It’s really hot – and you don’t need anyone to tell you the exact high temperature to know that.

And when it is this hot, tempers can be short, children can be whiny, and energy low.

This is the time to slow way down – really way down – and with young children around – to me the magic word is water!!

Water play is simple – water play is magical – water play is cooling and fun and easy! Just find the shadiest spot you have in your yard – some real stuff like pots, pans, unbreakable containers and a wading pool or a bucket of water, The children will take it from there – if you let them – and yes, of course you will!


And why not also be ready for a “let’s read a bit break time” – a few books – and a popsicle later – and the day goes pretty smoothly.

For there is something about accepting an unhurried lazy day, a really hot summer day -letting the day just unwind,- the peacefulness of water play – the appreciation of some shade, the coziness of reading time together – a “look at the clouds” kind of day – and – who knows – perhaps, becoming the “coolest” day of your summer.

Embrace it!

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blooming and blossoming

June is bursting out all over!

When it’s not a beautiful new-fallen snow in December – then I think – what can be more beautiful than a June day in La Crosse with blooming and blossoming everywhere you look.

And I think this year appreciation and gratitude runs exceptionally high – since we are all feeling safer, braver, more thankful that we are able to be with family and friends – breathing in the freshness that surrounds us – outside – without a mask!

Down at Riverside Park this past weekend proves this point! There were so many out and about taking in and enjoying the sunshine, the river – graduates, brides, children and babies, couples, families, dogs, and senior citizens – (and don’t forget the ducks!)

But now we know, right? – how much we missed it and how new and precious it can all seem again.

So on this first day of June – I wish all of you to enjoy – to breathe in the gifts that abound – and look for ways to keep that awareness fresh and evident in our lives – with our families and our neighbors and ourselves.

Blooming and blossoming?

Yes – for sure!

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Birthday – we say it so casually – and often – in our everyday speech that it’s only when you actually really look at the written word when you say it that you get the full impact.

The full impact being – it’s the day of your birth – a pretty significant day – don’t you think – as days go.

And, of course, by my age we’re always glad to have them – birthdays I mean – am I right? And for years doing Friday Play Shoppes at The Parenting Place – in person, by the way – I always gave myself a party for my birthday- that’s right – gave myself a party during Play Shoppe – decorations and balloons and treats!

And I did that because it’s children who know the real joy in celebrating birthdays.

Our youngest grandson has one coming up also – his is on this weekend. Excitement will be high, I’m sure. Cupcakes and balloons was his simple request. (This kid knows what’s important!)

And I believe – whether you’re turning four or – well, let’s just say – older than four – birthdays are a very special day – a day to celebrate -the day of your birth.

So Happy Birthday to both me and Zeke!

You can’t help but smile about that!

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What time is it? How many times a day do we check the time, figure out how much time we have – to finish up a project, to leave for an appointment, before the kids come home.

And like most of us, we often view a digital model – on our phones, computers and even our clocks – that gives us the exact time we’re looking for – say, 11:05 AM – and that does the trick!

Unless you’re like me. I mean – I value the efficiency and the accuracy that the digital clock provides to us – but, honestly, I need something more.

I really appreciate the analog clock/watch – that has moving hands on its face, marking the hours throughout the day.

There’s something so satisfying to me to look at a clock face – so familiar, looking right back at me – and more than just knowing the exact time, I also get to “feel” the exact time – to “sense” how much time I have ahead of me, before I need to leave, or get ready, or begin dinner, or go to my meeting.

I know – might seem somewhat weird and probably old-fashioned – but what can I say.

Time goes fast enough as it is – and even though I understand full- well that 12:15 PM means the same on a digital as it does on my happy face clock – – to me – at least -I like the way it seems to assure me – confront me – in full sight – the minutes that lie ahead . Minutes that provide me choices//opportunities to use them wisely, weigh my options – perhaps notice there’s enough time still to kick back for 15 minutes and take a break.

Like – right now – hmmm – I think it’s time for lunch – (and I actually know that – without even looking at any clock!) But telling time by your stomach -well, that’s a whole ‘nother story.

Wishing all of you many happy “times”!

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Who hasn’t noticed the beauty all around us these days – in our yards, along the boulevards, in the parks – the blossoming trees, the colorful tulips, the lily of the valley.

Oh – and yes – of course, let’s not forget the dandelion , sturdy and sunny and cheerful – fields of them, (more than ever it seems) welcoming bees and butterflies – and children of all ages. But, alas, these childhood friends dwelling in our yards are mostly briefly admired- as the grass begs to be cut – (have you noticed how green!) and the mower does its dutiful job.

Maybe it’s just me – but have you observed- it also seems that the birds are tweeting more, the bunny population in our neighborhood has exploded, and the young squirrels couldn’t be more entertaining in their frolicking, climbing, and chasing of each other.

And – also in this particular year, I believe most of us are so much more grateful than ever, perhaps brighter than ever, more blossoming than ever ourselves, for those who have been fully vaccinated are now being reunited in person with relatives and friends .

“Reunited – and it feels so good!”

Ah Spring 2021!


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Take five

So many times parents tell me the most challenging, chaotic times between themselves and their children, between siblings and each other is after dinner – before bath, before bedtime.

All havoc can often break through – high intensity, arguments, hitting, whining, out-of- control behavior – sizzling – ready to erupt.

It just seems, even if dinnertime went fine – hold on to your hats for the post-dinner/pre-bedtime “half-time show”!

Experts talk about the build-up of the stresses of the day – from separation, over-stimulation, upsets, insecurities, need to reconnect , to settle.

And more and more these same experts recognize and advise 5 minutes (or more if you’re up to it) consistently each evening of plain ol’ roughhousing, chasing, capturing/escaping, surprising, screeching, and laughing till you actually can feel the stresses of the day escaping evaporating – into the joy of the moment.

I think you get what I mean, right?

Sometimes moments like these happen spontaneously -( like when a throw pillow accidentally lands on the floor – and then proceeds to live up to its name?).

But actually – being intentional about this time each day goes a long way towards retaining a consistent re-connect, an interactive and emotional exchange and discharge.

The thing is – it’s 5 minutes – it’s inside “capture and release”it’s batting a balloon around the room, it’s rough housing – and now that outside after-dinner play is extended – playing Tag in the yard never grows old.

So – try it – even if your children seem to be doing okay. Do it because it says “you’re fun to play with, to laugh with, to connect with”.

5 minutes a day – and if you have multiple children – the good thing is – this takes care of the whole bunch at once – perfect family playtime.

Forgive me please if I’m repeating myself – if you’ve heard me say this more than once – but valuable tips for making emotional connections with your children lend themselves to repeating.

Am I right?

Take five – have fun! Melt those stressors away!

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an invincible summer

“In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer”. Albert Camus

Such a comforting thought to consider – to explore.

And at our Parent Ed meeting this past week, we took the time to do just that – and then shared what is, what might be, what was our own personal “invincible summer” during the challenges and loss we’ve felt in our lives.

What a gift this philosopher had to give – to offer us – this solace, treasure, understanding, comfort and power in such few words.

And during this long siege of national and personal loss – in so many ways – on so many levels – both individual , personal, and universal – acknowledging what strengthens us, consoles us, brings us comfort, hopefulness,, joy and peace – is a gift worth sharing.

I wish you all the recognition and the strength of your own “personal invincible summer” within – now and when you need it.

Trust in it. Celebrate in it. Share it with your closest friend.

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ode to de-cluttering

I know it needs to be done – the process of decluttering – so many “things” that at the moment seemed far too precious to move along, discard, forget.

And so they found a place – a loving place – that seemed right for them – at least for the time being.

But shedding season is here – and now it feels – (I feel, I hope?) ready to participate, to simplify, to organize, to take stock of items far too numerous to remain.

So .. how does one decide? What will go – and what will stay?

The thing for me is that most often the “things” that I’m debating about – in many cases, I’m pretty certain – would never have “made the cut” in most people’s lives.

I am a “for sure” romantic -in the sense that “little things mean a lot” – things I’ve found, discovered, received, committed to – at some time along the way.

And a lot of them (well, maybe even most of what I’m speaking about) are impractical, fanciful, sentimental – probably only to me.

So – no – I for sure won’t give them all up – just the excess – just the excess – just what I’m ready to part with. ( I’ve found that sometimes you just know – just feel – when that is)

The rest I’ll neaten, organize, recognize, and pledge my allegiance to – until -perhaps – the next time my urge to de-clutter comes along – knowing that sometimes (maybe even always) – it’s the smallest, the simplest things that mean the most.

Make sure to save some of them.

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my favorite day

What day it it?” asked Pooh.

“It’s today” squeaked Piglet.

“My Favorite Day!” said Pooh.

And even on a chilly, damp, windy April day – even after being spoiled by so many late March/early April warm Spring days – even after taking things for granted – today is actually the day we get.

So how can we be more like Pooh and declare every day “my favorite day”?

For as life goes on , and we understand more and more -we realize that today really is the day we need to live, to love, to laugh, to thank, to honor, to feel, to accept, to grow.

Today! A day to be grateful for – a day to bring sunshine to another – a day to believe in.

It’s not always easy to think of “today” as your favorite day – when the rest of you might be thinking – “not so much”.

But then – even as I write this – the gray cloudy sky just lightened a bit – and the sun is trying its best to break through – nudging me – to try – and, huh! – you know? – I do feel brighter.

I think sometimes we just have to work a little harder, dig a little deeper, to make each day a more perfect day – a day to be grateful for, and maybe even like Pooh – your favorite day!

Thinking of all of you.

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Every once in a while a really special person comes into your life.  

And sometimes you’re not even aware of it at first – until you are – and then that friendship and caring and support and love and shared conversations – sprinkled with humor and laughter and insights and confidences and surprises become precious and counted on – a touchstone that is treasured.

That was the way it was with my dear friend and co-worker, Heather.  I wasn’t the only one who felt this way about Heather.  She had the ability to reach out and be there – in her unassuming way – to so many people – her co-workers and the many families  – parents and children who knew and cared about her – as she cared about them.

And that she was a dedicated Parent Educator came as no surprise.  Heather’s love for her own family – most especially her daughter – was central in everything she did and believed and shared with others.  She had a zest for living, for laughing, for always showing you who she was – absolutely no false pretentions – just here I am – take me or leave me.

And at The Parenting Place we all took her – into our hearts – and there she will stay.

Heather was always helping me personally in my continued battle with my computer – and my lack of technical skills.  It never mattered how often I would seek her help – sometimes for the very same problem.

And she would fix it – and I would always say “you’re amazing!”  And she would laugh heartily.  And say “I’m going to tell my family that Fran thinks I’m amazing!”

And just in case she didn’t – I did truly think she was amazing – in so many beautiful ways – and I will miss her dearly – and in my heart, she will stay.

Rest in peace our dear amazing friend, Heather.

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