Sunday, February 28, 2016

Puppies! - Week of Feb. 22nd

Cam had quite a bit of news to report this week.  In his elementary school, he is part of a Chinese inclusion class.  Meadow Brook had a Chinese warrior statue named "Bing" donated to the school.  He resides in a glass case for all the kids to see.

Cam also made sesame cookies and brought home a delicious sample! China is one of the top three producers of the sesame seed.  Cam thought it would be a good idea to share the recipe with everyone who reads the blog.

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.  Combine 1/2 cup softened butter, 1 cup brown sugar, 1 egg, 1 teaspoon vanilla with mixer.
3.  Add 1 & 1/4 cup flour, 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp salt with mixer.
4.  Toast 2/3 cup sesame seeds.
5.  Put 1/3 cup toasted sesame seeds in and mix again.
6.  Shape dough in 1-inch balls.
7.  Put 1/3 cup toasted sesame seeds on paper plate.
8.  Roll cookie dough balls on sesame seeds.
9.  Place on greased baking sheet and flatten with hand.
10.Bake for 10 minutes- let cool for 5 minutes and enjoy!

A very sweet treat, outside of cookies, was set up over the weekend.  Our new friend, Melissa has parents who breed golden retrievers.  We were invited to see them on their last day at home before adoption into the community.

11 golden retriever puppies makes for quite a bit of fun action!  The pups are 8 weeks old and there was an almost even split between male and female dogs.  Jane had never seen been around so many puppies that were completely docile, calm and so snugly when being held.  Some of these pups may become service dogs and Cam certainly took a liking to them.  Cam asked about getting a puppy at some point and we talked about that potentially happening when he's older.  We also think our cat, Stella, may have something additional input as well...

“Happiness is a warm puppy.” ~ Charles M. Schulz

Cam-ology Quotes:

One night, Chris was providing an explanation of A.M. and P.M. to Cam.

"O.K. Dad, tomorrow I will say 'Good A.M.!"

Chris was re-assembling some exercise equipment and running into some difficulties.  
"Dad, they just don't make it like they used to in the old days"

Sunday, February 21, 2016

The Weatherford Theater - Week of Feb. 15th

Cam started his week by spending the scheduled school day off with Kelsey!  They visited with buddy Liam's family, grabbed lunch at Culver's and headed to the "Y" for some swimming time.  What an awesome busy day!

On Friday afternoon, Oma arrived ready for adventure.  Meadow Brook Elementary scheduled a movie night at the school featuring a showing of "Minions."  The kids voted for which movie to see and Cam had voted for "Inside Out."  So, the collective decision was made to watch "Inside Out" at home after Chris set up the "Weatherford Theater!"

Cam's dad set up a projector used for presenting, connected it to a computer, and displayed it on the living room wall next to the tv.
Of course, no film viewing is complete without some tasty popcorn with extra butter (Cam's personal request).  Stella the cat decided she'd join in the fun as well, although her goal was to try to taste a bit of popcorn.

Oma spent the night with us and Cam assisted with some mending/sewing the next day.  It was fairly warm and outdoor activities included a mini obstacle course for Cam as well as being a great helper to his dad.  Oma traveled home that afternoon and we were all thankful for some extra grandparent time.

Campers assist with raising & lowering
the flag daily
On Sunday, Chris, Jane and Cam attended a presentation at Grand Valley.  A representative from Bay Cliff Health Camp (Bay Cliff Website) spoke and was sponsored by Dr. Lisa.  Bay Cliff’s priority program is a seven-week, summer therapy camp session serving children with orthopedic, speech, hearing, and vision disabilities. The children work towards goals of increased independence and living a fuller life.  It's an amazing opportunity for Cam and we haven't made a final decision yet, but will keep you all posted!

As parents, we are proud of Cam on a daily basis.  In an email from one of Cam's teachers this week, that pride grew even more... "Just wanted to give you a frame of reference for things Cam may talk about today. We are reading the story of Ruby Bridges. We listened to a book and then read our ULS version. Cam had some great insights and thought is was just crazy that students with different color skin could not go to the same school."

We couldn't agree more, Cam :)

Cam-ology Quotes:

Cam's YMCA badge accidentally went home with Kelsey.  In the meantime, Cam wanted to go to the Y, but was very concerned about not having his ID card.  We explained that they could look him up in the computer and would let him.  When he arrived, he saw one of his favorite Y staff members, Ms. Tara.  She arranged for a new ID card to be printed for Cam!  His exuberant response...
"This is awesome!  I love this place!"

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Oh Valentine! - Week of Feb. 8th

Cam's Valentine Vault
Cam endured a bout of stomach flu this week which thankfully, only lasted 12 hours, but it did take him out of school and at home for an extra day.  By the time Friday arrived, Cam was more than ready to head back and not miss his Valentine party.

I love..."Friends" "Parents" "Peace" "Broccoli"
At school, he created an "I love" poster and relayed the 4 things he loves most are friends, parents, peace and broccoli. As a side note, buddy Emma was quite surprised by the broccoli heart!

Michelle & Cam
Ms. Kathy, one of Cam's teachers
The school parties and goodies provided by friends and teachers was quite a big load to bring home.  Upon arrival back at the house, Michelle was waiting for Cam with another treat bag as well as a sweet Valentine's balloon.

Auntie Karen & Cam
'Auntie' Karen had made her way to Grand Rapids from the Chicago area amidst some crazy snowy weather.  We were so happy to have her with us for an extended time!  She and Cam worked on some crafting projects and somehow we need to entice her here for every holiday since she's so gifted.  All of us had a fun swim at the Y over the weekend.

Chris and Cam surprised Jane & Karen with some gorgeous bouquets of roses and flowers for Valentine's so the girls returned the favor by cooking a special dinner. The feast included some handmade place mats (compliments of the crafty one!) and a special over-sized Hershey kiss for Cam!

To round out V-Day festivities, Anna came over to see Cam while on break from Hope College.  Ever since Anna left for higher education, Cam asks what she is doing, how she is, when she is coming home, how to get to Hope College, among other important questions.  He was very excited to see her and give her a V-Day treat!

Crafting by Cam & Karen
Many thanks to family and friends who sent cards and greetings to Cameron and his parents- all were greatly appreciated and still reside on the table.
Cam & Anna
With all activity around crafting and cards, Cam asked about the history of Valentine's Day cards so Jane did a little research.

Valentine greetings were popular as far back as the Middle Ages, though written Valentine’s didn’t begin to appear until after 1400. The oldest known valentine still in existence today was a poem written in 1415 by Charles, Duke of Orleans, to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London following his capture at the Battle of Agincourt. (The greeting is now part of the manuscript collection of the British Library in London, England.) Several years later, it is believed that King Henry V hired a writer named John Lydgate to compose a valentine note to Catherine of Valois.

Americans probably began exchanging hand-made valentines in the early 1700s. In the 1840s, Esther A. Howland began selling the first mass-produced valentines in America. Howland, known as the “Mother of the Valentine,” made elaborate creations with real lace, ribbons and colorful pictures known as “scrap.” Today, according to the Greeting Card Association, an estimated 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year, making Valentine’s Day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year.

Cam-ology Quotes:
With Cam's mild sickness this week, he and Jane talked about him waiting to eat all of his Valentine's treats until sometime over the weekend to be certain his stomach was ready.  Jane also emailed Cam's teachers to let them know of this plan...just in case.
Turns out she really didn't have to.

Teacher's Email to Jane: "Cam has taken your treat talk very seriously.  For lunchtime he told me he cannot have chocolate milk because his stomach may not be ready.  And he was very concerned what he ate for his snack.  He passed on a special Valentine cookie and settled on popcorn!"

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Sweet Cameron - Week of Feb. 1st

Cam began his working stint at Grand Valley State University again this week with the graduate PT students.  It's always difficult to determine who enjoys this time more- the PT people or Cam, the teacher.  Either way, we are thankful for Dr. Lisa and her efforts with the hands-on approach for students.

Miss Amanda has been hanging out with Cam for a couple of days every week.  Their routine includes checking the indoor "farm" they've planted, robotics lab, delicious baking, and this week making Valentine's.  Here Cam and Amanda are showing off the finished product.

On Saturday evening, Ms. Ann arrived to spend some time with her buddy Cam while Chris and Jane enjoyed a date night.
Most of the eve included building a city with houses and roads out of the magnet blocks.  Cam indicated who lived in each house and which roads they were on.

Chris had to drive to Ohio for work on Sunday, so Jane and her son headed to Muskegon to meet Oma and Opa for lunch.  Olive Garden was the chosen meeting place and undeniably, one of Cam's favorites with the tasty breadsticks.  The meal turned into quite an event with the touchscreen ordering app shown on the table.  Not only could we order off of it, but we could also swipe a card to pay the bill and a receipt printed from the bottom.  Cam said "that is so cool!"  Many thanks to Cam's grandparents for treating us.

Sunday evening, we had a mini Superbowl party with our Raisch fam and didn't eat too many healthy things, but had tons of fun watching the commercials and seeing the halftime show together.  Cam wore his Panthers shirt from Auntie Leslie and fam, but Denver took the prize that night.  Regardless of the outcome, spending time with good friends is always a win!

Cam-ology Quotes:

Cam stayed home from school one day due to lack of sleep and a sinus infection.
Mom turned on the Today show which was featuring a segment about a former supermodel.  
They were showing some pictures of her in a few somewhat revealing dresses, to which Cam indicated...
"I am not old enough to see this, Mom."

Jane and Cam were driving down the road headed to run some errands.
"Our first stop will be the bank, Cam."
"You can use my money at the bank, Mom."

Driving past Starbucks...
"Mom, did you want your coffee?"
(someone knows his mom all too well!)