Sunday, June 28, 2015

Meet Michelle - Week of June 22nd

Jane, Cam, Oma (from 6 weeks ago)
The crime of loving is forgetting. ~Maurice Chevalier
While Oma graciously stayed with us for three whole days this week, Jane neglected to take a single picture!  Sometimes, we get so wrapped up in the fun situations, the camera doesn't make it to the forefront.  The dynamic duo, Cam and his grandma, made strawberry freezer jam and homemade applesauce.  With Chris' assistance, they also completed a very involved recipe for homemade mint ice cream, made with real mint leaves!  It was Cam's request and Oma was more than happy to help.  We cannot thank her enough for the cooking lessons and game time spent with Cam.  Having Oma in our home not only makes Cam happy, but Jane & Chris are so very grateful.

For the summer months, we have a new addition to our "Cam Care" lineup.  Ms. Michelle has become Cam's buddy after they've spent almost a month together.  Adventures have been on the agenda weekly.  In fact, the first day Michelle arrived, she ended up taking Cam and buddy Emma to a movie.
There was an outing to the library for a special show put on by "Iguana Guy" which Cam deemed very funny.

Each day the weather cooperates, Michelle and Cam head out for a daily stroll, going different directions and places.  Michelle keeps the education rolling quizzing Cam about road signs and nature.

Back at home they work on stretching as well as some school work.  Depending on the day, it may be done at the table or while hanging out on the floor.

Right in line with Cam's personality, Michelle also has a silly side.  After finishing the mixing of ingredients for chocolate ice cream, the two decided to lick the bowl and utensils creating a lovely, sweet mustache for them both.
We're so happy Michelle is with us for the summer, fitting into our fun-loving family just perfectly.

A big shout to Megan, one of Emma's sisters.  Meg was over a few times last week and is always so creative when it comes to thinking up different modes of playtime with Cam.  Here they are both pictured "wearing" tents while Jane provided them with a guided tour of the home.

Cam has termed this game "Tour Guide" and it became the favorite activity of the week!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Saugatuck, Sand Dunes and Sailing - Week of June 15th

Mom & Cam
Sometimes a vacation can consist of 1-2 days.  Although for some, this may seem silly, it worked well for our family to enjoy time away on a Thursday through Friday.
Dad & Cam enjoying the hot tub!
'Auntie' Karen drove from Chicago and met us in Saugatuck.  We stayed at the Ship-n-Shore Hotel located right on the Kalamazoo River and the chain ferry was located adjacent to the hotel.  Cam had many questions about the ferry's operation. The Saugatuck Chain Ferry claims to be the only remaining chain driven ferry in the US. It has been in use since 1838. Three pullies keep it in line as it is being pulled across the Kalamazoo River. When it is ready to cross the river, the operator takes a can of
'Auntie' Karen & Cam
compressed air and blows an airhorn alerting all boat traffic to stop. It is hand propelled! The operator turns a crank on the inside and this pulls the ferry along the chain.  It was quite the sight to see it make the trek again and again.
We had a delicious dinner where Cam scored an ice cream sundae with brownies and chocolate sauce, to go enjoy poolside.  Cam referred to our overnight abode as "his" room and told his parents he would share "his" bathroom with them.   The next morning, we all enjoyed some pool time before heading out to the Saugatuck Dune Rides, just minutes from our hotel.
Cam wasn't sure what to expect and commented that he didn't know what dune rides were.  He quickly realized that the faster the ride was, the the bigger his smile grew!  The driver and commentator provided a history lesson and jokes along the way.  Cam interjected
with "I did not know that" or "wow!"
We can't thank 'Auntie' Karen enough for joining us on our Saugatuck adventure and sharing in all the fun!
It was a perfect day combined with gentle winds and sunshine and Cam's adventures weren't over just yet....

Late Friday afternoon, our busy guy was scheduled for an adaptive sailing clinic on Reed's Lake.  The original date was the previous week, but rain delayed the occasion.
However, the wind was truly just right to make sailing a breeze.
Cam and Jane boarded a boat captained by "Mr. Mark" and headed out.

Mark explained the mechanics of sailing to Cam and also warned of the different noises and movement that are a part of the recreational sport.  Halfway through our time, Mr. Mark asked the young boater if he'd like to sail all by himself.  Cam excitedly said "yes please" and took hold of the rope the captain handed to him.
After our excursion, we went to thank the director of the event and inquired about Mr. Mark and how long he had been working with Mary Free Bed.

To our great surprise, we were informed that Mark had generously volunteered his boat and time upon seeing the clinic in action.
It is the humble offering of people like Mark who remind us that selfless acts can be the most rewarding.

Sunday was Father's Day and we had the pleasure of celebrating the occasion with Oma and Opa by meeting them for a delicious dinner on Muskegon Lake.

Jane's Father's Day message to Chris:
You constantly surprise us with your talents, creating and building without instruction. As a dad, you are the example of unconditional love. You're Cam's hero and believe me, you will always be mine.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

School Ends, Jane's Birthday begins- Week of June 8th

The only way to have a friend is to be one. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
The week started out with an evening to the WhiteCaps baseball game, hosted by Chris' workplace, FTC&H.  At the family outing, we dined on hot dogs, burgers, chips and cookies.  Cam met mascot "sister" Crash.  We didn't stay for the entire game, but we were able to see a few runs around the bases.

Tuesday was Jane's birthday and Cam was super excited to celebrate!  A delicious dinner at Houlihan's for the Weatherford family,  Auntie Roe and her niece Rachel made for a fun evening.  Back at home, Chris and Cam had a cake and ice cream waiting, along with presents.  At bedtime, Jane told Cam it was her best birthday yet.  Cam said "Why Mom?"  Jane explained that this was the first year Cam could clearly say "Happy Birthday, Mom" and "I love you!"
Awesome kids with their parents, awesome teachers,
the best aides, therapists and bus drivers
Wednesday marked the final day of the school year and Cam was hosting an afternoon cookout at his house for good friend and classmate, Natalie.   Natalie's family is moving to Lansing this summer and everyone at school who had contact with her was invited to join.
It was a beautiful afternoon filled with warm sunshine and welcome shade.  Since the meal was a combined effort of the group, we all dined on delicious food.  One of the best parts of the day was watching all of the kids interact with each other and seeing the teachers, therapists, helpers and bus drivers all take a little time to relax.  Cam and Natalie plan on connecting via FaceTime on the iPhone and meeting up at Boulder Ridge Wild Animal Park.

Saturday's trek to see Oma and Opa was a bit rainy.  This meant we had a perfect opportunity to take a field trip to Country Dairy in New Era, Michigan.
Just 15 minutes from the family cottage, the dairy farm boasts an extensive menu, including numerous flavors of ice cream.  It is the only place we've seen where you can help yourself to free refills of milk, chocolate included.

That night, Cam's grandparents made a special birthday dinner for Jane and invited family over for the famous Ryke's cake and Country Dairy ice cream.  Niece Steffanie and her boyfriend Heath were able to spend some quality time with Cam and share some laughs.

Sending out a very heartfelt thanks to Oma and Opa and the countless friends and family who reached out to Jane for her birthday.

In honor of feeling young, summer break means additional time for fort building...enjoyable at any age.

"We don't stop playing because we grow old.  We grow old because we stop playing."  ~George Bernard Shaw

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Last Call for Baseball - Week of June 1st

You know the feeling you have when you've eaten an absolutely delicious meal?  So content and happy and smiling.
It was a week of events that left us feeling completely filled, in heart and soul.
Ms. Ginny & Cam
At Meadow Brook school, Cam attended an awards ceremony for Project Unify and LINKS (Loyal Interested Nurturing Kind Student).
What is Project Unify? An education and sports-based program that promotes acceptance, respect, and leadership for students of all abilities while creating an inclusive school environment. There are four components: a unified sport…bocce ball, a school-wide
Taylor & Cam
campaign to foster diversity and respect for all, a community service project, and a Youth Activation Committee (YAC).
LINKS is a peer-to-peer inclusion program where students support a same-aged peer from the CI classroom at school.
Jane & Taylor attended the event which included a slideshow of all activities led by Ms. Ginny and Ms. Barbara as well as a medal and certificate presented to each student involved.  What a great group of kids involved in such an important project!

Ms. Barbara & daughters,
Ms. Cris & daughter
L to R: Chris, Emma, Steve, Megan, A. Betsy, Auntie Jo,
U. Jon, Oma, Will, Cam, Patti
Jane, Emma, Cam, Chris
On Saturday, the blue skies arrived with a slight breeze to celebrate the last baseball game of the 2015 spring season for WMML.  Since two games were cancelled this season due to weather, it was a record attendance.  Most definitely, a record fan count for Cam.  We cannot thank everyone enough for making it out to the very crowded game (and parking lot).
Aunt Betsy, Cam, Uncle Jon
Cam was up to bat twice, went around the bases with a big grin and screamed with delight, "I'm done!" after the game ended.  He proudly showed off his medal to all.  We didn't have a chance to have everyone in a photo op, but wanted to properly call out those not pictured in our photos:
Aunt Mary & Uncle Ray, Ms. Michelle, Molly & Gordy, Mr. D, Ms. Andrea and her family.

As if the baseball game wasn't enough excitement for one day, Oma and Jane took Cam over to the Boulder Ridge Wild Animal Park to ride the safari bus and feed the animals.  The llamas were quite hungry and tried to munch on Cam's fingers as well as his chair!  Luckily, the entire experience produced quite a few laughs.  A stop at the Ice Cream Caboose completed our day.  As Cam noted: "we are very busy today!"
'Auntie' Roe with the homemade cup telephone!

On a side note, Jane was excited to find the original Mister Rogers episodes on Amazon Prime.  Cam thoroughly enjoys them and wanted to create the "tin cup telephone experiment."  His first remarks into the phone cup: "Hi Dad, how are you...over!"

Mister Rogers' goodbye song certainly sums up this week nicely!

"It's such a good feeling to know you're alive. It's such a happy feeling: You're growing inside. And when you wake up ready to say, "I think I'll make a snappy new day." It's such a good feeling, a very good feeling, The feeling you know that we're friends."