Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Tender Mercies

I broke my internet fast on Monday night because I needed to get on to work on church business. I am still fasting from other forms of media, such as radio and TV. And to be honest, I don't miss them in the least. I have watched a lot of Conference talks since I began this journey last Friday. One talk inparticular struck a chord with me. Elder Bruce D. Porter said:

"When we sin and desire forgiveness, a broken heart and a contrite spirit mean to experience 'godly sorrow [that] worketh repentance' (2 Corinthians 7:10). This comes when our desire to be cleansed from sin is so consuming that our hearts ache with sorrow and we yearn to feel at peace with our Father in Heaven. Those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit are willing to do anything and everything that God asks of them, without resistance or resentment. We cease doing things our way and learn to do them God’s way instead. In such a condition of submissiveness, the Atonement can take effect and true repentance can occur. The penitent will then experience the sanctifying power of the Holy Ghost, which will fill them with peace of conscience and the joy of reconciliation with God. In a wondrous union of divine attributes, the same God who teaches us to walk with a broken heart invites us to rejoice and to be of good cheer....When we yield our hearts to the Lord, the attractions of the world simply lose their luster. "

Wow. That last line got to me the most. I wish I had time at the moment to journal everything that I've been taught this week. The spirit truly is an amazing teacher.

We have all been sick this week, and any parent understands how draining that is. Ethan was up much of the night on Monday crying because he was running fever and his throat was so sore. It broke my heart to see him in so much pain. Cody gave Ethan the most sweet and pure blessing. After everything had calmed down again I hit my knees and pleaded with the Lord to honor that blessing. And He did. Oh how He did.

That same night I started getting a sore throat and by this morning I had the full blown flu. Fever, chills, intense body ache, coughing, congestion, and a terribly sore throat to boot. Cody ended up coming home from work this morning because I was so sick I couldn't function. That NEVER happens. Around 4:00 there was a knock on the door and the missionaries happened to stop by. Now living in Utah, this is a very rare treat. The missionaries who minister to our ward also minister to 35 other wards in our area, so for them to stop by is rare. They needed to talk to me about a little girl in our neighborhood that they have been teaching. We talked for a while and before they left, they asked if they could do anything for us. I told them that I could really use a blessing. How wonderful it was to have those three priesthood holders surround me and bless me like that.

That was only a few hours ago. As I sit and type this, I feel at least 75% better than I did this afternoon. I was so very sick earlier today. My fever was so high that I was delirious.

I know it was not a coincidence that we have been sick this week. Had we all been healthy, there would have been no need to witness the priesthood in action like we did. The Lord has not forgotten me. He knows I am here and He so desperately wants me to feel His love. On Friday night when I prayed, I can't describe the feeling that overtook me as I said the simple word "Father..." The feeling was so strong and warm that I had to gain composure before I went on. The Lord knows what is in my heart and it's as if He was just WAITING for me to open up to Him.

"Nothing is going to startle us more when we pass through the veil to the other side, then to realize how well we know our Father, and how familiar His face is to us." -President Ezra Taft Benson.

What an amazing week this has been.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Spiritual Overhaul

My testimony of the gospel is slipping.

I admit it.

This is scary for me to admit, especially because of my position in our ward. I know many people from my ward at church read this blog. But I feel I should be honest with the world, and more so, be honest with myself. It's only through acknowledgement of the problem that the problem can be fixed.

I have said many times in this journal that this has been a very trying year. I have just surpassed my one year anniversary as the Primary President in our ward. Wow, I can't believe I made it that long! When I was set apart in this calling I was promised blessings. I was promised that through my service to the Lord, my family and I would be blessed and that my testimony would be strengthened. Well, it's hard to see how much of that has come to pass. In many ways, it seems that the opposite has happened.

But as I reflect back, I see that maybe the very fact that my testimony has plummeted, is in FACT the blessing. Because in recent days I have had this urge, the kind of urge that keeps me up at night, to get back to the meat and potatoes of my testimony. It is still there. But rather than turn to the Lord this year, I often find myself turning away from Him. And enough is enough.

The fact of the matter is that I have neglected my testimony. My testimony is like a precious plant, or like a garden, and it must be nurtured and fed and watered. I have lacked in all these areas. I can sit and make excuses that life is hard and I am so busy that I can barely breathe. But the more placent I become, the easier it is to continue being placent, and the harder it will be to eventually weed that precious garden of any damage that has accrued during the neglectful period.

And so I begin a fast. Since I am breastfeeding, I can not fast from food. The Lord understands this. But there are many other areas that I can abstain from. For example, I will not be getting back on the Internet until next Monday, April 5th. Next weekend is General Conference. Oh, how I love General Conference. I crave it like a stranded person in the desert craves a drink of water. I look back on this time last year right after I was called to this church position. I was on one of the most intense spiritual highs that I had ever been on. I remember sitting on the couch for hours that first weekend of April 2009 and soaking up every bit of each message that came through the airwaves. I was on a different plane. And somewhere in the last twelve months, I lost it. But I am determined to get it back.

So from now until next week I will be doing nothing but working on my testimony. I have spent the last two days studying my scriptures. I for sure need to work specifically on my testimony of the Book of Mormon. I need to engross myself in it. I need to relearn the truth of it, along with the Bible, but for now I am focusing on the book that sets us apart from other religions. I pulled out an old Book of Mormon Institute study manual. I unburied some General Conference DVDs (including the one from October 2007 which was President Hinckley's last Conference before he died). I uploaded many many General Conference talks and other spiritually uplifting talks onto my MP3, and I have been listening to them a lot during the day. My ear buds have become an appendage of my body, or so it seems.

For the next several days, aside from caring for my family, I will be doing nothing but studying, praying, and abstaining from anything that drives the spirit away. Blogging will have to wait! Not that it drives the spirit away, but it is a distraction.

So until then.......wish me luck in this journey.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Ethan and Hailey Phsyicals

On February 18th Ethan and Hailey had their yearly physicals. They both walked away with a clean bill of health, which we are very grateful for! Here are their stats-

Ethan at 6 years old:
BMI- 17%
Weight- 54 pounds = 84%
Height- 47.25 inches = 81%

Hailey at 4 years old:
BMI- 16%
Weight- 33.3 pounds = 33%
Height- 38.5 inches = 21%

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Green Day

St. Patrick's Day is such a fun holiday! It's provides the perfect opportunity to get weird. This year proved to be no different. I bought some green hair paint that went on super dark, but you can't really see it in these pictures. I also surprised the kids with flashing shamrock necklaces to wear all day. What a hit! Lauren was sick all day and although she had her hair in super cute green pigtails, she ripped them out and crashed before I could get a picture. Even Devin sported a green mohawk!

For dinner we had green alfredo sauce with pasta and grilled chicken, broccoli, spinach salad with limes, avocado, peas, green apple, and green onion, green bread sticks, lime Jell-o salad, limeaid to drink, and mint chocolate chip ice cream and green sprinkled sugar cookies for dessert. Dad come home from work and didn't have a speck of green on him, so he for sure got pinched by all of us! That'll teach him. Better luck next year, Dad!






Spring Swim Lessons

Spring is upon us and the kids have been very excited to start swim lessons again. I registered Ethan and Hailey for the five week Saturday session. Lauren so desperately wants to take lessons, but she has to wait until she is three. Ethan is in level 2 and Hailey is in preschool level 2. Hailey did great during that first lesson, but a few days later she developed an ear infection and she had her ear drums rupture, so that puts a kink in our swimming plans. She can't get her ears wet for a few more weeks, so she will be sitting out lessons until it fully heals. She isn't happy about that.

Ethan is doing so well and is quickly advancing. He tells me a lot that he wants to be a "swimming man" like those other guys at the pool. He's talking about the swim team. If he keeps going at the pace he is now, he'll for sure be ready for the competition league in two years. He definitely has the McCorkle swimming gene!





The Ballet

Cody and I strive to spend one on one time with each of the kids. It's hard to do with four kids, but it's important. Hailey and I got to have a "Mommy and Hailey date" on March 13th. Well, Devin tagged along but that is a given. The ballet school where she will be starting ballet this summer was performing their big recital. The best part is that tickets were free! Hailey was so excited about it and she had been talking about it...well, for weeks.

We grabbed some dinner before the show started and we ate at Rumbi Island Grill. It was absolutely fantastic food!! Hailey ended up getting a huge adult size burger because she really wanted one with pineapple on it. No dinky kid sized burger for her! And she actually put quite a bit of it away. While we sat there eating, we talked a lot. I'm amazed at how much I can talk to that girl. She is so much like me, it's scary. I found out that her dream vacation would be to visit the rain forest. She told me about all the animals she would see and pet. Never in my life have I known another kid who adored animals as much as she does. I love that about her. She also told me that she wants to be (and in this order) a ballet dancer, an animal doctor, and a mom. You know what Hailey? You can be ALL of those things!

After we left the restaurant, we hit the corner store for some ballet snacks. Twizzlers, Rollos, Sour Patch Kids, Dots...pretty much all the best movie theatre candy.

The show was held at the local high school and it was PACKED. It was a full house and we had to wait in line for a few minutes until they opened the auditorium doors for seating. Hailey was so excited she could barely contain herself. She danced and twirled as we waited in line. We saw a lot of the performers walking around and Hailey's eyes lit up each time one would walk by.

"Look, Mom! Look at her! Look at her dress! Look at her ballet shoes!!"

They performed "Swan Lake", and what an amazing job they did. I was blown away! Each class performed part of it, with the oldest girls performing the biggest roles en pointe. We were next to the aisle, and as hard as I tried, I could not keep Hailey seated. She kept standing up, clapping her hands, dancing and twirling right along as she watched the dancers. Before we got there I was worried that she would think it was boring and that she'd want to leave. But she didn't. MEZ-MOR-IZED was she.

She talked the whole ride home. She talked, and she talked! She talked all about her plans of being a ballet dancer, and what boy she wanted to dance with. There are a few boys in her class that she "loves" and she wanted to dance with all of them. She wanted each of them to be Prince Seigfred while she danced as Odette. How I love this girl! And what a great night we had.








Girls Night In

While the boys were at the hockey game, the girls had some fun of our own. Ever since I knew that the boys would be out that night I'd been planning a special night with my girls. I let them pick what they wanted for dinner, and they picked Mac 'n Cheese. Wow, big surprise! Then we made a facial mask (that actually tasted yummy too!). We painted finger and toe nails and watched "Sleeping Beauty". Poor Lauren wasn't feeling well, as you can tell from her red cheeks. She was running a low grade fever. But even though she was sick, I know she had a fun time. I even let the girls paint my nails. Thank goodness for nail polish remover and Q-Tips! What a fun night!






First Hockey Game

Ethan's school was running a deal where on March 13th, students could go to the Grizzlies game for free, and adult tickets were only $10. So Cody and Ethan had a boys night. Sounds like they had a lot of fun! One of the best parts of any sporting event is the food. All week long Ethan had been talking about what he would eat at the game. And he stuck to his plan and got all kinds of great food. A hot dog, popcorn, soda, ice cream...all the good stuff. The best part is that our team won!



Grandma's Birthday Weekend



We headed out of town the last weekend in February. Cody's Mom's birthday was on the 28th so we decided to head up to Idaho to help celebrate. What a nice and relaxing weekend it was! Here are some of the highlights-

-Went swimming at Sligers

-Went shoe shopping for Ethan

-Used the Barnes and Noble gift certificate from Aunt Lyn and got some great new books

-Played and played and played outside with Papa

-Had a fantastic dinner at Train Station pizza

-Watched Charles Dickens' "Oliver"

-Got to stay an extra night and have a three day weekend (thanks to Cody' gracious boss!)

-Went to church and the kids all did great in their "new" classes. They had a lot of fun and I actually got to sit and listen in Gospel Doctrine and Relief Society!

-Cody cooked us all really great burgers for Sunday dinner, followed up by berry Jell-o birthday cake

Thanks for a great weekend! Can't wait to do it again.

Special Towels

A few weeks ago the UPS guy brought us a surprise package. The UPS guy is a hero at our house. Packages are so fun, especially packages from grandparents.

When I was a kid my parents got each of us our own special monogrammed bath towel and matching washcloth. Mine was purple with pink letters on it, and I still have it to this day. I love that towel set and it made me feel special when I was little. Well Granana decided to do the same thing for our kids, and they were pretty excited about their own big fluffy Land's End bath towels with their names on them. They have been a big hit at bath time, and Heaven help us is one of the kids catches someone else using their towel!

Thanks Granana!






Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Unhinged

This has been a very hard week. Kids have been very sick and just when I start to see an end in sight, one of them starts puking, or has a fever spike, or has an ear drum rupture. And that only touches the surface of my week.

I'm exhausted, to say the least.

But tired or not, that is no excuse for the way I treated my children this evening.

Everyone has a breaking point, and I almost hit mine today. Ethan woke up this morning with a fever spike. Then he started throwing up. I am sick as well, but I don't have time to so much as lie down for twenty minutes. Laundry is piled up to the ceiling, carpets are filthy, the basement is atrocious, there are sticky chocolate handprints all over every household surface, there is a strange smell coming from the fridge, it looks like we are doing some sort of science project in the bathrooms...the list goes on and on. I have been trying to play catch up all week long, but someone is needing my attention almost 24 hours a day. And did I mention that I am sick too? Did I mention THAT??

I hate Tuesdays. Cody has Scouts on Tuesdays and isn't home until very late. I spent quite a while today getting some stuff ready to photograph to sell on KSL. I finally had all of my pictures taken and headed to the computer to start editing. Did I mention that sicky Lauren passed out on the living room floor this afternoon and took a four hour nap? At this point I assumed she was still sleeping.

I sat down to the computer to work on my ads. After lots of problems, I finally got it ready to click the final button and publish it. At that point Ethan yelled for me and said "Mom! Lauren has your phone!!" I groaned, knowing that she was awake and up to no good. "She got your phone wet!!" Ethan kept yelling at me. My heart sank and I ran into the other room to find my brand new $350 Samsung Solstice submerged in a glass of water.

"Phone needed a baff!" Lauren smiled at me.

I came unhinged. Unhinged like I never knew I could, nor had ever done before. That poor baby was the subject of my wrath. I am not a spanker, but I spanked her bottom. And I spanked hard. My poor Lauren, oh how I scared you. I am so desperately sorry and I hope you forget this day. The kitchen window was open and I imagine what my neighbors thought as I yelled and screamed and cried and threw things. Never before had I seen a look like that on my poor childrens' faces, and I hope to never see it again.

I grabbed the home phone and I called Cody. He answered. I sobbed.

"Please calm me down. Please. I might hurt someone." And I meant it.

Through sobs I told him what happened. I told him how hard my day had been already. And what did he do? He laughed! And that is why I love that man. He gets my crazy and he keeps it in check. How he stays so calm, I don't know. But he is a good balance for me. He talked me through it and did finally calm me down.

"It's just a phone, Babe. A thing. It's meaningless. Now you go grab our babies and hold them and tell them you are sorry. Sit together and read a book. Love them. I will be home soon and then we will all load up and head out to the phone store. It's going to be okay."

I did what he said, but when I called for Hailey she did not answer. I figure she was hiding in fear. I hate that my children fear me like that. I finally found Hailey. And what had that sweet angel done? She had gotten up on the computer and messed with things and exited out of the work I had been doing. Oh boy. Here we go again...Mom is about to lose it.

The amazing thing about Lauren is she is so forgiving. She is more forgiving than the other kids. As soon as I apologized to her (and I can never tell her how sorry I truly am) she wrapped her little arms around my neck and said something that turned me into a puddle of tears.

"You my best fwend, Mommy." And she followed it up with a big kiss on the cheek.

Here's the thing- it wasn't just about a phone. Sometimes I feel like I am drowning in a life that I have no control over. I crave control, but sadly I don't have much of it in my life. And mommyhood is the main source of the powerlessness that I feel on a daily basis. That phone was only a small testament of this. I cried the whole way to the store and I cried in the store. And Cody let me cry because he also understood that it wasn't about the phone.

But he did insist that this time we get the water damage insurance.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Sligers Hot Spring

February 26- After we got into Idaho, we headed out to Hagerman to one of their famous hot spring pools. That part of the country is absolutely gorgeous and I always enjoy the thirty minute drive out there. Cody had been going to this pool since he was a tiny kid and I love to see his nostalgic side when we revisit his favorite childhood spots. Sligers is for sure one of them. It's a very old building, set right at the bank of the Snake River. It's a breathtaking view out of the giant windows. The water feels like perfect bath water and I could have stayed in there all night. Even though it is an old place, it is so well kept.

This was Devin's first experience in water other than bath water. Although, I'll bet he thought he was in a giant bath tub! I loved holding him close to my chest. We had an awesome time and I am amazed at how well Ethan is swimming these days. He got a lot of practice in that night and he is well on his way to never needing that life jacket again! Way to go Buddy! I just love it that my kids love the water as much as I do.














Rolley Polley

Devin hit a big milestone last week- he rolled over! All of our babies have rolled over between four and five months, and Devin did it at exactly five months. Now he is unstoppable, and is so happy. When he rolls he looks around to see if anyone was watching, and if you give him praise he gets very excited and starts kicking and burying his face in the floor. It's the cutest thing. Way to go Chubba Bubba!!!




Saturday, March 20, 2010

I Am...



I am turning thirty in less than two months.

I am a mother of four beautiful children.

I am a wife to an amazing man whom I adore.

I am a people pleaser.

I am low maintenance.

I am a very busty gal.

I am a lover of music...all music.

I am a piano teacher.

I am the middle of seven children.

I am passionate.

I am a homeowner.

I am in debt.

I am a Primary President.

I am a girly girl who loves to camp.

I am a breastfeeder.

I am not agile.

I am inspired by people from all walks of life.

I am emotional, very emotional.

I am a native Texan.

I am easily offended.

I am a sober drug addict.

I am silly with my husband and children.

I am provincial.

I am a night owl.

I am a goal setter.

I am an advocate of Attachment Parenting.

I am a writer.

I am not a good secret keeper.

I am a natural brunette...and wear my hair brown.

I am getting a few gray hairs around my face and love it.

I am strong willed.

I am stubborn.

I am a good listener but it is hard for me to keep my mouth shut.

I am creative.

I am a child of God.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Backyard Picnic

The weather is gorgeous outside today. I know it is likely a tease, but we decided to take advantage of this nice day and head outside. I packed the kids lunchboxes and we had a picnic in the backyard. When I was little I loved it when my mom would do this for us. It was such a special treat, and I love it that my kids love it just the same. Devin enjoyed his first real day out doors since he was born. Being born at the beginning of the cold months kept us all inside all season, but we are now seeing a glimmer of hope that maybe, just maybe, warm weather will find us again! Such a wonderful afternoon.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Devin Joseph- 5 Months Old

Five months ago tonight I was being hoisted out of my hospital bed by two nurses. It was the first time I'd been allowed to walk since the surgery. Eight hours had gone by since my sweet baby number four entered this world. Cody was sitting in the rocking chair near my bed, snuggling with our new bundle of joy. I was feeling evidence that my entire abdomen had been sliced and stretched as far as humanly possible to make room for Devin to emerge. It hurt. It hurt a lot.

It's hard to believe it has been five months already. I wish I could freeze time, right here, right now. Life is precious with these little ones at the exact ages they are now. Six, four, two, and five months. Oh how I am loving life. Some days are better than others, but each day brings such sweet blessings to us.

Here are some things Devin is doing these days-

-He grabs everything. His little hands have figured out that they can hold things, so if something is within his reach he is figuring out that he can take hold of it. He isn't quite to the point of grabbing anything and everything, but he does love to have things in his hand.

-Everything goes in his mouth. The second he has something in his hand, he puts it straight into his mouth and drool starts pouring out. So gross, yet so adorable.

-Belly laughs escape him. Real belly laughs, the kind that seem almost uncontrollable. The kind that once he starts, he can't stop.

-He is in a size 3 diaper and 9 month clothes.

-He is SOOO ticklish. His thighs, behind the knee, arm pits, neck, and collar bone. Oh, and one other very personal place that I won't disclose here. Use you dirty imagination. Every time he gets his diaper changed he starts laughing hysterically. One of these days I MUST get it on video. His laughs are so cute so you can imagine that gets tickled a LOT.

-How he loves the boobie. Yup, still nursing strong with no end in sight. I continue to be all he needs. Maybe at six months we will try solids, or maybe not. His growth is still exceptionally good so I feel no need to start supplementing with any kind of nutrients. Not now any way. Tonight I let him taste a tiny dab of Yoplait strawberry yogurt (my all time favorite). He played with it with his tongue and then made a disgusted face. We won't do that again for a while.

-When he nurses I can't talk to him like I once could. He's at that stage where when he hears my voice he immediately comes off and looks up at me with a huge grin on his face. And there us that ever present trickle of milk that pours from the corner of his mouth. As much as I love to see him smile at me like that, he has to eat! So I pretend like he isn't there so he can focus on the task at hand.

-Separation anxiety has started to set in. When I am in eye shot he kicks his legs and arms viciously and smiles and breathes hard. He is oh so excited when he can see me. But the moment I go out of sight, even if just for a few seconds, he gets very upset. He wants to look at me all the time, and I love it.

-Daddy is growing on him. As long as he knows I am in the room, he is okay to play with Daddy. And Daddy sure adores his baby boy. It's fun to watch them get to know each other.

-He loves his Bumbo chair. I don't know what I ever did with out one of those!

-I don't know which he loves more. Nursing or having his pants changed. He gets equally excited for both.

-He naps in his swing most of the time. Since he doesn't have a room of his own, I have to constantly move his swing around the house depending on where the quietest location is at the moment. And that place is usually far away from his sisters!

-Ethan is one of his best friends, more so than his sisters. I think mainly because Ethan is mellow and he just sits there and talks to Devin, trying to make him laugh. Ethan doesn't feel the need to put jewelry on him or paint his fingernails. He doesn't feel the need to bring him every one of his toys, blankets, pillows, and pile everything on him at once. No, he just sits there and talks to him. Devin already adores Ethan.

-I love that he is in a routine for the most part. He takes a lengthy nap in the morning, usually an hour after he first wakes up. Then he takes another lengthy nap in the afternoon, which usually overlaps a bit with piano lessons (which is great for Mommy!). He and I lie down to nurse for the last time around 9:00 at night, then after he is asleep I sneak out of bed to finish up nightly chores. Then he usually has another small snack when I crawl back into bed around midnight. Sometimes he wakes up during the night to eat, sometimes he doesn't.





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