1000 pieces go together

Gran Gran Gran Gran Granny...Sweetest Granny!

No tree :( Ready for New Year's though!!

French press ready for 7 am! ...hmmm, maybe I should melt snow water, boil it, add the grounds to a pot and boil it...Eskimo Boil...

Gram definitely gets the recognition for this picture coming together in the time it did. Just as she has patience to knit a pair of gloves; or sew a parka, Gram pieced most of this cardboard scenery. At the end, Romay, Jason, Gram and I were having a blast, almost racing each other to find the last remaining pieces. After it was all done, we did the ESPN highlights, "this part was challenging...I'm glad this straight line was here..." You know, the debriefing!


We may be in the same boat, but some of us have bigger cabins...

That is the quote from the current project going together, a 1000 pieced puzzle.

Gram and Jason gave each other a high five shortly after this picture was taken, they really are progressive puzzlers. They celebrate the pieces coming together.

Big Game Hunter, now the PS2 is in her room! (no puzzling for Romay)

Myra's in that picture to add space, she's a wanna be puzzler...

Romay is a bright kid, BUT look at Gram still going at it!

Tutuwak (moose)...Taking a break from puzzling to snap a shot.


More of Christmas

Ode to Joy...24/7...Recorder music fills the house...screaming when Romay gets it right...

Fire at the lot on Christmas Day.

We were looking forward to the yummy desserts when we got home, and oh yeah, TEA. (When grandma stopped by Harriette's place, Romay, being 2 or 3, would sing out "tea" in her highest pitched voice)

Gram, Jeni, Jason and Romay trying to stay warm Christmas night!

Everyone with new pajamas on Christmas Eve!


A new Christmas Eve Tradition?

Plenty of air conditioning...thanks Auntie Jen for buying the new sled!

Kemper made a new friend, one that liked to hang off his flappy cheeks.

Mr. Kopp hauling the crew up the hill after their trip down the hill-wish I had that luxury when I was growing up!

Amanda, Kaylin, and Romay


Merry Christmas

A great Christmas break read!

Daniel testing out his furry recliner...

Mmmmm, monkey bread.

Thank you Grandma, for all the parkas, mukluks, sealskin gloves, sealskin hats, kuspuks, etc! Here she is making a new parka cover for Myra.

Welcome to the Harris' household! (Grandma's mukluks, Gram's here!)

Just like 'ol times

Generally we're always looking for people to ski, snowshoe, go sledding, or anything else with; Jeni fits that bill perfectly! Not only that, but she has always been such a supportive and awesome friend to Jason and I. So, after Jeni's day of rest from traveling, we decided to hit the trails around Galena behind our lot. Romay and Sarah were equally excited since they got to drive the snowmachine; boy did they have silly grins on their faces the whole time. The snow behind our lot is around 3-4 feet, Romay and Sarah managed to turn around in the powder, all the while, giggling and maybe the most important factor, not getting stuck. Of course we came home and loved gorging on the yummy food we have stored around the house...guacamole and chips, cheesecake, etc...I'm basically trying to stay up with all the fun we're having around here!


More Pictures

Run Run Rudolph

As you can guess from the title, Romay played the part of Rudolph for the Elementary Christmas program last week. The 5th grade did a wonderful job as the performance included guitarist head bangers, the 3 dancing girls, a groovy lead singer and Rudolph. Romay couldn't be happier, she got the perfect excuse to wear a pair of Adidas shorts as she ran around the stage while the other kids pantomimed. At the climax, "Rudolph" took a relieving sip of water and fell from exhaustion. Our Christmas tree is up, there are a few more pictures, but that is for another story and another post.


A Girl's Best Friend

Not only can we make Kemper yawn, but sneeze!


Harris Christmas Tree

The Harris clan going to get a Christmas tree is much like when the Griswalds go to get theirs... just the Alaskan version. Of course, we have a Ski-Doo Skandic Sport in place of the Ford station wagon, but the journey is usually just as full of adventure.

We had our own little train going out to get the tree. Behind our machine, we pulled a freight sled, and behind that, Romay had tied on her red plastic sled. Kemper has this thing about being lead dog (even when he we does not know where we are going), and so he ran out front. The four of us went to the trail next to our lot as it heads back on to some dry lake beds amongst some trees that we hoped would hold our Christmas tree.

Galena has gotten some of the best snow this year that I have ever seen and makes machining both fun and challenging. Part of that challenge came when we drove over the bank that had been pushed up by the road plow. The snow machine made it over fine, the freight sled soon followed, but the red sled took a more interesting path. The cord had become slack from the freight sled dropping over the bank and when that slack was drawn up, the sled shot forward, and fired Romay about three feet into the air. First a scream, then giggles and then the Mom and Dad nearly fell off from laughing so hard. Romay may have a future as a human bullet. The key is deep snow and a down coat.

The only vehicle that had been back on the lake must have been a dog sled as the trail was so narrow. It felt more like we were on a jet ski than a snow machine as we floated around through the back lakes. Each time we got off to look at the spruce tree possibilities, we would trek through about three feet of snow. Kemper perfected a dog version of the butter fly as he undulated through the snow, more swimming than running (for those of you that don't know Kemper, he is a big lab and so you can see the snow is deep). The further out we traveled, the skinnier the trees became. We unhooked the sleds and made an interesting u-turn that any sled neck would be proud of. Back we headed toward town and to the trees we looked at originally.

Wildlife made its showing as we passed two antlerless moose that seemed to surprise Romay. "Mom, can I ride in the freight sled with you?" Her eyes got the size of quarters as we passed by. After being used to seeing caribou for the last five years, moose seem more like draft horses.

Thankfully, unlike Clark Griswald, we remembered a saw. My Dad would have been proud though as we cut down two trees before we found the one we liked (Dad and I always cut at least three: "The top of that one look okay to you?" as we looked up at a twenty foot pine).

The tree is up, decorated, and a day later and Kemper is still passed out on the floor. It was a good trip.


Saying that we were up and working outside as soon as the sun came up and until it went down is not saying much for Alaska this time of year, but we sure did fill those hours. Romay had Point Guard College (basketball camp) this morning at 8 am and after dropping her off, Myra and I headed to the lot to cut a few more trees and process them into firewood. Myra proved to be a true lumber jack once she got the chain saw in her hands and it seemed as though no tree in the woods would be safe. She bucked up everything that was down and then looked around for more.
We had to quit with trees still needing to be cut, but Romay was due to be picked up from school. I dropped Myra and Kemper off at the house and went to go get Romay... we ended up walking as the machine decided it would rather not start. A $2 part had broken inside the recoil and forced us to walk the short distance home.
I snagged a ride back with tools, got it fired up to drive home, where the part failed again, but hey, it was home. Hopefully that problem will be fixed relatively soon with the part being ordered and due here some time the beginning of next week.
During the time that I was tearing apart and putting the machine back together, Myra had thrown together a batch of the most amazing monkey bread ever baked in all of Alaska. She had also warmed up yesterday's soup because John Korta had called to see if we would like to go out mushing and you can't mush on an empty stomach.
Upon arriving at the Korta's, we started getting dogs into harnesses and hooked in. Picture nineteen fifth graders after eating a package of pixie sticks a piece and you'll have about half the energy of an Iditarod Sled Dog Team. Twister was aptly named and quickly became one of my favorites as he spun around as Myra and I wrestled him into his harness all the while he was trying to stick his tongue in my mouth.
We got the dogs all hooked in with John running 12 dogs in his team pulling him and Romay in one sled and Myra in a sled hooked in tandem behind. That left seven of the more mellow dogs for me... again, pixie sticks. You would think that a team taking off dragging so much weight behind would start more like a steam train, kind of slow and building up. Actually, it is more like a rocket going into orbit with your face pushed back and everything. I really don't remember the first thirty seconds as I think I went into shock from it all... I do know that I had a smile on my face that took most of the day to wear off.
I don't want to mislead you into thinking that I stayed upright at all. I made it a full fifty feet before promptly flipping the sled on its side and dragging for who knows how long. I had heard and understood the first rule of dog sledding: never let go.
As for Myra, evidently the trees were trying to get back at her for cutting down their kind earlier. The small sled she was piloting also flipped on its side soon into our journey dragging Myra far enough for a tree to slow her forward progress. The bruise on the side of her face is kind of a war wound and an a symbol of pride in going out so hard in her first mushing experience.
The dogs calmed down, though there were still some wild parts to the ride, and we got an amazing opportunity to see some of the countryside in quite possibly the best way. The only sound was that of the snow beneath the runners and the panting of happy dogs. Thank you to John and Tonya Korta for only implanting the dogsledding bug that much further into our family.
Hot coffee, conversation and then we were off to the Browns for some hot food and more good conversation. Genny and Todd Brown are some of the coolest people. We got a chance to enjoy some great turkey soup and laugh as we sat around and told stories. The girls played hide and seek, secret agent, and just giggled.
It was the best way to spend a Saturday. God is good.


Wood Pile

We dined on our first home grown turkey yesterday, a highlight for dessert included Paul Apfelbeck's specialized cheesecake. Overall, we drank plenty of coffee, laughed, and got to spend time with new people. Today, Jason's arm was twitching and after 5 years of marriage, you just know that his brain is geared for cutting wood. He didn't mention it to me, so I asked, "Jay, don't you want to get outside and cut some trees on our lot?" I have the crock pot prepared with stew, so off we were to "Narnia" to fell a few more Birch. Here are some of the shots, now we're inside, smell like sno-go exhaust, and giving into relaxing.



ps-Romay keeps Kemper's ears clean, doesn't seem to effect his ability to hear all that much.

Burning the Midnight Oil

Midnight oil on a sunday is about 8 pm, we really try and check in early on school nights. Romay's adventures in the botany field continue as her pumpkin (looks like a weed shoot) is growing similarly to a weed. It literally has grown inches in a few days. Our impatience plant blooms year round, kind of refreshing with civil twilight ending around 4:50!! Jay and I took a walk to the dump tonight, I happened to feel like skiing over, so Jay got them out for me. Only two days with students this week, what a heavenly thought.