Sunday, July 26, 2015

Reserved for Memories - Week of July 20th

Jane, Ms. Ann, Auntie Roe, Chris & Cam
"Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory" 
~ Dr. Suess

When your week starts with a trip to Spoonlickers! you know it's getting off to a perfect start.

It was one of those weekends with a full, but super fun schedule.
Cam & the beautiful bride
On Friday evening, Cam insisted on wearing his black tux (minus the coat and bow tie due to the heat) for Kelsey's wedding.  We arrived early since a certain boy insisted on not being late.  We found our "reserved" section in the church, something Kelsey had set up especially for the occasion.  Before the ceremony began, Kelsey's mom, Julie, found us so we could meet her.  As she started to laugh, Cam couldn't stop giggling because he said she sounded so much like Kelsey!

It was a beautiful wedding.  The reception was held at an outdoor venue and we dined on a delicious array of food and homemade strawberry shortcake for dessert.  Cam was especially happy about that!
Kelsey will always be a part of our family.  She worked so very hard with Cam on his language, time trials, and swimming this past year.
We're so happy she and Brian are starting this new chapter in their lives and we look forward to making new memories with them both.
Cam & Ms. Ginny
Cam's name was announced as they
crossed the finish line!
This pic went "viral" and is posted on the FB page
for My Team Triumph West Michigan chapter
From a wedding to race day, the very next morning, we all woke up early for Cam's first 5K race with My Team Triumph.  This local organization has chapters across the country and is always looking for volunteers.  Ms. Ginny, the social worker at Cam's elementary school, inquired back in February if Cam wanted to be a part of the experience.  We asked him and he excitedly said yes!  For the race, Cam was a Captain and Ms. Ginny and her buddy, Eric were his Angels and took turns pushing him while running.  Although Ginny has completed the race before, this was the very first time she knew the Captain she was supporting.  Maybe, just maybe, that was why Ms. Ginny had her personal best time for this race!!  Cam already announced that he wanted to do it again next year.

Cam & Jane on the dock
Cam & his mom tubing
That same afternoon, we headed up north to Stony Lake to see our second family comprised of the Hueys, Vincents and VanBokkelens.  It was a perfect day to play on the inland lake.  For the first time, Cam wanted to try tubing behind the boat with his mom.  The warm water splashed as we lightly bounced on the tube while being pulled by the boat.  Cam loved it!

The kids that Jane spent seven summers being a nanny for, now all have kids of their own.  Since the families live in different parts of the U.S. and Costa Rica, they all meet at the summer cottage at Stony.  Cam is considered a "cousin" to these kids and he was quite surprised when he was also included in a birthday celebration with the younger cousins!  We left Stony late that evening and headed to Oma & Opa's for the night.  Cam went to bed quite late, but was ready to go the next morning.
Cam & 'Auntie' Jo
Chris and Cam completed yet another CamMobile (3.0) and it was ready for testing on the shores of Lake Michigan and in the water.
'Auntie' Jo joined us for the day to play in the sand and enjoy the warmer lake temperatures.
The swimming lessons have definitely paid off for Cam.  He's so much comfortable floating on his back and being relaxed.

After making sand pies and castles, floating boats and going for kayak rides, it was time to head back up to the cottage.
We dined outside on the deck, watching our big lake, eating burgers and hot dogs with juicy sweet corn and tasty watermelon.
Ice cream sundaes completed the day.  A big thanks to Oma and Opa for a great time and to Auntie Jo for hanging out!

Sunday evening, as we made it onto the highway to head back home, Cam announced from the back seat that "I am going to take a rest now..." and within minutes, our socially active son enjoy a well-deserved break after an incredible weekend!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Fun Friendships & Fireman Cam - Week of July 13th

Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadows. It's what the sunflowers do.” ~Helen Keller     

Cam enjoyed a few days in morning summer school and experienced plenty of adventures with Ms. Michelle in the afternoons.  On Friday, they went to Boulder Ridge Wild Animal Park where Cam had to show Ms. Michelle around since it was her first visit there.  They rode on the safari bus and fed lots of animals.

On Friday afternoon, Oma and Opa arrived to spend the night at Cam's house.  Saturday morning included a run to Heidi's Farmstand for Oma, Jane and Cam.  The sunflower was a gift to Cam from one of the ladies who works there.  Upon arrival home, Jane asked if the sunflower should stay in the kitchen.  Cam told his mom, "I would like it in my room, please."  Such a nice sight to wake up to in the morning.

Saturday afternoon offered up some silliness when the family dined on Firehouse Subs.  With every kids meal, an official fireman's hat is provided.  As each family member tried it on, more laughter ensued.

A big thanks to Oma and Opa for hanging out with us in GR.

Most Sunday eves, we gather together with our second family/neighbors.  On this particular evening, we added some additional members to the weekly shared meal.
With a menu of grilled burgers and homemade french fries, I don't know many that could resist an invitation!
More people almost always means more laughter and that's something we can never get enough of.

After a weekend filled with family and close friends, there's no better way to end the day - give a hug, receive a hug, and smile.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Chris' Birthday, the Beach, and a Bridal Shower - Week of July 6th

"Life is a celebration, Enjoy it well." ~ Uruj Shahid

Someone remarked recently that it seems our family has a celebration every week!  How true that is this summer...

The festivities commenced with Chris' birthday when Cam and Jane surprised Chris with a GoPro video camera and handmade cards.  The new toy headed to the cottage with us on Saturday.

 For the first time this summer, Lake Michigan was actually bearable for some swimming.  Cam practiced his back float on an unusually calm day.  He's worked quite a bit on his technique in swimming classes this past year.

The family favorite inflatable kayak made its voyage outing for 2015.  The first trip was an excursion for Cam and his dad, paddling along the lakeshore, visiting family along the way.

Next, Oma, Jane and Cam headed out into lake and paddled quite far looking over the edge to see if they could see the bottom of Lake Michigan.

Cousin Katie and her finance Tyler traveled from New Orleans to spend some time at the lake and attend their first bridal shower.  The couple will be married next spring and they have asked Cam to be their ring bearer!  Cam is totally excited about the upcoming trip and wedding in Louisiana.
Katie was explaining to Tyler that Cam thinks "raspberries on the belly button" are quire funny.

Typical of family gatherings, we attempted a cousins picture on the front deck.  Not only were we missing people, but it seemed near impossible to corral everyone.  Regardless, it made for some funny moments with lots of laughter.

We also enjoyed an outing to Pekadill's with Katie, Tyler, Coco and Libby and Oma to enjoy a tasty lunch and yummy ice cream.

A quick birthday celebration dinner with Steff and Heath completed our weekend.  Steff and Chris share birthdays just 1 week apart from each other.
We all feasted on a delicious steak meal followed by the famous Ryke's cake for dessert.

There may not be an abundance of beach in front of Oma and Opa's, but that certainly hasn't deterred Cam from making the most of any day on the sandy shoreline.

"The only thing you sometimes have control over is perspective. You don't have control over your situation. But you have a choice about how you view it."

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Festivities & 4th of July - Week of June 29th

Independence is happiness. ~Susan B. Anthony
Karen & Cam

Before starting up the 4th of July festivities, Cam, his parents and 'Auntie' Karen all headed up north to spend the day beach-side with Oma and Opa.
The weather cooperated and sand castle architecture was in full swing.  Lake Michigan hasn't warmed up enough for swimming, but was bearable to transfer buckets of water to the beach.

Chris worked on a project with Mike & Eric using a 'jetty pump' to push sand and water into the old volleyball court which currently keeps collecting rainwater due to the higher Lake Michigan level.  Cam watched the boys with interest seeing the large hose at work.
We all enjoyed a most delicious, healthy dinner complete with fresh fruit for dessert.  Thanks to Cam's grandparents for feeding us all twice and playing on the

Back in Grand Rapids on Saturday, the Cascade parade was scheduled to begin at 10am.  A live band, fire trucks from past and present, gymnastics, karate and a swimming school were just a few of the notable floats.  When we asked Cam what his favorite part of the parade was, he responded with "the candy" which wasn't a big surprise.  Following the parade was a large carnival
encompassing the library grounds as well as an
adjacent restaurant.  Cam enjoyed a carnival hot dog and fries and was excited to see his teacher, Ms. Barbara and her daughter as well as Emma and her entire family!

Back at home that evening, we grilled delicious steaks for our 4th of July meal situated on the back deck.  It was such a nice evening!

On Sunday, we ventured to Holland to celebrate the 50th wedding anniversary for Aunt Betsy and Uncle Jon.  The event allowed guests to be inside and out, which the younger cousins were all quite happy about.  Pictured is only half of the 2nd generation of Jellema cousins.  One may wonder why the 1st generation isn't included, but corralling even this many kids is quite a feat.
Cam was able to meet some new additions to the family and get reacquainted with cousins he hadn't seen in a year!

Two comical Cam comments- Sunday morning, while Cam was eating, he took a sip of water too quickly and it spilled on his shirt.  With a solemn look, he said "I hate when that happens."

After eating breakfast as usual, our son asked about lunch on the way to the celebration.  We explained that lunch would be served during the event.  Upon seeing his plate filled with brunch items, Cam inquired, "Why am I having breakfast again?"

Much like the sunset peeking through the leaves, Cam is definitely our shining star!