Sunday, August 31, 2014

Practice, Practice - Week of Aug. 25th

With the start of the fall WMML baseball league just around the corner for Cam, it was time to get some practice in.  'Auntie' Roe stopped by for some batting lessons in the backyard.  Emma played an outfielder position.
The tee and bat were a birthday gift from Opa and Oma!

After some due diligence with sports, the indoor activity was decorating a unique sleeping box for Stella.  Emma decided the cat should have a nice pillow to sleep on and she and Cam colored the box, enticing her to want to slumber inside. It appears they did a great job, because Stella enters her new sleeping quarters on a daily basis.

Cameron was back at Grand Valley on Friday, anxious to meet some new graduate PT students.  Melissa and Zak worked with Cam and it turned out that Jane knew Melissa from a gym where they were both instructors.
As always, the time spent there was beneficial for everyone- Cam worked on stretching and "driving" a car through the car wash.  Melissa and Zak found creative ways to work with their "teacher" for the hour they were together.

On Sunday we arrived at Oma and Opa's ready for some beach time.  Unfortunately, the weather wasn't too cooperative as we were fogged in for most of the day.  The cousins were busy on the beach, though, attempting to remove a 60 ft log half buried in the sand.  Since Cam is a big fan of trucks and tools, it was interesting to watch the jetty pump push gallons of forced water into the sand to "dig" through it and raise the log.  It may have been a bit chilly as the afternoon wore on, but the entertainment factor and spending time with relatives warmed our hearts.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Summer..Please Don't Go - Week of Aug.18th

We are pleasantly surprised by the amount of wildlife we see around our home.  This unexpected visitor in our driveway didn't seem to want to leave.
Cam declared the fox was "silly" but that didn't force him into action either.  Apparently the blacktop was the ideal place for sunbathing.

The cottage provided a bit of sun time as well over the weekend.  Oma and Opa graciously hosted us again and we all enjoyed some extended relaxation.  The inflatable kayak is our favorite family toy and Chris found that he could completely stretch out in the boat.
Cam took turns riding and paddling with both of his parents.  Lake Michigan finally provided us with some bearable swimming temperatures and we all took turns splashing around.  Even with 75 spf on his skin, Cameron still manages to build a nice tan every summer!

It's no surprise that Oma is Cam's favorite beach playmate.  In a rare break from making sandcastles, racing boats, digging holes and playing in general, Cam and his grandma enjoyed being right in the water as they waited for the occasional wave to splash up like a sprinkler out of control.

It's this time of year when it seems summer moves into fast forward mode.  This quote sums it up: "Summer should get a speeding ticket!"
We said goodbye to visiting cousins and Cam said hello to one last birthday celebration.  The Schulze fam hosted us for dessert in honor of Cam.  Aunt Joyce even had a #7 candle atop a chocolate chip cookie cupcake filled with peanut butter and topped with chocolate frosting...and yes, it was unbelievably delicious!!  Many thanks for the sweet surprise...

Soak up the last days of summer and make it count!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Cam's 7th Birthday - Week of Aug. 11th

A smile that lights up the world!
Just in time for Cam's big day, his second front tooth fell out while he was sleeping this week.  It did not, however, deter him from eating or talking or being extremely excited about his birthday!

It was a busy week preparing for an afternoon ice cream sundae bar, cake, and chocolate fountain party!
Cam and Emma worked with Chris to fill the baseball jersey pinata full of candy.  Jane and Cam put together a baseball cup treat for each party-goer under the age of 10.

Each year, there seem to be so many changes, challenges and new experiences for Cameron.  As a tradition, the cake is usually modeled after a favorite "thing" he was introduced to during that time frame.  The WMML (West Michigan Miracle League) brought Cam into the world of baseball and helped him gain confidence and learn the game.  The edible picture on the cake (compliments of Ryke's) shows the pure joy that playing ball has brought.
Oma & Opa were such a big help!

Thanks for making the trek!
As family, friends and neighbors trickled in, the outdoor venue was the perfect setting- especially for a somewhat messy chocolate fountain!
'Auntie' Karen traveled from Chicago for the
special day and it shows that Cam was happy to see her!

Party guests made their own sundaes, had cake, and feasted at the fountain.  The pinata was expertly hung from the tree by Chris and every kid under 10 had a shot with a baseball bat.  Finally, Cam's buddy, Thad, placed the winning swing which broke the candy holder and the rest was emptied into the hands of the eager kids.

After that excitement, a semi-formal baseball game commenced in the backyard.
Cam and Jane batted together and made it around the bases.
We're not sure who won the game or even if anyone kept score, but all of the players and spectators seemed alright with that.

We are continuously overwhelmed by the love, support and generosity of our family and friends.  Cam opened so many wonderful cards and presents- lots of new chapter books, cool games, baseball accessories, and a donation to the WMML...truly, we are grateful to all.  Grandma Sue sent a "Cars" blanket, travel Trouble game, funny party glasses, and an activity book, all the way from Kansas.  Many Thanks to everyone!

Chris and Jane wanted to update Cam's bedroom for his 7th birthday- a new sports rug and curtains complement the handmade quilt shown on the bed.  The quilt was made by a friend who actually used to be one of Cam's bus drivers.  Jane saved many of Cam's favorite shirts and shorts from the last 4 years or so and Paula expertly designed and sewed the masterpiece together.  It is double-sided and we love that we're able to see pieces of Cam's childhood every day.

To paraphrase a quote from one of Cam's past favorites, Elmo, "I hope you always find a reason to smile."

Cam smiled his biggest smiles on his 7th birthday!

Find a reason to smile today and every day!!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Goodbye Tooth, Hello Watersports - Week of Aug. 3th

Cam has already experienced losing that first tooth, but when one of the big front teeth exited, he was very excited!  The second front one won't be far behind...

This week, Sabrina filled in for Cam care and was the eye-witness for Cam's self tooth extraction.  Cameron worked on some schooling, drew lots of pictures and played his favorite games.  As Sabrina heads back to U of M for the school year, we hope to see her again and thank her for hanging out with Cam!

Cam & Uncle Kev
Jane had Thursday off of work and took Cam and Emma to Lake Michigan for a day of fun in the sun.  The water was still a bit chilly, but that didn't deter the group from some kayaking and creek playing.

On Friday, Chris and Jane both took the afternoon off of work to join Cam at an adaptive water-ski clinic on Reed's Lake.  Mary Free Bed hosts the event and this was our first experience.  Cam was situated in the chair on the waterski and was slated to go fifth.  The water was warm and the conditions were good. On the first run around the lake on the ski, Cam was pretty nervous and upset.  But, he gained composure and wanted to keep going (without parental interference).  Chris and Jane were so proud of Cam for meeting the challenge and persevering!  This winter, he wants to take swimming lessons which would make the clinic much more rewarding for him next year.
Chris and Jane are always overwhelmed by people who donate their time and talents to events like these.  Becky was designated as Cam's helper and he took quite a liking to her.  It was a great experience for the entire family and we look forward to this being the first of many times Cam goes waterskiing.

Wendell, Ollie, Cam & Harry
Saturday was cousin Ollie's birthday party at Blanford Nature Center.  The kids had a nature tour and educational talk about birds.  The theme was "Wild Kratts" one of Ollie's favorite shows and it also happens to be one of Cam's.  The kids all wore Wild Kratts shirts (creatively made by Ollie's family) and ate some delicious homemade birthday cake.

To continue with the watersports mode,
we ventured back to the Big Lake on Sunday to see Oma and Opa,
cousin Steff and countless relatives.

Our neighbors at the beach have a couple of snazzy jet skis.  Since Cam had already attempted water skiing, he was totally game to try out the jet ski.

Chris wasn't sure if he was smiling while they were cruising on the big lake, so he slowed down to ask Cam if he wanted to keep going, to which Cam answered "Yes Dad, More!"

A huge thanks to the VanderZyden fam for letting us use their big kid toys!

These summer days spent at the lake are ones we never take for granted.  We are grateful for its sparkling waters, toasty sand, and endless adventures!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Just Swinging - Week of July 28th

"Team effort"- two words that carry so much weight on many different levels.  With Cam's development, we've witnessed team effort excel and succeed with different individuals over the years.
This week included Cam's last few days of summer school and little did we know there were multiple people involved in obtaining the swing shown, now installed on the Meadowbrook Elementary playground!  Note the very smiley boy!  Many people don't realize that a small army is sometimes required to procure special equipment.  Way to go, team!

On Friday, we had a long overdue date with our good friends, the Nolan family.  Cam's buddy Liam, his parents and little brother had never been to Boulder Ridge Wild Animal Park.  And surprisingly, even though Cam has visited multiple times, this was Chris' first visit as well.  Our favorite part about the park is how up close and personal you can get to the animals.  Cam loves feeding them and the giraffe was most cooperative about eating crackers.  The safari tour is a treat - it's a 15 minute ride filled with interesting info, exotic animals, and one of Cam's favorites- the bus itself!

On Sunday, we ventured to Stony Lake to visit our second families and have some fun in the water. Jane grew up with these awesome people and has seen them most every summer.
Cam used the paddleboard as a surf board of sorts while soaking up some sun.  He thought it was pretty cool that he was able to glide underneath the dock.  It was Cam's first time solo on a board and the calm waters helped him gain confidence.
His mom couldn't resist trying out the paddleboard as well and was quite surprised by how difficult it was!  An easier water sport was definitely sitting on the board with Cam.

We shared a most delicious dinner with the families and none of us could resist Oma's homemade blueberry and apple pies she brought for dessert.  Cam had his first taste of blue moon ice cream (what else would you complement blueberry pie with?) and loved it!  The lucky boy even opened some early bday presents.

Sarah, pictured here with Cam, is currently completing her graduate studies in speech therapy in Colorado.  She says Cam is an inspiration to her.  We know she will inspire many children in the future and we're happy Cam can play a role in that.
Team effort- two little words, heavy with meaning bringing lightness to the heart...
For all of our "teams" in this world- our heartfelt thanks!!