Another year has come and gone. As the new year starts we’ve all made our New Year’s Resolutions and look forward to the fresh start that the turn of the calendar brings to all of us.
Some of us wish to get back to the gym.
To fix old friendships.
To pick up a new hobby.
To study harder.
To focus more on the family.
Rekindle the old flame.
And work on climbing the career ladder.
But while the new year is full of hope and new beginnings, I want to turn back and to reflect. The past year brought about a lot of changes on the Farm, some good, some bad. But all equally important in shaping who we are and how we’ve grown over the last year.
The family grew again at the beginning of the year, when Penny and I welcomed our first boy into the family, little Cody.
A rambunctious little guy, Cody quickly grew to be much like his mother. Grabbing the spotlight everywhere he went and already looking to be the life of the party. Penny and I will have to keep our eyes on him and beware of the lengths he will go to to be one of the popular kids.
But that wasn’t the only addition to the family. Shortly after Cody was born, Penny found herself pregnant again (and for the last time!)
Little Ainsley joined the family as the year came to an end, and already I can tell we’ll have our hands full with this one!
And our family wasn’t the only one to grow this year. Shortly after turning 18, Calvin got a bit of a shock when his girlfriend Harley Behr told him he was going to be a daddy!
At first Calvin didn’t know what to do, he was scared and concerned and thinking he wasn’t ready to be a father. But eventually he realized he had to be one, whether he was ready or not!
And before we knew it he had married Harley and moved out! And soon welcomed his son, Devonte.
With the kids getting older, and old enough to start taking care of each other without so much needed of me and Penny, Penny was able to devote more time to her online personality. For years it had taken a backseat. Sure she still had her mommy blog and sold some crafts on Simsy, but it was never like it was before we got married. Until now.
Regular house parties started to invade the Farm, where Penny could schmooze or collaborate with other online personalities.
And as she made more and more fans and money, she was constantly being recognized when we were out and about. Something that always bothered me, but she seemed to revel in. Penny’s career reached new heights and she loved every minute of it.
The girls too saw a lot of change in their lives last year.
and Scarlett are all now teenagers. And things sometimes get a little rocky between them.
Teresa and Viv have always been the closest.
And that has sometimes left Scarlett feeling like she has to fight to get the attention she wants.
Now with the added stress of being teenagers, her fights for affection have…well..turned physical.
And on top of having to deal with dueling daughters, I also had to start to accept every father’s worst nightmare: their daughter’s boyfriends.
One of Teresa’s closest friends, Gideon asked her out to the Romance festival.
Teresa texted her mother early on into the night to ask what to do when you have an awkward date, and I thought that maybe I could push back having to deal with the reality of boyfriends.
But by the time Teresa came home she was all giddy for Gideon, and (although I don’t ask) I think they’ve made their relationship official.
Luckily my other girls haven’t started dating yet, but I’ve noticed that they seem much more interested in boys ever since Teresa started bringing Gideon around.
But boys turned out not to be the thing I should have been worried about. As a token to remember the “fireworks” between her and Gideon, Teresa brought home some real fireworks.
And for some ungodly reason, thought it would be smart to set them off inside the house.
After engulfing the living room, her mother and I ran in to try to quench the flames.
For a moment I was truly terrified that I was going to lose Penny. As we fought the fire the flames crept closer and closer to her.
But luckily the two of us were able to put the fire out.
Without anyone being hurt. (Not pictured is Ainsley, but she was safely outside already and completely ignorant of the disaster her sister had caused.)
Suddenly our dearest daughter, our firstborn, was on the receiving end of the biggest screaming fit I had ever seen, and deservedly so.
Our beautiful, and newly expanded home was gutted. The dining room and the kitchen were total losses, and we decided that it would be best just to remodel and rebuild.
The silver lining was that just month, our lovely, modern new home was finished.
It doesn’t scream Farmhouse, it no longer has the down to earth feeling that I sought. But I think that’s okay. As I’ve gotten older I’ve realized that living off the land was fun and rewarding when I was young, but I’m no longer at such an age where that is practical. Not with five kids, an online celebrity for a wife, and my own music career which has been stalled for years and needs the refinement that a lovely new space can bring.
As for me, this year I noticed more lines on my face and the salt and pepper I was hiding for the last few years gave way to a solid head and beard of gray. I thought this year was the best time to throw a big birthday bash.
I invited my oldest friends, Gunther and Diego, whom I’ve grown away from as we’ve all lived our lives but who have always stayed close to my heart.
I thought now was as good of a time as any to bury the hatchet with Lilly. For years I was still angry about her affair with Wolfgang, but my life has turned out so wonderfully. And I can’t imagine what it would have been like if I hadn’t ended up with Penny.
Speaking of Wolfgang, I invited him as well. While things have never been good between us, he has been woven into the fabric of my life for decades now and I have accepted the role he has played in making me who I am.
I especially mean his and my role with Calvin. As Calvin aged and grew closer to Wolfgang he and I realized that the animosity we felt towards each other was misdirected. Our relationship has continually grown stronger (especially now that he’s out of the house and has started his own relationship). And I see him growing into a lovely young man, and a wonderful father in his own right.
My life here in Windenburg has finally come together. This town, these people, my family. Everything finally came together in the last year.
As I look back on this year, I not only look back on 365 days but on decades. On the decades I have spent here in Windenburg, the decades I have spent forging relationships, and the decades I have spent establishing my own legacy. My work is still far from over, but this moment of reflection makes me so proud of all I have accomplished so far.
From my family to yours, Happy New Year!