Night Walking

For the past two nights, while staying at Fry Lodge Seattle, we’ve taken a family walk after dinner. Last night we went to the waterfront and enjoyed the telescopes at Pier 66. Tonight we ventured into Seattle Center, which has the best playground we’ve ever experienced – complete with a vertical ropes course leading to two long, high twisting slides. Both kids loved this new find. Henry’s only complaint was that the spiral slide “smells like armpits.” This was good family fun, and I hope we make a habit of these evening walks.

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North Idaho Vacation Part 2

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We wrapped up our smokey North Idaho vacation with four days in Coeur d’Alene. Grandpa Mustache and Grandma White Wine took the kids for two days while Kristine and I got some overdue alone time. We also hung out with our friends, Jim and Kristy Womble, who took me on an 18-mile bike ride on the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes. On Saturday, we had a BBQ with the rest of the Fry siblings, who spent some time on the washers court, while Henry and Ruby turned into prunes in the pool. A great vacation with family and friends.

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Fry Lodge Priest Lake

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The Fry Family Quartet is spending some quality time in North Idaho this week. We’ve spent the first part of our trip at beautiful Priest Lake in the northern panhandle, where brother and sister-in-law, Mike and Alicia, have hosted us. This place brings back so many wonderful memories, and it’s been fun to watch Henry and Ruby experience many of the same things that I did as a little boy. They have spent half their time here in the water – swimming, floating and frolicking. Henry put to use his newly acquired kayaking skills when he and I circumnavigated Four Mile Island, which sits in front of Mike and Alicia’s house. Ruby has fearlessly taken to jumping off the dock and swimming to new depths. Last night Carl and Kaye arrived, followed by sister Kelley today.

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Today we took a long boat ride to Upper Priest Lake, which is connected to the bigger Priest Lake by a narrow, two-mile-long channel. What a beautiful tour of this pristine country. Once at our destination, we had a picnic followed by a swim in amazingly clear water.

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To remind us just how fragile paradise is, there has been a constant smoky haze hanging over the lake since we arrived, caused by multiple forest fires in the surrounding area, the closest of which is not yet contained. The fire is on the west side of the lake. We are on the east side. Though there is talk of evacuating the west side of Priest, we are in no danger. Scary nevertheless.

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Four Mile Island in front of Fry Lodge Priest Lake

Sister Rita

As I was checking out the Cairnwood Estate mansion, I came across John Schmidt on the stairs. I asked him if he needed any pointers as he prepared to give his speech about his sister, Rita, whose wedding reception was taking place at this beautiful setting outside Philadelphia (think Great Gatsby). John informed me he was planning to sing his toast, at which point I was certain I would be of no help. I couldn’t wait to see how it’d turn out. Suffice it to say, John gave the best wedding toast I’ve ever heard. Fortunately, another guest had the presence of mind to capture the whole thing on video.

The Schmidt family never fails to put on a great party. The wedding reception for Rita and Andrew was no exception. The Fry Family Quartet enjoyed every minute of it – all the way through the second band’s final rendition of “Shout” at the end of the night. And, of course, it was great to see all of Kristine’s extended family, of which I am proud to consider myself a part.  It’s fun to watch Henry and Ruby interact with their cousins and second cousins. What a great family.

SchmidtyButts Bus

After a weekend in Philadelphia, we drove to the Jersey Shore, where we are now, to spend a few days at the Schmidt Shore house. Today we enjoyed some beach time and several swims in the Atlantic, which is much warmer than the Salish Sea. As much as we love Lopez Island, it’s nice to chill out with family in another part of the world once in a while.

Jersey Shore