Friday, December 17, 2010

The Christmas Program: A Holiday Tradition

Thursday was the night of our school's Christmas program.  It happened to be the first one in which Harold was a participant.  He and all the students did a wonderful job of singing and entertaining their families.

For most of you, multiple photos and videos would be as enjoyable as pulling teeth.  Grandmas and grandpas, on the other hand, can watch videos to their hearts content here and here*. 

I would, however, recommend watching the video below.  It was put together by a couple of the high school teachers and ended up being an impressive production.  It's a fun glimpse into the life of our school. 

*and if all that wasn't enough for you, there's more on the school's blog as well.


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Christmas Quilt 2010

Our 6th annual Christmas quilt.
The kids fabric paint a quilt square,
I sew it together,
names are placed in a hat,
and one of these little cuties takes it home.


Monday, December 6, 2010

Now You See It, Now You Don't

11:58 a.m.

 3:57 p.m.

We are still 15 days short of the winter solstice.
Our days will continue to get shorter by about 5 minutes per day until then.


Sunday, December 5, 2010

We Traveled South of the Tree Line For This

 This being the first time we have had a real Christmas tree, we were lacking a tree stand.  C.O. got resourceful and made our stand from an old cable spool.  We're unsure if one would call this recycling or upcycling as we are not up on our trendy speak around here.

 Harold is at the perfect age for decorating.  He carefully analyzes each ornament before placing it on the tree.  I realize, sadly, that one day he will not be quite so enthused about such things.  So for now, I will appreciate these moments.

Don't you love how children decorate the tree?  
You can't see them all here, but there are six ornaments all hanging on one branch.

Leave it to my mother to find an Eskimo nativity set.  (Love you mom!)

So many ornaments tell a story.  This angel brings back memories of a Russian missionary who flew to Brevig Mission to sell trinkets and raise money.  The poor thing barely spoke a lick of English.  She came around carrying a binder with a written description of why she was raising money.  She was all alone, didn't have a place to stay and was being followed by a pack of curious children.  I don't know who put her up to this but they apparently didn't realize her trip could in no way be profitable.  We took pity on her and bought an ornament.

Bring on the Christmas season!


Saturday, December 4, 2010

Santa Came Early (I think I'm in love)

I have been longing for a for a camera of quality for ages!  Finally my wish has materialized.  Santa (my husband) picked out this fancy Canon Rebel with interchangeable lenses, HD video, other features I don't understand and so much more!

I really don't have any idea what I'm doing to be honest.  I have dreams of being able to take amazing photos and then to edit them all artsy and cute.  *sigh*  My goal is to just pick it up daily and spend a little quality time together with my Canon.  We'll see what becomes of it.   Hopefully the blog's photo quality will be kicked up a notch.

Here's a couple of my favorite photos so far, amateur I know . . .

Harold's Feet

Ernie's Laugh

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Tough Times Too

Life in Brevig Mission is good, our lives are happy and blessed.  This blog has become a place to share and record those good times and unique experiences.

It would be inaccurate, however, if we gave the impression that life is all lollipops and ponies around here.  The past few years has brought greater sadness and shock than I ever thought I would experience.

We love our lifestyle and know without a doubt that Brevig Mission is where we are meant to be.  We hope to be supportive and a light to all those around us, just as people here support and teach us.   But it's not always easy, we have had a particularly difficult past few weeks.  Multiple tragedies have left many with great loss and unimaginable heartache.  Many prayers are needed for our little town.

October's Loss
November's Loss
December's Loss


God hath not promised skies always blue,
Flower strewn pathways all our lives through;
God hath not promised sun without rain,
Joy without sorrow, peace without pain.
But God hath promised strength for the day,
Rest for the labor, light for the way,
Grace for the trials, help from above,
Unfailing sympathy, undying love.

God hath not promised we shall not know
Toil and temptation, trouble and woe;
He hath not told us we shall not bear
Many a burden, many a care.

But God hath promised strength for the day,
Rest for the labor, light for the way,
Grace for the trials, help from above,
Unfailing sympathy, undying love.
God hath not promised smooth roads and wide,
Swift, easy travel, needing no guide;
Never a mountain rocky and steep,
Never a river turbid and deep.

But God hath promised strength for the day,
Rest for the labor, light for the way,
Grace for the trials, help from above,
Unfailing sympathy, undying love.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Amongst the Trees


This Thanksgiving was spent in Elim, Alaska with my brother John.  We were thankful to have made the two flights from Brevig to Nome and Nome to Elim in time for Thanksgiving festivities and some quality time with Johnny.  

Thanksgiving morning, we took some time to hike around town in search of some good sledding hills.  We found a couple good spots and had some pretty exciting rides.  Sledding: the perfect pre-dinner activity.

As in Brevig, Elim hosts a village-wide feast in the school gymnasium.  It reminded me a lot of Brevig feasts minus the reindeer stew, personally one of my favorites.  However, Elim amazingly had huge containers of watermelon, a perfect treat for ending the traditional Thanksgiving meal.  I'm not a huge fan of pie as desert, pie is better left for breakfast in my opinion.  Watermelon however, was very light and refreshing.  The feast experience was very nice and we were able to chat with a few folks from around town that we have met over the years. 

Friday, shortly after sunrise (around noon), we went for a snow machine ride through the woods.  As you can see, the major difference between Brevig and Elim is TREES!  How exciting to be in the forest, if only for a little while.  Part of our ride was actually on the official Iditarod trail.  C.O. and I have a dream of one day taking our children on a snowmobile trip from Nome to Anchorage along this very trail.  That's a long way off however as it is probably best if we wait until their teenage years for such a journey.

 The main goal of our outing was to find a Christmas tree for our home this holiday season.  What a treat it will be, to have a real pine tree to decorate (and smell)!  We will be taking our Christmas tree wrapped up in a tarp as luggage tomorrow on the plane.  That will be a first for me.

Harold convinced us that he needed a smaller tree of his own.
 We obliged.
There's about 40 rings there.
Though the woods are reminiscent of Minnesota,
the trees here have to work a lot harder at survival.
Happy Belated Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Winter's Here

Hard to imagine that just a few days ago, the ocean looked like this.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Harold Counts to 10 in Inupiaq

Inupiaq 1-10 (more or less) from AnnMarie Rudstrom on Vimeo.

I think he missed a couple there but he's close.  They are such big words coming out of a little person!  As you can hear, many Inupiaq words are a mouthful.  In school, Harold practices counting to ten, color names and a few other Eskimo words and phrases.  Won't be long and his Inupiaq vocabulary will surpass ours. 


Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween Fun

 The past few days have been way too much fun!  The Halloween celebrations began on Friday afternoon at school.  The kindergarten and head start joined together and did a few fun Halloween activities together before the big parade and costume contest.  I even had a costume of my own for the first time in, oh, 12 years or so.  

Anyone recognize this character?

Harold the ferocious lion.
Turns out, adults don't want to be left out of all the Haloween fun.  The bingo hall hosted its annual costume contest for those 18 and older.   What a goofy fun lovin' crew of monsters, zombies and kooks.  

It was fun trying to figure out who was who under all the disguises.

Then time for a little bingo with the added bonus of a pile of candy to carry through all the daubing (is that a real verb, daubing?). 

Then the moment Harold had been waiting for . . . trick or treating (a.k.a. the great candy exchange).  It was a blast to be with him on his first ever trick or treating experience.  I don't think he quite understood the magnitude of what was about to happen.   He was ready to go home and eat his candy after the first couple houses.  I had to convince him to continue on and explained that the bounty would be so much greater if we kept on going.  He did catch on soon enough but we pretty exhausted by the end of the night.

Happy Halloween:
hope it was your best one yet.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

TOMS on the Tundra

My coworker friend, Barnabas, introduced me to TOMS shoes this fall.  I had never heard of TOMS until I noticed Barnabas wearing them at work.  (My life is a bit sheltered from main stream culture these days.)

I was attracted to these simple little shoes right away AND I later found out they're working for a good cause.  "One for One" is their motto, for every pair of shoes sold, a pair is given to a child in need.  Over a million shoes have been donated since the start of the company in 2006.  Awesome!

I jumped right on ordering a pair for myself.   I was  tempted to buy Harold a pair of Tiny TOMS (the name is too adorable) but resisted the temptation.  Now, if you should happen to visit the Brevig Mission School, you just might find a pair or two of TOMS proudly roaming our halls.  The first ones this far north?  They just might be.

Folks post photos on the TOMS website of the shoes being worn here and there.  We thought the tundra would be a unique place for TOMS to be seen.  So on Saturday, we did an official photo shoot.  Good times but to be honest we did froze our patooties off!  I think the pics turned out pretty neat.

Photos taken by C.O.
Artsy fartsy editing done by Barnabas

On a side note, check out Barn's blog if you get a chance.  Just the title cracks me up, V-Neck in Alaska: Going where no v-neck has gone before.  He's got some great photos if you'd like to see Brevig and the surrounding area from another perspective. 


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Silk Screening

Last weekend I had the opportunity to take a silk screening class at the school.  It was offered through UAF's Northwest Campus and held at Brevig Mission School.   It would have been silly to let this opportunity pass me by.  I mean, a real art class practically at my front door step.  I'm telling you, Brevig is the land of opportunity people.

Our professor/ teacher/ a.k.a. the professional artist was Jody Isaacson, who traveled all the way from New York state to be with us.  She was awesome (!) to say the least and a great lady to have around the school for a while.  Though she did work with the teachers and staff, most of her time was spent teaching high school and middle school students how to create, design and print their own t-shirts.  I was very impressed with how the students' work turned out and they were pretty proud of their creations as well.

After a long week of working with students, Jody's real challenge began . . .  working with the teachers.  ;-)  We spent one evening and the entire weekend learning silk screening basics and creating our own designs.  I decided to get in way over my head and do a rather complicated (well complicated for an amateur) picture on a large piece of fabric.  I intended it to be a table cloth but since that didn't exactly work out, I came up with a back up plan.  Anyway,

the process:

I started with a concept.  This photo, taken in Teller looking toward Brevig, was my inspiration.

I then created stencils for each "layer" of the picture.  One for the sky, one for the water, one for mountains, rocks and lastly grass. 

First I printed the image onto newspaper print to see that it was indeed what I was envisioning.  Then the image was printed on the registration that was used as a guide for placing .  .  . bleh, never mind, it's too hard to explain.  It just went something like this:


My final product:
on paper

 on fabric

So instead of using it as a table cloth, my vision for the fabric images (there are 3 total like the one above) is to have C.O. make me some wooden backs the exact size of the picture and have the fabric wrapped around the wooden boards.  Each picture turned out slightly different so I think the three of them displayed together would look kind of neat.

I'm fairly happy with how it turned out.  I had a lot of frustrations along the way to be honest, but in the end it was worth it.  It worked out as well as it did due to Jody's patience and positive, constructive feedback along the way.  My coworkers were also very kind and lent a hand when they could.  Thanks everyone!