Last month Brooke, Ellis and I headed up to the Mount Washington Resort for my mother's 70th birthday. My sister's family loves the spot so we went to bask in the family-centered activities that make four grandchildren feel they are in the most amazing place on earth. This in turn makes their grandparents feel the same way. My unit came up a day late: Ellis was imprisoned in his home with TWO parents simultaneously processing a stomach bug while his cousins were swimming, playing bingo, going to story time and seeing bears sneak into the trash without him. He handled the poor stroke of luck well . . . except when he wasn't. The only thing worse than waiting out a stomach bug is being yelled at by a heart-broken four-year-old while you do it. But we eventually made it, and the family experience was as good as advertised. Also, it dawned on me transporting family-time-quality-togetherness to a neutral location without expectations embedded in the paint did wonders for family bonding. Everyone was on their best behavior. Adults and children alike. What a great present. Happy Birthday, mama!