Sunday, September 27, 2020

Bad Words - Week of Sept. 21st

"How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world." 
~Anne Frank 

Words are powerful.  Depending on the type of phrase and how it is used, different emotions follow.  Often, little kids don't necessarily know if a word or phrase is generally considered blasphemous, obscene, vulgar, or otherwise offensive.  As Cam has gotten older, he has always been cautious with his use of words and their context.  It was a bit surprising, to his parents, when he began saying that he heard "bad words" watching appropriate shows and online videos.  It turns out, "bad words" to Cam include the following: 
Hate, Stupid, Dumb.  Imagine if everyone treated those as 'inappropriate' words to use so casually, as we all (Cam's parents included!) tend to do.

This week, Cam's grandparents stayed at our home following an outpatient eye surgery for Oma.  It is always a treat to have them with us and even though Oma had to take it easy, she was still able to squeeze in making applesauce with her grandson.  Homemade applesauce is all about the tools of the trade.  A stand-up colander with a wood pestle is a requirement, according to Oma.  The pestle allows you to easily squish (technical term) all of the yummy sauce through the colander into the bowl.  Depending on the type of apple used, very little sugar may need to be added.  All that's required is cutting apples and removing the core.  No peeling or any other effort is needed.

Since Wednesday was a virtual school day this week, Cam was scheduled for his flu shot, a class zoom meeting, homework and time with Oma and Opa.  
He successfully completed all four activities and even got in his tutoring session with Ms. Ann.
In a rare moment, Cam requested couch time with Oma to watch a movie.  It was super sweet to see them laughing and chatting about the film feature.

We said goodbye to Cam's grandparents and decided we were equally thankful for each other's company and sharing dinners and time together.

Friday evening included a family outing to Brody's be Café.
Jane was scheduled to help out with the hot dog cart while Chris and his son were on duty to set up an enormous movie screen and projector.  The event included a screening of "The Bee Movie" and popcorn as well as a choice of candy.
The large inflatable screen was huge!  After a few technical difficulties, the projector and the fifth laptop attempted connection finally worked.

We saw so many people we knew!  Even Cam and Brody's teacher, Mrs. Wells, brought her entire family to say hi and socially distance with her students.  With all of the week's activities including school, we were shocked that Cam made it through the entire movie and didn't get home until after 10pm.  Even after a late night, though, our early riser still woke up before 8am ready for the day and to start working on projects!  His parents, however, definitely thought at least two more hours of sleep were in order.

Camology Quotes: 
Cam is already learning the finer traits of complimentary phrases.  

Jane was answering questions that her son was asking about the day his parents were married and when they were dating.  His response after all of the information gathering...
"I see why Dad chose you for his wife.  You are so beautiful."

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Get Your Hot Dogs! - Week of Sept 14th

Did you ever wonder where the term hot dog came from? 
Some say the word was coined in 1901 at the New York Polo Grounds on a cold April day. Vendors were hawking hot dogs from portable hot water tanks shouting "They're red hot! Get your dachshund sausages while they're red hot!" A New York Journal sports cartoonist, Tad Dorgan, observed the scene and hastily drew a cartoon of barking dachshund sausages nestled warmly in rolls. Not sure how to spell "dachshund" he simply wrote "hot dog!" The cartoon is said to have been a sensation, thus coining the term "hot dog." However, historians have been unable to find this cartoon, despite Dorgan's enormous body of work and his popularity. We think Mr. Dorgan would have loved Brody's be Dogs. 

Now, our favorite café is serving up hot and steamy dogs via their outdoor hot dog cart. Customers have a choice of chili, cheese and all of the fixings. Cam had his first taste on Saturday and declared it the best hot dog ever! Jane offered to help serve up the lunch baskets to learn the setup and assist when needed. Auntie Jo and Will love hot dogs too and since the boys hadn't seen each other in quite some time, a belated birthday celebration was in order. 
On the afternoon filled with sunshine, the two boys had lots of laughs as they opened each other's gifts. Cam received a cool lava lamp and joke book made especially for 13-year-old's. Will looked in his bag to find a soft travel pillow, 12-year-old t-shirt and a gift card that could only be removed by completing a puzzle. And in less than two minutes, the gift card was his! We also had fun saying hi to friends from Lowell who have worked on our Halloween Heroes project since the beginning 5 years ago.
This week we made the difficult decision to officially cancel our Halloween Heroes project for 2020. It is the first time in 5 years we will not be dreaming of wheelchair costume designs 24/7. It is our family assignment and one that began because of Cam's desire to have a costume just like every other kid 8 years ago.  Jane wrote the following announcement to share with the community. 

Although Cam won't be leading the annual parade at Mary Free Bed this year, we will be leading our friends to Brody's be Café as much as possible! 
Camology Quotes: 
Stella made us laugh this week when it looked like she was trying to change the tv channel while asleep!  On Wednesday, Cam was scheduled for a virtual learning day. Tuesday after school, Cam was telling Jane about his bus ride home…and she was silently questioning her son’s logic. 
"Dom told me his is going to finish all of his homework tonight so he can sleep in. I will just wake up early tomorrow."

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Discerning Taste - Week of Sept. 7th

"I have the simplest tastes.  I am always satisfied with the best." ~Oscar Wilde
"Who has never tasted what is bitter does not know what is sweet." ~German Proverb
Cam is willing to try almost anything at least once, as it relates to food.  It's funny how his preferences have changed over the years.  Maybe that's because of this fun fact.
The average person has about 10,000 taste buds and they're replaced every 2 weeks or so. But as a person ages, some of those taste cells don't get replaced. An older person may only have 5,000 working taste buds. That's why certain foods may taste stronger to you as a kid than they do to adults.
We shouldn't have been surprised when Cam requested a salad for lunch, but we actually were.  The caveat here, though, is that Cam's mom makes a salad comprised of the following: hard boiled egg, shredded cheese, sweet corn (cut off the cob) turkey or ham, tasty croutons, ranch dressing, and yes, a bit of lettuce.  He devoured his mid-day meal and declared it the best salad ever!  A very nice compliment from someone who has never had a salad before...😀

With Cam back in school, we weren't certain he would want to continue tutoring or if he would be too worn out after a day of learning.  He requested continuation, so he and Ms. Ann meet virtually on Zoom three afternoons a week.  They typically work on math and reading comprehension for 90 minutes.  The diligence has paid off- this week Cam's school folder contained his perfect score math sheets.

Chris continues his after hours job as Cam's personal barber, cutting his hair with clipping shears outside.  Jane declared there was enough hair chopped off to make a bird's nest.  Cam thought that was rather "gross" that birds would use his hair to sleep on.

At school, our 7th grader was able to see a favorite aide from last year, Mrs. Festian.  They met outside and Cam was super excited to see her.

The weekend saw the completion of a big father/son project.  The duo spent a great deal of time power washing the back deck in preparation for re-staining.  The double coat of stain made the older wood look brand new.  It's always a sense of satisfaction to cross a time-consuming task off the list.

Cam also helped Jane create a poster for their buddy, Bexley, in honor of his 4th birthday.  According to his mom, Katherine (who is also Cam's former nanny), Bexley was very curious how the poster was made.  Even though a drive-by birthday isn't the same as an in-person one, it does bring out the creativity to find a way to produce more smiles.
Generating smiles is something Cam mastered a long time ago!

Camology Quotes:
We have noticed an increase in Cam's appetite which has coincided with his growth.  He is very perceptive and usually detects when something is different.  After Jane gave him his plate of food for dinner one night, his response was telling.
"Mom, that's a generous helping!"

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Welcome to School Served with a Face Shield - Week of Aug. 31st

"In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity." ~Albert Einstein

Monday, August 31st marked the first day of school for Cam as he eagerly anticipated the beginning of 7th grade.  Even though it was much different from any other introduction, excitement was apparent.  Cam's bus pickup at 6:45am was very dark, so our pic was snapped on Monday at his 2:45pm dropoff.

Masks are a mandatory accessory and our middle-schooler wore one on the way to school.  His teacher asked if he wanted to test out a face shield since his mask was wet from talking.  The approved face shield is a far better option for Cam.  We are grateful for his in-person learning 4 days/week as everyone is learning to navigate safely with face coverings.

Labor Day weekend has always marked the end of summer in Michigan.  Saturday was our beach day and we all realized it may be the last one.  The sunshine was beautiful and the lake was incredibly calm.  Jane and her son ventured out in their inflatable kayak.  Cam leaned over to feel water and said "Mom, the water is like ice cubes!"  It was definitely a bit chilly.
We chose to head back to Grand Rapids that night, but dined on the deck so we could watch the calm waters.  Oma made a delicious homemade apple pie.  As we headed out, we were able to catch the scenic sunset.

On Sunday, Chris and his son designed a cup holder for Cam's powerchair since it wasn't an accessory option.  The 3D printer created multiple layers of plastic filament which took a total of 30 hours to complete!  The finished product, though, was well worth the wait.

There are always moments when we are blown away by others' kindness.
We were completely surprised by a box that arrived with a styrofoam cooler filled with dry ice and ice cream.  Ms. Cyndi, one of Jane's coworkers, sent 6 cartons of ice cream to aid in Cam's recovery.  Talk about a sweet treat!
When we visited our favorite local farmstand Heidi's Bakery this week, Ms. Pat, who's known Cam since he was 2 years old had another surprise.  She knitted him his very own cozy blanket.  His super excited response made her cry tears of joy.
It reminds us that these words ring very true:
“Kindness is more important than wisdom, and the recognition of this is the beginning of wisdom.” 
~Theodore Isaac Rubin 
“Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind.” ~Henry James

Camology Quotes:
A sense of humor isn't really something you teach, but Cam seems to have mastered a very healthy witty banter.  Due to the upcoming holiday weekend, school was closed on Friday.  
As Cam entered the house on Thursday after school, Chris immediately began teasing him....

"So, tomorrow you'll wake up early again and then you have school all day..."
"Think again, Dad!"