Sunday, December 25, 2016

Be Merry, Be Bright! - Week of Dec. 19th

"Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store.  Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more."  ~ The Grinch

Dec. 25th seemed to sneak up on us this year since Cam was in school through Dec. 22nd. 
On Christmas Eve, Oma and Opa arrived in the afternoon to celebrate our annual trek to Thornapple Covenant Church with the Raisch family.  Cam loves the service, especially all of the singing now that he recognizes most of the carols.  After the 3:30p service, we dined with our awesome friends at their home where we enjoyed homemade chicken noodle soup and bread, fruit, and plates and plates of delicious holiday cookies.
Afterwards, Cam requested some game playing time.  His latest favorite is charades.  Everyone had a turn and our game enthusiast enjoys guessing as much as he does the acting part.

The night before Christmas everyone was snug in their beds except for our nine-year-old who contracted a cold seemingly that night.  Although he had terrible sleep, he was in a great mood Christmas morning!  Being the routine boy he is, we had breakfast before opening presents.  
It seemed that each of us, Cam, Chris, Jane, Oma and Opa were just as excited to see others uncover a gift given as we were to see what each of us received.
One of our annual offerings to Oma is a picture calendar from Cam.  He assists with the design and it's always a treat when she discovers what it is.

New games kept Cam busy as he tried out a Police Line-Up board game as well as a Scavenger Hunt.

Cam's largest present this year was a new sled which can't be used yet due to a big meltdown but we're certain he'll be able to take it on its first run sometime in January.

After a delicious dinner and homemade apple tart dessert- compliments of Oma and Cam, we all piled into the van for our Christmas light viewing.  Thanks to an ingenious website, the best displays are listed by area and address making it easy to plot a course.

This year we didn't take any pictures while enjoying Christmas- we were too caught up in the moment.  Being with our family and enjoying their presence versus presents is truly what we are thankful for.

Camology Quotes:

Dealing with a cold is difficult, but we found the silver lining in Cam's comments regarding his illness.

It feels like there is a hundred and fifty things in my nose!

If you feel like your ears or throat hurt, I can take you to the med center. 
It's just my nose, Mom.
The med center won't give you medicine for just your nose, Cam.
You need to call my real doctor.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Let It Snow! - Week of Dec. 12th

"The first fall of snow is not only an event, it is a magical event. You go to bed in one kind of a world and wake up in another quite different, and if this is not enchantment then where is it to be found? "~ J. B. Priestley

The white stuff quickly accumulated and the only unfortunate outcome was the freezing cold temperatures precluding any playtime in the snow.

Thankfully, we found indoor activities to keep us busy.  Early Christmas presents arrived for Cam and not a moment too soon with the frigid weather.  A new spelling activity from Auntie Leslie kept us busy creating a game out of letters and puzzles.
Auntie Karen sent a gift that keeps on giving every month- Little Passports. There are multiple options to choose from and Cam will be discovering the USA with monthly activities, games, science experiments & more!
He was beyond excited to see the contents of his first passport package and has asked to work on it every day.

Cam opted not to visit Santa in the mall this year but did want to send a letter.  Luckily, our local D&W store has a special mailbox just for delivery to the North Pole.
His request was short and to the point..."Dear Santa, I would like a squish ball for the water like the one from swimming class.  Thank you.  Merry Christmas.  From, Cam."  His questions, however, were endless regarding the delivery method and route taken from the Santa mailbox.

Amanda and Cam entertained each other in the evening when Chris and Jane finished up some holiday shopping.  Baking delicious treats is a favorite for these two as noted by the plate of warm cookies.  Can't you just smell the goodness?

Camology Quotes:

This year Cam discovered that one radio station in town plays Christmas music 24/7 through the holidays.  While in the van or in his bathroom, he requests us to tune in and "turn it up, please."

Mom asked, What is your favorite kind of music? 
Christmas music!
Why is it your favorite? 
Because there are pretty voices and I like all of the songs.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

You're Getting Sleepy - Week of Dec. 5th

“Foolishness sleeps soundly, while knowledge turns with each thinking hour, longing for the dawn of answers.” ~ Anthony Liccione

Winter has settled in and the falling snow blanketed the ground giving the illusion of a soft, downy white cover.

The summer lawn mower undergoes a transformer move and becomes the snowplow for the winter months.
Cam likes to supervise his dad while he plows the driveway.

Oma came to stay and Christmas baking along with decorating cookies was the highlight of their time together.  Cam did insist on taste-testing their creations just to be certain they were working with the proper amount of sprinkles and m&m's.

In the Weatherford household, sleep has been alluding us.  Cam has been waking up on and off a few times every night.  Legend says when you can't sleep it's because you're awake in someone else's dream.  So, if any of you see Cam awake in your own dreams, please tell him to go back to sleep...

We finished up our last December lesson with Ms. Laura.  The pool at Mary Free Bed is warm and spacious.  The biggest benefit - teacher and student have the water to themselves.  Cam worked on some back floating, front strokes, and utilizing a water logged ball to create some sort of sprinkler system.  This seemed to work well for splashing his Oma!

Back at school, Cam's teacher, Ms. Kathy, requested that he bring in snow boots on a daily basis by sending an email to Jane.  She has been teasing Cam that he needs the boots so she can throw him in a snow bank. (They've been talking about this for a few weeks now.)

Ms. Kathy told Cam there was finally enough snow.
As they were discussing the possibilities, Cam asked his teacher an all-important question, "What is a snow bank?"

Sweet gift from Auntie Leslie
Camology Quotes:

Cam is a people-pleaser.  
He likes to see a positive reaction when he says or does something.  One morning after a bit of restless slumber, he announced to his parents:

"I will sleep tonight like it's nobody's business!"
What exactly does that mean, Cam?
"It means like nobody has to worry about me."

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Oma's Birthday and the Elf - Week of Nov. 28th

It's not often you're able to surprise someone, really surprise them.  We were honored to be able to celebrate Oma and her birthday in person on Dec. 1st as we provided an unexpected appearance at dinner in Muskegon.
She doesn't want us to mention her age, but she does share a birthday with Woody Allen and he is one year older than she is.  Cam was super excited about the evening as we made it to Olive Garden right before Oma and Opa.  When Oma spotted us from the hostess stand, you could tell we were successful!  Many thanks to Opa for his part in keeping the secret.
Cam checking out dessert
at the next table!

It was no coincidence that Cam chose our restaurant for the evening.  Olive Garden now has an tablet for ordering, playing games and paying your bill.  Pretty high tech stuff and highly irresistible for a nine-year-old.
Another unexpected treat was a free kids meal since Cam found the "elf" hiding up high even though he told us "it doesn't look like the other elf on the shelf."

Our family only began the "Elf on the Shelf" tradition a couple of years ago.  Cam named the elf Gerrit and this season, Cam's been especially interested in finding the red-suited guy every morning to see where he shows up.  It's quite curious, though, how the elf may be connected to something that a parent needs to use, such as headphones.  Since the elf cannot be touched or he will lose his magic, the ear device then stays connected to the elf all day long.

'Gerrit' was found holding a blue sharpie and upside down one morning in an empty container.  A note on the plastic house read "Help I fell in and can't get out now!!! Please turn container over."
Upon seeing this entire scene, Cam looked at his parents and said, "Now how did the elf write the note?"  Hmmm, yes, curious minds want to know.
Chris was convinced (and persuaded Cam) that the elf had the ability to ink the request from the inside of the container while upside down.  That's one crafty elf!

As we celebrated Oma this week, we're constantly reminded of all she has helped instill in Cam... a love of music, enjoyment of books, and appreciation of baking.  Here's to you, Oma!
“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” 
~ Dr. Seuss, Happy Birthday to You!

Camology Quotes:

As colder temperatures are upon us, the family moved seasonal coats upstairs for easier access.
Chris tried on a warmer jacket one morning and asked Cam if he liked it.
"It suits you, Dad!"

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Giving Thanks - Week of Nov. 21st

Thanksgiving should be a daily occurrence...not the turkey dinner but the reminder to give thanks every day and be grateful.  We are grateful for so many people in our lives.  Our family, our friends, (many of whom we consider family) and those we are connected to and have met only because of Cam.  In some way, as you are reading this, know that you have enriched our lives and we are simply thankful.
We did celebrate the holiday with the traditional offering of a stuffed bird dinner with all of the fixings.  Jane ordered up a 23 pound turkey for 7 people which possibly, just maybe was beyond what was needed.  Regardless, Opa and Cam worked to make the stuffing, stuff the turkey and prepare it for cooking. Cam took his supervisory duties quite seriously.

Healthy gift from Oma & Opa!
We were so happy Aunt Mary and Uncle Ray joined us to partake in this celebration.  As we all went around the table and said what we were thankful for, everyone was filled with emotion and gratitude.  
Do we still look stuffed?
Cam's thankful speech..."I am thankful for my family and my friends, especially my parents.  Amen."  
If he hadn't been so hungry, we're quite certain his speech would have been longer.  In all of the activity, we neglected to get a group picture to capture the moment but we won't soon forget the delicious meal, great company, and fun conversation.

With our tree all decorated, we decided to try a family photo the day after Thanksgiving to test out the technology on Jane's watch to remotely control her phone for taking pictures.  The first snapshot clearly shows some of us looking at the watch for the countdown.
To work off some of our delicious food, Cam enjoyed a swim at the Y with his parents and was excited to see a local trooper parked outside upon departure.  He wondered what the officer was doing there and noted that since he was in uniform, he probably wasn't there to work out.

Also over the weekend, we had a quite a chuckle, or is it a gobble, over the fact that turkeys seemed to be surrounding our house.  These two in the front yard actually jumped up on the porch and looked in our windows.  Possibly they were feeling a bit brave with the holiday in the past.

Camology Quotes:

Our son certainly knows how to pull some heartstrings...
Amanda asked Cam before Thanksgiving what he was thankful for.
"I am thankful for you, Miss Amanda."

Sunday, November 20, 2016

May We Help? - Week of Nov. 14th

“You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.” ~John Bunyan 
“When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.”  ~Maya Angelou 
“There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.”  ~John Holmes

What a difference a day makes.  The white stuff didn't stay on the ground but it seems Michigan has the uncanny ability of bringing snow when it's least expected.
We did have many welcome events this week, though.  Oma arrived to stay with us for two nights and Cam couldn't have been more excited.  The pair worked on some mending together and Jane thinks Cam will easily exceed her sewing skill set very soon.

The Weatherford family brought a new artificial tree home and decided to place it in the living room versus having it remain in its box for 2 weeks.  Since Oma was with us, we were able to put the ornaments on in record time.  Jane had to throw in a little silliness by having the decorators wear special reindeer headbands...Auntie Karen should recognize these!  Oma always brings her smile and abundant love and we are always grateful for her visits.

Cam and Amanda wear the same style shirt on certain Fridays to participate in the LINKS Project Unify program at Meadow Brook Elementary.  Amanda is now a volunteer aide at Cam's school as part of her college education.  It's pretty exciting for our nine-year-old to see his sweet friend Amanda during school sometimes and after school!

Chris and Cam welcomed the solution to a task given by the May We Help organization.  Chris was asked to devise a way for a young boy with limited mobility to use a video game controller.  He and Cam were trying to determine how to build a new device when Chris realized if he could stabilize the unit, the boy should be able to use it.  Some unique foam material and handmade wooden frame did the trick. (More Photos of end result)

Incidentally, those of you reading this blog help keep it going.  We now have over 500 posts and without your support, Jane wouldn't have the need to continue to produce.  Thanks to all of YOU for helping us!

Camology Quotes:

Jane was asking Cam for some additional help.  And his reply, instead of the typical standard one...
"Your wish is mine."

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Leaving Fall Behind - Week of Nov. 7th

"Each moment of the year has its own beauty" ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

We've had the mildest of autumn seasons in Michigan.  Although there has been some colder days, by and large, the need for a winter coat hasn't surfaced yet.
Chris and his son were busy raking leaves into the woods, which is a definite bonus versus the tedious task of bagging.  Cam's ingenious dad figured out a way to situate the leaf blower on Cam's chair so as he drove forward the leaves would blow towards Chris' rake.  The team effort paid off and the duo cleared all of the fallen foliage in the back yard.

Cam's swimming lessons started up again with a slight change.  This fall he is taking solo lessons with Ms. Laura at the new Mary Free Bed therapy pool.  The setting is quiet and the pool is very warm.  Cam, our routine schedule boy, had many questions for his swim teacher including, but not limited to, the following:  "what happens if you are late?  what do you do if you get here early?  how do you get here?  which way do you take to get home?  how many lessons do you teach in a day?"  Amidst all of the questions, there was still time for instruction.  Cam's favorite activity is using the floating weights, allowing him to kick his legs while holding onto the bar.
Of course, there is always time for a few giggles before the end of the lesson!

One of our favorite weekend activities was seeing Mr. Ken, Amanda's grandpa, (a.k.a. "Papa") at a rehab facility following knee replacement surgery.  He was so excited to see Cam.  We brought pictures from the Halloween parade which Ken proudly displayed.  He thinks it's pretty cool that Cam likes to call him Papa, just like Amanda.

And our Ms. Amanda introduced Cam to a guinea pig for the very first time.  This pet belonged to a friend of hers and has such an auspicious name... "Priscilla Pigsley" who has all of the same colors as Cam's cat, Stella.  Cam was quite certain, though, that Priscilla and Stella may not get along too well.

Will & Cam
Camology Quotes:

Buddy Will and Auntie Jo joined us for dinner Saturday night.  We unsuccessfully tried to pass off sweet and sour chicken as chicken nuggets.

Mom:  Do you think you and Will are going to be friends forever?
"Yes, Mom!  Those were not really chicken nuggets.  I did not think so either  :-).

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Treats Come in Different Packages - Week of Oct. 31st

“Rest and be thankful.” ~ William Wordsworth

Halloween seems to have lasted for a month around our house but October 31 was the last hurrah.
Oma stayed with us to share in the last of the festivities and we were so grateful to her extra helping hands and warm heart.
Monday was a half day of school for Cam and the kids maybe tackled a solid hour of work before getting ready for the costume parade in the gym.
Principal Shaw led the way with Cam, buddy Liam, and fellow Meadow Brook students following.  They take one lap around the gym where parents, relatives and friends are seated, and then proceed to the hallways past every classroom in the school.  The principal asked Cam and Liam to hang out so that they could see all of the other kids and people could stop and say hi.
What one may assume could lead to pandemonium in a grade school with kids from kindergarten through fourth, is actually a very organized, fairly quiet and well-behaved event.

That same afternoon, we made a trek to visit the Grand Rapids Police Department.  Cam and his parents wanted to thank them for all of their support and surprise showing of the real SWAT vehicle at the parade.  Oma and her grandson had whipped up some delicious chocolate chip cookies divided into multiple containers and Jane had printed off some pictures from the parade event for the officers.  It was a surprisingly warm afternoon and many policemen came outside to greet Cam, even the Chief of Police himself!

Trick or treating was still yet to come!  It had already been quite a full day so grandma and grandson took advantage of some cozy couch time to sneak in a quick rest.

After an early supper, we were all rejuvenated and ready to tackle the candy gathering tradition.

We began the evening one
street over, to spend time with our good friends and neighbors.  The weather remained mild which meant lots of kids were out accompanied by smiling parents.  One of our favorite costumes was worn by a sweet girl who adorned her pants with packages of "smarties" candy- thus, her outfit was named "Smarty Pants!"  Her brother, shown with purple balloons was a bunch of grapes- so creative.  Buddy Emma was dressed perfectly as a black cat, complete with whiskers, a tail and ears.  Cam had a bucketful of candy upon arrival home and his most memorable Halloween yet!

Over the weekend, the weather was too good to resist sticking our toes in the sand maybe one last time until spring.  We traveled to Oma and Opa's on Lake Michigan to spend just a couple of hours in the afternoon.

The sun shone brightly and we watched one of the neighbor boys actually dive in the lake (we were assuming on some sort of dare) while we chose to only stroll next to it as we ventured north a bit.  The beach has expanded a great deal since the end of summer and it's always an odd feeling to not see lots of people on the shoreline.

We enjoyed many "treats" this week...having Oma with us, meeting many from the Grand Rapids Police Department, participating in a school parade, spending time with friends and appreciating a late fall day on Lake Michigan.  One might even go so far as to say..."better than chocolate."

Camology Quotes:

Cam has been trick-or-treating for quite a few years now and has decided that he definitely prefers the chocolate treats to anything else.  This year, however, he encountered something different.  At one of the houses he was given a small bag of Baked Lays Potato Chips.  After leaving the house (and being out of earshot), he declared...
"Mom!  This is a really weird thing to give for candy!"  :-).