"I went to the woods because I wanted to live deliberately. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life;
to put to rout all that was not life and not when I had come to die, discover that I had not lived." ~Henry David Thoreau

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Accidental Nap

Ethan fell asleep on the way home from an outing this afternoon. After we came inside, he crashed again on the couch. He slept until 7:30, which meant I was in for a long night with him. I would have waked him up, but if that kid falls asleep during the day it means he REALLY needs the sleep.

It's okay because tonight we had some quality time to spend together...something that rarely happens. I did make him lie down on his bed and at least try to fall asleep before he gave up. He came out into the living room after trying to sleep, and says "Mom, why is it that eels have to poop in the water?" The crazy things that go through a five year old boy's mind when he's starring at the ceiling.

By the way, the above picture was taken today when he crashed. Yes, he is sound asleep and his eyes are almost completely open. This is how he often does it. He had some serious REM sleep going on! Creepy.

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Woes of Pregnancy

I'm so happy to be pregnant. I truly am, especially after having experienced a miscarriage last year. But that does not make the uncomfortableness of pregnancy any less. This has been a physically difficult pregnancy, perhaps the hardest one yet. I can definitely tell a difference in my body now compared to my 23 year old body with Ethan. Growing four babies in five and a half years...my body is tired.

I can tell how it is affecting my heart. Anemia is creeping up more and more each day and my circulatory system as a whole is struggling. I love having my babies close together like this, but I'm thinking that if we go for baby number five I need a break. Maybe we'll actually put two and a half years between kids next time!

I love ibuprofen. It's my drug of choice, but of course it's dangerous for pregnancy. Tylenol has a always been a joke for me. It does nothing for my fevers nor my headaches. Right now I'm sitting here with the perpetual estrogen headache that starts in week eight and only intensifies until delivery. It's the kind of headache that you can hear pounding in your ears. What can I do for it? Nothing.

And last night I was awake from about 2:30-5:00 with heartburn so bad that it kept bubbling up into my throat. Yuck, I know. I think I went through half a bottle of Tums. Anyway, I'm writing this in hopes that one day this sweet baby boy will read it and be grateful to his Mamma for all she went through while growing him. I love you little boy, and I know you're worth it.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A Great Day for Water Play

We spent a large part of the afternoon in the backyard. I stopped by the story today to grab a new inflatable pool because ours had a hole in it, but turns out the one I bought is a dinky thing that was way over priced. Oh well. Kids still got wet and had fun.

Notice something odd about this picture? Hailey has been very interested in boobs lately. Who has them, why some people have them and some don't, what they are for, etc. She kept sticking water balloons in her bathing suit while prancing around singing "I have boobies..." We are in for it with this child!

Fun With the Hills

Our old friend Gina and her kids came into town for a visit. They used to live down the street, but then moved to Virgina last summer. We miss them! Gina, Margo, Jen, and I met up at Arctic Circle for lunch today. It was great being at a safe place where kids could run free while the moms visited. I need mom lunches like this more often. Thanks for the visit girls!

Just So You Know...

The weather has been horrible for weeks. But today it feels like summer. After being cooped up inside for a long time, you know how a house can look. Ours looks like that today. I had a presidency meeting over here yesterday morning and nine kids terrorized the place. I still have not recovered nor do I expect to for a while.

So in case you happen to stop by today, we're outside playing the pool and having a water balloon fight. The house work will have to wait. If you take offense at my messy house...well I take offense at the messy weather lately so it's to blame. Just close your eyes as you walk through the living room and ignore the dishes in the sink. We'll be in the backyard eating popsicles.

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Kindness of Strangers

Today we went to Wheeler Farm with friends. We met up with Brandi and her kids, and also Sarah Stiles and her little boy, Cameron. It was a gorgeous day and there was barely a cloud in the sky. I guess everyone else in the area had the same idea as us because the place was packed.

Around noon, we found a shady picnic spot and were about to eat. Brandi had to run back to her car to grab something and she turned to me before she walked away and said "Is it okay if I leave the boys with you?" She was taking the baby with her. I assured her it was fine and she left. Sarah and I sat there and talked as we got lunches ready for the kids.

After a few minutes I started to count heads and realized Andrew was gone. That two year old boy of Brandi's is a dare devil and he gives them a run for their money. We've always joked that he would go to an early grave because he is fearless and likes to wander. Well this time it was no joke, and sheer panic went through my body. When I started freaking out, Sarah said she was sure that he had gone with Brandi. We seemed to get things cleared up, but the sick feeling in my stomach still remained. I asked her several times if she was sure he'd gone with his mom, and she kept saying she was sure.

I finally saw Brandi coming back down the path...but Andrew was no where to be seen. Again I started to panic and I ran to her and about screamed "Is Andrew with you?!" The next few seconds were a blur. Trying to make a long story short, the two of us ran around screaming ANDREW!!! Sarah stayed at the table with the kids.

There is a very fast moving canal that runs through the farm and earlier in the day Andrew had been caught trying to escape to it. It is so fast moving and there is nothing at the bank to keep a person from falling in. All we could think of was that he was in the canal...his little body pinned up against a tree trunk or something like that. Brandi took off one way and I took off the other.

ANDREW!!!! I screamed it at least 1,000 times. There were scads of mothers with children out there and everyone kept offering their help, also running around screaming his name. Within half a minute the employees were all radioing each other giving details of what had happened. Teams of people began looking up and down the banks of the canal. That is something that no parent should have to see...people searching for a child's body. It's hard for a pregnant woman to run, let alone sprint from one end of the area to the other. But it's true that when the adrenaline starts pumping the body becomes like a locomotive.

At one point I heard a woman ask if she could call the police and I said YES!! That was the longest ten minutes of my life. Brandi headed back in the direction of the parking lot right as a woman came walking toward her with a perfectly healthy Andrew in her arms. She began sobbing even harder when she saw him, and when I saw him I felt like I was having a heart attack.

I've never felt pain like that in my chest before. The stress did a number on my pregnant heart and I couldn't breathe. We all sat down at the table and someone brought me a paper sack out of the nearby gift shop. I've never hyperventilated before, at least not to that extreme. Just then the police showed up but still had to question us to make sure things were okay. Thank goodness things were okay. Thank GOODNESS they were!

Brandi is like a sister to me. She is one of my oldest and dearest friends and we've been through so much together. Her children are like my own and when Andrew was missing, and I thought that it had been my fault, I can't explain what that felt like. Later after the chaos died down and we discussed what had happened, we realized how amazing it was that all of those strangers helped in such a way. I think that every parent there had a glimpse of what we must be feeling. It's a parent's worst nightmare come true when their child goes missing and I'm grateful that they all rallied behind us to help. Two women were even sobbing as they searched. In a strange way it renewed my faith in humanity.

On the way home the kids and I had a long time to discuss the events of the day. Just that morning as we were about to pull out of the garage, I realized we'd missed our morning devotional and that we needed to have a quick prayer. I asked that we would all be protected as we made the trip to the Farm and that no one would get lost or hurt. As we drove home Hailey said "Mommy, I think that Jesus found Andrew and kept him safe for us." I started to bawl all over again. I'm so thankful for the protection that the Lord offers us. I know that Andrew had an assigned guardian angel today and that he was kept safe because of that. I know that the Lord hears our prayers and in our time of need He sends us blessings...like the kindness of strangers.

Bon Voyage, Gaerte Family

Today when we got home from swim lessons the moving truck was in front of their house. I grabbed my camera and had to document this last time of all being together. It's been a good run. Four years of living by good neighbors. What peace of mind it has been knowing that our kids are completely safe running back and forth between houses. What peace of mind in knowing that I can trust my children 100% with the people next door.

Jen has helped me out so many times when I've needed her. No matter if I needed a cup of sugar or someone to take my kids last minute so I could run to the hospital to have a baby. She's been a great friend and the perfect neighbor. I think we've spent a million summer days in lawn chairs in "our back yard" as the kids played in the pool. I'll miss our white trash water park. Our kids have all been born while living in this neighborhood and have grown together (with the exception of Ethan who was nineteen months old when we moved in).

Now we'll actually have to get the fence put up between us and the old Gaerte place. It will be sad. They are only moving a few miles away, but it may as well be to another state. We're going to miss them. I'll be sad when I see the kids going over to their back door to see if they can play. Maybe the new family that will live there will be just as good to us. We hope so. We love you guys.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Beauty Parlor

Hailey has been feeling the effects of being the middle child lately. I know she's feeling a little neglected, so tonight I did something special with her. One of her favorite activities is to play "beauty parlor". We painted our nails and then I chopped her hair off. She still has a lot of baby thin hair and the longer it gets the wispier it looks. One day I'm sure she'll have super thick hair like me, but it's taking her a while to get there. In the meantime, it looks fuller when it's in a bob do.

I just love it and she she had fun while I cut it. I took about five inches off and when I cut the first bit, she wanted to hold it in her hands and pet it like a kitten. We watched "Tinkerbell" while we played beauty parlor and it was a great girls' night! She wanted some pictures taken right before bed, so we headed outside. She is such a ham!

And for the record, Cody doesn't like the cut at all. Tell him how crazy he is next time you see him!

Preschool Graduation

Ethan graduated from his final year of preschool on May 22nd. The program could not have been any cuter! We are so proud of Ethan. He is such a joy and blessing to our family. He's very excited about Kindergarten, but we're not sure if we want him to hit that milestone this fall. It will be bittersweet. Hailey is going to Mrs. Kari's preschool next year and she is VERY excited about it. The kids are growing up too fast!

Monday, June 15, 2009

22 Weeks

At 11 inches and almost 1 pound, our baby is starting to look like a miniature newborn. His lips, eyelids, and eyebrows are becoming more distinct, and he's even developing tiny tooth buds beneath his gums. His eyes have formed, but his irises still lack pigment. His pancreas is also forming right along as it should.

I'm feeling very pregnant these days. I'm very surprised because I'm just a little over half way there! I normally don't start feeling like this until month 7. My BP continues to drop and my feet are already getting tight and swollen. So much for the wonderful second trimester! I've skipped right over that part.

But the exciting thing is that our boy is a serious mover and shaker. This is by far the earliest I've felt this much strong movement. Normally this doesn't happen until 30 weeks. I can feel and see complete rolls beneath my skin. I feel him up against my pubic bone, but in my ribs at the same time. He punches, kicks, squirms super hard, and I love every second of it. His heart BPM contines to be low (never getting above 138) and I'm wondering just how big he's going to be. He feels like Goliath right now!

Cookie Love

Tonight as part of Family Home Evening we made cookies. Mmmm. Sugar, flour, eggs, butter, salt, baking soda, vanilla, rolled oats...and chocolate chips. Nothing is yummier than that.


Sunday, June 14, 2009

Long Day

Even though I've been at the computer off and on for hours since I got home from church (working on Primary business of course) I still feel the need to journal a bit. Today was long. Sunday is anything but the day of rest, at least when you are engaged in a high responsibility calling. I can't thank my sweet husband enough for all his help today.

I have been nursing pink eye since Friday and I felt pretty crummy today. But my ENTIRE presidency was out of town and I had no choice but to run the show. Come hell or high water, I had to be there. I took my bottle of hand sanitizer and used it constantly. I was at the church at 9:00 for meetings which lasted all morning, came home to grab some lunch, then turned around and headed back to church for the block.

Lauren had a nasty virus over the last three days and although she was feeling better today, I insisted that Cody stay home with her and the other two kids. As overwhelmed as I felt today, I figured it would be a load off my back to not have to worry about my own family during church hours, not to mention the time involved in getting everyone ready and out the door on time.

So while I was away, Cody cleaned the house. I walked in at 4:30 to the smell of Lysol and a sparkling kitchen floor. I was so pooped that I deflated on the couch and rested. My feet were killing me after having been on them for two solid hours in very uncomfortable (yet stylish) shoes. He knew I'd been craving a loaded BLT sandwich so he whipped those up for dinner and I devoured two huge ones. Then he made strawberry shortcake for desert, and then actually cleaned the kitchen from top to bottom!

Sometimes I think I don't deserve him. And then I have to remind myself that I do. I work hard. I am worth having a guy who treats me so well.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Crypto Crap

I am so sick of the Rec Center by us. I understand the crypto outbreak that happened a couple of years ago, but they are taking things to the ridiculous extreme...in ways that make no sense from a public health point of view. With out getting into the logistics of the parasite, you can read about it here. Inform yourself and then you'll understand my frustration.

I take the kids to the Rec every day for swim lessons and I'm already not a fan of our daily excursion because of the noise, the crowds, and the freezing cold water and air temp they keep the place at. They now have a lifeguard stationed outside both pools telling you to shower off before entering. "Why?" I've asked (innocently, even though I know what they are going to tell me) "Because we don't want crypto in the pool..." Uuum, okay. Obviously you know then how it is spread and that simply dowsing yourself with warm water is NOT going to get rid of any possible parasite on your body. You may as well run through a cold sprinkler and it will do as much good.

But I'm a good patron and I comply.

I'm perfectly fine with the rule of un-potty trained children wearing a swim diaper, also covered by a plastic liner. It does a pretty good job of keep solid fecal matter from slipping out into the pool, at least for a long enough time until the parent notices they need to be changed. But swim diapers alone are dumb if it's to contain anything but fecal matter. Any person with a ounce of common sense knows they do NOTHING to contain urine when tey get soaked in water. It's like holding liquid in a sponge that you're holding under the water.

Well now there is a rule that says you can not change a diaper...whatsoever in the pool area. Again, I am fine to comply with that if there is poop involved. If for no other reason than I think it's rude to expose others to the smell. But I have always dressed my babies there at our chair/spot by the pool. Actually, we always make camp about 50 feet from the pool. So obviously, there is no chance at all of anything from a diaper coming in contact with the water. I refuse to take my soaking wet baby out the doors into the FREEEEEZING cold hallway and locker room (they keep the air in there at about 70, which is so not conducive for wet children, especially not babies).

So today I had the older kids throw dry clothes on over their swim suits as I dressed Lauren. I always do it in this order when I dress her at the pool-

1. I put her bathing suit cover up over her wet suit.

2. I (discretely) strip off her suit bottoms and then her soggy swim diaper.

3. I lay her on her back, still completely covered by the cover up, and I put a dry diaper on her bottom.

4. I take the soggy diaper and put it in a plastic bag.

Well as I am doing step 4, a very hot to trot lifeguard came over to me. He could not have been older than 17 and get this...he was wearing oh-so-cool sunglasses INDOORS. Just from the way he carried himself I could see he was on a total power trip. Our conversation goes like this-

Guard- Mam, there is a rule that there are to be no diaper changes poolside.

Me- (playing dumb) Even if it does not involve poop?

Guard- Mam that is how diseases are spread. I'll have to ask you to go to the locker room down the hall to do that.

Me-So the pee that has been seeking from her swim diaper into the pool for the last hour does not spread disease? But simply having it in an area near the pool WILL spread disease...

Guard-The swim diaper is to hold the pee in.

Me-Obviously you've never seen how one works.

Guard- Mam, it's a rule.

Me-I can appreciate that. I know you're just doing you're job.

I'm about to make nice with him when he says back to me,

Guard- Aside from the sanitary issue, what you are doing could be classified as child pornography.

My jaw hit the ground.

Me- You're saying even if she is covered by a towel and her shirt and no one can see an exposed piece of skin, you are saying that is child porn.

Guard- People still know what you're doing under there.

I was so appalled that I had nothing to say back. I quickly gathered up our stuff and got the heck out of there. I can not WAIT until next summer when I'm nursing this new baby and I conveniently decide to pull my entire boob out in front of that guy. I wonder what he'll say to that. Oh mister, please say something. I would bring the house down on you so fast for opening that legal can of worms.

I Want Out!

Pardon me, but I have to vent for a minute. It is June 10th. I know that summer doesn't officially begin for another ten days, but give me a break. It should be hot by now. Can I just ask, who in their right mind thinks Utah is a great place? I guess it's the southerner in me that loathes cool weather. Cool weather (not cold) belongs from November through February. Once March hits it should warm up, at least enough to keep windows open. And it should still be warm enough through Halloween so that the weather doesn't determine what costume a kid should wear.

Argh. It's rainy and cold outside and it's been like this for the whole month so far. We had a few warm days in May, but it seems so wrong to have to keep things like jeans and jackets in the kids closets through the summer because you never know when you'll need them. They should long packed away by the start of April, or even before.

I know that if you're from Utah (or any northern state for that matter) and you're reading this blog, you're likely thinking "Well if you don't like it, move away!" And I would...in a heart beat except for a pretty big obstacle in my way. Cody. He'll never leave this part of the country. He's too attached to his heritage and family to ever leave. Even if the money was perfect and all the conditions were right, it would take a miracle to get him to willingly leave. It drives me crazy so much of the time.

And I'm not even hell bent on living back in Texas (although that's my dream) I just want to be somewhere somewhat humid with huge trees and green grass everywhere. I want to be in a place where flowers start blooming at the start of spring. People always say that 75 degrees is perfect weather. WHAT??!! If it's not warm enough to comfortably swim outside then it is not perfect weather. Maybe my life revolves too much around the water. But it's how I grew up and it's what I know. I miss it. I'm frustrated!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

My Roses

Last year I bought a few rose bushes on clearance for $3 a piece. They were normally $20 a piece so I figured what the heck...I'll try my hand at roses. I planted them in the front bed in he corner that gets the most light and despite my black thumb, they survived and are in full bloom this time of year! I love clipping them and having the sweet smell in the house. I'm not sure what variety they are, but they are very fragrant! I'm kind of proud of myself.

Shoshone Falls

The weekend of April 26th was our Stake Conference and since we didn't have church responsibilities, we decided to get out of town. We did something while in Idaho that we've never done before since we've been together. We went out to see the Shoshone Falls. It's only a 20 minute drive from his parents' house and I don't know why we've never done that before. We grabbed Subway to eat in the picnic area and if it hadn't been so dang windy, it would have been a beautiful day. They call the falls "The Niagra of the West" and it's true. It was huge! We had a great time and we'll have to do this again before another decade passes.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Matthew Love

All I can say is Ethan loves his Uncle Matthew. He flat out digs having more testosterone in the house, especially that from an uncle or a Grandpa. And I get the idea that Matthew kind of liked Ethan...just a little. He's the only nephew on that side (among way too many nieces) and he's kind of a star like that. So until his baby brother arrives this fall, Ethan is the king in the McCorkle clan.
He loved wearing Matthew's motorcycle helmet and he was fascinated by the mohawk feather down the middle. In fact, he was fascinated with the whole motorcycle thing in general. This kid really misses his manly man of an uncle!

A Visit From Uncle Matthew

Uncle Matthew came up this way from Texas two weeks ago. He's been on a month long road trip from Austin and he stayed with us for several days on his way up to Montana (his final destination). He stayed with us again for a couple of nights on his way back down south. We all had a great time while he was here and it was sad saying goodbye...twice.

Matthew and I were room mates for one semester of school. But I was so young and the four year age gap between us still seemed huge. He was more of a fatherly figure during that time, not really a friend. He spent a lot of time trying to whip my butt into shape to get me to be more responsible.

I never get to visit with him one on one anymore. This visit was great because I felt I learned a lot about him that I never knew before. We stayed up very late many nights talking about all kinds of issues and discussing our childhoods. One night we even pulled out some old home movies (per HIS request!) It was a lot of fun and I'm grateful for the time we got to spend together. We live in different worlds and have very different lives, but I love him a lot and I'm so glad he's my big brother.

I was sad to see him go, but we've got plans to get together again when we're down there this summer. And I can't express how much the kids love him. But it's a real toss up deciding who they love more...Matthew or his awesome dog Mya. Hailey cried and cried when they left because she fell madly in love with the dog. Maybe one day they'll be back up our way and we can do it all over again!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Mini Me

Ever since Hailey was tiny it's been evident that she is my clone. Not so much that she looks like me, but the way she acts and her personality is 100% me. I've got to say she has some adorable characteristics. In fact that's what makes us love her so much and that's how she manages to get out of trouble most of the time. But the more I get to know her, the more I realize why I drove my whole family crazy as a kid. She is nothing but silly energy, stubborn, manipulative, a diva, imaginative, and soooooo emotional.

Lately she has been testing my patience more than I can describe. And every time I tell my parents about it they say "There is a God!" Yesterday was a bad day and I behaved in ways that I'm not proud of. A mom can only take so much! She disobeys and then laughs about it, as if to say "Come on, what are you REALLY going to do about it?" No punishment phases her. We try everything, but she continues to be naughty. Much of the time she is the ring leader of the trouble the kids get into.

Yesterday evening I'd hit my limit and I was sitting on the porch trying to relax while kids played. A one gallon jug of bubbles was sitting there and Hailey kept trying to get into it. I kept telling her that we weren't going to play with bubbles right then. Just a few minutes later I look over and not only is the jug opened, but Hailey is rubbing it all over herself and her sister. Then, before I could say anything, she dumped the bottle right on Lauren's head. It hadn't gotten in Lauren's eyes or mouth yet so they both laughed hysterically.

And then it seeped into her eyes and she started to scream. Let's just say that it was a nightmare rinsing that off the girls because it was impossible to do so with out killing their tender eyes. I had no compassion for Hailey as she cried, which now I'm ashamed of. I should have been more kind and loving toward her. But I was so mad! Lauren was hysterical and I was furious that Hailey had done that to her right in front of me! After a crazy Mom moment, I finally calmed down. But it was a bad time. I love Hailey more than I can say. That love runs deep, but I wish I could say the same about my patience. We are in for a long road with that one!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Celebrating Our New Addition

Family camping trips are a staple of my childhood memories. I've wanted to start that tradition with my own family, but we've been waiting for kids to get old enough to really enjoy it. I've been hunting for a tent for a long time. Cody and I have one from when we were first married, but with a fourth child on the way we've largely outgrown it.

After reading tons of reviews, we bought this tent today. 200 square feet, three rooms, and a perfect price. I'm so happy with it! Ethan's had a lot of fun looking at tents with me online. Today at the store he was overly excited to get home and try it out. He and I had it all set up when Cody came home. I can't wait to start camping this summer. We're surrounded by many gorgeous state parks and I look forward to utilizing them! Maybe we'll even brave our ward camp out in August. I'll be seven months pregnant, but I don't care.

This kids were so excited about the new tent that they didn't want to stop playing or go inside, so we had a picnic outside tonight. Nothing says "summer is here" like a bowl full of water melon!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

We're Still Here

In case anyone was wondering, we're still here and still alive. I haven't had time to do much of anything for leisure lately, and blogging (although it is my journal) sadly falls into that category. I promise I'll be back soon. I have a million posts to catch up on. Stay tuned!