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. 

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Fry Lodge Sports Saturday 

What a sports day at Fry Lodge. The big news is that Ruby played her first ever soccer game – made extra sweet by her team’s 6-1 victory. Ruby did great, playing three different positions throughout the game: defender, midfielder and goalie (no scores against her). Nice work, Ruby!

We started the day with Henry’s soccer game, which was also fun. His team played Lynden, who are apparently very serious about their sports. The Southside Tsunami held their own for most of the game. Henry’s a great defender.

Oh, and the Gonzaga Bulldogs won their Elite Eight game against Xavier, sending the Zags to the NCAA Final Four for the first time.

Fry Lodge Winter of Discontent 

When we moved back to the Pacific Northwest from New York City, among the things we were looking forward to were Western Washington’s mild winters. So far this winter we’ve had five significant snowfalls, four school closures, three slips on the ice, two snowed in cars and one frozen Lake Padden (first time in 20 years). 

Bring on the holidays

We’d been trudging around the muddy field for more than an hour. Ruby was now suggesting that we scrap our long-held tradition of cutting down our own tree, opting instead for one of the pretty, pre-cut trees leaning against the shed. Nobody could agree on a tree. The temperature – and blood sugar levels – were dropping. The sun would be down soon. And then, we found it – a full, tall noble fir. I quickly started cutting with the Fryman saw before anybody could change their mind. We lugged the tree to the car, enjoyed some cider, bought the 2016 Christmas ornament, and were soon on our way back to Fry Lodge Bellingham to decorate. 

Andy Williams, Bing Crosby, the Andrews Sisters, Willie Nelson, and the Charlie Brown Christmas album were just a few of the records we played as we spent the rest of the evening stringing lights, hanging ornaments and reminiscing about Christmases gone by. We must have 200 ornaments at this point – each with its own memory. It’s funny to review the different eras of ornaments from parents: the Southwest phase, the Ireland phase, the Mexico phase, the newlywed ornament, the new baby ornament. Can’t wait to see what comes this year. I’m sure we’ll love it, Grandma. 

We’re excited to continue our old traditions in this new home. Bring on the holidays. 

Fry Lodge on Ice 

Ruby started ice skating lessons last week, so we decided to take the whole family to the skate rink today to show support for her new sport. I’ve never skated before. I’ve always pointed to my “bad knee” as a convenient excuse to stay off the ice the few times that Kristine and the kids have gone. Today I decided to give it a shot. Henry has decided to start lessons. I might join him. 

Subdued Excitement 

That’s a pretty good description of the emotional state at Fry Lodge these days. It’s also the tag line for our new hometown.

Today was the first day of school for Henry and Ruby, who both practically skipped up the hill to the bus stop. They came home with some great stories about their first day, and we’re looking forward to getting to know all the families in the neighborhood. 

Our first day apart from the kids in more than two months, Kristine and I celebrated by putting together IKEA furniture all day. Henry came home to a freshly assembled loft bed. After thanking us for getting his room in shape, he asked:”How many times did you curse while putting it together?”

We’re pretty thrilled to have established Fry Lodge Bellingham. Stay tuned for updates on our subdued excitement.