Chapter 3.54

School started and the girls were gone most of the day.  Since Pete is a writer and I work nights we got to spend LOTS of time together.

We prepped the yard for winter which was too close for comfort.  Our Halloween party was coming up and this was going to be our first big party in the new house.

Peter and I kept getting distracted.  It’s not that we were trying for a baby but we weren’t not trying either.  We were open to anything.

“It’s safe.  Nobody saw us.”

“It’s our backyard, Peter.  Of course nobody saw us.  Are you sure nobody saw us though?”

I went out that afternoon and grabbed us some pumpkins to carve that night after dinner.  It was going to be a big family affair.

I made us some lasagna since it is a nice food for blustery nights in autumn.  Peter did just get me that nice wood fire oven so I foresee many lasagna nights.

Then we all went outside to carve pumpkins.  Well, Simon mostly sat and chewed on the leaves but he made an effort to hang out with us.

Kylie carved a pumpkin for Simon.

“Daddy, is it ok if I just make it look like it was carved by a 3-year-old?  Cuz I’m getting bored.”

“Do whatever you like, honey.  It is getting cold out here though so make a choice.”

She made it look like a toddler carved it.  Kylie did the kitty.  Harper did the ghost.  Peter did the scary one.  I am the boring one who made a normal pumpkin.  I’m special like that.


 

Finally Halloween arrived.  The girls got the day off and we had a big day ahead of us with the party.  I was up early to bake for the party.

Harper took over “mommy” duty.  She adores her baby brother and relishes her time with him.  She fed her brother his morning bottle because I failed at planning (again) and didn’t have time for a proper breakfast.

Then she entertained the monster so I could get what I needed done in the kitchen.  I spent all morning cooking so we could go to the festival before the party.

The girls got dressed up in their costumes and we headed off to the park.

Simon is still a little young to enjoy the festivals.  He does the family photo and then it’s off to the toy boxes.  I don’t mind so much because before too long he’ll be too big to even want to hangout with us.

The girls, however, are all over the festival games.  It’s a damn good thing I made them take off their costumes before they jumped into everything.  They wore that pie until we got home.

Kylie wanted me to take Simon through the haunted house.  I told her I would do that only if she agreed to have him in her room when he had nightmares.  She said no deal to that and then regretted her own decision to go through the haunted house.  Harper on the other hand…well she takes after her mama and she loved every creepy-ass second of that darn thing.

Peter.  Well, Peter is working on his next masterpiece which means lots of research and little time for us.  It makes him happy and keeps us in our house so it is difficult to be angry with him.

Harper took all our tickets and cashed them in for a horseshoe pit.  I was grateful she chose that because she was eyeing the tanning booth.  It’s too damn early for that mess.

As soon as we got home I started on the roast for the party.  I had already set out the dessert table when the door opened.

“Hey, Penn!  Need any help?”  Hannah had arrived early to help me with any last minute prep.

“I think I’m good, Hanny.  I just have to get the roast in the oven and we’ll be set.”

“Oh good.  I’m going to eat this chocolate pie then.  Help clean the dessert tray early.”

She’s a good friend.

She did help set out the rest of the food though.  After eating her pie, of course.

Harper even helped with the desserts and made some cookies on her toy oven.  Grampy (my dad) loved those.

Finally I called everyone to eat.  It was going to be a full house.  Mom and Dad were there.  Katie and her husband with the twins Kayleigh and Kennedy.  Dylan who was single now but he refused to go into detail.  Hannah and Adam and their two oldest daughters Violet and Kallie.  Granny Liddy and Grampa Vic couldn’t make it.  Neither could Liv and Mike since they were busy with Bailee, Bindee, and Beckee who were now toddlers.

It was quite a feast and with all the kids running around the adults could never seem to all sit down at the same time.  Adam, Pete, and Johnathon (Katie’s husband) took Violet and Kennedy trick-or-treating.

The rest of the girls played video games in the living room which gave the adults a moment together.

When Adam got back he spent almost all his time with his nephew Simon.  They bonded (on Adam’s side) over the fact that they were both adopted.

Simon, however, just loved Adam for being the awesome guy that he is.  My little brother has turned into one hell of a man.

The best par of the party was the part when the WHOLE family pitched in to clean up.  Seriously.  It was like the first time in the history of our three generations that anyone helped clean up after a party.

Kallie left with some leftover pie.

Katie just laughed at her cousin.  This is my family.

The nicest part was they had cleaned up so well that I only had to cast one spell to clean the rest of the house.  Best party in the history of our family.

Chapter 3.43

Harper, Violet, and Kallie have birthdays and age into children. Katherine gives birth to the first member of GENERATION FIVE!

Life sometimes throws you curve balls.  Katherine’s pregnancy was just another in a long line of life’s pitches.  As such, I ended up putting my dreams of going back to college on hold to help Katherine bring a healthy baby into the world.

Morning sickness hit Katherine hard.  We were actually a little concerned those first few months because Katherine was sick all day every day.  The doctor assured us that it would pass once we hit the second trimester.

Despite the circumstances Katherine glowed once she started showing.  She spent every minute of her day talking to her little peanut.

Well, every minute that she wasn’t throwing up, that is.  Morning sickness refused to back down.


Pete and I took a break from our relationship so I could deal with Katherine without any distractions.

Hannah and I still went to the gym regularly.  The goal was to be looking great by the time the baby arrived in the winter.  That way, Pete would be amazed by how awesome I looked.

We worked out so often that I’m pretty sure the gym will never smell the same.

It was totally paying off.  By early autumn I was nearly back to my pre-baby weight.  It only took  five years but who’s counting…


Hannah was becoming my closest confidant during Katherine’s pregnancy.  She was keeping me sane when I really wanted to cap a bitch.

“Today of all days you didn’t shower after the gym?!”

“Sorry!  I was running late and I didn’t want to miss this!  I’ll sponge off in the bathroom!”

“I don’t know if that’s better or worse…”

“Come on…Katie’s here.”

Today was the big day.  We were going to find out the sex of Katie’s little peanut.

I huddled around my niece as she stared intently at the screen.  “Is everything ok, doctor?”

“It most certainly is, Ms. Hepworth.  Would you like to know the sex of your baby?”

“That’s why I’m here!”  She was so excited but it hurt to see the childishness of it.  She was still just a girl herself yet here we were talking about her baby.

“Well, Ms. Hepworth, I’d invest in some pink decor because your daughter looks like a little princess.”

This family and our females!  Poor Adam and Pickle.  I know they wanted a boy.


Even though we were all looking forward to the birth of a new family member we had another big event to plan.

Harper, Violet, and Kallie were all having birthdays.  We decided to have one big party to make things easier.

I found it a bit hard to believe that my baby brother and his wife were about to have elementary school aged children.  Then I remembered that I was about to have an elementary school aged child too.  I figured it was best to stop thinking at that point.

We all gathered around the cakes and started the celebration.  Dylan and Katherine were there. but that was about it.  We’re small-scale these days.

Adam and Kallie went first since she was the youngest.  We figured she could be the oldest for just a few minutes.

Next up was Hannah and Vi.

Finally, I helped little Harper.

Violet was just lovely.  She has Hannah’s nearly red hair and I’d swear those are mom’s blue eyes even though Adam was adopted.

Harper is all Xander.  She might have my hair and skin color but everything else about her comes from her father.  She’s beautiful just the same.  She’s the best thing he ever did for me.


Katherine was true to her word and worked diligently on schoolwork.  Linzy really came in handy since she has a degree in education.

When it was my turn to help we usually did science together.  By the time winter rolled around Katherine was an honors student set to graduate from high school a year early.

We were working together on Christmas Eve when Katherine asked me a question.

“Penny, what does labor feel like?”

“You’ll know it when you feel it, kiddo.”

“I thought so.  Penny?  I’m in labor.”

She jumped up and grabber her belly.  I could tell this was it when I saw the eyes bug out of her head.

“Come on, kiddo!  Let’s get you to a hospital!”

“We’re a bit late for that, Penny.  The baby is coming now!”

I had to pull up every once of medical training I had.  Linzy and Dylan helped me get Katherine upstairs and onto her bed.

“Penny!  I can’t do this!”  She screamed at me.

“You sure as hell can, Katherine!  I did it.  Your mama did it.  You can do it!”

And she did.


 

After just three hours Katherine brought the first member of generation five into the world.  Kayleigh Penelope Hepworth was born in the wee hours of Christmas morning.

Five minutes later we welcomed the second member of generation five, Kennedy Olivia Hepworth.

Our little family just got a whole lot bigger.

Note from SweetPoyzin: Those twins were 100% unplanned.  Of course, so were Penny and Liv.  Nevertheless, I was shocked as hell when the second one popped out.  It seemed only fitting to name the second set of twins after the twins that helped bring them into the world though.

Also, I realize Kallie didn’t have an aging up picture.  She’s still a toddler oddly enough.  The game refuses to age her up.  I will remedy this and post appropriate adorableness when the time comes.

Chapter 3.37

The day of the party finally arrived.  I wasn’t sure how I felt about the whole thing but I had too much to do to care.

I spent the morning baking.  Cookies, pies, cakes, everything.

I had a helper in the kitchen for once.

“Is that whole pie for you?”

“Why wouldn’t it be, Penny?”

“Go upstairs and change into your Christmas sweater.”

“I’d rather eat the pie…”

I ran upstairs to change and get Harper ready.  Then it was time to rearrange the furniture.  Again.

I ran upstairs to grab Harper and when I came back my living room was full.

Adam and Hannah stopped by briefly but of course his daughters were both sick and they had to leave after saying their hellos.

Everyone came.  Everyone.

Dylan was not pleased about his sweater and he pouted in the corner until it was time to open gifts.

Luckily everyone got what they wanted.  I still can’t figure out who is giving me the chess tables but I’ve gotten at least three a year since I was a child.

After dinner I sat at the table and watched my family.  I had missed them more than I thought.  It’s true I ran away from them when they were hurting too but they didn’t reach out to me either.  Perhaps it was time to let bygones be bygones.

“Harper is a doll, Penn.  Why didn’t you tell us about her?”

“I couldn’t, Mom.   Hell, even Xander doesn’t know about her.”

“Don’t you think you should tell him?”

“Of course not!  That ass is a liar and doesn’t need to be involved in Harper’s life.”

“Don’t rule it out so soon, dear.”

“Aw, come on!  You’re gonna kick your old man’s ass like that?”

“Hell yeah I am!”

I had to interrupt my dad’s ass whooping to grab the phone.

“Hello?  Oh.  Well, my family is here but I can always just pawn them off on my brother.  Ok.  Where?  I’ll be there in about an hour.”

I dropped my parents at Adam’s and left Linzy with the mess while I went out with Peter for a Christmas date.

Chapter 3.36

It was time for a proper Christmas in Storybrook County.

I went the whole nine yards.  Tree, stockings, candles, the works.  Adam and Hannah were coming over this year, too.  It was finally going to be a celebration like the ones from my childhood.

Unlike my childhood where snow dumped on us (relentlessly) for days, the snow in Storybrook County seemed to know when it was just enough.  It was lovely.

I also decided to go big or go home as far as Christmas gifts go.  With Bug coming home soon and Pickle and Harper getting bored inside I needed a plan for spring.  I took my issues to the only place in town where I knew I could get a good deal.

I hoped beyond home the consignment shop would have just what I needed to execute my plan.

“You wouldn’t happen to have any used playground furniture back there would you?”

Magic was on my side today and I ended up with an entire backyard full of goodies for under $300.

Since I still had $200 left over in my budget I decided to get myself a little something too.  I feel like I’ve been a good girl this year…


The week before Christmas Adam asked me to drop by his place.

Harper came with me because she loves her little cousins and Uncy Adam is even cooler than Mom.

“Did you want me to come over or did you just miss Harper?” I asked Adam after an hour of sitting around while he hogged my daughter.

“No, he’s got something to tell you, Penn.  He’s just avoiding the conversation.”  I had to laugh that Hannah was up to ears in whiny daughters while Adam relished all his attention on my own child much to the dismay of his oldest.

After helping his wife feed and bath his children Adam was finally ready to sit down and chat.  I could tell he was avoiding this conversation like the plague so it had to be bad.

“Ok.  So I should have asked you first but Mom called and wanted to visit over the holidays and I said yes.  The whole crew is going to show up at your place for Christmas.”

“How many is ‘the whole crew,’ Adam?”

“Well…mom, dad, Holly, Ericka, Grandma and Grandpa…maybe a few others.  But really, Penn, they’ve never met my girls or Harper and you know Dylan probably doesn’t remember them.  It could be ok.”

“Of course it’s ok!  They didn’t even know I was pregnant when I left!  That’s gonna be a good story.  I gotta get cooking!”

It had been three years since I saw my family.  I really wasn’t sure I was ready for it but I was caught up in the magic of the season.  It could be fun…

 

Chapter 3.34

I thought about Hannah’s offer for a few weeks and then headed over to take Adam up on the offer.  I was still on the fence but the kid..er man…has grounded me since he was a teen so I figured we could at least talk it through.

It also allowed Hannah and I to take a break from the Harper and Vi.  They adore each other.  They’ll be trouble in a few years!

“Take the money, Penny.  You know you want a fresh start.  There’s no strings attached.  In fact, considered it repayment for the debt of raising me.  You gave a lot and I wouldn’t be where I am without it.”

“The kids though.  I can’t trust them to another babysitter.  Last time…I don’t even want to think about it.”

“I’ve got a friend.  He’s an author and his sister is looking for a full-time nanny gig.  She’s perfect.  I’ll call him up tonight and have her get in touch with you.  Do it, Penny.  You deserve it.”

He was right.  I raised him.  I’m raising Liv’s kids.  I’ve got Harper.  We’re never going to get anywhere until I go back to school.  I really wanted a business degree.  I didn’t know what I would do with it but something said it would be worth it.

“Alright.  I’ll do it.   It’ll take some time but I think I can make it work.”

It did take a few months but the house made its “debut.”  I didn’t change much.  Mostly just expanded but we needed the extra room.

With puppies, a toddler, and two children the living room needed some room to…well, live in.

And the kitchen had a growth spurt, too.  The dining room was tossed out in favor of a playroom and office.  It was too difficult for the poor toddler to hobble up and down the stairs to either her room or the basement to play.  Dining rooms are overrated anyway.

I planned to head off to university in the spring.  Granted, I’d be attending Storybrook County College but I’d be there for 10 hours and then there was homework.  My baby was going to grow up in the arms of a nanny.

Of course I was putting my horse in front of the cart.  I hadn’t even taken my entrance exams let alone applied to the school.

The aptitude exam was more difficult than I remembered.  Of course, it had been about 15 years since I took the last one.  Also I have relatively no business skills.  It’ll be a few more months before I know the results.  In the meantime there was still a lot to do.

One was meeting the nanny.  The doorbell rang early one fall morning.

She was quite unexpected.  When I think “nanny” I think old woman.  However, Linzy was lovely and highly qualified.

As we sat drinking coffee I interviewed her.  I already knew she would be perfect but I wanted to seem like I knew what I was doing.

“So, tell me about yourself.  Why do you want to be a nanny?”

“Hm.  Well, I love children.  I’m nurturing, neat, a natural cook.  I’m a master gardener and chef.  I have a degree in education and I used to be a teacher.”

Someone up there must love me.  If there is such thing as divine intervention this is it.

I showed Linzy to her room in the basement.  One more of the remodeling projects from the summer.  It wasn’t much but she loved it regardless.

Harper took right to Linzy as if they were old friends.

For the first time in a while I actually allowed myself to feel optimistic about the future.  Things could work out for us after all.

Chapter 3.33

I took to motherhood much easier than anticipated.  Granted, I never expected to raise Harper alone but I don’t think Xander needs to know I was pregnant when I left him either.

Someone takes after her mom in more than just good looks.

Harper is brilliant.  She took to walking nearly as soon as she hit the ground.

“MAMA!  MAMA!”

I realized that I didn’t want to miss a second of this walking, talking extravaganza.

I called Hannah to watch Harper and headed to the big-box resale store out in the boonies.

Everything is marked down to 25%.  You get what you pay for but I didn’t care.  I rushed into the store.

I grabbed the closest video recorder and paid.

Hannah was due any day now with their SECOND daughter.  We couldn’t wait to meet Azalea Kalliope (to be known as Kallie) but Hannah had a bigger surprise for me.

“My aunt just died and left Adam and I $50,000.  We want you to have it, Penny.”

“Uhh…what?”  I was dumbfounded.  “What about Violet and Kallie?  They need college funds?”

“Oh shush, P.  We both know your brother makes more than that each week in book royalties.  Take it.  Upgrade the house.  Go back to college.  Pay a real babysitter and go get laid.  Do something.  It’s your money now whether you like it or not.”

I have no idea how I ended up with such a kick ass sister-in-law.  She’ll never best my missing twin but she comes damn close some days.

Chapter 3.29

Several months after Harper’s birth we were all chugging along as normal.  I headed over to Adam’s house for a much needed adult afternoon.  Nothing super special because my sister-in-law, Hannah was due to give birth any day now.

We had tea and chatted about my need for a bigger house and her need for a smaller belly.

“Why don’t you put in an offer on the house behind ours?  It’s right across the alley.  It would be perfect!”

“When did it go up for sale?!  Also, I have no money so that’s one reason…”

The conversation didn’t get any farther than that.  It was time to meet ADAM’S kid.  I didn’t have time to ponder the idea of my baby brother being a father.  Hannah needed a driver.

That evening Violet June Hanks happily joined our family.

The next morning I went over to check out the house.  Three bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, a huge backyard.  It was perfect for us.

How could I not love it?  How could I possibly afford it?

I knew what I had to do.  I took Olivia’s paintings to the consignment shop.  It was one of the toughest decisions I’ve ever made but Liv would want her kids to grow up in a house and not a shithole apartment.

I may have tried to make money some other ways too.  I would get those kids a house by any means necessary.

Chapter 3.26

Welcome to Storybrook County!

We couldn’t have chosen a nicer home.  It had a huge downtown area for the city-girl in me!

There are wonderful beaches right down the road!

And rolling country hills are just outside of the suburbs.  This is a perfect place to raise children!

And speaking of children…the peanut is ready to bust into the world any day now.

Unfortunately the only place we could afford wasn’t the most child friendly area.  Yes, it does have a playground but it’s a little cramped.

It was cheap and since we came with little more than the clothes on our backs it would have to do for a bit.

I made sure the kids had nicely furnished rooms.

But we were short on playthings.

The first priority was getting some toys.  ASAP.

I hauled Bug’s butt to the toystore and told her to go crazy.  She literally went crazy.  And then she spent $2000 on toys for her and her brother.  It pretty much wiped out the bank account but it was worth it.

“PENNY!  Dylan’s eating the dolls again!”

“It’s ok, Bug.  He got that from your mother.  She always ate the dolls, too.”

We were all getting along surprisingly well without Liv.  Dylan seems mostly unphased by it and I’m not sure he actually remembers Liv and Mike.  Katie has taken on the role of ultimate protector and it doesn’t matter how annoyed she is with her brother she never sends him away.

“Darn it, Dylan!  That one was going to be great.”

“My block!”

“Ok, ok.  You can have it.  Just ask next time.”

When I wasn’t watching the kids or worrying about money, I was spending my time getting acquainted with my new sister-n-law.  Adam ran into Hannah Preston down at the grocery store the week we moved in and three months later she was Hannah Hanks.  Pretty soon she’s going to be Mama Hanks!  They just announced her pregnancy last week.

As for me, I’m busy learning how not to screw up my daughter.  I have less than 2 weeks to go.  Here’s hoping I can learn fast!

Credits

Storybrook County: My Sims Realty

Townies:

Note from SweetPoyzin:

  • Xander is now married to Gabby Gonzalo
  • Momo MoSneakers is married to Gavin Gonzalo
  • I did move the rest of the Lox-Hanks crew to Storybrook County.  Pretend you don’t see them if they randomly pop up in background scenes.

Chapter 3.25

Note from SweetPoyzin:  Bad things come in threes…sorry again.

With all the shit happening in my life something was bound to break.  It was work.  I got sloppy on the job and  a patient died during a routine surgery.  I was put on leave and that’s when I made a decision.  I called Adam to tell him.

“The kids and I are leaving.”

“WHAT!?  Why!?  Just because someone died on your watch doesn’t mean you will lose your job.”

I sighed.  “I’ve already lost my job, Adam.”

I couldn’t even look him in the eye.  My little brother had stood by my side for years but this blind faith in me was too much.

“Stephen and I were having an affair.”

“YOUR BOSS!?  God damn it, Penelope.  Why can’t you stay out of trouble?”

“DON”T FUCKING JUDGE ME, ADAM!  In the past 3 months I have lost my twin, my marriage, and my job –”

“They were my family, too.”  He said quietly.

At that moment I realized I was not the only one still hurting.  I was just the only one handling it so poorly.

“Fuck.  You’re right.  At any rate I need a fresh start.  The kids and I are moving to Storybrook county…next week.”

“Fair enough.  I’ll pack my things.”

“Adam.  Don’t be ridiculous.  You just bought a house.”

“Yeah, well it looks like I’m selling it now.  We both know you need someone to keep you out of trouble.  And I need to be the fun uncle to these two monsters.  Sugar before bedtime and all that jazz.”

“Well…college?”

“Storybrook County is even closer to University.  I’ll live there while I attend classes.  Boom.  Next excuse?”

“Alright.  Pack your things.  You only have a week.”

And with that we were off to our next big adventure.

Chapter 3.23

Note from SweetPoyzin: Sorry it’s so short.  I didn’t want to do it but it had to be done for reasons that will be explained later.

Car accident.  It was worse than I could have imagined.  We lost Mike, too.

Mom was a mess.  Someone had to plan a funeral.  So I got on the phone and made the arrangements.

“Yes, yes I’m sure I want it on the beach.  Yes, only black table clothes and chairs.  No, make sure everything else is colorful.  Yes, I’m sure she would have wanted lots and lots of color.”

After I made the plans Xander grabbed me.

“Let’s take the kids.  You know Mike and Liv would have wanted them to be raised by family.  Who better than you?”

Bug and Pickle.  Shit.  I hadn’t even thought about the kids.  I may have lost my twin but they lost everything.

“The social worker stopped by when you were on the phone.  There’s a hearing tomorrow.  If you want them she said all you have to do is show up.  We should do this, Penny.  Liv would kick your ass if you let them go into foster care.”

He was right.  I have no idea where I am going to put them but they have to come here.  Tomorrow.

The next day before the funeral I headed to the courthouse.  I wished that convincing a judge I’d be a good parent was the most difficult part of my day but it would only get worse from here.

The venue was perfect.  It was just what Liv would have wanted.

I wished that Mom’s photos were being used for a better purpose but I wanted a celebration just like we used to have for our birthdays.  We were going to celebrate her life not mourn her death.

I still lost my shit when I saw her urn though.  How was I ever going to raise her children the same way she would have.  She was so much better than me at everything.  How was I going to get through this without the person who had been through everything with me?

Katie handled it all so well.  She stood there and let others mourn for her mother but never cried.  I knew we would be dealing with that later but for now I was glad she kept herself together.

Mom and I did the eulogy.  We did our best at least.

We both looked a little crazy but I don’t think anyone was going to hold it against us.

Later Adam, Bug, Pickle, and I went to the cemetery together.

We all just cried and held each other.  It was the best we could do.

We had all lost the glue that held us together.  It was up to us to hold each other together now.

Please, please, please.  Olivia, if you can hear me…please help me raise these babies.