this year’s annual “eyrealm” bear lake reunion was special … because we were celebrating fifty years since my parents got married. it was so awesome to be all together, as always, but especially as mom and dad reached this amazing milestone. every year this gathering fills me up in so many wonderful ways, and it is getting more and more fun as my own children are increasingly enjoying my favourite place with their cousins. i feel so lucky to have bear lake every summer!!!
some photos from this year…
our time at the lake started off with an “m.e.” (mothers of eyrealm!) evening. we left all the kids with the dads and went to dinner on the other side of the lake. we had fantastic (as always) conversation as we ate, saw a gorgeous moonrise over the lake, and stopped to get raspberry shakes on the way back. then we sat in the car in the dark, parked outside the house, for forty-five minutes because we couldn’t stop chatting and wanted more time together!
a few days later, the boys went to the same spot for their own mini getaway. they sent us this picture, applying the “old filter” using “faceapp” to show us what our husbands will look like in 40 years. hahahaha!
we had a few days settling in before the reunion officially started. there were sunset walks…
…and my first waterski since last summer, which is always exhilarating, and lots of playing with cousins.
and then there was grammie camp! my mom does a little “camp” for the grandkids, in different groups organised by age, every year. moses and gabriel aren’t technically old enough to go to grammie camp (start age is five!), but they did get invited to a “littles party” for a few hours with grammie. there was a little family tree lesson, some animal making with wikisticks, and facepaint! and of course a dance party.
soon it was time for the “opening ceremonies” of the reunion. this year my dad asked to do a little “keynote welcome speech.” (ha, if you know my dad this surprises you zero.) he talked a little about the last fifty years and showed the grandkids how he had written each of his “grandfather’s secrets” on rocks. i love my dad so much for all his quirk, and for all his desire to share and teach, and for all his love.
then we went out to the grass to watch my brother jonah and his family, who were in charge of the reunion this year, reveal the theme and schedule.
jonah and aja had found these posters (from who knows what?!) and hung them on the house, just for laughs 😉
there was a pretty awesome dance by these guys wearing golden bodysuits to different songs with the word “golden” in them. reunion 2019: fifty golden years!
each year we usually have a couple of organised group activities per day, just for fun. and then there’s lots of unstructured time to hang out at the beach, play in the lake, etc.
i always love the golden hour on the first evening of the reunion, everyone so happy to be back together, wearing new matching tshirts 😉
here gabriel is perfectly exhibiting what i like to call cousin joy! his big cousin bennett was making him laugh so hard!
love these two golden anniversary-ers sooo much!
we all headed down to the beach for our annual reunion kick-off bonfire!
the bonfire is usually my favourite part of the time we have together at bear lake. ahead of the reunion, everyone chooses a song that they’ve liked that year to share with everyone. we listen to them and guess who picked them at the bonfire. this year there was a twist – we had to collectively pick one song from each of the fifty years that my parents have been married. we had some awesome selections spanning five decades of music hits!
after the sun was long gone behind the mountains and all the s’mores were eaten, we broke out the glowsticks and the sparklers and had a beach dance party 🙂
the next morning, there was a portrait painting activity! i loved the variety of grammie and grandfather portraits that resulted.
and that afternoon was “fear factor,” when the grandkids challenge each other at eating gross stuff. haha … i always think this tradition will phase out but the kids just love it sooo much. this year moses got in on fear factor! can you see ian and i coaching him very seriously at the end of the table here? (ha!):
he was pretty brave, and into the competition…
but the second his tongue touched something spicy, it was game over.
he still got a prize at the end of the reunion for completing the first three rounds. good job, mo!
beach time and fun conversations on the deck:
and this is what it looks like to prepare a meal for 51 people…
one night we celebrated my nephew’s birthday together.
and played some boys-vs-girls “50 years of eyrealm” jeapordy.
another day we had some “olympics” events. we do like a bit of competition…
look at the intensity in those cousins’ faces!
yes, competitiveness is an eyre trait it seems … but no one is more competitive than ian. i love how ian just springs into action whenever anything remotely competitive is happening, ha! he was serious about this race with my brother noah and brother-in-law jared…
there were also pushup, situp and lunges competitions, a swimming race, and a long jump championship.
my sisters dug up a bunch of old photos from my parents’ fifty years and made this cool 5-0 collage on the wall on the porch of the house.
it was so fun to look through all these images, and especially to show them to mo!
older nieces and nephews (and significant others! ahh!) on a sunsetty night…
one evening all the men hung out with my mom and all the women hung out with my dad. we had a great discussion over ice cream.
this girl (my incredible niece ana) did the lion’s share of reunion planning and executing. she’s so awesome.
this year’s family picture! before heading off to church on sunday.
we tried to do a “squeezing in” one too … but my mom’s face got totally covered so i’m calling that a fail, haha.
mo and his cousins deanie and ezra doing remote control cars with uncle eli after church…
and the only picture we got of our whole little family together at the lake…!
mom and daughter saying goodnight to the sun…
and a hilarious round of “reverse charades” – also boys vs. girls!
every night at bear lake ian, whom all the grandkids affectionately call “uncle starburst,” would throw starburst from the balcony onto the grass for kids to catch and devour. it was pretty thrilling!
tennis is always a big part of the reunion. this year ian and i got to play three matches in the tournament (because of a forfeit, we didn’t actually win twice, haha)! it’s always fun to both play and watch.
these two couples always end up in the final of the mixed-doubles tournament.
while adults watch the tennis, most of the kids end up in the cabin, watching one of the three vhs videos tapes we have, ha!
at the reunion, each family gets one bedroom and all the kids and parents sleep in there together. this year we set up a little bed for moses on the floor right next to our bed. it was just the sweetest thing to see him cuddled up there snoozing. every morning he would pop up and climb into the big bed with us and cuddle for a long time, oftentimes falling back asleep. this is very uncharacteristic for him (he’s usually raring to go at the crack of dawn), and we loved it.
bear lake sunsets are the best!!!
each night, grandfather told bedtime stories, from the fifty years he’s been married to grammie, to any kids that wanted to listen. moses, who loves stories more than any kid i have ever encountered, was glued every time.
for sure the highlight of bear lake this year for our kids was the trampoline! this is a new addition at the lake as of this summer and it was a hit. see it there nestled in the grass?
both our boys had sooo much fun on that thing!
before we knew it, it was time for the “closing ceremonies.” i was in charge of lunch that day so came in and out of the kitchen to the balcony to watch the cool awards ceremony jonah’s family put on.
moses was pretty proud getting his award for competing in fear factor!
and ian got a trophy for winning the pool (billiards) tournament! and also for being the best “actor outer” in reverse charades 🙂 i killed it in the lunges competition!
love this awesome family and all they did to make this year’s reunion so awesome.
phew! that was a lot of pictures and words. glad to have it recorded here … such a wonderful time with my favourite people in my favourite place.
Something about the teenage girl
Cousin photo is just the best! They clearly love each other and I bet will be an excellent support system as they move from childhood to adulthood.
I always look forward to your post on the reunion! It always gives me great ideas for our family’s reunion each year. We don’t have a specific place we go each year but we now have traditions we take with us each year that I have “adopted” from your family! Thank you
My favorite post of the year! Thank you for posting it each year!
As a long-time reader of your blog, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed (and been envious!) if your Bear Lake posts. Our family is at the tail end of a 2+ week road trip from our home just outside Seattle, and we are here in Bear Lake before we head for home. Thank you for sharing the beauty of this place on your blog; its because of your posts that I begged my husband to come here! We hope to come back again someday :-).
that’s awesome! i’m glad you enjoyed it – such a special spot on earth!