Sunday, May 12, 2019

Chilly Celebrations - Week of May 6th

Brody & Cam
"Being a mom has made me so tired. And so happy." ~Tina Fey
"Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much." ~Helen Keller

Cam & Miss Cathy, teacher's aide
Even though we've entered into the month of May, the school requested that kids 'bundle up' for the field trip over to the minor league ballpark to see our West Michigan Whitecaps game mid-morning on Wednesday.  Not only did they have an opportunity to see the game, but they also ate lunch there.  Cam made his decision the previous night to have the kids meal of hot dog, chips, cookie and water.

Friday was a half day and Jane picked up her son from school a bit early so they could attend Miss Amanda's Awards Ceremony for college graduation.  We had never been to the Cornerstone University Chapel and it was a beautiful setting for the hour long event.  Amanda was graduating Cum Laude and Cam listened intently waiting to hear her name called.  Of course, there was a request to hold applause until everyone was announced.  Cam couldn't quite contain his excitement and the most important outcome was that Amanda could hear him.

On Saturday, we headed out to the West Michigan Miracle League for Cam's 11:15 ballgame.  Home Depot volunteers were in view and the helper who assisted our ball player last year found Cam again to hang out with him.  Catherine also mentioned that she sees Chris and his son at Home Depot when they are gathering materials for different projects.
Oma and Opa watched their grandson play and proudly saw him cross home plate twice.
After the game, we headed back to Cam's place for a tasty lunch of burgers and hot dogs.  Jane and Oma opened gifts from each other in honor of Mother's Day.  We know Cam is blessed to have such a loving grandma and Jane is equally blessed to have such a wonderful mom.

On Sunday, after Cam woke up, Chris and his son made a request for Cam's mom to go back to bed.  She gladly resigned.  The next thing Jane knew, it was 8am and Cam was asking her to come to the kitchen.
When she arrived, she was presented with two hanging flower baskets, a delicious 'take out' breakfast from one of our favorite places, Sundance, and a Starbuck's coffee.  And another treat was a musical playlist put together by Cam and his dad.  A song none of us had never heard before: "Mom" by Meghan Trainor was included in the variety.  The lyrics in part: "You might have a mom, She might be the bomb, But ain't nobody got a mom like mine.  Her love's till the end, She's my best friend..."  It's a very catchy tune and Cam thinks it's so good, he's been playing it over and over on Alexa.

The boys also surprised Miss Patti by dropping off a breakfast treat for her too and saying "Happy Mother's Day" to a great mom!

Sunday afternoon, Cam supervised Chris taking down a diseased tree.
Jane's son requested that together they needed to clean out the flower pots so "we can get ready to make it look like spring, Mom!"

Camology Quotes:

At school, Cam made a Mother's Day card and this video was uploaded to a school app for parents on Sunday.
"I made all of the words, Mom, and my teacher put it up on the screen for me."
"Thanks, Cam.  Without you, I wouldn't even be able to celebrate Mother's Day!"

Sunday, May 5, 2019

The Great Outdoors - Week of Apr. 29th

“How many slams in an old screen door? Depends how loud you shut it. How many slices in a bread? Depends how thin you cut it. How much good inside a day? Depends how good you live ’em. How much love inside a friend? Depends how much you give ’em.”   ~ Shel Silverstein

Cam has already found some lifelong friends, much like his parents.  His teachers over the years have taken note regarding how empathetic he is when it comes to his buddies.

Auntie Karen surprised us with a visit and gave us the most priceless gift of all- special time with just herself and Cam.  She traveled with us to see our son's WMML baseball game on Saturday.
We all braved the chilly morning and were thankful the sun made an appearance to help warm us up.
We decided to surprise Cam after the game by telling him we were taking him to Culver's for lunch.  He was obviously a little excited!

Saturday afternoon found Jane & Auntie Karen relaxing while Chris and his boy handled some outdoor work.  Cam's dad wanted to clean the gutters and his son was designated the safety supervisor.
A pot roast simmered all afternoon in the oven with potatoes and carrots.  The weather remained mild enough for us to enjoy dinner on the deck, followed by a tasty dessert!

We bid farewell to Auntie Karen Sunday morning, so thankful for her time with us and hoping for another visit soon.

Sunday afternoon brought more visitors: our friend Melissa and her son, Mason.  Melissa has many talents and one of them is styling hair.  With Cam's post-surgery setup and foam pillow, he can't currently sit in a barber's chair.  We thought Melissa would arrive with some scissors, but Cam had the full treatment.  Professional smock, men's clippers, and a buzzer along with the stylist scissors.  And the bonus for Jane: a deck-side haircut with no floor cleanup.

Chris, however, had to be a part of the fun.  He grabbed his powered leaf blower to quickly remove all of the cut hair, not only from the deck, but from Cam as well!

Camology Quotes:

As noted, Cam continues to use Amazon's Alexa and her artificial intelligence.  Sunday evening, Chris had set a timer on Alexa for cooking.  Cam had a brilliant idea...
"Alexa, change timer."
"Cam, what are you doing?"
"I am changing the timer so I can eat dinner sooner!"

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Bring on Baseball - Week of Apr. 22nd

Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after the other. ~Walter Elliot 

With recovery comes challenges and Cam has faced quite a few.  His pain is still noticeable but lessening every day.  We know it will get easier and for this we are grateful.
When Friday arrived, we decided it was time to take Cam out for a celebration.  Well, that task proved a bit more daunting that we expected...first stop at 5:45p was Buddy's, a new restaurant we all wanted to try.  Jane ran in to secure a reservation and the response was a one hour!  We drove a bit further to a favorite Mexican restaurant, El Arrieo's and the parking lot looked noticeably empty for a Friday eve- sign on the door indicated power was out...but, our final attempt was successful!  Texas Roadhouse was a 5-minute wait to be seated and Cam declared they had the best warm yeast rolls and cinnamon butter he had ever tasted!
It's a good thing we had a hearty dinner on Friday because Saturday was going to be quite busy indeed.  Opening day for West Michigan Miracle League was upon us.  Cam's spring team for 2019: the Cleveland Indians.  His 5-game schedule:
April 27@ 11:15 a.m. – Yankees v Indians
May 4 (Picture Day)@ 10:00 a.m. – Indians v Orioles 
May 11@ 11:15 a.m. – Diamondbacks v Indians
May 18@ 10:00 a.m. – Royals v Indians
June 1@ 11:15 a.m. – Cubs v Indians

It was pretty chilly for the first game, but the rain held off and the kids were excited to be back on the field.  Even with Cam in his recovery power chair, he is still able to use the cool batter box and drive around the bases.  The helpers from the Zeeland H.S. Boys Baseball team were on deck to assist.

We arrived home for lunch and then promptly got ready for our next event in downtown Grand Rapids.  Kaylee, Cam's Saturday night sitter, invited him to her GVSU ceremony to accept her Master's in Special Education.  Thankfully, Kaylee's parents saved seats for us so Cam had a great view and lots of room.

Because the master's degrees are announced before the undergraduates, we heard Kaylee's name called within the first hour and the look on Cam's face is shown to the right.  The festivities lasted almost two hours and Cam asked shortly after he heard Kaylee's name "why does she have to stay for the rest?  She already has her degree!"  Hmmm, we think many others may feel the same way. Afterwards, we gathered outside and waited to give congratulations.

Upon arrival home, it was obvious Cam had been pondering something.  His most pertinent question:  "Miss Kaylee graduated from Grand Valley, so why did they have the ceremony at The Van Andel Arena?!  That is not a University!"

Camology Quotes:

On Sunday, Chris and his son continued their home automation projects, resetting the ceiling fan in the bedroom to be able to ask Amazon's Alexa to turn it on and off.  Cam has become very adept at announcements and typically we will hear: "Alexa Announce: Mom and Dad, please come here because I need your help please."
Cam does have a tendency to announce run-on sentences and after so many seconds, he is unfortunately, cut off...without any apology from Alexa:)

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Hip Surgery, Round Two - Week of Apr. 15th

Pre-surgery outfit/styling
in new Phillies shirt from
the Schulze fam
Cam's new hardware after surgery
"Light at the End of the Tunnel: to be near the end of a difficult task."

The origin of this expression is unclear. Some sources say the idiom is first attested in the early 1900s. Others put it in the 1800s. Regardless, the idiom should call to mind a dark and dangerous tunnel. When one can see the light at the end of the tunnel, one knows how to get out, and that the end of the ordeal is almost there. The light symbolizes hope. 
It is possible that the U.S. President John F. Kennedy helped to popularize this expression when he used it in a speech about the Vietnam War.

We certainly felt like we were closer to that light as we began our week knowing surgery was around the corner.  After a very difficult night of sleep on Tuesday, we were hopeful our son would finally feel relief following his recovery.
Ms Patti comforts Cam
Chocolate-covered strawberries
& brownie pops from FTCH
On Wednesday, we arrived at the hospital with a new book from Auntie Leslie and an Amazon gift card from Auntie Karen.
Cam knows the drill of not having anything to eat the morning of a procedure.  His surgery was scheduled for 12:30pm and didn't actually start until after 1pm.  He was in recovery around 4p and then assigned a room on the fifth floor.  Eating was slow, but we were all thankful he didn't experience nausea.
Ms. Patti stopped in first, bringing a sweet frozen Frosty treat from Wendy's.  Cam was still quite sleepy and didn't even remember her being there.

Auntie Jo popped in to treat us to dinner in the hospital and visit with Cam.  Cousin Mike also surprised us with a hello to check in.

Helen DeVos Children's hospital provided the best care.  Aside from the restless sleep for vital checks and meds, it was a fairly good night.  We avoided a second night in the hospital since Cam was doing well.  He was released around 4pm on Thursday.  Cam's next 6 weeks involve recovery with a foam pillow that is velcro'd around each leg to provide stability for healing.  It remains in place 24 hours a day.  He will use an extra power chair that is bigger so healing will not be an issue.
We arrived home to find Oma already waiting.  Oma brought us two delicious baskets of fresh fruit and kept her grandson company.  We were grateful for her loving help.

Dinner was provided compliments of Aunt Betsy and Uncle Jon through a GR friend and we feasted on Cam's favorites- grilled chicken, mashed potatoes, broccoli, and fresh rolls- absolutely delicious and much appreciated.
Molly K and Cam
Saturday brought more visitors and more meals.  Auntie Jo and Will showed up after Will's soccer game (they won!) as well as a feast of a cheesy ranch spaghetti, chicken bacon casserole, deviled eggs, homemade cookies and a delectable fruit tray from Edible Arrangements- wow!

Later that same day, our sweet friend Molly K drove up with a homemade pasta meal, pumpkin blueberry muffins and cadbury eggs.
Easter Sunday, Oma and Opa came in from up north to spend the afternoon and night with us.  Oma and Cam colored eggs and we dined outside on our patio table for the first time this spring!  Steaks for the adults and a hot dog for Cam along with all the fixings made for a delicious Sunday dinner.  Oma made a chocolate mousse pie that tasted heavenly with Culver's frozen custard.
Amidst all of the activity, Cam was pretty worn out by Sunday evening.  The cards and gifts from well-wishers kept pouring in from cousins, friends and family.
Jane told Cam she responded to almost 20 text messages the day of his surgery from folks checking in.  As a family, when we're challenged with an obstacle, we always feel uplifted being surrounded by love and hope.
Important reminders from one of Jane's favorite authors, Kahlil Gibran:
"The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the greatest intention."
"Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens."

Camology Quotes:

Cam has been blessed since preschool with thoughtful teachers, true friends, and committed teams of individuals pushing for kindness and advocacy.  This video was created by Ms. Konkle and sent on Friday. "I cannot believe they did this.  It makes me feel so special!"

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Up in the Air - Week of Apr. 8th

Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine. ~Anthony J. D'Angelo 

No truer words resonate more than with Michiganders.
With the grass beginning to show its green hue, yard work was on the agenda for the boys.

The breeze picked up on Saturday and with the blustery wind it was time to break out the kite.  It lifted so high so quickly, we almost lost sight of it!  Cam liked driving a bit with his kite connected to his chair and seeing it almost dance in the air.
The beautiful blue sky and puffy clouds put us all in such a good mood. 

It is thought that the earliest use of kites was among the Chinese, approximately 2,800 years ago. The kite was said to be the invention of the famous 5th century BC Chinese philosophers Mozi and Lu Ban. By 549 AD, paper kites were being flown — in that year a paper kite was used as a message for a rescue mission.

On Sunday, though, our blue skies and sunshine seemed like a lifetime ago.  In the early afternoon, the white stuff started coming down and didn't stop or let up at all.

It was an indoor project day and Chris fished around in the attic while online with Cam via technology so he could see his dad's movements above him.

We enjoyed dinner with our Raisch friends and it was a tough go even getting up the driveway with the slushy snow making it difficult.

We all thought that quite possibly it may have been the latest snowfall Grand Rapids, Michigan had seen.  We were quite mistaken when we looked up the information online.  It turns out that both Grand Rapids and Lansing, Michigan have seen snow 10 times in May.
Back in 1923, Grand Rapids endured 5.5 inches of snow on May 9th!

Camology Quotes:

Cam loves working with his dad on any project.  Apparently, some are more exciting than others...
When the pair had strung Cat 6 cable from one end of the house to the other to test out connectivity, Jane was sitting in the living room and the boys were working in the hallway.
Isn't this fun? said Chris.  
"Yes, Dad."  (Chris proceeds to walk down the hallway)
"Mom, can I tell you a secret?"  
"Sure, Cam" said Jane.
"This isn't very fun."