Once again, my anticipation of
Sinterklaas was almost as good as the night itself. It certainly lasted
longer: for the week between Thanksgiving and Sinterklaas, I put my shoes
in front of our fireplace, and each night the Zwarte Pieten put candy and
small toys—even a Bakugon ball!—in them while I slept.
December 4th was a
Saturday, and the Oranjeschool had a big party. I dressed in my costume,
and we sang songs and played games. When Sinterklaas finally arrived, I
was one of the first to spot him [right]. I was so excited! He talked to
us, and each class made a presentation to him. Then the Zwarte Pieten
handed out small gifts. From there, Papa drove me to Lake Forest Park for
another party (hosted by the Holland-America Club). There were more games
and Dutch foods to eat. Sinterklaas arrived on a power boat; he must have
sailed all the way from our school on Mercer Island! As always, there were
too many kids and too much noise, but I found a place to sit and
participate in the songs and games. Sinterklaas had more to say, and then
the Pieten handed out one more gift for each of us. I went home with a bag
full of pepernoten and candy.
Later that day, Ella came for a
sleepover. We put out Cameron’s klompjes and a note explaining to
the Pieten that she was staying with me. Sunday morning, her shoes
contained candy, lip gloss, and a hair band—just like my shoes!
Sunday night we had our traditional
waffles, fruit, and whipped cream. As we were finishing our meal, someone
knocked at the door. I rushed to open it. I wasn’t quick enough to catch
Sinterklaas, but his burlap sack was on the front porch. I dragged it
inside and began pulling out gifts, chocolate, and poems one by one. Sint
gave me a game called Quirkle and a clock that projects the time onto the
ceiling, as well as two nice poems, one in English and one in Dutch.
Isn’t it amazing what Sinterklaas can do!
On December 7th, Papa came to school to talk to my class about
Holland and Sinterklaas. I put on my costume again and modeled
Cameron's klompjes. Papa taught the class a Sinterklaas song (but
with English words), and we gave everyone coloring sheets of Sinterklaas,
a Zwarte Piet, and his ship. At the end, I handed out bags full of pepernoten
and a spice cookie tied with a blue, red, and white ribbon. I was so proud
of Joy, first-grade concert, December
For most of the fall, my
school's first-graders practiced songs in music class for an upcoming
winter concert. Finally, on December 2nd, all three first-grade classes
dressed up and gathered at a local junior high to give our Season of Joy
Each class sang its own
song; mine sang "I Wish" [left]. All 45 of us also sang together
"Light the Candles All Around the World," "Friends Are Like
Diamonds," "A Perfect Winter Day," and "Season of
I concentrated very hard
on my singing, and I liked being on stage a lot. Afterward, all the
parents applauded, and then we took lots of photos in our special
On December 10th my school's first graders took an
official field trip to the McCaw Hall (the Opera House) in Seattle to see
The Nutcracker ballet.
Mommy and I arrived early, and we got pizza for lunch in
the Seattle Center House and looked at the giant Christmas train and town
display. We even waited in line so I could drive the train!
Before we sat down, Mommy took pictures of me in the
lobby with Nutcracker characters. I was all dressed up in my holiday best
I'd never seen a ballet before. My favorite parts were
the dancing and battling rats, the dancing peacock, and the dancing
Visiting Santa, December
Mommy, Papa, Cameron and I went to Bellevue
Square for a holiday night that included visiting Santa in Nordstrom's. We
had to stand in line for a long time, but I was very patient. When my turn
finally arrived, I handed Santa my list. He asked me to read it to him [left] and
told me that he'd do his best. This was my list:
Unicorn pillow pet
Pichu Pokemon card
Kung fu ZhuZhu pet.
Then I sat on Santa's knee for a photo. He
also talked to Cameron to make sure that he'd been good, too, and he gave me a
After our visit, we had dinner at the Nordstrom Cafe.
Then we bundled up and went outside to watch the Snowflake Lane celebration.
There were many, many people; it was really too crowded. But Mommy found
us a good spot, and I got to see all the character—the drummers, the Snowflake Fairy,
Rudolph and his penguin friend—up close as they passed by. They even
gave me two peppermint lollipops!
Christmas preparations, December
How can so much fit into just one month?!
December 1st we went to Evergreen Hospital for a special ceremony to
remember Grandma. Mommy wrote a message to Grandma that she hung on their
giant Christmas tree; I signed it "Love, Sofia" too. All month
long her picture stood in a special place in the house, near one of her
Mom always decorates the
whole house, even putting Christmas lights around my bedroom window. This
year I was old enough to help.
Early in the month
we go to Molbak’s to take our Christmas photo.
This year one of my favorites was the Christmas village display with
houses, trees and little people. We also went to the
Redmond tree lighting ceremony and walked the Sammamish trail beside the
river between downtown Redmond and Redmond Town Center. The whole path was
lined with luminarias, and we passed light displays, entertainers, hot
chocolate stands, and even hot air balloon rides that lit up in the night.
Mom took me to see ‘Twas the Night at Studio
East; I love that show! She also accompanied my class to the Seattle
Children's Theater to see Lyle, Lyle Crocodile. And we went to listen to Jazz Etc sing at
Crossroads Mall while we ate dinner in the food court. Speaking of food,
Mom also took me grocery shopping for HopeLink. Along with Mom's
purchases, I bought $15 of baby food with my own allowance, and another
day we drove the food bags to the distribution center.
One of the best parts of the month this year was that
the last week of school I was Star Student in my class, and the last day
of that week all the classes had holiday parties. Everybody wore pajamas
to school (even the teachers!), and we had a book exchange and cookie
decorating as part of our celebration.
We trimmed our own tree with Cameron, Christmas music,
and hot chocolate. I decorated cookies [right], helped Mom make fudge for
Christmas Eve, went shopping for Papa and Cameron, and even wrapped their
gifts myself. After Christmas and before New Year’s Eve, we went to see
the fabulous Woodinville
Wonderland lights; we know the family that puts them up each year.
Christmas Eve, December
|On the day of Christmas Eve, I helped Mommy
make fudge for the evening. Cameron made cranberry salad, and he let me
count out the marshmallows. Then I dressed in my fancy holiday clothes,
and we went to Grandpa’s house.
All the aunts, uncles, and family were there except one
cousin. Erika and Jennifer were especially nice to me. We watched a
Christmas movie while the grownups talked until dinner time. The meal
included roast beef, salad, soft rolls, baked potatoes, and vegetables.
Mommy brought snowball cookies (Grandma’s recipe), decorated sugar
cookies (my designs), and our fudge for dessert; there were many other
After dinner the kids put on a music show, with singing
and instruments. While Jeff played Rudolph on the keyboard, I danced with
a paper antler crown and a red-lipsticked nose. Then I played Elf and
helped Jennifer hand out presents to everyone. My gifts included a nail
painting set and word and math puzzle books.
We didn’t get back home until very late; I didn’t
feel tired, but I closed my eyes quickly because Mommy reminded me that
Santa wouldn’t come by until I was asleep….
Cameron says I’m crazy because I
didn’t get up at 6:00 on Christmas morning. But Mommy and Papa told me
not to wake them until 8:00—and besides, I was tired from Christmas Eve.
But I did open their door at 8:01!
We had a quiet morning because Cameron
was at his dad’s until the afternoon. But I did empty my stocking, which
was full of lots of toys and candy, and also opened my Santa gifts. He
gave me the purple unicorn pillow pet [right] I’d put on my list (and
had been begging for since October) and also two Zhu Zhu pets and
accessories. They are really cute, and I played with them and my stocking
gifts until lunch time.
Cameron arrived at 1:00, and then the paper started
flying! Mommy and Papa gave me a Pokemon book and 10
miniature Pokemon characters, the Kinectimals
Kinect game, a set of PlayFoam, a
dinosaur excavation game, and a spin art kit. Cameron gave me 70
Pokemon cards! Papa was happy with his new coffee maker, and Mommy
seemed excited about a big box with a scanner. She liked my gift to her,
too, a purple scarf I picked out myself. We spent the afternoon playing
with our new games, and later in the afternoon Cameron’s friends Emily
and Taylor visited. For dinner we had steak, garlic mashed potatoes, green
salad, and cranberry salad. Mommy had a special dessert: chocolate lava
cakes! After dinner we played my new Quirkle game; it’s my favorite
because we can all play together, and sometimes even I win!
Winter break, December
|Besides all the Christmas preparations and
celebrations over the winter holidays, I had many more activities to keep
me very busy.
Four of the days, I went to camp at Evergreen. Each day
we traveled on the school’s bus for a field trip. We went bowling at
Majestic Lanes in Lynnwood, watched Yogi Bear 3-D at the movie theater and
ate lunch at Red Robin, jumped on trampolines at Sky High in Bellevue, and
painted pottery at Color Me Mine in Mill Creek. Each day there was a
different group of kids, and I had a great time. Of course, I also had
playdates with my neighborhood friends, Max, Ella, and Brandon (Joseph was
gone to Florida).
Maybe best of all was the day Papa took me to Snoqualmie
Pass for a ski lesson. After we got there, it took nearly an hour to get
my skis and boots rented (the weather was good, so the resort was really
busy), and then I had a two-hour lesson. The ski school didn’t seem
quite prepared for so many kids, so even though I did get on my skis
[left] there wasn’t enough time or organization to learn much. But I
liked it. And afterward Papa allowed me to just play in the snow. That’s
something I could do every
Seventh birthday, January
Wow, my birthday celebration lasted for days, and it was
I brought red velvet cupcakes that I helped bake and
decorate to my elementary school. We ate them at the end of the day, after
my teacher gave me a birthday crown and a special goodie bag to take
home. I also decorated chocolate mint cupcakes for Oranjeschool.
They sang a birthday song for me there, too.
After Dutch school, Mom drove me to Edmonds, where
Grandma Bonnie took me to the local toy store for a shopping spree. It was
so fun! She bought me a beautiful Ragdoll cat puppet as big as a
real cat. I also got a math workbook and a set of stacking Matryoshka
dolls. Then she took me next door to the Edmonds bakery for a special
That night I went to Red Robin for my birthday dinner
with Mommy, Papa, and Cameron. After my cheese pizza, the waiters gathered
around clapping and singing. Then they served me my own hot fudge sundae.
After that we went home and had chocolate cake (I was so full I could
barely eat it) and opened gifts. Mommy and Papa gave me a Lab in a Bag
test tube adventure kit, a strange plant collection kit, the AntWorks
see-through ant exhibit, and 101
Freaky Animals and Tangled
books. Best of all, they gave me a 71-card Pokemon box and a notebook with
pages to organize all my Pokemon cards. Cameron gave me Pokemon cards,
too! I love Pokemon monsters!
The next afternoon I had my Pokemon-themed children's
party at Chuck E. Cheese. Nine of my friends came, some from my
neighborhood, some from elementary school, and one from Oranjeschool.
The first hour, we played lots of games, and I earned a cup full of
tickets. Then we had pizza, and then the birthday show started. They gave
me a special birthday crown, and I got to stand on a chair at the head of
the table and dance with Chuck E. himself! Then we had cake—Mom had mine decorated with Pokemon
characters [right]. To finish the celebration, I was given a chance
to stand in the Ticket Blaster with goggles on while tickets swirled all
around me and to grab as many as possible in 1 minute. It was so
fun! In fact, even though Mom and Papa made faces about all the
noise, I had the best birthday party ever! I want to
go back next year!
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