We Climbed before the Klimb 4 Kim...

We Climbed before the Klimb 4 Kim...
1997's Climb

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Kimberly's Garden Pt 2

           It was an incredible morning...Jenn Bell put together a moving, dedication to the 'Smiles Grow Here' garden, Kimmy's memorial garden...at Cottonwood Elementary...
           What a long, full circle this garden has come. 
           It started one day, I guess it was about a year and a half ago or longer, we were walking past the little garden, where the inclusion students could grow flowers...Kim noticed that it was in need of some loving and said we should look into doing something...We talked to PTSA president, Jenn Bell, who gave us the green light to look into it...and here's where Kimmy really took off...
           Whenever we worked on anything like this, Kim would always have me make the phone calls, meet whoever I had to, do all of the talking, etc...this time was different.  She really wanted to make a special place for the children...something that they could call their own, somewhere they could sit and smile...'We should call it 'Smiles Grow Here' garden!' she exclaimed to me one day!!  Her vision was so contagious, I was really excited about it - and, as I said, this project was different - Kim wrote a heart rending letter, complete with photos of the current garden and a beautiful sketch of what she wanted to do for Cottonwood and the kids.  She made a list of materials we would need.  And then, a list of where we might be able to get help putting her vision together.
            And then, we went out, together, and met with the community - and, as always, Kimmy was overwhelmed by the community's generosity...and soon, we were able to get everything we needed, without using any school money or PTSA money.  She was amazing...and she was amazed!

                   This is the earliest photo I could find, of Greg Grossheim breaking ground!

 Greg did a great job creating two, separate planters, that were wheel chair accessable and low enough for the kids to reach and plant, with a wide wall strong enough to sit on.

                  And Kimmy thought that a fun, whimsical pot man scarecrow would add some warmth to the garden...of course, she made this herself...

             Anyway, all of the hard work paid off...but, there were water problems...Al Flores, with the Vail School District, got involved and got the water fixed the day Kimmy was diagnosed...guess what?  When I told her that Al helped out, she cried!  She was so happy!!!  Her dream for the children was realized...

          Last week, Jenn picked up some new plants and flowers to beautify Kimmy's Garden...Autumn and Tammy LaPlant work together here.

                      Tonio adds love and water to his Mama's creation....

                 Tonio and Autumn were so happy to be a part of the planting in Mama's garden!

                   This morning, Jenn started off the dedication, by reading some Ralph Waldo Emerson:

           "To laugh often and love much; to win the respect of intelligent
persons and the affection of children; to earn the approbation of honest
citizens and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty;
to find the best in others; to give of one's self; to leave the world a
bit better,  whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed
social condition; to have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung
with exultation; to know even one life has breathed easier because you
have lived-this is to have succeeded."


                         It is as thought Emerson had met Kim...she worked hard for others...she just wanted people to smile and to laugh...
                        When we first finished with the garden, Kimmy wanted to get a plaque and dedicate it as the "Smiles Grown Here" garden and list all of those who made it happen.  But, I talked her out of it.  I don't know why. Now, I think I know...
                         Jenn unveiled this beautiful plaque that will be a part of the garden...

                   Jenn reads the inscription on the plaque...some of the children were openly crying by this point, which was pulling at my heart...but, I kept my shades on, bit my lip, and took note that Autumn and Tonio frequently glanced my way...I gave them reaffirming nods and thumbs up each time.  Autumn and her friend Emma, had their arms around each other during this part - it was very heart warming to see friends supporting each other like that.

                      Autumn stayed stoic, Kimmy-like, during the ceremony...

                I loved that Ms. Bryson, our principal, took time out of her busy schedule to be there for this...and that she gave her blessing to the garden from day one and was so supportive, as she has been of our family...The bambini love her!

                    And Autumn's teacher, Casey - Mrs. Rudzena, too, has been incredible for Autumn, as she lost her father 4 years ago to cancer - she has not only been a fantastic teacher, but a great role model and mentor for Autumn, helping her through this journey...

                 And Apryl - Mrs. Schrantz, Tonio's teacher has been wonderful for Antonio...and our family...here she passes out juice and muffins following the ceremony!
                 We couldn't do it without our Cottonwood family!!  Thank you all!
                After that, I sold books with my Barnes & Noble family....
                Then, it was time to swim!  But, I held Tonio out of the water, as his poor little allergies have him pretty miserable right now (I'm sure that ride throught the desert yesterday did not help!).
                Autumn dives!!  Here's a little video of her first diving lesson!! She's a cutie and works so hard!
               We flew home and picked Cody up from track, stopping at home long enough for the bambini to change for our evening....
               Our southwest family took over to include us in birthday celebrations for Janene and Brad's sons, Bryson and Kason - at Chucky Cheese!

                      Janene holds Kason as he is entertained by a dancing mouse!

                     Andrea and Micah (Kim and Rashon's son) hang out with Chucky!

                   Dammit.  I couldn't get this to rotate, but, it's allllllll of the kids enjoying Chucky!!
   Before eating too much pizza and too much cake, although no one vomited.

                        Janene, birthday boys Bryson and Kason, and Brad love Chucky!
               Wheeeeeeee!  Breanna, Autumn and Antonio ride the monster truck!
               Once again, this family, taking us in and making us feel a part and special...the bambini had so much fun...

               And at the end of this day, I know that we are blessed in many ways...


  1. I LOVE Kimmy's "Smiles Grow Here" garden! Awesome! I can't wait to get back home and see it in person.

  2. It is incredible Dan! Much better than the Flyers recent play!!! Dave