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!"

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!"