Sunday, March 26, 2017

Be Our Guest - Week of Mar. 20th

"Be our guest!  Be our guest!  Get your worries off your chest..." ~Song Lyrics from Beauty & the Beast

There are days when a task seems daunting.  Monday began as one of those days and turned out to be quite the opposite.

Cam started off the day with an early morning dentist appointment yielding good results.
After a productive day of learning, Chris and Jane arrived at school early to pick Cam up before the buses.  They all headed to Alma College, 90 minutes away, where Cameron was scheduled to be the guest speaker for Ms. Ann's developmental psychology class.  Jane spoke to this class about Cam and his life back in January.  The students had been asking to meet the cool kid ever since.

A night class that meets on Monday evening isn't the most opportune time for an elementary student to make his speaking debut.  Though the drive was long, it gave our nine-year-old a chance to process some questions about his upcoming surgery.  When we arrived a little early, we were surprised to see college kids already waiting.

 Professor Ann asked each student to introduce themselves and give an interesting fact.  Without any prompting, Cam made his way over and stopped in front of each and every student as they announced their greeting.  Katie, one of the students, was ill and even face-timed in for the session- can you spot her in the picture?  Each class member came prepared with at least two questions for the guest speaker.  Upon responding to each and every one, Cam proclaimed "Next question!"  We were quite impressed with this college class and they seemed taken with Cam.  With our stomachs full of delicious pizza and hearts full of gratitude, we ventured back to Grand Rapids.

We had decided to surprise Cam with a pre-spring break weekend to St. Joseph, Michigan and fortunately for us, Auntie Karen met us there to partake in the fun.  Our meeting spot was the Holiday Inn Express nestled directly across from Lake Michigan.  Adjacent to the hotel was the Lakehouse Inn where we dined Friday evening with the warmth of the spring sun beaming through the restaurant windows.
Roxy's Restaurant

Saturday welcomed spring rain and new adventures.  A visit to a 50's style restaurant for lunch called Roxy's and an afternoon trek to the Curious Kids Museum in downtown St. Joe.
The museum was founded by educators and parents to provide an environment that invites curiosity, allows explo
ration, celebrates childhood and inspires learning!
 Opened in 1989, the Museum on the Bluff has fulfilled the founders' mission to provide a place where "Learning is Fun" through interactive, hands-on exhibits.

There was so much to see and do and there were families everywhere.  We encountered some crazy mirrors where our reflections were distorted.  Cam pressed a button to watch a large weather balloon take flight.  The virtual topography sand table drew us all in as we moved the sand to see different geographical land masses take shape.  A scaled down ambulance, fire truck and pirate ship were made for exploring. A fruitful lesson on apples, different animals and insects as well as a face-painting station kept us all busy.  Chris and Jane found a parent "time-out" bench which they happily sat at while Cam showed his waning patience for pictures.

Our hotel stay included an accommodating staff, a delicious breakfast assortment to choose from and an indoor pool with a lift for Cam, which we made full use of.
More importantly, the inclusion of Auntie Karen's presence and adventurous spirit was a most welcome gift.

Camology Quotes:

Prior to our Alma trip, Ms. Ann indicated she would be ordering pizza...Cam was a bit concerned.

"I have never been to Alma.  What kind of pizza do they have there?  Are you sure they have breadsticks?"

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Safety Supervisor - Week of Mar. 13th

There is always safety in valor. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

On Lake Michigan, we definitely see some pretty amazing sunsets in the summer.  It takes us by surprise, though, when we see the colorful sunrise from our home in Grand Rapids.

Cam continued his work effort at Grand Valley this week, testing out a walking apparatus with Miss Katrina and Miss Kelcey.  They almost started a dance party in the hallway with some fellow GV students waiting for a classroom to empty out.

Typical of most weekends, Cam anticipates what he can help with.  Chris regularly thinks up the coolest projects to work on with his son.  Before any assistance can begin, Mom or Dad always ask if there are any helpers around who would like to volunteer.  Inevitably, Cam excitedly raises his hand each and every time.

After borrowing a concrete drill, lots of sawing and pounding, and keeping Jane out of the garage, the boys were ready for their reveal...a walkway that transforms into a ramp!  With new hinges, a removable platform and a lot of ingenuity, Chris figured out a way for his son to drive directly into the workshop.  Cam has taken on the role of being a safety supervisor, making certain that all precautions are taken before performing any construction task.  Jane contributed a couple of laminated signs for the area to warn others of the guys working.

With March Madness in full swing, the Raisch family joined us for lunch on Sunday to take in a few basketball games and grill some burgers, complemented by homemade french fries.

While Patti, Cam and Jane played a few games of Uno in the kitchen, the rest of crew "watched" basketball in the living room.

Camology Quotes:

On Sunday, we talked to Cam about an upcoming hospital procedure he will have on March 28th for right hip dislocation.  We explained that since his right leg has been hurting at times and x-rays showed that his hip socket is not where it should be, he will need surgery.  After an extensive discussion with questions from Cam, he announced:

"Ok, I will not cancel the surgery."
Other questions included, but were not limited to...
"When do I eat? Why do I not get breakfast? 
 How many visitors? What are the hours? Can I have too many? 
"Oma knows about this- she had knee surgery."

Sunday, March 12, 2017

A Chilly Cookout - Week of Mar. 6th

Gym teacher catching a ride!
It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade. ~Charles Dickens

You never know what type of weather to expect in Michigan in March.  This week, we had a day of mid-50's, 60 mph wind gusts and an extended power outage in our home, all in the same day.  Cam was eager to hear about the loss of electricity when he returned home from school and asked what happened.  Unfortunately for Jane, she migrated to a local grocery store to work, returning home at 3:30p when luckily the power was restored.  Some friends of ours didn't have power until the weekend.  We were very fortunate.

Cam was part of a mini photo shoot when Brandon and Mike stopped by to snap some pictures of his completed bathroom for their new website.  It's exciting to see our independent boy drive right up to his sink and have an easier time maneuvering through the wider doorways.

On Saturday, we hosted Ms. Ann and family for a birthday celebration.  Even though the temps were in the 30's, we chose to grill some steak and salmon and hot dogs.  Everyone brought a dish to pass and we all enjoyed a tasty feast.
Afterwards, we moved onto a frozen yogurt cake from Spoonlickers.  Peanut butter and chocolate make for such a great combination for dessert.  The three littlest ones in the picture are cousins, all within 1 year of each other!  Pretty cool and fun to see.  Cam had a good time rolling around on the floor with them.

With the bigger crowd we had on Saturday, Cam decided it was time to change our dining room around on Sunday.  We moved a smaller table by our window.  Someone came up with the idea of this area being designated as a "diner."  Now, every meal we have as a family is eaten in the diner.  Upon finishing his first experience there, Cam asked "Do I get a survey?"
After a busy weekend, we are always thankful for time to sit back and relax!

Camology Quotes:

Our Raisch family introduced us to cornbread waffles this week.  Cam was pretty intrigued.  Chris and his son decided to experiment.  They made brownies and wanted to see if indeed you could put brownie batter in the waffle iron.  In our completely non-professional opinion, this is an awesome-sauce idea!

Survey says...(from Cam)
"This is not a healthy snack, but it sure is good!"

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Letters from Kansas - Week of Feb. 27th

"Doing what's expected of you can make you good, but it's the time you spend going above and beyond what's required that makes you great!" ~ Josh S. Hinds
What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say" ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson"

As a nine-year-old, Cam receives quite a bit of mail.  Cards arrive for holidays and birthday as well as letters from Oma and Auntie Karen.
The majority of Cam's mail, though, comes from the state of Kansas with the return address of Grandma Sue.  Chris' mom moved to the Plains state a few years ago from Arizona and spends her days caring for her farm.
A little over a week ago, Cam arrived home from school with a project.  He had to send a self-addressed stamped envelope to someone he knew outside of Michigan, preferably a state that wasn't close by.  Once that person received the letter, they were asked to provide some facts about their state and city as well as some unique things. Cam's first request was to send it to Grandma Sue.  Little did we know she was an overachiever and created a CD for Cam's class to see.  Since it was delivered to school on Thursday, the class viewed it on Friday and Ms. Kathy even included the story in the newsletter that went home!  Many, many thanks Grandma Sue!
"At the end of February we sent letters home to go to other places.  We got a letter back today!  It was from Kansas.  We learned about a farm.  They had chickens and it was on a river.  We learned that they have tornadoes in Kansas.  It was fun to learn about another state.  This makes our class feel excited."

Most weekends, we see our buddies and this one was no exception.   We had a fun, impromptu outing to Culver's with Emma and Mr. Steve.  And Emma outdid herself by not only getting into police mode, but also sporting the S.W.A.T. cap and handheld siren.

Some classics fade and come back.  For our family, hide-n-seek has been one of these faithful games that Cam still gets a kick out of.  It seems when he involves his parents, it takes a different turn.
Chris always like to throw Jane off the trail, so a large stuffed animal was hanging out in Cam's chair with a blanket over its head.

Dad and son were on the floor in the dark room waiting to be found.  It may have taken Mom a bit longer to find the boys if there hadn't been giggling emanating from that area.  When the lights came on, Cam explained the lengths they had gone to for the perfect hiding spot.

Jane and her son found another quiet place in the corner, throwing Chris off of their trail by placing pillows under the bed.

Camology Quotes:

Our good friends, Chris & Cassie, brought their premature daughter, Cora, home from the hospital after a month's stay.  We attended their baby shower on Saturday.  Both Chris and Cassie are firefighters.  Cam was quite intrigued with the event location and fired off (pun intended) many questions during our trek there.

"Where is the baby shower?"
It's at the fire station.
"Wow! What happens if they get called to go out?" "Where would baby Cora go?"  "Will we hear the siren?"  "Who did they ask if they could have the baby shower there?"