Sunday, March 26, 2023

Bring on Spring - Week of Mar. 20th

"If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome." ~Anne Bradstreet 
"In the Spring, I have counted 136 different kinds of weather inside of 24 hours."  ~Mark Twain

With the official start of Spring this week, we also seemed to encounter the official start of sickness for Cameron.  When he arrived home Tuesday from school indicating that his ear felt stuffy, Jane took him to the doc the next morning.  

After the official diagnosis of a double ear infection, Cam was home for the day.  The last two days of the week were a bit of a struggle, battling a cough and runny nose.  

He was able to try out a new rear view mirror attached to his power chair to see if it could be functional for him driving in the hallways at school.

Friday evening, Ms. Amanda arrived with a Chipotle dinner for Cam.  Chris and Jane ventured out to have their own dining experience and a grocery store run.

Saturday brought some of the weirdest spring weather ever.  In the morning, it began raining, then hailing, then freezing rain and finally, large white flakes of snow descended upon us.  Luckily, the snow didn't stick around and we were still able to head out to JT's for dinner, less than 5 minutes from our house.  We met Ms. Ann and most of her family there to partake in their famous cod (fish and chips) dinner.  They only serve it until Easter and they use a homemade batter.  We had a great time catching up with Molly and Ella, Christopher, Zach and of course, Ann.

Sunshine accompanied our drive to see Oma and Opa on Sunday.  We met them for brunch at 11:30am. It was busy but we were seated right away.  After waiting over an hour for our food, Opa asked the waitress to check.  Once she walked away, Cam looked at Opa and said "Thank for asking her, Opa!"  After dining, we went back to Rosy Mound where we worked on a few tasks.  One of them was helping Oma sort through some paperwork to determine what could be thrown away.  As she was making good progress, Cam piped in and said "Wow Oma, you're really doing a great job!"  We are thinking that perhaps Cameron should be for hire... "Do you need someone to cheer you up?  Be on your side?  Show encouragement?  Keep you going? Feeling like you're in a jam?  Just call on Cam!"

Camology Quotes:

Cam loves helping his dad with computer projects. Chris was telling him about new employees starting and making sure he had everything ready.  Lucky for the IT Director, his son is always on the lookout and thinking ahead. 

"Dad, you'd better check the Monday we are gone."

Sunday, March 19, 2023

The Planner - Week of Mar. 13th

"Failing to plan is planning to fail." ~Alan Lakein

Cameron’s mom is a planner. Her son seems to be have inherited this trait and elevated it. For the first time in a few years, our family will be boarding a plane in less than a month. Like most trips, reservations are made in advance. Following that, the most common course of action is to simply wait until the time of departure. According to Cam though, it is imperative to double-check all aspects by actually calling to confirm. As Jane has explained, a confirmation number assigned to the reservation is always provided. However, this isn’t good enough for an experienced voyager like Cam.  He and Jane first called the hotel.  Sure enough, there were a few missing details regarding requests that were inputted.  The person we talked to also recommended calling the morning of our trip just to double check.  The next discussion with the handicap van rental also proved beneficial.  We knew exactly where to be located for our pickup and reviewed arrival times.  Next week is our final confirmation call with the airline, Delta.

With all of the travel discussions, Jane was the one scheduled to take flight this week.  A one-night stay in Florida for her job was on the docket.  Although it meant missing Cam's power soccer practice, his dad captured plenty of pictures.
We weren't certain if a power guard for Cam's chair would be available to use, but one of the soccer Dad's picked it up from another location and brought it to the Y.  Cameron wasn't apprehensive and accepted the challenge of trying to play.  Although he doesn't know all of the rules yet, he said he really liked it and can't wait for the next practice.

Friday evening, Cam and Ms. Amanda had hang out time before a winter weather advisory began late that evening.  
On Saturday morning, it looked like a snowstorm outside!  Chris and his son had haircuts scheduled for after lunch and they braved the freezing temps and blowing white stuff.  After successfully making it home and up the driveway, we settled in to watch the Disney remake of "Lady and the Tramp."

Sunday brought sunshine and melting snow.  After indoor projects were completed, we all headed outside for some fresh air.  It may be tempting fate, but we decided it was time to remove the snowplow stakes that Chris and Cam place on our driveway prior to the winter season.  With the official start of spring next week, we certainly hope we have seen the last of the falling flakes!

Camology Quotes:

An email from Cameron's teacher arrived on Jane's traveling home day:   One quick story about Cam this morning: Megan and I were out of the building yesterday for a training, so this morning as kids were coming into the classroom, I had said good morning to about four other students with barely a "hello" or "good morning" response from them, then Cam came in and said "good morning, how was your day yesterday" to me! I was so pleased since the others didn't even really respond to me at all! Great job to Cam. He's always so polite. :)

Cam's teacher also relayed this story to him the next day and he told his parents at dinner Thursday evening.

"That makes me feel good to know I made someone happy!"

Sunday, March 12, 2023

It's a Surprise - Week of Mar. 6th

“Would you like to know your future? If your answer is yes, think again. Not knowing is the greatest life motivator. So enjoy, endure, survive each moment as it comes to you in its proper sequence -- a surprise.” ~Vera Nazarian, The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration

This week was full of surprises in different ways.  Wildlife appeared in the evening and during the day.  A wandering skunk surprised Chris when he and Cam were trying to adjust the outside lights.  The deer have been visiting more, seemingly curious to find morsels hidden in the ground.  Stella continues to be a part of Jane's work day very intrigued by each meeting she attends.

Tuesday's schedule at Cam's school included special basketball games honoring a former student from Northern.  Cam was given the task of passing out programs to everyone who came to watch.  
Much to his amazement, he greeted many of his former teachers, Ms. Kathy, Mrs. Wells, Mrs. C. (aka Ms. Konkle) and Brody's parents.  Jane stopped in to see her son at work, but couldn't stay long due to her own schedule.  
Another spectator is one of Cameron's favorite people, Ms. Rachel, the executive director of Brody's Be Cafe.  Cam plans to work at the cafe this summer and Rachel has been an advocate of his future employment for a few years now.
Another unexpected development came Thursday evening while we were all sleeping.  At 5:11am we received the text message indicating Cam's school would be closed on Friday due to inclement weather.  Almost 8 inches of the white stuff blanketed our area overnight!  Although Cam is not a fan of snow days, he always makes the best of it.  He split the day helping his parents and by lunchtime, the roadways were clear.

Ms. Ann arrived before 4pm for Cameron's tutoring session.  She knew something was "up" for that evening, but did not know exactly what the plan was.  At 5pm, Cam and his parents entered their van and Ms. Ann was instructed to follow in her vehicle.  In just a few minutes time, we arrived at "Ever Play Cafe" which is in between a few shops and eateries.  Ms. Ann was very confused since she had never been there before.  She said "I know that restaurant is closed and I'm not getting my shoes repaired so what are we doing here?"  As we escorted her into the Cafe, she burst into tears being greeted by her family and close friends for her surprise birthday party!  The private party rental was set up by her adult children complete with catering and dessert.  We had fun reconnecting with everyone.  Ann was presented with a collection of thoughts and pictures about her which her daughter, Katherine (a former nanny of Cam's) had organized.  The two-hour party reservation was over much quickly.

Saturday morning, our dear family friends reached out asking if we wanted to meet for a late breakfast/early lunch at The Gathering Place.  One of their daughters and our buddy, Emma, had recently started working there.  We were excited to have yet one more surprise in our week.  When we arrived at the restaurant with Emma's mom and one of her sisters, her smile and reaction was a memorable one.  It was one of the longest lunches ever for Cameron, but he was happy to hang out chatting and catching up.
In a week full of the unexpected, it was no surprise to move the clocks ahead Saturday night for daylight saving time.  We all felt just a bit sleepier Sunday morning.

Camology Quotes:

Friday afternoon, Cam was in planning mode.  During his tutoring session, he was keeping an eye on the clock knowing that his dad needed to get home in time for Ms. Ann's surprise.  When Jane walked upstairs from her office, he immediately asked:

"Mom, do you need me to text your husband for you?"

Sunday, March 5, 2023

The Power of Soccer - Week of Feb. 27th

“My disability exists not because I use a wheelchair, but because the broader environment isn’t accessible." ~Stella Young

Cam is typically willing to try something new.  Most Wednesdays, Mary Free Bed has power soccer practice at the local Mary Free Bed YMCA, just a few minutes from our house.  We wanted to learn a bit more about how power soccer came to be, so we researched its inception.
  • During the 1970’s, some imaginative teachers in France created a form of football (known as soccer in the U.S.) suited to the abilities of students with severe physical disabilities who used power wheelchairs. 
  • In 1982, some energetic Canadian power chair users developed another form of Powerchair Football which they called "motor" soccer (later called power soccer in the US) which followed the rules of able-bodied soccer and applies the strategies of able-bodied rugby and basketball. 
  • In 1988, power soccer was imported to the USA by a disabled sports program founded by university students in Berkeley, California. During these early years, the various forms of Powerchair football were played with most of the countries being unaware of each other’s endeavors. 
  • In 2004, a US Power Soccer coach, David Ruelas, visited Belgium on vacation and discovered the European form of the game. He then made contact with Herve Delattre, the Director of Powerchair Football in France. Their subsequent discussions, led to the idea of developing Powerchair Football into an international sport. 
  • In January 2005, 24 representatives from seven countries (France, US, Canada, Japan, England, Belgium and Portugal) met in Le Chesnay, France and laid the groundwork for the formation of the International Powerchair Football Association (IPFA). 
  • In July 2006, teams from Canada, Denmark, England, France, Japan and the US, as well as delegates from Portugal, Turkey and South Korea, met in Atlanta, GA, USA. While the teams engaged in many practice sessions and a test tournament to fine tune the proposed laws, other delegates worked on a constitution and elected the organization’s first officers. At the end of these meetings the standardized Laws of the Game were adopted, the constitution was ratified, the name was changed and the international governing body, the Federation International Powerchair Football Association (FIPFA) was formally established with headquarters in Paris, France. Over the next several years, many powerchair associations formed around the world and the number of teams competing within FIPFA worldwide is estimated at over 250.
  • In August 2006, United States Power Soccer Association, (USPSA) was born. The USPSA became a legal entity in October 2006 and was granted 501 (c ) 3 non profit status February 2007. 
  • The USPSA is headquartered in Carmel, Indiana.

 After trying out the specially designed soccer power chair, Cam couldn't believe how fast it spun around.  He also decided it may be easier if he would be able to drive his own personal chair with an attached guard.  We are hoping to try that route for him at the next practice.

On Thursday, we welcomed our longtime friend, Amanda and her sweet daughter, Sally for the evening.  They were seeing a concert in Grand Rapids and arrived in the afternoon.  It turns out Cam and Sally share similar tastes in favorite foods and they were both quite delighted by their chicken tenders dinner. 

We had made plans to visit Oma and Opa after lunchtime on Saturday.  The start to our journey was a bit later than expected, but we still arrived by 3pm.  Every time we take the exit off the highway, Cameron lets out a big cheer knowing we are getting closer to his grandparents cool apartment.  After visiting and completing a few small projects, we made our way out to dinner.  Don Luis Mexican restaurant was our destination and none of us had ever eaten there.  We were not disappointed by our fajita dinners, quesadilla and grilled shrimp.   

We can always count on Cam to ask the same question after visiting Oma and Opa... "When are we going to see them next?"

Camology Quotes:

Each morning, if we are able to see the sun, the sunrise looks pretty spectacular from our front door.  On the weekend, we truly can enjoy its beauty and re-energize and rejuvenate.  Cam always sees it as a time for his parents to cross something off of the list.

"Mom and Dad, when are we going to start our taxes?  We need to get them done!"