Sunday, March 24, 2013

Shaw Island Service Project

This past weekend, we traveled to the San Juan Islands with other members of our ward, or congregation, to participate in an annual service project.  The event takes place at Our Lady of the Rock Monastery on Shaw Island.
We had to be on the 9:25 ferry out of Anacortes on Saturday morning.  Which meant that we would have to be on the 6:25 ferry from Kingston.  Which meant we would have to get our kids (and poor tired me) up by 5:00 on a Saturday, the first Saturday after daylight saving time, I might add.
Not wanting to do all that, we decided to leave Friday night and stay in a hotel in Burlington, WA.  This would put us 1/2 an hour from the Anacortes ferry in the morning. 
Long story short, we barely made the 7:00pm ferry Friday night, because we watched a Syracuse basketball game before we left and it went into overtime, of course.  But we hustled out the door and made it just in time. 
The kids were pretty happy to be in a hotel with a pool, (and I was happy to be in a hotel with a hot tub), rather than getting up at the crack of dawn.
So Saturday morning, we got up around 7:30, had our breakfast at the hotel, and then headed to Walmart to make a quick stop to get food to contribute to the lunch that day.  I also had forgotten to bring any work gloves so I wanted to pick some up.  It seemed doable enough, a quick stop, then on our way to the ferry.  However, when we came out of Walmart, it suddenly became very obvious that we were VERY tight on time.  We drove as quickly as we dared for Anacortes.  The GPS couldn't seem to find our destination, the ferry terminal, so we were kind of flying blind.  As we came into Anacortes, with no time to spare, we were seeing signs for ferries everywhere.  But we weren't sure which signs were for OUR ferry.  We called a friend, got instructions, along with a warning, "You'd better hustle!"  We began prepping our kids, "OK, everyone grab what you need and get ready to run!"  We had been instructed that there would be limited room for cars on this ferry, so we should walk on.  We were really stressing about parking, paying to park, paying our fares, and making it onto the ferry.  Luckily, our friend called us back and advised us to just drive on.  Best advice of the day.  We drove on, the last car to do so, and the ferry was underway before we were even out of the car. 
It was pretty fun to see everyone from the ward on the ferry.  And it was so delightful to be in the beautiful San Juan Islands.  What a beautiful way to start the day!  It was also fun to discover several puzzles on the ferry at various degrees of completion.  In between standing on the deck enjoying the glorious scenery and visiting with our friends, we took some time to place a few puzzle pieces.
An overcast morning.
We made a quick stop at Lopez Island to pick up a few more passengers.
While waiting at the Lopez Island ferry dock, we saw a bald eagle alight in a nearby tree.  Lincoln pointed it out to the kids.  Also at this dock is a huge bulls-eye painted on the dock surface.  It was lots of fun for the kids to toss coins down and try to hit the center.
Devon, on the deck in the chilly morning air.
Upon our arrival at the monastery, Mother Hildegard (seen below on the very right edge of the photo), began making assignments.  Assignments were made to weed gardens, cut brush, clean the chapel, move the priest's belongings, clean the hog pens, and clean the chicken coops, among other things.
Kennedy went with a friend to help clean the chapel.  The four younger kids went to help move boxes for the priest's move from one building to another, and Lincoln and I headed for the chicken coops.  We worked with Adda, a twelve year old girl from our ward.  She and I shoveled out the two buildings and Lincoln hauled off what we shoveled. The rain really began to pick up at this point, so despite the stink in the henhouses, (we did have masks to wear), we were glad to be dry.
After cleaning them all out, we spread fresh bedding.

After the chicken coops were clean, we moved on to the task of collecting beach stones to use as gravel.

A view of the barn.
Renie, happily skipping along after her chore was complete.
The kids had an absolute blast in the haymow.
Such a beautiful location. 
As we ate our lunch, (man, did it hit the spot after all that work-lasagna, garlic bread, caeser salad, fruit salad, and tons of desserts), the sun came out and helped warm us up and dry us out. We had heard a rumor that only a certain number of cars were allowed on the return ferry and that in the past, someone from the group had been too far back in the line and had to wait 3 hours for the next ferry.  We did not want this to be our fate, so we ate quickly and skedaddled to the ferry.  We were car #3 in line.   The ferry trip back was lovely, with sunshine and better  views of the islands.

Upon reaching the mainland, we drove from sunshine toward foreboding skies, that proved to be holding nothing more than rain.
We are so glad that we were able to participate in this event.  The kids, some of whom had said the only reason they were going was to stay at a hotel, all had a great time and are already looking forward to next year.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Miraculous OxiClean

As I was loading the dishes yesterday, the kids were sitting at the table eating.  Jesse was getting messy and wiped his hands on his shirt.  One of his siblings scolded him for doing so to which he replied, "Don't worry!  Mom bought OxiClean!"  He then looked at me at the sink and said, "Mom, you should buy OxiClean dishwashing booster.  It's found in the dish detergent aisle!"

That kid cracks me up every single day.