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I have always found December to be a funny time of year. There is a constant push to get so much accomplished in a really short period of time. Not only are we asked to organize, decorate, wrap, clean, and host, we practically are required to do it all while upbeat and merry. As a parent, this holiday mania takes on an additional level of importance as we hope to provide our children with a positive experience that they will recall fondly into their old age. I do not seek perfection, but happy memories, yes that would be nice.
This year I know I am already behind schedule. I started a new job in September and I have had to put more energy into that than my life. This has greatly impacted the early holiday shopping and planning I had previously been able to complete by this time of year. I have yet to design my cards, I have yet to make my lists, I have yet to get out all the decorations (or put away the Thanksgiving decorations) but all this will happen. I might not sleep, but it all will happen.
What is most important for me is to create the positive memories my children will cherish. Part of this is establishing family traditions. Since moving to Lexington 4 years ago we have enjoyed the Annual Holiday Children’s Concerts offer by the Lexington Symphony (Dec 5th) , the stroll down Mass Ave along with the center tree lighting, and singing of Carols sponsored by the Lions/ Rotary Clubs on Christmas Eve at Hasting Park gazebo (Dec 24th, 4-4:30pm). I love that we have enjoyed this with other young families and our children will have this shared memory as they age and move through school and sports together.
A new tradition started last year is for my boys to choose a senior from the Giving Tree located at the Crafty Yankee. Each tag holds an item of use to a local senior. Too often seniors are forgotten, but we should remember, there were once somebody’s little boy or girl and are still worth receiving the spirit and joy of this season.
Its important to step outside of ourselves this time of year. It is too easy to get caught up in the trappings of the want-to-dos when we really need to concentrate on the must-dos. I must remember to be thankful, I must remember that I am the only one who knows what my ideal is (and that the expectation is probably too high), I must remember to sleep enough, I must remember my kids want my time more than my stuff, and I must remember to to take a moment to breath. If I don’t take a pause, I might miss the magic memory moments being created.
So without taking further time out of your busy day, I will leave with this: pause, enjoy, and appreciate all you have. Best to you and your family for the holidays and rest up – it’s going to be a busy, but great, 2015.
LexFUN! Executive Board:
Co-President: Lindsay Wedell
Co-President: Leigh-Ann Durant
Vice President, Membership: Emily Wildfire
Vice President, Community Service: Julie Callahan
Vice President, Advertising/Sponsorship: Sam Carreiro
Treasurer: Valerie Machinist
Secretary: Joyce Dvorak
A Little Guilt & Finding Balance, By Kim Bradshaw, Co-Owner artlounge Arlington & Lexington mom!
One of the drivers of artlounge was to give the community a place to celebrate art and escape. We have now been open now for about a month. We have had the usual ups and downs of any new business, but what keeps coming up and what helps make our journey so clear is the almost nightly adventure of what happens amongst our guests. A lot of laughter, sometimes singing, sometimes some serious focus – but what we find that hits home for everyone, is that it is a journey, a break away from our usual paths.
Artlounge seems to elicit a new experience. It sparks an inner light that perhaps has not been tapped into since childhood. We want to inspire creativity, turn on brains in a different direction. Our paint evenings bring out the child in you, our live models perhaps bring some light giggles to start off the night, but once you get into your groove we’ve found a hypnotic state in the room, similar to a meditation class. And of course the class that teaches the art of burlesque dance, well, need I say more? Friends, couples, moms and daughters, or people just out for a night alone have all left feeling transformed. We are also tapping into music and other arts that will open up our minds and hearts. I am sharing my tale of guilt with my Lexington neighbors, because I think it reminds us that we all need a break here and there.
We all do it I think. I guess, I hope… We all admit to it within our chatters on the playgrounds and at cocktails parties. We share that we have done it, do it, and that it will inevitably occur again, but the truth of the matter is that although we can admit to doing it we certainly do not want to get caught, especially by our neighbors. Dirty laundry is always better off left in that metaphorical closet but sometimes, occasionally, it comes out for all to see and hear.
I know it does not feel good when I do it, but I know it feels even worse when I come to the realization that I have been caught. After having kids, my family followed the normal migration from city to the burbs. I guess the biggest transition was the new open air policy. In Boston we lived in an old fir storage building so our door was a vault. Talk about sound proofing. My assumption is my “louder than my indoor voice, also known as yelling, possibly screaming my brains out” voice was born in these dwellings yet was kept within the confines of the household.
I remember it like it was yesterday, when it first made its debut in Lexington. One of our first nights in our new home, there I was doing my “louder than my indoor voice, also known as yelling, more likely screaming my brains out” voice. I know it was not a proud moment. I also know it was a little immature and NOT what I would have hoped from myself in my new role as Lexington “indoor voice” mommy, but I could not resist. One of my kids was yelling in my face so I did what any stressed out mom that needed a break would have done and I played “right back at cha”. I went into my child’s face, that cute little face I worked so hard for, the one that was screaming in my face…and I did my ” louder than my indoor voice, also known as yelling, and for sure screaming my brains out” back at them saying “HOW DO YOU LIKE ITTTTTTTTTTT, IF I SCREAM AT YOUOOOOOOOO”.
As soon as my rant ended a big gust of wind came in through the kitchen window, a reminder of the openness of my existence. I remember thinking; wholly cow what if someone heard me I would die. Low and behold, not 30 seconds later my lovely indoor voice neighbor knocked at my door. I opened in horror despite her greeting me with a big warm smile.
“Hi Kim,” she said “I was wondering if you happened to have my mail? We did not get any today and I am guessing they perhaps delivered it to you.” I immediately knew this was a ploy to come over to make sure my children were safe. The fact that she took this route over a phone call to the police or DSS made me let out a big sigh of relief. I then tried to laugh and started my soliloquy saying to her, “you are so funny and honestly I love that you are my neighbor, I would have also been concerned and I am so happy you took the time to come over and check on us. I am sure you just heard me yelling and I like your cover up story.” I continued my confessions but her face never shifted. As a matter of fact in retrospect her face did look a bit confused but I believed this was a front, a cover up. “She is good” I thought. Anyway she just replied, “No really, I just was checking on my mail” and she left to head back to her open windowed home where I know she heard me doing the thing I admitted I do, but don’t want anyone to hear.
Well, the next day my husband brought the mail in…apparently we never did grab it the previous day and guess whose mail we had? It was time to do my walk of shame as I delivered the mail I explained how this series of events occurred and that I thought it was so funny. I think she thought it was funny too but was happier to get her mail. She also has many kids and I think that she was not frazzled by my louder than my indoor voice, yelling and perhaps screaming at the VERY tip top of my lungs voice.” And although I still try to refrain, I find it easier when I’ve allowed myself a few breaks every now and then.
COMPASS Gift Card Drive
There is still time to donate! It is that wonderful time of year again when LexFUN! asks our community to consider contributing to the drive for gift cards to support COMPASS. COMPASS for Kids is a non-profit organization based in Lexington. Their COMPASS Community Collaborative program provides homeless parents with a structured education and workforce training program that leads to jobs, sustained employment, increased self-sufficiency and a brighter future.
While these parents are making great strides toward building a better life for themselves and their children, in the short-term they struggle to provide their families with even the basics. This problem is even more pronounced during the holiday season, when single mothers not only worry about how they are going to meet the basic needs of their growing kids but how to provide them with a memorable, fun holiday.
That’s where wonderful donors, like LexFUN!, step in to make sure these children and families experience a great holiday season. LexFUN!s gift card drive helps moms buy gifts and clothes, as well as essentials for their children and their family. Gift cards provide parents with choices.
We continue collecting gift cards of any amount. You can drop your donation in the mail slot of the front door of 22 Hancock Street in Lexington any time through December 5th. If you do not find yourself near a gift card stand, please feel free to donate cash and we will gladly purchase gift cards off of the list of suggested stores (provided by COMPASS) which are: Market Basket, Walmart, Haffners Gas Card, Target, Rite Aid, Walgreens, Dollar Tree, Family Dollar, Payless Shoes, and Supercuts.
Thank you for making this holiday season special for local families in need.
The best kind of holiday decorations are the homemade ones by your little ones. Come join us at Youville Place on Wednesday, December 10th from 10:00am until 11:00am to make paper plate ornaments that you can hang up year after year. Youville Place is located at 10 Pelham Road in Lexington (off Mass. Ave.). Please contact Elizabeth Restivo at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
It is a great time to get out and help the seniors in our community. Please consider delivering Meals on Wheels. You can do the deliveries with (or without!) your children, and you may sign up for as little as one delivery at a time, which means you can participate when your schedule allows. Many of our drivers find this a rewarding activity for themselves and their children. The seniors really look forward to the weekly interaction. To sign up or find out more about delivering meals, please email Anne Boulter at email@example.com.
The Drop-In Center
When it comes to indoor play spaces in Lexington, LexFUN!’s weekly Drop-in Center can’t be beat! Every Friday, preschoolers, toddlers, babies and their parents and caregivers drop in to play, explore and learn in a huge indoor play area filled with age appropriate toys and activities. Children develop social, physical, and sensory skills through hands on free play activities, books and crafts.
WHEN & WHERE: Every Friday from 9:30 – 11:30am during the Fall, Winter and Spring (from September 19th through April 10th) at St. Brigid’s Parish Hall, 2001 Mass. Ave.
Newsletter brought to you by LexFUN!
Tuna Chatterjee, Editor