ten thoughts on a wednesday |12|
{bear lake edition}

2017-07-17 Saydi's Bear Lake 167032

one.
my family has been spending chunks of summertime at bear lake since my parents honeymooned there forty eight years ago. our experiences there have definitely evolved over time as the family has grown, but every one of my parents’ children, children-in-law, and grandchildren have gathered at this pretty mountain lake every single july (with just a very few exceptions some years – mostly due to church missions). over the last couple of decades, we’ve called the time when we are all together at bear lake our eyrealm reunion, which typically lasts four and a half days. throughout the years we’ve figured out different ways to make the logistics of this large gathering work. and we all really enjoy being together at bear lake – yes, even the in-laws :) of course some people like certain aspects of the lake and of our reunion more than others, but generally we all have a pretty awesome time.
i want to share a few of my favourite moments from the week i spent this month at bear lake in this post, and then will fill in some gaps of the reunion and other lake time in a following post. i’m happy to answer any questions about the eyres at bear lake in the comments of this post (readers have expressed interest in this topic in the past).

2017-07-16 Bear Lake 166054

two.
one thing that i was especially super psyched about doing in bear lake this year was waterskiing! every since i was a little kid, i have been so exhilarated by gliding on top of that aqua water behind a speedboat. i was so sad to miss that experience last year, and because ian and i want to continue to grow our family and don’t know the timing of future pregnancies, who knows if i’ll miss that experience next year or in several summers to come.
so…i was pretty anxious to ski soon after we got to the lake and got in the boat at the first opportunity. since moses was ready for a nap by the time it was my turn to go behind the boat, i just took a really quick (like 30 second) ski as we headed back to shore. i was pretty proud that, after a year off and having a baby, i pulled right up and my muscles remembered it all. i felt sheer delight and thick exuberance in those thirty seconds – i was whooping and hollering with joy as i skied!
unfortunately, while we were in the states i developed a corneal ulcer (i.e. an ulcer on my eyeball!), and on the last day of the reunion i had to drive to the closest big town (logan, utah) to see an ophthalmologist. i had been using an antibiotic a doctor at an urgent care facility back in baltimore gave me, but my eye wasn’t healing as expected. the ophthalmologist gave me a stronger antibiotic – and told me to avoid getting lake water in my eye (i.e. no swimming or waterskiing). i was so sad because i hadn’t gotten in a real ski yet!
luckily my sister came up with a solution … i could wear the awesomely huge and quite funny-looking swim goggles that my niece had brought, and take it easy a bit skiing to avoid getting any water in my eye. it worked like a charm and i’m sure i looked gloriously nerdy behind the boat, blissed out and rocking those goggles! (wish i had a picture…!)

three.
the past few reunions, we have started off the whole she-bang with a “kickoff” on the grass overlooking the lake. the family of the eyre sibling in charge of the reunion (we trade off year to year) reveals the theme of the reunion, and the reunion t-shirts, and the schedule for the next few days (we have just 1-2 events each day amidst lots of unstructured time playing at the beach/in the water/on the tennis court/around the cabin). there’s usually quite a bit of excitement and laughter in the air and it just feels so great to be all together.
this year i felt especially happy on the grass snuggled up to my husband, with my baby on my lap, and surrounded by family members that i adore but don’t get to see very often. after the whirlwind week of travel that we had preceding that evening, it just felt so awesome to finally be at the lake and just wrapped up in the unique gladness that i feel in that place.
2017-07-14 Bear Lake 1654172017-07-14 Eli's Bear Lake 166507

four.
traditionally on the first night of the reunion, we have a bonfire on the beach and share the reunion playlist – we each choose a favourite song from the year and when it plays we share why we picked it. i have to say it really is magical sitting around a big fire all together under the stars (and it really is a blast to have a sparkler dance party at the end of the night).
this year my ten-year-old niece lucy chose this song for the reunion playlist. her dad had come across that funny video and her family had giggled at it when he showed it to them. but, to a crowd of family members around a bonfire at bear lake, lucy was serious when she said, “when i first heard this song, i really felt the spirit. jesus really is my friend.” and in that moment under the stars, i couldn’t stop my heart from filling with sweetness and my eyes from filling with tears. that girl – who will experience some unique struggles in her life because of a genetic syndrome she was born with – is right.
2017-07-14 Bear Lake 1654572017-07-14 Bear Lake 165545

five.
seeing moses happy in my happy place made me so happy! little mo’s smiles were especially abundant as he was surrounded by adoring cousins (and aunts, uncles and grandparents) and because he had so many new places and toys and experiences to discover. he loooooved playing in the sand (but actually didn’t totally love being in the water because bear lake is so cold – usually he’s a complete water baby!).
during lunches at the beach pavilion, moses sometimes hung out in a pack n play crib so his crawling was contained while we all ate. a few different times i caught glimpses of him peering around at all the people around him with just a huge, stoked smile on his face, taking it all in.
2017-07-15 Bear Lake 165637IMG_8284

six.
my mom is basically the awesomest and organizes little “grammie camps” for the kids each summer during a few days before or after the reunion. since she lives far away from most of her family members, it’s so fantastic that she does this to bond with and teach her grandchildren. the kids of all ages absolutely love it, because it’s practically impossible to not love spending sime with my mom (no matter the activity). some years she focuses grammie camp on classical music, some years on art, some years on scriptures, and this year it was all about our ancestors. 
you don’t get to go to grammie camp until you are five years old, but every year mom has a little “grammie camp party” for the littlest grandkids – and it was so fun for moses to go this year! we had a dance party, a water balloon activity and a little craft, and at the end grammie gave each kid a cute little stuffed dog.
moses also had some sweet time with grandfather, including his first horse back ride! 
IMG_8249

seven.
another traditional part of the reunion is the doubles’ tennis tournament. my dad is a huge tennis lover and we’ve been playing tennis at bear lake as long as i can remember. each married couple in the family partners up for the tournament, and more recently the grandkids have been participants, too! ian and i don’t have a history of doing too well in the tournament…neither of us are very good players…so getting past the first round is a feat for us. and we did it this year! we were slated up against our nieces elle and claire and beat them 6-4 (we were honestly shocked that we won). ian gets really into the tennis tournament, and every year we say we are going to practice throughout the fall, winter and spring so we can have a better showing at the next reunion… (we lost to elle and claire’s parents in the second round…but it was a close match at 7-5!)
2017-07-14 Bear Lake 165394
^^ this picture shows off the sweet double-glasses look that i sported throughout our time at bear lake – because of my eye injury, i couldn’t wear contacts so had to wear glasses, but it was so sunny that i had to wear sunglasses on top of my glasses, haha! this picture also shows off that there’s much more sunshine in hawaii and arizona – where claire and elle live – than in london ;) ^^

eight.
my siblings and i are notorious for being big-time night owls, and that comes out a lot when we are together at bear lake and enjoying rare time together (since we are so spread out in where we live). one night this year a few of us stayed up talking until 2:30am – eek! but it was such a good, deep discussion – none of us could tear ourselves away (even me, who knew that moses would be up at the crack of dawn!). another night, after the reunion had ended, my sister saydi and i got some in-laws hooked on a fascinating conversation and we were up past midnight talking on the deck under the night sky. there are few things i love more than those late night talks at the lake – siblings and in-laws sharing different perspectives and us all learning from each other.

nine.
moses, ian and i were at the lake all together for five days. ian went to work in his firm’s salt lake city office and little mo and i stayed up at the lake for two and a half extra days. no matter how long i am at the lake (this year was shorter than many years for me), it just never seems like quite enough time. this year i didn’t get on the sail boat, or up the canyon for the hike to bloomington lake, and i wished for more time swimming with my sisters and playing with my nieces and nephews.
on my last day at the lake, i went out on the water on the paddle board while moses was napping, and thought about how it felt like i hadn’t had enough time at this special, special place. and then – i decided it was enough time. i stood on top of the water, looked at the mountains and the sky and the clouds, breathed it all in to my heart, and decided it was enough. i was filled up until next year.

ten.
there was the most spectacular sunset of the summer (i’m sure of it!) on my last night at bear lake. the sky, three hundred and sixy degrees around, was saturated with changing colour and moving texture and the light was heavy and dewey. there was weather stirring in the air – a storm clearly approaching. we all watched the heavens evolve from the deck through dinner and cleanup and a bit of dessert, and we moved inside once darkness had finally prevailed. just a few minutes later, my dad popped his head in the kitchen and said, “you all need to come back outside and watch this lightening.”
we ended up turning all the lights in the house off and sitting on the deck for nearly an hour watching the sky swirl and flash and rumble. it was absolutely the most amazing lightening storm i’ve ever seen. there were near constant flashes of light - sometimes behind a cloud just illuminating the blackness and making the dark lake shine blue, and sometimes in clear, hyper-branched rods of electricity spindling across the sky that turned our silence into “woooooah”s. we could feel the sheet of rain getting closer and closer until bam, it hit and we scurried inside.
it was magical. and the most beautiful parting gift from my happy place to me. lightening rods imbuing my veins with all the personal memories and love and wonder of bear lake.

2017-07-16 Bear Lake 166075

happy wednesday! life is beautiful.
more pictures from bear lake coming soon!

13 comments:

  1. I wish you had a picture, too!

    My family is getting together a weekend a year and I have introduced your idea of a playlist. I've just finished this year's. The first two years, everybody was a bit "Ugh", but now everyone is hooked. However we only have twelve songs...

    You and your family describe Bear Lake so wonderfully that I feel the need to go there if I visit the US!

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    1. Bear Lake ist nicht gerade der Chiemsee...

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    2. Und trotzdem unbestritten schön, oder?

      Sorry for hijacking again, we're discussing the beauty of Bear Lake.

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    3. Can you stop this, please? It's annoying.

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  2. In this final pic there are several grandchildren that look waaaay less than thrilled. Eliza looks to be in terrible pain. Hard thing to get in the final pic? Even if means ditching the wheelchair with a broken pelvis?

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    1. The final picture shows everyone's hand up and mouths open probably yelling something. It's the silly face picture. Half of the faces are partially covered. I can't imagine you can really tell how anyone is feeling from the photo. There seems to be plenty of room for a wheel chair if she needed it. Some pictures had her in crutches as well.

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    2. yep, and the waaay less than thrilled faces are pretty hilarious. kids usually expire quicker on family picture taking than adults ;) eliza chose to not be in a wheelchair in the picture. she was nearing the very end of the prescribed time to keep weight off one of her legs and she had gotten really good at hopping - haha!

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  3. I'm so sorry about your eye Charity! I hope it heals quickly. Lovely thoughts and optimism as always.

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  4. It was so great to have you back this year, along with Ian and that sweet little red-head! Great photos!

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  5. Can I ask what kind of activities do you do as a group? We also get together each year but it is mostly unstructured and I would like to see us get a little more group things. I do a Nana camp each year for our grandkids and it is always so fun!

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    1. My oooooone disappointment in this blog is that Charity doesn't seem to reply to many questions in the comments section, as I too would love to hear some suggestions such as the one you mention. It's a little sad that the comments that are snide/unkind get the few responses I've read lately (though I absolutely understand why Charity would feel the need to respond). Oh well, at least she covers a lot in the initial content - the Bear Lake reunion looks just wonderful, what a beautiful location.

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    2. dang, i feel like i am pretty good about responding to questions in the comments...but sometimes a few fall through the cracks - i need a better system for keeping track :)

      a photo of our reunion schedule is in a post two newer than this one - it has all the activities on it! and some photos from lots of them. we do both indoor (cards, charades, etc) and outdoor (races, soccer, water balloon dodgeball etc) games, silly competitions like "fear factor," scavenger hunts, art projects, work projects, ancestor quizzes, etc etc. it's a little different every year!

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