One day Sabrina heard Bing Crosby singing Mele Kalikimaka (Hawaiian for "Merry Christmas" in case anyone doesn't know) and then asked something like "Mommy, mili miki miki maka maka lala laka laka maka laka maka means?" She later shortened it to just "Wiki wiki maka!"
Another time we were singing With Wondering Awe for FHE, the chorus of which goes "Hosanna, hosanna, hosanna to his name." Later we heard Sabrina singing "Hosanna, hosanna, hosanna Claus is coming to town."
One day Celia kept singing the Dreidel song, but she couldn't ever remember the word "Dreidel," so all day she was singing things like "Hedo, hedo, hedo, I made it out of clay," or "Nato, nato, nato," "Fredo, fredo, fredo," etc.
Our Christmas season began with Celia's Preschool Christmas Pageant. Celia was the dove. She even had a memorized speaking part, of which there were only a few. She performed marvelously.
After the Nativity play, they all sang some songs. All the preschoolers were very enthusiastic about their songs.
Celia has some amazing red-eye in this picture.
They had Santa there, but Celia didn't want to see him. Sabrina wanted a candy cane, but was very tentative in approaching Santa. She walked slowly, timidly backwards into his lap, sat stone-faced on his knee, and got down as soon as he gave her a candy cane. She later told us "I had no hugs for Santa. I was too shy for him."
Then they got to play in the snow a few times.
The next day was Celia's dance show. She was excited for it, but after showing up at 7 to do a run-through or two, the show didn't start until about 8:30, well past the girls' bedtime.
Celia was mostly enjoying herself in the rehearsals but when they finally took the stage at 8:40 or so, Celia was tired and had to go potty, and the music was far too loud. She ran on the stage covering her ears and was half a bar behind the whole time.
In the end she says she had fun, so that's what's important. She'll probably wait another couple years before taking another dance class.
The next night after Nana and Papa arrived we got all dressed up to watch the Christmas dance show at the Ballet. It also kept the girls up but at least they were just watching and not performing. They were pretty engaged watching the dances most of the time.
On Christmas Eve we went ice skating out on the lagoon, as has become our tradition.
Celia's still pretty shaky but she still has fun.
And Sabrina loves zooming around in the sled, especially when the sled would turn sideways on the ice.
And here I feel like she's working on a Ralphie face.
After ice skating we came back and the girls made cookies for Santa.
Later we watched The Muppets Christmas Carol and then the girls got to try on their new princess and Hello Kitty pajamas, which got them pretty excited to go to bed. It frankly didn't matter what time they went to bed though, since they were sharing a room while Nana and Papa were here, and stayed up goofing off together for several hours each night.
At which point I got to work making our Christmas krumkake, which is sort of a retroactive tradition I thought I would try out again. It's the stuff of legend in the Stock house. We only made it a couple times growing up, but it was talked about so much Marel thought we made it all the time. One of the couple times we made it was when I was in about 4th grade and was to give a class presentation on Norway (being as I'm 1/4 Norwegian). My parents spent hours over the hot stove making it and carefully packaging it for the trip to school, since it's very thin and brittle. Then of course I dropped the box at the bus stop before I even made it to school. Luckily the majority of them made it in one piece, but we rarely made it again. I don't mind making it so much, for the sake of hearkening back to my roots, though it did take the entire length of Home Alone and then some to make it all. We realized a half batch will be more than enough in the future.
Then came the time we were all waiting for, when we struck up the Yule Log on Netflix and gathered around to open our presents. We really had to keep an eye on Sabrina. Every few minutes she would pick up a gift at random and say "This one will be mine" and start unwrapping it. Then every time she opened a gift and it was new clothes, she said "Oh, I want to wear this one!" and she would try to take her jammies off to put her new clothes on.
We realized that giving gifts to Celia is quite satisfying, because she gave each of her new toys due diligence. She would pick up her new "computer," which is a Fisher Price brand educational Gameboy-type thing, and play with it for an hour or so, then move on to the castle blocks for an hour, then on to the next toy, and so on all day long, getting equal enjoyment out of each of them. The pattern continues to this day, so I think we did pretty well for her this Christmas.
Then it was time to prepare our Christmas feast. It was our first time being able to utilize our dining set at full extension since we finished the chairs. We have been meaning to post pictures of the chairs since I spent all summer refinishing them, so here you are, though you can only see the chairs so well in these pictures since they're pushed in to the table.
This is the quintessential 50's American dining set, so we're happy to finally have it restored and in good working order, after having the chairs in pieces in the garage for several years.
We bought them in our antique selling days after college and before Alaska, and after we bought them we realized that Sid the Science Kid has the same chairs in his kitchen, so they must be cool.
Here we all are enjoying the feast. The documentarian in Travis is always taking pictures of other people taking pictures.
I've realized that we've also never posted pictures of the kitchen in its completed state, with the new appliances, floors, and lights. You can sort of see it under the detritus from the meal.
Sabrina and Celia (not pictured) loved all the candy they got from Santa.
A couple days after Christmas we checked out the Zoo Lights.
More than anything the girls loved going through all the light tunnels.
Then on New Year's Eve the Dahles joined us for our traditional crepes as we watched the ball drop live in New York, which means we celebrated New Year's at 8:00pm. Then the kids go to bed and we don't feel like we have to stay up until midnight if we don't want to. It's one of our most ingenious traditions which I'm sure we'll continue long after the kids think it's lame and want to stay up until 3 am at their friends' houses. I suppose by then there won't be much point celebrating early since we'll have to stay up to wait for them to come home anyway. But that's 10 or 12 years down the road, so until then we'll live it up at 8pm.
Unfortunately the season ended with the sudden passing of my grandmother on Dec 30. So once the Christmas decorations were put away we were all left scrambling to find flights just as the rest of the nation was flying home from their winter vacations. I left Marel and the girls at home for the weekend and joined the rest of my family in Seattle. Once we all got there it was a good experience. Bittersweet of course, since it was a funeral after all, but still worth every minute to meet up with all the siblings and cousins, aunts and uncles, and other friends and family of relation unknown to me--many of whom I haven't seen in many years--and to see just how many people showed up to remember Dorothy's long and fruitful life. So in the end there were more smiles than tears as we came together to be inspired by Grandma's example.
I was sad to leave them all, not knowing when I would be able to see everyone again, but of course happy to return back to the wife and kids. I ended up taking the "milk run" flight back home, that stops all over Southeast Alaska, but that's a topic for another day...