Remembering Mollie

Photos:  SweetPoyzin
Music: “To Where You Are” by Josh Groban
Created in: Windows Movie Maker

Chapter 3.90

Goodbye, Mollie.

Note from SweetPoyzin:  Contains language.

Also, I’m sorry.

My family slept soundly as fall crept over Eden Grove.  Little did we know that the world as we knew it was about to implode.

Early in the wee hours of October 20th my phone rang.

“Penny?  It’s daddy.”  My dad sounded half awake yet startlingly lucid for 1 o’clock in the morning.

“Daddy?  What’s wrong?”  A feeling of dread started to form in the pit of my stomach.

“Honey…your mom.  She — she passed away.”

“Daddy?  Daddy, I have to go.”  I dropped the phone as pain ripped through my body.

“FINN!  Get up!  Mom’s dead.  Baby coming.  GET UP NOW, ASSHOLE!”

Finn rolled over and and looked at me through bleary eyes.  “What?  You’re mom’s fine.  She was here last week.  And Ellie isn’t due until November 3o.  Come back to bed.  Bad dreams.”

Of course then my water broke and Finn more or less figured out that this mess was not, in fact, a bad dream.

“FUCK!  SHIT!  You’re mom can’t be dead!  Damn it!”

“Not really my main concern, Finley.  Call Liv.  We have to go!”  Part of me was glad he was reacting so harshly because I could not.  In fact, I had little time to mourn my mother’s passing at all.  Ellie was coming early whether we wanted her to or not.

I’m not a huge believer in angels or whatever but someone, I’m guessing my mother, was on my side in that delivery room.  Even though Ellie was more than a month early, she was perfectly healthy.  After 72 hours of observation, Danielle Jayne was allowed to come home with us.

Thanks, Mommy.

Liv and Finn had spent those three days hard at work on Mom’s funeral and Dad’s future.

They had decided to have the funeral at our house before going on to the cemetery.  Everything was set on that end.

With the new baby added on top of the boys and the farm work, it would be easier to have extra help at home.  Nobody wanted Dad to spend his first weeks without Mom alone in their house — filled with memories.  So Finley decided to put our attic to good use.

In just three days Finn, his father, brother, and brother-in law worked with grandpa, Adam, and Mike to turn our attic into an apartment for Dad.  It had a private entrance, a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen…everything for Dad to live with us but still on his own.

Finn went above a beyond that first week.  He took care of most of Ellie’s needs.

He cleaned the house and took care of the horses.  The boys really stepped up, too.

I’m glad they were all here to deal with the fallout while I wrote Mom’s eulogy and prepared for the burial with the cemetery.  The funeral was upon us.

We had the funeral at our house.  It was small, just family.

Despite her perpetually blue clothing, Mom’s favorite color was yellow.  We had yellow flowers, even a yellow urn for her final resting place.

Dad came over early and we all left him alone with Mom for a few moments.

I couldn’t imaging what it would be like for him now.  He and Mom had been married for 35 years.  All it took was one heart attack, one minute, to rip them apart forever.

Finally he called us all back down to be with him.  Seeing my father sobbing over the remains of my mother was too much.  I didn’t want to cry in front of the boys but I did.  And then that made them cry which only made me cry harder.

Finally, I pulled myself together so I could talk to my dad.

“The apartment is ready for you whenever you are ready to move in, you know?”

“I–I don’t know what to say, Penny.  I really don’t want to impose.  I don’t want to be a bother.”  He looked so small.  Life had crushed him.

“Daddy, you are never a bother.”

“Please, please say you’ll stay Pop-Pop!  Someone has to teach me to play chess!  Mom always beats me but I know you’ll let me win!”

“Of course I’ll stay, O. O..”

And so Owen had his chess grand master and Aiden had his guitar hero.  The only thing missing was Mom.

I eulogized the shit out of Mom.

She was the most amazing woman I’ve ever known.  She raised three awesome kids and threw one hell of a party.  If I turn out half as wonderful as she is…I’ll be lucky.

Stay tuned for “Remembering Mollie Hanks: A Life in Pictures”

Chapter 2.40

Note from SweetPoyzin: This is the final post for Generation Two.  Thank you for sticking with me for so long.  I have loved writing this story and I hope you have enjoyed reading it.

“Are you going to stare into that mirror all morning, Penny?”  Liv asked while rolling her eyes.

“I think I just died a little inside.  I cannot believe mom is making us all wear matching pajamas this Christmas.”

“Just smile and act like you love them.  You can burn them tomorrow.  I’m going downstairs.”

“Mom did a wonderful job on the tree this year.  Can you believe we are adults now Penny?”

“No, but I can believe I might die if I have to wear this when Xander comes over to have his chat with Dad.”

“Hey…why don’t we have a Girl’s Day out later today?  Like when Dad is giving Xander the third degree?  We could go to the spa and stuff?  Chat and whatnot…”

“That sounds wonderful!  We can go to that new spa down by the beach!  I think that’s where mom got her makeover.  And they have the cutest little cafe inside.  It would be great to get my mind off the whole Xander and Dad thing…this is perfect!”

“I thought I heard some girls chattering down here.  I thought Adam and Lucy would be the first ones up but apparently I was wrong.”

“We were just admiring these wonderful Christmas uniforms you purchased, Mom.”

Penny has an answer for everything it seems.  She always has.

Finally the younger kids got up and everyone gathered around the tree to open gifts.  We usually didn’t do a big Christmas thing with just the family but this was potentially our last year together.  It was nice to just sit there with my eyes closed listening to the magic of Christmas going on around me.

I made French Toast for Christmas breakfast and we all sat around the table talking and eating.  My kitchen table was finally full!  This is the table I always wanted.  When I finally had enough children to fill the chairs, two left for college.  So today was prefect!

Miss Lucy was not excited about her French Toast.  She knocked it off her chair and made a huge mess.  Adam was not excited about this since it was his weekend to clean the kitchen.

After breakfast Penny stopped me in the hallway with a look of concern on her face.

“Momma, Liv and I are going to the spa while you and dad interrogate Xander.  Ok bye!”

“You mean, you don’t want me to come with you?”

“Well we were kinda hoping for a girl’s day at the spa…you know how it is…”

“I’m just kidding!  I’d much rather traumatize your new boyfriend…I mean friend.”

Hopefully that would give her something to ponder while she was out with her sister.  I ran upstairs to shower and get dressed because our guest of honor would be here soon.

I heard the doorbell ring and ran downstairs to greet Xander.  He had been to the party yesterday but I didn’t get a chance to talk to him.  I opened the door and was a bit floored by the man I saw.  He was attractive enough but I couldn’t help thinking “look what the cat dragged in…”  I think it was the ripped clothes.

“Child, get in here before you freeze!  Where is your coat?  Garrett is in the  family room at the end of the hall.  He’s looking forward to meeting you.  I’ve got to get the coffee and cookies.”

“Ugh, nice to meet you, Mrs. Hanks…”

“I’m not the one you need to worry about impressing, kiddo,” I said with a wink.

“Hello, sir.”

“So, what is your interest in my daughter.  Please, have a seat next to me…”

“I can’t do this.  I’m Garrett.  I’m really not a badass but I do love my daughter.  Don’t mess with her or I’ll find someone to mess you up because I’m not that kinda guy.  Tell me about yourself, young man.”

After I had come back with the coffee (a couple of rugrats ate the cookies and blamed it on Santa) Xander told us about his life.  He was born in Sunlit Tides but had lived in Appaloosa Plains, Sunset Valley, and now here.  He has an older sister named Athena who is married with one step-daughter.  His twin sisters are now teens and attend boarding school.

Xander told us he had to move so often due to his father’s career as a DNA Profiler with the FBI and his cases sometimes put them in danger.  Now that his parents are divorced his father has taken a nice, safe desk job so he can be around for the twins.

“Ok, what I really meant to ask but you were unable or unwilling to read my mind: Are you interested in marrying my daughter?  Are ya’ll just friends?  What are your intentions here?”

“Honestly, I don’t know, sir.”

“I really do like her.  Probably love her.  She’s so darn independent though that I don’t know where she is at.”

“Fair enough.  I like you.  However I will kick your ass if I have to…try not to make me do that.”

With that our meeting was over and Xander quickly left (It is possible he even ran for the door).

“Oh my gosh, Penny, I am starving!  The pastries here look amazing.  Grab a table I’ll snag the food.”

“Hey, so now that we are finished eating let’s grab a seat in the sauna upstairs so we can talk.”

Penny laughed, “You are really on a mission to chat today, Liv.  Alright, I’ll humor you.”

“So whatever shall we talk about, Olivia?”

“I’m pregnant, Penny.”

“Say something…seriously.”

“Penelope?  Is anyone in there?”

“Are you fucking serious, Olivia?  PREGNANT?  What the heck!?  We still have a year of college left.  Does Mike know?  What about mom and dad?  I CANNOT BELIEVE YOU!”

“I know, honey.  It wasn’t planned.  Mike knows.  Mom and Dad not so much.  Please, please, please try to understand.  I need you on my side…you’re my twin.”

Penny sighed and tried to control her anger.  “Ok…just…just gimme a minute.”

“Alright, so when are you due?”

“May, after graduation.  But, Penny, we decided not to go back to school.  Mike is going to finish his degree online and I just want to stay home with the baby.”

We didn’t decide anything, Olivia.  There is no WE anymore.  Now it’s you, Mike, and Baby Hepworth.  It’s the loss of my twin sister that sucks more than the baby!”

“Penny, you aren’t losing me.  You are gaining a niece…”

“A niece?”

“Alright, so imma let you have this baby.  And I’m going to be the super fun aunt who let’s her get away with EVERYTHING and I’m going to load her up with candy every.single.time she gets to hang out with me.  Which will be all the time just in case you were wondering.”

“Perfect!  I wouldn’t have it any other way!  I also need you to help decorate her room.  Now you better hug me and pretend you love me.  And don’t you dare tell mom and dad!”

“I’m your twin, Olivia.  I’ll keep whatever secrets you have.”

And with that…we head into Generation Three.

Chapter 2.39

Greetings from the North Pole!  Well, really it’s just Starlight Shores but it’s easily confused this Christmas Eve.

With the coming of Christmas it was time to hold our annual Gift Giving party.  We had more folks coming than usual this year.  Not only was my whole family going to be there but also Mike Hepworth’s family.  He and Liv have gotten pretty serious so we figured they should come, too.  Xander Sutton, Penny’s “friend” was also coming.  Rounding out the party would be Rory Duncan, a little girl Adam met at school.  So roughly 15-20 people, our biggest shin-dig yet!

So I did what I do every time we have a party–I cooked.  There were pies to be baked, roasts to be roasted, and of course the cookies were going to be a big hit with the itty-bits!

On top of all my fun, I had to make an early morning grocery store run as well.

Garrett had gotten into Nectar making and wanted to try out some new flavors at the party.  Of course he lacked the ingredients so off I went.  It’s not like I had other work to do!

I figured while I was out I could stop by the gallery and see how things were going.  It was Christmas Eve so it wasn’t busy at all.  Nevertheless, I was thrilled.

I sent Lora, the barista, home to be with her family.  While I sat and enjoyed a cup of coffee I had to admit I really loved this place.  Garrett was right.  We needed to have something to leave to our girls.  And the $10,000 a week it was bringing it wasn’t bad either!  Adam was going to be a teenager in just a few short months so we really needed to save up some money.

That thought made me realize my procrastination and I decided to head home to get the party room ready.

Since Garrett cleaned out the greenhouse we’d been using half for a studio and half for parties.  I think I successfully turned it into a winter wonderland.  Penny was not amused by my mad elf skills.

When I got back inside I found Adam busy in the kitchen.  Well, busy isn’t the right word.  He was using his genie magic to cheat.  He was so proud of his Angel Food Cake that I just went with it.  Tis the season for magic after all.

Adam decided to get in one or two more brownie points with Santa and helped me set up the food outside.

I may have out done myself this year!  Along with my usual roast we had three other types of meat dishes and three seafood dishes.

We also had Garrett’s nectar and some coffee.  I may have stolen one of the coffees to keep myself going.  I mean, the party didn’t even start until 7pm and I had been up since 5am!

Finally we had the dessert table.  Adam’s Angel Food Cake was the centerpiece of our dining experience.  He was thrilled.

Then everyone started to arrive with their gifts.  After that is was just your average Lox-Hanks party.

The kids played tag late into the night.

I cleaned up the mess caused by the dishwasher.  It really has something against our parties.  It has broken every single time.  You’d think Garrett would upgrade the darn thing since he is a master of handiness but whatever.

And no party would be complete without my parents trying to play in the sandbox with 8 inches of snow on the ground.

I hope we didn’t scare the potentially new family members too much!

We never did get to open gifts.  They were stolen during the party.  It didn’t seem to matter because everyone had a great time anyway.

The last of the guests finally left around 3am.  I am getting too old for these parties.  I have got to get these kids out of my house so they can take over!

As per my usual course of action after the party I decided to head to bed and leave the mess for tomorrow.  Perhaps Garrett could use his genie powers and give the gift of housecleaning in the morning.

Note from SweetPoyzin: The gifts really did disappear.  I clicked for everyone to come open the gifts and the pile vanished.  This is the second time I have done this party and the second time the gifts went wonky.  Sorry!  I hope you had fun anyway!

Chapter 2.38

My birthday was more eventful than I anticipated.

Just as everyone was getting ready to head home, Mom’s water broke.  Since Colleen had already left and Oliver and Lanya had their kids, I went with Mom to the hospital so Dad could get Holly home.

After a mere six hours of labor my mom brought my newest sibling into the world.  My baby brother Collin Scott Lox is a real looker for only being a few hours old.

I had to say I was feeling a bit miffed by this whole thing.  I’m not going to lie, I’d love another child but I don’t think it is in the cards for me.  My mother was beaming with the birth of her new son and I can’t say I blame her.  She loves this whole motherhood thing.

When I returned home early the next morning I caught  Adam saying goodbye to his baby sister before he ran off to catch the bus.  It’s moments like these when I realize how lucky I am to have what I do.

After we got Adam to school Garrett, Lucy, and I went to work on my new gallery.  I was still baffled by this purchase but Garrett was so damn proud of himself I just decided to go with it.

“So, this is it.  It’s looking pretty naked.”

Garrett tucked Lucy away in the play area.  I thought this addition was a wonderful idea.  I love the idea of bringing Lucy to work with me and knowing she is safe while doing so.

I started to unpack the trunks I’d been using to store my photos all these years.  It took about five hours but we did it!

I had photos from China, Midnight Falls, Starlight Shores, the beach…so many memories.

The whole place looked amazing!  After all the work was finished I sat with Garrett in the small cafe.

“I can’t believe you bought be an art gallery…”

“It seemed like a good and reasonable idea, Molls.  I mean, you are an artist, Olivia is known for her masterpiece paintings, Penny is an up-and-coming photographer.  Adam and Lucy are still kids so who knows what they will do.  I mean, we have a legacy, Mollie!  We can’t keep selling our life away bit by bit just to get through the day!  We need to leave something behind for the kids!”

“What is with you these days!  Always we won’t be around forever.  You are 35!  I’m only 40!  We aren’t going to die tomorrow!”

“You don’t know that, honey.  Nothing is forever!  Look at your parents!  Your father died long before you were married!  We could go anytime and we would have nothing to leave the kids!”

“Alright, alright… You aren’t wrong.  Let’s home this thing makes us some money.  Adam will be home soon, I’ll grab Lucy and let’s head home.”

When we got home Adam was just arriving from Scouts.  He took Lucy off to keep her busy while I prepared for the twins’ homecoming.  It was 3pm Friday and they would be home at 10am Saturday.  I had so much to prepare!  Food needed cooking and we hadn’t even gotten the Christmas tree up.

We put an old TV in the play area and the kids camped out in front of that while I worked.

All the worry I felt when I discovered I was pregnant right after Adam came along was totally misplaced.  Adam and Lucy have an incredible bond.  I suppose it comes from being the only two left in the house after the older kids left.  Ollie and I share a bond I don’t have with Colleen or Holly.  It’s not that I don’t love them but we are so far apart in age we have little in common.

Oh, did I mention Adam is having a sleepover tonight?  He didn’t either.  So while I cooked and cleaned Garrett took care of the details.  He made popcorn…

Ordered pizza and basically turned the living room into a sleepover paradise.  Lucky for us the only kids Adam invited were Holly and Luka so at least they are family and don’t expect my house to be spotless.

Also lucky for us, the kids were out before midnight which meant I got to get a full night’s sleep before the twins returned home, too!

This meant I was able to get up by 7am to start the house cleaning early.  I was working on Adam’s bathroom when I heard the ruckus downstairs.

“You know, Liv, these two cookie monsters sort of look like Adam and Lucy…except they are WAY too big!”

“Yeah, you know I think they are imposters, Penny.  They should be TICKLED until they tell us where the real Adam and Lucy are!”


I threw on some clothes and ran downstairs.

“PENELOPE AND OLIVIA HANKS!  You guys weren’t supposed to be home for another three hours!  I’m not ready yet!”

“Jeez, Mom…I guess we could go to the strip club for a few hours if you’d like?”

“Get over here.  I’m so glad you are home, girls.”

“Mama you look great!  How are things?  We have so much to tell you!”

I made coffees and we all sat around and talked.  Penny loves medical school and Liv is pleased with her art.  Liv seemed a bit more quiet than usual but let’s face it, they just drove 10 hours in a blizzard!  Penny more than made up for her sister.

“I’ll grab your things and put them upstairs in your room.  Oh, I got you both an early Christmas gift to wear at our family gift opening on Christmas morning.”

I am fairly sure they did not bring that many bags with them when they left.  And I know I did not send them with six cases of Ramen noodles…

Ah well, such is life with college girls.  Garrett will be thrilled when he gets home tonight!

Penny’s Diary — Year 1

Dear Diary,

I met a guy!  He’s the hottest guy on this campus!  His name is Xander Sutton.  Oh he’s cute!

He’s super smart, too!  He’s getting a technology degree.  He doesn’t know what he wants to do with it yet.  His dad is a DNA Profiler with the CIA and has busted open some HUGE cases.  Xander thinks maybe he will do something like fighting internet crime.  That would be interesting!

Oh, he’s a kick ass kisser, too!  I told Mom and Dad it wasn’t serious.  I don’t think it is.  We really just like to hangout and flirt.  It probably won’t go anywhere after graduation even though he is moving to Starlight Shores to be with his family.

His parents just got divorced and he said he wants to be there for his twin sisters who are just kids.


OH!  He gets along great with Liv and Mike, too!

And he’s a huge dork!

Xander is also the campus bartender.  Well, not officially.  He’s just really good at mixing drinks.

Thanks to his ability we have the BEST parties at our place!  I had to apply for extra scholarship money because we remodeled the house.  We may have added a professional bar but the college doesn’t need to know that!

You know, I think this is actually more serious than I wanted to believe.  I mean, I’m not going to run out and get knocked up, but…I don’t know…I could marry this guy I think.


Ok…moving on.  I don’t want to think that seriously about marriage.  I’m too young for that!  LOL

All Liv wants to talk about these days is “after college.”

“Mike and I are gonna get married.”

“Mike and I are gonna have five babies.”

BABIES!  BABIES!  BABIES!  I am so tired of hearing about babies.  I’m about to tear out her biological clock and beat it hardcore.  I’m almost a doctor.  I could figure out how to do that…

Anyway, the semester is over.  We got our report cards the other day and Xander, Mike, and I passed with 4.0 GPAs.

Liv got B’s.  Maybe if she stopped thinking about BABIES she would have done better.

Ah well.  School isn’t really her deal anyway.  She’ll be fine next semester.  I’ll make sure of that if I have to steal her uterus myself!

I’ve got to pack.  We’re all heading home tomorrow.  Xander is coming over to meet Mom and Dad for Christmas and I’ve got to figure out how I feel about him!

Penny Hanks,
Over and Out.

Chapter 2.37

Note from SweetPoyzin: I really loved hearing from Garrett before and it seems like you all did, too.  Mollie’s birthday post is coming from Garrett’s POV.  Weird, I know.  However, I adore Garrett way more than any of my Gen 3 guys so I’m going to ride this high for another post!  Also it is super photo heavy.  Sorry!

Lucy woke us up the morning of Mollie’s birthday.  Lil’ Bit didn’t care that mommy wanted to sleep in, kiddo was ready for the day.

“Hey, before you run off, I wanted to give you one of your birthday presents.”

“Oh, why can’t we just forget the whole day, Gar?”

“Well, hear me out.  Since you’ve done such a wonderful job of losing all that baby weight I thought I would send you on a trip to the spa.  You can get a makeover, new wardrobe, massage, whatever you want!”

“Is…is that a bad gift?  I don’t mean to say you look bad now or before but I just thought you might–”

“It’s wonderful!  I’ve never been to the spa!  I can’t wait!  I know just what I want!”

“There’s baby food already in the fridge.  Adam likes waffles or pancakes for breakfast.  The bus comes at 7 so have him ready.  I have to go!”

I told Mollie to meet me at her favorite cafe for lunch and she was off.  Good thing, too!  I still had so much work to do for her birthday!

After Mollie left I called in sick to work (I’ve been doing that a lot lately).  Then I got Lucy up and ready and I fed both the kids.  I was feeling pretty awesome about my fathering abilities.  I caught Adam as he was heading out to school.

“Hey, how would you feel about a sick day today?”

“This seems like a recipe for getting in trouble.  Why, Dad?”

“Well, I’ve got a lot of things to do for your Mommy’s birthday and I could use some help.  Are you up for it?”

“Am I gonna get in trouble?”

“Of course not, Nugget.  I will.”

I had to drag a ton of stuff out of the attic and into the greenhouse.  All the plants had died because…well we aren’t gardeners and we had four kids.  So I was going to turn it into a party house/photo studio for Mollie.  With the kids getting older I thought she might want a place to work should she ever decide to go back into business.

And being the awesome kid that he is, Adam kept Lucy entertained while I worked on some new wine for the party.  Before long it was time to rush off to lunch.  Things still weren’t perfect but I needed to show Mollie the biggest and best part of her gift.

I picked her up at the spa and was floored by her makeover.  She looked 20 years younger.  Not that she ever looked old.  Wow, I should not speak.

We went to Mollie’s favorite little Bistro and sat at “our” table.  This was the place where we decided to bring Adam into our family.  This same restaurant was the place we brought our daughter before sending her out into the world.  So many memories happened in this place.

“So, your party starts in a couple of hours and I still have one more gift for you.  Shall we head out?  It might take a while…”

“Oh my…what kind of gift is this?”

“Not that kind.  That is later.  This one is just down the road.”

We hopped in the car and not even five-minutes later we were at our final destination.

“Garrett, I really appreciate you bringing me to the Art Museum but I don’t think there is time to look around right now.  The party starts –”

“Mollie, honey, this is YOUR art museum, cafe, and gift shop.  I bought it for you.  Happy birthday.”

“How the FU–heck–did you afford to buy a whole museum!?  We’ve been selling off our stuff just to get the twins through college and the younger kids birthday gifts.  Hell, Christmas is coming up.  How are we going to buy gifts now!?  How did you afford this place?!”

“I sold the boat.”

“Garrett…we don’t own a boat.”

“No, no we definitely don’t own a boat.”

I may have forgotten to tell Mollie we owned a boat.  More specifically I owned a boat.  However, now neither of us own a boat and she has an art gallery.  Perhaps she will forget.

“Well, it’s about 2:30 now and you know how your mother is always early to parties.  I bet she is at our house right now.  Let’s go home and tomorrow we can bring your photos and get this place ready to go.”

“And while we are doing that perhaps you could tell me about this boat?”

I think I might need to work tomorrow…

I was wrong about Mollie’s mother being early.  She and Victor arrived a bit later and with a surprise in tow.

“Mrs. Lox, I think we should visit more often!  When is my new brother or sister-in-law due?”

“Any day now it seems.  And, Garrett, you’ve been married to my daughter for nearly 20 years.  I’m pretty sure you can call me Liddy.”

“Oh I’m pretty sure I can’t, Mrs. Lox.  Come on inside, you two.  It’s getting cold out!”

Before we could get inside though, Mollie came looking for me.

“Garrett where the heck are you?  The doorbell rang 15 minutes ago!  Holy shit…”

“Wow, Mom.”

“So aren’t you out of rhyming names yet?”

“Actually we were thinking Golly or Jolly.  He’d fit right in!”

“Oh, you forgot to tell me you were birthing an elf.  Does dad know?”

“Oh jeez, Mollie.  Really though the only name left was Polly and your father vetoed that so this kid gets a boring name.  Come on, I want some birthday cake.  Don’t you have some aging to do or something?”

With Liddy’s prompting Mollie went a blew out her candles.  Vic and Liddy got the seat of honor next to the birthday girl.  I mean, she is their daughter after all.

After the candles Mollie disappeared.  She didn’t even have any cake.  I had a feeling she might be having a midlife crisis moment and I went to track her down.

She was cleaning the house.  I knew then it was bad.

When I found her she was scrubbing Cueball’s cage.  I was concerned she might scrub right through the glass.

“Sweetie…is now the best time to be cleaning?  What’s up?”

“HAVE YOU SEEN ME?  Gar, I have wrinkles!  And saggy boobs!  I’m hideous!”

“Sweetie, everyone is done with cake.  How about I kick them out and I’ll show you just how beautiful I think you are.  And then tomorrow we’ll go and work on the shop?”

“Fine.  And you’ll tell me about this boat.  Oh, and you’ll also tutor Adam since you pulled him from class today.”

Only two weeks until the girls got home and I was going to need to kiss ass all 14 days.  I just knew it.

Olivia’s Letter Home — Year 1

Hi Guys!

I love our house here!  Of course I am the neat freak and I’m doing ALL the housework.  My room is impeccably clean!

OMG.  There is so much laundry!  They never do their clothes!  I’m so sorry if I was a slob, Mom.  Wtf was wrong with me?!

I learned to cook!  I was seriously getting tired of pizza, soda, and candy bars so I took a class!  I can only make mac and cheese but it is really darn yummy!

We have a “family” dinner night on Thursday.  We all get done with class early so we sit around and eat mac and cheese.  Sometimes Penny’s friend Xander joins us.  He seems nice.  No, Dad, they aren’t a thing.

I’m working really hard in my art classes.  I was struggling for a while.  You guys know school isn’t really my thing but I’m having a great time.

The drawing classes are my favorite.  Maybe one day I will the next Michelangelo!

Mike has been helping with my drawing classes, too.  He keeps it fun.

I have some room for improvement when it comes to human portraits…

Well, it’s Friday night which means Penny, Mike, and I have a study group.

I’ll see you guys soon!  Only a couple of weeks until break!


Chapter 2.36

It’s that time of year when I wonder why I bother to put my dining room back together.  After Adam’s birthday comes Feast Day, then Lucy’s birthday, then mine, then Snowflake Day.  All of the holiday parties are at my house, of course.

This year I decided to throw one big Feast Day/Birthday Combo party.  If anyone wanted to complain about it they could have the Feast Day party at their house!

My brother took the family photos.  His professional photography business would give me a run for my money!

I had never made a Stuffed Turkey before so I read up how to do it while watching some celebrity chef make one on the cooking channel.  Adam wanted to help with the cooking this year so he hung out with me.

I spent the morning baking like some sort of crazy woman.  Garrett kept trying to sneak bites of my pies and salads so I finally threatened him with my butcher’s knife and he ran off to play with Lucy.

Since Adam was showing such a desire to bake we bought him a toy oven to practice with.  He honestly loved it and I had a blast baking with him for Feast Day.

Of course it was my baby’s birthday, too!  I love her and all but I’ve never been a baby person.  At least toddler’s sleep…sometimes.  I was not really going to miss this baby stage and I can say with full certainty that she is our last.  I know Garrett wants another boy but he’s going to have to quit his job if he ever wants to try that mess again!

Adam has also really taken a liking to building.  By building I mean destroying buildings.  It doesn’t matter if they are blocks, sand, or dollhouses.  I will have to watch him when Lucy starts getting into dolls!

I’d like to say that I was finished baking by the time everyone started arriving.  Layna showed up first with Lotus and Luka.  Poor Louis had the flu so he was staying with her parents so Ollie could visit as well.

Lotus is the spitting image of her mother!

And Luka could be my brother 25 years ago!

My brother is getting older, too!  Hard to believe he is 35 when I watch him playing video games with my husband.  And to think I’ll be 40 in a week!

I was still panicking about food when my mother arrived.  She proceeded to show me that I was too pent up by dancing around my kitchen while screaming “YOLO”.

We did have plenty of food.  Not only did everyone bring something but we also had birthday cake.

Miss Lucy’s birthday was incredible.  I have no idea where that stunning red hair came from but my Dad says his mother had the most beautiful curly red hair this side of heaven.

After dinner I was still trying to get people to eat the two tons of food I made.  My father politely declined.  Colleen also said no because she had other houses to visit.  She would not give up the name of boy.  And Holly ignored me the way kid sisters tend to do.

Everyone did their own thing after dinner.  It was fun watching Oliver interact with his son.  Mom even got in on the sandbox action!

Adam thought the best time to try and sell his goodies was after a big Feast Day meal.  He looked so proud of himself that his aunts, grandma, and I took pity on him.  Kid made out like a bandit!

Lucy got covered in cake so after a quick bath she settled in to play with Lotus.  Those two are going to be thick as thieves…and heart breakers, too!

It was about 11pm by the time I finally got everyone cleared out.  I’d been waiting all day to get the final shot for my collage.  Now it feels complete.

I took Lucy upstairs and tucked her into her big girl beg for the first time.  She was a bit nervous but settled in after a short time.

When I knew she was asleep I went into the computer room to read Olivia’s latest email.

Penny’s Letter Home — Year 1

Dear Mom and Dad,

OMG!  We made it to college!  It was a long drive but the house is totally bitchin’ awesome!

There’s some early snow on the ground here.  Can you believe it is only October but there is snow already?!  It’s gonna be a long semester!

There was a college-wide get together the first week and Olivia and I had a blast.  People totally don’t believe we are twins!  They don’t know we are witches either so the professors better not fail us!  HAHA!

Our house has two bedrooms.  Olivia and Mike have the smaller room.  I took the big one for myself!  It’s ok…they like “cozy.”  Ick.  Don’t worry, Dad, I’m keeping an eye on the lovebirds.  No funny business!

Olivia and I have a super early class.  It’s dark when we leave…

..and dark when we get home.  I have classes ALL DAY on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday!  From 8am to 6pm!  Jeez you’d think they’d want us to learn or something!

We are eating pretty well.  Of course I spend so much time in class that sometimes we have to order pizza.

Classes are going really well!  I’m getting A’s in EVERYTHING.  They said Medical School would be hard but whatever.

I had to give a presentation in one of my classes!  It was great.  I totally rocked it.

Olivia and the professor were the only ones to show up but I kicked ass anyway!

OMG you guys!  Olivia is getting really great at drawing!  She was awesome to begin with but now she is even better!  She is really dedicated.

We found this AWESOME bakery just down the road from our house.  They have the BEST brownies.  No, Dad, they are not THOSE kinds of brownies.  I know what you were thinking.

Oh, by the way, I met a boy.  No, Dad, it’s not serious.  I am bringing him home for Winter Break.  NOT BECAUSE IT IS SERIOUS.  Sheesh.  He’s from Starlight Shores…sorta.  He’s really from Sunset Valley but was born in Sunlit Tides.  So his family is new to our area and I’m going to show him around.  GET YOUR HEAD OUT OF THE GUTTER, DAD.

We’re just friends.

I gotta run!  Class and all the jazz!  See you over break!

Love Always,