by Randi Rubenstein 

This spring, we went on a family ski vacation in Colorado, where the days were sunny, the snow was fluffy, and the smell of marijuana was plentiful. Oh Colorado — why have you made being the parent of a teenager even harder? And more importantly, why didn’t you pass this law thirty years ago? I’m sort of just kidding. 

In our regular life, my family lives in the concrete jungle of Houston Texas. Houston earned the title of the fattest city in America title a few years back. Impressive, right? 

No, Houston doesn’t have a multimillion-dollar ad campaign (that I know of) attracting the couch potatoes of the world. It can be difficult to be active in a fresh-air sort of way in H-town.

The weather is hot, humid, and mosquito-ey much of the year. Let’s just say it’s not exactly a paradise situation for those of us who enjoy being outdoors.

I love fresh air and sunshine. I crave it. My husband loves sports like surfing and snowboarding rather than working out or going to a gym. I dream of sunny “un-buggy” California days where we could eat every meal al fresco and basically live life outside surrounded by dogs, kids, and a sense of freedom.

The freezing-cold buildings leave me with a constant feeling of damp discomfort during the excruciating summer months. The minute I enter a sixty-seven-degree air-conditioned building, the hair on my legs begins to grow back from the goosebumps. Okay, I’m exaggerating a little. I had the hair lasered off my legs years ago (if you haven’t jumped on the depilatory train, what the heck are you waiting for?!)  

Alright, enough about hair removal. And complaining about Houston weather. And admitting to having a major case of geography envy. The truth is, we do wish we lived somewhere more beautiful and more conducive to an active outdoor lifestyle. I know that kids thrive outside — exploring in nature, playing with friends, using their imaginations. Kids are more alive outside. As a result, our family spends a good amount of time heading out of town and hitting scenic spots where we can unplug and, well, breathe deeply.    

But as my twelve-year-old son, Cory, said recently on a short scenic hike while visiting Colorado, “I would love to live here and get to explore all the time, but I’d want my friends from Houston to be here with me.” 

Being outdoors and exploring natural beauty is my family’s happy place. However, I find that it’s the people in your everyday environment that create the most memorable moments in your life. My family lives in a big city inhabited by a warm, friendly, and colorful group of interesting humans. 

Someone recently told me that Houston is the most ethnically-diverse city in the world. I don’t even know how to fact-check that, but it sounds way more brag-worthy than the fat thing, so I’m just going with that for now. As Cory said, “It would be great to combine Colorado with the friends we love back home”.  

We adore the people that live in our concrete jungle. I live in Houston. I love to be outside. I walk my dogs during the heat of the summer. I commit to the sweat and showering more than once a day. It’s part of the deal, and I smell good most of the time.

And if you are lucky enough to get both beautiful outdoor scenery shared with a beautiful community of friends and family, well then, you, my friend, have truly hit the jackpot in my book. 


Randi helps parents, particularly ones with a strongwilled kiddo, learn tools to raise confident, kind, and selfmotivated kids by improving the conversations in your family. As the founder of Mastermind Parenting, host of the Mastermind Parenting podcast, and author of The Parent Gap, Randi helps parents keep cool and replace old patterns. Randi’s parenting motto is: “When our thoughts grow, the convos in our home flow. To learn more, go to