Narrated by Laney Redbird McElveen, age 39.
Declan and Laney, age 39.
Declan and Laney’s home at #1 Michelle Lane, Simdale Valley
It’s hard to believe Declan and I have been in Simdale Valley for almost four years now. It was hard for me, leaving my position as a junior executive behind, and buying a house in a town that was new to us, but it has been worthwhile and I am so grateful for the life we have here. We moved here because it is such a great place to raise a family, and to be near family.
My sister, Naomi Redbird, bought the local barbershop, remodeled it into a pretty posh little salon, and renamed it “Birds of a Feather.” She’s a big favorite with Charlotte, since Aunt Naomi is not as big on rules as me, loves music and dance, and is a world-class peek-a-boo artist.
It is really nice living right down the street from both our families. Declan’s parents and sister live two houses away, across from the Children’s Park. Declan’s parents retired here and bought a house with the money from selling their house in Strangetown, and their life savings.
Part of that plan was for George and Simone to live with Declan’s parents. I can’t imagine ever living with my parents, even if they were alive. But George and Simone are very different from Declan and I and it works for them. Playfulness is a strong trait in Declan’s family, starting with his dad, and especially with his sister, Simone, who doesn’t have a serious bone in her body.
Last time Declan’s parents were here to babysit Charlotte, we were all ready to go out and I couldn’t find them even though they had come in and said hello when they arrived. Finally, I found them, out in the yard, playing with water balloons! I don’t even know where they got the water balloons, and they are in their late sixties. Sometimes I worry about leaving Charlotte with them, but they raised Declan and he turned out really well.
Declan’s sister, Simone, is married to George Endeavor, whose family is originally from Simdale Valley. George is probably the main reason that we moved to Simdale Valley, that and the fact that Declan’s tech company is based in Port Prominence. (Which is only an hour commute by ferry). George is an architect and he also loves restoring vehicles, or pretty much tinkering with anything mechanical.
George is definitely more sensible about child-rearing than Simone. On Thanksgiving, Simone was laughing while Sienna, her daughter and my three-year-old niece, climbed on the back of the sofa and jumped off. I took her in the kitchen to let her know that wasn’t allowed in our house, and although I know George will ultimately go with whatever Simone wants to do, he seemed a lot more reasonable about following our rules when in our house. And at our house, jumping is not something we do inside.
There are times in the day when it is time to play, and times when it is not.
Other than our differences on parenting styles, Simone and I get along really well. We’ve known each other since she was a sophomore in high school and I was in college dating her big brother, so she’s always kind of looked up to me.
George and Simone bring Sienna over sometimes in the late afternoons after Charlotte’s nap. It is nice to have company sometimes when Declan works late.
As an executive in a top Tech company, Declan is working six days a week, from nine to sometime in the evening. The last ferry is at 8:00, so if he works really late, he’s even had to stay over in Port Prominence a few times. He’s so tired when he gets home. We both know that right now we are going to have to work hard to be able to build the life we want to have for our daughter, but we were so excited about Declan’s two days off for Thanksgiving.
The first morning Declan was off, he came downstairs after Charlotte was already down for her morning nap. It is really unlike him to sleep late. He said he wanted to go ahead and get some of the leaves raked up before she woke up, so he could play with her.
I have a sewing project I work on when I can steal a minute away from Charlotte, so I headed up to the attic. I couldn’t stop thinking about Declan though. Since Charlotte was born, and with his work schedule, it is so hard for us to find a minute alone. It seems like every time we do, she wakes up or needs attention.
Charlotte has a really intense need to be with people, and if she’s awake, she wants to be in the same room with us. I’ve tried to teach her to play by herself, but I’m afraid I am fighting a losing battle. We’ve actually had to put off having another child, just because of Charlotte’s high needs. Since she was a year old, we were hoping to try for another baby, before I get into my forties, but Charlotte’s needs and Declan’s work schedule just made it seem impossible to care for another little one properly. Now that she’s going to be going to preschool next year, I feel like it is really a good time to try for our second baby.
So the day before Thanksgiving, after I put Charlotte down for her nap, I was thinking it was a great time to get to work on our next baby! But Declan was really engrossed in college football. By the time I got his attention, Charlotte was up and there was no one to supervise her so we just had to put it off, again.
On Thanksgiving morning, though, Declan woke up with a lot more energy.
He had even been up early getting a pie ready.
He got Charlotte up and ready for the day. She is pretty crazy about her dad.
And was back downstairs, ready to greet his family when they arrived, which is always a big relief to me. I don’t know all the inside jokes, even after 15 years of marriage.
That left me free to concentrate on the meal
And be free to watch Sienna when she made her rounds through the kitchen.
George and Chloe, and Declan kept an eye on Charlotte, and Sienna when she was in the living room. Charlotte is really active, but not as active as Sienna. My niece is practically hyper.
Finally, the whole meal was ready and everyone sat down. It is amazing to look around the table and think how much our family has to be thankful for. The only thing I would have wished for, would be for my sister Naomi to be here, but she had decided to go visit friends (really, probably just Ripp Grunt) in Strangetown instead for Thanksgiving this year.
It wasn’t long before Sienna got restless in the high chair and started to throw a tantrum to get out. I think she would have been more ready to sit and eat if they kept her on a schedule, but they let her graze all day.
What probably surprised me most was that all four of the grown-ups she lives with, just thought the tantrum was cute! And she is almost 4!
Simone told Jackson and Chloe to just let her down, to run around, but without any apparent thought that someone would need to keep an eye on her.
Sienna was really happy to be out of the chair and took off.
I decided to eat where I could see what she was up to.
After I finished, I went ahead and got Charlotte too, and took both girls in the living room to play.
Declan was really sweet and did all the cleaning up before he came in to check if the big game had started.
Soon we were all watching the game, with the kids happy to play where they were getting lots of attention too, from their granddad. Chloe has always been a lot more in to competitive sports than Declan’s dad, and he will always choose playing with the kids over any other activity. Even he couldn’t help stealing glances at the exciting game though.
When it was time for Charlotte to go to bed, Sienna wasn’t ready yet, but she wanted Simone to hold her.
Unfortunately, the game ended really badly for us. The last drive, to tie the score and go into overtime, was a complete disaster.
When everyone finally left, Declan and I still had a little time to ourselves, before the holiday would be over. Maybe by next Thanksgiving, we’ll have another little one to be thankful for.
I love this extended family that I recreated from my Strangetown ‘hood. Chloe was my founder for that ‘hood, that I started early last fall, but that got quickly corrupted (I didn’t realize the default Strangetown had those inherent problems when I began playing it.) Laney and Naomi were sims I made to be college roomies with my playables, and Naomi and Ripp Grunt were really intense three-bolters, but with fears about getting married or engaged to each other. He might eventually move to the Peninsula State as well. (He’s been extracted but not added into the game.)
Laney and Declan both have had baby wants since just after Charlotte’s birth; they started to try for baby several times in these play sessions but were always interrupted! Plus, it really is hard for them to find time for each other because Charlotte has 10 outgoing points and always tries to follow them!
Actually, the last time I went back into the game, just to get some pictures of Naomi with Charlotte, while clicking on the Sim Blender I realized that Laney is pregnant, so they will hopefully be having a baby in August, 604!
This update relied heavily on the Simmish Parenting Styles post written by the author of Apple Valley Blogs this month. It was really fun comparing and contrasting Laney, who fits the Authoritative style, with Simone, who completely fits the Permissive style.
Laney and Declan have a beautiful, big kitchen with lots of counter space…not sure why she took the turkey all the way up to the upstairs hall bath! Maybe because Charlotte was unsupervised up there! (I had told Declan to head that way, but he hadn’t made it yet.)