Thursday, September 7, 2017

Bottle Bay Visit 2017

At the end of August, the kids and I packed up and made the long drive over to my sister/brother-in-law's cabin in Idaho. (Eric couldn't go due to work ... in fact, he wasn't even in the state!) We had a 5-day getaway planned and I could hardly wait to get there and soak up the goodness that is visiting the cabin.

Of course, we wound up hitting the road two hours later than expected due to a variety of unexpected scheduling additions and delays, but eventually we were on the road. We arrived at the cabin around 6:30 and quickly unloaded the van; dusk was settling in and I really didn't want to unload things in the dark. We got settled, ate dinner, and basically fell into bed. Whew!

The next day was much more "cabin" for us. We played in the lake, read, went for a walk, and generally relaxed all while waiting for my brother and his family to arrive. (Our nephew's school had a last-minute delay to the new school year, so the first day of school slid by a week ... hence, they could enjoy a bit of cabin life, too!) I brought my ever-growing stack of backlogged magazines with me and happily lounged by the lake sifting through them while sipping on iced tea and watching the kids swam themselves into an exhausted state of pruniness. The family at the cabin next door had kids who are close to our kids' in age, so an instant play group formed. The kids had so much fun playing with each other, swimming, and squirting each other with squirt guns.

First morning at the cabin

What a view!

Our "it is too early/cool to get in the lake" walk
Little fishies


Canonball 2

Happy lake kids

Silly boy

Ahhh... flotation devices galore

Beautiful sunset

Hello, moon

On Friday, the plan was for the kids and me to go into town (past town, to be exact) to go horseback riding. After that we'd meet up (in town) with Troy, Staci, Kat, and Ian for lunch and general poking around before heading back to the cabin for more time in the water. It was another hot day, so the allure of the cool water wasn't lost on any of us.

As the kids and I drove out to meet Jennifer and her horses, I found myself praising all of the unknown people who invented GPS and cell phones. I never would have found the gal's property had it not been for my trusty phone's GPS. As we drew near the gal's road, I realized there was a rafter of wild turkeys (yes, that is the collective noun for turkeys ... I just looked it up!) hanging out on the side of the road. Of course, the kids and I gawked for a moment before continuing on our merry way. (That's the advantage of driving in the country -- you can slow down to gawk and no one else is around to get annoyed!)

Now, I know it isn't a surprise to read I absolutely loved our time with the horses. Yes, I am a horse nut, but it goes beyond that. Jennifer, the gal who owns/operates Adventure Pony Rides, was amazing with the kids. She really is an educator at heart. She taught Annika and Conor about saddling a horse, the names of the various pieces of tack, why horses do certain things, etc. She was great! Annika was paired with a horse named Angel. Conor was originally paired with a pony, but it was too "wobbily" for him, so he upgraded to a horse named Data. I was on a horse named Joe.

We rode around Jennifer's property, which included a few trails that forced us to duck under low branches. Part of Jennifer's instruction for the kids included how to do that and not get stuck on the saddle horn, so yeah for that! Conor was a little out of his element once he went from a small pony to a big horse; his was taller than mine but was a gentle giant. That said, seeing Conor wasn't as comfortable, Jennifer walked with Conor until he felt more at ease. She was also great about pointing out to me where I should set up my horse to get good photos of the kids.  Annika and Conor did an amazing job on their horses and their increased confidence by the end was very evident. When our time on the horses was done, the kids got a chance to interact with some of Jennifer's other animals, including her goats and chickens. Conor proved, once again, that he is quite the egg collecting guy! The kids brushed and fed the goats, and fed the chickens .. oh, and the wild Canada goose that recently adopted Jennifer! We had great time with Jennifer and her critters, and it was a new adventure near the cabin we hadn't tried before. Plus, any time I'm around horses makes me happy as can be. :)

Learning how to saddle a horse/pony

Annika on Angel
Conor and Data getting to know each other

Cowboy Conor

Trail kids


Conor and Data "standing on a stump" trick

Annika and Angel "standing on a stump" trick

Conor and Data

Annika and Angel

The three Olsons just horsin' around together 

Annika and Angel

Conor looking at Data's very blue eyes

All done riding

Annika learning about farm work

Annika brushing a kid

Conor the goat brusher

Conor giving the chickens a snack

Conor the farm hand

A girl and her hen .... a hen and her girl

After our time was up, we headed into town to meet up with Troy and his crew for lunch and to poke around Sandpoint together. Of course, we eventually found ourselves at the bridge ordering gelato (yum!) and found a few souvenirs to bring home. A grocery store trip was also in the plans, so Troy took Ian, Annika, and Conor back to the cabin so they could get in the lake sooner. Staci, Kat, and I stayed in town a bit longer to hit the Pend Orielle Winery (duh!), Pour Authority to get Eric's growler (aka souvenir) filled, and then the grocery store. When we were at the wine shop, Staci and I had a chance to try a few of the wine options, which naturally made us happy and quite willing to pick up some new wines. Oh darn!

On the stairs at the bridge

Cute Idaho wildlife


A kid in her candy store

Happy place

Sign on a plastic chair next to the newspaper
boxes at the end of the road

Saturday was all about being at (and in) the lake! The kids played and played with the neighbor kids and swam until they could barely move. Ian and Conor spent quite a bit of time building a sand village, which Staci and I accidentally flattened when we were carrying the peddle boat (sorry about that, boys!). The peddle boat was a big source of entertainment for our crew again this year. It was fun to see how the kids are getting old enough to go out on it on their own (within very specific boundaries) and explore their independence a bit. The big news of the day was Annika passed the cabin swim test, which means she doesn't have to wear a life jacket when she's swimming around the dock now. Way to go, Annika!!

Ian and Conor building their sand village

Annika preferred lake over sand

Cruising around the lake


Splashing kiddo

Staci and Kat taking a peddle boat cruise around the lake

Troy brought these flamingo coasters for an
added bit of vacation flare

Happy, happy lake kids

Conor and the inflatable whale

Troy, Staci, and Kat lounging in the gazebo

Good night, Bottle Bay

Before we knew it, Sunday rolled around and real life was waiting in the wings for us. It was a bittersweet day for me because the cabin is so marvelously peaceful and has a difference pace than our usual frantic life, but we missed Eric like mad and were anxious to get home to see him. Our drive was long .... longer than expected due to construction on I-90, but we eventually made it. Troy and his crew were about 10 minutes behind us, so we were able to give each other traffic clues and detour routes, including one through Cle Elum that saved 38 minutes, per our maps app. Crazy stuff!!! Eventually, we pulled into our driveway and were welcomed home with loves of hugs from a smiling Eric. While it was an amazing trip, it sure was good to get home to him.

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