Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Week in Review: March 24-30 (CAMP WOOTEN!)

Last week was all about Camp Wooten. And all the pictures (except one) in the photo collage are from Camp Wooten. The feetsies pictured by the river is after camp. My poor, poor, aching feet. They needed that bit of rest right there.

Camp was a complete & absolute BLAST!!! What was I so nervous for? I really was nervous. But I found out that all the moms I was working in the kitchen with were nervous too: "What if I get stuck with a bunch of lame ladies?", etc. Before I go on & on about how amazing it was, I must say this: That was one of the hardest weeks I've ever had in my life. For reals. I think it rates in the top 10 for sure of the most difficult things I have ever done. No joke ma-goats.

But it was worth it.

Not only because I was able to contribute to the 5th graders experience during their Outdoor Education Week (oh my gosh: all the teachers were AMAZING with the kids), but because I also made new friends & had laughs aplenty! Isn't that what camp is for? Oh my golly, did I laugh. I love my new mommy friends/kitchen buddies. We bonded like none other. 

We rose when it was still dark out &, after working all day, we headed back to our cabins in a different dark part of the day. And, boy, did we work our booties off. I honestly think no one works harder at camp than the cooks. We had to clean at the end of the day too. So, not only was I scrambling 270 eggs, helping to assemble 900 pieces of bacon, & assisting in the making of over 200 grilled cheese sandwiches {for instance}, I was also wiping down urinals. Yummy.

The days seriously never ended. We'd prep for breakfast, cook breakfast, serve breakfast, clean up after breakfast, then prep for lunch, cook lunch, serve lunch, clean up after lunch, then prep for afternoon snack, make afternoon snack, serve afternoon snack, clean up after afternoon snack, then prep for dinner, cook dinner, serve dinner, clean up after dinner, spend at least 2 hours cleaning the mess hall & bathrooms, clean ourselves up, get to bed at {at least} 10:30, & get up at 5:30 to do it all again. 
All. Week. Long.
For 150 people.
It was beyond exhausting. My feet hurt something fierce. My back was not especially happy either. The days did blur together & it felt like we'd been there much longer than we actually were. Once, when referencing something that happened that same morning, we were like, "Wait. That was this morning? Are you sure that wasn't yesterdy?" Long, never-ending days... (My bed was my favorite thing to see every night. Oh, & did you see how cute my corner of the cabin was? I dolled it up all creative-like.)
There were a few moments to escape & peek at our children attending their classes or having fun during their recreation periods. Every night around campfire were songs & skits & silliness too. It rained a few days. It hailed once. I never had to wear the long underwear or wool socks I brought though. (Woohoo!)

Our kitchen crew each came up with nicknames of sorts for each other. And they all might hate me for this, but here goes...
Elizabeth... laughs a lot & is {apparently} really good with knives: She actually sliced one of the chef's fingers. This specific chef is lovingly called Mr. Manners by the kids at camp. So, we called Elizabeth "Killer". She's really nice, though. Really.
Melissa... hates lots of things. Like Jello & cartoons & bananas & anything cherry flavored & parks & Cheerios & when people walk through her beautiful snow. "I HATE that..." just stuck with her. 
NaDell... was totally teacher's pet, only in the kitchen instead of a classroom. Chef's pet, if you will. This is nothing that the kitchen crew hasn't already discussed with NaDell, so it's not like I'm talking behind her back. We all tried to compete & be like NaDell, but we never achieved her lofty status. The chef's loved her. And she really took charge. Like, all the time. So she became "Boss Jr.". 
Angie... is quiet as a mouse. And sweet. And soft. And all things petite. Even her feet are tiny & cute. We wanted to call her "Mouse", but Elizabeth didn't like that. And, who are we to mess with a lady who just knifed Mr. Manners? So, Elizabeth named her "Sweetie Bell". We didn't argue.
Michelle...was kind of like the mom of our group. We saw her take charge with the kids & set them straight several times. She's definitely the brains of the bunch too. The kitchen crew played "Are you Smarter than a Camp Wooten 5th grader?" Like, in front of all the 5th graders & staff. Let's just say...we were all humiliated. Except for Michelle. She is lovingly referred to as "Mama Bear".
And then there's me. For whatever reason, everyone had trouble coming up with my nickname. I really didn't think I was that difficult to get a reading on. I became "Tender Heart" (like the Care Bear). Elizabeth said I had a tender ora about me. It didn't make sense to me, it's not the nickname I would have chosen, & I seriously wanted to sway their thoughts on this. But again, when knife lady speaks, you listen.
We all snuck over to the Rec Hall & made ourselves pinback buttons with our new nicknames on them.
(Crafty time at camp! YAY!)
Later at camp, we had to say goodbye to Killer & Boss Jr. as they had only volunteered for the first part of the week. (Saddest day ever.) Three newbies joined the kitchen crew to finish out the rest of the week.
I should mention Jeff, Jon & Debbie, the chefs that really did most of the work all week. They are old pros at this, with many years of volunteering at Camp Wooten. They ordered the food, planned the menus, organized the whole thing. And they were so great to work with! And I'm pretty sure I can say that we were part help/part entertainment for those three all week.

The highlight for me at camp was just being with my new friends, laughing & laughing. (Neighboring cabins weren't so keen on our laughter & late-night giggling. One of the Camp Directors politely asked us to quiet down. Oops.) None of us "moms" knew each other before camp. We all agreed it's a shame that it took this long to get so closely acquainted. Elizabeth said the school should send kindergartners to Camp Wooten. (So we'd get to meet each other sooner.) But then she decided that 7 kindergartners in a camp cabin is like 90 cats.
Ain't nobody got time for that. So, nevermind. 
Better a late friendship than no friendship at all, I suppose.

I brought all sorts of things to do in case I was stuck with a bunch of ladies that were no fun. I didn't even read or knit once while at camp. That's how much I love them. I later found out that they all, too, brought things to do for the same reason. haha!
No interent or wifi for the week was a breeze. I was too busy to care about all that. Didn't miss it once. Didn't yearn to make a status Facebook update. Didn't pine for Instagram. Didn't pout without Vine or Twitter. I lived to tell about it. 
I am a survivor. 

I even got mail at camp! My sweet mom sent me mail. As did the Mr. + Pazely. Happy mail at camp? Best ever. Zoey got oodles of mail too. Thanks to those who mailed stuff to her! Zoey said the highlight at camp for her was the fishing. And she thinks if I wasn't there that she might have been homesick. (It was awful fun getting to hug & kiss on her every morning & evening, & see her smiles, & watch her interact with friends.)

Camp Randomness...
•Next time I need to remember to bring some chapstick. (Who knew long hours in the kitchen causes lip chaffing?) 
•Did I just say "Next time..."??? Well, Pazely will be in 5th grade next year. She might get upset if mom doesn't do the same for her. I wonder if I can talk the Mr. into taking my place...
•I realized that to cook for a large group of people you need to use large things.
•Laughing helps your feet hurt less.
•The food at camp is DELICIOUS. (No one goes hungry.) 
•The hot cocoa at camp is amazing. (I've got the secret. And I might tell.)
•I didn't get eaten by a wild animal, but I did step in deer poo. 
•Zoey showered at camp more than I did. (And she only showered twice.)
•I learned that cream of tartar helps make fluffy scrambled eggs. (1 tsp per 1 dozen eggs)
•After peeling & chopping garlic for dinner one evening, I learned this tip: Scrub your hands with coarse salt. (I did. And it took the smell completely away!)
•I already miss Eva, the industrial dishwasher.
•A chipmunk stole a cookie from the kitchen one afternoon. (I saw him do it. Cutest tiny thief EVER.)
•I shooed away a tick, crawling on my face. (EEP!)
I got to ring the dinner bell one day. Sounds silly, but it was something I was particularly looking forward to. (Hey, it's the little things, people.)
Melissa & I got a lesson in human salad spinning. Take a peek at my GIF of chef Jon, HERE. (I only lost a few lettuce leaves when it was my turn.)
•Slicing with the meat cutter = buff right arm.
•Melissa also hates milkshakes & smoothies.

I am so happy to be home. It took me 3 full days to recover. It didn't help that I was starting to get sickly the last 2 days there. Sore throat + stuffy face cruds. Blah. When we returned home, I heard all about Pazely's week with the Mr. 
Pazely declared it "The Best Week Ever!!!". (WHAT?! haha!) I feel super loved & needed right now.

I made many happy camp memories, gained new friends & now I have another adventure under my belt.
 That's a good week, I'd say.

Click HERE for a photo play-by-play.
Click HERE for all the Camp Wooten photos.


  1. It was such a fun week (or half a week. PS. I said I'd help whenever and however long, but they assigned me half a week.)
    It was amazing just how much we got done each day! I loved all of it and look forward to going back in a few years with my next daughter. =)

  2. I LOVE camp- and yes, as an adult, it is one of the hardest things you will ever do! Your week sounds AH-MAZING, and it is making me excited about my week of church camp this Summer! Thank you for shareing the fun-ness...

  3. I look forward to my week at Wooten all year long!! And yes, you kitchen ladies work your tails off all week long!! We seriously appreciate all the work! I'll stick with my job on teaching staff, fishing TA's out of the river :)


Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment. Every time you do, I do a little happy dance. For reals.