Sometimes it’s the little things that count.

I like to send “fun packages” here and there throughout the year to my grandsons – never extravagant, often “used” items or recycled in some way – to fuel their imagination – their playfulness, their interests.

A while back I had sent to Zeke, our youngest, a little white ” jewelry box” that held inside a very small mouse – a gentleman mouse at that – dressed in a dapper coat, his long thin tail hanging out.

Well this simple gift of a soft mouse for a tender-hearted 3-year-old became Mousie to their family – and every night it is important to “find” Mousie in order for sleep to peacefully occur.

But with all that loving, Mousie, of unknown origins to begin with, lost his arm and his tail. Fortunately, however, for both Mousie and his favorite buddy, there was a loving and creative mom who quickly remedied the situation – replacing the loss with t-shirt scraps and a very nimble sewing hand.

I love this story because it reinforces to me that things that matter – that touch our hearts – that make us feel happy, connected, fulfilled, loved – isn’t usually about big things or expensive items -or even make a huge impression upon receiving – but instead bring a quiet knowing, warmth – that speaks to one’s heart – that we are remembered, noticed, cherished.

As this Thanksgiving holiday approaches, look for these simple messages – gifts from the heart really – to give and to receive – to cherish the “Mousies” in your world that make a difference.

Wishing you all a healthy and safe Thanksgiving.

You, too, Mousie!

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me wondering

Ever watch an infant learning to roll over – every attempt – over a few weeks, days – he gets a little further – until – success!

Ever observe a 12-month-old learning to walk – first one step, then two, three, four – until – joy! – she falls into the welcoming arms of her parent.

Ever see a 6-year-old learning to ride a bike with the training wheels gone – over and over – until – wow! – pure mastery!

I could keep going on and on and I guess I have in my head recently – thinking about the struggles we go through in our life. Most of those struggles, if we’re fortunate enough, relate to our development and growth and anticipation as we mature into adulthood – and beyond.

But sometimes struggles can turn into suffering – and I started to think about hundreds of years ago – in this country – how so many people’s lives reflected hardships, famine, sickness, death and war – some of which in today’s world have been solved, improved, made easier by science, medicine, education, technology, progress and spirit.

Yet – actually – we might be meeting our very own lifetime struggle – right now – facing the rising sickness and deaths, uncertainty and sacrifices that people are being asked to make – to limit the number of rising deaths from COVID – the hospitals that are full, the medical staffs who are strained, the people who are out of work.

And it might not affect you – or me – or anyone you may know personally – but for the greater good, is this our time in history – to sacrifice – to struggle – to face the loss – to accept the request to stay home more, to celebrate the holidays with only those who you live with?

Is this the time to model the strength and courage and will for our own children – to show them – that this is our time – our family’s time – to listen and to respond and to show strength.

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now more than ever

I wish I knew where I read the following excerpt -and who wrote it – when I decided “I should write that down and save it.” but apologetically I don’t.

It’s a pattern of mine – often forgetting to pay attention to the details – and instead, responding so passionately to just the heart of the matter – the emotion.

And – actually that may be the reason this following passage by an observant soul – stirred my own.

“Some of the most kind and thoughtful kids I know are raised in houses that are messy, by parents who forget practices, and who wear mismatched socks. At times I think this may not be a coincidence. When parenting life becomes overwhelming, perhaps they know what to let go and what to put first. Kindness matters – socks – not so much!”

“What to let go – and what to put first” – a truth for parents to live by – for all of us to live by.

And goodness knows – kindness always comes first – now more than ever.

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I love history – and the stories it tells – about struggles that people have endured and fought for that we often now take for granted – and joys and dreams that are as true today as they ever were.

Tomorrow is Election Day – our privilege and our duty to go out and vote if we haven’t done so already.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the passing of the 19th amendment to the United States Constitution which granted women the right to vote.

And as they say “ Do you know what that means to you – do you?”

Susan B. Anthony was a leading pioneer crusader for women’s suffrage in the United States. Her passionate work, ahead of her time, helped pave the way for the final passing of the 19th Amendment. She died before seeing her hard efforts come in to being.

But on Steve Hartman’s “On the Road” segment on Friday’s CBS evening news, we hear that she was not forgotten. He shared about the hundreds and hundreds of women, of all ages, showing up in Rochester, New York at the grave of Susan B. Anthony – – bringing their “I voted” stickers with them to leave on her gravestone in honor of her work, her passion, her belief that all women should have the right to vote.

In ending, Steve Harman warmly encouraged all of us to mindfully share a thank you and a nod to Susan B. Anthony and all the other passionate women suffragettes who paved the way for the rest of us.

And so – here’s a sincere thank you – and a nod – to all of them – and to all of my favorite women out there – we’re all in this together!

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It was G’pa Dick’s birthday on Saturday at our house.

There was the traditional phone time with our two very excited grandsons and the sweet and cherished singing of Happy Birthday – even if across the miles.

Both boys love holidays and birthdays – alot – even other people’s.

For why not? It’s a chance to celebrate – and excitement that day was high.

Six-year-old Theo took up the cause to sum it all up – “today is the start of it all!! Next is Halloween, then Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, Valentines Day, Easter, Yia Yia’s’ birthday (that’s me), Bubbe’s birthday (other grandma), Zeke’s birthday, 4th of July, Mom’s birthday, Dad’s birthday and then my birthday!”)

And then we start again!

That is a lot of dates – a lot of joy and anticipation – a lot to count on and hope for and be glad about.

Yet it sends a message, I believe, how much the rituals and holidays we anticipate in our families add warmth and memories and intimacy. Anticipation doesn’t take away from the present but make the future seem bright and full and loving.

It gives two young boys a sense of their year, a continuity of caring and togetherness (even during Covid) that serves to bring us all closer and puts the joy of a six-year-old boy and a three-year- old boy right where it belongs – in our hearts.

Hope you are all finding and anticipating your own personal joys as we approach a new season with hope.

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You may recall a few of my earlier posts in the Spring where, perched at my home office, I could look out my front windows and watch a house being built from the ground up.

I cited the lucky little boys who came daily – grandchildren of the builder – who romped on the huge dirt piles as the cellar went in. Then days passed in to weeks and months and the frame went up, the roof and the siding went on and just recently the driveway and walk path were cemented.

And it’s amazing to see this progress – to feel a part of it in a way – to recognize the men working , and the wife who sometimes brings lunch , to meet the eager homeowners – a young family with two little children..

I feel it’s been free diversion for me during this Covid Spring and Summer. And now in the middle of Fall – they are preparing to “call it a wrap”.

I’ll miss the commotion, the big exciting construction vehicles (honing in to my days with a young son) but I look forward to the next stage.

Lights in the window, cars in the driveway, children in the yard – a home.


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Yours for keeps

I love Autumn – the beautiful blue sky, the white puffy clouds and oh yes – the glorious colors of the trees.

Every year you hear people say “I think this is the best color yet!” But maybe it’s because every time Fall comes – it lifts our spirits and we can’t imagine anything else so special.

At least that’s me – and I’m not sure – is it the smell of autumn, the spell of autumn, the anticipation and briskness of autumn – of pumpkins and ghords and scarecrows and ghosts – of collecting, raking and jumping in leaves -of bright blue skies — that brings me back to so many autumns past?

But I do know – in order to feel like I still do – remembering what an Autumn day feels like, looks like, smells like and sounds like – we need to share it with our children now.

And then – no matter what age you are – your bright Autumn Days will be “yours for keeps”.

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a sit spot

Maybe some of you have head about going outside – the park , the forest, the bluffs, your very own backyard – and finding a spot that “speaks” to you – that offers you a sense of calm, a sense of peace, a sense of reflection and quiet awareness – a sit spot.

In so many cases, the spot will find you – and you’ll feel it.

And when it does, take a seat.

We probably all have our favorite cozy spot in our homes – a rocking chair near a window, an easy chair to curl up in – a couch to cuddle under a blanket – even to share.

But we are talking about out-doors time – “me time”- a time to be quiet, to be still, to listen and to notice the natural world around you.

Back in the 70’s, we were called tree-huggers (which I still proudly am ) But the present-day Medical community is behind this – strongly supporting and emphasizing our need to increase our Vitamin N – Nature!

In our busy virtual world these days, with much uncertainty and stress that bombards us daily, this natural opportunity, free and available to all, is a winner.

Try it with your children – those who are at home doing virtual schooling. When they need a break, send them out, have them find their personal sit spot – to observe, to feel the sunshine, to notice the breeze, the leaves, the birds, the squirrels – to think.

We don’t always need the most perfect site like in a forest or a State Park. Look for the practical site versus the ideal site. Look for the site that’s easy to get to, that is minutes away, but that offers you a chance to “feel” the strength, the peace that, even in your own backyard, is there if you watch – and listen.

As a child, I remember a spot in my backyard that was somewhat hidden by a big bush, a fence I could climb on and a tall tree I could hang on – and I went there often to think, to pretend, to connect.

Try it. In fact, I think I’ll go out right now to my sit spot in my yard – for a quick ten-minute dose of nature!

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“…In the Forest, wonders await … as countless as the trees.”

Sometimes you just know that you’re choosing the right thing – making the right decision – at the right time – eager to begin.

That’s the way I feel about The Parenting Place’s new Forest Play Shoppes.

The strong response to registration alone tells me parents are searching for ways to connect with one another – safe ways for their children to play in this uncertain COVID time.

And we all remember, right?

The joys of playing outside are usually some of our most cherished memories we hold from childhood – exploring, discovering, climbing, jumping -adventures that make our spirits soar and our bodies strong.

Pretending with sticks, leaves, dirt, pinecones, bark – nature’s “tiny things” – become our most precious playthings – our coveted treasures.

Physicians have been advising us right along about the significance of spending time out-of-doors – the value of Vitamin N – the Nature Vitamin – strengthening our immune system – controlling our stress levels – building our resiliency.

And to appreciate Wisconsin in all its seasons means turning a chilly Wisconsin morning into an exciting adventure. For we believe as the saying goes – “there is no bad weather, only bad clothing.

And so – here’s to the experiences that beckon – the spirits that will shine – and “the wonders that await …as countless as the trees.”


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Pick of the day

I only wish I were there – but I just heard about it instead – and devoured bright lovely pictures – of Apple Picking Day out in Western Massachusetts where my two grandsons live.

But I love that every picture truly does say a thousand words. – and even though COVID is going on – and there are restrictions to be followed and care to be taken, apple picking is a perfect fun activity for families to share and enjoy together.

This orchard that they were at had big old apple trees loaded with apples – and some trees perfect for climbing on – exploring – gathering. It was a family affair – Mom and Dad and favorite Auntie Aimee along.

It was a beautiful sunny day – a “no fuss” kind of day – where getting out and being together beyond the neighborhood was a big event.

And 6-year-old Theo summed it up perfectly “ This was the best day ever”.

Wow! Sometimes simplicity wins – being in nature wins – being with family wins – letting us all believe and appreciate that joy and the “best day ever” arrives sometimes when you least expect it.

Happy Fall to all!!

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