Sunday, March 27, 2022

Cam's Secret Passage - Week of Mar. 21st

"The road to success is always under construction." ~Arnold Palmer              

"The shortest distance between two points is under construction." ~Leo Aikman

The week arrived to begin construction in Cam's room and bathroom.  This first step of preparation is in anticipation of the ceiling track to be installed next month.  The track will transport Cameron from his bedroom to bathroom and back via a ceiling-attached apparatus and a remote control.  The goal this week was to remove the bathroom cabinets and then "break through" the wall separating the two areas.  After clearing out the cabinets that would be removed and protecting the areas that needed to remain in place, the work commenced.  Jane was the only one at home for all of the increased activity, but it wasn't nearly as noisy as she thought it would be.

At the end of Day 1, the open space was revealed!  Seeing the cabinets and wall completely removed made the space look so much bigger.  Being able to easily traverse from one place to the other without going around the corner was a brand-new experience for us all.  

Chris declared the new entry "Cam's Secret Passage" and wrote that on the floor, which would eventually be covered by new flooring.

Friday evening, father and son took a road trip to Allendale to deliver their 3D printed tourniquets to help with the effort overseas.  They found the drop box and deposited their 4 sets that would be sent internationally to Denmark and then subsequently to Ukraine.  It was a contribution, no matter how small, to help others.  

When Cam rides in our van, he is in "the middle" of the back seats thereby giving him an eagle eye view of the dashboard.  He was rightfully a bit nervous when he noticed the low gas gauge warning. His dad assured him they would make it to the Costco gas station.  Sure enough, they did, much to Cam's relief.

The weekend was a bit chilly and dreary, so inside work dominated our time.  As a family, we watched King Richard and we all thought it was a good movie.  

Cam and Jane decided it was a perfect day to make their homemade banana bread with mini chocolate chips.  Chris perfected the recipe long ago and it makes 4 mini loaves plus a large loaf.  There was just enough for one rounded muffin top for Cam to test out for his snack. He highly recommends spreading creamy peanut butter on top of a warmed piece.

Laundry is not Jane's favorite activity but since two guys are always willing to help, it isn't as awful as it could be. 

As an extra added bonus, Cam still loves the warmth of clean sheets when they exit the dryer!

Camology Quotes:

Stella was a bit off kilter this week with the construction.  Chris was attending an evening meeting and Jane and Cam were eating dinner at the dining room table.  Jane was looking at the staircase and noticed Stella sniffing everywhere by the door and on the rug. Cam wasn't looking at Stella since he was concentrating on his meal.  Jane realized that their cat was trying to determine who the individuals were that had created all of the new scents in her home.  Cam's mom then announced,

"You know cats are really curious."

"That is a really random thing to say, Mom."

Sunday, March 20, 2022

Shamrock Shakes - Week of Mar. 14th

The Shamrock Shake® was created in 1967 by Hal Rosen, a Connecticut McDonald's Owner and Operator who made the delicious, mint shake in celebration of St. Patrick's Day. It debuted nationally in 1970 and was an instant success across the country.

At school, Cam's class made their own version of the shamrock shake to try.

Tasty Shamrock Shake

  • 3 large scoops vanilla ice cream (about 1/4 cup each)
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
  • 6 drop green food coloring
  • Whipped Cream for topping
  • Maraschino Cherry (optional)

In a blender, mix vanilla ice cream, heavy cream, peppermint and food coloring until completely smooth.  Pour into glass and top with whipped cream and cherry.  Enjoy!

In all fairness, Cam decided he needed to compare the one from school with one from McDonald's.  Since Friday was a half day, father and son went to the drive-thru that afternoon to obtain the official Shamrock Shake at McD's.

The official result from Cam: the McDonald's shake is tastier than the homemade one.

Our weekend was spent preparing for next week's construction in Cam's room and bathroom anticipating the ceiling track that will be used to transport him from his bed to bathroom and back again.  

A local news story we watched Saturday morning talked about making plastic tourniquets on the 3D printer for the people of Ukraine. See the link to the story here:

The blueprint was posted on the website and Chris and Cam downloaded the schematics and got to work printing!

Saturday evening, we were happy to see some of our Raisch fam friends for a fish dinner.  Mr. Steve, Patti and Sarah brought Steve's perch and Jane baked cod.  We had an assortment of veggies and fruit.  Afterwards, we settled in to watch the U of M NCAA men's basketball game.  Cam and Sarah definitely found the most relaxing positions. The game was exciting and Michigan pulled out a win!

We know spring is in the air as we watch the squirrels become more active in our yard.  Even after Chris added grease to the birdseed pole, the acrobatic rodent is still able to scamper up and somehow hang on.  

Sometimes it seems if you work that hard for something, you just might deserve the prize 😉

Camology Quotes:

Some evenings after Cam goes to bed, Jane settles in to relax on the couch and watch a little tv. When Cam announced he was ready for his nightly routine, he informed Jane of the following::

"Mom, you can watch something inappropriate now.  I am going to bed."

Sunday, March 13, 2022

Go Go Go Joseph, I Mean Cam! - Week of Mar. 7th

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is a musical with lyrics by Tim Rice and music by Andrew Lloyd Webber. The story is based on the "coat of many colors" story of Joseph from the Bible's Book of Genesis. It was the first Lloyd Webber and Rice musical to be performed publicly. The show has only a few lines of spoken dialogue; it is almost entirely sung-through. Its family-friendly story, familiar themes and catchy music have resulted in numerous stagings.  Forest Hills Northern High School added to that list of performances.  

Cam, along with the 7th/8th grade choir had been practicing the music for months.  The high school theatrical group endured their own lengthy practices involving singing, choreography and set design. This was the week of final rehearsals and the actual live performances.  Rehearsals were 3 hours long and the choir kids had to sign up for 1 evening.  They were to be dropped off at 5:30p and picked up at 8:30p.  That is a long evening on a school night especially when you're typically in bed by about 8p.  Cam persevered and even woke up for school in a great mood on Wednesday morning after missing out on more than an hour of sleep.
Oma and Opa arrived on Thursday afternoon, anticipating their grandson's weekend performance.  We were relieved Cam's grandparents were able to drive in Thursday because much to our surprise, some snowflakes accompanied by frigid temperatures filled the day on Friday. 
Jane was able to secure front row seats, directly within eyeshot of where Cam would be.  The middle school choir was split into two sections- far stage right and far stage left.  
At the Friday evening event, we saw Cam's teacher and classmates, Cam's favorite aide, Brody's family and others.  We were impressed by the high school talent comprised of singing and dancing along with the middle school melodic choir.  Cam's choir teacher is pictured with him and made certain he had the full experience of the performance.

As we were leaving, a fourth grade teacher approached Jane and told her that Cam had grown so much and it was great to see him in the show.  She also said that our son made such an impression on her when he was in elementary school and she will never forget him.  

After a successful evening, we spent Saturday cooking meals, playing games and enjoying time with Oma and Opa.  That night we all watched the new Disney movie, "Turning Red" and gave it a thumbs up.

Oma and Opa were headed back home late Sunday afternoon.  In the early eve, Jane and Cam were watching a show together when Chris quietly called to them from the sunroom.  He almost tiptoed into the living room to show them a picture of a visitor on their back deck.  Cam and his mom were so shocked to see the majestic-looking owl looking right at Chris!   

Camology Quotes:

Jane's mom was telling Cam about her own experience with Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.  She told him that her hometown (Indianapolis, IN) youth choir had such great feedback that they took the show "on the road" and their first performance was in Grand Haven, MI!  Cam looked a bit perplexed and asked:

"What road did they shut down in Grand Haven?"

Jane chuckled and chimed in: "Cam, when Oma said they took the show on the road, it's an expression meaning that the show will be performed in another location.  They didn't actually shut down a road to perform it on an actual road." 😁

Sunday, March 6, 2022

Husky Hustle - Week of Feb. 28th

"To me, the body says what words cannot.   I believe that dance was the first art." ~Martha Graham

"The subject says: I see first many things that dance...then everything gradually becomes connected." ~Jim Morrison

There are many "firsts" we experience growing up and even into adulthood.  A first can be met with hesitation, anxiety or anticipation. 

Cam's 8th grade class announced the Husky Hustle, a spring dance for eighth graders only.  Forest Hills Northern (FHN) has been the school system Cam has attended since kindergarten.  Their team name is the Huskies.  Leading up to Friday evening, our teenager wasn't certain he would attend.  

Once he knew his best bud, Brody, would be there as well as his teacher who had volunteered to be a chaperone, he decided it was a go.  The event was scheduled for 90 minutes from 6:30p-8p and parents were not allowed.  Cam made certain Chris and Jane were aware of the parameters as well as the requirement to have a school ID to enter.

Upon arriving promptly at 6:25pm, Cam exited our van, with his knee blocks ready for standing, and made his way to the doors along with a sea of other kids.  Chris and Jane headed to a nearby restaurant, HopCat, to meet Brody's parents for the duration of the dance.  The time went by much too quickly for everyone as we headed back to Cam's school.  The line for kids to be picked up at 8p was quite long so Jane hopped out hoping to find their son.  When she spotted him, his smile couldn't have been bigger!  After making their way back to the van, Cam told his parents he had the best time. On the drive home, always the rule-follower, our son announced that they did not even check the school IDs!

Saturday was an unusually warm day and we spent time outdoors cleaning up and cleaning out.  Chris and Cam took a field trip to the west side of town to test out a beach wheelchair that will be donated to a family from the non-profit organization, Lori's Voice.  Even though it is an adult chair, Cam indicated it was comfortable enough to ride in.

The remainder of the weekend was a mixture of relaxation and home projects.  Jane finished an excellent book Cam is reading with his class entitled "Rain Reign" (we highly recommend!) and Chris caught her reading ahead.  We watched a family movie together.  Stella, our cat, can always depict the best example of leisure time.  Her goal is to find where the sun is shining and soak it in.

Camology Quotes:

Cam made certain his parents left on time Friday evening to drive him to the school dance.  As we arrived, our son seemed to reverse roles with us, seemingly taking on a parental tune:

"Please make sure you are here before 8 o'clock to pick me back up.  Make sure you drive our van instead of riding with Brody's parents."