December 5th was on a Saturday this year,
which means that Sinterklaas occupied most of our week and weekend!
week long Cameron and I left our wooden klompjes on the floor in front of our family room fireplace, and
each morning I raced downstairs to find candies and toys in them
that the Zwarte Pieten
Cameron couldn't always get to his the next morning, but I left his gifts
in his shoes for him.
On Saturday morning, I went to Oranjeschool.
I dressed in my purple velvet Zwarte
Piet costume to fit in [right]. The school had a celebration in the
gym. Sinterklaas and his Pieten visited, and the different classes
sang songs for him. Then we played games, ate Dutch treats, and the Pieten
gave us all presents.
That afternoon Mommy, Papa, and I went to Lake
Forest Park for the Sinterklaas party hosted by the Holland-America
Club. Inside, I got a
little passport to collect stickers at the game stations, and I made a paper
hat and colored a Sinterklaas picture. Mostly though, since it was
a sunny day, I played on the playground while we waited for Sinterklaas to
arrive. Finally his boat pulled up to the dock, and
out he came with his Zwarte Pieten.
Once we were back inside, all the kids and parents crammed together, but I
found a spot on the floor where I could sing and yell with everyone else.
When Sinterklaas was done, the Pieten gave us another gift, and I
also got a pocket full of pepernoten
We had our Sinterklaas dinner on Sunday
night so Cameron and Emily could be there, too. We ate our traditional waffles
with fruit and whipped cream—yum! When we were done eating, there was a
knock on the door. I jumped up to open it and found that Sinterklaas had left
a large burlap bag on the doorstep! Cameron helped me drag it into the
family room, and
then I got inside it as far as I could and pulled all the goodies out.
There were candy, poems, and wrapped gifts. We opened our gifts, read our poems (some in Dutch, some
in English), and ate some Dutch candy. It was very gezellig.
My Grandma Joanie gave good hugs. I liked to go to
her apartment with Mommy. Grandma
always had cookies and juice for me, and while she and Mommy talked, I was
allowed to watch special movies that Grandma kept just for me. Grandma was
especially good at birthdays and Christmas. She loved celebrating and
is us on her birthday in May [left]. I read her birthday card to her.
Grandma visited us at
Thanksgiving, but she wasn't feeling well. After Thanksgiving, she got
more sick and had to go to the hospital. Then she got so sick that she
went to the hospice. For a week Mommy sat with her every day, all day and
evening long. I visited her several times, but she wasn't able to talk to
me anymore. My Grandma Joanie died on December 15th. Mommy is very, very sad that Grandma is gone.
She says that Grandma's spirit is all around us, but that's hard for me to
understand. I will
miss my Grandma.
With Christmas coming, I worked hard helping Mommy
prepare holiday goodies to share.
First, I made a gingerbread house. Mommy bought the
gingerbread pieces at Ikea, and Cameron and Papa glued them together with
a special boiled sugar paste. (The glue got so thick on the stove that
only Cameron was strong enough to stir it.) Then I decorated the house
with frosting and lots of candies [right]. My favorites were the spice
drops and red hots, but Mommy watched carefully so I didn't eat too
Later in the month, Cameron, Emily, Mommy, and I
decorated sugar cookies. (To help Mommy, Miss Trudy made them for
us.) I think my cookies were much prettier this year than last year. And
Cameron decorated his like an artist. Mommy put them all together on a
plate, and we shared them with family on Christmas Eve.
||Like we've done each year, we went to Molbaks
to take our Christmas photo. Cameron and I posed for photos in front of
different backgrounds, and one of those became the picture for the family
Christmas card. A special surprise was seeing Santa there. He let me sit
on his lap [left], and he gave me a candy cane. He was very nice, but he
didn't ask what I wanted for Christmas.
Later in the month, I got dressed up in my sparkly
maroon holiday dress, and Mommy and Papa took me to Nordstroms in Bellevue
to see Santa again. This time he asked whether I'd been a good girl. I
said yes, of course, so then he asked what I wanted for Christmas. I told
him one thing: a reindeer costume. This was very important because even
though I told him that last year, somehow he forgot to bring it. This time
he said that he'd do his very best, and he gave me two large candy canes,
one for me and one for my brother. I ate mine up right away.
Mommy, Papa, and I went to Grandpa's house
for Christmas Eve. (Cameron had to work at Target until 7:30, so he came
later.) While the adults talked before dinner, I played with my cousins.
Everyone was there—even from Chicago and France!—except Lindsay and
Kyle. When dinner was ready, I got to eat at a table with all those big
kids! (We had roast beef, potato, which I didn't eat, green beans, salad,
and a roll.)
After dinner, we had
dessert—cookies and candy that Mommy and I made and that Aunt Kristi and
her daughters brought. They let me help serve it on a tray.
all the kids went into the back room and made up some song/skits. I put on
a reindeer nose and danced around like Rudolph while they sang.
it was time to open presents. As the smallest person there, the job to
hand out gifts from under the tree fell to me. Unfortunately, even though
I'm a pretty good reader, I couldn't decipher everyone's hand writing, so
I had to have help. All the unwrapping was very noisy and messy.
and Bonnie gave me some coloring workbooks and a music jewelry box, which
I really liked. They also gave me an Egyptian
ghutrah, which they bought from a young boy in Egypt. I put it on and
felt like one of the Christmas shepherds [right].
Christmas Morning, December
Mommy warned Cameron and me that we couldn’t wake her
and Papa until 7:00 on Christmas day. Cameron woke me up. I ran into Mommy
and Papa’s room and yelled. “Wake up!” as I jumped on their bed.
“It’s Christmas morning! It’s Christmas morning!"
Before we all went
downstairs, Mommy went first and lit a candle for Grandma near the
Christmas tree and her picture, which sat beside the Christmas clock
Bonnie gave us; it chimes Christmas music every hour.
we gathered in the family room, where it was obvious to see that Santa HAD
come. The cookies and milk I had left out were gone, and our stockings
were full. Also, waiting for me beside the tree,
with three bows attached to it, was a purple and pink PlasmaCar. I hopped
right on and got it going. Even better, another package from Santa
contained the reindeer costume I had asked for—with a flashing Rudolph
nose! I was so excited that I put it all on and wore it most of the
croissants, we finished opening all our gifts. Among other things, I
received a Bloco dragon building set, a mask decorating kit, a 12-book set
of The Magic Schoolbus books, and a Play-Doh spaghetti factory.
Mommy liked the bath bubble set I gave to her, and Cameron liked the tools
I gave him, too.
To finish the
morning, we had a simple lunch. Usually Grandma would come over and we
would eat a big, special Christmas meal, but because she couldn't be
there, Mommy wanted to do things differently. I know Mommy missed her a
Then Cameron had to leave
for Mr. Scott's house, and Mommy, Papa, and I began the second half of our
Christmas Day adventure.
Great Wolf Lodge, December
After lunch on Christmas, Mommy, Papa, and I packed up
the car and drove south to Great Wolf Lodge to spend the night. Mommy
thought she would be too sad being at home on Christmas without Grandma. I
liked getting away because Great Wolf Lodge was awesome!
The lodge was all decorated for Christmas, with indoor
three-story trees, ice block thrones, and polar bears. After we took our
bags to the room—I had a special bed that pulled out of the couch!—we
put on our bathing suits and went right down to the swim area. It was huge!
There were wading pools and swim pools, a water playground, giant slides
for single inner tubes and group rafts, and even a giant wave pool.
One of my favorite places was a pool with floating animals to climb on
We ate dinner in the restaurant, where trees lit up and
animals were singing. We shared a very special dessert: chocolate fondue,
with strawberries, bananas, graham crackers, and even marshmallows for
After dinner I put on my jammies and gathered in the
lobby with other kids to see the bedtime show. In the middle of the
lobby was a treehouse, and around it [animatronic] trees, animals, and
children danced and sang. At the end of the show, snow floated down—inside
the lodge! Then Rudy Rudolph arrived to read us a story, and I gave him a
The next morning, after our buffet breakfast, we spent
most of the day swimming and playing in the pools. I had such a good time
that I didn't want to go home.
Mexican Cruise, January
||On January 17th, Papa, Mommy, and I (Cameron was finishing his first semester of senior year)
took a plane to Los Angeles, where we met Oma and Tante Monique so we
could all take a cruise together! We spent a
week on the Royal Caribbean's Mariner
of the Seas, a really BIG ship [left]! Here are some of my favorite parts of
|At the Adventure Ocean kids' camp, I played games
with other kids, performed as a clown in a public circus, ate lunch at
Johnny Rockets, and acted in a talent show. It was so much fun that at
the end of each camp day I begged to stay.|
|One night we watched a fancy ice show with lights and
costumes and music, and then later in the week I ice skated with Mommy
and Papa on the same rink!|
|Each morning in the buffet I was allowed to eat
bacon, my favorite, along with donuts or pancakes or waffles.
Heaven! At night in the fancy Sound of Music dining room, our
waiters (from India and Grenada) brought me chocolate milk, French fries, and applesauce. And I always
had vanilla or chocolate ice cream for dessert!|
|There were two swimming pools and lots of hot tubs to
soak in. Sometimes Papa treated me to a soft-serve ice cream cone by
|We made three fun stops. The first was in Cabo San
Lucas. Papa, Mommy and I took a glass-bottomed boat to El
Land’s End between the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific ocean,
for a look at the rock formations and Lover's Beach, as well as
sunning seal lions and pelicans. Then the boat dropped us off at
Medano beach, where we
found some chairs under an umbrella, ordered a plate of nachos, and
played in the sand. I met some kids from Canada, who shared their
|We also spent a day in Mazatlan. Mommy and Tante
Monique went on a kayaking and hiking adventure together. While they
were gone, Papa, Oma and I took a taxi to downtown Mazatlan. We
explored the Immaculate Conception cathedral there, and then walked
across the street to the park called Plaza
Principal. Then we strolled the boulevard to the beach, where I played
and looked for crabs under rocks. We took an open-air taxi back to the
|Our third stop was Puerto Vallarta. All of us took a
bus tour together. We went into town and walked to the cathedral, and
Mommy bought a beautiful necklace in a jewelry shop. Papa also bought
me some Mexican candy from a street vendor. We walked along the
Malecon, and the water splashed up the seawall and soaked me
completely! Then we took the bus to a tequila factory. The tequila smelled terrible, but we had some chicken tacos that were
pretty good, and I watched the señora make the shells on a special
By the end of the trip, I knew just about every inch of
the ship. It's too bad we couldn't have stayed another week. I was just
getting into the swing of being a cruise girl!
January 29th was a Friday. I turned six, and it was a
I went to school, but because I had
finished my checklist for the week, I had "free day" to choose
my own activities. Then Mommy and Papa arrived in the afternoon, and the
class held a circle-time birthday celebration. I chose a globe to carry,
Miss Debbie lit the sun candle in the middle of the circle, and
then while Mommy read a story about each year of my life, I
walked around the candle "sun" with the earth in my arms. Afterward, I handed out the chocolate chip
cookies Mommy had made while Miss Debbie read a birthday story. Then
everyone whispered a special wish in my ear before it was time to go home.
I got home, Cameron and Brennan arrived. I opened presents. Some of my
favorites were an ant farm (we have to send away for the ants), a
butterfly house (ditto), a Scooby Doo book set, and origami papers. Next
we had chocolate cake (because Cameron had to work at Target and couldn't
stay for dinner). After everyone sang both the birthday songs, I blew out
all six candles in one puff [right].
Mommy made the dinner I'd requested: chicken nuggets, French fries, and
broccoli. It WAS a great day!
Six and Sassy, January
||A week after my birthday, I had a kids' party
at TechCity Bowl. The theme of my party was space. I like space. At school
I learned that it's always moving. I told Mommy that it's like being on a
Ten friends came to my party from the Montessori,
Oranjeschool, and the neighborhood. The bowling alley put bumpers in the
lanes, we put on our special shoes, and we spent the first hour bowling.
It was really fun, and I was good at it, too. In fact, I won the match
with 78 points!
Then we sat down for pizza and lemonade. My cake was
blue and purple and decorated with a big moon, a space shuttle, and two
astronauts. Inside was chocolate with cherry filling. Everyone sang and I
blew out all the candles. Mommy cut the pieces 'cause Papa always gives
the kids way too much cake! Next I opened gifts. My friends were
really nice to me; I received everything from a kid's camera, to a Barbie
doll, to a giant, noisy dinosaur puppet head! To top off the party, Papa
gave us quarters and we all played video games and air hockey. My party
You know what else is awesome? Being six! I can do lots
of things: read lots and lots of books, wash my hands and brush my teeth
without a stepstool, get my own cereal in the morning, and make my own bed
(sort of). At school this year I have a weekly checklist that tells me
what kinds of work I need to do, but I get to choose when and how I do it.
I like playing with my toy animals; I make families out of them. I like
running around the playground with friends, and I like playing games—like
pick-up sticks, Candyland, and Don't Break the Ice—with anyone who will
play with me. I also like drawing, coloring, painting, cutting, and
gluing. My favorite things to draw are dinosaurs and unicorns. I
love drama class and swimming lessons. I like after-school soccer class,
too. When I grow up I want to be an
astronaut, an actor, a veterinarian, and a mommy.
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