this year at my happy place

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it’s been my happy place my whole life – but it’s even happier when shared with my baby!

we had a fantastic week at the lake this summer.
my sister shawni and her family did an awesome job organizing the reunion; it was wonderful to be with beloved family members; there was sunshine, sunsets, amazing food, lots of cookies, boating and tennis and games.

click through to see a buuuunch of photos of bear lake 2017!
{apologies if you read my sister shawni’s blog and you’ve seen a lot of these pictures already!
i also just realized that we used the same “two people fell in love” cheesy line, haha!}
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^^ love these two like crazy! aren’t they looking so good for seventy+?
every year i appreciate the true goodness of my parents more and more. ^^
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^^ little mo’s very first swim in bear lake! ^^
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^^ gosh i adore each of these kids so dang much! moses is so lucky to have all these amazing cousins. ^^
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^^ deanie and moses bonding. i hope these two are always good friends! ^^
^^ sunset on our first night at the lake. seeing this made me feel sooooo home. ^^
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^^ celebrating eli’s birthday on the first day of the reunion. julie always creates the number in age he is turning out of something – this year it was chocolate chip cookies. i love this tradition! ^^2017-07-14 Bear Lake 165410
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^^ reunion kickoff with a funny video made by shawni, dave, and their girls. ^^
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^^ eliza fell out of a tree this summer, broke both arms, and then found out a few weeks later that she had also broken her pelvis! that girl has been such a champ throughout the whole ordeal and traded off between a wheelchair (often pushed by cousins), crutches, and hopping on one foot throughout the reunion. ^^
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^^ love these smiling faces! ^^
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^^ shanwi’s fam with the banner they made showing off the theme of the reunion. max (currently serving a mission in taiwan) was there in cardboard form :) ^^
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^^ beach bonfire and reunion playlist night! ^^
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^^ this is one of my favourite pictures of all time. i love my brother tal. ^^
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^^ chilling at the beach chatting – so nice to have time to talk and catch up and reconnect. ^^
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^^ reunion schedule of events! ^^
2017-07-15 Bear Lake 165554^^painting landscapes inspired by our view of bear lake! this was super fun for kids and adults alike. ^^
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^^ our niece aniston swam across bear lake one morning. that’s seven miles and three hours of swimming non-stop. what?! she’s amazing. a bunch of us went to cheer for her as she crossed the finish line. her dad was with her the entire swim on a stand-up paddle board (that’s a pretty epic feat too!). i could not stop myself from choking back tears when ana finished the race! ^^
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^^ lunching at the beach pavilion. ^^
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^^ loving on babies – moses and his cousin faith were both first-timers at bear lake! ^^
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^^ for the past few years, “fear factor” has been an event at the reunion. the grandkids progress through several rounds of eating foreign/spicy/slimy/interesting foods and see who can last the longest! this year shawni and dave put a twist on it all and brought out a gigantic ice cream sundae instead of fear-inducing foods. the kids went wild! and had a blast playing a game eating all that ice cream! ^^
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^^ what happens when mo’s dad puts sunscreen in his hair and can’t resist a mohawk :) ^^
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^^ our annual meeting as board members of our family foundation (a public charity) – discussing how/where to donate funds for this year and the future of the foundation. ^^
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^^ one of the best parts of the reunion = foooood! noah and kristi made these incredible open-faced sandwiches this year. so delicious! ^^
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^^ ian and i made our family favourite – lentil tacos. ^^
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^^ games at the house after church on sunday. the competition got pretty thick in this little tournament! ^^2017-07-16 Bear Lake 165766
^^ my brothers led us in a spiritual discussion on sunday afternoon. after sining a beautiful hymn together. ^^
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^^ adults only dinner on sunday evening! ^^
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^^ eli and julie live in new york city with their two kids. ^^
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^^ saren and jared +5 live in ogden, utah. // shawni and dave live in arizona and their kids are starting to spread out! – max is on a mission in taiwan, elle goes to byu-hawaii, and grace was in china teaching english this summer. ^^
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^^ tal and anita and their daughter live outside zurich, switzerland // noah and kristi +6 just moved to utah from southern california! ^^
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^^ jonah and aja and their five kids live in hawaii – on maui. // somehow i don’t have a picture of saydi and jeff +4! they are living on a small farm near half moon bay, california but will be moving (to a currently unknown location) soon. ^^
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^^ grandkid picture outtake with cardboard max. ^^
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^^ moses and mila playing with grandfather. it is so cute how much every grandchild adores my dad. ^^
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^^ riding a unicorn with my nieces … // moses’s first ride in the ski boat! ^^
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^^ ^^ ^^ cousin “groups.” ^^ ^^ ^^
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^^ happy peter during the “eyrealm olympics." ^^
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^^ i really made a valiant effort to get a photo of moses with his sunglasses on – haha! homeboy kept pulling them off, and thought it was all pretty hilarious :) ^^
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^^ lots of card games were played this year! ^^
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^^ jonah burgers!!! the best meal of the reunion (even though every meal is soooo good). seriously, no one makes a killer burger like my brother jo.^^
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^^ this year the grandkids were paired up as tutors (the older ones) and tutees (the littles). claire was moses’s tutor and took her responsibility very seriously. she’s such a good little babysitter and she adores moses. i love this photo of them – claire looks like a mini mom, just getting stuff done, baby on her hip! ^^
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^^ dad enjoyed dinner on the deck. ^^
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^^ shawni wrote down some things that each family member has done this year to live life to the max (the reunion theme) and strung them all up across the living room at the cabin. it was fun and inspiring to hear all the ways my brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews have reached goals and made awesome things happen over the past year! ^^
^^ can you spot one of grandfather’s horses? ^^
^^ moses had his first horse ride on our last day at bear lake! he loved it. ^^
^^ last sunset – before a huuuuuge and spectacular lightening storm! ^^
we snapped a few nine siblings pictures before the first folks started leaving the lake at the end of the reunion. love these peeps.
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you know that super cheesy, pretty cringeworthy platitude – “all because two people fell in love?” well…
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  1. Honestly, my very favorite posts by you (and some of your other family members) are of the time you spend at Bear lake. I can feel the love, fun, and good times had by all. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Ditto what Terri said! It is amazing how organized and deliberate everyone is in planning these reunions.

    2. I can just agree! The Eyrealm Reunions at Bear Lake are a highlight for me every single year! Thank you so much for sharing <3

  2. Ditto on what others have said, While I don't know all of your family members personally. Seeing the Bear Lake Reunion is a hightlight. So inspiring, taking notes, and ever so dreamy. You are blessed!

  3. Replies
    1. it's back on this post:

  4. Great pix.

    Wow, Ana is Grace's double! I bet they missed each other this year.

    I've finally worked out which brother is which - it has taken me years to do this:)

    By the way, before you go to church do you have to let your Mum & Dad's ward know that they'll that amount of people attending sacrament meeting so that they have enough bread, water & cups?

    Also, just curious, why don't you have church/sacrament at your Mum & Dad's place when you're there for the reunion?

    I love your reunion pix, thank you for sharing them with us.

    I hope Eliza is recovering OK. I fractured my pelvis when I was nearly 16 - I spent my 16th birthday in hospital - & it was really painful.

    1. we don't usually alert the ward before we attend - i think they always have plenty to spare since visitors aren't unusual at the lake.

  5. So much love! I'm guessing this can be a lot for some inlaws not raised in this way. Good for them for being such good sports and setting aside several days to attend!

    1. in my experience, big family reunions similar to ours in some ways are not uncommon among mormon families ... so all the in-laws have some exposure to stuff like this. and they all enjoy it, too ... it really is fun! we are lucky that we all really like each other - siblings, in-laws, parents, kids and i genuinely don't think anyone feels annoyed at setting aside several days to attend. it's definitely different for me than it is for ian, but we both really enjoy it all!

  6. Do you have the recipe for the open face sandwiches? Looks so good!!!

    1. i don't have it! i'll have to ask my sister-in-law kristi for it. they were soooo delicious.

  7. Yes - that open-faced sandwich recipe, please! And what game is being played up there at the house after church on Sunday? I am always looking for fun games that will appeal to multi-ages. Thanks!

    1. it's a game called "stick it to your neighbor." i bet if you google it you could find an explanation. if you can't, let me know and i will try to explain it :)

  8. This looks like a ton of fun and it's clear everyone loves each other. Does anyone ever sneak away for some alone time to re-charge, read a book, be alone? I know I would need that!

    1. totally. there's lots of unstructured time for everyone to do whatever they want. there's just a couple of activities a day that we do all together :)


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