stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more."
Dr. Seuss's The Grinch Who Stole Christmas
The other night Ali and I decided it was a perfect time for a Slushie from Sammy's! Sammy's is the only place in Quin one can get a Slushie or a video even after 7 pm. Why am I writing about it...because it was dark out, 20 below zero, our jackets were crackling like they were plastic while we had our mittened hands wrapped around styrofoam cups full of frozen Slushies! Yep, we trudged home, fur hoods pulled tight around our faces, giggling to one another as we slurped away...you know you live in bush Alaska when...Slushies in frigid weather sounds like fun!
Ginger Bread Houses
What's been happening at school? The kids made ginger bread houses! What a grand work of art it was! See for yourself:)
Staff Christmas Party
Thursday night was the annual staff Christmas Party too! After Danny (at left) presented his senior project to a few lucky members we morphed Marsha's room into the party place. Everyone brought a gift for the 'Yankee Swap' and a dish to pass! Principal Eric ordered pizzas that were flown in from Bethel which always, always signifies a special occasion. Marsha made a layered, pudding pie, Steph brought homemade pumpkin ice cream, Emma brought brownies, I brought Chex Mix (he, he). After we had all sufficiently filled our tummies, the present stealing game began. Larry stole my electric fryer, Mary took the afghan Marsha knit from Alicia. Then Connie stole Einer's tanned beaver hide Dennis brought, but Alicia turned around and stole it from Connie. Einer was sad but got to open another gift and that turned out to be a brand new honey bucket!!! Principal Eric was absoslutely thrilled, Einer and Addie thought it was the best thing since bubble gum. Kinda that whole age old kids enjoy playing with the box over the toy concept, except in this case the box is a honey bucket, lol. Emma shook every present and that was against the rules, but everyone ultimately ended up with a wonderful gift to take home and more importantly good memories together.
2nd Annual Christmas Sleepover Party
Sometime probably back in August I promised the girls a sleepover party before Christmas. Well, last week they reminded me again for the 43rd time and asked, "When will we have the sleep over party???" Oh, my, okay, yes, I guess we have to have it on Friday. And so it was...Our second annual Christmas sleepover party at my house. This year I had 19 girls tearing around and 1 two year old boy briefly (my friend Karen's little boy, Trenton, stayed with for a few hours since his sisters were all here too). 16 of the girls lasted the whole night. It was hilarious, did all their make up then they did mine. Nails were being painted as was my kitchen floor (no worries Boss it all came off with a little remover and elbow grease). A few made brownies, while others did dishes, still more colored in books Mike sent them. Speaking of Mike we called to sing Quyana (Silent Night in Yupik) to him. All the while I'm yelling where's Trenton every 2 minutes???? It was a regular 3 ring circus but these are the moments to cherish! Of course, the 'fashion show' was back by popular demand...suddenly my house was transformed into a runway full of America's Next 19 Top Models. See for yourself, I was given the duty of emceeing the whole to do. Makes me have to thank my mom and Mike both of them having been amazing examples to me on being in the moment with these kids. Calvin Klein, Ann Taylor, Joe Shome Fancy Designers got nothing on these eskimo chicas! Round about 1:30 A.M. I finally convinced them to at least find somewhere to sleep. And they did, all over my house: 2 in the tent that we set up in the kitchen, 1 in the recliner, 2 on the couch, 1 in the hallway, 1 on all their coats in the laundry room, 4 on the living room floor, 2 on the bed in the spare bedroom, 2 on the floor in the spare bedroom and 1 kindergartner with me! (Deep Breath!) Luckily the other 3 kinders wanted to go home when bedtime approached or I suspect I'd have had 4 with me! LOL. We watched Charlie Brown Christmas when they woke up and as they got ready to go, then 2 by 2 sometimes 3 by 3..they filtered home. When the last little fashion model paraded out the front door I collapsed;)
"MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!" I love those kids.
Up River 'Collecting' Wood
Karen and Evelyn invited me to go upriver 'collecting' wood for maqi Saturday after I recovered from the sleepover party. Getting out of the house and up the river sounded like a great idea to me. I envisioned us scouring the river bank for sticks, you know, 'collecting'. We headed out on Karen's honda and Evelyn with her snow go. Let me set the stage for a minute, we had a low pressure arrive the other day that brought with it heavy, icy fog. The kind of fog that prevents you from seeing more than 1/4 mile in any direction, then coats your goggles with a hearty layer of ice just for good measure. So we were venturing out into what by anyone's standard... appeared to be a big cloud of nothingness. After blindly riding for 30 minutes or so we slowly turned off onto the river making sure the ice was safe as we traveled forward. To the trees we crept! We spent the next four hours 'collecting' trees...this entailed using hand saws and axes to down the dead logs, I'm talking straight up lumber jack style "Timber!" and all. Then we had to drag them through the woods (I use that word 'woods' very loosely here the trees are mostly small alders that don't get very big but for our tundra purposes they are very much 'woods') back out to the four wheeler. I definitely got my workout lugging those buggers through that dense undergrowth meanwhile Karen and Evelyn had a day of good laughs at my expense;) For the life of me, I could not figure out which trees were kosher and which weren't. I wandered around for a while looking up...hum, "Is this a good one???" I'd call out. "Or what about this one?" "Is this one okay?" Finally frustrated, Karen replied "Quit asking and just cut." Okay. So I did. We managed to load more wood on that four wheeler than I would have ever thought possible! Then we again slowly, blindly and now loaded down heavily began the crawl all the way back to Quin before nightfall. Karen was more than happy to share at maqi that she had to laugh as she was trying to start the steam, "I kept chopping the wood and saying...yep, this is one Rachel picked." The steam was still hot so hopefully it wasn't a complete wash;) It was an adventure.
Ptarmigan Soup, Boiled Beluga and Seal Oil, top it off with a good hot steam and you have the fixins for a perfect 5 hours of daylight filled weekend. Enjoyed supper at Liz's (Karen's mom,Quyana!) she made the above feast. I've not had beluga yet and found that I like it. Reminded me of seal oil.
Today it was off to church which is now elaborately, festively decorated for Christmas. So many lights it could give Vegas a run for its money. Wreaths, trees, tinsel, and sporting a big, beautiful Noel sign above the pulpit. It reminded me of decorations for a birthday party like no other. And you know what? It is! Happy Birthday Jesus!
So I think this will be my last blog until my return next year! We teachers, are praying for good weather on Tuesday as that is when we will try to begin our various journeys homeward for two weeks of family fun. To all of you out there "Have a Very Merriest Christmas! And a Blessed New Year!"
"For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen!" Isaiah 9:6-7