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Family Chatter

Fa, la, la, it's almost Christmas time! Let the games begin, parents! Start your engines and get in gear, there are only a few more shopping days left! Are you feeling it yet? Not the warm glow of holiday cheer but the “How am I doing to get everything done?” pounding in your head. The holidays are over the top these days, to be sure, but you can either fight it (as I usually do) or join me, this year, as I …

Finally give myself permission to revel in the season, in all its crass, commercialistic, over-the-top glory. The Christmas displays that have been up since late September: love them! The holiday letters from friends and family, regaling me with tales of their family's successes and triumphs: keep them coming! The TV holiday specials, saccharine and sentimental: I'll be watching them on DVR until the New Year!

Here's to tacky gift exchanges and sugar-saturated school parties; long lines at the mall to sit on Santa's lap; and trying to keep breakable ornaments away from tiny hands and mouths. Here's to holiday-themed office parties; re-gifting that magenta scarf from Aunt Sharon; and fruitcake, fruitcake, fruitcake! Freezing my feet (and nose) off at the downtown Christmas parade while my kids beg for toys sold by street vendors and beg for hot chocolate will be bliss! Prodding them to write thank you notes for their gifts will be my pleasure!

Don't let me forget long lines at the post office; traffic jams caused by holiday shoppers; and the trauma of trying to agree upon the perfect tree off the lot at Meadow's Farms. This year I'm going to enjoy every last minute of it, all of it, the entire spectacle, by George! I'm going to be grinning as I elbow my way through Spotsylvania Towne Centre, smiling as I help my six-year-old write out his (too long) wish list, and positively laughing out loud when my husband hauls the tree into the house, leaving a trail of sticky pine needles for me to vacuum. As I do this, I'll be belting out "Let It Snow" and as I wrap gifts at 10 pm on Christmas Eve I'll be humming "Silent Night."

Why my new-found enthusiasm for excess? I guess I’m just ready for an attitude shift. Going into the holidays, as I usually do, with a fair measure of dread in my heart and decided lack of spring in my step, does nothing to improve stressful aspects of the season. There will be crazy moments, exhausting moments, aggravating and frustrating moments, but I will do my best, my very best, to look on the bright side and enjoy this frantic, festive season as much as possible.

And when that proves too difficult and I really do feel overwhelmed…I'll dim the lights, turn on the TV, and grab the kids. A dose of Charlie Brown or Rudolph is truly a time-tested cure for holiday stress.


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Pouches' Community Corner

Trains, Planes and Automobiles Kids' Race Series


From a small beginning, Cathy Weise of the Ron Rosner YMCA has developed an ambitious three-race series for kids for this summer, with the help of The Great Train Race, Shannon Airport, Dominion Raceway & Entertainment, the Fredericksburg Area Service League and Race Timing Unlimited.

Great Train Race Director Jennifer Taylor was one of the first on board.