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WOWzers!

June 16, 2017

So, I’m just not sure we could have squeezed anything else into the last week and a half.  The out-of-towners have come and gone (accept for Oma who is staying one more week), Max’s weeklong celebration with his classmates is over, Olivia went to an out of town Lacrosse tournament and back, Rudy had a full week of medical appointments and Wilson made it home safe and sound from Ft. Knox, KY late last night after his month in Madagascar.  In between, there were pool parties and crazy antics and food (so much food!).  Needless to say, today is clear of any commitments so I’m staying in bed as long as possible.  😉

The months of senior activities and fun anticipation for the DP Class of 2017 culminated in last Thursdays graduation celebration…it was so fun to share the day with our out of town guests and hometown friends!

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Max with Oma and Grandma Jo.

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After graduation, we hosted a house full of friends to celebrate and it was rich.  Max’s godmother, who flew in all the way from Wichita, shared some beautiful scripture and words of affirmation & blessing AND Coach Mollkoy (for whom Max TA’d this year) had a special presentation too!  Max felt well celebrated and expressed his gratitude for all the love from family and friends on more than one occasion!  Yay!  So grateful!

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After all that, Rudy still had one more day of school…

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We’re not quite sure what Rudy did to deserve being in the “red zone” but it was clear the last week of school that he was DONE and ready for a break. Ha Ha

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Making slime with Ms. Ochoa was fun though!

Our church has an annual tradition of recognizing the graduates on “Graduation Sunday”…those promoting from 6th grade to Jr. High and from 8th grade to High School, as well as the High School and College graduates.  ‘So excited for this bunch!

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Love these kids!

One of the things I love most about our church is the “team effort” that goes into the investment of our youth…this certainly was demonstrated in the comments shared with (and about) Max during the service…well done, dear friends, thank you, thank you!!

We are so grateful to our moms and KS nephews and Max’s godmother for making the effort to come all the way to California for Max!  Their presence made all the celebrating even more special for sure…well done everybody and thank you, thank you!!

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My mom (Jo) and Rolf’s mom (Helga) with a quilt that was started by Jo’s mom (my grammie) and finished by Helga. LOVE IT!!! Such a gift from both moms in my life!!!

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Rudy lovin’ him some cousin time with Michael and Jonathan.

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Rudy and Susie-Q!

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The Wichita and Overland Park Kansans bonded over late night pool parties and…

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…bugging Max at work! 😉

Medical Update:

Rudy’s one-week break between the end of the school year last Friday and the start of summer school this coming Monday is almost over.  As it turned out, it was packed with routine dr. appts Monday through Thursday.  We still have neurology, cardiology and a trip to the dental clinic at UCLA coming up in a couple of weeks but we were able to check gastroenterology, orthopedics and the bi-annual visit to the heart clinic off our list this week.  The news from GI is that Rudy is losing weight and needs to bulk up a bit so an increase to his daily volume of Pediasure has been ordered.  Our appointment at UCLA’s heart clinic yesterday was exceptionally long (with a nearly hour long echo) but there isn’t any major change in Rudy’s heart function since December…a good thing!  The most surprising news this week came from the orthopedist who determined that Rudy no longer needs his braces!!!!  I didn’t see that coming AT ALL and it took me a few seconds to process what he meant.  Ha Ha  Dr. Early recommended we stop using the braces and track Rudy’s falls (an increase in falls may mean a return to the braces) but he suspects Rudy will grow in leg strength pretty quickly now that the calf muscle will be free to move and get exercised.  As a result, our day in LA yesterday included a trip to Famous Footwear for a pair of new shoes AND new sandals!!!!  Rudy is so proud!

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Speaking of LA, when we finished at UCLA, we stopped for lunch in Westwood and ran into the echo technicians who conducted Rudy’s echo…guess who elbowed his way into their lunch break?

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So, as always, there is much to celebrate and much to ponder.  In the meantime, we’ll continue to focus on quality time with family and friends and remember to breathe once in a while!

 

Incoming!

June 6, 2017

It’s finally here!  The last week of school for Olivia and Rudy, a full schedule of fun senior activities and graduation for Max and a house full of family and friends to help us celebrate.  Our only regret is that Wilson won’t be here to share in the fun but two of my nephews are coming in from Kansas to fill the “big brother” shoes in his absence and Max is excited they are on their way.

We get quick texts from Wilson from time to time and from all accounts, it sounds like he is LOVING his experience in Madagascar.  We haven’t heard a ton of specifics from him yet (looking forward to hearing all his stories when he returns) but he did tease us with this photo of a new friend…

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Rolf, Rudy and I have been blessed to attend various awards presentations these last couple of weeks for both Max and Olivia.  As nice as it is to see your child be acknowledged for academic success or talent or skill, what fills our hearts most is, hands down, recognition of character.  And as much as I want my kids to be equipped for professional success, I hope the foundation of their primary education has been (and ultimate take away will be) that character counts in EVERY way…both in public and private.

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Olivia receiving the “Emerging Professionals Award” from Santa Barbara’s Partners in Education organization.

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DP Senior Awards

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We were super blessed to host our church’s annual baptism service on Sunday…best use of our pool EVER…

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…that and a great place to recline on a Sunday afternoon!

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Now all eyes are on Maxo!  Yesterday was his last day of school!!!  We couldn’t help but dig up this little treasure from 2004 to commemorate this special right of passage…I love me some Kindergarten Max.

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Last day of 12th grade!

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I’m so grateful these two had a shared year together at DP. They’ve grown closer this year but also established their own, individual identities on campus…a good balance, for sure. 😉

Ok, I’m off to the airport to pick up Gma Jo!  Oma and the nephews arrive tomorrow!  Max’s godmother comes in on Thursday!  Woo Hoo…Let’s get this party started!!

Memorial Day Weekend

May 29, 2017

The house was unusually quiet this weekend.  Max and Olivia left on Friday morning for their annual trek to Elev8 (youth conference) in San Diego with our church’s youth group.  Rudy has asked about them several times a day and will be excited to have them home later today.

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Rolf took advantage of the near-empty house to begin the bathroom remodel.  With guests arriving soon for Max’s graduation, this project will need to be done in stages to insure we’ll have a functional  bathroom when the house is full but he got a big chunk of the work done.  Yay!

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Rudy helping Rolf in the demolition phase of the project!

Rudy and I didn’t have time to lounge by the pool for very long this weekend as there was lots to celebrate in the lives of our friends…

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Rudy’s 2nd grade general ed teacher, Mr. Latta, is also a musician so Rolf, Rudy and I enjoyed a rare Friday night out at a nearby microbrewery to listen to a little Johnny Cash!

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Rudy definitely found his happy place when he elbowed his way in on a group of familiar faces from school. 😉

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On Saturday, Rudy and I went to the grand opening of the newest Kyle’s Kitchen location in downtown Santa Barbara! We are so excited for our friends the Ferros and the success of their special restaurant concept…expansion is happening quickly as there are plans for a THIRD location to open later next year on the other side of Goleta!! Woo Hoo! Yay Kyle’s Kitchen!

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Rudy got to help Kyle’s mom and sister pass out fresh baked cookies to the customers enjoying their lunch.

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Rudy and part of the Ferro family! Congratulations dear friends…may your hard, hard work and heart for the special needs community be rewarded abundantly!

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We left the Kyle’s grand opening early to make it in time to see a little friend’s dedication at Goleta Beach! It’s always fun to see good friends.

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And, of course, a good bit of yesterday was spent watching the Indianapolis 500…one of Rudy’s favorite traditions.

I’m so grateful for this long weekend filled with things we love to do and people with whom we love to do life…I am blessed to live in my comfortable home, in a beautiful town that is part of a larger, wonderfully diverse, complex country that I love dearly.  I am grateful we set aside a day every year to remember those who gave their lives in service to our country and it’s citizens but after experiencing all that we got to experience this weekend, I’m feeling strongly that the impact of the collective sacrifice should be felt EVERY day…everyday we exercise the freedom to remodel a bathroom, start a new business, worship God on a public beach, go to school, make friends, travel, write blogs, have a family, enjoy life, etc, etc, etc…you get the idea.   So, to my fellow Americans who gave their lives while in active military duty, thank you for your part in firmly establishing our safety, freedom, and democracy!  We won’t stop being grateful.

Field Trips and More

May 21, 2017

This past week was a week full of field trips for Rudy so we were glad his day at home to rest up seemed to help him recuperate from the episode he had last weekend.  His school nurse called me on Monday to come pick him up early from school because he was ill, he stayed home from school on Tuesday and hit the ground running Wednesday on a field with his typical 2nd grade classmates to the Sea Center on Stearns Wharf.

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Mesmerized by the jelly fish.

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Petting the leopard shark with nurse Evelyn.

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Rudy in the shark tank!

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Checking out the sea stars…

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…and other tide pool creatures.

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I try not to dwell on comparisons too much but it is always a bit shocking to me to see how much smaller Rudy is when next to kids his age!

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Rudy getting some Mr. Latta love and a high-five from a classmate!

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Sandwiched in between two fun field trips was Rolf’s 50th Birthday!!!! Woo Hoo…He’s like a legit adult now.

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Friday included a trip to our local bowling alley with Rudy’s special needs class!

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Having fun with friends!

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Rudy cheering for a classmate while waiting for his turn.

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Helping teacher Tracy keep score.

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Getting a little help from mom.

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And this is how his week ended…falling asleep in the 7 minutes it takes to drive home from school.

We’re down to the last 13 days of school…why does it feel like EVERYBODY else is done with the school year but us?  Summer can’t come soon enough!!!

One 1/2 Way Around the World, One Close to Home.

May 16, 2017

Our week with Wilson whizzed by much too fast and now he is off on his ROTC adventure to Madagascar.  He flew to Ft. Knox early this morning and will head to Madagascar from there.  I admit I’m a bit jealous.  I turned down an opportunity to teach English on the Comoro Islands just a hop, skip and a jump away from Madagascar when I graduated from college…never did make it to that part of the world and now my son is headed there…a full circle kinda event, I guess.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Rudy came down with a little bug over the weekend so we’ve stayed close to home the last few days.  He’s home from school today to rest up and, hopefully, kick it once and for all.  We’re down to the last three weeks of school and we all hope to finish the school year healthy and strong!

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Rudy had an episode on Saturday morning that spooked us a bit. He woke up agitated, body shaking and his breathing was labored. His O2 sats were so low, we couldn’t getting a reading on the pulse oximeter. We ended up calling our nurse neighbor over to help us assess the situation. Some Tylenol and a dramatic bump in his oxygen level helped get him calm and stable. Everyone ended up in our room at one point just chatting and I couldn’t help taking a picture!!

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Rudy perked up enough on Sunday to serenade our neighbor who was celebrating his 98th birthday!!!

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The 8 year old celebrating the 98 year old!! Happy Birthday Norman!!

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Bye, bye Wilson! Safe travels! Take lots of pictures!!

Speaking of taking pictures, I took some of Max at the beach last week for graduation…Wilson and Rudy joined us.  🙂

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The countdown to graduation is ON!  🙂

 

Prom Week 2017

May 8, 2017

Last week was unusually busy with all kinds of prom prep as I was on the After Prom Party committee…a party hosted by the parents after the dance at our local bowling alley from midnight to 4am.  From the looks of it, the kids (72% of the senior class and their friends!!!! woo hoo!) had a great time and the parents survived pulling an all-nighter!  Ha Ha

And, of course, there was lots to fill our week that didn’t relate to prom…making the week go that much faster!!!

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We enjoyed some summer-like weather last weekend making it virtually impossible to NOT head to the beach for a quick getaway.

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We also officially opened the pool…this is what the first swim of the season hangover looks like!

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Olivia’s last Lacrosse game of the season was on Thursday…

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…with lots of brother-love!

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Rudy’s school carnival on Friday was loud and crowded but he finally warmed up to the fun!

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Saturday was reserved for corsage making and prom dinner set up!

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Aaaaaaannnd, they’re off!

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Dos Pueblos LAXers!!!

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Rudy and the Rat Pack

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Pre-prom shenanigans!…

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…as well as dinner…(Super fun!!!)

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After Prom was a family effort, for sure, with Livy at home on Rudy Duty and the rest of us volunteering at the event…best photo booth EVER!

Oh yeah, Wilson made it home too!  He got home late Friday just in time to jump into all the weekend activity.  He’s going to lay low this week (and by “lay low” I mean “play Mario Kart with Rudy”) and get ready for his departure for Madagascar next Monday…Wow,  kinda wish I could stow-a-way!

A Hard Day to Categorize

April 29, 2017

Lest you think life in the Geyling household is always a neatly arranged blog post, let me share a little story about yesterday…

It started out with Rudy’s routine cardiology appointment that included an EKG, Echo and a long discussion about Rudy’s physiology that left me feeling raw and sad (more details on that later), we left the appointment and raced over to SB City College to meet up with his special needs classmates for the spring Special Olympics school games. Rudy didn’t want to go and politely but persistently asked me to take him home the entire way.  He missed his first two events so we immediately raced over to his third event all the while he’s saying “I don’t want to” (his new phrase!).  I had to leave him to go sell tickets at the high school for a prom event and Rudy asked me repeatedly to take him with me! About broke my heart!  While at the event, I saw an acquaintance of mine.  She’s a local resident, celebrity, my age (actually 3 years older), couldn’t be sweeter but she has this unfortunate habit of looking amazing every time I see her ;).  As I ran back to my car, I caught a glimpse of my reflection in a window looking haggard and old and I burst into tears!  I cried all the way to the high school.

Now, I’m not normally insecure about the way I look, and I don’t think my meltdown had anything to do with running into my gorgeous acquaintance but I do believe it had everything to do with contrasts.  Although yesterday could be categorized as a pretty benign day to most, for me, it contrasted with the comfortable and manageable life we’ve created for ourselves and reminded me how hard life can be for Rudy…right down to the cobblestone!  Have I mentioned before how much I HATE cobblestone.  I used to love it for it’s quaint look and historic charm until I started to push a wheelchair over it. Yesterday included cobblestone.  And although I understand the value of challenging Rudy and encouraging him to do things he doesn’t want to do, after a while, the positive spin on everything gets tiresome.

When we finally got home after our full day, I raced ahead of Rudy in the garage because I had to go to the bathroom badly.  I pushed the garage door button as I stepped into the house leaving Rudy in the garage to make his way into the house at his own speed.  It wasn’t until I came out of the bathroom that I realized the garage door hadn’t closed after all and Rudy was gone…having made a beeline for our neighbors house across the street.  By the time Olivia and I realized where he was and ran over there, he was purple from head to toe and unable to catch his breath!  Disturbing on many levels.  The concern over his habit of fleeing when he sees the light of day aside, I wish my boy could walk across the street without it taking such a toll on him physically.  So, I ended the day exhausted and raw…and Rudy ended the day corralled in his room for an “extended play time”!

Of course, I’m feeling better after a night’s sleep but there are still residual bags under my eyes…I think we’re gonna stay close to home today and stay clear of any cobblestone.

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This is the expression Rudy had during most of the Special Olympics School Games…

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…but he managed to smile big for his teacher…

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…and coach Galvan!

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Even though this event isn’t Rudy’s favorite, it’s still awfully special to see the community of athletes, families, organizers and volunteers come together to encourage and enrich the lives of others! Thank you Special Olympics!!!

There was another major milestone this week…Senior Night at the last boys varsity lacrosse home game.

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Captain Max and his fellow senior teammates being recognized before the game.

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We’ve loved watching this boy play youth sports for the past 13 years…Max’s love for play in general took him to the field, the court and the rink to play soccer, basketball, football, hockey and lacrosse. He has played a sport every season since he was 5 years old and it’s hard to believe that chapter is ending. He has learned a lot about life in the process and I suspect the fun and games will continue for Maxo as an adult! 🙂

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Thanks to our friend Denise, we got a series of fun pics capturing Max in action with a dodge to the goal!!!  Oh yeah!   (photo credit: Denise Tisdale)

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So glad our lacrosse days aren’t completely behind us as it looks like we may have 3 years of girls lacrosse ahead of us!!! Yay!!!!

Medical update:

At the start of every cardiology appointment, Dr. Harake asks me if there is anything new to report.  There usually isn’t anything worth mentioning but in the past couple of weeks, I’ve heard from Rudy’s school nurse and his physical therapist that they’ve noticed a decrease in Rudy’s stamina.  I’ve noticed it at home too so I mentioned it to Dr. Harake.  He conducted an EKG in his office and determined there isn’t any blockage…he also did an old-fashioned stress test on Rudy and had him “run” around his office as fast as he could move (actually pretty cute to watch) in addition to the routine echo he gets every appointment.  We ended up talking a good bit about Rudy’s physiology and how Rudy’s body is growing but his disproportionate blood flow will remain the same.  A gradual decrease in stamina will occur as a result.  This is just another one of the many physical signs of the process he is in…when I asked Dr. Harake how concerned we should be, he assured me there wasn’t a significant difference in Rudy’s ventricle size or valve leakage from the last echo.  Until Rudy’s demeanor changes and his quality of life is diminished, we stay put!  It’ll get worse before it gets better.  I know it to be true…we’ve seen it in the many heart kids that are a few steps ahead of Rudy in the journey…it’s what we are constantly told is the course but what a terribly helpless place to be.  We can’t turn around and go back, we can’t somehow go around it, our only choice is to move forward through it…arrrrrgh, cobblestone!!!  At the end of our discussion, he did mention that we’ll need to talk about a another heart cath at some point but I didn’t get the feeling that was urgent.  I suspect we can plan on a procedure free summer.

Speaking of summer,  Wilson’s starts THIS Friday!! Rudy is obsessively asking “when is Wilson coming home?  Wilson comes home today?”…so much so, that it’s driving me a little loco!  I decided to try the old calendar technique!  Starting tomorrow, every time he asks about Wilson coming home, he will be directed to this:

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Ha Ha!  ‘Hope it works!  The countdown to summer is officially ON!

 

Teacher Appreciation Dinner

April 17, 2017

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!

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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

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…

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Palm Sunday fun at church last week!

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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!! 🙂

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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)

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

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

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Max had a LAX game this week too!

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Ha Ha Ha!

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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!!

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Easter Sunday 2017 (PC: Nicole Wilson)

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(A good shot of Rudy’s new shiner!)

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photo bomb!

Easter Fun:

 

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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

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.

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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!

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

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…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!)…

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

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

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…and made friends with the minions!

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Especially this one! 😉

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My minions.

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We squeezed in a couple of rides…

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… even a nap!…

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

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Uh, yeah, he’s not quite convinced!

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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…

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Olivia and her new housemates!

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

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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!  😉