Sunday, April 25, 2021

Technology Enablement - Week of Apr. 19th

 "We are all now connected by the internet, like neurons in a giant brain."  ~Stephen Hawking

Cam likes to ask his parents about 'the olden days.'  Chris and Jane always assume he is referring to the early 1900's when in actuality he is talking about when his own mom and dad were younger.  One evening he was asking what his parent's schooling was like in regards to looking up research information for reports and presentations.  We started to explain the library factor, the Dewey Decimal system, microfiche and all the other archaic ways of finding detailed info.  Cam was incredulous.  His response to all of this was, 'But how did you do school without the Internet?!'  It is funny to think that even when Cam's parents were 13 years of age, the access their son has today did not even exist for the general population.

There were multiple technology projects this week.  

Chris was finishing labs for a course he had taken and Cam never faltered with his daily reminder to complete.  He also worked right along side his dad which kept things interesting when Cam assisted with multiple choice questions and puzzling through a technical setup.

A new piece of equipment called a "Dishy" from Starlink arrived on Saturday to test out for faster internet access at Oma and Opa's cottage on Lake Michigan.  Starlink is a satellite internet constellation constructed by SpaceX providing satellite Internet access.  The constellation will consist of thousands of mass-produced small satellites in low Earth orbit (LEO), working in combination with ground transceivers.  The service is working to deploy almost 1600 satellites by 2022.  Father and son worked to configure and test.  After quite a bit of time, they had to put in a trouble ticket.  It was finally responded to with the indication that the satellite dish needed to be at its registered address- Oma and Opa's home, to even function.  Dishy testing status: Delayed.  Therefore, Cam was ready for his next project.

Jane and her best helper worked on a secret present for Mother's Day for Oma.  It took quite a bit of time, but Cam does not waiver when a project is in progress.  When his mom was having trouble accomplishing a portion, her son said to keep going.  By late afternoon on Sunday, completion was in sight.  Jane told Cam it would have never been finished had he not kept them both going.

At the end of the weekend, with many items crossed off our list, we were all feeling a bit tired.  Even our cat, Stella, seemed to channel the mood of the family.  She produced a large yawn which actually looked like a bit of a roar!

Camology Quotes:

Besides Chris, Jane also had some class training to attend to for her job.  She may have been procrastinating a bit and told Cam they could tackle it the next day.  Cam was ensuring there would be no excuses or further delays... 
"Mom, you better get a lot of rest tonight because we are doing your classes and labs tomorrow." 

Sunday, April 18, 2021

A Virtual Race to a Restaurant - Week of April 12th

 "Adapt yourself to the needs of the people." ~Sunday Adelaja                                                                   "Different is the new normal." ~James Durbin 

When people say 'kids grow up so fast' or 'you blink and they are teenagers' one doesn't imagine that it's how every parent feels.  In actuality, it seems it is completely true.  As Cam grows, his needs do as well.  The days of Jane lifting him solo are long gone.  A few years ago, the physical therapists who work with Cam recommended we begin the process to obtain an electric Hoyer lift through insurance.  It took some time, but when it arrived, we were all relieved to have this invention to assist us.

The Hoyer brand has been synonymous with lifts for 70 years. Ted Hoyer, an innovative quadriplegic, invented the first patient lift in 1951, a mechanism that is still considered to be the forerunner of all modern lifts.  On Thursday, Chris had an evening board meeting and knew he wouldn't be home prior to Cam's evening routine.  Jane and her son thought it would take a bit longer to get ready so they built in an 15 extra minutes.  Maneuvering the Hoyer and figuring out details was a bit trying.  Cam was not only patient but thinking of suggestions all along the way.  Due to them both remaining calm and chuckling at some missteps, it all worked quite nicely.  It may be difficult to imagine what a Hoyer looks like, so we put a large stuffed animal in to show the sling action.

The weekend brought sunshine and milder temps.  A huge mound of mulch was delivered.  Father and son busied themselves for a good part of the weekend placing the mulch in piles over the flower beds and spreading it out.  The pile shown was three times the size when it arrived.

As the world continues adapting some in-person events, we signed up for the 25th Wheel Run 5K through Alternatives in Motion.  The "virtual" 5K did have its advantages.  We began the Wheel Run when it worked for our family which happened to be 4pm.  From our home, we ventured one street over to our former Windcrest neighborhood.  We stopped and chatted with many friends we know along the way and then began trekking through the Burton Nature Park.  

Upon entrance, we saw two pug dogs with a young family and a kiddo in a wagon.  Jane struck up a conversation about their pups and then mentioned how cute their daughter was.  The nice dad immediately said it was his son!  After apologies and friendly exchanges, we all continued on our way.  A couple of minutes later, Cam stopped driving, turned to his mom and said "Aren't you embarrassed?!  You thought it was a girl but it was a boy!"  And then, uncontrollable laughter ensued between Cam and his parents.  Every couple of minutes or so, Cam would stop driving and begin laughing all over again just thinking about it!  At 2.8 miles into our journey, we stopped to enjoy dinner at a local favorite, JT's Pizza.  It was the first time Cam had been inside a restaurant in over a year!  The remainder of our journey home enabled us to feel just a tad bit healthier as we all enjoyed a little exercise for a great cause after dining on pizza and cheesy breadsticks.😋

Camology Quotes:

Jane didn't admit to her son that she was a bit nervous about using the Hoyer solo until they had completed the evening routine and he was tucked into bed.  At a critical moment during their finagling, Cam calmly and with an encouraging tone said the words Jane needed to hear most... 
"I have faith in you, Mom."

Sunday, April 11, 2021

A Break for Spring - Week of Apr. 5th

“Is the spring coming?" he said. "What is it like?"... "It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine...” ~Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

The official full week of spring break arrived for Cam.  Many of his classmates were on trips with their families.  
Fortunately for us, Ms. Amanda was also on break from her kindergarten class and remaining in Grand Rapids.  She was housesitting nearby and ready to hang out with Cam.
Their daily routine included walks through our nearby nature park.  The strolls were over a mile round trip and our weather was unseasonably mild for the entire week.  Taking care of Roxie and Lola, the dogs Ms. Amanda was caring for, was definitely one of Cam's most enjoyable excursions.
On their regular outings, the duo would frequently meet other dogs like the Bernese Mountain one pictured.
Back at home, Cam and Amanda made Energy Treats with oatmeal, honey, peanut butter, chocolate chips and vanilla.  They were most delicious!
Our 7th grader wanted to keep his tutoring time in place with Ms. Ann after we told him it was completely his choice.  Even though Chris and Jane still had to attend to their jobs, they both found a few spare hours to hang out with Cam over his spring break and we all enjoyed family workouts in our home gym.
On Saturday, we headed north to check in on Oma and Opa and help out with a few chores.  Lake Michigan is actually down a foot of water so the beach looks pretty expansive right now.  Of course, a few days of high winds and big waves means the lakeshore can change rapidly.  Cam and Jane helped Oma with indoor tasks while Chris measured the steps down to the beach for an upcoming project to build an apparatus that will take our 7th grader to the sand.

We had a visit with Liam and family on Sunday to wish Liam's dad, Mr. Matt, a happy 40th birthday!  Cam and his buddy played outside and we all enjoyed hot dogs and delicious chocolate cake which Cam declared should be in place for his own bday celebration in August.
Another declaration took place as it appears that Sir Cam is being officially knighted by Sir Liam.

Camology Quotes:

Cam had to write a short paragraph about his spring break.  This was his typed entry.
"I spent spring break at my house.  I went for lots of walks because it was sunny and warm.  I worked out with my parents.  I had a fun spring break with my parents."

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Taking Care of My Oma - Week of Mar. 29th

“Becoming a grandmother is wonderful. One moment you’re just a mother. The next you are all-wise and prehistoric.” ~Pam Brown 
“A grandmother once said that children are the investments and grandchildren the dividends.” ~Selma Berg

When Cameron was little and speech was still a bit out of reach, he called Jane's mom Oma.  After all of these years, the name has stuck even though he can clearly say Grandma now.  As a youngster, Oma was very protective of Cam and now that role has reversed.

This week, we welcomed Cam's grandparents for six days.  Jane's mom was scheduled for a parathyroidectomy very early Monday morning in Grand Rapids.  Cam's final instruction to his mom: "Take care of my Oma."  

Upon arrival home from surgery day before dinner, his grandma was in good spirits and Cam requested a full report.  After understanding the medication and recovery routine, he made it his job to remind and check in as often as he could.

Since Cam officially began his spring break on Thursday, he had two full days at home with his grandparents.  Oma and her grandson looked through and read Jane's grandmother's biography.  It was written more than 15 years ago in collaboration with Cam's mom, grandma and great-grandmother.  Cam laughed at some of the old pictures and stories.

A trip to Brody's Be Café made for a tasty afternoon treat.  Both Cam and Oma tried the new mint shake which they both declared delicious!  Opa and Jane enjoyed their coffees and the relaxing atmosphere was a welcome change for everyone.

Grandson and grandma took some time to look through a Prankopedia book and with Jane's help they played a funny joke on Chris.  An almost empty potato chip bag was filled with whipped cream.  Cam convinced his dad to try a chip and he ended up with a handful of the dessert topping instead.

As we helped Oma and Opa pack up to head home on the weekend, Cam reminded her of her medicine and things to remember.  

At any point over the last 13 years, if you were to happen upon Cam and his grandma together, most likely they would be laughing or smiling at each other, or deep in conversation.  It's so good to know someone is looking out for you and for Cam and his Oma, it seems that taking care of each other is an inherent part of their bond and always has been.

Camology Quotes:

This week we were on a quest for a certain brand of frozen apples.  They were nowhere to be found.  In the news, the large barge was stuck in the Suez Canal blocking international goods traffic for many days.  Cam asked his mom about the apples again.
Cam, I've looked at our local stores and Oma has checked her stores too.  We cannot find them anywhere.
"Mom, do you think they are stuck on the barge in the canal?"