Archive for the ‘Pictures’ Category

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.


Mesmerized by the jelly fish.


Petting the leopard shark with nurse Evelyn.


Rudy in the shark tank!


Checking out the sea stars…


…and other tide pool creatures.



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!


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


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


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


Having fun with friends!


Rudy cheering for a classmate while waiting for his turn.


Helping teacher Tracy keep score.


Getting a little help from mom.


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!


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!!


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


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


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.  🙂



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!!!


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


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


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


…with lots of brother-love!


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


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


Aaaaaaannnd, they’re off!


Dos Pueblos LAXers!!!


Rudy and the Rat Pack




Pre-prom shenanigans!…




…as well as dinner…(Super fun!!!)


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.


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


…but he managed to smile big for his teacher…


…and coach Galvan!


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.


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


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! 🙂


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)







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:


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!







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…


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

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

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

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

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!  😉