These are my parents:

Look at them!  Do you see that light just oozing out of those smiley faces?  I love them so much.  And they have loved each other for over FIFTY YEARS.  Yep, their anniversary is coming up this summer.

So they have been trying to figure out how to celebrate that big number for the last few years, and finally settled on having all the adults meet in the Dominican Republic.

Why the Dominican you might ask?  Well, they were looking for some place warm, a place where we could all be together, and a place that had a little bit of adventure.

The Dominican had it all, and did not disappoint.

Their anniversary is actually in July, so this 50-year-celebration is only beginning.  But don’t you think that’s a pretty great thing to celebrate for as long as you can? 

Fifty years of togetherness. 

Fifty years of working on a marriage, fifty years of raising nine children, and moving on to nurturing grandchildren.  Fifty years of all the nitty-gritty business of living a life committed to spreading goodness.  Sometimes with home-made mobiles floating above their bed filled with goals and dreams.  Fifty years of writing books and “fortifying families, bolstering balance, celebrating commitment, popularizing parenting” (part of their mission statement).  And fifty years of being just plain quirky in all the best ways (my dad mostly on the quirky part) and good and “loving more.”

I often get overwhelmed with so much gratitude that I’m theirs.

And they’re mine.

Started out with these nine kids:

…and has spread to this:
(minus two of the favorite sister-in-laws who weren’t able to make it)
Oh boy.  Love those people.  Every single one of them.  I learn so much from them!
And loved this place where we got to be together.

And especially loved that I got to spend that time with him:

A week long date with my number one accompanied by all those other people I love.  It was a good week.

I wish I had time to write all the details, this is just going to be barely scratching the surface, but I’m going to list just a few of my favorite memories to tell the story along with some (although still too many) pictures. 

Here we go:

We stayed in a big house, all of us together. 

I loved the expanse of beauty you could see from our porch, stretched out with swaying palm trees on that “zebra” beach, beckoning warm ocean water, always a group in the water or on the beach, groups of interesting minds open to discussing the world.

Impromptu discussions about life and the gospel and deep down thoughts floating in the pool:

The food!  All unique and fresh and piled high, with smiling chefs, (they came with the house), and we didn’t have to make one thing, or clean one dish.  How lucky is that??  The coconut fish and black beans were my favorite.
The beach was long and gorgeous, perfect for walk/talks with different groupings. 

Late-night hot tub discussions with varying groups, our words and thoughts floating over all that green-lit water, intermittently taking a dip in the blue pool to cool down.

 Hot tub and conversation was just as good during the day as well:)

Paddle boarding at sunset, the facets of the ripples on the water catching the light in a million different ways, different paddling companions with varying things to talk through as we paddled out into the vast blue, working on paddle board handstands back in the shallow.

One day we took a trip to El Limon waterfall which took our breath away…
…enough that we had to make these “5”‘s and “0”‘s with our hands to commemorate the “FIFTY” years:
It was a hike to get up there:

And my poor mother has a horrible knee.  So this was the solution:

 One of my favorite pictures:

My mom hated that, but had to also kind of enjoy it since those brothers wouldn’t hear of having her walk.

See my brother-in-law there on the cliff on the right below?

 We all jumped off from there…fun times.

 Pictures cannot do this place justice. 

It was so gorgeous.

We stopped at a little roadside cafe for lunch:

And then headed here:

 For the most gorgeous ziplining through that deep jungle of beauty.

Here’s my sister below, which is pretty cool that she’s upside down, but check out that tree behind her:

Is that beautiful or what?

Back for a roasted pig for dinner that night at sunset:

Later we took over the kitchen because we’re Eyres and we have to bake cookies wherever we go 😉  It was an adventure with foreign ingredients and no measuring cups: a group effort in the kitchen.  We kept adding a little more of this or that and Eli and I got a good joint stirring strategy down. 

It was my brother Jonah’s birthday that day so perfect way to celebrate.  I mean, cookies are a must for birthdays right?

On our last day we took a catamaran ride, slipping along that vast expanse of beauty, people I love stretched out all around me.

We stopped at a little beach, grilled up some pork, drank some coconut pineapple drinks and explored a little:

 Here is the cook guy right in the middle below:

(Love him!)

Home in time for some family pictures (at the beginning of this post) and feeling so much love for these guys:

This was my favorite family picture though:

The best in-laws in all the land.

Loved thinking about my parents and giving them a special tribute on the last night.  So grateful for their example, shells we had collected spread out before them on that beautiful table signifying different facets of their union that is so deep and good and rippling to help so many others.

Late-night cards after that:

 Church the next morning before we had to split up:

 (the closest church was too far away and we had flights to catch…loved our own version and the good spirit that sunk in all around us)

We bid that place and almost all of those people we love goodbye and headed out with these two:

(happened to be on the same first-leg flight before they headed across to London and we headed back to the desert).

It was a good week. 

Thank you, mom and dad, for everything, but mostly for finding each other all those years ago and working to make life grand through all the pushing and pulling and loving and building. 

Love you forever.

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  1. This is the sweetest. I love being able to travel the world through your amazingly gorgeous photos. Congratulations to your parents on 50 years of marriage! My parents will celebrate their 50th this fall too.

  2. I am envious that your family is so comfortable with spiritual discussions. Unless there is some sort of conflict a person needs spiritual help with, a spiritual discussion just doesn't happen often. How do these conversations get started without it being forced or awkward. Maybe I could use a spiritual prompt list- Haha (but seriously, can I get one of those?). This is probably something you grew up doing so it feels natural but I wish we could do that too, I just don't know how.

    1. I think it does help that we started early, but I don't think that is necessary. I think it just comes up in casual conversation because we're all genuinely interested, have questions and love to discuss. I'm trying to foster this with my children as well, which has potential to come naturally from our Sunday family meetings…and morning devotionals, even though everyone is tired! I hope that those things are planting seeds for thought and open discussions. I don't know if you are a member of my same faith or not, but whether you are or not, I think the "Come Follow Me" material is the perfect "prompt list." That program is here: Let me know if that helps!

  3. Happy Anniversary to the Eyres! What a wonderful way to celebrate. In our little village in Holland the couples who have reached 50 years are honored every year with an outdoor summer concert, performed by the community adult marching band and youth orchestra. My daughter is in the youth orchestra so we attend every year. A 50 year wedding anniversary is really seen as a great accomplishment, as well it should be! Marriage takes a lot of work and dedication, but the rewards can be so worth it. I'm excited to celebrate my parents' 50th next year 🙂

    1. I think scum is the main game we play with our kids and if card games come up with my family. I just googled it and there are lots of tutorials. We love hearts as well if there are only four people playing. Elle and Lar just taught us a new one but I can't remember what it's called…

  4. are you able to share details on what part of DR the house was, or any info on the rental property? My husband and I got married in Punta Cana, and that seems so fun to rent a house over going to a resort!!!!

    1. This house was on the north side of the island at the base of the Samana peninsula. Close to a town called Las Terranas. We flew into Santo Domingo and drove for a couple hours to get there. Loved the house as opposed to a resort!

  5. What a dream vacation!! Beautiful family and location! My parents are taking us all
    to Hawaii for their 50th which will be amazing; but all the kids are coming too so
    not the same vibe.

    I would have done anything to secure a babysitter and join this DR getaway so at first I was surprised that two of your sisters in law decided to skip It. But then I remembered my husband’s trepidation about vacationing with a large group of in-laws. Maybe a week at bear lake is (more than) enough for some.

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