Thanksgiving is all about food? When you're
10 months old, how is that any different from every other day?
We had a small gathering that included
Mommy, Papa, Cameron, and Grandma Joanie. Besides turkey, which I liked
very much [right], we had garlic mashed potatoes, sweet potato and carrot
mousse (which I ate from frozen portions for two months afterward),
Brussels sprouts (yuck!), green beans, and rolls (never refuse bread).
Dessert was pumpkin cheese cake, but they only let me have a taste.
Later in the evening, after all the dishes
were done, Mommy and Papa finished packing for the Netherlands, and we
left early Friday morning on an international adventure!
|The plane ride to Amsterdam is 10
hours. Both flights, I slept 1 1/2 hours; the rest of the time,
Mommy and Papa had to entertain me, feed me, walk me through the plane,
and generally keep me happy. I thought they did a very good job,
although they looked pretty tired on arrival.
We drove from Amsterdam to the Hotel Van den Hombergh in
Venlo, where we were going to celebrate Tante Lianne and Om Rob's 25th
wedding anniversary and spend the night. We napped for a few hours in our
room; then downstairs it was party time!
I joined all my Dutch family for the first time, and
they seemed happy to meet me. I have eight cousins in Holland. At left
(from left): Jolien, Marielle, Sjoerd, Menno, Oma Betty, me,
Christel, Jasper, Maaike, Opa Jan, and Stijn.
The highlight of the week was the family celebration of
Sinterklaas. The famous bishop actually visited Oma Betty's house; I
wasn't quite sure what to think of him but his beard was interesting
[right]. The family had chicken salad and croquetten—and oliebollen, which are like
solid doughnut balls [above]. YUM! Then all the children got to open
the presents that Sinterklaas had left. They were put in a tall pile in
the middle of the floor, and whoever opened the last gift returned to the
pile to choose the next labeled package. With all those presents for all
those cousins, it took a couple hours to open them all. I had so many
gifts to take home that we almost didn't have enough room in our luggage!
|After our first night in Venlo, we spent the
week with Oma Betty in Vlissingen, and we kept
busy. We did lots of shopping for food, gifts, and mementos to take home,
and we visited some of Oma Betty's friends. Mommy and Papa also took me to
the town waterfront on a clear, sunny day (about as common in Vlissingen
in early December as it is in Seattle), where I saw the Atlantic Ocean for
the first time [left].
On one of our last days, we went with Oma Betty to a Kerstmarkt
(Christmas market) in Goes. We shopped for Christmas ornaments and ate
lunch, and I sat on Sinterklaas' lap for a photo (he scared me into
tears). Zwarte Piet gave me a wrapped gift that turned out to be a giant
pencil (for a baby?).
The only bad part about visiting Holland is that the
time difference is 9 hours. The jet lag, combined with the new environment
and lots of stimulation, kept me up at night, sometimes waking every three
hours. In fact, I didn't sleep through the night until we'd been there six
days! Poor Mommy and Papa were exhausted. For that unfortunate
reason, it will probably be a while before they take me to Holland
I discovered that although Christmas is a day, celebrating it is a whole month of activity. First, the family
went to Molbak's Nursery, where Mommy took a Christmas card photo of
Cameron and me among the poinsettias. Note: I was good and did not
try to eat them.
We also went to Bellevue Square to visit Santa Claus.
Cameron came, too. He sat on Santa's knee while Mommy backed me onto
Cameron's lap. I'd barely noticed Santa before the picture-taking was
over, so I don't have much of an impression of him.
I helped with lots of shopping. I liked watching people
and looking at all the decorations from my stroller.
At home, Cameron and Papa put up the Christmas tree—way up! We had "half" a
Christmas tree (set on top of a table) so that I couldn't reach the
decorations [below]. Because it was smaller than usual, Mommy couldn't
decorate it with all the ornaments. I could still reach some of the
packages, but somehow the family kept me from truly destroying any of them
before Christmas Day.
|Christmas Eve we all went to Grandpa Paul's.
There were lots of people there! They had a big dinner, and
then we all opened gifts in a flurry and chaos of paper and ribbon.
Christmas morning was much more quiet. Santa managed to
get down our chimney overnight, and he left me a rocking sheep and some
packages almost as big as I [left]. We tried out the sheep, inspected the
packages, and ate a Christmas breakfast. Grandma Joanie came about 11:00
and Cameron arrived from his dad's at noon. That's when the fun really
Papa helped me open my stocking [below right], which
contained soft dolls, rubber duckies, building blocks, and board
books. Cameron helped me open my gifts because he's a pro. One of my favorites is a
large busy cube [below left] that I can stand next to and play with. I
also received more books (yea!), several stuffed animal friends (including
a large pink poodle that Cameron designed at Build-a-Bear), a pull-toy musical elephant,
and a pull-toy caterpillar that plays lots of children's songs.
After a Christmas luncheon of ham, potatoes, cranberry
salad, and green beans, we spent most of our afternoon playing with toys,
napping, eating more, and playing more. What a great holiday
New Year's Eve
|Going out for New Year's? Whatever
Mommy, Papa, and I (Cameron was at his dad's so he could
light fireworks at midnight) invited Joseph and his parents, Joe and Miss
Trudy, for dinner. They live in our neighborhood, and Joseph is exactly my
We had a very nice dinner, and then at 9:00 we watched
the ball drop in New York City on CNN. 5...4...3...2...1... bedtime for
Joseph and me! Happy New Year!
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