When we made plans to visit Washington, my friend sent me a text of ideas of things we could do and see while we were there. As I read through the list, one activity jumped out at me: Mount St. Helens – the volcano. It erupted just before I was born and yet I heard stories of it growing up – ash fell all the way in Idaho where we lived. It was a big deal and I wanted to see it almost 40 years after it’s eruption.
When I read the list to the kids, surprisingly everyone’s top choice was the volcano. Except Cannon – he thought we were messing with him because “volcanos are just pretend and only in movies.” He was going to have his mind blown!
It was a littler further of a drive than we anticipated – although we could’ve stopped at a “viewing site” much earlier in the drive – we were determined to see it up close and it was worth it.
We watched a movie about the eruption in the visitor’s center. I was prepared to wrangle a two-year-old through it and eventually walk out. To my surprise he was captivated by the poorly produced 1990 film – and he repeated over and over again, “Volcano broken, it’s broken”. He wins the award for the most excited because that excitement is still strong. Every mountain is now a volcano and he repeats in his yelling talking voice, “Cano, Cano Cano.” This visitor’s center proved to be interesting to every age group!
Here’s a before picture (from here) and how it stands now.
This valley has been desolate for years and years due to the ash and eruption – and yet new life has sprung forth and beauty is being restored. The landscape is forever changed, but it still has its beauty – just far less trees.
We were there for hours. And even then we were pulling the kids away. They could’ve stayed there all day! They already have it on our to-do list if we ever make it back to Washington.
The funny thing about road trips is once you’ve driven 17 hours, the idea of driving another six seems totally reasonable. That’s the logic that landed us in Washington. I was hoping to see a college roommate and good friend this summer. We were making plans for her to drive down to Idaho and just two weeks before setting out on our summer adventures I had a crazy thought to drive the gang to see her.
When I ran it by the kids they didn’t register that it would take 6 hours (each way) to drive there, they only heard Washington – and they’ve never been to Washington so it was a unanimous yes! And we don’t regret that decision one bit. Washington was just as beautiful as I remembered and even more fun than the kids had hoped for. We were all reunited for a couple short days and they are some of the most memorable from our summer.
The beautiful green lush landscape was a stark contrast from where we came from and the weather was ideal – we took advantage by being outside the whole time we were there.
Hunter’s skateboarding skills are minimal and yet he had the confidence (or lack of better judgement) to attempt to ride this hill. I walked on to the scene just in time to catch this picture. I could tell at this point he was picking up too much speed and I started yelling for him to hit the grass and take a softer fall.
It was too late. He was out of control which led to him putting his foot down in an attempt to ditch the skateboard and make a run of it. That was also poor judgement because as soon as that second foot hit the pavement his body was going too fast for his feet and he proceeded to land face first, arms outstretched and skid several feet down the path. I was already running to him at this point and I reached him face down on the pavement, crying and all bloodied up. His friend told him that’s the life of a thrasher! 🙂
I’m pretty sure he’ll think twice before attempting a stunt like that again!
We explored the Columbia River – the largest river in the pacific northwest. It was a little chilly for my kids liking but that didn’t stop them from enjoying themselves. We’re just used to bath water pools!
The weather was beautiful and warm while we were there (which we learned was not normal) but as to not disappoint – Washington showed it’s true weather the day we were leaving which was slightly more chilly and some light showers. We made a stop at Multnomah Falls on our way home – just outside of Portland. We were disappointed to learn the hike was closed due to the serious wildfires last summer – but it was still a breathtaking pit stop. We’ll make our way back and hopefully we’ll be able to hike it then.
The best part of the drive is following the Columbia River for two hours – it’s beautiful green scenery like this the whole drive. I wish I wasn’t driving so I could’ve enjoyed it a little bit more.
Our summer adventures always come about in an interesting way. There’s usually at least one event we’re trying to attend or plan around and then it’s a puzzle to make everything fit and our timeline work. Our road trip looked something like this:
Drive 4 1/2 hours, stay for a week. Drive 6 1/2 hours. Stay 2 nights. Drive 5 hours, stay 5 nights. Drive 6 hours, stay 3 nights. Drive 6 hours, stay 7 nights. Drive 2 hours, stay 3 nights. Drive 2 hours, stay 7 nights. Drive 17 hours in one day to make it home. In all that time we saw Arizona, Utah, Idaho, Washington and Oregon. In all those nights away from home, we spent 2 1/2 weeks in my childhood home in Idaho.
Its hard to describe my excitement for heading home during the summer. I look forward to it all year long and even when I stay for a long time – it never quite seems long enough. My mom worries as the kids get older they’ll get bored and won’t want to come. I beg to differ. Because in some magical way, I’m passing on my love for Idaho to my kids.
A summer in Idaho means spending time with family, going to parks, learning the sport of fishing and hunting, living the farm life, exploring and seeing new sights, pretending (if just for a couple weeks) that we’re not city slickers. Going to Idaho for me is slowing down and although I don’t think it would suit me long term – I love it for the summer. (Especially when the alternative is staying in Arizona where I fear melting!)
And after being away from our home for a month and a half Steve asked, “So you’re ready to come home?” My response – I could stay longer. I love being home and getting stuff done, but I also love living our summer Idaho life.
Here’s Idaho summed up in a few pictures…
We celebrated Steve this weekend as he grew older and wiser. Family in the morning – his favorite sushi restaurant for lunch with his brothers – a little overnight staycation in Scottsdale with good food and great entertainment (improv comedy club).
A couple things we love about him:
He sings songs and makes the kids guess if they’re real or fake.
He’s got a sweet tooth…as long as it’s chocolate, chocolate, chocolate! I think he partially likes his sweets so rich because he knows he won’t have to share it with me!
He works alongside the kids. He knows its the only way to really teach them how to work.
One of his very favorite shirts was a gift from our friends and it has several cat puns on it (from when he worked at Petsmart). He wears it with pride and it makes me laugh every time he puts it on.
He is the best partner when it’s comes to parenting. He plays a large role in the “mundane of parenthood”. He’s on diaper duty, bed time routines and he’s far better when it comes to sick kids. I don’t mind cleaning up the messes but his compassion shines in those moments.
He’s simple (which is why we’re a good balance) and his needs are minimal.
He loves children’s movies and he’s always up for a family movie night. The kids know he has his favorites and often times will protest movie night even before the movie is announced because they know he always leans towards Mega Mind, Kung Fu Panda (the original) and Lego Batman Movie. He’s predictable.
Is he not the cutest!
Happy Birthday Steve-O!
Because a week at Lake Powell always has too many pictures for one post…here’s part 2, more evidence of of the good times that were had.
And all muscles… 🙂
See last year’s Lake Powell trip here.
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