I hope that last post didn’t sound too negative about Bear Lake. I love this place and this experience more than I can say. Especially once I just give up and enjoy. Seriously, browse through these pictures. Could there be a more perfect vacation? Surrounded by so many people I love and so much beauty. We are growing! 41 people with two babies on the way. Don’t my parents look pleased as punch? My dad’s still pushing for 50 grandkids. Despite the bribery and guilt he lays out, I’m pretty sure he’s not going to make it. Peter is the youngest and he’s number 21. I love getting to know each of these kids better. They are a riot! The big official family reunion kicked off the Bear Lake experience this year. On the first night with everyone here we had our traditional bon fire. Every year the person in charge gathers a song from each member of Eyrealm (kids and adults) and makes a cd/playlist of Eyrealm favorites from the year. At the bon fire we go through the songs and try to guess which song belongs to whom. This is one of my favorite parts of the reunion. Some brave souls stand up and dance when their song is played and it always sticks with me all year as I listen to each song. I’ve found some of my favorite music through these cds. They help me feel connected throughout the year. The water is up so high this year, it feels like a totally different experience. For about 10 years we’ve had to either pile onto the good old Montero or take a long walk in order to get to the water. Check out these pictures from last year. Now we can all lounge out at the beach pavilion and watch all the action in the water. Sure,I miss the long beautiful beach, but having the water up makes live so much easier, especially with a new napping baby to keep tabs on. I think the kids miss all the Montero rides though. That’s gotta feel pretty free after being cooped up and belted into our mini van!We spend the evening playing games and talking. I’m trying my best not to be too anxious and impatient as I put the kids down, but I’m always so excited to get to this part of the day. It is really pretty fun. Surrounded by so many cool people. This year someone brought Just Dance for the wii. I’d never played it before, and boy have I been missing out. Here are my parents dancing to “Ring My Bell.” All I can say is, awesome. People even coaxed Jeff into dancing. Again, awesome.
We also played some pretty hysterical games of reverse Charades. If you havn’t played it, look up the iPhone app. It’s a pretty fun group game, especially if you’re overtired and it’s late at night and Noah or Linda Eyre is playing with you.
The hot tub has been a big hit this year. My dad is always trying to convince the adults to chat in it after dark. He swears that it’s crystal clean, but how in the world can it be with all those little bodies crammed in their all day. Here’s Hazel with her cute little “group.” My mom and dad have all the grandkids organized into different age groups. Each group has a name and different traditions for each age. They compete at the reunion to see who can be the most helpful and kind and good. This year they all had flags and Aja awarded them with badges for good behavior. They all got super into the competition. I was amazed at how motivated they were! Organizing shoes, giving adults massages, asking what they could do to help.
More on these groups later (if I can get my blogging act together!), but for now here’s a picture or Charlie with his group and their flag.And here’s Emmeline with her group and Peter with his. Peter’s group also includes two unborn babies. Here’s group #1, “Old Faithful.” Look at them! They’re full on teenagers. They add such a great dynamic to the group. I’m so happy that they’re around to lead the way. They are such good kids. As much as Charlie adores those tough guys in his group, he maintains that Max (his oldest cousin) is his favorite. During the reunion we usually have some kind of Eyrealm Olympics. This year we had some relays and some running races. My big kids are excited to compete…..but I guess we missed out on the running genes (look how far behind they both are!). Charlie has been practicing all year for the race against his “group.” Even after all his prepping he didn’t have a chance. He’s just a lot younger or shorter than most of them. He was devastated. Look at that face. It was so sad for me to watch since I knew how badly he wanted to win. As soon as the race was over cute Camden (the oldest of the group, who has been unanimously accepted as the “leader”) ran back to him to give Charlie a big hug. See Camden there in the red shirt looking back at Charlie? What a sweet cousin interaction. They are building magical bonds here. I can feel it. My dad has this vision of these cousins reaching out to each other as they get bigger and their trials get larger than loosing a running race. I could see a small sliver of that vision fulfilled in this little moment.
Our poor 20 year old boat might have seen it’s last run this year. It was totally dead when we all arrived (a blown head gasket or something serious sounding like that) but Jo and Jeff got to work and rebuilt the engine. I think Jeff was having the time of his life. They made it look so fun that by the end all the brother’s in law were in on it. It “ran” for a few days (with a lot of coddling and choking of the engine). Long enough for me to get in a good run “on the gold.” Being out in the boat with brothers and golden sunsets and perfectly glassy water are some of my best moments in life. I need to get a better shot of this, but Peter has spent a LOT of his time in his Bumbo chair up on the kitchen Island or the dining table. Thank goodness for that thing and for a baby who will sit in in for hours, pleased as punch to watch all the people busily prepare food and eat. He is thrilled out of his mind when someone stops what they’re doing to say hi to him. He smiles so hard he almost wriggles himself out of that thing. He has been the worlds best baby up here. Hazel finally lost her first tooth. She has been so anxious to loose a tooth and has been wiggling this one for weeks. I’m not sure why she was so stoked when it finally popped out…..hasn’t she been noticing her cousin’s honkin’ big teeth? Does she realize that’s what she’s in for? Seriously, take another browse through the pictures here. We’ve got some winner genes in this family for teeth. She wrote a great note to the tooth fairy who barely remembered to come and snatch her tooth. The “fairy” brought her an awesome card game she’s been wanting (since it is her first lost tooth). It’s called “Sleeping Queens.” It has been a huge hit, even among the little tough boys. Meal time is HECTIC but great. We have some pretty darn good food up here. And after getting all those little people set up with grub we usually have some great dinner time conversation. I love having Aunts and Uncles around to give my kids some much needed attention. It’s different kind of love than they get from me or Jeff. It sends them beaming. I have this great hope that they’ll be able to absorb some of the amazing qualities I see in my siblings and siblings in law. The kids play in the sand for hours and hours. Especially Charlie. I don’t know why I bother buttering him up with sunscreen, he’s so covered in sand I don’t think the sun has much chance of getting through. Emmeline? Well, I need a whole post to talk about Emmeline up here. She’s either awesome or horrid depending on the time of day and how much she’s had to eat. But look at that cute little physique. That’s got to make up for something.
At the end of the reunion I got a horrible eye infection. So bad that I had to go into the Montpelier ER. They didn’t give me strong enough antibiotics so Jeff and I “got” to take a little date over to Logan. Everyone was so nice to pitch in and help watch our kids while we went with Peter. I was in so much pain I could barely function. But, we got some good strong antibiotics and within an hour I felt up to going to see my dear Grandma who lives in Logan. She’s getting really old and loosing so much of her memory. I was so happy to have some time with her and have her meet little Peter. She wouldn’t let me take a picture of her without her wig on, so this is all I got of her with him, but I love it. Look at those beautiful aged hands wrapped around that new supple skin. They seemed to really hit it off. I think Peter really brightened her day. I don’t want to ever grow old.
I love this picture (above). All the moms directing/helping/capturing this hodge podge of kids.
I love the days when afternoon storms roll in. Quite suddenly things change from serene to frantic. We even had a power outage this year. It puts a little adventure into the day and it’s breathtakingly beautiful. I need to post some better pictures, but I liked this one because it looks like we’re at the ocean. The days are long and leisurely at the pavilion.
The shadows are long by the time we wrap up the day and head up for dinner. Emmeline and I have had some pretty serious conversations about her little shadow (need to get a picture of that cute little thing).
Really, they are halcyon days. I’m trying to soak them in while they last.
There’s so much more to write about, but I’m going to go and get busy soaking.