It’s All Fun and Games Until Someone Loses a Shoe. (Or an Election.)

20161128_131946As Thanksgiving 2016 winds to a close, there’s just one thing left to do: Brady and I each wrap a pinky finger around one side of the wishbone from our turkey dinner. At stake? One wish, winner take all.

It’s been a good day. Brady was in charge of the pre-dinner prayer (“thank you for all the technology”). I was in charge of dessert (pumpkin mousse pie and pumpkin cupcakes). In between, we scarfed a boatload of food: turkey, green beans, stuffing, rolls, sweet potato casserole (with toasted marshmallows), and cranberry sauce (the yummy homemade kind, not the scary jiggly canned kind). After dinner, I volunteer for Brady Entertainment Duty, which gets me out of doing dishes, although the down side is that I’m not around to supervise the divvying up of the leftovers (#AuditTheStuffing).

Brady and I decide on our wishes, and then we each give our side a big tug. Brady (with an assist from my Dad) ends up with the larger piece. I ask him what he wished for.

Brady looks up at me earnestly and says, “I wished for it to rain candy corn.”

I lower my voice to a whisper. “Did you make that wish up? So you could keep your REAL wish a secret?”

He looks at me like I’m a total moron. (He’ll probably use this look on his parents in about 10 years).

“No. That’s my wish.”

20151126_155725-1We squeeze in together for a picture and smile for the camera – Brady holding up the winning end of the wishbone and me the losing end. We’re family – and best buddies – and we always will be. After a hard-fought competition, we are ready to put aside old grievances and move forward together.

Just like America.

Ha, ha! I’m kidding, of course. Continue reading

Auntie Kimberly’s Diary

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESOctober 1

Ah, the fall season! A new October and a chance to start over! Time to shed old leaves in preparation for stunning springtime transformation into calm, serene, poised, confident goddess. Steps to said transformation shall include:

  • Meditating every morning. (So as to maintain calm, serene, goddess-like status, as opposed to becoming easily flustered by other people’s fu- I mean fudgewittage).
  • Hydrating properly.
  • Buying locally sourced, organic foods. (Will eat ALL vegetables purchased and not let them rot in crisper until look like fifth grade science experiment.)
  • Not forming relationship with any of the following: Pumpkin Spice Lattes, Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Mochas, Pumpkin Cake Rolls, Pumpkin Date Nut Rolls, Pumpkin Bagels, Pumpkin Walnut Crunch Bagels, Pumpkin Cream Cheese, or Pumpkin Cupcakes.

Will be poised, mature, beatific, saint-like Auntie to 5-year-old Brady and will NOT:

  • Contribute to stuffed animal population control problem.
  • Buy LEGO minifigures with tiny removable hair helmets.
  • Purchase books with drawings of bear poop. (Drew Daywalt’s “The Day the Crayons Came Home” v. funny, but Dadat – B.’s grandpa, my Dad – suggests bear poop drawing is in poor taste and poss. grounds for having Auntie book-buying privileges revoked.)

Continue reading

The Disappointment Dilemma

img_3603It’s a sweltering summer day. Captain AmeriCute and I are returning from a Superhero and Sidekick outing to an indoor play gym and Target (one of his favorite destinations). I park my car in Brady’s driveway and hop out to open the back door. As Brady climbs out, I scan the back seat, and my heart suddenly drops into my stomach. My mouth is dry, and it’s hard to get the words to come out. I look at Brady, trying to keep my face neutral and my voice steady, so the fear won’t show:

“Where is Princess Leia?”

Our eyes lock, and I can see the fear overtaking Brady as well. “I don’t know!” he blurts out, looking horrified.

“Did you take her into Target?”

“No!”

Oh, Fu-, I mean, Fudgsicle. Continue reading

Faking Out Fear

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESCaptain Batten and the crew of the Rusty Crutch had never lost a sailing ship to raiding pirates. At the first sign of trouble, the Captain would shout, “First Mate! Fetch my red shirt!” Then donning the red shirt, Captain Batten would lead his crew to victory against the invading party.

The First Mate eventually grew curious and asked what was so special about the red shirt. “If I am wounded in battle,” Captain Batten explained, “the red shirt will hide the blood – so that the crew can continue to fight without fear.”

Then one day, the ship’s lookout yelled, “Captain! FIFTY pirate ships right ahead!”

The First Mate shouted, “Captain! Shall I bring your red shirt?”

Captain Batten bellowed back, “Yes! And fetch my brown pants!”

I have a secret. I’m afraid.

I’m at the park with Captain AmeriCute. He immediately heads for the highest horizontal bar, scrambling up fearlessly, swinging back and forth three feet above the ground, and then executing a leaping dismount worthy of an Olympic medalist. Brady is all smiles and giggles as he smacks into the sand. I, however, am doing my best to not lose my lunch. I point out the lower bar, the one where his toes dangle a mere inch from the ground, and explain to Brady that it would be MUCH more fun to swing from that one. We make it back to Brady’s house without any injuries, and I breathe a huge sigh of relief. Continue reading

Pass the Tissues: Captain AmeriCute Says “Bon Voyage” to Baby Stuff

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESMy mom and I sit in stunned silence for a moment, as the weight of Captain AmeriCute’s latest proclamation settles in like a heavy blanket of snow.

Thirty seconds before, the scene had been a normal sleepover at “Gra and Dadat’s” (my parents, Brady’s Grandparents). Whenever I come over to join the festivities on sleepover night, Brady gets to pick two bedtime stories – one for Gra to read, and one for Auntie Kimberly to read. Gra read Richard Scarry’s Goodnight Little Bear, a classic in which Father Bear can’t find Little Bear at bedtime. In an unexpected twist ending worthy of M. Night Shyamalan, it turns out that Little Bear has been sitting on Father Bear’s shoulders the whole time. For the Auntie Kimberly selection, I lobbied hard for The Monster at the End of This Book, but Brady instead wanted me to read, The Monsters on the Bus, another classic in which a hapless public transit passenger looks on in growing astonishment and aggravation as his bus is invaded by monsters, grouches, a marching band, and even aliens.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESNormally, the conclusion of these two stories means bedtime. But since Gra and Dadat’s house exists in a strange corner of the space-time continuum where natural and parental laws don’t always apply, Gra offered to do an extra reading that would have delayed bedtime by another few minutes. She held up “I Love You Through And Through,” a small book with thick pages for tiny hands to grab onto.

But instead of settling in for the reading of his bonus book, Brady slowly and clearly announced, “I don’t want to read it. That book is for babies.” Continue reading

Getting my MBA (Master of Being an Auntie)

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESDuring the 1990s, I enrolled in night school to get an MBA. My dad was pleased because this effort would expand my skill set and hopefully enhance my future career opportunities. My mom was pleased because this effort would expand my dating pool and hopefully enhance my future marriage opportunities.

I graduated three years later (still single – sorry mom), and received a piece of paper that said to the world, “I have smarts! I have skills! I have several thousand dollars in student loan debt!” Along the way, I did learn some useful stuff. Like how to read a financial statement. How to prepare a sales forecast. How to use Deming’s PDSA Cycle to complete process improvements. How to cook the books of a multi-national corporation and retire with a boatload of embezzled funds to an uncharted island somewhere in the Pacific.

Ha, ha! Just kidding about that last one. I actually don’t have a retirement plan at the moment, unless you count the fact that I am thinking about giving up my weekly Starbucks Venti Mocha Frappuccino and using the extra money to buy lottery tickets. And yes, as a matter of fact, I am fully aware that this is a sorry excuse for a retirement plan. I have smarts, remember?

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESBut anyway, over the last few years, I’ve been working on another MBA: Master of Being an Auntie. Brady, my pint-sized teacher, is awesome, the dress code is super casual (goofy socks optional), and I won’t have to go into debt to complete the program. Well, probably not. In addition to tempting me with offerings that cover my usual vices (books and music), Amazon now insists on sending me regular e-mails filled with awesome books and toys that Captain AmeriCute would like. During the holiday season, I pretty much end up eating off of cardboard Prime boxes because I can’t find my dining room table. Continue reading

Fudgsicle: In Which Auntie Kimberly Tries to Stop Swearing in Twenty-One Days

Fudgsicle. Sugar cookies. Fudgsicle. Sugar Cookies.

I’m clutching the steering wheel of my car, mentally preparing for a quick trip to the grocery store, with my Inner Coach egging me on.

Fudgsicle. Sugar Cookies.

 (“Say it like you mean it!”)

Fudgsicle!!! Sugar Cookies!!!

 (“Are you a woman or a mouse? I can’t HEAR you!”)

FUDGSICLE!!!!! SUGAR COOKIES!!!! Continue reading