Saying Goodbye, Saying Hello

Well, this is tough for me, but also exciting!

This website served me so well and got me started on a journey I never expected, but, sadly, it’s time to say goodbye to it. Not because I didn’t love it, but because I loved it so much that I’m growing and expanding!

I’ve purchased (yay) a domain and spent the last few days completely creating a website for you (and me) to enjoy!

Please make sure you update your RSS feeds and add your email to the list so you can get all of my updates. I will still be using the forums to let you know when I’ve posted on The Skinner Saga, but this site is so much more, so don’t rely on the forums to stay completely updated.

Thank you so much for your support and love…it’s what brought this site to life.

Okay, without further ado…

ARoseInBloom Sims

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Feeling Love (And Outdoor Adventure, Part 3) 6.20

Back at camp, Brandon was trying to work up the nerve to tell Thalia how he felt about her, (how did  he feel for her?). They gathered together around the campfire where Thalia took the lead on the conversation. She landed on telling a story about the epic tale of Baby Yeti and his search for his mother.pic 1Brandon tried to pay attention to Thalia’s story, but his mind was easily distracted by the way the fire light sparkled in and highlighted her green eyes. She finished her story, beaming at her creative mind. Brandon smiled at her.

“It’s warm by the fire,” he said. “Let’s play a round of cards.”

“That sounds like a great idea!”pic 2Just stay focused on the game, Brandon. Don’t stare at her. Watcher, this is tough!

The two of them played cards well into the night. Brandon only fleetingly noticed that his mother hadn’t yet returned from her adventure to the bathroom. He briefly contemplated going to look for her, but he trusted that she was safe within the areas of the lodging.


Peyton, who was caught off guard upon hearing her name, searched her brain for the name of the Sim who was waving at her. She recognized his face, but for some reason the name escaped her. Slowly, she approached him, surprised that he became more attractive the closer she got to him.

“Hey,” Peyton said tentatively. She inched closer. “Oh, hey!” she awkwardly added, trying not to sound like she completely forgot his name.

“Awww,” he said sarcastically. Then he added, “I’m so glad I’m forgettable!”pic 3Peyton frowned. “I’m sorry. I recognize your face. I just can’t quite place it with a name”

“It’s okay. Name’s Dale.”

Peyton wracked her brain in an attempt to remember from where she knew Dale. Then a story popped into her mind. She recalled a conversation that Madison and she had many moons ago where Madison went to the gym, (the day she met her husband, Mark!), and was hit on by a cocky, over confident man named Dale. Peyton ran into Dale at the gym herself, but she avoided him as often as she could. The first time they ran into each other, Dale couldn’t stop talking about Madison. After that, Peyton stopped going to that gym.

“Oh, Dale! Hi! Yes, I remember you. Madison is married now. With a child. So…sorry.” Peyton turned on her heel and tried to walk away. She didn’t get very face before Dale called her back.

“I’m happy for her, though that’s not why I called your name. I am happy to see you. You look wonderful. Tell me about you.” He looked at her wedding ring. “I see you’re married. That Sim is very lucky.”

Peyton glanced down at the ring, suddenly embarrassed that she still wore it. She truly wasn’t sure why she still did. “Oh, yes. He was. Unfortunately, he passed away a while ago.”

Dale frowned. “I’m sorry to hear that.” Peyton ventured closer to him. “Here,” he said, “have a seat.” Like a gentleman, he got up and offered her his warm place by the fire. Peyton was surprised at how different this Sim was from the young Sim she met so long ago.

“Thank you,” she said taking his spot.pic 4“So, please, tell me what else is new,” Dale said.

“Let’s see. I have four children. Two sets of twins. One set are now teenagers and the other set are very close to it! Oh, and I was just promoted to astronaut, so that’s an exciting personal goal I’ve always wanted to hit!”

Dale looked at Peyton for a moment, taking her in, “That’s amazing! You sound like you have a wonderful life and have been quite busy since we last saw each other.”

“I guess I have,” Peyton sighed.pic 5“That’s great! You’ve accomplished so much!” Dale encouraged. Peyton smiled at him. She was still in a slight shock at how handsome he was–and even more so that he wasn’t the self-absorbed plumhead he used to be. “So, since you’re an astronaut and all, do you think you could point out some of the star constellations for me?”

Peyton laughed. “I can.” She stood up and they walked to a spot where they could see the stars through the trees. “This will work,” she said as she laid down on the ground. Dale followed.pic 6They laid there together for what seemed like an eternity. Why haven’t I done this with anyone before? Peyton thought. They laughed as she answered his many questions about stars and their stories.

“Cassiopeia! It looks like an ‘M’ or, I guess and ‘E’ depending on where you’re standing. The story is that this beautiful goddess was banished to the skies after she went on boasting about how her daughter, Princess Andromeda, was prettier than the Nereids, which were sea nymphs. Anyways, she was punished to have to sit on her throne, circling the celestial North Pole. She has to hold onto it so she doesn’t fall off, so the shape of the constellation is more her awkward dress than her, but you get the point,” she blushed as realized she just completely geeked out on Dale.

“So, what happened to her daughter?” Dale asked, enjoying the sound of Peyton’s voice.

“Oh, well, she was punished by Poseidon to be chained to a rock as prey for some monster, but a hero,  Perseus, came and saved her. They married, eventually.”

“Sounds like a good way to end a tale,” Dale commented.

“Yes,” Peyton said. She thought on it a moment longer and added, “I suppose it is.”

“Of course, I always like it when the girl can save herself,” he winked at Peyton, whose heart fluttered. She stood up.

“Well, Dale…this was really nice. I should really head back to camp and check on my children.”pic 7“Of course,” he replied. Then he added, “I would love to see you again.”

“Oh, well, we’re only on vacation until tomorrow afternoon–”

He interrupted her thoughts, “I was hoping maybe I could see you when we return home. I only live in Oasis Springs, after all.”

She felt like a young girl, all giggly and out-of-place. “Yes! How silly?!? Yes. I would love to see you. Yes. See you then.” Peyton turned and walked away.

“Wait!” Dale called out as he ran to catch up with her, “You didn’t take my number!”

Peyton’s face flushed, “I’m sorry. I haven’t done this in years. And even when I did, I was so bad at it.”

“Don’t worry,” he grinned, “You’re doing a great job. You’ve had me smiling all night.”pic 8They exchanged numbers Peyton ran back to camp, grinning from ear to ear. She found her eldest daughter at the picnic table enjoying a very late night snack, so she sat down and joined her.

“Where have you been?” Braylon questioned.

“Met up with an old,” Peyton couldn’t quite come up with the for it, “Well, a person I once knew and now am getting to know again.”

“You’re grinning like a child! It’s a man. And you love him!” Braylon accused. “No, Mom! I won’t even hear about it!” Peyton was too consumed in her mind to hear her daughter’s complaints.pic 9“Mom! Are you listening to me? You just have to be careful! You hardly know him!”

Finally, Peyton focused in on her daughter’s voice. “Yes. I know. Don’t worry. We just talked. We’re getting to know each other, Bray. I appreciate your concern,” she said in a soothing voice. This calmed her daughter down.

“I’ve wanted you to find someone else since Dad died. I guess I didn’t realize how much it would hurt, though.”

Peyton smiled. While she was sad to know it hurt her daughter, she felt relieved that her heart was no longer heavy with sorrow for Anthony. “Bray, I’m sorry you’re sad. We can talk about him and how you feel whenever. I’m not marrying this man, but it is time for me to move forward.” Braylon nodded her head in understanding.pic 10They finished eating and crawled into their tents. Shortly after, two tents unzippered and out crawled Thalia and Brandon.

“I’m not tired. What about you?” Thalia asked Brandon.

“Nope.” He paused, “Want to stargaze?” She nodded enthusiastically and they both laid down on the ground.

“Do you know the names of any of the constellations?” Thalia questioned. He smiled.pic 11“See that one there?” he pointed. “The one that looks like an ‘M?'”

“Yes.”

“That’s Casseopeia. It’s my mom’s favorite. She used to tell me and Braylon the story behind it all of the time when we were kids.” Brandon proceeded to tell Thalia the same story that Peyton told Dale. She listened closely and applauded his knowledge of mythology.

After stargazing, the two of them returned to their tents. The awoke early the next morning and played some horseshoes. Brandon tried several times to flirt with Thalia, but his attempts were thwarted.

“So, ummm. Thalia. You’re hair. It looks really—”

“Why is this game so plumming hard?” she questioned as she looked towards where her horseshoe landed, ignoring Brandon’s muttering.

“Oh, well, you have to practice!” Brandon replied, covering up his embarrassment. pic 12The sun soon rose on their last afternoon of camping. Peyton woke up, stirred her children awake, and asked for help packing. Not long after, the tents and gear were packed up and the Skinner family was on their way home with renewed, albeit challenged, outlooks on love and life.

Feeling Love (An Outdoor Adventure, Part 2) 6.19

Peyton rose up from the ground on which she was laying and ventured back towards her campsite. She missed her children and wanted to take the opportunity to do something she should have done before she dragged her family on vacation.

“Brandon!?!” she called to her oldest child.

“Mom?”

“Brandon. I didn’t even think to ask, would you like me to invite Thalia? I know she’s your girlfriend””

“Mom! She is not my girlfriend. We are just friends,” Brandon insisted.

“Right,” Peyton said with a giggle, “so, as I was saying, it was a huge oversight for me to not invite her to join us.”

Brandon thought over his mother’s offer. “It would be cool to have her.” Then maybe I can tell her how I really feel.

“Consider it done!”pic 1“Thalia, this is Mrs. Skinner, Brandon’s mom. We’re on a camping trip. If you’d like, I can send a cab for you and you can join us. We leave tomorrow evening.”…”See you soon.”

Peyton smiled at Brandon. She knew he would be excited to see his not-girlfriend. Cayson and Lillion set up a quick game of cards and called to their mother to join them. She happily sat down, grabbed some cards, and put on her game face. Braylon, upon learning about the arrival of another guest, promptly diced up the ingredients for kabobs and got to grilling them.pic 2“Are you nervous about Thalia joining us?” Braylon asked her twin.

“No. She’s my friend and she comes over after school all of the time. This is just a bit longer. It will be fun.”

“Are you going to tell her how you feel?”

“No!” His hands flew to his mouth, “I don’t feel any sort of way, Bray! Stop it!”

“Sure. Whatever you say, brother,” Braylon said with a chuckle.

Brandon moved away from his sister and lit the campfire. The sun was dipping below the horizon and he wanted to have a nice warm fire going for when Thalia arrived. He sat down and warmed his hands.

How do I even feel about Thalia? She has never said anything about romance to me, so I don’t want to scare her. She’s my friend, after all. It’s moments like this when I wish Dad was around so I could ask him some questions.pic 3After losing the card game to Lillion, Peyton joined her son by the fire. “You okay?”

Brandon kept his attention on the fire. “I’m okay. Just a waiting for Thalia to get here.”

Peyton held the silence for a few moments. “If you…you have any questions about girls and stuff, you know you can ask me,” she said awkwardly.

Brandon shook his head. “Yeah. I know, Mom. Thanks.”pic 4“It’s just, I know it’s probably hard for you and your sisters. You didn’t get to see much of a relationship between me and Dad because…well, you weren’t terribly old when he passed.” When Brandon nodded his head, Peyton continued, “When I was a teenager, I told my father that I didn’t need a man and that I wouldn’t marry. I was skeptical on having more than one child–and I only wanted one so I could carry on the legacy–no more, no less. I hit this point in my life,” she said to herself more than her son at this point, “when I decided I didn’t want to be alone. I searched for Sims to marry, but I wasn’t really satisfied.

“Then I met Anthony. I found out I was pregnant before we were married. I was scared, but I knew I loved him so we made plans to get married right after I gave birth. Obviously, I gave birth to twins. Dad came over right away to meet you and your sister. It was then that he told me his elder birthday was that evening. I was surprised, but I knew I couldn’t move forward without him. It was a crippling feeling, Brandon–to know that the man you loved–the father of your children–would die long before he saw them hit their teenage years. I pressed on. I married Dad and we spent as much time as we could just enjoying you and your sister. And then we thought, ‘Why not?’ We could have another child. And maybe in the back of my mind I was hoping that another child would bring some vitality to Anthony. Perhaps it did, but only for a few moments because he was gone shortly after they were born.”

Brandon listened intently to his mother’s story. He had only a few memories of his father and was saddened from his mother’s tale. He didn’t realize how alone his mother had been through her life.

“Then, I raised all four of you. That was it for me. I’m a mom. I’m your mom. I love it. I do. You are all my little gifts and I’m happy that this is the life I have.” Peyton sighed, “But I also think I’m ready to try on some other identities besides ‘mom.'” She looked at her oldest child. “I want you to experience life, Brandon. Whatever life it is that you want. I support you. And, I think it’s time for me to start experiencing a different part of my life. Cay and Lil have their birthdays Thursday. Before you know it, I’ll be an old lady with children who are out in the world, experiencing it. I don’t have forever…I’m too old to be afraid of love. And I would hate it if I passed that on to you and your sisters.”

“I love you, Mom,” was all Brandon could manage to say.

“I love you, too.”

Braylon made her way over to the fire. “Feels intense over here,” she said trying to lighten the mood. “Oh, and also look who finally showed up!”pic 5“Hi!” Thalia said. “This fire looks really nice.”

“Thanks,” Brandon responded. “I’ve been keeping it going!”

Peyton smiled and walked away. Her bladder was ready to pop so she headed towards the bug infested bathrooms to relieve herself. On her way out of the bathroom she heard someone call her name.

“Peyton? Peyton Skinner? Is that really you?”

She spun around in the direction of the voice. She saw a man with his arm in the air, gesturing to her. Her heart skipped a beat.

Feeling Love (An Outdoor Adventure, Part 1) 6.18

All four children arrived home from school and rushed around the house getting together items last minute.

“Did you pack up the cooler?” Braylon asked Brandon.

“No! You’re the cook. I thought you were doing that,” Brandon replied.

Braylon stomped her feet. “You told Mom you were packed and ready this morning! I thought you did it.”

Brandon glared at his twin, “You also told Mom you were packed. Don’t blame this on me!”

Cayson and Lillion dragged their bags down the stairs. “We’re ready!” Cayson announced.

Peyton flung open the door with accomplishment in her eyes. Finally, after working towards it for several weeks, she was promoted to Astronaut–a dream come true and a minor career victory. She smiled at her children. “Are we ready? The cab will be here at any moment.”

About an hour later the family arrived at Granite Falls. They found their lot and started setting up. Their campsite felt homey and inviting. Peyton smiled as she looked around her.pic 1“Alright, I’m trying out this horseshoe pit,” Brandon said. Peyton laughed. She loved having her entire family around her in such a beautiful place.pic 2“While you are all entertaining yourselves, I’m going to take a hike around the area,” Peyton said. “Please keep an eye on the Cayson and Lillion,” she added to Braylon and Brandon.

“You got it, Mom!” Braylon affirmed.

The fresh air cleared Peyton’s mind. She focused only on taking one step, then another. Her daily stresses melted away as she moved further and further on the path. She observed the flowers and the insects. The trees hummed with the tune of the wind. Peyton breathed in and out, admiring the tune of her own breath.
pic 3Back at the campsite, Brandon had started a fire and was strumming on his guitar. Cayson and Lillion sat at the picnic table enjoying the baked potatoes Braylon made. The wilderness suited all four children in unique ways.

Brandon, while a snob, felt exceptionally cheerful outdoors. It was almost as though his snobbish attitude made way for his cheerfulness. Braylon had just begun exercising, so she really appreciated the opportunities that awaited her. Cayson loved the horseshoe pit–as a rambunctious scamp, the chance to productively express her energy was great. Lillion enjoyed the simplicity of the fun she had playing around in the tent.

Strumming his guitar by the firepit, Brandon smiled. He was grateful for his family and for the chance to be away from the madness that was Willow Creek.pic 4Once Brandon finished his song, the youngest twins emerged from their tent eager to share the story they concocted. Lillion gestured for Braylon to move closer to her, so she did.

“This is the story about how I woke up one night and saw Daddy’s ghost watching over me…” Lillion started.pic 5Cayson and Braylon listened closely as Lillion told her story. Peyton arrived back to the campsite and helped herself to some food at the picnic table while she listened to her daughter’s story in the distance. Suddenly, she heard a strange noise to her right and glanced over. She couldn’t believe her eyes. There, right in front of her, the garbage can started floating.pic 6“Okay, Lillion,” Peyton yelled, “that’s enough of that story! I think it’s time for everyone to head to their tents.” She ushered her children to their tents, quickly extinguished the fire, and then zipped herself up in her tent, hoping the ghostly image she saw would leave her alone.

Brandon, who went to bed first, was up first. He checked the contents of the cooler and found some fruit. He decided to grill it up for everyone. Cayson joined him at the table when he was done cooking.pic 7“What do you want to do today, Cay?”

She answered while chomping on her food, “Play horseshoes.”

“Sounds like a good way to spend the day,” Brandon said.

Braylon crawled out of her tent and joined them at the table. “There. Are. So. Many. Mosquitoes!” she complained.

“Tell me about it,” agreed Brandon. “I feel like fruit is only attracting them to the table.”pic 8Peyton’s tent unzipped and she stretched as she straightened herself out, greeting the day. “Bray, Bran, you’re in charge. I’m going for a morning hike over in the main park. This place is magnificent.”

“Uh, okay?” Braylon said with a confused look. “I guess we’ll see you later.”

Peyton strode out towards the main park. She desperately wanted to experience something new and exciting and felt hopeful that she might find something during her hike. Just like yesterday, a relaxed, focused feeling overcame her as she walked through the woods. Unfortunately for her, the feeling was quickly replaced with a tense anxiety. She felt like she was being watched–stalked even.

What is this feeling? Who or what is watching me?

Moments later, she spotted the source of her tension: a bear was following her around. Feeling brave, she decided to run up to the bear and confront it.pic 9“Hi!” said the bear.

Taken back by the bear’s development in speech, Peyton slowed her approach. “Hi?”

“Want to hang out with me?” the bear asked.

“No! I most certainly do not! You’re creepily hanging out in the woods, stalking me. And now that I’m close to you, I get the feeling you’re some sort of criminal! Do you dress up in a bear costume, go to campsites and then steal things? You should be ashamed of yourself!”pic 10“Woah, lady. Relax,” the Sim in the bear outfit replied.

“I can’t relax around you. Leave me alone.”pic 11Peyton stormed away from the Sim in the bear costume. After she regained her composure, she got a whim to find a collectable. Often times her geeky side showed itself in other ways, but being out in nature had stirred something inside of her. She came across something that looked like it could be a gemstone. She squatted down and got to work extracting it.pic 12Peyton’s hard work was rewarded with a beautiful black gemstone: jet. She was excited to take it home and display it for all to see. She stood back up, checked for the Sim in the bear costume, and then continued on her hike. She enjoyed the sounds of the birds as the flew through the forest.  She loved seeing the way the sun rays splattered the ground through the branches and leaves. Eventually, she found herself staring at a strange passage through the rocks and branches.

What could be in here? pic 13She pulled aside the branches and followed the path through to the other side. The view was breath taking, but before she could even enjoy it, a strange, bare footed woman approached her.

“I’m Janeau. Some Sims call me The Hermit, but I’m too friendly to be a hermit. I look at you, child, and I see a Sim who is surrounded in sadness. Tell me about your sadness.”pic 14“Oh, you must be mistaken,” Peyton said. “I am not sad.”

“I am never mistaken, child. Your aura is yellow, green and grey. You’re cautious when it comes to love. You’re sad when it comes to love. Don’t lie to Janeau. I know. I see.”

“Listen, Janeau,” Peyton growled, growing angry, “I’m not sad. Don’t push it!”pic 15“Ah,” Janeau said with an understanding tone, “a lost love. I hope for healing for you. True healing.” With that, Janeau wandered over towards her garden, leaving Peyton to deal with her frustrations.

Peyton found another collectible–a time capsule containing a cute toy. Then, she found a spot in the shade and laid down. Above her head in a tree a bluebird landed. Peyton’s eyes landed on the bird and watched as it breathed easily on the branch.pic 16I’m not saying that crazy lady was right, but maybe I need to lighten up a bit. I’m weighing myself down, which I suppose means I’m weighing down the branch I’m standing on. Perhaps I’m holding myself back from love. Maybe I’m even holding my children back from experiencing love, too.

Freeing Up Time 6.17

Braylon woke up Monday morning just as Peyton was heading out of the house to work.

“Bray? Can you please make the kids breakfast? I’m running so late!”

“Sure, Mom. I’d be happy to.” Peyton blew her daughter a kiss and left for work. Braylon, excited to be able to help out her mom, as well as, take steps towards her life’s aspiration, grabbed a mixing bowl and cracked a bunch of eggs into it. She added a few herbs and spices, then stirred them up.pic 1

She successfully scrambled the eggs without burning them and noted that it might actually be a good day. With the smell of breakfast in the air, Braylon’s three siblings wandered downstairs and helped themselves. Before they knew it, they were all on their ways to school.

Brandon and Braylon had relatively successful first days of high school, especially considering the fact that neither of them did their homework. Moments after arriving home, there was a knock on the door. Brandon jumped up off of the couch.

“I’ve got it! It’s for me!” he yelled. To no one’s surprise, Thalia was standing on the other side of the door. She and Brandon found themselves on the couch chatting about high school, life, and Thalia’s Elder parents.pic 2“So, I only really like 1st period algebra, 4th period Intro to Musical History, and 7th period A History of the Almost Undiscovered Islands of Gastrobury and Effenmont,” said Brandon. Thalia raised her eyebrow skeptically as Brandon listed all of his favorite classes. “What classes do you like?” he asked.

Thalia laughed, “The last one just as the bell rings to go home!”pic 3The night carried on for the two of them much in this fashion. Brandon laughed at all of Thalia’s jokes and Thalia’s eyes lit up as she listened to him talk about his interests and passions.

The rest of the children stayed busy doing homework and building their skills. Peyton came home and immediately went upstairs to work out. She had been working so hard and still had not received a promotion. She felt frustrated and stagnant. Why did I even want to become an astronaut in the first place?

When the sun went down under the horizon and the stars speckled the sky, Brandon grabbed Thalia’s hand and guided her outside. “Let’s look at the stars. My mom taught me all about the constellations she’s seen up close as an astronaut.” They laid on the porch and looked up.pic 4Upstairs, Peyton closed the door to her bedroom and sat down at the computer. She hadn’t intentionally been putting off responding to her penpal, CathyTea, but things got busy in the Skinner household and this was the first time in ages that she wasn’t exhausted by 9pm. pic 5

CathyTea-

I am so very sorry it’s taken me so long to respond to you. Raising two sets of twins, while a true gift, takes a lot out of a Sim! We recently celebrated the youngest twins’ birthdays (Cayson and Lillion) to childhood and–last night!–I watched my two oldest age up to teens (Braylon and Brandon). I finally feel like I have my feet on the ground and my head on my shoulders again.

I appreciate your condolences. I mourned for some time, but feel content now. Anthony was an amazing man and I am happy he came into my life, even if it was only for a short time. He gave me four beautiful children–and I get to look into Braylon’s eyes each day and see Anthony’s eyes reflecting from them. I look at Brandon’s face and all I see is Anthony. It doesn’t hurt anymore. In fact, now it feels like a blessing. I agree with your roommate, Emma–I feel him here much differently than I did when he was alive. It does make me feel closer to him.

Saffron tells me that you and some of your roommates just made a trip to a national park for some quiet time, (she also mentioned that you might have been nursing a saddened heart from a mistimed love). I hope that you feel refreshed when you return. Love is tricky sometimes. And by tricky, I suppose I mean that it comes and goes. I once heard a story about a woman who met a man and instantly felt connected to him. For the short time (two days) they spent together, she described it as though his and her souls were floating around like humming birds doing a dance. They talked only for two weeks and then never again; but, she still believes they were soul mates. I’d like to think that story is real and possible.

Wishing you and your roomies all the best.

With love,

Peyton

P.S.-A national park in our area just opened up for camping vacations and I’m thinking I might take my family away this weekend! Thanks for the idea.

Peyton reread over her email before sending it off to CathyTea. She smiled as she skimmed over the story about soul mates. While she truly believed that Anthony was her soul mate, she wasn’t the type of Sim to believe there was only one Sim out there in the entire world for her. The Watcher wasn’t so cruel as to only put one Sim out there for her. The idea of new love scared her, but also excited her.

She hit the send button, shut down the computer, checked on all of her sleeping children, then crawled into bed. The rest of the week flew by. Braylon and Brandon helped out around the house, which relieved a lot of stress for Peyton. Braylon loved cooking and took every opportunity to create a meal for the family.pic 6

Brandon helped out by fixing the plumbing when he got home from school. Five Sims using three toilets often meant that at least one would leak all day while everyone was away at work or school.pic 7With all of this support, Peyton found herself with some spare time. She wanted to get out of the house–maybe meet someone new–so she went to the local gym. She, unfortunately, didn’t meet anyone new, but did get in a great workout–there was something about being at an actual gym that focused her mind and made for a more impactful workout.pic 8Before the Skinners knew it, Friday arrived. Peyton woke up early and made her children a delicious fruit and yogurt parfait.

(Interesting fact: the knives on the wall are from Shea Skinner's promotion when she was a chef)

(Interesting fact: the knives on the wall are from Shea Skinner’s promotion when she was a chef)

As her children meandered downstairs, Peyton check to make sure they were all packed for their weekend getaway. The assured her that they were. Peyton kissed them all goodbye and headed off to work. Braylon, Brandon, Cayson, and Lillion ate breakfast together and excitedly rambled on about all of the things they were going to while they were away camping.pic 10

A Long Weekend 6.16

“Madison, I’m here. Where are you?” Peyton tried to keep her voice upbeat as she called her younger sister who was officially a half hour late for their ‘sister bonding night out’ at the Setting Sun Nightclub.pic 1“So, well, don’t be mad,” Madison stuttered on the other end of the phone, “but Davion seems to have gotten sick and so has Mark. I have to stay home and take care of everyone.”

“You could have told me this before I left my house,” Peyton scoffed.

“I lost track of time. Don’t be mad,” Madison paused. “Please!”

Peyton sighed. She’d heard there was a cold going around the elementary school, and was grateful that none of her children had come home sick yet. Even if she wanted to be mad at Madison, she couldn’t. Madison–besides her children–was her only family left. “I’m not. Send my love to them, small fry.”

She hung up the phone and made her way inside. She ordered a drink from the bartender who was not dressed properly for the job. “Are…are you the bartender?” Peyton questioned. The woman answered that she was. Peyton ordered a Ridgeport; but, it appeared that the bartender would be unable to fulfill her request.

“It seems that I can’t get this cup off of my hand!” explained the bartender.pic 2

Maybe she’s really the comedian, thought Peyton, though she didn’t find the joke terribly funny. She said, “Don’t worry about it. I’ll just make something for myself.”

Before Peyton could make her way to one of the other bars, her phone rang. She looked and saw it was coming from her home. Worried something happened with one of the children, she picked up immediately. “Hello,” she said, concerned.

“Hi, Mom,” said Braylon.

“Hi, Bray. Is everything okay?”

“Yeah.”

Peyton waited for Braylon to continue. While she waited, a blonde haired woman with sunglasses on sat down next to her. When Braylon didn’t say anything else, Peyton followed up. “Sweetie, Mommy is out. Is there something you need?”

“No,” Braylon paused. “I just wanted to tell you that I love you.”pic 3

“Braylon Skinner, I love you, too,” Peyton said with a smile. Braylon hung up the phone. Peyton shook her head. The blonde haired woman’s ears perked up and she turned her attention towards Peyton.

“Did you say…Skinner?” the blonde haired woman asked.

“I did. I’m not sure it’s any of your business, though,” Peyton replied.pic 4

“You’re quite right. It’s not,” the blonde haired woman responded hastily. The two of them had a quick and awkward exchange before Peyton felt terribly uncomfortable and headed home to her children. She decided that she wasn’t quite ready to be out at a club, especially on her own. She caught a cab and returned to her home and her four beautiful children.

Back at home, Braylon found herself missing her mother. Grandma Ainsley showed up to comfort her granddaughter and found herself immersed in a frustrating game of chess.pic 5After she lost the match to Braylon, Ainsley was angry. She didn’t try to lose on purpose–quite the contrary! She tried hard to win and couldn’t believe she lost to a child! Being dead seemed to suck many of her quality skills from her. Ainsley enjoyed being with her husband; but, couldn’t help but feel cheated out of the many important things she learned while living. Instead of returning to the Great Unknown to deal with her frustration, Ainsley turned to the downstairs bathroom.pic 6Peyton arrived home after the children had gone to bed. The baby sitter apologized for the mess, explaining that one minute it was fine, the next it was floating, and finally, it was broken. Peyton knew exactly what happened to it.

“Don’t worry about it,” Peyton said to the baby sitter. “This happens to our plumbing frequently.” She paid her and watched her catch a cab before sighing and verbally yelling at her mother. “As if I don’t have enough plumming things to do around here, Mom! I don’t get why you have to make things more difficult! I want to keep you around; but, if you’re going to keep this plum up, I’m sending you off! I swear!”

Peyton threw on her pajamas and made her way to the broken downstairs bathroom. This was the last thing she wanted to do after being out for the night; but, with the twins’ birthday party tomorrow afternoon, she knew she had no choice but to fix it now.pic 7The next morning, Peyton woke up early to prep the food and the house for the afternoon’s activity. She started by cooking a delicious meal for her guests to enjoy.pic 8After the meal was cooked, she moved onto the cakes. She wanted each of them to have their own cake, despite the fact that they could share.

Brandon requested a chocolate cake; Braylon preferred strawberry. Before icing them, she let them cool and went to take a shower. When she finished showering, she strung up the balloons and streamers.pic 9There was a knock at the door. Peyton turned to find her sister there, waiting for her.

“Sorry I am late!” Madison said.

“It’s okay. How’s everyone feeling?”

“Much better! Well, Mark is still sick, but Davion seems to have her energy back. How can I help here?”pic 10

“Just distract the kids until the party starts. I’m almost done with the cakes. I need put the icing on, then I should be ready for everyone to arrive!” Peyton explained.

“Consider it done.” She cupped her mouth and yelled to her nieces and nephew: “Cartoon time in the playroom! Last one in is a rotten Kissing Gourami!”

The all yelled ‘ew’ and ran towards the playroom. Cayson made it in first, followed by Braylon. Lillion cornered her aunt to chat, so no one noticed that Brandon hadn’t made it to the playroom yet.

“Aunt Madison. Guess. What?”

“What?”

“Today is Brandon’s and Bray’s birthdays!”

“Is it? Already?” Madison asked, pretending to be surprised.

“Already! And we just aged up a couple of days ago. And now it’s their birthdays. Mom says time flies,” Lillion shrugged. “I guess that’s true.”pic 11“It does seem true,” Madison agreed.

Suddenly, there came a loud shriek from the kitchen. “Get out!!! Now!!!” Peyton pointed towards the hall. “Just go! That was meant for tonight! Now I have to bake a whole new one!”pic 12

Brandon grinned. He knew his mother was mad, but she wouldn’t be too mad at him since it was his birthday and all. He meandered into the hall where he found his aunt and sister.

“You didn’t?” Madison asked, disappointed and tense.

“Maybe just a taste,” Brandon said.pic 13“Go in the playroom with your sisters,” Madison said to Brandon.

“On it!”

An hour later, the guests began to arrive. Many of them made their way outside to enjoy the bar and the bartender. Peyton was surprise, (and a bit upset) to find out that her uncles Dylon and Devon recently aged up to elders. She really loved having them in her life and was sad to know that their days were coming closer to an end.pic 14

While that news was upsettling, the party itself was full of life and fun! Brandon, especially, was enjoying the company of his friend, Thalia. As soon as she saw him, she gave him a hug.

“Happy birthday, Brandon! I’m so excited for you!”pic 15“Aw, thanks, Thalia! I’m excited for me, too!”

“You should be! Hey! Let’s take a picture to commemorate your last moments as a child!”pic 16While the two of them chatted, Peyton found herself in an awkward conversation with her uncle Devon.

“Uncle Devon, what’s wrong?”

“It’s nothing,” he replied while looking over his shoulder.pic 17

“I can tell that something is wrong. You don’t have to lie to me,” Peyton replied growing visibly irritated with her uncle’s antics.

“Fine,” Devon conceded, “if you must know, someone is following us. The whole of us. Me, Dylon, our wives, the kids. I swear, someone broke into our home the other day. Nothing was stolen, but I could sense it.” Devon threw his hands up in the air. “I’m scared, Pey. I’m just plumming scared,” he confessed.pic 18Even for a man of his–delicate nature–Peyton could tell there was a need for genuine concern. Peyton gently pressed for more information, “Who do you think is following you?”

“A woman who I think must be from Shang Simla, or at least a decedent from there. And a woman with striking blonde hair and a familiar face. I don’t know if she thought she’d blend in, but she stands out! I see her all of the time…stalking me. I know it!”

“Hmmm…” Peyton said.pic 19“What?” said Devon harshly. “Do you know something?” Then to himself, “I knew she knew something. Someone always knows something.” He looked up at his niece, embarrassed. “Sorry. You know…” his voice faded.

“I know,” said Peyton with nod. “No, I guess I met a strange blonde woman the other day. But who knows? Madison is blonde. The twins are blonde. It’s not so strange to meet a person with blonde hair…” she trailed off and bit her finger. “I did get a strange feeling around her, though.”pic 20“I knew it!” exclaimed Devon. “I bet it’s because of Allison. I had a hunch…the voices…I just knew it! I hope she’s okay. I hope she knows she can reach out to me or her father if she needs anything!” Devon’s mind raced as he rolled into a conversation with himself. Peyton took the opportunity to duck away from her uncle and towards the kitchen.

“Brandon! Braylon! It’s time to make a wish a blow out your candles!”

Despite being younger, Braylon decided to blow out her candles first.pic 21pic 22As Braylon spun around into her teen years, Brandon blew out the candles on his cake, welcoming his teen years, as well, though with a bit more apprehension.

I hope I grow up to be hot, he thought.pic 23pic 24The party came to a close shortly after the candles were blown out on each of their cakes. Braylon, though she probably didn’t know it, held the same aspiration as her great-great-great grandmother (and founder), Shea Skinner: Master Chef. From her mother, she acquired the loner trait.

Brandon, much like his grandfather and his great-great-great grandfather, Ryan Whitt, aspired to become a genius in the musical world. And, much like his great grandmother Elin, (of no actual blood relation), he, too, became a bit of a snob.

With the party at a close, the family, exhausted, made their way to their beds, aware that Monday morning was just around the corner!
pic 26pic 25

Everything as it Should be 6.15

Early the next morning, Peyton woke up and got herself ready for work. It had been several days since she was last there due to the birth of her daughters and Anthony’s death. Before she left, though, she was sure to cook some breakfast for her four children. This was the only day that all four of her children would attend grade school together. By Monday, Brandon and Braylon would be in high school.

Peyton decided to start them off on the right foot and went with a huge fruit and yogurt parfait. She left it on the counter for her children and headed off to work.

Shortly after, all four children were awake and trying to find an unoccupied bathroom to use. Brandon and Braylon used the upstairs bathrooms. Cayson used the downstairs one while Lillon checked the computer. Once Cayson was out of the bathroom, Lillion made her way in. Moments later, all four children were sitting in the kitchen. Cayson and Lillion were nervous about their first days; but, Brandon and Braylon put their minds at ease.pic 1“The teachers are really nice,” Braylon told Lillion. “You have to do what they say, but they’re not mean. You can raise your hand when you have a question.”

“Raise your hand? I don’t get it,” Lillion confessed.

“So you’re not rude and don’t interrupt. Ladies aren’t supposed to be rude…”

After breakfast, they dispersed to shower and watch television.

After work, Peyton arrived home to fix the toilet. She was exhausted and run down from being back at work, but knew in a house of five, it would be frustrating to live with the only toilet downstairs broken. With only one income, she thought it would be a waste of Simoleons to replace it with a new one. Instead, she grabbed her wrench and got to work repairing.pic 2“Mom?!?” Brandon yelled looking for his mother.

“In the bathroom!”

“Oh, hi,” he said peeking his head in, “I’m invited Thalia over.”

Braylon chimed in from the kitchen, “Tell Mom I’m inviting Davion over, too!”

“Mom, Bray said–”

“I heard. Davion. That’s fine,” Peyton scoffed as she finished up repairing the toilet. “You just have to mop this first. I’m going to shower and take a nap.”

Brandon shrugged and grabbed the mop. Peyton made her way upstairs for a quick shower and a relaxing nap. Fortunately for her, she had the next two days off of work.

Downstairs, Brandon finished mopping the bathroom just in time for Thalia’s arrival. He had known that she was a bit older than him, but was still surprised when she showed up as a teenager.

“Wow, Thalia! You look…wow. I’m sorry, I didn’t even know it was your birthday! I would have gotten you something,” Brandon stammered.

“Don’t worry about it! Maybe once you age up you can give me a birthday present,” she teased. Brandon had a look of confusion on his face. “Nevermind,” Thalia followed up. “Let’s just talk about when you’re a teen.”

“O-o-o-kay,” Brandon said, still confused. “Will you at least take a picture for Simbook with me?”

“Of course!”pic 3The two of them continued chatting while Braylon and Davion experimented at the chemistry set in the play room. Peyton, who enjoyed a short nap, woke up feeling refreshed. She cooked some fish and found herself goofing around with Lillion in the kitchen.pic 4“Where do bees go if they need to take public transportation?” Peyton asked Lillion.

“I don’t know. Where, Mom?”

“The buzz stop!” They both laughed.pic 5They were all tired early that evening, so they retreated to their rooms. In their bedroom, Brandon confessed to Braylon that he really had a crush on Thalia and hoped that when he aged up to a teen, they would both like each other still. Braylon, who never had a crush on anyone, didn’t know what he meant, but wanted him to get his wish.

Lillion and Cayson didn’t get much talking done before they both fell asleep. Peyton wasn’t far behind them. After saying good night to Anthony, she closed her eyes and when she woke, it was Saturday morning.

Peyton hopped out of bed and hit the treadmill before heading downstairs to cook breakfast for the children. She planned on taking all four of the to the park for their last day at the same age. She decided that since they would all be playing, pancakes would be perfectly filling for them.

The smell of the food made its way upstairs and woke all four of the children. Their sleepy legs carried them downstairs and to the dining room table where the whole family chatted about their excitement for the park. Braylon, who was feeling particularly grimy, said she would go anywhere without a shower. Peyton couldn’t agree with her more.pic 6Once everyone was showered and ready to go, Peyton guided the crew to the park. “Please stay in the park and check in with me every once in a while. Other than that, have fun!”

Brandon was thrilled to find his favorite partner in crime sitting at a chess table.

“Can I join you?” he asked.

“I wouldn’t have it any other way,” Thalia said with a grin.pic 7After the game, Thalia left the park and Brandon joined his family on the pirate ship. Peyton, who was feeling particularly happy, jumped in and made a terrific sea monster.pic 8Braylon chatted with her sister, Lillion, and cousin, Davion. The sun started to dip in the sky and suddenly Peyton remembered that it was Saturday and she promised Madison that they would go out.

“Alrighty, children,” Peyton said, “it’s time to head home!”

Cayson and Brandon jumped off of the ship and shortly after, the whole family was gathered in the kitchen with the baby sitter.

“Be good,” Peyton advised. “I won’t be home late.” With that, she headed to the new club and waited for Madison.

Four Children, One Mother 6.14

Madison followed her sister into the house after their shopping spree/makeover session. Awaiting her arrival was Brandon.

“Aunt Madison!” he squealed in a childish high pitched voice.

“Hey, there, little one. How are you?”

“Good. I like our new home. Do you?”

“I do,” Madison said. He reached up towards his aunt for a hug. She bent down to meet him.

“I love you, Aunt Madison.”pic 1“I love you, Brandon.” With that, Brandon ran off and was quickly replaced by his sister, Braylon.

“Aunt Madison! You’re here!”

“That I am. How are you, Bray?”

“I’m good! Did you know that I have two baby sisters?”

“I do. Did you know that I’m Mommy’s baby sister?”

“But you’re not a baby…” Braylon responded skeptically.pic 2“Well, not anymore, silly. But I was once a baby. And I’ll forever be your mom’s younger sister.”

Braylon thought about the implications of what her aunt said for a moment. “I’m Brandon’s younger sister! Not by much like the new twins who are a lot younger, but I’m a little younger,” she said.

“Then we have something in common. We’re both little sisters!”

Braylon smiled. She like the idea of having something in common with Madison. “Can we maybe take a picture to put on Simbook? Two younger sisters!”

“Of course we can, Bray.”pic 3Shortly after, Madison left to make dinner for her husband and daughter. Upstairs, Peyton finished her work out and headed into her room to grab some clean clothes for her shower. There, she found the bassinets of her youngest daughters shaking and shimmering.

First up was the oldest of the twins, Lillion.pic 4Lillion inherited the long standing family trait, geek. She also picked up the gift of gab and was a social butterfly from the moment she jumped out of her bassinet.

Cayson’s bassinet shimmered and shook next.pic 5Cayson picked up Grandma Ainsley’s gluttonous habits, but, at least, took out her rambunctious energy through using the pool and monkey bars.

Peyton was happy to see that her youngest children were able to talk and kept each other company. Immediately after aging up, she found them chatting away over a late night dinner. Cayson kept her hair a little longer, but tied it up. Lillion wore almost the same outfit she jumped out of her bassinet it. She simply traded in one hat for another. She also preferred her hair cut a bit shorter than her sister.pic 6Peyton smiled at all four of her children, happy to know that, despite Anthony’s absence, her family was growing and flourishing. Still, her heart ached for his companionship. She tucked in all of the children, then crawled into bed and told Anthony about her day. She hoped he heard her even though his body was no longer next hers in bed.

“Good night, Anthony. We love and miss you.”