Sunday, August 13, 2017

The Things You Catch at the Pier - Week of Aug. 7th

The charm of fishing is that it is the pursuit of what is elusive but attainable, a perpetual series of occasions for hope. ~John Buchan 

If people concentrated on the really important things in life, there'd be a shortage of fishing poles. ~Doug Larson

It was a week of new experiences for Cameron Jackson.  His swimming lessons every Monday evening have increased his stamina with each session.
Ms. Laura has been working with him to incorporate more leg movement to strengthen his muscles since the hip surgery.  The Mary Free Bed therapy pool is virtually empty when their instruction takes place, so it's a targeted 45-minutes.

Cam and Ms. Amanda continued their daily walks, increasing their distance to almost two miles.  Their summer routine has consisted of morning Vizzle work (shout out to Ms. Kathy @ school!), reading practice and then their mid-morning trek for exercise.  Ms. Amanda always finds a way to wrap some fun activity into the day as well.

The weekend arrived and so did some rainy weather.  As we made our way to Holland State Park, we had no idea what awaited us.  Even though the skies were cloudy, we continued on, ready to teach Cam how to fish at the channel.
Chris and Jane both enjoy fishing and they hadn't had an opportunity to take their son.  Our family found a parking spot and the sunshine prevailed as we made our way to find the best spot.

Shortly after we arrived, Mr. Steve appeared indicating his girls would be along soon.  We switched locations and settled in at a bench alcove adjacent to the boardwalk.
All of a sudden, the fishing line bent over and Chris worked to haul in the catch.  We weren't sure how big the fish would be and Cam's dad almost toppled over his son bringing the sheepshead fish in for a photo shoot.  The swimmer wasn't the type you would keep or even eat, but it was a big one and hilarious to see Cam's excitement watching one be captured and then released.

videoMs. Amanda, her boyfriend, Nick and his sister, Brooke, parents Mary and Dan and dog Gizmo all showed up at the boardwalk as well.  And they arrived with a huge early birthday present from Ms. Amanda and Nick's entire family.  Cam couldn't believe it! The beautifully wrapped present was adorned with his favorite chocolate coins, and a card from everyone.
Luckily, Mary captured the moment of Cam opening the awesome gift on video.

The day was filled with the bright sunshine of a perfect Michigan summer afternoon, the warmth of meeting new friends you feel like you've known for a long time, the goodness of seeing your close friends/neighbors in a different location, and a whopper of a fish story to share over and over again.

Camology Quotes:
This week, Cam's parents celebrated their 14th wedding anniversary.  Chris had to stay overnight for work on the east side of the state and set up a surprise for Jane since he would be absent.  He conspired with neighbor Sarah to have her hand-deliver a present, card, bouquet and Starbucks on the anniversary morning.  

"Mom, how did Dad do that?"
He asked Sarah before he left.  Your dad is the sweetest.
"That is so cool, Mom!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Sandy Candles - Week of July 31st

"The more sand that has escaped from the hourglass of our life, the clearer we should see through it."  ~Jean Paul

Summer's timer keeps on ticking and we keep soaking it up.
The unexpected invite to a backyard pool on a weeknight is a summer treat for our family.
Emma and her dad popped over to ask if we all wanted to take an evening swim at their family friend's pool.  Although most things solar-heated in Michigan take a temperature dip after dinnertime, it is still refreshing.  Cam and Emma seemed impervious to the coolness, wanting to continue water games for quite some time.

Emma and her creative mind designed a makeshift restaurant and provided play money for Cam to order from her extensive menu.  As she cooked, she pretended all sorts of creative disasters took place in her kitchen and even had to interview new employees, aka stuffed animals.

Our awesome friends and neighbors are always present since they're just a backyard path away.  Whether we share dinners, evening walks, ice cream treats or playtime, these lifelong buddies bring smiles every time we're together.

Summer time also means some work effort needs to be put forth and Cam is always willing to help out.  His dad expertly rigged up a fastener for the wheelbarrow saving his father lugging the weeds across the yard to the woods.

The best laid plans sometimes don't go as expected.  Friday afternoon was reserved for a trip to Stony Lake to see our close family friends, the Hueys.  A rainy day squashed our intentions to swim, boat and waterski.  However, we did love the opportunity to really chat, catch up and share a most delicious meal complete with freshly husked corn, thanks to Oma and Cam.  And Oma's homemade pies were a bit hit.  Since Stony is only 15 minutes from the cottage, our evening ride 'home' was a quick one.  We caught a nice sunset back at Oma & Opa's deck since it decided to clear up about 8pm.
Sunday, though, was a picture perfect beach day.  When Jane was younger and spent her summers on Lake Michigan, a favorite craft was making sand candles with her mom.  Oma had talked to Cam about this in May and he hadn't forgotten, reminding her nearly every time they were together it would need to be an upcoming activity.  Thank goodness for Amazon and internet instructions providing a candle making kit with directions and online videos.  The best part of sand candles is making your own mold to pour the wax into.  Such a fun technique and great way to spend our morning.

Even though big lake waters hadn't made it to the 70 degree mark, Chris and his son still went swimming with the Cam mobile.  On days like this, we forget how cold our winters will be and soak up every ounce of pure Michigan summer goodness.

Upon arrival back in Grand Rapids, a family of deer were slowly making their way through our yard.  Traveling from the rural area of Cam's grandparents back to city isn't quite as shocking when you have this kind of greeting awaiting you.

Camology Quotes:
Cam is an intuitive kid.  He seems keenly aware of when to play up a joke or offer a hug when needed most.  Sometimes, juggling a full-time job and personal business is tough during a work day for Jane.  There were some parts in need of repair on Cam's powerchair and a 'quick' call to rattle off the list turned into a twenty minute conversation figuring out an appointment time.  After the 'go-fish- session, Jane finally disconnected and Cam came over to her.

"I know it's a lot to do, Mom but it is important that we get it done."

And with that simple phrase, frustration melts into a smile.  A later game of finding father and son hiding in the bathroom completely turned the day around!