Camp Kesem Wash U

Its hard to believe it had been three years since I attended my first camp Kesem with Washington University. I had taken the summer off between jobs to spend with my three girls, Emily had a travel assignment in Missouri, Kayla was close in Springfield and Allyson would be leaving in the fall for college. I had started looking for jobs to try and figure out what I wanted to do next with my career when I came across a listing on Indeed for a volunteer camp nurse to spend one week with kids whose parents who had/have cancer. I thought wow that might be fun and with my school nurse experience and Big Stuf camp experience I might just get the position. So I applied and it wasn’t too long before I was called for an interview. At the time I had no idea I was speaking to two college kids with the camp names of Beaker and Pele, I really thought I was talking to some office people on an official interview. Anyway they told me I had the position on the spot pending background check so I was pretty excited. I had a blast that year! We had around thirty-five campers if I remember correctly. The other nurse could only attend the first half and her name was Chaco. She showed me the ropes and I really liked her. I think she was from Alabama. The second half of the week Seven showed up. He picked his name because he fell like seven times while hiking a trail. I knew we were meant to be friends. I had an amazing week and could not wait until next year. I even got asked to do a second camp in Maine two weeks later. It was also amazing and you can read about it here.

I knew three years ago that if my new job wouldn’t let me off to attend Wash U then I would quit and find a new job. Well I didn’t have to be quite so dramatic since covid hit and shut down the entire world. Camp Kesem would be virtual in both 2020 and 2021 and obviously there wasn’t a need for a nurse. Last week I was stalking their instagram account and I discovered that Gibby and Fin were the directors last year. This just made me hate covid even more than I already did. In person camp would have totally rocked with those two in charge. All the girls had crushes on Fin and everyone loved to say Gib by Gib by over and over. So this year was all new college kids because all the old counselors had graduated. Beaker is in med school and Pele had a full time job after camp in 2019. I text these kids from time to time to check in on them and see what they are up to. Back to the present, all the counselors this session were just as wonderful. It just blows me away that they become involved in this organization while in college. They raise money all year long to pay for camp as it is free for the kids. Then they give a week of their summer up to spend non stop time with the kids. I do know that usually when you give of your time and talents you tend to get just as much if not more than what you give.

This year the directors were Eggo and Brother and both did an amazing job of keeping everything running smoothly. This year they didn’t have an administration cabin but rather the admin team was mixed in with the campers. This prevented me from getting to know the admin team as well because there was no hanging out with them after the late night meetings.

The nurse this year was Birdie. I liked her the minute i met her on zoom a few days before. For starters she was currently doing Mizzou’s camp Kesem which meant Wash U would have the camp site to themselves. Birdie just finished nursing school and passed boards. She went through an accelerated one year program which means she’s super smart and can handle stress like a champ. Of course she kept denying being smart but this old nurse knows better. She lives in Florida and after Wash U she left for Maine to do the camp I did three years ago. I was unable to attend due to scheduling conflicts at my job but I am thrilled she is there this week. Anyway we had a great week together. We both agreed messy games were the best as you can see by our before and after pictures.

I still cannot believe she has an orange Kesem shirt from Mizzou and hated it, so used it for messy games. I told her if she ever receives an orange shirt again, save it for me. Everyone knows orange is the best color and my camper Froggy agreed with me!

Three years ago, Violet was my partner in the pool. Everyone paired up and she chose me. I was hoping she would be back this year and she was! She even remembered this and going down the slide a million times. I did not swim the first day as it was a little cloudy and cold but the second time it was game on. This campsite by far has the best pool set up I have ever seen.

The slide is amazing and so much fun. There is also a whirlpool that is pretty strong and will whip you into the wall if you aren’t careful. There is a hot tub area but the water is normal but the jets are super strong. It’s nice to sit and relax. I took this picture when no one was around because I will not post pictures of other people’s children in my blog.

I was given access to all the photos the college counselor/photographer took for the week. I’m pretty sure there are over one thousand photos on the google drive. I found two of these that were unposed and I really feel they capture exactly how I feel about camp. I had to do some cropping but you will notice that I blacked out the campers name tag for privacy. We all wore them all week long and by the end of the week, I pretty much had all the names down. This in itself is a small miracle as I am terrible with names.

It was a great week, we had seventeen campers I believe. Very little medicine so I was out playing and crafting and tie dying and just being crazy for the week. I cannot convince any of my nurse friends to take a week vacation and do this. They just have no idea what they are missing and I cannot properly put into words what this means to me. I can only say, if I cannot be off for camp next year, I truly will leave my job and do something else. Luckily, the director thinks its awesome that I do this so it shouldn’t be an issue. However, it’s alway fun to be dramatic.

Mole Moral ~ Acting like a kid and being a little crazy is good for one’s soul.


Disney Day

This week is spirit week at work. This reminded me of when my girls were in grade school. Today was Disney day and the endo girls informed me I was to represent endo. Well Disney is one of my favorite places so I took the challenge and ran with it.

I wore my favorite Disney running shirt from the Disneyland half marathon. Of course it is orange and short sleeves and a favorite. I dug out my monsters inc scrub cap I made during the first few months of covid and my Mickey ears from when Emily and I went three years ago. I was proud of how I looked until Sarah told me I looked like a psycho. Well everyone knows I’m psycho but I try to not look the part so I skipped having my picture taken. I’ll leave it up to your imagination as to how insane I actually looked.

I ended up being assigned to washing all the scopes all day which meant no one would see my ears. They are pretty tight on my head so I avoided a headache. Amanda told me since it’s Disney day I should listen to Disney music so I dialed up Disney sing along songs and had a great time in the scope room. Not only was I singing but dancing as well so I’m sure I looked like a complete psycho but I had a wonderful day.

It dawned on me that when I was young my dad took my sister and I to quite a few Disney movies. Cinderella, The Apple Dumpling gang, Pete’s Dragon and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang all came to mind. This is most likely what led to my love of Disney movies.

I was 17 the first time I went to Disney World. My parents divorced when I was five but remained good friends. My mom called my dad to tell him of her plans and he said he always wanted to go to Disney so how about if he comes with us and pays for it. My favorite memory was conning my mother into riding space mountain. She nearly had a heart attack and never forgave us for talking her into it. The three of us loved it and rode it at least two more times. Epcot was the only other park back then and we were not that impressed. Not enough rides and walking around the world showcase was beyond boring. I know my mom liked that part but us three six flag lovers wanted the rides. I do remember after the trip was over I understood why my parents were friends but not married to each other.

Today was a good day, full of wonderful memories of my childhood and my kids childhoods as well. Before I started endo anytime I got up early to work at seven I would sing “Prince Ali, Ababwa strong as ten regular men check it and see.” I had no idea I even did this until Emily pointed it out. I can’t sing at all so it’s a good thing I stopped this since I’m up for work three to four times a week.

Mole Moral ~ If you don’t have fun at work, perhaps you are not in the right place.


We’re all connected

Last night was our fourth subdivision block party. Every Saturday from 6:30-7:30 pm one of the original homeowners who is also a DJ plays music. He has super powerful speakers as it can be heard all over our street. I had received an email stating the news would be coming as well. I persuaded Allyson to come out with me for a little bit. After she left, one of the neighbor girls hung up a sign that said, “Fur suiters welcome here”. I read it like five times to make sure I read it right. So I went home and told Allyson what the sign said and she should put Prince on and come surprise the kids. I assured her no one would know it was her. She wasn’t so sure at first but when I came back with the ice cream she was almost ready to come out. If you are wondering what a fur suit is, you can read about her fur suit creations here.

So Allyson arrived


and at first the kids weren’t too sure about this. Allyson has an original character named Prince and commissioned a girl to make the actual head. The fangs make him look scary but indeed he is just a kangaroo with a really long tail. The girl that posted the sign was so excited she wrote Prince a note asking if they could be friends. Of course Prince nodded yes. Then she got her suit on as well and they had a great time interacting and playing with the kids.


Also way over a year ago at church a guy came up to me and informed me he was my neighbor. He lives in the very first house. He is not the original occupant (that man I believe is in jail) but bought the house to stay at when the Rams played. His wife passed away a few years back from cancer. I chat with him at church and wave when I see him on the road. A few months ago he introduced me to his friend at church and then I noticed that a car was at his house a lot. (Yes, you all know I am a stalker with mad door way assessment skills.) Yesterday before the party he told me that she was his girlfriend. I was so happy for him! It made my heart skip a beat. Last night I was chatting with the two of them and discovered their first date was at The Local House. This is where Allyson is a bus girl! I must be getting old or soft or something because it made my whole evening. This morning when I ran by his house, this was in the front yard.


What a nice surprise for him! He is so nice and has been so nice to me that I am glad someone brightened his day!

I was so proud of Allyson last night that of course I told all the adults who it was. Our neighbor said she should hire herself out for kids birthday parties, she could make a fortune. Back in middle school she performed for an assembly and I was told she was a huge hit!

Mole Moral ~ In a world where everyone seems isolated we really are all connected in one way or another!



Not everyone knows my name

Sometime within the last month the girls at work were giving me the business about my obsession with Pokémon Go. I was talking about the raid bus and one of the second year Ob/Gyn residents joined in the conversation. Let’s flash forward to yesterday my first day back from camp.

The same resident is at the desk and he was talking about how he was at Queeny Park on Saturday with his kids when a bus pulled up into the parking lot. He thought that was really random given the time of the day until he saw me get off the bus. Then he knew it was the Pokémon bus I was talking about. I was cracking up. He left and I went on to give out some pain medicine.

A few minutes later I hear Amy answer the phone and she says just call her Pokémon girl, everyone will know who you mean. Apparently he didn’t know my name. I was cracking up and this made a great day even better!!


Mole moral ~ It’s reassuring to know that I’m not the only one terrible with names and I always enjoy a good nickname.


Cruise Notes Episode 1

CruiseKayla and I had a really good time on our cruise. I decided rather than trying to jam the entire week into a single blog, I would do short little ones. I decided I would start with the professional picture sitting. This was on Tuesday night after dinner. The cruise had all of these areas set up to have pictures done. As we were walking by the all white one, the guy asked us if we wanted pictures done. I said sure why not and then remembered we have not had family pictures done since Allyson was 18 months old. First thing he told me was to relax. OMG I quickly realized I was as tense as if he was personally touching me or hugging me. So I tried to relax a bit and he continued to work with me.

The best part was this picture.

Cruise 1

He asked me if I could sit on the floor. I wanted to say dude I ran a marathon less than two months ago but I said sure. So we sit and instantly become so stiff it isn’t even funny. He then tells me to stick my chin out more. Well he mimics what I was doing and I die laughing. I mean it was insane but I did finally relax. Then another gal walks by and bumps his butt on accident. He asked her why she was pinching his butt. We were all dying. It was so much fun.

The next day Kayla and I picked out the ones we liked and actually he was behind the cash register. He instantly remembered me and gave me the stiff neck look from the day before. I told him the photos were awesome and he agreed especially this oneCruise 2

and he talked me into ordering a 16×20 canvas which was ready the next day. It turned out really nice and now I just have to have it framed. I certainly spent more money on pictures than I did anything else but I am glad I did.


Mole Moral ~ It’s much cheaper to have ugly children! Ha