The kids have had a fun break from school so far this week and the first half of the week was made even more fun by a visit from cousin Heather. She’s a freshman at Stanford this year and came down to catch up on some sleep, homework and to hang with us. 😉 Our families have lived on opposite sides of the world and then the states the kids’ lifetime so it’s really fun to have Heather in California for the next few years. Yay! Go Cardinal, right Heather?
We’re looking forward to a lazy day at home today and Thanksgiving dinner with friends later this afternoon. We wish you all, our dear family and friends, a truly happy Thanksgiving celebration. You’re on the top of our “Things We’re Thankful For” list for sure! God bless you today and throughout the fun holiday season ahead 🙂
Love and smiles from the Geylings (thanks to Greg Lawler!)…
Speaking of Greg Lawler…he came to DP’s Homecoming game back in October and took pictures during halftime. He sent us his pics this week and they’re so fun, we just had to share a couple of ’em…
Our boy who has a smile that takes up half his face had another positive check up with the UCLA dental clinic yesterday…no sign of decay, the calculus (hardened plaque) that has built up is still on the surface of his teeth providing a protective barrier and NOT along his gums which would be bad AND he got a new Lightening McQueen toothbrush!!! Woo Hoo I’m so grateful for his good oral health as this will be crucial should he become a heart transplant candidate down the line. Next month (Dec. 18th, I think) we head back down to UCLA for a check-in at the heart clinic (routine 6 month appt). Busy season!
Longtime Rudy’s Beat readers will remember heart hero Katie Manning…she was born with HLHS just 5 months before Rudy and her blog was one of the first Rolf discovered while searching the internet after Rudy’s diagnosis. Her parents became a source of great encouragement and friendship as we engaged in epic battles alongside our babies on opposite sides of the country. Katie lost her battle with HLHS 6 years ago today…November 9, 2008. It was a loss we felt deeply and her tragically short life impacts me still!!! I think of her often.
In the years since Katie’s death, her parents Vickie and Alan had 2 beautiful boys and started a non-profit in Katie’s memory called “Kisses from Katie” – a wonderful organization that seeks to provide a wide range of resources to critically ill children, their families and caregivers. Every year in November Kisses from Katie hosts an annual fundraiser called “A Night To Remember” and the Mannings invited us to share our family’s story this year. Since getting our family to CT is not possible, we opted to send a video instead. Granted, our attempt to produce a video presentation is pretty amateur but we’re hoping it communicates our family’s heart and gives the KfK donors a glimpse into a family’s life with a critically ill child.
Just two months after Katie’s death, Vickie and Alan visited Los Angeles and took time to visit us and Rudy in the hospital at UCLA – such a brave thing to do in the wake of their profound loss and grief. Although it was our first face-to-face meeting, there was an instant bond among us that made it feel like we were long lost friends. One of the many gifts of this journey. 🙂 We send our love to you Manning Family! We’re thinking of you today, remembering your precious Katie and praying for a successful Night To Remember on the 15th!
Yesterday was Rolf’s and my 22nd wedding anniversary…it was a typical day in the Geyling household (a.k.a. too busy to celebrate) so we have an anniversary date yet to enjoy but yesterday was made extra special by the Special Olympics!! Rudy and his classmates got to participate in the annual Special Olympics field day in our town. Seventeen schools from the Carpenteria, Santa Barbara and Goleta school districts with kids from K-12th grade came together for a morning of fun and games! 🙂
With Nurse Sara and I on either side for support, Rudy enthusiastically got out of his chair and was ready to run UNTIL the actual soccer event that his class was assigned to began. With the first blow of the referee’s whistle, Rudy shifted his weight, leaned back into his rear and wouldn’t bear any weight when Sara and I tried to right him. He did, however, make an impressive show of coordinated mobility when attempting to leave the field (!)…once again doing life on his terms. Granted, it was another UNSEASONABLY HOT day and it was crowded and a little chaotic but Rudy had fun nonetheless and it was a special day for all. At one point, Sara and I were sitting with Rudy on the sidelines and I watched as all these amazing kids played soccer with parents and their dedicated teachers & aides playing alongside them (directing their every step in some cases) and I was overwhelmed, once again, by the truly special community the special needs crowd is. Rich, rich, rich stuff! LOVE the Special Olympics, love these kids…love our funny boy!