One thing I’ve realized about my time away from my family is that I am, when not confronted with the beauty of my children as subjects, a crapass photographer. I’m choosing to blame it on my camera, but in reality, I’m just not able to capture the beauty in the details without my girls in (or near) the frame. Therefore, the photos from my trip are limited to the ones that don’t actually embarrass me. OK, now that I have that off my chest, I can tell you a little about my trip.

My first day there was about as relaxing as a day can be. Allyn had to work and so I lazed about, doing nothing really until she came home and we headed out for Indian food. Her husband had a rough week at work so he opted for a couple of pints with the boys. When he called to let us know he’d like to get picked up (they have one car), he cheerfully announced that he’d be the one in the wheelchair. Whaa? As we drove down the streets of San Francisco, Allyn turned to me and said, “Look for the tall drunk guy with glasses.”

To which I replied, “Ah, I don’t know about you but I’ll be looking for the drunk guy in the wheelchair.”

“You think he’s serious?” she asked.

“I don’t doubt it.”

Sure enough, we found him rolling down the street (giggling and toasted) and pulled up along side of him with our own set of laughter. Turns out he found an abandoned chair (which turned out to be stolen) and decided a joy ride was in order. This is Erich, folks; his humor and spontaneity is one of the many reason we love the guy.

Saturday we ran around getting ready for Allyn’s birthday party in the evening but took out some time to meet a very special blogger. Dharma Mum is just as cool in person as she is online and as we sipped chocolate and played with her daughter, we talked and laughed and felt like old friends. We walked for a bit, hitting a few thrift shops in search of my Bitsy Bunting costume and took a few photos under the bridge (most of which were crap). She never for a minute let on that she had just gotten news of a friends death, which I am alternately pissed off that she didn't share her sorrow and totally understanding. I hope to see her next time I’m up there; she’s good people.

We headed back to the apartment for more party readiness (cleaning, cooking, acting like dorks) and then had a kick ass party where I got to spend the entire evening flirting with the most adorable, charming man I’ve met in a long time. I’m seriously wondering what is wrong with the boy as had I been single I would have been totally licking him inside of five minutes and yet, here he is in his late twenties without a girl on his arm. Everyone else was delightful too and I mostly controlled myself.

Sunday we attended the Farmer’s market (yum), checked out a yarn store, did a wee bit more costume shopping and then spent the rest of the day sewing. When I tucked myself into bed that evening, I found myself missing my family so deeply I was looking forward to my flight the next afternoon.

I spent today with my little family and my wonderful mother-in-law in a small mountain town, walking the quiet street with Anya slung on my back, ducking into shops and telling Lily to look with her eyes, not with her hands. We ate lunch at the soda shop, Mark and I sharing a Pastrami Ruben and indulging on floats, Lily with a huge strawberry ice cream, Anya feasting on the cone. We’re all home now, my mother-in-law on a plane carrying her back to her own and the four of us tucked around our dinner table together.

I loved this vacation, the time spent with a girlfriend so dear to me I cannot even begin to express it here. But I loved what it gave me even more: the deep desire to be with my kids, to taste my husband’s lips, to sit quietly in my own home with sleep nestled all around me. To be home. Really, there’s isn’t anything better than that.