Category Archives: Family

Perfect Moment Monday: Dross into gold

I should have been suspicious when the tent showed up on our front porch in May, shipped from Costco. Weeks later, the UPS guy dropped off several sleeping mats, also from Costco. What was this? Could it be that my husband was conniving to take our family on a camping trip?

Why would he do this to me, take me out of my natural habitat (indoors) and plop me into the wilds? Why would he do this to our kids, tear them away from their screens and electrical power? Why would he do this to himself — deal with all the whining and gnashing of teeth that was sure to ensue?

Not to mention the children’s.

Mid-month we rectified our family’s Nature Deficit Disorder and I got outside my comfort zone. We spent the weekend at a campground near Estes Park, CO. Was the weekend amazing, reminiscent of a Brady Bunch episode, a string of pearly perfect moments?


The weekend was fraught with tension, arguments, frustration, and even a little blood. We had delay after delay getting started on Friday afternoon and therefore got to the campground long after dusk, hungry and cranky. Finding our designated spot and setting up by moonlight was a challenge. Putting together a tent for the first time by flashlight was a challenge. And finding kindling in the dark was a challenge.  To cap things off, our mats didn’t fully inflate on first use, meaning we essentially slept on the cold hard ground on a night the temperature got down to 48 degrees.

The next day there were fatigue-induced spats about, well everything. But there was also swimming, eating ice cream in town, and each kid choosing a trip memento.

Said memento brought Reed much joy but was eventually the cause of the bloodletting. He’d chosen a small pocket knife and Roger showed him how to whittle, which he did happily much of the afternoon. Until his attention wandered for a moment and he sliced his thumb (turned out to be only a few layers deep). Big commotion.

It was exhausting. I wasn’t feeling very perfect moment-y for much of the weekend.

Yet there were some idyllic components.

Our site was delightful. (And not just because my husband got up early to build a fire, cook breakfast, and have coffee waiting.)

camping in Colorado

We had friendly neighbors.

deer at campground

Bambi and her kin frolicked all day right in front of us, replacing the Saturday cartoons and sports shows as our entertainment.

Tessa demonstrated her flair for fashion, even while roughing it. Not much chance of blending in had it become necessary to camouflage ourselves.

fahncy pahnts for cahmping

At 8000 feet, our view of the day sky was a clarified hue of blue.

mountain sky

Later that evening after we’d cooked and cleaned up and assembled s’mores, I realized we had been building our family narrative story by story. We sat in our camp chairs with faces aglow, bonded by shared anecdotes that we’ll tell through the ages, maybe to people who don’t even exist yet.

colorado camp fire

That expansive thought, which entered my mind as I saw the light flickering on my loved ones’ faces, ignited my perfect moment, turning all that other dross into gold.


A happy moment, Lori, will seed ten thousand more.Notes from the Universe.

This was a message in my emailbox awhile back. And it explains why it’s in my interest (and yours) to notice perfect moments.


Perfect Moment Monday is about noticing a perfect moment rather than creating one. Perfect moments can be momentous or ordinary or somewhere in between.

On the last Monday of each month we engage in mindfulness about something that is right with our world. Everyone is welcome to join.

To participate in Perfect Moment Monday:

  • Follow
  • Write up your own Perfect Moment and post it on your blog (or other site).
  • Use LinkyTools below to enter your name (or blog name), the URL of your Perfect Moment post, and a thumbnail image if desired.
  • Visit the Perfect Moments of others and let the writers know you were there with a comment.

With your Perfect Moment post , you may place this button on your blog (in the post, on the sidebar, or both).What Perfect Moment have you recently been aware of?

Top 9 reasons: I’m my father’s daughter because…

9. We both repeat things ad nauseum just to annoy our kids.

8. We both know that repeating things ad nauseum to kids annoys them now but they’ll thank us for these words of wisdom someday.

7. We are both authors. His is an economics and political book called The Total Power of One in America and mine is a parenting book called The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption.

my family in the 1970s6. We are both obsessive-compulsive about keeping things new. I have been known to keep the protective film over the screen of a new smart phone for weeks after I begin using it, until it falls off by itself. I can’t bring myself to expose my new treasure to all the dirt and grime that’s just waiting to adhere.

5. We both love my mom and are grateful she is such a patient soul.

4. We are both musical. We play piano. He plays the guitar and tuba and I play the flute. We love to sing, sometimes embarrassingly loudly (well, him. Oh, and me, as I have confessed). Family lore has a story in which during communion one morning at church, Dad was indulging in the line:

when I fall on my knees | with my face to the rising sun ♫

But legend says he confused the two body parts and instead belted out:

♫ when I fall on my face | with my knees to…the….ummmmm… ♫

****walk of shame back to the pew****

My sisters and I have never let this go.

3. We both hate waste. We’ll get every last drop out of that salad dressing bottle, even if it takes forever and tastes as watered-down as we’ve made it.

2. We are both comfortable speaking to large groups about what we are passionate about.

………………..And the #1 reason I am my father’s daughter………….

1. [Edited] Did you see our expressions?

Image: my family’s archives. Front row: Sheri, Tami, Lori.

Back row: Mom, Dad.

This is a Generation Fabulous bloghop in honor of Father’s Day. Click for more linkies.

Winter fun for families at YMCA of the Rockies

Recognizing the need for balance in the seasons, the YMCA of the Rockies invited my family for a winter weekend at its Winter Park location, as it did half a year ago for a summer stay at its Estes Park location.

And once again, we had an exhaustingly good time. YMCA of the Rockies really excels at offering good clean varied family fun in the stunning Rocky Mountains.

Located 80 miles from Denver, between Winter Park and Grand Lake, Snow Mountain Ranch is breathtaking in the winter.

Snow Mountain Ranch sceneryContinental Divide as a backdrop

We stayed in a comfortable and quiet lodge with no TV. After a hearty buffet breakfast Saturday morning we started with inner tubing down a hill and ice skating at the pavilion.

sledding fun at YMCARunning start

YMCA innertubingBelly flop

Chillaxing on innertubes at the YMCAChillin’

family ice skatingSkating in a winter wonderland

After lunch we took aim at the archery wolf. Later, the kids were literally climbing the walls.

YMCA archeryTessa Katnessa

Aiming at the beastWe slew the beast

Snow Mountain Ranch rock climbingReed got a grip

Between those activities and dinner Roger went cross-country skiing, I went to a yoga class and the kids went swimming. THAT was just Day 1.

The next day we went to the gym for a morning of hoop-shooting and rollerskating.

YMCA winter fun

Snow Mountain Ranch roller skating

Some of the activities we’re saving for next time include dog sledding, sleigh ride, crafts. All too soon it was time to return home.

Are you envisioning your own winter vacation? Accommodations include yurts ($89 ), lodge rooms (from $119), cabins ($209 for 2 BR) and vacation homes ($349 for 3 BR). There’s enough winter left to plan your own stay at Snow Mountain Ranch. To get more ideas about families and Snow Mountain Ranch, read what other moms have to say about their experiences.

The Superbowl beckoned and it was time to head back down the mountain to get home. Now that we’ve experienced the summer and winter, the northern YMCA camp and the south one, the Y in its wondrous yin and its glorious yang, we have declared both visits extra-ordinary. We all agreed we’d love to have more weekends like this and make more family memories like these in the future.

Disclosure: My family was hosted for a weekend at Snow Mountain Ranch, which included lodging, meals and activities for purposes of writing an honest review.