Thursday, August 27, 2015

Grammie Camps

Before I share some of the fun at Grammie Camps this year, I have to say how much we missed our Jonah and Aja Family who are pretty much covering the earth in Europe this summer. Aniston, their soon-to-be 14 year old daughter sent us a terrific video of the things they were doing while we were rollicking at Bear Lake. As you can see, there is quite a lot of interest in the video, especially from 2 year old Zara in the front!

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Also before we start, I have to say that these darling little children take such great care of their Grammie. As mentioned earlier, the plan to keep me from helping with the clean-ups after dinner, the kids took turn giving me foot rubs. Such heavenly little hands! It worked!

And as mentioned in an earlier post, the Grandchildren don’t come to Grammie Camp until they are five but I did have a fun little Grammie Party with the preschoolers who were thrilled with a few bubbles and a fun little craft!

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So these are our darling teenagers!  How did that happen?  As you might notice, one is taller than the others….and ready to be off to college for a semester and then a mission for our church. We’re going to miss Max the next two years. This is his last official Grammie Camp. (sigh)

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It was so fun watching these big kids doing a dance to the Grammie Camp song they have been singing since they were little, pouring out their favorite scriptures they have learned them word perfect and are ready to take them into their futures,  and learning more about the ancestors who brought us to this beautiful area. Their graves are just across the lake.

They did a good job on the Classical Music Challenge that we did this year (details on that later in this post) even though Elle (on the left) had just flown in from an Internship for a design company in London, where she had lived with a wonderful family for all of June. And Max had just flown in from the National Volleyball Tournament with a silver medal for a prize. Yup his team won second place of about 50 teams! How we missed Ana this year!

We did a double whammy this year and broke for the day after an overnighter and rejoined that evening for hamburgers at Merlin’s on our way to our traditional favorite melodrama at the Pickleville Playhouse in Garden City on the other side of the lake. This show is created every year by a brilliant guy who must have majored in “funny”…. the famous Bandito. The show, once again, did not disappoint! 

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Elle made me be in one of the pictures to prove that I was there.

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I don’t know what I would have done without Josh’s help this year! This is group Four. Even though we missed Camden so much, we had addition this year. Jacobson, (my maiden name) better known as Cubby, turned five this year and joined the fun! After they came to up to the Lighthouse for the traditional, talent show, scripture prizes, and ancestor stories, and the Classical Music Challenge, Josh took them (for the second year) to the sailboat for a fabulous sleep-over that included a lesson on the blazing stars in the sky. Josh is brilliant with astronomy and there’s nothing like learning about what one is seeing while gazing into the sky blazing with the billions of stars directly overhead! They also watched a terrific documentary on Josh’s computer. Thanks Josh!  

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Josh also was invaluable in showing both the boys and the girls’ groups how to make rockets. He does this with his school kids every year and I decided that it would be fun for both the girls and the boys Grammie Campers this year.  I think they are pretty excited about this! Even though we lost one rocket overnight in the sagebrush, we were able to retrieve it the next morning.

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By the time we got to the girls’ Grammie Camp, Josh had to go back to work in AZ but luckily Eli figured out how to get the girls’ rockets up in the air!

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The girls’ groups combined this year, although we had a few hours with each group individually, joined for the first part with a couple of visiting cousins. “The Babes”,  Claire, Eliza and Hazel had a pretty great time together this year! 

 

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And these “Princesses” (minus our darling Elsie whom we missed)  had a ball bonding and being together since it only happens once a year! Lyla is from Orange County, Emmeline, from Boston and Lucy from AZ. And we missed that cute Elsie who was in Bavaria/Germany/Switzerland…somewhere there in Europe!

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The first project for this group was getting our old couch and chair to a Thrift Store in Montpelier. The kids had quite a great time getting it there (the boys, who had helped load the couch and chair just couldn’t resist being a part of the fun for a few minutes). We visited the cemetery where my parents and grandparents and many family members are buried on the way back.

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Here are the girls working on their rockets. They were pretty proud of themselves!  And I was pretty grateful for Josh!

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Part of the girls’ Grammie Camp is always dressing up and dancing! We had a bug going through the family, usually attacking one at a time but two of these girls weren’t feeling well…as you can tell by Lucy’s face (poor girl) and Hazel was trying to be brave, they were both afflicted! 

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Throughout she remained brave!!!

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The other four carried on with their dance routines…and then….after sunset…

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…..We had Grammie’s Classical Music Challenge. Several months earlier, Saydi had encouraged me to send out clips of my favorite classical music (I was a music major in college) and challenge the kids to listen until they could recognize them to be tested at Grammie Camp. I made a play list of 20 of my favorite pieces on Spotify and sent it all the Grammie Campers’ moms. The moms managed to get the list on their phones and in their cars and lots of those cute kids were listening until the last minute before “the test” at Grammie Camp.

To make it compelling, there was a financial reward for 1) knowing the piece, 2) knowing the composer and 3) knowing something else about the piece (i.e. what period it was written, why it was written etc). Some couldn’t write very well yet so the older kids took notes for them. Lucy, who had a fever and was feeling terrible shouted out the ones she knew from the couch. Here is a view of their score sheets. Each has its own personality.

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Ten-year-old Hazel managed to get every single one right plus including the extra points! Six year old Emmeline did a good job and did the best she could on spelling! Everyone had so much fun!

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The next morning we had a nice breakfast together and had fun talking about the ancestor tree that they helped to make last summer.

 

 

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They loved seeing themselves on the branches. Every year they can recognize and tell more stories about the people in the roots of this tree who helped make them who they are!

 

 

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After feeding the horses a few carrots, the finale was flying those rockets on The Grandchildren’s Green. And we bid a fond farewell to another year of Grammie Camps!

 

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Thursday, August 20, 2015

Baby Blessing, Birthdays and a Wild Camping Trip

We ended the official reunion on Sunday afternoon with the beautiful baby blessing of our sweet Dean Haslam Eyre. Look at what a clean, clear spirit he has!

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And a gorgeous mother who takes such great care of him!

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And a dad who adores him and his terrific mom so much…

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And a big sister who is still getting used to Dean taking over as the baby of the family. She kills us with the way she wears her moods on her face and with her pizzazy personality!

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All these brothers were thrilled to be part of an incredible Father’s blessing:

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And these kids couldn’t be happier to have a new cousin!

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We always has two birthday while we’re together in July. One is our sensational son Eli. Julie always comes up with something clever to celebrate. The kids were especially excited about this one because as you can guess….they couldn’t wait to bash these piƱatas open and scramble for the candy!

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This year Isaac turned 14 and his mother, as always, made sure we had a full day of fun activities to celebrate. It’s especially nice to be with all his cousins each passing year!  We’re proud of this terrific young man!

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Two of our sons work for a company called Imagine Learning and luckily they hold their semi-annual conference the week following the reunion. So Noah and Eli go to work (along with several of the other dads)  while the rest of us stay and play. Shawni has some amazing shots of our fun together during that week here.

I also get to do my Grammie Camps that week which I’ll document next.

At the end of that week this year, Noah and Eli picked up Josh in SL in Noah’s fun Sprinter and came back to the lake where they were joined by Tal, Eli and Dad as well as our cousin Ben and they took the boys that were available and drove about 10 hours to Oregon where our family built a lot cabin about 30 years ago.

That’s another story but suffice it to say that it was so fun for the older guys to remember the fun time we had building that cabin two different summers when our oldest kids were teenagers and the youngest was Eli was two when we started. The cabin is about to fall over after all those heavy winters and and has become a magnificent palace for the groundhogs. They still reside there and anyone who visits the cabin just bring tents and sleeping bags and sleep in the magnificent forest of the Blue Mountains.

It is a wonderland for kids and the big guys had a fabulous time remembering our adventure all those years ago and building another tree house. Tal and crew built the first one last year. This year they created slack lines for the kids to play on. Sadly, I don’t have many pictures but here is what I have:

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I’m happy to have this documented. Pictures bring back so many precious memories!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

The Magical World of Preschoolers and Joy School 2.0

Before I go on to the rest of our delightful days together at the lake, I have to take a moment to say that of the 22 grandchildren who were with us this year (five were in Europe with their parents), four were preschoolers! Eyrealm kids can’t come to Grammie Camp until they are five but I wanted to spend some time with just the preschoolers too. So we had a Pre-Grammie Camp party.

Those four little critters were happy as clams to see lots of bubbles and to do a little craft with their Grammie. There is a certain magic about being with preschoolers. They tell it like it is and it’s so easy for them to feel joy in the little things!

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It reminded me of the Old Days of approximately fifteen years of having Joy School at our home, wherever we happened to be living that year. We always had one or two of our own children along with 3 or four of some of my dear friends’ adorable children in our home twice a week to experience Joy together!

The idea of Joy School started when we wrote our first book called Teaching Children Joy. Parents liked it so much that they begged us to give them more specific ideas that could actually be taught by parents at home. That first spark of that idea in 1976 has gone from an experimental commercial pre-school started by Richard’s Mother who was an Early Childhood Education major where she developed lesson plans based on the book, to approximately 200,000 homes in the US and abroad.. Talented and creative people showed up, literally on our doorstep to help with the artwork and the music. The program has gone by word-of-mouth like wildfire to mothers and fathers who have loved teaching their children how to be joyful while reminding themselves that their lives became more joyful in the process! 

We started with printed manuals and music tapes that had to be mailed out each month. A big job!!! The lesson plans have been on line several years but by 2015 we have realized that they were in need of a major overhaul, mostly because of the accessibly of the Internet which makes teaching so much easier!

How often do we make the time to teach our impressionable little ones, not only to appreciate their earth and their bodies as many pre-schools do, but also to learn the importance of making good decisions, discover how to set and accomplish small goals, how to have the confidence to try to new things and how to serve others even though they are small? 

SO this year, just in time for the 2105/16 school year Joy School 2.0 has emerged, thanks to experienced Joy School Mothers including our daughter Saren and daughter-in-law Aja, who have used their Harvard educations to create a fabulous new online program that makes Joy School music, art and innovative ideas a click away!

From August 7th to the 21st there is our Founder’s Day Sale, honoring the birthday of our Grandmother Ruth Swenson Eyre who passed away in 2013. 

For sample lesson plans and suggestions for organizing a Joy School group click here. For information on the sale click here. To sign up and take advantage of the sale using the coupon code RUTHEYRE click here.

We have so much fun hearing from Joy School moms and Joy School kids everywhere we go who say that their rich experience with Joy School changed their lives for good. On command they can sing, Oh Boy I Got Joy and have to giggle when they think about Gunny Bag and Joy Boy. We take no credit. It’s just a good idea that we think dropped straight out of heaven!  

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

More Reunion and July 2016

The Eyrealm reunion this year was planned and executed by Charity and Ian. Considering that they were still probably reeling from their around the world trip, they did an incredible job! We had SO much fun! For a terrific synopsis of how things unfolded, Shawni has done a perfect job of capturing each of the major events and hoopla here.

So instead of replaying all the fun in the order that I happened  I have the luxury of posting my favorite pictures and events from our time together. I am lucky enough to have been able to download pictures collected by Saydi from her camera as well as from Eli and Shawni  (sadly Kristi’s memory card crashed while downloading hers and Josh and Saren left before we got a chance to collect their photos. Since the pics were all mixed together I have no idea who to thank individually for capturing all the fun and beauty of our days together so here’s a big blanket thanks for your gifted eyes!

First I have to say that my hard-working mom and dad who were both raised on farms and knew the importance of hard work would have loved this activity initiated by Ian and Charity for the first time this year. They decided that since everyone enjoys the facilities at Bear Lake we would start the reunion off with a couple of hours of 36 people working hard to fix and maintain the outdoor furniture and control the weeds (among other things). You will see the weed and maintenance projects at the main complex on Shawni’s blog but this was our little crew up at the Lighthouse. Josh had just left but here are the girls and some adults oiling deck furniture after finishing weeding the eight flower beds that surround the house. All I have to say is “HOORAY FOR WORK!”

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A few years ago as the grandkids have gotten older, we have realized that a contest to see who can work best in teams with a reward of a all-you-can-eat trip to a hamburger place on the lake worked like a charm to get the massive amount of dishes cleared and done after each meal. Tal was in charge of the work detail and the rewards and he made it work like a charm!

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We had adult helpers too when the dishwasher overflowed and filled the kitchen floor. Thank goodness for these great mechanical minds! Still, after it happened the 3rd time, we called in the professionals who figured out what they couldn’t have known and it’s worked like a charm ever since.  

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For some reason, one of the goals the past few years for everyone was to prevent me from working. Last year Eli bought professional grade handcuffs and cuffed me to a chair so I couldn’t get up to get somebody something during dinner. So I just had to just watch everyone working.

This year they come up with a novel idea to do the same thing with a nice after-effect. There was a sign up sheet for the kids to give their Grammie foot rubs after dinner so that I couldn’t move. I tell you what….those little kids were better than I’ve very received at a salon! It was heavenly!  Lyla went ahead and filled in that last blank so she did double duty!  Cute enough?

They must have had a secret meeting about this because every time I attempted to help with the dishes at any meal, some kid grabbed the dish I had in my hand and demanded that I leave! Pretty nice!

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The weather this year was simply spectacular. Although we had some beautiful sunny days on the beach, we also had more rain and squalls and fog and mist, cool days and actual weather than I can every remember.

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There are just moments that I can’t resist posting. They conjure up such great memories! Even though the reunion is officially only 3 1/2 days, family members and friends and extended family came and went for 3 1/2 weeks. Here are some of my absolute favs of the kids (thanks to our fabulous photographers)!

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The most fun for me was just watching the kids cute personalities and their interactions with each other as well as the adults! This child rarely wore anything other than this beloved dress-up. I think she even slept in it!  Love it!

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We had endless fun in, by and around the water:

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Well I think that’s about as much as my computer will let me post in one sitting. You are probably glad to hear that if you’ve made it this far. For family history’s sake though the next few posts will be about our July birthdays, a baby blessing, crowds having fun, the Fear Factor, foodies and of course, Grammie Camps. More than you  probably want to know but I’ve got to do it before my memory fades into oblivion!