Once again our big reunion has come and gone.
This year my sister Charity and her new husband Ian were in charge (we rotate from oldest to youngest for the "reunion chairs" each year).
And just like they planned their wedding back in October (back here), they took on this planning with some serious gusto! Can you tell how excited Charity is? :)
Here's what we did:
Let's get a better look at that...
After dinner we headed down to the beach for our traditional
MUSIC BONFIRE AND S'MORES:
The next morning was our
which I loved.
We all got different assignments of things that needed to be done and got to work for a few hours. The main projects were refinishing some deck furniture that had withered in the sun over the years:
The place we all park went from looking like this:
The beach looked pretty awesome when we were done too.
And the deck furniture looked fabulous after the sprucing-up business.
Now, I have to start these pictures with a little preface. I think this is the fourth year of "Fear Factor." Every year I think it should be the last. Kids are crying and gagging and the competition is strong.
But every year I think if you asked any of the kids what their most favorite thing was I think they would say Fear Factor.
It puzzles me when you see faces like this:
...and as you can see, it's pretty fun for us adults too:
That seems like a good segway into how we do FOOD (ha!)
We eat well at our reunions.
This year in light of the reunion theme ("Around the World") we all picked the meals we wanted to make according to country. Sometimes I just have to get out my camera for meals because food can be so beautiful and everyone does it so well.
Check out that meal. Wow.
Eli and Julie always do their Japanese curry, Anita and Tal did some delicious dish from Switzerland, Saren and Jared did pasta from Italy and a salad from Bulgaria (where they went this summer), Josh did good old American...too bad I didn't get pictures of it all.
I love the conversations that ensue after we cook and all sit around to enjoy it.
Next on the docket was EYREALM TRIVIA, something new Charity and Ian came up with this year.
It was the "In-Laws" against the "Out-Laws."
Here are the In-Laws:
Charity and Ian made up some pretty wing-dinger questions:
...and were pretty darn organized.
The next morning was our SCAVENGER HUNT.
We've done a relay the last couple years, but this year Charity and Ian mixed it up a little bit and turned it into a kind of relay-scavenger hunt. We met up with our groups to get the run-down on how this would all work.
And then took off.
TENNIS is always a big part of the reunion. I wish I had taken a picture of the chart, dang it, but it was a great doubles tournament as always. Grace got to join in this year.
Eli and Julie knocked Dave and I out at the semi-finals:
...and Noah and Kristi came out with the win in the finals:
I loved the little impromptu tennis lesson after we were done.
One night we had a GRADUATE PANEL with all the graduates this year:
HERE), Ian graduated with a PhD from Stanford (HERE), Tal graduated with a masters in Positive Psychology from UPENN (HERE), and Max graduated from high school (HERE).
Loved hearing what they had to say and some snippets of advice for all of us.
EYREALM OLIMPICS were next.
I don't have a lot of pictures of this, but we did all kinds of stuff like trying to pop the balloons tied onto everyone's ankles that weren't on our team:
Over the years we have put several systems to work to make everything run smoothly at the reunions.
The last couple years the reunion chairs have divided us into groups for a few different activities, but this year we were in the "groups" the whole time which was kind of fun.
But my favorite "system" is the one that gets kids excited to work.
Not sure how some little signs like this can get kids so dang excited to work their tails off, but my brother Tal was in charge of whipping them into shape and boy howdy were they ever excited to get those points to earn the rewards.
These girls are "group 3" of the grandkids (not to be confused with the reunion groups), and they tied for the win (which meant they get to get shakes at the local little shake place).
Loved watching how diligent these kids were to get their cleaning points!
Every year without fail we have to come up with new ways to keep my mom from non-stop work. No matter how much we assign out jobs and meals and clean-up she always seems to be in the center of the work action. So this year Charity and Ian came up with this little number to keep her sitting down at least after dinner:
If you made it this far you are a champ!
There are so many other things woven into all this hoopla that I will have to post soon, but for now, let's just wrap up with a couple pictures from the traditional closing TALENT SHOW.
The kids get pretty excited about that too.
Every year I think it hits me even harder how much I adore and admire these people I get to be related to. And it makes me want to go forward with more love and vigor than ever before armed with their wonderful examples.