Friday, October 28, 2011

Ben's Birthday Weekend

October 14th was Ben's birthday. I got up and made him pancakes for breakfast (found a really yummy new recipe online--yall should try it out only add more milk to thin it out. Makes servings for 2-3). For his birthday I made him a plaque with the word "fortitude" on it. This stems from a conversation early in our marriage. We were discussing home decorating styles and Ben commented that he didn't really care for "random words on the walls. You know, like love, laugh, friends, fortitude..." "Fortitude?" I said. "Who would put fortitude on their wall?? You're ridiculous, Ben." Ever since then, the word fortitude has always been a joke between us.

My other gift for him was a joint Danny-Maggie gift (because it was so expensive...thanks Danny!). We got him a banjo. He is SUPER excited about that one. Unfortunately, the banjo did not arrive till Monday (long story), so he spent about 1.5 hours on Saturday watching videos and reading about banjo playing (btw, did you now that Steve Martin plays the banjo remarkably well?)

For dinner, we went to the B Spot, a ritzy burger joint where we enjoyed a vanilla-bean-apple-pie-bacon milkshake--surprisingly DELICIOUS. I love that boy more than anyone, and I'm glad he had a happy day.

On Saturday, We didn't spend much time together because our cute niece and nephew were being born! In the morning, Ben came down with something and nobody wanted a sick man around two BRAND new babies, so he had to stay home. I was lucky enough to be at the hospital and saw the babies right away. They are ADORABLE. Jackson and Jocelyn Cope. If only they were born one day earlier...

By Sunday Ben was feeling better, so we had a few friends over for games and pumpkin pie to celebrate Benny's birthday. A Cope function is never complete if a few games aren't played.

On the following Monday, after we rushed over to Sam Ash Music to pick up Ben's new banjo, we had two of Ben's dental school friends (Chris & Katie Blacker and the Jae Park family) over for Family Home Evening.

After a short lesson on God's love, we carved pumpkins--a first for the Parks, our friends from Korea. We ate pumpkin pie, and Benjamin carved a ridiculously awesome cannibal pumpkin.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

General Conference

I've been wanting to go apple picking for a while now, and since I took off work on the Saturday of General Conference I decided that that morning was a perfect time to go. It was forecast to rain, but we were determined, so we bundled up and went trudging through the wet mud to pick a few bags of apples.

Ben and I picked a lot of apples for applesauce--which turned out to be delicious! We also got some good apples for eating and filled our bellies with Patterson's famous apple fritters. Oh my, do they know how to make donuts!

Conference was lovely, as usual. It was so nice to just relax and spiritually feast in the coziness of our own home. Ben made his yummy guac and I provided some spinach artichoke dip for our munching pleasure. Sunday morning, we headed over to the other Copes for the traditional cinnamon roll ring breakfast and the first session of conference.

We ended up heading back to their house for the afternoon session accompanied by a fairly large group because the electricity went out for a huge section of Cleveland Heights and University Heights. The Jones's were in the party and Kristy provided a really good pumpkin and chicken soup with crescent rolls for the group, so all was merry, despite the "inconveniences" of technology.

Ben says: Today, 64 million Tootsie Rolls were produced, and I haven't eaten a single one.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Summer 2011

For me, the bulk of the summer revolved around my jobs at Bremec on the Heights Garden Center and Eddie Bauer. Ben spent most of his weekday hours at the clinic, with his hands in people’s mouths. However, we’ve really enjoyed ourselves amidst the regular routine. Here’s a few highlights.

Pregnancy. We found out in May that our family would soon grow. Although this came kind of early in our marriage, it was very much planned. After much consideration, we really felt like the time was right to introduce a little one into the Cope world. As far as the actual pregnancy goes, I’ve been very lucky. I haven’t been sick once. The biggest thing I had to deal with was a physical aversion to prenatal vitamins—they gave me an upset stomach. I also had some morning dizziness earlier in pregnancy, and I’ve had to deal with some back pain lately. All in all, I’ll take it. Especially when comparing my woes to others, this baby growing has been a breeze! I’m loving being the mother of our little fetus. After about 4 months, we finally had a doctor’s appointment (there was a lot of chaos and confusion with insurance companies and, later, Medicaid). At that first appointment, we easily discovered the sex of our baby boy. Dr. Reider put the goop on my belly and the minute he found an image, Ben said, “Oh! It’s a boy!” Dr. Reider agreed. Way to go, little buddy! His gender was confirmed later on in the pregnancy when we went in for a 3D ultrasound.

4th of July. Our 4th was pretty low key. We went over to the Buckners and had a fun BBQ with them, the Jones’s, Gibby’s, Lundgren’s, and missionaries. The food was SUPERB. Ben brought over our badminton set and there were some serious matches going on in the front yard.

Blossom. We did our firework celebrations at Blossom this year (the summer home of the Cleveland Orchestra). On the 3rd of July, we drove down to hear the orchestra play a stars and stripes forever tribute and the 1812 Overture. Ben bought season tickets for us, so we enjoyed a few shows at Blossom including Pirates of the Caribbean (we watched the movie, the orchestra played the score), Beethoven’s Ode to Joy, Mozart, Rachmaninoff, and other classical composers.

St. Louis. In the middle of July, we took a weekend roadtrip down to St. Louis for the marriage of our dear friend Erin Ringling (now Vernon). Beautiful ceremony. Beautiful couple. They played The Beatles at their reception and we sent them off with sparklers blazing. Plus, we got through Harry Potter 7 in the car, just in time for the movie to come out.

Harry Potter. Speaking of our scarred friend, Ben and I were very involved in his life through most of the spring and summer. We like to read aloud to each other and after we finished The Hunger Games trilogy, we decided to plough through the Harry Potter series in preparation for the final movie’s premier in July. As we finished each book, we would watch the associated movie and bask in the brilliance of the story. We absolutely LOVED the final movie. It was easily the best of the series. Bless you, J.K. Rowling, for bringing something so beloved into the lives of so many!!

Rachael and Kory and Margaret. We had a visit from our long lost relatives where we got to meet our new niece, Margaret Klein. She was named after her auntie and is a super cute little nugget (literally--she's tiny!). We took a trip to Kirtland, visited the West Side Market, and hung out around town. It was really fun having them stay with us for a few days. Our other siblings should follow their examples...

Texas & Peru. Ben and his buddy Nathan organized a new humanitarian dental trip for Case Western, and this was its inaugural year. While he traipsed off to Peru for an amazing and very successful experience, I took the opportunity to go visit my family in Texas. The trip began with a flight to Colorado where Mom and I visited Sal and Dalis and the babies. Mom was on a roadtrip with Aline and the boys, so we got in the car and drove back to Texas with them. We made lots of fun stops, watched a ton of movies, and listened to the audio version of The Help. Texas was hot and dry and full of fun. Trips home mean Mexican food, shopping, movies, and all sorts of fun things that are out of the norm. This trip we did something especially unusual: Mom hosted a baby shower for me. It was still too early in pregnancy to tell what we were going to have, but we had a fun gathering filled with neutral colored gifts and friends from the ward.

Fruit flies. Fruit flies have dominated my kitchen, bathroom, and life for the better part of the summer and into the fall. I. dislike. them. I’ve tried traps, apple cider vinegar, and our all-time favorite, sucking them up with the vacuum hose. I don’t know when they’ll choose to move out, but it will be a happy day in our home when that happens!

Ward campout. I really like our ward. We had a fun campout activity this year. They divided us into different campsites so that we could meet new people and mingle. It was pretty low key, but we had a blast. Ben and I brought weenies to roast and we made a delicious peach cobbler in our Dutch oven. We LOVE camping and were happy to put our camping equipment to good use. In the morning, the ward provided amazing homemade breakfast burritos. Ben and I went on a walk before got breakfast. We stumbled upon the breakfast site and got roped into helping (not that we minded in the least). I was in charge of heating all the tortillas (the uncooked kind)—SO YUMMY!

Cait’s Wedding. Weekend of September 3rd = happiness. Caitlyn Savage Anderson and Bradley James Turner got hitched in the Sacramento temple and it was lovely. Not only was it amazing to see my best friend get married to another excellent friend, but we were able to have some serious reunions with friends and family that we hadn’t seen in as long as 3 years (Jolyn Metro!). During the beautiful ceremony I felt baby boy really kicking for the first time. I think he also approves of the union. I was one of the unofficial bridesmaids and we sang a song for Cait and Brad at their luncheon (written by the girls driving out from Utah). We also had a girl’s night slumber party/bachelorette party the night before. Good food, great company, eternal relationships. Oh happy times.

Pittsburgh. A few weekends ago we went on a long-awaited trip to Pittsburgh with our good friends Ryan and Kristy Jones. On the way we stopped at Gander Mtn. and Ben got some fun accessories for his bow. He is getting more and more into archery and is planning a real hunting trip (as opposed to the squirrels and chipmunks he’s sought after previously) in a few weeks. We also bought baby boy a camo onesie—Ben is so proud!! The main purpose of our trip to Pittsburgh was to visit the home d├ęcor and organization Mecca, IKEA. I love that place and so does Kristy. (Ben secretly likes it, too). We bought a few things for the house and doodled around the maze of a store. We also went into the city and drove/walked around. Ben bought a 10 lb. bag of rice from an Asian market. Love him.

Indians game. Ben doesn’t really like baseball, but CADA (the Case Alliance of the American Dental Association—a group for those married to/in support of dentists, of which I am a member) was hosting a little gathering at the game, so we went to see the Indians play. It was cold and rainy, but the game was great. Not only was it $1 hot dog night (that almost made up for everything boring about baseball in Ben’s eyes), but it was Jim Thome night. He hit a homerun during the game, and there was a tribute to him involving a SPECTACULAR fireworks show after the game was over. I love fireworks. And the Indians won, by the way.

New Job. Heightsbuzz, our ward’s googlegroup email, is a great provider of information for the ladies of Cleveland, University, and Shaker Heights. One such info-packed email led me to find a new job working at Laurel School in the After School program. I am officially a “Supervised Play and Homework Monitor,” and I love my job. I have 2 other co-workers in addition to the director of the program. We take care of Preschool - 4th graders for 2 ½ hours a day until their parents come to pick them up. I'm in charge of the Preschool kids. We color, play doctor, read books, built lego fortresses, etc. Plus, it's salaried. AND I get to bring baby with me after I come back from maternity leave.

I think that about sums up our summer. We’ve really had an excellent time. Amid the school, work, half-functioning window AC units, and other so-called undesirable aspects of life, we’re happy.

Are we recommitted to updating the blog regularly? I can’t make any promises...

Thursday, June 2, 2011


While Ben was out of school for a month, we decided to take advantage of the time off and take a trip to Pittsburgh. After the relatively short drive, we began our trip at the beloved IKEA where we picked up a few things for the house. After that, we headed to the zoo and aquarium, which took up a big part of the day.

Outside the aquarium. It's a pretty good one. I was impressed with the octopus and these amazing seahorses right inside the front door. I also pet a speckled sting ray. Super cool.

Rides. Ben had the barf bag ready.

Lions and tigers and bears....and rhinos and elephants and giraffes and apes.

We also rode on the famous Duquesne Incline. It is a trolley car on the side of a hill that factory workers used to ride to get to and from their homes in the neighborhoods atop the hill.

Before heading home, we ended our trip at Primanti Bros. This famous sandwich shop serves a delectable pastrami sandwich with about a pound of meat, a handful of coleslaw, two tomatoes, and a handful of French fries. Absolutely delicious and absolutely disgusting at the same time. Bravo for achieving such a feat, Primanti's!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

2011 National Public Gardens Day

On this auspicious day, Ben and I decided to take advantage of the free admission and make a quick trip to the Botanical Gardens of Cleveland. We weren't there for long, but Ben snapped a few good pictures.

My favorite was the butterfly room. They were everywhere.

Ben Says: Butterflies cannot fly if their body temperature is below 86 degrees Fahrenheit. I cannot fly no matter what my temperature is.

Sunday, May 8, 2011


After flying out to Utah a few times this semester to take tests, I am FINALLY done with my degree! Hooray! I flew out to Utah for the final time at the end of April to take my final for Ecology, and then to walk for graduation. Because my final was on Monday and graduation (which included the arrival of my husband, parents, mother-in-law, and sister-in-law) wasn't until Thursday, I had plenty of time to play with my girlfriends that still live in Provo.

Commencement consisted of loads of pictures, goofing off, and a certain disregard for the rules. We decided that it was more important to sit with our friends than our colleges, and enjoyed each others' company maybe a little too much. It was really great to see everyone for what may be the last time in a long time.

Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles was our commencement speaker. He gave a fabulous address, which I look forward to reading sometime soon. I was a little preoccupied during the ceremony, making it hard to stay focused on his words of wisdom.

These were our attendees. Aunt Christine, Ashley, Momma Cope, Kimber, Austin, Grams, Aunt Lynne, Uncle Dow, and Peter. What supportive family we have :)

I finally got to see my Benjamin after a week of separation. Momma Cope gifted beautiful leis to Lacey and myself afterwards. They smelled divine.

After Commencement, we all headed up to Le Hobble Manor where we had a fun grad party. We ate Italian food with yummy sauces from Gloria's on Center St. Mariah celebrated by playing her new Fazioli grand piano for most of the evening. My parents arrived from the airport and joined us for the celebration and the rest of the weekend's festivities.

My Convocation was Friday morning at 11am. The College of Life Sciences is HUGE, so it took quite some time.

The family fell asleep, but woke up in time to cheer me across the stage. Ben was on call with the camera, as usual. Love that boy.

Friday night we went to Zupa's for dinner, bowling, and to see a movie. Mom Cope and Kimber left Saturday morning, and we spend the rest of the day with my parents.

So that's it! I'm a college graduate! Back in Cleveland, and life is good.