Sunday, July 28, 2019

Cousin Cuteness - Week of July 22nd

"Friendship is the only cement that will ever hold the cousins together." ~ Woodrow Wilson

"Cousin to cousin we'll always be, Special friends from the same family tree." ~ Unknown

In the aftermath of the big storm, our family felt fortunate to have only lost power for 12 hours due to the early storm on Saturday, July 20th.  On Monday, there were still over 60,000 customers 'in the dark' due to outages.
We learned that some of our friends didn't have a power restoration time until Tuesday evening!
Cam and Amanda went investigating Monday morning.  On their stroll, they came across multiple downed trees in the nearby park.

This week, Cam's long awaited private swimming lessons started again on Tuesday afternoon.  Ms. Laura, his instructor, had taken a year off of work to start a family.  Cam peppered her with questions about her baby throughout his lesson.  He was happy to be back in the pool at Mary Free Bed and was certainly worn out that evening.

Sunday we headed up north to Oma and Opa's for the day and early evening.  Cousin Steff, her son James and Heath were coming for beach time and dinner.  Cam thinks "Baby James is so cute!"
Seeing these two together reminds Jane of growing up with her younger cousins in the summers on the big Lake.  To this day, those cousins who are both younger and older are still all so close.  Even though Cam and James are 11 years apart, we're pretty confident these two will be good buddies.
Lake Michigan was a bit rough and a little chilly so swimming was not on Cam's agenda.  That didn't stop him from playing on the beach with Oma at their pretend bakery set up in front of the Cam Mobile.  We've added another accessory to Cam's beach ride- a beach umbrella for those really hot afternoons.
While grandma and grandson played, baby James (Oma's great-grandson) had a nice nap under another shaded area.  After soaking up the sun for a bit, we all headed up to the cottage for Steff's birthday dinner- steak and shrimp shish kabobs with veggies, potato salad and homemade applesauce.  And for dessert, Cam's favorite, a delicious chocolate cake from Ryke's with Country Dairy ice cream.

It seems even a little squirrel wanted in on all the delicious goodies and bravely made its way to the deck looking for some tasty treats!

Camology Quotes:
When Cam arrived for his swimming lesson, the Mary Free Bed Security Desk didn't 'have him on the list' and escorted him to the pool.  Cam's instructor was quite surprised and indicated it wouldn't happen again.  Cam thought it was quite funny and continued the story at home that evening by pretending while getting ready for bed and questioning his mom.

"What is your name?  Are you on the list?"
"I hope I'm on the list.  I am your mom."
"Oh yes, you are on the Everyday Life List- Permanent Stay!"

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Detroit Tigers Fantasy Camp - Week of July 15th

An unexpected visitor in front
of our garage
“Playing baseball for pay – home run. Teaching kids to play the game – priceless” ~Jack Perconte
“In high school I wrote an essay on baseball and my teacher told me I had to rewrite it on a more serious topic. So I wrote an essay about the World Series and my teacher gave up.” ~Tucker Elliot

In mid-June, we received an exciting email from the West Michigan Miracle Baseball League president, Tony Comden.  He was inviting Cam and 4 other WMML players to the Detroit Tigers Fantasy Camp in Southfield, MI on Saturday, July 20th.  It was quite an honor.  Other Miracle Leagues players from across the state were also being requested.  Overall, the invitation was going out to 50 individuals!  We were asked to sign waivers and provide Cam's shirt size.  When Cam found out his best buddy, Brody, was invited too, he couldn't wait.

On Friday, the night before, we were all awoken to a severe thunderstorm.  Jane realized the power went out about 1:30am and created an outage incident online.  Saturday morning, the electricity was still out and we were just starting to realize the extent of the damage.  When Brody and his dad, Bill, arrived before 8am to make the trek with Chris and Cam, they explained how the roadway to Ada was completely blocked due to downed trees.  Even as they drove out to Cascade road towards the highway, the thunderstorm damage was visible everywhere.
The guy group of 4 arrived right on time.  Cam and Brody received their personalized Detroit Tigers jersey and a baseball cap!
The objective of the Fantasy Camp: To provide youth with special needs the opportunity to learn and play the game of baseball by participating in a one day clinic hosted by the Detroit Tigers Foundation, an affiliate of Ilitch Charities. Similar to major league fantasy camps and clinics, the Baseball Fantasy Camp for Kids gives youngsters with physical challenges the opportunity to improve their baseball skills by receiving instructions and tips from major League Baseball players.

Their packed itinerary:
10:00-10:30 a.m. Participant Registration
10:20 a.m. Detroit Tigers players arrive
10:30 a.m. Welcome by Steve Peck, Founder, Miracle League of Michigan
10:32 a.m. Fantasy Camp Player Introductions
10:38 a.m. Detroit Tigers Player Introductions
10:42 a.m. Check presentation to Detroit Tigers by Steve Peck
10:45 a.m. National Anthem
10:47 a.m. Group picture
10:55 a.m. Groups report to stations
11:00 a.m. Clinic Begins Session Rotations:
11:00 – 11:20 a.m. Session One- Hitting
11:20 – 11:40 a.m. Session Two- Fielding
11:40 – 12:00 a.m. Session Three- Throwing
12:05 p.m. Clinic Wrap Up Remarks Steve Peck and Jordan Field
12:10 p.m. Lunch Time Players depart

Cam told his dad that the best part for him was meeting "Paws" the Tigers mascot and going around the bases.
By the time lunchtime rolled around, it was extremely warm and the boys decided an air-conditioned restaurant for lunch needed to be added to their agenda!  To top off their 'adventure' day, they ran out of gas just a few miles from home since the gas station off of the highway had lost power!  Jane drove to meet them with enough gasoline to make it home.
Thankfully, the power at our house was back on by 1pm on Saturday, long before the boys arrived.
On Sunday, Jane drove to the Chicago area to be a part of a surprise party for Auntie Karen.  Cam and his dad went to see Secret Life of Pets 2 at the theater.
That evening, Chris and Cam hosted the Raisch's for dinner.  Since it was National Ice Cream Day, it seemed only fitting to walk to the closest ice cream place for an after-dinner treat!

Camology Quotes:
On Saturday, the guy group ate lunch at TGI Friday's near Southfield.  That evening, Jane was asking the boys what they had to eat at the restaurant.  She assumed Brody had a cheesburger, since she knew it was his favorite.  Cam was eager to tell his mom...

"Funny story.  Brody's doctor told him he cannot have multiple cheeseburgers every day anymore!  Only one cheeseburger a day."

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Sun Glitter - Week of July 8th

Sun glitter is a bright, sparkling light formed when sunlight reflects from water waves. The waves may be caused by natural movement of the water, or by the movement of birds or animals in the water. Even a ripple from a thrown rock will create a momentary glitter. Light reflects from smooth surfaces by specular reflection. 
A rippled but locally smooth surface such as water with waves will reflect the sun at different angles at each point on the surface of the waves. As a result, a viewer in the right position will see many small images of the sun, formed by portions of waves that are oriented correctly to reflect the sun's light to the viewer's eyes. The exact pattern seen depends on the viewer's precise location. The color and the length of the glitter depend on the altitude of the Sun. The lower the sun, the longer and more reddish the glitter is. When the sun is really low above the horizon, the glitter breaks because of the waves, which could sometimes obstruct the sun and cast a shadow on the glitter.

Before we had beach time over the weekend, we had a few interesting events back home.
Chris celebrated a birthday on Wednesday and Cam and Jane let him choose where we would eat out for dinner.  We had all wanted to experience a new place.
In Spring of 2017, Cascade Township welcomed its first brewpub – Thornapple Brewing Co.
Cam requested a menu check online prior to heading out.  Imagine his relief when chicken tenders was one of the options.  After enjoying a hot pretzel for an appetizer, we all declared it was the best we'd ever tasted.  Chris and Jane shared a wood fire pizza and Cam, shockingly, had chicken tenders.  Due to our birthday guy, a free dessert was headed our way.  Chris chose the 'cookie slider'- 2 warm chocolate chip cookies surrounding a hearty serving of vanilla ice cream, topped off with chocolate sauce.  Cam did not look very amused when his dad pretended he might partake in the entire serving.  He did love listening to the live music as he happily accepted a few bites of his dad's birthday treat.

The remainder of the week was spent attending summer school for three mornings of the week.  The afternoons and other full days were reserved for Cam's latest endeavor as Ms. Amanda's teaching assistant helper.  The pair made a few trips gathering supplies and bringing them to Ms. Amanda's fall kindergarten classroom.  Cam has eagerly provided his input on all items.

With the very warm weekend forecast, it was a perfect time to head northward and see Oma and Opa.

Since we hadn't spent any real time on the beach yet, Chris and Cam settled into cleanup duty while Jane inflated the family sea kayak with a foot pump.

It was an unusually calm day on Lake Michigan.  Some fun facts about our big lake:  Lake Michigan is one of the five Great Lakes of North America and the only one located entirely within the United States. It is the second-largest of the Great Lakes by volume and the third-largest by surface area, after Lake Superior and Lake Huron.

The CamMobile II was back in action and provides our son with beach mobility.  It was a bit too chilly to go swimming but the warm sun made for some fun play time for Oma and her grandson.
Continuing the birthday celebration for Chris, Oma and Opa assembled a delicious dinner of ribs, Oma's potato salad, broccoli with cheese sauce and Oma's famous strawberry cheesecake for dessert.  Nothing can compare to sand in your toes, diamonds on the water and a deck-side dinner with a view of Lake Michigan!

Actual weight of Cam's power chair
Camology Quotes:
Cam had an appointment with his favorite Mary Free Bed doc.  Dr. Voss was talking to our son about his interrupted sleep he's been experiencing and she was trying to determine the cause.

"Cam, is there something that wakes you up at night?"
"My brain wakes me up at night."

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Jamming to Joliet - Week of July 1st

If you wait for inspiration you'll be standing on the corner after the parade is a mile down the street. ~Ben Nicholas 
In 1967, the Beatles released the song 'Strawberry Fields Forever' which was a fitting tune to kick off our week.  After heading to Heidi's Farm Market for an entire flat of Michigan berries, our counter was laden with 8 quarts of strawberries or 32 cups total.
Ms. Amanda, Cam and Jane set up an assembly line and Cam kept us all in check.  First, we crush the strawberries until we have 2 cups.  Then, we add 4 cups of sugar and let that sit for 10 minutes.
In a saucepan, we place a package of Sure-Gel and 3/4 cup water.  We bring it to a boil, stirring it for 1 minute and then add it to the crushed berries and sugar, then stir for 3 minutes.  Put in containers with lids, let sit 24 hours, then find a place in the freezer.  Chris helped us finish up the remainder of the strawberries the next night.

Thursday was the 4th of July and our tradition of heading over to the Cascade Independence Day Parade was on the itinerary.  Cam took part in the annual bike brigade which starts out our local event.  Then the firetrucks and decorated cars and floats follow.  It was a warm morning and by the time the parade ended and we headed back home, the air conditioning felt so refreshing and cool.  The remainder of the day was spent packing and enjoying a visit and dinner with cousin, David.
Friday morning, we waited for Oma and Opa to arrive to begin our trek to Joliet, Illinois to celebrate the wedding of our extended family member, Sarah Huey to Steve Foody.  We arrived at the Holiday Inn around 2pm.  The newer hotel featured a spacious handicap room with plenty of room for Cam's chair to maneuver.
We checked out the pool and Cam did a bit of swimming.  There was also a sauna which was a new experience for our boy.
Saturday was the day of the wedding and our handsome son couldn't have looked more dapper.  Every time we passed by someone, they commented how nice his suit was and how great he looked.
Before we ventured to the reception, we drove by the house Jane grew up in on Briargate Road, just three minutes from the church where we witnessed Sarah and Steve become husband and wife.
It was another short trek to the Jacob Henry Mansion, the reception location.

In 1873, wealthy railroad magnate, Jacob A. Henry built his imposing mansion on Eastern Avenue, which was then referred to as "Silk Stocking Row." He employed a master craftsman from Germany along with three cabinet- makers to fashion the elaborate carved interior. 
It took three years to complete and has 16,800 square feet consisting of over 40 rooms. The main floor is most elaborate in carving and the black walnut and oak is hand rubbed to attain the satin finish. Each room contains an ornately carved fireplace. The deeply recessed windows are guarded with shutters on the inside. These fold back into casings for the sunlight to enter and also serve as storm windows in the winter. Sliding or pocket doors, carved and inlaid separate the rooms from the main floor. Its main feature is a magnificent staircase made of solid walnut with a half-landing surrounded by 119 hand carved octagonal spindles of burled walnut. 
 The Jacob Henry Mansion won the Architecture Award at the American Centennial Celebration in Philadelphia in 1876, and is claimed to be the largest and best example of Renaissance Revival architecture still standing in the state of Illinois. Today the lovely and fully decorated mansion, a National Historic Landmark, is well known for its beauty, Old Victorian charm and furnishings, as well as its delicious meals and entertainment, making the Jacob Henry Mansion Estate the perfect place for a special occasion.

There was a photo booth set up as well as appetizers and drinks.  Once we had our pre-dinner snack and drink, Cam asked "So, what do we do now?"  Jane responded with, "Well, now we sit and visit and talk to people until we go into the other room for dinner....  Can't you just wait to get married?!"  Cam rolled with laughter at that one.

The bride and groom couldn't stop smiling and neither could we.  Sarah's parents, cousins, aunts and uncles are our extended family and we typically only see them once a year, if that.  To have an entire evening with all of them was perfect.  The father of the bride, Jim, has known Jane since she was born and he kept telling Cam how much he liked his suit.
Our kiddo couldn't quite last the entire evening, so Chris brought him back to Holiday Inn where Auntie Karen was waiting to stay with him, while his parents continued visiting with the family.  We cannot thank her enough for helping us make certain Cam didn't fall asleep at the reception.

The next morning, we enjoyed a hearty breakfast and a visit with Auntie Karen and her sister, Sue.  We said goodbye to a few of our extended family as some ventured down for breakfast.  We were able to get on the road by 10am to begin our journey home.

As we came upon the Welcome to Michigan sign on the highway, we all had a good chuckle as the orange cones appeared in full force.  During the summer months, it definitely seems like the slogan "Pure Michigan" could be replaced with "Pure Construction."

Camology Quotes:
Prior to our strawberry jam making session, Cam announced...
"If my math is correct, we will need 11 pints of strawberries."
Close, it was actually 16:)