Kristine

With the celebration of her birthday, Kristine closed out a three-week run of Fry Lodge milestones, including three birthdays, an anniversary and a few breakfasts in bed. We celebrated with a Sehome Arboretum hike, Rocket doughnuts and some Pacific Northwest essential gifts: Starbucks gift cards and a rain coat. Happy birthday, Kristine!

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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)

The Nine Days of Ruby 

Given their proximity to Christmas on the calendar, December birthdays are always at risk of being eclipsed by another widely celebrated birthday. I can’t believe I was ever concerned about that with Ruby. She has made it perfectly clear to the rest of us at Fry Lodge that the first half of December belongs to her.

Ruby turned nine on Friday. There was no school that day. Coincidence?

Breakfast in bed is a Fry Lodge birthday tradition. Ruby ordered nine waffles.

Her birthday cake request? Nine chocolate cupcakes. Candles to be inserted into her  cupcake? Nine. 

The number of guests to be invited to her bowling party today? Nine.

Is there a limit to our love for this little force of nature? Nein. 

2017 Fry Lodge Christmas Tree Hunt 

With a new twist every year, the Fry Lodge Christmas tree tradition never gets old. This year we tried out yet another tree farm, Small’s Northwest Evergreens up in Ferndale, which the kids have decided should be our go-to tree farm in the future. We found a nice selection of noble firs, a cool 2017 Fry Family ornament in the gift shop, and ducks to feed at the end of it all.

Once home, everybody was in the Christmas spirit, so we got to work decorating the tree, listening to some Jackson Five and Bing Crosby Christmas albums and creating a make shift nativity scene. This was Henry’s year to put on the star. 

As we decorated, we remembered last year’s spider-infested tree. So far, we’ve only seen a lady bug crawl out. 

Presenting the 2017 Fry Lodge Christmas Tree 

The Fry Side 

We spent the last full week of summer in North Idaho, home to many Fry side relatives and venue for the 2017 Fry Family Reunion. Unlike the Eitings and Watsons, who gather their extended family annually, the Frys only manage to get together every several years. And that’s probably a good thing. 

Brother Mike hosted the extended Fry clan at Priest Lake this past weekend. Four generations of descendents of Margaret and Carl Fry Sr. gathered at Mike’s place, which is only a few hundred yards away from the spot where Carl, Marge and their young family built a rustic cabin on the beach in the 1940s. So many Frys have made so many memories there. And, I’m sure more than a few were conceived in that old cabin. Frys, we’re like salmon returning to Priest Lake to spawn. 

It was a great way to end the summer. I spent quality time with each parent, sibling, cousin, aunt, uncle, niece and nephew. Henry and Ruby got acquainted with their North Idaho cousins. And my mom and I finally had our potato salad face off. 

Fry family reunions are… rare events. Fittingly, as we drove home across Washington state today, the sky dimmed as the moon totally obscured the sun for the first time in nearly 40 years.

Once upon a time there was light in my life. But now there’s only love in the dark. Nothing I can say.  A total eclipse of the heart.

Nebraska 

On Sunday, we wrapped up another four-day Eiting/Watson reunion at Eugene T. Mahoney State Park outside of Omaha, Nebraska. The last day of the reunion is always the hardest. Not only do you have to say goodbye to loved ones you won’t see for a while, you have to pack up the compound – usually in sweltering heat, working on too little sleep. As the morning goes on and the mercury rises, hugs are given and families peel off to catch planes. 

The reunion, as always, was a big success. This year we celebrated Jim’s 70th birthday and retirement. Meat was prepared.  

The cousins, after a several year hiatus, picked up where they left off. It was great to see the kids together again. Upon arriving in Omaha, I put them to work scraping dead bugs off the RV. 

The 100+ degree heat made daily trips to the swimming pool mandatory. The kids are now big enough to go down the water slides themselves. I still needed somebody to hold my hand in the wave pool, but I managed to few dives off the diving board.

I got some quality time with my good friend and brother-in-law, B.E., as we took a few long bike rides through the corn fields. That, besides trying not to drown in the wave pool, was the extent of my physical activity at Mahoney, unless you count the constant 12-ounce curls of La Croix.  

Jim and Mary Kay with all eight grandkids 

The Eiting and Watson clan’s dedication to family is inspiring.  These days it’s rare to see such large families, spread all over the U.S., commit to an annual reunion, not to mention travel to every cousin’s wedding. In other words, this family loves to party. 

The Fry Family Quartet was sad to say goodbye, yet excited for the week-long journey home that is in front of us. Sunday, after leaving Mahoney, we camped on the shores of the Merritt Reservoir in the sand hills of Nebraska. Tonight: Devils Tower in Wyoming.