Sunday, September 27, 2015

Fall is in the Air - Week of Sept. 21st

Cam's bday present from the Ringler fam takes flight!
While the weather remained mild, Cam's first cold came on full force during the week.  After a couple of nights of interrupted sleep and a day home from school, the weekend brought the promise of fresh air and outdoor activity.

We arrived at the ball park early and with time to spare, headed over to the playground.  Oma and Opa met us there and had never experienced the "sway away" area.  While you stand or sit and hang on, someone else (Chris in the background) pushes on the contraption to provide the swaying motion.  Luckily, no one ended up seasick from all of the rocking!

The ballgame was exciting and the helpers were from Merrell Corporation, headquartered in Rockford, Michigan.
Ms. Julie was Cam's buddy and they had a most hilarious time in the outfield trying to figure out which hits would go up to the sky and which would be grounders.  It was easy to see these two enjoyed a special connection right away.

After the game, Cam and his parents and grandparents headed out for a tasty lunch together.  Before heading home, Chris remembered there was a pretty cool street sign nearby.

On Sunday, our Weatherford family drove to Kalamazoo in the late afternoon.  We were scheduled for a short photo shoot.

Following our session, 'Auntie' Amanda and her kids, Sally and Henry, were ready for their pictures.  Amanda's dad, Don and Mary Kay also arrived to help out.  Not only did they come to assist, but they also brought freshly picked pumpkins from their farm.  One was for Amanda's family and the other was for Cam.
"Dad- you are so strong!"

Don asked Cameron if he wanted the enormous pumpkin.
Cam-ology response:  "I don't think this pumpkin will fit in my house!"
We explained that the oversize piece of fruit would stay outside on the front porch.

It was a short visit, but it was so much fun to see Amanda and the kids, as well as Don and Mary Kay.  Many thanks for the biggest pumpkin the Weatherford family has ever had the privilege of displaying in front of their home!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Getting in the Groove - Week of Sept. 14th

Beautiful fall sunset view from our house
The second week of school proved to be a bit more taxing than the first as Cam continued to become accustomed to his school routine again.
Thank goodness, though, his good mood usually prevails even on days when he returns home from 2nd grade pretty tired.

After school, Cam's time is split between Taylor and Michelle to hang out on while Jane and Chris are still working.  Due to our unseasonably warm fall weather, Michelle and Cam took to the back deck to play games one day.  A popular favorite is Guesstures, whereby via talking and gesturing, you can make your partner figure out what you're doing.
A rarity for us was arriving early enough to Cam's baseball game on Saturday to spend some time on the League playground.  The sun was so bright while Cam was pretending to drive the car on the highway.  Lately, our inquisitive son has been asking directions for just about everywhere we go, but not in a vague way.  Cam wants to know exactly
which highways, exits and turns one takes to get somewhere.  And he's been doing a fabulous job at remembering those directions.  Pretty soon, Jane may not need her GPS!

At Cam's game, he was wearing his official baseball pants and the announcer even called them out over the loudspeaker- "Cam Weatherford of Grand Rapids wearing his pro baseball pants today- those are major league style!"
Michelle joined us for the action to see her buddy Cam out in the field.
After an exciting game, what could be better than a lunch outing to Pals? (Pal's Website)  Pal's Diner was built in 1954 and was moved in one piece from Mahwah, New Jersey to Grand Rapids, MI  in 1993.  The entire move involved five states, three government approvals and a police escort for the entire 1638 mile trip.
Cam thinks they have the best homemade chocolate milkshakes around!  Shown here is one of their shakes split into 3 cups.  Cam agreed to split with his parents who are ever so thankful to have such a sharing son!

"Cam-ology" for this week: Thoughts From Cam
"Mom, what was your name when you were little?"
~Jane Elizabeth Harris Jellema~
"Mom, that's a really long name! How did you remember it?" 

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Back to School & Back to Baseball - Week of Sept. 7th

Cameron's 2nd grade school year began on a bright Tuesday morning, the day after Labor Day.
A "welcome" from Ms. Barbara at
Meadow Brook's open house :)
Cam made certain his parents had remembered everything for his first day and couldn't wait to get back on the bus with his driver from last year, Mr. "D" and get to his elementary school.
With new teachers in place and new friends to greet, we had one tired kid by the end of the week.
Cam & Carson- WMML Colorado Rockies team

Luckily for Cam, his baseball game wasn't slated to start until 12:30p on Saturday.  This fall, our favorite player is on the Colorado Rockies team.  One of Cam's buddies, Carson, from his Wellerwood preschool days was also on his team, along with another classmate, Gerrit, from his current school Meadow Brook.  The cheering section this week included Cam's grandparents, ready to root for their grandson.  The helpers on the field were from the Women's Hope College softball team.
After the game, we headed out to lunch with Oma and Opa.  Many thanks to them for making the trek in for the game- so happy it was such a perfect weather day for baseball!

Cam's Saturday fun wasn't over yet.  Buddy Will's 7th birthday party was still to come.  Before it started, there was just enough time to take in a few laps on go-karts at AJ's Fun Center.  This was Cam's first trek around the race track and Chris' idea to squeeze more fun into the day.  And what a great idea it was!  Jane even hopped in her own race car to speed along next to her boys.  Cam wanted to go one more time, but we all decided to save it for another day.
Will's party was held at a miniature golf course, where Auntie Jo set up a round of golf for the group of boys.  She then ordered pizza and breadsticks (Cam's favorite party menu!) after the kids finished up their game.  It was quite an action-packed day for the second grader, who decided to bow out of the party a little early.  A big happy 7th birthday to buddy Will and a big thanks to Auntie Jo for all of the treats and fun!
On Sunday, the Weatherford fam headed up north to see Oma and Opa and cash in on one of Cam's own birthday treats- a trip to Dog-n-Suds in Montague, Michigan.
Cousin David, Cam & Uncle Rod

The location was founded by a Montague school teacher in 1963 who ran the Drive-In in the summer months. It was purchased by the current family in the fall of 1965, and re-opened in the Spring of 1966. In our second generation of management, the facility was totally rebuilt during the winter of 2000-2001. In its current configuration, the Drive-In is open each summer from April thru September. 

After a tasty lunch with Oma and Opa, we headed over to the Schulze cottage where cousin David, his dad, Uncle Rod, and many other cousins were having lunch with our Schulze family.  Uncle Rod is quite a storyteller and poet.  He had Cam smiling and laughing from the moment they met.

We spent a bit of time with Cam's grandparents at their cottage too.  Cam requested a piano lesson from Oma on her fancy electric piano.

Our Lake Michigan looks so pretty and peaceful this time of year, even if it is a bit chilly for swimming.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

My First Camping Trip - Week of Aug. 31st

"There are things known and
things unknown and in between
are the doors" ~ Jim Morrison
The fear of the unknown is powerful- trying to determine how one will react to a situation is something no one has control over.

As we headed out on Thursday for our 1st annual camping trip with Cam, he declared "we will have so much fun camping!"  And the unknown became comfortable as we watched with pride how easily Cameron adapts to new situations.

Our destination was Fisherman's Island, located in Charlevoix, Michigan. We were headed there due to our extended family of Ms. Ann, Katherine & Paul, Molly & Gordy, Christopher & Cassie, and Zach who were already there and waiting for our arrival.  "Fishy" Island is a State Park with over six miles of unspoiled Lake Michigan shoreline. The island in which the park was named no longer exists. Due to years of lower water levels in Lake Michigan the island has become a peninsula now lush with native wildflowers. There are 80 rustic campsites with 15 of those nestled in the dune area along the Lake Michigan shoreline.
Molly, Cam, Katherine
The rustic portion refers to the fact that vault toilets (aka outhouses) are available, but there is no electricity or running water. Throughout the campground, old-fashioned water pumps provide a way to obtain fresh water.

After tent setup, Cam immediately deemed our campsite home and was eager to explore where everything was.  First stop was the vault toilet which was approximately 300 yards from our tent.  Upon entrance, Cam said "this is a pee-eww toilet- it is old."  There were no complaints from him, though, and no hesitation in the fact that this is where we would do our business for the next few days.
We enjoyed all of our delicious meals cooked right on the campfire!
Chris, Cam, Katherine
During the day, we found petoskey stones and other colorful rocks along the shoreline.  Cam had a bit of a cool bathing experience in Lake Michigan while the sun hid behind some clouds.  Chris and Katherine made certain the happy boy was all sudsy and clean before heading out.
Cam & Ms. Ann
In the evening, we loved the shoreline scenery and the view of Fisherman's Island, right next to the sun setting.

Another evening activity was playing cards with the decks that Ms. Ann created for Cam's birthday present.  Two of them are matching games and the other two are playing cards.  All are adorned with pictures of Cam, his family, and extended family.

Cam had fun providing a "wake-up" call to Ms. Ann, Katherine & Paul one morning,  He wanted to make sure everyone had the opportunity to
eat some tasty bacon before he devoured it all!
Of course, camping wouldn't be complete without toasting marshmallows for s'mores.  This year, Katherine found square mallows which are perfect for s'mores. One may wonder why these weren't thought up years ago.
Katherine (aka "Ah-Dah"- Cam's first name for his beloved nanny) entered our lives almost five years ago and we cannot believe it's only been that long.  We have gained an entire extended family due to this amazing woman!

Heading into Charlevoix for a daytime visit, Cam had to stop and get a closer look at the world's largest cherry pie. Upon closer inspection, Chris discovered that the actual title may have been lost in the late 80's, but Cam still thought it was a pretty cool sight to see.

On the second and last night of our stay, Cam asked at bedtime "next year, can we stay 3 nights?"

And that is why we have deemed this our 1st Annual Cam Camping Trip, with many more yet to come.

Fishy Island 2016- we can't wait!!