Sunday, January 29, 2017

My Better Bathroom - Week of Jan. 23rd

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.” ~ Nelson Mandela

Mr. Mandela was most certainly not referring to a bathroom remodeling project, but his words ring true when it comes to surviving renovation.

With everything completed, thanks to Chris providing finishing touches, Cam has settled into the new environment.  Major improvements include easier access with a wider door and being able to drive right up under his sink.  Having a shower instead of a bathtub is the biggest change in routine and one that has greatly decreased the time needed for nightly activities.

Meadow Brook Elementary, where Cam attends school, celebrates the Chinese New Year every January as part of its Chinese immersion program teaching Chinese alongside English.  They had an assembly with a live dancing dragon and lion.  Cam got up close and personal with the lion during the Lion Dance.  Ms. Kathy told us he laughed so hard.

Also at school, Cam has been testing out some new equipment with his physical therapist.  Tall standing- way to go!  And, this week our scientific boy made butter at school.  The experiment was to show how liquid becomes a solid.  And the overall benefit - Cam brought some home for us all to taste.  It was delicious!

Back at home, buddy Emma was testing out her lego skills working on assembling a police car with Cam.  They both agreed there were lots and lots of parts.  Even with the tedious process, these two always find a way to have lots and lots of laughs in the process.

Camology Quotes:

With interrupted sleep becoming a nightly routine, Cam's pediatrician recommended his blood be tested for vitamin D deficiency and other common queries.  Jane explained to Cam that they would go to a lab where some of his blood would be taken and tested to see if he had enough vitamins.

Cam was a bit nervous about the routine and when his arm was being swabbed, he was explaining to the lab tech why he was there because his doctor had sent us to test his blood.
When the needle pierced his vein, he didn't even seem to flinch.  When Cam saw the blood flowing through the tube, he looked straight at the lab technician and said "Do I have enough vitamins?"

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Sing - Week of Jan. 16th

“Words make you think. Music makes you feel. A song makes you feel a thought.” ~ E.Y. Harburg 
“If everyone started off the day singing, just think how happy they'd be.” 
~ Lauren Myracle

Cam loves music.  Every evening he requests to listen to songs during his nightly routine.

A recent release of the movie "Sing" came up in discussions during Cam's classroom time at school.

Somehow, everything aligned with a half day for Cam, a surprise visit from Auntie Roe, no class for Miss Amanda and some rescheduled meetings for Jane.  All of this led to four buddies happily catching a flick in the afternoon.  "Sing" was a great movie filled with many of Cam's favorites songs and a cast of hilarious animals that kept us all smiling. And popcorn, of course, there was delicious popcorn!

We are fortunate that Miss Amanda willingly gives up an evening most every weekend to hang out with her buddy, allowing Cam's parents an evening out.  A extra treat for Chris and Jane was a text from Amanda with a picture of their son and his chocolaty face along with this quote, "we are having so much fun!"

Camology Quotes:

Oma and Opa stayed longer than expected on Tuesday when we received a two-hour school delay due to icy roads.  We were so thankful for their extended stay!

Cam kept saying to his dad "maybe they will cancel school today."  Chris told Cam, "that will never happen."

Shortly after 8am, the phone rang.  Chris quietly told Jane that in fact, school had now been cancelled for the day.  Cam couldn't believe it!  After telling the excited 3rd grader, he kept exclaiming "that is a new thing.  This has never happened before!"  
When Cam's mom told him that his dad had called to tell us, his response was..."he had to call to tell me he was wrong about them not cancelling school today!"

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Don't Give Up - Week of Jan. 9th

"Never, never, never give up." ~ Winston Churchill

In our home recently, whenever Chris or Jane seem to be struggling with a project or task, Cam will say "don't give up!"  It's such a powerful statement in three little words.  Somehow they mean the world coming from a boy who sometimes seems to have wisdom far beyond his years.

At school, Cam was designated as an extra helper for the week with turning on and off lights and shutting doors.  He takes these tasks very seriously.  Of course, his teacher, Ms. Kathy, injects fun into education and a recess outing found Cam and friends in the snowbank!

The weekend brought an outing to meet up with Auntie Jo and Will to celebrate a very belated Christmas.  We dined at Buffalo Wild Wings and exchanged sweet gifts.  Cam's favorite- his own personal edition of Uno.  A teaching game of colors, numbers, rules, win and loss but also just great entertainment!

Oma and Opa arrived Sunday afternoon to hang out with us.  As with most Sunday evenings, we shared a delicious meal with the Raisch fam.  This week's offering- homemade personalized pizza crafted by Patti and Cam and supervised by Oma.  Breadsticks and salad accompanied the meal along with fresh pineapple.  Cam is quite convinced that a pizza meal isn't complete unless cheesy bread is sitting alongside of it.

Spending quality time with Oma and Opa is a high priority for their grandson.  Baking tasty banana bread and playing multiple games, including Uno were the highlights.  Much of the banana bread was sectioned off for the construction crew, per a very thankful Cam.

As the workers finished up this week, our helper boy continued to supervise his dad handling the finishing touches as the bathroom remodel project heads toward the finish line.

Camology Quotes:

Two snow days in one week- quite unusual and unexpected.  With a scramble to reschedule work meetings and call in the cavalry, Cam and his mom had some extra time together.

Every time our home phone rings, Cam implores for it to be answered.  We have explained the art of telemarketing to him and the reasoning behind his parents not picking up every phone call.
When the caller id appeared on a snow day and a local number was shown, Jane answered on speaker phone so Cam could hear too.  A recorded voice said "Someone from your home called about a knee brace or knee pain.  To hear more, please press 1."  Jane promptly hung up and explained to her puzzled son that it was a telemarketing call.  As they moved along to something else,
Cam suddenly exclaimed, "Mom, it wasn't me!  I do not even use the phone."

Sunday, January 8, 2017

In With The New - Week of Jan. 2nd

The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision. ~Helen Keller 
"It could be worse"...became our motto for this week.
On Tuesday, Jane headed to the dentist after discovering a minor chip in a crown over the holidays.  She was told she needed a root canal and then a new crown.  Wednesday afternoon, Amanda and Cam took a spill together on the floor and Cam chipped out some pieces of his front teeth and Amanda endured a nasty bruised arm.  Both of the troopers survived and Cam, the brave boy, didn't shed one tear.  An emergency dental appointment the next morning provided good news for our son. No nerve damage and some temporary bonding with a permanent fix set up for the following week.
Aside from our family keeping the dental community employed, Cam's bathroom renovation began!  The task list: widen bathroom and Cam's bedroom doors, modify existing cabinetry for Cam's powerchair to fit under sink, remove existing bathtub and replace with walk-in shower, remove wallpaper, new paint and light fixtures.
Within our "could be worse" motto, ants were found under the floor joists when the tub was removed on Monday, so an exterminator came to visit on Tuesday.  With a complete dousing, the insects were eliminated and work could commence the following day.
Of course, Cam was more than happy to partake in a portion of the work effort.  He helped to remove wallpaper, supervised the mirror removal and sanded down the cabinet trim for painting.

A favorite Christmas present included a game called Pizza Math.  Patti enjoyed learning about this card play while Cam delighted in winning multiple sessions.

We had a nice visit from Auntie Jo on Sunday afternoon.
Good distractions and good friends are always high on our list after a long week!

Camology Quotes:

We are so thankful Cam's teacher, Ms. Kathy, sends funny emails like the one below.  After Cam's emergency dental appointment, he insisted on going right to school.  The following happened that same day....

Cam was being obstinate in the bathroom this afternoon and refused to turn the water on to wash his hands. He double dog dared me to email you about it...of course I always accept a challenge.  I am sure you will discipline him appropriately.
He evidently found his energy again.  His word for the day is "obstinate" and he wanted to know if it meant to be naughty.  :-)  Love this kid!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Traditions - Week of Dec. 26th

Tradition does not mean to look after the ash, but to keep the flame alive. ~Jean Jaures

With the colder weather settling in, we had a burst of sunshine when Ms. Michelle came to visit from Florida.  We shared a lasagna dinner and caught up on the latest events.  She insisted Cam wear her reindeer headband for our group picture.  Michelle gave her buddy a fingerprinting kit to use with all of his detective police work and added a new ornament to our tree.

For more than 30 years, Jane's extended family of cousins, aunts and uncles has gathered together around the holidays to share a potluck meal, good cheer, and a visit from Santa Claus for all of the younger kids.  The celebration is a traditional festive event and one we look forward to every year.
A couple of Cam's cousins noted after seeing Santa at that mall this year that "He's not the real Santa. The real Santa comes to Cam's house."  Since we didn't have enough snow for sledding, the party stayed inside this year.  Families came from as far as Johannesburg, South Africa and as near as a few miles away.
Just as it begins to get dark outside and when the kids are playing downstairs, sleigh bells can be heard.  That's the cue for all children to come upstairs and wait for Santa.  Since it's after Christmas, he comes through the front door.
Each baby, child and pre-teen receives 2 presents each from Santa.
The time together also gave us an opportunity to surprise Oma with a Ryke's cake for her big December birthday.  The edible frosting was decorated with a picture from her 16th birthday as well as one taken in September.  The writing on the delicious dessert read "Happy Birthday Mom/Oma.  A beauty at every age!"  Although everyone was gone by 9pm, the happy memories and smiles stuck around.  And so did Oma and Opa and our thankfulness for their extra help.

A yearly tradition for
Cam & Emma - decorating
the gingerbread house, this year with
Miss Amanda's help :) 
We also have a New Year's Eve tradition that began a few years ago with the Raisch and Flegel families...Late afternoon bowling followed by football game viewing at one of our homes.  We were grateful we could say goodbye to 2016 with friends we think of as family and a judgement-free zone of really low bowling scores!

Camology Quotes:

Cam and Jane gave Chris a table saw for Christmas as a big surprise. He had no idea we were getting it and it weighed so much (250lbs) it had to stay in the back of Opa's car for its unveiling. Cam was in the garage helping Chris set it up.

"Cam- this is a really cool present.  I still can't believe you and Mom got it for me."
Only the best for you, Dad!