I’m back to work tomorrow after a weeks’ vacation. It was a real vacation, in that I achieved several real vacation goals that I rarely achieve on vacation and that we all should achieve on vacation:

One, I unplugged. I did minimal logging in to work and even had several days of no screen time at all- I barely looked at my phone.

Two, I took care of myself. Yeah, I had some wings and barbecue and ice cream and beer. But, I didn’t gorge, I slept really well (thanks kids, for sleeping through the nights!) and I went jogging in the mornings.

Three, I chilled myself. I decided not to stress or worry about anything and just let things roll. Luckily, there wasn’t actually anything to stress about, so that part worked out.

Four, and not so much a goal as a key ingredient to achieving the goals, was to schedule buffer days at home before and after the trip. Those days were clutch for trip prep (we packed a picnic lunch and heaps of  healthy snacks for traveling) as well as cleaning up the work charts/ bills/ housework on either end. That part was brilliant.

The vacation was an extra-long Memorial Day weekend, where we drove six hours to upstate New York to visit Hubby’s family. I have to say, it was a lovely weekend, heavy on low-key and relaxed family time, alot of food, more than I usually drink, and unexpectedly warm and sunny weather.

Of course, driving six hours each way with a toddler and a preschooler has its challenges, as does staying in a new an unfamiliar place (the four of use cozied up in a child’s bedroom, like a slumber party), with little routine, and all the excitement of a holiday weekend with a family that is baseline celebratory. Our kids got filthy beyond filthy, ate whatever, and went to bed way too late. Overall, they did extraordinarily well, and we had a wonderful time.

Hubby’s family is open and informal. There’s a veritable tribe of kids of all ages swarming around at all times, with teasing and giggles and hugs aplenty. Despite the recent tragic losses of Hubby’s niece and nephew, his family has rallied.  (I have written about both, see June 2011 and October 2013.) Of course, there is sadness; these were vibrant, special people, young lives taken suddenly and unexpectedly. But, there is a healthy openness about both deaths. Photos and mementos abound; there are regular charity events and fundraisers; they are brought up in conversations and remembered every day. It’s remarkable, and you can see how it benefits the children. I’m proud to be a part of this strong family.

Of course, we had time with my family here as well, these past few days. Babyboy especially missed his Nana while we were away. He asked for her several times each day; when we were on our way home, he wanted to go straight to her house. What he didn’t know was, while we were away, Nana built a massive sandbox in her backyard, crafted with heavy outdoor wooden planks and metal brackets, and filled with high-quality white sand. Aunties contributed diggers and trucks, and Surprise! There is an awesome playspace back there for kids, that is likely to last for the next ten years. It was the perfect welcome home gift for these two.

Our little vacation was full of blessings, and so is life. Tomorrow, back to work. And that  is the last brilliant part of this vacation: I go back to work on a Friday. I know it will be a hectic and long day. I am sure to add-on, and I’m sure to have a formidable pile of paperwork to clear out. But, I’ll have the weekend to recoup.

It’s all good. Blessings. Lots of them.