Archive for October, 2012

Come Together

A Nice Family Gathering                                                                   
Sponsored by Racine Theatre Guild and 
Written by Managing & Artistic Director
Doug In

My stock answer to anyone asking me to state my favorite kind of play is: “The one I’m working on now.” And that is true.  But if you really pushed me, I’d say that my favorite plays are those that tell a story that can make you laugh one minute and put a tear in your eye the next.

Welcome to A Nice Family Gathering, READ MORE… a play that, first of all, is just plain funny. Yet the story of this kooky and somewhat dysfunctional family will also get you a bit choked up.

We all bring our own family experiences to a story, and Phil Olsen’s comedy hits close to home for me. I am a husband and a father of two, so I identify with how a father communicates with his family. I also recently saw my own father turn 94, and I don’t know how much time I have left with him. So I also identify with the son. What do we need to say to each other before it’s too late? What can be left unsaid?

A good play allows people to debate its message, because it truly is different for everyone. Your life experience will color how you experience this play.Are you a father or a son? Have you lost a spouse or a parent? Have you dealt with sibling rivalry? Do you have crazy but lovable relatives? Do you just enjoy laughing at the crazy doings of other families? I think this comedy has something for everyone.

Above all, A Nice Family Gathering is fun. I hope you will enjoy this show and the rest of our 75th season. Join us for the holidays and all year long.


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Over Exposure?

Breastfeeding in Public. Again.
by JAK guest dad blogger, Toby Mueller,  from Raymond

Let me just say right off the top that I think that breastfeeding IS beneficial for children.  Let me say it again just in case you didn’t hear me…I THINK THAT BREASTFEEDING IS GOOD FOR KIDS.

What I don’t get is why do it in public? READ MORE…

Yes, covering up helps. But why not doing it in a corner or somewhere not right in front of me.

This seems to be a recurring theme in my life as a stay at home dad.

I am at an event with my daughter.  She is of at her activity while I am watching her from a windowed room.  I am sitting by myself reading when a mom with an 8 month old comes in and sits down across the table from me.  We make small talk about our girls and as we are talking, she starts to prep for feeding time.

Right there as we are talking!

Is there a protocol for this situation? Do I keep up the conversation? Do I look away while still talking?  What do I do?

I can’t end the conversation because she is still talking to me.  That would be inappropriate, right?  Not that breastfeeding right in front of someone is inappropriate.

I could have said, “I’m sorry but I cannot continue this conversation during dinner time.” I’m not sure how that would have gone over.

Well, what did I do? I continued the conversation turned away from her.  I guess it was the best I could do considering the situation.

Gee Whiz…I really need a non-mom job some days.

Toby Mueller is a Stay at Home Dad of two daughters and Blogger at A Different Spirit.


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Moms Got Your Back

A Heart to Help

JAK is inspired!
For quite some time now, I’ve been thinking about ways that I can give back to the community.  I don’t have a lot of money, I don’t have a lot of time…however, the one asset I do possess is that I somehow, over the last 18 years of living in southeastern Wisconsin, I have been able to make a ton of connections.
I’ve connect with you, for instance, right? Now, I know today’s commentary might be starting out pretty blah, however, can you stick with me, and click on over to Read More…
Last year, I proposed a great initiative (or so I thought) to a few non-profits around the area, ones that serve families who need food and clothing.  Part of my mission, without going into too much detail, was to share the “face of families” who need the food, or the coats, or the services that many of the agencies provide.  At a meeting I had attended a year ago, these organizations really stressed the growth in numbers of the individuals and families that were coming to food pantries, coat giveaways, etc.  The need was growing, and donations were shrinking.  And despite what our society might depict as the recipients of such programs, the “face of individuals/families” may be, unbeknownst to us, that of our next door neighbor.  Anyways, my intent here was not to discuss the details….I was just wanting to be part of the solution, and highlight the urgency of the needs of  people across all ethnic backgrounds, neighborhoods, etc.  Okay, well, I’ve put that program I called “JAK’s Heart for Helping” (probably not the most unique name) aside, in part, because I just couldn’t sell my idea to my target agencies.  Part of that was the fact that it was the height of the  season…about a year ago, and these agencies were mostly just too busy with the onset of cold weather and the holidays.
I haven’t put aside the idea of wanting to use this wonderfully growing platform I call JAK to somehow pay it forward.  Here it is again, fall, approaching winter and Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, etc. I guess these ideas bloom most as I reflect on my own family’s biggest time of need three years ago when I lost my job, our benefits, our stability, our lifestyle, yet gained a new perspective on what’s important and what didn’t define us.  We survived. We continue to survive. We have food, shelter, all the necessities, and most importantly, we have our health.
With health in mind, and moving this blog on every so slowly, I recently became aware of a fundraiser a group of local women, many of them JAK moms, who are planning a fundraiser for another JAK mom who has incurred overwhelming medical costs due to her brain cancer.  Immediately I was impressed by the compassion and support this mom’s friends where putting into action by organizing, marketing, and finally executing this event, which takes place tomorrow, Friday.
How lucky she is to have this amazing support group.  If this ever happened to me, I would hope I would have this circle of friendship unselfishly rally around me and my family.  I don’t know? And I hope I never get to find out.
My thoughts went to how many challenges moms, dads, families face whether it be health, financial, whatever.  A challenge is a challenge, defined by those who are in the midst of that challenge.  Not everyone is fortunate enough to have an outpouring of support from friends, neighbors, other family members.  Some are silent about their needs and may suffer.  Here’s where JAK comes in…
I am hoping to put together community groups of moms/dads/individuals, that Just Add Kids can put into action to bless another mom/dad/family during their time of need.  I want JAK to provide part of the support these individuals may need.
You feeling it? This is an idea that has yet to be cultivated.
Please let me know if you are so inspired to be part of a unique group of individuals that may provide a meal for a widower with young children, assist in solving a transportation issue to a single mom whose car is in disrepair,  or like the gals I mentioned above, throw a fundraiser for a family that has been hit with insurmountable medical bills.  Or be part of the think tank that moves this idea into action.
Email me at if you are being called into active duty!
For more information on the fundraiser mentioned, please visit the Facebook Event page. It’s tomorrow night, Friday,and  it involves wine tasting, auction items, raffle prizes, and of course, coming to the aid of a fellow mom and her family!  Tickets are expected to sell out, however, they are currently available via PayPal.
Let’s turn anxiety, sadness and tears, into elation, gladness, and cheers, eh?

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Bombs Away!

Get Out!


What is the deal with the recent rash of high school evacuations due to bomb threats? I was informed about the one at Racine’s Park High School via my high schooler’s text. Read more… While my daughter is not a student at Park, apparently word travels fast in this world of immediate connectiveness via mobile phones.  It seems one of her friends, a senior at Park was giving her the lowdown. 

That same day, high school students in Grafton were evacuating their building, taking shelter at a nearby church.  Last week, it was Greendale High School. While kids were in no real danger in the two latter situations, indeed, there was a bomb assembled in the case of Park High School, that ended up being “a bomb”, thank goodness, as apparently it didn’t detonate as intended (or not, who knows).

The sad reality of the Park High School situation is that it actually validates the necessity of taking each and every threat seriously.  Who would’ve thought so, eh? Just extremely grateful the situation was handled and thanks, in part, to school staff and the Racine police and fire departments.

Now the situation at Greendale High School ends up being a kid who was voted onto the school’s homecoming court as a joke.  He was bullied, and was seeking retribution. This story is sad on so many levels.  Motivation behind our 14 year old suspect in the homemade bottle bomb at Park will hopefully be revealed.

Why have high school bomb threats become so rampant? Are we done with this wave? Or will there be more? I suppose only time will tell.  I hope this brief little post on the hot trend in area high school “bomb threats” soon turns out to be outdated.



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