Thursday, July 30, 2009

changes

Changes....life is full of them, and we have to just roll with the punches. There are some changes coming to our house in the coming weeks, and I'm not quite sure how I feel about them as they are not the ones I was expecting.

Me: I didn't get a job even though I surely thought I would. Makes me sad, really, but I know that God knows best. So, I will be coordinating the sacks of love for our little part of the county hoping that will make a difference in the lives of some kiddos who need it. I hope to be facilitating a Bible study for minister's wives. I plan to sub (no, not my favorite thing to do) but it will at least give me SOMETHING productive to do. AND I'm taking two classes in the Fall.

Steve: He will carry on as usual although he is now an official blogger for Thomas Nelson Publishing. He also hopes to possibly do some teaching at the local technical school in his favorite subject: Religion. He is also going to be giving up his baby girl--well, I guess we both are--that will be different for him.

Luke: He's about to start back to school--8th grade--big man on campus. Whoo-Hoo He plans to try out for the wrestling team, do jazz band again, and his band teacher has several other activities planned for him as he is very advanced (in his class) on his saxophone. So, really, he's just growing up........hard to swallow for the momma!

Stevie: I guess the biggest changes are for her and those affect us all. College--finally decided on a program and a place. Trident Technical College in Charleston. She will be working towards an Associates degree in Film Production which will then allow her to transfer to The Art Institute of Charleston to finish her Bachelors if that is what she chooses to do after two years. She will be moving and living alone (at least at first) which is soooooooooooooo scary for me!

I will probably spend half my time visiting her in Charleston (I love that place anyway!) and the other half worrying about her. I'm trying to remember the verse--"Be anxious for nothing" but when you watch a child walk away who you have nurtured and fought for all through her life, it's hard. She's always walked to the beat of her own drummer, and she's doing that again. I just want to be in step so as not to lose her!

Changes........they can be wonderful, scary, and empowering all at the same time..........but above all of that, they are necessary.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

my sister's keeper-part 2-ending spoiler

So, I stayed up and finished reading this one last night. It produced in me a myriad of emotions. I was furious with the ending. While there were several passages that moved me, the book as a whole proved to be a huge disappointment. I imagined myself with tissues by my side crying through the last several chapters, feeling the pain felt by the characters, and knowing that it was all worth it in the end.....knowing that, if in their shoes, I would have done the same things.

This was not the case. I didn't cry, I didn't feel their pain--what I actually felt was that her parents got what they deserved. Used up, poor Anna never got to really live and her mother got exactly what she had wanted all along. I guess my sense of fairness was offended. I always root for the underdog, and this time......THIS TIME.....the underdog lost.

AND, what parent--in his right mind--does not get their arsonist son some help? Again, the unfairness of it all. He just turned over a new leaf and became a hero instead of a goat? His character I did feel sorry for......I saw what could have been...had God not intervened in the life of the one I love.

So, all in all, to me......This. Book. Stunk.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

my sister's keeper

So, I've started reading My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult. I am normally a fast reader, but this book is taking me a while to get through. The story kinda makes me mad, and it makes me ask questions of myself that I can't answer.

To what lengths would I go to save my child?

Would I desert the other children I have to focus on the sick one?

Could I, morally, fashion a child who is in essence made for the sole purpose of providing body parts for another?

I actually have had to put the book down several times because the mom in the book just grates on my nerves. I'm glad that I don't have to answer those questions. I've seen, first hand, the impact it has on a child to be the forgotten one when siblings are lost. It hurts, and leaves chaos in its wake. It fractures the one unit that should be steady and good and whole.

I thought I wanted to see the movie, now I'm not so sure. Have you read this one or seen the movie? How did it affect you?

Monday, July 27, 2009

grateful and praying...............

I'm grateful tonight for the health of my own sweet children, but praying for one whom I've never met.....................will you pray too for Stellan today?

You can visit his momma's blog at www.mycharmingkids.net

Sunday, July 26, 2009

ugh

The acceleration

of Stevie's education

and subsequent graduation

has left behind some feelings of

anticipation,

trepidation,

and frustration.

Parent participation

in moderation

is an expectation,

but exasperation

is the prediction

from this mom

during this experimentation

into adultification (i know, that's a george w. word!).

UGH!!!!!!!

Friday, July 24, 2009

recipes

I'm taking a break from my NY posts....although I still have some things to say.

I thought I would share a favorite recipe that Steve makes for us from time to time in the hopes that you will also leave a recipe. We get tired of eating the same old things, and I thought that if you have that same problem, this might help all of us out. So here goes.....

Chicken Fajita dip:

2 or 3 chicken breasts
1 bag Blue Bird frozen peppers and onions
1 envelope of fajita powder
1/2 c. mayo
1 c. sour cream
1 small can of mexi-corn

Cook the chicken (we cook ours in the crock pot so that it is tender) and then shred and brown with fajita powder.
add vegetables and simmer until tender
mix veggies and chicken with sour cream and mayo and put into a casserole dish
bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes
sprinkle with shredded cheese if you want
serve with tortilla chips

Enjoy!! Please leave your favorite recipe for the Leigh family to enjoy.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

more pics

I think blogger hates me. I can never get these pics positioned the way I want them! Here's Julie enjoying the view from our room; our first look at the BIG city from the bus; a Broadway sign--because if I am going to go, that's where I want to be!









Here we are after arrival in our room.




The M&M store--this is the pic my kids love the most! I can't wait to take them there.

ny pics

Here we are pulling away from the gate.





Here's my seatmate: Sherry and here's Julie all the way on the other side of the plane :(






The view from our hotel room. We stayed at the Park Central Hotel.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

NYC day 3

After another yummy cinnamon muffin from Fluffy's Bakery, we were off to do some shopping. So, we hopped onto the dd bus and we off to Chinatown where Julie especially wanted a "shady" purse shopping experience. I knew that I had not seen the men with the huge bags on 7th Ave. like I had experienced before, so I was glad when our tour guide told us that when we got off the bus there would probably be an Asian person there holding a card with pictures of purses on it asking if we wanted anything.

Sure enough, when we exited the bus, there she was.......our own personal purse concierge! LOL
She led us to a parking lot where we climbed into a van with purses galore, and the dickering began. That's actually the part that I like......trying to get the best price!

We left there and headed to South Street Seaport again to shop and hit the TCKTS booth. Again, no line and we got tickets to see one of the newer shows...Rock of Ages featuring Constantine Mouralis from American Idol fame. He was on the same season with Chris Daughtry and Carrie Underwood--actually the best season, in my opinion. ANYWAY, Julie was really excited! We headed back across the street for lunch and shopping in the "mall". SSS is a nice place to have a meal and just hang out. It's obviously right by the water and there are two ships there, street performers and street vendors--really nice atmosphere!

We headed from there back to our hotel to rest up and get ready for our show. Julie decided she was hungry and went in search of a Thai restaurant. It was on this journey that she found the area known as Hell's Kitchen. It was about two blocks up from our hotel and the food is reasonably priced and you can find almost any kind of restaurant you are searching. Val and I got ready and grabbed a cab down to the Marquis Theater for the show.

Rock of Ages is all 80's music and fashion. It's hilarious! Did we really look that stupid? We all three who had graduated from high school in the 80s had a fabulous time laughing at ourselves and being taken back to the days of leg warmers and shoulder pads (not to mention the big hair).

After the show, we headed up to Hell's Kitchen so that I could eat dinner and we encountered a little Puerto Rican restaurant that was yummo! I had a chicken sandwich with peppers and onions on it on bread that I am sure was freshly baked and REAL, hand cut french fries. The owner walked around and talked to the patrons, and when we left he said, "You must come earlier next time so you can hang out!" So sweet. Wish we had found this street two days earlier! Of course, we had to get cheesecake one more time and we headed to a little diner for that afterwards.

On our way back to the hotel (about 2 blocks from the diner), Julie saw a line for what she thought would be a little club where she could listen to some music. I looked over at the line and then back at Julie and said incredulously, "That's a gay bar!" She didn't believe me at first until the transvestite and his (or would it be her) friends walked by. We got a good laugh out of that especially since she was totally enthralled with them and their inability to get a cab (they actually got one and then the cabbie put them out). Also, on that same street corner, she got caught up in a conversation happening between some Jewish men who were arguing about whether or not there would be peace in the middle east. One thought that Obama would accomplish this and the others (with whom I agreed) said there would never be peace (read the Bible, people). Julie's added commentary to that scene was also pretty darn funny. So, here we stood at midnight on the street corner laughing our tails off at the people.......so fun! We finally finished up our night and made it back....oh, there were a ton of NYPD at Carnegie Hall all day on Friday so we finally asked when we got back in about it. The girl at the front desk said it probably had something to do with Obama being in town, but that because of homeland security the police presence was something they were use to.

So, check back later for that final day and pictures. I've decided to do pictures completely seperate from my posts so that I can add commentary about them. I'm also planning to do a post with tips on saving money while there.

Monday, July 20, 2009

NYC day 2

After a muffin from Fluffy's bakery, Julie and I (as well as the rest of our group) were off! We took the double decker bus to the ferry which then takes you to Liberty and Ellis Island. Our travel agent had purchased tickets for us to climb to the top of the crown--all 354 steps--but we were not that interested in that on this hot, muggy day.

When we got to the ferry, there was a church group singing from Sulphur Springs, TX. They were quite good, and it gave me chill bumps to think about the people that they were reaching for Jesus with their message. After listening for awhile, we headed over to the line (thankfully, we got to do the express line because of the crown tickets) and proceeded to slowly make our way up to security. There is a security checkpoint everywhere you want to go like that....those darn terrorists....which took a little time for all 12 of us to get through. However, we finally made it onto the ferry. At Liberty Island, we parted ways with the rest of our group and headed to Ellis Island. All in all, I was disappointed in Ellis. I think, if you go, and if I go again, you should definitely take the guided tour. It's free...done by a park ranger....but we did one of the free movies instead. Next time, I think, I will just ride the FREE Staton Island ferry which gives you great views of both of these attractions, but doesn't stop at either.

After a pretzel from a street vendor, we were back on our dd bus to ride over to South Street Seaport. We knew there was a TKTS booth where you can get discounted Broadway tickets, so we headed straight there.(Side note about the TKTS booth at South Street, there was NO line as opposed to the very, very, very long line in Times Square) We had three shows in mind, and got tickets to see 9 to 5 starring Allison Janey of West Wing fame. Back onto the bus we hopped to head back to our hotel to get ready for dinner and the show, but we took a small detour to the Magnolia Bakery to get cupcakes. One chocolate with green icing and one red velvet with white icing later, and we were set.

At the hotel, I noticed that my foot was throbbing. It was painful taking my shoe off. Thankfully, I was wearing sandals to the show--had to wear Julie's sandal because mine broke about 20 steps into the walk to Wicked the night before-- FIGURES!! When we got downstairs and back outside, the police were everywhere and they were putting up barricades. If you didn't hear, Obama came to NYC that day to speak at the NAACP conference. I wanted a picture of the motorcade, but we missed them :o( (side note--NO, I am not a fan, just thought the motorcade would be cool)

So, with throbbing foot, we hobbled on down to Times Square to search out a place to eat. It was hot and I was miserable. BUT, Julie saw a sign that said $2.50 tacos so we went in hoping for a cheap dinner--we were pretty hungry when we first started out after not really eating all day--the guy in the lobby told us to go up to the 3rd floor and turn left. Can I just say---THERE WERE NO TACOS ON THE MENU!!

On the upside, this particular restaurant overlooks the place where the ball drops on New Year's Eve. Great views!! If you want to eat there on New Year's Eve, the seat at the table where we were will cost you only $2500, and you must book the table! It would be the best seat in the house. The waiter said that people start calling from all around the world in Oct (you can only book 3 months in advance).

After dinner, we headed to the show. FABULOUS!!!!!!!!!!!!! It was so darn funny...I laughed through the entire thing!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

NYC day 1

We left around 9:30 Wed. morning on an Air Tran flight out of Atlanta, and I must say that it really was the smoothest flight I have ever been on. I wasn't nervous at all--it could have been that the people around me were talkative, and I didn't have time to think about how high up in the air we were! I really HATE flying.......I don't know how I am going to go anywhere far away if I don't get over this.

We stayed at the Park Central Hotel across from Carnegie Hall on 7th Ave. Times Square is about 6 blocks down the street, so not a bad walk (unless you've walked all day long and it is muggy). After checking in, we headed out for lunch at the Carnegie Deli. Can I just say that ticket shock DOES. NOT. COVER. the way I felt when I looked at the menu. Really, who pays $23 for a SANDWICH??????? Not this gal. Luckily, neither does Julie so we shared (ours was actually only! $16) I had never had beef brisket, but it was rather tasty. The cheesecake, on the other hand, was DE.LI.CI.O.US (and, yes, I know that's a website!!).

After lunch, we purchased tickets on the double decker bus which I was opposed to at first, but ended up loving! It takes you on a tour all around the city and the buroughs so that you can get a feel for where you are versus where you want to go. We got the hop on, hop off two-day tickets, and it was really a fabulous purchase. After our bus tour, we headed down to see Wicked. I had seen it in Atlanta, but wanted to experience it on Broadway. Honestly, I enjoyed the performance at the Fox in Atlanta better, but there's just something about Broadway!

After the show, we had dinner at a little seafood place, The Oyster Bar, which was really good (another expensive meal) but, I can stand it a little more when it's seafood I'm eating!

Afterwards, Julie and I explored Times Square (yes, it was about midnight at this point). Let me just say, SCARY! Enjoy the pics from day one or some of them, and check back tomorrow for day two. (okay, well blogger is acting ridiculous --or maybe it's my old computer, but I'll put pics up tomorrow :o)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

quick update

Well, I couldn't stand it, missed you guys! So, here's a quick update on the last several days. I have been swamped. Trying to write those papers has worn me out. I did get the one, a technology analysis, done. The other one is actually a unit, and I am about three quarters of the way through it. I guess it will have to be finished next Sunday after I return. I be under a deadline, so it will have to be done, and I won't be able to find an excuse!

Luke is going to spend the week with his friend in Atlanta who lives where we use to live there. He's pretty excited about seeing his friend.

Stevie is spending the week with Shea which will include Sam and Jack so she is really excited about that.

I am, of course, headed to NYC. We fly out at 9:30 Wed. morning. We already have tickets to see Wicked Wed. night. If you haven't seen it, you should.

My friend, Julie, wants to go to a bakery and get a cupcake, so that is on the agenda. I am NOT one to pass up a cupcake :)

We are also going to the Statue of Liberty on Thursday. I've been there, but I'm sure it will be fun to see it again. We may try to get some tickets for a show Thursday night. I know that I want to go to Chinatown. We must shop and get some of those cheap sunglasses and Rolexes (haha).

There's a free concert in town on Friday so we need to check that out. Gosh, so much to do.....so little time.

I can't wait to see what all we will get into and then share with you! Have a great week!!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

it has to be done

This will be my last post for about 2 weeks. I have a huge school project that I have to finish before next Tuesday when I leave for Atlanta. I fly to NYC on Wed. Very, very, very pumped about that trip. I love NYC! Cannot wait to share everything that has been going on with you, but it's going to have to wait! I have tons of pics from June that I haven't had time to post, and I'll have all of my adventures from NYC. Did I mention that I'm pumped?????

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

inside out

I watched the show, Ruby, the other night on Style Network. Ruby is the large lady who is losing weight with the world watching. I don't know if I would be that brave! In this particular episode, she is struggling with getting back on her program after a devastating loss in her life. What I was drawn to, however, is how she is with her friends and how they are with her. While I know that some of that may be for the camera, I was so impressed with the fact that her friends love her regardless of her size. That got me to thinking.

I have those same kinds of people in my life. They love me even though my butt has grown to be a wide load. However, I don't necessarily love myself. I like the person who I am on the inside, but can never seem to get past the outside. Hence the title of my post, inside out.

I began reflecting on what I like about myself and realized that I would never truly love myself until I started with the inside because the outside is gross to me. Perhaps if I can start over and focus on the PERSON I am instead of the FAT, I can finally do something about said fat and work harder on losing it. (It's easier said than done). So, with that said--out loud and in a public forum--that is a new goal I am setting for myself. To dig deep inside myself and truly love who I am and not what I look like. To stop fretting about what people are thinking (or trying to interpret their thoughts--hello--I have NO idea what they are!) and enjoy my life. To remember, daily, that I have wonderful people who love me (not to mention a GOD who adores me for me) and who enjoy my company.

So, today, I resolve to love myself--fat and all--from the inside out instead of focusing on the outside first!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

my boy
















Saturday, July 4, 2009

happy 4th!

It's 6:35 and soon the sun will start going down and fireworks will be blazing in the sky. The kids will be waving sparklers and waving flags. The hot dogs, hamburgers, steaks, etc. will all be eaten and we will pass another 4th of July into our memory banks knowing that with the passing, summer seems to pass too quickly.

What I am reflecting on today, is how grateful I am that I am free. Free to worship, speak, carry a gun, read my Bible, walk around in public, vote. All of that comes with a price tag, because nothing is truly free.

Take time tonight whilst on the lake, in the pool, grilling, or whatever activity you enjoy to thank God for those who are in harm's way. Say a prayer for their families who are here, supporting them, so that they can do their jobs. May we never forget those that came before us and may we leave a legacy of prayer and support for those who walk after us.

Friday, July 3, 2009

summer movies

One of our favorite family activities is going to the movies, and we have seen several over the last few weeks. So, since I have refused to leave the house today to find anything interesting to blog about, I thought I'd give you a run-down........Patty-style.

It seems like all of the movies that the critics hate, I love and vice versa.

Transformers 2: I really was surprised when I liked the first one of this series, so I was looking forward to seeing this installment. It was jam-packed with action. I love the relationship that Sam's mom has with him.........the funniest moment in the 1st was when she talked about his "alone time" (we all know what that means to a teenage boy) and this time she made me laugh with when she gets high from eating brownies when they take Sam to college. The movie has some weak plot moments, but I go to the movies to be entertained..........and that was accomplished.

The Proposal: A must see for anyone who loves Sandra Bulloch. I also love Ryan Reynolds (and have since 3 guys, a girl, and a pizza place). Betty White is awesome as the grandma and another favorite, Craig T. Nelson (yes, Coach) does a good job, too. I don't care for Mary Steenburgen (or whatever her name is) because I always find her characters annoying. This movie is hilarious. I have already seen it twice. I took Stevie and she laughed so hard that the lady in front of us got tickled at her laughing! It's a silly plot and predictable, but I was entertained (it doesn't take much!).

Public Enemies: This is the true story of John Dillinger. This movie could have been awesome, but alas, boring fits it much better. I had to fight to stay awake. There were moments that kept me intersted, but they were few and far between. The love affair between John and Billie was a snoozefest. There was no chemistry and it seemed not very important until the very end. I had high hopes for this flick--I was expecting action, adventure, love, and drama. What I got was none of that!

Up: I do not like cartoons. I only saw this because we had Sam and Jack and needed to entertain them. However, this was a sweet movie about the relationship between a man and a boy. It was also about letting go. Letting go of something or someone that we love. Knowing that the living is more important than the dead. Knowing that relationships are more important than things. It's worth the hour and a half, if you can get beyond the fact that it's a cartoon--the end is sweet, and everyone that I've talked to cried, so take a tissue (you'll only need one).

Night at the Museum: Smithsonian: Not nearly as good as the first one, but pleasant. Ben Stiller is....Ben. He's cute and sometimes funny and sometimes annoying. This one can very easily be a rental.

There are several coming out that I am excited to see with the next BIG one being Harry Potter.
I also want to see My Sister's Keeper, The Taking of Pelham 123, and I'm sure there are others. We saw a lot of good previews.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

vacation Imma need

Time for some Imma needs for vacation................

Imma need to go back to The Fish House for some wonderful fried shrimp and hushpuppies.

Imma need for this beautiful weather to follow me home......no humidity...can you believe it?

Imma need that car alarm that goes off every night at midnight to give me a break.

Imma need a few more days to get through all the books I bought at the flea market.

Imma need Laura Jensen Walker to get crankin' out some new novels because I finished what I have and whether I am on vacation or not, I love her books.

Imma need Steve to follow his own advice and wear sunblock....he's sunburnt!

Imma need you, dear blog readers, to spare yourselves from Public Enemies....it's boring!

and lastly, but most importantly.....

IMMA NEED THE GOVERNOR OF SC TO SHUT UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!