Friday, July 2, 2010

Looking for Krejcha Family Blog Postings?

Hello!
It occurred to me that those visitors who have had the occasion to surf into Karen's Cornucopia of Creativity haven't seen many updates here lately.

I am currently doing most of my blogging at two places:

Business: Count Your Beans Dolls & Bears - http://www.cybdeals.blogspot.com

Personal: Aspierations - Come As You Are, Let Your Light Shine - http://www.aspierations.blogspot.com

I've had a few dozen blog postings at Aspierations over the past few month and invite you to check it out!

I will probably start an "anonymous" blog soon as there is a lot I want to personally share about some serious issues that I am going through and have gone through but I respect the privacy of my family too much to let this information slip out under our family name.  If you visit Aspierations, you'll see that I already disclose a lot but you'd be surprised at a lot that I don't disclose.  Call it the mask of protection....

Obviously I can't provide a link...  although I suppose those of you savvy enough might figure it out eventually anyway.

I may still post here from time to time but for now, if you're looking for updated information from me or our family, the above links are the most prolific writings.

If you're interested in Krejcha family day-to-day activities, my husband John regularly blogs at Life and Times of John Krejcha - http://www.johnkrejcha.blogspot.com

We talk a lot about daily happenings, advocacy for those who the Autism Spectrum and for those with Asperger's Syndrome and share gems about life swimming along the spectrum!

Please check us out and let us know what you think!
Thanks for stopping by!

Have an awesome summer!
Karen

Saturday, April 10, 2010

My First Date with John - 19 Years Ago Today!


Today, April 10th is the 19 year anniversary of the day that John and I went out on our first date.  As a gal who has always had an affinity for calendar dates and numbers and just happens to also be a romantic, John is reminded of this date every year. 

John is also reminded of the day we first met (an easy one since it was April 9th, the day before), the date he proposed to me (May 19th) and of course, our wedding anniversary.  I've even got him trained to remember my birthday!  (Just kidding, of course.  John, it's November 25th.  Mark it down!)

The story of how we met is chronicled in John's blog tonight.  Feel free to check it out to get his version!  I was starting my blog tonight planning to do a full rendition here but he beat me to it and so I'm going to change my own direction just a bit in keeping with the theme of Autism Awareness Month and talk about my own social awkardness, social cues and dating back in the day!

John and I met on April 9th, 1991 at an apartment complex called Fair Oaks West in Sunnyvale, California.  I had recently moved there and being a nice spring evening, I took a short walk and decided to check out the facilities.  My best friend Angie who initially enticed me into moving to the complex talked a lot about there being lots of activities there (swimming, tennis, movies, pool, volleyball, game nights) and plenty of cute single guys.  I had recently come out of a relationship and was interested in meeting someone but I had never been good at reading guys' signals.  This was also my first time in my own apartment since college days.

On this particular evening, I took a walk through the clubhouse and went out by the pool.  I was fully dressed, having recently gotten home from work where I worked in Inside Sales. Funny for an Aspie? Oh yes, I know!  Amazingly, I've always been good at sales, way back to my Girl Scout Cookie selling days and March of Dimes Walkathon pledge taking.  Analyzing it now, I guess sales was a lot like acting or role-playing.  Success often entailed me smiling, being a good listener, asking the customers questions about themselves and their needs and giving them great service.

When it came to beginning dating and my subsequent dating life, I suppose my social script wasn't too much different.  Smile, be a good listener, ask my date questions, compliment him and hope he wasn't a creep who just wanted "great service".   (Sigh... oh the stories I could share....)

Something was different about April 9th.  It was a Tuesday and I had bowling league later in the evening.  In all actuality, I really didn't need to be heading down to the pool but something drew me there.  Serendipity?  Destiny?  As John will attest in his own blog, he wasn't initially planning to be down by the pool that night either.  Perhaps it was fate....

As I went out by the swimming pool, I happened to glance over at the hot tub and that is where I first saw John.  Wow... what a hottie!  I smiled and he smiled back.  (He jokes that he had to look behind him to see if I was smiling at him but he was the only one in the tub worth looking at!)  Of course at this point, my heart was pounding, I was nervous as could be and so with an orchestrated move of charm and grace, I reached down to test the temperature of the pool water while I could try to think of what to do next.   I wasn't quite prepared or experienced in approaching cute, half-naked men in a hot tub.  What to do???

Being that I was clothed, I didn't really have a good legitimate reason to go over there but yet I was drawn to this cute guy.  (Totally not my style to take the initiative like that....)   I surmised very quickly that there was a gate behind the hot tub that led out into another part of the complex and that if I casually walked by the hot tub and the cute man without a shirt on ignored me, I could make an innocent exit through the gate like that was my intended plan all along.  (So smooth, I know... I laugh inside as I type this.)

So plan in mind, I walk over to the hot tub, smile and amazingly, this guy says "hi"!  At this point I must mention that it felt VERY socially awkward standing fully dressed next to a hot tub full of guys only in their bathing suits, especially a very cute one that happened to want to talk with me.  We conversed for a bit and I learned he had just come over from Japan.  In my line of work, I worked with a lot of Japanese customers so I said a few things to him in Japanese.  He was so funny as I know he didn't expect that.  Then he said something about having also been to Russia and I said a few things in Russian in response.  At that point, he sort of dropped talk about international travels.  It was so sweet and cute because I know he was trying to impress me. 

After a few more moments of chatting (him still in the tub, mind you...), he asked if I'd like to go out on a date sometime.  I immediately responded, "yes".  He said, "Great! When?" I blurted out (with all the social grace and etiquette of a hippo in the ballet), "how about tomorrow?" 

In retrospect, I realize this eagerness would either have scared off most guys or given the impression that I was extremely easy.  Fortunately, John didn't seem to pick up on my social faux pas and agreed that Wednesday would be fine.

At this point, it occurred to me that I didn't have my purse, a pen or paper and of course HE didn't have one because he was in swim trunks, so I suggested that I go up to my apartment, get my business card, write my home number on the back and bring it back down to him so we could coordinate our date.   As I left through the very gate that was to be my saving grace if I had made a fool of myself, it occurred to me what if I came back and he wasn't there?  Ironically, John was also thinking at this time, what if I left and didn't come back?

Fortunately, it was a happy ending because the card was transferred, a date was made and we went out on Wednesday, April 10th, 1991 to a wonderful Italian dinner at Pezzella's in Sunnyvale, CA complete with chilled red wine (John's blog tonight has the story on that!!!!) followed up by a fun night of dancing at The Oasis nightclub in San Jose. We danced atop a swimming pool, a first for John and rather fitting considering we had met near a pool the night before.

He proposed to me a little over a month later and we married in July 1992.  Justin was born in 1999 and Ryan was born in 2006.  This year we'll celebrate 18 years of marriage.  What a ride it has been!

I wonder today if I had known I was on the autism spectrum if I would have dared to take the chance to walk by that cute guy at the hot tub.  I would like to think yes!  God brought us together for a reason and we were meant to be together and were meant to be the parents of the amazing boys we have been blessed with.

Happy 19th Anniversary of our first date, John!  I Love You!

~~ Karen

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Light It Up Blue For Autism Awareness - April is a Month of Aspierations

Hello Cornucopia of Creativity visitors!

Today, April 1st marks the beginning of Autism Awareness month.  Those of you who know me personally know by now that being an advocate for Autism and Asperger's Awareness is a cause extremely near and dear to my heart.



Our oldest son, Justin (10) was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome in mid 2008 just a short while after his younger brother, Ryan (now 3, almost 4) was diagnosed with Autism.  In 2009, I came to the realization and acceptance that I also have Asperger's Syndrome.  My neuro-typical (but not without quirks) husband John at http://www.johnkrejcha.blogspot.com/ (check his blog out too) certainly didn't know what he was getting into when he married me all those years ago!

Autism impacts our family every day.  It does not define who we are but it certainly effects us.  Whether it be sensitivity to light, food, noise, tastes or textures or whether it be a social, physical safety or emotional issue, not a day goes by when we don't deal with the obstacles in our lives to try and create a better quality of living for our family.

Earlier this year, I launched a blog which I felt called by God to start.  It is called Aspierations -- Come As You Are, Let Your Light Shine.  I have posted on my blog over a dozen times in the past few months but not as much as I would have liked.  That is now all about to change and I invite you to visit my blog and share it with friends, family, anyone you know touched by Autism.

For Autism Awareness Month, I pledge for there to be a new post on my Aspierations blog every day in April 2010.  I hope afterwards that I can work on launching a supplemental website dedicating to helping empower those on the Autism Spectrum and those who love them. 

Although I get anxious sometimes posting, especially when I realize it may be read by family, friends, customers and colleagues, I realize first and foremost that Autism is not something to be ashamed or embarrassed about.  It is a part of our lives and we were blessed this way.  I want to show the people of the world that it is truly okay to have high hopes, aspirations and Aspierations and that no matter what kind of day you're having, no matter where you are at this point in your life, you are accepted.

When you visit the Aspierations blog, just Come As You Are and Let Your Light Shine!

Speaking of LIGHT, Friday, April 2nd is World Autism Awareness Day.  Our family is going to be wearing BLUE on Friday to show our support.  We invite you to make this Good Friday a GREAT Friday by wearing your blue and showing your love and support for those on the autism spectrum and the families and community that love them!




HAPPY AUTISM AWARENESS MONTH!!


Thank you to those who accept me for who I am even though I am quirky!  It is part of what makes me human!

God Bless,
Karen

Friday, March 19, 2010

From Head To Toe --- And with a Bare Bottom to boot!

Happy Friday, everyone!

Today was a beautiful day here in Vancouver, Washington!  Not too much frost this morning...  Our tulips are starting to blossom.  Yes, it's almost Spring!

Sweet little Ryan has Fridays off from preschool.  He attends Monday - Thursday mornings and then gets a 3 day weekend.  I have to say, I envy his schedule!  Today was special because once a month on Friday, his school has a read-in where parents bring their kiddos for storytime and each child gets a copy of the book that is read.  Today's book was "From Head To Toe" by Eric Carle.

John and I both went to the read-in with Ryan.  The beauty of having one's own business from home is that we have flexibility in our schedule.  We may work more hours than most but when there is a special event like a read-in with Ryan or a field trip with Justin, we can take time off and cherish it with our children.

Ryan has come a long way since the beginning of the school year.  We still have a lot of scary autism moments, don't get me wrong.  Currently the main concern around the house is Ryan's pica.  When I initially heard that word, I thought of my Mom's old typewriter.  Different meaning of course.

Pica also is a term for an eating disorder that occurs when a child / person craves and/or eats non-food objects.  As you can imagine, this has real danger potential so we're constantly watching to see what he puts in his mouth.  We have Chewlery for him (chewable jewelry) and keep him supplied with ice chips but that just isn't enough.  His teacher says that it correlates with a nutritional deficiency and it is often seen in kids with autism.  We try to give him multi-vitamins but his little body may not be absorbing it all. 

Ugh, didn't mean to go off on a tangent there.  What I was originally intending to write is that we had a really good read-in session at the school.  Almost all the children there have special needs and about 12 kids showed up.  I was AMAZED at how well they sit still for the story, especially Ryan who if you know him, know he is almost constantly in motion.  Now granted, the story was only about 5 - 10 minutes but for 3 - 4 year olds on the spectrum, being able to sit in a circle in a classroom setting is a very good thing!

Afterwards they got to play outside, blow bubbles, plant pumpkin seeds and play on the outdoor equipment.  It was fascinating to watch the kids with each other and since John and I don't normally get to see Ryan playing during the day with peers, we were so grateful for the opportunity.

Afterwards, we came home.  I did the daily receipts and while John did the packing, I took Ryan for a walk to a nearby park where he met a new friend.  The experience was largely positive and I had an interesting conversation with the boy's Dad.  The outing would have gotten a 9 out of 10, however there was one "streaking" moment when Ryan had to go to the bathroom and decided to drop his pants on the playground.  

Other boy exclaims in a voice that will one day be perfect for the Broadway stage, "WHY DOES HE HAVE HIS PANTS DOWN???"  

Well that's a reasonable question.  I (and half of the city of Vancouver if they were in hearing distance) of course, quickly turn around and see my 3 year old son, waddling toward the grass with sweatpants and undies around his legs and bare bottom to the world, giggling. 

"GO PEE PEE, Mommy!" (He's recently potty-trained and when you gotta go, you gotta go!)

Me....(in mock horror) "Ryan!  Put your pants on!  Not a good choice!"  (Insert "Pants On The Ground, Pants On The Ground, looking like a fool with your pants on the ground" song here)

Truth be known, it was actually really funny and cute.  (I know that is socially inappropriate and if it had been a group of soccer Moms at the park, I probably would have been mortified but fortunately it was just me, Ry, this other cute kid and the kid's Dad, who fortunately also appeared to share a sense of warped parental humor.) 

In other family news, Justin brought home is report card yesterday and we are so proud of his accomplishments and progress!  Bill Gates in the making!   He was also recently elected the first Patrol Leader of his new Boy Scout Patrol.  Yay, Just!

John and I totally went through Survivor withdrawls yesterday but were happy to see Flash Forward was back.  Hopefully there will be no other flashing from family members in public this weekend!

Hope you have a great start to Spring!
Karen

Monday, March 8, 2010

Help for Haiti - Every Doll Counts - New Marie Osmond Dolls by Susan Krey - CMN Benefit

Relieve, Recover, Rebuild!


Marie Osmond and Award-Winning master doll sculptor, Susan Krey have collaborated together to create two exclusive porcelain collector dolls that will help to relieve, recover and rebuild hope for the children of Haiti.




Johanna



Emmanuel

Children are often the most vulnerable in any natural disaster. Show your love & express your compassion with the purchase of these fine works of “heart.”  Johanna and Emmanuel Dolls may be purchased individually at Charisma Brands or they may be purchased together as a set.  Expected shipping date is June 2010.  Reservations now accepted.

Thanks To the Generosity of These Sponsors, Profits from This Collaboration Will Benefit Children’s Miracle Network Hospital Efforts to Care for Sick, Injured Haitian Children:
 
Marie Osmond
Artist Susan Krey
Charisma Brands
Children’s Miracle Network
 
Although at this point, this doll set is only available for purchase through Charisma Brands, the Count Your Beans staff believes in this special cause and wanted our doll collecting friends to be aware of this unique opportunity to both help and to add some very special dolls to your collection.
 
Thanks for stopping by!
Karen & John
Count Your Beans

Sunday, March 7, 2010

It's An Amazing Race Indeed...

My life is an Amazing Race ... a journey of roads less traveled.  One day, assuming the show is still on the air when our kids have grown (LOL), John and I would love to compete on the reality show, The Amazing Race and get a chance to travel around the world doing incredible things.

My husband John and I are reality show aficionados.  I like them because I have a fascination in studying human interaction and psychology.  John has definite opinions about these shows and isn't afraid to share them.  In fact, in any given week, you're bound to see him blogging at least once or twice about the shows we've watched.

'Survivor' 10th Anniversary Party

Our favorite Reality Show of all time has got to be Survivor.  We've watched since Season 1 and if you are following the Life And Times of John Krejcha, you will see that John recently posted his own top 10 Survivors of All Time list.  Check it out and let him know what you think!


61st Annual Primetime Emmy Awards - Press Room

How many awards is that now, boys?

On Sunday nights we watch The Amazing Race and lately we have also followed that up with a relatively new series called Undercover Boss.  John jokes that as CEO of Count Your Beans, I should go undercover at our company.  I wonder if anyone would figure that out? 

It is rare that we actually watch a TV show during the time slot is shown on TV but we make exceptions for a few shows because they are ones that we can enjoy with the boys.  Justin, Ryan, John and I settled in on the sofas downstairs to watch The Amazing Race tonight and as usual, our 3 year old son, Ryan chanted, danced and ran in circles to the theme song.  It's his favorite part and after tonight's episode, probably one of mine too.

Now that isn't to say that the episode was bad, it was just a little outside of my taste tonight.  Sauerkraut eating competition?  YUCK!!!  (John would have wolfed it down so we would have been okay there.)  Gigantic beer in a boot drinking?   I would have been buzzed after 4 sips.  (John would have been able to finish it off so we would be okay there.)  Bungee Jumping?  Well, I would have given that a shot.  Thank goodness they did THAT part of the competition before the sauerkraut and beer!  Could you imagine?

Why YUCK... yes you could, courtesy of the camera shots of a few contestants burping and barfing up their beer.  SO NOT NECESSARY, peeps at CBS!  Really....  May have to take back one of Phil's awards if you keep that up.

Usually each season there are a couple charismatic teams to root for.  I'm having trouble getting into the team dynamics this go around.  We need some good color commentators!  The father / daughter team of Steve / Allie Smith is probably one of our favorites to win skill-wise but we wish there were some more people with spunk or humor to give some good interviews during the race. Like them or not, the Russell Hantz's, Rob Mariano's and Tyson Apostol's of the Survivor World do give some funny interviews. 

This season we recognize Jordan and Jeff from Big Brother but unfortunately don't think they're long for the game.  It's nice to see that they're getting along and being good sports about everything but unless things turn way around for them next week, I don't think they have much of a shot at winning.  The cowboys sure have surprised us though.

What do you think?  Are you following The Amazing Race this season?  Who do you want to win?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Shout out to my husband, John: Life and Times of John Krejcha: My 50th Blog

Life and Times of John Krejcha: My 50th Blog

Hello everyone!

Today I wanted to give a quick shout out to my husband, John who just completed his 50th blog post. I am really proud of him.


I just love this photo of John, Justin and Ryan! My 3 Boys!

If you want to know what is going on in the Krejcha household, he is the one doing the daily journals.

If you want to hear opinions on some of our TV favorites including Survivor, The Amazing Race, 24 and Midsomer Murders, John is the guy who reviews this stuff weekly.

If you're a 24 buff, you know just how amazing Jack Bauer is. Well, John has an ongoing segment called Jack Vs.....

Since Jack seems to defeat almost everyone he meets, we've decided to throw out "What Ifs" for Jack to match up with. It's fun to see John's responses.

CONGRATULATIONS again to John on his 50th Blog!

I'll be blogging more stuff here, at Aspierations and at Count Your Beans within the next 24 - 36 hours. For now though, it's ALL ABOUT JOHN. (inside joke...)

Thanks for stopping by!
Karen