Sunday, November 28, 2021

Full of Thanks - Week of Nov. 22nd

“Gratitude is a quality similar to electricity: It must be produced and discharged and used up in order to exist at all.” ~William Faulkner

Cam only attended one day of school this week.  His outpatient eye surgery was on the calendar for Tuesday.  The hospital called indicating his procedure was scheduled for 2pm and we were to arrive at 12:30pm. Most kids and adults would chime in with complaints left and right. Cam, however, was only thinking about his dinner plans for Tuesday evening knowing he wouldn't be allowed to eat a meal until then. His chosen request- chicken pot pie for his post-surgical meal.
Our backyard-
Thanksgiving morning!

Tuesday morning, Jane and her son drove to Middleville where Otto's Turkey Farm resides.  Supporting a local business and picking out how large our fresh turkey needed to be were high priorities. Upon arrival and making our way into the store area, we were asked the turkey size. We love leftovers and requested a 23-25 lb bird. We left with a 24-lb'er!  

After returning home, it wasn't long before we departed for the hospital to meet our timeframes. Cam's eye work to be conducted was for strabismus surgery (also: extraocular muscle surgery, eye muscle surgery, or eye alignment surgery) which is on the extraocular muscles to correct strabismus, the misalignment of the eyes. Dissolving stitches were in place behind his both pupils. Everything went smoothly and the recovery nurses indicated that Cam was one of the most polite teenagers they had ever met. And true to his request, he enjoyed chicken pot pie for dinner that evening.

On Wednesday afternoon, we welcomed Oma and Opa, ready to spend three nights with us. Although Cam was in recovery mode and his eyes looked very red and uncomfortable, he rallied and enjoyed spending time with his grandparents. He and Oma busied themselves making apple pie.
On Thursday, grandpa and grandson gathered all of the ingredients for homemade stuffing.  It is a tradition they started years ago.

While the stuffed turkey baked in the oven, we all watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade on tv and then football games.
When we gathered at the table for our big dinner, Cam said the blessing and each person individually took a turn to say what they were thankful for.  Most everyone said family, good health, good friends and the meal before us. After the feast, we had a break before partaking in Oma and Cam's apple pie ala mode.
The next day we had all decided we could decorate as a group. Chris had readied the tree with built-in lights and Opa carried the ornaments from the storeroom.  It's amazing how much faster everything gets done when so many are pitching in.  We also began the task of Christmas poem creation and determining photos to be displayed on the cards.  Within a few hours, it looked very festive in our home and we treated ourselves to a take-out dinner after all of the hard work.
We were grateful and most thankful for the extra help and extra time spent with Cam grandparents.
It is telling how different generations have expressions that are simply unknown to the younger set.  We were sorting through things when Oma said, "Ok, let's trim the tree!" Cam responded by saying, "Oma, we don't trim the tree, we decorate it!"

Camology Quotes:

After being under anesthesia, hungry, and with sore, itchy eyes, we were surprised to hear Cam's politeness and good manners in full swing at the hospital.  On the drive home, we were talking about the different nurses and the experience of the day.  Cam does have a tendency to think about others and suggested the following:

"Can we do a survey? They were exceptionally nice."

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Project Preso - Week of Nov. 15th

A literal blanket of leaves
in our backyard
"Before anything else, preparation is the key to success."  ~Alexander Graham Bell 
"The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today." ~H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Cam's parents are very familiar with presentations.  
Jane presents almost daily for her job via video, now from her home office. Last week, Cam was given an assignment to research a biome and provide a computer slide presentation to his class.  His topic was the rainforest.  Ms. Ann, his expert tutor, worked with him to plan out the exercise, making certain they had plenty of time.  After finishing daily homework, the rainforest topic was reviewed.  Cam's slides had to contain certain elements and Ms. Ann insisted that these were his own words and thoughts.  She calculated that Cam spent a total of 7 hours on the project when they finished it up Friday night! We were all commenting how good it feels to finish something you're assigned to do.

After all of that hard work, we had a fun Saturday planned out.  In the afternoon, Cam and Jane went to pick up Cam's best buddy, Brody and his mom, Jenny.  The boys had been talking about seeing a movie and the chosen one, "Addams Family 2" was playing at the local theater. Of course, we first secured popcorn and treats for our matinee.  Following the fun showing, we strolled over to Buffalo Wild Wings for a tasty dinner.  Jenny and Jane were pretty impressed with both of their boys using such nice manners with the waitresses. On our ride home, we all commented that the movie/dinner combo should become a regular occurrence.

Chris and his son went together for their handsome haircuts this week.
Cam's dad, always ready for fun, found a ring light in the barbershop to snap a fun pic.  It seems that some traditions, like this one, will remain timeless no matter how old these two are.

Camology Quotes:

Sunday afternoons, father and son can usually be seen working on a computer project. Chris now has his desk in the sunroom where Cam's homework area is also located.  It seems our kiddo definitely has a mind for technology and for helping his dad have patience when it comes to troubleshooting.

"Dad, do not give up! Try opening a private browser."

Sunday, November 14, 2021

The Nature of November - Week of Nov. 8th

"A wounded deer leaps the highest." ~Emily Dickinson 

"From all kinds of flowers, Seek teachings everywhere, Like a deer that finds A quiet place to graze, Seek Seclusion to digest All you have gathered. . ." ~Namkhai Norbu

November typically marks a big seasonal shift in the weather, especially in Michigan.  The deer begin their trek through our backyard to hide from hunters and the ground is suddenly covered in frost some mornings.  Since Daylight Savings Time ended on Sun. Nov. 7, our early ventures to meet the bus are much lighter.  We do feel so fortunate to catch the beautiful sunrise we often see from our perch on the hill.  Each one, although similar, seems to contain a different hue and design.

Veterans Day fell on Thursday this week and Cam arrived home with a typed message for his dad. 

"Thank you Dad for serving in the military. You are really kind for being in the military. Thank you for serving. I appreciate you for serving in the military. Thank you!"  Chris told his son it was the best part of his day. We are so very proud of Cam's dad for his four years of service in the Marine Corps.

Cam also received a "Crew" award at school for being an exemplary student and from the picture it definitely looks like he was happy about it too.

Friday evening we saw our first round of actual snow that stuck to the ground, but only for that night.  It did look white and fluffy and the roads weren't affected so it's the best kind of snowflakes to see for the initial arrival.

Saturday was a busy day.  We left Grand Rapids around 10am to drive to the cottage with a list of things to accomplish.  Oma had made us her famous chicken tetrazzini for lunch and it tasted so delicious accompanied by her homemade applesauce.  While Cam and Jane assisted with computer help, Chris and Opa handled the outside water turnoff and finished off a few other tasks.  Lastly, we used the thermal plastic to close off a portion of the dining room to make things a bit warmer with the colder weather setting in.  When we left around 3:30p, the wind was chilly but the rain held off.  

Upon arrival back home, we welcomed Ms. Ann who had planned to hang out with Cam for the evening.  This would be the first time Cam's parents would stay out past Cam's bedtime in almost 2 years! As Cameron has grown, it's a bit more challenging for a single individual to transfer him into bed, but Ms. Ann took on the challenge and crushed it!  Chris and Jane enjoyed an evening at a non-profit function and truly delighted in the picture sent of their happy son in bed.  The evening couldn't have been better for Cam or his parents...and we think that Ms. Ann may have enjoyed herself as well.

Camology Quotes:

Our cat, Stella is now 15 years old which is 76 years of age in a human equivalent. She has settled into a strange routine of wanting to be placed onto Cam's countertop to be able to meow for fresh water in the sink. One evening as Cam started his bathroom routine and Stella was drinking H2O, he was thinking to himself and looking at the shower instead of at his cat. Suddenly, we heard uncontrollable laughter from the bathroom and when Cam could finally breathe again to tell us what happened, this was the punch line.  

"I was not looking at my cat and I turned and she was right in my face. Stella got in my personal space!"

Sunday, November 7, 2021

The Gift of Grandparents - Week of Nov. 1st

“Sometimes our grandmas and grandpas are like grand-angels.” ~Lexie Saige 

“Grandparents can be very special resources. Just being close to them reassures a child, without words, about change and continuity, about what went before and what will come after.” ~Fred Rogers

We know Cam is fortunate to be able to see his grandparents.  His dad's mom, Grandma Sue, lives in Arizona but keeps in contact and we enjoyed a long visit in May.  Chris' dad is in California and that trek is a bit further. Jane's parents live a little more than an hour away so they're able to make the drive to us and we to them on a fairly regular basis. There is a natural trust and admiration between grandchildren and grandparents.  Cam's excitement over an Oma and Opa impending stay has never faltered. 

At school, time is regularly spent in the gymnasium and Cam's gym teacher continues to challenge him with different activities. Once again, we are beyond thankful for the care and consideration of our son's mental and physical needs in the school setting.

Cam had a scheduled half day on Friday, arriving home to Ms. Ann ready and waiting at the bus.  The two were busy working on schoolwork for the afternoon.  

Oma and Opa arrived mid-afternoon and settled in with us for the weekend.  Cam's grandma brought her famous applesauce which is a staple at every dinner.  We had two family meals all together and declared they were some of the best ever!  Jane and her mom completed some early Christmas shopping on Saturday and Cam assisted with computer projects over the weekend.

Sunday was a busy day.  Chris, Cam and Jane arrived at Brody's Be Café at noon ready for outdoor igloo setup.  We had a stellar team of people helping out and the Cole family brought homemade chili as well as tortilla soup.  The weather was mild and Brody provided musical entertainment as Cam supervised the stand up of both igloos.

Directly after the café activities, we stopped to pick up Oma and Opa at our house to head downtown for our annual family photo shoot.  We couldn't have chosen a better day, although at the time it was scheduled, it was unknown if the Michigan climate would cooperate.  It will be a few weeks before the photos are sent and we can share our favorites.  Cam's grandparents said goodbye late in the afternoon. The time together has become more precious as we continue to grow our ever-expanding vault of memories.

Camology Quotes:

As Cam's 'sleeping on the weekend habit' has settled into a regular occurrence, he is becoming savvy to his ability to carefully plan his Saturday and Sunday mornings.  At 7:30am, he called out to Jane with the following request: 

"Mom, can you please take the banana bread out of the freezer and put bacon in the oven?  I am not ready to get up yet!"