The first post from this reunion is HERE.

On to the second half…

Reunion Games

We love playing games up at the lake.  So we always tend to situate a few during the reunion.

We started out with three-deep on the night we introduced the schedule of events since we counted that first day as the “social” day of our “five-facets.”  Three-deep is when everyone mixes together to find the two other people who are supposed to be in their category and then sit three-deep.

And really, that was a horrible explanation, so click back HERE if you’d like to really know how it’s played.

One night we played a “name game.”  Everyone puts their name on a little piece of paper in a bowl.  Then you mix up those names and each person picks one out (it’s ok if it’s your own name).  That name is who you “are” for the game, but you don’t tell anyone. You have to have an equal number of male and female players because the goal of the game if you’re female is to get four female players in the four pre-designated spots right next to each other.   If you’re male, your team is trying to get four males in those same spots before the girl team does it.  Whoever fills up those spots with their team the first wins.

But it’s tricky because everyone has a different name so you have to keep track of who’s who to get the ones you want in the right spots.

There is one empty chair in the circle.  If the empty spot is to your immediate left, you get to be the one to call out someone’s name.  Whoever is that person in the game stands up and moves to that spot.  Then the person next to the spot they left empty gets a turn to call someone’s name out.  Once the four spots are filled with either all women or all men, that team wins and the game is over.

See these four three girls in the front there below?  They just have to figure out who Ian is (on the right) and get him to move out, and a girl to move in.

I’m not sure if that makes sense, but there you go.

We had a game afternoon one day where we played a card game all divided up into five different tables:

Then the winner from each table got to play in the championship round:

Of course, we had Eyrealm Olympics as part of the games as well…

Ended with a game of dodge-ball but with water balloons.

We did Capture the Flag throughout the whole reunion. Each team was supposed to hide their flag and the team that found everyone’s flags would win.  Dave also hid two bonus flags that people could find for extra prizes…Julie found one:

…and Isaac found one but I never got a picture of that, dang it.  He came in quite pleased with himself wearing it around his face like a bandit.

The kids always have games of some sort going, and I love to watch these cousin interactions.

My favorite game this year was Live-Ball that we played up in the mountains with Dave’s family over Memorial Day weekend (back HERE).  I love this game because it gets all the kids involved who want to play.

Everyone stands in two lines on one side of the court:

…and there are two “winners” on the other side:
Someone (like this handsome guy below), feeds balls to the side with the lines of people ready to play:

If they hit it “in” to the other court, the ball is in play.  The first of those two teams to get two points wins.  If the team on the “winner” side wins, they stay where they are.  If the team wins on the side with the lines of players ready to play, they have five seconds to RUN to the “winner” side before the new team (next one up in the lines) hits the ball to them to make it in play again.  (the others who were knocked out of the “winner” side run back over and get in line again).

There was some pretty big excitement going on when the little kids made it over to the “winner” side.  Seriously I wish I had some pictures of those cute kids expressions of glee when they realized they made certain shots.
My dad, tennis-lover-extraordinaire, had a little “conference” with all the kids when they were done pumping them up and congratulating them on doing well, and also encouraging them to take more tennis lessons (his broken-record encouragement to all grandkids 🙂

Oh man I sure love that dad of mine.

One last game we did was the Ancestor Auction.  I loved what my Aunt Helen did with her little “birthday auction” on her husband’s birthday (I talked about this back HERE).  I figured it would be good to do some sort of variation of that since everyone had so much new fresh knowledge about ancestors from the Grammie Camps that took place a couple days before (I wrote about those beauties back HERE.)

So I took note of some questions from those camps and also added in a bunch from my parents (because they count as ancestors too), and divided everyone into five groups to see who could answer the most correctly.

Here they are busy as can be in their groups answering those questions:
Here’s the questionnaire…not sure why it looks so blurry, but you get the main idea:

They got ten points for each correct answer, and the winning team got this “take candy to the MAX” candy bar….which they promptly shared with everyone 🙂

Family Reunion Meetings

Of course, no Eyrealm reunion is complete without a meeting or two mixed in.

We always meet to figure out how to best use any funds from a humanitarian fund my parents started many, many years ago.  I have come to really love these meetings over the years because we all get to share our thoughts on different 501c3s or humanitarian organizations we want to contribute to (or have been involved with in our own individual families) or service opportunities our families have found.

Since we had a full Sunday in the reunion this year, I asked my five brothers to do a “Brother’s Devotional” after church.  I love these brothers of mine so much and the way they each live their lives so beautifully and intentionally and I love how they live the gospel.  It was so fun to hear from them (kids 12 and up were invited to join us…and my brother Josh isn’t standing with these guys in this pic. because they are singing, and he isn’t one who loves to perform 🙂

We also had a little “information session” about BBS (Lucy’s syndrome) kind of like we did in Lucy’s class this last year (back HERE).

I had asked Lucy before the reunion if she wanted to do it and she was pretty excited about it.

Yes, those cousins know a bunch about what Lucy is dealing with, but we still want them, just like we want the kids in Lucy’s classroom, to feel encouraged to ask whatever questions they may have and understand the depth of Lucy’s issues and vision loss as she grows, possibly in such a different way than they will.

Assignment of Tutors/Tutees

There are a lot of little kids at our reunions.
And as the years pass, there more and more big kids too.
So this year we decided to instigate “Tutors and Tutees” like we had in our family growing up.  Claire and I assigned each “big kid” to a “little kid” to take care of, serve up at meals, help put to bed if needed, help with sunscreen, you name it.
The big kids were pretty motivated if they were into earning the beads for their necklaces, but in general, the big kids sure do just like those little kids.
And I love watching them love those little ones.
Most of the kids figured they were Bo’s “tutor” as well…this “little kid” was a pretty big hit with the cousins.

Beach/Boat Time
Amidst all the reunion hoopla there is still some good down-time.

I don’t post many pictures of the down time because I’m usually utilizing it catching up with people.  There are a LOT of people to catch up with I tell you!

But here are a few of the simple hang-out time…

Lots of good conversations happen on this deck while lots of hours are spent with kids playing in that sand right there in front.

We all loved that the lake was so high this year so the kids were so much closer to that deck.
This little trusty ski boat has been with us for a LOT of years.  Last year was the first year I didn’t even go out in it once.  But this year I did get in a good waterski which made me happy.
And then there’s the night-time.
Maybe that’s my very favorite part.  It seems like popcorn and cookies start to be made around 9:30 at night and I love just sitting around talking.  One night in particular this year we stayed up until after 2 just talking through the world.  I love that so much.  I love the different viewpoints everyone offers and I love that some of my big kids are old enough that they really enjoy those conversations as well.
Talent Show
The talent show is also an annual tradition and I tell you what: these kids just keep spilling out more and more talents.  This year the show was a wing-dinger and went on and on and on.
Claire was the master of ceremonies:

…and Lucy was the sign-up-sheet maker.

Yes, that was only a partial list.
There were pet shows:

Dances made up to all kinds of music:

Real musicians:


Watermelon-picking-out tips and tricks…yes that is a talent for sure 🙂
Every night we go crazy over the sunsets.  The sky is painted like a totally different canvas every night and we all drink in the incredible art God provides.

Family Pictures
We do family pictures every year.

I don’t know if it’s because we have quite a few photographers in the group, or if we are just creatures of tradition, or if we are just plumb crazy.  Probably all of the above.

Here we are trying to figure out the best lighting:

Love that light but for a group of 48 we needed more help shading that lens from the camera.

So guess who came in handy for that?

Yep, this guy right here:

He was great at shading the sun for some of the individual family pictures.

It’s always comical getting ready to take a big family picture.

And also comical that Dave claims to dislike this dog…


Here are the grandkids:
And a few of the individual families…
(That up there is NOT a fully family, but we’ll take what we can get.  Boy oh boy did we miss those other two kids of ours!)

We had two different cameras going so I didn’t get everyone, dang it!

But the most important people to get are these two:

Because seriously, isn’t it amazing what can happen when two people fall in love?

Here we are, happy to be done with pictures:

Oh and this guy was happy too…happy enough that he asked for my sister to take this picture.  And THAT is pretty happy:)

Finally it was time for the Closing Ceremony, which was really just a little formality during lunch the last day to pass the baton to the next sibling who will be hosting next year.

…and also to give out awards for the winners of stuff like the various games and also the kids with the most beads on their necklaces (which Elle was in charge of).

And that’s a wrap for 2017.
All that hoopla gets Dave and I thinking so much about how we want to do formal reunions with our own family down the road.  That “down the road” is going to be here before we know it with kids graduating and some day having their own families.  How did we get to this point so dang quick?  We want to create something similar to what my parents have done in such a deliberate and intentional way.  I love that they are thinkers and goal-setters and that they have spiritually created this whole reunion deal well before it ever became a reality.
So grateful for this family I get to be a part of, and for the opportunity I have each year to learn and gain so much insight from each of them.  I don’t take that lightly.  I am a lucky girl.

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  1. Can I ask you where you got your sandals in the picture where you are explaining about BBS? Been internet searching for them and can't find a brand or a store! Thanks! Love your blog!

  2. I love these bear lake posts each year! It really is inspiring. What an awesome reunion you and your family planned for this year. I love to see the love that extended family members have for each other and how you try to facilitate that through smaller groups within the big family – tutors/tutees, cousin groups, etc.

    I think it will be interesting to see how the eyrealm reunion might evolve over time as grandchildren grow up and start families of their own. I have also started thinking about how I want to have reunions with my own family in the future (several years down the road in my case).

    Thanks for sharing!

  3. I love that your family does this every year–and that your entire extended family makes the effort to prioritize this family time. It is amazing! It really is. And what a beautiful time you all have together. I love your dress! So lovely.
    Thanks for sharing. Lisa in WA

  4. Heck you could actually get 5 cameras going as isn't your brother Noah a fantastic photographer, then Ella, and your other brother I think Josh. Anyway, Love getting a glimpse of your family reunions. So dreamy!

  5. What a huge amount of thought and effort went into this wonderful reunion! Thanks for making it so memorable, for integrating so many good things and especially for the capstone on the Ancestors with that final event! I loved every thought and great idea (starting off with that hilarious video) and loved that the girls were all integrally involved! Kudos for a spectacular reunion to all the Pothiers!

  6. These annual posts are my favorite in many ways, but I still can't help wondering – are you all really such good friends? For real? Never any issues with siblings' spouses who disagree on child rearing practices or what constitutes a proper meal? Never any grumbling about how some do all the work and others just sneak off? Never any disappointment? Hurt feelings? Never any babies or toddlers who just won't sleep and keep everybody awake? Never anybody who is sick most of the time and misses out on all the fun? No drama? EVER? Or do we get to see the 'edited' version here? I'm full of admiration, believe me, but as the oldest of 8, I'm just amazed at the level of cooperation and joy and unity your family displays, and a little discouraged…

    1. Oh yes, there have been some good fights over the years when people get huffy (embarrassingly I think I'm the one who gets huffy the most ;). We are in close quarters and the sleep thing has been rough for some…jet lag (especially with those coming from Europe) and new babies through the years…trying to keep kids quiet in the wee hours of the morning while everyone sleeps (I had quite a few years of that back in the day and so I know how it goes…). This year we had a throw up bug going around before the reunion started and we were trying to quarantine kids so it wouldn't spread through all 48 of us (luckily it stopped after going through I think eight kids…). Yes, there are some bumps in the road, but every year I do marvel that the stars aligned in such a way that every one of my siblings married people I genuinely adore. I look to them (as well as my siblings) as such examples in parenting and in life. I learn new things every year and I'm so grateful that there is so much mutual respect and love for each other despite any disagreements that come up. Everyone is so unique and lives life in such a different way, yet every one is very centered on Christ in pretty beautiful ways. I don't know how I got so lucky to be related to them (and Dave's family too), but I don't ever want to take that for granted because I know it's not the norm. I always come away feeling like I better up my game because I don't want to be the weak link! 🙂

  7. I love seeing your yearly reunion. What a wonderful way to bring everyone together in such an intentional way. If you're ever looking for a fundraising idea for your charity or BBS – have you thought of an Eyrealm favourite recipes cookbook/ebook? You make feeding a crowd look easy as pie and new ideas for large groups are always handy! 😊

    1. My mom is actually working on a Grand parenting book with lots of recipes for a crowd included. But this is a great idea to do full-on recipe book to benefit BBS. It's on my to-do list some day!

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