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Wednesday, July 23, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 78.0° F  Mostly Cloudy
The Daily

ISTHMUS PARENTS

Mama Madison: When a mom hates an activity...

This coming weekend the Zor Shrine Circus will be in town. The spectacle, which takes place at the Alliant Energy Center, promises tiger tricks, comical canines and aerialists who perform on "lengths of fabric hung high in the air." There will be synchronized motorcycle riding, performing camels and elephants, as well as Ivanov, "the crazy, cavorting clown." >More
 Mama Madison: Brothers

I don't think much -- game or otherwise -- from last weekend's Super Bowl will stick with me for too long. The commercials, usually this former ad gal's favorite part, felt uninspired. And the first half of play struck this non-football aficionado as fairly boring. To be honest, I pretty much tuned out halfway through the blackout. Beyoncé was kind of fun, I guess, and the chili my son made was outstanding. They were only things that seemed to add much spice to an otherwise routine Sunday night with the kids. >More
 Cabin fever solutions: Indoor activities to jump-start the slushy, muddy end of winter

Poet T.S. Eliot had no children. And I doubt he'd ever experienced a Wisconsin winter, either, when he proclaimed April to be the cruelest month. Because as every mom and dad in the upper Midwest knows, each and every one of February's 28 days can feel like an eternity when, due to cruddy weather, you are stuck in the house with young kids. >More
 Mama Madison: Saying goodbye to Nana

I am thankful I got so many years with my grandmother. And I am thankful my kids got to belong to that exclusive club of people who got to experience a great grand mother's advice first hand. >More
 Mama Madison: Raising wise media consumers

I'm a trusting soul at heart when it comes to the media. I'm the woman that reads the cover of the National Enquirer in the grocery line and wants to believe, each and every week, that Jennifer Aniston is finally pregnant with her long-desired child. Or that Britney Spears may have actually found true love at last. But of course, I know in my heart of hearts, that what I am reading isn't actually "news" but more likely a little hopefully harmless piece of fiction created to entertain folks like me as we place our carrots on the checkout conveyor belt. >More
 Mama Madison: A shot in the arm

Based on everything ever read, seen, or heard about the virus, it absolutely sucks. And if a simple vaccine exists that can help a person avoid it, sucking it up and getting poked is a worthwhile thing to do. >More
 Mama Madison: Growing-up transformations

My youngest is ten, closing in on eleven. I knew this was coming. I am prepared, for the most part, for my "baby" girl to become just my girl. And fortunately, most of these "growing up" changes have happened gradually, feeling much more like ripples than actual waves. >More
 Mama Madison: Resolution for 2013: Good food

Traditional New Year's self-improvement plans have just never worked for me. Sure, I like the idea of being a more "well rounded" (or maybe "less rounded," depending on the resolution) person in theory. But when it comes right down to it, I've learned I need to be held accountable to other folks, not just to myself, if I really intend to stick to anything for 24 hours, much less 365 days. >More
 Camp HOPE offers a child-parent space to deal with loss

Going to a bereavement camp might sound scary. Especially if you're a kid. Becky Loy, founder of Camp HOPE along with her husband, Marty, tries to make the camp as welcoming as possible. The message she conveys is "we know where you're at; join us and trust us for a day and a half." >More
 Mama Madison: Another year older

On New Year's Eve 1988, home on college winter break, I got together with my high school posse to watch the ball drop on TV. We were all seniors, happy to be back together again to offer up cheap champagne toasts to the dream jobs and grad school acceptance letters we hoped to land that spring. Freshly engaged four New Year's Eves later, my husband-to-be and I raised our glasses not just to the rest of our lives together, but to a year of wedding planning, "do I take his last name?" decisions and figuring out how (and if) to merge bank accounts. But on January 1st 1997, there was no bubbly flowing, at least not for me. I was four months pregnant with my first child and knew that a "dry" New Years was just the first of many enormous life changes that were headed my way. >More
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