b e a r l a k e {2018}

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we got to spend ten days at bear lake this year. and they were ten glorious days. my favourite place on earth with my favourite people in the world ... it's heaven for me.

it was especially fun this year to watch moses fall in love with bear lake. he seriously had such a blast, hanging out with his cousins at the beach, in the water, in the cabin, on the grass. and gabriel's first year at the lake was full of cuddles and smiles.

ian, the boys and i arrived a few days before the official eyrealm reunion began, and had to leave the day after it ended. here's a huge photo dump of all the fun and beauty ------>

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^^ a sisters' walk under cotton candy skies ^^
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^^ the night that the last of the family members arrived! so much excitement and love in the air! ^^
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^^ a highlight this year was definitely seeing gabriel and his cousin etta together. etta was born five days before gabriel! ^^
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^^ a highlight for moses was definitely playing with my sisters' dogs!! ^^
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^^ epic reunion opening ceremonies. i wish we had pictures of the fireworks!! ^^
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^^ the theme of the reunion was "turning the hearts" and we all turned our hearts to remembering our ancestors, specifically my parents' parents. my sister saydi and her family were in charge of the reunion and decided on this focus and it was awesome. we learned about and honored our incredible grandparents in lots of different ways. ^^
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^^ saydi and hazel showing off the schedule for the reunion on opening night! ^^
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^^ i couldn't resist matching swimsuits for the boys. gabriel wasn't a huge fan of the cold water in the lake thought, haha! ^^
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^^ moses loved riding on grandfather's horse with his cousin lyla! ^^
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^^ grammie camp!! my mom spends time with all the grandkids in different age groups. moses doesn't look super pumped in this picture but he was so excited to go to grammie camp and he had such a blast! ^^
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^^ the littlest grandkids dressed up, did a craft, and learned about their family tree with grammie! ^^
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^^ well, the very littlest just napped ;) ^^
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^^ we did this awesome, wild relay race one morning of the reunion and one of the tasks was getting an entire team on an inflatable - ha! ^^
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^^ the reward after finishing the relay was bear lake raspberry shakes. moses was a fan - he made sure to drink every last drop! ^^
the four teams for the relay (and the reunion as a whole):
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^^ not to brag or anything, but my team won the relay!! ^^
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^^ the oldest and the almost-youngest grandchild! i'm mad i didn't think to take a picture of max and gabriel (the youngest by those five days!) together! ^^
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^^ the lush and ever-changing colours at the lake are the best. ^^
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^^ seeing my sons with their cousins was absolutely a highlight of my life!! ^^
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^^ we asked my sister shawni to take some family photos for us one evening. ^^
here's a few "outtake" shots:
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there were some funny, new-to-the-reunion eating-themed competitions this year:
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^^ trivia night. i love this room packed with people i adore! ^^
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^^ cookie baking contest, judged by eli who was celebrating his 35th birthday that day! ^^
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^^ gabe's first time sitting up, in a bumbo! ^^
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^^ this game of "noodle hockey" got pretty intense! ^^
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^^ as did a game of "human piƱata!" ^^
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i love these cool teenager nieces and nephews so. dang. much...!
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^^ saydi's kids did such a great job being in charge of a lot of the reunion activities and coordination. here they are with the faces of the four ancestors we were learning about and honoring. ^^
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^^ mo's first time tubing behind the boat! ahhhh the colour of that water!!! ^^
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^^ snuggles with cousin annina and snoozes at the beach ^^
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^^ a selfie from our short drive to the shake place at the end of the relay. we were pulling in at first place! ^^
love the scenery from the cabin in all different lights and times of day:
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^^ moses got a haircut one afternoon on the deck. look at that luscious hair! it was just getting toooo long. ^^
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^^ when gabriel and etta met for the first time! ^^
i wrote a bit about our sunset sail, hosted by my awesome nephews, back here. here's some more photos of that magical evening:
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^^ love these boys so much! they really gave us the royal treatment! ^^
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^^ here's what our sunset sail looked like to those back at the cabin! ^^
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^^ mo in cousin/beach/water play heaven. ^^
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^^ after church, exploring with grandfather's binoculars ;) ^^
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i'm so grateful for every hour i get to spend at this incredibly special place with my people. already looking forward to next year!

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  1. I totally agree about cousins! . It's like love cubed, or love grown exponentially, to see the love I have for my family of origin all mixed up with the love I have for my own little family. Powerful stuff. And the kids get it too; cousins are very special friends. I bet that band of 12ish boys had a summer they'll remember together forever. Not to mention the joy seeing all that love and joy it gives the parents/grandparents.

  2. I'm new here... :) I love these pics! You are fortunate to have such a loving and close extended family. It's wonderful for the kids to feel that connection. Is this an every-year thing? WOW!

    I hope you don't mind me asking -- who is the African American young lady in some of the pictures? I love the diversity!

    1. there no african americans in any of these photos, so i am not sure what you are referring to...!

      yes, i feel very fortunate. and yes, we do this every july!

  3. I was referring to the young lady (the one being hugged) in the picture above this caption....^^ the night that the last of the family members arrived! so much excitement and love in the air! ^^

    What a great annual family trip! And "Grammie Camp" sounds fun! Does she just do it for the little ones, or is there something similar for the tweens and teens..?

    1. yeah, not african american, haha.
      my mom does grammie camp for all ages, every year!

  4. Um Anon? They live in Hawaii. It's called a tan.

  5. They all appear to be tan. I meant nothing derogatory - quite the opposite. She is beautiful. Her looks are unique compared to her cousins - in a good way.

  6. I look forward to these photos each year. Though I only know a few of the family members, one can only feel all the love in these photos. I am an only child, so I am slightly jealous and now that I have six children I hope that I can recreate this with our family. What a blessing to have such a wonderful large family. Moses just keeps getting cuter by the day and little brother is following in his footsteps.

  7. I too look forward each year to your recount of the reunion! First, it is fun to feel all the love and fun! Second, I always get great ideas for things for our family reunion. Could you maybe list some of the games you have done over the years and how they work? Like the human pinata for example. and the amazing race challenges. Our family isn't nearly as large (only 3 siblings w/fam), but next summer we are doing a reunion and have invited my son and daughter in laws parents and siblings and are meeting in Nauvoo. I really want to incorporate some of your fun activities.


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