Sunday, June 25, 2023

Jamming Time - Week of June 19th

“The greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it.” ~Molière
“Being challenged in life is inevitable, being defeated is optional.” ~Roger Crawford

Early Tuesday morning, Cameron and his mom said goodbye to Chris for the remainder of the week.  For the first time ever, he was headed out for a Canadian fishing trip via a 7-hour drive, followed by a 30-minute plan ride to a remote lake.

Tuesday is a working day now for Cam.  He and Ms. Amanda made their way to the café.  Cam was excited to test out the new drink carrier tray created by he and his dad.  As an added bonus, the café worker made his way through the market crowd to pass out smoothie samples!  Who can resist a smiling face and a cotton candy flavored cool drink?

Friday was Cam's second job of the week.  Grand Valley graduate PT students awaited his arrival late morning.  The team of 4 was assigned the task to brainstorm to figure out how to best engage the "patient" they are working with.  

After stretching and reviewing some exercises, the guys had a plan.  Cameron had the distinct honor of holding a steering wheel to "drive" through a Mario Cart video game simulation.  It was fun and interesting for Cam and also worked lots of different muscle groups.

Friday evening, we welcomed our lifelong friend, Sarah Foody. She traveled from Colorado for a family engagement and we were delighted that she could spend 2 nights with us.  Cam and his mom had time to chat with her Friday evening and Saturday morning before she left for the day.  Then, Jane and her son made their way to Grand Haven to spend the entire afternoon with Oma and Opa.  After a picnic lunch outside and a few indoor activities, we decided to stroll around the entire grounds.  It was such a beautiful day with a light breeze and very comfortable outside.  We said goodbye to Cam's grandparents before dinner and thanked them for a great day before traveling back home.

Sunday morning, Sarah talked with Jane and Cameron for quite some time before she needed to get on the road.  We all agreed that it is truly awesome when our dear friends become the family we choose for ourselves.

As we anxiously awaited Chris' return early Sunday evening, Cam and his mom needed an afternoon project.  First, they had a store run to grab the necessary items including pectin and lots of sugar to join the flat of Michigan berries they had already procured a few days prior.  Then they busied themselves with the task of making homemade strawberry freezer jam.  Music played in the background for berry smashing and mixing in the sugar and cooked pectin.  It took them the entire afternoon to fill more than 24 containers but it was well worth it.

Cam's dad returned from his Canada trip in time for dinner and was welcomed with the biggest hugs and grateful smiles.  He had such a great time which Jane and her son were super excited about.  They did realize, though, that when one of their team members isn't in play, the game isn't nearly as fun!

Camology Quotes:

Cam and his mom definitely had some trying moments while Chris was away.  Jane told him that the good things always outweigh any negative.  

On Sunday, when Cam's mom remembered to grab chocolate milk prior to him even asking, Cam nicely commented:

"Oh Mom, that's so incredibly sweet of you!"

Sunday, June 18, 2023

Get Your Hot Dogs - Week of June 12th

“You’ll never be bored when you try something new. There’s really no limit to what you can do.” ~Dr. Seuss

Everyone needs a sense of purpose.  Since Brody's Be Cafe opened in late 2019, Cameron told his parents that he wanted to work there when he was old enough.  With his 16th birthday around the corner in mid-August, we talked with the Cafe's director and she indicated he could volunteer to gain the experience.  If there is concurrence from everyone, Cam can be added to the payroll after he turns 16!

Every Tuesday, the village of Ada hosts a Farmer's Market from 9am-2p in the parking lot adjacent to the Cafe.  The Cafe has a hot dog cart set up outside and you go inside to order an iced coffee, smoothie or lemonade.
Cam's job this week was to advertise the Hot Dog Cart by driving around the market.  He was also encouraged to talk to others.  It was a cooler day and Cam was successful with his messaging and chatting it up with potential customers.
During hangout time with Ms. Amanda, the duo drove over to let out Amanda's dog, Otis.  He couldn't wait to greet Cam with some kisses as they ventured out on a walk.

Chris received news that he was a raffle winner from a charity golf event he attended earlier for Mary Free Bed.  
On Friday, he asked his son if he'd be willing to help pick up the prize from the Wheelchair Sport department at MFB.  
Cam's dad was the recipient of a new air fryer.

Saturday afternoon, we made our way to Grand Haven to visit Oma and Opa.  It was a beautiful afternoon and we had Father's Day goodies for Opa.  After a few projects and visiting at Rosy Mound, we wanted to treat Cam's grandparents to dinner.  We returned to the restaurant, Don Luis, which is completely accessible and the food is delicious.  
After our meals were finished, a dessert was in order.  Cam, as well as his grandma and grandpa, had never had Mexican fried ice cream. The tasty dessert is commonly made by taking a scoop of ice cream frozen well below the temperature at which ice cream is generally kept, possibly coating it in raw egg, rolling it in cornflakes or cookie crumbs, and briefly deep frying it. The extremely low temperature of the ice cream prevents it from melting while being fried. It may be sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar and topped with whipped cream or honey.  It was a great way to top off a wonderful day!

Sunday was the day to honor dads.  Cam and his mom did their best to make certain Chris knew how much we appreciate him.  He is humble, funny, kind, generous and lovable.  True to his character, he worked on a project with his son.  Together, they created a foam tray designed to securely hold drinks for the cafe.
We asked Cam's dad to pick dinner out or dinner in of his choice.  He requested a steak dinner at home.  Our outdoor grill contained an entree of everyone's choosing: New York Strip, bacon and cheddar burger and a salmon kabob.  Jane made twice baked potatoes and broccoli.

To cap off the day, Chris requested we all watch the comedy movie "Big Daddy" released in 1999.  Cam really laughed at one of Chris's favorite parts of the movie.  The main character is having a conversation with a five-year-old about using the bathroom.  The five-year-old asks the older main character why he's not going. The response: "Because I don't have to go. Only you and my grandfather go every 30 seconds."

 Camology Quotes:

Jane helped Cam make a card for Chris to celebrate Father's Day.  In honor of his upcoming fishing trip, we had to add a little humor.

"You are the best, you make good stuff and you are kind and nice!  No trout about it, you're a reel kick bass Dad!"

Sunday, June 11, 2023

Welcome to Summer Break - Week of June 5th

"What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from.”  ~T.S. Eliot 

And it seemed, just like that, Cameron's 9th grade school year finished up on Thursday.  On Wednesday, the freshman Gone Boarding crew from Cam's class managed a fun group picture with their skateboards.

Friday marked our busiest day of the week.  We started off with Ms. Amanda back with Cam for summer hang out time.  We were on the morning schedule for a visit to the Grand Valley PT graduate students for a session.  Cameron is paid for his time spent with the students.  The group of guys listened to Cam's commentary about how to work with him, what his muscles feel like and his range of motion.

Later in the afternoon, we arrived at Chris's workplace for an employee and family gathering.  Much to everyone's benefit, Cam's dad was signed up for the dunk tank.  Chris's son had the distinct honor of being the first one to actually dunk the Director of IT.  Thank goodness it was a nice afternoon because Chris indicated the water was a bit chilly!

From there, Cam, Jane and Ms. Amanda headed to Uccello's for a belated birthday celebration for Cam's best bud, Brody. Four other friends, Brody's parents and another set of parents all joined in the festivities.  Part of Cameron's gift was a side by side picture of Cam and Brody on the WMML field 10 years ago and 2 weeks ago, attempting to recreate the same pose and photo. Ms. Amanda actually remained with us so that Cam's parents could go out for the evening to celebrate Jane's birthday.  Chris had to stay and be dunked quite a few times prior to heading out.

Jane felt quite spoiled by Chris and Cam for her birthday and the celebration continued.  Saturday afternoon, we were invited for a bday dinner with the cousins.  It wasn't exactly a beach day but we had such a great time as we always do.  After a delicious meal of salmon, chicken, veggies and fruit, we devoured white chocolate covered Oreos and Ryke's birthday cake.  

Before heading out, Cam's chair had a joystick error and had to be put in manual mode and pushed up a hill back into the van.

Sunday morning, the error persisted and we sent an SOS out to our buddy, Joe, who works for the manufacturer of Cam's power wheelchair.  He immediately came to our aid, met us at the local grocery store before 11am and replaced the entire joystick module and screen for us.  We are so grateful for people like Joe!  Without his repair job, the afternoon activity would not have happened.

Cameron was invited to a graduation open house for fellow classmates who worked in his classroom.
Twin seniors, Johanna and Katherine had extended an invite for the Sunday event.  They were truly overjoyed to see Cam arrive!  Another senior, Olivia, showed up as well and made certain to join in the photo opp.

Following the open house, Chris and Jane planned to head to an outdoor concert (O.A.R.) at Fredrick Meijer Garden while Ms. Ann spent the evening with Cam.  It was raining steadily when they left the grad party and Cameron asked Chris and Jane if they were still going to the concert.  They indicated they were since the tickets were paid for and a little rain never hurt anyone.  Cam's sarcastic retort: "O.k. parents...have fun!"

Camology Quotes:

Friday morning was Cam's first day to sleep in, which he took full advantage of, not waking up until 8:30am.  While still stretching in bed, he enthusiastically declared, 

"Ah...sooooo refreshing!"

Sunday, June 4, 2023

All Good Things Come to an End - Week of May 29th

"It lasted for a long time, I believe. A very long time. It was a great success, but even great successes come to a natural end.” ~Isaac Asimov

Dr. Seuss is quoted as saying, "Don't cry because it's over.  Smile because it happened." 

On Memorial Day, we were excited to celebrate Cam's very first friend and buddy in this world, Emma.  Her graduation open house party was scheduled from 5:30p-7:30p.  The old neighborhood gang was together once again.  We all had a great time catching up with friends we hadn't seen in awhile.  Too soon, it was after 7p and Cameron came looking for his parents, reminding them he still had homework to complete.  Thank goodness for the most responsible person in our family.

Wednesday at school, Cam and some classmates presented their computer class projects.  Jane was able to pop over and hear Cam's portion.  The Gone Boarding project handmade skateboard was also completed!  Cameron was happy with the finished output which included his name and the Brody's Be Cafe logo.

Oma and Opa arrived Friday afternoon to spend a couple of nights with us.  Jane's mom brought a special surprise early birthday cake from their favorite bakery, Ryke's.  That evening our surf and dinner was complemented by the delectable white cake with raspberry filling and pink frosting.  Cam declared that chocolate ice cream paired best with the dessert.

Cam's grandparents were anticipating their grandson's final WMML game of the spring season on Saturday morning.  Chris was involved in the Lori's Voice fundraiser walk taking place at the same time.  Cam's helper was Carmen from the Miller Johnson law firm.  At his two times up to the batter box, Cameron nailed the hit and rounded the bases.  At the end of the game, each player is presented with a medal.  Brody and Cam were treated to a Culver's lunch to close out the spring season.

After our tasty lunch, we got busy making homemade applesauce. We found frozen sliced Michigan apples at Whole Foods and decided to test out the flavor for our homemade goodness.  Cam's grandma has always used a chinois strainer and pestle for the process.  Opa and his grandson both took turns using the pestle to push the sauce out of the strainer and into the bowl.  Once completed, Cam's expert tastebuds come into play.  We only needed a quarter cup of sugar to complete our recipe.  As a family, we watched the Jungle Cruise movie that evening which we all enjoyed.

We said goodbye to Cam's grandparents Sunday afternoon and thanked them for everything.  

As a family, we worked on a few home projects. Since it was such a nice day, Chris recommended an outdoor dining experience for dinner.  We made the short drive over to a favorite local spot, JT's.  In Michigan, the opportunity for eating on an outside patio is usually just a few months...time to start taking full advantage!

Camology Quotes:

One morning this week, Jane wore a pair of ripped white jeans.  Chris told his wife they were nice pants and asked Cam's mom if she realized there were actual holes in her jeans.  Cameron immediately said to his dad:

"Is that positive negativity? Like it's a compliment but not really?!"