It was a rough couple of years having a toddler and two infants and then three toddlers in the house. But finally it was Will’s birthday. With him in school, handling the twins became much easier, though they were both terribly demanding.
With Will now old enough to accompany me, I resumed fishing more, and I was able to advance my career. I knew I would never make a lot of money at the job, but I had become quite the master fisherman over the years. Will took to the hobby well.
Will enjoyed going to school. He excelled at academics. I was right and he was quite a genius. However, he didn’t enjoy all of the people at school. He wasn’t fond of crowds or large groups. I think he’d have been happier of the school was peopled only by himself and his cousin Johnny. Will and Johnny were best friends—I think Johnny was Will’s only friend.
Will preferred being by himself and spent a lot of time reading or on the computer. I’m not exactly sure what he was doing on the computer. He encrypted his files, which was very frustrating since I wanted to make sure he was being safe. But he assured me that he wasn’t chatting or surfing the net. He said he was just writing, but he only replied “stuff” when I asked him what he was writing about. Since I couldn’t hack his files, I would have to be satisfied that he wasn’t doing something wrong or dangerous.
Eventually the twins joined Will in childhood. We held their birthday outside in the yard as was our tradition. Immediately after getting cake, Kara raced indoors. “There are bugs out here, Dad,” she said. I don’t think Kara liked being outside. Paul, on the other hand, loved being outside. He sat right down and finished his cake and asked for a second piece. If there were bugs, he didn’t care. Then, when he’d had the second helping, he organized all the kids we’d invited to the party into a game of tag. (Kara refused.) The only thing Paul wanted to do more than play outside was go fishing with me and Will the next day.
Kara chose to stay home. She found Shelby’s old easel and some paints and started making pictures for her room.
Since the kids were finally old enough to travel, we decided to make a trip back to China to see Sunny’s family. We had to do a little redecorating to the house I’d bought there to accommodate the whole family, but it was worth the expense to have our own place to stay.
The kids enjoyed meeting their aunt, Hui Young Kim, and they adapted to Chinese culture very well. Sunny even taught them some of the Chinese songs she’d grown up with. ‘Ping and His Checkers’ was a particular favorite.
I took the two boys fishing as soon as we could go. I wanted to catch some dragon fish and I figured they could try to pull up some koi. Kara refused to go. She stayed home and occupied herself on the computer and with the traveling easel I’d purchased for the kids. She said she was starting a story called Huggy Bunny Goes to China. It was to be a children’s story and she wanted to illustrate it with her own pictures.
Although she doesn’t like being outside, Kara did consent to having the easel placed out there. It afforded her a better vantage from which to paint. She wanted her pictures to look real. The boys, who also used the easel, had no problem with it’s placement. They were just annoyed that she was always using it. I suppose I should have bought two.
The computer was also something all of the kids fought about. Will wanted to use it to continue his writing. He said he was writing a story, too. And Paul, not to be outdone by his siblings, swore he was keeping a journal of our stay in China. Luckily I could distract the boys with fishing and was able to keep the fighting to a minimum.
When she wasn’t breaking up fights with the kids, Sunny spent most of her time sparring with ranked challengers in order to become a Martial Arts Master, something she’d always wanted. Although she wasn’t a black belt by the time we left, she did manage to advance and to beat enough opponents to achieve her dream. I was very proud of her. I promised that I would continue her training once we got back to Desert Shores. She’d be a black belt in no time.
We did a lot of entertaining while we were in China, too. Sunny had a lot of friends as well as her sister and brother in law who still lived there. The kids were able to make friends with many of the local children. Even Kara could occasionally be coaxed out to play. Most of our guests were Sunny’s opponents or family, but that didn’t matter. It was nice to have such a nice group of friends come to our home away from home.
When we did eventually return home, the children had become extremely close. It was nice to see them be such good friends. They all had many similar interests. All of them had learned to draw and paint in China. Paul showed a real artistic aptitude which surprised me since he was so into playing outside. However, when we set up an outdoor easel at home, he really took to it. Will, was very methodical about his painting and Kara just enjoyed it for the sake of enjoyment. I think she felt the same way about writing. Paul mostly used his writing to tell about his adventures or to make up new adventures.
I was so proud of all three of my kids.
No time at all seemed to pass and it was time for Will to enter high school. Sunny and I were a little wistful at seeing our oldest little boy become a young man. He was still a serious boy, preferring his own company or that of his brothers and sisters or his cousin, Johnny. He rarely noticed anyone else, even the pretty red-headed Bridgette Johnson, who was so excited to see him age up.
I was sort of hoping that Johnny, who was more outgoing than Will, could help Will come out of his shell. Johnny was a more trendy boy, who seemed to know everyone and everything. He was a bit of a snob, like Emma, but he was basically good natured.
Johnny and Will weren’t the only ones to be growing up. I was surprised to see little Anabeth at the party. She was no longer the little girl that I had remembered. She reminded me so much of my aunt, that I was startled at first to see her. She told Sunny that she’d begun taking classes at the university to become a scientist. I was very surprised by this, but I suppose I shouldn’t have been. Like her grandfather, my uncle Edmund, she was extremely eco-conscious. She wanted to help improve the environment.
Since Anabeth was now old enough to stay with our kids, and Will was also a teenager able to help care for his brother and sister, Sunny and I decided to take a trip back to France for a second honeymoon. We hoped to buy a vacation home while we were there and eventually come back with the whole family.
It was a good idea to travel alone. Sunny and I hadn’t really had time for ourselves since the children were born. It was nice to reconnect. Like our first trip to France, we didn’t just spend time in bed. We managed to get in some fishing and exploring as well. This time we didn’t really explore a tomb. Instead, we were asked to explore the Landgraab Chateau.
If anything, I think the Chateau was more dangerous than any of the tombs that I had explored either in China or Egypt. It was filled with perilous traps that were difficult to discern and even harder to disarm. It’s no fun to be electrocuted in a trap, let me tell you!
Eventually we found a hidden room next to the library that had some movable statues in it. When we figured out that we had to push them into a dancing configuration, we managed to disable most of the traps. It was a good thing, too, or we wouldn’t have been able to explore the entire Chateau.
With all of the relics and gems we found in our explorations as well as some profitable fishing, we were finally able to purchase a small house of our own in France. It had only two bedrooms, but they were plenty big enough to house us and the three kids. I thought that perhaps we might retire to one of our vacation houses when we became elders. I know Sunny loved our house in China, but I think I like the quiet beauty of France better. My family came from farmer stock. I could see myself settling down here and starting my own orchard.
When we got back from France, we found our children doing very well. They hadn’t suffered under the care of Anabeth, not that I expected them to. It was good to be with them again.
Will asked Sunny and me to train him in martial arts. This excited us both. We hoped that all our children would be interested in the art, but I suspected that neither Paul nor Kara would be as inclined as Will was. Paul continued to paint and write. He actually sold one of his paintings, a picture of the lighthouse, to the art museum for a children’s exhibit. As for Kara, she hadn’t grown any fonder of the outdoors in our absence. If we wanted to talk to her, we had to do so in the house.
I was very pleased to see that all of the kids were still doing well in school even though Sunny and I hadn’t been here to help with homework or to encourage their studies.
One thing that had changed while we were gone, though, was that Will switched his attention from painting to sculpture. He had been taking classes at the high school in pottery and asked us to get him a sculpting station so that he could practice at home. Since Sunny and I wanted our kids to have their interests encouraged, we went ahead and bought it for him. He could be found out in the garage, where we placed it, chiseling away at large blocks of clay.
On the day of the twins’ birthday, Sunny decided that she needed a new look. She felt that her old look was too young for a woman who had three teenagers. I wasn’t sure I agreed with her, but when she returned with a sassy new haircut and some new clothes, I was very appreciative. I actually thought the shorter hair made her look younger. I knew that I found her attractive still after all of these years.
The twins didn’t want to have a huge party for their birthday since it fell on a school day. We celebrated outside like always even though Kara didn’t want to. I am not too certain how I feel about my two youngest teens. Both had adopted an edgier style than Will, who was more conservative. I was particularly worried about Kara’s new look, but I couldn’t really fault anything about it…it wasn’t like it was too revealing. I just wasn’t sure what to make of it.
After the kids went to bed, I talked to Sunny about the twins.
“So, what do you think of our youngest kids’ new looks? Do you think we’re letting them express themselves too much?”
“I didn’t see anything wrong with them,” she answered. “Though I think that Paul should cut his hair. But even that’s not too bad. It doesn’t make him look like a girl.”
“No. What about Kara? Is she taking the punk rock thing too far?”
“Oh, I don’t think so. She wasn’t wearing studs or showing her belly or something like that. We shouldn’t let it bother us.”
“Alright,” I agreed reluctantly.
“Enough about the kids,” Sunny said. “What do you think of my new look?”
I smiled. I leaned in close and whispered, “You look more lovely than the day I met you.”
“Want to go upstairs?”
Sunny giggled and headed into the house. “Race you to the bedroom,” she laughed.
**Author’s Note** No, there will be no late life pregnancy for Sun Young and Charlie. I restrained myself from hitting “Try for baby”! I hope you all love the kids as much as I do. I pretty much made each one of them a potential heir for the 4th generation. Until they grew up, I wasn’t sure who I wanted it to be.
Will’s traits are Disciplined, Genius, Loner, and Savvy Sculptor. As an adult, I will randomize his trait because I have decided not to use him as the heir.
Paul’s traits are Loves Outdoors, Artistic, Perfectionist, and Virtuoso. As an adult I will randomize his trait because I have decided not to use him as the heir either.
Kara’s traits are Hates Outdoors, Artistic, Over-Emotional, and Savvy Sculptor. I’m not sure what she’ll get as an adult. Maybe Virtuoso. I have decided that she will be the heir. I want her to have the LTW that has you max all of the art traits. I can’t remember what it’s called Michelangelo’s somethingorother.