Saturday, April 16, 2011

An Afternoon at KidExpo in Portland - Guess who was next door?

Hi Aspierations Friends,

Ever have one of those mornings when you wake up exhausted, stumble to the bathroom, glance in the mirror and wish you could use Photoshop on your reflection?  

Or have you ever experienced a time when the "little" one of the family crawls into bed at some crazy time in the middle of the night, crawls between you and your partner and then proceeds to turn sideways so that he can both kick you in the spine and take up half the bed?

Welcome to nighttime and morning adventures with the Krejcha family!

I wonder what our little cherub is dreaming about?

I have to say, I feel kind of ripped off when I don't get to sleep in on a Saturday.  In truth, John is the one who usually gets up early with the boys so I really have few grounds for moaning. Considering the sleep issues that tend to go on in our family, I relish every bit of nightmare-free, snore-free, kick-in-the-spine-free sleep I can get.

Speaking of sleep, an Aspierations blog visitor wrote the other day suggesting that our readers might find a recent article on her website interesting.  It's called, "20 Incredible iPhone Apps for Troubled Sleepers" and although we don't have an iPhone, we do have an iPad and many of these apps are compatible. Ten of the Apps are to help you fall asleep quickly and the other ten are to help promote better sleep.

If you've used any of these 20 apps for yourself or your kiddos, please let me know if you've found a difference.  Sleep issues are common for those with autism / Asperger's and I'm curious to know what has worked successfully for you and your family? I'll follow up with my own results as well as soon as I can get some rest!

So today's adventure was to KidFest at the Expo Center in Portland, Oregon.  It's a family expo where you can go and get information from different vendors on kid-related stuff like summer camps, martial arts lessons, toys, music, safety, etc.  We attended one at the Clark County Fairgrounds near Vancouver but it seemed a little small so when we read the ad that boasted "The Northwest's Largest Family Expo" and learned it was only about 15 - 20 minutes away, we figured why not check it out?  We like trying new inexpensive activities for the family and I thought with it being autism awareness month, there might be some information on some of the sensory day camps I have seen advertised.

We all piled in the car but unfortunately Justin had a headache.  Usually his headaches go away after a tylenol and some fresh air so we still decided to make the trip.  About 2 1/2 miles before we were to arrive, there was a huge slow-down on the on-ramp to I-5 south.  We figured there must have been an accident ahead because traffic came to a grinding halt.  Normally during unexpected moments in the car like this, we pull out some sort of entertainment for the kids or John and I try to amuse the boys with witty remarks or clever car games we make up on the spot.  

Today the boys were really patient and we all sat in the car making observations on what we saw around us. John was worried that we'd be at a halt for an hour or so.  Fortunately it was only about 10 minutes. We never did see an accident or learn what had happened but hopefully everything turned out okay for those who were affected. 

Well, the boys were anxious to get to the KidFest because I had spilled the beans in advance that there would be opportunities for bouncing and play and there would also be a petting zoo.  Ryan gets to see Rojo the therapy llama at his preschool on Monday but today he was going to see pigs, alpacas, llamas and snakes. 

Here was the sign we saw as we were driving in:

Now what is wrong with this picture?

I don't know about you but if I were the scheduler of events at, I would certainly not have scheduled the KidFest Family Expo in the hall adjacent to a Gun Show.  

What's in Hall F, the "Small, Sharp Objects Expo?"
(borrowed that last one from my friend, John B.  Couldn't resist!)

Yes, Justin and Ryan, on one side we can go and visit the Easter Bunny and then afterwards we can head to the hall next door and learn how to make hossenfeffer for dinner!

Needless to say, we did forgo the gun show, although the boys did have the opportunity to pass a car in the parking lot advertising $20 stun guns.  Oops! Did we forget to give out allowances today?  Maybe another time, boys...

When we got inside the Expo Center it was a little overwhelming to the senses.  Animals (smell), Radio Disney (sound), lots of people, popcorn, bounce house lines, exhibitor booths, bright overhead lights, people elbowing around each other to get to the next activity... any of these things could be a little much by themselves. 

Justin wasn't feeling well and I wasn't sure initially if we would stay long. Normally he likes to go with us and look at exhibitor booths seeing how much free stuff he can get at the booths (pencils, stickers, coloring books for Ryan, kids swag...) but he wanted to head straight to the food line thinking that might help him feel better.  The food line was quite long and Ryan wanted to head straight to the bounce houses. He wanted absolutely NO PART in waiting in line for food because he was definitely NOT hungry. 

Normally this kind of conflict could lead to some real escalating emotions but we were able to meet the needs of both boys.  John and Justin decided to stand in line to get pizza and I offered to take Ryan around to a couple of the inflatables you slide and bounce on.  Cheap sensory therapy!!!  

I have to say, I was a bit envious....

After a few turns in line where we practiced waiting patiently by counting, Ryan and I headed back to the food area and Justin and John were just sitting down with the food.  Fortunately John was wise enough to predict that Ryan would want something to eat.  Even though he was definitely NOT hungry, he made the sacrifice to sit and enjoy a slice of pizza with the family!

After lunch Justin still wasn't feeling well so we went outside of the expo building to get away from some of the noise.  He and John sat down for awhile but Ryan soon got a bit antsy, so I took him back inside to check out a couple of the exhibit booths and more importantly, do some more bouncing and sliding!

Later John and Justin came back and Justin was feeling better so he and I went around to pick up free goodies at the booths while John took a turn living vicariously through Ryan while Ry bounced in a bounce house with all girls.  

I'd say that overall the day was a success and although there were some ups and downs, the few hours we spent there were still worth the time.  Justin was disappointed that he didn't feel better and I certainly felt for him.  He did win a backpack and both Ryan and Justin won some karate lessons so the Krejcha family continues on with our winning ways!

Until next time,

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