Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Final Chapter on Bear Lake

We've been home from Bear Lake a few days now. I have to say it's very nice to be sleeping in our own beds after sleeping all together in one room for almost a month - all the kids on the floor.

And it seems so easy to cook for and clean up after 7 people when you're become accustomed to living in a household of 42 people!

Here's a small portion of our typical dinner dishes at the Lake.

But I'm missing these people - messes, noise and all. And feeling real nostalgia for the good times we had together.

We're starting to get back into a routine and I"m starting to get caught up on the many things that piled up while we were gone. One of the things that got a little annoying (well, a lot annoying actually) during the last week of our time at Bear Lake was that my internet hotspot died and that put an abrupt end to my ability to put in an hour or so every day on Power of Moms and keep up on things - plus throw a blog post out there now and again. At first, I was glad to be forced to really enjoy our last week at the lake w/o trying to get work done. But after a couple days, it got pretty stressful to know how much was piling up and not to be able to do some quick and timely things on my computer. Oh well. I'll catch up some day.

Here's a post I started but couldn't finish at Bear Lake thanks to the hot spot issue - plus scroll down for a bunch of great photos:

Our days are winding down at Bear Lake. The crowds are thinning out as people trickle away for various other obligations. All the excitement and fun of the reunion has been replaced by a little more time for casual conversation and reading and relaxing and going with the flow of the weather and the natural pace of the day. 

We're getting creative with the food left here as we try to minimize grocery store runs and maximize the using up of the food we have here. Jonah's been whipping up fresh bread and homemade granola almost every day. Saydi made homemade pizza. Kristi found enough ingredients for a repeat performance of her amazing fish tacos. Homemade cookies are in good supply (everyone has their favorite recipe to share).

Here I am making Thai red curry (and looking pretty concerned about it...)
I'm enjoying daily runs and swims with my sisters to counteract the calories and to get ready for the Grand Teton Relay that Jared and I are doing again this year. It's great to feel stronger and better at running this year than I did last year when I was just getting back into running after a 10 year hiatus. I can conquer the hills around here now without feeling like I'm at the end of my rope.

We've had various friends show up for a day or two. Two of my best friends from Wellesley College (we graduated together 20 years ago now - crazy stuff) came with their children and we talked and laughed and learned from each other until late into the night - reminded me of the good old days in the dorms (and why didn't I think to take a photo?). Jared's brother and family came for a couple days and our kids loved having cousins from both sides of their family to play with at the same time (and they brought their jet skis plus lots of amazing ice cream from the Cold Stone store that they run which made them very popular guests indeed). Saydi had friends here and Noah had friends here - always so great to meet each other's friends and relatives when we get the chance. Always a bit of a puzzle to figure out the details of where everyone should sleep and what to feed everyone - but it always works out great.

Here are the twins with some great Loosli cousins - Parker and Logan.

And thanks to Parker and Logan's parents, we all had big times on waverunners. Fun stuff. Here I am with Camden (Jonah and Aja's), Eliza, and Claire (Shawni and Dave's).

Ashton's best friend from St George, Dallen, was staying at a cabin just down the road for his family reunion.  It was so great to see these two together again! We sure wish Dallen and his great family still lived near us.

The twins and their cousins have been making dams every day. They've probably learned tons of principles of engineering as they've used sand and rocks to create ever-stronger dams.

Isaac lost his first molar which was pretty exciting (and had a birthday which I'll do a blog post about when I get a chance).

The kids caught several lizards.

And learned all about lizards from Uncle Tal (a serious lizard-catching expert back when we were kids)

We went on countless boat rides. Isaac got really good at wakeboarding and became quite adept at pulling up on one ski - and getting in and out of the wake. Ashton became a great wakeboarder and kneeboarder. Eliza got up on two skis for a few seconds and loved wild and crazy tube rides behind the boat. The twins were good with playing in the sand and riding the tube and vehemently refused to try skiing. My parents' 25-year-old boat is still going strong!

Here's Isaac on the wakeboard.

We had lots of fun in the canoe. Here's Liza and Hazel.

And every day a small group of us would swim out way past those reeds in the photo above to a buoy - nothing like swimming through that beautiful clear cool water under a blue, blue sky while enjoying great conversations (we weren't exactly swimming fast...).

We played some great volleyball (and the kids are really enjoying watching Olympic volleyball now that they've had a chance to try playing it themselves).

We cleaned up the beach toys and lifejackets every day which sort of gets old but isn't bad with lots of little helpers.

We had good times at the "Bamboo House" as we call my parent's big lake house with bamboo floors. We did crafts and reading time and lots of cooking time and cleaning time (cooking and cleaning proved to be as relationship-building and as anything else...). Saydi read a chapter of a book each night with most of the kids and here's Aja doing craft time with a bunch of the kids.

We all grew pretty attached to each other. There's nothing like seeing bonds grow between your kids and your siblings kids.

Ashton and Peter (Saydi and Jeff's) became close friends.

Ashton and Bennett (Noah and Kristi's)

And of course, Ashton had a fabulous time with Max and Elle (Shawni and Dave's) in the 3 days they had together (between scout camp, EFY and volleyball camp, the big kids sadly had precious time together this year but they made the most of it!). These three make up "Group 1"

Isaac spent lots of time with babies and toddlers (he's SO cute with them). But I only got this one photo somehow:

And Isaac had the greatest time with Grace (Shawni and Dave's) and Ana (Jonah and Aja's) - Grace was born in June, Isaac in July and Ana in August and these three are known as "Group 2". It's been so fun to watch them grow up together and see how much they enjoy each other and how much they learn from each other.

Eliza had SO much fun with Hazel and Claire - the closest thing she'll ever have to sisters. These three cute girls are called "Group 3."

Some friends in China sent my parents a whole bunch of great dress-up clothes and all the little girls had SO much fun!
 Annina (Tal and Anita's) was a big favorite. Such an adorable baby!

 The twins and the 3 boy cousins close to them in age (known as "Group 4) are like this little pack that do everything together - Monopoly and dam-building seemed to be the main hits this year but bird-watching was also a favorite.

McKay (Noah and Kristi's) made this special mask to wear birdwatching - he used 1/2 a broken set of swim goggles, a rubber ring from a jar, some rubber bands and a feather from one of the feather boas Grammie got from the nice people in China. That kid cracks me up constantly.

I'm missing these crazy, fun, wonderful people. Long live Bear Lake.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Beauty at Bear Lake

I don't know whether I think this place is so beautiful because it is so tied in with great memories and relaitionships for me or whether it seems extra gorgeous because I'm simply outside so much more here than I am in my regular life or whether any random person who came here would find this to be a extra pretty place.

I only have my phone for a camera up here but here but even without fancy photo equipment, I think these photos capture a decent piece of the beauty we're experiencing here.

Eliza has taken a photo of the sunset every night here. She's captured some great stuff:

I love how my whole family is really into nature's beauty. We always point out the beauty we see to each other and that makes us all extra-aware and extra-appreciative. Maybe that's another reason Bear Lake is so beautiful to me.

Here's a little group watching the sunset - and interviewing Isaac on his life right now. I'm so grateful for how all my siblings and their spouses show such interest in my kids and give them so much positive reinforcement while we're together.


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