(Here’s part two. Check out part one, posted on Monday.)
“So are they behaving themselves?” Alena asked as he came back downstairs.
“Yes,” Eire said. “Fiera’s even trying to read Phelix the story of the first Winterklaas celebration, though she did add one little thing to it.” He explained about her addition.
Alena giggled. “I can remember Lanre doing something similar to me when he told me the story. Only he was much older than she is.”
“Your brother has always been a little odd,” Eire said, snickering. Alena giggled again, nodding.
When dinner was ready, Eire ran upstairs and grabbed his children. They all came downstairs and ate. Alena cleaned the kitchen while Eire and Keoni pulled all the totes out of storage. The twins sat on the couch watching a holiday e-vid while they waited.
The first thing to go up was the wire framework in the shape of a spiral. “Okay,” Alena said, turning off the e-vid. “Time to decorate.”
The spiral was soon covered in lights, garlands of shimmering fabric and glass encased liquid metal, sparkling baubles, and whatever other odds and ends they could find to fill it. When it was done, Eire got a ladder and started pinning lights to the upper edge of the wall. Keoni held them while he tacked everything up. Eire felt the familiar rush of happiness. He’d never liked Winterklaas growing up, mostly because of the demands of his parents. But now, seeing the smiles and hearing the laughter of his children, Winterklaas was his favorite holiday.
While Eire and Keoni worked on the lights, Alena took the twins and set out the cookie dough she’d made earlier in the day. She rolled it out thin and handed the twins a huge container of cookie cutters. The twins enjoyed themselves as they cut random shapes out of the stiff dough. The cookies were put on baking sheets and popped into the oven. When they came out, they were put on cooling racks.
Eire put on another e-vid and the family gathered around to watch one of their best loved holiday shows. It ended and Alena checked the cookies. She pulled out containers of colored frosting and set them on the counter. She went back to her family and watched another short e-vid. “Are the cookies ready?” Eire asked.
“The cookies and frosting are all ready for decorating,” Alena said. All three of the children sat down at the table. The little sugary treats, the frostings, and several offset spatulas were set up. Each one of them took a cookie and a spatula and set to work decorating.
When they were done, Alena took the twins upstairs for a quick shower and then to put them to bed while Eire cleaned up and Keoni “helped.” Alena came back down. She chased Keoni into his bed. She rejoined Eire as he settled in to watch a more adult oriented e-vid.
“Any trouble getting them down?” Eire asked.
“No,” Alena said. “I just threatened to not let them have their presents if they didn’t go to sleep immediately.”
Eire laughed. “That’ll do it.” The couple watched the e-vid. When it ended, they went to bed.
The next morning Eire and Alena were woken up by shrieks of delight. They smiled and pulled on their clothes before joining their children. “Go get dressed,” Eire said as he laughed at his children. “As soon as Gma and Gpa get here, you can open your presents.”
The children scrambled back up the stairs and into their rooms. Fifteen minutes later, all three of them came down in their nicest outfits. They reached the bottom step just as someone knocked on the door. It swung open before Alena could get to it. A stocky man with dark brown hair walked in, followed by a woman with dark auburn hair. Both were dressed in brightly colored clothes covered by heavy coats and the man was carrying a large bag.
“Glorious Winterklaas,” Pietari Rezouac, Alena’s aging father, said, pulling off his coat and hanging it up.
“Good morning Eire. Good morning Alena,” Marlen Rezouac, Alena’s plump and cheerful mother, said as she handed her coat to her husband. She hugged her daughter and son-in-law before moving to embrace her grandchildren.
“Gma!” Keoni hugged her tight, followed by Phelix and then Fiera. Pietari was only a few seconds behind his wife.
“So, are you three ready for your presents?” Pietari said, pulling a stack of boxes out of the bag and piling them in with the ones Alena and Eire had placed in one corner of their living room.
“Presents! Presents! Presents!” the children chanted.
“Sit down and we’ll start passing them out,” Eire said.