31st October 2010


This year Zora wanted to go as a ladybug

So, here is the ladybug:

Zane wanted to go as “Toad”.  Not like a frog, but the character on Mario Bros.

This guy

So, here is Toad:

“OK kids, let’s take some pictures before we go…”

We headed out to the College Hill area, an area in town they block off the streets and the residents go to a lot of extra effort to decorate all out.  It is AWESOME.  It is like the most ideal, idyllic Halloween trick or treating scene ever.  We love it and are so thankful for the residents who go to the effort.  Our neighborhood is not conducive to ToTing, so this is fun.

We met up with Robert’s family and ran into several other families we know there.

The kids even made the news. Zora is at 1:43 (near the end), and you can see the rest of us in the background as she runs down the walk, shouting her “thank you” over her shoulder. When the newscaster comes back at the end she says “Love that little ladybug girl”, which puts a big grin on Zora’s face every time she sees it.

Hope your Halloween was as sweet as ours was.

posted in Halloween, Zane, Zora, video | Comments Off

29th October 2010

Quiet Days

Most weeks my mom comes up and takes Zora out for the day.  It is a win-win for the kids…Zora gets some much needed social interaction, Grandma gets to create a lot of memories, Zane gets some Grandma time (we usually meet up for a meal), and Zane gets some time where it is quiet in the house and the attention of both parents.  Without Zora in the house, it is a lot easier to play more complicated games, and that is often what Zane wants to do.

This week it was the Star Wars themed Stratego.

posted in Autistic Life, Board/Card Games, Zane | Comments Off

28th October 2010

My Favorite “Little Stinker”

Zora’s preschool had all the kids dress as “something from a farm”.   I assumed she was going to want either cat or dog, but I listed off all of the possibilities:  cow, duck (even had an online friend with a great costume for this), horse, cat, dog, goat, chicken….”  Jokingly, when she was oscillating between several, I said “skunk” under my breath.  She heard me and was convinced that it was perfect.  Couldn’t really argue with her with a straight face.  So, here is my “Little Stinker”

The face is because she wants to go, not stand still for pictures.  She was very enthused about the make-up.

Happily wiggling her tail.  She and Zach picked out the fun fur and the white feathers that I sewed to the back of the black coveralls (which were from Zane’s old pumpkin costume).  The ears were a pipe cleaner strung through a little jaw clip, then felt put over it and sewn together around the pipe cleaners.  It worked a lot better than attaching them to a hairband for her because they were easier to position, stayed put, and didn’t pull or dig into her head.

The project was to make your own pumpkin pudding.

She had a lot of fun with her costume, swinging her tail around, and chasing her friends around “spraying” them with her tail.  I don’t think she understood the mechanics of how a skunk sprays exactly though; she would pick up her tail and say “spray” while aiming her tail like a hose.  The other kids giggled and made a lot of “eww, stinky” declarations, so it was all good.

posted in Giggle, Halloween, School, Zora | Comments Off

24th October 2010

Halloween Party at Church

I missed the “in costume” part of the instructions, but since Zane’s costume wasn’t complete anyway (bad mommy!), he wouldn’t have been able to wear it.  They really enjoyed the party though.  They had a bunch of different, creative activities that both of the kids enjoyed.

Among the activities were apple bobbing…

(I ended up holding Zane’s hair out of his face, but it was still something he could not get.  I am debating whether or not this is a skill I need to teach. :laughn1: )

and pumpkin painting…

posted in Church, Halloween, Zane, Zora | Comments Off

23rd October 2010

Zora Dancing

Zach took Zora to her dance class on the day parents could come in the room and take pictures.  So here are some shots from inside the room (instead of through the door)

posted in Dance, Zora | Comments Off

23rd October 2010

Not enough water!

We just had a massive meltdown over here. Took a while to figure out the problem…Zane was going around turning on each faucet, then screaming in despair: “not enough water”, then trying to access the basement where the hot water heater is. I realized the washer was filling up, causing the water pressure to be low. I waited for it to finish and then showed him the water was fine again. It took a while to explain to him why it was ok. He keeps me on my toes.

posted in Autistic Life, Zane | Comments Off

22nd October 2010

No Cross, No Crown

I took a terrifying leap and got back into theatre after a twenty year absence.

From a blurb I found online:

You know Karen Robu from her theatre work in Wichita since 1993. She now presents her first written play about the life of Antoinette Brown Blackwell, first female ordained minister in the United States and a Suffragist who encounters other historical figures such as Lucy Stone, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony, and Fredrick Douglass as she fights not only for the right for women to vote, but for the right for a woman to stand in the pulpit. A wonderful time for this play to be presented since this year is the 90th anniversary of the 19th amendment giving women the right to vote.

I played a very minor role, Ernestine Rose, a feminist, atheist and orator.  It took me a bit to get my footing on the role, and I realized how out of practice I was at the craft, but I did finally get t0 the point that I wasn’t humiliated at the performance.  I wish the run would have been longer because I never got to that magical point in front of an audience that I was just beginning to achieve in front of the mirror at home. I know the next time I do it, I should be at that point before I get in front of the audience.   But, at least I wasn’t mortified at my performance, and that was a real possibility at some points along the way, especially as I was struggling with the accent.  I had to lip sync some of the music because I am a contra-alto/tenor and, in an all-woman’s chorus, with everybody else being a professional singer except for me, my voice wasn’t going to blend in the higher ranges.  In the songs where they just wanted it belted out (like when we were “marching”), non-perfect voices was the aim, so I could contribute heartily in those songs.

It was so good for me to do this.  It was sheer terror at times, especially when the music rehearsals started and I realized the level of the musicians, and, despite being held in a church, most of the actors where professionals, and it is a good thing I didn’t have access to their bios before I started, because I would have been even more intimidated than I already was.

In the end, it was an awesome experience, and re-awoke my passion for the stage.  I should have been doing this all along and can’t imagine why I haven’t been.  It fills a place in my soul that I didn’t realize was empty.  And next time will be easier and better because I finally figured out *how* to do it again.  (how to memorize, how to analyze the character, how to find my rhythm). I wasn’t, by any means, the best actor on the stage, not even close, but I felt like I was able to hold my own.  It was an absolute honor to be able to perform in such awesome company.

It was also fun to be in costume again.  And yes, that is my real hair.  My real hair, in a seriously unflattering style, with a ton of product making it feel like Barbie doll hair.

After the show, Zora (who had been downstairs in the nursery) was fascinated with the costume.  It was a very hot and heavy dress, made out of upholstery material, even the fringe was upholstery-like.  There were copious “Scarlett O’Hara” comments.  Unlike most stage costumes, this one was NOT designed for quick changes.  I think it took almost as long to get on as my wedding dress did.  I did discover that hoops are much more comfortable than crinolines though, and much quieter, as long as you don’t sit wrong and flip the whole skirt up into your face.  lol.   Learning to walk so I am not swinging like a bell was a trick too, especially since it was easier for me to wear heels than to shorten the costume.

After the show Zach told me that during the intermission the people in front of him pulled out their program, looking specifically for my character.  Upon reading the bio again, they commented to each other that “it was amazing that they found a Polish actor here in Wichita”.  I guess I nailed the accent.  Yay me.

posted in Me, On Stage | Comments Off

10th October 2010

Goats are Evil

Children’s story at church was about why Jesus talked about separating the sheep from the goats and what it meant. Asking the kids what the difference was, Zora piped up with some long rambly thing about “Sheeps being nice”…blah, blah, *needs to be cut off now* blah.  Zane, in a loud clear voice, states “Sheep are Good, Goats are Eeeeevil”. :bago: :roflrly: You could find me on the floor under my pew hiding.

posted in Autistic Life, Church, Giggle | Comments Off

9th October 2010

There are RULES mom.

Note to self: Do not give an Autistic child a cookie “for the road”, and then attempt to get him to pass by a sign that says “no food or beverages allowed” to pass through 10 feet of space to the parking lot.

We went to the “Artists on the path” event at the Great Plains Nature Center. At the end of it, in the main building, there were snacks for the kids to enjoy. It took longer than we were anticipating and I needed to get to rehearsal pretty fast, so I tried to get the kids to take their cookies and GO. No such luck. Zane saw the sign and would not walk through the door.

Reminds me of the time he was at one of those fast food playgrounds, playing happily, until he read the “Must have Socks to Play” signs. First, 80% of the kids weren’t wearing socks; Second, it was an unexpected stop and I had apparently ran through the stash of socks I keep in the car. He stopped playing and refused to play in the tubes the rest of the time we were there.

posted in Autism, Autistic Life, Language Development | Comments Off

8th October 2010

Fundraiser costume party

I was asked to give a speech at a fund-raising event for the University’s Speech Language Hearing Clinic.  The theme was “Nifty Fifties”, and we had the option of dressing in costume, so we did.

Zach was left alone with the camera while I finished getting ready.

Under that sweater is a pocket protector.  Perfection.  He was going to shave his goatee off because it wasn’t historically accurate.  I had to beg him not to cut it off entirely, but it still bugged him.

Yummy food, good chocolate, and the best little cupcakes I have ever had in my life. After I spoke I could enjoy the complimentary champagne too. I don’t know what made me more tipsy, the sugar rush or the glass of champagne.

posted in Zach & Jennifer | Comments Off

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