Each year we all try to eek out as many days as we can at the Lake. Because we really love that place I tell you!

Sometimes my favorite parts are before and after the reunion, easy and nowhere to be, jubilant reunions as each family joins one by one, the sound of their car on the gravel driveway announcing their arrival.

I love that within an hour of our arrival we were here, right where we left off last summer on one of our traditional sunset walks, drinking in each other and all that beauty:

That was what I had been longing for and was so happy to be there!

It was happiness to be reunited with our dog too, who Josh had taken care of while we were in Africa.

We lover her and she loves us too:)

We took advantage of the lull before everyone was there in full swing to have an MFME dinner with the women on the other side of the lake:

Oh how I love all those women, talking about highs and lows from the year (we were missing Saren who wasn’t able to make it with the timing, boo!).

Full moon on the horizon hovering over where we stay on the other side of the lake:

And shakes of course:

Loved having the luxury to play some tennis with these girls:

Game nights…this one is “reverse charades”:

My dad and the boys snuck over for a dinner right where the women were the night before…and sent us this picture with some “old” app to make them look like they had aged quite a bit:

These girls got busy making forts:

The “talking couch” discussions began (complete with customary hot cookies straight from the oven…see the remnants on the plate in the middle down there):

I was pretty excited when Dave arrived to join us:

When just about everyone had arrived, my Dad gathered everyone together before the “opening ceremonies” for the reunion and showed us some gems he had made for the Grandfather’s Secrets:

Check these out…love them:

He had the grandkids read them:

Lots of talks here:

With this view:

Lar joined us for part of the reunion this year…my other nephew’s girlfriend joined us too.

We ran into my childhood best Bear Lake friend at church….I know I wrote about her somewhere else but I can’t remember where. So great to reconnect with her at church as well as over at the lake with her kids one day after the reunion.

Love that Monique and reminiscing all those summers we spent together growing up.

We basked in sunsets:

My brothers sometimes bring out remote control cars which the little boys think are the bee’s knees:

My nephew got to celebrate his birthday with this crowd:


Before the reunion there was a big fuss because we found a rattlesnake. It was a little scary!

After the reunion people left in shifts. I think Grace was the first to leave. She was headed out to China to take over for Abby. I don’t have a picture of her leaving, but I remember well standing in the driveway after she had pulled out in the dust of her farewell, Claire and I linked in a tight hug, tears filling both of our cheeks. Neither of us were ready for that girl of ours to leave a month earlier than we expected. I felt so at peace that it would be a great adventure for Grace, but I ached for Claire. She was losing her very best friend.

From there she had to join in on the adult conversations:


She also got to join the moms for some serious tennis.

Oh how I love being out on that court with my girls!

Love watching tennis too…

The next to leave after the reunion were the boys. The vast majority of them headed up for their annual trip to Oregon (the spot where we build a log cabin one summer ages ago). Oh I could do many posts about the adventures those guys have up there, I love that they do that and have so much fun.

But maybe even more I sure loved the shouts of glee coming from the moms when that big van pulled out for Oregon filled with so many bodies. Haha! Oh we sure love them all but they left us with only the babies and such calm!

Accidental matchers:

Sparkling ripples and three little girls trying to balance on the paddleboard, their splashes catching that evening light, little droplets of gold falling all around.

Women’s boat night to “ski on the gold,” except that the moment we stepped on the boat the ripples came up. And instead of gold the sky turned such a warm gray/blue that took my breath away. I don’t know if it was the sky or my boat partners that made me the happiest, but it was a beautiful night.

See how glassy it was before we stepped into the boat?:

…and then how wavy it got? We obviously didn’t care, loved being with all those women!

One of my best friends from high school came to join us on our last day. She’s like a sister to our family so everyone was pretty happy to have her up there:

Post-sunset-walk with the best girls:

She reminded me how to take pictures of the stars:

Last game night:

Followed by a last late-night discussion around that table after some of those playing games slinked off to bed.

There is never enough time at Bear Lake.

That last morning we scrambled to finish the modge podge of all the pictures from our giant “50” on canvases for my parents to keep, and worked on packing and cleaning and trying to help with as much as we could before we had to take off, and feeling so unfinished yet so filled.

Wish we could just talk forever.

But we got packed up and said our goodbyes as the sun set on our lake time for the summer.

We followed a lumpy cloud plopped in the middle of the sky ahead of us, just me and my three girls (including Bo) back towards home.

SO grateful to roll into town in the nick of time for Claire to get her driver’s permit she’d been chomping at the bit to get, (back HERE), and drive into the driveway to this guy:

(He was in and out of the lake with work things, so good to be reunited at HOME!)

It seems appropriate to end this novel of Bear Lake with the thank you notes Lucy wrote to my parents. Here we go:

(more about Grandfather’s Secrets and Grammie camp back HERE.)

“Love spreading into each other” is right.

Can’t wait for next year.

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  1. What gorgeous sunsets! Truly God painting with a full palette. Your family is extraordinary – thank you for sharing.

  2. Since I first heard of your parents in 1993, read Teaching your Children Values, found Three Steps to a Strong Family in 1996, I have prayed and wished for a family like they deliberately made. You can’t change other people though and no matter how positive I am, cheerful, loving and outgoing I cant make the negative nellys and debbie downers become the in laws I prayed for. It’s a big subject in that sentence, but it makes my heart weary and sad that our family times are not enriching and loving as I would like. You are so truly blessed to have your parents, their stellar example of marriage, parenting and spirituality.
    Jamie Noto
    #Notorious0920 on IG

  3. Fabulous photos! Thanks so much for capturing the memories! Thanks to that Lovable Lucy! Thanks for taking the time to do this. It is a treasure! Love you!

  4. What a glorious time in such a beautiful place! Do your parents still rent their Bear Lake home out? What is the VRBO number?

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