Christmas Letter 2008-by Holly Davis: 12/1/2008

CLICK HERE!!  to see the actual PDF of the beautiful Christmas letter Holly wrote using MS Publisher, formatted for printing, but size optimized for web delivery.  If you don’t want to download the 400k file, read below.  Also, there are a few additional pictures below that did not fit the format of the 2 page Christmas letter.  We printed the final letter at the Library, gladly paying their $0.50 per page, which is probably a good deal for both parties.  Also, note that I took all the pictures and put in the background image of the letter.


Februrary – One of my favorite days this year was the Valentine’s Day party at our house for the little ones. These are mailboxes. We made Valentine cards and cookies, sang songs, and read stories. I loved it.

IMG_0757 Spring Break – This is the picture I found from our spring break. Yes, this is our house. Yes, we stayed in it. Brrr. Right about this time I started planning a trip to Mexico for spring break 2009.

My mom says to mention Matt is still teaching and taking photos, I’m still librarian-ing, and Mark has started kindergarten.


IMG_0356 March – We did a St. Patrick’s Day party with a re-enactment of the story of St. Patrick, and lots of green food…

The boys liked the part with the giant cardboard box/boat in the living room and cardboard swords. It was more swash-buckling than the Valentine’s Day party. In the picture above, it looks like the boys are ready for their spring haircuts. Except for John Caleb.

IMG_8432cSummer – My brother John (above right) came home from Norway and played a little soccer (he’s with Chandler Kemp), hiked Battery Point with us, and just hung out, playing horn and relaxing. I liked it. His nephews liked it a lot, too. John’s quote for the summer kind of sums up how I feel about the whole year. He said, “Holly, I can see you’re doing everything you can, and Matt, too, and Mom and Dad, but… it’s just not enough.” So true! Then he went out and picked up trash in the yard. He said he found some he’d dropped there three years ago.

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Mark, John Caleb, and Luke in May dandelion fields.

IMG_8526cMark learned to ride a bike! Don’t mention the color. It was my brother, John, who said take off the training wheels. I said no. It turned out he was right; Mark was ready!

Matt signed Mark Daniel up for tee-ball this summer. It was best when Matt was home with us. You can see the moral support needed for the first time at bat. Sometimes Matt was fishing or at teachers’ conferences in Nashville or Anchorage. davis-3-iC

The fatherless tee-ball experiences were not so good for me. (Picture an angry woman with two little kids trying to chase down the third kid and make him stop running away, stop crying, and play ball.) On the other hand, Mark loved soccer.

Family Fourth of Julyclip_image002 pictures in the

picture in the trees by our house. I love the Fourth of July in Haines… the parade, the foot races in the park, the fireworks at night. True, it’s not really dark enough for fireworks until 11 P.M., but I still love the festivities and small town celebration.


For Labor Day we drove to Whitehorse’s Takhini Hot Springs and splashed in the hot water with the children. It felt wonderful. Warming up in the hot water the next day after camping in a tent that night (John Caleb’s first tent experience) felt even better, except for putting on the cold, wet bathing suits from the night before. The nights were really cold, even in September.


My dad took us sailing. Luke is helping steer.

IMG_9033On of my favorite hours of the week is teaching the 0-6 year olds’ Sunday school class. There are about 10 kids, including our three, and about 5 adult helpers (mostly mothers). We sing, we dance, we tell stories, and do art. This is Jacob, Mark, and Haley singing in their rock band.

(below) December—Mark (age 6) just lost his first tooth!

IMG_1010I’m also leaving out that my Grandma Madsen (94) and Matt’s Grandma Davis (92) died this year. Matt and I are headed to see all the family we can this Christmas vacation. We saw the Sitka relatives at Thanksgiving, which was wonderful, and we enjoy being near my parents year-round in Haines. They both help us out so much, playing with the boys, bringing fresh bread, teaching Mark piano lessons, and more. We are thankful.

If you go to the previous day, down below, you can see what the printed version of this Christmas letter looks like created in MS Publisher and saved as a PDF.


Christmas Letter 2008 pdf…

Here’s a link to our Christmas letter for 2008!  CLICK HERE!!

I think Holly did a fine job on the letter.

Merry Christmas.

Christmas in Haines

IMG_7411 IMG_7335We had a really fun time this weekend with the our family healthy again.  We went to see: Santa Claus at the visitors center, the trains at the museum, Mrs. Santa Claus at the Library, the basketball games with Craig, and then finished off the weekend with a community sing-along at the Library. 

The men of Note Sang at the Christian women’s Fellowship time and Bob got sick there and was in bed the rest of the weekend–which was a bummer because then he missed the caroling at the library (Nancy N. filled in for him though).

Once again, we had a son who did not like getting to sit on Santa’s lap at all.  It’s pretty fun to see things morph from year to year.  This year was colder than last year, it felt.  But we did not have the amount of snow that we had last year so the weather has seemed less severe.

I like the way Haines does Christmas in such a provincial small-town way.  The same organizations do the same programs each year slightly different than the last year.  I like taking the photos and such, but this year I took IMG_7524a few too many, I suppose.  The people in the dragon did a fine job this year too.  Mark was able to figure out what was going on with the people in the dragon this year for the first time and we had fun talking about how he might be big enough to be in the dragon some day.  The only problem I had is that I ran out of flash batteries during the parade and had to shoot with available light (well for the most part).  In the shot above, I was able to catch someone’s flash lighting up the dragon from the opposite side.


The homecoming dance went off fairly smoothly, I suppose.  A couple students made bad choices and a big pile of students wanted to dance like Chihuahuas, but besides that it went pretty well, was well attended, and there were just a few disruptions to the music, due to a faulty connection of some sort.  Above is the Homecoming Court with seniors on the right and freshman on the left: L to R: Quin Asquith-Heinz, Eriik Klinger, Gus R., and Ryan Smalley; Front Row: Hannah Wing, Jolene Lemieux, Fran Daly, and Crystal Lemieux.

Now I’m sick.


It was a tough day here.

Holly was down for the count all day. Being a single parent must be tough.  I’m sticking with Holly.

Today was supposed to be one of Holly’s big days, she had all sorts of activities planned, shopping, going to the bazaar, cleaning the house, putting on the pageant a the Lighting of the fort and none of it came to pass though not through any fault of her own, as it’s important to rest when one is sick and we both firmly believe that rest is often the best medicine especially with a flu-type of bug which is not treatable, most of the time with antibiotics.  Whew.  That was a long sentence followed by a very short one.

IMG_0857Margaret took pity on us and came and got Mark for his piano/voice lesson where she’s teaching him how to sing, read music, and enjoy the musical realm.  He’s learning “Good King Winceslas” right now, playing both hands in octaves while singing (I think he sings). 

IMG_0879Then she dropped him off at his swim lesson, which is entitled fun-club and is run by various people in the swim team, from all I can tell.  I peaked in on it and Blake Hamilton was herding them around in the shallow end.  The Boron twins were there too, as were a bunch of Mark’s friends, so I think he had a wonderful time.

While Margaret was doing that with Mark, Luke, John Caleb and I went to the Bazaar. I was tempted to get some supplements for my diet being sold by Mrs. Boron’s Dad Lenny: Osolean, by Manatech: CLICK HERE!! if you want to check it out.  Only thing is I think it’s kind of expensive for Whey powder.  Whey sounds really inexpensive to me.  Maybe I should create a brand called Wheyleanforever, or some such.  John Caleb was asleep, so I left him with the crowd at the table with Hunter, Devin, and others.

IMG_0940After the bazaar, John Caleb woke up and I brought Luke home to be with Holly, who was still couch-ridden in the sleeping bag.  Then we joined up with Mark and went to the book fair with number three in a back-pack. I ALMOST bought a few of the “Bone” books by Jeff Smith.  i used to read those back when they first came out in B&W, and hadn’t seen them in the colorized version before.  The art makes the books look like they ought to be for kids, but when you read them you see that the humor is more for adults than kids-which is kind of strange.  I don’t know if Mark is old enough to understand the humor or not.  Perhaps I’ll check out a book or two before I buy any.

IMG_0983The shot below is actually a photo-merge of two photos.  I shot the fire once and the  people once, then combined the photos to make the flames of the fire visible, using 3-4 layers in PS. 

If you’ve ever shot a fire, and people at the same time, you perhaps have dealt with the issue of having two such disparate exposures in the same frame.  Taking two photos and merging them along with some opacity changes, plus a bit of doging and burning really helps make the scene look the way the eye sees it.

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Anyway, after the morning fun, I took the boys back home for a brief nap and then it was off to Tresham Greg’s cabin in the middle of the fort to attend the Nativity pageant.  IMG_0990Dwight and Nancy Nash came and did the Emcee work, with Dwight reading the text and Nancy leading the songs.  Russ Simpson and his church, along with another church brought the kids and costumes for the nativity scene, and the fort residents put up all the lights and supplied the food for the cook-out.  They really have it down to an art, as a local community event and it really gives me a sense of community to be there with the rest of the town that turns out for it.

IMG_0980 They always serve hot-dots, chilli& cheese, chips, and marsh mellos with to go with the bon-fire.  Perhaps I didn’t notice it last year, but this year it seemed to be new that there were a big pile of sticks to roast hot-dogs with, all sharp and ready to go.  I suppose if there is anything lacking, it’d be some carol singing around the fire–but in all honesty, I’ve never been to a winter bon-fire where there was carol singing, as usually the temperature kind of ruins the fun of sitting around singing unless the fire is just right.

IMG_0988I suppose this tree picture is my favorite shot of the night.  I like the reflection in the water (from the melting snow, as it rained), right in front of Tresham’s shop.  the puddle was actually very small, so I had to have the camera about six inches off the ground to take the shot, so I used the live-view feature of the camera to help me make sure the star was in the reflection.  You can see that I messed up on the framing and have the photo at an odd angle, nonetheless.  The idea of shooting the reflection wasn’t actually mine, but I shot a few of them anyhow, as it was a good idea that another photographer showed me he was trying to do.

Another nice feature of this year’s “Lighting of the Fort ceremony was the women’s singing group lead and directed by Nancy Nash.  It’s interesting that they rehearse once a week on Thursday’s at six PM, just like the men of note, and also are a single gender group.  It may be that we will combine our efforts for the first time this IMG_0915Christmas in singing a piece from Handel’s Messiah, with, shall we say, mixed results.  I was impressed with their organization, as they all had matching headlamps and Nancy had all the music in plastic sleeves so that it would not get damaged in the weather.  And they sounded quite nice too.

Luke was not feeling well at all and wanted to sit down and eat his food…


So I found them a place to eat at a small table at the base  of the stairs and under the sharp pointed sticks.  I thought they were cute over there nibbling away on their chips and hot-dogs.

Hopefully, we’ll have our mommy back to full health again and I won’t get sick like the rest of the family.  I may just sleep in the guest room tonight, as the main bed is rather crowded and full of sick people.

Quick, everyone get sick and vomit.

Monday, when we got home, Mark got sick in the night and vomitted five times in the night. At first he didn’t know what was happening.  Then I showed him how to throw up in a pan and bring it into the bathroom, rinse it out with water, and dump it in the toilet.  He stayed home from school that day.  The next day, he was tired and slow and said it hurt to laugh.

Two days later, John Caleb got sick an vomitted all through the night, we took off the sheets and cleaned ’em all and he continued to throw up all through the day.  At least he was cheerful all day.’

Now it’s Saturday, and Holly is vomiting and has the runs.   Bummer.  I hope I don’t get sick.  And I hope she gets better soon.