The day after Thanksgiving, we all went to
Molbak's, just as we do every year. We had some Scandinavian Kringle,
spiced cider, and slices of "ice apple" (late harvested
Fujis from Wenatchee). We wandered through all the decorated Christmas
trees and ornaments; my favorite was the upside down "undersea"
tree with hanging jellies and fish. We looked at the winter villages,
which included a Victorian Christmas, 1940s Christmas (featuring
characters and props from A Christmas Story), and Santa's Workshop.
I especially like the parts that light up and move.
was there, I sat on his lap, and even Cameron had a chat with him. He took
some photos with us and discussed how he takes care of his reindeer.
wandered through the poinsettias and took photos. We took a lot of
pictures in front of the tall poinsettia tree, but our official Christmas
photo [right] was taken in a quiet corner with big lighted
gone to Molbak's and taken pictures, I absolutely know that Christmas is
on the way.
||Our visit to see Santa was a whole night of
fun. First, we went to Nordstrom's, where Santa hangs out on the third
floor. After I'd taken my official photo, I gave him my list [left] and
explained what I wanted. I asked for a Clarice stuffed reindeer, an
Imaginex apatasaurus, an Imaginex wind scorpion, and some Hexbot bugs. He
said he'd see what he could do and gave me a hug and a candy cane (I ate
it right away).
Then Mommy, Papa, and I had dinner at the Nordstrom's
Marketplace Cafe. I like their pizza (just cheese; no pepperoni).
Then we spent some time walking around the mall, and I
played in the kids' area.
Finally, at 7:00, we went outside to see the Snowflake
Lane celebration. While Christmas music played and colored lights moved
over the buildings, lots of high school "soldiers" drummed
around us, and I got to meet and dance with snow princesses, snow fairies,
and even Frosty and Rudolph! At the end, "snow" fell (it was
really bubbles) from the sky. It wasn't very cold or crowded, and we had a
Once again, my anticipation of
Sinterklaas was just as good as the night itself. It certainly lasted
longer: for the week between Thanksgiving and Sinterklaas, I put my wooden
in front of our fireplace, and each night the Zwarte Pieten put candy and
small toys in them while I slept. I'm rich with foiled-covered chocolate
December 3rd was a
Saturday, and the Oranjeschool had a big party. I dressed in my costume,
and we sang songs and played games. Then Sinterklaas arrived with the
Zware Pieten [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.
Sunday afternoon the Holland-America
Club hosted a party in Lake Forest Park. There were more games
and Dutch foods to eat. Sinterklaas arrived on a power boat. 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 something to say, and then
the Pieten handed out one more gift for each of us. I went home with a bag
full of pepernoten to share with my class.
Monday night, the 5th, we had our traditional
waffles, fruit, and whipped cream. Grandpa and Bonnie came over to to
celebrate with us, so Papa also made a healthy omelet. (Breakfast for
dinner!) 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 pulled out gifts and poems for everyone. Sint
gave me a two DVDs: How to Train Your Dragon (I'd been wanting that
one SO badly!) and Tom and Jerry's Best Chases, as well as a little
canvas bag from Zeeland with an electronic pet inside. I also got two nice poems, one in English and one in Dutch.
Mommy and Papa each received a present, too, and even Grandpa and Bonnie
got a bottle of wine. Sinterklaas is amazing!
||A very special part of our December this year
was a cruise in the Caribbean. We left on Sunday, December 11th, for Ft.
Lauderdale. It was a long day of flying. We stayed
overnight in Ft. Lauderdale, then boarded the ship Monday morning
The first two days we were on our
ship, the Carnival Miracle. I spent most of my time either swimming in one
of the two big pools or at Camp Carnival. I loved going there and playing
games with other kids. During the cruise, the campers also got to be part
of two musical shows on the big theater stage! One was called "Singin'
with the Big Band," and we got up on stage with the Miracle dancers
and the whole show band when Christopher Alan Graves sang The Candy Man.
The other was a holiday celebration with more singers, dancers, and the
band, and we got to stand up with reindeer antlers on our heads and sing
Christmas songs for the whole audience. Afterward, Santa arrived and
handed out presents!
Our first stop was Grand Turk (part of the Turks
and Caicos islands). We had excursions planned; Papa was going to
snorkel, and Mommy and I were going to visit a small cay and swim with
rays. But the water was too murky because of winds, so the excursions were
cancelled. At first, I was very disappointed. But just off the ship was a
beach, shopping complex and fancy pool. We all put on lots of sunscreen,
Mommy and Papa read and drank umbrella drinks, and I found friends to play
with all afternoon. We had a very fun time.
Next we stopped at La Romana, Dominican Republic. There
we took a bus excursion for the day. We went to the town of Higüey, where
we got out to visit the Basilica de Nuestra Señora de la Altagracia. I
don't think churches are very interesting, but Mommy bought a candle to
light in honor of Grandma Joanie. Then we stopped at the house of Juan
Ponce de Leon; he left from there to conquer Puerto Rico and Florida in
1508. Finally, we stopped at a small fishing village called Bayahibe,
where we walked on the beach along the fishing boats pulled up onto the
sand. I liked seeing all the kids walking home from school; they wear
uniforms to school just like I do.
Our third stop was on Aruba.
Rather than lay around on the beach, Mommy and Papa wanted to see what
Aruba was all about, so we took another bus tour. We stopped first at the
California lighthouse (which is not in California) along the north coast.
I thought it was unusual to see so many cacti right next to the ocean.
Then we drove to the Casibari Rock formation. There we climbed boulders
the size of houses and could see much of the rest of the very flat island.
Then we returned to the coast to see the Natural Bridge, a rock bridge
created after waves wore away a hole through rock. The bus dropped us off
in Oranjestad, the capital, and we did a little shopping.
Our final stop was on Curaçao.
We spent our day walking the capital of Willemstad, where Papa found lots
of people speaking Dutch (also English, Spanish, and Papiamentu). We were
rained on twice, but only for 10 minutes each time, and we didn't even
need a jacket because it was so warm. We visited the Curaçao Market
(Mommy bought me some handmade candies). We crossed the St Anna Bay, which
bisects Willemstad [right], two ways: on a passenger ferry and over the
Queen Emma Pontoon Bridge. It swings open when boats need to sail through.
One time we almost got stuck on it and had to run to the other
side! We also spent some time at the Kura Hulanda Museum, which has
exhibits about the African slave trade to the Caribbean.
We spent two more days on the ship heading north. On
December 20th, we disembarked from the ship and headed home for Christmas.
I was excited the Christmas was near, but I quickly missed sunshine,
80-degree weather, and vacation on the ship.
There wasn't nearly as much time this year
as usual for Christmas preparations because of our trip, but Mom did her
best to make most of it happen anyway.
Mommy, Cameron, and I decorated our Christmas
tree before we left. I'm getting much better at putting on ornaments,
although Cameron still tells me not to put them all in one place on the
tree. While we were gone, our neighbor Kristina did two important jobs for
us: one was to take care of Tabitha the cat; the other was to water our
tree every day so that it would still be fresh when we got home.
we got back on the 20th, I helped Mommy with wrapping . I discovered that
it's fun to wrap, so I took it upon myself to wrap some extra gifts for
Papa. (Boy was he surprised by the cat toy and the tree branch on
I also helped
with baking. Mommy made chocolate fudge, white chocolate candy with dried
apricots and cranberries, her famous snowball cookies, and sugar cookies.
I helped by decorating 13 sugar cookies [left]. Papa decorated two, and
Mommy decorated 20.
one night we went driving to look at Christmas lights. We visited two
special houses, one in Kirkland where the yard full of lights flashed in
time to Christmas music on the radio, and one in Bothell where we could
actually drive through the decorations. We drove through four times!
Christmas Eve, December
We spent Christmas Eve at Grandpa and
Bonnie's house. All the Lundbergs were there and some of the Buckinghams,
but the Feutzs were in Chicago. I ate up at the counter with Cameron,
Laura and Sarah.
After dinner, the big kids gave a musical presentation:
they sang "Baby, It's Cold Outside," with the guys singing the
high parts and the girls singing the low parts. I wanted to do something,
too. I found Grandpa's red jacket in the closet so I made a Santa costume
by cutting paper strips for the hem, sleeves, and hat. Jeff put it on and
stuffed his stomach with a pillow. Then he pretended to be Santa while I
sang one of my favorite Christmas carols, "Santa Claus Is Coming to
Town." Everyone applauded!
Next came presents, and I helped Sarah hand them out.
When we all had them, we were allowed to open them. Grandpa and Bonnie
gave me a third-grade workbook and a canister painted like Maggie, their
Shetland sheepdog. Inside were three long bead necklaces.
We ended the evening by taking a family photo. Even with
some people missing, it was difficult to fit in the whole group of 17. An
advantage to being the smallest person, though, is that I could just sit
on someone's lap right in front—surrounded by all my family.
Even though I was eager and impatient for
Christmas, somehow everyone slept in Christmas morning! We didn't wake up
until after 8:00! By the time we got downstairs, it was time to call
Holland and talk to Oma, whose 80th birthday was on the 26th. So we didn't
dig into stockings and gifts until pretty late. But that just made it all
I was excited to find
that Santa had eaten the cookies and drunk most of the milk I left the
night before. He even wrote a note thanking me!
stockings were very full. Some of the things that fell out of mine were giant
spinner balloons, Pokemon "dogtags" and a key chain, magnetic
rocks, lip gloss, and chocolates, of course.
we opened Santa gifts. He paid attention to my list because he brought me a
Clarisse stuffed reindeer and two Hexbot toys [left]: a large,
remote-control spider, and two little bugs (they sort of look like
electronic cockroaches) that have their own habitat to run around in.
Mommy and Papa were also
very nice to me. They gave me a dragon kite (but I can't use it until the
weather is right), a Kinect game called Pets, the game Snafu, a purple
Chirple robot, and a dinosaur skeleton to put together. But my favorite
gift may have been from Cameron: he gave me a game called Apples to
Apples, and after our Christmas brunch, we all played it together for over
an hour. It's really fun!
had to leave at noon to have Christmas with his dad. So Mommy and Papa and
I had a quiet afternoon playing with all our new toys. I got so many nice
things that I barely even made a dent in them before bedtime!
New Year's Eve, December
We had a special New Year's Eve this year. In
the past, we had a party with Joseph and his family, but they moved to a
different state this year. So we were on our own.
Instead, we stayed the night at the Sheraton in downtown
Seattle. Do you know they have an annual gingerbread house competition?
Mommy and I had fun looking at them [right]. They also have an
indoor swimming pool—on the 35th floor! The very first thing we did
when we got there was head to the pool.
For dinner, we went to The Spaghetti Factory. We sat
next to a train car that was inside, and I had spaghetti with
meatballs and spumoni.
Then we went to the Seattle Center, and Mommy and I
spent an hour ice skating on the WinterFest ice rink. Kids could use
"ice walkers" (just like Grandma's) on the ice, and with that
help I was practically racing around the circle! The Seattle Center was
also decorated with lots of fairy lights, a band was playing in the Center
House, and a clown made me a balloon doggie. By the time we got back to
the hotel, it was already 10:00!
I couldn't stay awake till midnight. Mommy and Papa
watched the Space Needle fireworks on TV while I was asleep.
The next morning I swam for an hour, and then we walked
to Westlake Center to have breakfast at Starbuck's. I love Starbuck's!
What a great way to start the new year!
||All December I complained that we hadn't had
any snow. Then, in January, we got more than I could have imagined!
Snow began falling in Kirkland on Saturday, the
14th. On Sunday, I spent the entire day outside with other neighborhood
kids, sledding, making snow people and snow forts, and getting really cold
and wet [left]. (Nothing that some hot chocolate and marshmallows couldn't
fix.) We were lucky that Monday, the 16th, was the holiday of Martin
Luther King, Jr., so we didn't have to worry about going to school. My school opened late
Tuesday, but it continued to snow, so it was closed on Wednesday, and then
on Thursday we had an ice storm, so I had no school the rest of the
lost power Wednesday evening at 5:00; it was really cold and dark, and
Mommy put out more candles than I've ever seen lit in our house at one
time. We had to go to bed in the cold, but luckily for us workers fixed the problem
during the night so that we didn't wake in
a 30-degree house.
Other people weren't so fortunate; by late Thursday over 230.000 people were without power in below-30-degree
temperatures. Even I eventually got tired of the cold and wet, especially
because we didn't have a car that could get out of our neighborhood, so we
were stuck at home the whole time!
I think I'm actually glad to be going back to school!
Eight years old, January
Sunday, January 29th, was my birthday, but I spent the
whole weekend celebrating GREAT at EIGHT!
On Saturday, I brought chocolate cupcakes that I helped
make (with sprinkles!) to Dutch class. They sang the birthday song.
On Sunday morning, Grandpa and Cameron came over to eat
chocolate chip pancakes—just
what I asked for. Then I opened presents. Grandpa and Bonnie gave me a
real birdfeeder to put outside. Cameron gave me a green punching dinosaur.
Papa and Mommy gave me some dragon books, some art books, tracing paper,
nail polish, a science kit, and the Rio DVD.
The theme of my party was dragons, and I had 17 guests.
We met at the Mountlake Terrace recreation complex, and everyone had a
blast swimming for an hour. Then we gathered in the Jungle Room to eat
pizza, veggies and dip, and chocolate Dragon Tales cake. There were so
many candles I could barely blow them all out! At the end of the party,
everyone lined up to take two swings at a beautiful dragon piñata—but
even with 36 hits, the piñata refused to break! Finally, Papa
poked a hole in the top and dumped out the candy, and all of us threw
ourselves on the floor and scrambled for candy. That was so fun!
When we got home, I opened my gifts from all my friends.
Mom said the variety represented all my sides: a Barbie doll and a girls'
sleepover party case; art paper, pencils, and pens; board games; books;
and even two Imaginext dinosaurs and a roaring, walking dragon. I liked
all my gifts (but I wasn't too excited about the thought of writing all
those thank you notes over the next week).
on Monday, I took more homemade sprinkle cupcakes to school. Everyone sang
Happy Birthday, and my new teacher, Mrs. Sullivan, gave me a cinnamon
Smencil. It was great turning eight!
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