This year it was Eli and Julie's turn to host our annual reunion (we rotate from oldest to youngest).
They did such a fabulous job and put a lot of work into it despite the fact that they just barely moved from DC to NYC and have been busy as can be. So grateful for this dynamic duo.
REUNION KICK OFF
Each year we start the reunion in grand style to get everyone excited about what's coming up.
They "unveiled" the t-shirts that were centered around my parent's 45th anniversary coming up at the end of July.
Then they "unveiled" the schedule.
They introduced a new addition this year:
To handcuff my mom to her chair once in a while so she will quit working so hard and just enjoy.
They totally worked when Eli remembered to cuff her :)
Jobs are always a big deal at the Lake because if we don't have a system in place, it could get ugly. Each year some new twist is put on the kids' jobs to make them fun and exciting (because jobs ARE totally fun and exciting, right?) This year when Eli and Julie set the ground rules they let each "group" get together (more about "groups" at the end of this post back HERE), and decide what they would want their "reward" to be if they happen to win the doing-jobs-exceptionally-well contest.
After they decided on their desired reward (some chose a trip to get milkshakes on the other side of the lake, others chose a sleepover on the tennis court, etc.), then one representative from each group picked a paper out of a hat with their "zone" for the week on it.
There were random checks each day to see which zone would get a checkmark for being in order so us parents reminded them here and there that they better check those zones of theirs. Here's the chart Eli used to mark who was doing well:
It was fun watching them get to work with smiles stretched across their faces.
Ok, jobs are all fine and good but let's get on with the reunion here.
BONFIRE AND MUSIC UNVEILING
Every year we have a bonfire on the first night and we play the favorite songs everyone turned in. Everyone guesses who turned in which song.
And it was even cooler this year because E & J gave everyone glow sticks to snap on when their song came on.
After all those songs were played and guessed, E & J showed the video they had put together from what everyone had turned in.
I posted it before, but here it is again in case you missed it.
I am weird but it kind of makes me tear up a little seeing all those people I love in so many different places just being "happy."45 Years of Happy - Eyrealm from Eli Eyre on Vimeo.
The next day we skied and hung on the beach and our cousins came to visit (the ones having their own reunion close by).
Why? Because we make them all the time and we are all quite opinionated about which recipe should be used so this year we each got to do it just how we wanted.
Jo and I were on for the first night.
I am always up for taste-testing chocolate chip cookies late at night with people I adore.
REAL LIFE RELAY
It was a hit last year (back HERE) so E & J decided to do it again this year.
Here's the warm-up:
This year they instigated a few team photo requirements:
Each team got their different-color headbands (a new idea this year) and the cars lined up.
Our pink team was excited and ready to roll.
Lucy was SO excited she got chosen to lead off in the beginning of the race for the gray team.
Boy did she ever take it seriously. It was so darn cute. Too bad I didn't take my camera settings seriously, dang it! This was so overly overexposed but I'm still posting because look at that determination on that girl's face:
Luckily whoever took this pic. below didn't get the front of me because that would show that I was about to keel over.
Dave did everything in his power to make his team come in first:
But in the end it was totally the blue team who came through victorious for the win.
But really, everyone's a winner in this race :)
Ian (the soon-to-be newest member of the family in October) ran pretty much the whole way trying to cheer on the little kids on our team. He was a little pooped out after that.
The other teams:
We celebrated with some raspberry shakes (mmmm) and some tater tots (hmmmm).
We saw the most gorgeous field of purple flowers along the route and figured that would be a perfect spot for our family picture this year.
All sweaty and nasty, but since there are so many of us you can't tell, right?
I wish I had more pictures of the food, because it was fabulous.
Each family takes a meal and when I say they "take" a meal, they take that meal of theirs seriously.
We eat well at the lake.
Dave and I did bruschetta for ours.
With pesto chicken salad.
E & J decided to put "Grandchildrens' Green" to good use and do some water stuff.
Water balloon toss:
And this year my brother Josh brought rockets to launch, which was a big hit.
Since Eli lives in NYC and sees the bubble guy in Central Park all the time, he decided to give it a try at the reunion.
TENNISIt happens every year: the doubles-tennis tournament.
But that darn Noah and Kristi came in for the win, dang it!
Kristi just had a baby, so yeah.
We can translate that to mean that Dave and I were pretty weak, or that Kristi is quite the athlete (which she is), but I prefer to think that sweet little Shelby of theirs must have given them good luck :)
This became a big hit a few years ago.
It is funny that it is a "favorite" among the kids when we get faces like this:
Yeah, doesn't look like such a "favorite" to me, but whatever. There's always Lyla who will eat anything with a smile:
Including crispy bugs:
Eliza is pretty darn good too...here she is with fish paste:
We had one special night set aside to have my parents tell their whole love story since their 45th anniversary was coming right up on the 30th of July. I wish I had a picture going the other direction because those kids were mesmerized I tell you!
We had texas sheet cake to celebrate because we kind of like that stuff.
Soaked in sunsets in every way we could:
Had great conversations (including my mother who's handcuffs helped ;)
And boy oh boy did we ever enjoy these views. My parents have raised us all to be nature-lover-extraordinaires almost to a fault.
One day when Claire was out walking she found a rattlesnake. Here are all the boys trying to find it.
That was a kind of scary adventure!
On Sunday we had our annual testimony meeting at the church and my brother blessed his new baby after church.
I was taking pictures with my sister-in-law's camera so I don't have any good ones (although Dave does look exceptionally handsome in this one...). We are so incredibly grateful for this sweet girl who has joined the family.
More about her miraculous story over HERE on their blog. She is amazing and the faith of her parents is even more amazing. Love them so much.
We had a wedding shower for my cousin who was getting married and all the extended family came up to the "Lighthouse" for that.
Once again, my dad told some pretty mesmerizing stories.
But everyone still stuck around for as long as they could. More on the reunion aftermath later, but for now, Wow. I'm so incredibly grateful for these two and for the vision they had so many years ago to make all this possible.