Sunday, December 26, 2010

Ho ho ho! Celebrating Christmas 2010

Coming down the steps bright and early to see their presents... notice the varying levels of excitement.
"It's what I always wanted in my whole life!" Faith exclaimed about her Princess castle kitchen that she originally thought was a doll house and she was a little confused about where the barbies were actually supposed to go. 
She was pretty excited once she figured it out though!... awww she made plastic muffins and cookies!

Gracie asked Santa for a doll as big as her... wish granted! (nearly)  This doll about freaked Brent out when he came home from dumping the trash and found it staring at him this doll is called Barbie Godzilla.  (Just kidding I couldn't get Gracie to go for it. Her name is Alice... which is also applicable if you're thinking of Alice in Wonderland super huge Barbie)

Santa gives TJ another go with a remote control truck.  (The last one didn't last very long)  Honestly he was more excited about his new Calvin and Hobbes book and his Dad's DSI.
My Favorite Presents:  It's hard to pick a favorite, but these are some of mine.  My Mom made these beautiful stick horses for the kids.  Even if it seems like Barbie Godzilla and the princess kitchen are this years winners, the hand made horses for Grandma are the gifts that will never be thrown out, but will be handled gingerly, repaired if needed, and saved for the next generation.  Trust me, I know because my girls have spent many hours playing tenderly with my cherished handmade cabbage patch doll that my mommy made.... Thanks Mom!  I love you!
Local Flavor    The kids made handmade cards and letters for our friend and surrogate Auntie from the branch Colleen Deighton.  She sent them back these beautiful little hand carved Eskimo decorations carved from walrus tusks and polar bear fur. (I think Colleen correct me if I'm wrong)  And the big face carved from Bone for me and Brent.  (Colleen I felt the package and I seriously thought you had wrapped a large cookie... it doesn't taste like a cookie)   We were so touched by these sweet gifts, this is a gift that will be kept forever. Thank you!
Mittens, mittens, mittens, for one of my Christmas presents Brent let me have these beaver mitts custom made by a high school student.  They all learn how to sew in the bi-lingual/cultural class here.  I know it's not popular to wear fur... But I haven't had warm hands since I moved to Unalakleet.  It sounds like a joke but it's not.  I'm don't like killing things either, but I'm thankful to this little beaver every time I go out in this arctic climate.  I'm not talking a little shiver kind of cold I'm talking brain freeze painful cold after being outside for only a few minutes.  I didn't know you could have warm hands up here.  Brent also got me a knee length parka, and it's amazing the difference and these are gifts I'm so grateful for. The hand knitted mittens were a gift from my friend April, they were also made locally by one of the Native Inupiaq women.  This picture doesn't do them justice, they're very beautiful. 
I was thrilled to get this book from my friend and author Sara Donkersloot from Naknek, AK.  It's an adorable little story about animal families that live on the tundra, my kids were so excited to get a book with a personal note from the author.  And I was touched that she would think of us and send this wonderful little gift.  (You can find this and other books by Sara on and
M&M's and Mystery M&M's    If you've never lived in a bush village in Alaska unconnected to any road system, you might not be able to appreciate the true value of mint m&m's.  But to me this year mint m&m's have become a symbol of love and giving. people who love me... ALOT!  Our branch relief society did a question of the week email where we were asked to share our favorite holiday food.  Mine was mint m&m's which we can't get up here and I miss very much from my days in Utah.  I was truly astounded in the following week as I opened package after package of mint m&m's from people who wanted to share their love with me. Some of the packages I received had names, and some I will probably never know.  This truly was a Christmas miracle for me, not because I was able to make my Christmas treats with mint m&m's just like the old days... but because I was able to experience the true love of so many caring and generous people.  Many of whom I've never met face to face.  I'm thankful to be having this experience up here in the bush,  I'm thankful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ that blesses my life daily, and I'm so thankful for the gift of a loving Heavenly Father, and his son Jesus Christ who was sent to this world to give the gift of his life.  Merry Christmas!

Count Down till Christmas...

My most treasured advent wreath. I won this wreath at a white elephant party, I know it looks plane... but the treasure is the 18ish Christmas's that I shared with my brothers and sisters excitedly counting down the days to Christmas using this wreath.  It is a handmade gift from my Dad's niece Keri and her family, oh so many years ago.  The felt ornaments are hand stitched.  My mom did some surgery on it, since it was showing it's age and now... my kids are experiencing the joy's of this same wreathe!  Merry Christmas!

Just one more day!
Getting our Christmas Eve party on.
Unalakleet Schools Christmas Concert 2010.  The kids sang with their little classes and boy were they cute!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!.... bring on the bird!

Okay so this was a monumental year for me. 
For the first time (ever) I had to actually cook my own turkey and prepare an entire Thanksgiving feast.
 This might be the scariest purchase I have ever made. 
 One of the many things I'm grateful for is a wonderful mommy who has cooked so many fabulous turkeys for our family. 
I'm also thankful for the tips and advice from mom and others that helped me with my first bird.
Doesn't it look pretty?
The list of things we're thankful for is actually to big to count.  But a few are my family, faith in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints, Brent's fabulous job, good friends (the list is endless.)  Let me sum up by saying I'm very grateful to a loving father in Heaven for the multitude of tender mercies he has bestowed upon me and my family. 
Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

(Trying) to get the perect picture....

Okay so I was pretty underwhelmed by the school photos this year.... as much by the price as the quality of the photo. 
I thought I can take a picture that good and it would be a heck of a lot cheaper... So after getting the kids all cute for church I made them stand and take photo after photo. 
 ...The results are a whole bunch of silly pictures and a few really cute ones!
Sure the background isn't exquisite (the bare wall in the front room)  But with a girl that cute who's looking at the background?
 Pretty Little Faith 4 years old   ECE-4 (Early Childhood Education)
 Okay Gracie... is it really so hard to stand still and take a seriously cute picture.
She's kind of a ham... a dang cute ham... but still a ham
 When it's all said and done I think my favorites are the one's where she's being goofy, because that's just so Gracie.
 Beautiful Gracie 5 years old Kindergarten
 For once TJ was the easiest to shoot.  Gone is the Calvin and Hobbes painful looking grimace that he's been using for the last year. 
The trick... video games... "TJ, tell me about your favorite video games..."  Off he goes with a million adorable smiles.
 Handsome TJ 7 years old this counts as his 1st and 2nd grade picture because they moved his home room up a grade this year.
 What a loving siblings!  They don't act like this all the time... but they act like this a lot.
Kind of makes me think we're doing something right.

PS.  Leaca I miss you and your fabulous photography (sigh) :) 

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Happy 7th Birthday TJ .... (November 1st)

 Okay, I'm ALMOST caught up....
 TJ turned 7 years old on November 1st.   He asked if he could have pancakes for breakfast...

The problem was that I have to get ready to go to work and get all the kids ready and cold cereal is much more likely to happen.
Brent was so sweet, he actually got up early so he could make TJ pancakes for breakfast. 
 And look!  It's smiling at him.  What a great Dad!  Happy Birthday TJ!
TJ's birthday party we had a lot of kids, but we had a lot of fun too! 
There were so many kids invited that we decided to have it at the auditorium.  (So no this isn't our house)  The kids loved all the room to run around and scream.... it really was a fun party!  :) 

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Once upon a Halloween....

Ok, I'm finally getting our Halloween pictures put up.
Here's Faith, she wanted to be "A bear named Sleeping Beauty"
Her Fried Autumn is Snow White.
 The only thing Gracie wanted to be was Natiri from Avatar.  We were excited to find these costumes online in August... What I didn't expect was for Gracie to grow so much that her costume gave her high waters by Halloween!

 TJ LOVED his Harry Potter costume!  He just finished reading the last book in the Harry Potter series, and he's a pretty big fan.  I think he looks absolutely ADORABLE!

Halloween Night... Dad sure did a good job with the make-up didn't he?


Sunday, November 28, 2010


 Brent coached the 1st through 3rd graders wrestling club this year.  He's never coached before, but he was willing to do it.  He did a great job!
Here's TJ practicing with Chala
 TJ wrestled Colton at the wrestling Exhibition.  Sadly Colton scored more points.  You can see the tears in TJ's eyes.  Wrestling takes a lot of heart, and it breaks your heart when you loose. 
You did a good job buddy!
 Brent helping the kids with their teeny tiny .22 cricket.  (cute huh!?)
 10/19/19  This was our 1st day of snow up here. 
Brent was still able to get some pic's for the Christmas card. Good job babe!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Stuff that happened in September...

 Gracie in her Dad's trooper hat.  Pretty stinkin cute!  She lost her first tooth in August... she was SOOOO excited!
 "Mooah Tea Deaaa?"  Faith and her friend Autumn having the cutest little tea party you've ever seen, complete with rich sounding accents.

TJ and Gracie went hiking with Brent.  I think they were trying to find a brown bear.
Gracie learned that she can do a lot of pull ups... and climb just about anything!
 On Sept. 11, 2010 TJ participated in his 1st cross country race. 
Here are the little kids waiting to run the last mile of the community race which was 3 miles I believe.  TJ was sooooo excited!
 His Dad told him he could have 2,000 points toward his wii if he ran the whole mile without stopping. (He has to earn 300,00 points to get his wii.) 
He did such a good job!  He wasn't 1st place out of the little guys but he beat a lot of kids that were older than him.  His number 32 is overall the adults and kids all came in and got numbered together.

This is TJ with his friend Kanai (orange shirt)  he was in TJ's 1st grade class.  In the blue shirt is Challa he is Kanai's brother and is in the 2nd grade class TJ is in now that he got moved up into 2nd grade homeroom.