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Spring Break Is Here!

March 26, 2017

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.

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

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

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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…

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Keeping a close eye on the game with Dad…

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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

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…

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…there was a lot of this going on…

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…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!

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Our household now includes FOUR adults!  Wait, WHAAAAAAT?

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

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Quality Friends = Quality Life

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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…

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The birth of a new boy band!

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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!

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

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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.

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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.

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backyard orange blossom…I wish you could smell it!

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Quality Friends = Quality Life!  😉

Happy Birthday…to me

February 27, 2017

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…

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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!!

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Soon to be a Sea Lion!

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Love this boy!

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Rudy approves.

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

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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!

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Rudy & Mr. and Mrs. VanNortwick

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Rudy and godmom Grace!

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Tearing up the dance floor with the big sibs…

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Waiting to send off the bride and groom…

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So long Van Clan! Thanks for all the fun!

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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!!

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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:

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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!

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A beach outing in between our recent string of storms.

 

Happy Valentine’s Day 2017

February 14, 2017

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!!!

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

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2015

2014

2012

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2008

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You are loved…by us!

Rain Out

February 11, 2017

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!

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A rainy school drop off…full of smiles!

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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

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!

 

Up, Up and Away!

February 7, 2017

Rudy had another big “first” this past weekend.  He (along with Rolf and Max) had his first private plane adventure thanks to a friend of ours here in town.  I really can’t say much about it since I wasn’t there but Rolf was able to capture a bit of the take off on video. Clearly Rudy had something to say there at the end of the short clip but couldn’t quite find the words…priceless!

The Geyling men enjoyed their 30-minute aerial tour of Goleta’s beautiful coast and bird’s eye view of our cul-de-sac.  SO FUN!  A big thanks to Steve (and his dad) for contributing to those “quality of life” experiences that, quite literally, expand world views, lift spirits and fuel dreams!  Awesome!!

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Our cul-de-sac in the top right…

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Thumbs up!

While the boys were flying the friendly skies, Olivia and I had a fun girls weekend visiting friends in Temecula and Los Angeles AND we even snuck in a quick lunch with Wilson! Speaking of Wilson, he was featured on the APU Honors College Facebook page last week.  His quote encouraged me…the occasional sound bite into his life at the ZOO is always a treat.

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Speaking of college life, Max decided this week that he will be attending Point Loma Nazarene University in the fall!!!!  We are thrilled for him.  I lived in San Diego for a couple of years and LOVED it there…I’m certain Max will fall in love with it too.  Yay PLNU Sea Lions!!!

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Rudy is definitely feeling more like his old self after battling a virus for a couple of weeks…just in time for his school’s annual Move-a-thon scheduled for this Friday, CHD Awareness Week, Valentines Day, the fun 4-day President’s weekend and a trip to San Diego at the end of the month!!  Woo Hoo!  Stay tuned for some fun pics…;)  Happy February Everybody!!!

The Beginning of the “Lasts”

January 29, 2017

Well, it has begun…the reality of Max graduating and heading off to college later this summer is starting to sink in as we watch him experience significant “lasts” with each passing season.  For example, yesterday marked the end of Max’s high school hockey season…and he played in his last tournament!!  (sniff, sniff)  Rolf and I couldn’t help but get a little verklempt as we made the familiar trek up to Santa Maria knowing it would be the last.

Santa Barbara represented well as both varsity teams advanced from the semi-finals to play against each other in the championship game.  It was a fun way to end this chapter…getting to cheer for both teams in that final match-up filled with kids Max has played alongside for the past 5+ years!

We are so grateful to the administrators, coaches, players and families that make up the SB Youth Hockey Association for the positive fun, special friendships and investment in our family!

Well done Maxo!  Thanks for introducing me to an experience I wouldn’t have had otherwise and for turning me into a hockey mom!!  😉

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Getting a fist bump from the team’s #1 fan before the final game…

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…and a celebratory hug afterwards!

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Way to go SB Gold!

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The graduating seniors!

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Rookie Max

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Next generation?

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Maybe not…but this little guy is going to MISS the rink most of all, I think.

 

Not Yet

January 27, 2017

Rudy had an EEG appointment yesterday.  It has been several years since his last EEG but because Rudy hasn’t had a seizure in almost two years, Dr. Corazza recommended we retest to determine whether or not we can begin to wean Rudy off his daily doses of phenobarbital.  Rudy was a happy and cooperative ROCK STAR during the hour long test and the tech said she was able to get some “beautiful data”!  Dr. Corazza called later in the evening with the results…unfortunately the results are “not normal and continue to show a seizure tendency” so he strongly recommends that we leave Rudy on the pheno for now.  I’m a little disappointed as it would have been super fun to see some healing in this area for Rudy but I’m not surprised given the nature of Rudy’s brain injury.  So, we’ll continue to do what we’ve been doing and pray Rudy’s current dose of phenobarbital will continue to keep the seizures at bay.  He’s actually at the maximum dosage for pheno…if seizures were to surface again, we’d have to make a medication change.  Anti-seizure medications can have some pretty disturbing side effects and Rudy has done so well on pheno that we hope it can be his drug of choice as long as he needs it.

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On The Mend

January 25, 2017

We’ve had a quiet start to 2017…Wilson headed back to APU the first weekend of January and hit the ground running in his new schedule of classes.  Max and Olivia still had semester finals to prepare for when they headed back to school on the 3rd.  They were thrilled to finish finals week last Friday!!!  Olivia sailed through her first high school finals week and Max is one big step closer to graduation…the countdown is ON!  🙂

Rudy enjoyed getting back to his friends and teachers at school after the long break.  He’s back to his twice weekly physical therapy sessions but has yet to be assigned to a new OT since his last OT retired in December.  He had a routine check-up with his neurologist a couple of weeks ago.  Because Rudy has been seizure-free for almost two years (his last seizure was in Feb. 2/15), Dr. Corazza scheduled an EEG for tomorrow to determine whether or not we can begin to wean Rudy off his anti-seizure medication.  That would be exciting!!!  We’ll keep you posted…

Rudy has been battling his first bug of the season this week.  He was sent home from school early last Thursday and has been home sick ever since.  Thankfully, his fever broke on Monday and his energy is returning.  We’re hoping he’ll sleep through the night tonight (after several sleepless nights) so he can return to school tomorrow.  🙂

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Rudy happy to be back at school with his friends and teacher Ms. Ochoa!

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On the mend after a week long viral bug.

Rudy has actually had a long, healthy run the past several months so we pray this bug will run it’s course quickly and be the end of Rudy’s cold and flu season!  😉  ‘Hoping your new year is starting off healthy and happy!