While Chloe was pregnant, Yulia came by every morning before leaving for the hospital to check on her friend and to eat breakfast with her.
"So nice to have a doctor in the house!" said Chloe.
"So nice to have a chef next door!" countered Yulia.
Chloe used her maternity leave profitably by experimenting with recipes for her forthcoming cookbook on grilling.
She gave birth to a baby boy, Charlie,
on the same day that Kevin was promoted to Lieutenant on the police force.
"This is a red-letter day for us, babe!" he cried happily.
As a Family Sim, Kevin was delighted with his new son.
"You're gonna be the best kid ever, Charlie!" he told the baby. "I can teach you to bowl, and to play ball--and all kinds of sports! And your mom is the best cook ever, so you'll grow up big and strong!!"
Orlando came by that night to see Charlie.
"You're a lucky little kid, Charlie," Orlando told him. "You've got great parents."
Charlie was a happy and active baby who enjoyed playing with his toys,
and, when Chloe went back to her food stylist job, Kevin enthusiastically studied parenting while he watched his son.
'I think what this baby is telling me is that it's bedtime,' Kevin thought one evening.
"Come on, Charlie," he whispered, as he lifted his son out of the jumpy chair,
and lowered him gently into his crib.
Meadow came by one morning to give Chloe some pointers on baby care.
"Thanks so much for coming by," Chloe told her friend. "You must be so busy, with the store and renovating your farmhouse, and all."
"Well, Ethan and Lyndsay are both great employees, and they can certainly handle the farmstand without me until the noon rush," Meadow explained. "And Orlando and I have already done a lot of work on the house. You'll see when you come over for Ophelia's birthday next week--you won't recognize the place."
The farmhouse had been in grim shape,
but Orlando was now doing well in his art career,
and had earned enough money to have the house's siding repainted from gray to white,
to have the top-floor windows repainted from yellow to blue (to match the bottom-floor windows),
to replace the front door and expand the front stairs,
to install a front walk, and to allow Meadow to plant a sunflower and marigold garden on one side of the stairs. The place had really become quite homey.
And, although Meadow still had a vegetable garden at her farmstand so didn't intend to plant another one at the farmhouse till the following spring, she did have to tend to her orchard,
so she put in several ladybug houses, at considerable expense.
The couple hadn't yet done anything with the kitchen (figuring they would leave indoor renovations for the colder months) so, when Chloe offered to cook for Ophelia's birthday, she had to make do with the dark, dingy workspace,
then carry the food out to the back yard,
all the way across the lawn to the grill and picnic area Orlando had set up in the small pine forest.
"There's hot dogs," she called over her shoulder, to several of the friends who were out at the pond.
"And I'm making burgers next," she added, "but if you want anything more upscale you better catch some fish!"
"Well, all I've caught so far is a boot!" admitted Yulia, who was usually a pretty good fisherman.
Kevin, who never needed to be called to a meal more than once, grabbed a plate and sat down across from Meadow. "There's nothing better than eating outside," he opined. "Fresh air just makes everything taste better--even Chloe's food!"
"I hear you got promoted again," said Meadow.
"Yup!" Kevin said proudly.
"I got promoted to SWAT Team Leader!"
Orlando was sitting with Calista. "Where's the rest of the Gothier-London family?" he asked.
"Christopher's got a touch of the sniffles," Calista answered, "so I left him home with Granddad. And Randy and Rebecka are out closing on the warehouse she found him for his car dealership."
As soon as Randy and Rebecka arrived at the picnic, Orlando brought Ophelia to her birthday cake.
"Come on, everyone!" he called to his friends.
"Happy birthday, Ophelia!" he said, tossing the baby into the air.
The toddler Ophelia snuggled onto her father's shoulder.
"How's Daddy's little sweetiepie?" Orlando asked, holding her close.
NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Join us next week to see Randy's nascent car dealership (and to see whether Calista's unusual abilities are helpful in business).