Chapter 3.20

Suddenly winter turned to spring and summer was nearly upon us.  I started working in the garden again and Adam prepared for graduation.

Xander rocked the upgrades and gave the entire house a boost.

Adam was also making a bit of a name for himself as a writer.  He had moved past comic books and into novels.  He was bringing in nearly as much money as I was…only it took me an entire week and he got it done in one day.  He’s doing it right.

I prepped for Adam’s birthday and went on a gift spending spree.  I snagged him a guitar and a laptop.

Xander remembered how often his own laptop died in college and so he upgraded Adam’s to be unbreakable.

Oh…I may have gotten him the car he wanted, too.

Then it was time for the party.  I used my new oven to make the cake.  I am really becoming a little…obsessed.

We set up the table with all of Adam’s awards.  He won something in every club and prom king.  He’s going places.  At least, he better be after all this time I put into him!

Everybody showed up.  Well, everyone but mom and dad.  The baby was sick so they had to miss out.

Adam was more or less amused by the party antics.  He just wanted to be done with the mess.

Before too long…

…he was done.  My baby brother was an adult.

Adam took his college entrance exams and all his planning paid off.  He ended up getting scholarships in whatever degree he wanted.  Now all he had to do was choose one.

“Fine arts.”  He announced on graduation day.  “Or communications.  One of those.  Yep.”

“Good choice, kiddo.  One of those…yep.”  I wasn’t too worried.  Adam has always had a good head on his shoulders so I had no doubt he would settle on something eventually.

Xander and I got to the ceremony early.  We were loitering when we saw  him.

“I have arrived.  Yes, yes, thank you.  I know I am amazing.”

“Oh, Christ.  Get in there and graduate you dumbass,”  I said as I rolled my eyes.

Adam was named Valedictorian and Most likely to have five kids.  Good luck to him if that is true!

“Bow down to my awesomeness, Penelope.  I am BOOMSAUCE!”

Despite having no idea how long his god-like mindset was going to last I was mostly just glad that I had raised a successful, college bound graduate regardless of my own faults.

My prayers of gratitude were interrupted.

“So…we’re down a kid and that one wasn’t even ours.”

“HA!  I have to change.”  I had a vague idea of what Xander was getting at but I just didn’t want to go there today.

“Penny?  Let’s have a baby.”

There it was.  We had been dancing around it for months.  Here we were, nearly one year married and child-free.  I liked it.  It was good.  Why mess that up with a kid?

“Erm…what?”  Smooth, Penny, I thought to myself.

“Yeah, baby.  You’ll be a wonderful mother.  Look how well you did with Adam!  If we had one of our own you would be just as awesome if not more!”

“Oh, yeah.  Well, I guess.”  He wanted this so badly.  I’m sure he was right that I’d be a great mother.

“So…let’s throw caution to the wind?  Toss the pills and stuff, yeah?”

“Yeah, yeah ok,” I said with less reluctance that I expected.

What had I gotten myself into now?

Chapter 3.8

I woke up around 2:30am on Sunday morning thinking Adam was finally wandering in from Prom.

When I got up to ask him how the dance went I came face to face with someone trying to steal my egg gem collection!

Don’t mess with my egg gems.  I took that bitch down!  The cops came but they were useless.  The woman ran right past them out the door.

When I woke up next time it was 9am and Adam was working on his latest comic book.  He’s really becoming well-known in the nerd community and his comics are bringing in a bit of money.

We both agreed that from now on I was the sole chef of the house.  We had a good laugh about the horrible waffles but money is tight and we cannot afford to be wasting food.

Adam went and got himself cursed by the fortune-teller and it’s really causing us some financial problems.  Every morning at 12:01 AM my bank account hits $0.  It doesn’t matter how much money was in there, it is immediately drained.

Which usually leaves me with no way to purchase groceries, pay bills, or pay for the procedure tomorrow.

I headed down to Mom’s gallery to sell some of my photos from my trip.  I hoped they wouldn’t sell today but tomorrow morning so that the money would still be worth something.

I also donated some of my relics to the museum area Mom set up in one wing of the gallery.

I figured while I was out I should go and visit my parents and meet my new sister, Ericka.

I was happy to see Dad looking well despite of the cancer.  Mom was still fuming that he hadn’t told her and they spent my whole visit arguing.  I didn’t even get a chance to hug Dad or talk to Mom.

I went upstairs to meet Ericka and was shocked to find that the kid looked just like me.  Purple skin, black hair, her eyes were a blue-green that hinted at my own.

I couldn’t help but wonder if the thing in my body would look like me.  I put Ericka back in her crib and got the hell out of that house before I did something I would regret tomorrow.

I ran home and threw Adam in the car.  I needed some normalcy to life and the Fall Festival was just the place for that.

I think Adam got that because he suddenly had a take no prisoners attitude with the festival games.  He beat me at the pie eating contest.

He beat me at apple bobbing.  He would have beaten me at the mechanical bull, too but I refused to ride it.

We picked pumpkins for carving.  Adam made sure to grab a few extra so that we could use them for food.  Smart kid.  He’s learning!

Granny Liddy and Aunt Holly were also at the festival that night and we had a picnic and caught up with each other.  It was weird that Granny wasn’t pregnant since that’s how I always remember her when I was growing up.

Finally we got home after midnight.  Adam and I carved our pumpkins and ignored the fact that we were both exhausted.  Tomorrow would come too soon if we slept.

I carved a boring pumpkin while Adam got a little silly with his.  We stuck them out in front out the house even though Halloween was over a week away.

Adam finally made it to bed at 3 in the morning.  I felt bad because he’d be so tired at school.  I wasn’t the least bit sleepy.

Tomorrow was going to suck.

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!”

“AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!”

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!

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.

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.

Chapter 2.35

Note from SweetPoyzin: This chapter is from Garrett’s POV.  I always regretted Victor not having his say in Generation One.  Well, we’re coming to the end of Generation Two and Garrett is in the same position.  So now, on the eve of Adam’s birthday, it’s Garrett’s turn to speak.

A Second Note from SweetPoyzin: My game hates Adam.  More specifically it hates his birthday.  My hard drive crashed after aging him up to a child the first time.  The second time my mouse stopped working and the party guests went home unhappy (I was lucky to save).  This third time Adam was unable to use the birthday cake no matter where I placed it.  Regardless Adam aged up but there is a weird blank spot where the whole cake thing should be.  Sorry.  Let’s hope this is the last catastrophe.

I’m not really a sentimental man.  I don’t get weepy and I don’t always think deep thoughts about life and whatnot.  Lately, though, we’ve been redecorating the house with some old photos we found in the attic.

My kids…well they aren’t little kids anymore.

Adam, my only other source of testosterone in this house, is growing up today.  He’s gonna be a kid!  It’s going to be great.  We’ll play football and soccer.  We’ll go boating and fishing!

First we have to get him out of his baby sister’s room.  We’ve been remodeling his nursery into a “big boy room” and so he’s been hanging out with Lucy.

Since my son doesn’t have a birthday everyday, I called work and told them I wouldn’t be coming in today.  I’m spending the day with my family!

Adam was wide awake when I went in to grab him.  He looked happy as usual.  This kid is awesome when it comes to being happy and laid back.

“Hey, Monster!  Are you ready for your birthday today?”

“Yes.  But Daddy…Will there be cookies?”

The serious look on his face and the worry in his voice made me burst out laughing.

“Cookies, you ask?  I think there will be cookies.  But first there will be RASPBERRIES!”

“AHHHHHHH”

Adam’s giggle fills my heart until I think it will burst.  We really lucked out on the adoption front.  And to think…I wanted to say no.  I thought life was complete with just my girls but Adam and Lucy?  They were the parts I never knew were missing.

“Come on, nugget.  Let’s get you dressed and then you go play!”

While I was cleaning up the play room I heard giggles from the kitchen.

That could only mean trouble for Mollie.

“Mama…are those cookies for me?”

“They won’t be for anyone if you don’t let me finish making them, Cookie Monster!”

“Come on, Champ.  Let’s get out of Mommy’s hair.  Grab some toys and we’ll bury them in the sandbox!”

“AWESOME!”

“You know, Adam, your sisters and I used to play out here, too!”

“They don’t love me anymores.”

“Why do you think that, Nugget?”

“They leaved.  Theys didn’t get me a birthday present either.  I got them presents from my own toy box.  But theys forgot about me.”

“Come here, Nugget.  They didn’t forget you.  They grew up and they have their own lives.  One day you will grow up, too.  You’ll forget about your old man and have your own life.”

“I’ll never forget you, Daddy!  And I’ll always give you lots of presents!”

While Mollie played with Adam in the front yard I ran inside and changed the name on some of the presents.  I know Penny and Liv love their baby brother.  I just wanted to make sure he knows that, too.

I’ll write an email to the girls to let them know they bought their brother that robot action figure he wanted so badly.

While we waited for the guests to arrive, Mollie, Adam, and I sat on the front porch making bad jokes to each other.

“Adam…Why do firemen wear red suspenders?”

“I dunno, Daddy…why?”

“To hold their pants up!”

“Oh, jeez, Garrett…that was terrible!”

Mollie has never been a fan of my bad jokes.  Adam’s giggle whenever I tell one is winning her over though.

Adam’s eyes lit up when he realized the gifts were for him.  I had to keep holding him back from the gift table and finally Mollie and I decided to distract him with cake.  It was, of course, his birthday cake but the guests didn’t mind.  After all, Grammy Liddy and Gramps Vic have been there done that with the toddler scene!

After the party Mollie and Liddy were cleaning up and I snagged Adam.

“Hey, Nugget!  I want you to see this.”

“Dad, that’s Lucy.  I’ve seen her.  Did I mention I’ve also smelled her?”

“She’s your baby sister, Nugget.  See how small she is?  When I’m gone I want you to always look out for her and protect her, okay?”

“Uh, sure Dad.  Are you feeling ok?”

“Just fine, son. Just fine.  Come on…I’ve got another surprise for you!”

“Wanna see your new big boy room!”

“YEAH!  DON’t DROP ME!”

Adam was totally taken aback.  I’d like to say I had a part in this but it was all Mollie and Victor.   He built all the furniture and painted while Mollie thought up the whole design.

“OH WOW!  This is so COOL!  OH MY GOSH!  Is that…”

We aren’t really dog people.  Or cat people.  But we thought it was important for a kid to have a pet.  So we got him a gecko.

“Hey there, friend.”

“What are you going to name him, Nugget?”

“His name is Theodore Q. Rumplefugly.”

“Wow!  That’s quite a name, kiddo.  Should we call him Rumple for short?”

“Ugh…Dad.  His friends call him Cue Ball…because he’s bald.  Jeez.”

I was impressed with the creativity Adam possessed.  I have so many hopes for him but as long as he is happy I’ll be okay with whatever he chooses.

“Alright, say goodnight to Cue Ball.  It’s time for bed!”

“NO!  Daddy, it’s my birthday!”

“Tough cookies.  Get your pajamas on, kiddo.  If you hurry I’ll read you a bedtime story!”

And by bedtime story, I meant Science textbook.  It’s never too early to get a jump-start on knowledge.

He loved it.  That’s my boy!

For not being sleepy the kid conked out pretty fast.  It had been a big day for everyone.  I cannot believe this little guy is a kid.  He’s been part of our lives for five years already!

“Goodnight, Nugget.”  I whispered good thoughts in his ear in hopes he wouldn’t have nightmares.  After watching him breathe for several minutes I snuck out of his room to go find Mollie.

She was downstairs watching old home movies.  On the TV table she had placed a new photo.

“Damn, I forgot I had an earring back in the day.  Shit, Mol, we’re getting old.”

“Not that old though!  I’m only turning 40!  And what are you?  35!  Knock it off!”

“We’ve got a lot to plan in the next couple of weeks.  Lucy’s birthday is next and we’re doing that the same day as our Feast Day party.  Then your birthday and I’ve got that planned.  What do you want for your birthday?”

“I want my girls home.  I heard from Penny today.  She sent an email.  I’ll read it to you tomorrow.  Let’s go to bed.”

Chapter 2.31

Our house was already full before Lucy came along.  We had maxed out the space and all the bedrooms were taken.

Luckily I still had some money from my photography business and Garrett was still getting royalties on his books.  It was time for some redecorating before I went crazy from cleaning!

We told the girls they would be moving into the office,  It was the biggest room in the house  that could accommodate two teens.  They were initially ticked off about having to give up their own spaces but when Garrett told them he would install a door from their room to the guest bathroom it was all better.  We even told them they could decorate their own space.

They called it “dorm chic.”  I called it “I can’t believe I let my teenage daughters become interior decorators.”  Also…Why are they thinking about college NOW?!  I’m not old enough for that yet!

We turned Adam’s old nursery into our office.  It wasn’t as spacious as our old one but it had enough room for everyone to still enjoy their hobbies.

We moved Adam into Penny’s old room.  It had the more masculine feel to the bathroom with its blue tub.  After some new wallpaper and new ceiling lamps it was the perfect place for our little man.

Last but not least we did Lucy’s room.  We kept the wallpaper the same and most of the decor, too.  We did have to get some new baby furniture.  We just weren’t expecting another girl…or boy for that matter!  We weren’t thinking new baby at all!

After the excitement of bringing Lucy home and remodeling the house, we quickly fell into our new routine.

Garrett loved being a new dad again.  Despite having to go to work early each morning he got up with Lucy every time she cried.  I offered to do it so he could rest but he wanted to do it.  He said since I have to deal with four kids all day while he is working makes up for his work at night.

Adam still wasn’t sleeping totally through the night.  Garrett would get up and snuggle Adam until he felt safe enough to fall back to sleep.

I always make sure the fridge is stocked with plenty of yummy midnight snacks for Garrett.  It seems only fair to have fresh-baked cookies around if he is going to work so hard for us.

Those cookies, however, seem to stick with me since Lucy came along.  I must be getting older.  Post-baby weight and cookies are staying with me much longer than they use to when I was younger.

I can say that getting older and wiser has its perks!  I am much better at this mothering thing this time.  Especially now that I have teenagers.  These little ones seem so much easier compared to twin teenage girls!

Lucy does this.  This is all she does.  She’s a bit boring if I do say so myself!

Adam is slightly more exciting…but not really.  He eats things.  He uses the potty chair.  Sometimes he says things.

No biggie.  What do my teenagers do?

They talk to their boyfriends at 3 in the morning making them too tired to get to the bus on time meaning I have to drive them to school while juggling two cranky younger children.

They plan ways to sneak out of the house and go to a concert we prohibited them from seeing.  Then they get caught by the cops and are dropped off at the door at midnight waking up two sleeping babies which keeps everyone up for hours.

They also make their own dinner and do their own homework without being asked.  Penny has received a huge scholarship to medical school and Liv has gotten a full ride scholarship to art school

I guess they aren’t that bad after all.

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.