We headed over to Idaho fairly early Thursday morning, started answering the "are we there questions" by downtown Seattle, dropped off Buca with my brother in Issaquah, and then continued our journey across Washington into northern Idaho. Driving through our state is a very impressive experience; you see everything from coastlines to deserts, to farmlands, to mountains, and an impressive canyon for the Columbia River to travel through. We saw a few wind farms, too, which really impressed Conor. About three hours into our journey, Annika looked toward the back of our car and exclaimed, "We don't have Buca! Where's Buca?" (Apparently, it didn't sink in that we'd left him with Troy at the beginning of our trek.... she was too busy asking how much longer until we'd be at the cabin.)
After many hours, we FINALLY arrived at the beloved cabin. It took a few minutes to say our hellos to my sister (who was wearing the exact same shirt I had on... we are SO connected!!!) and unpack the car. Before I could turn around twice, Annika had her swimsuit and life jacket in hand... and a look of hopeful expectation on her face. I think we were in the lake within 30 minutes of arriving, which is mighty impressive, if you ask me. The lake in August is the perfect temperature; refreshing, but not cold. We were in the lake each day of our visit and couldn't be happier about that fact.
A few hours after our arrival, two of our nieces—Abby and Anna—arrived from San Diego (via Boise). They had an even longer drive than we did, but still managed to have that "whee! we're at the cabin" aura about them. Abby was the driving force for our trip to the cabin this year. She's decided to try out her wings a bit and relocate to Nashville, TN. Knowing she'll be so much further away, we really wanted to see her before her big move and the cabin was the ideal way to make that happen.
On our first full day, Eric and I packed up the kids and headed into Sandpoint, ID to poke around and visit the Pend Oreille Winery for my annual supply of pinot grigio. OK, let's face it... everything we did in Sandpoint was secondary to me getting my wine. ;) We wound up visiting a fun fabric shop (and I got some material to make a couple of skirts), a toy shop (to keep the kids occupied while indoors), a cheese shop, and the winery (yippee!).
After a few hours, we ventured back to the cabin ... and the bees. Have I mentioned the bees yet?? This was the year of the yellow jackets. A few days before we left Seattle, my sister called and said how many yellow jackets there were this year and that she'd have to buy more traps when she went into town... the next day, she went to town to discover they were sold out of yellow jacket traps (whoa!!) so she asked if we could bring some over. I got the brilliant idea of ordering them online and having them arrive before we did so they could start thinning the population (thank you, Amazon Prime!). My theory of thinning the herd was a bit optimistic, however. We'd bait the traps with hot dogs at night when the bees were back at their hives. By 10 the next morning, each of our 6 traps was already half full with those flying annoyances. Amazing, no one got stung during our trip, which is pretty incredible considering how many of them were around at any given time. We noticed that when we woke up each morning, you could hear a distinct hum.... almost like a sound effect from a horror movie. It was crazy! The bees definitely impacted our activities: we didn't eat dinner on the patio and didn't hang out in the gazebo gazing at the lake like in years past. We did discover that the end of the dock was a safe place to relax, which was perfect for all of our swimming activities! On Sunday, Suzanne, Eric, and I had lunch at the marina; Suzanne ordered a salad that had smoked salmon. One yellow jacket was so brazen that it landed on her plate, ignored our waving hands, and started to drag a piece of fish off of her plate!! Needless to say, we grabbed our plates and headed inside at that point. Being the victims of a lunch hijacking was definitely not in our plans for the day!
When not swimming and plotting against the yellow jacket population, we played games, went for walks, and generally relaxed.... which is what the cabin is all about. We had a real treat when Anna pulled out her ukulele. Our kids were HIGHLY impressed with Anna's "little guitar"... and she was a great sport letting our kids have a turn strumming it.
On Sunday, we packed up fairly early so we could get Abby to the Spokane airport in time for her flight to Nashville, so she could go apartment hunting. Knowing her flight wasn't going to wait, definitely made our morning more focused than it otherwise would have been. We had an easy drive home, and Conor even slept for a bit of it (thanks to the Dramamine, I'm sure!!). Annika had her chorus of "how much further?" questions, but they were fewer and further between than on our way to the cabin... I think she was too worn out to notice the time and miles passing by.
|Annika enjoying the lake|
|Suzanne enjoying a bee-free zone|
|Dive, Eric, Dive!|
|Conor taking the plunge into the lake|
|Quite impressive diving form, if you ask me!|
|The lake offers the most spectacular sunsets!|
|Eric and the kids enjoying the hammock|
|Annika was just keeping the sun out of her eyes... she wasn't being overly patriotic|
|Dry... soon to be wet|
|Anna and Abby catching some rays|
|One of our swim-free activities was bubbles; these bubble guns were a huge hit|
|Roasting hot dogs over a fire|
|Abby and Conor having fun|
|Anna helping Conor explore his musical side|
|Anna was not as impressed with Eric's strumming abilities|
|While building a campfire, Eric discovered this little lizard; |
naturally, he had to bring it up to the cabin so we
could meet his new little buddy
|Annika says s'mores are YUMMMY|
|Did I mention the gorgeous sunsets?|
|Auntie Suzanne and Conor walking to the newspaper box|
|Conor throwing rocks into the lake|
|Splashing is fun|
|Our little fish boy|
|In, out, in, out, in, out... Conor's lake to dock pattern|
|Splashing Daddy is mighty fun!|
|Eric playing Ian ball with the kids|
|Abby showing offer her gymnastic abilities|