Teacher Appreciation Dinner

April 17, 2017 by

We had the joy of hosting our 15th Annual Geyling Family Teacher Appreciation Dinner tonight and what a fun evening it was!  We had our fill of Rolf’s yummy BBQ tri-tip, chicken and shrimp perfectly paired with my veggie rice and trio of salads topped off with blueberry cobbler crisp & ice cream for dessert!!!  Tonight we hosted Max’s leadership class teacher and the teacher for whom he TA’s, the couple who staff FCA at DPHS and Rudy’s general ed teacher, nurse and 6 of his special ed teachers along with spouses and a couple of kids!  There were 24 of us in all!  We’ve come a long way since our very first teacher dinner with our solo guest – Wilson’s Kindergarten teacher.  Ha Ha

This dinner has become a favorite spring event for our family and it was fun to see Rudy anticipate having his teachers over!  He talked about it all last week and was so excited as guests arrived tonight that he needed to sit down for a bit to get some extra oxygen! We are so grateful for the many ways our kids are invested in each day at school…from their teachers & coaches to the school administrators & staff and tonight was another great reminder of how very rich we are in community and friendship!







Thank you, dear educators, for helping to shape our kids into lifelong learners,,,and becoming friends to our family along the way!

Holy Week 2017

April 16, 2017 by

Well, Wilson just headed back to APU after a long weekend home, the Reese’s Peanut Butter eggs have nearly all been consumed and preparations for another school/work week are underway.  We had a blessed Holy Week filled with the regular slate of activities along with a full calendar of SBRM & church events to prepare for and celebrate the resurrection of Christ!  Woo Hoo!  He is Risen!!  It was super to have Wilson home to share in all the fun!  Here’s a little peek…


Palm Sunday fun at church last week!


The best part of living in a small town is running into members of “Team Rudy” at Rite Aid on a Sunday afternoon…like Rudy’s kindergarten teacher!! 🙂


Palm Sunday was particularly special in the Geyling household as it was also Wilson’s 20th birthday! It’s a pretty surreal experience to watch your little one turn into a man…and a gift to have so many reasons to admire the man he’s become!  (Newborn Wilson)


…this is how 20 year old Wilson spent his birthday. (Yes, he’s had a growth spurt in college!)


Olivia had a fun show of support at her LAX game thanks to Cady, Paige and Aaron!



Max had a LAX game this week too!


Ha Ha Ha!


Prom is three weeks away and the big mystery of who Max would ask was finally revealed on Good Friday when he sent this picture to the family group text! Super fun!!


Easter Sunday 2017 (PC: Nicole Wilson)


(A good shot of Rudy’s new shiner!)


photo bomb!

Easter Fun:








One last goodbye before Wilson’s final stretch…3 weeks to go before summer break!!

Happy Easter Everyone!  Have a great week!


A Sunny Day In L.A.

March 30, 2017 by

So our “big” spring break outing was a trip to Universal Studios in Hollywood for the day.  We drove down to L.A. early yesterday and combined it with a late night visit to see Wilson!  Sadly, Rolf had to stay behind to go to work (and Rudy would have preferred to stay behind, I think) but Max and Olivia were looking forward to it and were perfect partners in fun for the day.


The first thing Rudy said when we got to the front gate was “We go to Wilson’s house?”. When I responded “no, not yet”, the second thing he said was “We go home now pretty please?”. Ha Ha Poor guy…he had a long day ahead of him!


Soooooo, he wasn’t a big fan of the giant velociraptors roaming the park…


…or the Transformers (this was our second attempt at a meet ‘n greet with Optimus Prime after I accidentally traumatized Rudy with an encounter with Megatron!)…


…we couldn’t even win him over with a big train in Harry Potter World!!


But he did begin to warm up during the studio tour…


…and made friends with the minions!


Especially this one! 😉


My minions.


We squeezed in a couple of rides…


… even a nap!…


,,,before ending on a good note with Max & Olivia making friends with Megatron…showing Rudy he’s not such a bad guy after all!


Uh, yeah, he’s not quite convinced!


We closed the park down and headed over to APU to drop off Olivia who is staying on campus the rest of the week for an extreme college experience with Wilson and his posse!  She was pretty excited about living in Wilson’s world for a couple of days and, by the looks of it, is fitting in already…


Olivia and her new housemates!


Hanging out in Wilson’s MOD doin’ what cool college kids do…playing XBox!


When Rudy found out Olivia was staying, he asked if he could stay too! Awww, I didn’t see that coming. Someday, big boy!

Max, Rudy and I rolled into our driveway at 1:15 am so, needless to say, today will be a quiet day at home.  In fact, the next couple of days will be particularly quiet as both Max and Rolf head out of town early tomorrow morning for the weekend.  The “BIG FUN” of spring break may be over but we still have 4 days of fun at home before Rudy heads back to school on Monday (the big sibs don’t go back until Tuesday! Woo Hoo!).  Spring break ROCKS!  😉

Zoo Fun

March 28, 2017 by

We took advantage of our day with no commitments yesterday and went to the zoo!  We haven’t been to the zoo in a long time and it was a good outing for all of us.  Rudy was definitely more aware of and interested in the animals this visit which made for a lot of laughs…


We saw funny elephants…


…pooping lions…


…and giraffe’s going pee-pee…




We also saw the very rare and elusive North American iguanicats!!…


…and finished off our visit with a train ride…


Train selfie.

Our spring break has gotten off to a good start…simple moments made extraordinary by the people with whom they are shared.



Spring Break Is Here!

March 26, 2017 by

It’s Sunday afternoon and there is a big sigh of relief over the fact that there is no school tomorrow or the day after that or the day after that…etc!  We have a week off from school, sports and therapy and we’re pretty happy about it.  Rudy got a head start on spring break as the Goleta Unified School District schools had Friday off as well.  Woo Hoo!!!  Actually, I’m not sure Rudy is all that thrilled about spring break.  He loves going to school and being with his friends!  😉  What a blessing it is to know he is in a loving and stimulating educational environment that he enjoys so much.


Ms. Ochoa and aide Daniel joining Rudy in some Move-a-thon fun!


Rudy and his typical classmates in Mr. Latta’s 2nd grade class.


A big thank you to all who sent Rudy a $1 during his Facebook $1 school fundraising campaign!  He earned  “Big Paw Sponsor” recognition!!!!

Rudy showed great determination during his school’s annual Move-a-thon last week and he has shown great support on the sidelines of many DPHS Lacrosse games the past couple of weeks…with both Max and Olivia playing lacrosse this spring, we get the fun opportunity to go to twice as many games as in years past!  Rudy has even made himself useful as assistant clock-keeper…


Keeping a close eye on the game with Dad…



Rudy has been working hard on his sight words the past couple of years and began stringing them together to read simple sentences in recent weeks.  Ms. Ochoa started introducing phonics to him recently as well to see how he would respond and he is getting it!  Here’s a little sample of his progress that his teacher sent me:  (sorry the video is a little wonky)  

What a great reminder of how much fun it is to learn!!  🙂  Well, even though Rudy may not be desperate for some time off from school, I think the break this week will do us all some good.  Happy Spring Break Everybody!!

Early Show of Spring

March 16, 2017 by

Spring has sprung early here in the Goodland!  After all the fabulous rain we got this winter, the hills surrounding Santa Barbara are green again and the spring blossoms decided it was time to make their grand entrance…the California poppy fields are bursting and the scent of orange blossom is filling our backyard…it’s simply lovely.  This along with Wilson’s visit last week for his spring break AND the start of lacrosse season are contributing to my premature SPRING FEVER (an unfortunate condition that quickly transitions into SUMMER FEVER for me and, of course, it’s much too early to be dreaming about the lazy days of summer)!!  Ha Ha  So, this week has definitely been an exercise in keeping focused on the present.

Rudy sure was in heaven having Wilson home for a week…


…there was a lot of this going on…


…as well as a lot of this!

Wilson picked a fun week to be home as we enjoyed a ton of fun celebrations that included Max’s 18th Birthday and a SBRM graduation!


Our household now includes FOUR adults!  Wait, WHAAAAAAT?


Nothing says “Turning 18” like an epic game of ultimate frisbee with friends!


Quality Friends = Quality Life


There was another amazing show of support for the 20 individuals who graduated from the SBRM residential recovery program on Saturday night!  Another vivid example of Quality Friends = Quality Life!  (PC: Dale Weber)

Senior fun for Max is starting to amp up as his class begins the last quarter of the school year.  Last week was the “Senior Lip Sync” event, this week is the “Team Grease Pole” competition and prom preparations have already begun!  It’s a blessing to watch him and his friends enjoy this special season…


The birth of a new boy band!



lip sync shinanigans

Lacrosse is here!  Max started his third season on the boys varsity team at an away game last week and Olivia started her very first season of LAX on the girls jr. varsity team with a home game against local rivals San Marcos HS.  Bestie and SMHS sophomore Cady demonstrated true friendship by coming and cheering for Olivia while she played against her SM classmates!


This rookie is grateful for the support from Kyla and Cady!


Quality Friends = Quality Life!

As for Rudy?  Well, he’s definitely earning the nickname “Rudy the rascal” this week.  Ha Ha 🙂  He sure got a ton of special attention last week and was more active than usual so this week has been a week of testing boundaries and realigning.  I think we’re all looking forward to spring break in a couple of weeks.  We don’t have any special plans but we sure are looking forward to time off from the usual routine.


Rudy’s spring parent/teacher conference was this week…it was a student-led conference where Rudy demonstrated his daily activities and learning procedures.  He’s making progress and even read his FIRST sentence this month!!!  Way to go Rudy!  Thank you Ms. Ochoa and Team!!!

Up next?  Well, Rolf has a couple of trips coming up before the end of the month and I have my very first colonoscopy to look forward to the first week of April!  Fun!  I wouldn’t mind inserting (no pun intended) a plan for some fun outings before then…possibly a drive up into the hills to show Rudy the poppies and/or a day trip to Universal Studios to see the new Harry Potter World.  We definitely need to soak up the beauty and take advantage of our early spring!  Warm hugs to all our dear family and friends who are getting blasted by snow and frigid temps!!!  Sorry for the spring tease…love to all.



backyard orange blossom…I wish you could smell it!


Quality Friends = Quality Life!  😉

Happy Birthday…to me

February 27, 2017 by

As many of you noticed, Rudy’s Beat got hacked over the weekend so our apologies for any confusion.  We won’t ever post a link unless there is a clear connection to Rudy so be aware of vague, unknown links if it happens again.  🙂

Rest assured, this post IS from me!  Today is February 27th which means another month in 2017 has flown by as well as another YEAR in the life of me!!  Hello 51!

I was blessed to kick off my birthday weekend with a trip to one of my favorite cities!  We loaded up the van and headed down to San Diego on Friday for a special wedding celebration and for a quick visit to PLNU.    I lived in San Diego for only a couple of years before I married Rolf but I sure have a trove of special memories from that time in my life and relish any opportunity we get to visit…



Max had a quick meeting with the co-chair of the music department at PLNU on Saturday so Rolf, Livy, Rudy and I enjoyed a little walk through campus while we waited…one of the prettiest campuses on our coast for sure!!


Soon to be a Sea Lion!



Love this boy!


Rudy approves.


It isn’t a visit to San Diego without a stop at El Indio!!!


We were honored to celebrate with our friends Grace and Marlin (Rudy’s godparents) at the wedding of their son Luke and his lovely bride Hollie…precious!


Rudy & Mr. and Mrs. VanNortwick


Rudy and godmom Grace!


Tearing up the dance floor with the big sibs…


Waiting to send off the bride and groom…


So long Van Clan! Thanks for all the fun!


Wilson would have joined us if he hadn’t had a special event of his own to attend…He and his friend Leah enjoyed the 2017 Military Ball on Friday night!

Aw man, I could have extended our stay a couple of days but we got home in time to watch the Oscars last night and it’s back to the regular work/school routine this week.  Wilson comes home on Friday for his spring break so we have something special to look forward to.

Speaking of something special, Rolf was recognized at the SBRM Board of Directors meeting this month for his 10 years of service!  It’s hard to believe that Rolf started directing the work of the rescue mission ten years ago in January…we knew this would be a significant experience for our family when we relocated to Santa Barbara after our 15 years in Los Angeles but, of course, we couldn’t have imagined how truly rich life would become…even amid the heartbreak and challenge.  Our whole family has been shaped by our relationship with the dear people of the Santa Barbara Rescue Mission from the staff and residents and guests to the board members and volunteers!   How very grateful we are for this community as a whole and for the opportunity to minister alongside such amazing individuals.  Yay SBRM!!


Medical Update:

Rudy had his routine echo exam with Dr. Harake on Thursday and, thankfully, there is no notable change in his heart size or valve leakage.  It remains at moderate – severe and his hemoglobin number is high but holding steady at 21.  As was discussed with Rudy’s surgeon back in December, there is no plan to act but Dr. Harake does believe the next issue we’ll need to address is Rudy’s shunt as he continues to grow.  It’s hard to visualize that all of Rudy’s oxygenated and non-oxygenated blood passes through a tube that, at it’s largest, is only 5mm wide:



How long his original shunt can sustain his growing body’s blood flow remains a mystery but we applaud it’s stellar performance so far and pray that when he does outgrow it, doors for a next step will open.  Let it flow, Rudy!


A beach outing in between our recent string of storms.


Happy Valentine’s Day 2017

February 14, 2017 by

The singing of the traditional Valentine’s Day song is getting harder and harder to produce with the kids scattered about but we managed to pull everyone together via iMovie to create this year’s “tech” version!  Happy Valentine’s Day everyone…’wishing you a whole year full of love and kindness!!!


CHECK THIS OUT!  An unearthed treasure from 2003…never before posted on Rudy’s Beat!!!!!









You are loved…by us!

Rain Out

February 11, 2017 by

Rudy has been raising money this past week in a $1.00 donation campaign for his school’s Move-a-thon that was supposed to happen yesterday.  Sadly, the Move-a-thon had to be postponed (for the second time!) due to rain.  Spirits might have been dampened a bit but not our gratitude!  A BIG thank you to the dear ones who sent Rudy a $1 (or two!).  Hopefully we’ll get to share some pics of the fun when the school field dries out and the Move-a-thon is rescheduled!


A rainy school drop off…full of smiles!


Rudy’s name was entered in a school raffle for the donations he turned in and he was one of several winners! Rolf is happy he won the Surf Country Surf Shop gift certificate. Ha Ha

We actually welcome all this rain.  After being in a drought for nearly 5 years, the many winter storm fronts that have passed through our area are desperately needed.  The hills surrounding Santa Barbara are green again and our lakes are filling up!  A good thing for sure.  May our land get it’s fill.  Happy Weekend Everybody!!

We. Like. Bananas. B-A-N-A-N-A-S!

February 9, 2017 by

It has been awhile since we updated on Rudy’s progress in oral feeds….in part because there hasn’t been much progress.  Rudy’s interest in food ebbs and flows so when he’s interested, we jump on it and when he isn’t, we let it go.  The tomato basil soup at Kyle’s Kitchen is still a big favorite and his go-to request at home is ranch dressing.  The “eating” that he does is limited to smooth textures that he can lick off a spoon or carrot stick.

Well, Rudy’s interest in food is flowing this week and while he was licking his ranch dressing at dinner last night, he requested banana.  Banana?  Rolf popped up right away and grabbed a banana and spoon from the kitchen and I got a spoonful of banana up to Rudy’s mouth before he could change his mind.  A couple of bites in and Olivia got some video footage!!!!…

This is significant because this is the first chunky texture he’s been able to swallow!!!!  Yay!  Baby steps may be small but they’re steps in the right direction…Go, Rudy, Go!