Friday, February 24, 2012

Sharing Our World

When we first told our family and friends that we wanted to move from North Carolina to Idaho, they thought we were crazy. Even after we explained—listing all of our reasons—they still shook their heads; they just didn't "get it." So when we have visitors, it's the perfect opportunity to "show vs. tell" show off the beauty and special wonder of the place we now call home, and watch understanding dawn on their faces.

My son and daughter came to visit us last week for the first time since we moved, and we were so excited. Finally...they would get to experience what made us fall in love with Idaho.

When they got off the plane, we immediately whisked them off to the Northern Quest Casino, just a few minutes from the Spokane airport for a couple of hours of slots and blackjack. My son apparently inherited some of his grandmother's luck, as he was "up" when we decided to head home for the evening.

After a big dinner and a good night's sleep, Day 2 dawned early since both kids were still on East Coast time. They decided it was time to go hiking, so we bundled up and took them exploring around our property and the adjoining acreage. We had about a foot of snow in the forest, but only a couple of inches on top of an inch of ice on our private road. Less than 50 feet from our door, my feet went out from under me and I ended up flat on my back, cracking my head pretty good on the ice. I haven't seen stars like that in years! Luckily I wasn't hurt badly, and we were able to hike a couple of miles and take some pics.

Then we hopped in the truck and made our way down the mountain to do some sightseeing. We had to stop to take some pics along Lake Pend Oreille; even with the cloudy skies and snow on the way, the view is outstanding.

Our first stop was at The Wolf People, our local wolf sanctuary. There was only one wolf available at the shop that day, a five-year-old female named Legacy. She's half Arctic and half timber wolf, and such a beauty. Doesn't she look hungry? She's a sweetie, though, and even licked my hand through the fence.

Hopefully they'll have some wolf puppies this spring. We'll be checking back with towards the middle of April to see if any are expected. If so, we're definitely going back!

Next up:  Time to hit the Winter Carnival in Sandpoint and check out skijoring. We'd been hearing about this unique sport for months now and have been looking forward to checking it out. The premise: one horse, one rider, and one skier on a tow rope navigate an obstacle course with three small jumps, competing with others for the best time. Events are divided by age and gender; we happened to be there for the women/children events.

It was snowing like crazy, as you can see, and we snuggled up in the stands to watch the fun. The announcer was a hoot, whipping the local crowd up into a frenzy of excitement.

Here's a very short video of one of the contestants in the women/children's competition. Don't you just love the cute tutu she's wearing? Video is so much better for get the whole experience: the sights and sounds as well as the excitement.

I think the kids spent more time at the concession stand than watching the events, but it was definitely an adventure. Several bowls of chili, cups of spiked coffee, and hot chocolate with marshmallows helped make the cold easier to take.

After skijoring, it was time for some adult refreshments, so we stopped by the Laughing Dog brewery. They set us up with beer samplers—which were much enjoyed—then took us on a tour of the brewery.

We got a kick out of the "dog" theme at the brewery...the samplers were nestled into wooden trays shaped like dog bones, and the bar mix was served in stainless steel dog bowls. Too cute!

The next day we hiked up to our neighbor's home, about 200 feet above us up the mountain. Don't fool yourself...200 feet in elevation means at least a one-mile hike, all uphill. I was huffing and puffing by the time we made it to the top.

He has the best views in the area, and graciously allowed us to come take pictures from his deck.

My new camera has a panorama stitching feature, and this was the perfect opportunity to try it out for the first time:

We took the back way down the mountain towards home, slogging through knee-deep snow in some places. And yes, I managed to fall flat on my back yet again. *sigh* My firstborn couldn't resist the opportunity to tease his mom.

Day 3 it snowed some more, leaving us plenty of snow on the deck to make a huge snowman. We had hoped for a photo op with him, but unfortunately the snowman only lasted a few hours...the temps started rising and he soon crashed.

Every afternoon we played cards...a game my mom taught us called "Tic"...then had a big dinner, followed by more card-playing. Over the visit we enjoyed Pioneer Woman's Perfect Pot Roast, my own Fancy Chicken, perfect burgers and dogs, steaks, and hubby's fantastic rotisseried pork loin, plus we snacked on not one but two batches of Texas Caviar. At my baby girl's request, I made her favorite Watergate Cake, which amazingly lasted us the whole week. It's going to take me a while to lose the poundage I put on over those few days!

Watergate Cake
Funniest moment of the week: I was sitting in the hot tub on our deck with my hubby and son, watching the snowflakes float down. We had about two inches of snow on the deck, so I turned to my jokester son and dared him to make a snow angel. He was reluctant, but couldn't pass up a triple-dog-dare. He hopped out of the hot tub, ran over to the living room window and knocked on it so his sister would watch, then flopped down in the snow to make a very enthusiastic snow angel. I laughed so hard that my sides hurt!

Taking the kids to the airport was so sad...I wanted them to stay longer. But before they left, we managed to finally get one family shot:

The weather was so funky while the kids were here; it snowed every day. They got to see northern Idaho at its winter best...from sugarcoated to clumped with snow. Unfortunately it was misty and gray most of the time they were here, generally looking like this:

The day after they left, the sun came out and the view was back in all its glory. Unfortunately, the kids missed it:

They also missed the herd of deer that showed up the next day. I snapped this shot the day after they left. Isn't she adorable?

While preparing this post today, I heard an odd screeching noise coming from outside. I grabbed my camera, thanking my lucky stars it had the long lens attached, and ran out on the deck to catch my first good pics of a bald eagle...perched at the top of the large pine on the back of our property. But I'll save those pics for another day. ;o)



  1. Wow! Sounds like you had a wonderful time other then all the falls you had... I hope you are okay!
    I LOOOOOOOVE the panorama view you took with your camera, it is BEAUTIFUL.
    You sure have some good looking kids Pam! Your son is handsome and your daughter is so beautiful. I'm very happy you all got a chance to be together. Do the kids understand now why you moved to Idaho or do they think you're crazy because all they saw was snow?
    I've seen the skijoring on TV and thought it looked like fun!
    Okay, I have alot to get caught up on-Egad! But I enjoyed your post so much!

  2. I'm so glad you shared photos of the visit! Looks like you had lots of fun! The hot tub in the snow sounds amazing! We did that one year in Vail, Co...refreshing! Enjoy your weekend! ♥♥♥

  3. Pam, Thanks for sharing your special time. With our oldest only having one more year of high school, I have to face the reality that our lives are going to be very different in the near future. I can't imagine being in different time zones...

    I'm sure everyone who comes to visit you can't wait to come back and enjoy your new home. I can see why you love it. ~Ann

  4. Hello Pam-
    What Beautiful photo's. Looks and sounds like you had a wonderful time!
    Hope your doing okay after your fall. I did that once a few years ago, fell on the ice in the driveway and smacked my head.
    What Beautiful children you have. Love the deer picture at the end. Enjoy your weekend!

  5. Hi Pam,
    It looks and sounds like you all had a great time. Beautiful photos!! How pretty it is where you live. So glad you were not seriously hurt when you fell those times.

  6. What a special time you must have had. Have you convinced either one to make a move out west?

  7. YOur time with your kids sounds absolutely perfect! It's so hard saying good bye at the airport. It's why I have a love hate relationship with them, lol...They bring us the people we love...and take them away again! Katie

  8. What wonderful pictures!!!!!! Great looking family for sure! Everyone looks like they're having a great time!!

  9. Hi Pam:
    Your children looked like they had a great time with their parents, and what gorgeous views they got to take in. They had to see why Mom and Dad wanted to move to the Northern West Coast. It's so beautiful, Pam. The shot of the deer is beautiful as well. I can't wait to see the photos of the eagle. You know if you visited my blog lately that I have the live web came link on my sidebar and videos of the female eagle laying her two eggs. If you can't tell by now I'm in love with the Bald Eagles and totally fascinated!!

  10. What a perfect family holiday! The food sounds wonderful - as do the activities. And what a fine and handsome family you make! I can see that your lovely daughter and handsome son (is he available??)get their good-look genes from both sides of the family. Glad you survived the falls...yikes. And what stunning views from your neighbor's!! It almost makes me think I'd like Idaho! ;o) Couldn't watch the video though - said it was "private"??? And - ummmm...would have liked to have seen a photo of your handsome first-born making that snow angel. ;o) Smiles & Hugs ~ Robin

  11. Yes, Idaho is so beautiful. Especially Northern. I was born and raised in Idaho and reside in South Central. Glad you moved here and are enjoying it. I will love following your blog. Thanks for sharing your backyard. -Steph-


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