After the big reunion at Bear Lake each year we linger as long as we can.

Friends come and go. We have late-night talks in the hot tub under the stars. We cook more. We clean more. The kids get further and further out of their daily routine until finally, at the end of our stay, we drag them bleary-eyed back to the schedule and structure of home.
This year we were lucky enough to have my cousin’s daughter Alyssa stay with us after their family visited.
She and Elle are two peas in a pod. They are two of the nicest girls I know, always offering to help with the younger kids and Alyssa actually admitted to “liking” cleaning “a lot.”

Yeah, we were hoping she could just stay with us forever and rub off on our family.

I loved watching them exhibit some true teen-ager-hood as they stayed up late listening to music and turned their bathroom into a hair salon for all the younger girls who looked up to them with stars in their eyes.

This hair-doing business has snowballed into a few things: 1) practicing and practicing and practicing the art of “hair” at all times of day, 2) some serious hair-awareness for my girls…Grace and Elle can both curl like nobody’s business these days…they even do my hair:(this was Grace’s work…thanks Grace!)

3) mysterious disappearance of various hair-doing tools from my bathroom.

4) a broken straightening iron.

5) time spent in front of the computer every morning on “hair tutorials” trying to figure out new hairstyles to try (that’s Grace).

But that’s ok, I’ll take it because can I just tell you how much help it is when you have all these girls to have a couple extra hair-dressers?

It’s golden.

The new thing at Bear Lake this year was that the older kids decided they wanted to ride bikes to the nearest shake stand which is a little over ten miles away.

I’m serious: TEN miles.

Each way.

Max and the boy cousins along with Grace did it first. I thought they’d never in a million years make it. How’s that for having faith in your children? I guess I should never underestimate the amount of will-power my children will have when visions of a Bear Lake raspberry milkshake dangles on the horizon. They made it (although it was reported that Grace “threw up a little bit” on the way home).

These girls decided to take the challenge too:

They were pleased as punch that Elle’s bike got a very flat tire on the way home that necessitated a pick-up in the car. They were tired and those darn bike helmets were messing up their hair πŸ™‚

Some other visitors included a family who just returned from living in India for a year overseeing the Rising Star organization there. We have a special interest in that place since that’s where our “other son” lives. (You can read about him here.)

I was jealous of all the stories they brought with them (except for the ones about the lice that were rampant there). They had some amazing experiences and it made me long to take my children and do what they did. Especially if an experience like that meant that my children would somehow gain the manners and kindness those kids had πŸ™‚

India is right up on the very, tippy-top of my list of places I want to visit some day (yes, right next to Australia). I decided that when I was a teenager after being mesmerized by the movie “City of Joy.” Some day I will go there…despite the fact that Dave doesn’t have that anywhere on his “list.” And despite the lice.

Their girls gave our girls these great “nighties” from India. I wish they had one long enough for me…they sure look comfy.

My Aunt and Uncle who just got home from a mission in Canada came to visit as well:(my Dad’s brother)

…and they brought my sweet Grandma with them.My heart swells up and also aches when I’m with her these days because she is losing her memory. It is so hard to watch someone you love forget who you are. She is such an amazing lady and my sister wrote a beautiful tribute to her here.

Other than those visitors, Lucy pondered a lot about her drawings:

We played the beloved candy bar game:

We spent evenings watching the sun sink below the mountains across the lake.

The girls snuck away for an MFME dinner overlooking the lake:I love those ladies.

…and the babies too…

And speaking of ladies I love, we got to sneak away and have a sleep-over with one of Dave’s sisters after the reunion as well. (We stayed with her when we picked up Max and Elle from their BYU camps I talked about here). We don’t get to see her as much as we wish we did, so we loved soaking her energetic, kind spirit in. We stayed up late playing games and talking but the only pictures I got were at her school where she is an amazing teacher:

With that we waved goodbye to Bear Lake and extended family to spend a couple days with just our own little family.

More on that tomorrow…

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  1. Your blog is great – thank you for sharing so much of your life. I have a question about your reunions. We do one too – not as many people as you guys yet, but we are getting there (5 siblings all married with kids). Have you ever had issues come up because of parenting differences? Or behavior issues from the kids (grandchildren)? How can you move past them? Thanks!


    If you could live with your family anywhere in the world for 1+ years, what would be your top 5 places? Why these places?

    Are your husband's top 5 places different from yours? If so, what places is he interested in and why?

    When would you seriously consider moving to a foreign country with your family?

    Are you kids learning foreign languages in school?

    Do you still speak your mission language? Are you still in contact with the people from your mission (is it Romania?)

    Would you like to learn another language if you had the time?

    Where did your husband serve his mission?

    How do you stay in shape? Do you workout each day? If so, what do you do and for how long?

    Do you do a lot of home cooked meals? How often does your family eat out?

    How do you manage your time?

    How do you manage your money? It seems like your family doesn't have any financial worries (it looks like you live in a new dream home, nice swimming pool, hot tub, you go on really cool vacations, nice clothes, etc.)

    What instruments do your kids play?

    What's your advice to newly weds?

    May I ask how old were you when you got married? How old were you when you had your first kid? When you had Lucy?

    I got married later in life (27) and I don't think I can have kids right away because of debt and student loans that I want to try and pay back first. But I don't want to wait too long to have kids. I'm almost 28 and I'm thinking about having my first kid when I'm 30 – is that really late? Is 35 a good age to stop having kids? I hear that at 35+ years old you can run into complications – is that true, or?? I'm also super scared of the whole pregnancy/labor thing. It helps to see all the cute baby pictures you post – makes me want to have a baby (makes it seem like it's worth all the pain)

    Your blog gets me excited about motherhood and inspires me to get into photography. Thanks for blogging and answering questions. The Q&A posts are some of my favorites to read πŸ˜‰

  3. LOVED seeing these pics. So many things I missed so I got to see it anyway. Those crazy kids! I did that one summer on a bike and was I stiff the next week! They just do it with ease. Love it!

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