About Us

Deb is a full-time mom and freelance copy editor who changes diapers by day and groans over misplaced modifiers by night (but takes no notice of her own typos and grammatical slip-ups). After fourteen years in the big city, working in advertising and marketing with some of the biggest and coolest brands in the world, she clambered out of the corporate hamster ball and moved to Minnesota, eager to change the world one little person at a time. In other words, she became a mother. And while she can take your manuscript and turn it into gold (for a reasonable hourly rate), and she can conjure ace marketing strategies out of thin air, she’s still working like a dog to get this parenting thing right. She has begun to suspect that “getting it right” is a lifelong endeavor. (Okay, maybe she already knew that, but internalizing it has taken some time.) She conceived the Hokey Pokey Project as part of that effort.

Jay is four years old, and his lengthy resume includes both preschool and pre-K. He harbors growing obsessions for robots, fruit bats, and girls. And despite his affinity for torturing his little sister, he is a kind-hearted soul and compassionate beyond his years. He has already demonstrated his ability to dramatically improve people’s lives by turning two wide-eyed, innocent people into parents and teaching them the meaning of unconditional love.

Charlie is almost two, and she has already been voted “Child Most Likely to Require Stitches” by her incredulous parents who watch trembling from the sidelines as she daredevils her way through life. She is a force to be reckoned with, and the volume of her screeches (most often elicited at the torturous hands of her big brother) are matched only by the wattage of her puckish grins. She has already demonstrated her ability to change people’s lives for the better by taking an interest in potty training at an early age.

Last, but by no means least, is the father of the Hokey Pokey Project, Arun. He is an executive at a Fortune 500 company. In other words, the only one of the four of us with a job that requires shoes and a daily shower. He not only funds our flights of whimsy (not to mention pre-K tuition), but he is our avid cheering section, our trusted sounding board, and our hero. If you had him in your corner, you too would believe you could do anything, even something as crazy as make a city smile for fifty-two weeks.

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11 Responses to About Us

  1. Donna Erickson says:

    Hi Deb,
    I write a weekly syndicated family column (in the Pioneer Press on Saturday’s) and I’m host of Donna’s Day on PBS. I’ve been enjoying “the wishing tree” this weekend and would like to interview you about it and how you made it a family project. I see you don’t mention your last name or phone, so this is the only way I can find you. I live in Mpls and need to write up the article by tomorrow. I won’t mention your name in the article if you prefer not to. You’ll see on my Donna’s Day fb fan page that my work is about celebrating the everyday and everyday joy. Pls let me know your interest one way or the other. Use this email address or donnasdaytv@aol.com Thanks! Donna

  2. Marilynn Smith says:

    Thank you to your family for this brilliant idea. It has inspired everyone we saw walking around the lake this weekend. It was an inspiration to our family as well. We look forward to seeing your next idea. We have made a Facebook post of the positive energy you sent into the world and have had comments from Idaho to Michigan. Peace to you.

    • Deb says:

      Marilynn, we’d love to get the link for your Facebook page! We’re putting one of our own together, and we can make sure all of our readers are checking out your page, too.

  3. Ken Hawk says:

    Great and heartfelt thanks for your story and your ideas…. We are encouraged beyond measure to cross paths with a family that, in our words, “gets it”… We’ve got your back here in Texas and “Team Hawk” sends Big Love and support to you and yours, as well as great thanks for making the world a better place … one day at a time … U Rock!

  4. Jodi Higgs says:

    What an incredible way to give back to our incredible world – both the Wish Tree and the entire Hokey Pokey Project. LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT.
    (Only wish that I had thought of it myself!)
    On this Canadian Thanksgiving Day, I am awesomely thankful for people like you, Deb and Arun! You bring the light.

  5. I found this through random luck trying to find a post I read a few weeks ago. What a wonderful detour. Thank you for what you are doing. I fully plan on ripping off your idea as soon as my baby girl is old enough to help with string. tags, and post-it notes.

  6. Mary Streier says:

    Deb & precious family
    When I read abut the Wishing Tree in teh Strib I boogied right to Lk Harriet. where I am a frequent guest.
    Amazing & Awesome!
    I also saw the newer Wishing Tree on the South end of the lake.
    I shed a few tears reading others’ wishes -tears of joy and sorrow.
    I added my own heartfelt wish and grinned thinking of your family working on this
    and other HokeyPokey Projects.
    I am a Edina Family Center employee . I am home sick today however I have my instructions at my desk and cannot wait to return (from this yucky stomach bug) to see the Gratitude Project in the Family Center lobby! Kudos and Blessings to you!
    Mary Streier
    Edina School Readiness Supervisor and Children’s teacher

    • Deb says:

      Mary, we’re so grateful for everything the Edina Family Center has done for us and our family. It’s a truly amazing organization, filled by people like you who generously give your time and love to our kids. We’re thrilled to have been able to put a tree in the lobby! 🙂

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