Happy New Year 2015

10455938_10152693518494473_7690136903892660594_n2014 ended on a high note and 2015 is starting with a bang as we’re enjoying a visit from the KS Wilsons this week!  The only drawback to living in California is that visits with family are fewer than we’d like so we’re taking FULL advantage of our time together!  Rudy is LOVING getting non stop attention from an adoring aunt, uncle and 4 crazy cousins.  🙂  ‘Praying fun with extended family will be the trend for 2015!!!

Pismo dunes!
Pismo dunes!
Food….LOTS of food!!!
Food….LOTS of food!!!
Tallest to smallest 2004.
Tallest to smallest 2004.
Tallest to smallest 2014.
Tallest to smallest 2014.


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Rachel, Emma, Jonathan, Wilson, Michael, Max, Olivia, Rudy
Rachel, Emma, Jonathan, Wilson, Michael, Max, Olivia, Rudy
Happy New Year Everyone!
Happy New Year Everyone!


Merry Christmas 2014!


Here it is Christmas eve…the kids are all nestled snug in their beds, the tamale dinner dishes are all cleaned up and I’m enjoying sitting by the glow of the Christmas tree for a little bit while Rolf finishes up some gift wrapping!  We have so much for which to be thankful and we count ourselves blessed beyond what we could ever measure.  Our lives are richer for having YOU in it and our lives are worth living because of the little baby whose birth we celebrate this night!  Merry Christmas dear family and friends!  We wish you GREAT JOY…always!

Yesterday at the Rescue Mission homeless guest Christmas celebration.
Yesterday at the Rescue Mission homeless guest Christmas celebration.
Passing time with Olivia earlier today.  :)
Passing time with Olivia earlier today. 🙂
Opening the traditional Christmas eve gift of pajamas!
Opening the traditional Christmas eve gift of pajamas!


12-24-14 Merry Christmas from the Geylings1
12-24-14 Merry Christmas from the Geylings

Tearjerker…a good one!

I didn’t write this article but I should have…I see the content of this article lived out before my very eyes every day.

Click here for link to the original article on the  “Mommies of Miracles” website OR scroll down for our personalized reposting 😉

Dear sibling to a child with “specialties”: Let me tell you why you’re amazing….

Written by: Katie Corkern

Hey there little friend,

I heard you are the sibling to a child with “specialties” and I wanted to write you a letter explaining why you have a one up on life. I know your life might seem hard or different from your friends, but trust me you most definitely will be more prepared for this life than anyone else walking around this big ole Earth. Let me explain…

Rudy2 012

I heard that you deal with more than any child should, like having your parents spend a lot of time away from you. You know they are taking care of your sibling, possibly bringing him or her to the doctor, maybe your sibling is admitted in the hospital often, they might be on the phone taking care of insurance business, or even physically caring for your sibling constantly. I know my friend. You see these happenings more often than not. You see the love that your parents have for your special sibling and it is being embedded into your heart. You see the patience they exhibit when caring for him or her and it is being buried into your soul. You see that your parents never stop trying to get what your sibling needs and it is being ingrained into your mind. You see your parents exhaust themselves making sure that your sibling and you are well taken care of and loved and you are learning from this. You may not know it, but all of these “little” things are teaching you traits of how to be an amazing person.


I’m certain that being the sibling to a child with different needs than most is a struggle. I know you have those moments where your heart stings with jealousy, where you are worried sick over your sibling, or when you get mad because you can’t go to all the birthday parties you want to. All of those times are totally understandable. You have a right to be upset every now and then, but I can bet that you can think of some pretty cool things that you have in your household that your friends don’t. How about all the cool equipment your sibling has? Huh? I know you’ve climbed into that wheelchair or played with his super cool assistive technology toys! How about getting to see your sibling reach a milestone and that proud feeling that overcomes your body? You get to experience a friendship that is like no other. Your sibling completely and utterly trusts and loves you with a love that can penetrate the coldest heart. They look at you with those beautiful eyes and know that you are there for them no matter what. The bond you have is indescribable. You are their sibling, their friend, and their protector. Your sibling might not be able to speak verbally, but we both know that your hearts together carry on conversations that us adults could never possibly understand. And I tell you what, we are so extremely jealous.


Did you know that your parents watch you and your siblings interactions on a daily basis and their heart literally wants to burst out of their body with pride and love? They see everything you do for your brother or sister. They notice when you walk by and give them a quick kiss, stroke their hair, or give them a hello. Your mom and dad love to witness you sticking up for your special sibling, or when you go out of your way to make sure he or she is included in everything. They quietly observe you as you help with therapies, put oxygen masks back in place, hold their hand during tests or doctor visits, or wipe their innocent little face. Your parents recognize every time you perch yourself on the counter to help make medicines or bring them a diaper, a syringe, or whatever else they are calling out to you! You do such a crazy amazing job helping your parents. It surely takes a wonderful little boy or girl to do what you do on a daily basis. I’m sure they tell you thank you, but sometimes if they don’t just know THEY ARE BEYOND THANKFUL FOR YOU!

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But most important of all, my dear one, the reason you are going to ROCK this life- you know true love, you know true heart ache, and you know what is truly important. You have lived a life that takes a strong heart and a strong mind. You will mature much faster than your schoolmates (don’t be too hard on them), you’ll exhibit compassion that astounds others, you’ll know more about healthcare than 95% of adults you pass on the street, and you will most definitely have a wicked sense of humor that will enable you to keep life joyful no matter what! When you were introduced to your sibling with complex needs for the very first time, that moment in time is pinned in the stars, for it was then that your destiny was determined. You will be an awesome human being and you are going to change lives for the better….all because you were the sibling of a child with specialties. Rock on my brave friend!

All my love,

the momma of a child like you and your special sibling

Tearjerker, RIGHT!!!  Thank you Katie Corkern for so beautifully describing the reality for our not-so-typical typical kids!  I pray every day that the impact of our family’s journey on the big sibs will be a positive one and that Wilson, Max & Olivia recognize how truly special they are & how very much they have to offer the world in their lifetimes.


The Older I Get…

… the simpler my holiday preparations become… the closer I feel to family and friends as I write my Christmas cards… the more I cherish the oldest ornaments… the more fondly I remember Christmases past… the longer I hold on to a holiday hug… the more I realize Christmas is a matter of the heart… the tighter my throat gets when I sing “Silent Night”… the more I enjoy giving than receiving… the more I try to see Christmas through the eyes of a child… the longer I sit at night in the glow of the Christmas tree… the more wondrously beautiful the Christmas story is… the deeper my awe at God’s infinite love… the More I Love Christmas!

This poem has made it’s way around on the internet the past few years and I was reminded of it again recently when a friend included it in her Christmas Card.  I don’t mean to be sappy or overly sentimental but it’s SO TRUE and it becomes more true with each year that passes.  The older I get, the more I love Christmas…and all that stuff in between!!  🙂

The fact that time is marching on has been more apparent this year than ever before with the big kids busy off doing all kinds of fun stuff on their own.  We were hard pressed to find a time this past weekend when we could walk over to Stow House together to see Santa.  Livy went with us but the line to see Santa was so long, she had to leave for a soccer clinic before we made much progress!  Ha Ha  All the big kids are in a final hard push this week and looking forward to their break from school.

Rudy came down with chest congestion late last week which turned into a pretty deep cough over the weekend.  We saw Dr. Harake yesterday and he wants Rudy to see his pediatrician (we have an appointment this morning) to get on top of it before it becomes a larger problem. Rudy’s 02 saturation normally reads in the high 70s- low 80s but was in the mid-60s during our appt. with Dr. Harake so we’ve bumped up his 02 flow a bit…he’s happy and not distressed so we’re having a couple of sleepy pajama days at home while we wait for this bug to run it’s course. ‘Praying for a speedy and COMPLETE recovery!!

Waiting in line to see Santa!
Waiting in line to see Santa!



Merry Christmas from Santa and Rudy!
Merry Christmas from Santa and Rudy!


Can this smile get any bigger?
Can this smile get any bigger?

Christmas Is Coming!

With all the hustle and bustle on the streets and in the stores, with more and more lights popping up in our neighborhood, with Christmas music being freely played around the house (emphasis on “freely” since I have to secretly listen to it the rest of the year in my tyrannical household) and the kids cramming for tests and projects before their school break, Christmas must be coming!

The past ten days have also been filled with the start of mid-week Advent services at out church, the annual Santa Barbara Holiday Parade, a few Silver By Trish jewelry shows, an art lesson at Bethel House (SBRM’s women’s recovery home}, the BH Christmas tea hosted by the auxiliary, the SBRM Board Christmas celebration and a stop by our neighborhood fire station to share some holiday treats!  All such fun and highly anticipated every year but overshadowed this year by our heavy hearts for the Nelson’s.  Rolf, Wilson, Olivia, Rudy and I were blessed to attend Moriah’s memorial service in San Jose last Saturday.      (Max missed out on the family road trip due to his hockey game in Santa Maria.)  It was a quick trip there and back…a LONG day in the car for just a couple of hours in San Jose but it was very much worth it…it was a precious time of tears, celebration, hugs.  Please continue to pray for this sweet young family as they grieve and face excruciating adjustments in their day to day life.  Here is their blog – Moments With Moriah.


Rudy and Moriah's Dad Justin
Rudy and Moriah’s Dad Justin
A hug with Moriah's Mom Victoria.
A hug with Moriah’s Mom Victoria.

It seems like with every loss, the filter through which we view and experience life is revised…and that’s a good thing.  I was struck with just how many losses we’ve seen in our circle this year as I made my way through the Christmas Card list from last year.  I know that’s just the reality as you get older but there were definitely too many this year…dear Opa and friends young & old. ‘Praying for all those who are navigating their first Christmas without their loved one!!!

Greg Lawler captured a big hug at home.
Greg Lawler captured a pile up at home during one of my jewelry shows.
A visit to our neighborhood fire station to drop off some treats led to a turn in the engineer's seat!!  Woo Hoo!
A visit to our neighborhood fire station to drop off some treats led to a turn in the engineer’s seat!! Woo Hoo!
Thanks Fireman Matt!
Thanks Fireman Matt!
Christmas treats from Austria…thanks Oma and Tante Andi! ;)
Christmas treats from Austria…thanks Oma and Tante Andi! 😉
Your never too old to enjoy a Kinder Egg!
You’re never too old to enjoy a Kinder Egg!

We’re looking forward to Santa coming to nearby Stow House this weekend for our town’s annual Christmas party and to the kids’ last week of school before winter break.  They have a week filled with secret santa exchanges (Olivia), Holiday Package performances (Wilson and Max) and lots of extra fun in room KA i.e. building gingerbread houses with big buddies (Rudy)!!  ‘Wishing you all happy preparations too!  🙂

Mourning A Very Special Heart Hero

Shortly after Rudy’s diagnosis, we connected with three families whose heart babies were all born in 2008…Moriah Nelson who was born in January, Katie Manning in May, Logan Elliott in August and then there was our Rudy in October.  Each of these families grew to become an important part of this journey for our family…friendships born out of heartbreaking circumstances but were encouraging and inspiring and supportive on such deep levels.  Sadly, Katie passed away in November of 2008, Logan passed away in October 2009 and we just got word this evening that Moriah passed away today (December 1) after a two week battle with endocarditis (infection in the heart) and ultimately septic shock.  Our hearts are broken.

Moriah was a beautiful girl with an infectious smile and a powerfully determined spirit.  The miracle that was her life inspired so many and truly glorified God with every breath.  The strength and faith of her parents, Justin and Victoria, blows my mind.  They are living my nightmare…there are no words!  Please join us in praying for this precious family as they navigate through their loss and grief…May God engulf them with His healing presence and surround them with His protective love.

Sweet hearts…literally!
Sweet hearts…literally!  Rudy and Moriah in November 2013
a little Moriah love...
a little Moriah love…
Precious! Rudy and Moriah in August 2012

Love you Moriah.  Your life means a great deal to our family…always will.