Finding a home in ‘the perfect community’

Thu. Jan. 10th, 2019

After starting their career elsewhere, Sarah French and her husband, Ray, decided to relocate their young family to the place they met. “Our hearts were calling us home to Eau Claire, so we ...

I Can (Mostly) Do It by Myself

Thu. Jan. 10th, 2019

BJ Hollars

When Stephen Krensky wrote and published his 2012 children’s book, I Can Do It Myself!, 4-year-olds everywhere took the title as truth.

Partner, parent, and principal

Wed. Oct. 31st, 2018

While Minnesota is a great state where we met a lot of swell people and consumed a lot of OK dairy products, we decided that our hearts were firmly entrenched in the trees and rivers of Eau Claire

The Ripples You Make Come Back to You

Wed. Oct. 31st, 2018

Shannon Paulus, design by Taylor McCumber

After many, many rounds of I Spy, I began digging through my bag to find something that might occupy them for a bit. Finally, I triumphantly produced an old, expired coupon book (blank on the backs!) and a couple of pens.

How I Decided My Son Was Ready for a Cellphone by Fifth Grade

Tue. Sep. 4th, 2018

Eric Rasmussen

Our family had a problem that social cues couldn’t solve. According to my son, EVERYONE in his fourth-grade class already had a cellphone. I’m not clear on how he came by this data; I assume he prepared a paper survey ...

Tractors and Pinstriped Overalls

Mon. Aug. 6th, 2018

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Mackenzie Kavanagh

thinking about the things my grandfather did

My grandpa on my Mom’s side fixed up old tractors until cancer took him away. That was almost 20 years ago. He and my grandma lived in a Wisconsin farmhouse on a road bearing their name ...

Spicy Chef and Lover of S’Mores

Tue. Jul. 17th, 2018

Manish Joshi is a busy dad who tries to add spice to his life – literally and figuratively – in the Chippewa Valley, whether its by cooking zesty Nepali dishes or hitting the hiking trails with his family.

Kid-Less Adventures by the Poolside (a couple rediscovers what actual humans do)

Tue. May. 8th, 2018

BJ Hollars

My wife and I are sitting poolside at our Puerto Rican resort, and everything is allegedly perfect. The water’s warm, the sun is bright, and the ocean’s just a short walk away. It’s 9:07am, and already we’ve loitered at the gym, made a good faith effort at a beach run, and just wrapped up a leisurely breakfast for two. To our astonishment, nobody is crying and nobody has pooped anyone’s pants.

Childhood Memories Across Thin Ice

Mon. Mar. 19th, 2018

Mike Paulus

March is usually the time of year we stop complaining about the snow and cold so we can free up more time to complain about how dirty the snow has gotten and how wet the cold air is feeling. It’s a time-honored ...

Brand New Year, Brand New Little One

Fri. Jan. 26th, 2018

V1 Staff

Baylee Avery and her husband, Joe, are welcoming the new year with a new addition to their family: baby Henry was born at the end of November, joining a big brother, 3-year-old Charles. While having a newborn may ...

Parents Need Privacy, If Only for a Moment

Fri. Jan. 26th, 2018

BJ Hollars

The day started off promising enough. I’d just risen from my bed without disturbing the dog, my children, or my wife, a feat that earned me a few minutes of solitude before the day’s chaos began. There, in the ...

We Believe in Winter and What It Can Bring

Fri. Jan. 26th, 2018

V1 Staff

Here at Chippewa Valley Family, we believe in winter. It’s an easy thing to complain about. It’s easy to curse the cold. The slush. The rock-hard ice on your windshield and the wet pile of coats and boots ...

The Road Less Traveled for a Reason

Fri. Nov. 3rd, 2017

BJ Hollars

Over the past 72 hours Henry and I’d spent time in Rhinelander, Eagle River, and Mercer, all stops on what I’d vaguely determined was a “book tour,” though the majority of our time was spent playing Marco Polo in the motel pools and combing every antique store we could.

Acting Like Kids Again

Fri. Nov. 3rd, 2017

Rob Reid

Last spring, my wife Jayne and I were hiking on the Ice Age Trail near New Auburn. The temperatures were slowly warming up and the snow was nearly gone, but there were still some ice-covered puddles alongside the trail. My wife, mother of four grown children and grandmother to four more, took her walking stick and promptly started breaking up the ice.

Autumn is a Time to Grow Strong

Sat. Sep. 23rd, 2017

Mike Paulus, photos by Andrea Paulseth

One October night a few a years ago, after weeks of spooky storybooks and scary Halloween movies, my son asked me if monsters were a real thing. I said, “Well, I’ve never seen one. What do you think?”

Saying Goodbye to Swing Sets and Campers

Wed. Sep. 20th, 2017

Caroline Akervik

Yes, I will admit my firstborn graduated from high school this year and I have been grappling with many “last time evers.”

My Mom's Growing Years

Wed. Sep. 20th, 2017

Rob Reid

I own hundreds of books and the most valuable title is one not found in any bookstore or library. It is a self-published autobiography by my mother, Helen Mary Goff, written a few years before her death.

Farewell to Swing Sets

Wed. Sep. 20th, 2017

Caroline Akervik

childhood gear carries memories of days gone by

Frida Kahlo once said “Nothing is absolute. Everything changes, everything moves, everything revolves, everything flies and goes away.” I would like to claim that I was enjoying a mindful moment of reflection ...

Our Broke Kids

Tue. Jul. 18th, 2017

Eric Rasmussen

Our children come to us broken. They have crooked teeth and insatiable appetites for sugar and screen time. They arrive with no knowledge or values. Modern kids are the ultimate fixer-upper, the biggest project we can sign up for.

This Is the Hand That Touched the Hand ...

Fri. Jul. 14th, 2017

Rob Reid

Every semester, I read aloud the picture book Pink and Say by Patricia Polacco to my children’s literature university students. It’s an emotional book. I usually cannot get through the reading without choking up.

Chronic Senioritis

Thu. Jun. 1st, 2017

Eric Rasmussen

planning Senior Skip Day gives high school students a taste of ‘real world’ complexity

For proof of how local young people have grown during their years in the Eau Claire Area School District, we only need to look at one piece of evidence: the planning of the annual Senior Skip Day ...

Cake? I WUV Cake!

Tue. May. 23rd, 2017

Rob Reid, design by Janae Breunig

Late this past winter, a storm dumped 11 inches of snow on the Chippewa Valley. Eleven inches that quickly melted due to abnormally high temperatures. Three days after the snowstorm, I stood alone in my driveway, looked at my yard and said aloud, “Where dit go?”

The Trail We Know by Heart

Tue. May. 23rd, 2017

BJ Hollars

In the sixth month of my son’s life, I hike him up a mountain. Or at least the closest we have to a mountain here in Wisconsin, which, as it turns out, is the Potholes Trail in Devil’s Lake State Park ...

Sliding into Home: A Sports Family with a Busy Schedule

Tue. May. 16th, 2017

V1 Staff

Joel, a father of four, youth baseball and softball coach, and small business owner, has been an active member of the Chippewa Valley his entire life. He attended the Chippewa Area Catholic Schools in grade school and graduated from Chi-Hi (Chippewa Falls Senior High School) in 1994.

It Takes a Village (and a Community)

Wed. May. 10th, 2017

by Maggie Cook

As we near the end of another school year, I can’t help but stop and reflect (with a healthy dose of disbelief) on how we’ve made it through another year ...

Forever Young: Letting Go Is Always Tough

Wed. Mar. 1st, 2017

Shari Lau

I remember the night I told my dad I didn’t need to be tucked into bed anymore. I knew it would hurt him, but I also knew I needed to take that step forward in growing up. I can still see the pain in his eyes ...

Puddle Jump

Fri. Feb. 24th, 2017

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Serena Wagner

learning from unexpected winter warmth

Here in February, the sun’s been pushing a cosmic blob of heat against Wisconsin like a sponge, scrubbing away much of the scuzzy snow and ice we’ve been tiptoeing around for weeks. It’s been melting away our cold wintry scowl, softening our cheeks into a smile ...

Hometown Hockey Dad

Wed. Feb. 1st, 2017

V1 Staff, V1 Staff

A fun-loving father on and off the ice, Altoona native Jesse Hays talks about being handy – and lending a hand to those in need.

Heavy Lifting Continues Even After Kids Grow Up

Wed. Feb. 1st, 2017

Rob Reid, illustrated by Serena Wagner

‘That’s it! I’m getting too old for this. This is the last time I’m moving any of you kids!” Those harsh words were uttered in complete exhaustion immediately after my wife Jayne and I helped move my daughter Alice from her dorm room at UW-River Falls to an apartment a few miles ...

The Sweet Sounds of Kindness

Wed. Feb. 1st, 2017

Renee Sommer, illustrated by Serena Wagner

Not everyone is born with sugar plum sweetness in her heart. Well, maybe we are but over time the world beats it out of us. Either way, I’d say my journey to kindness didn’t come until my 30s, and I learn more and more about it every day ...

Pausing to Learn a Lesson in Translation

Wed. Feb. 1st, 2017

Katie Larson

Over the past few weeks, when I find myself awake late at night – listening to my husband’s deep, peaceful breaths – a particular story has been popping into my head ...

Like Out of Nowhere

Thu. Dec. 1st, 2016

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Serena Wagner

remember when we forgot the feel of snow?

First it’s the dry, white flakes wisping around the sidewalk, icy crumbs gathering in the cracks. The sky is cold and colorless, but the snow, the first of the year, turns a boring afternoon in late autumn into something to talk about ...

Adjusting to Valley Life and Loving It

Mon. Nov. 21st, 2016

V1 Staff

Jessica may have left the Chippewa Valley region for most of her adult life, but the experiences, lessons, and culture never left her...

Sign Here: the value of a good book can be measured in memories

Mon. Nov. 21st, 2016

Rob Reid, illustrated by Serena Wagner

Last Father’s Day, my daughter Laura gave me a gift she knew I would love. No, not another tie or sweater or screwdriver. She gave me books. Books signed by the authors. I have a collection of approximately 175 autographed books, mostly children and young adult titles. I call it “The Shrine...

The Toys We're Keeping: appreciating those long-lost gifts for what they are

Mon. Nov. 21st, 2016

Eric Rasmussen, graphic designer by Serena Wagner

Santa was always very kind to me. Every one of my Christmas mornings featured some notable gift that came to define the whole year, like the animals on the Chinese calendar placemats at the Asian buffet restaurants. The year of the Nintendo. The year of Crossfire. The year of Castle Grayskull...

Do Something for the Love of It

Fri. Nov. 18th, 2016

Jacqueline Van Hemert

Busy. That’s the short-and-sweet one-word consensus offered up by every parent and professional I know. Every time I ask the usual question “How’ve you been lately?” they all tell me they are just so busy that even the word itself sounds weighted down with an overwhelmed sigh...

How the Valley Became Music to His Ears

Fri. Sep. 23rd, 2016

V1 Staff

Dixie transplant Ed Hudgins has put down roots in Eau Claire, a place where his family and his “pastor’s heart” have flourished.