Sunday, April 15, 2018

Cam's Concert - Week of Apr. 9th

“Music is the fastest motivator in the world.” ~ Amit Kalantri

Last year, Cam wasn't feeling well when the 3rd and 4th graders performed together for the annual spring concert.  Now, as a 4th grader, our son was anticipating the Tuesday night concert and feeling great!
As an extra special treat, Oma drove into Grand Rapids to see the musical.  Cam's grandma actually taught music in a school system a "few" years ago.
Cam's concert was titled "From the Inside Out, A Celebration of Positive Character."  Since the third and fourth graders were combined, there was a total of 9 different classes!  11 musical numbers were performed and Cam proudly played the drum for his part.  We cannot thank Oma enough for making her grandson feel extra special at his first concert appearance.

Most mornings, we have a regular routine but some days, a few surprises make us pause.  We often see deer in our backyard, but have never seen them sitting down and looking so peaceful in no hurry to move.

Although Stella has her own agenda while Cam is getting ready, she does like to hang out in the occasional sink and Cam graciously approves of her temporary housing in his bathroom.

A first for Cam this weekend was taking on the role of babysitter assistant.  We had the pleasure of watching baby Jackson for a few hours on Saturday.  Since he had met us just the week before, we were hopeful he would remember his new buddies.  As expected, he was a model infant and gave Cam and Jane plenty of smiles.
We can't wait for our next sitting adventure!

Camology Quotes:
When baby Jackson arrived at the Weatherford home, he was sleeping.  Cam quietly said to him mom.
"Mom, I will listen for baby Jackson.  When I hear him whining, I will come and get you right away!"

Jane had a big laugh when Jackson tried putting his entire hand in his mouth, to which Cam commented.
"Ewww, gross, Jackson.  What are you doing?!"

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Playdates & Playmates - Week of Apr. 2nd

"In the Spring, I have counted 136 different kinds of weather inside of 24 hours." ~Mark Twain 

The first week of April is typically spring break for Cam.  Jane and Chris tend to try to take vacation from work during the summer months so our family has not typically traveled during this time.  Lucky for Cam, Miss Amanda had the week off from her student teaching and was house-sitting as well.
Each day of break, Cam and Amanda ventured a few miles to the house where she was caring for pets.  It seems the animals took a real liking to Cam.  Priscilla Pigsley, the guinea pig, has the same coloring as our cat, Stella.  However, we all agreed that our feline family member may not have taken a liking to the rodent.
Roxie, the dog, however decided he was definitely going home with Cam.  Besides their pet adventures, Amanda and Cam made it to the library, Spoonlickers, and physical therapy.

On Friday, we were so happy Liam could come over for a visit and to play.  Cam and Liam have been friends since preschool, attend Meadow Brook together and both hope to have a future in law enforcement.  After some crazy pretend banking transactions, these two couldn't stop laughing.

Saturday turned out to be another playdate when Auntie Jo and buddy Will arrived for lunch.  After a delicious meal of Chick-Fil-A, the boys settled into a movie while the moms caught up.  The two godsons exchanged Easter gifts.  Will and his mom gave Cam the Game of Life.  Will has played many times already and did a great job sharing the rules of the game with the rookies, Cam and his mom.

Sunday brought a few very special visitors...when Jane was in college, she took care of three wonderful kids, the youngest of whom was Lauren.  When Cam was born, Lauren was in high school and visited him in the hospital after school nearly every day.  We nicknamed her 'Big Sis' Lauren.  After she moved to Colorado, our visits were far and few between.  Just recently, though, she moved back to Grand Rapids and is married with a newborn of her own.  And, to top off all of that good news, her son is named Jackson!  We had the best time catching up and chatting with Lauren, Aaron and baby Jackson.  Cam is anxious to test out some babysitting skills of his own.

Camology Quotes:
Some mornings are for the birds (or turkeys, like this one in our front yard).  Once in a while, a work situation may pop up for Chris or Jane before Cam gets on the bus.  On one such morning, Chris was juggling quite a few things prior to heading to the office.  Cam always keeps things in perspective for us, especially in moments like these...

"Dad, are you ok?"
Sure, Cam.  
"I am going to make it a great day.  You make it a great day too, Dad!"

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Grandparents Galore - Week of Mar. 26th

"Papa" & Cam
"To keep the heart unwrinkled, to be hopeful, kindly, cheerful, reverent that is to triumph over old age." ~Thomas Bailey Aldrich
“Every ending will meet its own end, for every ending is destined to be swallowed up by a beginning.” ~ Craig D. Lounsbrough

Grandparents are a gift.  Cam's Grandma Sue writes creative letters full of questions and updates which her grandson happily receives every few weeks from Kansas.  Grandpa Jim sends the neatest gifts from California.
Oma and Opa see Cameron as often as they can, which in the winter months becomes difficult due to the treacherous roads.

Cam sees Miss Amanda every weekday and her Grandpa (Mr. Ken) lives right behind our house, on our old street.  We have known Ken as a close friend and neighbor for 17 years.  Since Amanda often talks about her grandfather, he has come to be known as "Papa"to Cam as well.  So, our family was delighted when we were invited to have dessert with Papa and his family to celebrate his 80th birthday!  In preparation, Ms. Amanda and Cam worked on two projects- a picture book and a list of Alexa questions to be used with the Amazon technology tool.
Both were a big hit with Papa! The excitement of the gifts gave way to the anticipation of treats.  Cam enjoyed the array of delectable homemade desserts- apple pie, raspberry pie, strawberry shortcake, brownies, and butterscotch bars.  Cam requested some of the strawberries in sauce for his brownie and proceeded to ask Jane if they were "melted" berries.  Papa's daughter, Carol and husband Jim, recently completed construction of the new home they are living in.  It's completely barrier-free with the largest hallways and space Cam has ever been in.  That was a treat in itself!
Sisters Emma & Anna on each
side of Cam, Bex & Emma H in back

On Easter Sunday, we began our morning at church with the Raisch family along with their good friends who attend Calvin, Emma H. and Bex.  They are from Zimbabwe and Cam just loves their accents!
The service was beautiful and the music was was so joyful and the live band accompaniment always seems to bring it closer.

After church, we drove home in the sunshine.  Oma and Opa arrived after lunch to spend the afternoon and stay overnight with us.
Oma has always made an Easter basket for Cam and this year was no exception.  Included was a new book, Peter Pan, since we had recently seen the play.  Next came the famous egg hunt outside and clever Chris expertly hid the plastic colored assortment.  Oma had filled the ovals not with chocolate, but with wooden letters to unscramble and create sentences!
A delicious dinner included non-traditional steak and hot dogs, twice baked potatoes, broccoli and rolls.  Of course, Cam and Jane made deviled eggs and Cam reminded Oma that we needed her famous cheese sauce to complement the vegetables.  Dessert was provided by Oma and Opa- angel food cake with delicious fresh strawberries.

Luckily, we all stayed awake long enough to play some games and enjoy each other's company.

Whether grandparents are far or near or an extended family member, like Papa, they create a special bond, one that transcends that of a parent.
Like the quote says..."A grandparent is someone with silver in their hair and gold in their heart."

Camology Quotes:
When Ms. Amanda was assisting Cam with teeth brushing one evening, she noticed that the electric toothbrush was turning red. 

Cam, I think your mouth is bleeding.
"Um, what am I eating Miss Amanda?!"
Cam, don't swallow!

(upper right corner 'hole' is lost tooth and tooth was successfully retrieved, thanks to Ms. Amanda)

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Crazy Socks - Week of Mar. 19th

“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.” ~ Charles Dickens 

“When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.” ~ Maya Angelou

It just so happens that a brick mailbox takes some time to reconstruct.  Thank goodness Cam has been granted the role of safety supervisor and helper for his dad.  Jane is most relieved knowing that her son is on the job.
In the midst of the mailbox project, the boys also replaced the ceiling fan in the sunroom!

1 Green & 1 Black w/Grey toes
belong to Cam
At school, Wednesday, March 21st marked World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD).  World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD) is a global awareness day which has been officially observed by the United Nations since 2012.
The date for WDSD being the 21st day of the 3rd month, was selected to signify the uniqueness of the triplication (trisomy) of the 21st chromosome which causes Down syndrome.
 Down Syndrome International (DSi) encourages people all over the world to choose their own activities and events on WDSD to help raise awareness of what Down syndrome is, what it means to have Down syndrome, and how people with Down syndrome play a vital role in our lives and communities.
At Cam's school, it was Crazy Sock Day in honor of WDSD.  One of Cam's best buddies, Brody, has Down's Syndrome and Cam was excited to show his support.

With a week of rebuilding, there was also renewal.  On Wednesday evening at Cam's Grand Valley job, we were excited to see Kelcie from last year's program!  She is now working at Mary Free Bed in Holland and was so excited to see her buddy, Cam.
Then, on Sunday evening, Cam's former nanny and lifelong friend (and extended family member), Ms. Michelle, appeared for a visit from Florida!!   Our ten-year-old screamed and squealed with delight when she popped in.
She brought some sweet treats for Cam as well as a new game of strategy with colored sticks and marbles.
The visit was too short, but we all seemed to pick right up where we left off.

Truly, no matter how long between visits, the best friendships stand the test of time.

Camology Quotes:
Telemarketers seem to call our home daily.  When the phone rings, Cam will often ask, "Is it a telemarketer?"  One evening, while the phone was ringing, Chris went over to look at the caller id...

"Who is calling, Dad?"
The Veterans Place.
*long pause*
"Why are they calling for Stella?"
What do you mean, Cam?
"The vet is calling for our cat?"

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Curious Cam - Week of Mar. 12th

“Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.” ~Carl Sagan

At school, Cam has expressed a continued interest in science.  His teachers have always noted his curiosity.  When he arrived home this week with an Action Kit from DTE Energy, there was a certainty that the contents of the kit would be explored and dissected that very evening.
Think! Energy with DTE Energy helps fourth through sixth grade students understand the impacts of energy from development of natural resources to efficient use. The 45 to 60-minute presentation conducted by professional educators from the National Energy Foundation gives teachers and students the understanding necessary to be an energy expert at home and at school. Each participant also receives a Take Action Kit with easy-to-install items that have a huge impact on energy use at home. Games, experiments and interactive content fit every learning style and empower students to be community leaders in energy efficiency. DTE Explore website
The materials contained within the box included: 2 LED lightbulbs, an energy-saving showerhead, shower timer (Jane probably won't be using that one), LED nightlight, bathroom aerator, kitchen aerator, and a flow test bag.  Cam and his dad successfully replaced a showerhead and installed both of the aerators, along with the lightbulbs and nightlight.  The test flow bag was used as well to ensure the proper flow of water.  Like the Energy program, some projects are spontaneous and unplanned.  For example, when Cam's morning bus driver accidentally backed into our brick mailbox one morning this week, the boys suddenly had another project on their list.  This one, however, would require research and time.  Chris and his son investigated "pushing" the bricks back into place, but after some test pulls, determined this would not be a fix.  Additional analysis by the father and son team would go into the following week.
L to R Sisters:
Sarah, Megan, Anna, Emma

Saturday afternoon, the Weatherford family had tickets to see the Peter Pan musical production performed by the Forest Hills Central High School.  We all couldn't wait to see Megan Raisch perform as an Indian and mermaid while sister Sarah was an important part of the backstage crew for the play.  The performance was so good and it was thrilling to see characters flying around the stage.  During the intermission, we were surprised and happy to see Cam's buddy, Brody, with his family! 

After the show, Megan and Sarah spotted us and came over to chat.  Cam seemed a bit starstruck seeing Meg in her costume.

The sunshine continued warming us up on Sunday afternoon when Emma appeared to construct her famous "chalk city" in our driveway.  The creation included all kinds of crazy arrows for Cam to maneuver through and around as he enjoyed walking outdoors again.

Emma's tireless efforts and inventive pictures remind us that our world is ever-changing and ready to add people and places into our lives at each turn and direction we take.

Camology Quotes:
The Peter Pan musical was such a neat production.  Seeing the flying certainly immerses one in the experience.  Shortly after the play began, Wendy, John and Michael are all sleeping.  Peter Pan appears and Wendy is talking and singing with Peter.  Cam was quite puzzled...

"Mom, why don't the boys wake up at all?  Peter is very loud."

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Rewarding The Effort - Week of Mar. 5th

“I'm a greater believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.” ~Thomas Jefferson
“There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.” ~Beverly Sills

The white stuff isn't ready to head out completely even though we turned the calendar into March.

At school, Cam has been a part of the Chinese Immersion program.  To that end, he was able to practice using chopsticks for the first time.  His Immersion teacher explained that this is how they train kids in China to use chopsticks too- the sticks are tied together to make it easier.  Cam found success in picking up the soft lightweight puffs of fabric.

Back on the home front, Cam continued his daily walking in the evenings as well as taking on some
extra homework from his teacher.  Our organized boy came up with the idea of "logging" both of these items.  Possibly in part to prove to others he has completed and potentially due to ensuring his sometimes forgetful parents take note.  Either way, after an evening haircut for both father and son, the two handsome guys made their way to pick up a delicious reward- dinner from the close by, newly opened Chick-Fil-A.

Jane spent a portion of the week with 'Auntie' Leslie, her longtime, closest friend from childhood.  Leslie lives in North Carolina now and a special visit to Michigan meant a drive for the girls to the beautiful Lake Michigan.
Cam's parents have explained to him how rare it is to have friends in your life for such a long time.  It is funny to think that Leslie and Jane met in the 4th grade, the same grade Cam is in now.  Most of Cam's classmates have all been together since kindergarten.  He has no idea how fortunate he is!

Over the weekend, Chris spent some time on the slopes at Caberfae Peaks with his buddy, Greg.  Back at home, Cam and his mom made banana bread and delivered some fresh out of the oven to our Windcrest neighbor, Miss Pat, who is moving soon.  She loved seeing Cam and said she was looking forward to the delicious baked goodness.
Among some other Saturday projects, Cam took time to care for our cat, Stella.
If you need any projects completed around your home and have any trouble getting motivated, we highly recommend hiring Cam...don't forget, he already receives a W-2!

Camology Quotes:
We are so fortunate to have been surrounded by such communicative people who interact with Cam.
Ms. Kathy, his teacher, often sends emails about what happened at school.  The one sent this week will surely be an all-time favorite.

I just want you to know how much I appreciate your son. We read a news article today about school breakfast and he had so many good questions that shows that he was doing some higher level thinking about the subject. I will paraphrase some of his questions.
"What do kids who get school breakfast do for breakfast on the weekend or when there is no school? "How do they get food?" 
"What do they do for dinner if they don't have money for food?" 
It gave us a chance for some good discussion about programs that help others. ;-)
I love it when kids go beyond the basic understanding!