We Climbed before the Klimb 4 Kim...

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

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Kim's Cakes & Cars

                    Today, it was that time again. Already.  How did a whole year pass this quickly? 

                    Rincon Vista Middle School held their annual Cakes & Cars community event.  They added Kim's name to the title last year.  The staff and PTA do a fantastic job making this truly a family event.  It kicks off with a 5K (I ran from the parking lot to the front door), followed by pancakes, a classic car show and a full schedule of performances - dancing, singing, orchestra and cheerleading - they have a talented group of students!

                     They have really kept Kim's spirit in this event, involving the whole community.  And they always make us feel a part of it - Brent Edwards, the Asst. Principal, announcing that we'd be there selling Kimmy's Kitchen cookbooks and Random Act of KIMness bracelets and letting me tell the pancake eaters about what a caring, loving, giving - always doing for others - person Kim was.  Lisa Scott, the PTA President, did a wonderful job organizing this event and we sold a bunch of cookbooks for Kimmy's foundation. So thankful for RVMS continued support!
                    A young girl approached our table, quietly standing in front of us...When she was the only one left, I asked how I could help her.
                   "I knew your wife."  She declared, simply, eyes going from mine, back down to the table and back up again.
                    I waited.  For more.  "You did?"  I asked her, at a loss for better questions.
                    "Yes.  She was a beautiful person." Barely a whisper, she turned on her heel and was gone.
                   "Thank you!"  I lofted back at her, as she disappeared into the crowd.

                   For me, that was enough.  The young lady's courage in coming up to let me know that, made my day.  I didn't even get her name...

                      Tonight, we met Lupe, Manny and Monsi to see The Rise of the Guardians.  It was surprisingly good.  Even Tonio and Aut said it was better than they thought it was going to be.
                      As I've said before, anymore, it seems, that every movie brings back some memory of Kimmy - and this one was no exception.
                     The story involved an Avengers like group of characters, like a Slavic-accented, scimitar-wielding Santa (Alec Baldwin) with “naughty” and “nice” tattooed on his burly arms, an Easter bunny with an Aussie accent and a lot of attitude (Hugh Jackman), a silent sandman who communicates with dreamy designs made from glistening specks, and the feathered Tooth Fairy (Isla Fisher), who presides over a battalion of hummingbird-sized minions who collect baby teeth and leave coins while children sleep. When the happiness and comfort of the children of the world is threatened by the Boogeyman (Jude Law), they need more help and so they invite Jack Frost (Chris Pine) to join them, explaining that they are responsible for making sure the children of the earth have “wonder, hope, and dreams.”

                    And there it was - in the "wonder, hope and dreams"...for children.  Each day, Kim brought that to our lives.  At one point, the Boogeyman slowly dissolves the Sandman with an insidious, black dust that turns his glowing, golden sand to black - reminding me of the cancer that Kim fearlessly and ferociously battled, just as these characters fought the Boogeyman and his cache of nightmares.
                  At the end, a little boy is sad, because he wants Jack Frost and his gang to stay, where he can see them all daily.  Frost tells him that they will always be there for him, in his heart, as long as he believes.

Agua Caliente Park

A newborn Autumn

Watching the polar bears at the Reid Park Zoo
                                           A day old Autumn (spooky eyes!) - look at the love in Kim's smile!

Again, the smile...

Kim and Aut at her brother's in PA
Always making the bambini's day!

                                                Little Autumn, on the porch swing at our old house

Always in our hearts...Always.


Friday, November 30, 2012

My Life

                    We got a new Christmas tree.  It was a difficult decision for me.  Cody has been the tree guy the last few years.  Our tree, which I had bought for Kimmy about 12 years ago at Toys R Us when I was working there, was falling apart.  Cody had brought this to my attention the last two Christmas', but did his best to make it work.
But I heard him.  I surprised the bambini Thursday, having put it together before picking them up at school. 

                    Today, we decorated it...

                    The kids carefully unpacked all of the ornaments that Kim and I had collected together over the years...stopping to read the ones with inscriptions like "Our First Christmas Together" and "Baby's First Christmas" stopping quietly at one they had made for Kim and I two years ago "27 Merry Christmas' Together!" before hanging it high on the tree.

                    We have one for each of the dogs we've had as part of our family.  A giant carrot for Cajun, who would 'sing' for carrots.  It was a high, warbling, cry she would emit in her excitement. 

                   The bambini each took turns hanging their favorite ornaments.  Tonio stretchin' out as high as he can reach!

                                                        Aut stuck to more reachable levels.

Cody giving me his 'c'mon Dad, pictures? Really?' look - but he sincerely enjoyed helping.

And Breanna, bambini #4, was a big helper!


                                                 These two work so well together - they are so cute.

They were thoughtful when placing each ornament.  Hanging, then stepping back to check their placement.  I could see Kimmy in their approach.

                             They made sure that I got to hang a couple of ones they new Kimmy had picked out for me.  Like a Cal Ripken Jr. ornament...and one from the beach, made of shells...

They did such a loving, caring job...it was fun for me to watch.  And, hanging above the tree, the star of Bethlehem that Kim's Dad had made for us over 20 years ago...Andrea hung the star there for us last year and I just left it up the whole year - holding the tree's place, so I knew I'd have the tree in the right spot!
We unpacked all of Kim's snowmen that she loved to collect.  A new one for each Christmas...I let Autumn pick a new one out last year and she's already asking to go to Pier One to pick one out for this year "While they still have good ones left." she tells me, so Kim-like.  Also, placed all of the rest of the decorations she had chosen for our family over the years - each kid finding the perfect spot around the house for them.

                        Breanna hangs one of the ornaments that Lorena Sutton, who taught Cody in 4th and 5th grade, had made for us out of one of Kim's dresses...

                        The laughter of the kids, as they hung ornaments, placed decorations and unpacked our Christmas, warmed the house.  When they were done, they turned the 'Sports Room' into a  little Afghanistan tent city and popped in 'Dark Shadows' starring Johnny Depp...Kim and I shared the same nightmares from the t.v. series 'Dark Shadows' that we saw as young children back in the early '70's.  The movie is more of a comedy - we always loved when Tim Burton and Johnny Depp collaborated on a movie.  The kids have seen this movie at least 5 times now (including Breanna, who saw it in the theaters with us twice).

                      After school - I finally got to Tonio around 4:15...his teacher, Leesa Irwin, had him help at a Student Council meeting...

                                                           My little monkeys...

Kim, Cody, Carole and Ken (Kimmy's parents!) on the back porch of the house she grew up at in Bethlehem, PA.

Her Dad built the shed behind them - after going shopping for sheds one day, Ken came home and declared 'I can build one better for less than 1/2 the price of the ones I looked at today.'  This shed was built about 14 years ago - I bet it is still in great shape!

Ken, Cody and Kim - matching conductor hats!
My favorite laugh...

Kim and Cody at the Colorado Rockies Spring Training - Kim sporting her Dodgers, Mike Piazza jersey!
Christmas season has started...the bambini decorating the house was our official kick off!
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Thursday, November 29, 2012

11:00 P.M.

                                 Around 11:00 P.M. starts 'my time'.  Waking at 4:45 a.m., work, tracking down bambinis, getting groceries, making dinner, packing lunches, getting clothes ready for school, laundry, etc.  Etc.?  Not sure if that exactly covers it - and the questions...Autumn: "Dad.  How was your day?".  Tonio: "Is there anything I can help you with?"...feeling guilty that I am looking forward to 11:00 P.M.!

Best part of the day!  Mary and Ami get the little ones a lot for us.  Our kids have formed quite a bond.  Brinley loves these guys and climbs right up on their laps to play.  We planned to steal her today, but chickened out!

Kimmy - LOVED that 'belly laugh'!!  It's definitely one of the wonderful characteristics Kim had...And little Cody, in awe of Geoffery the Giraffe. Big Ralph in background.  He worked at Toys R Us as a supervisor.  Great guy - people worked hard for Ralph and had fun doing it.  He stands about 7'5", can dunk a basketball without his feet leaving the ground - I dubbed him 'Quicksand Jesus' after the early '90's hit by Skid Row by same name, due to his 'stache, beard and shoulder length hair.  Kim thought that was great. He once redid our shower stall at our old home, after we had a leak, which resulted in the green wall rotting - and supporting an ant colony!! 
I'm not even kidding you, when Ralph pulled away the tile, their was a quarter sized hole in the green wall and ants were pouring out of it!!

Kim on Halloween - must have been '99.  She made Cody his T-Rex costume.  It meant so much to her to create Cody's costume with her own hands, especially since he loved dinosaurs.

Kim racing Cody around in his stroller and Marvin the Martian hat - which Tonio still wears!  This shot was taken at her folks house on 5th ave in Bethlehem.

Kim and Cody - these two were sooooo tight.  Maybe just now catching up to this young man.

                                     Yeah.  Not sure what Kimmy might be doing in this photo, but, love the eyes and smile...she was amazing.

Cajun, Cody and Kim enjoying the day...

                                                         Kim has Cody dressed to kill!

This was Cody's first Thanksgiving back in 1997.  Kim baked him a Cornish hen, so he could hold the mini drum stick and use it as a pacifier.  What I love most about this picture, is Kim of course - the set of her mouth...

New Year's Eve 1998!  Kim got Cody a little top hat - just like Baby New Year in the animated children's classic.

Another appearance with Geoffrey!  This one was C.A.R.E. Fair - a community outreach event.  It was held at Pueblo High School on the southside of Tucson.  Kim had helped with this event, which gives the community a chance to get free services, like health care, shots, eye check ups, bus passes, etc.
Thanks again for reading.  And your support.  I was telling someone tonight that sometimes I 'just don't want to'.  And I think of our fabulous support group and get strength and inspiration.  Always someone worse off - front page of Yahoo.com today: "Girl, 18, watches family drown in Pacific".  Young lady, at the beach with family and pup.  Dog gets swept to sea and brother, 16, dives in to save him, getting hit by a 10' wave.  Parents dive in to raging sea to save son...only to perish.  They still have not found her brother, but, the dog survived the ordeal. 
So, now orphaned at 18, she watched, helplessly from the beach as her family was swept to sea.  The parents bodies were recovered several hours later, but the son has yet to be found. 
 I count my blessings!

                                 One of my favorite times with Kim's dad, Ken...at his gun club...

Kim was good fun with a hand gun!


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Full Moon?

                     Some days are harder than others...just the way it is.  So, when 'Lil Kim' hits me with the after school text 'Hey Dad, how u?  How was ur day?', I cannot immediately respond, as I think through what my reply is and what I really need to text back to her.  Around 10PM tonight, while at work, I felt my phone vibrate...Autumn had sent me a photo of me, kissing her cheek, when she was born. "Lov U"  she wrote.  And I melt.
                    Now at home, having just finished packing lunches, laundry, etc., and in the company of a beer and some Fritos (did you know that Fritos possess astonishing nutritional value?  How about calcium, vitamin E, Vitamin B6 annnnddddd Phosphorus, so I can glow in the dark) , I can decompress...
                   The lil ones were reunited with Monsi today, fresh in from El Paso - Lupe and Manny got them fed and ready for bed later on for me...They were all sunshine when I talked to them - which they always are after a night with the Barrios family!

                    Meanwhile, more pics!  Here's the lady that brought me the bambinis!!

Hiking 'A' Mountain for cancer walk 7 months pregnant with Autumn.

Cody hoists the flag we had placed along the walk, in honor of Kim's dad, Ken, who was fighting his own battle with cancer at this time.

Kimmy, grinning, at a baby shower our Toys R Us family through for her when she was pregnant with Cody
I have been reminded about how fragile life really is over the last few days....as a young lady, a junior at Cody's school, perished in a car accident.  Cody has been in classes with her brother since kindergarten.  The girl's dad and I once coached the boy's soccer team together.  I know loss, but I cannot begin to imagine the pain that goes with losing a child.  Also ran into friend who lost a grandchild - next month it will be three years, but she told me the pain does not lessen. 
When I hear these stories, of other's loss...their struggles...and I look at these pictures, the events of my past - I know that I have been blessed....
Kimmy sure loved her Cody boy - this one is in front of the locomotive ("In Spanish, that means 'crazy something or other' Kim told me) at Old Tucson.

At my mom's old house in Schnecksville, PA.

Hiking Sabino Canyon - Cody made some great faces for the camera!
Alas, the alarm will go off at 5:00 a.m. tomorrow  today...but, there a lots more pictures memories that I have to share. 
Oh, Autumn also texted me "AAAAHHHHH!  Full moon!", around 9:00 pm.  I've told the bambini stories about how the full moon brings out the crazies at my store.  Seriously.  Weird stuff happens.  Like someone putting a dry ice bomb in our patio garbage can.  Like me getting some dude doing heroine in our bathroom busted.  Like power outages.  Raging customers.  Over books.  I can't make this stuff up!  I told my head cashier, Holly, about Autumn's concern.  Holly told me 'No, it isn't fully full until tomorrow night!"  I texted Holly's wisdom back to Aut who replied "Oooooo!  Good!  Whew!  Wat a relief."
She also calls before they go to bed...I spoke to her around 10:00pm...I asked why they weren't in bed.  She told me her and the boys were out back saying good night to their Mama...Even when I have to work, and can't be there with them to say our good nights, they make it happen...
And the moon is beautiful.  The temp is 65 degrees right now...I'm going back outside for awhile...

Monday, November 26, 2012

More Photos

              Throughout the day, the Skyfall song haunted me.
                                          "This is the end
                                            Hold your breath
                                            And count to ten"
              It also haunted the bambini, who told me, when I finally got through work and other extra curricular activities, that they couldn't get the song out of their head.  Tonio humming it..

                                          " I’ve drowned and dreamt
                                           This moment"

                    I can't tell you how appropriate these lines were to the end...

                    While I listened to each and every detail that Autumn and Antonio breathlessly managed, telling me about their days, I waded through some more of the box of photos that magically appeared as we brought down Christmas from the ceiling...

                     ...a welcome surprise - but, wasn't that Kim in a nutshell?

                           At Purple Heart pool, where Cody took some swim lessons.  Looking like a boxer in his little robe.

                     Love this shot.  Cody and Kimmy in our luxorious swimming pool (Step 2, complete with detachable slide) in the backyard of our old home.

                                                   "Where you go I go
                                                     What you see I see"

                    Even at the end, you don't see the end coming sometimes...just thought we'd always be that line above.

                          Kimmy having fun, she always made everything fun, on our new backyard playground we built for Cody at our old home.  Yes, she went down the wave slide!

                                                 "I know I’d never be me
                                                  Without the security
                                                  Of your loving arms
                                                  Keeping me from harm
                                                  Put your hand in my hand
                                                  And we’ll stand"

                         Braving the curvy slide at Purple Heart Park - we used to love to walk there from our old home...

                                                   "Let the skyfall
                                                    When it crumbles
                                                    We will stand tall
                                                    Face it all together"

                         And we did face it together, when it all crumbled.  Kim, stoically keeping everything together, as she always did.  While I ran around trying to collect water in a sieve. 

                     Kim always made things fun for us - riding the train at Old Tucson with Cody.

                                              "Let the skyfall
                                               We will stand tall"

                     As we said goodnight to Kimmy, Tonio told me "Dad, I was sad about Mama today...".