Scott Walker and I have a few of things in common. We both sported very bad haircuts in our high school yearbook photos. and I also clearly share a love of the Eagles, although the dark underbelly of 'Hotel California' might better describe my time in 12th grade. But our most striking similarity? According to numerous interviews and addresses the Governor has given over past three weeks, he sees himself as president of the "eternal optimist" club. I am proud to say that I am a card-carrying member, as well.
But Governor, you've made it a quite a bit harder to remain upbeat these days. I am a Mom, so it is my duty to figure out how to make lemonade out of lemons. I'd like to think I am even Pollyanna-enough to try to make lemonade out of horseradish. But I am hard-pressed to figure out how to make something palatable out of arsenic--the only ingredient your scorched earth method of balancing the budget has left folks to work with. I'm finding it difficult to find a silver lining, or even bronze, in your budget -- only a lead-based one.
And now, this erosion of my "eternal optimism" is starting to infiltrate other aspects of my life.
For instance, I wasn't nearly as pumped as I should have been this past weekend as my family and I headed out of town to cheer on my son's hockey team in their bid for the Bantam B state championship. I was disappointed to be missing Michael Moore at the Capitol and was not looking forward to cramming the whole family into a small hotel room for the night. But mostly, I just wasn't all that excited for the games.
Yes, our team had delivered a good, solid season, but it wasn't stellar. I was having a hard time mustering up the optimism a good hockey mom (you know, like Sarah Palin) should have before a big tournament. I just wasn't feeling that success at the state championship was in the cards.
As expected, the guys won their first game against host team Fond du Lac. Our team played solidly, but certainly not great--they'd really need to step it up and then some for the semi-final match that evening. We were playing Appleton, a powerhouse team, both in skill and size. Trust me, eighth graders from the Fox River Valley grow a whole lot bigger than in Madison. The height differential was impressive and left me doubtful our boys could pull this off.
But fortunately, my brief bout with pessimism wasn't contagious. Many members of our team hadn't had the chance to play in a state title game before; they wanted this chance and they wanted it bad. It was a white-knuckle game from beginning to end, but the whole team skated furiously and deftly handled the puck. Our goalie had the game of his life; save after remarkable save after unbelievable save. Appleton never gave up, but this one went our way with a 3-2 victory. A David vs. Goliath moment delivered by 14 tough middle school kids who just had determination.
We parents, almost as elated as the kids, waited at the locker room door dispensing high fives all around. It was a major upset -" momentum seemed to be on our side. I half-seriously offered to gather up the teams' uniforms and drive them cross state lines to Illinois--the Fab 14 could use a little boost and a change of clothes. But once I got a whiff of my son's jersey I realized this was probably not a smart or sanitary option. The smell of his alone, never mind the thirteen others, would have done me in miles before I reached the border.
I wish I could say that it was a full Cinderella story for the West Madison Polar Caps. No such luck in the Championship game"we were definitely outplayed by a well-organized Ozaukee club, losing 6-2. Lightning doesn't always strike twice.
But that semi-final game was magnificent. Our moment. And it restored my optimism that it is possible for 14 valiant people to stage an upset. Just skate hard and protect the net. After all, they can't win if they can't score--or have a quorum.comments powered by Disqus
You may call them "play dates," but I like the term "mom dates," especially since my kids are still too young to really care that there's another small person to squabble over toys with.
If there is an excuse for not working out and eating healthy, I have used it: I don't have time. I'm too tired. I'll start tomorrow. I'm no good at this, I give up. I don't know where to start. Yes, I have used all of these and more.
At almost a year old, my kids are in the blissful stage of life where they'll eat nearly anything that I put in front of them (at least as long as it doesn't require much in the way of molar action).
My family recently went through something that we have not experienced in over eight years. We have become a household that no longer harbors a crib or a changing table.
"There really is no wrong way to do it." That's how Madeline, age 13, describes creating artwork. She and her classmates at Prairie View Middle School in Sun Prairie are honing their artistic skills by participating in the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art's Art on Tour program.
I'm having trouble enjoying the season, because I can't keep myself from thinking about the miserable weather that's sure to be following close on the heels of the crisp, pleasant fall we've been having. I am not at all emotionally prepared to be the parent of two toddlers during a Wisconsin winter.
I've always been a supporter of companies that empower women and girls, and when the creator of such a company is a fellow Wisconsinite, I get even more excited. When Melissa Wardy of Janesville got fed up with stereotypes found in clothing for girls, she started her own company.
Do you have a little reader or an aspiring teenaged writer in your house? If so, you may want to venture to the Wisconsin Book Festival this weekend, to whet their appetite for wonderful words as well as your own.
When I was pregnant with my daughter, my husband and I had two names picked out. Upon her arrival we had not yet come to a conclusion on what that name would be. Everyone told us that when we saw her we would just know. We didn't.
At age 10 months, my kids have seen the zoo a lot already. I was a zoology major in college, and I have something of a zoo addiction still, so the twins (and their dad) are more or less condemned to a future rife with zoo visits.
Home-schooling can be a lonely proposition. Even as a college professor, Juliana Hunt remembers struggling to find support to home-school her now-grown daughter. "I was always hoping to find like-minded people who were in the same position as me," she says. "I know that children learn best through a give-and-take, question-and-answer process of teaching and learning, but where do you find mentors who can make that happen?"
After sleep patterns, I think the next biggest parenting concern I have and hear about revolves around the topic of food. How can I make sure my kids are eating enough vegetables? Did I pack them a lunch that is healthy enough? What can I feed them after school that doesn't come from a box? How many gripes am I going to get about the dinner I'm about to prepare?
As far as places to embark on Baby's First Air Travel go, Dane County Regional Airport is a pretty sound choice, especially at 6 p.m. on a Saturday night. My biggest fear was that my nine-month-old son would start screaming in the airport; my second biggest fear was that my son would start screaming and some of my former Epic colleagues would be around to hear it.
The recent shift in the weather is just another sign that autumn is fast approaching. That means one of my favorite activities is just around the corner -- apple picking. My husband and I have been picking apples every fall since before our kids were born.
I have a lot of questions about what to put on my eight-month-olds' plates -- and, if I'm honest, a deep and abiding fear of putting the wrong thing there. Did I start them on solid foods at the right time? What's the deal with baby-led weaning -- how much self-feeding should they be doing? At what age should I give them potential allergens like shellfish or nut products?
Lily the potbellied pig arrived at Heartland Farm Sanctuary blind, lethargic and too overweight to walk. The children of Heartland's summer day camp program took it upon themselves to put the curl back in her tail.
Is it just me or does each summer seem to go by quicker than the last? The end of summer is upon us and for many families this means the start of a new school year.
This past week, on the way to the grocery store, my daughter asked what I believed she thought would be a innocuous question, "Mom, when are we going back-to-school shopping?"
Volunteering with the Young Writers Summer Camp this past week really helped me to remember how utterly creative kids can be when encouraged to come up with their own ideas and use their own words.
This past week I gleefully accepted an offer for new job on the UW-Madison campus. My kids are getting are older and I guess I've felt for a while now that it was time to figure out what would be next for me on the professional front.