Monday, May 20, 2013

Mother's Day Picnic

Our tradition for Mother's Day is to go to a picnic at a park, and we alternate garden years with view years. This year we were due for a garden year and I was planning on going to the Crystal Springs Rhododendron garden; however, the weather forecast was for rain, and I know Mr. W really dislikes getting caught in a rainstorm on a picnic. Since the anniversary of the eruption of Mt. St. Helen's is coming up this week, and I haven't been to any of the new visitor centers since they were opened I suggested a mini road trip to Mr. W. Also Our Little Helper's best friend at school loves volcanoes (dressed as a volcano for Hallowe'en, had a volcano themed birthday) so he is getting into them too.

Everyone thought a trip up to the mountain was a great idea so after Mass we packed our picnic basket and headed up to the mountain. We totally nerded out in the car too. Mr. W recently purchased the 1970s radio version of Star Wars, which is longer than the actual movie and provides lots of back story. OLH really wants to watch Star Wars again, but we worry it is too scary for him, and when we attempted to let him watch it with us, he didn't have the patience to sit through it. Listening to the radio version seems to be a good compromise, and he gets to use his imagination too.

It was a fascinating drive, so much of the vegetation has grown back. I hadn't been up there since the early 80s when we stopped to check out the damage to the Toutle River. I remember we collected some ash in little containers. One can still see areas where trees were knocked down and stripped of everything, but live has returned to the mountain; it is amazing what 30 years can do!

OLH was very interested to hear my stories about being just a little younger than him when the volcano erupted and that I remember being at home with both my parents who were listening to the tv all day. I remembered it being daytime, but it was totally black outside and they kept pulling back the curtains to peer outside. (And by curtains, I mean hippie blankets tacked up over the windows.) I also had memories of walking to kindergarten wearing a little mask over my face because there was ash in the air. But when sharing memories with friends during high school, Ms. Mc pointed out that we wouldn't have started kindergarten until September, and the volcano erupted in May. SO what on earth were my parents doing letting a 4 yr old walk around the neighborhood after a volcanic eruption. When I questioned my parents about it later they said there were still days months after the eruption when there would be ash warnings so that is why I remember walking around with a face mask.

Once we finally made it up to the Johnson Ridge visitor center I felt really bad because I hadn't packed outerwear for the boys and it was drizzly and there was snow on the ground. Whoops! The boys didn't seem to mind at all. They enjoyed the reenactment movie at the center and the light up exhibits.
 We also took some photos of the crater, but getting little boys to pose is an effort in futility.
 It was too rainy to have a picnic outside so we moved the booster seat so we could all squish into the back of the micro van for a car picnic. We had so much fun, even though I was pretty squished ad lot feeling in my feet.  As a family we can never get enough cheese or fruits.
Showing off his combination of baguette, salami, cheese, and grape.

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