Thursday, August 4, 2011

the reunion {and how we do it}

Although we all linger at Bear Lake as long as we can each year, the actual reunion itself is only three-and-a-half days.

Each year one couple is in charge of putting it on.

We move down the family by age.

This year it was this dynamic duo who pulled it all off:(That's also the brother who pulled off fixing the boat so he was pretty much the hero this year.)

Reunion CD unveiling

Each year we kick off the reunion the first night with our traditional bonfire-reunion CD-unveiling-topped-off-with-s'mores. The "reunion CD" is a compilation of our favorite songs from the year that we have each submitted "secretly" to the reunion chairs beforehand. We listen to the songs one by one and guess who chose them. I chose the exact same song this year that I chose last year and I didn't even realize it. That's kind of sad, but it IS a good song. (It's the first song on the slide show on this post.)
We like listening to these songs all year because they're usually pretty darn good ones....

...except sometimes I'm not super in love with the kids' choices...

"Olympics"
We do this every year too...relays and stuff.I only got pictures of the kid running part...we did a swimming relay too that I was trying to be competitive and win so I couldn't take pictures.

But our team still didn't win. I stink at swimming.


Talent Show
My brother got these girls all geared up to do a rendition from "Starlight Express" for the talent show. They thought it was the most exciting thing ever and put in a lot of prep.

I wasn't so hot at taking pictures of each family but my Mom snapped this one of us doing our "talent." Boy howdy we blew everyone away with our musical abilities:)
Tennis Tournament

We have an annual mixed-doubles tennis tournament.

Elle and my dad were partners this year.

They knocked these two out in the semi-finals:
Then Dave and I lucked out and knocked these guys out.
Which resulted in us playing against our daughter in the finals. I have to admit that was kinda fun. And it was even more fun that they beat us.
Favorite Aunt Competition

Ok, I kid on that one.

But I will say that my little sister pretty much takes the cake on being the "favorite aunt." It helps that she continually quizzes the kids about who that favorite aunt actually is. She has trained them well to say that of course, it's her. Which is true. She's a wing-dinger of an aunt.

This year I just may have given her a run for her money with the introduction of my "paper airplane" book for the little boys.I whipped them up a bunch of those things and I had them in my hand like putty.

Man alive were they ever excited.

I tried some baking soda, vinegar type volcano experiment with them too.
Yeah, I was inching up in the "favorite aunt" category.

But then Charity goes and does stuff like tennis-court-sleep-overs:
...and flute lessons for an-over-eager-girl-who-is-dying-to-start-flute-this-year:
And really, who can compete with stuff like that??
I have no chance :)


Meetings

Each night we pretty much make cookies and play speed-scrabble or just get into some type of discussion.

Over the years we have scaled down on our actual "meeting" time. My Dad used to schedule meetings like twice a day (ok, a little exaggeration, but it was a LOT.) We love to talk and learn so much but we had a tough time not looking longingly at the beach. We just had one official meeting this year and that was to talk about different service opportunities we could be involved in.
Don't we look excited about it? We really were but I think it was pretty darn late.

I think the "meetings" of the past have gradually morphed into insightful on-going discussions that happen naturally all on their own. My favorites this year were about whether or not to allow kids to have sleep-overs, how much to push kids on sports, and ways to put your husband as first priority (inspired by some questions people have left on this blog...I'll share what we came up with soon).

This year a "Just Dance" night was introduced.
I think that's a keeper.

The lake was higher than it has been in ten years so it covered the terrain that we usually have driving lessons in this old thing:The kids were pretty sad about that but they survived and still got to take some rides.

The hot tub is always a favorite.

A few years ago my parents divided the grand-kids into "groups" for lots of reasons. My Dad has certain things he does with each group each year...one year they may build "treasure chests" together, or one year that particular group may get to go on a little trip with my parents. I love that and the attention they drape over my children with all my heart.

Group #1

Group #2
Group #3

(We mostly call them "the babes.")

Group #4
Group #5


Group #6

(That group includes two unborn babies not pictured here :)

This year my sis-in-law let each "group" make their own flag. (that's a "4" but backwards.)

Each time that particular "group" did something great (i.e. helped someone, jumped right on their assigned job, etc.) they got to add a "badge" to their flag (some iron-on thing she finagled).

It was a big hit. So big that a couple times kids were fighting over who got to do what work. My sis-in-law is a genius.

Different "groups" are assigned different kitchen jobs from day to day.

It was my favorite when it was group 4's turn for dishes. Check out that diligence:

Let's get one more angle. They mean serious business.Why do I love that so much?

Food

I've had a few people ask how in the world we feed all those people (39 of them).

Two things: 1) my mom is amazing and she somehow gets the bulk of the supplies up there before we arrive, and 2) there are some pretty good cooks in my family. Each of us are in charge of specific meals. We generally stop and get some of the fine-tuned ingredients we need on the way up, but my Mom heroically does the bulk of the big shopping before we get there.

It takes a lot of work to cook for that many people, especially because we often do more intricate meals complete with big {really good} salads. But most of us really enjoy that because as we cook we sit around and talk and bond as we chop and stir (even though one couple is in charge of each meal generally others pitch in and help out a bunch). Cooking is a big part of what makes the reunion to me. I love to learn all those new recipes and watch in awe as my sisters can just whip up salads and dressings from remnants of this and that in the fridge.

And let's face it, cooking is kind of fun when you have a "group" of kids to come and clean up after you :)


Reunion T-Shirts
The person in charge of the reunion designs these babies. This year they put my Dad's "lifebalance" triangle on it.


The last night we had a little ceremony to give awards to the kids for their outstanding acts of service. I couldn't leave this picture out because it makes me laugh. Doesn't it look like they are all just pleased as punch?I'm sure they were just holding their breath wondering who in the world would get the awards...

Ok, here's a little more excitement:

The last day my brother blessed his sweet new (ish) baby.(That's our favorite doctor/family-dear-friend on the left. He puts up with phone calls from all of us all the time on random health maladies. We love him.)
I love my family.
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