Sunday, May 28, 2023

Gone Boarding - Week of May 22nd

 "Once we accept our limits, we go beyond them." ~Albert Einstein 

When an opportunity arises, it is usually advised to take advantage.  In middle school, Cameron met one of his favorite teachers, Mr. Z.  He taught robotics and always figured out a way for Cam to be included.  Mr. Z. made a move to the high school and became involved in Gone Boarding.  Cam was invited to design and make his own board this week.  We can't wait to see the finished result!

Gone Boarding is a course that was conceived and developed by Bill Curtis and Bruce Macartney, teachers in the Forest Hills Public School's District in Grand Rapids, Michigan. This curriculum includes content for math and VPAA (Visual, Performing, Applied Arts), along with science, art, engineering, business, and an optional PE component. ​  Students in the Gone Boarding class collaborate to design, construct, and learn to ride all types of boards including: surfboards, snowboards, skateboards/longboards, stand-up paddle boards, and wake surfboards. Students also take part in service projects involving the school's district's younger students through a mentoring relationship built around action sports, and partner with the community to make an impact on the world both locally and globally. 

With the holiday weekend upon us, we were excited to have it filled with fun plans.  The weather forecast was also in our favor with sunny, warm temps predicted.  

After an early lunch, we made our way north for cousin time. We spent the afternoon outdoors and in the evening, we drove into Montague for a birthday celebration for our friend, Jude.  North Grove Brewers is a place we hadn't been before and our family was so impressed by its full accessibility, inside and out.  The food was tasty and Molly, one of Jane's dearest friends and Jude's wife, even brought cake to make the evening complete.  Even though we were back on the road later than anticipated, Cam rallied and made it through.

We slept in a bit the next morning and loaded up our van for the trip north once again.  We were excited to see Oma and Opa shortly after noon.  After a tasty brunch as a family, it was time to work on our tasks.  We started with cleaning out some closets with Cam's expert supervision.  With his constant cheering "way to go, Oma" and "great work!" the chore seemed much less tedious and very satisfying.  Our output included two full large garbage bags and a few treasures to keep.

Later in the afternoon, we were invited to our cousin's cottage for dinner together.  Oma and Opa were happy to see the little cousins again and spent some time reading a book to Calla.  Cameron is the "cool" older cousin to the younger set.  Calla even took an extra outing to be certain her cousin Cam knew she was saying bye to him.  After a weekend of family goodness, our drive home recounted everything we had done.  And we were very thankful to have an extra day to sleep in the next morning!

Camology Quotes:

As the end of the school year approaches, it seems there are students who may be too ready for the summer break.  Cam's class had an opportunity to partake in a pizza party on Friday... if appropriate behavior remained in place.  On Thursday evening, Cam wasn't too sure he'd be eating pizza or not. (Good news- they did!)

"I don't know if my class will make it.  They have to own it."

Sunday, May 21, 2023

Road Trips - Week of May 15th

“In life, it’s not where you go – it’s who you travel with.” ~Charles M. Schulz

Before our on the move weekend began, we had in-town ventures on the list.  
Renew Mobility held their annual spring luncheon to raise awareness for this important non-profit.
Last year, we took Cam out of school to attend the event because he and his mom were the guest speakers. Even though he wanted to go again, we explained that it was truly more important for him to remain in school since it's so close to the end of the semester.  Jane and Chris both attended and did recognize a picture that was shown on the big screen.

In our backyard, Cameron and his mom marked Stella's spot with a keepsake stone.  
They talked about how much they miss their cat and the many laughs and good memories she brought to their family.  Cam did ask about the possibility of adopting another feline.  We decided that decision will be made after summer due to the many different house guests headed our way.
Road tripping began Saturday morning with two Weatherford vehicles headed to the WMML baseball game.  The Rockford field was chilly and breezy but the cooler conditions didn't deter the players at all!  And to warm everyone up, we all sang Happy Birthday to Brody, Cam's best buddy who turned 16.  The fans in attendance included almost every single one of Cam and Brody's teachers since kindergarten!  Ms. Barbara, Ms. Kathy, Mrs. Wells and Mrs. A. Klein.  It was completely random that they all happened to show up for the same game.  These women have all assisted with much more than Cameron's education.  Each has taken it upon themselves to help with other aspects of growing up.
After the game, Jane went to Anna's baby shower, while Chris and son went home to make some tasty treats for the next travel stop.

Cam and his parents loaded up their van again, this time packed with fresh watermelon, brownie cookies and some appetizers.  The cousins awaited our arrival.  Cameron brought his high school yearbook which we all determined was the heaviest memento of its kind we'd ever seen.
Calla was intrigued by the mechanical features of her cousin's power wheelchair.  He was showing her how he could lean back and be in a standing mode.  She seemed a bit concerned about Cameron and tried to stop the mechanism a couple of times.  This really made Cam laugh!  We headed back that evening after dinner and dessert.

Sunday morning, we were on the road again headed south to Stevensville.  We had planned to meet up with Auntie Karen and her sister, Sue.  Cracker Barrel was our chosen destination and each of us ordered some type of breakfast.  Before we traveled back to the highway, Cam received a new cool chair float from Karen which he cannot wait to use this summer.

Later that afternoon, we worked on projects and Cameron was enlisted for a weekly chore.  Driving a power wheelchair has its advantages and one of the biggest may be the ability to transport even the heaviest of items.  However, taking a corner too fast may mean that the load you're transporting doesn't quite make it to its destination without a mishap!

Camology Quotes:

Friday afternoon, Cameron was scheduled to work with the Grand Valley State University PT graduate students.  It is a job he takes seriously and he is paid for his time.  Typically, there are 4 students assigned to work with Cam.  Three of them were asking him questions while the other student was interviewing Jane about her son's birth, milestones and schooling.  Jane was responding very quietly so as not to disrupt the team and their efforts.  One of the questions that was asked was regarding Cam's hearing and if there was any concerns.

Jane (in a low whisper): "Any concerns? Yes. Cam's hearing is too good.  He hears everything, especially when he's not supposed to."

"I heard that, Mom!"

Sunday, May 14, 2023

Blooming - Week of May 8th

"Happiness held is the seed; happiness shared is the flower." ~John Harrigan

In Michigan, after we officially welcome Spring, it almost seems like overnight, the buds appear on the trees.  Suddenly, the leaves and blossoms show off their vibrant hues and pretty flowers.  As everything continues to bloom, we see growth in other ways too.

Cameron is working with his school PT to figure out the best way to potentially "see" behind him.  While driving his power chair, he often feels startled by something happening out of his purview.  Another one of Cam's physical therapy goals is to be able to reach accessible buttons by maneuvering his chair to provide the best position to be able to successfully reach.  His goal is also being worked on outside of school.  At home, in a small area, he has mastered opening the door to the garage so he can exit himself without asking for assistance.  Even though we don't have a handicap button on our home entry, Cam was still determined to figure out how to make it work.

At times, growing can be recognized by emotional maturity. We shared some sad news about a family friend's passing with Cameron before the weekend.  He commented that it was sad and then asked his mom, "Tell me about your favorite memories of her."

Saturday's agenda was pretty packed.  Although the rain was sputtering in the morning, the WMML teams still played ball.  Volunteers from Rockford and Holland high schools filled up the field.  Our Cam Fans, Ms. Kris and Mary Jo, made their second appearance for a game this season.  Cam and his best bud, Brody had a mini photo opp too.

After lunch, Cameron and his dad sat in Jude's barbershop where they simultaneously receive their haircuts.  In the late afternoon, the sun was shining and we ventured to Spring Lake.  To celebrate Mother's Day with Oma and Opa, we had secured reservations at The Village Baker.  None of us had dined there previously, so we were all excited to try a new spot.  We had an exceptional waitress who offered up good suggestions for appetizers and dinners.  After our delicious, relaxing meal, we moseyed on over to the bakery area.  Chris and Cam chose a loaf of homemade bread, cookies and oatmeal.  

Oma and Jane exchanged Mother's Day gifts before we said our goodbyes.  A beautiful hanging flowering plant made its way back to Grand Rapids, thanks to Oma.

Sunday morning, our family headed out for a Mother's Day breakfast at Sundance restaurant.  We all ordered something different and our favorite morning meal spot delivered.  On the way out, Jane was asked to pick out a carnation for her special day.  Cam requested a relaxing afternoon for his mom which she readily complied with.  He insisted she take a nap and she told her son that it was the best Mother's Day present any mom could ask for!

Camology Quotes:

At school, Cam picked out the saying he wanted to give his mom on Sunday.  The picture he chose "I couldn't have wished for a better mom" was very special for Jane.  He also went shopping with his dad and picked out two scented candles.  As his mom opened the first one, Cam excitedly exclaimed:

"Mom, it was buy one, get one for free!"

Sunday, May 7, 2023

Distractions - Week of May 1st

“Love is really the only thing we can possess, keep with us, and take with us.”  ~Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

This week, we needed distractions and thankfully, the activities delivered just that.

Cam wasn't certain he would be up for going to school on Monday, but a field trip was planned and we encouraged him to attend.  When he arrived home from school, he indicated he was glad he went.

The remainder of the week went by quickly.  Thursday was Cameron's last full day of school since Friday was a professional day for the district teachers.  Jane had scheduled a vacation day so she could spend extra time with her son.  Their day began by taking a trip to Heidi's Farmstand.  Heidi's operates from May 1 - Dec. 24.  Ms. Pat has worked there as long as we've been going, since Cam was 4 or 5 years old.  We always bring her a Christmas card and she has told Cam that she's saved every one of them.  Ms. Pat is always delighted to see her buddy.  We picked up treats to drop off at Brody's Be Cafe and Chris's office.  All recipients were quite excited to receive!

Since it was Cinco de Mayo, we had pre-planned a family dinner at a Mexican restaurant where we could eat outside.  After a busy day of Mom and son projects, Cam told Jane he was tired.  We asked if he would "take one for the team" and sit outside at Lalos for our meal.  He agreed and even though it was crowded, our waiter was someone we knew and it was fun chatting.  The weather was perfect and Cam loved his fajitas. 

Saturday morning, after sleeping in, we geared up for the WMML baseball game scheduled for 11am.  We had to arrive early since it was the official picture day for the players.  After finishing his photo opp, Cam was very surprised to see multiple baseball fans!  Ms. Patti, Cara and her daughter Jenna were the first to show up and then Aunt Betsy and Uncle Jon appeared!  It was a great game.  Even though we didn't see the sunshine, the laughter and smiles from our Cam Fans kept us warm.

Saturday evening, Auntie Jo came over with two hot pizzas and chocolate covered fruit. We were thankful for the relaxing evening and the company.  Sunday, we welcomed our cousins in the afternoon and enjoyed hanging out. We shared our dinner together and they headed back home.  

As a family, we discussed the upcoming week, and each of us indicated we were pretty worn out from an emotional time.  It is always a good reminder to stop and relax when we see the deer doing just that in our backyard.

Camology Quotes:

Thursday evening, we all knew Cam could sleep in the next morning.  Ever the jokester, Chris told his son at bedtime that he heard him say he was getting up early on Friday.  Cam replied emphatically with the following comment:

"That is a total fib! I did not say that."