Otto turned one earlier this month and life had gotten much easier. Sure, he got into mischief, but he could speak better, move if he was uncomfortable. If he wanted a banana, he could actually let her know.
However, he still kept wonky sleeping hours and would randomly wake the household with his screams.
Even at 4 am, his chubby face was still utterly adorable, though it was exhausting. She regularly didn’t get home from The Red Mill until 3 am, as they were open until 2 three nights out of the week.
In the morning, Penelope gets her shower in, then finishes up homework. Most of her friends don’t wake up until seven o’clock, which is a luxury that Penelope doesn’t have since she shared a room with Otto.
Her parents aren’t sure why their preschooler has homework, but they are proud of how well she’s adapted to the academic world. Marshal usually whips up food while Lorelei prepares for the day.
Marshal has to be at work before Lorelei, but only barely. She’s been working extra long hours since fall, when her headchef Barbara Gray started taking too much time off. She’d stayed out at EU to help her daughter, Riley with her baby, and it was still bleeding into late winter.
At breakfast, Penelope rules the table with her conversation. As much as she wants Otto to grow up, she’ll likely miss this amount of attention.
Lorelei regularly encourages her to swallow before talking. They can already tell that Otto is much more reserved than his big sister; they already marvel at the differences in their children.
After everyone leaves, Lorelei cleans up the house while Otto makes a raucous. This new routine of long hours has been hard on her physically and even a bit emotionally.
She didn’t want a second baby, but Marshal had persuaded her, and she’s glad he did. She couldn’t imagine not having Otto in her life, and she really liked seeing his relationship grow with Penelope.
She just wished that work wasn’t so chaotic that she could enjoy time at home more. She’s grateful that her Dad offered to take Otto during the day. It wasn’t something they needed with Penelope, which adds to this new guilt-thing she feels.
Otto loves hanging out with his Grandpa Tyler though. He still gets some of his writing in while Otto sleeps or research while he plays quietly.
This particular morning she also had to drop Penelope off at school as she missed the bus. She was salty because the weatherman had promised a giant blizzard. She liked school, but she loved the idea of a snow day! She’d never experienced such a thing, and she’d joined in on some bizarre ritual of a spoon under the pillow, fork in the freezer, and her nightshirt inside out.
As much as her parents told her that those things were irrelevant to a blizzard, she’d had her heart set on it, which led to her disappointment that flurries were just beginning that morning.
At work, Barbara requests to speak with her immediately, which instantly puts Lorelei into a problem-solving state. It’s gotten to the point that she’s looking at her budget to hire a second head chef, which would have a direct effect on Barbara’s paycheck.
Lorelei is empathetic to her situation. Riley had spiraled during the fall, and she’d needed her Mother’s support, but she was running a 4 star restaurant, and she really wanted that 5th star. That absolutely required amazing cooking, by a chef that was devoted to her skill.
Thankfully, Barbara wasn’t asking for more days off, just that she could pass the lunch off to her kitchen staff during the week. She was taking over daycare of her granddaughter, Quinn during the week.
That wasn’t exactly a problem as the kitchen staff had been trained by Barbara and could definitely handle weekday lunch, which brought in an average revenue.
Her staff ribbed her though when they heard the news. They could handle it, but it didn’t mean they couldn’t joke around with her over it.
One of Lorelei’s biggest customers was Violet-Adele. She was the county’s lead architect and about a vote away from being the City Planner.
She routinely threw banquets and dinners to raise money for her next project. While she hired Eva to be her party planner, she personally tested out the menu.
She only wanted Jessica to be her server, as she had the most experience.
Jessica loved serving her, she always tipped generously, but the beginning was always awkward. Violet-Adele wasn’t terribly social at these tastings.
However, she could quickly get excited about new recipes that Barbara was working on.
The rest of the day is all routine, her team has been together for many years now. They also had a regular following to keep the dining spaces steady.
It isn’t until 3am, that she parks on the street and finds that Marshal is still up. He’s working on a new video game; he’s tired of sequels and trilogies. It’s very risky, and he’s taking classes to help him update his skills after the kids are in bed.
They joke before heading up to bed that one of them should have opened a coffee shop instead, that’s really the only beverage they drink these days.
At school, Penelope is in a class of four. Her teacher insists that this is the perfect size for preschoolers. Kindergarten registration already opened, and she said there aren’t any new preschoolers joining the school this fall, which guarantees that these four students will have a great start to their education.
She’s made fast friends with Eileen Popper, she even comes over after school sometimes to play.
She isn’t as friendly with her twin brother, Warren. Both of her parents have tried finding out what her issue is with him; she doesn’t seem to have a reason though.
In a group setting though, she can behave herself. She told her parents that he just makes her crazy when he tries talking to her. It made both of her parents laugh, and Marshal joked that she was more like Lorelei than they’d bargained.
Her favorite time is preschool recess, which means that no other kids are on the playground. They get to play on whatever equipment they want, and Ms. Dwyer even pushes them.
There aren’t any big kids hogging the fort ether, which is Penelope’s favorite hideout to play pretend.
The next day, she awoke to find the blizzard that had been previously promised. Unfortunately it landed on a Saturday, still missing out on that sacred snow day.
She did have a blast playing with Otto though, watching him experience the snow for the first time. At first he wanted to be held as he acclimated to the change, but then he thoroughly enjoyed himself.
Marshal even took a break to play with the kids and get a snap of them together.
Notes: This took forever to finish! April is just a crazy month then my family flew in to surprise my middle daughter for her theater productions. It was all amazing.
Penelope is adorable! And I adore little Otto too. She’s very outgoing, and she’s made fast friends at school except for Warren Popper. I don’t even know why. They are Henry Popper’s twins (Meme’s brother).
Marshal’s career lot wasn’t in my game at this time. I was struggling with crashing and had stopped adding lots to my hood. It is working way better now. Jessa’s video tutorial and then dramallamadingdang made a remark about compatibility, which I had messed with, and disabling that had solved the rest of the issues. It’s been a marked improvement, and I am back to adding lots to my game.
I was doing a mini-story with Riley Gray last year before my computer broke, and brought some of it over here. I plan to go back to it, I just need more time as I struggle to focus when I do have freetime. Both of Quinn’s Grandmas work at The Red Mill, with Jessica being a server. She isn’t taking time off to help out though, she makes considerably less, and she isn’t close to Riley.
Birthdays up next! It’s closing in on Paloma’s due date!
Thanks for reading!