Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Asleep at the wheel


It's late. I am supposed to be studying for the dreaded math test, but here I sit, falling asleep at my computer. This is not a good sign. I only have two classes and I'm already tired. I'm hoping it's like exercising; the first few weeks are a killer, but after a while you get into your groove and while it's still hard, you don't run out of breath quite as quickly. At least that's what I'm going to tell myself.

But for now, I feel like my brain is going to explode. It's harder than I thought it would be because this part of my mind hasn't been used in a long time. I had to do some math as a pharmacy tech; proportions and that sort of thing, but polynomials and distributive property are terms I vaguely remember hearing, but for the life of me I can't seem to remember how to use them. Honestly, I'm not terribly worried. I make it sound much worse than it is. It's slowly coming back to me, but I've never been a patient person. If I have to start at the bottom of the math barrel, then so be it. That's probably what I need to do anyway so I can have a firm foundation to build on.

So for now, I'm trying my best. But still...they should have an airbag installed on computers for when you fall asleep and and hit your head on the screen.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Do you want to build a snowman?


Here is a picture of Pine Valley in my beloved Uintah Mountains in the middle of June, due to some freakishly cold, winter-ish storm that blew through for the three days that our Stake Girls Camp was scheduled to stay. If you didn't know better, you would think I took a trip to Canada, eh? And this picture was taken at an elevation of 7000 feet. I can only imagine what it looked like up at the top of the canyon at 10,000 feet. I found out later that most of the areas above us received 4-6 inches of new snow.
Let me just start by saying that we knew well before camp that we were in for some cold and wet weather. I mean, we do live in Utah after all, where the weather forecast is really just a lucky guess. We notified and warned every leader we could get a hold of, hoping that the girls would look past the 90 degrees they were feeling in the valley and try to picture themselves in the Uintah wilderness where weather forecasting is impossible, temperatures are just a shot in the dark and Mother Nature bats you around like a child's play thing. But alas, our warnings were ignored by some and not everyone was as prepared as we had hoped they would be. Some wards were ON it though! We had one ward in particular that had all their girls bring over their stuff to the leader's house the night before camp. She would quiz the parents and the girl on what they had packed and if they didn't have it, she sent them home for it and if they didn't own it, they better go beg, steal or borrow it or they weren't goin' to camp! Yay for great leaders!! They were by far the warmest and driest in our campground.

Our camp started off pretty normal; the stake and youth camp leaders got to camp around 5 on Monday, did some planning, roasted hot dogs and shivered around the fire for a while until we all decided to go to bed. The rain in the forecast had yet to start so we thought that just maybe the predicted cold front would miraculously move around our tiny camp.

The next morning it started off pretty cold, but nothing terribly unusual. The other campers arrived and had to set up in a drizzle of rain. It stayed pretty dry on and off for half the day and then it started to rain in earnest. Then it started to hail. Then it started to snow. Rain and cold we could do, but snow was definitely not on the agenda. Tents started to cave in and as we made our rounds to the different ward camps we realized that the girls were not prepared for this. The likelihood that temperatures would dip below freezing during the night, combined with the fact that most of them were already soaking wet (because they didn't listen to their mothers), made us seriously concerned for their safety. So we made the difficult decision to jump ship and head down the mountain to find somewhere warm and safe for the night.

Luckily (or maybe not luck?) we had some connections to a Bishop in Kamas who put us in touch with a ward who agreed to house us for the night in their ward building. When we got there, we set up our own gigantic slumber party in the gym and...surprise!...another stake girls camp was there already, snowed out of their campground as well. We felt extremely grateful that we had a warm and safe place for our 109 girls and I can't even describe how relieved I was that everybody was going to be ok and that these girls would be going home with all of their fingers and toes, plus an awesome story to tell. (I should take this time to mention that there were quite a few hysterical mothers who were very relieved as well.) As we pulled into the parking lot of this stake center, I was overwhelmed with this feeling of relief and peace and I knew that we were in the right place. The Bishop cranked up the heat and the Relief Society president showed up to make all 200 of us hot chocolate while we thawed out.





Later on the next day, the sun started to peek out and most of the snow on the ground was melting, but the temperatures were still cold enough and all of our gear was wet enough that we were worried for the girl's safety for the coming night as well. We found that many tents that we had left up the night before were caved in from the weight of the snow and some had an inch of water sitting at the bottom. I imagined what it would have been like to be up there the previous night and I once again felt so relieved that we were spared that experience. So we decided to pack it in and send the girls home. Someone left this little surprise for us when we went back up to break down camp.



A snowman in June. It reminded me that no matter what obstacles you're up against, it's still ok to let yourself have some fun.

I learned quite a few other lessons from this experience. The first one I seem to learn over and over and over again and that is: never underestimate the Uintah Mountain weather. Those mountains create their own weather and I will say, at the risk of sounding very hippy-ish, I am certain they have their own souls. The hills are alive. How they must laugh at our feeble attempts to brave the elements!

"You think your $800 dollar tent will keep you dry? HA! I will show you what I think of you and your silly little tent!"

And down comes the snow that is so heavy, you can practically drink it. And then down comes the tent.

I also learned the value of listening. Really listening. To yourself, to your leaders, to the spirit. (To your mother.) I learned to trust what I have to say and what I have heard whispered to my heart.

I learned that you should Always. Be. Prepared. Those boy scouts have a good thing goin' on with that whole motto. While I was surprisingly comfortable, many were completely miserable. How much easier is life if we just take a few minutes to prepare?

I learned how hard it is to be a leader. Well, I guess I already knew that one, but it was reinforced to me that it is difficult to be the one of the people who makes hard calls and who receives the criticism that comes from it. It's usually not a comfortable place for me to be.

Last of all I learned that I have it in me to rise to a challenge. There are so many reasons why I always tell myself that I am not up for challenges; I am too weak, too sick, too afraid. But the reality is that I CAN do difficult things, make difficult decisions and let those decisions take their course. What's even more surprising is that I am OK with it. Even with all of the negative comments toward us about how we didn't prepare and warn everyone, how we should not have gone through with it and so on...I can just let it go. It seriously doesn't bother me! How awesome is that!?! I know we did the best that we could and while hind sight is 20/20, all we can do in the moment is make a decision and go for it, come rain or shine (or snow).

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Panic attacks and other fun stuff

I can't even begin to explain how incredibly busy I have been lately. But apparently not so busy that I can't blog about it, right? Ha!

Birthday parties, mission farewells, anniversaries, father's day, homework, homework, homework and more homework. Did I mention that I have homework? Can you believe it? I HAVE HOMEWORK! My instructor (because that's what they're called nowadays...none of the "teacher" business) opened the class early, so I have been working my tushy off trying to get ahead so I don't fall behind when I go to Girls Camp this week.

Ahhhh... Girls Camp. In capital letters because it has been all Girls Camp, all the time here at my house. I cannot stop thinking about it. I eat, sleep (or in my case, NOT sleep) and drink it. It keeps me up at night and makes me slightly sick to my stomach. The other day I literally almost had a panic attack when I found out how cold it's going to be up there in the Uintahs this week. Highs in the 50's, lows in the 30's. Dang. That's frickin' cold. And we all know how much Megan loves to be cold.

Then there is the kids. Alex is off to go on tour to LA this week, Nate has a youth conference to go to and Seth has a birthday sleepover with his cousin. Abby gets to hang out with super cool Aunt Amy since I won't be around for this week, which we will now refer to as a hot mess. Thank heaven for my sister who is rescuing me in all sorts of ways and keeping this hot mess from literally going to my head.

Shawn gets to run around in between all of this hot mess and then go work his butt off like always. Ahhh...good times.

Well, I suppose I shall go sleep in my comfy warm bed for the last time before freezing various limbs off of my body this week in the mountains. Hopefully I will still have fingers to blog all about it.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Oh dear, what have I done

So I did it. I signed up for my first class. Guess when it starts? June 16th. Like, as in 10 days from now. It's just a beginning computer class, so it probably won't be a big deal, but it's one I need to get out of the way so I can take the fun stuff. Like programming and writing in HTML. Is it weird that I'm excited about that? Never mind. I know the answer to that. So now I get to study to take the Accuplacer test so I don't have to take 5th grade math all over again. Guess what? I don't remember how to do anything with fractions. But does any adult really know? Except for the ones who are studying for the Accuplacer test? I think not. But it's all coming back to me now. Although I did have one embarrassing moment when I had to ask my kids to remind me of the order of operations.

Don't worry! I'll be fine. I'll just have to find a way to sneak in my 11 year old.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Sleep is, like, so overrated

Just kidding. It's not. Bedtime is my favorite part of the day. Because it's not just about sleeping - it's the perfect, slow motion, luxuriant, perfectly acceptable, non productive part of my day where I can snuggle into my 500 thread count sheets, lay down on my comfy pillow, read, play candy crush, put in my earplugs and then fall blissfully into slumber for 8 beautiful hours.

Errrrr....wait. Back up a bit. It's 5 a.m., I've been awake for 2 hours, so what the heck happened?

I'm not really sure, to be honest. Well, that's not entirely true. It's girls camp. I can't get it out of my head. I dream about it, I think about it, I obsess about it and it's cutting into my favorite part of the day so it needs to get here quickly and be over with so I may get back to my life in which I will most surely find something else to obsess about. (ummmm....school, do ya think?!?)

(insert big sigh here)

Anyway... whine, whine, whine, blah, blah, blah...you get the picture.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Killing time

I am playing the waiting game right now, so I thought I would kill some time and write. About what? Heck, I don't have a frickin' clue. I'll start by saying the first things that come to my mind (this could be interesting).

I am waiting for my admission letter to SLCC. I check the mail faithfully every day like a woman waiting for a love letter. It's just that I can't DO anything until I get that dang letter! It has my student id number, which is the magical passcode to all things collegiate, and I can't register for classes or take placement tests or figure out my financial aid or anything until I get that stupid letter! UGH!! I am the most impatient person I know.

I am also waiting to drive up the canyon with a bunch of women to check out our campsite for girls camp this year. I am pretty nervous about this since I am the one who chose the site and if it stinks then it's pretty much all my fault. I was supposed to go in 30 minutes but other late people are, surprise!, going to be late so I have to wait another hour. Another thing bugging me at the moment.

But I have a bit of good news! My crunched van is fixable, which can be good or bad depending on if your glass is half full or half empty. I've decided that it's a good thing because it means that a. I get to drive a new rental van around for a week and b. that I don't have to come up with money to purchase a new one. On the other hand, driving around this nice van makes me want a new car. Badly. Ah well...such is life I suppose. At least I have a vehicle and I don't have to take the scary bus all over the place like some people I know. Hey! Look at me being all positive and stuff! Woo hoo!

Let's see...Abby graduated Kindergarten a couple of days ago and their program was so dang cute I was on the verge of tears the entire time.

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She's adorable. There just isn't any other words to describe her. I would also like to point out the fact that she is the only girl in her class who insisted on wearing her fanciest dress. She is part little girl and mostly princess, so I suppose it comes with the territory. She also sang a little solo in one of her songs, which I can't post for some reason. I think my iphone file isn't supported by this application or something. I don't know. Hey, that's something I will learn in school right? Or maybe one of you can enlighten me.

Seth had something the other day at school called a "wax museum". They got to choose a famous person, anybody they wanted, and do a report on them. Then they would dress up like the character, memorize a 30 second blurb about their life and all the classes and parents could come and visit. The kids would stand perfectly still and you would come up to them and press a button on their desk at which point they would give you their little speech. Seth chose to be David Tennant. In case you don't know who that is, which is probably all of you except for Tracy, he is the 10th doctor on the newest series of "Doctor Who". Seth is a little obsessed about it.


He looked pretty good, right down to his sonic screwdriver. What a nut! He did a good job though. He even spoke in a British accent when he did his speech! He is a funny and clever kid.

Well, I suppose that's it for now. I successfully filled my time up with something other than pacing the house so I am pretty proud of myself. Yay me!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Our exciting weekend

Life stays interesting here at the Shipleys. Shawn had to work on Saturday, so we basically did some housework, then lounged around until that night when we went over to our friend's house (the Bylunds) to see their oldest boy, Jordan, open his mission call. He's going to Independence, Missouri on an American Sign Language assignment. So exciting! He has studied ASL for four years and was over-the-top excited about it. I am so happy that he is happy. As his friends were all leaving, one of them backed out of the driveway and then this happened:


Oopsy! Luckily it's still drive-able, but we had to tape the headlight back in place. I think this probably means goodbye to what we call our "miracle van." It is so old I can't imagine the insurance company paying for the repair, so they will most likely pay out the value of the van instead. That is a bummer since it isn't worth much anymore. So I have mixed feelings about this. The van still runs great despite having almost 200,000 miles on it (Yay for Toyotas! Those Japanese know how to make 'em.). But I would love a new vehicle. We definitely can't afford much of a car payment, especially since we had to take out a small loan to pay for the air conditioner. I hate money (or the lack of it) and all the problems and stress it brings to our life! Then Sunday we spent the night at Craig and Wendi's and played games until 2 a.m., then hung out there all day Monday. So besides the humongous dent in the van, our weekend was pretty laid back and fun.

And I have good news! The air conditioner is being fixed right now and life will soon be nice and cool, which is a huge relief since it's going to be 90 degrees today. Summer decided to jump on in without warning. 

Bring it on!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Am I manic, or just out of my ever-lovin' mind?

It's the question of the day today.

I have big news.

No, really. It's big.

I just applied for college.

I'm doing it. I'm going back to school. I applied to SLCC and I am awaiting my acceptance letter, at which time I can start planning my college future. I am so scared; words cannot even express how scared I am. I decided to start by taking a computer class and an English class and see where it goes from there. My ultimate goal is a bachelors in computer science, but that is only going to happen if I can remember how to do math. I used to be pretty good at it in high school, so I'm really hoping it's like riding a bike, but I have this sneaky suspicion that it is going to be much, much harder than that. The good news is that I did a practice placement exam for English and I aced it the first time without even studying. Which makes me think I am going into the wrong field, but I just can't think of anything to do that involves English that really appeals to me as far as careers go. Maybe editing. I don't know. But computers are interesting. And I'm good at it. I'm just not so sure that I will be good at computer school. Do you see my conflict? So I will take both classes and then hopefully have a better handle on what the heck I want to do with the rest of my life.

Please pray for me and my rusty, old brain.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Ah, sunshine

Longer days. Shifting hormones causing a feeling of giddiness to bubble up as winter fades away. Spring fever has finally struck the Shipleys as temperatures climbed into the 80's this weekend. For the kids, spring fever causes a distracted sort of feeling that makes it hard to concentrate on the final push for good grades. And quite frankly, I am having a hard time caring about school either as I look forward to summer with all it's gloriously warm days and homework-free nights. Only three more weeks! For me, spring fever usually hits in the form of gleeful home improvement. Oh, the projects I have planned! Now if I could just pick one and actually do it. It's just so much easier to think of the ideas than to execute them.

Of course, since there must be opposition in all things, we found out yesterday that our central air has quit working. Seriously? Where are we going to come up with the money to replace THAT? Looks like we are going on the beans and rice diet for the next few months if we want to afford to survive summer. But to look on the bright side, I would rather be sweating than freezing, so I suppose I will cling to that like my shirt is clinging to my back at this very moment.