Sunday, September 24, 2023

Coming Home - Week of Sept. 18th

"When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on." ~Theodore Roosevelt

It was a challenging week in the Weatherford household.  Cam contracted a cold and retained a nasty cough for 4 entire days and nights.  He didn't attend school until Friday.  We weren't certain if his weekend activities would be a possibility, but we were hopeful.

After successfully making it through three scheduled appointments at Mary Free Bed on Wednesday, he felt much better as the week progressed.  Thankfully, he was able to purchase his ticket for the Homecoming Dance during his school day on Friday.

Saturday morning, we all slept in a bit since we didn't need to leave for the ball park until 10:15a.  Once again, there were Cam Fan surprises awaiting us.  

Brand new to the WMML experience was Morgan.  Cam met Morgan, a RN in training, at MFB Wheelchair Sports Camp.  The two of them spent quite a bit of time together during camp and we've remained in touch.  When she found an open Saturday, she let us know she'd attend the game, but we kept it a surprise from Cam.  Not only did she arrive early, but she also made a sign for her buddy to cheer him on.  

Another bonus was that Cam's buddy, April, was playing on the opposing team for his game.  At the wheelchair sports camp, April also met Morgan so she was very happy to reunite with her as well.

Coleen, the Executive Director for Renew Mobility, loves baseball and has been in attendance every season since Jane joined the Board of Directors and Cam was appointed a Youth Ambassador for the non-profit organization. 

Cam and Brody's first elementary school teacher was Ms. Barbara.  She taught both boys from kindergarten through second grade and remained a part of their community activities.  We've seen her most every season at the WMML games and she brought one of her daughters to Saturday's game. It's so hard to believe Barbara has known the boys for more than 10 years.

As sophomores in high school, the guys and their friends had the opportunity to attend the Homecoming Dance at the high school with a pre-purchased ticket.  Thanks to parent email communication, a location for pictures and dinner was scheduled for Saturday early evening.

The weather turned out to be the best case scenario.  It was warm, but not hot and the sun was shining. As the friends all gathered on a grassy hill, proud parents captured the moment.  There was quite a bit of laughter and joking around.  They were also a bit surprised by seeing each other all dressed up!

Chris stayed home, attempting to rid himself of a cold he picked up.  

After the photo shoot, many of the parents and all of the friend group dined at a nearby restaurant.  The dance was scheduled from 8-10p.  By the time the group wrapped up dinner and made their way to the high school, it was after 8p.  The line to enter the school was quite long and the friends didn't make it onto the dance floor until close to 8:30p.  For the duration of time, Cam declared it was fun, but really hot in the area where everyone was dancing.

Although the dance experience for Cameron is different from his friend group, his parents didn't hear a single complaint.  He even practiced his dance moves while waiting for pictures.

Our tenth grader was simply excited to be hanging out with his friends in perhaps one of the largest social settings they'll be a part of in high school.

Camology Quotes:

With the multiple of MFB appointments on Wednesday, Jane decided she would visit one of his specialist's office in person to discuss a billing issue instead of calling on the phone.  Cam has heard (numerous times) his mom contacting organizations to review such things.  When Jane told her son she'd catch up with he and Chris after the billing chat, his immediate response was:

"You'll ask for the manager, right?" 

Sunday, September 17, 2023

What Makes You Happy - Week of Sept. 11

"For every minute you are angry, you lose sixty seconds of happiness." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

"The art of being happy lies in the power of extracting happiness from common things." ~Henry Ward Beecher

We often hear people tell us that Cam always looks so happy.  The simple response: he typically is.  

This week, Chris traveled to Cincinnati for a few days to check in with other work offices and employees.  During some downtime, Jane and her son explored new programs to watch.  As a rule-abiding kid, Cameron has always enjoyed tv shows dealing with law enforcement.  We stumbled upon Louisiana Law which follows the men and women of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.  It is a documentary showing the officers on patrol and what they encounter.  Most interesting to Cam are the behaviors of the individuals being questioned as well as their subsequent consequences.  Another request was a show he'd only watched a few times with his mom- Hoarders.  The different programs provided opportunity for lots of conversation.

Friday evening, Cam and Ms. Amanda made dinner and watched a movie at home while Chris and Jane attended a non-profit event for Lori's Voice.

Saturday morning, we welcomed Oma and Opa at our house.  From there, we all traveled to the ball park for the second game of the season.  We were greeted by so many Cam Fans, we couldn't believe it! Ms. Kathy, her husband, Kevin and their two granddaughters were the first ones we ran into.  Ms. Kathy was an elementary school teacher for Cam and Brody.  She has never missed a West Miracle League season!

Mary Jo used to hang out with Cam and Brody when they were younger and a memorable outing for them all was to the Lowell Fair.  She and her mom, Ms. Cris, along with one of her brothers were all spotted in the bleachers.  Ms. Cris was a classroom aide for Cam and Brody in elementary school.  

Patti and Steve, our close friends and even closer neighbors also made the trek to Rockford.  When their daughters were younger, we tried to be in attendance for many of their soccer games.  They have, in turn, made it one of Cam's games most every single season. The connections seem endless sometimes.
Oma and Opa love cheering on their grandson.  We know Cameron is so fortunate to have them at a game and he is always so proud. 

We were happy they could spend the night with us.  Our flank steak dinner with veggies and potatoes tasted extra yummy from our backyard grill.  

Sunday was relaxing, hanging out with Cam's grandparents and catching up on some football.  The weekend went by much too quickly, as most do.  

And although Cameron does appear to be in a great mood most of the time, he does and will request that his mom stop taking pictures😉

Camology Quotes:

Jane was wondering what made Cam wanted to watch the show, "Hoarders." Some people find it depressing to see a documentary-style program depicting a real situation of someone's compulsive need to fill space with an excessive amount of things.  She asked him why he chose it?

"Because Mom, it always ends up happy."

Sunday, September 10, 2023

Broncos Baseball - Week of Sept. 4th

"None of us, including me, ever do great things. But we can all do small things with great love, and together we can do something wonderful." ~Mother Teresa

TEAM: Together, Everyone Achieves More

It was that time of year once again- West Michigan Miracle League baseball!  This fall season, Cameron and Brody were assigned to the West Michigan Broncos team with their favorite coach, Mr. Mark.  The Hope College Women's Softball team arrived as the designated helpers. The sun shone brightly for the WMML Opening Day of the fall season.  

Auntie Jo was our Cam Fan in attendance and loudly cheered for her godson.  When Cameron's name is announced, we always hear "Cam the Man Weatherford!" which consistently brings that awesome Cam grin into the forefront.

The League has honored our request to keep Cam and his best bud, Brody on the same team, season after season.  Once again, this September was no exception.  These two definitely cheer the loudest for each other.

After finishing the early game by 11am, we headed northwest, taking a different way to the cottage since we were traveling from Rockford.  We made a quick stop at Jimmy John's to pick up two loaves of bread for our BLT dinner with the cousins.  

Although it wasn't a hot, sizzling beach day, we still had time by Lake Michigan.  None of us went swimming but it is always good to hang out by the water.  It was discovered in the late afternoon that one of the dogs confiscated a loaf of the bread we had picked up earlier, so we improvised and used sliced bread in addition to the remaining Jimmy John's for our BLT meal.  

Jane and Coco had been eager to try a s'mores recipe all summer and they determined it was time.  In a greased cast iron skillet, a layer of hershey's chocolate was placed followed by spaced out marshmallows.  In a preheated 400 degree oven, the mixture baked for 5 minutes.  The gooey marshmallows spread out and turned a golden brown.  After depositing the delectable dessert in a bowl with graham crackers, we made our way to the lower deck.  We all agreed that the s'mores dip was truly divine, easy to eat, and the perfect treat to pass around.  With an earlier sunset, we all watched sun disappear into the water.

As is now the tradition, Cam's younger cousin insists on helping him into the van and makes certain he is safe and buckled in for the trip home. It is always bittersweet to leave, but devouring a sweet dessert before departure definitely makes the trip more bearable!

Camology Quotes:

At dinner one night, we were all talking about communication and how you keep you in touch with each other.  Cam was telling Chris that he may not be the best at letting his family if he's going to be late...

"I seem to recall that you did not text Mom about when you were going to be home."  

"You think I should text your mom every day when I leave the office, Cam?

"No...not every day, just when you are picking up dinner for me!"

Sunday, September 3, 2023

Pontoon Cruising - Week of Aug. 28th

“Shells sink, dreams float, life’s good on the boat.” ~Jimmy Buffet
“Land was created to provide a place for boats to visit.” ~Brooks Atkinson

It was a short school week for Cameron due to the Labor Day holiday weekend.  He thoroughly enjoyed sleeping in Friday morning.  Ms. Amanda joined her buddy for the day since her kindergarten students had the day off too.  
At the beginning of the summer, Cam had asked Amanda what shows she watched as a kid.  "Full House" was one of her favorites so during their down time, they began watching the old series from the beginning. Since Amanda didn't see Cam on his birthday, she brought him a present.  The dvd of the first season of the sequel to the original show is Fuller House and Cam is now the proud owner.  That day he also wore his "Rocky Raccoon" shirt which was a gift from his Uncle Jon and Aunt Betsy.  The Beatles song is one of his uncle's favorites. 

We were excited for the weekend and Saturday morning, we packed up the van to travel to Whitehall.  
For Cam's 16th birthday experience, we had reserved a pontoon boat for two hours.  Chris and Jane talked extensively to the owners about the possibility of their son being able to drive his powerchair onto the boat.  Cam's chair is 450lbs and there is a weight limit for any lake vessel.  After gaining concurrence from the owners, we were anticipating this first-time experience for our son. 
KAC Boat Rentals was our destination.  Oma and Opa met us there to enjoy the cruise as well. After a minor snafu with our reservation, we were on the water and cruising around White Lake!  Even though it wasn't very sunny, the ride on the pontoon boat was so much fun.  Chris was our captain and expertly navigated us from one side to the other, slowing down to take in the view.  The time went by quickly and upon our return, one of the owners had balloons, a card and candy for Cam to commemorate his birthday and first pontoon ride in his powerchair. 

On Sunday, we headed north once again since the forecast called for a perfect beach day.  The wind and waves felt refreshing and the sunshine was in full force.  Oma and Opa stayed at the cottage and enjoyed the sand in the afternoon too.  Cam's beach chair kept him comfortable at the shoreline.  Our youngest cousin decided to nap close to the sand.  Our outdoor dinner that evening was most delicious as we devoured grilled burgers and hot dogs with all the fixings.  Since Monday was a holiday, we stayed later.  The Haroldson family gave Cam an Old Channel Inn sweatshirt for a bday and end of summer present.  We had to say goodbye to JJ and Jeff since they would be headed east in a few days.  
Somehow, when Labor Day weekend arrives it feels like summer just started.  Seeing the Lake Michigan sunset on Sunday evening was the perfect farewell gift to our favorite Michigan season!

Camology Quotes:

Cam was telling Jane about his classmates at school and decided to give his own philosophical viewpoint.

"I am nice to my friends. What comes around goes around."