Sunday, February 3, 2019

Record Snow Days - Week of Jan. 28th

"A snow day literally and figuratively falls from the sky, unbidden, and seems like a thing of wonder." ~Susan Orlean

Cam's dad never experienced "snow days" in his younger years since he lived in Arizona and Washington state for most of his schooling until college.  Cam's mom recalls some days off growing up due to heavy snow.

However, this week seemed one for the history books since Cam had at home while the city tried to recover due to inclement weather.  And fortunately for Cam (and Jane!), Miss Amanda also experienced school closures and was able to make it over to hang out with her buddy every day while Jane worked.  Our cat, Stella, seemed to go into hibernation mode for the duration.
The blustery mornings were a combination of heavy snow and frigid temperatures.  A couple afternoons held reprieve allowing Cam to assist with shoveling while Chris tackled the heaviest white stuff in the converted riding mower/snow plow for the winter months.
With negative temps one morning, Chris and Cam tried a little science experiment.  After getting one of Chris' t-shirts wet, ringing it out and putting it on a hanger, they hung it outside on the front porch.  It only took a few minutes for the garment to flash freeze into an icy hardened shirt that nearly "stood up" by itself.

By the time Friday rolled around, cabin fever had set in.  Fortunately, we were honored to be invited to a dinner celebration for Miss Amanda and Nick's engagement.  It was hosted by Nick's family at a local restaurant, Brann's.  We had quite a crew assembled: Miss Amanda's family including Aunt Carol and Uncle Jim as well as Nick's family and our family.  Cam was sporting his new hat "Boverhof Builders" a gift from Uncle Jim and Aunt Carol depicting their business name.  They certainly did a nice job keeping our son occupied as we waited for food to arrive.
Nick's sister, Brooke, has been to Cam's baseball games as well as the Halloween parades.  We think Cam may have a little crush on her :)

The next morning, we had a big day planned.  A few months ago, Mary Free Bed offered a sign up for Adaptive Skiing at our local ski area, Cannonsburg.  The event description- An invigorating schuss down the slopes provides both a good physical workout and social networking opportunities. Downhill skiing is available to individuals with various types of disabilities. Professional volunteers are provided by the Cannonsburg Challenged Ski Association, a chapter of Disabled Sports/USA.

An instructor is paired with the adaptive skier and they're able to hit the slopes for an entire two hours.  We arrived at 9:30a ready for 10 o'clock start time.  Cam was assigned to Rick, his instructor and Rick's son, Ben, who acted as the 'blocker' making certain others don't ski too close.  As an added bonus, Chris brought his snowboard and was offered a discounted lift ticket to join in the fun.  Since he was able to board alongside, he captured some great video of Cam in action!  Although Cam wasn't sure at first, after his first run down, he declared "This is awesome!"  Over and over again, up the chairlift and down the slopes they went.

Afterwards, we were able to warm up in the lodge and have lunch before getting ready to go.  In the meantime, one of our local news crews had arrived.  Mary Free Bed asked if we would chat with them to talk about our experience.

Here's the link to the Wood TV8 story:
Cannonsburg! Click here

From Wood Radio: A partnership between Cannonsburg Ski Area and Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital allowed a group of kids with special abilities to hit the slopes on Saturday. Specialized equipment like downhill ski sleds and arm riggers helped to ensure that children of all abilities shredded down the slopes. Jane Weatherford is no stranger to the challenges her son, Cam, faces. While he is typically bound to his power chair, on Saturday, he was free. “Having that freedom. Like anyone else, skiing,” Weatherford said. “Having that freedom of sitting and being able to go down the hill like everybody else on skis, it's incredible." No mogul too sick, no bump too gangly. “What’s important for us, too, is that community at large sees the inclusiveness and the inclusion of people who normally don't have the ability to do things like this,” Weatherford said. Things any kid would enjoy like something just as simple as freedom – and going fast.

On Sunday, we hosted a small SuperBowl viewing with our neighbors and friends, while feasting on wings, homemade french fries and a various assortment of other 'not so healthy' items to munch on.
The football game wasn't too exciting for Cam, and lucky for him, his buddy Emma decided to join in for quite a few rounds of the board game "Guess Who?" which has become his favorite.

Before the end of the evening, Cam made certain Jane had sent out an email about adaptive skiing, ensuring we knew when signup would take place for the next season.  Our son may be excited about hitting the slopes next year, but his parents are even more giddy about the possibility for our family to participate in a sport available to us all.

Camology Quotes:

On Saturday, when we arrived at Cannonsburg, it was still below freezing, but by the time were ready to leave a little after 12p, the parking lot had turned into a slushy mess.  As we waited in line to drive up the hill to exit, we realized we would be waiting quite some time as we watched one vehicle after another become stuck.
Cam, in his infinite wisdom, announced:
"This is not my idea of fun."  
"Someone needs to call the police."

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Spectacular Sledding - Week of Jan. 21st

Advice is like snow - the softer it falls, the longer it dwells upon, and the deeper it sinks into the mind. ~Samuel Taylor Coleridge 

Technology keeps us connected.
Cam's teacher uses an application called "Seesaw" where she will post pictures of Cam on Jane's private profile for easy viewing and download.  Our curious son has definitely taken a liking to science and it continues to be one of his favorite subjects.  Playing some indoor soccer with classmates is a bonus as well.
Cam and Ms. Jo working on science

On Saturday, our good friends Greg & Jill, with their kids Lucas and Leila made the trek from Fruitport to try some backyard sledding!
Chris and Greg met in college, Jane and Jill became fast friends after being introduced and now all of the kids get to play together.
The crisp air was chilly, but there was no wind in the early afternoon, which allowed us all to enjoy multiple rides down the hill.  With Cam's cool toboggan sled, allowing for an extra tag-along on the back, Jane and Chris were able to take turns providing a two-for-one special.
The snow tube was a big hit with everyone.  It picked up speed at the bottom of the hill each time.  Lucas and Leila and their parents managed to all pile on together, but bailed out when the tube started going sideways.
Since they had gone first, one might assume others were paying attention.

As Chris and Cam took their turn, the snow tube headed a bit off the path to the right which would lead one careening into the woods.
As they veered in that direction, Jane and Greg ran to intervene.  While Cam was laughing, with his head facing downhill, Chris asked Jane "why didn't you take a picture?"  Hmmm, why indeed? :)

Camology Quotes:
Our musical son has taken to singing along with popular songs.  Since he's been learning the words, he apparently decided to take his own turn at composition. 

"♪♫My mom is nice...  My dad is nice... Yeah Yeah ..You Know It!"
And there are many variations, apparently...
"♪♫I love my mom..  My dad is funny... Yeah Yeah ..You Know It!"

Sunday, January 20, 2019

The Ice Factor - Week of Jan. 14th

"We didn't realize we were making memories, we just knew we were having fun." ~Unknown

As time passes, memories do fade.
Perhaps when Cam's parents were in grade school, they experienced pajama days, but neither one recall doing so.

Full of school spirit, our son was happy to comply with the request to arrive at school dressed in his pj's.
A school project completed this week was entitled "The Best Part of Me" in which Cam indicated.. "I like my brain! With my brain I can learn.  It makes me special because it helps me listen to my teachers."

After experiencing a somewhat mild winter, the tables have turned and a cold blast has arrived.  Monday morning was a balmy -4 degrees on the thermometer!  Due to some rain and then a hard freeze, Cam was home from school because of widespread cancellation as it appeared everything was completely iced over.

Miss Amanda spent Martin Luther King Jr. day with her buddy since both of their schools were closed in honor of MLK, Jr.  Cam participated by providing service to others, helping Miss Amanda with her wedding planning activities.  The pair conducted research the better part of the day, as Cam assisted with keeping things organized and searching for information.  He may just be the only eleven-year-old volunteer wedding consultant!

"Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?'" ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

Camology Quotes:
Our difficult sleeping has continued due to inflammation in Cam's knee, but our son's mood has stayed relatively happy during the day. Due to sleep deprivation, though, he did have a few negative instances this week.  He seemed quite reflective on Saturday.

"I have the nicest Mom and Dad."
"And we know we have the nicest son."
"Your son is nice, but sometimes he has his moments."

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Oh Sleep, Where Art Thou? - Week of Jan. 7th

“What hath night to do with sleep?” ~ John Milton

Sleep has alluded us all this week, but for good reason.
As much fun as our bowling venture was, it turns out, it wasn't a good idea for Cam's leg.  Since he
was in bowling shoes and not his orthotics, he was weight-bearing on his left leg for every frame of 2 games.  Even though it was a short period of time for standing, his leg was sore upon arrival home.
Each night, Cam's sleep seemed to turn progressively worse, and we kept him home from school both Tuesday and Friday after he was awake nearly every hour each night before.
On Tuesday, Chris took the day to hang out with his son and Jane was on duty for Friday. Both parents took time to play Cam's favorite game of "Guess Who" which he is very good at!
After consulting with his doctors and specialists, the recommendation to seek x-rays came at 2pm on Friday afternoon.
Ms. Patti, our dear friend, stopped by with the largest Starbuck's coffee ever and Cam and Jane explained the week's events and latest request from the docs.  Patti mentioned there was an Orthopedic Urgent Care just 10 minutes away and they could do x-rays!  We followed her there and she got us settled and looked at books with Cam.  In Jane's sleep-deprived state, she could not thank Ms. Patti enough!  X-rays were fine but the doc determined Cam's left leg muscles were inflamed and prescribed a round of steroids.  The prescription began Saturday morning and Saturday evening was the first night of semi-normal sleep (only awake 3 times) Cam had had in almost two weeks.
For someone who was maintaining very little rest, our son was still quite chipper (much more so than his parents!) during the day.
He and Chris honed their harvesting skills by playing Farming Simulator on the XBox with Cam's Adaptive Controller.  Chris noted that possibly this summer, we should look at investing in some farmland, since these two are now apparent expert farmers!

Camology Quotes:

Auntie Karen's birthday present of Science Passports is the gift that keeps on giving.  Every month a new box arrives and our curious Cam cannot wait to delve into the contents.
This month was the Electricity Lab which Chris and his son completed. Each task also outlines the reasoning behind how it works....and Cam is a very good listener.
"Cam, this experiment is really cool.  Your mom wants to know how it works."
"The copper wires in the lemons make it work."
"But how does it generate electricity?"
"Because of the electrons, Mom!"

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Bowling Over the New Year - Week of Dec. 31st

Mr. Steve, Biala and Cam
"Bowling is not a sport because you have to rent the shoes." ~ George Carlin
"It's not how you bowl.  It's how you roll." ~ Unknown

On the last day of 2018, we made our way to the Northview Bowling center in Grand Rapids.  Our group was comprised of our family, the Raisch's and friend, Biala, as well as the Flegels.  The 4pm package included two hours of bowling, a large pizza per lane and two pitchers of soft drinks.  We weren't able to secure a ramp for Cam's chair, so his strong dad carried him to the lane each and every time it was his turn.  Cam used a bowling assistance ramp to push the ball down.  He won the first game and just about won the second as well.  It was our 11 year old's first time wearing bowling shoes for the venture.  Cam indicated his leg was sore by the end of the time from all of the standing on the lane.  It was such fun for all of us to be together to say goodbye to 2018.
Chris and Jane quietly rang in 2019 back at home and their son was asleep before 10pm.

Cam was into his second week of holiday break from school and Miss Amanda was able to hang out with him Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.  The milder weather even allowed for a couple of outdoor strolls for the two.  They spent quite a bit of their time playing new games Cam received for Christmas.

Over the weekend, we watched the Rose Bowl with the Raisch's and feasted on stuffed pasta shells and salad.
After dinner,
Emma and Cam joined Chris and Jane in a game of Codenames.  The goal is to provide a one word clue and have your partner guess the words associated with it.  The game itself is quite intriguing since so many words have dual meaning.

As we bid farewell to 2018, we look forward to the new year and all of its possibilities!

Camology Quotes:

We know Cam picks up words and sayings from friends, classmates, and the community at large.  We always chuckle when he uses a phrase in seemingly perfect comedic timing.
On a trying morning of 'one thing after another' Jane was thankful for Cam being mindful and waiting for her time.

Thank you for being so patient with me, Cam.
"All in a day's work, Mom!"

Sunday, December 30, 2018

For the Love of Christmas - Week of Dec. 24th

"Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love." ~Hamilton Wright Mabie

The morning of Christmas Eve, Jane and Cam had a field trip planned.  Heidi's Farmstand, our favorite fresh vegetable, fruit and baked goods store was only open one more day before closing until May of 2019, their typical cycle due to harvesting.  We've been frequenting the Farmstand for 9 years and Ms. Pat has been working there even longer.  We had to wait for Cam to be out of school, since she only works in the mornings, to plan our visit.  Ms. Pat has saved our Christmas cards year after year and always tells Cam he is an inspiration!  She even treated our 11-year-old to a freshly baked donut of his choice.  What a great way to start the day.

Oma and Opa arrived in the afternoon and we all made our way to Thornapple Covenant Church for the traditional Christmas Eve service at 4pm.  The familiar carols brought to life by live instruments and all of us singing was Cam's favorite.  We enjoyed our annual Raisch family homemade chicken noodle soup and bread for dinner afterwards.
After sharing fruit and Christmas cookies, we settled into the living room to chat.  These four sisters have been a part of our lives since before Cam was born.  Even though two are now in college, seeing them all together feels extra special.

The next morning, Christmas Day, we relaxed and eased into the revealing of stockings and unwrapping presents.  A few notable surprises for Cam from Oma and Opa- a heated mattress pad for our son's bed and over-sized wooden dominoes.  Family gifts included an air fryer, sound bar for the tv, a cordless vacuum, Cricut crafting machine, cordless glue gun and portable printer.

Well before Christmas, Auntie Karen saw a commercial for the new adaptive controller from Microsoft for the Xbox One and told us she wanted to give it to Cam.  The gift is priceless because it allows our son to be independent, make choices and have control over the buttons!

Oma, Jane and Cam headed out to see the ballpark lights the next evening.  As you drive through, the displays are beautifully arranged.  Cam's favorite was the manger scene and there were too many arrangements set up to count them all.   The entire drive only takes about 15 minutes but the sparkling assortment was well worth the price of admission.

Three days after the holiday, we welcomed aunts, uncles and cousins into our home for the annual Jellema Family Holiday Party.  Typically, we engage in sledding fun and some outdoor activities.  However, the green grass can still be seen in our yard, so an indoor snowball fight downstairs (with fluffy fake orbs) had to suffice.

After sharing a buffet meal and conveniently, while all of the younger cousins were downstairs, jingle bells were heard and Santa Claus arrived at our home with a bag filled with two presents each per kid.  Watching the wide-eyed children squeal with excitement is a tradition that's been going on in this extended family for almost 40 years.

Oma and Opa helped us all week, keeping things tidy, making store runs, and most importantly, hanging out with Cam.

The gifts given and received between us range from the most useful to creative and just plain fun.

We are thankful for them all and most thankful for the people who give of themselves every day in our lives by their constant support, heartfelt kindness and true thoughtfulness.
Camology Quotes:

Brody, Cam's best buddy from school, requested a playdate with Cam on Sunday afternoon.  Due to the difficulty of having Cam's powerchair enter other's homes, this was a rare request.  To say Cam was excited was a bit of an understatement!

"Mom, this is the first time a school friend has asked just me to come over.  It is so special!"