Things were going well for Simon at his job (recent promotion to senior scientist) and Isabel was starting high school. But Sarah was now the one having a terrible time of things. Her Mother passed away unexpectedly and she hadn't gotten to resolve their differences. This has left Sarah completely depressed and unable to care for little Nathan or ride her horse in competitions which she had not done since before she and Simon got married since she was pregnant.
|Poor Sarah. This is more than the baby blues. (Forgot to put a shirt on too apparently)|
Isabel really felt bad for Sarah. She didn't have a good relationship with her Mom either. They only talked on the phone once in awhile. She couldn't imagine how bad it would feel if her Mom died suddenly like that. This new sympathy led Isabel to help out around the house a lot more instead of rebellious pranks. This often meant taking care of her baby brother when Dad was busy.
This was, at first, not a very enjoyable task.
|"Oh, uuuugh! How can one tiny baby stink so much?!"|
But changing diapers and giving bottles also comes with the reward of snuggles and smiles too.
|"Did you just punch me in the nose?! You cute little larva!!"|
Simon tries to get Sarah outside as much as possible, helping him garden or grooming her horse. But postpartum depression aggravated by her Mom's death seems to be keeping Sarah from enjoying anything at all.
She finally agrees to go riding with her Father, who was also coping with the loss of his wife and also in frail health himself. Sarah and her sister Stacy were the last (twins) of six kids the Gilberts had, so they had been older already nearing elderly when she was born.
|"Sarah, I don't have much time left either. I don't want to be alone without your Mother ..."|
Despite all their differences of lifestyle, Sarah loves her Dad and it's important to her he hears that since she hadn't had time to let her Mom know that before she passed away.
|"I know your Mother didn't always agree with your "Living Green" lifestyle, but we have always loved you..."|
She and her Dad go to dinner to celebrate her aging up to her middle years.
Sarah feels a lot better after spending time with her Dad, and even enters a competition that night, placing a respectable third place. Not bad after being out of the saddle awhile!
|"Good job Moonie ol' girl ... you still got the moves!"|
Isabel offers to babysit so Sarah can start riding competitions in the evenings. To pass the time, she invites some kids from the chess club over. Only one of them, another fellow genius, is able to beat Sarah about a third of the rounds they play against one another.
|"Your birthday party was fun, too bad half the kids who showed up were stupid. You're the only other smart girl I know."|
The only problem is, Katie Lanson is also exceptionally grumpy. So every time she loses, she gets mad, dumps the pieces on the floor, and leaves in a huff.
Which Isabel thinks is hilarious.
|The diabolical genius reveling in her victory.|
As a genius, Isabel's thirst for knowledge is insatiable. She spends a great deal of time trying to "Solve the Unsolvable" - special Sim challenges offered over the internet which came with prize money. It's not surprising she was one of the first in the special "Simsa High IQ Society" to solve a new problem in one of her all day long sessions.
|"Success! Isabel has found a 0 (n) solution for primality testing. Getting an extra $150 to boot makes solving problems pretty lucrative!"|
High School, however, comes with new challenges for Isabel. She is so easily bored by regular classes that she often skips and hides out at the library to study. She has straight A's and her teachers love her, so they tend to overlook her absences.
|"If I can just make it to lunch, I can skip out and still have a few hours of computer time"|
Her Dad's unwillingness to buy anything new, including a computer, is one of the few points of contention between Isabel and Simon. Privately, Simon likes having Isabel come down to the lab to do research on their clunky old machines anyways.
And research she does. Isabel has it all planned out. She's going to start traveling after school and visit far away places where she can study ancient sim-civilizations.
|Dad thinks she's studying, but she's actually running price checks on travel tickets ...|
There are a few things Isabel knows she is going to need to start her dream, and one of them is money. Her Dad, though frugal, is not rich. And now, he tells her all their savings are going into a new project he is starting with Sarah. They are going to buy the old run down Cinnamon Falls park and fix it up into a campground by doing all the work themselves using up-cycled materials from torn down barns and farm fencing. Unfortunately the cost of the lot itself is quite high, taking all their savings from the sale of their old house.
|"A campground? Why can't we buy the old dinosaur dig site and fix THAT up? Campgrounds are boring!"|
It's Simon's dream to own a public piece of a park and give back to the community something for others to enjoy nature. Cinnamon Falls has always been his favorite place and he wants to grow old there with Sarah. Plus, building it gives them something to do together and helps Sarah overcome her depression by keeping her busy.
The plans for the park renovation will take the better part of a year. Sarah and Simon have started paying Isabel to babysit Nathan almost every night (Simon refused to have strangers babysit anyways). This is Isabel's first after school 'job' though she'd rather be working at the bookstore with her friend Katie, or Billy, who were both in the gifted program at school with her and starting a book discussion club after hours.
Just as Sarah was starting to smile a little more often ... tragedy strikes again and her Father also passes away, broken-heartedly following his wife to the grave with Grimmy.
|Isabel just doesn't know what to do to comfort Sarah as she stands at the sink sobbing.|
The best thing Isabel could think of was to try and be good and helpful as much as possible.
She tries to learn to cook, but that ends in a minor disaster too.
|Sarah didn't even try to help, she just ran and hid in her room ...|
Fortunately Isabel's brave trait really comes in handy. This kind of thing doesn't even phase her and she quickly extinguishes the fire. If only the dirty counters and dishes were so easy to get rid of too!
|"Crap, there went my waffles!"|
Simon tales a week off work to help Sarah through yet another grieving period. They have a small cabin started out at the new campground and Sarah seems better when she's there and much less upset.
Isabel stays home all weekend to help tiny Nathan bust out of his blue larva blanket and become a cute toddler.
|Dad's hair color and tiny mouth, Mom's bright blue eyes. Cute kid!|
With as distant as Sarah had been after his birth, it isn't surprising how quickly little Nathan takes to Isabel like she's his surrogate Mom. Sometimes only Isabel has the touch to get him to go to bed at night.
|"Hey it's ok little guy, I'll be right in the next room studying - don't worry."|
Missing Nathan's birthday and spending so much time out at the campground construction site sends Sarah into another tailspin of grief and misery.
|Emotionally fragile Sarah.|
But both Simon and Isabel do the best they can to pick up the slack when Sarah goes to bed early every night, exhausted from working or sad.
|Simon manages to get a meal successfully cooked without another fire.|
Isabel gets a break on the weekends from babysitting. Simon's got a good handle on little Nathan.
|This house is so bare and drab - but Simon won't buy a single bit more furniture ... damn that Living Green roll!|
Nathan picks up walking very quickly, he is almost as active and adventurous as Isabel was, but not quite.
|Toddler in jammies, aww!|
In her free time when she's not babysitting and on the weekends, Isabel has started up a tutoring program to earn extra money and school credit by helping kids around town with their failing grades.
One of her first "clients" happens to be none other than an old childhood friend... Chase Steele.
Isabel arrives at the Steele horse ranch on her first night of tutoring and is totally thrown off guard by the adorably charming Chase ...
|Isabel is thinking "Oh wow, this was totally unexpected ..."|
Isabel, typically brave and confident, is left stammering when she tries to introduce herself awkwardly as butterflies swarm inside making her want to laugh nervously.
|"Uh ...hi. I'm here to to tickle you... errrr... TUTOR you, I mean...uh. yeah. Tutor." Chase grins, "huh??"|
And for the first time, Isabel's got an instant crush. She's not sure how she's going to sit so close to this guy and actually work out algebra problems. Especially when he grins mischievously and says he'd rather sit outside in the fresh air to do his homework.
She sits down shy and uncertain next to Chase.
|Isabel thinking to herself, "oh my, help me Watcher, he smells like saddle leather and cinnamon rolls - I think I'm dying..."|
But she manages to focus on the work, which comes easily to her - and helps Chase get through studying for his Algebra exam without any dying or further silly slip ups.
|"Right, now you've got it. You'll do fine on your test now."|
That night, it's something other than travels to faraway places that fills Isabel's dreams ...
|The innocence of young love.|
Read onward to ch. 1.19 - "Smart is Sexy" -- HERE!
- Poor Sarah has had a yellow or orange plumbob for pretty much almost a full 6 or 7 sim days! Her Mom died, then no sooner was she over that moodlet then Dad up and dies too. Then a stray cat decided to croak on the doorstep, complete with grimmy showing up to suck it up into cat heaven which set her and her own cat Ginger off (she's an animal lover) - then the stove fire, and being humiliated by an argument with her jerky brother pretty much gave her 3-4 bad moodlets at a time hah. Good thing Isabel and Simon took up the slack in caring for poor little Nathan or he'd have had a very bad babyhood of crying in his crib.
- As required by the "Living Green" generation roll I'm having the family buy a park and turn it into a public campground - big park category. (Cinnamon Falls fishing hole lot in Appaloosa Plains) It's underway and I hope to have it finished tonight! I'll update with a new chapter and pictures of it over the weekend. I originally intended to do something quite small to save money but I got carried away and used up all the money from the sale of their house on it haha!
- Chase and his two older brothers all turned out absolutely stunningly handsome - I took tons of screenshots of them (Their Dad and Mom sure have great genetics if anyone wants some fresh beautiful sim genes I'll share them! haha). They'll play a really big part in next chapter as well with a rather surprising / shocking switch in events for Isabel's first teen romance!