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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like.....

Even though we haven't gotten a lot of the white stuff out here on our little isle of misfit toys, we wanted to get into the holiday spirit and so we had to decide upon a route to our Christmas tree. We picked the loooooong route. Of course. It took us over to the beaver pond which has been new and improved with all the beaver action happening over there. Brody and Myron were searching just below the dam for a perfectly formed tree. And this is what I've resorted to trying to get a pic of Brody. He's in that horrible phase again where he turns his head and covers his face whenever I get the camera out. So now I'm reduced to stalking him from afar. With the zoom. I'm really like a mile away here. Well, we heard some calling from up the hill. "We've got a tree over here! We all voted on it!" Tyler was * very* excited to be a part of this tree gathering. He was overseeing everything. Closely. Since the older kids were going to be doing a lot of the carrying back to the school, Mr. Finn figured it would be nice for the younger kids to saw the tree down. Tyler was first in line, as you can imagine.

Tyler is a self-proclaimed expert at everything that has to do at all with manual labor. Painting? He was an "expert painter" because he "painted his dad's buoys one time". You might remember that he closely resembled a Smurf after painting the jungle gym blue. His mum said it took days to get all the paint out of his hair. I was wondering how much sap he would spread on himself since we was an "expert tree cutter".
While the kids were taking turns sawing, there was much overseeing going on. In Alaska, I never could have done an outing like this. Firstly, we didn't have any trees on our tundra island. Secondly, as soon as we would venture out of the classroom, all my students would begin to throw rocks at every living thing, including each other. These kids? Not so much.

They were perfectly content to just, you know, sit in the trees.
Seth had his hand in it.
As the kids continued to cut, Tyler continued to CLOSELY supervise. The tree was finally coming down when Bradley got a round at it. He was like Mr. Lumberjack with that saw.
Then it was time to drag the tree all the way back to the school. Well, not drag, per se, since that would break all the branches off.
There was some fording of streams...
And some quick dropping of tree to run over to see the beaver swimming around the pond. Seth is yelling out, "Ms. Finn, there's a beaver!"

Then, back to carrying. The older kids were griping at how heavy it was, so of course the younger kids had to take over and show them how it's done. Happily, it turned out.
Almost there!
Finally, back at the school, it was time for the island classic....grab a bait bucket and fill it with rocks. We have our share of bait buckets out here. The kids centered the tree and began to wedge the rocks all around the trunk.
Taaa-Daaaa! And a word about "Christmas". When we use that term in our public school, we are not setting up manger scenes over here with little Baby Jesus and the Wise Men. We're talkin' Santa and the elves and presents and candy. Maybe Frosty. Maybe Jingle Bells. NOT O' Holy Night. We are all about holiday celebrations like Valentine's Day and Halloween. We don't get into the historical, religious aspects of said holidays. And of course if there were any other remotely non-Christian sects of belief out here on our island, we would be sensitive to the Christmas ramifications and work with the wishes of our community. In Alaska it used to drive me absolutely bonkers that our principal used to use our holiday program as a time to hand out bibles to the kids in our public school. That's like, exactly the sort of thing the Constitution was written to prevent, so... know that we're not trying to pull anything over by having a tree in our school. We like to decorate for the holiday program that will be happening...TONIGHT! Bring on the Elf Olympics!

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