Sunday, May 27, 2018

The Beach...Finally! - Week of May 21st

Thumper: "Eating greens is a special treat, It makes long ears and great big feet. But it sure is awful stuff to eat." I made that last part up myself. ~ Bambi movie, 1942

The unusually warm May weather took us all off guard this week.  80 degree days aren't normally on the Michigan radar until late June.  Every day seemed to be reaching or breaking a record.  To start off the holiday weekend, we left Saturday morning for the cottage.  Chris, with his trusty supervisor, Cam, finished building a custom cabinet and hanging shelves for the bathroom.  It was quite a bit cooler at the lake, which was a welcome change.
We heard many foghorns during the day, but by late afternoon, the fog cleared and the sun shone bright.  After dinner, Cam and his dad exercised together and then we headed to the beach.  The water temps hovered in the low 50's so swimming was not in our game plan.  The infamous Cam-mobile had its first official run on a northward walk.

We stayed overnight at the cottage and fell asleep listening to the Lake Michigan waves lap against the shore.

Sunday was a perfectly beautiful day day and windy enough for Cam's kite to set sail.  One of Cameron's bath seats has been officially turned into a beach chair so he can hang out right in the sand.  The kite string was taut and Cam kept grabbing it and said "look, I am playing the guitar!"
Oma and her grandson created some sand cupcakes and we played in the warm breeze.  The beach time couldn't have been better, but we needed to start back to Grand Rapids in the late afternoon.  As we all settled into the truck a short rain shower made our departure a bit easier.

Getting home on time was a must to celebrate a birthday. Cam's best buddy, Emma, was turning 13 and we were invited to share dinner and dessert!

Cam thought up his own idea for a present- he wanted to create a photo book of all of he and Emma's memories together.  It may be hard to believe we have more than enough photos of these two in our archives!  Henry David Thoreau's quote sums up the true meaning of having a best buddy,  "The most I can do for my friend is simply be his friend."

{Blog extension by 1 day} 
Memorial Day is an American holiday, observed on the last Monday of May, honoring the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971.

This day was also the high school graduation open house for Sarah Raisch, Emma's sister.  Even though the temperature reached 95 degrees, the backyard shade and gentle breeze was welcoming.  A delicious homemade feast awaited guests as well as the super fun adventure of 9-square which Cam was game to play, even in the heat.

As Sarah begins her college career at Michigan State in the fall, we will miss seeing her every week, but know that our lifelong family friendship will keep us all together.

Camology Quotes:

When we were packing up our things at the cottage, Cam said he wished we didn't have to leave.  Chris responded by telling Cam we could just have him stay at Oma and Opa's one more night, to which his thoughtful response was...
"But, I have things to do and places to go!"

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Blooming - Week of May 14th

"Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom." ~Marcel Proust

If you're lucky enough, you may witness or be a participant in the sweet growth of a friendship.  Cam's first and best friend, Emma, has been in his life since the beginning.

Throughout preschool and grade school, we've continued to watch classmates become buddies and remain a part of Cam's life.
On Friday, a fourth grade (only) field trip to the Fine Arts Center included multiple activities centered around the arts. Our ten-year-old participated in the dance movements, musical drums, and art creations.  Chris watched his son advance to a circle (without prompting) to show off some dance moves while all the kids chanted his name.  When Jane arrived to pick up Cam (for a work stint at Grand Valley), she was pleasantly surprised to see a sweet friend making certain Cam was able to exit an area without everyone crowding around.
RJ, Cam, Jason
Toronto Blue Jays Spring 2018

Saturday morning began with a heavy duty rain shower, but that would not deter the West Michigan Miracle League.  We assured Cam his game wasn't cancelled and team pictures would take place afterwards.  As we headed to field with rain pattering on the windshield, Cam announced "well, this should be interesting!" 
The Center for Physical Rehabilitation (where Cam receives PT) volunteers were in full force.  Two guys who came over to our ball player had actually met him before!
And the weather did not dampen our family Cam-fan travelers.  Oma, Opa, Uncle Joe, Aunt Joyce and cousin Annie all drove in to see Cam's game.  Many thanks for their steadfast support on a dreary weather day!

Immediately following baseball, Cam and his parents headed over to Uccello's restaurant in Rockford to celebrate Brody's 11th birthday.  

Dining on delicious pizza puffs to start the meal, was followed by a tasty lunch and topped off with strawberry shortcake and chocolate cake.  

Brody asked two friends to join the festivities- classmates Cam and Evelyn readily agreed.  
Evelyn thinks the boys are so nice and kept giving them hugs throughout lunch which had the baseball teammates cracking up.  
These two guys have known each other since kindergarten and we predict the best buds will have a lifelong connection.  

Friendship is to people what sunshine is to flowers...

Camology Quotes:

This week, our family decided the old basketball hoop which we inherited with the home, could be put to better use elsewhere.  Chris placed an ad online indicating it was free.  To no one's surprise, many calls came in.  The only stipulation in the ad was that whoever came to retrieve it was completely responsible for its removal.  Once it was gone, Chris and his trusty supervisor, Cam worked to grind down the bolts left behind.   A few of our son's favorite new phrases include...
"Hello, Earth to Dad!"
"Hello, Earth to Mom, are you there?"

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Live, Laugh, Love, Repeat - Week of May 7th

Flowers to Oma from Opa
In our sun room, three word plaques read, "Live" "Laugh" and "Love" all in separate windows.  It is a mantra our family attempts to follow every day.

The real source of "Live, Laugh, Love" is Bessie Anderson Stanley's 1904 poem, "Success." Stanley originally submitted the work in the form of an essay for a contest held by Brown Book magazine that asked entrants to define success:
He achieved success who has lived well, laughed often, and loved much; Who has enjoyed the trust of pure women, the respect of intelligent men and the love of little children; Who has filled his niche and accomplished his task; Who has never lacked appreciation of Earth's beauty or failed to express it; Who has left the world better than he found it, Whether an improved poppy, a perfect poem, or a rescued soul; Who has always looked for the best in others and given them the best he had; Whose life was an inspiration; Whose memory a benediction.
Funny how the condensed version is still seen everywhere more than a hundred years later.

We were excited to have Oma overnight with us due to an appointment she had in Grand Rapids.  Pictured with Cam, grandma and grandson are working on the gift that keeps on giving from 'Auntie' Karen.  Little Passports is delivered monthly to Cam and includes a booklet all about one of the 50 states.  He's received more than half of the states thus far!

On Saturday, we were relieved to see the baseball game wasn't cancelled since the rain held off for us.  Home Depot helpers took the field and Carlos found Cam.  Normally, the Depot volunteers show up for the last game of the season, but this spring, they were at the third game.  You wouldn't think this would matter, but Home Depot is the only group that actually provides free lunch for participants, families and friends.  Now, since a couple of parents (namely Cam's) did not have this information in advance, our ball player was a bit bummed he had already eaten lunch and was too full to partake in munching on a hot dog.  Like most things, though, Cam took it in stride.  After his game was over, we wanted a picture with the Cam Fans- Ms. Amanda and Ms. Brooke.  Brooke was teasing Cam and grabbed his baseball cap and put it on backwards.  As you can see, a best buddy and teammate, Brody, quickly decided Cam needed that cap back on his head!  A big thanks to Ms. Amanda and Brooke for hanging out with us.
Chris and Cam were working on a little project for Mother's Day and Sunday morning, revealed their efforts.  The boys had put together a special slide show for the homemade digital frame complete with picture messages for Jane.  They also gave her a new Alexa for her office downstairs and a shirt with the words: "I am not a princess, I am Kahleesi" which is a Game of Thrones reference pointing to the fact that Kahleesi is a strong (albeit short) woman who fiercely protects those she loves.

After a delicious breakfast and Alexa setup, we made our way to the cottage to install the homemade bathroom door and finish up a few other items.

Of course, we were anxious to see Oma to wish her a Happy Mother's Day too.  Jane and her mom exchanged sweet gifts and we shared a delicious brunch of homemade crepes, one of Oma's specialties.  As Jane knows, one of the best things about having Oma as a mom is that Cam has her as a grandma.

To all of Cam's grandmas, aunts, aunties, godmother, cousins and close friends- we'd just like to say, Here's to the best of the best on Mother's Day!

Camology Quotes:
Miss Barbara, one of Cam's former teachers, sent Jane an email about a write-up recently recognizing their school.
The Special Olympics organization creates resources for schools and programs throughout the country to help others implement programs. In a newly released edition of “Playbook Resources,” Meadow Brook Elementary School is highlighted as a leading elementary school and a Unified Champion School. “Playbook Resources” are designed for educators, students, and Special Olympics Programs. Each playbook is broken down into sections that, along with the additional resources, will assist a school in becoming and sustaining Unified Champion School status.
According to the playbook, At Meadow Brook Elementary School, K–4 students have the opportunity to sign up to be LINKS—that is, Loyal, Interested, Nurturing, Kind Students. One hundred and thirty-five students participate in LINKS/UCS; each student in the cognitively impaired program has a LINKS partner for each school day, leading to lots of opportunities for inclusive youth leadership, whole school engagement, and inclusive sports. Inclusion occurs throughout each school day, every day. When possible, students keep these partners throughout the years to allow friendships to deepen and bonds to grow.   
When Cam saw his picture featured (one taken a few years ago), he remarked "That's pretty cool!"

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Look for the Helpers - Week of Apr. 30th

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” ~ Fred Rogers

Cam is a planner, checking on schedules and events well before their time.  His thoughtfulness and caring soul always shine through. 
Jane had to fly out to Oregon for work very early Monday morning.  Chris sent a text after her first flight..."Cam wanted to confirm his haircut is next Monday (he doesn't believe me) and he also wants to know if you had breakfast."  With a long morning of travel, the sweet message definitely brightened the day.
At a layover in Denver, it was encouraging to see a sign reserving an area for accessibility.  Cam was definitely excited to see the multitude of iPad's in an airport!

On Saturday, our favorite baseball player was ready to play ball with his WMML Toronto Blue Jays teammates.  The first game at 10am awakens the field.  We arrived a little early to meet the volunteers from JR Automation.  A helper named Kim found Cam and we immediately recognized her from last year!  She was so excited to see her buddy again and quickly asked if she could hang out with him.  Of course, Cam readily agreed.
We recently learned that there is quite a long waiting list for organizations who want to sign up to assist with the WMML games.  It is humbling to know that so many are awaiting a chance to team up with this group of kids so happy to have the opportunity to be immersed in America's treasured pastime.
The bat box pulley system Cam benefits from to launch the ball is in full use this season with many more kids taking advantage.  As we watched our boy head into home plate, the 'Cam fans' (Oma and Opa, Chris & Jane) gave a rousing cheer!
After the game and a quick snack, we followed Cam's grandparents to the cottage.  The bathroom remodel project is nearing the end.

While Chris and Jane worked on installing grab bars in the shower and cleanup duty, Oma and Cam took to organizing a few drawers, separating piles into keep, giveaway, and toss.  Cam is a very effective organizer and always willing to be the best helper.

After sharing a delicious dinner, we were thankful for the progress made and the shrinking list of items.  Taking one last look at the sun, the Weatherford family took to the road once again and happily found their pillows not too much later after arriving home.

Camology Quotes:
As Cam and Miss Amanda were heading off to PT this week, Jane was talking about the arrival of Ms. Molly's baby, Ethan.  Amanda remarked that Cam's swim instructor, Ms. Laura, was also pregnant and Jane noted that Cam's hair stylist, Ms. Amelia was about to have a baby as well.  Not realizing Cam was acutely aware of the conversation, the listening ten-year-old remarked, 
"It's that time of year!"