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Children / Colorado Livin' / Family Travel / Humor

The day my daughter and I almost froze to death beside a hot tub

[photopress:doghouse.jpg,full,pp_image]OK, so maybe that title is a wee bit of an exaggeration. More like the day Haddie and I almost lost a few fingers to frostbite as my two-year-old son Bode watched us as he played chess.

You didn’t know a toddler could pass a pawn? Me neither.

A little bit of background: my family recently went to Keystone, which is one of the few major resorts in Colorado I had yet to visit since moving here six years ago. I fell in love with the area and am already planning a return trip in January to ski and skate on their huge lake, which boasts the largest Zamboni-maintained outdoor skating rink in North America. And for this Canuck who grew up skating on frozen lakes and rivers, this will surely provide warm memories of my frozen nose hairs.

[photopress:IMG_0886_1.jpg,thumb,pp_image]It was opening weekend for the resort but instead of hitting the slopes, we played in the village and dined at The Bighorn Steakhouse overlooking the lake. The food was delicious, the ambiance refined yet family-friendly and my children miraculously ate every last bite of their prime rib dinner. As for me, I am still trying to work off the 5,000 calories I consumed from the huge dessert platter (click picture to enlarge and yes, we pretty much ate everything).

We stayed at The Timbers, one of SummitCove’s more luxurious properties. Forget the gourmet kitchen and slope-side views–what really made this condo a winner was their on-site pack-and-play, children’s utensils and dishes, and humidifiers. It was my home away from home.

Or so I wish.

But where was I? Oh yes, back to how we almost froze to death. Our [much nicer] home away from home also included an indoor/outdoor pool, a hot tub with a waterfall and a fire pit. Saturday morning, the kids and I were banging away on the lobby’s grand piano and playing with the chess pieces when I noticed the fire pit outside was lit. And then I got a brilliant idea.

Or so I thought.

The kids and I would dash out there, pose for a picture and rush back in before you could say H-Y-P-O-T-H-E-R-M-I-A. Bode begged off our plan, preferring to stay inside and explore the intricacies of chess. So it was just Haddie and me.

We dashed, we posed and we ran back…to a locked patio door. And imagine my delight to discover my room key did not work. I was in a T-shirt, Haddie was barefoot, it was cold, my husband was blissfully tucked away in our room, we were in an enclosed courtyard and the building was a ghost town.

[photopress:Bodechess.jpg,full,pp_image]There was only Bode.

Have you ever tried to convince a 2-year-old to interrupt something he is engrossed in to help you? The strategy is completely different than with an older child. There is no threatening that you’ll take the car away. There are no bribes for new toys. There is just begging. And jumping jacks. And more begging.

And his reaction? He smiled. Even laughed. And then he turned back to his chess game.

This carried on for about 15 minutes. I was just about to hop into the hot tub to warm up when he finally grew tired of our cat-and-frozen-mouse game and waddled over to the door. He gave me one last devious smile and opened it.

I didn’t know whether to hug him or smack his insolent little bottom.

I went for the hug.

But have revoked all future driving privileges until he is 80.

Amber Johnson
Author: Amber Johnson

Amber is the founder and editor of Mile High Mamas, travel writer and former columnist for The Denver Post. She is a passionate community builder and loves the outdoors. She has two awesome teens and is happily married to a man obsessed with growing The Great Pumpkin.

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Amber is the founder and editor of Mile High Mamas, travel writer and former columnist for The Denver Post. She is a passionate community builder and loves the outdoors. She has two awesome teens and is happily married to a man obsessed with growing The Great Pumpkin.


  1. What a little stinker! I’m happy he let you in before you froze! Happy Day!

  2. Lol!!!!

  3. Too funny! (Now…)

  4. Gee. Your support is overwhelming. 🙂 Don’t tell me you’ve never been locked out?!

  5. oh that is SO cute! I can’t blame you for hugging him… he is just too cute for trouble. I bet 15 minutes seemed much longer when you are freezing to death.

  6. I think you should revoke driving privileges forever!! I am not looking forward to these experiences of trying to convince my little children to help me! I got a good dose of that being a nanny. And its even worse when you aren’t the mom because they are not afraid to tell you no because you aren’t their mom. SO FRUSTRATING!

  7. The irony? Jamie was tucked away in the room watching people freeze to death on the Iditarod….

  8. He is stinkin’ cute! It would be hard to stay upset with that one.

  9. Brrrrr! So funny.

    But what about the pawn!?

  10. The child was banned from returning to the chess board.

    Mostly because Haddie and I had to go back to the room to warm up. 🙂

  11. I love how fantastically active you and your family are!! What great experiences for them….
    except, of course, nearly freezing! You poor things! Made me giggle, though………

  12. Oh no!! I didn’t see *that one* coming!! I’m so glad you didn’t freeze to death. (And, would it be totally unsupportive to admit I laughed out loud?) 😉


  13. Amber,

    being locked out is the worst feeling. I’m glad he finally let you in.

  14. Brrr – I’m cold just reading that!

    Two year olds have to be C.U.T.E. otherwise they would be D.E.A.D. 🙂

  15. I am just happy to hear he gave in & helped. I can imagine my kids smiling & walking off. 🙂

  16. Sorry, Amber- Like i said on FB, next time we will make sure there is no hot tub.

  17. Sorry, but this is pretty funny. You know, one of those scenarios that are scripted out for a comedy sitcom.

    Even funnier about the little man. I have envisioned circumstances like being locked out of the van with my children in the van. Kaelen would be frantic trying to figure out how to get me in while Masyn would be showing her delight at the situation by waving her middle digit at me and honking the horn to attract more attention.

  18. Oh, if only this had never happened to me!
    Once, while pregnant with #3, I accidently locked us all out with the dog. Barefoot. Requiring I hike across those sharp little landscaping rocks to get to the neighbor to get held.

    Oh, I’ll just have to blog about that one someday. Because it involves me driving somewhere barefoot and a potty training toddler…

  19. …but it wasn’t freezing…

  20. There is something to be said for sub-zero temperatures:


  21. I bet the next time you will take towels and warm robes. I had to chuckle, but it could have been worse.

    Did the kids enjoy Keystone? Was there enough to do with them?

    We’re going to Breckenridge over Thanksgiving and wondering whether to leave our skis behind. Unsure if there will be enough snow and/or whether we should just relax for a few days instead of skiing.

  22. Oh, I’m sorry but that is too funny.

    Now that first picture of you with them in the stroller–WHERE ARE YOUR MITTS???

  23. you always have these kinds of things happening to you =) i would have bee pounding on that glass and yelling in sheer panic.

    glad you had such a good time up there. i love keystone, too.

  24. Too funny. At least he finally came to your rescue! My son likes to “play” chess with his dad.

  25. Sorry for laughing, but it is funny…

  26. What a fun trip…too funny!

  27. Amber,

    This is too funny… But I did lock myself outside of the car, with my car keys already warming up the car as well with my house keys inside my purse on the back seat of the car…
    It was snowing really hard. Thankfully my neighbor showed up and I called my husband who came to rescued me.



    That is just funny! I’m glad the little stinker eventually let you in.

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