"What the heck is that noise?!" I vent as I listen carefully, tip-toeing along the hall. A quick glance at the call reveals that it's only a little past 6 so I grow even quieter. "What the-"
One glance in the family room reveals Bambi eagerly and hungrily gnawing at my favorite couch. My frustration grows immensely with each bite, so much that it only takes a moment for me to pull my seething dog off the couch and start yelling. As if she understands me.
"Bambi!" I yell, no longer caring about the kids. "What the hell are you doing you...you..." I want so badly to call her the proper name for a female dog but I restrain. "You DOG!" Wow, what an insult.
Bambi steadily whimpers. Her head slowly bows toward the ground, and this small movement is enough to make me immediately regret my yelling.
"And..." I continue. Before I go too crazy I lean down and lift up her hanging head. It falls back down.
"No baby, no..." I whisper. I had been so close to hitting her and I guess she could tell. I rub her right behind her soft ear and pull Bambi towards me.
"I'm so sorry puppy girl," I apologize. I would have never fancied myself to be that type of person who talks to dogs, but I guess you can learn many new things about yourself. "I love you girl," I smile. She looks up towards me and licks my face. It's disgusting but I appreciate the gesture nonetheless.
Since I haven't had any me-time lately to relax and chat, I go ahead and invite my good friend Vanessa Wood over. I had been thinking about throwing a little Halloween-bash with my small group of friends and Nessa is the final push I need to place the call. She comes over right away, all decked out in her outfit but I stay in my sundress. I won't break out the costume until later!
"Vanessa!" I grin, hugging my friend. She pets Bambi in my arms, but then we move on to talking. "You're outfit is awesome...what are you supposed to be?"
"A medieval queen, of course." she laughs. "Now I can boss you around with no lip from you!"
"You could never boss me around, we all know who the dominant challenge mother here is...me." she stares me down but I just laugh. "And I'll of course have the better costume."
"Well good luck beating medieval queen, dork." We both start cracking up. Truth is, I haven't really thought about what I'm going to wear to the party nor how to possibly top Vanessa's awesome look. I have to choose a funny one for my friends, and then a more mature one for when I hand out candy on Halloween night.
"But seriously," I smile, taking the conversation to a less joking tone. "I'm so excited for the party. You know I've never had that many friends so I just invited you, Violet, Ashley, Della, and my sister Penny. Does that sound good?"
"That sounds perfect," she grins. As I'm about to make another joke about tonight I get a wide-eyed look from my best friend. "Amber," she seethes through her teeth, jerking her heads toward the street. I give her a questionable look, but she says my name with more force and her eyes grow wider. "Amber, LOOK." she screeches. I look towards the street and just laugh- I guess I never told my BEST friend about my new beau.
"Oh Vanessa," I laugh as James walks up the steps. "James and I are dating now." As if planned, he comes up to me and places his arm around my shoulder and grins.
"Yeah Vanessa, get with the program," he kids. As if sensing the moment Vanessa politely smiles and moves inside, taking Bambi with her. I turn to James.
"Hey babe," I grin, kissing my romantic boyfriend. "Before you ask me out or something, I can't. I'm hanging with my girls today!"
"That's not why I'm here..." he looks down, avoiding my eyes.
Since this is such an untypical James Masons move, I start to get nervous too. "You can tell me anything," I say. "Seriously, that's why I am your girlfriend. Tell me anything."
He scratches his head and a small piece of his pitch black hair falls out. He must REALLY be stressing. "Something came up," he frowns. I wait for him to say more, but he doesn't.
"And?" I press.
"And I don't know what to do. I got a great modeling opportunity-"
"Well that's great!" I smile. "Why are you so nervous?"
"-And it's in Apaloosa Plaines. 5,000 miles away from you and the kids." Oh. Now I get the nervous mood.
"Please don't be mad," he begs.
"How long will you be gone?" I ask, looking down. It's not so much that I care about him going away, but about how I will give into temptations if he does-and I know I will.
"Anywhere from two weeks to...well, I don't know. But you have to understand, if this goes well then I will be set for life-I would never have to leave you again." His optimism does nothing for me except make me question if we will even be together in the future. "Is that okay?" he asks slowly, as if trying not to disturb me.
"...yes." I would never hold anyone back from something that could go so well, so I don't. But what I do when he's away could ruin us. And with my luck, it will.
"Oh, thank you so much!" he pulls me in for an estatic hug, and I stand there, still as stone. It's actually quite pathetic, how much I don't trust myself. "You won't regret this baby, this will be so good for us."
"When do you leave?" I barely get out.
"This afternoon," he says, his smile still plastered on his perfect face. "I'll call you every night."
That's what Casey said when he went to his high school reunion. I seethe at the memory. I hope to God this doesn't end the same way.
James looks down at his watch and cusses. "Shit, I really have to go Ambs. I'm glad you are letting me go...I love you." He kisses me on my forehead and walks around me to leave. I just stand there.
"What the hell just happened?" Vanessa walks right back out and wipes the tear from my cheek.
"I-I-I don't even know," I whisper.
"Well I hope James has his priorities in line, because you should never be second best."
She pulls me in for a tight hug, which only makes me cry harder. I don't even know why I'm crying; I love James, of course, but maybe not like we're set up to be. I'm so nervous about what I could do while he's away, and it frightens me. A lot.
I try to get off of this depressing mood, so I have Vanessa help me choose my costume.We decide on this cute little number. I'm an 80's yoga instructor! It's not long before the gang shows up, minus Penny-she said she had something come up but she'll stop by and hang out tomorrow night, which is real Halloween.
Here is everyone! Vanessa is, as you know, a medieval queen, Violet came as an evil scientist, Ashley is decked out in a farm-girl look, and Della is a 50's mom. I love everyone's original costumes, which lifts up my dampened spirits. We post for endless photo's taken by my excited kiddo's, so here are a few of my favorites:
Once it starts to turn dark outside I go ahead and order an XL pizza for us girls and the kids. The kids take their pieces to their rooms, leaving us to keep partying.
"Look what I got girls!" I grin. "All for pizza, pizza for all!" Everyone cracks up and we turn down the radio so we can have some real time to talk.
We sit down, and as I'm taking my first bite talk of pregnancy starts up. Vanessa talks about her busy challenge, Della discusses her hectic life, Violet smiles about her past, and me and Ashley just eat our pizza. I am not planning on taking part in the conversation, but Dell directs a question to me.
"Are you pregnant yet? Have you thought about having a special Halloween father?"
"Oh no," I laugh, wiping pizza sauce from my mouth. "I haven't felt the need to get pregnant yet. People haven't been emailing in requests to be in my challenge much lately, how about you girls?"
"I have been getting several,"says Della. "Too bad I'm too busy for them!" Vanessa cracks up and almost falls out of her chair. I tell her to stop being a doofus and turn back to Della.
"Who do you think would be a god Halloween-y father for me?"
"Well, if you're really interested in getting a spooky father, we could take a trip to the graveyard..."
"GRAVEYARD?!" I stutter. "Well that sounds spooky-"
"WHAT IF THERE'S AN AX-MURDERER OR SOMETHING?!" exclaims Vanessa.
"Oh Vanessa, there would not be an ax-murderer. Calm yourself girl." I grin at the antics of my besties.
"Well if you want this to be a legitmate Halloween pregnancy we should definitely go! What better way to spend a Halloween party than at a graveyard?"
"Well..." I mutter. "Okay. I'll leave the triplets in charge and then we can go. Is everyone okay with this?" I turn to my friends. Everyone nods so I stand up and dust the crumbs off my ridiculous jump suit. To the graveyard we go!
I haven't tried for a ghost baby since baby 14, which actually makes me think about how long this challenge has been going on. But if there's anything I remember about that failure of a night, it's that you have to mourn and cry over every grave until the ghosts feel loved enough to appear-it's quite a grueling process to cry for no reason, so I cry thinking about how James isn't here.
After an hour or so of straight crying, I stop for a moment. Everyone left except for Della and Vanessa; I guess they had to get home to their families. I see Ness and Dells hanging around the pond and throwing things at the squids, while a lone paparazzi wanders about. A glance at the clock tower reveals it's a little past midnight.
"Ughh," I groan, stretching out my arms. Why am I always the one who ends up with the crazy friends? It seems horribly unfair. I need to get ghost babies IN MY BELLY, but it's just the same as when I was so much younger in the beginning of my challenge-nearly impossible!
As I'm about to call it quits I here an odd noise, followed by the appearance of what is bound to be a ghost. I wipe the fake tears from my face and try my best not to trip while sprinting over.
"H-He-Hello!" I stutter. I give myself a couple seconds to straighten out and then freak out some more. I don't know how all these challenge moms have done this, ghosts are freaking scary. "Hello there, I am Amber Lights. You're not alive-" Crud. Are ghosts sensitive to words about their non-exsistence?
"Hello, Amber. I am The Tragic Clown. Pleased to meet you." He extends his practically invisible hand. Not knowing what to do but not wanting to insult him, I shake and smile.
"Well, good to know you're a kind ghost," I say. "I was worried I would have an evil ghost or something."
"I can be evil," he states. He must see the shocked expression on my face, so he adds, "I'm kidding!" and I smile a bit more.
"So anyway..." I continue. "I don't know how, um, involved you are with the outside world but I am what's known as a 100 baby challenge mother. My goal is to have 100 babies!"
"Ahh, earlier versions exsisted of this during my time in the 1800's. I know exactly what you are speaking of. So what would you like, madam; me to be a father?"
"Yes, exactly!" I grin. "A ghostly father in honor of Halloween. What do you think?" He ponders for only a moment before saying, "Yes, I would be pleased. It's about time I passed on my genes."
With this pleasing piece of news, I pull Tragic in for a hug and whisper, "Let's do this!" in his ear. I don't know how they ran things in the 19th century, but he'll have to do with our 21st century ways!
Because of the odd and long evening, I sleep in the next morning. I am of course still experiencing the same symptoms of a typical pregnancy-nausea, bloating, and the never-ending back pains. I had thought that if my babies are scientifically invisible, why should they cause me any pain?
But regardless of my hopeless confusion, I still sleep in and sip some coffee to start the day. Tiredness is just something challenge mothers learn to live with.
A nice start to the day is aging up my gorgeous triplets. Sadly, none of them inherited their fathers soft pink skin or luscious rose hair. But they're all beautiful regardless. Clement (left), Candyce (middle), and Sereana (right) are so gorgeous it actually hurts me to look at them..their faces are my pride and joy!
After I have the triplets in their playpen, giggling and completely safe, I go ahead and celebrate the birthdays of Ava and Jenette. Ava (left) and Jenette (right) are the most Western-obsessed kids I've ever had. All day they beg me for ponies, ride the horse spring riders, and run around the yard shouting, "Go horsie go!" like there's no tomorrow. I love them to the ends of the earth, they are my cowgirl casonova's.
But since I'm obviously not investing in horses right now, they settle for good old Bambi. They're having a really good day until about noon when they shouts, "EWWW MOMMY!" and sprint inside. I am teaching the toddlers skills so I sprint outside to see a skunk evilly standing next to Bambi; I see who the culprit is.
"Mommy, the skunk sprayed her! EW!!!" shouts Ava, while Jenette makes a gagging face.
"Is she gonna DIE?!" asks a horrified Jenette.
"No!" I try to surpress my laughing. She's to damn innocent. "She will not die, baby cakes. She just needs a good old fashioned bath!" Both girls start laughing so I place Bambi in a fence outside and tell her to be good. Once I wrap up the days birthdays I can bathe her.
Spencer (top), Brendon (middle), and Sarah are absolutely stunning. If you know me at all you know that I adore all of my berry babies beyond belief, and these three are simply perfection. Spencer has a wild look that a lot of girls categorize as "sexy". As his mother, I just think he's cute but I can see the appeal.
Brendon is a crazy fella! He may seem like he's got it all figured out but in all reality, he's just a funny, great guy. He supports both of his immediate siblings and all of his half-siblings , and calls me daily to make sure I'm doing all right.
And finally, sweet sweet Sarah. I'm honestly shocked when she receives the evil trait when she grows up, but I guess I suspected it. She's still her super-sweet self, but she has developed some evil-ness from defending herself from her crazy brothers as a young girl. She is my absolute pride and joy...when she smiles I grin like a fool.
I am upset to see them go, and they will be gingerly missed. Love you kiddo's!
And finally, the boys. Lazar (left) and Zaden (right) are still unbelievably perfect. Zaden has inherited more looks from my side of the family, while Zaden got most of his fathers features. I love when my kids get features from their father rather than me, it makes things much more interesting. I see me enough!
Lazar spends the rest of the night showing off his hard-earned muscles to Marble while the rest of us settle in for a movie. When I finally get all the kids to bed at 10, I scarcely hear Bambi whimpering from outside. When I look out I see her shaking. I step outside and realize the temperature must have dropped 20 degrees and she's freezing. Scooping her up, I get a whiff of her stinky fur and remember-bath! She needs a bath! Against my own will I start filling up the tub and slip her in.
She gives me the harshest "Oh no you didn't," look and I just cover my nose. Skunk fumes sure don't die hard! I expect the worst so I slowly ease the water into the tub. She surprisingly takes the heat well and her shaking eventually stops. "Good girl," I slowly say, putting a dot of shampoo in my palm. "Now I'm just going to slowly clean you..."
Cutie alert! It only takes twenty minutes to get Bambi to a sparkly, fresh state. I almost see her smiling when she shakes all the wet out, creating a huge puddle of soapy-water that I will probably never get around to cleaning up. Her blue eyes glisten as I reach the hardest part; blow-drying her.
This is definitely the hardest part, but by keeping her in the tub she doesn't run around the much. She moves her head from the dryer every time it nears her face, but otherwise she does great. It's such a great feeling to have such a well-behaved puppy!
"Aw what a good girl!" I smile as her sopping-wet body leans against my skin. She is mildly dry but I guess she'll have to air dry the rest. "Mommy loves you!" She snuggles into my shoulder, I guess it got much later than I had planned. Against my will, once again, I place her wet body on my bed and I crawl in too. At least she's clean.
In the morning I am pleased to see a bulging bump protruding from my belly. My challenge has been very difficult to progress through in the past few months, so it's always extremely pleasing when I get pregnant. Here's to more babies!
I've been meaning to spend more time with the toddlers, and with the kids at school I guess I should. But Bambi is a very happy puppy today so I wake up the kids and put them in their playpen again. The girls taught Bambi how to sit the other day and I've been dying to teach her a trick of my own. It's so cool to teach her things and watch her learn.
I teach her to sit-up, since it seems like a reasonable way to progress. "Good girl!" I grin. I feed her a treat as she successfully completes the trick five times in a row. Having a dog is far more fun than I could have ever imagined!
Around eleven or so I get a call from the best person in the world, also known as my sister.
"Hey girl!" she sounds peppy through the line.
"Hey Penny! What's up?" I reply.
"Well I'm still sad that we didn't get to get together the other night, and I am going to a Halloween party tomorrow night so I cant spend Halloween with you...I was wondering if you wanted to meet somewhere in town? I've been dying to get out the house."
"Same!" I smile. "I would love to get away from everything for a little bit...where do you propose we meet?"
"How about the dog park? I hear you got a little puppy."
"...how did you know?!" I am honestly baffled.
"From Vanessa of course, she texted me with a picture of her! I would love to meet her so why don't you meet me at the dog park?"
"Sounds great," I chirp. "I can't wait!" I hang up feeling great. I love my sister to death, and ever since she got re-married a few months ago she's been in an eternally blissful mood. Got to love that!
"Hey Pen!" I grin when I see my sister. I give her a tight hug and when I pull off, I notice her hair. "Whoa girl, I can't believe how long it's been since I've seen you...look how long your hair is!" I tossle her hair back and forth and admire it. I haven't had my hair that long in a while.
"Yeah, I know. It got really long! So is that Bambi?" she looks down at my puppy on the ground and I nod.
"Yup. That's my pride and joy right there!" Penny reaches down to pet her and grins. "I love all the new pets in town, it seems to be a huge fad right now."
"I know righ-" while I'm replying I notice another small puppy across the dog park. "Whoa, who's dog is that?!" I ask. "And where is the owner? We're the only ones in the park!"
"Well..." Penny gets a sly smile on her face. She walks over to the other dog and picks him up. "Meet Cheech, my new dog!"
"AHHH!" I shout, rushing up and petting him. "Oh...my..." He is so cute!
"He is the most precious thing I have ever seen in my life!" I exclaim. "Is he a puppy?"
"No, actually he's not! He's just a really small dog. Don't you just love him? I got him the other day after seeing the pic of Bambi...you inspired me sis!" I feel a burning adoration for my little sister. I give her yet another hug and let Bambi meet Cheech. "Go on!" I encourage my girl. I've never seen Bambi interact with another dog, but I'm sure she'll be nice enough.
Penny and I watch intently while they interact, surprisingly not biting one another's heads off.
"They are so cut-"
"There's no way they're not having babies." I grin as out sentences run into each other's. Leave it to my family to buy two of the most perfect dogs known to man,
After a few minutes of watching them play we turn back around.
"Oh, and speaking of babies..." start Penny.
"Yeah, I'm pregnant AGAIN," I laugh.
"I can see that," she smiles. "Me too. I'm pregnant Ambs."
My sister is pregnant with her third child, and I am pregnant with my 85th. What a typical family.
"Aww Penny!" I grin, coming in for the third hug today. "Oh my goodness!" I exclaim. My hand flies to her stomach and I actually feel a kick; she's not lying!
"Yup, I'm about 2 months in. You can hardly tell but it's going great so far. Chase and I are so excited." It makes me so proud to have a sister who is so content with her life. She may have got it wrong the first time, but now she is happily married with a new one on the way.
"That's great," I smile, loosing a bit of my happy mood. I don't understand how it's fair for my sister to be so perfectly happy, but for me to have to battle with my own emotions over guys. Not fair.
"And yeah, with Tatianna and Junior in college it's a really great experience for us. I've been missing my tots!" I give a small smile but my mood is ruined. I want to go, but I know she would be upset if I did. As a compromise I invite her out to dinner to keep catching up.
I have a great night with my sister regardless of my inner feelings, but I really need to sit down and evaluate how I really feel about my relationships. I don't want to end up like Penny, in my mid 20's and getting re-married, yet I want to experience what she has. We're still so young but so old at the same time.
I really need to lay off the late nights with friends, because it's really starting to weigh down on my family life and personal mood. Since I desperately need to catch up on sleep I sleep in until ten or so with Bambi by my side. We have a great partnership.
When I finally get up I find it to be a great time to carefully evaluate my baby bump. It's making great progress, and I start to get sad. It could be possible that the babies will have my genetics and not be ghosts since I'm showing so much. I had been hoping for Halloween-babies but I guess I'll have to wait this one out. I'm about to take a nice long shower when I look at the date and realize today is Saturday, and it's Halloween. The kids are home so I should probably spend time with them.
I sit down to a bowl of cereal and one hectic breakfast. Marble flies around our heads as I eat my frosted flakes and the kids all happily talk about what to wear and what to do today. Since it's a surprisingly sunny day in the middle of fall, the kids decide on going out to the pool and taking Bambi to play for the day.
"That sounds great kids, but why don't you have your older brothers take you? I need to catch up on your little brother and sisters skills!"
"But mommy," whines Ava. "We don't get to spend any time with you either. Please come?"
"Yeah, pretty please?" begs Jenette. "We love you!"
I am so flattered, but I've put off the tots skills for too long. "No, I'm really sorry girls. Go to the pool and play with your friends, and I'll stay home with the babies. When you get home later we can make some cookies and play outside, okay?" This seems to be good enough for them because they grin and say, "Okay mommy! Deal!"
Feeling satisfied, I send them off with their brothers and head into the tots room.
With the kids out and about, I find time to really get to know my new babies. Candyce takes her first steps, and learns to say "I love you mommy" too. With so many things going on in my life 24/7 it's really hard to genuinely enjoy these first moment anymore. It's all about pets, boyfriends, shopping, upgrading, and always looking for something better. But it's always nice to look at what I have and realize that I love what I have, and I wouldn't trade it for anything.
"Great job girly!" I lift Candyce into the air and bounce her up and down.
"Weeee!" she giggles. "Go mommy!" I start to laugh and carefully lower my baby, pulling her in for a hug. "Mommy loves you," I whisper into her ear.
"..." she stalls with her mouth right next to my ear. "I wuv you too!" She gives me the biggest and cutest grin I've ever seen. "You silly girl!" I laugh.
I eventually lose track of time, and before I know it the entire family is coming back through the door.
"How was your day?" I ask, as Jenette comes up and gives me a huge hug.
"It was AMAZING!" exclaims Jenette and Ava at the same time. "We saw lots of wild animals and Bambi can swim! Did you know that mommy? Did you know Bambi can SWIM?!"
"No I didn't!" I laugh. "Got any pictures?"
"Yeah, we all took some! Here, look!" She shoves the photo reel in my face.
It's only four photo's but I'm shocked to see that Bambi actually did swim, they saw a raccoon, and even a wild horse! You can imagine how thrilled Ava and Jen were while telling me all about the horsie.
"That's awesome," I say, handing back the photo's. "These will have to be hung up around the house. But for now, how about some time with mommy?" Their faces thankfully light up at the thought.
We spend the warm evening playing in the sprinkler, something that Bambi loves once again. I hadn't realized I adopted a water-loving dog!
And finally, as promised, we round off the night with a batch of great cookies. The kids must have completely forgot it was Halloween, because by the end of the night begging for candy is the last thing on their minds. We enjoy a great meal of fresh baked goodies and everyone is to sleep by midnght...well, except me. Because of course I give birth.
How typical of me. Welcome...
Sadly, they're not ghost children;no wonder I had such a normal pregnancy. I lay them both down to sleep, and look at the clock;it's about four AM. It hasn't been a very scary Halloween, and not even the fake ghosts and motion-detection scary noises from the house across the street freaks me out. As I stare down at my baby, a chill runs down my spine. It's not the ridiculous ghosts, goblins, and witches that scare me on this infamous holiday. In all reality, I scare myself. I am scared of what I have the ability to do, and the things I don't have the ability to hold myself back from. And that is the main reason I end up at Corbin Fierik's door at 5 AM, with only one thought in mind.I march over and knock on the door, not caring if he's asleep. "Amber?" he questions, taking in my lack of clothing. "What are you-"
"Is Liz home?"
"No, she's in Vegas...why?-"
No is all I need to make my move.
"Good," I breathe, kissing him straight on the lips. I back up and stare at him. What have I gotten myself in to?