Lehua Blossom Bali: Prologue

This is the scene my sisters and I walked in on. That’s our brother Hibiscus and his boyfriend, Nautilus.

Hibi and Naut have this amazing, almost fairy tale-esque romance and it’s clear to anyone around them that they are truly and deeply in love. Calla Lily thinks PDAs are gross and constantly complains about finding Hibi and Nauti kissing. Soph-short for Sophornitella-thinks they’re really cute together and says Calla is immature. And me? Well I think it’s beautiful and romantic. When I look at them together I can’t help but wonder if I’ll ever find someone like that, someone who loves me the way they love each other.

I’m Lehua Blossom Bali.

I think a lot of people assume that kids just get lost in the shuffle in such a big family but that couldn’t be further from the truth with us. Mom and Dad are always there for us and we’re there for each other. Sure, we have our disagreements but we’re really close. And when I get sick of hanging around with my brothers and sisters, I can just go hang with the Spectrums, The Seastriders or even Grandpa Spencer because they all live in the same Bridgeport Suburb that we do. This was just one of the rare days that everyone else was busy and it was just Calla, Soph and I left to our own devices. At 13, when everyone else was busy that left us with limited options which was how we ended up in the family room, hoping to play some Princess of Simlandia.

Soph, ever oblivious to concepts such as ‘personal space’ just plopped down in the bean bag chair and picked up the controller to start the game, completely ignoring the fact that Hibi and Nauti were clearly looking for some alone time. Well, at least it would seem that way judging by the way they were kissing like no one else in the world existed. Call me a sap but I think it’s so romantic. Feeling awkward, I hesitated and glanced apologetically at Hibi as he and Nauti stopped kissing and he winked at me. I smiled and plopped down next to Calla who was already playing. That’s just one of the things I love about my big brother. I know he’d love to be alone with Nautilus but he never makes us feel unwanted. We hadn’t been there long before they left anyhow, saying they needed to talk to Dad.

The three of us wiled away the rest of the day playing video games and later a couple board games with Mom and Dad. Mom said it helped Dad keep his mind off of the fact that Hibi and Nauti were out alone. Poor Dad-he lost badly because he was so distracted. Mom says he’s just having trouble coming to terms with his oldest baby being in such a serious relationship. I knew he was still up when Hibi and Nauti pulled in the drive at midnight because I was still up, too, curled up on the couch upstairs, reading. A few minutes later, Hibi came up the steps followed closely by Dad. I knew Nauti was settling in downstairs, in the office Mom and Dad had converted to a bedroom for him when he came here.

It was impossible to miss the wide smile on Hibi’s face and he winked at me again as Dad kissed me goodnight.

“Don’t stay up too late, Princess.”

“I won’t, Dad.”

Dad turned towards Hibi, who was still grinning from ear to ear. “Night Hibi. Sleep well, son.” Dad gave Hib a hug and kissed the top of his head. Hib gave Dad a squeeze before beaming up at him. “Thanks, Dad. Love you.” I knew he wasn’t just thanking Dad for the goodnight wishes and Dad knew it too. He turned to go, not making eye contact with either of us. “I love you too, Hibiscus. Night kids.”

Once Dad was in his room, Hibi came over, moving my feet so he could sit down. I smiled at how obviously happy he was and settled in with my feet tucked under his leg.

“What’re you doing up so late?”

I shrugged. “Just couldn’t sleep. How was your date?”

The grin was back the instant I asked the question and his whole face lit up. “It was really good.”

“Hibi, are you in love?”

“Yeah. I am.”

“What’s it like?”

He looked at me, slightly amused. “That’s a hard question to answer, Hua.”

“Don’t call me Hua. And I really want to know.”

“Well…I’m not sure how to put it in words…it’s just this…amazing sense that this person is meant to be with you and you with them, that you’d do anything in the world for them and they’d do the same for you. No matter how good things were before him, it’s nothing compared to how things are with him. ”

“Wow. That’s so romantic.”

He laughed. “I guess it is, isn’t it? Being in love is good, Blossom. I can tell you that much.”

“I wish I knew what it felt like.”

“Aw, c’mon. You’re only thirteen. You have plenty of time to get to that.”

I nodded. “I know but…I hope…I hope someday I have what you two have.”

Hibi smiled and reached for my hand, giving it a squeeze. “I hope you do, too, Sis. I’m sure you will. I just hope I don’t have to kick too many guys’ butts before you find the right one.”

I giggled and squeezed his hand back as we fell quiet for a moment. Hibi let his head fall back on the couch and closed his eyes, smiling, no doubt thinking of Nautilus. “Hibi?”


“What was it like for you, when you met Nauti? How did you fall in love?”

“Kind of a long story.”

“What you have somewhere to be?”

He laughed again. “I guess not.”

“Will you tell me?”

HIbi hesitated for a moment before he looked up and smiled at me. “Sure.”


Generation 1 Q&A: Part 2

What’s going on with all the kids now?

*It’s worth noting that Kiki’s whole face lit up when I asked this question.*

Kiki: It’s hard to know where to start. Our kids are amazing! Hibi is 17 and a senior at Bridgeport High. Our Hib is very science minded and naturally excels in his chemistry and math courses. He used to spend hours at his chemistry table in the garage but the last couple years, he’s really discovered how much he loves painting and sculpting. He really takes after his Father in that respect. Recently, he entered one of his sculptures in a contest sponsored by the art museum and he won!

I guess the other big thing is that our Hibi has fallen in love for the very first time and I have to admit, I think this may be it for him. He’s been absolutely smitten ever since Nautilus, quite literally, dropped into our lives and those boys love each other so much.

Lotus: They’re just teenagers, Ki.

Kiki: *Smiles knowingly at Lotus* We were just teenagers, too, Lo.

Lotus: Yeah but…

Kiki: Oh, Lo. I love this side of you so much. *Turns back to me* Lo’s been having a little bit of a hard time seeing his baby in a relationship. He and Hibiscus have always been extremely close. I admit, it is a little hard to see him so grown up but I’m just happy that if he has to be in love, it’s with someone like Nautilus. I think Lo would agree with me, even though it’s hard for him to admit it. He adores Nauti, right Lo?

Lotus: Okay, I’ll admit he is a pretty good kid.

Zbornie: Sounds like things are going well for Hibi, then. What about the others?

Lotus: Orchid and Fleur are 14 now. Fleur is still very shy and reserved with people she doesn’t know but she’s extremely close to all her brothers and sisters and her friends. She takes after Hibi-science is very second nature to her. If you ask her she says she either wants to go into botany, physics or medicine.

Kiki: Orchid is into sports. Oh, berry, does that boy love sports. And he’s a natural at them! He plays football, baseball, basketball and runs track. He also worships the ground Hibiscus walks on. He adores his big brother. He does okay in school-he struggles and I think that bothers him sometimes since Hibi and Fleur have such an easy time. Fleur and Mazu tutor him and Hua and that seems to really help. He works hard and we couldn’t be prouder of him.

Lotus: Our triplets are 13. Calla Lily is our little bookworm. We can almost always count on finding her with her nose in a book. She writes poetry and short stories and she’s really good. I love taking her to the magazine with me because she’s always so fascinated. I won’t push her in that direction but I would be beyond thrilled to have her work there with me some day. Calla struggles, sometimes, with not having berry skin or hair like the rest of us but we try to remind her that she got her hair from her Grandpa Sam and that we love her tremendously. She’s adjusted but it still comes up from time to time.

Kiki: Soph is our little wild child. There is no way to classify her. I like to say she defies all labels. What does that mean? She’s the most unique child I’ve ever met. Some days she’s a tom boy through and through, planting whoopee cushions, climbing trees and catching bugs. Other days she’s a total girly girl-dressing in princess dress up clothes and insisting that we call her Queen Sophornitella, ruler of ALL. She’s extremely creative-she plays piano, guitar and drums. She also paints and sculpts. She loves clothes and is always wanting to dress the other kids. They rarely let her but she keeps trying. A couple months ago Lo brought home a box of fabric scraps from that one of his photographers snagged at a fashion show and Soph was over the moon with excitement.

Lotus: I guess that leaves our little Lehua Blossom. Hua is such a sweet little girl. She struggles a little in school, too and, like Ki mentioned before, Fleur and Mazu help her out with her studies. She can be clumsy and a little day-dreamy but sometimes she tells me the stories she daydreams up and, I have to say, it impresses me. That girl’s imagination is amazing. Lately Hua’s been getting into cooking. Ki’s an amazing cook so they spend a lot of time together in the kitchen. On the other hand, Pinkberry is really great at baking so Hua spends a fair amount of time baking over at their house, too.

Lehua Blossom, Sophornitella, Calla Lily

Zbornie: What about everyone else’s kids?

Riptide: Ocean and Kobi are both doing great. They’re both at Bridgeport U. Kobi’s studying medicine and Ocean’s studying to be a teacher. They just got an apartment downtown. It’s been hard living apart from them but I’m managing. At least one of them is at the house four or five times a week so that helps.

Ocean, Kobi

Reef is 13, Kai is 12 and Lagoon is 9. All three of them are taking Sim Fu classes and doing pretty well. Reef plays football at school and this past spring started helping coach little league. All my kids, including the girls, love surfing and we try to all get together at least once a month to go together. I really can’t complain about my kids. I’m a lucky guy.

Kai, Reef.


Jericho: Our kids are doing great, too! Salty’s 16. Still best friends with Hibi and plays on the school football team. Mazu’s 14 and is almost always hanging with a Bali kid-most often Orchid. Those two have been best friends practically since Mazu was born. Triakis is 12 and Rock Candy is 9. Most of them are involved in some kind of sport or another. Mazu and Triakis both play piano. Mazzy and Tri are also striders. I try to take them to the ocean as often as I can to help guide them as they learn how to use their abilities.

Salt Water Taffy, Mazu

Triakis, Rock Candy

What’s going on with Kiki’s family? We haven’t seen much of them.
Kiki: They still live in the neighborhood, a few blocks over from us. Dad and Ashley are still married. Ashley is a legal secretary and Dad’s still in business and doing well. They both talk about retiring in the next few years.

Kiki: Samantha is the same as ever- a bit unpleasant to be around if you don’t know her.

Lotus: Or even if you do know her.

Kiki: Lo!

Lotus: Sorry, Love, but it is so true.

Kiki: *sighs* I suppose Lo is right. Samantha can be difficult to deal with at times. But she’s family. She works in law and we see her every couple of weeks. She was dating a nice guy but, like a lot of her other relationships, it fell apart. Samantha says she’s happy to stay single until she can find a guy who, and I quote, “Isn’t the biggest idiot, sensitive, babied, tender heart on the face of the earth.”

Lotus: What she really means is until she can find a guy with no testicles who can deal with her ball crushing neurotics. In other words, never.

Kiki: Lo!

Lotus: Again, Love, sorry.

Kiki: Abby is doing well, too. She graduated a couple years ago and is working down at the science lab doing research. She’s a bit nutty at times. *Kiki glares at Lo who makes a show of clamping his lips shut* Okay so her nickname is “mad scientist” but she’s truly sweet and I enjoy spending time with her.

Lo, what about Andrew?

Lotus: He’s still in Twinbrook, unfortunately. We don’t really like taking the kids there so we’ve only been once or twice over the years. Luckily, he’s able to visit us here every few weeks or so.

Lotus and Kiki, are you looking forward to grandkids?

Lotus: *Chokes on water and spits it out, coughing wildly*

Zbornie: O.O Holy crap, are you okay? What the heck just happened?

Kiki: *Bangs on Lo’s back* Lo’s a little, ah, sensitive about the prospect of grandchildren. You know how I mentioned earlier he has a hard time seeing his babies as growing up? Same issue here. I’m kind of feeling the same. Our children are growing up but they’re still so young. I think we’ll both love having Grandchildren but we’re counting on a few more years until that happens.

I think that just about wraps up our interview with Lotus, Kiki, Riptide, Pinkberry and Jericho. It was fun hanging out with them today but if I don’t wrap up soon, we’ll never get to Gen 2! Thanks guys, for answering all the questions so honestly and openly.

Moving on, a few of the questions posted for me:

Do you use Fawkes or EA skins?
I use a combination of four skins. For the tones, I used Fawkes. Kiki and the Spencers all have EA tones. They’re by far my favorite skin tones. You can find them at Mod the Sims.
I use a Peggy retexture default replacement skin for their faces and Lady Frontbum Naughty default replacement skins for their bodies.
I also use Honest Gaze default replacement eyes by jillrp. They can be found at Mod the Sims.

Where did you find Riptide’s hair?
Riptide’s Hair

Where do you get your cc?
This is a difficult question to answer because I get my cc from all over the place. Mostly, I check My Sims 3 Blog every day for updates and go from there. I get a lot of my hairs from Anubis, My Blue Book, Lotus’ Journal and Newsea but it’s certainly not limited to those.

Last question. Could Lotus and Kiki be anything less than the cutest Berry couple ever?
I’ll let you all be the judge of that because I think I’m rather biased. 😉

**I want to thank you all for your input and for just reading Fade. I have a lot of fun with it and it means a lot to know that people enjoy it. It’s worth noting that Avanis, Raelsinclaire and Nicarra have all been a great help to me as I square away each chapter. Without their input, Fade might be very different.

I got a lot of great input for this Q & A from readers. I only left out two questions (my apologies, Nicarra) because they gave a little too much away before I’m ready to let go of that information. I had so much fun putting this together. If there are questions in the future, feel free to drop them to me on wordpress or my sims facebook. (Just search Zbornie. I’m there!)

A few more things you should know-The Bali’s new house was made as a surprise to me by Raelsinclaire. It turned out amazing and the hours and hours she spent on it really show. Thankies Rae!! ❤

The house prior to that one was a great little home made by Nancy0925. The wallpaper mistake I alluded to was NOT Nancy’s. It was simply mine when I was playing with decorating, left it, took pics without paying attention and then was effectively stuck with it after publishing the pics.

As you may have guessed, many of the berries I dropped into Fade are friends simselves or else sims made by fellow simmers. Thank you everyone for helping me populate Bridgeport. A few of the sims are Sea Striders. Jericho and Nautilus are both from Avanis’ Sea to Shore 100 Baby Challenge, though in this dimension, they aren’t Father and Son. (You’ll have to wait until Hibi’s story to learn more about Nautilus’ presence in Fade.) Two of Jericho and Pink’s kids in Fade, Mazu and Triakis, are Striders. Sea Striders can live on land or in water and typically have abilities centered around water manipulation or abilities that are enhanced when water is accessible to them. Striders are usually identifiable by their blue skin, though it’s important to note that having blue skin does not automatically make a character a strider. For instance Ocean Spectrum, Riptide’s daughter, is simply a berry. You can read more about the stiders in Avanis’ From Sea To Shore: A Seastrider 100 Baby Challenge.

I can’t end this without showing some mad love for my girl, Avanis, who I adore the shit out of. She’s helped so much with Fade it’s not even funny and collabbing with her on Fade and a few other things has seriously been one of the best writing experiences I’ve had. But beyond that, she makes me smile like a thousand times a day and she’s just, in general, fucking awesome in every way. Love you Vani! ❤

Zasha (That’s me! Zbornie!), Pinkberry aka Vani

See you all next gen! Until then, a few piccies to hold you over!

Generation 1 Q&A: Part 1

In wrapping up Gen 1 of Fade, I thought it might be fun to see what questions the readers still had about Fade, it’s cast and myself. I got a lot of great questions so I talked to everyone and Lotus, Kiki, Riptide, Pinkberry and Jericho agreed to sit down with me and answer some of them. It turns out, there was a lot about them that even *I* didn’t know. So much, in fact, that I’ve divided this into two blog entries. So, without further adieu…

The gang invited me to a lunch at Pink and Jer’s house one Saturday. After some delicious grub, we settled in and got down to business.

Well, guys, first off I just wanted to thank you again for agreeing to sit down with me. The readers asked some great questions and I’m really looking forward to the answers. Hope you’re ready to get personal because we’re jumping right in with both feet.

Riptide, it won’t escape anyone’s attention that you’re here solo today. Care to update everyone on what’s going on with you and your family since we haven’t seen a lot of you in story since all the big changes?

Riptide: Geez, talk about jumping right in. *grins* Okay, sure. I guess the last time you updated on me I was married to Shari and our first son was due to be born any day. Reef was born a few days after the triplets. We had another son, Kai, a little over a year after Reef was born. As for Shari and I, well, we were having, ah…technical difficulties, if you will. Then one day she just left. With the girls, a baby and a toddler, I didn’t even have time to think about dating again. It wasn’t until Kai was just over two that I asked Chelsea out. I’d known her for years but in the six months or so leading up to our first date, I started to really get to know her and realized I really liked her. It was a big step for me, putting myself out there like that but I’m glad I did. Six months after our first date we were married and we’ve been together ever since. Our son, Lagoon, was born not quite a year after we married.

Zbornie: Yeah, talk about surprised when I went to check on you one day and not only did you have a new wife but she was pregnant too… If only I’d enabled some sort of notification system, I might not have been so confused… At any rate, I’m glad it’s worked out for you two. Where is Chelsea, today, anyhow?

Riptide: She and the kids are visiting her parents in France. Her Dad was transferred there several years ago. I didn’t want to miss this and it’s not a good week for me to miss work, so I’ll fly out next week. She did send her regrets though and wanted me to thank you for being so understanding when you found her unexpectedly at the house.

Zbornie: She’s very welcome. Indeed, I’ve since met her several times, including when I went to snag pictures of the family for this update. She’s a sweet as can be so everyone can rest assured that Riptide has found someone lovely to be with.

Lotus, what is the kinkiest thing you’ve done in the bedroom?

*As I asked this question, I couldn’t help but notice the ornery grin that spread across Lo’s face or the way he winked at Kiki, making her blush from head to toe. He thought about it for a few moments, all the while grinning like the cat that got the canary, before offering up an answer:

Lotus: The thing about being with someone you love and trust so deeply is that it means you can try all kinds of things knowing that the person you’re with will never push you too far. Over the years, finding new ways to bring our love making to new heights has been very rewarding for me and we’ve tried a lot of…interesting things. The kinkiest thing? That’s far more personal than Ki would like me to get. As far as other, less personal kinks? I guess that depends on your definition of kinky. I’m always up for a little tie me up, tie me down or even using handcuffs. A little spanking can be nice…oh and we both LOVE the shower. If you haven’t got a removable shower head, you don’t know what you’re missing.

Kiki, what is the sweetest thing Lotus ever did for you?

Kiki: So many things come to mind-Lo is the sweetest, most giving man. I feel so lucky because every day he does so many little things that are no less meaningful to me than the grand gestures. But the thing that will always mean the most to me is what he gave me by being a friend to me, back when we were still in Twinbrook. He was there when I had no one else and he never judged me. Lotus taught me that life doesn’t have to be gray and you don’t have to blend in. He showed me life the way it should be-full of color and love and happiness. And then he loved me, unconditionally, and ultimately rescued me from a very dark place. Running away isn’t always the answer but, for us, it really was and I’ll be thankful for the rest of my life that he was there that night I called-dropped everything to come and get me.

*At this point, Ki got a little teary and needed a moment to compose herself. I think she fully answered the question though. I mean, how much sweeter does it get than having your knight in shining armor drive in in his white Kompensator to rescue you?

Lotus if Kiki dared you or was feeling down and you wanted to make her laugh, would you put yourself in a dress?

Riptide: Pretty sure he’d put himself in a dress for far less noble and romantic reasons.

Lo: *Glares at Riptide* It was a joke. And is now really the time?

Riptide: *cracks up* I kinda think it is. I bet I still have the pics on my phone. *Whips out phone and starts thumbing through pictures*

Lo: Don’t even THINK about it, Spectrum, or so help me I’ll tell them about that time at the Butterfly Esplanade.

Riptide: *Looks mortified and shoves phone back into pocket* Right. Carry on. I’ll be over here not saying a word now.

Lo: That’s what I thought. Now, as I was about to say before I was so rudely interrupted, I’d do just about anything to make Kiki smile so, yes, I’d wear a dress all over Bridgeport if that’s what it took.

What color are Riptide’s underwear?

Riptide: *Raises eyebrow* You mean when I wear them?

Zbornie: Yes Rip, I’m pretty sure that’s what they meant.

Riptide: But I almost always go commando. You know that.

Zbornie: *blushes* Um, ah, be that as it may, do you think you could just tell them the color of the underwear you DO own?

Riptide: *grins* I’d rather show them.

Zbornie: Fine. You do that. I’m fairly certain no one will complain.

Zbornie: *dies*

What is everyone’s best moment?

Lotus: *Looks at Kiki and reaches for her hand* Marrying Ki. And then the moment she made me a Father. I love all of my children fiercly and the moment each of them came into this world was powerful enough to make me cry but… holding Hibi for the first time and seeing the little creature that made me a Daddy? I could never describe it in a way that does it justice but it’s definitely one of the greatest moments of my life.

Kiki: I’m going to have to agree with my Lo because those are truly the defining moments of our lives together. I’ll also add meeting Pinkberry to that list because her friendship means the world to me and I wouldn’t be the same without her.

Pinkberry: Awww, Kiki! You’re on my list, too. And marrying Jer. And our kids.

Jer: *Watches and Ki and Pink hug each other* Wow. That’s some serious estrogen. I think I’ll go with the first time Pink and I…OUCH!

*It’s worth noting that Pink elbowed him, hard, in the ribs*

Pink:*glares at Jer*

Jer: *Flashes a grin at Pink* Baby you know I’m joking. Meeting you and having you agree to be my wife will always be my happiest memories.

Pink: *Face melts into a smile as she settles into Jer’s arms.*

Riptide: Oh you are smooth, Jer. Nicely played.

Jer: *smirks* It might be smooth but I meant every word. I love my Pink more than life.

Riptide: I’m going to have to say my kids. It’s no secret that I’ve had some rocky relationships but my kids have come from some of those relationships and I love them more than life. They give my life meaning. *lowers voice* And don’t let them hear this but I’m beyond thankful for Lo and Jer’s friendship. I’d be lost without them.

Lotus: *smirks* What was that, Riptide?

Riptide: Was just talking about how pretty you were in the dre….


Riptide: Shutting up now.

Okay, understandably meeting and marrying the love of your life, having children and strong friendships are the top of the list for everyone. So what are your best moments, outside of those things?

Lotus: The night Kiki ditched the hat.

Kiki: Really?

Lotus: Yep.

Kiki: But that night was terrible!

Lotus: I know and I felt awful for what you were going through. But I was so damned proud of you the moment you decided to get rid of it. Seeing you free from that weight on your shoulders was fantastic. Plus, I think that night was the first time I realized I was falling for you.

Kiki: Oh Lo. *Sinks into Lo’s embrace and kisses him*

Zbornie: Um, well, I guess we’ll just come back to Kiki. Anyone else?

Pinkberry: I think one of mine was the first time Kiki, Lark, Chelsea and I spent the weekend in Sunset Valley at the beach house. We try to do it once a year now but that first time was extra special. It was so fun to just have an all girls weekend together, relaxing and not having to worry about taking care of the kids or houses or anything.

Kiki: That was one of mine, too. We need to do that again soon!

Zbornie: Oh, stopped sucking face long enough to answer, did you?

Kiki: *is kissing Lo again*


Jericho: My answer is similar to Pink’s. The guys and I have had some great times together. Once, just before Lo moved to Twinbrook, we road tripped to Fairview Heights for a concert I’d won tickets to on the radio. It was an 8 hour drive just to get there but it was worth it. We got to meet the band after the show and hang out with them. It was great! I still keep in touch with Gerard on Simbook. Definitely one of my best memories.

Riptide: Agreed, man. And I’m sure Lo would agree, too, if HIS FACE WASN’T TRAGICALLY STUCK TO KIKI’S.

Lo: *flips off Riptide while still kissing Kiki*

Riptide: I would say one of my favorite memories is taking pictures of Lo wearing that dress, dancing on the ba…

Lotus: *Detaches from Kiki* Do NOT Make me kick your ass, Spectrum!

Riptide: *grins* I’d love to see you try, Bali. If I win, you gotta put the dress on again.

Lotus: And if I win, are you going to go back to the Butterfly Esplanade and…

Riptide: As I was saying, that road trip kicked all kinds of ass.

Lotus: Wise choice, Spectrum. And, yes, it did. Next question please.

Right. So. What about some of your saddest moments?

Kiki: The night I had my melt down. I still hate thinking about it.

Lotus: I’d have to agree. Seeing Kiki like that and being so utterly helpless is not something I like to remember.

Kiki: And even though the readers don’t know about most of this yet, helping Nautilus cope with everything has been hard. I just love that boy so much and to see the way he’s had to suffer has been hard.

Zbornie: You’re right. They haven’t met Nautilus yet but I’m certain when they do, they’ll see exactly what you mean.

Riptide: I think mine was when I realized that things were not going to work with Electra. If it was just the break up, I would have been able to deal with it better but we had children. The girls were still babies. Hell, I was pretty much still a child myself but I was so devoted to them. Still am. That moment when I realized that things were not going to work between Electra and I and knowing the girls were going to be affected by that damn near broke my heart. And then when Electra stopped coming to see them…well…I just didn’t understand, couldn’t understand how she wouldn’t want them in her life. I still don’t understand and it still hurts but my girls are happy and healthy and I’ve done my best to give them a stable home life, despite it all.

Kiki: Riptide, sweetie. You’ve been a wonderful Father to them. None of us understands why Electra made the choices she did but you’re such an amazing Daddy. Don’t ever doubt that.

Lotus: *Gives Rip a pointed look* She’s right, brother.

Jericho: Yep.

Pinkberry: Rippy, you know those girls love you more than life itself. They’re the epitome of Daddy’s girls. You’ve given them everything they’ve ever needed. *Hugs Riptide*

Zbornie: They’re all right, Rip. Your girls have never lacked for love.

Riptide: Thanks guys. So. Next person please.

Pinkberry: Any time I have to watch my kids struggle is hard for me. I think one of the worst might have been when Salty had his first broken heart. It was just last year-he was 15. Seeing my precious boy so sad and hearing him cry was horrible. I know it’s a part of life that most people experience but it’s still hard for a Mama to cope with.

Jericho: That was rough. For me, though, it was dealing with things just after Mazu was born. Pink went through some really rough post partum depression and, like Lotus said, it’s just the worst feeling in the world to see your love struggling with that and being completely helpless to do anything about it. I never let her see how upset or scared it made me but the truth is it scared the hell out of me. It still hurts thinking about it.

Pinkberry: *Looks lovingly at Jer* Jer, I never knew.

Jericho: *kisses the tip of Pink’s nose* You weren’t meant to know. You didn’t need to be worrying about me on top of everything else. I’m just glad we got you through it.

Wow guys. Those were some intense moments. Why don’t we lighten things up a little. How about moments you wish never happened or that you could just forget?

*Everyone looks at each other for a moment before saying in unison, “The camping trip” followed by groans and grimaces by all.*

Zbornie: O.O Camping trip?

Riptide: Yeah. Happened four years ago. I think we’ve all done some foolish things over the years but the one that stands out more than any other is the camping trip. Lark and Logan came, too, so between all of us adults and our children that was 24 people to keep track of and organized. It rained all berry-loving week. And not just a light drizzle. Hell no. It poured buckets and the temps were twenty degrees colder than usual. The tents flooded the first night and we found ourselves waking the campground manager at two in the morning begging for cabins to get our kids out of the cold. Believe me, if we had been anywhere near a town with hotels, we’d have gone there but at the time, cabins was the best solution.

Stupid from the cold, wet and sleep deprivation, I just booked the damned things for the entire week, afraid we’d lose them to someone else if we didn’t reserve them. This meant that when we wanted to bail later, we felt compelled to tough it out since we’d paid to be there. That week in those cabins was pure hell. We managed to snag two of them but each of them only had two bedrooms. If you counted the hide-a-beds, each cabin had space to sleep 8 of us. As a result we were sleeping all over the place-on couches, in chairs and on the floors. The kids were all out of sorts because of the abrupt change in plans and I spent more than one night crammed into a bottom bunk with Lagoon and Kai or, one night, both.

All our oldest kids are teenagers and if you know anything about teens, you know their attitudes leave something to be desired. It’s normal but I’ve come to realize that the way we cope with it, as parents, is to get the hell away from it. Don’t get me wrong, our kids are great but they are teenagers and eventually, that snark has to come out. Especially when you spend several days straight being cold, bored and sore as hell from sleeping in weird places and positions.

All the younger kids had cabin fever by day two. We did the best we could-I played so many games of scrabble, Life and Clue that week it wasn’t even funny. We even made up games when we got sick of the few board games we’d brought along. By the end of the week our nerves were shot and, I can’t speak for the others, but I was never so glad to be packing up and heading home from “vacation.”

Zbornie: Holy crap. That’s a seriously crappy vacation.

Kiki: You have no idea. When we finally got home, we hardly saw our kids for the next day or two. We weren’t mad at each other. I think they were just sick of being around everyone so much.

Pinkberry: Ours too. The craziest part of the whole thing is that every once in awhile, one of the kids will ask when we’re gonna go again. As miserable as that week was, there were some good moments together and I think that’s what our kids remember.

Kiki: OMB I thought ours were the only ones asking!

Riptide: Nope. Even the girls mention it from time to time.

Kiki: Well, I guess it makes sense. I mean, kids tend to see the best in things and, if you think about it, it wasn’t all bad. Like Pink said, there were some great moments together as family and friends that we couldn’t have gotten otherwise. Pink, remember that night we had a few too many nectars after everyone else was asleep?

Pinkberry: Oh Berry, Ki, how could I forget? I laughed so hard that night, I nearly wet myself.

Kiki: The next morning was brutal but it was worth it. Berry that night was hillarious. It wouldn’t be so terrible if we did it again. I mean the kids obviously got something out of it.

Pinkberry: Maybe we should try again sometime. I mean clearly if the kids are still asking about it, it’s worth doing again.

*At this point, I couldn’t help but giggle as I watched Lo, Rip and Jer exchange horrified expressions.*
Riptide: Ah, Z, shouldn’t we be moving on?

Lotus: Yes, I think we should!

Zbornie: *giggles* Okay guys. Let me know when you have your next trip planned, though.

Lotus and Kiki, do you ever regret having the triplets?

Lotus: Absolutely not.

Kiki: Not at all. I know there were some really, really hard times for us having so many kids, so close together in age but even through the darkest times, there was the sense that they were supposed to be in our lives. They’re our children-our babies. Despite how difficult it was, I wouldn’t change a thing. We love those girls so much and I can’t even begin to imagine life without them.