This year at Bear Lake there was a new segment of the reunion added called “Fear Factor.” I’m pretty sure it’s one that will be sticking around for the long haul. Because it was a hoot I tell you. (man, I do sound like my mother:) Before I explain the gory details I must put a little disclaimer out there lest anyone be dismayed and duped into thinking these children were forced to participate: 1) All children participated willingly and knew they could withdraw at any time. 2) There were no children harmed in the process of this competition. 3) One of the rules was: “you can cry if you want to.” Or maybe I just added that… 4) All the foods were perfectly edible and got the kids all prepped for foods they may be partaking on a regular basis if they ever find themselves living on the other side of the planet. Ok good, got that taken care of. Oh, one more thing…my sister-in-law Kristi took the awesome expression pictures in this bunch, not me. So I can’t take any credit for those beauties. Here we go. “Who wants to participate in something called ‘Fear Factor’?” “Oh me, pick me! What? there are prizes if you make it through all the rounds? Oh sign me up!” My brother sets the rules and a teensy bit of trepidation creeps in: …a little more: …”say what? we will be eating what?” “Yeah, we’re all still good. We get the rules and we’re up for the challenge. Excuse me while I have a little hair for my appetizer.” (see Elle) Round 1: Lemons “Yeah, a little bit sour but I can handle this.” (Grace) “Easy peasy!” (Max) “Oh my word, I don’t know if I can do this!” (Claire) “You can do it, Lu!” Round 2: Tomato Juice Testing the “plugging-your-nose” theory: “Can I please have some more?” Plugging-your-nose theory goes down the toilet: And with that, poor Grace and Claire were out. Round 3: Seaweed The “seaweed series” was my favorite. My sister-in-law brilliantly caught these shots of my sister’s twins: “Done!” “Yeah, not going there…I’m good with my wing-dinger of a prize from the first two rounds.” Round 4: Squid Round 5: teeny pickled eggs of some sort “Maybe it will help if I pull my eyelids off…” “…Or do some serious meditation.” Round 6: dried little teeny fish with eyeballs that look up at you Round 7: pickled cockroaches Ok not really, but they sure looked like it and I can’t read that writing. I don’t even remember what the food was on the last round, but it was down to Max and his 11-year-old cousin. Max could NOT get that chewy, rubbery, whatever-it-was down. So his cousin Isaac came out triumphant. And I don’t even have a picture of that, darn it! The very best part was watching the audience cheer the kids on. Yeah, I think “Fear Factor” will be sticking around. I just hope it doesn’t include adults next year.