Posted by: Bonnie & Hans | December 28, 2011

Seven Days of Christmas with Anna

One of these years we’ll get our whole family together again for Christmas. This year was special because Anna came to experience an Arctic Christmas with us. She was lucky to fly out with some elders who pointed out other villages and geographic features along the way.

Arrival at 4:30 pm

We cared for the Kobuk teachers’ dog team while they were gone for Christmas, so there was lots of mushing going on.

Anna holding the leaders while Hans hitches up the team and Bonnie stands on the hook.

Mushing during the short daylight hours

Heading home as the sun sets in the south

Frosty mushing; most days between -18 and -30

There were a lot of missed photo opportunities due to the cold draining the batteries in the camera so fast. One day Hans came up with the brilliant idea to take along a cooler on the snowmachine to keep the cameras warm (metal water bottles filled with hot water and towels) until Bonnie stopped, pulled a camera out, took a few shots, returned it to the cooler, drove farther on the trail and repeated the process. Genius!

Cameras in cooler = warmer batteries

When we weren’t out mushing, we were snug in the house.

Extreme knitting

Anna learns to knit wristers

Making the famous "Ann's Grandma's Bread"

Cutting cinnamon rolls with string--just like Grandma used to

We visited elders and took them fresh bread.

Anna joined us and the community for the Christmas Program at the church followed by gift giving and the traditional Feast the next evening.

Church tree and gifts (it took a couple hours to pass out all the presents)

We had a non-traditional (for us) Christmas dinner of chicken shawarma, jasmine rice, dahl, and naan. Anna and Bonnie tried out all those new recipes thanks to Hans’ yogurt making abilities and Budget Bytes.


If we weren’t out with the dogs, or cooking, or eating, or getting Anna dressed up to go out, or knitting, or Skyping with Hans C. in Santo Domingo, we were playing games, watching movies, reading, looking out the window, watching northern lights, or talking and laughing.

It's a moose!

Anna’s suitcase contained Hans C’s gift for us; Theo chocolate bars and fresh Voxx coffee beans. Perfect. It also contained our present from Anna. A quilt she made. Her grandma, Ann Boenish, will be so glad to know she’s continuing in her quilting footsteps. It was a pi quilt. She chose ten different fabrics (one for each digit) and then stitched them together for pi: 3.141592653589793238462643…   So creative!

The pi quilt

Testing it out

We feel so fortunate to have spent the last two Christmas holidays showing Hans C. and Anna the Arctic. They both said they have a new understanding of and appreciation for this unique place that holds such a special place in our lives. Happy Holidays indeed!



  1. WOW! Looks like you had a great holiday!! Sorry I will miss meeting Anna! Thanks for sharing the pics.

  2. Loved hearing about your visit with Anna. I’m so glad she had the opportunity to visit Shungnak, too. She put her new sewing machine to good use creating your pi quilt!

  3. I am so delighted that you had such afamily holiday and to see pictures Anna. I have nor seen her since she was a little girl. Elsie

  4. This is sooo wonderful!! I miss you all very much and hope you had a relaxing holiday!! ❤

  5. It looks like such a warm and cozy time (inside of course) for you guys. I am glad Anna got to come and be with you during the holiday. Happy January!

  6. Cleaning out my old emails, and I see I missed this blog. Can’t believe I didn’t see this back in December! What a wonderful holiday. That’s an amazing quilt Anna made; Grandma would be so proud!
    You all are so adventurous and fun! Glad you warmed the camera batteries so you could capture the memories.

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