Wednesday, September 19, 2012

the reunion 2012

2012-07-15 Bear Lake 54527My Mom grew up in Montpelier, Idaho.  It is a tiny town close to Bear Lake (which stretches across the Utah/Idaho border). 

Forty-three years ago, as a surprise wedding gift for his bride, my Dad used all of my Mom’s savings to buy a lot at Bear Lake. 

Now, I don’t know for sure, but if I am reading between the lines correctly, I’m thinking my Mom wasn’t overjoyed about that little fact.  I mean, sure, she adored Bear Lake, but was that a smart purchase for newly-weds?  Had my Dad thought about the fact that maybe she had something else in mind for those savings of hers?

Although I should probably know more details about that little story, I do know that that purchase was probably one of the smartest things my Dad ever did. 

Because when you have a place to gather your family, it is kind of awesome.

We have spent chunks of pretty much every summer of our lives up there taking advantage of the beauty of that place (more about some of our summer nights up there back here).

And that’s where we have our reunion each year.

Although my parents used to be totally in charge of it all, years ago we started to take turns being the “master-of-ceremonies.”

We go in order of age, and this year was Tal and Anita’s turn.2012-07-14 Bear Lake 54220

And they were masterful at it.2012-07-17 Bear Lake 55832We started out with the “opening ceremonies” where they explained what we’d be doing.

It looks like everyone was pretty mesmerized by their magical planning:2012-07-14 Bear Lake 54223

Lucy was in deep concentration about it all:2012-07-14 Bear Lake 54225

We started right out with the unveiling of the Reunion CD.

Everyone sat around and listened to the songs Tal and Anita had compiled from what people had turned in and guessed who’s was who’s.  2012-07-14 Bear Lake 54288

Although they look like they might be bored to tears in the picture up there above, the reunion CD is one of everyone’s favorite reunion traditions.  We listen to it the whole time we’re up there.

The music-unveiling wasn’t quite as picturesque as it was last year since campfires were off-limits this year:2011-07-06 Bear Lake 32713But hey, it worked just as well.

The Food2012-07-14 Bear Lake 54227

Before the reunion begins whoever is in charge assigns out the meals. My mom gathers most of the supplies since so many of us are coming from all over the place, and we take turns preparing.2012-07-14 Bear Lake 54231

It is a little bit of mass-chaos at meals.2012-07-14 Bear Lake 542352012-07-14 Bear Lake 542562012-07-14 Bear Lake 542572012-07-14 Bear Lake 54291

Most of the time for lunch we eat down at the beach.  Here are my brothers whipping up some masterful burgers:2012-07-14 Bear Lake 543012012-07-14 Bear Lake 54300

A Scavenger Hunt

Tal and Anita made up a scavenger hunt for the kids and divided them into teams.  Here’s the first clue:2012-07-14 Bear Lake 544132012-07-14 Bear Lake 54414

Claire was apparently a little confused about her team’s first clue:  2012-07-14 Bear Lake 54425

Actually maybe a LOT confused :) 2012-07-14 Bear Lake 54426

But it must have all worked out in the end because I never heard any wailing going on.2012-07-14 Bear Lake 54428


I don’t think we’ve had rain at a reunion in ages, but it poured that day.2012-07-14 Bear Lake 54379

It was awesome.  2012-07-14 Bear Lake 543812012-07-14 Bear Lake 543872012-07-14 Bear Lake 544022012-07-14 Bear Lake 544052012-07-14 Bear Lake 544102012-07-14 summer 565652012-07-14 Bear Lake 544822012-07-14 summer 56576(Hot chocolate.)


My Dad unveiled a volleyball net this year.  He figured with all these super tall kids of his along with their quickly-getting-taller nieces and nephews, it would be a good investment.

And he was right.  It was a big hit. 

Max and Elle were especially happy about that thing.  2012-07 bl reunion volleyball

Poor Dave who had broken his foot the day before (more about that back here) had to sit and just wish he could play from the sidelines.  2012-07-14 Bear Lake 54443

At least he had good company.2012-07-14 Bear Lake 54467

A Birthday

It happened to be my youngest brother’s birthday on the first day of the reunion this year and his wife has this tradition of making him some sort of creation of the number he is turning that year.  2012-07-14 Bear Lake 54307

This year it was a giant 29 made out of his favorite: gummy bears.2012-07-14 Bear Lake 543162012-07-14 Bear Lake 543342012-07-14 Bear Lake 54336

The kids weren’t too disappointed about that…2012-07-14 Bear Lake 54340

The Annual Tennis Tournament

My brother Josh and Elle were partners this year in the annual mixed-doubles tournament, and they were a force to be reckoned with.2012-07-14 Bear Lake 54298

First they took out Jo and Aja:2012-07-17 Bear Lake 557832012-07-17 Bear Lake 55799

…after Jo and Aja had beaten out my Dad and Claire.2012-07-16 Eyrealm reunion 547422012-07-16 Eyrealm reunion 54736

I’m not sure my Dad realized Claire had only had a handful of lessons when he told her she could join the tournament, but he was so cute with her.2012-07-16 Eyrealm reunion 547372012-07-16 Eyrealm reunion 54744

Then Josh and Elle beat out Noah and Kristi:2012-07-16 Eyrealm reunion 54775

But they couldn’t quite take this dynamic duo out for the finals:2012-07-17 Bear Lake 55811

Julie is pregnant…I think that baby brought them good luck :)

My Dad decided he and Max should play the winners just to get in some extra playing time.2012-07-17 Bear Lake 55818He goes hog-wild over tennis and Max kind of caught the tennis bug this year.

He has a wicked serve.2012-07-17 Bear Lake 55808

But those two pulled it off again.2012-07-17 Bear Lake 55823

I think the pregnancy and the matching shirts had something to do with that :)2012-07-17 Bear Lake 558242012-07-17 Bear Lake 55826

Don’t let that smile fool you that he was ok with that loss.  He was mad-as-a-hornet about that.2012-07-17 Bear Lake 558282012-07-17 Bear Lake 558292012-07-17 Bear Lake 55830

One of my favorite tennis parts of this summer, though, was playing doubles with my two oldest kids and my little sister Charity (she was my partner in the real tournament but we didn’t do so hot so we wanted to play some more).  It was the biggest rush for me to play a real game of doubles with them and really get to have some great rallies.  I was on cloud nine after that.  2012-07-16 Eyrealm reunion 54780Maybe I don’t want them to shrink back into babies after all :)

Family Pictures

We always do family pictures at our reunions.

We have too many photographers and control-freaks in the family to not do pictures.

This year my dad (one of the beloved control-freaks we all adore) decided that since we’ve already done pictures at the beach: 2010-07-09 eyrealm reunion 6013

…and with the sagebrush mountains we love as a backdrop:2011-07-10 Bear Lake 33116

…this year it would be great to take our pictures in front of this old abandoned house on our way to church: 2012-07-13 summer 56556

It is kind of famous in the area for being “haunted.”

I know, great place for a family picture, right?

But we followed him out into that dewy grass on a Sunday morning and took those pictures.

2012-07-15 Bear Lake 54530

All the grandkids:2012-07-15 Bear Lake 54549

Then we did just adults.  Elle was the main photographer for this so we could take the camera off the old garbage can it was sitting on with a self-timer for the other shots.

She took this one which was very fitting since Dave told me I needed to take control of the situation:2012-07-15 Bear Lake 54570

My Dad requested that we do something to pizazz up the picture.  Here are some tries:2012-07-15 Bear Lake 54578

It seems that the in-laws weren’t overly pizzazy so he tried with just the kids:2012-07-15 Bear Lake 54594

Not very successful except for Noah with his teeth…2012-07-15 Bear Lake 545972012-07-15 Bear Lake 546092012-07-15 Bear Lake 54619Yeah, much to my Dad’s chagrin, we may not be the most pizzazzy people on the planet.

2012-07-15 Bear Lake 54638

The girls got very excited about the dress-ups my Mom had up there.2012-07-15 Eyrealm reunion 54706

2012-07-15 Eyrealm reunion 54714

And got some practice in for the big talent show.2012-07-14 Bear Lake 54497

Elle decided to curl Lyla’s hair.  2012-07-15 Bear Lake 54676I was so grateful Elle was there. She had girls’ camp right after EFY and then we were going straight to India so there was a chance she may not make it up there. That made me sick to my stomach so we opted out of Girls’ Camp this year.

It was sad to miss because man alive they do a great job at Girls’ Camp around here,  but she survived just fine.2012-07-15 Bear Lake 54681

Dave had to get back to work, darn it, so we hugged him goodbye. 2012-07-15 Bear Lake 55601Have I mentioned before how incredibly grateful I am for this man who works so hard for our family? Just making sure…

Wow, we are lucky.

Talent Show

I don’t think any reunion is quite complete without a talent show, right?

2012-07 bl talent show

The kids were SO excited about it, but I personally think the audience was more entertaining:2012-07-16 Eyrealm reunion 54753

Check out how proud my parents are…2012-07-16 Eyrealm reunion 54754

Lucy decided she was Snow White. 2012-07-16 Eyrealm reunion 547332012-07-16 Eyrealm reunion 54764

2012-07-17 Bear Lake 558422012-07-17 Bear Lake 55841

At the Beach

A big part of the reunion is always spent just lounging on the beach.

2012-07-16 Kristi's pictures 554062012-07-16 summer 565932012-07-17 summer 565962012-07-16 waterskiing 550022012-07-16 waterskiing 550172012-07-16 waterskiing 55025

Max is trying to take after his uncles on their cuts…he’s got a little work to go ;). 2012-07-16 waterskiing 550142012-07-16 waterskiing 55030


The girls left the kids with the dads and snuck away for our own little dinner one night.  2012-07-17 Bear Lake 55846I sure love those ladies.

Late Nights and Meetings

At night during the reunion Tal and Anita made a new motion that the kids go to bed a little earlier so we could have more adult time. 

Awesome idea.

We taught everyone how to play “Ripple,” the game we learned from Dave’s family.  2012-07-12 summer 56548

They were actually much more excited about it than they make out to be in this picture:2012-07-13 Bear Lake 542082012-07-13 Bear Lake 54214

Someone is always whipping up something in the kitchen, whether it is cookies or prep for breakfast the next morning. 2012-07-13 Bear Lake 54216

And sometimes we have meetings about all kinds of family business.  2012-07-15 Eyrealm reunion 54728

As you can see Ripple was just as enthralling as the meetings.2012-07-15 Eyrealm reunion 54730

I do love that my parents have set up some great ways for our family to “broaden and contribute” (our family motto).2012-07-16 Bear Lake 557802012-07-16 Bear Lake 55782

Bird Watching

This year “Bird Watching” appeared on the reunion agenda.

My little nephew McKay took his preparations for spying those birds pretty seriously:2012-07-16 Kristi's pictures 55190I love him.

There are a few bird refuges around the lake.  It was a perfect, incredibly gorgeous night for the job. 

We headed out in groups to see who could find the most different species of birds.2012-07-16 Kristi's pictures 55542

This is what we saw from the car.  2012-07 bear lakeSerious beauty, right?

I love Bear Lake weather.

I lucked out with my mom, my sister and these three in my car:2012-07-16 bird watching 54932

Let’s see if we can see them a little closer…2012-07-16 bird watching 54933

There we go.2012-07-16 bird watching 549352012-07-16 bird watching 54943

Apparently most of us had the same idea on the best place to spot birds because most of us bumped into each other out roaming the area.

We ran into these sweeties:2012-07-16 Kristi's pictures 55556

And these boys too.2012-07-16 Bear Lake 556662012-07-16 Kristi's pictures 55598

Man I love this girl.

2012-07 bird watching2012-07-16 bird watching 549232012-07-16 bird watching 54925

Here’s a little assortments of the beauty we spotted:2012-07 birdwatching2

We thought we did pretty awesome and patted ourselves on the back until we got home and saw where Max, Elle, my two brothers and one of their wives went:2012-07-16 Eli's Bird Watching 55090

I stole their pictures they took my breath away.2012-07 Eli's bird watching scenery2012-07-16 Eli's Bird Watching 550952012-07-16 Eli's Bird Watching 550982012-07-16 Eli's Bird Watching 55157

My brother Eli is an amazing photographer don’t you think?  I think his team may have won the contest cause these are only a small sample of the fabulous creatures they saw:2012-07 eli's bird watching

Plus they found Elle’s future truck:2012-07-16 Eli's Bird Watching 55081(Every time she sees a truck like that she goes a little bit nut-so…I keep telling her she better start saving now for gas…)

We arrived home so in awe of the beauty of the world God created for us.  Here are the girls’ renditions of the birds they saw.2012-07-16 bird watching 54991Eliza’s got a funny beak, Claire must be a very serious bird, and Hazel is holding a “fish” like one of the birds we saw.2012-07-16 bird watching 54992

The adults of our team:2012-07-16 bird watching 54996

I’m going to have to recap the “Fear Factor” part of the reunion later because it was a wing-dinger, but seriously, this is longer than a novel.  Congrats to anyone who has make it this far :)

The reunion re-cap from last year is here

People asked a whole bunch of questions last year so I did a Q&A on Bear Lake here.

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