Spencer’s Surprise Gifts

After eating, Mrs. P offered to load the dishwasher but Kate protested. “You go on, and play games with Sarah. I don’t mind helping after such a great meal.”

“If you insist…” Kate didn’t think it was right. Spencer pulled Kate away saying, “I have something for you to do anyway.” He knew why Mrs. P had volunteered to clean up. “Put your coat on and we’ll take Buttons for a short walk.”

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Christmas Dinner

Mrs. P and Spencer arrived, with their arms laden with packages, and assorted items for their dinner. They made quick preparations for the ham, potatoes and assorted side dishes they could quickly assemble after they opened gifts.

Spencer liked the CD and cologne he opened and Mrs. P raved about the new sweater Kate gave her. Sarah got more books, puzzles and a simple matching game she wanted to play right away. Buttons enjoyed himself, running through scraps of paper and jumping into piles of boxes. Kate had given him a new bone, and she told him to go lay down with it. He was happy to oblige.

Soon after cleaning up the mess, it was time to make another one in the kitchen. Kate stirred gravy while Spencer and Sarah set the table. Mrs. P sliced fresh bread she baked the day before and then helped with the salad and vegetable tray.

Soon they were seated around the table and eating a wonderful meal. Spencer prayed over the food and they passed heaping dishes around. Sarah didn’t seem too hungry, but Kate thought it was because she had so many new things to play with. Kate asked her, “Can you eat a few bites of ham and mashed potatoes before you go play?”

“If I have to.” Sarah looked down at her plate.

“You do. Eat up and then we’ll play your new game.” When Sarah heard that, she perked up some and started eating.

“Your mom and Mrs. P made great food, Sarah. Let’s show them we appreciate it.” He held a forkful of potatoes and shoved them in his mouth with exaggerated enthusiasm. Sarah laughed and said, “You funny!”

Spencer exchanged a quick look with Kate and gave her a wink. Kate smiled.

****

Until next time,

Michelle

Christmas Morning

Kate and Sarah's tree

Kate and Sarah’s tree

Sarah woke up and said, “It’s Christmas, Mommy! I want to open presents.” She threw off her blankets and jumped on the bed, trying to wake Kate. Buttons joined in, not knowing what the excitement was about, but he didn’t want to be left out. He jumped round on the bed, barking.

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Kate Recuperates

Mrs. P seemed to be in her element. She caught up on the Kate’s laundry, made a delicious soup, and played with Sarah. Kate did what she could, one handed, but was glad Mrs. P was around. Sarah kept touching the rough plaster of Kate’s cast, frowning. “You hurt?” she would ask.

“I’m okay. Just tired.”

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Mrs. P Gets Worried

Mrs. P and Sarah were having a great time, listening to Christmas carols and making a card for Kate. Then Mrs. P brought out the sugar cookies she made at home and the items needed to frost and decorate them. Sarah had fun eating as many decorations as those that made it on the cookies. Buttons made himself useful by eating the crumbs off the floor.

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Dinner with John’s Brother

That night, Timothy and Judy joined them for dinner. It was good to see Judy again, and Sarah remembered her when she and Lauren cleared out John’s apartment. Sarah chatted away about her first time playing in the snow, talking about the snowman she and her grandpa and Spencer made together.

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Spencer and Kate Go for a Walk

“Sure thing, Mrs. K.” He pulled their coats from the closet and they were soon walking along the edge of the woods. The temperature was near 40, and Kate could hear the crunching of their boots on the older snow. The scent of pine was heavy from the trees all around the property. “I have a feeling that she wanted Sarah to herself,” Kate said once they were out of listening distance from the house. Not that she worried about being heard.

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Kate, Sarah and Spencer Welcomed

Spencer drove down a rocky driveway and pulled in front of a sprawling ranch home with pine trees on three sides and smoke coming from a chimney. Kate didn’t think it would take her long to settle in. Just the setting was peaceful to look at. A long porch ran along the front of the house where a porch swing and several chairs with flowered cushions made it look inviting, even in winter.

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The Trio Travel North

A few days after getting their tree decorated with popcorn strings, courtesy of Mrs. P, and the other decorations Kate had, she made the decision that they would travel north since Spencer offered to go with them. Kate didn’t want to deny Sarah or the Kern’s the chance to visit. They would be gone for five days and when they got back, they would still be some time to prepare for their early Christmas before Kate had to deploy. There was no way Kate would have made the trip with Sarah by herself at that time of year, in that kind of weather otherwise.

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Kate Finds a Christmas Tree

The next afternoon, after attending church with Spencer and Mrs. P, Kate and Sarah ate lunch and while they ate, Kate told Sarah about their outing to get a Christmas tree.

“You have to help us pick out the prettiest four-foot tree we can find, okay?”

“We have tree…in the house?” Sarah had a look of amazement.

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