Sunday, August 28, 2022

Fired Up Freshman - Week of Aug. 22nd

“How did it get so late so soon? It's night before it's afternoon. December is here before it's June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?” ~Dr. Suess

Monday, August 22nd marked the first day of high school for Cam.  It didn't seem possible our kiddo was starting his freshman year.  Pivoting from a 8:00am wake up time to 5:50am is a bit of change, not only for our teen, but for his parents as well.  Nevertheless, Cam was so ready to begin the school year.  As tired as we all were, his smile filled with anticipation was infectious.
Jane received the coolest text from Cam's bus driver, Ms. Christy, on Tuesday a.m. after the bus dropped off the kids at the high school.  She informed Cam's mom that when they arrived, there was a huge tunnel made in the form of a husky, the Forest Hills Northern school mascot.  The marching band was playing the fight song when they were unloading.  Ms. Christy said that "Cam was so excited and feeling the music.  It was so intense.  His school spirit is huge!"  Luckily, she was able to grab a quick picture of our 9th grader going into the Husky Tunnel.  When he arrived home that afternoon, Jane's son told her it was such an awesome start to the day!

After surviving the first week of school, we were all looking very forward to the weekend.  As is typical of our Saturdays, we traveled north to the cottage.  We dined outside on the Haroldson deck for lunch prior to relocating to the beach.  It was a picture perfect day, although the water was a bit chilly for swimming.

Late that afternoon, we were off to Grand Haven to drop off some things for Oma and Opa.  Chris and Cam arrived first to install the wall mount for their tv and then Jane arrived with Cam's grandparents to unload more items.  After all of that hard work, we were treated to a delicious meal from Mancino's, less than two miles from Oma and Opa's new apartment.  Another bonus is being able to eat outside in a beautiful courtyard which is within walking distance of their new place.  Every time we are there, Cam asks the same question upon departure: "when we will come back here?  I love it!"

Camology Quotes:

Our nightly routine includes reading books with Cam.  We have always done this and take turns with Chris reading one night and Jane reading the next.  Each parent reads a different chapter book.  When it's a "mom" night, our cat Stella will typically lay on the floor.  One night this week, she was sitting by the end of Cam's bed.
"Mom, Stella wants to be up on my bed.  She likes to listen."
I'm not so sure, Cam. Maybe she wants to stay on the floor. (Jane gives in and picks her up and deposits her at the end of the bed.)
"See Mom.  I always know what Stella wants."

Sunday, August 21, 2022

Fifteen's Routine - Week of Aug. 15th

“Sometimes, You will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.” ~Dr. Seuss

It was hard to believe this week of August 15th was also the week Cam would be 15 years old!  To commemorate the occasion, here are fifteen things you may or may not know about Cam...

  1. He is kind
  2. He is empathetic
  3. He loves projects
  4. He loves leading and supervising projects
  5. He learns visually
  6. His comprehension is pretty impressive
  7. His memory is even more impressive!
  8. He loves chocolate
  9. He loves bread
  10. He loves his family and spending time with them
  11. His favorite activity with his dad is working on computers and programming Amazon Alexas
  12. His favorite activity with his mom is organizing, cleaning and baking
  13. He is a routine-driven person
  14. He is honest
  15. His heart is pure gold!💝
On Monday, Cam went blueberry picking with his dad.  They gathered more than 5 pounds of berries to bring home.
Wednesday, August 17 was Cam's birthday and it started off on a high note.  Our teenager slept in until after 8am.  After waking up and getting dressed, he was greeted with his favorite breakfast from Sundance restaurant: scrambled eggs, bacon, toast and spuds (the best breakfast potatoes, per Cam).
Oma and Opa were with us for the entire week so it was an extra treat to see his grandparents on his birthday.

Jane took the birthday teen out in the afternoon for a drive through the Tropical Smoothie Café for a chocolate peanut butter cool freeze.
Cam's only request for his special day: Olive Garden for dinner.  
Oma, Opa and Ms. Ann all accompanied Cam and his parents out for our dining festivities.  There were plenty of breadsticks and salad to go around.  Since it was Cam's birthday, he was able to score a free dessert of his choice!  They were out of chocolate lasagna (probably not a bad thing) so instead, we all shared warm Italian doughnuts with chocolate dipping sauce.  Each of us can highly recommend.  We left the restaurant with full bellies, big smiles and 6 leftover containers.

Oma and Opa gave Cam two shirts emblazoned with "Cam, the man, the myth, the legend" as well as a baking conversion chart.  The birthday teenager received multiple Amazon gift cards from friends and family.  Grandma Sue sent a handmade quilt with Cam's high school mascot featured from some t-shirts sewn in.  And Jane's co-worker, Cyndi, sent a most delicious array of ice cream packed in dry ice.

Friday's agenda included Jane and her son driving to Muskegon in the morning.  It was the grand opening of Renew Mobility (formerly Alternatives in Motion) Muskegon location.  Jane is on the Board of Directors and Cam is one of their Youth Ambassadors.  Ms. Tessa who is also a board member and a local news anchor was on the scene as well.

We were grateful to have Oma and Opa with us for the week.  We enjoyed meals together, watching movies and just chatting.  Friday evening, Cam's grandparents enjoyed dinner at home with him while Chris and Jane met their cousins at a restaurant close by.

Saturday morning we were on the road again with a planned stop in Grand Haven to drop off some items for Oma and Opa's new place.  
Afterwards, we made our way to the Haroldson cottage for a second celebration of Cam's bday, orchestrated by cousin Coco and friends, Molly and Jude.  
Even though it wasn't a beach day, we were still able to be together and hang out.  Cam loves our cousin's dog, Lucy.  The sweet dog made it easier for Cam to pet her by sitting in the rocking chair. 
We feasted on grilled chicken, potatoes and veggies and fruit.  Coco had two dessert cakes for Cam- a chocolate ice cream one and Reese's peanut butter cup cake.  Coco, Max and Calla gave Cam an Apple gift card, popcorn bucket and treats to enjoy for movie time.  Our dear friends, Molly and Jude presented Cam with a Culver's concrete mixer and a Culver's gift card.  
They all know Cam so well!

Camology Quotes:

We typically use our cell phones for navigation, not because we don't know which way to go, but moreover to be alerted to accidents or delays.  Cam also provides his own narrative during the trips.  
At one point, Jane questioned his directions to which he replied, 
“I’m just following the GPS, not going some random way.”

Sunday, August 14, 2022

Getting Oriented - Week of August 8th

“Intelligence plus character- that is the goal of true education.” ~Martin Luther King Jr.

As we approached mid-August, the activities were kicking into high gear.  On Tuesday, Ms. Amanda and Cam went to meet up with Brooke and her kiddos at Boulder Ridge Wild Animal Park in Alto, Michigan. Previously, there was a tram (with a ramp for Cam's chair) that would take park goers on a safari ride.  With recent changes, Boulder Ridge opted to pave their former bus path to allow everyone to travel at their own pace.  Cam indicated he thought it was better with the pavement and enjoyed the time with the animals and new friends.

That evening (Aug. 9th), Ms. Ann offered to hang out with Cam while his parents enjoyed a night out for their 19th wedding anniversary!  They dined at the downtown Real Seafood Co and enjoyed sitting outside at the JW Marriott afterwards.  A big thanks to Ms. Ann and Cam for making it such a memorable occasion.

Wednesday included a few more outings for Cam and Ms. Amanda. 
There was a visit to check on Amanda's new puppy, Otis, who took a liking to Cam.  Another stop to Chow Hound turned out to be a surprise encounter with one of Cam's favorite people, Ms. Rachel.  Rachel is the executive director for Brody's Be Café, and according to them both, Cam will be a future employee of the café when he turns 16 next year!

On Thursday, bright and early, Cam woke up before 7am.  Why so early? Because he was scheduled for Forest Hills Northern Hill School Freshman year orientation at 7:30am.  He arrived on time and listened to the instructions from his principal and other school leaders. Besides online forms and upcoming events, one of the most important reasons for attending the orientation was to have your school picture taken and obtain your official student id for the upcoming school year.  The photographer noted that Cam was definitely one of the happiest students he had met!

That evening Cam supervised furniture building for his dad as they worked to put together a coffee table for Oma and Opa.  The entire instruction booklet showed pictures with the letters of the different numerous parts.  Cam deciphered and called out the next steps to Chris.  As a team, they successfully completed the building task without any assistance from Jane, much to her delight.

Friday marked Ms. Amanda's last official summer day with Cam.  
She surprised him with a Dunkin' Donuts breakfast complete with a breakfast sandwich and munchkin donuts!  The duo had a fun morning and before we knew it, we were saying 'see you soon' to our Amanda when it felt like it was just yesterday that summer started.

Chris and Jane had the afternoon off of work, so they loaded up the van with the furniture to drop off to Rosy Mound for Oma and Opa.  
After a successful trip to Grand Haven, the Weatherford fam continued on their way to Maple Beach in Holland that afternoon.  At the original Jellema family cottage, Uncle Jon and Aunt Betsy, along with their four kids and their families were all gathered together.  The troops came from South Africa, Germany, Vermont and Illinois.  

We don't see these cousins too often and it was so good to catch up, if only for a short time.  It was cool enough to sit around the outdoor campfire sharing stories and laughing about old memories.  
Cam loves a good tradition and we hope this one continues for many years to come.

Camology Quotes:

Much like the deer we often see in our backyard, sometimes the moment calls for some serene calmness.
Trying to pack in the outings, Jane asked Cam if he wanted to venture out to the local farm stand.  His response was perhaps one of a typical teenager...
"Mom, I've done a lot this summer...I need to relax!"

Sunday, August 7, 2022

Cam's Sign - Week of August 1st

"Words are but the signs of ideas." ~Samuel Johnson

There are times when one anticipates gift giving more than gift receiving...  

Such was the case with Ms. Amanda this week.  As a kindergarten teacher, she meets new students and parents every year.  One set of parents is very artistic and sells their creations online.  Amanda connected with them and requested a custom sign for Cam's upcoming birthday.  It was finished on Monday and she couldn't wait for Cam's actual bday and presented it to him on Tuesday morning.  The customized sign was a joint effort with Amanda providing a picture of Cam's powerchair and talking about his love of baseball.  It looks just perfect on his bedroom door!  He thanked Ms. Amanda profusely.

Saturday was our big outing day.  We traveled to the cottage with our packed lunch and beach towels, ready for some beach time.  After we ate and caught up with our cousins, we all headed down to the lake.  The water was warm and the waves were calmer than in the past few weeks.  While Chris and Cam were out in Lake Michigan, there was a bit of a tipsy plunge into the water which made Cam laugh for quite some time.

Oma and her grandson had fun chatting it up on the deck while Jane took one last dip into the lake.  

Cam and his mom drove separately from Chris because he was scheduled for volunteering for the non-profit, Lori's Voice, at the Berlin Raceway.  It was a very warm afternoon and he texted Jane upon his arrival at the raceway.  Cam's dad told us to take our time getting there due to the heat and loud noises.  We were thankful for his advice since we had more time to visit with our family.  

Cam and Jane parked the van close to the raceway entrance and found Chris.  We saw many of our friends there, including April, the founders of Lori's Voice- Lori and Dave Hastings, as well as many other families we know in the community.  It was a successful event and after getting to bed a bit later, sleeping in the next day was mandatory!

Camology Quotes:

Keeping up with the food inventory in any household can be challenging.  Luckily, Cam and his dad are pretty good about letting Jane know when something runs out.  When Cam noticed he had just depleted his chicken nuggets, he quickly alerted his mom.

"Thanks Cam, but actually there's another package in the outside freezer."

"Wow Mom! You're on Blue Bonnet!"