Sunday, January 31, 2021

An Unexpected Quarantine - Week of Jan. 25th

The definition of Quarantine: 1 : isolation of people, animals, or things (as plants) out of a certain area to prevent the spread of disease or pests. 2 : a period during which a person or animal with a contagious disease is isolated. 

"If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude." — Maya Angelou  

On Tuesday evening, Jane's cell phone received a message and an email from a school official appeared in her inbox. 

Cam was exposed to a student on his daily bus ride to school who had just received a positive test result for Covid-19.  The letter indicated that the individual had last ridden the bus on Friday.  The official correspondence went on to say that Cam was now required to quarantine through Monday, Feb. 1st.  He was not required to get a Covid-19 test unless he started showing symptoms.  If he did not exhibit any symptoms, he may return to school on Tuesday, Feb. 2nd.  All of this detail was read at 7:55pm as Cam was settling into bed.  Needless to say, this led to 50 more questions after we broke the news to our son.  He fully understood the quarantine since it's become a standard discussion of daily life.

At the dawn of a new day, (and what a beautiful dawn it was) Cam did what he does best.  Accept and move on and keep on  He joined zoom meetings with his class and headed into extra tutoring sessions with Miss Ann.  

He helped his mom complete her first "fast lane" - pick up grocery online ordering experience- with their local store.

Due to the quarantine, Cam's PT, swimming and ski lessons were all canceled out this week.  That didn't damper his spirits, though, because there was still fun to be had at home.  On Saturday, our neighbors were sledding in the backyard when Chris and his son decided to get out the drone and watch their friends close up.

We finally perfected our bread recipe with the expert help of Patti.  The soft, delicious loaf was just what we all needed.

Cam and his dad worked on their Xbox skills showing intense concentration.  

To round out our week, an unexpected brochure arrived in the mail from MI-UCP, the Michigan United Cerebral Palsy organization.  Maybe you recognize the cool kid on the front?

Camology Quotes:

Cam rode in the van for the grocery pickup this week.  On our drive back home, he exclaimed...
"Mom, why would we ever go into the store again?!  This is awesome!"

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Mr. Manners - Week of Jan. 18th

"Niceness is the psychological armor of the people-pleaser."  ~Harriet B. Braiker
"Good manners will open doors that the best education cannot." ~Clarence Thomas

In the mid-18th century, the first, modern English usage of etiquette (the conventional rules of personal behavior in polite society) was by Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield, in the book Letters to His Son on the Art of Becoming a Man of the World and a Gentleman (1774).

Using your manners has always been very important in our daily lives.   "Please" and "thank you" are only a portion of good etiquette and proper language.  Once Cam was able to verbalize his thoughts and speak in sentences, his gracious way of asking for things and being grateful was paramount.   Our son does need to ask for assistance and help more often than most.  We have always explained to him that others always want to be treated with respect and remembering your manners and being thankful show that.  Just like most kids, he still needs reminders now and again, but by and large, he truly is one of the most polite 13-year-olds we know...of course, we may be a bit bias.  

The Raisch family dropped off an extra holiday present for Cam this week- an edible snowman birdfeeder!  We love consumable gifts and found the perfect spot in our backyard.  The birds found it right away and after a few days, they had put enough weight on it to switch from vertical to horizontal.  We watched cardinals, chickadees and even a woodpecker take turns on the snowman.  Cam had a perfect view from the sunroom to see all of the activity.

Most evenings, when it's too dark to see the birds outside, the indoor entertainment turns to our cat, Stella.  Chris made a "toy" for her containing catnip in a clear plastic container and tied it to the railing.  Every night, she bats it with her paws and at a glance shows the playfulness of a kitten vs. the 14 year old cat she actually is.

On Sunday, it was time to hit the slopes again for Cam's second ski outing at Cannonsburg with CCSA.  
Due to the colder temps this week and a bit of light snow, the hills displayed more white stuff with most of it being artificial.  
Although Cam was still a bit nervous, he settled right into the routine of riding up the chairlift and flying down the summit with his arms outstretched.

Chris was able to catch some awesome video of his son once again while Jane remained at the bottom of the hill waiting to see Cam come into view.  

Everyone was more at ease this week with round two and even though it was chilly, the group lasted almost 90 minutes.
Following the adaptive ski lesson, we had transferred Cam back to his chair.  Without any prompting, he quickly said "Thank you very much!" to his CCSA team of helpers.

Camology Quotes:

Sometimes we remain silent if Cam forgets to use his manners and he typically picks up on the hint.  On one such occasion this week, he quickly changed his request...
"May I please have your help with this?  Please and thank you!"
"You cannot resist, can you?"

Friday, January 22, 2021

Adapting to Skiing - Week of Jan. 11th

“The Mountains do not recognize disability, Only Determination” ~Jim Milina

Many activities and advantages are born out of necessity. 

 Adaptive sports began as a means to rehabilitate veterans from World War II, Korea, and the Vietnam War.  Among the early pioneers of adaptive skiing was Jim Winthers, a WWII veteran who was a member of the U.S. 10th Mountain Division – the Skiing 10th, an elite group specifically trained for alpine warfare. In 1953, Winthers was director of the Donner Ski Ranch in Northern California. Reunited with two buddies who lost legs in the war, and using techniques he saw in Europe, he taught them to ski on one leg.  He later was sought out by Jim Graham, a former skier who lost his leg to cancer and wanted to learn Winthers’ techniques. Two years later, Graham and Winthers and two others began developing techniques to impart skiing and teaching methods at weeklong clinics.  Eventually, Graham and Dan McPherson became the first and second certified ski instructors with a disability.   

Locally, Cannonsburg is the closest place to ski.  Fortunately for our family, the CCSA is part of the organization.  The Cannonsburg Challenged Ski Association (CCSA) was established in the early 1980’s as a volunteer effort to offer individuals with disabilities the opportunity to participate in winter activities. CCSA started with only ten students, one outrigger, a bamboo pole and one sit ski, and has now evolved over the years into a professionally trained organization with a full range of adaptive equipment, ready to serve a wide variety of needs.

When we arrived for Cam's skiing lesson after lunchtime, we had ample time to get ready.  Our son's preference to be early paid off.  The parking lot was full but we were able to snag a close spot, which we were thankful for due to the soggy mud surrounding all of the cars.  It was close to 35 degrees and the slopes were busy.  
The 3 individuals assigned to Cam were Scott, Sydney and Kristin, all GVSU students.  It was no surprise to Chris and Jane that Cam needed the adult adaptive ski versus the youth one.  
Outfitted with his new gear from Christmas, Cam was ready to go.  He told us he was excited, but a bit nervous.  The CCSA team was ready to get Cam on the chairlift.  The lift is stopped momentarily to enable the crew to position Cameron appropriately for the ride up the hill.  Chris was able to follow just a few minutes behind the team each time.  

We watched Cam's confidence grow with each run.  Even though his ski caught the snow a couple of times leading to some minor wipeouts, he was unharmed and ready to continue.  (Thankfully, Jane missed seeing both of these!) After multiple runs down the slope, his two-hour lesson was almost complete.
We have definitely learned to be more appreciate of activities and we are grateful to have our own community offer such awesome programs!  
Lesson 1 of 5 = ✅

Camology Quotes:
During the weekly ride to PT and indoor swimming sessions, Cam and his mom typically chat about their days.  Jane had an especially long day of work and suddenly let out a very loud yawn.  As she glanced in the rear view mirror, she noted her son similarly expressed the same.  Cam's mom couldn't help but smile and say...
"Yawns are contagious and I made you yawn.. hahahahaha!"
  "Mom, that is no laughing matter!"

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Droning On - Week of Jan. 4th

 The theme of our 2020 holiday seemed to be "the gifts that keeps on giving."  We continue to enjoy homemade bread with our bread maker, putting puzzles together, wrapping in blankets and exploring the outdoors from a different viewpoint.  By far, the largest but 'smallest in size' gift was a drone for our family. 

 A drone, in technological terms, is an unmanned aircraft.  Essentially, a drone is a flying robot that can be remotely controlled or fly autonomously through software-controlled flight plans in their embedded systems, working in conjunction with onboard sensors and GPS.  Today, drones are used for a wide range of functions, including monitoring climate change, delivering goods, aiding in search and rescue operations, and in filming and photography.  Of course, UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) are also an increasingly important part of the military in many countries. American armed forces alone have a fleet of tens of thousands of drones today, compared to just a few twenty years ago. This is dwarfed, however, by the number of drones in private use. According to the FAA, there were 1.1 million drones registered in the U.S. in 2019 compared to 1000 in 2015.  

The nighttime picture is a photograph taken by the drone high above our home with Christmas lights illuminating the perimeter.   The other aerial view shows our garage with Chris standing on the sidewalk, the nearby Thornapple River, and our nearest crossroads.

In another still shot, the drone is 'spying' on Cam in our sunroom.  In order for us all to 'see' where the drone is, Chris sets up a zoom meeting that we connect to so wherever the drone is heading, we're able to follow.

Over the weekend, the sunshine made a rare appearance and we headed over to Brody's Be Café to see what things looked like from up in the sky.  We settled ourselves by the back entrance after the Café closed for the afternoon.

It's amazing how different everything appears from above.  The architectural beauty of how our areas are designed is impressive.  It's always good to see things from a different perspective.

Camology Quotes:

Since Cam continues to be our rule-following, law-abiding citizen, he insisted that his dad contact the FAA regarding our drone flying times.  As his father tried to explain it was not a requirement for every flight path, but Cam was unconvinced.
  "Dad, we are really close to the airport.  You have to file a report.  What if we get in trouble?  Don't they need to know?  The FAA can find us, you know."

Sunday, January 3, 2021

Feeling Hopeful for 2021 - Week of Dec. 28th

"Delay is preferable to error." ~Thomas Jefferson

Sometimes it pays off to delay an activity.  The Christmas Lite Show is set up as a drive-thru display at our local minor league ballpark.  It's the 23rd year for the event and it opens the day before Thanksgiving until Jan. 2nd. This year, there are nearly two miles of more than two million LED lights and 50 animated displays, tunnels and more. The Christmas Lite Show was created by Williams “Bill” Schrader, a U.S. Army veteran who served for 28 years. The show’s team has always been made up of mostly veterans.  The $25 ticket price seems hefty but the entire experience takes roughly 30 minutes.  With our van of four people, that's a little over $6 per person.  

Oma and Opa arrived back at our home on Dec. 31st due to some scheduled appointments.  We decided to check out the light show after dinner.  Cam and his grandpa were in the backseat with Jane driving and Oma seated in the passenger view.  There were only a handful of cars in front of us and we were up to the ticket booth in just a couple of minutes.  The attendant there told us that the wait had been as long as 3 hours just to get in!  We were thankful we picked New Year's Eve to make our trek.  The Christmas light show was simply awesome.  We were smiling the entire time commenting on one set up to the next.

One of the best parts of the week after Dec. 25th is enjoying the gifts given and received.  Cam declared our new family bread maker as one of his favorites.  It is a bit surprising how quickly a homemade loaf of bread can be devoured.  Jane was thoroughly excited about her new 'armed' monitors for her work desk.  Chris and his son had it all set up for her by Christmas morning.

We all enjoyed putting together new puzzles designed by Cam and his mom on the Walgreens website.  Jane scanned some old photos and she and her son had a great time picking out which ones to use.  The puzzles were ready for pickup in just a day and we were super happy with how they turned out.  Cam kept laughing about some of the old photos of his grandparents indicating that it could not be them in the pictures!

"Wearable Blankets"
Due to some icy weather, Cam's grandparents ended up staying an extra day which we were all thankful for.  Oma was able to see the latest Doctor Dolittle movie with us and share a cozy afternoon on the couch.   To celebrate the new year. our family shared a delicious crab and steak dinner.  Cam bravely tasted the crab but explained he did not really like it.  We appreciated him trying it.  Before eating, our son said a blessing.  "I am thankful we are all healthy and that Oma and Opa are with us. I hope 2021 is a good year!"                             
In the spirit of hopefulness and going above and beyond, we saw this commercial and it reminds us that everyone is capable of giving, even to those we do not know.

Camology Quotes:
During the holiday break, Jane went to pick up Qdoba for lunch.  They were very generous with their portions.  Cam's usual order is a chicken taco in a soft shell tortilla.  Typically, it includes a couple tablespoons of chicken.  This particular one looked to be at least 5 tablespoons.  Cam was astounded and declared.
  "Mom, they really hooked me up!  This is a lot of chicken!"