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Our little girls did not go without this Christmas. I am sorry to say that I was not really involved with much of the gift choosing. Not that I really knew what to get for little girls in the first place, so I am not sure how much help I would have been anyway. I also think that Kari was getting tired of me saying "They don't need that." or "That is way too expensive." She did a wonderful job getting all the shopping done. In fact she was organized enough to start buying months ahead of time. It is much easier on the pocket book that way.

However, with all the gifts from Grandparents, Uncles, Aunts, nannies, and the two of us, there was an enormous number of gifts to be opened. I had to take Hilda to the airport at 10 a.m. (more on that later) so I figured that we should have enough time to open gifts before we had to go. No gifts had been left under the tree, because Rylee really enjoys unwrapping them. So I went to the closet and got all the gifts.

"Okay, we are ready!" I said. Kari said, "No, there are more upstairs." Well, there were a lot more upstairs. I had to make three trips and while I was doing that both sets of Grandparents retrieved more from their cars. I was feeling like maybe we had overdone it, just a bit. I do have to hand it to Kari, there wasn't anything really expensive and most were educational, but there sure was a bunch. I think (Well, I know) that Hilda thought we went a bit over the top. "Rylee, Reagan, too many toys." she told me on the way to the airport. "Yes, I agree. We need a bigger house now, to store all the junk they got."

As I was standing knee deep in presents, handing out gifts, I realized that almost all of them were for Rylee and Reagan. I was having a hard time keeping it even. You should be able to hand one to everyone, let them open it, and then get some more. Instead, I was getting one for Rylee, one for Reagan, and then searching through stacks of presents for adults and finding only more gifts for the kids, and they were still working on opening the last ones that I gave them. So it was taking a lot longer than I thought that it would and we had to pause for the trip to the airport.

About that... Hilda's Mother, who is in Mexico, has not been doing well. She went to the Hospital to have major surgery to remove cancer. While she was in the hospital she suffered a heart attack. At least I think is what happened. The language barrier was giving us some trouble. At any rate the doctors don't expect her to live much longer.

I feel absolutely terrible about the whole thing and I wish that we could have handled it a little better in several respects. We encouraged her to go to see her Mother, she needed to be there. She said that she would maybe go on Friday, which was almost a week away, we said that she really needed to go sooner. I think that she didn't want to leave us in a bind. So we booked her on a flight for the next day, Christmas day. Since we didn't think that we would have time to open gifts before she had to go we gave her her gifts that evening. It was an emotional time, we have become quite close. She is really part of the family and I think that she was touched. That was all well and good.

However, the next morning everyone was up earlier than I thought and I figured that we would have time to open presents before we had to go. Hilda was busy packing and I hope that she didn't feel left out. I really wanted her to feel like part of the family. Hilda and I chatted a little on the way to the airport. She seemed a little down as you can imagine and I hoped that I hadn't made it worse. If I had it to do over I would have given her the gifts in the morning or maybe waited till she left before we got started.

We didn't have a whole bunch of time before her flight so I thought that I would take her straight to the terminal. I should have parked and made sure that she was properly squared away. The terminal was pretty deserted, as you might imagine, on Christmas day. I helped her with her bags and was going to get her a cart. Then I found that those carts are $3.00. That seemed outrageous since we could see the Aviacsa counter just in the door. So I looked up and down the terminal and figured nobody would give me a hard time if I left the car for a little bit. No problem, I carried her bag up to the counter for her. That bag was really heavy, so I was huffing and puffing a little bit. Then I glanced back toward the car and saw that it was surrounded by airport security, all talking on their radios and peeking in the windows. Where did these guys come from? They must have repelled in from the rafters. Anyway, I tried to explain to Hilda that they were about to give me a ticket and I am not sure she understood what I was saying. I told her to call us if she had any trouble and to let us know how her Mother was doing and then I gave her a hug and sprinted for the door. I hope it didn't look like I was just dumping her and sprinting away to go back to opening presents. I worried about that all the way home.

So some extra prayers for Hilda Lopez and her Mom are in order for those of you who are so inclined.

Next issue is that we really need Hilda. She has been savior. My Mother is staying for a couple more days till we can figure out what to do. Kari had all four kids today when Grandmom took Papa to the airport and she is not ready for that yet. She left me a message on my phone that she was ready to leave and not come back. She was kidding, I hope.

All in all I think that Christmas was success. It was really nice to have June and Wayne (aka Nana and Papa Wayne), and Grandmom and Papa Spencer here to celebrate with us. It was a little hectic at times but well worth it. Mostly, I am thankful to have such a wonderful family and healthy little girls. I hope that all of you had an equally satisfying Christmas.

Happy New Year to all from the Spencer Family!

Rylee had to give Hilda some help unwrapping her gifts.

Reagan though she should help Hilda too.
I think Hilda liked all the goodies.
And she gave the girls a Christmas smooch.
We also indoctrinated Hilda into the Spencer Christmas Silly String tradition.
Kari got the worst of it.
I didn't escape unscathed either.
Loads of loot.
Wasn't that a fun age at Christmas.
We were going for a family portrait here, but the kids were a little distracted. Wonder why?
Reagan had more fun with the paper than the toys.
Jordan watching the big sisters. Next year she will be a little more into this I think.
And I do thank Heaven for my little girls.
Grandmom got a little something too.
Papa and Bunker just watching the action.
Rylee got a chest full of dress up clothes and was nice enough to share. They are still a bit big for Reagan.
Rylee the little princess.
The dogs didn't get left out either.
The best Christmas gift. Look! No tubes.
Jordan just taking it all in.
Madison with one of her new toys. She thought this was pretty neat.
Mom even got dressed up. She made it almost thirty minutes before this outfit was vomited on. Papa needs to work on his muzzle control. You Never, Never, point a loaded baby at a freshly showered mother.
The budding artist at work.
Everything is ok if you can still smile with vomit on you.
Rylee instructing Madison on the exercise mat.
Papa Wayne and Nana at diner on Christmas Eve.
Madison insisted on being included and Papa showing that he hasn't lost his touch.
Rylee still unwrapping even though all the presents are unwrapped.
Dad teaching Rylee the flip. That was one of my favorite moves.


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