Saturday, January 16, 2010

I'm still here...

Hi there bloggie friends! It's been forever since I've written anything. Thanks to you guys who are still checking in and for the notes on here and facebook telling me you've noticed my absence.

Christmas was a little rough here. All my kids, except Tony, were going through somethings that tugged on the mama heart strings.

Watching your kids hurt emotionally or physically is the toughest part of parenting. When there's nothing you can say or do to make it better. Knowing that it's part of life and it's theirs, and only theirs to experience and deal with, still doesn't make it any easier to let go.

Oh! How I miss the days of kissing the boo-boo, maybe a band aid, and we could go back to playing again....

But things are better here.

Nae is back at college and actively looking for her summer employment/ internship. She has had a couple phone interviews and we are excited to see where she will end up. We were hoping for something close to Chicago so we could see her more but she has some wonderful opportunities in other areas of the US. I won't lie, I'm thankful that it's the US this year and not Sudan again.

The other kids just finished up their semester exams and are breathing a sigh of relief that they made it through the first half of the school year in their new schools.

The Hubby and I just came back from a vacation in Cancun. Since the new job, The Hubby hasn't taken any time off (it's been over a year and a half I think). He really needed it!

Uncle Mark, The Hubby's bachelor brother took a week of his vacation time, flew up from Hilton Head and stayed with the kids and the puppy (I know! We thought maybe he was drinking when he agreed to do it!). He did an amazing job and the kids loved having him here for a whole week all to themselves.

I have some vacation stories. I'll tell you a quick one today.

We flew from O'Hare to Charlotte, NC then onto Cancun. I've never been to the Charlotte Douglas International Airport before. It was very nice. We came from a dark crowed O'Hare, filled with crabby people in extra long security lines (thank you Mr. Underwear Bomber) where flights were just beginning to be delayed because of a big snow storm--- to a big open cheery terminal in Charlotte, where the main area is full of windows, a man playing a grand piano, and rocking chairs to sit in the sunshine (or giant bean bags chairs to nap in).

But the best part of CLT....the bathrooms! Yes, that's right, the bathrooms. See one thing I haven't told you about myself is that I notice bathrooms. I enjoy finding nice bathrooms. It's kinda like a little treasure hunt. (if you're a long time reader of this blog, you may have noticed this fact in this post) I just didn't admit my gift back then. Yes, it's a gift really. Being able to find these "jewels in the rough" in some unlikely places. I like to consider myself a "Bathroom Connoisseur". I think it comes from my years of camping. My camping friend, Vonda, (and her husband, Dave, who we actually went on this vacation with) and I would try and pick our favorite camp grounds based on the "facilities".

So even though this bathroom wasn't a "jewel in the rough" because the whole airport was nice, I was still wasn't expecting what I walked into.

I happen to walk into the entrance of the restroom with another woman who I didn't know. We came in shoulder to shoulder and the first thing we see is a fancy little "spread" of mouthwash, breath mints, lotions, feminine products and a big tip jar FULL of money. I don't know if it was the shock of us both seeing all that money that stopped us in our tracks or the booming voice of the big black lady saying "Welcome to Big Bertha's Bathroom!!!"

We both hesitated and looked at each other for a second a little surprised. Then "Bertha" shouts at us in her southern accent "Come on, come on in! Don't be shy!" as she is waving us towards the toilet stalls. Then "Bertha" says "Everyone gets a seat in Big Bertha's Bathroom!" and she laughs this deep laugh while showing each of us to our own "seats".

The stall and everything in it was sparkling! And "Bertha" was waiting right there when I opened the door with a rag in her hand for a quick tidy up.

She continued to crack jokes and smile and "encourage" all of us ladies while we were in her domain.

Now I know why that tip jar was so full....and I couldn't help adding to it.


otin said...

I hope that things are getting better, whatever they should be. I am stretched very thin keeping up with all of the blogs that I follow, yet I always seem to know when someone is missing. Nice to have you back!

You should do a book about the 101 top restrooms hahaha!

Brian Miller said...

haha. how fun about the bathroom!

glad to see you are back...missed my trips to kalamazoo...hope all has cleared up from the holidays...or will soon!

DG at Diary of a Mad Bathroom said...

Welcome back! Big Bertha sounds pretty entertaining. Can't remember the last time I was entertained in a toilet.

mommyto3kiddos said...'re back!! I've missed your blogs. :) Glad you & hubby had such a nice time in Cancun. And I love the story...might have to visit Charlotte sometime just to go in the airport bathroom! LOL

The EGE said...

I am currently resting off two days of really nasty exams.

I hope your kids are enjoying their new schools. We actually have a lot of Kalamazoo people new to my school over the last few years, and they vary from loving here to really wanting to go back.

Sewn With Grace said...

Yea!!!!!!!! You're back!!!!!!!!! Cancun, wow now I'm jealous. So glad to know everyone is well and back into the swing of things!

Barb said...

Glad you're back and had a good time. Bertha sounds like quite a character. I may be pressing you for some puppy advice. We've just added to the crew.

Mrs. Sarcasm said...

YEAH!!!!!!! I have missed you! Glad you got away and had a good time. I LOVE bathroom attendants. I am usually the only one who does but I think it is great! Can't wait to hear more stories!

Deborah said...

I hope everything is OK with your family. I wish I could kiss my kids booboos too. I think it is harder the older they are!
I love that airport but I have never seen Big Bertha. That is very nice and I also like nice bathrooms. My family would tell you I'm a little crazy about dirty bathrooms!
Glad to see your back and I can't wait to see pictures of Cancun!

blueviolet said...

You've been missed and I'm sorry to hear it was in part due to your kids and some of their troubles. I remember once losing 20 pounds in a week with my daughter's first heartbreak in high school. Sometimes I think seeing our kids hurt for whatever reason they're hurting cuts deeper than our own pains.

Welcome back!

McGillicutty said...

I have a talent for keeping up with the best restrooms too, when we go shopping I only take the girls to certain ones that I know are well cared for. Glad Big Bertha was a pleasure... wish she was everywhere.
Glad you're back... I missed you!!!

rxBambi said...

that is too funny! I kinda want to go to Big Bertha's Bathroom. I'm kinda a potty connoisseur myself. haha.
Sorry you had some rough times, but it'll all be okay. Glad your back.

willow said...

Hello. Loved seeing the pics of your lovely family during the holidays!

Holly said...

I love good bathrooms. My friend and I used to take photos of our favorite bathrooms...kind of weird I know...but that's how I roll (I guess).

Holly @ 504 Main

Mrs Montoya said...

I have missed you a lot and hope that things continue to go well for your family. Watching kids hurt at any level is the worst pain. I am grateful to still be able to kiss boo boos.

AND Bertha's Bathroom sounds like heaven. I connect through Atlanta mostly, but may need to take Charlotte's little treasure trove into consideration. Oh how I love a clean potty when I'm not at home!

Welcome back!!

Pam said...

Glad your kids' situations have worked themselves out. I have to agree with you that when one of your kids is hurting, as a mother you are hurting just as much. My daughter went through a very difficult time this past fall and it was heartwrenching and all consuming for me. There's a quote I love by Laura Lipman:

"Children can be happy when their parents are miserable. But a parent is never happier than her unhappiest child".

This quote sums up mother love like no other.

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