Part 55 – Karen & Joel

After a few hours of intense labour Karen gave birth to a beautiful healthy baby

GIRL!

They  named her Katie.

She was perfect in every way and Karen doted on her. She was such a happy baby who very rarely cried unless she needed a diaper change or was hungry and she slept so well at night time.

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Daddy of course loved his little girl too. He would get up in the middle of the night when Karen was tired and would bottle feed her, change her diaper and cuddle her back to sleep. She would always go straight back to sleep until morning.

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Time flew by so quickly and Katie wasn’t a baby for very long. She started sitting up by herself and learnt to crawl at an early age and before they knew it she was pulling herself up on the furniture and taking her first steps.

“She’s going to be a strong independent girl” Karen said to Joel one day as she was watching Katie trying to walk.

“Just like her mother” Joel laughed.

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On his days off Joel would spend time with Katie, teaching her flash cards, teaching her to walk, reading to her and of course teaching her to use the potty. She was definitely Daddy’s little girl.

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Just as Jack was Mummy’s boy. Of course they tried not to play favourites but there is an undeniable bond between mother and son, and father and daughter.

Summer came and went, and in the autumn Jack was due to start school. He was excited about this, but also a little bit afraid. He had the academic side down pat as he was a bright child, but he was worried about making friends. He didn’t seem to make friends easily, but in the first few weeks he made several friends and seemed quite happy. Karen helped him with his homework when he got home from school and they would often talk about his school day…

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…and then he was allowed some computer time before dinner. He loved to play arithmetic attack and also like to practice his typing. He thinks one day he might write like his mummy does, because she’s so clever.

Katie would sometimes join them playing on her little wabbit tablet too.

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Some days instead of being on the computer Karen and Jack would play games on the Simstation Console. They played different games but one of their favourite was bowling.

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Jack was really good and most times would beat Karen. She tried so hard but he was just too good at it.

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Then suddenly one day Jack came home from school feeling very sad. He ran indoors and straight up to his bedroom. He hopped under the covers on his bed and sobbed his little heart out. Karen noticed that he didn’t come to say hello so went upstairs to see what was wrong.

“Jack honey, what’s wrong?” she asked him as she knocked on the bedroom door.

He got out of bed as Karen walked in and he told her “My best friend is having a birthday party but didn’t invite me. I heard about it from some other kids so I asked him about it. He said he didn’t want me to go and wasn’t my friend anymore” and with that he broke down in tears again.

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“Oh honey, that is really mean of him” Karen told Jack. “You know what, he’s not a real friend if he treats you like that and you don’t need him” she assured him. “There are plenty more friends where he came from and you know what, I hope karma comes and spoils his party! Then when it’s your birthday we’ll have the best party ever and he will miss out!”

After a bit more of a pep talk Karen sends Jack off for a bath and she goes to give Katie a quick bath. They have dinner when Joel comes home and spend some quality family time together. Later, Karen goes to tuck Jack into bed and they sit down for a minute on the bed.

“Are you feeling better now honey?” she asks him.

Jack smiles at her “yes mummy”

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“Good. I’m glad” Karen says and gives him a big hug. “Now you get a good nights sleep. School again tomorrow. I love you Jack”

“I love you too mummy”

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Part 54 – Karen & Joel

Firstly sorry for all the toddler spam, but I just love these little guys. I think it is by far the best life stage and these little guys are soooo cute! I am so so  happy EA gave us toddlers!

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With little Jack being at such an impressionable and important stage in his life, Karen does a lot of work from home these days. It suits her better because she can be home to take care of Jack and fit her work in around his nap times. Since most of the work is done on the Internet and with her super fast connection there is no reason to go into work really.

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Jack has discovered his favourite food of all time…chicken nuggets! He wants them for breakfast lunch and dinner, but of course Karen doesn’t let him. He needs a balanced diet but he has them for a treat sometimes.

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During the day Karen teaches Jack his words using flash cards. He’s getting so clever and knows most of them now. He can actually have a bit of a conversation too, instead of talking gibberish.

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When Karen and Joel both have to go into work, Nanny B comes over to sit with Jack. He loves it when she reads him a book. She’s so good at telling stories.

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She gives him lots of encouragement when he’s building his blocks too.

“Yay! Well done Jack” she says as she claps her hands.

Jack is very proud of himself.

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One evening Karen comes home late from work. Joel was in bed but little Jack had another nightmare, so he got up to settle him. Karen had a shower and was in her dressing gown when they bumped into each other in the hall.

“Hey honey” she says “guess what”

“What?” Joel questions

“I had a call from the dr today. We’re pregnant again” she squeals with delight.

“What? Oh that’s wonderful news honey” Joel says and he gives his beautiful wife a hug.

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In the morning Karen tells Jack the news.

“Mummy is going to have a baby Jack. You’re going to be a big brother” she tells him.

Jack is so excited he jumps up and down and gives his mummy a hug. “Can I have a brother?” he asks innocently.

Karen laughs “we’ll just have to wait and see. We won’t know until the baby is born” she tells him.

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Jack plays with his dolls house and thinks how neat it would be to have someone to play with all the time. He plays with his friends sometimes, but a brother would be there all the time…he doesn’t realize the baby will be too small to play for quite some time.

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Jack is trying new foods now that he’s growing up. This morning he is trying french toast.

“Ooooh” he says when he takes his first bite. “Yumm!”

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Jack has had several birthdays, he’s growing so fast that Joel and Karen can’t keep up.

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Before they know it their little boy is not  so little anymore. He’s a big boy and ready to start school in the next few months. He’s excited about going to school and making some new friends.

Karen’s pregnancy has progressed too and she’s not far off having the baby.

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Jack is a very intelligent boy, but he still loves nothing better than sitting down and having a book read to him by Mummy or Daddy. He loves music too and hopes to learn to play an instrument when he starts school.

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One day before school has started Karen wakes up feeling a bit uncomfortable.

“Oh dear, I think the baby is coming” she says to Joel as she hops out of bed.

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Sure enough over the next few hours the pain worsens. The contractions are about 5 minutes apart and the baby will be here soon.

Karen cries out in pain as another contraction hits her. “I think it’s time to go to the hospital NOW!” she yells at Joel.

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What will Karen have? A boy or a girl? Any guesses on the name too? All will be revealed in the next episode.

Part 53 – Karen & Joel

 

Little Jack is keeping Karen and Joel on their toes. He’s now so good at walking and he can even run. They have to be quick to catch him and he just wanders off. They have to keep an eye on where he goes or they can spend ages trying to find him.

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Most times he’s up in his bedroom playing with his toys though. It’s so much fun and he’s getting quite an imagination.

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He is fully toilet trained now and no longer needs to wear diapers.

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Daddy is so proud of his big boy.

“Well done Jack. You’re such a big boy now” Joel praised him.

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And EAT! Oh boy can he eat! He loves his peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch.

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When Jack is in bed Joel and Karen still find a little bit of time for “Mummy and Daddy time”. Not much with a busy toddler running around and half the time they are exhausted but from time to time they manage to keep that spark alive.

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Karen and Joel love to dance and little Jack has been watching them. He loves music too and tries to copy his daddy’s moves.

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“Hey Jack, can you do the robot? Look at daddy doing the robot” Joel said as he showed Jack his moves.

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“Me do robot” Jack said excited as he tried to copy Joel’s moves.

“Very good Jack” Joel encouraged his son.

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But there came a time when Jack started waking up in the middle of the night. He was having some nightmares and he would come into their room in the middle of the night.

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Night after night, after night it would happen…..

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He would stand at the end of their bed crying until they woke up. They took him back to bed and read him to sleep again but again he’d wake up. They ended up putting a radio in his room and playing some lullabies when he went to sleep, and that seemed to do the trick. They finally got a full nights sleep again.

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Then Jack discovered the kitchen cupboards. Child locks promptly went on the doors of the cupboards containing chemicals and dangerous items, and crockery and glassware were moved out of reach. He loved the pots and pans and would sit and bang them around for ages.

“Perhaps he will be a drummer or musician one day” Karen joked to Joel.

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When Mummy worked on her computer Jack would play on his computer. He loved to play SimShape and Draw with Llama or just watch videos. Karen was busy writing her books to try and make some extra money. She has quite a few bestsellers now.

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Since Karen and Joel don’t get out as much these days (the joys of having a toddler) their friends come over to visit. Jack doesn’t like “strangers” so when Precious tried to talk to him he covered his eyes.

“I can still seeeee you Jack” Precious teased.

“NO!” said Jack turning his head away thinking that Precious couldn’t see him if he can’t see her.

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Karen laughed at his antics.
“It’s ok Jack, Precious is my friend. She won’t hurt you. She has little children too. She has two little boys that you will be able to go and play with”

Jack looked up at his mummy, excited about the prospect of meeting some more little boys.

“Me play?” he asked Karen

“Yes darling but later. Mummy and Precious are going to talk now and I’ll take you over to her house later”

“Yay!” squealed Jack shaking his arms in excitement.

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Part 52 – Karen & Joel

 

As a toddler Jack was an angelic child but he could also be quite demanding when he wanted something. He was learning to talk and could say certain words. For example early one morning after breakfast little Jack wanted to have a bath. His demands were simple “Bath Mummy”.

“you want a bath Jack?” Karen repeated.

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Jack would get so excited he’d jump up and down and clap his hands when Karen understood what he wanted. Then he’d stand there with his arms up for Karen to pick him up.

“Oh you’re getting such a big boy” Karen says as she picks him up.

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Bath times were so much fun. Jack loved playing with the bubbles

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And his rubber duckie….

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And he would splash the water making Karen soaking wet. But it was ok, it was lovely mummy and son bonding time.

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Jack eventually grew to love Nanny B as well. He knew now that Mummy and Daddy had to go to work, but they would come back. While they were gone Nanny B looked after him.

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She taught him to say his words, and to recognize pictures and say what they were. It was frustrating sometimes when he couldn’t say the word but Nanny B made it fun. This one was tricky “brocci” was all he could manage at the moment.

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She taught him to use the potty too, which was much better than running around in a wet diaper.

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Then when mummy and daddy came home they had dinner together (except when Mummy worked late) and then daddy would put Jack to bed and read him a story.

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“Goodnight my little man” Joel would say as he tucked Jack in.

“Night night daddy” Jack would say as he yawned and drifted off to sleep.

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Soon Jack worked out how to climb stairs properly and he tackled the main staircase. At first Karen and Joel were horrified and watched in fright. But Jack was pretty agile and he never fell.

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When he got to the bottom and found Daddy dancing in the kitchen, he would demand “Daddy food”. Joel put him in his highchair and gave him some breakfast.

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It was lovely to come home from a tough day at work and be greeted with open arms from his little man. Jack would come running over, “Daddyyyyyyy” he would squeal and put his arms up in the air.

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He loved his hugs from Daddy and Joel loved it too.

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The boys would have some play time before dinner, playing airplanes,

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and then they’d sit down to eat together. Sometimes they sat outside if it was a nice night and Joel would cook something on the bbq for them.

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Little Jack was still a bit of a messy eater so it is lucky this couch is washable.

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After such a big day and with a full tummy, little Jack would get sleepy. Joel would be talking to him one minute, and the next his little eyes are closed and he’s nodding off.

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He looks so cute curled up on the couch that Joel hates to disturb him, but he can’t sleep here all night, so he picks him up and carries him to bed.

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Part 51 – Karen & Joel

 

Time flew by so quickly and young Jack was soon a toddler…no longer a baby. He was learning fast and had already learnt to wrap his mummy and daddy around his little finger. How could you not love that little face though….sooo cute!

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All Jack had to do was give Mummy those puppy dog eyes  and that little pout on his lips and he’d get whatever he wanted.

“oh dear poor Jack. What’s wrong?”

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“Do you need your diaper changed? No. Do you need a bath? No. Hmmm….do you want Mummy to play with you?

“Yes yes yes” said Jack as he jumped up and down excitedly.

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Out on the landing Karen tossed Jack up into the air, twirling around in circles as she did. Jack squealed with delight.

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Next they played airplanes “Here we go we’re coming in to land. Hold on tight” Karen said as the plane dipped down lower and gently swayed from side to side.

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And finally she threw Jack around and upside down to which he squealed even louder. He loved playing rough. The rougher the better. Mummy was so much fun!

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Soon though Karen’s maternity leave came to an end and she had to return to work. She sat down and tried to explain to young Jack that “Mummy needs to go back to work to earn some money for your new toys. I will be back soon and while I’m gone Nanny will come and look after you”

Jack stood listening but not really comprehending what Karen was saying. She left to go to work and left Jack with the lovely elderly Nanny who would be taking care of him.

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But the nanny wasn’t quick enough and took her eyes off Jack for a split second. He was out the door and down the footpath chasing after Mummy. Or so he thought! He got to the bottom of the stairs when Nanny came running out the door after him. She picked him up and took him quickly back inside.

“Where do you think you’re going little man?” she questioned him with a chuckle. “Your father would shoot me if I lost you”. She promptly locked the front door so that Jack couldn’t go out again and then went to lock the back door too.

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Poor little Jack was heartbroken. Mummy and Daddy had gone and left him with this strange old lady. He was sad. He wanted Mummy and Daddy to come back.

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He stood near the door and cried and cried and cried. It was heartbreaking to watch 😦

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But Nanny knew how to cheer him up. “Come on little one, let’s get you some food” she said as she picked him up and sat him in the high chair. Little Jack did love his food, but unfortunately the high chair wore more than he ate when he was left to his own devices.

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“Weeeeeee” he shouted as he flung his arms wide…yogurt going everywhere.

“Oh dear!” said Nanny as she wiped down the high chair, walls, floor and anything else that was in the surrounding area of the high chair. “You’re going to be a fun one” she chuckled to herself.

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“Come one let’s go play with your nesting blocks” said Nanny carrying Jack into the lounge room. There he sat for ages trying to sit one block on top of another and talking in absolute gibberish to himself.

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“Blah blah mweio woeh moudi une” he gibbered away looking at the pictures on the blocks and trying to stack them.

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All this playing was hard work and Jack grew weary, so when Nanny left him to go and cook some dinner he climbed up onto the nearby couch.

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And there he fell asleep. He looked so peaceful that Nanny left him there and put some cushions on the floor, just in case he rolled off.

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Next thing Jack knew Daddy was home and he was so so happy.

“Come here little man. I’ve missed you” said Joel as he gave Jack a big squeezy hug. “Are you hungry? Do you want something to eat?”

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Joel sat Jack in his high chair and gave him some dinner while he ate his own dinner. He gave Jack a drink and after cleaning up he noticed Jack needed a diaper change. That done they had a little play….

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…and then Joel read Jack a bedtime story as he drifted off to sleep for the night. Happy again now that Daddy was home.

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Part 50 – Karen & Joel

Heading towards the end of Karen’s pregnancy, Joel receives an email one day from his agent.

“Honey, I know the timing is awful but I need to go away for a bit for this movie role.”

“Really? Right now? We’re about to have a baby Joel” Karen responded less than happy.

“I know, but I HAVE to go. The director decided that they  are shooting the next scenes in San Myshuno for a more authentic look”. He explained apologetically.  “I promise if anything happens with the baby I will be on the first flight home I can get! I will be here” he promises.

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A couple of days later Karen was reading a book on the back deck when Joel came out to say goodbye. “Well my bags are packed and the plane leaves in 3 hours so I will get going” he said sadly. “I hate to leave you like this”.

“It’s ok” Karen reassured him “I will call IF anything happens before you return. I’m sure I’ll be fine”.

“Ok. Well you take care of both of you and I’ll see you soon”. Joel kissed his wife goodbye and jumped in the taxi to the airport.

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Karen went about her daily life while Joel was gone. Heading off to work each day and writing her books from home. Occasionally she’d shout herself a meal at The Precious Pearl when she felt she needed company or a night out. The meals there were so delicious and it was better than cooking for one at home and then eating left overs for the rest of the week.

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It also gave her a good chance to catch up with her friend Precious and sometimes her other friends too.

“How are you doing?” Precious asked her one night when she was out for a meal.

“I’m good except I’m getting as big as a house. Look at the size of my backside!! I thought my belly was supposed to get big not my backside!” Karen said quite annoyed.

Dwayne sat reading the menu and pretending not to hear the conversation. This was one conversation he did not want to be a part of!

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As the weeks went on, Karen’s belly did get bigger. It became increasingly harder to move around and dancing in her kitchen was all she would do as she was becoming less graceful. She left the dancing in the clubs for her friends.

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However, she would still go out from time to time. One particular night she joined them at the Narwhal arms. She was quite surprised to see Anna still in her swimwear in the night club. She looked a bit chilly!

“How are you Karen?” Anna asked “Look at you – you have absolutely popped out! Your belly is huge now!”

“Yeah I know and I feel uncomfortable. My back is aching so bad. I probably shouldn’t have come out tonight.” Karen replied.

“Ahh you’ll be right. You still have a couple of weeks to go yet don’t you?” Anna asked.

“Yes, still a few more weeks yet” Karen replied right before she experienced the most embarrassing and uncomfortable thing in her life. Her waters broke…right there in the bar. She was rushed off to the hospital to give birth to her baby.

“Ring Joel” was the last thing she said to Anna as she was whisked out the door.

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Anna rang Joel, but the labour was so quick and baby Jack was in a real hurry to come into the world. Sadly Joel missed the birth of his first born son.

With no complications and an easy birth Karen was allowed home that same night.

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“Now I’m sorry little Jack that your room isn’t quite ready yet but we weren’t sure if we were having a boy or a girl so we wanted to wait. Now that you are here we will paint your room blue for you” she spoke softly to the newborn infant, who just looked up at his mummy in wonder.

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“oh my little darling you are so precious. I can’t wait for daddy to get here to meet you”

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“Now you be a good little boy and go to sleep for mummy…Oh wait! That sounds like daddy now” Karen told the baby as she heard the front door shut and footsteps inside the house.

“We’re upstairs” she yelled down to Joel.

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“oh my gosh what a gorgeous little boy you are” said Joel so proud of his little boy. “I’m so sorry I didn’t get back in time. I got the first plane I could” he apologized to Karen.

“It’s ok. This little one didn’t want to mess around” she said with a chuckle.

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Joel felt a bit awkward at first having never really held a baby before but his heart filled with love in an instant when he looked into his sons eyes. Karen was pretty sure she saw a tear or two in Joel’s eyes at that moment.

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Part 35 – Janne, Precious & Karen

In the meantime, Janne and Marcel went on a dinner date to Chez Llama, a very fancy new restaurant in Willow Creek.

“This place seems awfully posh” Janne says to Marcel, feeling a little bit uncomfortable in such posh surroundings.

“Ah, just have fun with it” Marcel tells her “pretend you are rich and fancy. What would my darling like to order?” he asks in a posh voice. Janne giggles and tells him what she wants in an equally posh voice “glazed heirloom bamboo roll please darling”.

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Marcel places their order with the waitress in his poshest voice “and a glass of white wine for the lady and a red for myself thank you”

The waitress has a bit of a giggle to herself at his posh voice…she’s seen it all before.

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Their meals get delivered to the table and both Janne and Marcel are quite impressed by what they see before them.

“It looks so fancy” says Janne

“Hopefully, it tastes just as good” Marcel replies.

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Janne takes a sip of her wine and Marcel swirls his around his glass, and takes a big long smell of the aroma. “Mmmm, fruity” he says before taking a sip.

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Janne looks at her glazed heirloom bamboo roll and wonders where she should start. It looks like a piece of art, not food to eat. Marcel enjoys watching her as he contemplates the taste of his Rustic Pate Drizzled in Aged Jus.

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Precious meanwhile approached the bank with a business proposal. She wanted to buy the new local restaurant and make it her own. The current owners were finding that it wasn’t making as much money as they had hoped and Precious felt she could do better.

The bank manager agreed to lend her the money, plus a bit extra to redecorate. New carpets, new walls, a new bar with a great led display piece behind it.

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The place already looks 10 times better and with new staff, Precious is sure she can make this work.

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They open the doors for their first lunch time sitting and already the customers are piling in. Nastassya is there to help her Mum and to keep an eye on the staff and customers. They greet everyone personally and welcome them to the “Precious Pearl Restaurant”.

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“So far, so good” Precious says to Nasta after the lunchtime rush. “Let’s sit and have a drink and something to eat before the dinner rush”.

“Sounds great Mum” says Nasta “I can’t believe you own this place and you can finally have your dream come true” she gushes.

“I know. Isn’t it amazing” Precious beams with pride and joy.

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During the dinner time sitting, Precious’s good friends Linda and Franco come in with their son Ørjan. Precious shows them extra special attention of course and makes sure their dining experience is the best.

“So what do you think?” Precious asks them

They all agree “4 stars” and they haven’t even tasted the food yet.

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Karen was sick for a few days before going to see her Doctor. He had a feeling he knew straight away what it was and deep down so did Karen.

“Congratulations Mrs Kinnaman you’re pregnant” he told her after a few tests.

Karen could have sworn she put on weight as soon as he told her the news, she started showing quite early. Of course she had told Joel straight away and he was thrilled but it was getting hard to hide from her friends now.

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She decided it was time to tell her friends the good news. She started with Precious when they both had a day off work.

“I have some exciting news to tell you” she said to Precious while they tidied the girls bedroom. “I’m pregnant”

“What? No way! Really?” Precious was so excited she didn’t know what to say.

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“Woohoo” Precious yelled as she fist pumped the air. “That’s awesome news. How exciting!” she said.

Karen looked a little apprehensive “I’m a bit scared” she admitted to Precious.

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“Aww bless you” Precious says “come sit down with me and let’s talk. I’ve been through it a few times now and really it’s the best thing in the world” Precious assures her.

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The girls talk for a while and Precious tries to reassure her friend without telling her all about the scary and painful parts.

“Just enjoy it while you can. Nothing beats the feeling of that baby growing inside you and wait until it starts kicking. It’s the BEST feeling in the world. You will be such a wonderful Mum. You’ll see”.

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Karen feels a whole lot better after their chat and thanks her friend for the chat. She excuses herself as she needs to go to the bathroom for about the 8th time that morning…”one of the joys of carrying a baby” laughs Precious.

Karen washes her hands in the bathroom and accidentally pulls the handle off the tap and water starts gushing everywhere. “Oh no” Karen thinks to herself “what have I done?”

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She finds a wrench under the sink and tries to fix it. She’s panicking wondering how she will tell Precious if she can’t fix it.

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Precious hears the noise coming from inside the bathroom. “Are you ok in there” she asks through the door. Karen opens the door red faced and embarrassed as she admits she broke the tap.

“I’m so sorry” she apologizes.

Precious laughs “don’t worry, it does that all the time. I’ve been asking Karim to fix it for months now” she says. “here let me do it” she says as she takes the wrench and fixes it in a jiffy. “I’ve done that about a hundred times already” she tells Karen.

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