Here are a few favorite snippets from her post along with some of my commentary and some of my photos - and you can see the whole wonderful thing she wrote with all her excellent photos here.
REUNION KICK OFF
Each year we start the reunion in grand style to get everyone excited about what's coming up.
|(I was instagramming)|
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.
They took this task very seriously as you can see by Lucy's face:
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.
Then they got all pumped up to actually do those jobs.
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.These girls actually ended up winning, and had a great whiz-bang sleepover with their favorite Aunt Charity at the end.
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.
The kids think this is the greatest thing ever.
And it was even cooler this year because E & J gave everyone glow sticks to snap on when their song came on.
We had a spontaneous dance party at the end of the bonfire this year - cool sand underfoot, bright stars overhead, great music, everyone trying out everyone else's moves...
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.
Here's Eliza's team (she ran SO FAST and SO FAR for her team - excited to be on the cross-country team at school this year!)
Dave did everything in his power to make his team come in first (some might say there was a little cheating going on . . .):
But in the end it was totally the blue team who came through victorious for the win. Yeah Jared!!! And Oliver!!!
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.
My team - team green was AWESOME!
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 we all pitch in to help) and when I say they "take" a meal, they take that meal of theirs seriously.
We eat well at the lake.
Charity did this super good mango quinoa salad with shish kabobs (recipe for the salad on Charity's blog here.):
Shawni and Dave did bruschetta:
With pesto chicken salad.
(Mostly my - Saren's - photos and commentary in this section.)
It is funny that it is a "favorite" among the kids when we get faces like this:
There's always Lyla who will eat anything with a smile. Including crispy bugs:
Here's a close-up - crunchy little worms with seasoning on them:
Eliza is pretty darn good too...here she is with some yummy bugs:
Silas trying to brave some mushrooms (proved to be about the hardest thing for the kids - way harder than the bugs or rattlesnake!)
And one round involved everyone tasting the rattle snake they found near the house and killed and grilled up. The kids actually thought it was quite tasty and no one got out on that round (yes, that really is a rattle snake on the grill):
Here are the winners! McKay came in first, Eliza came in second (she was a bit slower than McKay in eating the final challenge which was a repeat of whichever food had been hardest for each kid), Lyla came in third, and Silas came in fourth (the mushrooms did him in). Ashton was done in by the "near beer" stuff he just couldn't stand to drink - all the kids really hated that stuff and become all the more resolved never to drink alcohol!
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.
Oh, how I love my family! (And thanks, Shawni, for capturing so much so beautifully!)