Chapter 2

The next day of school went by so slowly. I couldn’t wait to get to
Zac’s house. Every day I would go over there and do homework with Zac. They came to dinner that Saturday night and it was so much fun. Zac and I once again ate really fast so we could go off and play. I had never had a friend that I had so much in common with! Zac was so animated and playful!

One day, about 2 months later, I was sleeping over Zac’s house on a Friday night in January when his mom started to shout. Walker wasn’t home, and I was so scared. Isaac called my mom who came right over. She took a suitcase that Diana had already packed and took her to the hospital. My dad and Jamie watched all of us. I heard that Walked met them at the hospital. I asked what was going on. They told me that Diana was going to have a baby!! I wondered why she was gaining all that weight! I guess it never clicked in my nearly 9 year old mind why she was gaining weight. Then, my dad took us all off to the hospital because we had gotten a call that Diana had had a baby boy! The hospital wasn’t far away so we were there in no time at all. The baby was so cute! I had never seen anything like it, he was so small. His little hands and feet....Walker was holding the baby and he let everyone go over and see him. It was really special. They named him MacKenzie.

It had become Zac and my daily routine. Every day when i would get home from school, I would run over to his house to study and then play. If I didn’t come to his house he would come over here. On the weekends we would spend at least one night together at one of our houses. The next weekend, after the Friday night when MacKenzie was born, I slept over again. This was actually only my third time seeing Mac since he had been born. Diana spent more of her time with Mac now, so we didn’t have the usual hot cocoa or egg nog, and chocolate chip cookies or some other goody. We didn’t really mind though. Mac was so adorable, we loved to play with him. We also loved being able to do mischievous things without Diana constantly on our tail. That night, Zac and I stayed up really late. We had to wait for Diana to finally go upstairs to bed so that we could sneak out of our sleeping place, the living room, and do something fun. It was nearly 10pm before Diana joined Walker upstairs! I was getting a little sleepy, but with the help of Zac’s jellybean stash, I was once again lively. We sneak out the back door into the backyard without a sound. We didn’t know what exactly we were going to do outside that we couldn’t do inside, I suppose it was for the adventure of doing it. It was cold out so we wore shoes, socks, and jackets over our pajamas. We thought about going up into the treehouse, but then decided against it. We grabbed a flashlight from Walker’s tool shed and headed for the woods. We were going on an owl hunt we had decided. We didn’t see or hear any owls, but we sure did try! We walked through the woods behind the Hanson’s house for nearly twenty minutes until Zac stopped and shhhhed me.

“SHHHH! I think I hear something!” Zac said softly with one hand over his face in a quiet sign and the other holding my arm.

We stood there and just listened for 20, maybe 30 seconds until Zac spoke again.

“Follow me!” He said as he headed in deeper.

“Is it an owl?” I asked.

“I don’t know, we’ll have to find out,” Zac said as he proceeded toward a pit of reflection....and that was it! That was what was making the sound.

“A river!” I exclaimed.

It wasn’t a big river, in fact it was really just a creek it was only about 5 feet across. However, to us, this was a river. We had heard the water slowly flowing over the rocks.

“Cool!” Zac said, “A river in my own backyard! I wonder how I never knew about it before...?”

We played out by the river for a while. Then we decided to head back in because we needed more fuel to stay awake longer and we left the jellybeans in the house. By the time we got back in it was 1:30 in the morning!! Instead of going for another adventure, we decided to call it quits, well, we didn't really have time to decide, we both just kinda fell asleep!

“You kids must have stayed up late talking last night! It’s nearly 10 am, you don’t usually sleep so late!” Walker conveyed as he smacked down on the couch Zac and I were sleeping on.

“Huh?” Was Zac’s first confused word.

I followed that one with a “Wha-?”

“It’s late kiddos! Time to rise and shine and get some breakfast!” Walker said merrily as he walked into the kitchen.

Zac rolled off the couch and onto the floor taking all the covers with him. This forced me to get up also. We headed toward the kitchen where the rest of the Hanson family was sitting down to pancakes. MMM, you can never forget the luscious smell and savory taste of Diana’s home made pancakes. There truly was nothing better. Zac and I both helped ourselves to massive piles of pancakes that we knew we could never eat. That didn’t stop us from trying though! Zac and I were very alike in almost everything we did, even our pancake eating styles. Unfortunately, I got syrup in my hair which was a pretty sticky mess. Needless to say, Zac got some stuck in his hair also! After we finished as much as we could, Zac only beating me my one pancake, we ran upstairs to shower.

“Last one there is a rotten egg!” Zac called.

We darted for the bathroom upstairs to see who would get the first shower. We slammed against the door to the bathroom when we finished our competition up. We had just seen the door to the bathroom shut. It opened again.

“Too bad, I get the first shower!” Taylor hissed and smiled teasingly at us as he shut the door to the bathroom. We waited in Ike, Tay, and Zac’s room for Tay to finish. It sure was taking him a while! A half hour went by and Zac and I decided to bang on the door.

“Haha! It’s too bad, you guys will just have to wait, I’ve decided to take a nice long bath,” I could tell Taylor thought he was pretty funny, stalling when Zac and I had syrup in our hair! Taylor then proceeded to sing!

In another 15 minutes, Taylor walked into the room in a red shirt and khaki pants. We looked at him, then at each other and ran to the bathroom.

“Suckers!” Isaac said as he shut the door.

We had waited long enough for our showers, so Zac and I headed for his parents bedroom. We took a shower in their bathroom, together. Of course, we had all our clothes on which made it pretty funny. When we came out, totally wet we headed right for the boy’s room. We peeked in to see the dry, fluffy dry hair and dry clothes of Isaac and Taylor. Of course, we saw Isaac and Taylor also.

“They thought they were pretty funny, didn’t they? Too bad we always get the last laugh!!” Zac chortled as we barged in the room shouting like aliens! I went for Taylor and Zac got Isaac, we gave them big, huge, wet hugs! Then we switched, they tried to squirm away, but as I hugged Ike and Zac got Tay now, there was no escape from us!

“AW MAN!” Isaac said looking down at the 8 year old kid imprint on his front and backside. Taylor had just about the same reaction, but we didn’t stick around to hear it. We slapped each other five and went to change into some dry clothes.

When we were all dressed and dry we told Zac’s parents we were going to explore in the woods. They agreed to it, but made sure that we wore hats to protect from ticks and gave us only 1 hour to play and then come back. We agreed to this, even though it meant we could only stay at our river for 20 minutes. Since we hadn’t told anyone about the river and according to everyone, we hadn’t discovered it yet since we were supposed to be sleeping the night before. When we came back after playing at the river, skipping rocks and such, we told everyone about the river, as if it had only just been discovered. Walker and Diana already knew about it, but all the Hanson kids were excited to go play back there. That’s exactly what we did. Except Walker and Diana wouldn’t let Jessica go, they said she was too young. So, Isaac, Taylor, Zac and I went off to play by the river. This was our new hang out, and where we would all go after school and after studying, to have many an adventure.

Next month when valentines day came around I gave Zac a huge chocolate kiss and a little card. He had written me a song! I knew that the 3 oldest brothers had started a singing group. I heard them at their Christmas party that last December. The song he wrote for me was a still developing, but truly admirable for an 8 year old, song about our river and good friends like me! He even sang it to me! After that puppy love moment, we continued to play with legos, and built a really complex helicopter.

On my birthday, March 1st, I had a party that my parents had thrown for me. The whole Hanson family was there when I got home from school, and some of our neighborhood friends! I was so surprised! I had no idea anyone was going to throw me a party, it was even more exciting that so many friends had showed up to surprise me! Zac, Isaac, and Taylor who were now calling themselves “The Hanson Brothers,” sang a few songs from early rock n’roll, and Zac sang me my river song! It had progressed some in terms of the tune since Valentines Day. After that, my mother brought me out a beautiful cake decorated in pretty blue lettering, my favorite color. They sang “Happy Birthday” and I blew out the candles to my 9th birthday!

Chapter 1