She opened her mouth wide to show me. 

“See, I chew on this side & eat on this side,” explaining how she did it after I expressed my bewilderment at the gross-sounding prospect of chewing Spearmint gum & eating watermelon at the same time.

But I digress. It’s so funny how little kids get words wrong. Actually we all do at one time or another. My niece & her baby brother were over while the rest of their family attended a U of M football game. The 8-year-old kept repeating a game she wanted to play but we had absolutely no idea what she meant. For the life of us my Mom & I couldn’t figure it out.

The energetic second grader & I had already competed in the card game “Rich, Rich, Poor, Poor” as well as the board game “Sorry.” Without me letting her, she won both. Boy, we were (my Mom & I as we desperately tried to understand the strange term she spoke) up a rapidly rising creek!

. . . Finally, FINALLY, after multiple minutes of us guessing in confusion, my Mom got it! Of course, in hindsight, the twisted term made perfect sense. To the youngster’s credit, it was just like the actual name of the game in the

amount of syllables being 4;

beginning letter also “P”;


ending with the long “e” sound.

All she wanted to do was play “Paranajee.” 


The End

By Aunt Amy



Lauren & her adored Grandma! 5-4-15.JPG

My Mom & the second grader in a tight embrace several years prior to the girl becoming a Pictionary champ



“Why don’t we only speak to each other by singing what we say?”

My nephew, 9, & I played the card game “Rich, Rich, Poor, Poor” & the idea sprang to mind upon him announcing in a singsong voice, “It’s your turn!” He loved my idea & the next few minutes many silly chuckles erupted between us.

Soon into our games his 2-year-old sister wandered to our table seeking to join our competitions; I immediately scooped her onto my lap & suddenly it was girls vs. boy. Being a new player of the game, (my tiny teammate &) I lost every time.

“Hey, at least I came in second!”

“Or last!” exclaimed the quick-to-comprehend-&-shout-the-truth-behind-my-comment winner.

Shortly after we’d begun our matches at his white kitchen table I observed aloud my nephew’s obvious altered appearance, “You look different. I haven’t seen you in a while.”

His poking-fun-at-himself gleeful response should clue you in on exactly what I’d noticed:

“Oh yeah, I look like a Jack-O-Lantern!”

The End

By Aunt Amy, 8-31-18

jack o lantern

“Did I Do That?”

Urkel too

/To do the Steve Urkel dance/

/All you gotta do is hitch up your pants/

/Bend your knees & stick out your pelvis/

/I’m tellin’ ya baby it’s better than Elvis/

Many recall our favorite televised dork Steve Urkel from the sitcom “Family Matters” that first aired in ’89. We’ll never forget how the hugely popular dweeb was famous for things like his

colossal craving for cheese;

infamous comment “I’ve fallen & I can’t get up”;

oversized glasses;

always wearing suspenders;

incessant question “Did I do that?” whenever accidents occurred &

his signature saunter that made him look like he had a permanent atomic wedgie.

. . . On the couch that morning I sat folding laundry, a task I welcome because it’s easy, clean & helpful all rolled into 1. I spotted a pair of different-shades-of-pink pajama pants with a flowery print in the small pile, so I understandably assumed they belonged to my Mom. Till I held them up to fold & saw they were actually child-sized.

Okay. No children were over at the moment but since we enjoy the company of youngsters frequently, we have a dresser for kids’ clothes. That makes perfect sense, right? But I noticed these particular pj pants were way too long for the 1-year-old who was over recently. That led to my inquiry, “Who wore these?”

***Now’s a good time to reveal another trademark of the hugely renowned character Steve Urkel: always having the top of his pants hitched ridiculously high over his scrawny mid-section.

Turns out it was the small child of 1 who’d in fact worn the pants in question. Explaining how she fit them: Spoken like a true fan of TV’s number one nerd – & not even realizing the humor of her words – my Mom without missing a beat transformed the geeky sitcom star’s name into a likewise geeky verb:

“I Urkled ‘em.”



The End

By Amy on 8-24-18




“Joy to the World”

“It was like this green gooey stuff,” my nephew told me in his vehicle Wednesday. “It was so gross.”

Got that right. The boy of almost 10 was describing his experience at last year’s extraordinary Christmas play at his church. Where he stepped in animal poop. Chugging right along . . .

“Are you gonna be in the play again this year?” I asked during our discussion while his Mom was in a store to check an errand off her list. When he wasn’t sure I informed the almost 4th grader that his older brother was already signed on again as drummer boy, so he’d probably participate too. In kids’ choir, he then declared.

The play became the temporary topic of our time:

“Act 1 is more like songs but I couldn’t be in Act 2 last year because they didn’t have braces back then. I can this year, I just won’t wear my retainer.” Not surprising was it to hear that the brainy boy ALREADY had it all figured out.

Based on his above explanation I was pretty sure Act 2 focused on characters & scenes of Biblical times, where obviously his braces would not have fit in the equation. To confirm my thinking I asked about the second Act. He clearly, however, underestimated my grasp of the situation.

If the expression “Duh” was personified it would’ve been the look on his face. I guess Aunt Amy doesn’t exactly radiate smart jeans.

“Act 2 was after Act 1.”


By Aunt Amy


“Up, Up & A Weigh”

“I wasn’t even trying to lose weight but I went from 138 & today I was 132.8,” I told my oldest sister behind the wheel. “It’s just from cutting out sugar & eating more veggies.” Very glad I was because a thinner self means less weight for my knees to bear.

Monday August 6 I was invited to the pool/play area facility with my sis & her 5 kids. Since I hadn’t gone swimming in about a year, I was super excited!

My sweet niece just 12 days shy of turning 8 was an immense help to me as I navigated my way around the cool pool. Shooting from the blue slide 3 times was a highlight FOR SURE.

During my first trip to the slide, I welcomed the assistance of my niece as I held tight to her left hand for extra stability. My teetery trek toward the slide located on one end of the large pool apparently got my niece thinking as the youngster & I discussed where we were headed – & to her credit, the selfless child was only trying to help.

Nonetheless, the little one clearly has yet to receive the memo that saying the wrong thing to a woman can make her feel as big as a whale, & we females tend to be rather sensitive on the topic of our numbers on the scale:

“How much do you weigh?”

Forget about my cute floral tankini. I suddenly felt like an overstuffed buffalo . . .  I guess I looked like one, too.

“There’s a weight limit.”



The End

P.S. 400 lbs. is the slide’s weight limit.

By Aunt Amy

8-6-18 8-6-18 Castle Gardens

“51 States”

With Parents July 26, '15 017.JPG

” . . . and my tooth came out.”

My Dad & I were lounging on our deck yesterday, him in his light orange swimsuit hoping to soak up as much sunshine as possible in a reclining chair Sarah my thoughtful sis gave him for Father’s Day, & me at the patio table on the deck’s corner in my big purple hat.

He was recounting life stories, & at the moment was recalling his own Dad being a baker in the Army. My Dad said he & his siblings – he’s the oldest of 5 – would beg their Dad to make them dishes. Finally he consented & made bread with a very thick tooth-cracking crust, hence the words of my storytelling father at the starting point of this very tale.

The 2 of us, my Dad & I, enjoy daily life together & conversing – INCLUDING SHARING MANY INSIDE JOKES – is but 1 thing we do. Another is every day, sometimes twice/day, tournaments of the card game “Secret.” To spice up the game occasionally we swap our “Secret” cards which largely determine the game’s outcome. In addition to our shared liking of vegetable medleys & a variety of ethnic foods like Thai & Meditteranean, we share a fondness for military-related books & TV shows & films. I joke that I’m the son he never had.

On Sunday, my Dad also told me about a time in his youth with buddies where the group was searched by law enforcement investigating a recent gun robbery. Knowing my on-the-go father has had numerous addresses throughout his single days in places like California & Ohio, I voiced my wondering of his whereabouts, only to be clobbered from left field with quite the crafty crack:

“What state were you in?”

“A state of confusion.”

The End

By #3 on the day before my half-birthday

“The Shield”

Mom & Ryan 060

“I want to spar with my brother,” he told me about the cool Captain America shield he’d just created with his Grandma. Like always, coupling the child’s particular interest with her incredible skills, Grandma took the helm to make yet another remarkable homemade project with 1 of her grandchildren.

In the family room I spent time with the boy.

“Always take advantage of the players who are awful,” my extremely sharp beginning-fourth-grade-in-the-fall nephew stated. He was referring to me.

In our game of Checkers I’d just admitted to him my thoughts of the game itself, mentioning my impatience of who eventually takes the first punch to get the ball rolling by sacrificing a piece to get jumped over. I don’t like games like this one & Monopoly that require strategy. To me, the necessity of much thinking in any game that is supposedly fun takes the fun right out of it.

Earlier sitting across from each other at the kitchen table, the bright boy & I conversed about wine – which is a weird topic to discuss with a child eating lunch but it was only after he mistakenly popped the top piece off a slice of apple he was eating. We talked about how cool the unplanned event of the flying apple chunk looked, & he said it looked like opening wine. I was, rightly so, quite flabbergasted. The kid’s only 9!

My nephew told me he’s seen wine opened in “tons of movies” upon me asking him how he knew what it looked like to open a wine bottle.

But WAIT!!!

Before the youngster elaborated by telling me he’s seen wine being opened in films like The Incredibles, I spoke, merely speculating as to how he knew what he knew. I never suspected my subsequent inquiry to be followed by his quick-thinking-5-word retort:

“Did you see The Parent Trap where the dad owns a winery?”

He sells kids that cry?”



By Aunt Amy