The cats look everywhere for Carlos, but it seems he is gone.
Waaah, nobody else has a super high cooking skill! We're doomed!
Apollo eventually notices the absence, too, and keeps asking about it.
Her father has to navigate the minefield of trying to explain death without scaring her. Emphasizing her grandfather's advanced age works out; Polly is not afraid of something that definitely won't happen to her, though she is disappointed no one can fix it.
For a while, Dysen doesn't sleep well, plagued by bad dreams about arguing with his father. When he wakes up, he can't quite remember what they were arguing over.
Izalee comes to help out with the garden.
"I'm not sure if you realize how much money you save growing most of your own food," she says, encouraging Dysen not to let his father's plants all die.
Dysen just sighs.
Ceth has done little but sulk since Carlos died, and almost turns down the invitation to Aletta Giordano-Rossi's party... but when the hour comes, she decides maybe getting out of the house will make her feel better, so she attends the dull politician's party after all.
Mech is here, of course, keeping up friendly relationships with all the local politicians.
Nobody invited Azzo Ricardo.
"Yikes, it's a simbot," Amanda Platt-Chen whispers.
Molly knows Amanda as Robbie's new wife and babymomma of his third daughter, but Ceth does not know her, and if Ceth were feeling better she'd probably take the 'yikes' as an insult and pick a fight.
Ceth is not feeling it today, though, so she just sighs.
Lela is not one for crying or pitching a fit. When she feels too sad, she wanders the rows of plants to look at the lime trees. They are specifically there because key lime pie is her favorite, and Carlos liked to have fresh perfect limes always available. The sight of the trees still makes her smile.
One day at a time.
"Hi Ollie," Lela coos.
"That's Hollie," Izalee grumps. "You dressed them in the wrong colors again."
"Is not. I know what my own granddaughter looks like." Lela pointedly peeks down the diaper, then frowns. "Oh."
The twins look very much alike at this stage.
Wow, that is a lot of trash!
A lot of trash is not supposed to be there!
Who could have done this?!?!?!
WE MAY NEVER KNOW.
Just a cute picture.
Polly ages up. She's much cuter in this stage.
She is an imaginative child, hungry for adventure.
Checkin' out neat bugs...
...riding her bicycle at high speeds down the hills...
...taking in the sights...
...showing up at Dad's workplace just as he closes up shop and begging for a carousel ride...
...there's always something to do, and someone to meet.
"Apollo Robins, lion tamer!" she introduces herself.
The boy casts a dubious look at the fiberglass lion impaled on one of the carousel rods. "Um, Severino Selmone," he answers. "My mom's here to ask some guy with a magic ball if she should get back with her old boyfriend or keep seeing the new one."
Apollo grins. "Dad! Can Sev... Severe.. in... uh... can Sev come over to our house to play?"
Dysen shrugs. "If it's okay with his mother."
Sev turns out to be better than Polly at video games, and also kind of a sore winner.
He'll be in her class when she starts school on Monday.
Olive and Holland age up too, outgrowing their baby cribs.
The two tiny owl cribs are replaced with one toddler sized crib. So now one twin sleeps in the 'art room' and the other sleeps in the nursery.
Apollo isn't pleased to have to share her room.
For obvious reasons.
"You should have some work done on the house," Ceth suggests over breakfast, "make more bedrooms for when your children are older. You can't have all three of them in that tiny nursery."
Molly says nothing. She's pretty sure Ceth and/or Lela will die and free up some space before the twins are child-stage, but she'd sound cold if she came out and said it.
grapes grapes grapes grapes grapes
Molly goes to her friend Katarina
"Daaaad!" Polly yells. "He's doing it again!"
Now that Holland's claws are growing in, keeping him from destroying furniture is tough.
Dysen wonders how to most effectively teach Holland not to do this.
"My office was at home, so when you were that little I stayed with you during the day when your father was at work. When you would scratch I would sit you in my lap and hold you still for a while," Lela explains.
So I quit my job, or enlist Mom's help? Dysen considers his options. Ceth's finances may be fine, but the rest of the family is still secretly trying to rebuild a comfortable enough pile of savings.
"Of course, you learned to only claw things when we were not looking, and you intentionally targeted objects we didn't see often..." Lela continues. "So in those cases it would be a while before we noticed what you had done."
Howls of displeasure rip through the house as Holland tries to tell Olive her drumming sucks... but Olive just thinks he's supplying vocals.
Polly is awake bright and early Monday morning. She rushes out to the garden to talk to her father before the school bus comes, and is immediately distracted by Entropy stalking around the plants. She crouches down to pet the cat. "Dad, why is General the only one with a collar?"
"So I could tell him apart from his mama cat at a distance," Dysen answers. "She was kind of the same color."
"Shouldn't the others have collars? In case they run away and get lost?"
"I'm not worried."
"At least the brother and sister cat should have collars! So they match," Polly insists.
Dysen shakes his head. "Good luck getting collars on those cats."
Predictably, Entropy will have nothing to do with a collar.
Even when they manage to get one on him, he shreds it.
Ambiance doesn't mind her fancy red collar though.
Apollo makes a lot of friends in school, and frequently brings them home. Galen May, grandson of Starlight Shores' Mercedes May, teaches Apollo how to 'Shaka!'
Izzy reminds us she still has a bluebird. Do you think it's the same one???
"So I climbed the hiiiighest tree in the whole field!"
Polly is quite close with her grandmother. Lela has so many stories about her time as a private investigator, and about Polly's parents as children, and about relatives who aren't here anymore.
Polly worries about Lela's age. "Maybe Izzy can make a magic potion to make you young again."
"If she could, I think she would have used it on herself."
"Maybe she doesn't know how. I'll go to the fountain of youth when I'm old enough to travel on my own, and I'll bring back a sample for her to analyze."
"The fountain of youth is only a story, Sweetie."
"Like werewolves and witches are just stories?" Polly huffs.
"I suppose," Lela relents. "But if these things do exist, they are clearly a well-guarded secret... and in my experience, secrets are kept for reasons."
Molly's babies want to paint with her.
They aren't very good, though.
A bit of kitchen remodeling.
"They'll bake faster if you keep the oven door closed," Lela offers wisdom she once learned from the great chef Carlos.
"Shut up, Lela," Ceth snaps.
Can't a pop star make cinnamon rolls for the household kids without all this criticism?!
"I didn't have many friends in school, but your Dad and sister get along well with people, so hopefully you'll take after them." Molly is secretly a bit jealous of how sociable Polly is, even though that's exactly the sort of childhood she wanted for her kids.
"You're my best friend!" Olive announces, already good with syntax but not so great at following the meaning of a conversation.
"So you're going to want to marry some chick who's into weird things and will put up with your shit," Dysen advises, werewolf to werecub.
"Shit!" Holland parrots. He's not as eager to construct sentences as his twin, but he always picks up on the most important words.
Ambiance doesn't seem to be feeling well.
Oops, it was a case of pregnancy.
There's only one kitten in the litter, a male, and this puts the family back to five cats.
If you wondered, the father is a Bombay owned by one of the neighbors.
Old Grandpa Moby investigates the invader in his territory.
Hmmm. Moby has the friendly trait, so he'll let it stay.
Lela and Apollo take turns 'aww'ing over the kitten.
Lela passes away in early autumn, during one last stroll through the garden.
Molly is first on the scene, pleading for her mother in law's life.
Dysen's parents were always there for her... and now they are just memories.
Distraught to return from the store to find his mother dead, Dysen transforms...
...and howls his fury to the uncaring stars.
Izalee can raise plants from the dead sometimes, but not people.
Etc.: That chippie appears to be an Eastern Chipmunk, native to North America??? I guess they have vastly expanded their range, all the way to Monte Vista...
The toddlers drawing on walls is a mod by Arsil.