Sunday, May 31, 2015

Backyard Open House - Week of May 25th

Bed in Summer ~Robert Louis Stevenson 
In winter I get up at night And dress by yellow candle-light.
In summer, quite the other way, I have to go to bed by day.
I have to go to bed and see The birds still hopping on the tree,
Or hear the grown-up people's feet Still going past me in the street.
Chris (photobombing),
Anna, Cam & good friend, Alex
And does it not seem hard to you, When all the sky is clear and blue,
And I should like so much to play, To have to go to bed by day?

As the days become longer, the activities can start later.  On Memorial Day, we happily hosted Anna's high school open house in our backyard.  As neighbors and forever friends, Anna's family has known Cam for his entire life.
The weather cooperated and from 5-8pm, Anna greeted 240 people!

Cam was introduced to the game 9 Square, which was set up in our backyard. 9 Square Website

The “king” serves the ball from the center square to any other square by hitting the ball up and out of the top of the center game square. Players must return the ball to another player’s square.  If a player fails to return the ball to another player’s square, that player is out. When a player is out, they leave their square and move to the end of the line. The other players advance to fill the square of the player who just got out.

After Monday's excitement, we celebrated Emma's birthday on Wednesday.  Cam wanted to give Emma a movie for her birthday.  To accompany that gift, we found some popcorn buckets, a favorite snack for both families.

Over the weekend, Chris was on a fishing trip with Emma's dad and they caught quite a few bass!

Ms. Ann hung out with her buddy Friday eve while Jane attended her cousin's wedding.  There may or may not have been some chocolate consumed!

On Saturday and Sunday, Jane and her helper son completed quite a few "clean up" chores at home.

After lots of working, Cam's favorite playmate came over.
Emma created a crown for Cam and deemed him "King Cam!"

Favorite "Cam Quote of the Week" after trying a granola bar for the first time...

Cam: "Mom, what is in it?"
Jane:  "Peanut butter chips, chocolate chips, and oats."
Cam: quietly contemplating "Mom, I do not like oats."

Sunday, May 24, 2015

The Great Outdoors - Week of May 18th

“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.” 
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Cam couldn't wait to help outdoors at school this week.  As part of a school community project, the kids in his class had gardening time to help beautify the Meadow Brook grounds.  Our first grader was so anxious that he asked his mom to email his teacher to find out what time the actual assistance would take place.  Cam watched Jane write the email and upon seeing her hit send, indicated "what did she say?"  Email is a speedy way to communicate, but it's not quite that fast!

Ben, Travis, Paige & Jodi
Friday was a day off of school due to the holiday weekend.  And with a day off came a morning of "working" at Grand Valley with some graduate students.  Jane is always curious to see how each set of kids will interact with Cam.  There's never been a group without a smile.
After all of that working, Jane treated Cam to a McDonald's lunch.

The real treat came Saturday, though, when the Weatherford family headed northward to spend some time with Oma and Opa.
Chris and Cam worked a few nights to finish up the 3rd version of "CamMobile" for the beach.
The big buoyant wheels make sand travel a breeze.
Jane and Cam had fun creating some sand-drip castles.  There is nothing like the feeling of the Lake Michigan beach sand between your toes and fingers.
With the beautiful weather, we were able to spend the entire afternoon lakeside.  The sun sparkling on the water was a bit deceiving with the liquid temps in the 40's but Chris and Cam still walked in to get their feet wet.

We finally went back up to the cottage to get ready for dinner.  Opa cooked us all some delicious steaks and even had a 4 ounce one cut especially for Cam.  Our boy is definitely a steak lover.  Oma served her tasty cheese sauce and her grandson decided it tasted good on everything!

Homemade brownies with ice cream topped off our dinner.
We think Oma puts some extra love in everything she bakes.
It was the perfect end to a week of being in the great outdoors!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Sweet Everythings - Week of May 11th

"Sweet nothings..affectionate but unimportant or meaningless words spoken to a loved one."  Such a strange idiom - sweet everything's seems a bit more appropriate...

Sweet "customized" M&M's from Chris
Kelsey usually hangs out with Cam on Mondays after school.  It was a particularly rainy day and before Cam's bus arrived, Kelsey dropped her cell phone in the driveway.  After getting Cam off the bus and into the house, Kelsey proceeded to remove her outer cell phone case to dry off her phone.  As she took off the case, little love notes dropped onto the counter.  Kelsey smiled and explained to Cam that her fiance had hidden them there without telling her, not knowing when she would actually find them.  Cam looked at Kelsey and said "Keep them forever."  Poignant words from such a young soul.

As Cam's vocabulary continues to surprise us, so do his efforts at school.  Cam is challenged academically and also physically.  Here he is demonstrating a yoga pose with a pillow.  It may look a little uncomfortable, but that smile is a real one.

When he isn't in actual school, his best buddy, Emma, has taken it upon herself to become Cam's "unofficial" teacher at home.  She has an entire curriculum planned out and takes her role very seriously!

Sunday afternoon was a different experience for Cam.  He and his mom went to visit our good friends and neighbors, Mrs. Mickie and Mr. Ken at Mickie's new residence.  This couple has known Cam his entire life.  They have been married for more than 50 years.  They are an example to us all of selfless love, holding strong to the vow "in sickness and in health," and striving to remember to live in the moment.

As Jane and Cam drove home that evening, Cam told his mom "I want to visit them again."

Ken and Mickie have blessed us in so many ways over the years.  We know that Cam's visit was a blessing to them.

Never underestimate how your actions may affect others and remember how precious each and every moment is and how that moment may become a "sweet everything" to someone else.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Happy Mother's Day! - Week of May 4th

Each school day, Cam asked about his upcoming field trip for Very Special Arts on Friday.  When the day finally arrived, he talked about the event afterwards.  Besides painting a commemorative t-shirt to mark the occasion, our first-grader picked a baseball to add some art to his face, and used the xylophone among other activities to honor the different arts .
On Saturday, Cam's baseball game was scheduled and a large fan base (close to 20) had planned to attend.  The weather sidelined that outing and the rain kept us busy inside with Oma and Opa back at home.
Besides playing games and watching the awesome movie, Paddington, Cam ventured out with Oma and Jane to Heidi's Farmstand to pick up some sweet goodies.

Saturday evening included dinner out on the town at Sundance. We dined outside and had fun watching some little birds trying to capture Cam's french fries.

A Mother's Day pancake breakfast started the holiday off right.  Although Cam didn't eat quite this many, he enjoyed seeing the large stack in front of him.

Unbeknownst to Jane, Chris had tried to take Cam shopping during the week to find a present for Mom's Day.  Cam proudly informed Chris "I already have a present for mom!"  He had made a beautiful clay colored plaque with flowers at school, along with a handmade card.
Jane and Oma loved all of their gifts and felt very special as the honored moms of the day.

By far, the best present that is given again and again is the voice of a sweet boy saying "I love you, Mom!"

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Spring Arrives - Week of Apr. 27th

 What a difference a week makes!  Trees and flowers are budding everywhere and the warm weather has helped everything move along in the course of blooming.
'Auntie' Karen & Cam

The weekend brought 'Auntie' Karen all the way from the Chicago area ready to take in a baseball game on Saturday.

It was such a sunny day on the ball field!  The Rockford baseball team was on deck to volunteer and Cam's buddy this week was Wyatt.
Two family fans appeared as well- Aunt Mary and Uncle Ray!  Each time Cam saw Uncle Ray with his camera, he flashed a winning smile- many thanks to them both for making it to the game!

After Cam's team played, there was a big event.  At 11am, the new accessible playground had its Grand Opening and Cam couldn't wait to test it out.  All children, regardless of ability, will be able to enjoy this playground.  During the various speeches, Cam asked Jane (more than a few times) "is it over?"  The speeches were great, but our baseball player had an agenda.

One of Cam's classmates, Brody, is also on a team for the WMML.  The boys spotted each other on the playground and were pretty excited to explore the place outside of school.

Cam liked the toadstools where one could sit and spin around.  There were slides, tunnels, and a swaying bench where everyone could be rocked back and forth.

The West Michigan Miracle League even brought in a clown for the event.  He was quiet and funny as well as a great juggler.  Shown here, he's a little stuck in between some bars and the kids couldn't stop laughing about his antics.

Back at home, Auntie Karen and Cam had a sitting contest while being timed.  Karen brought a dice game called Farkle along with some seeds for Cam to plant in the yard and watch grow.  She also kicked off the flower season with a beautiful hanging basket.  Many, many thanks to Karen for spending so much time with us by giving the most precious gift of all- her time.

After so much activity, it sure is nice to relax in the backyard with a best friend in the hammock!!