the last full day of the reunion included a morning talent show featuring pretty awesome dance routines, some ukulele playing, a couple gymnastics moves and also mckay showcasing how he can smile and drink out of a straw at the very same time! these older grandkids love driving lessons from their uncles. it is fun to have nieces and nephews to remind me of junior high and high school days. yes, i have a nephew who is fifteen and six-three.every year we have a doubles tennis tournament. since shawni’s husband had to leave on sunday, i got to be her doubles partner. we totally lost in the first round, but then we got to play another match with her teenage kids. elle and i smoked max and shawni. it was maybe the most fun tennis match i’ve ever played. hanging out with these people in the sun after lunch is the best.out on the boat in the middle of the lake on a hot afternoon is really really my happy place. the teal water, the bouncy clouds, the cheers and usually holding a baby or two on my lap…and there is nothing like the sensation of waterskiing – especially the first ski of the year. these pictures don’t do my brothers’ mad skiing skills justice…after lunch, the grandkids participated in the first-ever eyrealm fear factor competition. it. was. stinking. awesome. my brother eli was in charge and started out the event with a little dance party to get everyone excited…but the kids’ faces soon turned a little worried as eli explained the game: several rounds of eating pretty gross stuff, and the last kid standing wins.the first round was a lemon:round two was a cup of vegetable juice, which yielded the first tears:quite a few of the kids made it to round three: seaweed. the twins struggled with that one:(aren’t those faces priceless??) round four was dried squid:camden and his loathing for hard boiled eggs struggled a little with round 5: quail eggs:the adults and the kids that didn’t advance to the next round loooooved watching the action:the idea of eating eyeballs got some kids a little miffed in round 6: anchovies:and the final round was a race to chew and swallow two roasted squid. eliza held her own as the only girl in the top five finals and mckay, unfortunately, had to use the barf bucket:the crowd was going wild as the final five tried to get those nasty things down as fast as possible:max couldn’t get that chewy slimy thing down quite fast enough, and isaac became fear factor champion!
another storm rolled in at the end of the day and we watched it move across the sky and illuminate the world with wondrous light.we had to do some jumping pictures…after dinner, we went bird watching! there is a bird refuge just north of bear lake that we’ve often passed but never really explored. the gate was closed and padlocked, but that didn’t deter us…we did see some amazing birds – including two with fish in their mouths! mckay worked all day to make these special bird watching goggles –
complete with a feather for camouflage!this night was so thick and dewy and perfect. the air was ethereal and kind.
the drive back was sublime, and the sun finally set just as we got home.
i had to go back to california on tuesday and then back to work on wednesday. it was so hard to leave when most everyone else was staying for a few more days. after this perfect, glowing bird watching night, i had a hard last day at the lake realizing everything i had to go back to and feeling alone and anxious. i’m grateful for memories of glorious bear lake sunsets and for the swellings of hope that come from recalling the simple joys of familial love – which continuously give me real power to keep striving and working to live big and live well.