eyrealm reunion 2015


this year, the boy and i were in charge of planning and executing the eyrealm reunion. four and a half days, forty six (mostly quite strong-willed) people, quite a task.

we started planning on our trip and in all those months leading up to july 8-12, it was a lot of work! but it was also a lot of fun. bless the boy’s golden heart – entered the family only nine months prior yet jumped right in to reunion planning. we really did have a great time working on this together, but we are also pretty glad that we don’t have to do it again for another nine years! {one of us nine siblings takes our turn, in birth order, planning the reunion each year}

we decided to make “around the world” the theme for this year’s reunion since between the forty six of us we had spent time in twenty nine countries in 2015! it was a big year for eyrealm travel! at the reunion, we sorely missed my brother jonah and his wife and kids who were living in europe this summer (and still are). the theme helped us to remember them in their absence!

we tried to tie “around the world” into a lot of different parts of the reunion, especially the food: each lunch and dinner was themed after a particular country, and we ate cuisine from and learned facts about that place during mealtime. it was especially great to hear about everyone’s experiences traveling this year in many different parts of this amazing earth.

we also switched it up this summer a bit by having the entire reunion function as a big, friendly competition. all family members were broken into six teams and each team could earn points from different events. it was a really fun way to mix up the dynamics, and a really useful tactic to get people to be on time - bonus points for promptness work in a family full of competitive spirits! :)

it was such a fantastic four and half days! and the boy and i got to stay at the lake after the reunion for a few days as well, which was dreamy. i lifted a few of my favourite pictures of our time at bear lake from my sister shawni’s blog to repost here:

^^ welcome barbeque/picnic. thank you claire (in the front) for displaying the excitement of the event for everyone :) ^^
^^ unveiling the theme! the boy is hunched over in this picture because he is about to rip his shirt off to reveal the reunion tshirts! ^^
^^ scavenger hunt instructions. we hid little globes with clues stuck to them in specific spots all over the lake! ^^
^^ post scavenger hunt impromptu activity – dodge ball with the clue globes! ^^
^^ a new activity we added to the reunion agenda this year was a little “maintenance project” to give an extra chance for everyone to contribute rather than just consume all of the amenities at bear lake. the teenagers sanded and oiled deck furniture and the adults and kids pulled a lot of weeds! ^^
^^ “fear factor” – an activity the kids insist we do every single year wherein they are challenged to eat not-particularly-appetizing foods. we had plenty of tears and quite a few barfs this time…but they still want to do it again next year! for some reason this activity is so dang funny and fun for everyone. ^^
^^ we had eyrealm olympics with five different events, one of which was a balloon stomp, which got quite lively! ^^
food1 food2
^^ the food at the reunion is arguably the best part. everyone is pretty serious about making their meal awesome. and we all love it. here’s a couple lunches – mexican street tacos and thai lettuce wraps! ^^
^^ every year the reunion falls really close to my brother eli’s birthday, and every year his wife julie presents something shaped like the number of years old eli is turning. i love this tradition! (lately there’s been a 29 made out of five pounds of gummy bears, a 30 made out of photos taped to the wall, and a 31 made out of nieces and nephews on the grass! this year it was a pinata!)
but the real reason i am including this picture among my very favourites from the lake is because of what’s in the background: sixteen-year-old elle holding new baby dean, me snuggling up to them both; fourteen-year-old isaac holding one-year-old mila, fourteen-year-old grace trying to get her to smile and coo; and a bunch of excited, smiling cousins on the side. family connections. i just feel the love when i look at this picture. ^^
^^ the annual doubles tennis tournament was pretty epic, both because ian and i made it through the first round (woot! that’s a big deal for us!) and because everyone watched the final with some invested interest, due to the reunion-wide competition. we had big bowls of popcorn and the kids climbed on the cabin roof for a stadium view. ^^
trivia3 trivia2trivia1 trivia4
^^ one night the adults played eyrealm trivia – the inlaws (those who married in) vs the outlaws (original family members) faced off to answer questions about each other, the eyrealm founders (mom&dad), and “around the world” or random facts. it was pretty intense and hysterical. the inlaws won it in a complete landslide! ^^
^^ eli blessed his brand new baby, dean haslam eyre, on sunday after church. i love baby blessings at the lake so much! ^^
^^ the score card. it was pretty cutthroat! :) ^^
^^ we snapped this photo of the siblings (missing jonah!) before everyone started leaving after the reunion officially ended. how lucky am i to have these brothers and sisters?! ^^
^^ the week after the reunion: flower gathering on the hike to bloomington lake, one of my all-time favourite spots on earth! ^^
^^ and rope swinging once we got there! there’s nothing like swooping out over and then plunging into that ice-cold water! ^^
not pictured:

-the traditional bonfire on the beach. i always feel like time stands still during that couple of hours when we are all wrapped up in the sunset, the encroaching night, good music (we each pick a song for the year and reveal them at the bonfire), the love that binds us together. as usual, there was a pretty stellar dance party around the fire at the end.

-some awesome boat time skiing and tubing. there are few things that bring me more pure exhilaration that pulling up on a ski behind our trusty mastercraft for the first time each summer. and watching the kids getting thown around on the tube is so entertaining. i just opted for a relatively slow tube ride with some of the < 5 years old grandkids this year :)

-late night games, meetings, and fantastic conversations. this year a bunch of us sat out on the deck under the stars for hours talking about marriage.

-a testimony meeting, a talent show, a time capsule opening. and a million points of connection and relationship growth and gratitude to god for family bonds.

i sincerely adore each and every one of these stellar individuals. ^^ so thankful for them. and especially thankful this year for all that ian adds to eyrealm. i’m so glad he’ll be around for dozens and dozens of reunions to come (but that we’re only planning one in every nine!) :)


  1. I know this is a random question, but did Baby Shelby's name get changed? I noticed that many of you have been calling her Mila. Very cute name, but I was wondering if it was a nickname for Shelby or if they changed the name all together.

    1. Me too! I thought: Who`s Mila?

    2. hi! the name shelby just never quite felt right for this miracle girl. her parents added a first name many months ago - mila - and that is what we call her. she's our darling mila shelby grace eyre, and we adore her!

  2. What a huge undertaking! Especially considering how busy your spring and summer already were! It looks like the best time. I love that there is a close bond between everyone in the family regardless of age, in-law/out-law ;), boy/girl, etc. And I love that your family creates different groups in order to encourage this closeness.

  3. You, your husband and family are truly AMAZING and such an inspiration!! I am so thankful that you take the time to not only record this information for family history but that you are all so generous in sharing it with the world!! I tired to watch the video but it said it was removed by the user, which is totally understandable but hopefully not due to security or "mean people" who are jealous of big, happy families who enjoy & delight in being together (that makes me sad for them yet encourages me to "pray more, love more & believe more")