Head for the Hills

It's not everyone's idea of a good time. Heading to a mountain top getaway with three attention mongering kids (ages 1, 3 and 37), an iron-fisted Brazilian, a German shepherd, a rip-snoring Varmint and a gassy pregnant chick may even sound, well... slightly less than appealing.

I think I'm getting old, or maybe the baby hormones are kicking in to some sort of biological imperative, because the screechy-screech of wailing kids made nary a hair stand up on my neck.

ArrowbearKaio.jpgUsually, fingernails on a chalkboard are an acoustic preference to that particular sound, but not so this trip. All foibles, personal and otherwise, were easily forgiven in the midst of pine trees, glimmering snow and that swath of blue glitter known as Arrowhead Lake.

We had a blast. Arrowhead's a couple of hours outside Smell-ay and San Diego, a mountain getaway that feels far away from urban life, especially if you don't count the number of SUVs of Ridiculous Size being driven by meaty jocks wearing $650 sunglasses. The mini-resorts of Big Bear and Snow Valley are close by, there is hiking and boating and an actual excuse to light a fire in the fireplace. Novelty!

This trip, however, quickly becomes a vision of what's to come for The Varmint and me: Stowing the snowboards in favor of a slide, hitting the smallest hill so the kids can toboggan down and get their first tangy taste of perma-grin.

ArrowbearLivia.jpg"You find enjoyment through the delight of your kids," my mom once said when asked what's the biggest single change parenthood brings. "And you'll do anything to make them happy."

I watch my brother, the same guy I've torn down powder-filled slopes with, boarded the backcountry, through trees and dropoffs while shouting in whoops of ecstasy and giggling madly, tears racing down our cheeks as we scramble to the lift line for one more run, pick up his squirming son and stick him back on his slide. He watches him slide down the pint-sized hill. My brother turns to us with that same, familiar expression of joy and delight.

"That's my son!" he yells.

We smile back and I realize in that perfect, pale blue moment that mom is right again.


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I am a writer and lazy artist who loves travel, architecture and design. Right now, I'm into photography. My fabulous husband (a.k.a. The Varmint) and I are also the principals of a San Diego-based creative agency - and new parents to the divine Baby Mak. Read More >