Sunday, May 29, 2016

The Sand in our Toes - Week of May 23rd

"As we lose ourselves in the service of others, we discover our own lives and our own happiness." ~Dieter Uchtdorf

Autumn, Katrina, Cory, Megan & Cam
It was a work week for Cam at school when his class participated in community services projects outside on two different days.  He helped Ms. Kathy pull weeds and reminded his parents to apply sunscreen both mornings.

On Friday afternoon, Jane picked up Cam from school and they braved the holiday traffic to travel downtown where the PT university students awaited Cam's arrival.  It's always a treat to enter in the Grand Valley building where most of the students recognize Cam and we are greeted by smiling faces.  The goal of these sessions is to engage and teach, from both perspectives.  It's a learning experience for all and we are so fortunate that Dr. Lisa maintains Cam as part of her "staff" of kids who want to support the effort.  Although a "pro" after many of these encounters, sometimes the day's activities get the best of Cam.  At one point, Jane requested one of the students in particular to assist.  We determined this may be referred to as a "blonde therapy tactic" (which is definitely not a proven scientific method.)
Oma & Cam
discussing sand construction

Saturday morning, Cam awoke early and was more than ready to head up north to see Oma and Opa!
With blue skies above and warm sand in our toes, the breeze was a welcome change from the recent humidity.
Every year the landscape of the Lake Michigan shoreline changes, sometimes subtle and other times, abrupt.  While venturing north, we came across some "suspended" steps that were held up by sand last summer.   Now, they lead to air versus land.

Surprisingly enough, Lake Michigan was not its usual bone-chilling temperature for late May, but actually felt fairly decent.  Oma and Jane were able to comfortably walk in the water and Cam liked it splashing on his feet and legs.  Chris took things one step further, or a quite a few steps further literally, and took his first swim of 2016!

Yes, he's swimming!
We had a delicious dinner with Cam's grandparents and an awesome visit with cousin Steff and her boyfriend, Heath.
The two builders are shown here creating a new housing project.

We look forward to many, many more beach days feeling the sand in our toes and the wind in our hair leading to the inevitable outcome of smiling faces and lots of laughter!

Cam-ology Quotes:
It's been said on more than one occasion that Cam takes after his parents in more ways than one.  Jane is convinced, though, that Chris has been giving their son some extra sweet pointers.

Mom- "I sure do love you Cam."
Cam- "That warms my heart when you say that, Mom."

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Camiversary! and 'Go with the Flow' - Week of May 16th

"The meaning of life is to find your gift.  The purpose of life is to give it away."  ~ William Shakespeare

Memorable dates sneak up on us sometimes and suddenly we realize it's an annual occurrence.  This one was a total surprise as Michelle took Cam on a mission to celebrate their "Camiversary!"  a.k.a. the one year anniversary of the two of them meeting for the first time.  The duo arrived home with 5 different helium balloons (#1, flower, flag, sports, special) as well as 4 celebration glasses filled with Cam's favorite chocolate candies.  What a treat!  Each of the balloons represented one of us and an extra to encompass all.  The agenda for Camiversary was
1 yr ago!
1) Eat chocolate  2) Hide-n-Seek  3) Share stories/Pictures/Do you remember when?
It definitely seems like we've known Michelle much longer than a year and so thankful she is a part of our lives!
While Chris headed out on a fishing weekend, Auntie Karen graciously drove to GR to spend a couple of nights with Jane and Cam.  When Cam woke up on Saturday morning, he was so excited to see her and she gave him a new pair of snazzy sunglasses. Auntie Karen helped Cam create a "napkin man" which led to lots of giggles and funny talking.
Ms. Barbara & daughter Carly & Cam
Mr. Tom (helper) & Cam
Karen,Mom & Cam
The Napkin Man

The WMML game was scheduled for 10am and it was shaping up to be a perfect day for baseball.  As Cam, Jane and Auntie Karen settled into the van to leave (early), it wouldn't start.  The portable charger was attached and we discovered the full jumper cables were in Chris' truck a couple hundred miles north.  After 15 minutes of unsuccessful charging, we asked Cam if he would be willing to leave his powerchair at home, get in Jane's car instead of the van and have someone push him around the bases in his former manual chair.  He totally agreed and wanted to go and get to baseball!  He also informed Jane & Auntie Karen that "I need a snack in the car to tide me over."

Good thing he is a 'go with the flow' kind of guy because he had a fan club waiting at the game to see him play ball!

The sunshine continued throughout the day and Emma stopped over for some outdoor play and stayed for dinner.  Auntie Karen and Jane thought it would be fun to play restaurant for the evening.  The kids had a menu to choose from at "Cam's Cafe."  Cam chose ravioli and Emma picked hot dogs and mac-n-cheese.  Jane & Karen wisely decided upon grilled steak and chicken with veggies.  We were very thankful for Aunt Karen's company over the weekend and her positive attitude to help make an inflexible situation full of choices and options.
A shout out to Cam's WMML fan club present at the Saturday game!  We know it's a trek and time and energy.  Seeing Cam's face light up knowing he has a cheering section is priceless!!

We sure did miss Chris over the weekend, but the fish didn't seem to be missing his hook at all- lots of beauties such as the one shown here.  Cam and Jane requested he bring fish home and upon arrival, sure enough, he had a piece of fresh salmon from Meijer :)

Never doubt that even the smallest of comments or quietest of compliments don't make someone's day.  We think it's a proven Cam formula...

Cam-ology Quotes:
Cam came home early from school on Monday due to sickness and stayed home on Tuesday.  He asked Jane to send a message to his school.  Jane found the two school administrator assistants online and sent the following email to both. 
"Cam wanted me to send a message to school to say  “thank you for being so nice to me!”
 He went home sick yesterday and is home from school today, but is feeling better.
 Have a good day,"
Emails received back upon receipt:
"Hi Jane,
That is so sweet! That just made my day! Good to hear he is feeling better." ~Monica
"Thank you for brightening my day!" ~Jane

Friday, May 20, 2016

Travel, a Test and Tenacity - Week of May 9th

The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, the process is its own reward. ~Amelia Earhart

Plans change sometimes.  What was the intended schedule veers in a different direction.  Such was the case with Jane's travel for work.  She was in Texas Monday and Tuesday, flew back late in the evening and left for New York Wednesday morning, returning Thursday night.  The boys had some quality time together.  With the weather shaping up a bit, they created an outdoor fort with lawn sticks to traverse through and hang out in.   
While Jane was in the Lone Star state, she noted on the weather forecast there was a very familiar city name- can you spot it?

On Friday, Cam had the day off of school.  We had scheduled an intrathecal baclofen test for him at the hospital to determine if a future procedure may enable him to gain more mobility.  We arrived early amid many questions such as..but not limited to.. "Did you call base (aka bussing)?  Did you call my school to let them know I will not be there today?  Does the hospital know we are coming?  Where will be park?  Will we eat dinner there?"

The procedure itself only took 15 minutes or so while Cam was under sedation, but we were required to stay until after 5p to be certain Cam was alright and to have him assessed throughout the day.  Our PT friends, Marlie, Kayla and Jason hung out with us for a good portion of the day.  Jason actually remembered Cam being in the hospital after he was born and he cared for him during his stay in the NICU unit!  Pictured behind our new buddies is a building where the aero med helicopter lands on top, which provided a nice distraction throughout the day.  We were relieved that Cam could stay in his own clothes for the short operation and recovery.  He even acquired a new pair of shades from the PT crew!

As parents, we never want to push too far, but we also want Cam to understand the honor of commitments made.  Much to our surprise, he wanted to play baseball on the coldest Saturday of spring.  At the last minute, he thought about changing his mind, but after we talked through it, he opted to continue on.  And in those moments, Cam is learning and persevering and remembering.
Oma and Opa braved the weather for baseball as well and arrived with blankets in hand as Jane passed out hot cocoa.  Cam suggested afterwards we head to "Olive Garden" for lunch because "it is a close place for Oma and Opa."  So sweet of him to think of his grandparents, and potentially his own stomach as he promptly requested breadsticks upon entrance.
A ballfield full of thanks to Cam's grandma and grandpa for making the trek and surviving the blustery day.

The cold day and possibly leftover hospital time left Cam a bit out of sorts the rest of the weekend.  Sunday afternoon, Chris and Mr. Steve took Cam over to Cabela's to grab some fishing gear for an upcoming fisherman's weekend.  
By the time Cam arrived home, he was greeted by 'Auntie' Jo complete with a care package for her godson.  She also brought a sweet bouquet of flowers and a pic of Jane and her godson, Will. 

Somehow Auntie Jo knew what would perk up Cam with a bag full of sweet treats ranging from animal crackers and mini oreos to king size candy bars, all with encouraging notations!  See if you can guess which quote matches which sweet treat! (and many thanks Auntie Jo!)
"Don't Snicker but we think you are the greatest!"  "The 3 Musketeers- Chris, Jane and Cam"  "You are one cool Kat!" "You are Marvelous and Magnificent!"
Cam-ology   Quotes:
At the WMML baseball game, Cam's helper was named Jason. 
"Mom- that is a lot of Jason's.  Jason at the hospital yesterday and Jason today.  And there is a Jason who bought our old house!"

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Crafty Mother's Day - Week of May 2nd

“Strength lies in differences, not in similarities” ~ Stephen R. Covey

Cam attended the Arts festival at Lincoln School on Friday.  It was a perfectly, sunny day.  Chris was able to take half a day off of work to spend with his happy son.  They enjoyed live music, face painting, made rain sticks, and explored other activity areas.  It was no surprise that Cam opted for a baseball to adorn his forehead.  Community events in our area never cease to amaze us.

And our own community of people provide amazement too.  Cam is surrounded by creative, crafty people.  At school, for Mother's Day, the kids made a sweet bouquet that will last forever and a pottery dish to hold Jane's jewelry.
At home, Ms. Michelle helped Cam create a homemade flower arrangement decorated with "xo" and made with construction paper and straws.  She also asked him what he wanted to write in the card and helped him - "I like it when you hug me when I come home.  I like it how you make food for me like broccoli.  I like it when you come to my school.  I love you Mom!"

Mother's Day was extra special because Oma was in for the day and brought Jane a hanging flower basket and gave her a portable beach lounge chair and cup holder (bring on summer!).   Jane's boys totally surprised her with a new set of pots and pans!  An overwhelming thanks to you all!!

We can't recall exactly when Cam learned his parents' first names but once in awhile he will use them to get our attention or be funny.
When he called his Mom "Jane" over the weekend, she explained the following... "I am a mom only because I have you.  It is a special name given to me for you to use.  I love my name, "mom" because I wouldn't have it if I didn't have a son named Cam."

"We never know the love of the parent until we become parents ourselves." ~Henry Ward Beecher

Cam-ology Quotes:
A weekend lunch included the famous Culver's where Cam's standard order is a corn dog and french fries.  
"Are those your french fries, Dad?  I am eyeing them!"

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Play Ball! - Week of Apr. 25th

Baseball was, is and always will be to me the best game in the world. 
~Babe Ruth

Routine is common in our household.  Not that each day feels routine, but more or less has a rhythm to it.  
Playing baseball in April has become part of our routine as well.  As opening day for the Spring 2016 WMML (West Michigan Miracle League) season approached, Cam was anticipating game day.  The volunteers from Hope College were eager to work with the kids Saturday morning.  Cam is on the Yankees team this year and Jane was excited that the baseball pants she acquired for her son actually match his game shirt this time.  Although the day was a bit chilly, the warm smiles were everywhere!

Auntie Karen drove in from the Chicago area to see Cam's first spring game!  He was pretty excited she was there to cheer him on only with his parents.  The coach for the Yankees brings treats every week and much to Cam's surprise, he was given a snack pack of Oreo's, which he promptly tasted, as noted by the chocolate cookie smile.

Karen had a special treat of her own planned for Cam.  The duo went on a "tour" of the area with Cam navigating alongside Auntie Karen's GPS.  Somehow, they arrived at the nearest McDonald's where the savvy co-pilot negotiated a happy meal.   We actually cooked up a very healthy dinner, though, compliments of our sweet guest.  Many thanks Auntie Karen, for everything!

In honor of the one-year anniversary of our family meeting Ms. Michelle, she and Cam had a mini photo shoot one day.  We do adore her and she is like a ray of sunshine every time she walks in the door!

Cam-ology Quotes:
Cam's former nanny and our extended family member, Katherine (aka Ah-Dah) and her husband, Paul are expecting their first child in the fall.  They recently found out they will be having a boy!  
Cam told Chris the following...
"They should name him "Curious George."
Chris responded: "What if they named him Cam?"
"Cameron is not a good name.  That's already my name."