Sunday, October 23, 2016

A Little Inspiration - Week of Oct. 17th

Miss April (Chase/Paw Patrol costume)
& Jane
As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. ~John F. Kennedy
No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. ~Aesop

What inspires you?
This week, inspiration surrounded our family.  The fast and furious planning for the inaugural Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital event, "Costumes for the Rest of Us" was at top speed.
It was one thing to figure out a costume built around Cam's mobility every year with weeks to create, produce, test...but to merge that into two days with multiple costumes felt a bit challenging to say the least.  As always, though, things have a way of coming together...

On Friday, Oma and Opa arrived to spend the early evening and an full Saturday with their grandson. Of course, they had a full agenda planned.  Auntie Karen had sent a package just in time for the weekend containing an entire crafting project complete with all of the needed items.  Cam took his grandparents to Heidi's Farmstand and Bakery where they picked out a pumpkin, delicious caramel apples and fresh strawberries.  Oma and Opa kept Cam busy all day long.

In the meantime, Chris & Jane led two work days at Mary Free Bed.  It began Friday with prepping the area and the appearance of Professor John Farris from GVSU Engineering.  He had been corresponding with Jane about bringing a few students.  He showed up with 7 of them.  They were supposed to stay for a few hours and they stayed for 6 hours!  On Saturday, two of the GV engineering students returned to continue work and 3 more showed up.
Thanks to Molly Krauss for our shirts!

More than 25 others associated with O.A.K. (local construction company) and Mary Free Bed volunteered their time and exhaustive efforts to create 8 costumes for wheelchairs and decorate 2 doors of inpatients who were unable to participate in the parade.  We met 5 of the kids who will be in the costume creations and parading with us.

A volunteer's daughter
testing out the dragon
On Sunday, Chris and Jane ventured back to Mary Free Bed with Cam where he helped us finish up a few loose ends, clean the area, and move all of the costumes.  We had the pleasure of showing Cam all of the handiwork and creativity from so many individuals who came together to be inspired by each other and kids they had never met.

Over the course of three days, Cam's parents put in about 30 hours of work and Cam himself, he put in the countless hours of inspiration.

Camology Quotes:
We asked for Cam's input on the Rainbow Dash (from My Little Pony) costume.

Mom: "What do you think we should use for the eyes on Rainbow Dash?"
Cam: "I think we should take the costume to the girl it is for and ask her."
Mom: "That's a great idea but we are not able to do that because we cannot talk to her right now."
Cam: "Ok, then we should ask her parents."

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Am I Famous? - Week of Oct. 10th

The talent of success is nothing more than doing what you can do well, and doing well whatever you do without thought of fame.  If it comes at all it will come because it is deserved, not because it is sought after.  ~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Becoming independent.  It can happen on a singular level or with the help of a friend.  At Cam's school, he was the teacher's helper for the week.  One of the tasks is taking the lunch count to the front office.  Because Cam needs help opening the door, a teacher would normally accompany him. This time, the request was for his buddy Brody to make that trek with him.  Ms. Kathy followed, undetected, to sneak a few pictures.  The two pals chatted along the way and maybe both felt a bit more independence upon their return, or maybe they just enjoyed the company.

Cam also worked on sitting solo at a stool in the living room, one of his daily tasks after school.  His check list includes homework and exercises, both of which he happily agrees to nearly ever day...after a snack.

Most weeks are filled with activity for our family.  The last month, though, has also had a focus on the community.

Terri DeBoer, Cam, Jane & Chris, and Molly K.
A longtime family friend, Molly Krauss, reached out to us a few months ago asking if we'd be  interested in taking on a project to help Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital during Halloween. Molly receives our Christmas card annually and each one has shown Cam's costume.  Molly had the idea of having us (Chris) help create costumes for inpatients at Mary Free Bed who wouldn't otherwise be able to participate in Halloween fun.  We jumped at the chance!  As the project has progressed, so has the Mary Free Bed Marketing team.
On Tuesday evening, we received quite an exciting phone call requesting our presence on a local television show that would be taped and shown Friday morning.  When we asked Cam if he was willing to go with his, he asked "Will I be famous?"  "Not so much," responded his parents, "but it would be fun to see yourself on t.v.!"

Cam's T.V. Debut! (click the link and then the play button)

Friday morning, we packed up Cam and his costume for its official debut, complete with lights and sirens!  Before we entered the building, we found Molly and after she said "hi" to Cam, he said "I'm excited to see how this turns out!"  The studio was busy and we didn't have to wait long before it was our turn to chat with Terri DeBoer.  Before our interview began, she told Cam he might like to work at a television station when he's older.  The starstruck boy was fascinated with the robotic cameras that wheeled around by remote control.  Even though he wasn't able to show off his speaking skills during the interview, he chatted during the entire drive back.  Our nine-year-old was only an hour late to school and even had the pleasure of watching himself live on t.v. in his classroom!
To add to the week's excitement, we received our beach photos from the Gauper photo shoot.  The pics were quite timely since we were able to send them to WoodTV to use for the interview.  And maybe we're a bit bias, but we do think Cam is pretty photogenic!

Camology Quotes:
Cam's parents told him they wanted to take him out for dinner Saturday night to celebrate being on tv. 3 options were given: Bagger's Dave, Pizza Hut or Olive Garden.

Cam: "I pick Pizza Hut."
Mom: "Sounds good.  You haven't been there since you were little."
Cam: "One problem.  They do not have a ramp!"
Mom & Dad:  "Their sidewalk has a slope for your chair."  "Way to think ahead!"

Sunday, October 9, 2016

The Art of Our Community - Week of Oct. 3rd

Art is not what you see, but what you make others see. ~Edgar Degas 

Wacky Hair- Ms Kathy, Brody & Cam
As adults, some days at work seem so serious.  The adult community may want to take some cues from elementary students.  This week Cam participated in "Wacky Hair Day" at school and experienced quite a few laughs throughout the day because of it.

Cam and "Human Hoop"
The city of Grand Rapids was winding down its eighth year of Art Prize which has become recognized as "the most attended public art event on the planet" according to The Art Newspaper.  To do our part as members of this planet, Amanda and Jane transported Cam downtown Friday afternoon to take in at least a portion of the art.  The trio toured The Gerald R. Ford Ford Museum where they saw the Sand Sturgeon.  The sand painting was on a platform 4ft x 16ft x 32 inches tall. “Sand Sturgeon” evolved from the artist's large scale photographs and drawings of fish he caught and released.  Upstairs in the museum, Cam liked a rug that appeared to be melting.

The inquisitive nine-year-old determined his favorite piece of art, however, was one in motion.  The artist was Jonah Ortiz and the piece was named "Human Hoop."  The kinetic sculpture captured Cam's interest for quite some time.
Another creation Cam liked allowed viewers to feel the different textures of the pieces and spin them around to see things from a different vantage point.
That evening, Chris and Jane ventured back downtown and found themselves literally in the middle of art, while Amanda hung out with Cam back at home.

Cam & fellow teammate/classmate
Sam & Cam!
Saturday marked the final day for the WMML Fall 2016 season.  The helpers on the field were from one of our favorite stores, Home Depot.  It was quite a chilly morning but the sun was shining and the fans were in full force!  Cam thought it was downright hilarious that his helper's name was Sam (Samantha) due to the natural rhyme of their first names.

Molly, Mr. D., Marie, A.Mary,U.Ray
and the ballplayer, Cam
Cam's friend and bus driver, Mr. D (Dick) arrived with his sweet friend Marie and dog, Molly.  Aunt Mary and Uncle Ray braved the cold to cheer on Cam as well.  Of course, Oma and Opa told their grandson there was no way they would miss his last game!  After a great showing and one too many pictures (according to Cam), the family headed to Logan's and treated Cam's grandparents, in thanks for the many trips they made this season, and every season!

Anna & Cam
Saturday evening we shared a delicious meal with our awesome friends, the Raisch fam, and we were excited to have Anna with us too, home from Hope College.  Cam has been missing seeing her on a regular basis and when she comes over a visit, she has "celebrity status" with her buddy.

May your day be filled with some wackiness and unexpected art :)

Camology Quotes:

Cam and his dad have been busy with Halloween requirements for Cam's "costume" which may include but are not limited to different noises to be used for sound effects.  The two ran into a few snags with some computer software.  A conversation Jane overheard...

Cam: "Dad, go out to the internet and type in software."  "And you may want to re-boot it after."
Dad: "How do I re-boot it?"
Cam: "Type pseudo reboot!"

This child definitely has a future in network computing...

Sunday, October 2, 2016

The Silver Lining - Week of Sept. 26th

"What is best for the child is not always what is most convenient for the parent." 
~ Bonnie Bedford
"Once you bring kids into the world, it's not about you anymore." ~Tony Gaskins

Helper Tony & Cam
The day before Cam's baseball game, the forecast looked fairly bleak- rainy, damp weather...not exactly what you gravitate towards for a sporting event.  As parents who were tired from the work week and relishing some weekend relaxation, the thought of having a game cancelled seemed to be in the realm of possibility.
Saturday morning, Chris and Jane kept checking email, looking at the cell phones for text messages and monitoring social media.  When we realized, via Facebook, there would be no cancellation a slight moment of parental disappointment may have occurred.

It was quickly erased though, as Cam readied himself for the baseball game regardless of the weather.  The volunteers from Mary Queen of Apostles Youth Group in Sand Lake, Michigan were excited to be a part of the event.  Cam had a couple of great hits and an incredibly proud smile as he crossed over home plate! The rain held off and it was such an awesome game.
Each week we profusely thank the helpers who volunteer and they are always the ones who end up thanking us.  Turns out there is a waiting list for groups to come out to the West Michigan Miracle League to offer their time and assistance.

Since we are in the fall season, we've already had multiple inquiries about Cam's chosen Halloween costume for 2016.  It won't be revealed yet, but Chris and his son have been putting in quite a few hours towards completion.

You may recall a few blog entries ago that Cam sent a letter to the Marzetti company regarding his favorite garlic bread.  This week in the mail addressed to Cameron was a letter from that business stating how much they appreciate their customers.  Also enclosed were 2 coupons for a free package of the famous Texas Toast bread.
In true Cam form, he excitedly told his parents, "I need to thank them right away!"  Hmmm, this seems like it may turn into an endless circle, but we sure do love his eagerness to reach out and express appreciation.

Camology Quotes:

We are so grateful for the insight received from Cam's teachers.  

This week, Ms. Kathy sent an email with one of Cam's comments from 3:20p:
"Isn't it amazing how fast the day goes?"

And on another day, this popped into the Inbox:

So we read about baseball today and I found a short Miracle League video on youtube to share...guess who we saw in it.  Cam got so excited. 

"I'm on the internet-wow!  "Send the link to my mom. She's got to see this" :)

West Mich Miracle League Video