Sunday, April 28, 2024

Spring Showers - Week of Apr. 22nd

 "Wherever you go, no matter the weather, always bring your own sunshine." ~Anthony J. D'Angelo 

The saying April showers bring May flowers is a very old quote. Historians believe this phrase may date back to a 1610 poem, which contained the lines "Sweet April showers, do spring May flowers." A longer phrase, "March winds and April showers bring forth May flowers," has also been traced back to 1886.

This week, we experienced rain here and there as the changing weather continued to produce blooming trees and early flowers springing up.

All of our activities took place on Saturday. 
Apr. 27th was opening day for the West Michigan Miracle League baseball.  

The WMML provides an opportunity for kids of all abilities to experience the sport. Families cheer on the sidelines and the special rubberized field makes it conducive for wheelchairs, powerchairs, prosthetics and walkers.  There are are 3 youth games and 2 adult games every Saturday.

In the WMML League, the spring season teams are assigned using major league baseball names.  Cam and his best bud, Brody, are the Milwaukee Brewers.  For opening day, the first match up at 10am was the Brewers vs. the Orioles. Community volunteers take to the field every week for the 5 hour commitment.  Mitten Kids Dentistry, where Cameron has gone for almost a decade, was on deck to volunteer.  Cam was so surprised to see one of his hygienists!  It was a great first game and Cam even found a easier way to make our way to the crowded parking lot.

We were invited to celebrate Liam's 16th birthday Saturday evening.  Cam and Liam have known each other since preschool and our families have been connected since the boys were little.  Chris, Jane and their son arrived close to 5pm.  We had a tour of their remodeled home, which was a long project for them all.  Everything is completely accessible now.  Liam requested pizza for his bday dinner which everyone was happy about.  After consuming pizza and fruit, the Costco chocolate cake was presented with candles.  Liam promptly blew them all out and we all chose our ice cream flavor to accompany the delicious dessert. 

Outside, there was a warm breeze.  Everyone engaged in a few competitive games of cornhole.  We said our goodbyes, but Cam and Liam typically see each other daily at the high school.  What a fun day!

In case you find yourself needing something to do on a Saturday, head out to the West Michigan Miracle League field! Cam's Saturday games.

  • May 4th: 12:10 p.m. 
  • May 11th:  11:05 a.m. (Picture day!)
  • May 18th: 11:05 a.m. 
  • June 1st: 11:05 a.m.
Camology Quotes:

Under the heading of "be careful what you wish for" category: Jane came up with a spring school project for Cam to work on with Ms. Ann during his tutoring sessions.  Cam creates a weekly dinner menu every Friday, complete with a budget, dishes and individual costs.  Some days, Cam's mom is in a bit of a rush to prepare dinner.  And, potentially, she may conveniently forget about the project at hand. However, someone else, does not.

"Mom, this is not what was in the meal plan for dinner tonight."

Sunday, April 21, 2024

Fair - Week of Apr. 15th

"Fairness is giving all people the treatment they earn and deserve. It doesn't mean treating everyone alike." ~John Wooden 

The definition of "fair" as an adjective: marked by impartiality and honesty : free from self-interest, prejudice, or favoritism.
Recently, Cam began using the word as a targeted response.  Chris and Jane had commented to Cam that he seemed to be disagreeing with them quite a bit, not in a mean way, but more of a teenager sassy way.  Without any further prompting, Cameron's parents noticed this week that his tune had changed a bit.  As one example, when asked about a specific task that Cam requested completion of right away, his mom responded that the particular request would need to wait until after dinner.  His simple response was: "Fair."  In reality, it's short, to the point and very logical.
Tuesday evening, we made our way to the Grand Valley University Eberhard Center.  We were there to hear some presentations from senior college students. Their assignment was to develop a communication plan for the non-profit, Lori's Voice.  The professor had connected with Chris at the beginning of the semester since Cam's dad is on the board of directors.  It was interesting to hear the different ideas.  Jane and her son didn't stay for the entire class since it was a school night, but Chris was given all of the presentation material at the close of the class.
Thursday after dinner, we helped Chris pack up his truck as he headed out on a guys fishing trip to Roseville, MI.  The plan was for the group to fish for walleye on the Detroit River for the weekend.  
Meanwhile, back in GR, Jane and her son drove north to pick up Oma and Opa early in the afternoon on Saturday.  After safely transporting Cam's grandparents to Grand Rapids, it was a relaxing day.  Oma and her grandson started reading a book that we were given on our recent trip out east.  Jane and Cameron had a fun FaceTime with Chris.
After dinner, we watched a fun action/comedy movie called Argylle.  It's always challenging to find a show that everyone of all ages will enjoy.  We successfully accomplished that task.
Sunday's weather was breezy and a bit cool, but the sunshine was plentiful.  Later in the day, we made our way to Burton Park.  It is 80 acres and provides a very large pathway for walking and powerchair driving.  Cam noticed right away that the gate that was normally open was now locked and closed.  He requested a call to the township, but we assured him that we could still access around the side.  We had a leisurely time making our way through the park, listening to the birds chirping and seeing all of the trees budding.
After arriving home and warming up, Chris pulled into the driveway with a very large amount of his freshly caught catch.  Jane cooked up some baked walleye and panko covered fillets.  The fish was some of the best we've tasted and it was an extra treat to share the meal with Oma and Opa.
Luckily, Cam truly liked both of the cooked options.
Our dinner conversation centered around hearing about tall fishing tales and Cam's upcoming spring baseball season.  After all of the activity and fresh air, it was an early bedtime for everyone.

 Camology Quotes:

Cameron is a very rule-abiding citizen.  While we were on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, Cam was very surprised that we didn't have to physically pay some of the tolls.  There were signs showing that the bill would be mailed to you because a picture of your license plate was taken. Every few days or so since our return from PA, Cam has posed the following question.

"Mom, did the bill for our tolls come yet?"
"No, it hasn't arrived in the mailbox."
"Well, can we call then to check and make sure they are sending one?"
"Instead...let's just wait for them to send it๐Ÿ˜‰"

Sunday, April 14, 2024

Clip Day! - Week of Apr. 8th

"Life is like an eclipse. You cannot live in someone's shadow for too long." ~Shasvini

Advice from a Solar Eclipse:  See the total picture. Be moved by beauty. Live in the moment. Celebrate nature's cycles. Don't be afraid of the dark. Be naturally phenomenal. Lighten up! 

The April 8, 2024 total solar eclipse is the last of its kind to cross the United States until 2044, giving millions of Americans a once-in-a-generation celestial show. The eclipse's path of totality grazed Michigan as it passed through central Indiana and northern Ohio.  Chris and Jane were both at home for the event and Cam was still on the bus at the moment it really darkened.  However, upon exiting the school bus, he was quickly outfitted with eclipse glasses so he could look up at the sun.

Something that will live in our memory banks is a video received from our cousin in Philly.  We wished her a "Happy Eclipse Day" via video and told her how much we missed them.  She returned the message, also using video and while holding up two hair clips wished us all a "Happy Clips Day!"

Cam and his parents seemed a bit more tired this week getting back into the swing of things following their vacation. Our rejuvenation arrived in the form of a planned event.  Renew Mobility is a favorite non-profit and Jane is a member of the Board of Directors.  

Saturday was the annual scheduled Wheel Run for Everyone.  This was the 28th year for the 5k to benefit Renew Mobility (formerly Alternatives in Motion). The challenge is to come out and walk, roll, jog, or wheel - all the money raised supports vital mobility equipment program. The Doctorate in Physical Therapy students at GVSU for the past 28 years have been raising money to support the vital mission to enhance independence through access to mobility equipment. The Wheel Run Together 5K was in-person at the beautiful Allendale Campus. Registration was at 8am, and the race started at 9am.

Since Cameron is a Youth Ambassador for Renew Mobility, he was one of the individuals designated to be a bell ringer to commence the race!  We didn't quite dress warmly enough, assuming the conditions at our home would mimic those at Grand Valley.  The sun was shining, but the wind was whipping which made for a morning chill to the air.  When the race began, we were all happy to be moving along.  GVSU's campus has wide pathways and the 5K route is very scenic.  Volunteers pointed out the directions along the way and sidewalk chalk messages were all positive and encouraging. 

It was fun to see so many people we knew!  The Nolan family, Ms. Cris and Mary Jo, Dr. Lisa and Coach Tom from Mary Free Bed were the standouts. As we neared the finish line, Mary Jo snapped some pics for us and you could hear cheers for every person who made it to the end.  Donuts, bagels and waters were available and there was a raffle drawing.  We were back home by lunchtime. Ms. Kaylee hung out with Cam that evening while Chris and Jane went to dinner and a movie.

Sunday was the warmest day of the week and the sunshine shone brightly all day.  Cameron and his dad worked on setting up the lawnmower.  Chris proceeded to conduct his first official mow of the season.  We all soaked up the vitamin D inching closer to our beautiful Michigan summer.

Camology Quotes:

Chris has been diligently working on his Master's degree. Cam has taken it upon himself to be certain that his dad tackles and finishes homework. One evening, Cam told Chris that he could stop doing something to go back and complete his work.  Chris told him that his son comes first, second and third. His son happily replied:

"Oh, that makes my heart so happy, Dad!"

Sunday, April 7, 2024

We Love Philly - Week of Apr. 1st

"I'd like to see Paris before I die...Philadelphia will do." ~W.C. Fields 

“Falling in love with Philadelphia is like celebrating Valentine's Day every day.” ~Anthony T. Hincks

Monday morning, we welcomed raindrops in downtown Philly from our hotel window.  As we overlooked Broad Street, we dined on the second floor enjoying a buffet breakfast.  We relaxed in our room most of the day after all of the activity we enjoyed over the weekend.  

Cam was looking forward to using the hotel pool since we had specifically chosen the Doubletree for its pool lift.  At Cameron's request, we even spoke with someone prior to our stay to ensure it was in working order.  However, when we all ventured to the 5th floor the first night we were there, we found the lift was not functioning.  We kept checking in almost daily and were told the battery was charging or that they would check.  Although we were all disappointed, team Weatherford rallied.  The rain had subsided by late afternoon and we decided to venture out, without any specific plans, to find a restaurant for dinner.  After passing a few places that were not accessible for Cam's powerchair, we found Fado Irish Pub on Locust Street.  The restaurant was inviting and the food was delicious.

Tuesday marked our last full day in Philadelphia.  Our extended family wanted to ensure that we ended on a high note.  We met JJ and Katie at the Adventure Aquarium, just a short drive from Philadelphia in Camden, New Jersey.  It's located right on the Delaware River with over 15,000 aquatic animals.  Cam liked seeing the sharks up close and the huge tortoise.  The tanks were enormous and the last time Cameron had been to an aquarium, he was only 4 years old.  It was a good activity for a rainy day.

After stopping in at our hotel, we met the family back at Katie and Tyler's house for hang out time and dinner.  Our little cousins greeted Cam enthusiastically upon entrance.  Avery presented her older cousin with a flower crown she made at her daycare school.  She was very pleased when it was modeled.  

We shared a delicious meal of meatloaf, homemade mashed potatoes, veggies and a local favorite ice cream, Van Leeuwen, for dessert.  We chatted away through the evening and the time went by too quickly. 

The younger cousins see Cam as the "cool" older kid. They also made certain that Cameron was safely in the van before we left.  Saying goodbye wasn't nearly as difficult knowing we will see these cousins in just a few months at the summer cottage.
Wednesday morning, we packed up our belongings and checked out.  We were encouraged to see that the Doubletree hotel credited 2 nights on our account for the issues with the pool lift.  We were on the road before 11am.

As we made our way back to Youngstown, Ohio, we talked about all of the new experiences we had.  We drove through the cool tunnels in Pennsylvania once again.  We arrived at the Ohio hotel prior to dinner time.  We settled in and took the elevator ride to the first floor where we enjoyed a very delicious dinner at the Bistro.  Cam ordered fish and chips, Chris had a ribeye steak and Jane devoured her salmon.  Thursday morning, we began our journey homeward.  We drove through rain, sleet and a little snow.  It was so good to pull into our driveway before 4pm.

Cam enjoyed his last day of spring break on Friday.  Ms. Amanda arrived after lunch to hang out with her buddy while Chris and Jane tried to catch up on work. Fortunately for Cameron, Ms. Amanda took him to visit her dog, Otis.  And wow, was he happy to see Cam!

Our weekend was spent unpacking and restocking our kitchen.  While we were away, the cabinets in the kitchen, laundry room and two bathrooms were all sanded, primed and painted. Our fam is definitely looking forward to the finish line for our home improvement projects!

Camology Quotes:

Jane kept calling and checking in about the pool lift at the Philly hotel. At one point, the following conversation ensued.

"Mom, it's not worth it.  It's ok not to bug them anymore."
Cam, we tell you to advocate for yourself all of the time. Now, let us advocate for our family.
"You're right, Mom.  I want it to work for the next people if it can't work for us!"