We Climbed before the Klimb 4 Kim...

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

Saturday, August 27, 2011

That smile, that laugh...

                    Wow...  That smile.  That laugh, so sweet.  So contagious - the corners of your mouth begin to turn up involuntarily, without thought - no fighting it!
                   I came across this video and some other footage and it was like finding buried treasure.  Or a beautiful secluded beach.  There are precious few shots of Kimmy in the frames that I found. 
                 We got our first video camera when Cody was born.  You know how it goes.  The first born always has the most pictures taken of them, and the most videos, too.  We video's everything, every movement, every milestone.  We do have a decent amount of video of Autumn, too.  But, certainly, it is evident, that the filming declines for the second child.  Then there was Tonio.  Kim would often lament that we had not taken enough video of our youngest.  Our baby.  It was something like work to remind each other to drag out the video to capture whatever moment in time that was occurring for the bambini by the time we had three.  We did ok, though.
                  It seems that, as parents, we are so focused on making sure we have adequate photos and film of our children to capture their childhood forever.  Memories of yesterday to make us laugh and reminisce as we get older.  "What if we wake up one day when we are 55 and say 'I wish we had had kids?'" Kim said to me one day when we were in our early 30's.  (and don't think the irony of her choosing to use the age 55, and the number of days she was sick, have escaped me...)  She was right.  I'm so glad I listened to her on that one!  But, I wish I had taken more footage of her!  We just thought to film the bambini, so when we were old, together, we could pop in a tape and nostalgically relive the kid's childhoods.  I guess what I'm trying to say, is, don't make this same mistake - take the film/photos of your loved one now!  I suppose we just never thought - well, we just knew that we were going to be together forever...
              This video footage was from Easter of '10.  Just weeks after our dear pup, Zona, passed away suddenly from spleen cancer.  She must have been terribly sick already.  There were signs, I just missed them...

              I feel so blessed to have found this particular clip.  It has it all!  Kim's smile.  Her laugh.  Her sweet, angelic voice...I showed it to the bambini and they stared, speechless - soaking it all in.  Then, intuitively, Autumn leaned closer to look into my eyes...I gave her a smile - she smiled back and looked back at the screen. 
             There is a longer clip I found, of the bambini playing on the slip 'n slide out back.  Kim is trimming the olive tree.  One foot on the garden wall, the other on the kid's playground rope ladder, precariously balancing so she could cut a errant limb.  The rope ladder is swaying and I happened to pan over, making a comment  - Kim did not miss a beat, instead of answering in words, she began to mimic a monkey!  "That is the most exotic monkey I have ever seen" I replied.

             She was spontaneous, funny - and able to turn the mood in any situation in a heartbeat. 

            Kim and I focused on the bambini - they were/are our life.  So, I feel even more blessed that I captured this moment...captured Kim, on film...to enjoy over and over...and to share with you.


Friday, August 26, 2011

Another Recipe

          Autumn's been after me to make Kim's grilled balsamic london broil.  It's been more than 8 months.  Today, I surprised her.  When the bambini burst into the kitchen after school today, she stopped dead. "Mmmmmmm!  What are you making?  It smells so good!!"
          We never ate a lot of red meat - not that we were 'watching' how much we ate, just that, aside from carne asada, we've never been big fans of it.  But, Kim's london broil was different.  I think the kids probably would have welcomed it weekly.  It was a treat when she made it, sliced it thin - on her big, beautiful Italian platter - arranged so tastefully, that it looked too good to eat!

          Grilled Balsamic London Broil

    5 large garlic cloves
    1 tsp salt
    1/4 cup dry red wine
    1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
    1 tblsp soy sauce
    1 tsp honey

         Mince the garlic and put in a blender with the salt, red wine, balsamic, soy sauce and honey.  Blend well and pour over your London Broil.  Let it marinate for at least 4 hours, up to 24 hours.
        Bring london broil back to room temp before grilling.  Remove from marinade and place on grill until done to your taste.  Kim would grill it about 10 minutes on each side.  Transfer london broil to a cutting board and let stand for 10 minutes before cutting into thin strips.

          Next, she would arrange some baby mixed greens, with arugula on a large platter.  She would then arrange the slices of london broil on top, with shaved pieces of parmesan cheese, and topped with marinated Italian red peppers.  Then, she would mix up a dressing made 1/3 cup of olive oil, 1/4 cup of balsamic, tsp of oregano, 1/4 tsp sugar.  Whisk and pour over entire salad.

Autumn was a big help setting the table!  The bambini ate the entire platter!
Finally, I got to make and post one of Autumn's top 5 Kimmy recipes!!

Special congrats to Mary and Emilio Montes!!  Proud parents of little blessing Brinley, who checked into our world today weighing in at 8lbs 4 oz!!  Nicely done guys!!  Glad your 'special angel' was watching over you to keep things going smooth and your minds at ease...


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Channeling my Inner-Kim

Two weeks until Tonio's teacher, Jenny Rienstra, has her baby...and I had to ask myself, What Would Kimmy Do?  A shower seemed obvious!  Lupe (Tonio's little buddy, Monsi's, Mom) agreed and we collarborated to put something together to show Jenny how much we appreciated her and to make sure she had some more things to take care of the baby with!!

Kim loved all of the teachers at Cottonwood.  She absolutely loved to do special things for them and to surprise them.  And, of course, she loved babies!!  She so enjoyed her time being pregnant and every minute with each of our children.  She would get so excited when she heard one of our friends was going to be blessed with a baby.  I tried to channel that, as we planned for this event - and thankfully, Lupe had some great special touches to achieve that Kimmy feel!

Let me start with the cake.  We held Jenny's shower at 10:00 a.m. this morning, so I thought I'd try to make Kim's famous apple-blackberry breakfast cake!  My first challenge...what the hell is a 'spring pan'?  I dug through the cabinets, searching, holding each cake pan that Kim owned up and trying to make it tell me if it was a spring pan.  I finally found the only thing that could possibly be a spring pan.  I was ready.

                               This is only the second cake that I've ever made from scratch.  The directions said to cook it for 55 minutes in a 9" spring pan.  I had a 12", so I improvised and checked it for doneness at 35 minutes.  Close call.  It was done!
I quickly learned that the spring pan is sheer genius!  Simply unlatched it and pop!  Out comes the cake!

   Granulated sugar for pan
   1 1/2 cups of flour
   2 tsp baking powder
   1/2 tsp salt
   3 oz (6 tblsp) butter, melted and 2 tblsp cut into pieces
   3/4 cup brown sugar
   1/2 cup milk
   2 eggs
   4 apples, peeled, cored and cut into 8 wedges
   1 cup (1/2 pint) blackberries
   1/4 tsp cinnamon

        Preheat oven to 375.  Butter a 9" springform pan and dust with sugar.  Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl.  Whisk together melted butter, brown sugar, milk and eggs in another bowl.  Whisk in flour mixture.
       Spread evenly into pan.  Arrange apples over batter, sprinkle with blackberries.  Gently press fruit into batter.  Combine 2 tbsp of brown sugar with cinnamon and sprinkle over fruit.  Dot with remaining 2 tbls of butter.  Bake until top is dark gold, apples are tender and a knife comes out clean, about 55 minutes.  Cool and serve.

          Came out great.  Thank you Kim.

               We ended up with a nice assortment of fruit, gogurts, rice krispy treats and cake.  Thanks to Isaiah's mom, Julie, for bringing in drinks and staying with us to help serve and clean up!!  Once the sugar absorbed into the kid's bloodstream, things started to get interesting!!
                As I mentioned above, Lupe came through to add the Kimness to the shower:

                         She had each of the children dip their thumb in green paint and then her husband, Manny, drew faces and arms/legs to make them frogs, Jenny's favorite!!  What a nice keepsake!  She also provided the decorations and some great cupcakes.  Lupe took all of the stress out of the details - I really only had to sweat the cake!

                 They were delicious and decorated with a tiny baby rattle!!

                     Tonio loves Mrs. Rienstra!!  He was so excited for today, yet was able to keep it a secret!!  "I suspected something might be up when Lupe was taking the kids into the pod yesterday..." she told me, but otherwise, noone let it slip.  Tonio helped make the cake by adding ingredients and doing all of the necessary whisking!

                 We are all wishing the Rienstra family much happiness and enjoyment when their new little blessing, Nathan, comes into their lives...pretty soon!



Wednesday, August 24, 2011

More Kimmy's Journal

         I had a few ideas, a few more memories that I wanted to add tonight - and I apologize - I'm tired...Today at work, I burned out.  I had the opportunity to deliver books to the good people over at Ellie Towne Community Center, not too far from my store.  Catholic Social Service operates some incredible programs there for seniors, teens and children.  They provide free or low cost meals to 75-100 seniors per day.  They have doctors, a dentist, art classes, games, etc for seniors.  They have a pre-school for disadvantaged children and a youth center for after school, so these kids have a safe place to go and hang out.  Most of the people who work there are volunteers or work for near minimium wage.  They do it for the love of people and their community.  It is so inspiring and I always feel blessed on the days I get to go there.

        But, for different reasons...it wore me out, too.
       And, I found myself, around 2:00, sound asleep at Jaimelyn's (Asst. Store Manager) desk.  I was reading her developmental plan she had prepared for me...and then I wasn't.  I was out.  Deep.  Mary, another A.S.M., walked in and asked 'Are you asleep?'...at the sound of her voice, I was like a diver, coming up to the surface, way to fast...the benz!  My brain was sluggish...yeh, I guess I was...So, they kicked me out.  Mercifully.

         And, I got my second wind as I scooped up the bambini from school (thanks Jenny and Casey for keeping these guys and helping them with homework!) and ran home to cook up some of the wonderful chicken stir fry that Andrea taught me to make - the kids eat a ton of it, and tonight was no exception!

        But here is the next entry in Kimmy's journal:

       February, 25, 2004

          "Today is my Dad's birthday.  We are all remembering the wonderful dad, friend and person he was to eeryone.  We went to the Mission this evening to light candles in the sanctuary (Mary's, the same on that I go to each Friday to light candles for Kimmy) and to say a prayer.  Thank you Dave for your loving words for him.  Cody had 'Rodeo Day' at school and Autumn, Tonio and I saw the white bird overhead as we watched the festivities.  Autumn said a prayer to 'Granpop' and blew a kiss to the sky...she's a sweet little honey.  Tonio lightened the mood of the day by waing for the first time : ) . Dave ended the day by getting me a special dove charm for my bracelet (from Italy!).  Dad will forever remain in our hearts."

        We feel the same way about Kimmy...she's in our hearts...


Here's another photo of Autumn and Lexy on the day of their dance recital!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Little Dancers

         From Kimmy's Journal:

        February 16, 2004

                      "  Autumn is a little dancer!  She signed up for a 'tap' and 'ballet' class at Dance West Studio.  Her little buddy, Lexy, joined and told us about it.  The girls are adorable together!  We filmed Autumn's debut and needless to say, I shed a few tears.  We're so proud of our little princess.  It's a joy to watch her blossom.  She wore a beautiful pink gathered leotard with white tights and a little white sweater to keep her warm (she loves sweaters!).  She is having so much fun and Andrea and I really enjoy being there to watch these two dance!  We are planning to take the girls with us for coffee or dinner together after some of these lessons, too, to extend our day.  We can't wait until her next class next Monday when she and Lexy can dance again! "

                     I love this picture!  The first girl, on the right, is frozen with fear - crying.  Autumn and Lexy are the next two, looking so pretty in their little dance dresses!

                     The dance recital was precious.  Held over at Pima Community College's west campus. It was a full house, but, Andrea got there early and saved us all seats.  We got the girls little flowers - they looked so cute!  It was a great show...  Sadly, Autumn did not keep up with dance - she had Kim's shyness level, but, we were blessed that Lexy talked her into it for that season, so we (especially Kim) had a chance to see her dance...

                   I'm glad Kim journaled what she did.  I sometimes wish for more, wish she had written everyday. But, I'm thankful for the pages that I do have.
                     And Antonio is beginning to write regularly...he's so cute, pulling out his journal when he sees me getting ready to blog.  Tonight, he wrote the memory of finding a seashell for Mama, drawing an elaborate seashell and ending it "I love you Mama"...


Sunday, August 21, 2011

In the Face of Fear

     In the Face of Fear...one of the best books that I've read.  It is a compilation, of works by people like the Dalai Lama and Jack Kornfield, promising 'Wisdom in Challenging Times'...it really was inspirational.  I used one of the lessons this morning, on the way to Mass at St. Rita, where they were having a special Mass for Kimmy.  As we hurtled down the highway, I told the bambini the story of the woman who lost her son.  She approached Buddha and said to him 'Buddha, my son has died and I know that you can bring him back to life.'  Buddha agreed and told her to seek out a mustard seed and deliver it to the house in the village that had not experienced loss...This book helps you see the good in all things - in fact, one of the short stories is entitled 'It Would be a Pity to Waste a Good Crisis'!  Most of the stories focus on ways to take the fear or panic out of any situation, so that you can think clearly, see things clearly and make a sound decision on how to feel or react.  There are answers for every situation any one of us might be facing.
       I was explaining the lesson to the kids when my phone rang.  It was Janene. 'Where are you?'...Apparently, having been so engrossed in my dissertation that I missed my exit, I was on my way to Patagonia.  I found a turn around, as the next exit was 19 miles east.  Autumn asked 'Are we allowed to turn here?'  No.  'Then what are these turn arounds for?'  I explained that they were for police and emergency vehicles.  "But, we are late for Mama's Mass - that's an emergency!" she reasoned, those beautiful blue eyes fixing on mine in the rear view mirror, Kim like.  Yes, but, unless we happened upon a very understanding officer, I would get a ticket, I told her.  "I bet Brad (Janene's husband, who works for the Tucson Police Department) would let you go!"  she answered.

       It was a nice Mass.  We took up two pews between Angie, Andrea, Janene, Kim, Cody, Autumn, Lexy, Mariah, Tonio, Breanna, Bryson and Micah.  It was a comfort to be surrounded by them as we reflected on Kim and shared her Mass together.
       The Homily, talked about how Jesus can see the potential in all of us.  His disciples were far from perfect, yet, he knew what was in their hearts and how to work with them, patiently, taking the time to mold them into what they became.  I was riveted, as I thought back...over the years...remembering the exact day, the exact moment that Kim came into my life - changing it forever.  Helping me to turn a 180, Kim saw the potential in my heart - it took Jesus about 3 years to shape Peter into 'The Rock' - he did not start out that way, rather, Jesus taught him and shaped him.  And I'm thankful that I am where I am now, while continuing to work on moving forward, thanks to Kim and to God for putting her into my life.

           After Mass, we all went to Viro's for lunch, where we met Brad and Kason.  Rose and Vito made sure that the 'big table' was ready to go for us.  And we ate cheesesteaks, roast beef sandwiches, pizza, pesto sandwiches, Italian wedding soup, buffalo chicken sandwiches and gelato.  In the midst of this feast, Rose brought us out a huge plate of her famous deviled eggs - "she puts bacon in them!" Janene marveled.  Lena made Andrea a special mocha latte and, for me, a cappuccino, of course.  Then, Rose brought us a plate of chocolate cake with chocolate mousse frosting and a strawberry cake, as well!!  We spent a couple of hours there, easing into our afternoon, remembering Kimmy and all that she did, knowing she would have been enjoying our day..."You know Kimmy's smiling down on all you do right now" Andrea told us.

             The Mass, the lunch, were incredible - and once again, I know how blessed we are to have this family to be there for us, for support, for motivation, for healing...

               Janene and Brad took Tonio with them when we finally were ready to leave Viro's.  He had a fun day playing with Bryson and Kason and doing a little roller skating.  Janene excitedly told me that Tonio came in first place in the races for his age group!

               We took Breanna and Lexy with us and the girls all had a fun afternoon at our house building, watching t.v. - it warms my heart so much to hear Autumn's laughter and to see her having so much fun and being at complete ease - Lexy and Breanna bring out the best in this little girl.  Kim loved to see these guys together and their creativity when they played.

               The bambini never got hungry...until 9ish, when they all decided to have cereal - the lunch tiding them over for the whole day.  I kept asking the girls 'want some grapes, fruit...pasta?'  'Nope, we are still full from Viro's!'
                Tonio and I finished reading Neil Gaiman's 'Graveyard Book' - Autumn snuck in to listen to the end - her and I read this one several years ago together - it is a great book.  We talked about the ending - was it sad?  The main character, Bod, was leaving the graveyard, where he grew up, leaving behind all that he knew...or happy?  Bod was excited by his prospects and the chance to see the world...the kids decided it was happy...

               To end the evening of a perfect day...I invited Tonio to do his journaling while I began writing Kimmy's blog...he pulled up a chair, next to mine and began drawing...and elaborate scene of a seashell, being tossed up on the beach and of Tonio and Kim finding the shell and picking it up, as I stand nearby smiling.  The sun is beaming down wearing sunglasses and a large, puffy cloud is smiling.  Birds happily fly throughout the sky....

                  As I wrap up, once again, I am thankful for all that I am blessed with...the bambini - their love and needs keep me going day to day....Angie and her family - for making us feel that we still matter...our health...our schools...I could go on and on...