Sunday, December 30, 2012

Merry Christmas 2012! - Week of Dec. 24th

It was much to Cameron's advantage that the Family Holiday party fell on the calendar two days before Christmas this year.  This meant that Cam's grandparents were able to stay at his house for 3 days!  As far as presents go, this was definitely one of his favorites. Christmas Eve was spent with our good friends, the Raisch family, first at church for a beautiful musical service and then at their home for a delicious dinner.

For Cam, this was the first year that stockings were "hung by the chimney with care" since his house now has a fireplace.  After a restful night of sleep, a very excited boy woke up and didn't even have to wait for Oma and Opa to arrive, since they were sleeping downstairs.
It took quite some time to unwrap all of the gifts and of course, Cam offered to help everyone else remove the shiny paper from theirs!  It's always difficult to decide what is more enjoyable- giving or receiving.  Each year, Cam gives Oma a photo calendar and she gives Cam a personalized book where he is the main character!
Chris & Jane had fun opening a present from the grandparents- a comfy red chair....which Cam immediately claimed was his!
With new toys and books, puzzles and cars, Cameron stayed quite busy this week.   He is very thankful for all of his gifts, and is also blessed by the many people in his life who give of themselves.         
I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.  ~Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas Party x 2 - Week of Dec. 17th

"The best effect of fine persons is felt after we have left their presence." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

This time of year, although busy and sometimes hectic, also gives us the opportunity to visit and spend time with those we love and hold dear.

Cameron finished up his last week of school before winter break and one of the buddies in his class showed up sporting a handsome flannel shirt too!  We have to pass along a special thanks to Miss Kathy for capturing the pic of the friends.

Cam's 'Auntie Amanda' and 'Uncle Mark' drove in from Ann Arbor to hang out with the family for a couple of days.  Cameron showed off his walking skills and using the Ipad.  Amanda and Mark were very impressed!  The families also exchanged gifts and the U of M collection of clothes was perfect for these football fans!  Cameron has a sweet looking Michigan warm-up suit that he promptly wanted to put on the minute he opened it.

Saturday was a celebration with Auntie Jo and Will.  The boys both asked for books for Christmas and both must have been very good guys because Cam and Will received some great reading material.  Many thanks to our Auntie Jo and Will for a delicious lunch and quality time spent with two of our favorite people!

Sunday marked the day of the annual Jellema Cousins Christmas Party.  For the very first time, it was held at Cam's house!  This event has taken place for over 30 years and every year there is usually more than 30 relatives making an appearance.
Besides the good company, food and cheer, this celebration includes a special guest- Santa!  While the children are busy in another room, sleigh-bells are heard and Mr. Claus appears with presents for the younger generation.
Everyone had a chance to sit on Santa's lap and the white-bearded man graciously answered such questions as "why were you at the mall?" and "did you have a rough trip?"  Our littlest baby cousin, Gavin, even let Santa hold him without any protest!

A special gift that Cameron is shown holding is from cousin Annie- a blue stuffed animal that says "my little monkey" which has always been Annie's nickname for her Cam.
Our cousins, aunts and uncles are so very special to us and we're grateful for the opportunity to share the spirit of the season with them all!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

My Gingerbread House - Week of Dec. 10th

Holiday festivities were on Cameron's agenda this week...including a couple of visits with Santa...
A morning trip to see the white-bearded man at the Woodland Mall resulted in extra time with Mr. Claus, who was quite endearing and sweet with Cam.
Cameron told Santa he wanted some books for Christmas and we are thankful that his parents love of the written word is also a favorite of their son's.

Cam was invited to the annual Mary Free Bed holiday party.  He saw a giant Rudolph, the Gingerbread Man (missing one shoe, which gave Cam a big laugh!) and other characters.  Plenty of activities keep all of the kids busy- a cookie decorating room, balloon animal guy, face painting, just to name a few.
The balloon man made Cameron a monkey and a visit to Santa produced a wrapped gift, which Mary Free Bed gives to every child who attends.  An electronic dinosaur was inside the box and Cam liked the present very much.  Stella, the cat, on the other hand, still runs away from it.

With multiple trips away from home, it was fun to hang out with Grandma and decorate a gingerbread house.  The kit certainly includes everything one needs to "build" the house of cookies and candy.  We're not sure how anyone could get it to look like the picture on the box, but we all think it still looks very tasty.

This week, we proudly displayed Cameron's Christmas stocking on our fireplace mantle for the first time.  It was made by his sweet cousin, Katie, who captured all of her buddy's favorites in needlepoint.  On this stocking you find Elmo, mac-n-cheese, goldfish crackers, Stella, the beach, a McDonald's milkshake, cookies, and other treasures. 

Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.
~Calvin Coolidge

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Holiday Mode - Week of Dec. 3rd

As a family, we have had the benefit of so many people being connected to Cameron.  As Cam's parents, we feel most fortunate to be blessed with a boy who lights up a room with his smile, make us laugh on a daily basis, and brightens everyone's day.

One of Cam's connections is his nanny, Miss Katherine.  She helps Cameron create different crafts and activities, works on his stretching, and challenges him in so many ways.  Beyond these talents, she is also a gifted photographer.  We were most fortunate to have her agree to take our holiday photos again this year.  Thanks again, Katherine!!

We had a new visitor to our backyard this week- a neighborhood fox that keeps popping up around the area.  Our cat, Stella, and Cam were both quite intrigued by the sly animal's presence.

To fully engage in the holiday spirit, Jane and Cam met up with Auntie Jo and Will over the weekend to drive through the "Nite Lights" display at our local ballpark.  It is a mile long animated drive-thru light show.  The boys enjoyed their time together and their moms had the advantage of a little girl time.

Below is a preview of our holiday card coming to your mailbox soon!

5x7 Folded Card
View the entire collection of cards.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

It's Beginning to Look a lot like Christmas... Week of Nov. 29th

I like to compare the holiday season with the way a child listens to a favorite story. 
The pleasure is in the familiar way the story begins, the anticipation of familiar turns it takes, the familiar moments of suspense, and the familiar climax and ending.
~Fred Rogers

Cameron was quite busy helping his parents with the Christmas tree.  Stella, the cat, and Cam took turns playing in the big tree box.

The amount of ornaments seems to be growing each year (quite possibly because Jane and Grandma keep acquiring them...) so it takes a little longer to trim the tree.  Cameron was feeling a bit under the weather this week, so relaxation on the couch was in order.  Apparently, Stella the cat was feeling left out and needed to cuddle as well.                                                             

Friday included a checkup for Cam where he received four immunizations plus his flu shot.  Jane couldn't believe it when her brave boy didn't even let out a whimper!  The nurse who administered all of those shots certainly looked relieved when Cam said bye to her and even blew her a kiss.
Grandma and Grandpa (Oma and Opa) both arrived on Friday afternoon to spend the evening and celebrate Oma's birthday!  Happy Birthday Oma!! Cam even had a chance to hang out with Opa and watch a little golf.

With all of the activity, a planned play date was something Cameron didn't want to give up.  His classmate and friend, Karlee, spent the afternoon on Saturday hanging out with her pal.  They went for a walk with Chris, played trains with Jane and laughed at the same jokes in Blues Clues.   Karlee told Jane she likes to play with Cam because they like a lot of the same things and he is a good friend.

And in the simplest of terms, what other criteria does one need for a buddy?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Gobble, Gobble! - Week of Nov. 19th

As the Turkey Day neared, Katherine and Cameron were busy making Thanksgiving cards for the family.  Cam's nanny certainly is creative using Cam's handprint to make these cute turkeys!

Our Thanksgiving tradition is to ride north to Cam's grandparents home on Lake Michigan.  This year, the Michigan weather fooled us all by providing a 60 degree day complete with sunshine!   However, the big lake still whips the wind around so it didn't quite feel like 60 degrees on the deck...

Cousin Annie & Cam sharing a joke
After taking some holiday photos, we all went over to Aunt Joyce and Uncle Joe's to join more cousins to celebrate.  As a family, we feel so grateful to be surrounded by so many who support and love Cam so much.  Here is his list...(with a little help from his parents) of
Cam's Top 10 Thankful Things:
1. Family (Dad, Mom, Oma, Opa- all aunts, uncles, and cousins.. including Coco's dogs)
2. Friends (Katherine, Emma, Auntie Jo, Will, friends at school) and ALL of you reading this blog!
3. Caregivers & Teachers (Miss Lisa, Miss Ann, Miss Kathy, Miss Liz, Miss Felicia)
4. Crackers
5. Chocolate
6. Culver's, Moe's and McDonald's (my favorite fine dining establishments)
7. Curious George, Blue's Clues, Berenstain Bears (this order changes daily)
8. Books
9. Going to the store
10. Giggles & Laughter- every day

As a group, we put a dent into our turkey day dinner which consisted of 3 turkeys, 17 potatoes (mashed), green bean casserole, creamed corn, cranberry sauce, cornbread, two kinds of stuffing and gravy...followed by pie choices- pumpkin, sweet potato, pecan and even a cheesecake!

Guess we all should've made a couple of laps down to the beach like Chris and Cam to work off all of that food!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Listening Ears - Week of Nov. 12th

"When people talk, listen completely.  Most people never listen."   ~ Ernest Hemingway

"Be a good listener.  Your ears will never get you in trouble." ~Frank Tyger

Cameron looks forward to every school day.  He has an opportunity to see his friends, work on activities and enjoy playtime.  Chris and Jane are always proud of their son and seeing his "listening ears" used at school certainly does make a parent smile!

Sometimes, Cam even has some homework to do such as this gluing and creative project that he completed at his house and brought back to school.

There are some interests Cameron has, though, that don't involve schoolwork...
One of those is decorating cookies!
Grandma ("Oma") brought the ingredients to make homemade frosting and Cam was very eager to help.  He was very careful to first put the yummy green concoction on top of the cookie before adding the delicious sprinkles.

As everyone knows, the art of decorating requires very careful taste-testing and Cam is one kid who never passes up a tasting opportunity!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

My First Marathon - Week of Nov. 5th

Some folks say you have to walk before you run... but not in all cases.
Katherine & Cam preparing for "race day"

Downtown GR.1K Race
This weekend, Cameron took part in his first marathon, a .1K Race!

Yes, .1K is about 120 yards, a little longer than a football field.  Cam's nanny, Katherine, told us all about the race and her personal connection.  Katherine volunteers at a muscular dystrophy camp every summer.  The GR .1K race is a charity event to help in the battle to end Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.  It was an unseasonably warm day and Cam wanted to bring out the Commander Cam shuttle one last time! 

Chris and Jane took turns running with Cam and there was even a hydration station for those folks that just needed to stop for a drink of water!  It was such a fun family event and one we hope to participate in every year.

The weekend also brings extra time to hang out with good friends.  Our buddies and neighbors spent Sunday afternoon and evening with us.  Cam taught Emma and Sarah how to play one of his favorite games on the ipad called "Giggle Ghosts"- you have to tap on a ghost to make it giggle as it floats by on the screen.

Living in Michigan, you become accustomed to the changing weather patterns.  In one week, we experienced a 70 degree day as well as a 40 degree day.  But either way, it always brings a smile to your face to see the sunshine on a crisp, fall day!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Blast Off to Halloween! - Week of Oct. 29th

Cameron's parents don't recall ever going "Trunk-or-Treating" during October when they were growing up.  So, it was exciting for the entire family to attend their first Trunk or Treat outing at a local church.  If you haven't been exposed to one of these events, it's when several families get together in the church parking lot, park their cars, and cleverly decorate their trunks.  They pass out candy to kids who have the advantage of collecting Halloween treats in a safe, confined area, and in a short amount of time.

Cam and his buddy, Will, made their way around to each trunk. A big thanks to Auntie Jo and Will for trying out this new event.

Chris completely outdid himself this Halloween by creating the Space Shuttle CamMobile, piloted by Commander Cam!  The shuttle was built and painted by Chris and Cam.  When Jane wondered why there was some black paint on the front of the space module, Chris explained that it was from "re-entry."  The space suit, identification card and space fabric were Jane's contribution.  Cameron's ID card read: "Commander Cam" - Official Space Commander of  CamMobile Missions & AfterParty.

October 31st, although gloomy outside, ended up being such a bright afternoon and evening!
FTCH, where Cameron's Dad works, has trick or treating festivities in the warm, dry office every year!  Cam showed off his shuttle to many oohs and ahhhs by adults and kids. 

While Cam enjoyed collecting treats inside, he couldn't wait to see his buddies and go trick-or-treating outside.  Emma and her sisters as well as other neighborhood kids all banded together to go door to door.  In the evening, the space shuttle lights nicely led the way!  The backside rocket boosters were a pretty cool effect lit up too. 

Cam's buddy, Emma, stayed with him the entire time, asking the other kids to wait...mostly because Jane had to chat with all the neighbors!
The race down the empty street was one of the highlights for Cam with Emma on one side and Chris on the other.  Even with the downhill fun, the treats all stayed intact.  Cameron held onto his Halloween bucket very tightly this year and made certain that each piece of candy stayed inside.

Being the sweet boy he is, though, Cam still let his parents pick out a few of their own favorites from his big pile of treats!