Family Vacation: The Good, the Not-So-Good, the Wonderful


Every two years we gather together—this time there were 17 of us plus a dog—for a vacation in the Colorado mountains.Every two years we have sought a new place—the family has kept growing. Two crawlers this year added to the adventure.

The Good

Nestled at 8300 feet on the slopes of the Sangre de Cristo mountains was our lovely home for a week. The layout was perfect—three floors with two large gathering areas. We could all gather on two of the floors—to eat or to play. Yet there was plenty of space to be alone!

In the rec room we played pool, air hockey, board games and card games. Steve and I won Trivial Pursuit—probably because it was from 20 years ago. TV watching included River Monsters, Duck Dynasty and soccer (there were three preteen boys). Since I brought books for the littles, we did a lot of reading to them.


Outside the littles loved the big new playhouse, which included everything to play house and a giant chalkboard. Hammocks beckoned, as did the Adirondacks looking across the mountains.

We had a family Olympics, competing in horseshoes, ladder or cowboy golf, tree stump tic tac toe, giant jenga and corn hole. We could have added tether ball and target shooting. I lost all my games (sigh).

Ladder/cowboy golf in Family Olympics

Ladder/cowboy golf in Family Olympics


And, oh yes, all the girls wore Wonder Woman shirts!

The Not-So-Good

We had big plans for hiking, fishing, horseback riding, but it rained every day, sometimes for much of the day. The men and older boys ventured higher up the mountain one morning in search of clear water unmuddied by the rain. The fish were not biting.  

Rain, rain, go away…

Rain, rain, go away…


We did manage to squeeze in the Royal Gorge before the rain arrived. Steve and I crossed the gorge via gondola—I sat in the middle so I couldn’t look down. Everyone else walked across the highest suspension bridge in the U.S. Debbie and son returned via zipline—the highest in the U.S., while the rest of us hitched rides back on a golf cart or the gondola before the rain came. Lunch was accompanied by Native Americans dancing, inviting the children to join them.

At the Royal Gorge

At the Royal Gorge


The Wonderful

We were together. All of us.

Brad made amazing breakfasts for us each morning.

The rest of the family finally got to know Josh’s wife, Lesley, her daughter and their one-year-old daughter.

Cousins were old enough to actually play with and enjoy each other. Older kids helped care for the younger ones. One baby took off walking while the one-month younger one took tentative steps.


I had sweet conversations with each of the preteens about believing in yourself, choosing peace over conflict and looking for God’s good in every situation.

I loved chatting with our feisty young diva about true beauty—that it looks like kindness and generosity.

And oh the joy of a tiny hand in mine.


My heart overflowed watching my children love and guide their children.

I was grateful for a brief Sunday morning “church” for each of us to share what we are grateful for. Most often it was for this special time together as a family.

So I will end with that: Thank You, Lord, for the family you have given and are growing. Thank You that we keep loving each other across the miles and nearby. Thank you for the good, the not-so-good and the very wonderful.

What about you? What happens when your family gets together?

c 2017 Judy Douglass