I am back from Iowa…yes Iowa, my birthplace for those of you that didn’t know.  I went down to meet my girlfriend’s family and it was a blast.  Everyone was just as she’d described them and the weekend was a great time.

What I realized while I was there is this:  I don’t “get away” enough.  I’ve worked weekends for as long as I can remember and I’ve always placed so much focus on work and home life that I’ve forgotten the concept of a vacation.  Vacations don’t have to be extravagant or lengthy, they just need to give someone a chance to relax, a chance to not focus on work or everyday life, and a chance to refresh.  Its not an escape from life, just a “pause” for a day or two.  This weekend helped me realize that. 

I also met some great people and saw a family dynamic that is different than my own.  I come from a big immediate family (1 am one of 4 and we all have a total of almost 9 kids between us), so for most people I know, the idea of being around that many people can be exhausting.  My girlfriend (I will start using her name and do a formal intro shortly, hopefully) is one of five, but for what her family lacks in grandkids, they make up in cousins, aunts, uncles, etc.  I love big families and, as draining as it may seem, attending events like that and seeing how people interact is energizing to me.  It was really fun to see how close her family is and how everyone interacts. At the end of Saturday night, my cheeks hurt from laughing and smiling, my head was dizzy from a few drinks, and my heart was full as I kissed my girlfriend goodnight.  I do have to throw in here that her mother is an amazing cook as well.  She flat out crushed my parents’ in grilling ability.  Sorry mom and dad, your competition has a leg up on ya.  One point, as she started to cook, she got out a soup can filled with lard/fat and I heard this voice inside me say, “Oh hell yes, this is going to be some great food.”

It’s back to the norm today, but after a great weekend like that, its hard to get into the swing of things.  More blog posts to come though!