Merry Christmas! I can remember every blessed Christmas that Kim and I got to spend together, each one, another greatest time...1993, the day after our engagement, was one of the best - all fired up from receiving a 'yes' from Kim, knowing we'd be together forever, gave me an energy like no other. We started the day making breakfast for each other and enjoying our morning, then, headed out to see parents, relatives and friends. We made a lot of extra stops that day, as Kim wanted to tell everyone our great news, show everyone her ring and I wanted to be there right next to her, sharing her glow. We went to my mom's for breakfast, Kim's parent's for a late lunch and then to my Dad's for dinner, seeing many aunts, uncles, cousins and friends on short stops in between. On holidays, we always ended the day by going to the latest movie playing. We'd smuggle in a bottle of our favorite wine, and enjoying each other's company, more than the movie itself. There always seemed to be a Disney re-release, and we'd often choose to see that show.The smile would not leave my face that day, stretching perhaps further than it ever had before, by the time we went to bed that night, my face muscles needed a massage.
Some of the other 'best' Christmas, because they were all best, was the Christmas of 1994, in our new home in Tucson. We chose a live tree, bought it too early, not aware of how dry they quickly become when you live in the desert, and had to buy a second one before Christmas came. That was ok, we had fun picking it out and decorating it. We started our tradition of making the Christmas raviolis that year, from scratch - Kim would make an incredible bolognese sauce to go with it. It was also our first Christmas with Cajun, a black lab/border collie mix that Kim had bought me for my birthday that year. She had a blast helping to open presents and she was actually very good at it!
Christmas 1997 was a great one. It was our first one with Cody. We named him Cody because on April 23rd, 1997, Cody was born at exactly 12:00...high noon in the wild west. He was born at St. Joseph's, so it seems we've come full circle. He was a fun baby, full of curiosity and always laughing. We bought him way too many toys, a combination of proud first time parents and me being the manager at Toys R Us! Christmas 2000 was special, as Autumn joined our family (born in the same room as Cody at St. Joseph's by coincidence). She was also a wonderful little baby with great big blue eyes...we also had Zona, a black lab/australian sheperd mix, that I had bought for Kimmy as a maternity gift...it took her awhile to appreciate that gift...I'll tell that story some other time! Christmas 2003 brought us Antonio - he had the best dissposition and had so much fun his first Christmas...playing with the empty boxes!
At this point, we were a family of 5 living in a 1250 sq ft, 3 bedroom home...while about 6 months pregnant with Tonio, Kim decided to try to make it work. While I was working that day, she flipped Cody's bedroom with our master bedroom, putting up bunkbeds, repainting, the works. I came home after a long day, there she was, tuckered out but smiling...I went into 'our' room, only to find the boys new room! What a shock and I couldn't believe she had moved all of that furniture by herself while so pregnant!! After Tonio was born, we decided we needed something bigger and moved to our current home, so Christmas 2004 in our new home was memorable.
Now, looking back, last year was so incredilby good. We had a great time at Betsey and Brian's making pizza on Christmas Eve, made our raviolis Christmas Day and then went to Angie's for Christmas dinner and had so much fun...prior to Kim knowing she was sick, we decided to make this year's Christmas very simple, printing out beach photos that we were going to wrap with sand toys, bathing suits, etc and let the kids know that in March, on their spring break, we'd hit the beach and Sea World...well, one of the last things Kim said to me, was how sorry she was, that this wasn't what we had planned...I, of course told her that getting her well was our only thought, our only priority right now and not to worry, we both had such deep faith...deep faith, but we were not in control...as Rush once sang "forget about your silly whim, it doesn't fit the plan".
Today, the bambini's were greeted with the most presents that they have ever seen! Our Cottonwood family, Cienega High School club, the Link Crew and friends, neighbors, Grammie and Grandpa Jim and Santa filled our living room with incredible toys. It really helped keep their minds on how many good people there are out there who had the true spirit of this season - giving. Autumn did comment that it was the best Christmas ever, but the worst Christmas ever...so I got them busy in the kitchen! After making them a french toast breakfast, we set to work on ravioli's. Cody helped me make the dough and manned the pasta machine to stretch it into the proper length, thickness and width. Autumn helped prepare the ricotta filling and her and Tonio plopped the filling on Cody's pasta, and then cut them into ravioli shapes. They had a blast! We cranked up some Frank Sinatra singing Christmas tunes and joined him in our best singing voices - the kids sound like angels and me, well, forget about it.
We cooked them up and Grammie and Granpa Jim joined us for a ravioli Christmas lunch. Now, we are getting ready to go to Angie's, where her and her four daughters, Andrea, Janene, Kristie and Kim will be with their husbands and little ones - the bambini's always enjoy going there and playing and eating the wonderful tamales and such that they prepare. So, we'll look back on this Christmas and be able to say that we made it 'another greatest time'...just like Kimmy would have made it for us.
Wishing you all your own 'nother greatest time!
"God is our refuge and our strength..."