Sunday, August 28, 2016

Just Be Thankful - Week of Aug. 22nd

Gratitude is the fairest blossom which springs from the soul.  ~Henry Ward Beecher

Sometimes we think of taking that extra step to thank someone, but maybe we get side-tracked or focused on other things.  Not Cam.  He has gotten in the habit of wanting to find a way to thank others.  Besides being verbally grateful, he has discovered there are various avenues and ways to reach out.
When eating garlic bread with
dinner one evening, he remarked that it was his favorite and he wanted to know if we could send them a note.  He also inquired how the bread arrived at D&W (where it was purchased) and if they could please keep sending it.  Lest his parents forget, he proceeded to ask until a note that he had recited was written, a picture taken and printed, all put in a envelope with the address.  In addition, an email of thanks was sent via the website.  Incidentally, all of the information was easily found on the box of bread.  Within two days, we received the following response:
Thank you for contacting T. Marzetti Company about New York Bakery® Texas Toast. It is always a pleasure to receive compliments from our consumers.
The time taken to share your thoughts with us is greatly appreciated. We are happy to hear we are producing items that are enjoyed by our loyal consumers.
Our New York Bakery® garlic breads are baked in our facilities then frozen. Retailers like D&W place orders for our breads where we add them to trucks that haul frozen items to distributor warehouses. Then retailers receive trucks from these warehouses at their stores where they sell our delicious breads.
Thank you for your continued support of our products.
Deb H.
Consumer Services Representative
T. Marzetti Company

In order to thank the Wyoming Police Dept for the personal tour on his birthday, Cam wanted to bring them treats and pictures of the visit.  Multiple loaves of banana bread and chocolate chip cookies were baked and packed in a basket with the printed pics.  The following email was received that very afternoon: 
Marge & Cam
The banana bread and cookies were a hit but everyone loved looking at the pictures most!  Cam is just the sweetest and has the best smile.  Please let him know, these pictures will be sitting on a lot of Officer's desk at the Wyoming Department of Public Safety!!    
 Thanks again for the treat and please bring Cam back to visit!  We'd love to see him again!

Continuing on with gratitude, a copy of the police picture was given to Marge's Donut Shop.  Marge's baked the awesome police cake and cupcakes that the Police Dept gave Cam.  Who knew Ms. Marge herself would be there when Cam stopped by to thank her and give her the pic?  In return, the nine-year-old received an authentic Marge's t-shirt!
Emma & Cam selfie

We have explained to Cam there are people and things to be thankful for and responses, gifts and reciprocation are never a requirement.  There are many times when it is better to give than receive.
The gift of friends, like Emma, are priceless.
Finding time to take a break from work and head to the shore for a short time is invaluable.
Having a grandma close by who plays on the beach at a moment's notice is something we can never give enough thanks for.
Introducing those we care about to the places we love and sharing adventures at Lake Michigan is a treasure.

Give thanks,  And don't forget.  If you let us know, Cam will be sure to remind you!
Amanda's 1st visit to the cottage!

Camology Quotes:

After swimming in the big lake and playing in the sand, Cam suddenly announced:

"This is the life!"

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Turning 9 is Pretty Fine - Week of Aug. 15th

"You have the right to...a Birthday.  Anything you do or say should be fun today.  That's an order!"

Instead of a birth-day, Cam seemed to enjoy a birth-week!  The celebration began and didn't end until Sunday eve.

A trip to Boulder Ridge Wild Animal Park with Michelle started things out right.  Cam is a fan of the giraffes but Michelle is a bit leary of them and kept telling them to "back off" when they kept trying to lick Cam.  Boulder Ridge even upgraded their safari ride by offering a tram which has 2 lifts so our park fan can now ride up front.

With a week of treats, Culver's has had quite a bit of business from the Weatherfords and friends since they offer a short shake "happy hour" each day in the afternoon.  Any flavor shake is just $1 and it's the perfect size.

Jane took a few hours off of work on Thursday to take Cam and Michelle for a swim at the cottage with Oma.  It was a day filled with infinite sunshine and the warm water called us all in.  Cousin Megan joined us on the beach too.  It was a short visit but any amount of sand and Lake Michigan time is totally worth it!
Cam & Sally

On Sunday, we had an early visit from Auntie Amanda, Uncle Mark, Sally and Henry.  The kids played for a couple of hours and our awesome friends headed back to Ann Arbor.  We were so thankful they drove over to see us and celebrate Cam!

For the official birthday celebration, family and friends gathered to enjoy Cam's early dinner request of pizza, breadsticks, ice cream sundae bar and cake for all.  One cake was from the official police tour and the other from our favorite bakery, Rykes.  And both were filled with chocolate cake, filling and chocolate frosting, and tasted delectably delicious!

Mr. Ken, Cam & Amanda
(Ken's granddaughter/Cam nanny)
Cam's buddy and former Sergeant, Ken Kleinheksel brought over his original uniform and badge for Cam to wear for his big day.  What a thrill!  The birthday boy was able to wear an official deputy
police shirt and Mr. Ken brought over some of his police gear to show the kids.  As a special keepsake, Cam now has an autographed copy of Sergeant Ken from his on-duty days.

Liam & Cam
Buddy Liam and Cam both share a desire to be connected with the police department one day. Liam wore his official police tie and badge for the party.  These were two very official-looking boys.

We enjoyed hanging out with family and friends and the time went by much too quickly.  Jane was remiss that she didn't capture a group photo of all the VIP's, but was able to grab a family shot of a few.   We were so thankful for everyone's time on a Sunday evening, homemade cards and gifts!
Baby Ella, Gordy & Cam

Since Cam has become enamored with everything police, he has been asking his parents to tell a new police story for bedtime reading.  It became clear we had to call in reinforcements.  A month ago, we sent out a request to family and friends to send in their police stories.  Jane gathered them all into a shutterfly book you can see in this link below.
Ella, G, Molly,
Ah-Dah, Ann, Cam

Needless to say, even with 40 pages, we will be begging for more stories before Christmas so a volume 2 can be created.  Please, everyone start writing :)

Cam's Police Stories- Shutterfly Book:

Camology Quotes:

Saturday included some unexpected excitement as tornado sirens sounded throughout the Grand Rapids area.  

At the time of the warning, Chris and Cam were out running errands.  Jane reached them on the cell phone and requested they go into a store until the warning passed.  

Cam thought the entire experience was a great adventure. Upon arrival home, he announced:

"Mom, we are O.K.!  And it was not a drill!"

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Surprise Police Department Tour! - Wed. Aug. 17th

Disclaimer: Blog 1 of 2: Two blog entries this week because there is too much to share!

"Life's most persistent and urgent question is, What are you doing for others?" - Martin Luther King Jr.

Through a series of events, we made a connection with the Wyoming Police Department, thanks to our relatives, the Cornell family.  Cam's parents decided it would be an awesome surprise to take their birthday boy to a police station on his special day.  The plan was set up with a Captain at the department...what is that saying?  Go big or go home!

On Wednesday, Aug. 17th at 1:30p, Cam only knew he was heading out in the van for a birthday event, but had no idea what it was.  Michelle filmed this sweet video of our arrival on location.

Upon entrance, it seemed as if the entire building knew Cam's name and reason for being there.
We were escorted into a conference room with a Birthday sign on a board at the entry.  Awaiting us was a chocolate birthday cake and cupcakes from Marge's Donut Den along with quite a few deputies.  Captain Kim Koster introduced each officer and detective and explained what they do.  Officer Toonstra and his K-9 partner, Dutch, demonstrated a few tricks.  This dog
also showed off his sweet side by giving Cam some kisses.

Tour Guide-Officer Allen & Cam
Officer Allen then led us on our official tour- first we ventured outside in the back of the building where Cam had a front seat
Ms. Tara & Cam
viewing in the squad car.  The officer explained all of the lights, buttons, radar and computer screen to the young recruit.  It was a surprise to us all to see the small printer for printing tickets (how would Cam's parents know about that?!) right inside the police car as well as a secret gun strategically placed.
Next up was the police motorcycle and even though Cam has grown quite a bit, he looked small in stature on the big bike.

Our tour guide led us through the S.W.A.T. (Special Weapons and Tactics) room and then to the holding cells which Cam deemed quite small.  Officer Allen took us to the 2nd floor where the offices are and we met more personnel, including detectives.  As one of our final stops, we even saw the office of the Chief of Police- wow!
The Briefing Room

Lastly, Captain Koster thought Cam might want to bring some treats to the officers during their briefing, which takes place every afternoon.  Everyone we saw in the building gave Cam a "Happy Birthday!" greeting.
As we were getting ready to leave, Ms. Tara gave us a cd of all of the pictures she had taken during our stay!

To say we were overwhelmed by this experience is just simply an understatement.  We were surrounded by a community of officers who felt like friends by the time we left.

Captain Koster showing 
Cam "the Shield"
Cam was given quite a few special souvenirs.  One of his favorites is a special engraved coin that all officers are given after being inducted into the department.  The words ingrained are: "This is my SHIELD.  I bear it before me into battle.  But it is not mine alone.  It protects my brothers and sisters on my left and right it protects my city. I will never let my brothers or sisters out of its shadow, nor my city out of its shelter. I will proudly carry my shield before me, with honor."

Thanks are not enough for the Wyoming Police Department.  We cannot wait to see you all again!

Camology Quotes:
A repeated conversation that took place at least 10 times the day of Cam's birthday...

"Where am I going for my surprise?"
Do you really want to know?
"Yes, I mean no!  Don't tell me."

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Surrounded by Love - Week of Aug. 8th

Always be... Surrounded by love and filled with gratitude.

It feels as if Cam is surrounded by love every week and we are in turn, filled with gratitude.  This week it was Cam's turn to surround his parents with love, literally.  He and Michelle made this homemade sign for Chris & Jane to celebrate their 13th wedding anniversary on August 9th.  The two sign designers looked up online and found that lace was the gift to honor 13 years so the sign was adorned with the delicate material and they picked a bouquet of Queen Anne's Lace from the backyard.  What an awesome surprise for Cam's thankful parents!

New explorations were on Cam's list of things to do.  He visited Indian Trails Campground with Michelle where they toured the area and found the cool colored map of the U.S. painted on the pavement.

The Grand Rapids Public Museum was a fun outing with Michelle and friends.  They found an Olympic display, robotics and even a smelly animal just like one that Cam had seen in his backyard one morning, far away from the house at least!  A picnic lunch with downtown GR in the background was a new experience for the museum visitors too.

 Another day included a repeat visit to Millennium Park's splash-pad on a warm morning requiring some welcome relief.

Amanda and Cam kept the fun going with biscuit-making and a lunch outing.

Saturday marked the annual Cousin Harper's Baseball Game held in Montague, Michigan.  Cousin Harper is an avid ball player and family and friends come each summer to join in the fun.  It was a cloudy day with a bit of a drizzle in the afternoon, just perfect for the game because it wasn't too hot.

Chris and his son built an automatic bat box for Cam to use (modeled after a similar one created by May We Help) and although it may require some fine tuning, it was a hit, actually, for its first outing.  Just as the last inning began, the sun broke through the clouds.  The kids all had one last turn at bat and then rounded all of the bases together.

Of course, trying to gather a group of kids to pose for a picture at the same time is asking quite a bit after a couple of hours of baseball.  Nevertheless, most of the younger cousins are all pictured with a few of the adult cousins who attempted corralling others.  Many thanks to the organizers, of whom there are many, to pull this event off!

We dined as a group at Pekadill's and Cam enjoyed a new ice cream flavor, Michigan Pot Hole.  As you might expect, it is chocolate ice cream with large "pot holes" of dark chocolate rounds embedded in the dairy goodness.

We were thankful Michelle joined us for the afternoon, partaking in baseball, dinner and watching a beautiful Michigan sunset.

On Sunday, the day was spent beach side with Oma.  She and Cam are experts at making sand buildings, sand cupcakes and pizza.

We played for a couple of hours in the water, enjoying the mild temps and gentle waves.  With the Cam Mobile being buoyant, Cam likes to pretend that different swimmers have to arrive to fill up his gas tank.  Meanwhile, back on the beach, Cousin Maya buried us all in the sand, making for fun attempts at escaping, otherwise known as jail breaks.

And speaking of arrests, summer should get a speeding ticket for going!

Camology Quotes:
While Cam and Michelle were busy gathering a surprise bouquet outside, Jane walked out to get in her car and then saw the pair tucked behind a tree.
"Mom, we are doing nothing!" 

Cam had many questions about his parent's wedding anniversary.  Our favorite one by far:
"Is it the law that you kiss all day long on your anniversary?"