ode to joy

I had heard that the Harvest Parade in the small town of Viroqua was special.  This year I got to see it for myself.

On a blustery but sunshiny afternoon, we gathered with others along the Main Street and waited for what turned out to be twenty minutes of sheer delight.

This was a people-powered parade ending at the local park for more fun and festivities.  There were no big floats, firetrucks, no public politics or advertisements, no convertibles with dignitaries or beauty queens.

But there were village people galore,  dressed in harvest -themed, homemade creative colorful costumes, towering stilt walkers, and gigantic handmade puppets, children of all ages – lots of them – with parents all decked out to honor Fall’s bounty, unicyclists, scooters, bikes, and a lively ragtime band bringing up the rear.

Watching this joyful display of merriment made one forget the challenging news of the day – and, instead, feel happy, carefree, grateful.  And those who participated in the parade made this happen for us –  just by loving every minute of it themselves.

This was a time for every man, woman, and child to recall how to be playful, to celebrate in this simple, innocent, creative, community way.

And so I encourage all of us parents, grandparents, childcare providers, and teachers to find their own ways to celebrate with their children – to march, run, skip, chase, kick balls,  be silly, hide and seek, and shriek with glee when found.

Together, let’s pay homage to the innocence of children- of playing together.

Our own ‘ode to joy’!



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family feud

I hear frequently from parents about how to keep their children from fighting with one another.

Yes – if there are siblings in your family – you have probably faced the squabbling, the teasing, the hitting, the taking toys away, the “you can’t play with me” woes of sibling rivalry.

So what is a parent to do?

I always love the answer to two siblings who are about to share a piece of cake.  One child immediately says “I get to cut it” wisely planning a bigger piece for himself.  But instead… backfire … the parent decides then that the other child gets to choose which piece he wants first.


When sibling conflict is happening at home, most parents’ first instinct is to get involved – stop the behavior – set down the rule.  However, from what I hear, in spite of this, the conflicts don’t often stop there.

Sometimes constant fixing and stopping and accusing from the adults in the  child’s life leads to more aggression and bad feelings from a child who is actually in need of more positive attention.  If you notice one child is on a negative streak with his/her sibling, that child could very likely be feeling insecure in his place in the family – and may need you to help him feel more connected.

Touching base individually daily with each child – if only for a few minutes – shared listening, playing, laughing, eye contact can often be the best medicine for making sure a sibling cup is full.

Also, playing games where siblings team up together – like chasing Dad- or being timed to see how fast they can get all the toys picked up  – shows them how playing/laughing/working together can actually be fun.

For sure notice the caring side – when you see a helpful sweet gesture from one to the other – mention it – as we all know what we notice most is what we see more of.

There’s nothing better than growing up together as siblings – learning how to get along, to share, to laugh,to love.

All while avoiding family feuds.

EXCEPT :   Not The La Crosse Family Feud presented by The Parenting Place, on October 17, 2018 at the Weber Center for the Performing Arts.  Doors open at 5:30 PM for social time/the Feud to follow.  $10 pre-sale admission/$15 day of. Dinner included/ Cash Bar. Buy your tickets at The Parenting Place, Festival Foods,  online, or at the door.

This is a family feud you’ll love!




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Jeepers Creepers

Ever since Heather and I came up with the name Jeepers Creepers for our Fall Fun morning at The Parenting Place, it began to happen.

Whenever I start to think about it, I just want to burst into song.

Now – you may not be familiar with this tune – I mean, it’s quite an oldie  – even by my standards.  But … here we go …

“Jeepers Creepers, where’d ya get those peepers,

Jeepers Creepers, where’d ya get those eyes?

Where’d ya get those eyes?”

I think that was sung to me when I was a little girl and I also have a vague memory of having  piano sheet music of the song also.

It’s a very fun tune to sing. I know Tootsie enjoys it when I sing it to her  –  and  it’s a perfect song for any wide-eyed baby to enjoy.

But no worry – I’ll try and contain myself at the Jeepers Creepers Fall Fun Morning coming up on Saturday, October 13th at The Parenting Place from 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM.

Registration is necessary by phone or on-line – and it’s filling up fast!

So don’t forget – it’s almost Halloween – and there’ll be fun in the “scare”!

And I promise it won’t be me singing.

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Serendipity – I have always found this word very intriguing and exciting.

When I lived in New York City many years ago, there was a lovely ice cream parlor called Serendipity – and I always thought it the perfect name for all the especially delicious delights inside.

So I was curious to find out more about this word – which surprisingly one does not hear used that often.

The meaning I found is quite lovely.  Serendipity (n) finding something beautiful without looking for it.

And that’s what happened for me and Dick and Tootsie on a Sunday evening walk at the river.

We weren’t expecting a serendipity moment for sure.  Actually we were both feeling lazy and over-stuffed and were hoping a walk would clear our heads.

We didn’t realize it would open our hearts.

We met a young woman – alone in a motorized wheel chair – who called out to say hi to Tootsie. And that was the beginning of a warm and lively conversation and connection with this courageous and positive person

She thanked us profusely for stopping and talking with her. I don’t think it happens often.

But little did she know, that was a serendipity moment for us – finding something beautiful without looking for it – or maybe even thinking –  without expecting it.

So keep an eye out – for your personal serendipity moments -“finding something beautiful without looking for it.”


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a “pack”

It’s a long story – too long for this blog – but such a sweet one that our daughter told us about a young, shy deaf dog who was slowly introduced to those in her life besides her owners, who came to recognize and appreciate her “pack” and, then, their eventual frequent “pack walks” together.

And since hearing this story, I’ve been thinking and thinking about that expression – her “pack“.

And it seems so reassuring to consider – a group of people (or dogs and people) who come together – who share with each other – who are supportive to each other.

A “pack” – where you feel comfortable and accepted.

So … call me crazy – but I like to think of The Parenting Place Play Shoppe as a “pack” – where people come and meet and play and grow and share – and the children sense this caring and  know they are a part of this integral group.

See what I mean?

So now when I think of this young pup frolicking together on his “pack walk”, I also believe we have our own “pack play” right here at The Parenting Place.

And we hope you come and join us!

Go Pack!  ( Oops – now I guess that’s another whole story!)

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a meditation

I just got the urge the other day to iron.

Maybe it’s because I’ve stared at a small group of clean clothes that have “lived” in their own special “need to be ironed “ pile for some time.

So I did it.  I set up my ironing board, filled my steam iron with water – put the dial on cotton – and began.

And now I’m convinced.

No wonder – my mom with six children under foot – managed to seem so relaxed while she ironed a laundry basket full to the brim of 100% cotton items.

I remember so well the scent of the fresh clothes brought in from hanging outside, the slow focused movements my mom made as she arranged the items on the ironing board and pressed down on the disappearing winkles, the sizzle of the hot iron on the damp clothes (my mom always “sprinkled” the clothes first ) and my mom’s eyes that looked to be so soft, so lost in thought, so peaceful.

And as a young child I remember feeling peaceful too.  It was as if these moments flooded our normally noisy and busy household with a sense of harmony and contentment.

And on Saturday, I felt this myself as I peacefully ironed my small batch of grateful items – and realized – of course – this was my mom’s yoga, her meditation, her massage -therapy, her peaceful moment.

And, as children, it became ours too – as it seemed to envelope our home with a sense of warmth, coziness, and trust that all was right and good.

Ironing I know is becoming a lost art.  But if you have the chance or I guess the need to iron out some wrinkles – in your laundry items – in your “life”- try it.

A working meditation of the heart – of the wrinkles in your life.


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Labor Day

I’m personally glad that Labor Day comes so soon after The Parenting Place Children’s Festival.  That’s like bestowing a much needed rest and holiday after the work and effort put forth by all The Parenting Place staff on the day before and day of the festival.

Someone asked me at the Festival last weekend ‘who are all these people working at the festival wearing red aprons?”.

I proudly informed him that they are almost all staff from The Parenting Place – reporting for duty – spirits and energy high!

It’s significant to have a day set aside to recognize and celebrate workers.  But sort of unfair that on Labor Day, so many people still need to work

So for all the people who necessarily are working on the Day that celebrates them, take notice and give them a special thank you and smile – those in their workplace wherever that is – hospitals, the home,  in the air,  at sea -rescue workers everywhere,  we appreciate you and thank you.

Happy Labor Day!



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