Henry Makes a Wish

Henry turned 11 this week. For his birthday, he requested: a steak and potato dinner, cupcakes, and a day of skiing with his friends. We obliged.

Advertisements

Puke and Rally

“What a perfect day” I said to myself as I drove our minivan up the winding road leading to Mt. Baker with the rest of the Fry Family Quartet this morning. Blue sky. Cool temperatures. No wind. A perfect day for skiing. And then, from the back seat, Ruby said, “I puked.”

I quickly pulled over to the shoulder, opening the windows as the car slowed to a stop and Kristine crawled into the back to inspect the situation. Yes, Ruby had become car sick. All over her shirt, snow pants and her brother’s hot cocoa travel mug. We then realized we had no towels and no change of clothes for Ruby. Note to self: give the kids Dramamine before driving up the mountain. We decided we’d buy a new shirt at the ski shop and power through.

Within a few minutes of continuing on our way, Ruby was in good spirits – making jokes about the hint of cinnamon in her vomit from the waffles she’d eaten for breakfast. Pretty soon, it was the rest of us who thought we’d be sick.

With our mini disaster out of the way for the day, we proceeded to the mountain for what turned out to be an amazing day of skiing. Henry, Ruby and I roamed around the mountain while Kristine caught up on her reading and people watching in the lodge.

Our second nauseating moment came later in the day when we witnessed a naked skier jump into the slalom racing course. Did I mention it was cold?

I’m proud of the entire Fry Family Quartet today. Way to puke and rally, Ruby.

Happy New Year from Fry Lodge

The Fry Lodge Year-in-Review video is a good opportunity to reflect on an entire year of adventure, change and growth for the Fry Family. 2017 was quite a year. We made some nice friends in Bellingham, traveled all around North America… again, and [re]learned several skills, including snow skiing at the end of the year. We can’t wait to see what 2018 brings.

Happy New Year to the Fry Lodge Faithful!

2017 Fry Lodge Year-in-Review | soundtrack by B.E.R. (The Night Begins to Shine)

Ski Bums 

Today,  Henry went snow skiing for the first time in his life, and I joined him. The last time I skied, George H.W. Bush was president – back when I still had knee cartelidge and my original ACL. I was a more than a little anxious to get back on the slopes, but Henry has been so excited about learning how to ski, I had to try. So, at 6 am this morning, with a brace on each knee, little Fryman and I pulled the minivan out of the Fry Lodge driveway on our way to Mt. Baker. As Henry slept on the way up the mountain, I kept saying to myself, “This is crazy, this is crazy, this is crazy.” 

Crazy? Yeah, crazy awesome. At several points during the day, both Henry and I said to each other, “This is amazing.” 

We were the eager beavers of the mountain. With a parking spot right in front of the ski rental shop, we were first in line to sign up for lessons. Henry looked a little panicked when I told him we couldn’t be in the same ski instruction class, but he confidently joined his group as we went our separate ways for 90 minutes to learn the snow plow and how to turn. 

A lot has changed in 30 years. Skis are shorter, bindings are more forgiving, and boots are a hell of a lot more comfortable. Over the course of my lesson, my muscles somehow remembered how to ski, and I almost felt 17 again. When I rejoined Henry post lesson, it was clear his life had changed forever. I seriously don’t think he’s ever had this much fun doing anything. 

After dozens of chairlift rides, and as the sun started to set, we called it a day. On the drive down the mountain, Henry decided we’re going skiing again this Thursday. He also gave me some of his reactions to the day. He thought it was great that we didn’t have to pay each time we got on the chair lift (I agree).  He also admitted that he’d envisioned something completely different. For example, he’d expected us to take the chair lift up the mountain, ski around a bit, and then take the lift back down. He thought the actual way they do it is way better (I agree). 

Winter at Fry Lodge just got a lot more exciting. 

Estimating Henry 

“If you had to choose, would you rather underestimate or overestimate?” This is the type of question from Henry that formed the basis of our 3-hour conversation as we made our way to Lost Lake and back this sunny fall afternoon on Chuckanut Mountain. Henry had slightly underestimated how long the hike would take us, and I had overestimated my ability to keep up with this boy, who has benefitted from a soccer season of constant running. Neither of us minded the time nor the exhaustion, which were far outweighed by the scenery and conversation.

This fall, Henry has been enjoying regular outdoor adventures made possible by Wild Whatcom, Bellingham’s year-round outdoor program for youth. A few weeks ago, the program took him to Chuckanut Mountain; so today Henry acted as my tour guide along the trails he and his buddies had previously explored.

Along our path, we crawled inside “the cubby holes,” descended “the stairs,” and finally ate lunch while hanging our feet over a log jutting out into Lost Lake.

Throughout the day, it occurred to me that Henry has turned the corner to early adolescence. He easily shook off having accidentally submerged his boot into the lake, something that not too long ago would have ruined his day. When we became momentarily lost, it was Henry who proceeded with confidence to find the trail again. And, as we hiked 2 miles straight uphill, it was Henry who left me in the dust. Henry Fry, he’s not to be underestimated. 

Comin’ down the mountain

Henry returned from Mountain School a bit more independent than when he left. As expected, he learned about how to identify different types of trees and facts about Diablo Dam, which held the title of World’s highest dam for one week. Henry also learned he’s fully capable of taking care of himself. While at Mountain School, he was expected to get himself up, make his own breakfast and lunch and bathe as he saw fit – all things that we as parents are in the habit of either doing for him or constantly nagging him to do. One of my favorite stories from Henry was about how he was the only one in his dorm room who knew how to put sheets on his bed. He also got up early one morning to shower before the day started (the only one to do so). I had to ask: “Who are you and what have you done with Henry?”

Very happy to have H-man back at Fry Lodge. Hoping some of these new habits stick.

Comin’ down the mountain

One of many children 

Mountain School 

Henry left for three days of Mountain School this morning. Every year, his elementary school takes the fifth grade class to the North Cascades Institute for a few days to learn about the ecosystems and cultural history of the mountains. On this day in particular, I’m glad he will be screen free. Can’t wait to hear his stories when he returns.