Thursday, July 1, 2010

Happy July from Camp Krejcha & Ryan's Random Choice Photos

Happy July, Aspierations Friends!

I'm not sure what it is like where you live but in Vancouver, Washington, fireworks are allowed from July 1st - July 5th.  I have never lived in a place where it is as big of a deal as it is here.  Of course, I've never lived in a place after the age of adolescence where fireworks were legal to set off in the neighborhoods where I lived.  I'm sure that has a lot to do with it!

The 4th of July in Vancouver is not just a big deal, but a major event!  For many years before we moved up here, the city of Vancouver would have a big all day and evening party downtown near Fort Vancouver with a carnival, tours of the Fort and the Pearson Air Museum, music concerts with various acts, food galore and lots of miscellaneous activities throughout the day and evening.  Vancouver boasted the largest fireworks display west of the Mississippi and thousands of people would attend the event each year!

When we first got here in July 2007, we had just missed the festivities. We wanted to see what it was all about but at our pace.  When we first attended in 2008, Ryan was 2 and had just been diagnosed on the autism spectrum. Justin would be diagnosed with Asperger's shortly thereafter.

We attended the carnival, visited Fort Vancouver and the Air Museum, listened to some music, ate some burgers (the savvy ones in our family ate them plain) and listened to a bit of the music but when it came time for the actual fireworks display, it was super crowded and we knew it wasn't the best environment for either Ryan or Justin (or me) so we went back home before dark.  As it turns out we had enough fireworks in our neighborhood to sufficiently scare the daylights out of Ry.

We've got on our red, white and blue!

Doing the bump!

Yeah, yeah... yum! Trust me, plain is where it's at! No mess, just great meaty taste!


When I was a child growing up in Mountain View, CA, certain fireworks were allowed in the neighborhoods but not many. Eventually all were banned but I do remember a couple years where my parents let me do sparklers.  They were probably wise not to let me do much more than that!

You couldn't buy them in Mtn. View so you had to go about a mile away to nearby Los Altos.  What always struck me as funny was that the fireworks (called "Safe and Sane" as opposed to unsafe and insane) were sold at the local Catholic Church, Saint Simons.  It seemed like such an odd place to purchase sparklers, snakes and a barrage of miscellaneous noisemakers.  I suppose it was some sort of church fund-raiser.  Certainly it was a different kind of way of passing the offering plate!

As I originally started this blog, I started to hear fireworks in our neighborhood.  I just turned up the volume on Tom & Jerry (much to my chagrin since I have seen & heard this particular episode a gazillion times) so as to not bother Ryan.

Truth be known, I'm not sure how he will react this year but I am very optimistic that things will go well, especially since he has come a long way with his expressive and receptive language.  I wrote a special social story for him to explain what would be happening over the next few nights and he seemed to understand.

He was definitely not impressed with the noise the past couple of years. This will be our third 4th of July in Vancouver and I do think that now since he's a bit older (4), it will be easier to work with him in case he has a challenge.  I know he likes looking at the pretty fireworks displays but it's the sudden unexpected noise that is the trigger.  

There are people a couple blocks over who every year have a huge fireworks display.  I would say on a neighborhood level, it rivals some of the stuff I used to see at Great America or Moffett Field.  Not kidding, either!  People around here spend hundreds of dollars each on fireworks and we were told one family usually puts out about $1000.  Seriously!  There are literally over a dozen places to buy the fireworks within about a 3 mile stretch.  High schools do it for fund-raisers and as I drove Ryan home from Camp Kiddo today, we saw tons of people out there holding up signs trying to direct us into their makeshift fireworks emporium.  Umm... thanks but no thanks.  A four year old who loves to put non-food objects in his mouth and fireworks just don't mix!  We see enough explosions from his backside! (TMI, I know...)

It is going to be very noisy over the next few evenings.  John and Justin don't get back home from Boy Scout Camp until Saturday so tonight and tomorrow, it's me and the Ry-ster.  

I wanted to try and put Ryan to bed but he told me he needed to stay up with me until the fireworks were over.  He usually gets tired between 9:00 and 10:00 p.m. so we'll see how that goes!

Right now, Ryan is sitting with me helping me blog.  (The fireworks outside are distracting and he has asked now about Justin and John multiple times so we are looking at pictures.) Please pardon us while our blog takes a tangent break to present Ryan's Random Photo Choices.

Yes, we DO brush Ryan's hair.  The photo above was after a particularly enthusiastic session of Sunday School.  Ryan is channeling his inner Einstein.

Brotherly love!  Brown eyed and blue, I love you two!

"Mommy, where are you and Daddy looking?"

This was from Justin's school carnival a few weeks ago. I won an amazing raffle prize of over $200 worth of summer reading books.  It was a perfect mix of books for both Ryan and Justin's age group. We love raffles, contests and sweepstakes!!

We also love to dress up for Halloween!  Gotta keep life fun!  

Aye, matey, aren't we beWITCHing??

John continues our Bingo Winning Streak at the local elementary school!


A gift from the boys.  I am the Cookie MOMster!  ME LOVE OREOS!!!

Ryan picked this photo to finish with because "horses make him happy".

We just finished a phone call with John from Camp Meriwether.  It is raining pretty heavily there.  Sounds more like Camp Scaryweather!  That being said, all is well and Justin had a phenomenal last couple of days.  

I want to send a heartfelt thanks out to everyone who sent Justin mail.  We were concerned he would be homesick and so we sent his camp address out to family in advance of this week and wow, did you guys and gals come through!  Apparently Justin received 10 letters yesterday and 4 more today. (WOW!!!)  That includes one from cousin Kiersten who is currently all the way in Costa Rica.  Impressive!

I can't wait to hear the story but it must have been pretty amazing since they do mail call in front of a fairly decent sized group. Can you imagine his name being called over and over and over again?  Well, it was a tremendous spirit boost and although I don't think he has had a chance to write to anyone (including us here at home), we will have him send out a letter about his adventures after he returns back home and gets settled in.  

Well, I need to get some work done since all is quiet in the house again!  Keen observers will note that I'm getting this blog in before 11:00 p.m.  Not that you really give a hoot but I'm an hour ahead of deadline!  :-)

I will share more about Ryan's Thursday at Camp Kiddo in my Friday blog.  I do have stories to tell... including Ryan's big Candyland win and the NANA NANA BOO BOO story...  Stay tuned!!

Thanks for stopping by!  Feel free to leave a comment if you'd like!  Just like Justin loves getting mail, I love hearing from people who stop by my blog.  



  1. Loved the pics and hearing about the 4th of July festivities there! Truly amazing that the holiday is such a big event there. Thanks for sharing with us!


  2. I have been reading and hanging out at your blog. Never posted before but wanted to give you some props. Met you when you were on the ladies pro bowling tour in a pro-am. Still have your autograph. You are funny, witty and gorgeous, both inside and out. I would have never known you were autistic. You are a role model of success and brave to share all you do. I remember you telling us you drove across country by yourself and I thought that was really brave especially for a lady. Do you still bowl? Why did you leave tour? Are you teaching your boys?

  3. I like your son's choice of photos. Happy family!

  4. Hi everyone!
    Thanks so much for all your nice comments about the photos and my writing. You brought a smile to my face on a day I was feeling a bit lonely. Please keep those comments coming. I love hearing feedback, whatever that might entail.

    To A Fan: Thanks for your first post and your kind compliments. What tour stop did we meet at?

    Yes, I did do the tour driving around the country by myself. Occasionally I had a roommate but 90% of the time it was just me. In retrospect, I'm not sure that was particularly wise or safe but I had a dream I wanted to fulfill and I really wasn't the kind that roomed well with other girls.

    I totally miss bowling. I left the tour just when I was starting to make headway. I had gotten on shirt staff at Visionary and had been contracted to do some cool promotional stuff. Unfortunately my going out on tour was controversial in my home life and extended family life and I didn't do a very good job advocating for myself how important it was to me to pursue this dream, at least for a couple more years. Sometimes you have to sacrifice in the short term to grow something better in the long term. If I had known then what I know now about Asperger's and high-functioning autism, my touring years would have been very different because I would have created a support network rather than alienate myself or allow myself to believe I didn't deserve the opportunity.

    I'm not complaining because I have a blessed life but I would have made some changes. That being said, I made a choice, came home, started a family, started a business and here I am today, just about ready for a new chapter in my life!

    I do want to teach my boys to bowl. My oldest had a bowling birthday party when we moved up here and got his first trophy in league 2 summers ago.

    Both sons are lefty so teaching them is interesting. I would love to have a family team or bowl mixed doubles or junior / adult with them someday. In my family, I have a large competitive spirit and miss sports tremendously. I have to channel my competitive urge and focus a lot of times on fun, play and empowerment. My children have different interests and skill levels. Whatever their dreams are with regards to bowling, computers, video game design, cars, numbers or underwater basket weaving, I will support.

    :-) Gee whiz, my response could almost be another blog. I'll have to blog about bowling sometime soon!