Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Letter 2010


Dear Friends and Family, 12/13/2010
What a year! This year we moved again for the 7th time in our 11-year marriage, 2nd time in 2 years. But don’t get me wrong; I actually love the new adventure that comes with each new location. We are now in a beautiful and tiny little Haida village called Kasaan. We have thoroughly enjoyed the visitors that we’ve had here so far and are looking forward to more when the salmon return this summer.
Sammie will be turning 5 this week. She got to start Kindergarten this year and she loves it. She spends a couple hours a day actually in class and the rest of it hanging out and playing at the school. She still enjoys hanging out with Mom, but has decided the big kids are more fun and will follow them around whenever possible.
Josh is 7 now. He still loves spending time in his room playing with cars, but is getting slightly better at playing with others also. He has a pretty good group of classmates to play with and the area around our home is a little boy’s paradise. They have a stream, forest, beach, and a basketball court, plus plenty of places to ride bikes.
Liz is 9. She is a great friend with each of her siblings. She has a wonderful imagination and is always the one to get them all started on wonderful games of pretend. Liz shot her 1st deer this year, a large doe. She especially loves primary this year because two of the families in the branch have brand new babies that they often let Liz help with.
Caleb will be 11 next month. He seems to be growing up very quick lately. He shot his second deer this year, and helped Grandpa Richmond find a great one during his visit. He’s become his dad’s best hunting and fishing buddy. He’s also getting pretty good at splitting and stacking firewood. We nicknamed him Eeyore for a while, but lately he’s developed a much more cheerful, optimistic attitude.
Stewart is even busier than usual this year. He’s the lead teacher for the 14 students at our school. That means he basically acts as both principal and teacher. And because the school has kindergarten through 12th grade he does a lot of lesson planning and organizing besides the actual teaching. Luckily he has the help of some great aides that help him cover multiple classrooms. He drives our older students 45 minutes each way to sports practices in Thorne Bay at least a couple times a week. He is working on a master’s degree on-line and serving as young men’s president at church. I’m not sure how he fits it all into the day, but I know he sleeps good.
I’m staying quite busy myself this year. I’m working full time at the school as an aide. I love the social interaction with the other aides and getting to be with my husband and kids all day everyday. I’m also STILL working on my teaching degree. I should graduate about this time next year. With my graduation will come another move. We’ll need a school that at least needs two teachers.
This past year has left me feeling extremely blessed. I am very thankful for the gospel of Jesus Christ in my life and the amazing blessings that come with it. I am very thankful for our extensive group of family and friends. I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas season!!
Love,
Stewart, Carrie, Caleb, Liz, Josh, and Sammie Hughes

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Rut


OK, this post is a little slow. A month ago my Dad and brother came to hunt black tails. Stewart was able to take the week off to hunt with them. They also got some wonderful help from some of the high school boys. Stewart and Regan got these two nice four points on the same day.Then a day or two later Caleb and my Dad managed to find a trophy of their own. Caleb spotted it and got a couple shots at it, but Grandpa was the one that was finally able to hit it.
The three deer together are pretty impressive. I would've been happy with those three, but they also managed to bring home a 2x3, a spike, a doe, and a fawn (it was a buck- but barely). I'd say it was a very successful week of hunting.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thankful!

On this day before Thanksgiving, I'm taking a short break from making pies to write a brief thankful list.
  • My family - here and far away
  • My warm home that I love
  • A wonderful new aide at school
  • my husband that is blind to weight (lost or gained)
  • my four year old that calls me her buddy
  • three other children that keep me busy, tired, and happy
  • computers to connect me to the world
  • phones to call home
  • good books
  • a comfortable bed - and the chance to sleep in tomorrow!
  • a car that continues to run - most of the time
  • a long weekend
  • prayer - and especially answers to prayers
  • my health
Times up, I need to take pies out of the oven.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Competition


Ok, most of my readers have already heard this, but just in case, I'm going to repeat it.

My amazing sister-in-law is in the finals of a competition to go on a once in a life time hunting trip to New Zealand. She was in first place for a while, but has slipped to second. Everyone can vote once for each e-mail address. If you have multiple e-mail addresses please use them all!! She needs all the votes she can get. She's an amazing person and she deserves this trip!! Please pass this on to everyone you know!!! (in fact passing it on to strangers would be good too!)

PLEASE VOTE for PAULA RICHMOND at http://www.tahoefilms.com/poll.php?poll_id=6

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

My reader!

Caleb has never been really behind in reading, but it hasn't ever been something he enjoyed. This year he's suddenly reading chapter books without being pushed into it. I went to wake him up for school the other day and found him reading. I was so excited I took a picture! I hope he's hooked.

Halloween

We got to go to two different carnivals this year. One with our church group and one with the community. Caleb was the only one that chose to use the same costume twice. Mostly because it's the only one I own that fits him. I'm going to have to get some new ones next year. This is The crew at the church carnival.
The next week was the community carnival. We invited the missionaries out to help us run the booths. We ended up having plenty of help and they just got to hang out and visit with people. I think everyone had a good time.
The kids also went trick or treating, and with only 14 kids in town there was PLENTY of candy to go around. Sammie took an ice cream bucket and filled it to the top with the first 8 houses. I don't think of my kids as sheltered from most of life's experiences, but it came to my attention this weekend that my children had never tasted pop rocks candy. I wish I would have video taped the event. But you'll just have to take my word that it was pretty entertaining!!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Our Mighty Hunter



My little girl shot her first deer today! It was a very nice sized doe. She shot it right through the neck and didn't ruin any of the meat. She was almost as excited as her dad, and wanted to share a picture.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Rain

Growing up in a dessert I was raised to appreciate a good rain storm. During the last 5 years in Alaska I've lost a large part of my ability to enjoy the rain. However, today was a GREAT rainstorm. It actually started yesterday, so I fell asleep to the sound of rain beating on the window (a sound I love, even if Liz isn't so fond of it.) Then when I woke up this morning, the house was quiet other than the sound of wind and rain, and when I looked outside the trees were dancing in the wind. Now I don't mean the leaves or even the branches. The trees I was watching are really tall, skinny pine trees. The whole trees were swaying. (A little scary, but they are far enough from the house and skinny enough anyway, that I think we're safe if a couple decide to fall.) After 4 years in a completely treeless village, I really enjoy watching the trees dance in the wind. Then on the way to school this morning it dawned on me that all this rain was going to make the stream between the house and school run deep and fast, thus pushing all the dead, extremely smelly, salmon down the stream and out to sea. I have high hopes that this rain storm will last at least a week and that when it ends the stinky fish will be all gone!!! In the mean time I'm going to go curl up in front of the fire and read a good book. I love the rain!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

First Cross Country Race of 2010

Yesterday we went into Craig for the first cross country meet of the year. Caleb raced side by side with the same kid that he competed with last year. But when it came to the end the other kid came out in front. Caleb did great though with 4th place
out of about 20 3rd-5th grade boys (1 mile).
Liz did great. She placed in the top ten for the first time with a 9th place finish out of around 20 3rd-5th grade girls (1 mile). I was so busy cheering her to the finish that I forget to take pictures. I asked her to rerun the final stretch so I could get a picture but she didn't want to.

Josh crossed the finish line so close behind his friend that he doesn't show in any of my pictures. He did great with 8th place out of 47 kindergarten through 2nd grade kids (1/2 mile).
Sammie got to compete for the first time. She runs in the same group as Josh. She's been back and forth on whether or not she wanted to race. She decided to try as long as I ran with her and brought a water bottle. When we lined up, she looked around and was VERY excited to see other little kids. There were at least 10 kids her size. She was so excited that she decided that she didn't need me after all. She did the whole race. She finished 44th out of 47. She thought it was great to be 44th because she's 4 and it's the same numbers.
This last pic is Sammie coming up the final stretch as part of the last 4 runners in the race. She managed to pass the little girl right in front of her - probably because of a lot of great cheering from Caleb.

Friday, September 3, 2010

WATER

We've got this stream that runs between us and the school and then turns and runs through the trees in front of our house. A month ago we were told that the pink salmon were waiting for the waters to rise so they could get up that little stream. I though "yea right, that stream is way to little."
But sure enough, a good rainy week and the salmon are running right up that stream. It's not deep enough for them to stay under water all the time, but there are some pools they can hide in. Unfortunately there's something about water that kids can't resist.We did have a few days where the temperatures were probably in the 70's and the kids thought they were dying of heat, so they convinced me to let them join their friends swimming at the dock and beach. Caleb enjoyed jumping from the dock ramp, but the rest of the kids were happy to play in shallow water by the beach.



While they were playing I got some cool pictures of this jellyfish. They are all over around the dock, but I was amazed at how good the pictures turned out.

First Day of School

This year Sammie officially gets to go to school. Last year she hung out there a lot with the rest of the family, but this year she started kindergarten. I debated if enrolling her in kindergarten at 4 years old was pushing her to grow up, but she was going to be hanging out at school anyway and this way she gets supplies and lessons. And it's such a laid back setting that anytime she needs a break, she can go play. I've never taken pictures of my kids with their teachers in the past, but I couldn't resist this year.

Sammie was still a little nervous at this point, but she settled in. We have 11 kids in the school. 6 elementary students - mine plus 2 others, one 8th grader, and 4 high schoolers. We had a great first day and first week. I've slept better this week than I had in quite a while. You'd think 11 kids would be easy but with such a variety of ages, we're always on the move to keep it all covered. So far we haven't had a single discipline problem though, so that's a VERY good sign!!

Hunting and Fishing w/Travis

Travis came over from Ketchikan a couple weeks ago to try a hunting spot with Stewart. They hiked a lot farther than planned but did eventually find the deer. Travis got a four point and a two point. And Stewart got a three point. Travis had a decent pack but even after boning out his two deer he had plenty of weight to pack out. Stewart went in with only a day pack, planning on minimal hiking, so packing his meat out was also quite a chore. They shot the deer between 8 and 10 am and didn't get home till about 10pm. They were sore and tired but very pleased. Travis even ended up with one more little spike right before going home.


They didn't do a lot of fishing, but Stewart managed to catch this monster silver salmon on a quick stop to see if the silvers were running yet. They weren't really running but apparently there was at least one hanging out.

Monday, August 16, 2010

My crazy kids

I just found these two videos on my computer. Sammie loves to play on photo booth and she's getting ready to start reading. So this is her version of reading you a story, with a lot of personality on the side. The weird color is Sammie's doing.
video

This one is Josh. Apparently he's in a boxing match with himself.

video

I love seeing what my kids do to entertain themselves when I'm not looking.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

G-ma and G-pa Hughes visit Alaska

Grandma and Grandpa Hughes came and spent a couple weeks with us. We had a very good time. We walked out to the totem's. I made the kids stop running wild long enough for me to get this picture in front of one of the totems.

Then on the way back to the house, we stopped to show Grandpa this giant log. The kids love it!!
Stewart took his dad and Caleb fishing almost every day. On one trip out in the boat Grandpa caught both these great fish. One is a silver salmon and the other is a yellow eye (red snapper).
On one great day of fishing, Stewart, Caleb, Grandpa, and me walked down to the beach at 7am to catch some pink salmon at low tide. Our goal was to limit out - 6 each. We could have caught that many very quickly if they were all keepers, but some were past their peak of freshness (they are getting ready to breed and then die). So, we were picky and only kept the good ones. I only fished for about an hour and then enjoyed beach combing and being the group photographer. The starfish were piled up everywhere.Caleb's reel gave out on him, so he would just hold on and haul the fish in over his shoulder.
Grandpa was freezing but couldn't resist the urge to keep fishing!
As the tide was coming in, Stewart had to keep finding new boulders to stand on to keep him close to the fish.
Everyone was a little wet and chilly but having a ball. Caleb and Grandpa were enjoying their perch on this boulder, but they didn't want to give up when the tide came in. Pretty soon Caleb was up to his knees and when he caught a fish he had no where to land it. So Grandpa bent down to pull the fish out of the water and lost his balance. He fell in and lost his glasses. So Stewart handed me his glasses and jumped in to help his dad find his glasses. I managed to drop Stewart's glasses too. Before long we decided to give up and come back at low tide to look for both sets of glasses. But I couldn't resist a good picture of Stewart and his dad swimming in the rain in the ocean.


We took home ALOT of fish. Before long we had all the fish neatly packed away. And we all felt better after hot showers and putting on dry cloths. This is our display of fish from that 3 or 4 hour fishing trip.



Later we went back and found both sets of glasses without even having to get wet. Here's a view of the beach from where we found the glasses.

On the way home we stopped and made Grandma reel in a salmon, just so she wouldn't miss the experience.
And just because I like to share the scenery, this last pick is a stream right in front of our house. This is actually the stream that all those salmon are waiting to run up, but there hasn't been enough rain, so they're stuck down at the beach. I like it because it shows what the area looks like.

Utah trip 2010!

We made our annual summer trip to Utah last month. Normally this is a 2+ month trip with plenty of time to visit all our family and friends. This year we cut it down to three weeks - three very very busy weeks! I managed to leave my camera in it's case the whole trip, so I have no pictures, but here's a bullet list of highlights.

  • Hughes family reunion - another great one! Thanks Phill and Melissa!
  • 4th of July - Could only get better if we weren't torn between our two families who were almost all in town for the party!
  • Double date to Durango with Becky and James. I loved having time to just hang out.
  • Trip to Salt Lake - school shopping was good, but temple square was great!!
  • Stayed with Regan and Mori, there home has become our favorite bed and breakfast.
  • Richmond family reunion - good camping trip; hot, lots of bugs, but good company!
  • Pool party at Robby and Laurel's in Phoenix. 114 degrees!! Loved the pool, food, and hosts!
We met two new nieces and a brand new nephew, went swimming a few times, and never had a chance to get bored. And the good news is, we are extremely close to having enough miles to fly the whole family for free next year :)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Grandpa finally gets a Salmon!!

We've taken my dad to some beautiful fishing spots! We've tried every trick and tip people have shared.

But the Salmon just aren't running right now. My dad has caught a couple trout that were big enough to eat, and he's eaten crab every day (9 days in a row) until today. But he really wanted a salmon. So I was really excited for him when I came home from a trip to town today and heard that he got a big silver salmon.

Then I found out that he bought it from a big commercial fishing boat down at the dock!! Oh-well, he was obviously very proud of his salmon anyway. And he ate it for lunch and dinner, even though it ruined his run of none stop crab.

Liz's Birthday and kid's fishing day

This year Liz agreed to a smaller (mostly family) party in exchange for her getting to help with all the party preparations. She helped make mini cakes for everyone to decorate. She made and filled the pinata. And she blew up the balloons and put them all over the house. We had a great time. Everybody's cakes turned out great!
The pinata survived all the way through round one (everyone from Sammie to Grandpa took a turn), then we started over. It didn't make it through round two though. I thought this was one of the better looking pinata's I'd seen lately. And Liz loved making it!!
The next day was the Kid's fishing day put on by the forest service. It's a great carnival type event where every booth is somewhat educational and free. And they had great prizes and a free lunch. Everyone enjoyed the fly tying booth- even Liz and Sammie.
The casting game was a favorite also. It's kind of like a bean bag toss, but you cast a little plastic fish into a big wood fish's mouth. Dylan and Chase even enjoyed it.
Sunday afternoon Liz did Dylan's and Chase's hair. They were great sports. Liz loved it!

I love summer vacation so far! I just wish I had a maid to take care of the house while I'm playing with the family.