Our girls’ family get-togethers have not only been a delight, but have evolved through the years! Seventeen years ago, before our sons started marrying and bringing new, incredible women into our family, I began to panic, wondering if I had told our daughters just how important Motherhood is! Had I told them it was the most important thing they would ever do, that what they teach their children will be their legacy and will go on and on and on through generations of time?
I decided it was time to get organized and find time to get together with just the mothers and future mothers of our family and, not only talk about the joys and trials and issues surrounding motherhood, but also to have some great fun together. We called our group Mothers and Future Mothers of Eyrealm (MFME).
Starting with a bang, we planned a big trip to Europe just as our first grandchild was turning one. He (Max) stayed home with his dad. None of our sons were married yet and all the boys met us in England a week later so we could enjoy the end of their brother/our son Jonah’s missionary service there and bring him home with us. To make a very long, fun and funny story very short, Saren, Shawni, Saydi, Charity and I flew into Milan (in the days when frequent flyer miles actually worked so we could all get there free), rented a car, drove through Milan and on to Lake Como, then on to the fabulous sights of Rome, through the Italian countryside and on to glorious Florence and then the leaning tower of Pisa. From there we drove to Barcelona, saw all the fabulous Gaudi creations, drove back to Renior’s summer home in Southern France, then Monet’s Lily Pond at Giverney, on to Normandy and across the English Channel to London. It was a wild and wonderful week on a dime! Not without some crazy experiences to find places, decide on where to stay and a few arguments about where to go, when. It’s now a fabulous memory!
Since then our sons have brought four more positively stellar Future Mothers to Eyrealm! We have enjoyed continuing getting together as they joined our family, one at a time. We usually gathered where one of the girls lived, from San Jose to NYC, from Jackson, Wyoming and St. George, Utah to Laguna Beach, CA. More details about what we did and what we learned about each other’s lives, opinions and feelings and how we financed it will be explained when I can find some pictures to go along with the stories of our grand get-togethers (which started before digital photography)!
As life has gotten more complicated for everyone with reunions on both sides of the families and lots of travel for several who work for the same company which sends them on a vacation every year, we’ve decided to have the big MFME retreat every other year (other than a private dinner or overnight together just before or after the reunion in July). On the off=year, we get together with the original four Eyre Sisters, none of whom go by the last name Eyre anymore, even though all four of the sister’s-in-law do! Luckily all our daughters-in-law have sisters and enjoy getting together with them too.
Since it’s been 17 years since our first trip, his fall, we are planning another European trip with everyone. Three families will be living in Europe by then so this is our moment! Details coming as we get closer to our trip in late September or early October.
All this to introduce our Original Sister’s Retreat this year, which just happened just a few weeks ago. Many of you may have already seen the fun on one of the sisters’ blogs but I’ll just add a few pictures of our fun as well as a special moment in a classroom!
We stayed in a lovely hotel for one night and spent another two nights with the Pothiers. Dave was out of town for most of the time but it was so fun for everyone to get a glimpse inside the lives of the Potheir kids, and of course, their beautiful new home!
We were especially glad to get Saydi out of Boston and the 100 inches of snow and about 10 snow days with all the kids home from school (and having quite a lot of fun I might add). Happily Saydi brought her darling Hazel (named for my mother) with her to spend some time with Shawni’s Claire. Hazel is homeschooling and loving it which made her schedule flexible and those two had a ball. They spent the afternoon at the hotel swimming pool before we arrived and then they went home to have fun at the Pothier’s house.
This is a pretty happy crew!
After lots of good conversation that night, we had a lovely walk around the golf course in the morning before breakfast. Saydi was simply astonished at the green earth and warm sun! Breakfast was delish!
Healthy food is wonderful, but you gotta have a little treat once in a while (gathered by Shawni on the plate with the raspberries).
There was even a lazy river where the girls pushed me on a tube the first time around and I walked with them on the second roiund….all against the current…of course!
As though that wasn’t enough exercise, we went on a REAL hike before dinner! I wore the wrong shoes (five fingers) with 1 mm of sole on the bottom through a very rocky terrain. But it was a spectacular hike through the desert that none of us will ever forget (thanks to pictures from everyone’s cameras).
It was so fun to go to church with Pothiers on Sunday. The hair frenzy was amazing to watch!
Thinking, not picking…..
Grace and Lucy have incredible heads of hair!
Here is a happy bunch of women smiling at Shawni who was taking the picture:
Sunday afternoon, we visited the new Gilbert Temple. If you think we’re cold, you’re right! We went back to the Pothiers for a wonderful Sunday evening discussion. How blessed are the Pothiers to have this beautiful temple so close to their house and how blessed am I to have these beautiful and unique women for my daughters?
On Sunday night, we took Charity back to the airport for work on Monday but the rest of us got to stay a bit longer.
Monday morning, after the Pothier devotional at 6:40 a.m., we saw the kids off to school and watched Lucy ride off on her bike with Dave running beside her….for insurance! That girl is so great…and so is her dad!
Then we took off for Josh’s school…a terrific charter school, The American Leadership Academy where he is adored by his students and greatly appreciated by his co-workers.
We love their mission statement, since Stephen Covey has been our lifelong friend! Here it is:
“American Leadership Academy empowers students to achieve academic excellence, demonstrate moral character, and fulfill civic responsibilities. Our students master basic skills with a strong classical liberal arts curriculum, service, and develop leadership skills through the daily implementation of the Covey 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.”
Charity had gone home but Saren, Shawni, Saydi, Hazel and I bombed into Josh’s classroom and had such a delightful experience with “his kids.”
Saydi told them about all the snow she and Hazel were getting in Boston and the kids asked such delightful questions.
When we asked this bright, happy bunch of kids what they liked about Mr. Eyre they couldn’t say enough! Following are some of the responses they gave without hesitation:
“He teaches us to love learning.”
“He’s the only one that allows us to have a class pet.”
“He buys things for our classroom with his own money.”
and my favorite…”He has a good heart!”
That made my day!!!
When they were asked about their favorite books, they were simply oozing with good ideas for us! When the kids left for lunch we went out to get some lunch and came went back to the school to eat with Josh in his classroom. During our fun conversation he showed us some of his favorite books which we will be getting so he can read them to the grandkids at the reunion. Here are three that he recommended:
The Story of the World: History for the Classical Child
The Day the Crayons Quit
The Book with No Pictures (which the kids adored)
That visit was the icing on the cake for all of us! Hazel loved seeing Josh’s classroom since many of the kids were her age and we saw again, first hand how “Mr. Eyre” is changing the lives of kids who will never forget the many things he is teaching them, not the least of which is that he believes in them and knows they will do great things! Remember your favorite teacher? That’s how these kids will feel about Mr. Eyre!
It was a weekend to treasure!