and George on the new K9 Advantix. I really liked the vet. She was was very honest and forthright. She said the lump is probably a fat deposit (it shrank when Emma lost a little weight) and that some dogs just get lumpy. She did give us pricing on teeth cleaning ($115) and a biopsy ($70) and a thyroid test ($68). Whew! So, next month George will go down and go through the same thing, heartworm shot and check up. And then we have to get the cats down to get fixed (@ $35 each). The joys of pet ownership. That's okay though. I feel much better, as does Emma and George, now that I know we are being responsible pet owners.

Music I know I've touched on this subject before, but a couple of things have happened lately in my music world that I had to blog about. First of all, BNL (Barenaked Ladies) are in the studio! Woo-hoo! I can't wait to get my hands on it. For those of you interested, they do keep a blog at BNLBlog. Very cool! Another big musical event in my world is that Annie Lennox's new album just came out. I have not purchased or heard it yet, but will dash out this weekend and get it. Not even going to download it first! The last one, is my next CD purchase will be This Side by Nickel Creek my new "favorite" band. They are a cool contemporary bluegrass trio. If you have never listened to bluegrass, I highly recommend you at least give it a try.

Other random thoughts/happenings....

- Part of the testing that Sebastian is going through requires a home visit, which is kind of freaking me out. I realize that who he is and how he behaves is based on his homelife, but it's just weird that someone is going to come to our house and observe us. Very strange. The "final" meeting is schedule for 6/25, so I am anxious to get the results.

- The experts are saying that this is going to be a bad hurricane season. Hmmmm, should be interesting. John has been calling around on renter's insurance with flood insurance, just in case.

- The low carb, high protein program is working quite nicely. I've lost 6 pounds since I started 3 weeks ago. Not an astonishing amount, but weight loss nonetheless. We did have pizza and beer last night, which was a big NO NO, but can't be perfect all the time!

- Bugs, bugs everywhere bugs!

- Birthday was great. Had a great dinner (pork tenderloins!) by John and a relaxing bath. Cait and Elsie sent me a gift certificate from Half.com (THANKS) so I had fun shopping online. Got 8 books that I've been wanting for awhile.

Okay......TTYL!

Posted by Brie at 09:05 AM
June 02, 2003
Not so daily thoughts from me.....

Well, here I am....thought I'd do a "real" post and give you my random thoughts lately......

Friends in Iraq... I received an e-mail from a close friend of mine this week (a couple of e-mails from a couple of close friends, actually!). She said that her husband (a Marine) is still in Iraq. I was so saddened by this news. She sent pictures to us of the last day we spent with this couple at Camp Pendelton a week before he deployed. He showed us the Cobra helicoptors and let the kids sit in them (John included!). That was back in February. He's been in Iraq now for 4 months. He's not due home until August. I just don't know how they do it. My friend's twin sister recently married a Marine and he's now been deployed for 10 months. I don't think I am a strong enough person to have someone you love gone for that long. Especially knowing they are putting their lives at risk. Everytime I hear that another soldier has been killed or hurt I just hold my breath and pray it isn't my friend. Let's not forget there are still a lot of our folks over there, even though W came out and said the war is over.

Music and Different Tastes... So lately, as you will know if you have read my previous posts, I've been listening to a lot of country music. Not sure where that came from (my listening to it, not country music itself). I did grow up in a household that listened to country, so I guess it's familiar to me. The trouble is, my darling husband does not share my enthusiasm of country music. There is very little of the stuff he will listen to, outside of maybe Dixie Chicks or Alison Krause. So, I can't the whole country thing with him. When I enjoy something, I like to be able to enjoy it with John. I did manage to convert him to Barenaked Ladies and, I think, he appreciates Peter Gabriel a lot more then he did before. Oh well, a country-listener he will never be. In the meantime, I'm forced to listen to my country music on my crap car radio and on the computer. Yeehaw!

Low Carb - High Protein Thang... So we are on our 2nd week of doing the Carb Addicts program and so far so good. I like what we are eating and don't seem to miss the carbs during the day. The cool thing is that we are cooking together at night (although usually I end up with salad duty because dinner is already being prepared). John is such a great cook and I feel like I'm eating much better so it's all good! I've even taken to walking a mile in the morning. Okay, truth be known I've only done that twice in the last week, but I'm determined! John and I are even going to do yoga tonight after we get the kids to bed. We are getting better!

Finances.... We run our checkbook with Money. For those of you who have not discovered the joys of electronic banking or MS Money (or Quicken) do not pass go, but go directly to the store and purchase one of these excellent tools! We haven't had to balance our checkbook the "normal" manual way for over 3 years and I would NEVER go back. Anyways, one of the neat tools of MS Money is the budget feature, where it will automatically calculate, based on your history of spending, a budget. Well, I clicked my little "autobudget" link and *POOF* it had established a budget for us. However, the budget it established indicated, that based on previous spending and income, we were living approximately a couple of thousands (yes that's in 1,000) OVER what we were bringing in. Hmmmm, I guess ignorance is really bliss! So, I set a "realistic" budget that we are going to follow, based on our monthly bills and income. It's just scary, and somehow miraculous, that we were able to survive in California for as long as we did. Mind you, we did have some help, but certainly not $1,000's a month! Anyway, we will see how we do. It's a tight budget with not much room for breathing, but it will have to do and we will make the best of it, just like we always do! It was a real wake up call!

Babble, babble, babble.....

Enough, I'm done! Please post comments, if you feel like (hate to beg for comments). I can never tell if anyone reads this thing or not. It's just therapeutic regardless!

TTFN
-Brie

Posted by Brie at 06:28 PM
June 01, 2003
IYAB - Food

if you are bored, let's talk about ... food

what is your favourite meal? Sushi does it for me everytime. Although I will admit to preferring a BIG bowl of Cheerios for any meal.

what is your favorite dessert? Brownie Sundaes or fresh baked chocolate cookies with milk.

what do you prefer to drink with your meal? I'm a iced tea kind of person.

what have you never had to eat that you have always wanted to try? Nothing really. I've always eaten what I wanted to try, and stay away from things I wouldn't even consider.

what have you had that you would never eat again? Ugh...by far the uni sushi. That sea urchin, for those of you non-sushi folks. Like licking the bottom of the sea. Bleck!

what is the weirdest food you have ever had? The usual odd food....frog legs, snails, sea urchin (well, anything you can possibly imagine putting on sushi rice....one night in Modesto....remember, Sean and John?)

have you ever ate anything that wasn't meant for human consumption? Not that I can think of....

Posted by Brie at 02:26 PM