Special Olympics School Games 2016

April 22, 2016 by

Rudy and his classmates competed in this year’s Special Olympic School Games today and it was, once again, deeply moving!  Thirty-five schools from California’s Central Coast participated in track and field events at the beautiful SBCC La Playa Stadium.  It was a gorgeous day with some beautiful people.  ;)

Events like these are lessons for Rudy in “being a team player” and “embracing the moment…even if you’re not too keen on the activity”!  Ha Ha  Although he has no problem moving with purpose when he wants to, events like the Heart Walk and the Special Olympics are typically NOT those times!  It was a precious time nonetheless and just watching him casually walk around between events was enough to produce a few happy tears!!!

Pictures always tell a better story so here you go…

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Olivia skipped school for the morning and joined us in cheering for Rudy and his classmates…

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Our friend Kyle was super excited that Olivia was there too.😉

 

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A pre-parade selfie with Nurse Sara!

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Opening Ceremonies

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Parade pose!

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Rudy’s first event…the 10M assisted walk.

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He needed a little coaxing from Coach Galvan…

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…but he finished and got a big hug from his teacher Miss A.

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Good job Rudy!!!

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Walking to the award podium.

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Next up? The tennis ball throw.

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Rudy’s third event was the 25M assisted walk and although Rolf gave his very best inspirational pep talk, Rudy pulled the old limp leg maneuver and passed.

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That’s okay Rudy…you get a big hug anyway!

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When all was said and done, Rudy was all smiles and very proud of his Special Olympics swag.

Red Carpets and an Open House

April 19, 2016 by

April started off with a visit from Grandma Jo and her two-week visit included some fun highlights for sure, like…

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…a fun day with my oldest nephew and his family. Grandma Jo got a little time with her great grands!!!

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… a  day trip down to APU to see Wilson and give him a birthday hug in person…he turned 19 on April 9th!! Woo Hoo!!

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…a little fun at home too.😉  Thank you for making the trip Mama!!!

This is an exciting time of year.  With less than 8 weeks of school left in the school year, the calendar is filling up with all kinds of fun events. Rolf and I got to walk the red carpet with Olivia on Friday night at the Hollywood-themed 8th grade Soiree dance…a special tradition for GVJH 8th graders and their parents every year as the 8th graders prepare to graduate and make the big leap to high school.  It’s hard to believe our girl will be an official DP Charger in a few short weeks!!

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PC: Greg Lawler

Rolf and I headed to Los Angeles the following evening to attend Camp del Corazon‘s Annual Gala.  We walked our second red carpet in as many days and were honored to share in celebrating this amazing organization!  It was a great evening and so inspiring…as always!

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The Dolby Ballroom in Hollywood was filled with celebrities but these are the people with whom we rushed to get pictures…Team Rudy Superstars Dr. Rick and Dr. Dan!!!

Another indicator that the school year is winding down is Open House night at the elementary school!  Rudy was so proud to walk around his classroom and show off his hard work…

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Rudy and Rolf with Rudy’s teachers…Miss Avedissian (Special Ed) and Mrs. Gallo (General Ed)

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We also stopped in to see Rudy’s Special Ed teacher for next year! Yay Ms. Ochoa!!!

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…and 2nd grade General Ed teacher Mr. Latta!!!

There certainly were a lot of smiles tonight at Rudy’s Open House…great joy over all the fun & progress he experienced this year and great anticipation for the year ahead in 2nd grade.  SECOND GRADE!  Amazing!

We’ve had a bit of a heatwave this week which means the pool has been getting some good use…Rudy is usually the first to ask to go in and is growing in his confidence in the water…thanks to Rolf and his pool play:

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“Again, Dad. Again!”

Next up?  The Special Olympics on Friday!!!!!  Stay tuned….

 

 

 

 

Extreme Spring Cleaning

March 31, 2016 by

Today is the last day of March and I think we can safely say that with the end of March comes the official end to the flood/rebuild/move-in saga!!!  Yay!!!  It’s so good to have our house back and Rudy has had fun the past couple of days rediscovering “his space” and toys that were packed away for three months.  :)  We had a bit of a delay with the carpet installation a couple of weeks ago.  As a result, it didn’t get installed until last week which put us in the middle of Holy Week.  We were able to get the furniture unpacked right away but that was about it…the family’s schedule was full through Easter so the goal shifted to empty the POD this week…just in time for Gma Jo’s arrival next Monday!

The rebuild delays were frustrating toward the end but it’s certainly wonderful to have a fresh, new half a house at the start of spring (the ultimate in spring cleaning!)…just in time, too, as life ramps up  with all the end of the school year activities just around the corner.

March also included some pretty precious “life moments” for Rudy and the family…particularly surrounding Easter.  Here’s a little recap:

The beginning of March was big for Max as he turned 17 years old AND started the spring Lacrosse season at DP!  Hello Spring!!!

The final step in the rebuild process inspired Olivia’s creativity! 😉

Between the SBRM recovery program graduation and Easter, we’ve had a lot to celebrate with our friends at the Rescue Mission this month and Rudy was happy to be in the middle of it all…

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Rudy was very proud to get his own bowl of “soup” during a mid-week visit for dinner with the residents.

The SBRM hosted it’s annual Easter Feast for the homeless on the Thursday of Holy Week…Rudy started out as a greeter with me but quickly found a spot in the middle of the courtyard where great fun was to be had…and where there is never a shortage of attention to be harnessed!

A blessed time with some very special friends…

After the Rescue Mission feast, we stopped at church for a Maundy Thursday tradition that includes a symbolic foot-washing activity.  Olivia sat Rudy down and quietly explained to him how and why we were doing it.  Eager to do what we were doing, Rudy quickly joined in and helped wash all our feet!!!

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Easter included a fun visit with Wilson who came home for the weekend!! Yay!!

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This week is spring break for Max, Olivia and Rudy but Rudy is flying solo here at home with me and Rolf because Max and Olivia went to Mexico with their youth group to work on a building project and help at an orphanage.  ‘So excited for them but we miss them TONS!

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A little spring break fun for Rudy during a lunch date with Dad…

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It has been an active month for Rudy.  He ends most days with his head hitting the pillow hard in anticipation of good sleep.  Many nights he doesn’t even make it to the bed…

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Play hard.  Live hard.  Sleep hard.  That’s how Rudy rolls and we’re so thankful for the special experiences he so joyfully embraced this month.  This month also included quite a few medical appointments & consultations which serve to reinforce how truly special all the “life stuff” is!!!  Ever so grateful,

Practicing Patience

March 8, 2016 by

The rebuild after our New Year’s Day flood continues to make progress…it’s actually moving along at a decent pace (thanks to Rolf’s woodworking skills) but projects like these always take longer than is convenient and I’m starting to experience crazy cabin fever requiring me to actively practice patience…I’m more than ready to unpack the POD and get our house put back together again.

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The lack of space in our house due to the rebuild has forced Rudy to find creative play space…he found his way into the bathtub the other day and was very proud of himself when I finally found him!!!:)

I celebrated my 50th on February 27th and the bday fun lasted all weekend long.  Thanks to Rolf and the big kids, there was a nice balance of family, friends & surprises which made turning fifty pretty awesome!!  I have much to be thankful for at this stage in my life and it just doesn’t seem right to begrudge the aging process so I’m embracing the big 5-0 and praying for patience in that process as well. 😉

With that said, I’m kind of surprised by my delayed reaction to having a child a little later in life.  When Rudy was born, I wasn’t bugged by the fact that I was an older mom…in fact, once I got over the shock of being pregnant again, I welcomed the challenge.  Now, all of a sudden, I’m taken back a bit…in a season where so many of my friends are watching their kids get married and they’re becoming grandparents for the first time, it feels foreign to be 50 and still have a 7 year old.  I know it’s not that big of deal because, more & more, women are having babies in their 40s but there aren’t too many in my circle and I guess it just feels like being an older mom adds an additional spotlight to this milestone bday in particular.  :)  Not a bad thing…just a unique piece of my puzzle to process.

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My birthday weekend started off with pajama day at Rudy’s school!!! He made me chuckle on the ride to school all decked out in his candy stripes.

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My Birthday Eve included a visit to the movie theater to see “Eddie the Eagle” with some friends!!! A BIG thanks to the Lawlers who took on Rudy duty!:)

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February 27th started off with a trip to Santa Maria to watch Max play hockey followed by an impromptu party at Del Taco with hockey friends! Woo Hoo!

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We couldn’t resist a quick vista stop on our drive back down the coast…it was such a gorgeous day! Rolf and Livy took advantage of an approaching train to smash some pennies…but retrieving them took some time.:)

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The best part of the day, however, was having my babies together again! Wilson surprised me by coming home for the day with our good friends from Los Angeles!!! Ahhhh, it did my heart good to have a little family time at one of my favorite restaurants!

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Thank you friends!!

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Thank you Rolf!

We ended the weekend by attending a Global Leadership Connection Ceremony to support Max and fellow juniors selected from SB area high schools.  It was quite inspiring and I was glad to end my birthday weekend on such an encouraging, hopeful note.

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The GLC mission statement – LOVE it.

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Classic Max

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Can’t believe this boy turns 17 yrs old this week!!!!

Rudy had his annual physical last week.  It was an encouraging visit where Rudy’s general health is concerned.  Rudy’s weight gain in the last 6 months bumped him up to the 25% percentile for his age and his height remains in the 10% percentile.  Dr. Abbott was impressed by Rudy’s developmental progress (especially evident to him in his speech) and the healthy winter Rudy has had so far.  We do need to follow up with the urologist again, however, because of a pesky undescended testicle.  Although the urologist hasn’t felt it necessary to address it in past visits, Dr. Abbott wants it checked out again and corrected at some point.  We see Dr. Harake for a cardiology check up on Friday…not expecting any change there.  It’s a full week with various appointments, Max’s 17th birthday on Thursday and a SBRM graduation on Saturday.  Life is filling up again as we approach the official start to spring!!!  Woo Hoo…Welcome Spring!!!!!!

February Fun

February 20, 2016 by

We said goodbye to our Dodge Caravan last week and welcomed a new-to-us Toyota Sienna into the family…after multiple repairs and a few thousand dollars, it was clear the caravan was on it’s last leg and we were forced to face the inevitable purchase of another medical van.  We are blessed to have safe, reliable transportation again…something I don’t take for granted for sure!!

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We gave the caravan one last look at the ocean before it went to the auction block…for parts most likely!

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Farewell notes!

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“Mommy’s COOL car!”

I have been struck lately by how truly evident God’s grace is in the lives of the big sibs…they are investing their time in good things and they manage it all well.  I am in awe of them and grateful for the many ways they inspire me daily.

Maxo is busy juggling the end of his hockey season while starting up LaCrosse practice at the high school…he was asked to speak at the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) club at school this past week and was recognized for his leadership potential recently with a nomination to participate in the GLOBAL LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE…open to selected juniors from all the area high schools each year.  It’s fun to watch him grow as a young leader…

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Max speaking at FCA…(thanks for the pic Aaron Caluza)

We got a fun glimpse into Wilson’s world through pics from his first military ball this weekend.  He is thriving at APU and loves his ROTC experience so far.  He’s getting closer to fulfilling his childhood dreams…makes me proud and scared all at the same time.

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Fun with friend Kyla.

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I LOVE laughing pictures!!! ;D

Olivia’s volleyball season started today and her team grabbed second place overall in the tournament!  It’s thrilling to watch our girl play hard and enjoy herself…she is disciplined and elegant on and off the court.

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Rudy the happy spectator!…

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…except when the whistle is too loud.

And then there is Rudy who embraces is all with GREAT enthusiasm…whether it is school, church, playing with cars on his bedroom floor or watching his big sibs sporting events…Rudy’s joy in all things is contagious (and a little humbling)! 😉

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Life has it’s daily challenges but it’s moments like these that bring meaning to the tough stuff!  ‘Grateful for it all today.

Happy Valentine’s Day 2016

February 14, 2016 by

‘Wishing you all the happiest heart day EVER!!!  As is tradition, here is this year’s rendition of the Valentine classic…”Will You Be My Valentine?”! 

And a little walk down memory lane…

2008

2009

2011

2012

2014

2015

Happy Valentine’s Day dear ones!

CHD Awareness Week

February 9, 2016 by

Rudy came home early from school on Friday with a bug…a thick cough, congestion and low energy.  Thankfully he hasn’t registered a fever but the congestion kept him home from school yesterday and today as well.  Although we’ve laid low at home mostly, we did stop by Rudy’s class on Monday briefly to share a little bit about CHDs for National Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week…so grateful for the opportunity to share with Rudy’s classmates!  ;)  We’re hoping Rudy can lick this bug quick and head back to school by Thursday to share in his classroom’s Valentine exchange.

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Thinking of and celebrating Rudy, his fellow heart warriors and our heart heroes who have passed away…all of whom personify one of my favorite quotes: “In the end it won’t matter if you have a few scars, but it will matter if you didn’t live.” -Rich Mullins.

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‘Grateful for the lessons we’re learning from Rudy about what it means to really live.

Big Boy Skills

February 5, 2016 by

Rudy’s class got another “behind the scenes” look at a local hamburger joint during a field trip to In ‘n Out yesterday.  It was a fun time to hang out with friends and it also turned out to be a very helpful exercise in how to order food at a restaurant…turns out Rudy is a fast learner!

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An In ‘n Out selfie with Miss A and Nurse Sara.

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After the tour, we gave Rudy some time off the oxygen and he immediately made the rounds to visit his friends sitting at other tables…

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…Chillin’ with the big boys!

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Rudy’s turn to order…

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“Ummmm, hamburger and french fries…please.”

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Although Rudy doesn’t take bites of anything solid yet, it sure is encouraging to see him “go through the motions” and take an interest in food.

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So proud!!!

It just so happened that we stopped at Carl’s Jr later in the day for a quick dinner between activities and Rudy insisted on ordering for himself!!!  Ha Ha  He confused the workers a little bit by ordering things they don’t offer on their menu but he was very proud to show off his new big boy skill…now if we can just get him to eat all this food he is so motivated to order. 😉

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Mountain View Move-a-thon

February 2, 2016 by

Today was the annual Move-a-thon at Rudy’s school and Rudy did a GREAT job.  He conducted a FB “dollar donation” campaign and raised $100.00 (doubling his goal of raising $50) for his school!!!  More importantly, he participated in each of the four events and had a good time with his classmates. 😉

As you know, he doesn’t like all the fanfare that comes with events like these, but he was able to focus and complete the activities…he’s maturing and it shows.

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Our first stop was the running event and the goal was to walk around the track once. Nurse Sara and I were there to help steady Rudy on the uneven ground but he walked it on his own. He stopped a couple of times to catch his breath but he didn’t sit down once.😉

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The next event was an epic obstacle course…he stayed to the side so his classmates could run the course at their own pace…

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…but occasionally he’d snag a workout partner.:)

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Although you can’t tell from the pictures, this morning started out quite cold and Rudy needed a little extra oxygen and time to warm up between events…thanks to nurse Karen and an extra blanket Rudy was snug as a bug.

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The last event involved learning some karate kicks. Rudy got to try it twice and when we headed back to his wheelchair, he turned to Sara and said “I like that”!!! The karate station was definitely his favorite!😉

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Aaaaaand, the boy wonder fell asleep on the way home!!! The sign of energy well spent! GREAT JOB Rudy! The next big athletic event for Rudy will be the Special Olympics track meet later this spring…stay tuned!

January 2016 Highlights

February 1, 2016 by

So January was a bit of a wash (no pun intended) in terms of our flood project as we waited for the various bids to come in and the insurance details to be processed but the asbestos and contaminated  material removal began last week and is moving pretty quickly now!  We’re hoping to start the rebuild in the next week or so.

January was pretty full anyway so I suppose the timing of everything is as it should be.  Wilson headed back to school just in time to miss all the demolition fun…we miss him but he’s happy to back into the swing of things on campus.

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Rudy was introduced to Ping Pong in Wilson’s dorm and is HOOKED…he can’t stop talking about “paying ping pong in Wilthun’s room”.

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Rudy’s first dr. appointment of 2016 was with his cardiologist and, once again, the echo revealed no change in Rudy’s heart function.   As a result, Dr. Harake recommends we NOT schedule a heart cath any time soon and we welcome a procedure free winter for sure.  Some doctors recommend a routine annual cath for kids like Rudy whether the echo shows any change or not.  We appreciate Dr. Harake’s more conservative approach and will take full advantage of this next season in school and therapy without interruption.

Speaking of therapy, Rudy has been working on “self-care” in occupational therapy and actually goes to OT on Wednesday mornings in his pajamas so he can dress himself with his OT Jeanine…they like to sing “Do Your Ears Hang Low” and this particular morning, Rudy’s certainly were!!!

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Rudy’s OT shinanigans!

Rolf and Max enjoyed a dude trip up to San Jose over MLK Weekend for a hockey tournament…so glad for the occasional awesome pic of our hockey rock star –

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Speaking of hockey, Rudy made a surprising new friend at the hockey rink last week.  Rudy isn’t a big fan of dogs generally but Wally made for a fun walking partner during Max’s game.  They became fast friends and wore each other out…both Rudy and Wally fell asleep on their rides home from the rink that night!!!  Ha Ha

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Rudy the dog walker!

Tomorrow is Rudy’s “Move-a-thon” at his school and he had fun this past month raising $1 donations to meet his $50 goal!  His daily walks to the mailbox have been good conditioning…in addition to the dog walking 😉

Rudy and his special ed classmates got to go on a fun field trip to Kyle’s Kitchen (a favorite eatery in town that supports special needs programs)…Kyle goes to Rudy’s school and is a special big buddy.  Rudy LOVED getting a “behind the scenes look” at our favorite spot!!  Click here to see a quick video about our friend!

We enjoyed a messy dinner (complete with condiment art) on the eve of the asbestos abatement.  We’re looking forward to new carpet and fresh paint at the end of this process. :)

 

Our quarters have been a little small since the plastic barricade went up but the kids have been troopers and are making the most of it.  We’re starting February 2016 excited to have our house back in order and SUPER grateful for insurance! 😉

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