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 3.27

Before too long our tiny apartment became home.

Bug and Pickle made sure there was plenty to welcome Baby Peanut when she got here.

Early one morning in spring I woke up knowing it was time to bring Peanut into the world.  Despite never having birthed a baby something told me she was ready.

I got up and prepared breakfast before Bug went off to school.  Today was going to be as normal as possible regardless of fact that I was going to push a bowling ball out of my vagina in a few short hours.

The thought of what I was going to do was slightly shocking a bit painful to think about.  Dear God…I was going to be a mother.

The kids were oblivious to my peril (probably because there wasn’t any) but I still liked having them close.  Bug ran off to school without a look back  and I was left with Pickle.

We got in some good playtime before my contractions started.

“Are you ready to help with a baby?”

“I da baby.”

Just then I was hit by more than just a tiny contraction.

“Mama Peenee hurt?” The concern in my nephew’s voice hurt almost as much as the contractions.

“No, honey.  The baby just wants out.”

“Bad baby.  No hurt Peenee.”

I called the babysitter and told her to hurry.

I sat down on the couch but knew there wasn’t time for sitting.  I needed to get dressed.  Like hours ago.

I threw on some clothes and tried to be quite so I wouldn’t scare Pickle even more.

That plan failed.  The babysitter was still en route but there wasn’t time to wait.  I yelled across the hall for the neighbor to keep an ear out because I had to go.

I drove myself in spite of being in hard labor.  That’s just how I roll.

After 15 hours of labor Harper Gray Hanks came into the world.  She didn’t have an ounce of her father in her so I saw no need to tack on his name as a reminder.

It wasn’t long after I got home when it become painfully obvious that we were going to need a bigger place…soon.

Penny’s Prologue

I returned from college and everything was changing.

Mom was preparing for her baby boy to go from boy to…man boy?  Whatever a teenage boy is I guess.

Little Lucy’s photo adorned the fireplace as the final tribute to the Hanks family saga.

Oh…Colleen went from being a Lox to a Parker and welcomed little Jonah Donaldson Parker.

That was interesting…She was dating a guy named Forrest Donaldson when I left.  Aunt Lanya said something about Grampa Vic convincing Dad to banish Forrest in some sort of revenge against all men impregnating unmarried daughters thing.

It’s all rumor of course.  Although Forrest is missing…whatevs.

Speaking of shotgun weddings…Mike finally proposed to Liv.  Probably with Dad watching from the porch threatening him with bodily harm…or banishment.  Either way I came home just in time for the wedding!

Well, not everything’s changed.  Mom and Dad were still all over each other…ALL THE TIME.  Ew.

“There’s my favorite person!  Hi there little awesome niece!”

“It’s nice to see you too, Penny.  I mean, Doctor Hanks.”

“Jealous, I see.  Get used to it, deary.  This baby is so my favorite person ever.”

“We are going to have so much fun!  She’s going to be my little sidekick and she will worship my awesomesauce.”

“Please stay away from my daughter when she is learning to talk.  I never want to hear awesomesauce from the mouth of a 2 year old.”

“Oh, Liv.  Lighten up.  She will say all the things.  And I will teach her.”

The next morning I was helping Liv get ready for her wedding.  She really did glow.  I, on the other hand, did not.

Glowing isn’t my thing on a good day.  I wasn’t sure this was a good day.

“Can you believe I am getting married?”

“I can believe it.  I can’t believe you are having a shotgun wedding.  What were you thinking, Liv?”

Before she could answer it was time to head off for the ceremony.

I had to admit, she really did look happy.  As obnoxious as it was losing my twin to marriage I knew that we had to part ways at some point.

At least Mike makes her smile in a way that nobody else can.  So help me I will do terrible things to that man if he ever hurts my twin.  I’m a brain surgeon now…and only average, too…I can really eff him up!

I’m not going to think about that in the context of actual patients.

Poor Adam!  With all the crap going on involving banishments, weddings, and babies we pretty much missed his birthday.  We honestly grabbed junk from around the house and called it presents.

He went with it!  This means my brother is either super sweet and amazing or totally unobservant and dumb.  I am going to guess he’s just awesome.

One morning about a month before AwesomeSauce the Kid (Liv totally hates that name) arrived I took her shopping for some baby items.  Mike had bought them an old farmhouse and was renovating it which meant I got to play baby room designer.

Can I just say…I was super excited to go to the toystore.  After dropping about $500 in toys for the tot we headed off to buy some real furniture for the house.

The store was a bit overwhelming.  Lucky for me, Liv knew what she wanted so I just wandered and enjoyed looking at things I can’t afford to purchase.

The baby section was the best.  I, of course, spent my time figuring out how to spoil my niece.  Liv took the logical approach and bought essential items.

“You know, Liv…I never pictured you as a farmer.”

“Well, Penny, I never pictured you as a doctor.”

“Touche.”

Liv totally went all the way with this farmer thing.  Cows and chickens.  This should be a reality show.

I have to say that Liv and Mike will be awesome parents.  The rest of the house is furnished with cheap furniture so they could afford the best stuff for Baby Girl Hepworth.

I mean, it’s like a fairy tale in that room.  The kid will totally be aware that she is a girl.

After a long day of shopping we returned to home.  Two hours later I heard Liv scream from the music room.

“OH MY GOD!  LIV YOU’RE IN LABOR!  WHAT DO I DO!”

“YOU WENT TO MEDICAL SCHOOL AND YOU’RE ASKING ME WHAT TO DO?!”

“I STUDIED BRAIN SURGERY NOT BIRTHING BABIES!  HOSPITAL!  WE SHOULD GO THERE!”

I got us there without killing anyone!  I was so proud.

I called Mike (once the nurse told me maybe I should call the father) and he hurried over from his renovations.  Nobody expected the baby to come a month early but here we were.

The next evening we all piled in a taxi headed for home.

Everyone was excited to meet Katherine Penelope Hepworth.

I had no idea Liv and Mike were making me a namesake.  Everyone calls her Katie but I call her Bug.  Katydids are a Bug.  It’s unique.  I’m not weird.

Three weeks later we packed Liv, Mike, and Katie off to their new house and things returned to normal.

Well, until Mom stopped me one day.

“I’m pregnant!”

“I’m so buying a house and moving out.  I mean, congratulations!”

Chapter 2.30

Author’s Note: My readers are probably used to this by now but immediately before writing this chapter I downloaded Midnight Hollow.  That being said I may have added a toy store to Starlight Shores.  Mollie and Adam may have visited that store in hopes of it being a plot line but I may have been so excited about the new objects that there may only be one random photo from this adventure.  It’s gonna be a little weird when we get there.  Try to go with it.  Thanks.

Yes, I am mother of the year.  I couldn’t help it.  I was nine months pregnant, caring for a toddler, and trying to parent two ridiculously rebellious teenage daughters.  I was bound to fall asleep in the rocking chair while my toddler son is eating in the other room.

His screaming when he was finished eating jolted me awake.  Well, he wasn’t dead yet so I wasn’t a total failure yet.

A new toy store had just opened downtown and I thought it would be fun to take Adam to get some new toys before the baby arrived.  I packed him up after breakfast and off we went.

He loved the toys.  They even had an area where the kids could try out the toys.  There was also a sitting area for parents and I may or may not have fallen asleep again.

This was a huge mistake.  When I woke up Adam was gone.

The clerk told me a woman named Victoria had taken him outside to the merry-go-round.  I had never seen her before but the clerk said she knew Adam.

I tracked her down outside behind the building.  She still had Adam with her.

“YOU!  Give me my son!”

“NO!  Wait!  Let me explain!”

“I DON’T WANT TO HEAR IT.  YOU STAY AWAY FROM MY FAMILY!”

I toadified her.  I wasn’t even sure I knew how to perform that spell correctly.  I had never done it before.  I couldn’t help it.  I went into Mama Bear mode and reacted.

Adam seemed unconcerned.  I bought him one of everything in the store and then we left the store immediately.

When we returned home I set Adam down in the play room.  I found Garrett in the den reading the paper.  I didn’t want to tell him about the incident at the toy store because I was the one who was sleeping on the job, literally.  I didn’t want him to know I had almost failed as a mother twice in one day.

“Hey, you.  I know I’m as big as a whale but do you think you could look past my house-like size and make some time for a frisky woman?”

“It’s cute that you think you have to ask.”

Before heading upstairs with Garrett I made sure to check on Adam.  After the day we’d had I was worried he might have licked an outlet or something.  He was fine.  His real dilemma was trying to decide if he should play with his drum, car, train or one of his older toys.  Rough life.

An hour later I came down to get Adam ready for bed.

“Oh, goodness.  Mommy’s belly is getting too big for this!  I hope you are ready to be a big brother soon.  Mommy’s tummy hurts tonight.”

“Baby make mama hurt?  Bad baby!”

“No, honey.  The baby isn’t bad.  It just really wants mommy to let it out so it can meet you!”

“I DA BROVER!”

“Yes, you are, sweetie.”

It was only about four hours later that I woke up and knew that it was go time.

“Garrett, we gotta go!”

Garrett was really helpful at this point.  We had a plan but he seemed unable to follow it.

“WHAT DO I DO?  Oh, my God.  What do I do!?”

“Garrett!  Tell the girls we are leaving and they are in charge of Adam.”

“Oh my God!  I gotta wake the girls!”

I’m glad this is the last time we have to do this.  He is so not helpful when it comes to this birth thing.

I did feel a bit sad that this is the last time I will feel the excitement of a tiny life growing inside my body.  It is a pretty fantastic experience.

There wasn’t much time for thinking.  This little nugget was on it’s way.

The next day we brought Lucille Kathleen Hanks home with us.  She was a bit of a surprise since we both expected a boy but we love her nonetheless.  She has quite the set of lungs on her.  She’s the piece we didn’t know was missing.  Now, we are complete.

Chapter 2.20

At the end of fall we decided to host a Feast Day party to get my mind off the fact that I still wasn’t pregnant.  At least we were trying to host a party but Penny has developed a rebellious streak and tried to destroy our pumpkins several times.

She finally succeeded while I was putting the finishing touches on the pumpkin pie.  She was upset when she got grounded for the night.

I was very excited about all the food that everyone brought.  We wanted to have a party for just close family and friends but some random guy showed up and brought waffles.

Garrett and I decided he was probably harmless and in the spirit of the season we let him stay.  I offered him some of my mothers famous teppenyaki shrimp.

Obviously missing from the party was my brother’s very pregnant wife.  It was the topic of conversation of course.  When was she due?  How was she doing?  Boy or girl?  Any names picked out?  I didn’t want to talk about it.

My mother had recently given birth, too.  Garrett went over to get the details since I didn’t want to deal with that.

Holly was a beautiful little fairy that looked just like me apparently.  She was born with jet black hair and fair blue eyes.

Great…my mother is having babies that look like me.  Of course, I look like me because of my parents but that is not the point.

Colleen and the twins played tag outside until late into the night.  It would be one of the last warm nights until spring so we let them play outside until they were too tired to continue.

My phone rang while I was talking to Oliver.  It was the hospital an they were calling about Lanya.  They didn’t think they should call him directly with the news so they called the emergency number Lanya had given the doctors.  That was my number.

I asked him to step outside so we could speak privately.

“Ollie, that was the hospital.  Lanya just gave birth to a healthy son.  You’re a daddy.  They are both doing just fine.

“She had the baby?  I missed it?  I’m already a terrible father!”

“You are not!  It just didn’t take as long as doctors thought it would.  They would have called but by the time she got to the hospital the baby was nearly here.  There wouldn’t have been enough time even if you did know.”

“Here, this is for the baby.  What’s his name?”

“Luka.  Luka Oliver Lox.”

“You are going to be a wonderful dad, Ollie.  Luka is a lucky little boy.”

“Thanks, sis.  And I know this was difficult for you.  Don’t worry.  You’ll get your chance.  I just know it.”

“Thanks, Ollie”

After all the excitement Ollie went straight to the hospital to meet his son.  Mom and Dad had to go home to Holly.  Garrett and I, however, were left with a disaster but it was well worth it.

Chapter 2.5

My mommy sense was right about one thing.  We were meeting our child sooner rather than later.  I was wrong on the time. About 2am I woke up with terrible contractions.

“GARRETT!”

I felt like I could barely get his name out of my mouth I was in so much pain.

“Garrett…get my clothes…we’ve got a baby on the way!”

I should be thankful the man was able to hand me my clothes.  Oh my goodness he was a mess.

I drove myself to the hospital while my dad tried to pull Garrett together at the house.  My mom actually went into labor shortly after I did so my dad drove his pregnant wife and my husband to the hospital.

They arrived only just after I did so my dad helped me to the maternity ward.  My husband passed out and was being helped by the emergency room staff.

My little sister was born first.  Colleen Jennette Lox was born at 8:34am.  My mom finally got her fairy baby.

She also thought it would be cute to have Mollie, Ollie, and Collie as her children.  Nice.

Four hours later I welcome our first child into the world.  Penelope Lynette Hanks was born at 12:20pm.

Six minutes after Penny we were surprised to meet our second child.  Olivia Lucille Hanks followed her sister into the world at 12:26pm.

We are so going to need a bigger house.

Author’s Note: The twins were completely unplanned.  There was no fertility treatment, no potion, no kid’s tv, no sauna.  She just randomly decided to have twins.  Awesome.  Which is sarcasm because I am not a huge fan of multiples.

Chapter 2.4

I swear that my mother is superwoman.

During our third trimesters she tended the garden…

and cooked two weeks worth of meals so the family would have plenty to eat while we were recovering from delivery.

She even made sure I had all my food cravings satisfied.  If I wanted to eat it, she had it ready.  I am so lucky to have her as my mom.

What did I do during my last trimester?

I did some sleeping…

And some more sleeping.  In fact, I slept almost my entire pregnancy.  I ended up quitting my job in the military so I could sleep more.  I took a job as a video game programmer because I could work from home now and when the little one gets here.

Garrett was super great to both me and mom.  Mom said dad was a lot like that during her pregnancies.  Sounds like I got a good one.

“Oh, Garrett, the baby is moving!  Speaking of that…I’m due in a couple weeks.  We need to get our butts in gear and find a house and some baby furniture.”

“Well we will never have a house in time but let’s get some furniture at the consignment shop tomorrow.”

“My mommy sense is tingling.  I think tomorrow will be too late.”

“Oh?”

“Yeah, I think we are gonna meet this little bundle sooner rather than later.”

“Oh.  Yay!?”

“Let’s go to bed, babe.  Tomorrow is going to be a long day.”

Chapter 1.22

As we got closer to my due date I started “nesting”.  I cooked copious amounts of food so we wouldn’t have to worry about that.

After we had finished decorating the new baby’s room I kissed Victor.  I was so excited about where I our story was right now.  He we were…grown up with a house and two kids.  Our jobs were good.  Things were not all that bad, in fact, they were down right perfect!

Well, contractions always suck but at least that means there is something good on the way!

Round four at this place.  I have such a love-hate relationship with this hospital.

This time was a good visit.  Kia was right, we had a son.

Oliver Basil Lox came into our life just after arriving at the hospital.

Since we had a son we decided we needed to redecorate the playroom.  Make it color-friendly for both our children.

We are complete.

Chapter 1.16

The morning after the spicy shrimp, I started having contractions.

It was going to be a long day, so I made us both some coffee.  I couldn’t help but enjoy the fact that I would soon have my body back.  But HOLY CRAP there was going to be a baby here in less than 24 hours.

Victor drank his coffee while I brushed up on my birthing techniques.

“So, Vic…are you ready to meet this baby today?”

“No.  I am not.  Are you ever ready to become a parent?”

That night we ate cookies for dinner in celebration of the day I discovered I was pregnant.

Then I passed out in the chair.  Victor was too nervous to sleep and watched me like a hawk.

At 2am I bolted out the chair.

“VICTOR!  Oh my GOD!  Victor!  We need to go to the hospital!  NOW!

The first time I was here it was because I thought I was pregnant with a kid I didn’t want.

The second time was to resurrect my dead husband.

The third time was to bring my daughter Mollie Annette Lox into the world.

After only four hours of labor, my husband, my daughter, and I went home.

She’s breathtaking.  And to think I didn’t want this.  Now I can’t breathe when I see her.