Sunday, February 23, 2020

Ice Ice Baby - Week of Feb. 17th

“I take to the open road, Healthy, free, the world before me.” ~Walt Whitman
“Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead, where there is no path and leave a trail.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

When the unexpected situation arises, try to have a backup plan, or an Oma.
On Monday, Cam's grandma came into Grand Rapids for an appointment and to stay the night with us.  Her plan was to leave Tuesday a.m. after Cam boarded the school bus.  The thing is, Cam did not get on the bus because school was closed due to icy back roads!  Oma graciously agreed to stay until late afternoon so Jane could attend scheduled work meetings.  Since our son loves school, a cancellation is not his first choice, but spending the day playing games with his grandma sure was fun!

School was in session the remainder of the week and Cam and classmates had a field trip to hear the symphony.  He is pictured here with his friend, Addisyn.
On Saturday it was time for a family road trip!  We traveled northward to meet Oma and Opa at Country Dairy for lunch.  It is one of our favorites.  Not only can you order lunch, but they have all different kinds of cheeses, ice cream, dairy and meat you can purchase.  We think the most unique offering is the "bottomless" chocolate/white milk, meaning you can refill your cup as many times as you wish.  It truly is the best chocolate milk we have ever tasted!

Afterwards, Cam asked if we could use google maps to direct us to the cottage.  It took us a different way we had never been.  We were exploring the open road all because of our inquisitive boy.
We were excited to be at Oma and Opa's to see the newly formed ice on Lake Michigan.  It is much less of a frozen tundra than in past years, but still a sight to see.
Cam and Jane worked to assist Cam's grandparents with passport application completion online.  It was a bit of a history lesson with them trying to remember dates and birthplaces.  Even though the wind was brisk, the sunshine was inviting and we were reminded that spring is not too far away now!
Camology Quotes:
As Cam continues to grow, his power wheelchair does not.  A replacement chair is currently in the lengthy insurance process, but in the meantime, adjustments need to be made on his current one.
Luckily, Cam's dad is incredibly handy and is able to manipulate the different areas on the chair when others may need to take it to a professional.  After Chris was finished with the changes, Cam tried it out.
"Dad, I fit great.  Thank you for going the extra mile!"

Sunday, February 16, 2020

All About the Love - Week of Feb. 10th

"Loving is not just looking at each other, it’s looking in the same direction." ~Antoine de Saint-ExupĂ©ry
"They invented hugs to let people know you love them without saying anything." ~Bil Keane

When Cam was younger, the week of Valentine's Day was filled with preparing what to pass out to his classmates.  The ever popular card with a sugary treat was favored by most.  Our family favorites were always the handmade ones.  For quite a few years, we opted for creating bookmarks or coupons.
It seems our son definitely prefers the 'older kid' activities of the 5/6 building.
Before Friday, though, a field trip to pick up the half cow we ordered was on the list.  Ms. Ann now lives right next to a farm and we decided to split a cow between Ms. Ann's family and ours.  Chris and Cam headed over to Byron Center on Tuesday evening.  However, the large but not deep boxes made for a hilarious return trip as meat began to scatter everywhere in the back of the van.

At school this week, the room was decorated and the kids took some funny pictures.  The Northern Trails 5/6 building began a tradition of bowling for Valentine's Day quite a few years ago.  Cam thinks it far exceeds the card exchange of grades past.
Both 5th and 6th graders end up at one of two bowling alleys for a couple of hours to enjoy an outing with their friends.

Saturday eve became our Raisch dinner time.  We feasted on Thanksgiving in February by cooking a boneless turkey breast, homemade stuffing, mashed potatoes and veggies.  At dinner, Patti was telling us about an article she read announcing the opening of a new place- Bro's Doughs on the East Beltline.  We were intrigued, so Patti, Jane, Emma and Cam all trekked over after dinner to check it out.
At Bro's Doughs, they think there's nothing wrong with pre-made doughnuts, but their establishment believes in a better way to doughnut. And that "way" is one made before your eyes - quick, fun, and mini! As you come in the door, they fry your mini doughnuts right in front of you and top them while they're still warm. There are 50 flavor options to choose from!
The toughest decision was deciding which creation to pick.  Both families gave a resounding thumbs up and our recommendation to try it for yourselves.

It's funny how love can be shown in so many ways- a small gesture, kind words, a helping hand. Even animals have their own way of showing us love.
A hug can be more powerful than the words "I love you" and a twelve year old who still asks for hugs is one of the greatest Valentine gifts of all.

Camology Quotes:
At the bowling alley!
Story update:  Thanks to Cam's tenacity and ability to keep his parents focused on a goal, we received our replacement gift card in the mail this week from a package that was lost at Christmas!

Jane was discussing the high school sweetheart dance while Cam was listening...
"How do you do the dance, Mom?"
I'm not sure what you mean, Cam.  It's a dance you go to with other people.
"Ohhhh.  I thought you had a to learn a certain dance called the Sweetheart Dance just to go there!"

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Roll With It - Week of Feb. 3rd

"Go with the flow" relaxed and accept a situation, rather than trying to alter or control it.

At the beginning of every day, it is a good motto to repeat.  We have come to realize it's an imperative reminder when it comes to accessibility.  There are truly things that are simply out of our control each and every day.  The weather, traffic, reactions...the list goes on.

Miss Ella, Cam, Bexley (Sophia's brother)
We knew the weekend would be a busy one for us with activities scheduled throughout.  Chris ended up needing to attend a funeral on Saturday so it was a Jane and Cam day.  We work so well together as a family unit that when one of us is away, it is adaptation time.

Our Saturday morning started off with a birthday party for Miss Sophia turning 1!  Sophia's mom is Katherine, one of Cam's first caregivers.  The donut-themed party began at 10am.  Cam and his mom started out in the heavy snowfall with a manual wheelchair loaded in the van behind the power one he was in.  With some lifting assistance we made it into the house with Cam in the manual chair.  It's tough for him not to be able to drive around and have his own independence but Miss Ella (Sophia's cousin) decided she wanted to take Cam around on her own.  It's always telling that kids have no apprehension when it comes to acceptance.
After eating delicious donuts, a cake in the shape of a huge donut and fresh fruit, we were on our way to grab a quick lunch at home.

Next up was a fresh haircut for Cam at Jude's.  Immediately following, mom and son were off to a suit store.  Ms. Amanda's upcoming wedding with Cam's role providing ring security required us to determine if he could be fitted similar to the groomsmen.
Upon entrance, we were greeted so warmly by the owner who guessed Cam's size immediately.  He assured us he had the proper items, but the ring security boy would need to try on the outfit first.  Jane was a bit puzzled how they could make it happen without Chris there, but like most challenges, they overcame and succeeded!  The store owner suggested a bow tie for Cam instead of a long tie.  We all decided the ring security kid looked very handsome!

Experiences given as gifts are proving to be a great present for our fam.  Sunday was the long-awaited date for our Grand Rapids Griffins Hockey Game at our downtown Van Andel Arena.  The tickets were a Christmas present for all of us.

Cam, in his infinite wisdom, insisted that he and his mom complete some pre-research prior to the event.  Our organized son helped Jane find the seating chart online as well as the best place to park.  Even though his mom indicated that she and Chris knew the arena, Cam's insistence paid off.  Not only did we park in a great spot with a short walk to a side entrance, but we were only an elevator ride to our seats which were directly down a hallway when we were on our correct floor.  Our Griffins team prevailed 5-1 in the exciting game.  In another planning moment, Cam requested to have dinner before we left the Van Andel Arena.  Luckily, they have chicken tenders and fries...a genius move on our son's part since the snowy weather and slower traffic greatly delayed our drive home!

Camology Quotes:
Nearly every weekday, Jane and Cam make the trek down the long driveway to wait for the bus.  Typically, they have some fun chats along the way.

"What is for dinner, Mom?"
I think we will have tacos tonight.
"That sounds good.  He won't be riding the bus, though."
What?  Who won't be riding the bus?
"Mom, sorry I went off topic!"

Sunday, February 2, 2020

All About Applesauce - Week of Jan. 27th

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” ~Hippocrates

Is there a food that reminds you of childhood?  A homemade treat that makes you smile?

Homemade applesauce has been a staple in our household since before Cam was born.  The funny thing about only having a made-from-scratch certain kind of something is that trying to purchase elsewhere pales in comparison.  Store-bought applesauce has never been on our grocery list and at least in Jane's mind, it never will be.

Oma and Cam had making sauce time this week.
Oma and Opa arrived late Thursday after an outpatient eye surgery for Cam's grandma.  The school day was cut short for Cam on Thursday due to him coughing and not feeling the greatest.  So although extra time for grandma/grandson wasn't pre-planned, it certainly was a blessing for our family.

Saturday was Opa's birthday and we realized that we had not all been together on the actual day before to celebrate.  Everyone felt well enough to go out to dinner to Cascade Roadhouse, right around the corner.
Even though it was a longer than normal wait, we were all impressed that Cam kept his cool and didn't complain one bit.  Sometimes the waiting makes the food taste even better.   Our delicious dinners were accompanied by a chocolate lava cake with ice cream and strawberries that we all shared.  Opa told us it was one of his best birthdays ever!  Mission accomplished.
Sunday morning, Jane and her son headed to the med center to be certain Cam's cough wasn't something more serious.  The doctor ordered some x-rays and Cam made quite an impression on the radiologist.  The technician told our son that if he could keep that positive outlook and attitude in life, there was nothing he couldn't do! 
And in fact, his parents couldn't agree more...

Camology Quotes:
Cam loves jokes, even bad ones.  Those seem to create the loudest belly laugh for him.  The latest entry from our twelve-year-old was told to him by his buddy, Liam.
"Are you going to look for that under there?"
Under where, Cam?
"Mom, I made you say underwear!"