Each summer we look forward to getting together with this crew:
...at the annual Eyrealm reunion at Bear Lake.
And every year I feel like we need a wider angle camera lens.
Let's take that photo and look at half at a time so we can see more of that family we love so much. Here's the first half:
My parents raised the nine of us kids to have a deep desire to explore the world. And they raised us to want to raise our families all over the place.
So we do.
We are spread out from Hawaii to Switzerland and everywhere in between. Only two of us siblings live in the same state (my brother Josh and I...the rest are in Maui, San Diego, Ogden, Boston, NYC, London and Switzerland).
Sometimes that arrangement makes me sad, because how great would it be to live all close together!? I sometimes wonder if my parents regret so much "spread-your-wings" encouragement hoopla and wish we lived in a little compound all together. But then I remember their foresight to create a place for us to gather and have that little "compound," at least for as long as possible in the summer.
Everyone does their very best to get there. The moms try to stay as long as possible in July and often the husbands come in and out as they can between work things. And the actual reunion days (usually from Wednesday to Sunday) are pretty sacred when everyone is there.
And it is the best I tell you!
Every so often there is a family who can't make it. We missed out one year when we were in China. Jo & Aja missed when they were in New Zealand and also when they were in Europe last summer. And my baby sister Charity missed this summer since she was having a baby in London. But other than that, for years and years, everyone has made this thing happen.
Each year the reunion evolves a little bit. At first my parents were completely in charge. But as we all grew older and more capable, the kids have taken over. Each year now we have "reunion chairs" who figure out all the logistics. It goes from oldest to youngest. Since my older sister Saren and her family were in charge this year it will be Dave and my turn next year. So I'm trying to gather ideas while I can!
Each year there is a little calendar of events (this has evolved over the years as well, but it has become a tradition). Charity usually is the artist of the calendar but this year since Char couldn't make it Saren's daughter took a turn and did a pretty fabulous job I must say:
So, although there was so much swirling around before and after these core days, I'm going to just jump right in because otherwise I'll never get this thing documented!
After Bloomington Lake everyone had finally arrived, and we held our first reunion dinner.
(More about how we do food in the next post.)
After dinner we have the "opening ceremonies" where the reunion chairs unveil the "theme" and schedule as the sun sets.
dripping with passion" (that's her blog name) and although she couldn't make it (SO excited she was giving birth to a brand new little sweetie-pie cousin), she still wanted so bad to be a part of it all, so Saren figured this would be a clever way to include her from afar. Ha!
It was a great theme and I love that they wove in some service and "charity" into the festivities including having a "secret buddy" we did service for throughout the reunion.
We split into teams for all the different events coming up. I love that Lu got to be with this great brother of mine on his team, he sure looked out for her!
The kids all look forward to this because before the reunion starts everyone sends the chairs their favorite song of the year. They play a snippet from each song around the fire and people try to guess who chose which song. If it's your song that's playing you get up and dance (or just raise your hand in my case:) and tell why you chose that particular song.
The last couple years there has been a dance party on the beach in the dark after all that hoopla using those favorite songs that have been introduced.
The kids think it is the best ever.
These are the only pictures I have to show for all that around-the-fire stuff:
The Eyrealm Relay was up first the next morning. Here's Ash getting the kids all stretched out and ready to go:
Here's the starting crew:
I am not a runner, but somehow those raspberry shakes make it all worth it in the end :)
...and Claire got pretty into the photography contest looking for good things to photograph.
Each night there seems to be some sort of game...and one of the favorites is Reverse Charades.
The next morning was Eyrealm Olympics, which seems to have become a tradition as well.
I love that we got to have so much beach time this year, the weather was great and the kids can never get tired of the beach.
...and while those kites were up in the air my sister Saydi had the great idea to practice capturing water in motion with our cameras.
Isn't water just so beautiful?
...from these hilariously simplistic instructions:
SO we figured they better show that thing off in the annual talent show that night :)
I only got a handful of pictures from the talent show, but although there were some great piano and dance numbers (amidst the copious amounts of things the cousins all signed up to do...wish I had a pic. of the overflowing sign-up sheet!), this was my favorite.
Ok, now that your fingers are tired from scrolling, (and mine are sore from typing!) I'll share the rest tomorrow.