Sunday, June 26, 2016

Welcome Summer! - Week of June 20th

“If you ever find yourself in a jam, just take a moment to sit and think; calculate things, look at every angle, and then wonder where all that jam came from.” ~Melanie Kay Taylor

Cam keeps up with all schedule changes and this week was no exception.
Cam & Amanda
Michelle headed out on a mission trip to Kentucky and Cam's former nanny, Kelsey, stepped in for Monday through Thursday to hang out with her buddy. They kept incredibly busy with reading practice, swimming lessons, stretching and PT.  On Wednesday, they headed out for the morning to complete over 50 pounds of strawberry picking!  And on Friday, Amanda and Cam took the fruits of that labor (literally!) and began hulling and crushing over 10 pounds of berries.  With an assembly line in place, Jane helped the duo fill 18 containers of freezer jam.  There may have been quite a bit of taste-testing during the process.

A visit to the graduate Grand Valley students took place on Friday as well.  Since Cam has been requesting police stories and using his imagination to play "pretend" emergency calls, these PT folks were ready.  They put Cam through unofficial "police training" with a boxing glove and dexterity challenges.  Cam's teaching job was a fun-filled hour and he was rewarded with an official police badge and stickers.

Saturday, the blue skies and sunshine guided us northward.

We stopped at the famous Dog-n-Suds in Montague where Oma met us for lunch.  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.  It's a great spot to dine outside right along the river.  A family of swans seemed to be waiting for some floating french fries to head their way.

Whether it's because he's a growing boy or because it's a routine, when it comes to beach time, Cam equates every trip to Lake Michigan needing to be accompanied by a snack.  When everything is settled, the first order of business is a tasty treat and water.

The Michigan sand was warm but the water was still a bit on the chilly side.  That didn't stop Chris
and his son from making the most of cooling off in the hot sun.

Paige & Cam
Cousin Paige had an open house on Sunday and we were excited to celebrate her high school graduation!  The ice cream sundae bar was just what Cam ordered.  To top it off, Paige's mom has some "famous" friends- officers at the Wyoming Police Dept!  Cam had the honor of meeting a real police woman- totally made his day!

This week, we said goodbye to a dear friend, Ms. Mickie.  She and Mr. Ken were married for 55 years and dedicated their lives to helping others and showing their faith through example.  We will miss her so very much.

Whenever Cam giggled and squealed, Ms. Mickie would always echo her own hearty chuckle and say "Oh Cam, you do make me laugh!"
This one's for you Ms. Mickie- we love you!!

Camology Quotes:
Cam took his job smashing strawberries very seriously.  He asked Amanda and Jane:
"Is this jamming consistency?"

Cam asked many questions about Ms. Mickie's passing.  Jane had printed off the picture of Cam and Ms. Mickie's granddaughter, Amanda, making jam.
"Can we send the picture to God to give to Ms. Mickie?"

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Sailing into Dad's Day - Week of June 13th

“To reach a port we must set sail.  Sail, not tie at anchor-  Sail, not drift.”  ~Franklin D. Roosevelt

Cam was able to convince Oma to stay and hang out with him in the beginning of the week.  He and Oma and Michelle all had their own stretching class together!  He was very supportive in leading the effort.  The crew took a trip to the Ada Farmer's Market and arrived home with local fruit, vegetables and even fresh fish.

Amanda & Cam on pontoon ride
On Friday, Cam was pre-registered for a sailing clinic in conjunction with MFB at the Grand Rapids Yacht Club on Reeds Lake.  Cam was a bit nervous last year when it was his maiden voyage, but he was ready for the adventure this time.  Lucky for us, Amanda had never been sailing before and we were excited to share this experience with her.  The conditions were picture perfect for boating- gentle breeze, warm air and sunny day.  We arrived shortly after 9am and while we were waiting our turn, we took a cruise around the lake on a pontoon.  Next, Cam had a solo ride in a small sailboat.  To wrap up our excursion, Amanda, Jane and her son all boarded a larger sailboat named "Rebel" captained by Ms. Mary.  Mary cruised around a good portion of Reeds Lake and showed us the secret "Sunken Island" located in the middle of the lake.  You could actually jump out of the boat and stand up- it was that shallow!
Mathew & Cam

Late in the afternoon on Saturday, we headed over to Alaska (not the state, but small town near us) to celebrate Mathew's graduation.  Mat used to live in our old neighborhood and we still see the Flegel family, who are known as our forever neighbors and friends.
The open house served up delicious food and outdoor games, two of Cam's favorite things.  Mat's dad has a huge tractor that Chris put Cam on to check out the view from way up high!

Sunday morning, we left Grand Rapids early to head up to north to surprise Oma and Opa at their church, St. Peter's By the Lake.  They were quite surprised to see us there, albeit just a couple of minutes before the beginning of the service.

We had an awesome beach day afternoon, gave Opa a new grill, and celebrated Father's Day with our family.

Cam and Jane know that Chris is one of kind.  His ability to always find adventure, like digging up a half-buried boat on the beach, constantly remind us that every day something just below the surface awaits discovery!

Camology Quotes:
For Father's Day, Cam and Ms. Michelle worked on a project creating an award card for Chris.  Michelle asked Cam questions which he answered and Michelle helped fill in the blanks.

This is what Dad always says: "Hello, Hi, Goodbye"
He is so good at: "Making ramps"
Here is his favorite thing to eat: "Pickles, tomatoes, broccoli, ham"
Cam helping Chris with the mower
My dad's pockets are full of:  "Money and a wallet"  (Ha! says Dad)
This makes my dad laugh: "When he tickles me" (soooo true!)
When he comes home from work, he likes to:  "Eat, tickle Cam, kiss Mom"  (Mom's personal favorite!)

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Baseball, Buddies and a Bride - Week of June 6th

WMML Medal time!
"Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end"
~ song lyric from 'Closing Time' by Semisonic 

New shelves for Jane's bday!
Endings and beginnings are a part of daily life.  This week, we experienced quite a few on both sides.  Time to start counting...

Jane celebrated a birthday (with a number not to be noted here) on Thursday and her boys took her out to dinner and for her present, built a set of needed shelves in the closet.  These boys are talented!
Family of Helpers
from Miller-Johnson

Yeah for Meadow Brook families!!
Saturday morning, we took our final spring season trip out to the baseball field for WMML where Cam played his final game.  The volunteers from a local law firm were eager to assist and the heat of the day was muted by a nice breeze. Along with Cam's parents, Oma, Opa and Mr. Steve completed the bleacher fan club.

Ms. Michelle, Cam &
Ms. Barbara
Less than 10 minutes after arriving home from the ball game, our first guests arrived for Cam's End of School & Summer Cookout!  Teachers, therapists, aides, fellow school friends and their families all enjoyed a delicious array of food brought by all guests.  The daytime temp reached 90 degrees so were all happy for an air-conditioned break inside to watch the Project Unify video that Ms. Barbara had put together.  It was important for everyone to see the presentation so the families of teachers, therapists, aides and fellow students could see what an impact everyone has on each other.

Oma, Cam and Opa
On Sunday, we traveled to Kalamazoo to celebrate a new beginning for Auntie Roe.  Cam was able to wear his tuxedo once again and take on the all-important duty of being a ring bearer (for the 4th time!) for Ronda & Mike's wedding.  The day was almost as beautiful as the bride.  Cam and Auntie Roe have a special relationship and many shared memories including, but not limited to, banana bread making and Portuguese language lessons.
Ronda's baking buddy worked diligently to memorize a short speech...Feliz Casamento! meaning Happy Marriage  (pronounced fah-lease koz-a-mento) and Abra├žos e Amor meaning Hugs and Love (pronounced ah-bra-sus eh ah-more).
It was an action packed weekend and we all had fun remembering the moments that become our memories.  For all that took place, this quote lingers and reminds us just how impactful people are...

“Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for a while, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never, ever the same.”

Cam-ology Quotes:
When you have a day ahead full of activity, it's easy to feel a bit anxious and stressed.  And then, Cam wakes up and announces:
"I just love this beautiful day!"  
and those nervous feelings melt away....

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Finding the Links to Unify Others - Week of May 30th

Field Day- Cam with a LINKS buddy
Ms. Barbara & Ms. Ginny
presenting Cam with his award
Cam & Mom
Sometimes you're a part of something that has such an impact, you may not realize it at the time.  We've noted (on more than one occasion) that this community has provided our family with so many opportunities.  Cam's school is a perfect example of driven individuals taking on immense, time-consuming projects on their own accord, specifically Project Unify and LINKS.

Cam & Bus Driver "Mr. D."
What is Project Unify? An education and sports-based program that promotes acceptance, respect, and leadership for students of all abilities while creating an inclusive school environment.
There are four components:
• a unified sport…we play bocce ball 

• a school-wide campaign to foster diversity and respect for all
• a community service project
• a Youth Activation Committee (YAC)
LINKS is a peer-to-peer inclusion program where students support a same-aged peer from the cognitively impaired classroom at school.

Cam & Ms. Kathy
Forest & Cam
Cam has been involved in this program for the past two years.  The awards ceremony honoring each individual student for their participation took place on Friday and parents were invited.  More than 80 elementary students volunteered to be a part of this program and there are 13 kids, including Cam, that they are paired with.  It is truly overwhelming to see kids of all ages celebrating each other.

Another celebration took place on Saturday at the WMML field for Cam's baseball game.  We were surprised to see one of Cam's former teachers, Ms. Kathy and her husband, Carl and Forest.  It's easy to see even though Cam hadn't seen Ms. Kathy or Forest for over a year, he was very excited they were present.
Will, Cam &
Mr. Mike (helper)
Will, Cam, Auntie Jo
Also in the Cam fan club were Auntie Jo and buddy Will as well as Oma!

Big crowd and a perfect day for a ball game and for introducing a new WMML first...from an organization that was new to us- May We Help.
This group brought a batting apparatus powered by a hand pulley.  Cam was able to use the pulley to swing the bat without any help from anyone!  What a cool invention!!

The organization strives to provide support in a different way - by building assistive devices or products to enable people with different abilities to enjoy everyday life.  Individuals devoting their own time and energy to benefit others...sometimes it truly is better to give than to receive...and sometimes your gift of giving means more than any monetary value ever could!

Cam-ology Quotes:
Cam is fully aware that both of his parents have busy schedules with work.  Maybe it's time to find him an electronic calendar...

"Mom, we should go to Heidi's Farm Stand this week!"

Sure thing, Cam.  That sounds good.

"Ok, when are you open?"