Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Spider Solitaire

Summertime and the livin is easy...? Our summer hasn't been too hard, but it sure has been busy. My last day of work at Laurel was May 31st and we loaded up the truck and drove out the next day. After a series of unfortunate events, we ended up leaving our SUV in Cleveland, so me and Eli hopped in the truck with Ben and made the drive cross country. Eli did remarkably well--the rumble of the big diesel engine put him right to sleep and when he woke up, there was Dad to his right and Mom to his left. He was a happy camper. 

Our Burger King
The truck, on the other hand, caused more problems. Three times the engine didn't want to start and we had to pull over and wait for roadside assistance. Luckily, Penske was full of empathy and paid for the extra night that we stayed in a hotel as well as a bonus $500 for our troubles. Thanks for understanding!! 

With Great Grandma Bertucci
Almost as soon as we arrived in Utah, we turned around and went to Texas for a 10 day visit. It was great to hang out at Mom and Dad's and spend time with the whole family. I'm super glad that Rachael and Kory could come down from VA to hand out with us. We were even able to visit Sal in San Antonio where he was doing basic training for the Army. 

After Texas, we went straight to Aspen Grove for the Cope family reunion. There was so much to do at Aspen Grove and we had a blast. I was especially excited to get to know and spend time with the Cope side of the family, since I didn't know any of them before this. Turns out they're wonderful. Ben and Austin spent the whole week competing in anything they could think of--badminton, ping pong, billiards, shuffle board, mini golf, you name it. I really enjoyed volleyball, arts and crafties, and hiking. Plus the BYU Creamery ice cream was a mega bonus.  

Now after this excursion we had a few days off. Unfortunately, they weren't really "off." We spent the whole time unpacking, organizing, and getting settled in to our new little house in SLC. We definitely downsized when we moved (no more dining room, office, or basement), so we had to do some creative thinking to squeeze our stuff in. Thankfully, I have a tetris-master handy-man husband who can custom make just about anything, so now I have a few extra shelves in the closets with everything fitting perfectly. We even took some time to paint the kitchen and a wall in the living room! But it was nice to come home to a clean house after our next reunions. 


After and fun, and of course spiritual, week at Hobble Creek, we drove down to Zions for the first ever Jim and Kimberly Cope family reunion. Mom had rented a very nice house at Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort. Julie met us there and we had a ton of fun zip-lining, horseback riding, swimming, and hiking. 

My mule was named Peanut.
Since the family reunion mania, we've been able to relax at home a start to settle into a groove. Ben is loving his residency. I'm spending a lot of time having fun with Eli. 

Celebrating Eli's half birthday.
For Pioneer Day, Ben and Eli and I had a campout on the floor in the living room where we ate chili cheese hot dogs and watched westerns that I'd checked out from the library. Thank you, John Wayne, for making our holiday great. We spent the following morning on a beautiful hike up Big Cottonwood Canyon with Mariah and Lisa. So lovely. 

Besides these fun times, we've just been hanging out around the house and with friends. We're just living life and trying to have fun. We've both become shamefully obsessed with spider solitaire (I just checked the stats on the game and we've literally played 240 games), but that's just part of the fun. 

Eli loving bathtime.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Has it really been 5 months since I last posted?

Well, quite a bit has happened since October. Let's highlight a few:
November - baby scare. Contractions started and we thought our little guy might be coming early. I had to spend ~48 hours in the hospital and receive steroids for baby boy. We rescheduled Thanksgiving, and Mom and Dad Bertucci came to visit us in Cleveland instead. We had a grand time and hosted our first Thanksgiving dinner.

Our first Christmas tree (with help from Mom and Dad Bertucci).

December - Christmas was spent in California with the Copes after a somewhat risky flight. We were there for a good 2 1/2 weeks and enjoyed time spent with the entire family. David spent the entire time playing Zelda. Everyone was all about the babes--you can never get enough time with a baby, right? Especially when that baby isn't yours. My cup was filled to the brim with all the kindness and presents received. And our waistbands were filled to the brim with all the goodies eaten. Diets were a must once we came home.

January - Welcome to the world Elijah John Cope! We loved this little boy sooo much. Couldn't ask for a better kid (or a cuter one). Happy times spent at home with him while I recovered. Mom Cope and Mom Bertucci came out for a visit and just spoiled us. Ben fell in love with My Fitness Pal and is back to his normal weight. I'm not quite there yet. Ben also matched to the GPR at the University of Utah!

February - this month went by quickly. It seems to have been filled with hugs, kisses, and baby smiles. Not to mention Downton Abbey. We've also spent a good deal of time planning for the big move and the Ohio things we want to do before we leave. So far we're doing a weekend in Niagra Falls and Palmyra and a few days in DC. We're also going to Amish country for a stay at a little bed and breakfast one weekend (this was one of my Christmas presents from Benny).

March - what will this month bring (besides the end of my maternity leave)? So far, it brought us Ben's graduation present from his folks: a new all-in-one HP desktop. Fancy and fast. Also, FLORIDA! We leave for Disney World, and perhaps more importantly HARRY POTTER WORLD, next week. But before that, my dad's coming out for Eli's baby blessing this Sunday. So excited!

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 http://allrecipes.com/recipe/fluffy-pancakes-2/detail.aspx 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...