“Hey Hudson! Come downstairs, I made you a cupcake!” My blonde-haired, blue-eyed daughter, Isabel, calls up the stairs to her little brother.

Always Coming Back Home

Always Coming Back Home

Four-year-old Hudson has been busy all morning in his room, running toy trains back and forth over wooden tracks, spinning plastic cars and trucks along plastic ramps and sorting through the stuffed animals taking up room in his closet. He was famished. The sugary-sweetness inflection of his big sister’s voice curling its way up the stairs should have been Hudson’s first indication something was amiss.

“Aw, thank you, Izzy!” Hudson beams as he made his way into the kitchen, a single chocolate cupcake sitting on the countertop, waiting to be devoured by a very hungry little boy.

“I made it special for you..” Isabel’s really playing this moment up… such a thoughtful gesture from a big sister to her little brother in the middle of the week. And chocolate, his favorite!

Hudson takes the single cupcake in his hands, smiling from ear to ear as he walks his way over to the too-tall-for-him bar stool nestled in behind our kitchen counter. He sets it on the dinosaur themed placemat in front of him and climbs up the stool, his six-year-old sister watching intently from her own place in the kitchen – a cell phone propped precariously in her little hands.

With the camera rolling, Hudson takes that much anticipated first bite – chocolate crumbles cascade from his mouth and pool on the placemat below him. “Is it good, Hudson? Do you like it?” Isabel’s voice calls out from behind the camera.

“Mmm-hmmm” Hudson nods, his mouth full of cupcake, the grin still on his face… until there’s not. The smile and remaining chocolate crumbs both fall from his sweet little face as he looks from the cupcake in his hands to his big sister, to the camera in her hands.

“Izzyyyyy!?” Hudson calls out, the minty blue filling of this special cupcake now visible on the screen.

“Ha-ha! It’s toothpaste, Hudson!” Isabel erupts in laughter, proud of herself for pulling off such an epic prank on her little brother.

“Why’d you do that?” His eyes (and tastebuds) processing what’s just happened, when suddenly the camera cuts off – the image of his mop of curly blonde hair charging at the camera – and operator – frozen on the screen.

This was Pandemic Prank War day one.

We’ve now lived through six months of quarantine/stay-at-home orders/pandemic routines here in our home outside of Portland, Oregon, USA, and while the sibling prank war has become more elaborate – sometimes successful, sometimes not so much – we’re finding ways to entertain ourselves. With children ages two, four and six, some days are easier than others. We have a lot of “quiet” time at home – reading or doing craft projects, we drive out to the woods or the coast and explore, we facetime with friends and family we miss, and sometimes we hide from each other in far corners of the house to plot future pranks, but no matter where we’re at, or what we’re doing – we’re doing it together as a family and making the best of it -with the help of a few chocolate cupcakes along the way.

Bestselling author, Ashley Bugge, knows tragedy and triumph. From living her dream life in Hawaii, to unexpectedly becoming a military widow at the age of thirty-four, she has had to fight for her life and that of her three young children. Remarkably, Ashley has turned her tragedy into a captivating and emotional story of resilience and determination in the #1 new release of Always Coming Back Home: An Emotional Tale of Love, Adventure, Tragedy and Hope (Morgan James, September 15, 2020) and has also helped her three children author A Hui Hou: Until We Meet Again which will be published in October 2020. An avid traveler, Ashley now combines her passion of exploration with speaking opportunities to discuss her own struggles, using her personal stories to encourage and inspire others to turn their own tragedy into triumph. Ashley has established the Stay Gold for Brian J Bugge scuba diving scholarship which assists military veterans in finding their passion outside of their service by learning to scuba dive, and recently released a documentary titled, “If Only…” which details the events surrounding her husband’s death. Ashley currently resides in the Pacific Northwest, USA with her three children and rescue pup, Chance, scouting out epic adventures soon to be had.

Connect with Ashley Bugge on Facebook @ashleybuggexo, Instagram @ashley.bugge and visit www.ashleybugge.com.

Always Coming Back Home: An Emotional Tale of Love, Adventure, Tragedy and Hope (Morgan James, September 15, 2020) is available on Amazon and other retail outlets.