Thursday, December 6, 2012

A Little Pinch at Christmas

This year, we're spending Christmas on our own and I felt a strong desire to really establish our family traditions for this incredibly special holiday. One thing I wanted to do was make it clear what the true meaning of Christmas was to my children. It's nearly impossible to not focus on presents and Santa Claus on Christmas day when you're a little kid; however, Christmas Eve and everything leading up to Christmas day, I figured is the prime time to focus on the Savior.
I put out a call on my facebook wall, asking what service opportunities there were around that would be family friendly and that we could focus our time on. There's a lot of charities but a lot of them are simply donating money which doesn't involve the kids or buying a couple of presents which doesn't leave the same 'service' based experience I was hoping to get for the little dearies.
I got some great ideas but there was one in particular that really impacted me.
My Aunt, who I have always admired, sent me a message with her idea. I had to share it. It is a perspective that just needed to be shared. It made me feel gratitude and the idea of it was exactly the meaning I wanted to bring to our family Christmas.

Here's her idea (I've taken out names):

One of the things our family has done for the last 20 or so years - - -
we keep our eyes open for someone that the Lord would like us to focus on and then we bring our ideas forward to the family. Sometimes it has been a single name (or family) and sometimes we've had a few options that we voted on. The decision has to be unanimous. In the beginning it was just me that made the choice and told everyone about our 'subject'. As time went on the kids also had opinions on who and what we might do. Depending on the recipient, then we discuss and decide what thing we can do that will be the most effective.
Our critieria were twofold: 1) that in order for it to be a real gift, to be meaningful to us as well as to the recipient it had to 'pinch' a little. We say if we can't 'feel' the sacrifice then it isn't one. 2) that it had to be secret
* One year when our kids were still all at home, we chose an elderly single sister who lived alone. We decided that for her it would be best to create anticipation and to spread it over as long a time as possible so that Christmas was more fun for her. We chose to do the 12 days of Christmas, so every evening for 12 days ending on Christmas Eve, we took something fun and appropriate to her. She lived in a 3 story walk up that we had to ring the buzzer to get into, so it was very fun and very tricky to get in. We solicited the help of the building manager. It was SO fun. A lot of work and the 12 day commitment got a little overwhelming, but was such a lot of fun sneaking it into her. Wish we could have been a fly on the wall to watch the reaction.
* One year we chose a low income family in our ward who I visit taught so I had a pretty good idea of what their situation was. We delivered packages over 2 or 3 days, including personal gifts, groceries and a large framed picture of the Saviour for their living room.
When the older kids got married they continued to join us for a few years till they found projects of their own that they felt strongly about. A daughter's in-law had separated from her husband and was in desparate need of a Christmas boost and some help. We divided up areas and everyone contributed. Between all five of us, we sent down many boxes of individual gifts, household items, groceries and of course a lg framed picture of the Saviour. It was the only exception we made to the anonymous rule. She knew it was from our family, but most of us don't know her and she doesn't know us other than that we're an in-laws family.
* One year when 'S' was in the RS Presidency she suggested a good family in our ward who needed financial help. We all knew and loved this family and agreed on to choose them as our project. Because it was purely money they needed, and they needed it BEFORE Christmas so that they could have a Christmas (among other things). we set an envelope on the counter and told each family to contribute what they thought they could afford to do without that year. We gathered almost $1000.00. We were very proud of our kids. 'J' was going to school that year and he and 'K' donated what would have been their new chesterfield. They didn't get a new chesterfield for another two years. Every time I sat on their crummy old 2nd hand chesterfield I was reminded of their sacrifice and it made me happy. That year it was a little different as since the need was for money - there wasn't anything else for us to 'do'. We prefer to be a little more involved than that, but the pinch of the amount of money each family contributed made it a little more memorable.
* One year, after 'J' returned from his mission, we chose a family who I knew thru the store. 'S' and 'J' had their own projects they were involved in so they didn't join us. Everyone else contributed money, then we divided the money between the mother, teenage daughter teenage son and adolescent daughter. We all went shopping together to Old Navy to buy complete outfits for the kids. Z & A bought shopped for the teen girl, J & L bought for the teen boy and D & I bought for the younger girl. Then we went to another store to buy personal towels for each of them. I went later to Penington's to buy for the mom, and included a gift certificate. We also included things from our store, and of course a framed picture of the Saviour. We delivered it to the grandparents house to make sure it got to her safely.
These are just some of the projects we have done as families. As our kids got older and more independent they have sometimes joined us and sometimes done their own projects - all as the spirit directed. It is a wonderful tradition that has unified us and strengthened our feelings of Charity. Because we are watchful for many weeks prior, we see things we might not otherwise see. Sometimes we feel the need is financial, sometimes it is that someone feel loved, sometimes a blend of the two. Sometimes we join our efforts when the project is big, and sometimes we do it on a smaller scale. As our kids got married, each family decided on their own what they wanted to contribute.
D and I started something personal about a decade ago. In October we begin gathering winter clothing. We go to Value Village and buy coats, sleeping bags and blankets, then to Walmart to buy hats, mitts, scarves, socks and long johns. We take them to the MUSTARD SEED, a homeless shelter that D has an affinity for. In the last few years we started gathering donations thru the store as well, and found that some clothing wasn't suitable for the Mustard Seed, so we broadened those donations to WIN House for women and children and the Youth Emergency Shelter.
The whole point that we tried to get across to our children was that while it is good to give gifts - all gifts, if the gift doesn't involve a degree of sacrifice, if it is simply from our 'excess', then while it is still good, it is not true charity. Those kinds of gifts are easily forgotten by us as well as the recipient. Most gifts are like this. The ones that we remember are the ones that cost us a little bit of blood, sweat or tears. The ones that pinched a little. The ones we had to do without something for. THOSE are the gifts that we remember. Those are true charity. Charity is the pure love of Christ. It is more than picking up an extra toy and throwing it in the Santa's Anonymous box.
 I figure those kinds of charities that get so much media coverage have enough people contributing to them. I want to contribute to the silent few that otherwise might not receive. The ones that the Holy Ghost quietly and privately directs me to. It becomes a matter of much discussion in our family: who? why them? what shall we do? how shall we do it? who will participate? when and where shall we do it?
It has been a much loved tradition in our family. One that I am very happy to see has transferred into our married kids' Christmases. Sometimes I ask "do you have a Christmas project yet this year?" Sometimes I don't. I think they have been taught sufficiently. They will continue on as they see the need. The older their own kids get the more they will want to do it so that their kids are taught the same things they were taught.
Have fun with whatever you and Lane decide to do. If I had one bit of counsel to offer it would be to include the Holy Ghost in your search for a meaningful project. He's very resourceful and he'll often suggest ideas you never would have thought of without him. Ask for guidance and then open your eyes. "There are chances for good all around just now. Opportunities right in our way". You'll come up with something meaningful for the Trim family this year.
I would love to know what it is you decide. I gain great joy in hearing about these projects. I'd love to hear about the choice, the process and the outcome.
Aunt C

Monday, April 16, 2012

Grady is 3! Well, 4 months ago.

So my little guy turned 3 in January. I don't want his birthday celebrations to get lost and he's not 4 yet, so why not share a little bit of our partying side? It's wild! As wild as cookies and milk get! I love the theme of cookies and milk and as it turns out Grady loves cookies so it was a beautiful relationship! We had a crazy party with a bunch of cute, chubby 3 year olds, mere days before my c-section. It was crazy, half preparing my house and myself for our new baby and throwing a fantastic party for my soon to be middle child.
I had great visions of what cookies I would make but my Mom was in town to help out when the baby came AND she is allergic to chocolate. This alone wiped out literally all of my cookie creations. I was more grateful for the help but boggled by what cookies could possibly be good without even a chocolate garnish? Head scratching!
Here's what we came up with:
Sugar cookies, strawberry angel food cake cookies (mine do not look like the pinterest picture!), snickerdoodles and sugar cookie cinnamon/sugar sticks.

Peanut butter cookies, jam roll cookies...and more sugar cookies to fill out the rest of the plate. ;)

This was our get up before it was trashed. Let me just say a piece on behalf of balloons. They are a relatively cheap but effective decoration. Second, kids love them. Hello, they are multi purposed. They decorate and then you take one home like it's a floating piece of gold.

We played pin the chocolate chip on the cookie. Doesn't matter where you place it, everyone is a winner! Yeah! My small regret with this game is the white poster board. That is my inner thought, and a small, silly one at that.

The next game, we made cookie bean bags and here was our cookie bean bag contraption. My Mom got the hard job of wrapping the box but she seems to be good at nearly everything. My hand at this box would have been like I was trying to unwrap it as opposed to wrapping it. I have learned with 3 year old's they just prefer to trash a place, play with toys, run and scream. They sort of played this game but then started punching the box instead or poking their heads out the hole while somebody else threw the bean bag at their heads. Pretty much, we learn to adapt to the sweet madness and go where the party mood leads.

Next we have cake time! Instead of cake and to stay true to our cookie roots, we had sugar cookie bowls with ice cream and glasses of milk with 'milk moustache' straws.

Big bro eating displaying his stache!

The Big Birthday Boy with his very Manly Milk Moustachio!

A little farewell parting thank you. A bag to be filled with the abundance of cookie goodness. Thanks for coming.
Grady talks about his 'ber-S-day' all the time. Every time there is a party, get together, engaging toy, or a commerical, I hear, 'It's for my bersday!'
The shirt he is wearing in the picture is now be officially named his birthday shirt. It is his favorite shirt because of the association with his big day.
I'll admit, the party was crazy BUT it was worth it. Grady loved it. He loved being acknowledged, he loved the party and he had fun.
Grady is all in his facial expressions and how he talks and what he gets excited about...oh wait, and his temperment, and his animated personality. I would totally sign a reality show contract just so I could have the everyday happenings, voice, and facial expressions of Grady at this age recorded.
Happy Birthday, my friend!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Introducing Maryn

Maryn Esther Cynthia Trim
Born: January 9, 2012
Weighing: 8 lb, 13 oz

There were a few difficulties and scares while I was pregnant with Maryn but she came absolutely perfect to me. I was so busy running after the boys and being exhausted that I would have to remind myself while I was pregnant to take the time to think about this little girl growing and cherish the experience. I love her! She is joyful. It felt like she was only a tiny, newborn for a couple of weeks and then before you know it, her cheeks began to expand, she would look me dead in the eye, smile and now talk to me. She commands attention. She loves to look me straight in the eye and hold my gaze. Everything else can stop so I can do that.
Maryn smiles a lot. As soon as she has figured out that she's not hungry, that whatever is on her butt is dry, and she is not drowsy (which is a short window), she is smiling. All three of my kids have dimples. To me, that is like the cherry on top. It's like an extra sprinkling of happy when they smile. I love to hold her head close to mine.
I named her Maryn because it's an awesome name. I named her Esther because that was what my name was supposed to be and it is sentimental between me and my Mom. In addition to that, Esther is a female, biblical hero especially memorable to me for her courage. I named her Cynthia after my aunt. My aunt goes by Cindy but her full name is Cynthia. This aunt has meant so much to me and will always. Her testimony of the gospel strengthened mine. Her confidence in the gospel of Jesus Christ is absolutely unshakeable. I feel stronger, I want to work harder, and have a greater desire to be faithful disciple of Christ when I am around her. Both my aunt and uncle have so many qualities not only I admire, but have changed me. I really felt my self worth when I was around them. When we think of the pioneers who crossed the plains, we think of a legacy that was left for us. I wanted part of Maryn's name to leave her a special legacy. I want to be able to tell a story to each one of my children about their names. Porter was named after his dad. Grady was named after my Uncle and brothers. Maryn after Esther and my Aunt.
I'm so grateful for this little girl. It's my goal to work on being a great role model for her. I think so far, the past 9 weeks has not been too bad. Way to have a good start to the world, if I do say so myself. On a shallow note, I'm working on getting her the sweetest ladybug swimming suit. It's a battle because I know it is so unnecessary and completely frivolous, and focusing on the bigger financial battles is so important...BUT that lady bug floppy hat and matching bathing suit would be so perfect for my perfect baby! Alright, I've convinced myself!
Here's some beautiful photos we had taken of her when she was 8 days old.

I think it's kind of cool how my skin is almost the same color as the back drop. Warm hues. My opinion.

Facts are facts. There is nothing better than baby back wrinkles. Let's not forget baby forehead wrinkles as well. Melt me every time.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Brothers: Gotta love'em

On Saturday, February 18th, we had a special first in our house. Grady gave his first bloody nose. Just last week I was talking to a family who has all boys. They were wildly rough housing in the church hallway, oblivious to anything else. I don't think a crowbar could've separated them. Well, who knows, maybe a crowbar. I told the father that when I saw his boys, sometimes I thought I was looking into my future with Porter and Grady. He shared with me pearls of wisdom and counsel on raising boys. Here it is: "Don't bleed on the carpet! You can bleed anywhere else, just not on the carpet!"
Mere days later, I could see what good advice that was. All joking aside, I was ticked! I told Grady to sit on his bed. He stuck out his bottom lip in shame and then put the blanket over his face. It sounds pitiful but it didn't take him long to recover from the remorse of his crime.
Porter took it like a man and made it to the bathroom, smothered his nose in toilet paper and waited it out. Poor fellow.
I told Grady how mean it was to hit and how he hurt his brother, yatta, yatta.
Fast forward two hours later and I hear Grady yelling, 'Mom, Porter try to hurt me!'
Porter runs up the stairs in his defense and says, 'I was just punching him in the head but not very hard.'

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

First Day of School Fairy

I have decided to start a new start of school tradition. The night before the first day of school, we will have a little visitor called, 'The first day of school fairy'. Lane totally ratted me out to the boys so they have a pretty good idea that it wasn't a fairy who put goodies in their backpacks. How rude! ;) That's okay, it's still going to be titled and gifted from 'The first day of school fairy!'
Porter and Grady put their backpacks outside their door to awaken to a full backpack of fun filled items!

Porter's loot.

Smiling...because that is what I have taught him since out of the womb.

Grady's loot.

Enjoying checking out his surprises. I had to make this truly exciting and so I went again my better judgment and put mini marshmallows in his new snack cup. Guaranteed, he loved it!

Porter's first interview with his teacher a few days before school.

This is what we brought her as a ice breaker-get to know you-my child is the coolest, treat. "With you as my teacher, I am going to be one smart cookie!"

And here it is! The grande finale! Porter's first day of school with year 2 of brotherly goodbyes and loves. They were both having excellent hair days as well. I know I will enjoy pictures like these more with each wrinkle I get. Love savoring my crazy dudes.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Porter has a birthday! August

Porter turned 6 in August with 'full day school' looming before us. I had a really hard time transitioning into motherhood when Porter was born. My Mom told me that 'time would fly by', but by the time he was six months old, I practically chastised her and claimed they were lies, saying that was the longest six months of my life!
Well, as it turns out, she was right. His six years of life have flown by and now I want them to slow down. I love that my kids are kids and love me unconditionally and truly wake up each morning with the attitude that it's a new day. When he turned 6, all of a sudden I was thinking, 'he's almost 8 which means he gets baptized...people who have 8 year olds are the 'old-young', and he's half way to 12 which is a teenager and so on and so forth.
Well, lets leave my girly, wishy, washy emotions aside for a moment to talk about his rockin' awesome birthday party. He really wanted to invite his whole kindergarten class for a party. Quite a few kids in his class had rented out community rooms and invited the whole class for their parties. He really loved his class and his teacher and so there was pull there BUT he also wanted to go go-karting. I told him he had to pick one because we couldn't take his whole kindergarten class go-karting. If he wanted to choose go-karting, only four friends could come and then we could race and go-kart. Go-karting won the day.
There was a re-do of the 'The Little Rascals', in the early 1990s. It is a new favorite of Porter's. One of the main plots climaxes is when Alfalfa wins the go-kart race. Porter is already inclined to anything with wheels, fast, race, etc. because of Lane but go-karting is the perfect kid way to do all of it.
Kind of embarrassing BUT last year, Porter had a dinosaur Porter and the invite said, 'Come for a Roarin' good time.' Clearly I am not too creative in the puns but on his invitation this year, it was printed on a tire that said, 'Come for a Roarin' good time.' Same word, different...noun...object? I didn't realize that until after. I guess 'roarin' is just so versatile, I couldn't help myself...again. It's really not limiting myself, it's just using what works...;)

First of all, these speed racer children needed to know I meant business with a fancy shmancy finish line Happy Birthday banner! Oh yah!

Of course, driver and vehicle must be well hydrated to perform at optimum levels.

Oh my word, Porter was in heaven. In large signs across the fence were warnings of 'no bumping'. Lane thought it would be hilarious to tell Porter the game was to bump everyone else. Porter, the poor guy, thinking he could actually trust his parent to lead him true, was bumping every kid in the party and whatever stranger happened to be on the track with them. The teenage kid running the track was yelling, 'no bumping!' and Lane was cheering him on. I won't elaborate other than to say, TYPICAL!!!
I learned a lot about go-karting this day. I set aside an hour for it. 10-15 minutes of driving there, two- 5 minute drives each, 10-15 minutes back. Well, the line ups, the ten thousand other children, the wait times, we were pushing it at trying to leave after two hours. My gosh! The night before I had made Lane make a car ramp so the kids could race hot wheel cars in the backyard, and I also made a red light/green light sign to play in the field behind our house. We will save those for a rainy day somewhere in the obscure future. We got home, scarfed down some car cake, opened presents and bid farewell to Porter's peeps.
The beauty of it is, nobody but the adults present knew any different. The kids LOVED the party. The go-karting was a huge hit! Everyone was so happy and content. Though it didn't go on without a flaw, it felt like it did because five, 6 year old reactions thinking this was 'so cool!' made it flawless.

Here's Porter's car cake that my friend Erin made for Porter. The desirable object on the car to receive on one's plate were the oreo wheels. Good thing we had extra oreos!

AND, what's a party without presents. Here's him, his doting brother Grady, and four of his buddies looking at the very exciting, boy toys. Transformers, monster trucks, lego, etc.

Everything must be themed, I say! Race car hot dogs! You accessorize your hot dog to look like a car, take a picture and then immediately dis-assemble. Pointless but I get points for awesome. The pointless and points come neck in neck sometimes.

Here are where my puns are redeemed! You're 'Wheelie' cool! And all the kids really were. Porter had a great time. I had fun putting it together and was only stressed during the party, as per usual...which means I had a good time in my own way. It went down in history for Porter and that could not make me any happier! Wa-hoo!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Just for Fun

Well, you know, I try to keep things "fresh". The tv can be an enticing friend for me and my two little men but keeping the home life 'spicy'...maybe that's not what I was going for, keeping things more engaging than Diego and updating my worldly opinions is fun to do. I want Grady and Porter to have a good relationship with each other and a large selection of good memories with me because why not? Too many reasons.
Here are some crafts that we did. Porter is more in the crafting age. Grady is more in the coloring on the wall stage so there are pictures of Porter doing crafts and none of Grady napping during this time. ;)

I took light corn syrup and separated it into different glasses. Each glass was a different color and got about 10 drops of food coloring. You let it dry for a day and then it turns into this cool, shiny, plastic looking art work.
Spring doesn't really have a distinctive menu but Summer, Fall, and Winter can. Everyone has heartwarming memories of seasonal foods. For example, fall is all about pumpkin everything, squash and turkey. Winter could be about Christmas baking, cranberries, nuts, and warm drinks. Summer is watermelon, corn, blueberries, divine peaches, etc. We wanted to have some summer food lovin'. This is a smore chocolate milkshake! We had Lane's brother's family over for dinner and this was dessert. It is essentially a chocolate ice cream milkshake, garnished with crushed graham cruckers, chocolate chips, toasted mini marshmellows (done in the oven on a baking sheet with tin foil and pam) and though it is not pictured in this beauty, we added a two piece chunk of a jersey milk chocolate bar. Summer drink perfection.

This was Lane's father's day gift. He is a hero in our home and in his work life. It came in this box and then he opened it up to his favorite treats, labeled with the supernatural abilities each product provided. They're real by the way.

I can't help it, this present makes me smile every time I glance at it. I made this for Porter's kindergarten teacher as an end of the year present. I just added a bow and Porter gave it to her. All of the Mom's came over to get a look, telling me how beautiful it was, how touching, just amazing, etc. I should've said, 'no, no, it's nothing really. You're too kind', but I had a smile from ear to ear and just accepted the praise. I didn't expect the response because I've seen this project around before but nobody else in Porter's class had seen anything like it. It was a hit and though Lane mocked me a little, it was fun to soak up the praise.

I was asked to teach a class on container gardening this spring. I don't know a thing about container gardening (let alone gardening. It's amazing how chores like weeding are somehow blocked out) but I love doing research so I put together a four page user friendly handout, with some cool pictures, easy tips, and step by step processes. I became converted to it in the process of researching about it. With all of the knowledge we can acquire on any kind of broad subject base, in the end, what does it matter if there's an emergency and we don't even have the basic knowledge on how to feed ourselves? It's easy to get involved with as an individual or family and you can use any space, big or small. This is how I got Porter involved. I bought him a pot he could decorate and he could choose what to be planted. It was his responsibility to water it and take of it.
That's all for now. I really enjoy enriching my kid's lives, my life, my family's life with things that add just a little more joy to the regular Alphaghetti and bill paying.