Sunday, July 20, 2014

4th of July and Bear Lake - 2014

After a great few days celebrating the 4th of July in Ashton, Idaho with Jared's family, we've been here at Bear Lake for the past couple of weeks with my family.

In Ashton, we had a great time watching/riding in the 4th of the July parade (the kids decorated their bikes and rode in the parade this year - Isaac rode a unicycle the whole way - pretty impressive!), participating in the Ashton watermelon-eating contest (Jared won the adult division and the kids all came in near the top in their age divisions), waterskiing, tubing and wakeboarding out at the reservoir (Ashton surprised us all by pulling right up on on ski and immediately doing all these impressive cuts as he whipped in and out of the wake - wow!), and laughing and talking until late into night. I sure married into a great family.

Here's a glimpse of what I posted on Instagram about our good times in Ashton (for more, click here and scroll down a bit.):

After our good times in Ashton, we headed straight to Bear Lake. We enjoyed some pre-reunion fun and reconnection with many family members who showed up around the same time we did, then our official family reunion was July 9-13 when all 44 members of the family (we added Charity's fiance Ian this year - so happy for them! - and we sadly were missing the oldest cousin, Max, this year - he's doing an internship in China) were here. Here's a run-down of some of the stuff we did (thanks to Eli and Julie for being the reunion chairs this year!):
  • The opening bonfire - tradition on the first night of the reunion, we get to hear the official reunion playlist where everyone contributes one song - and guess whose song is whose. Plus we threw in a great dance party at the end this year.
  • The annual Eyrealm meeting (where we discuss which charities we've helped support this past year and listen to proposals for grants for this upcoming year - the Eyrealm Foundation is a small non-profit where my parents put most of the money they make from speaking these days and we all get to help decide which family-focused non-profits to donate to each year)
  • lots of water sports - the older grandkids are into wakeboarding lately, the adults mostly slalom ski and work on perfecting their cuts, most kids like crazy tube rides...
  • the third annual Fear Factor - participating kids eat crazy things and when they come to something they can't eat - they're out. They started with olives, pickles and mushrooms (which got LOTS of kids out - mushrooms were the hardest for most kids...). They moved on to sardines, roasted rattle snake (the dads shot, skinned and roasted an errant rattle snake a couple days before the reunion), toasted and flavored worms and bugs (you can get them on Amazon). Eliza came in second place and Ashton came in fourth. We have some crazy good eaters!
  • the second annual Eyrealm Relay Race - a 12-mile race where we divide into teams and everyone of every age - other than non-walking babies - runs 1/2-mile to 1-mile legs
  • tons of really excellent food -despite the fact that we've had tons of salads and generally really healthy and delicious gourmet foods and I've been doing some serious swimming, paddle-boarding and/or walking and running every day, I think my waistline is expanding a bit thanks to late-night cookie baking and the urge for second helpings!
(For some specific info on how we do reunions, check out this post I wrote last year:  Three Keys to a Great Family Reunion)

At the end of the reunion, quite a few people had to head back to work but most people stayed on for more fun in the sand and water and fun, Grammie Camps (where my mom takes a few kids at a time off for a special overnighter and teaches them about their ancestors, about music and about the beauty and importance of hard work - they LOVE Grammie Camp!), plently of spectactular-sunset-watching and scenery-enjoying, kids' driving lessons (my brother Jo taught Ashton to drive the boat and many adults here have been nice enough to give the older kids fun driving lessons on the beach in the old beat-up Moneros we use to shuttle stuff and people around on the big empty beach - perfect place for kids to try out driving!), lots more late-night discussions about stuff like women and the priesthood, marriage advice (in honor of Charity and Ian's recent engagement), parenting issues and ideas, my parents' new book (The Turning), and my brother Talmadge's really interesting insights from the Masters program he just finished at UPenn (Positive Psychology). Plus we've laughed a lot and played games and enjoyed really catching up with each other in a way that being together for days on end allows you to do. The cousins have all had so much fun together and it's been so fun to see the interactions between big and little kids, peers, aunts and uncles and nieces and nephews, etc.

It seems like we're pretty much always cleaning up or cooking and the logistics and noise involved with so many people sharing space for so much time can sometimes feel a bit daunting. But it's worth it. For sure.

(If you want to know more about how we ended up spending time at Bear Lake every summer, click here for an old post that explains it all.)

The internet is slow here (when I can get it to work at all) so it's hard to upload photos to this blog. But I've put up a few photos each day on Instagram and they show what most everything I wrote about above actually looked like. If you want to check them out, just click here and use #eyrealm2014 to get to all the photos of our time at Bear Lake this year (and a quick overview is in the collage below). 

1 comment:

Eyrealm said...

Love this overview Saren. The links are a perfect way to save a lot of space and time. Loved your Instagram pics this year. They continue to keep us updated!


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