Sunday, June 9, 2019

5th Grade Farewell - Week of June 3rd

“How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” ~ A.A. Milne
"Sunsets are proof that endings can be beautiful too." ~Anonymous

It's hard to believe the last week of school was upon us.  Since Thursday was a half day for Cam, it was determined to be the best afternoon for the annual end of school cookout.
Ms. Kendra (OT) and Ms. Kate
(Speech) from K-4
This was Year 5 for the backyard party and even though our fifth grader changed schools from lower elementary to the 5/6 building, Cam insisted that his teacher friends from K-4 still be invited to the festivities.

It was a warm afternoon, but not too hot with just enough cloud cover for a pleasant deck experience.  Due to schedules, only one of Cam's classmates could attend- his best school buddy, Brody.  However, his teachers, Ms. Barbara and Ms. Kathy and aide, Ms. Cris and daughter Mary Jo, Ms. Kendra and Ms. Kate from Meadow Brook were all there.
And this year's crew from Northern Trails 5/6 were in full force- teacher Ms. Konkle along with her team of Ms. Jo, Mrs. Holt and Mrs. Tietema.  We are thankful Cam will have Ms. Konkle again in the fall for 6th grade.
We also celebrated Ms. Amanda being offered and accepting a job as a kindergarten teacher at Meadowlawn Elementary.  We're so excited she'll have her own class.  Cam is excited to help organize her classroom this summer!

Friday's half day signified the final day of 5th grade for Cam.  Chris and Jane decided to celebrate with their son by taking him out to a new place for dinner.  Buddy's Pizza, which originated in Detroit, now has a restaurant on 28th Street in Grand Rapids.
Buddy continues to serve The Original Detroit Style Pizza, made from scratch soups, and Antipasto salad. Over time they've added a variety of items to their menu including gluten-free pizza, multi-grain crust, pastas, burgers, sandwiches and more - each prepared just as they would have been in 1946 — with the freshest ingredients and an acute attention to detail. 
It was such a nice evening, we decided to eat outside.  We all declared it was delicious and determined we'd definitely be back.

On Sunday, Jane celebrated a "decade" birthday with her boys.  It was also the day of the Grand Rapids Triathlon, which meant that driving on the road leading out was highly discouraged due to all of the runners.  Chris and Cam went to check out the race and were quickly volunteered as helpers to assist with passing out water and alerting the runners to available power snacks on the table.
After they finished their impromptu volunteering stint, it was a perfect, relaxing day for the whole family.  Jane could hardly believe it when her husband and son presented her with a picture book for her bday, including a snapshot of her present to be delivered in 2 weeks- a hot tub!  Talk about being blown out of the water...

Camology Quotes:
Cam is always cognizant of the happiness of others and continuously interested in technology.

"Mom, you are the the most beautiful mom I could have!"

"Thank you, Cam. Let's figure out who else has a birthday today." 

When Jane pulled up Google and moused over, she couldn't believe it! 'Happy Birthday, Jane!'

"Mom, how in the world does Google know it is your birthday?!"

Sunday, June 2, 2019

CamMobile II - Week of May 27th

"The value of an idea lies in the using of it."  "To have a great idea, have a lot of them."   "Our greatest weakness lies in giving up.  The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time."  ~ Thomas Edison

A need is typically born out of necessity.  And necessity breeds ingenuity and creativity.
Spending time on the beach as a family has always been a requirement for us.  The creation of the 'CamMobile' was a direct result of that prerequisite.  A typical beach wheelchair starts at $2,000 and can be upwards of $5,000.  Since it is considered recreational, it is not a cost covered by insurance.
Because Chris and his son are quite the handy team, they designed and built the first CamMobile in the summer of 2013.  Now, six years later, it was time for a new one since Cam has grown quite a bit.  The duo worked over the course of two weeks in the hopes that the new Mobile will debut next weekend!

On Friday, it was back to work after school for our eleven-year-old at Grand Valley State University working with the graduate students.  They asked Cam a variety of questions and worked on some stretching and sitting.  At one point, a student name Erick said, "So Stam..." and Cam could not stop laughing (nor could the rest of us) for quite a few minutes.

We were most fortunate to welcome 'Auntie' Karen Friday evening.  She had planned on attending Cam's last baseball game of the season on Saturday.  Lucky for us, a rental snafu meant she was hanging out with us for the week.

Saturday morning, the weather looked a bit suspect.  Since it was the final WMML game of season, we knew they wouldn't want to cancel.  The volunteers on the schedule- Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation HospitalšŸ˜ƒ  We arrived to find Janae, our Mary Free Bed buddy who we had just seen the day before at Grand Valley!  She was excited to be Cam's helper for the game.
With the impending storm clouds and the rumble of thunder, a decision was made to conduct the medals ceremony first.  Each player receives a medal designating the season and year for WMML.
Our Cam Fans were in full force led by Auntie Karen, former teacher Ms. Kathy and her husband Kevin, as well as cousin Mike.  After a short rain delay, Cam's team was able to play a full inning and both teams were up to bat once.  Our ball player was all smiles as he headed for home plate.
They cut the game short as everyone dashed for their vehicles as the rain began to pour down in sheets.  We should've known because on our drive to ballpark, Cam was watching the sky through the window and declared, "So, this does not look good!"

Camology Quotes:
When father and son tackle a project, they often talk through issues to find a solution.  Chris was puzzling how to re-create handles for the CamMobile and make them movable.
"Dad, why don't you look at my old blue stroller.  It folds up just like you are thinking."
"Cam, seriously, that is a great idea.  Wish I would've thought of it!"

Sunday, May 26, 2019

School Pals - Week of May 20th

“Are we going to be friends forever?’ Asked Piglet. ‘Even longer,’ Pooh answered.” ~ A.A. Milne 
“What is a friend? A single soul dwelling in two bodies.” ~ Aristotle

Kahlil Gibran wrote about friendship and captured it perfectly in his poetry when he said:  "And in the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures. For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed."  Isn't it so true that our friends do help us feel renewed?  Cam is fortunate to have good buddies at school and we hope the bond they have shared only continues into adulthood.

This week, we entered into a new project- Brody's Be Cafe.  Cam's best buddy at school, for quite a few years now, is Brody and his mom, Jenny, is trying to start a non-profit cafe where special needs kids will be employed with mentors working alongside them.  It's a tall order, but there are so many ready and willing to help spread the word for funding.  Cam is excited that Jenny has promised him a job when he's old enough to work and until then he can volunteer and begin to learn the business.  Jane has agreed to be a board member and help with any marketing she can.  Miss Konkle, Brody and Cam's teacher, was inspired to set up a fundraiser with her class leading the way.
Speaking of great teachers, we had a surprise visit on Thursday evening when Cam's former Meadow Brook team walked up our driveway after another engagement they had at our neighbor's house.  The team of Ms. Barbara, Ms. Kate and Ms. Kendra (SpEd teacher, speech path and OT respectively) sure did make Cam's day! Even though our son is in a different school this year, he considers his elementary team his 'friends for life!'
Over the weekend, we asked Cam if he wanted to try sitting in his regular power chair since we were almost to the end of his surgical recovery.  He agreed and we were all pleasantly surprised at the ease of transition.  Cam felt so comfortable he wanted to stay in his good 'ole chair and enjoyed the independence of easily navigating around.

As the flowers continue to bloom and fill our yard with sweet scents and vibrant colors, we all need to stop and 'smell the roses' and experience the renewal our friendships and nature provides.

Camology Quotes:
Due to some post-surgery effects, Cam has requested after-school pickup instead of riding the bus home.  One afternoon, Jane arrived to find zero handicap parking spaces.  Cam's teacher decided to do something about it!

"Cam, look at this awesome sign!  It says "Reserved for the Weatherford Family!"
Being the rule-abiding citizen Cam is...
"Do the police know about this sign?"

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Fifth Grade Musical - Week of May 13th

"When all else fails, take a vacation." ~ Betty Williams

A big stage in an auditorium can conjure up excitement, nervousness and anticipation.  On Wednesday, we were cordially invited to attend the 5th grade musical entitled "I Need A Vacation!"  represented by the students wearing t-shirts with the same sentiment.
Cam was stage left and contributed his singing and participation.  The colorful crew of fifth graders put on quite a show for 35 minutes.
Upon exiting the auditorium, so many kids greeted Cam and his buddy Gerrit stopped too.  "I kind of feel like a star!" said our super happy son.
Lindsey, Adam, Caycie & Cam

Friday afternoon, Cam was back to his paying job at Grand Valley State University where he met with 3 PT graduate students. Their mission was to work on stretching and sitting since Cam's legs have been in a straight position for quite a few weeks due to the stabilizer pillow.  They were successful in their distraction techniques and the sitting time was so good for his leg muscles.  Dr. Lisa always asks "Professor" Cameron for his feedback.  He declared his students received an "A"for their time with him.

In addition, a previous student who worked with Cam, Miss Janae, appeared to surprise her buddy.  Janae is now graduated and working at Mary Free Bed.
She had to show her official MFB badge to Cam as proof!

Saturday morning was a bit chilly for baseball, but we bundled up and headed to the Miracle League in Rockford.  Oma and Opa were waiting for us and ready to brave the weather.  Ms. Patti arrived to cheer on Cam and we were also surprised to see Mr. Brandon (Lakeshore Barrier Free) and his wife, Erin.  Brandon and his company remodeled Cam's bathroom a couple of years ago and he's volunteered for our Halloween wheelchair costume building.
Oma and Opa came back to their grandson's house for lunch and had some time to play a round of the 'Guess Who' game with grandma.
Next up was Brody's birthday party at Sky Zone, an indoor trampoline park.  Cam couldn't do any bouncing due to his hip, but it's always fun to hang out with friends.
As a chocolate cake connoisseur, Cam declared Brody's cake was 'very delicious!'

Camology Quotes:
Cam continues to use our artificial intelligence friend, Alexa, to speak announcements throughout the household.  On one such occasion, he asked for his parents to come to a particular location in the house.  After a couple minutes, we heard this follow-on question.
"Mom and Dad, do you need a personal invitation?"
"(Dad) Yes, Cam.  I need a personal invitation."
"Ok, call 210031354 and ask for your personal invitation!"

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!"