Sunday, July 31, 2016

Making Crafts, Muscles, a Movie and Michelle - Week of July 25th

Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will. ~Mahatma Gandhi

Working out is tough, for anyone.  As adults, we easily push exercise aside for other activities waiting for us.  It should be a priority for all, but it seems to be one of the list items that falls by the wayside.
Michelle and Cam ventured over to our local Y one day this week.  The membership director, Ms. Tara, never misses an opportunity to say "hi" to Cam and to always have one of her teammates talk to Cam over her walkie-talkie.  It's really a highlight of every visit.
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 Michelle and Cam found a trainer who tried out some adaptive equipment with him.  No complaints from the boy who loves trying new things and accepts challenges.  We are excited to have this option available to us in addition to swimming in the pool at the YMCA.  A big thanks and shout out to Michelle who investigated this with Cam on her own.

From making muscles to making crafts, it was a busy week.  In preparation for Katherine's baby shower we were hosting on Sunday, Cam had an idea to make a photo album for Katherine's son (arriving in less than 2 months) so that her baby boy would know all about the adventures Cam had with her when he was little.  Cam helped Jane pick out the pictures to print and tell a story about each one.
It was a labor of love and
we hope it is read over and over again.

Another joint crafting effort was Ms. Ann's idea.  Since the baby shower's theme was Peter Pan, she thought of creating a handmade sign indicating the distance to different places.  The result was awesome thanks to the efforts, of Ann, Chris, Cam, Molly and Jane.  There's already a place picked out in the baby's room for the sign showing distances from Katherine & Paul's house to the respective place.  Can you see which part of the sign is the indicator to Cam's house?


Michelle keeps the activities moving each week by monitoring the local library schedule and local events.  She and Cam were able to check out a superhero, aka fresh food fairy, who talked about trying different fruits and vegetables.  Cam tasted some purple goodness.  While at the library, they saw a flyer for a fair sponsored by an organization called Disability Advocates of Kent County.  They held an event where Miss Wheelchair was signing autographs and Cam was able to meet her.  There was a blind man drawing caricatures and different activities for kids and adults.


The Ernest and Celestine movie was a "thank you treat" for Cam being such a good listener and working hard all week long.  He and Michelle really liked the movie.  One humorous notation...during the flick, all of a sudden there were sirens and police arriving.  Cam exclaimed "who called 911?"  A very good question that apparently wasn't covered in the film.


Camology Quotes:
Cam and Michelle made a trip to the Culver's drive-thru for a sundae.  They give you a plastic number sign to put on your window.  Michelle went to close the window and it caught the plastic sign and snapped it in half.
"Are they going to call the police?  Will you get arrested?!"

Cam was asking about taking his multi vitamins and hadn't had one in quite some time: 
"Mom, are my vitamins expired?"
And when a mother is asked such a specific question, one cannot fib.  They were, in fact, quite past their date of freshness. So, Cam's mom went to the store that very day to replenish her smart son's vitamin supply!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

A Camping We Will Go - Week of July 18th

All packed and ready to roll!
“A great many people, and more all the time, live their entire lives without ever once sleeping out under the stars.” ~ Alan S. Kesselheim

To some, the word "camping" may invoke a variety of descriptive words...bugs, repellent, outdoors, fire, s'mores, relaxing.  Whatever it may mean to you, for Cam, it is a chance to experience living in nature for three whole nights.
Three whole nights...this has been his request since we departed Fisherman's Island last year after staying 2 nights.  He has remembered and reminded his parents every so often over the course of 2016.  Wednesday afternoon after checking our list and squeezing camping supplies and our family into the van, we were finally on our way!

Pulling into the campground!
Upon arrival, we were greeted by Ms. Ann, Katherine & Paul, Christopher & Cassie, Zach and the great outdoors.  We were able to borrow Molly & Gordy's tent this year and what an upgrade- our palatial abode for the duration was roomy and comfortable.  The rustic camping experience lives up to its meaning- plain, simple, rural.  Cooking on the campfire, outhouses and no electricity rule this state park campground.  It is quiet, serene and nestled under a canopy of trees.

Of course, the big bonus of this 2500+ acre area - you're right next to Lake Michigan!  We all took part in sunset viewing and it seems no matter how many you see on the big lake, each one displays its own unique artwork.

With the warm water temperatures, we spent a great deal of our time during the day beach side, soaking up the sun.  We took our baths in the lake and Cam enjoyed a train of inner tubes behind him in the Cam Mobile.  He was filling up his tank at imaginary gas stations and stopping at different ports.  We've also noted how friendly our fellow campers are.  Many commented about Cam's ride and how cool it is!
Using a frisbee, there were endless pie creations being served sand side.

Cam is an early riser and since we didn't want to disturb our fellow campers, he and Jane went on an excursion every morning.  Now, in true confession, Jane may have used her Starbucks app to discover that one of the coveted coffee houses was less than 20 minutes away.

Due to this diversion, Cam and Jane found the Ironton Ferry!  At first, they thought it was so silly that the GPS told them to board a ferry, so they waited until the next day to take Chris along too.  Only four vehicles, and a handful of bikes and people can board to cross the southern part of Lake Charlevoix.  Its operation began in 1876 and it can make up to 100 trips a day!  The trip across is less than 10 minutes and the $3 ticket is totally worth it.

Back at camp, we enjoyed having Oma & Opa with us for dinner one night which was such a treat.  Cam showed them around the campground and somehow food always seems to taste better around a campfire.  Since Oma used to work for The Girl Scouts of America, she felt right at home.

A stay near Charlevoix wouldn't be complete without heading into town for ice cream one evening.

We can't thank Katherine and Ann enough for all of the prep and planning and for helping us start a new tradition of Fishy Island camping. Because of Katherine first taking care of Cam when he was just a little guy, our families are forever a part of each other's lives.  It's easy to see these two will have a special connection for life.

Cam highly recommends you do yourself a favor and sometime soon, be sure to sleep out under the stars!  (The car works too...especially if you're just plain tuckered out!)

Camology Quotes:
It was later in the evening when the decision was made to head into town for ice cream ...
"They should really deliver ice cream to our campsite!"

As we were driving out of camp on our departure day, Cam was asking why we had to leave at a certain time.  We told him other campers were going to stay in the site we were at: 

"I don't want to leave, but we have to follow the rules."

Driving home, we realized it was past lunchtime and we weren't seeing any places to stop in sight.  The GPS has an option to find places to eat nearby. Cam was excited to learn the nearest place was McDonald's.
"Whoever invented this GPS is a genius!"

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Time Flies - Week of July 11th

"Time is at once, the most valuable and the most perishable of all our possessions." ~John Randolph

With the upcoming Olympics, Cam participated in a library event that included creating a torch, medal and crown.
He also completed a training event with Michelle at the Cascade Park- she had to run to keep up with his speedy driving on the track when they covered an entire mile!

Amanda & Cam
Cam & Michelle
On Friday, Cam persuaded Amanda and her friend Ann to partake in some friendly police training and pretend police work.  Notice they are both wearing their official badges.


Big celebrations awaited our weekend.  First, Michelle's birthday party hosted at her home with a Mickey Mouse theme was a blast.  The cookout was delicious and everyone had to fill out a name tag with their favorite Disney character. We met all of Michelle's family and Cam even tried out a super cool mask that Michelle's brother had and sported some mouse ears on his head from the birthday girl's days of working at Disney.

From one party to the next, we headed
Cam & the graduate, Hannah
Hannah & baby Cam
to an open house for Hannah who graduated from high school.  Hannah and Cam have a special connection and even though Hannah now lives in Florida, we're so thankful this family from Michigan had a celebration in their home town.  With treats to eat and friends to hang out with, it was a pretty late night for Cam.

After a good night's sleep, though, it was time to extend the festivities at the big lake.  We all made our way to the cottage late morning and were greeted by six foot waves and sunshine, even though the rain had made an appearance on our drive there.  It was a day filled with reminiscing, eating good food and sharing our favorite memories.  We also talked about the need to keep in touch and be sure we all meet together at the cottage at least every few years.
It was Hannah's idea to re-create an old photo we had printed out for her.  On the left side is circa 2009. The kids were good sports about trying to have the same pose/facial expressions and Hannah insisted she put in the pigtails!

Time seems to go by in the blink of an eye.  There are moments when we wish we could press pause, but it's also exciting to see how the future will play out.  We do know these friends will be a part of our lives always.

Hannah as Jane's flower girl

Cam & Hannah
Camology Quotes:
After Chris brought Cam up from the beach ...
"I thought I was going to be seasick!"

Cam's new favorite phrase: 
"Hey, how about this idea"  which is immediately followed by...
"Isn't that a great idea?!"

Friday, July 8, 2016

A Birthday for our Country & Chris - Week of July 4th

Cascade Road
What does independence mean to you?  Freedom, celebration and self-governance come to mind.  Most recently, Cam has been asking for privacy to be by himself.  Sometimes, this is when he's content or at
Cam- Parade Participant!
times when he needs a break from everyone and everything...
and don't we all feel that way at times!
 Becoming independent is a part of growing up and although Cam's independence is different from others, his thoughtful way of requesting it shows his parents that he has a good grasp of understanding his own feelings.

On Monday, Cam exercised his independence by participating in the Bike Parade which is always the leading entry in the Cascade Township Independence Day Celebration.  Our son was so determined in his parade duties, he would barely slow down for a photo op.  After the bikers and powerchair participators completed their trek, officers, fire trucks, local business floats and others paraded through.  A sheriff on a police motorcycle stopped to hang out with Cam for a picture.  That evening, we opted to watch some fireworks from the comfort of our front yard!

As if that day wasn't excitement enough, Michelle, who watched the parade with us, had big plans for the remainder of the week.


One of Cam's awesome bus drivers, Ms. Christie had extended an invite to her farm.  The animals took a liking to Cam as he and Michelle hung out with the horses, goats and chickens.
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Ms. Christie even made a funny video to send to Cam after their visit.

From horsing around to splashing around, Michelle and Cam made their way to Millennium Park.

The six acre, man-made beach in the Grand Rapids vicinity hosts more than a dozen sprayers, buckets, splashers and other water features in the splashpad area.
On the humid, warm days that are not the norm in Michigan, getting wet in the sunshine seems to be the best activity around.

We celebrated Chris' birthday by taking out the best dad/husband ever to Olive Garden for an Italian dinner.  Cam had framed one of his favorite pictures of the two of them to give him and he was also given a certificate for a new e-reader of his choosing.

We were at Oma and Opa's on Sunday to see our family friends from Joliet, the Hueys, who gave Cam an early birthday present.  Gifts included an awesome bag of law enforcement goodies from the Joliet Police Dept! as well as a camping headlamp.



The remainder of the day was spent in the water and on the beach.  Cam had multiple kayak trips as we paddled out on the calm lake and plenty of "baking" time on the beach, creating different culinary delights out of sand with Oma.

Chris and Aunt Gay share a birthday exactly 50 years apart.  Cam gave Aunt Gay a card and some new sunglasses.

Cam also tried out a new look this week when Michelle draped her hair over Cam's head so he could see what he would look like.
Cam's response: "I look like a girl!"

Camology Quotes:
We enjoyed a cookout with our neighbors at the Flegel home.  Chris asked Cam if he wanted to go downstairs and play pool.  When Cam realized what the "pool" was...
"I thought they had a pool to go swimming downstairs!"

Jane was trying to upload a video to YouTube for viewing elsewhere and was running into issues.  Cam was calmly explaining what the process was..
"First you get the video and send in email to the internet and then get it in YouTube..." (at this point, Mom stops listening and her son definitely notices...)
"Mom- listen to my instructions please!"