"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

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Lauren's First Prayer

Oh how I wish I had a picture of this one.

Tonight as we were saying family prayer I asked who's turn it was as I always do, and it was followed by a bunch of ME ME ME!!! Lauren always joins in the chorus. She's such a big kid and her little hand shoots straight into the air.

Tonight I decided that she could have a turn for once. She got down on the floor, got on her knees, and folded her arms across her chest. I could have died the way she was so grown up about it. Her hair was an afro of curls, partially dried after her bath, and she was wearing her light green floral pajamas.

I would say a phrase, and then she did her best to repeat it in her own language. Surprisingly a lot of what she said was completely recognizable. I couldn't help but peek at her through my squinted eyes. My heart completely melted. She had her eyes squeezed tightly shut as if she was really concentrating on the words. When she said "Amen" she looked around and we were all clapping for her. She was beaming with pride and a giant smile was spread across her face!

Cody and I just looked at each other and thought how grown up she was at that moment. But what really got to me was knowing that Heavenly Father heard her sweet little gibberish prayer just like He hears all of our prayers. And it was her very first one. It was a very tender moment for all of us.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

33 Week 3D Ultrasound

We splurged a little and had a 3D ultrasound done today. We didn't get any good printouts at the 19 week ultrasound and we really wanted some nice ones. This boy is for sure measuring big. The sonographer asked me if I always have big babies. I told her Ethan was big but the girls were little. She said that this guy is definitely a big one and she actually had to zoom out a few times. I'm not at all surprised.

He was very cooperative but you could tell he didn't want to be messed with. He was grimacing a lot and it was so precious. And yes, he is still VERY much a boy. I love the perfect line down his cute scrotum! If we'd waited any longer he'd have been way too squished to get any good shots. We are now really dying to meet this boy!


Deliver day. It is official. Our baby boy is scheduled to arrive on Monday, October 12th. Surgery starts at 7:30 that morning, which means we have to be at the hospital at 5:30! Ugh.

That is Columbus Day so my mom suggested we name him Chris. Nah, too cliche. But he is still with out a first name. His middle name will most definitely be Joseph. I had wanted to make that his first name, but wise Philip suggested we don't do that because it will be too hard for me to say on a regular basis. The more I thought about it, the more I know he's right. But I like using it as a middle name. Joseph was actually his middle name anyway...William Joseph McCorkle. This way if I feel like calling him Lil Joe, I still can. I can't believe we'll have our fourth baby so soon. I couldn't be more excited!

Friday, August 28, 2009

On Grief

Evelyn sent this to me today. I never thought that Lemony Snicket could sum up our feelings in such a way. I believe he hit the nail on the head with this one.

Lemony Snicket has an interesting observation on grief. If you have ever read the book, A Series of Unfortunate Events you know that the 3 main characters lost their parents in a fire at the beginning of the book. In book 9, The Carnivorous Carnival, the children have the following exchange and the narrator follows with some important insight on grief.

"The middle Baudelaire's voice quivered, and his sisters turned to look at him--a feat that was difficult for Violet, who was still sharing his shirt--and saw that he was crying. Violet leaned so that her head was against his while Sunny put her mug down and crawled closer to hug his knees, and the three Baudelaires stood quietly together for a few moments.

Grief, a type of sadness that most often occurs when you have lost someone you love, is a sneaky thing, because it can disappear for a long time, and then pop back up when you least expect it. When I am able, I go out walking on Griny Beach very early in the morning, which is the best time to find materials important to the Baudelaire case, and the ocean is so peaceful that I feel peaceful, too, as if I am no longer grieving for the woman I love and will never see again. But then, when I am cold and duck into a teashop where the owner is expecting me, I have only to reach for the sugar bowl before my grief returns, and I find my self crying so loudly that other customers ask me if I could possibly lower my sobs.

With the Baudelaire orphans, it was as if their grief were a very heavy object that they each took turns carrying so that they would not all be crying at once, but sometimes the object was too heavy for one of them to move without weeping, so Violet and Sunny stood next to Klaus, reminding him that this was something they could all carry together until at last they found a safe place to lay it down."

Maybe one day we too can find a safe place to lay down this grief.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Soccer Mom

I drive a minivan and now my kids are playing soccer. I guess it makes it official. I am a soccer mom and now all I need is one of those cheesy family decals for the back window of the van. Since today was the first of many games, both kids were dressed and ready to go three hours before Ethan's game. They were so excited. But all that changed when we got there.
Hailey only had practice today. She was really mad at first because she wanted to play on the toys at the park, not kick the ball around. But she warmed up quickly and ended up having a really good time. She was pretty excited when she got a popsicle at the end. The silly thing about her league is they get TWO snacks per game. Really? How much do those kids need? One during half time and one at the end. Honestly I think snacks at games are plain annoying because they always fall right before or right after dinner time. But what ever helps to bribe the kids, I guess.
Ethan had his first practice last week and loved it. He loved getting a new uniform and playing with his friends. He didn't have a moment of hesitation at all during practice. I wish I could say the same for today. He has been excited for weeks about playing soccer, but as soon as we got the field today he freaked out with a complete meltdown. It lasted the entire game and Cody and I were about ready to hurt him by the end. He does this with EVERYTHING. He begs and begs to do activities, but then when it starts he cries the whole time. No, he screams the whole time. Then after a few attempts he warms up and has fun. But getting to that point is terrible. We're hoping next Wednesday proves to be better for him.

7 More Weeks

When we were packing up camp on Saturday I was flopped on the folded up tent as to squish air out of it. Cody started laughing and pointing and saying I looked like Shamu flopping on the beach. He is a dumb boy and doesn't know when to keep his mouth shut. But as you can tell from the above picture...he's right. My doc snapped this pic of me this morning at my appointment. He laughed at me too.

Everything is perfect and right on schedule for this baby. He's measuring big and I'm still not surprised. For the last few weeks he's decided to camp out in a semi breech/ diagonal position with his head in my right ribs and his feet and bottom in my left hip. That hip always hurts as a result. But he's such an active and healthy boy and I don't mind at all.

My BP has started going up which is a huge blessing. I think it's due to me walking quite a bit more, to and from the elementary school. Today is was 115/65 which is awesome for me. I've had way less fainting spells lately. We won't discuss my weight though. I'll just say that I'll easily surpass my final Lauren weight by the time this boy arrives. That's just wrong!

Today Mike and I talked about a possible delivery date. He's going to call me in two days to schedule it, but for now it's looking like it'll happen on October 13th (if he doesn't decide to come sooner than that!) I really hope to make it that far. Only five days before my due date sounds perfect to me.

Today Mike asked me how I was doing with the whole Joseph thing. It's been eight weeks today and he remembers well the day it happened because I had an appointment that afternoon with him. I was honest and said it's day to day and it's been really hard. Of course he started joking around to lighten the mood and he said "You know, Joseph and this baby are tearing it apart up there. They are probably scheming together or something."

I almost started crying when he said that because I believe with all my heart he is right. One of the main things that's given me comfort is the idea that my dear brother and my sweet unborn son are getting to know each other as we've been going through this trial. I feel that Joseph has taken him under his wing and that he's telling him about things and teaching him stuff he needs to know. Joseph absolutely adored his family, especially his nieces and one nephew. So I know he feels as strongly about this baby, maybe even more because he has the chance to know him as a spirit from an eternal standpoint.

I'm able to feel a bigger connection with Joseph through death because I know he is with my son right now. It makes me feel closer to him. Sometimes I talk to Joe during the day and give him "messages" to give my little boy, things I wish I could tell him right now. And every once in a while I can actually hear Joseph laugh in response to something funny I've said. Sometimes the veil is so thin. And for that reason, part of me doesn't want the baby to be born as soon as he will be. The thought of him leaving Joseph makes me sad because I feel I'll no longer have that special connection with him.

Gosh, this lump in my throat seems to be constant. It rarely goes away because there is always something around every corner to jog a memory. I miss him so much and want more than anything to be able to talk to him face to face. And in a way, I'm jealous of my unborn child for getting to do so.

But seven more weeks. Seven more weeks and I'll be holding that sweet baby in my arms and fighting the other kids to get to hold him.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Why I Love It

This pregnancy has been physically draining. I don't think any pregnancy is easy, but this go around it's been very hard on my body and my life has encountered new stresses that I never saw coming. As I catch myself wishing away these last few weeks, I'm stricken with guilt because I know that in a few short weeks I'll really miss this precious time (like I always do). I thought I'd compile a list of the reasons why I LOVE being pregnant. Because there really are too many to count.

-How great my facial skin looks and feels.

-Getting a for sure positive pregnancy test and then seeing the itty bitty heart beat on the U/S screen for the first time.

-Eating whatever I want, whenever I want it with no questions asked. No one thinking twice when I say I need a juicy and thick hamburger NOW!! -

-The thought of Cody holding our new baby in his arms. He's just too cute with our babies.

-The constant kicks I feel when I lay down at night, and the ones I feel first thing in the morning.

-Knowing that I am the only person in the world that the baby needs or can depend on.

-How excited the other kids get when we talk about the new baby. Ethan is so excited about meeting his brother he can hardly stand it.

-Being able to assist God in creating such a miracle.

-That indescribable feeling when I'm certain I felt the baby move for the first time. It's like tiny little air bubbles floating around.

-Imagining the youngest child as an older sibling.

-Not feeling at all guilty when there is laundry to be done but I HAVE to lie down in the middle of the afternoon. (Okay, actually I always feel guilty about that one)

-The anticipation of finding out if we're adding a brother or a sister to the family.

-Sorting through tiny booties and socks in preparation for the baby's arrival.

-Shopping for the perfect going home outfit.

-When the kids insist that I lift up my shirt so they can kiss the baby.

-Listening to the kid's prayers when they ask God to bless the baby.

-Imagining what the baby will look like and who he will favor most. My side or Cody's side?

-Realizing that my body is working as hard as someone's who is climbing a mountain.

-Organizing all the little stuff that goes along with that baby. I love opening that first package of newborn diapers and being blown away at how small they are.

-This time around I love when I'm at the store by myself and someone asks me if this is my first baby. I then say "No, it's my fourth" and then I giggle to myself.

-Watching my belly grow and take shape. Even though I shoot out like a torpedo and everything goes kaput, I love how my body changes.

-Getting to see the little one on the U/S screen. It melts my heart each time!

-Hearing the perfect heart beat at each prenatal check up. It's music to my ears.

-Watching my belly as the baby pushes and rolls and wondering what body part he's poking me with.

-Feeling him hiccup.

-Agonizing over the perfect name.

-I love the rare instance when Cody actually gets to feel the baby move and how excited he gets. Our babies are notorious for hiding and being still when he tries to get a feel.

-Scheduling the last of my prenatal appointments because it means that we'll be having a baby very soon! And I just love having a new baby.

I'll probably compile a list of why I DO NOT like being pregnant here shortly...it all depends on the day!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Kindergarten Interview

Yesterday Ethan and I were talking about Kindergarten and what it would be like. I asked him a few questions and wrote down his answers. It was kind of funny hearing his responses. I am going to do this every time a kid starts kindergarten.

What are you doing tomorrow? Going to Kindergarten.

How old you have to be? 6 (you really have to be 5)

What is your teacher's name? Mrs. Wells

How old is she? 29 (she is no where near 29)

What do you do in Kindergarten? Play with toys, learn to do homework (he's been looking forward to homework for a long time...crazy kid), get an Iron Man costume, sit, watch movies, play with Mom, look at everything like books, playground, computers, books about dinosaurs, and pictures.

What time does school start? Mondays at 10:00.

What do you eat for snacks? Cookies, grapes, apples, and apple juice.


I can not believe this day has come. I remember sitting in the hospital the day after he was born and Cody and I talked about this day. It seemed so far into the future though and we brushed it off like it would never happen. But we both agreed that we'd be sad when it did.

Ethan has been looking forward to his first day of Kindergarten for months. The new elementary school has been under construction for a long time and it's only a few blocks from our house. So we've passed it almost every day and watched in anticipation as it grew. I've been excited for a long time for the school year because it means a routine and changes for the better. I love this time of year!

Last night I helped Ethan pick out his clothes for today. Cody gave him the sweetest priesthood blessing and I found myself getting choked up as I listened to the words. This morning Ethan was awake long before I was ready to get up. It was like Christmas morning for him! Per his request we had apple and cinnamon oatmeal for breakfast. I've never seen the kid eat that fast. I got everyone ready and we headed out the door for some video and pictures and then we started walking. It was amazing to see the floods of kids on the streets and sidewalks making their way to the new school.

Once we were there Daddy met us and we found his teacher's line in front of the school. He gave her a bag of cookies with a cute note attached. She loved it and gave him a huge hug. The principal gave a short welcome message and then there was a flag raising ceremony. We then said the pledge of allegiance and sang the national anthem. What an amazing experience!

Then it was time to make our way into the classroom. Today was a short day for kindergartners because the parents had an orientation meeting with the teacher. We just love her already! She's in her mid 50s and couldn't be sweeter. She welcomed the kids on the front mat and read a story to them. Then the kids went out to the playground with the class helpers while the parents stayed inside.

After listening to a lot of instructions and filling out a lot of paperwork, it was time to go. When we met back up with Ethan he was beaming from ear to ear! I don't think I've ever seen him so excited. He started telling me about the new friends he'd already made. He can't wait to go back.

Guess what Ethan- you get to go every day!!

Look at how swollen I am. I can feel my body inflate more and more every day, especially my face!

His great teacher Mrs. Wells

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Mommy and Hailey Date

Hailey has been getting the shaft lately. I know she is little, but right now she is the ultimate middle child. It won't always be this way, but she is having a hard time in the present. The other day Cody and I were trying to come up with some way to make her feel more special as the piece of bologna in the sandwich. We decided that she needed some alone time with Mom, so all week long I'd been talking about our Mommy and Hailey date. She was so excited!

We got back from camping on Saturday about lunch time and honestly I don't know how I made the drive home. Cody drove his own car since we'd come separately the day before. We got home and after I unpacked all I had energy for, my body was SCREAMING at me to stop. I'd really done too much in the days before. So I got cleaned up and had to lie down. Hailey waited patiently for Mommy to get up so we could go!

First stop was Wal Mart so she could pick out a new back pack for preschool, along with a few supplies to give her teacher. She also got some new nail polish and a horse play set that she'd been dying to have.

Then it was off to the mall to get her a few new out fits. She has lived mainly on hand-me-downs from my sister's girls and she rarely gets new clothes. But being such a diva she was very excited to pick things out for herself. And she did a good job! I like the girl's style.

Then we ate dinner at the food court and shared a world famous lemonade from Hot Dog On A Stick. We talked all about preschool and she informed me that I am NOT allowed to stay on her first day. I have to take her, let her out of the van, and then leave. It broke my heart as she said it with such confidence!

She then insisted that we get chocolate milkshakes for Ethan and Lauren on the way home since they didn't get to go with us. Such a sweet girl. And now she keeps saying that Ethan and I need to have a boy's day together. I just love her to pieces!!

Our First Camping Trip

Our ward had their annual camp out this weekend. I wrote on here a while back that I wanted to go, and sure enough we ended up going! The event actually went on from Thursday until Saturday.

I spent the last week making lists, checking them twice, and making sure we packed our whole house...just in case. The kids and I left early Friday morning and headed up into the mountains. Some of our good friends were already there, but very few people went up Thursday night so we had a great pick of where to set up camp. It was so beautiful being up there in nature! It's so different than only twenty miles away down in the valley where we live.

The kids and I had a blast all day sitting around the campfire,, getting REALLY REALLY dirty, exploring, visiting as friends slowly trickled in, cooking hot dogs for lunch, and getting wet in the ICEY cold streams (all of which is 100% pure snow melt). By 3:00 that afternoon loads of people were coming in. It was a lot of fun seeing everyone in their natural state! One person actually didn't recognize me with out my hair and make up done. But it was great getting to just relax.

We enjoyed some incredible dutch oven cooking for dinner, right about the time that Cody pulled in. We were very excited to see Daddy! I think he was really glad to see that we had our camp already set up and he didn't have to do a thing.

The kids were in Heaven having so many friends to play and explore with. Once it was dark we all congregated around the main campfire and the Bishopric gave a really nice devotional. We sang some songs, cooked lots of smores, and became hypnotized by the flames of the fire. It was hard getting kids to bed because they were so wired from the day's events.

Finally everyone was in bed but a few of us sat out while the fire burned down into the wee hours of the morning. I eventually hit the hay and of course didn't sleep well, now being in my eighth month of pregnancy. My hips hurt all night long and the temp got down into the 40s. But it was such a fun experience that I didn't even mind my prenatal discomforts. All the kids are talking about is when we get to go again. What a fun time!!

Mmmm, that tastes good!

A portrait of beauty.
Wow, check out that camp fire smoke! It looks so hazy.
Hailey insisted on bringing her little tent. She was very popular with the girls! They loved playing cards and being imaginative inside.

I have to mention that Ethan can be quite the charming leader. During the devotional, he grabbed one of our battery operated lanterns and lured a bunch of kids away for their own little pow wow. He set the lantern in the middle and told what he said was a "spooky story". He told me it was about Scooby Doo. I kept looking over at them to make sure things were okay and it was funny to see how he held the other kids' attention. I think he may have the Gov's knack for story telling! He was always the hit at camp outs for that reason when we were kids .

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

As Real As It Gets

It seems that I am one of the last true journalers.

As I read my friends and family's blogs I'm in awe that they keep things so positive. Sometimes it gets to me and makes me feel like there's something wrong with me because I seem to get consumed in the realness of life. And I write about it. The good, the bad, and the ugly.

Someone said to me a few months back that my blog is depressing. And another person said to me that they don't believe in writing about negative things. Well I agree that my blog can sometimes be depressing. But that's life. I write this blog strictly for my journal and I suppose I should put a disclaimer at the top that warns people that it's as real as it gets.

And why on earth would a person only write about the positive things in life? It's not only the positive things that make life worth living. It's all of the living experiences, both good and bad, that make us who we are. I want my children and posterity to read my journal one day and say "Wow, she was a REAL person who had real trials and she rose above them." Why be phony? When you think about it, how meaningful would the scriptures be if only the good things were recorded? Where would the lessons be?

Today has been one of those days that is as real as it gets. Life happened today and I found myself in a puddle of tears on the bathroom floor at the end of it. I sat there and sobbed and cleaned up a child's poop that had not made it into the toilet. The things that make us mothers. Ethan came in and saw me crying and he gave me a hug. It seemed to make things a little better, until the next thing happened. I yelled and screamed much more that I should have and I was ashamed of myself. But I feel like there is so much demand on me and no where near enough of me to go around.

So I cried.

Cody was at Scouts really late tonight and I was about to lose it. I went into the kitchen and pulled out the ingredients for chocolate chip cookies with out saying a word to the freshly bathed kids. As soon as they heard the buzz of the mixer they were drawn in like moths to a flame. So we made cookies together and I didn't care that they got dirty. They had fun and I saw it as a truce to our bad day. Nothing like warm butter and sugar to soothe the soul.

As I was moving a batch of cookies to the cooling rack, Ethan watched me and he said "Mom, you sure have a lot of jobs. You do a lot of stuff." Oh Ethan, if you only knew.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Swim Lesson Wrap Up

Ethan and Hailey did three sessions of swim lessons this season. They did such a great job! While we were in Texas, Ethan learned to swim on his own (with an adult nearby of course). He just needs to work on his confidence, but he is doing great! And Hailey is a natural mermaid. She is so tiny but such a dare devil in the water.

We stayed almost every day to swim after lessons and all I can say is I'm glad it's over. It's a HUGE pain getting kids all ready for the pool and everything that a swimming excursion entails. Lauren really wanted to swim like the big kids this year, but she was a great sport about just watching during their lessons. Maybe next year, Sweetie!

Little Sneaks

With out fail, a child ends up in our bed every night. And to be honest, I love it. I love climbing into bed only to find a little body snuggling beneath the covers. And I love the feeling of their bodies against mine as we sleep. It seems to drain away all anxiety and stress from the day as I hold them and feel their hearts beating. Such sweet times.

Back To School

School is almost upon us! I can't believe I have a kindergartner. Ethan starts school on August 24th and Hailey starts preschool on September 9th with Mrs. Kari. She has looked forward to being old enough for two years! We did some shopping this week for new supplies and I loved letting the kids pick out back packs, crayons, construction paper, glue sticks, etc. Although I'm always a little sad to see summer draw to and end, I've always gotten a small thrill when I see school supplies go on sale at the end of the season. This year it got me thinking about everything I loved about the new school year.

-Picking out a new lunch box and back pack.

-Getting a new binder and organizing it.

-Freshly sharpened pencils in my zipper pencil bag.

-The smell of crayons.

-Agonizing over what to wear that first day...and that first month for that matter.

-Finding out who my homeroom teacher was and who would be in my class.

-Getting a new lunch menu and deciding on days I'd buy my lunch.

-Book covers.

-Pocket dividers that had not been doodled on yet (and no dumb boy's last name coupled with my first name!)

-A clean slate and big ideas of making good grades.

-Laying clothes out the night before like a good girl...at least for the first week or so.

-Getting to see friends I hadn't seen all summer.

-Getting a new locker (once I got into Jr. High)

-Practicing really cool things to say in the mirror with Evelyn (looking back we were such dorks).

-Making a "get ready in the morning" schedule and only sticking with it that first day.

-Getting the "Back To School" issue of Teen magazine and reading up on the new trends. (In older years of course :)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Nap Time Escapdes

No matter how bad you think your day is going...trust me mine has been worse. Lauren stripped her clothes and diaper off during her nap. She pooped in her crib and then proceeded to smear it all over every surface she could reach...including covering herself in it from head to toe. When I walked into the room and she saw me she said "Uh oh." That was very fun to clean up. And be grateful I did not post a picture of this one! What a great week we've had.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Baby Check Up

I went to the doctor today. Everything was perfect and very routine, which I love. My BP was 100/60. I've only gained 1.5 pounds in the last two weeks, which is low for me. By this stage I'm a two pound a week gal.

My belly is measuring big and it's no joke when I say I'm out of room. When Mike measured and told me I'm still ahead on the chart, I laughed and said "He is so big now, but just wait...he'll only be 5 1/2 pounds at birth." He felt around on my belly and said "Doubtful, because he's getting close to that weight now." I gasped and said that I still had nine more weeks so there was no way. Then Mike retorted "What makes you think you'll make it nine more weeks? This kid's not likely to stay put."

He again gave me instructions to come into L&D any time anything happens, like I did on Saturday. Anyway, this is the biggest, strongest, and most active baby I've had at this stage of pregnancy. That's exciting and frightening at the same time!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Still Going Strong

We thought the worst of this bug was behind us yesterday afternoon. As I was about to read to the kids last night, Ethan ran down the hall and [almost] made it to the bathroom before he lost it...half on the carpet half on the linoleum floor. Cody and I spent the next two hours shampooing the carpets and washing more towels and bedding. At 12:30 a.m. Ethan started in again, and again, and again. Another fun night for me. I want to thank my mom for the countless nights she stayed up with sick kids while we spewed chunks. Nothing says love like that.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Joseph's Funeral

It was a very hard day, but it was also one of the sweetest days of my life. I'd worked for days on a video of his life. How do you cram almost 27 years into 14 minutes and 35 seconds? Meticulously, that's how. Making that video was one of the hardest things I'd ever done. It was pure torture sitting in front of a computer looking at picture after picture. But the worst part was picking the music. Music gets me like nothing else can. It has a way of sparking feelings that normally lie deep down in my heart.

I finally came up with the perfect four songs to use and after it was all put together and the DVD burned, Mom, Cody, and I sat in the living room and watched it at 2:00 in the morning. How bittersweet. Mom and I sobbed like little babies and I could feel her pain...in a literal sense. I hope to never understand the feeling of losing a child. Losing a brother has been hard enough.

The funeral was closed casket for obvious reasons, so there was not a "viewing". But at 12:30 we did have a visitation time for everyone. We played the video and there was not a dry eye in the church house. It played on a loop so everyone could watch it was they came and went from the room.

When I first walked into the church I saw one of my favorite people. The Mo (Melissa). She and I had been inseparable best friends since Kindergarten. We grew up only three blocks apart from each other and almost every bit of those thirteen years were spent together. Her younger brother, Bobby, was one of Joseph's best friends. He was only a year younger than Joseph. Seeing their family was like a breath of fresh air. I haven't seen Mo in almost five years, and when I walked in, I ran to her, we hugged like we'd never let go, and cried together.

How great it was to have my old best friend with me that day. We sat there and watched the video and cried and laughed at the same time. Bobby, Joseph, Mo, and me spent countless days and nights together as a little quartet. And now Joseph was gone.

The Relief Society room began to get too packed for the visitation so it was moved into the Cultural Hall. As more and more people gathered, my sister came up to me and said "Scott is here". Scott is Joseph's good friend who had been driving that night. According to their boss, Scott had been ostracized from most of their fellow co-workers. Everyone blamed him for Joseph's death. I can't imagine the guts it took for him to show up that day. As I looked at his tear streaked face and I saw his petrified expression, my heart filled with nothing but compassion for him.

I walked over to him and introduced myself. I could tell he was scared of what I might say. I reached out and gave him a huge hug and told him it was okay. One by one all of the immediate family did the same. Before I walked into the Chapel, I told him that we all loved him because Joseph loved him. He had done nothing wrong and I bore testimony of the Lord's plan. This was how it was supposed to happen. But I felt sad that he had to be an instrument in Joseph's death.

For days I'd imagined what it would be like to see his casket. And then I'd block out the image because it seemed so wrong to think of it. About half way through the visitation, I forced myself to walk down to the chapel and peek inside. I'm very glad Cody was with me because I almost collapsed. Seeing that shiny silver box made it too real. My six foot, five inch baby brother was lying in there. How unfair!!! My heart felt like it would burst from my chest.

After a few minutes Cody left me alone and I sat on the front row, right in front of the casket, and sobbed so hard I thought I would die. I looked at the picture sitting on top of it and suddenly I was taken back to last summer. I had taken that picture of him. It was the day of Lilly's baptism and we all went over to Mom and Dad's for burgers and swimming afterward. Joseph had not yet changed from his dapper church attire and he wanted me to take some "hot" pictures of him for Facebook. We had a silly time as I did so.

I sat there and remembered that day with such clarity as if the events were being played on a screen. And now here he was, lifeless in a coffin. I grabbed the picture, hugged it to my chest and rocked back and forth on the seat, trembling. He couldn't really be gone. Some wonderful friends came in and sat with me as I cried. We all just cried together.

Anyone who knows the McCorkles knows that we are a family FULL of inside jokes and silly nicknames. Much of that stems from our dad. The funeral was not without inside jokes. There was a huge bowl of snickers bars sitting outside the chapel on the visitors table. There was also a sign instructing people to eat one in honor of the Bofe. Why snickers bars and why at a funeral? I'm sure most people didn't get it. Joseph was the most stubborn child when it came to potty training. I believe he was almost four years old before he would actually do his business in the toilet, but not before my mom finally figured out the perfect bribe. Snickers bars. So for over twenty years, Joseph was teased mercilessly about Snickers and poop. At many family functions somehow a Snickers bar would end up on Joseph's plate, in his bag, a Christmas stocking...you name it. It's been a joke in our family forever. So naturally we had to include Snickers in his farewell. He would have loved that.

Our immediate family was the last to enter the chapel for the actual service. We had been instructed by the funeral directors to wait in a "holding area" until all of the guests were seated. We were then led into the chapel and when we walked in, I don't think any of us could believe what we saw. Standing room only. Wall to wall of people, all the way back to the overflow. And everyone had turned out to honor Hose Bucket. Just seeing all of those faces made me want to break down. I'm not kidding when I say that everyone who knew Joseph just adored him. All of those people crammed into that room was a testament of that.

We all took our place on the front row. We started the service with "I Believe in Christ" because after all, isn't He the center of this thing called life? After the bishop gave a few remarks, the nieces and nephew got up and sang "Families Can Be Together Forever". What a sweet and tender spirit it brought into the room. Dad gave the eulogy. He's given a few eulogy's before, including his own mother's a few years before. But you never expect to give your baby boy's eulogy. It was one of the most incredible things I'd ever heard. I am so thankful to have such strong parents. They have always been full of the spirit and have been great teachers. My Dad especially is an incredible example to me. I know he has his eulogy typed out and one of these days I'd like to post it on here.

What got me the most is that at the very beginning he said "I want to make one thing clear. If I lose composure and get too choked up, it's not out of sheer sadness for Joseph, but more so because of gratitude to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ." What an amazing man.

After Dad gave his remarks, one by one each of the siblings got up and said something. I've never been to a funeral with so much laughter involved. You could say we roasted Joseph. His life was filled with silliness and fun. We all had nothing but funny memories of him and anecdotes of touching experiences with him. Leighann was not able to come home from her mission for the funeral and I was very sad about that, but I fully understand why now. It would have been far too hard for her to regain her focus once she was back in Washington. But she did write out a beautiful sentiment and Evelyn read it through tears.

Philip was the last one to speak. I sat next to him and felt his leg shaking through the whole service. He kept saying he didn't want to get up there, but he finally did and we all agreed that it was by far the best part of the day. For anyone who knows Philip, you know how hard people in general are for him. He doesn't mesh well with a lot of people because he's such a unique person. Joseph always acted as his buffer because he was so confidant and charismatic. But when Philip got up to the pulpit, he was a different person. There was a new confidence about him that we'd never seen before. It was as if the old Hazoor had passed the torch onto him. Philip gave the most touching yet funny account of Joseph. I'm so very glad that he had the courage to do so because it was an incredible tribute to our brother.

We sang "There Is Sunshine In My Soul Today" as the closing song and I don't think we could have picked a more appropriate song to sing. At the end of that service, even through the midst of tears, we all agreed that there truly was sunshine bursting through out the room.

I've never seen such a long procession of cars going to a graveside. The hearse was lead by police officers on motorcycles and the immediate family followed. As Cody drove, I looked back and it seemed that the stream of cars went on for miles. It went on and on and on! I could not get over the number of people who came to honor him. It was an amazing comfort to us to be surrounded by people who loved him so much.

The weather was hot, to say the least. It was about 105 plus humidity and I don't know how the guys survived in their suit coats. Michael, Matthew, Philip, Dewey, Cody, and Andrew were the pallbearers. It was the most surreal thing to watch our brothers and family carry the casket for one of our own. But even at the graveside we continued to laugh and keep the mood light. Dad had asked Cody to dedicate the grave and he gave the most beautiful blessing. I felt comforted knowing that the Lord was watching over his sweet body and tomb, much like he had done with Christ when he died.

the Bishop gave a few remarks, and then that was it.

Philip rode back with Cody, me, and the kids. I was astounded at the change in his attitude in that moment. It was like grief had left Philip and he was happy. I think it was partly because Joseph was there with us. As we were about to leave the cemetery, Philip told Cody to stop the car and he asked me for a pen and paper. He scribbled something down, jumped out the Suburban and went over to the casket. A minute later he came back with a huge smile on his face. He written Joseph a note and asked the funeral director to put it in the casket for him. I still don't know what it said, but it must have given him some sort of closure.

The ride back to the church was a happy one as Philip and I talked about our feelings of the day. Back at the church we gathered for a MUCH needed meal. The whole ward had brought in a potluck dinner and we were so glad for that. I was surprised that so many people came back for the dinner. It's true that our family is made up of so many extended members- people who aren't related by blood, but who we've adopted over the years. It was so healing to be there with everyone. At one point I asked someone with a smile across my face "Is it wrong to feel so much happiness right now?" He laughed and said he felt the same way. We all agree that there was an amazing spirit there. It's how Joseph would have wanted it.

We laughed, we talked, we cried, and then we headed back to Mom and Dad's for swimming and more food. Yeah, that's right. The party continued well after dark. I loved having so many loved ones around...both related by blood and related by love alone. What a great day. Bofie, I know you would have loved it.

Like I said, we were silly even at the graveside. Philip had to do the classic "Blue Steel" in honor of Joseph. I know Joseph was there was laughing hard!

The bishop saying a few words.
Evelyn. I think she was in the same surreal state we all were.
Such a gorgeous casket and so full of bling. He would have loved it.

The table set up during the dinner. My mom's good friend did that water color and wrote a beautiful poem to go with it. I'm going to find the poem and post about it.
Mom's other good friend gave her this statue. It sits in the window sill above the kitchen sink.