Day 420 – Thankful for a Mini Boys Vacation Before Family Vacation

Today was an awesome first full day on vacation. Becky was able to join us for breakfast before heading off to her conference and from there on out it was Boys Vacation until we got back just in time for our 7:00 with a large group of Becky’s colleagues. Even then the three of us ended up peeling out a little early to head back to the hotel. Dinner was great and the boys had a great time getting to know Becky’s PhD advisor, Martin. He was amazing with the boys, he even taught them some good life lessons 😉. I also really enjoyed getting to talk with Dianne, and, just as I’d hoped, she had some great sightseeing advice that we’re taking for tomorrow.

What I’m writing about today is how thankful I️ am for the mini Boys Vacation that we’re having before our actual family vacation. She’s got another day at the conference so the boys and I will have had almost two and a half days on our own and we’ve really taken advantage of it.

Today we had the plan of heading to the Auckland Zoo, but paused on our walk back from breakfast and searched out some New Zealand All Blacks gear at the mall we walked by. Not finding anything exactly like what we wanted I️ hopped online and found a store that sells only All Blacks stuff in Auckland. Without checking out anything else I asked the boys if they wanted to head there first and they agreed…

A couple of hours later I️ was driving on the “wrong” side of the road in bumper to bumper traffic in the middle of downtown Auckland. We figured out parking and bummed around for a while before finding the store.

After that we headed to the zoo and played around while seeing some seriously cool animals, including a kiwi! We had so much fun learning about the animals, harassing each other, and cracking jokes. The animals were awesome, but my boys were the highlight of my visit there.

The whole way to Auckland Dominic was riding shotgun (on the left side) and talking with me while he kept a steady flow of great music playing. Gavin was reading and occasionally jumping in on the conversation.

On the way home we had more conversation and discussed things like rush hour, which is exactly what we hit as we left Auckland. Instead of getting frustrated like I️ do, I️ had a different approach and used it as a teachable moment.

While on a vacation I love how my brain feels freed to focus on different things and on many different levels than normal. One of the thing is wanted to focus on today was helping my personal values stick in my boys’ heads so I️ wanted to find ways to include grit, growth mindset, do right, and gratitude. Grit was shown by the homework that they both did on the way home – we play hard because we work hard to have that opportunity. Growth mindset was in all of the learning today – there was so much to let soak in as we explored a new continent, city, and animals. Do right was when I️ explained why I️ was staying completely calm while driving in rush hour traffic at the very time I️ would normally feel the muscles in my shoulders and back tensing up to the point that they hurt. Gratitude…

I shared the value of gratitude in a very different way than I’ve ever done before. I️ gave both of the boys homework today that they will continue to do each day we’re on vacation (& maybe even a little longer 😉). They both had to journal about their day and what they were thankful for that day. As I️ read both of their journals I️ was smiling from ear to ear.

While on the flight here I️ was writing the chapter of the book about losing Dad that’s focused on the No Regrets blog I️ wrote while he was in the hospital. At its core there’s a focus on legacy. If I️ didn’t have a tomorrow I️ know that the boys would know that I️ love them and am proud of them and vice versa, but I may have a regret of not passing all of my values on as I would’ve like. With that in mind, I’m going to focus on this each day of vacation, sharing my values while finding teachable moments. As I️ looked back today I realized that I didn’t use the terms directly, so I’ll start working on that better tomorrow.

To roll this all back to where this blog started, I’m thankful for this mini-vacation for the boys. It’s been awesome to have this much time with them and equally as awesome to help them grow.


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