Friday, December 12, 2008


I'll keep this brief as I know it is boring to read blogs that are all talk and no pics. Sorry 'bout that. The geek squad successfully recovered my photos from my hardrive, although the computer is totally kaput. I paid 160 just to get my pics back and another 100 for the external hard drive to have them stored on. I could pay another 300 for a new harddrive and then pay for all my software a-la-carte, however, when you add all that up, it just about amounts to the price of a new computer anyway. So Jonathan and I are in the market for one. We're conducting some research and will be purchasing one in the next month or so. I plan to be up and running again, with a backlog of updates, around the 1st of 2009. Wish the news were better than that...but I am eternally grateful I have my pics! Best wishes to you all for a very safe, happy, and gratitude filled Christmas and holiday season.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Out of commission

The Cope family has been up to a lot of fun lately, and until recently, I had some great pics to back that up. However, last night as I was looking through all of them and narrowing the field for the blog, my computer flashed a blue screen at me. It automatically restarted, and flashed a blue screen again. I am very scared about this and praying hard that my pics can be recovered. I'm heading to Best Buy tomorrow to enlist the help of the geek squad. In the meantime, you'll just have to take my word that Hawaii was fantastic (what's not to love about perfect weather, beaches, and swimming with dolphins?), Halloween in NYC with our friends the Blanchards was a huge success, and we've been cooking up lots of fun! Here's to hoping my hard drive is recoverable...and I've learned my lesson. I'll be purchasing hardware to backup my photos and protect them from any future events like this.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Leaving on a jet plane...

Okay, if you were feeling sorry for me with that last one ( I hope you had some pity, while more than likely seeing the humor in it all), I guess we can all feel better now.

We're leaving in a little more than 48 hours for Hawaii. What can I say? I've been craving true Hawaiian shave ice since July. I made a trade with Jonathan in August...he could go to SLC for conference, if WE could go to Hawaii for shave ice and some quality time on the beach. Afterall, the girls and I were deprived of a real summer thanks to those previously mentioned hormones.

So, we'll be on Oahu from Oct. 9-18th. I probably won't blog from Hawaii. I'd like to say I would, but realistically, I'll come home with some great stories, a lot of pictures, and a backlog of posts to do. And so the cycle continues...

Hormonal wreckage

This last weekend was General Conference in the LDS church, a semi-annual conference during which the leadership (most notably the prophet) of the church speak to the general body of the church on subjects and issues they feel spiritually impressed upon to address.

So Jonathan got to make a long anticipated trip to Utah to be with his brother Brandon and Papa Cope for the occasion. He flew out Thurs. right after work, so the girls and I hadn't really seen him since Wed. night. They enjoyed a BYU football game together, as well as attending the priesthood session of conference Sat. evening. He also played golf with some old college roommates, and took a walk down memory lane at the legendary Cafe Rio. It was a great weekend for him....

On the other hand...

The girls and I watched the Sat. morning session, and Sun. afternoon session via satellite transmission at our local church meetinghouse. The weekend started off well enough for me, considering I was flying solo. The girls and I made homemade spinach and tomato pizza with mozzarella and parmigiano reggiano cheese ( I am a cheese fanatic) Thursday night. They had a great time "painting on the sauce" and making fall leaves out of the mozzarella with my cookie cutters. They really didn't think they wanted "salad" on their pizza, but I sliced it up and put it on anyway, reminding them that vegetables keep our bodies healthy. They thoroughly enjoyed the finished product and never even noticed the spinach! I think this will become a frequent happening in our home as it was so easy and fun! I really enjoy cooking, and especially when I can involve the girls!

Friday, however, brought some bad news. My washing machine's water line stopped working. At first it was just the cold water that didn't work, so I ran a load or two with hot water (something I rarely do). But then, the hot stopped working too. Now the washer fills with a very slow trickle (imagine your child washed their hands and forgot to turn the water all the way off). It is so frustrating because it takes like an hour just for the the washer to fill up, then it does its thing, and takes another hour to fill for the rinse cycle. I seriously think it takes around 3-4 hours to complete one load in the washer. It is killing me! So that was Friday sometime.

Then on Sat. the girls and I went to conference as I mentioned ( which went very well) and then headed to the grocery store for a few items, after a pit stop at the park to get out some wiggles and reward their excellent behavior at conference. On our return trip from the store, with milk, ice cream, etc. in hand I went to open the back door to the house. It was locked ( I had made sure it was unlocked sometime previous to our departure, but little Macy must've been inclined to practice her big girl skills and play with it)! I went for the spare key in the garage and it was missing. Then I remembered that I had already used the OTHER spare key a few days prior, and Kennedy had taken it from the counter and lost it somewhere. I tried not to panic...but I think I really did. It was already 6 at night, dusk was quickly setting in and it was already quite frigid outside. I put the girls in the van so I could survey the house for any open windows, doors, etc. I tried every single lower level window (7 in all) and none would budge. I searched under rock wall stones, door mats, and anywhere where the previous owner might conceivably have hid a forgotten spare key. No such luck. By this time I was frantic and crying. Then I had the idea to use this as a teaching lesson. I brought the girls out of the van and asked them to kneel with me on the dirty garage floor. They did and I asked Kennedy (for the sake of a child's innocence and faith) to offer up a word of prayer that we would find a way into the house. Unfortunately, I had left my cell phone in the house, so I had no way of calling Jonathan for his ideas. I finally humbled myself and drove to Panera to ask to use the phone to call a locksmith. When we arrived at Panera, the place was humming, and I chickened out. I just knew I was going to break down into tears and make a scene. We walked through the shopping center to T.J. Maxx, thinking perhaps the crowds would be thinner there. Wrong again. I started to turn away, but realized I was running out of time to catch Jonathan on the phone ( priesthood session was about to start) and forced myself into the store to share the sad tale. It was very uncomfortable to feel so helpless and pathetic. I suppose I needed the experience. I did in fact manage to tell them I needed to make a long distance call ( Jonathan's cell is still a Texas #) before I started to cry. They obviously felt sorry for the sad looking creature before them and allowed use of the phone. As luck would have it, Jonathan didn't answer. Then I asked if they had a phone book so I could call a locksmith. Prior to this point they were probably wondering if I was fleeing an abusive sitiation or what. Here I was, puffy eyed and pregnant clinging to the hands of my two young daughters. I can't imagine what they were thinking. Finally I divulged the whole sorry tale of my being 5 months pregnant, alone for the weekend, locked out of my house, no spare keys to be found, haven't met my neighbors yet, tried all the windows, etc. I could sense some relief on the part of the store manager as it all came clear what was going on. I suppose he had imagined far worse. His assistant suggested I call the non-emergency police line to see if they could help. She helped me locate the number and I called. The nice officer on the other end said he would send someone right away and what was my return number just in case. I bashfully admitted I'd left my cell in the house and was calling from T.J. Maxx and did he want their number? No he did not. I drove back to the house to find a very nice policeman in our driveway. He escorted me to the garage door to try that first. Much to my dismay and embarrassment, he noticed that though the basement door was locked, it wasn't pulled tightly in place. With a firm jerk he pulled it right open. Boy did I feel sheepish. Then comes the worst part... I walked through the basement, into the house, and right back out the garage door to thank him, letting the still locked door close behind me! Are you kiddding me ( I only wish I was!). So now, with the basement door firmly in place, we were back to square one. Next we decided to try windows. I assured him I had tried them all, but he suggested we try the little bathroom window again. He hopped on the A/C unit, and managed to open the window! Hurray... only he was a wee bit too big to fit through. I told him I could do it, but once I got up there, I thought it better to lower Kennedy in than to risk wedging my pregnant belly in the window, and thus be in an even worse situation. I explained the task to my little K and she bravely said she could do it. The officer lowered her through the window, and a moment later she appeared triumphant through the open garage door (which I promtly unlocked to prevent any further embarrassment). We all thanked the policeman profusely (which seemed such an inadequate gesture) and in we went. I hurried to make dinner and get the girls in bed so I could diffuse my nerves. When at last they were down, I curled up in bed and cried and cried. I have been so hormonal this pregnancy! I feel like a premenstrual teenager sometimes. I felt so sad and spent. My body was exhausted from trying to be supermom and find a way into the house. My nerves were raw and emotions rampant. It was a bad combination. I cried myself to sleep and that was a rap...

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Yummy Bean and Ham Soup

I've had food on the brain lately...I actually don't think it's the pregnancy, I think it's just me. Thinking about preparedness, and wanting to improve upon my weak collection of recipes my family loves. Anyway, I called my mom a few days ago for a recipe she used to make in cooler weather. She gave it to me, and we really enjoyed the results. It's tasty, easy, and it uses up a leftover ham bone that otherwise might just be given to the "dogs".

You can probably do many different variations with this, but I'll share how we did it.

Bean & Ham Soup

1 ham bone from a 7-8 lb. ham with meat intact
4 cans beans (great northern, canellini, or navy preferred)
2-3 bay leaves
1/8 c. red wine vinegar (mom uses apple cider, but I was out of that)
1/8 c. worcestershire sauce
pepper to taste
garlic salt to taste
1/2 c. tomato sauce
water to cover ham bone and other ingredients

Combine all ingredients in large stockpot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered for at least 1 hour (The longer it simmers the more the soup incorporates the flavor from the ham bone and other seasonings).

Right before serving remove bay leaves and ham bone, ensuring all the meat has fallen off the bone. Trim any excess fat from meat, and skim fat if necessary from soup, after letting it cool for a bit. Rewarm, and serve! Makes a great meal for cool fall evenings. I didn't serve anything with this soup; it's a meal in and of itself!

* I read several similar recipes on that suggest adding a little mustard powder, cayenne pepper, etc. I thought about kicking it up a bit, but decided against it since I was serving this to my family (my kids don't like too much heat).


And the verdict is...

Well, I put this off just a bit hoping for a little more time to do something really cute for the big announcement. Unfortunately, that extra time never came forward. So here it is, the unembellished truth...IT'S A BOY!

The pics spoke for themselves ( I'll try and post these soon). We'll just say this, the little guy had no shame in his manhood, or modesty for that matter. The physical evidence was insurmountable to Jonathan's utter elation (mine too, of course!). We're all excited, and even little Macy has decided, boy or girl, the new baby is going to get lots of kisses and hugs!

On another note, the measurments of the ultrasound showed the pregnancy even a little more advanced than before; so I have no idea when this baby is really supposed to be here. She said I looked about a week further than my paperwork shows. In any case, we're looking at an early to mid-Feb. due date. I'll take anything after 37 weeks, the sooner the better!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Back in the saddle

I've been a blogging fool tonight, so if you've got time and curiosity on your side, I suggest finding somewhere comfortable to sit, and bring along a favorite snack in case you get hungry! I've posted pretty much all that's noteworthy from this past summer, and for the most part, am all caught up!

That's all folks

To wrap up a really not-so-bad-afterall summer, we had beautiful weather last weekend. Since it was the final weekend of Summer, we headed out for last hurrah as a family. First stop was Dickinson park, just a couple blocks from our house. Kennedy and Macy both enjoy swinging on the big girl swings, though Macy sometimes forgets to hold on. Since Kennedy is so grown up that she can mount, dismount, and pump all by herself, she figured she was also big enough to push her little sister on the swing. They have so much fun together!

After the park, we stopped in for lunch at the Newtown General Store and delicatessen. This past Summer in my self-loathing, I kind of buried my head to all that Newtown has to offer. I was feeling sorry for myself & the girls, and lonely. It was all purely hormonal, and I'm happy to say that since things have leveled off, I am really enjoying becoming acquainted with our new town (ha!). This deli serves only Boar's head, something I have discovered as a result of marrying into the Cope clan, and is so charming. We all enjoyed our lunch, and the girls especially enjoyed picking out a "penny candy" for dessert.
As you can see from these pics, I'm definitely showing at this point. That should come as no surprise to anyone who has seen me pregnant before. I'm so short waisted there's no hope of concealing the reality. I'm almost 20 weeks now, and we will be in to see the doctor on Monday morning, 9-29-2008, to determine the sex of the little one within. It goes without saying that we would LIKE a boy, but mostly we would like a healthy, whole child. We'll be ecstatic whatever the outcome. However, I will make a hypothesis and present my case. I believe this is in fact, a boy. Here are the reasons: 1). my morning sickness lasted well into my 18th week (sporadically) with this one, while 14 weeks marked a magical transformation with Kennedy and Macy where that was concerned. 2). I had a linea negra with both Kennedy and Macy by about the 16th or 17th week. It has not made an appearance as of yet this time around 3). With both girls I craved lots of ice cream and sweet things. Ice cream is usually a staple in my diet, albeit the twice churned, half the fat kind. This time it has been salty cravings. Among some of my most fervent desires, McDonald's egg mcmuffin, bacon, baked lays (sometimes the original too!), white cheddar rice cakes, and cheese in all of its glorious varieties (ixnay on the soft, unpasteurized types). 4). I feel more round with this one, where I was more wide with Kennedy and Macy. I'm sure this will change as the weeks progress, as I tend to grow upwards, outwards, and sideways! With such a short waist, I haven't got a prayer! Cast your vote, if you will, and I'll post the results Monday night!

Are you ready for some football??!

I'm not quite sure what it is, the actual REAL fall weather here in Connecticut, or my weird hors' doeuvres cravings with this pregnancy. In any case, as the cooler weather approached, I actually found myself yearning for some football. No NFL here please, I'm more the college football type. Anyway, I guess having wintered the last five years in the South, my psyche had forgotten all about the natural cues that tell us it's time for football. But, though they were slumbering those long years, they weren't extinct. As the cooler weather set in, I actually spoke the words, " I think we need to watch some more football," to my husband. Apparently this was something he actually decided to document for posterity and brag about to his colleagues.

Watching the BYU-UCLA game with Jonathan seemed to seal the deal. It was definitely time for some football. While I know I may come to regret those carelessly spoken words, and perhaps many of you will too when your husbands discover them, I have enjoyed getting in the spirit. It has been helpful that BYU has come with their game on this year...let's hope that continues. To get the girls geared up too, we have started having "football lunches." These are a casual affair, with the only rule being that the foods have to be finger foods. Above is a picture of our most recent football lunch. It included an assortment of deli meats and cheeses (my girls have become real connoisseurs, turning their noses up to the american, processed variety), edamame in the pod, cantaloupe balls, blackberries, carrot spears & ranch dip, chunks of french bread, and a cheese ball with triscuits. Jonathan has felt a little left out, because so far, these lunches haven't actually coincided with a game day. Not to fear Jonathan, we'll spread the table for the next BYU game on Versus!

More Ways to have fun...

While I was feeling a bit sorry for the girls (and myself) that we spent so much of our Summer this year in doors, rather than out, it really was fun and we enjoyed just being together. We spent a lot more time than usual becoming better acquainted with our books, and the girls have started to ask for time to "read" on their own before bed. We acquiesce to this request figuring there are worse things in life than a love of books!
Kennedy and Macy have both gotten in touch with their maternal side of late, taking turns being mother and baby. They do a great job and I am sure they will both be such good help when our little baby (sex undetermined until 9/29/08) arrives. They both claim to have a baby in their tummies, and are quick to remind me when I accidentally bump them!

Kennedy is such a little artist and just enjoys the act of creating. She often gets carried away with the colors, she loves them so much, so that usually her pictures are all brown because she has so intermixed them. On this particular afternoon, she forgot which was her canvas, the paper, the table, or was it her midriff!

On a recent trip to Target we purchased a bottle of bath bubbles. Funny how a little thing like that can inject new life into a ordinary task. The girls actually have always loved bath time, but this latest twist is definitely a welcome change.

Why is it always so much more fun to put bubbles on someone else, and dump water over someone else's head than your own?

Forts, Tents, and Make Believe

One lazy weekend, when the weather was uninviting and the morning sickness still raging, the girls pleaded with us to build a tent, something we had promised long ago. Not wanting to be the parents who promise but don't do, we caved, and the following pics are the result.
Oh, except this one. This is a just a silly pic of Kennedy pulling one of her signature "funny faces" while dressed up in Daddy's waffle house t-shirt. She has a bin full of dress up clothes, but prefers the articles she can find in our closet. What gives??!

With a little teamwork, a few blankets, and a handful of chip clips (yes, you're reading that right (: ), this was our end result. We persuaded the girls that it would be much cooler for them to have their own side (no adults allowed) rather than sleep on the already crowded blow up bed with us. Happily, they agreed! We actually did sleep in this ( it was a Saturday night), and ALL four of us woke up in it the next morning (read: that's true love from Mommy and Daddy!). Jonathan and I did not sleep well, needless to say, and woke with aching backs wondering why we didn't just wander to the comfort of our own bed, only footsteps away. The girls on the other hand, were ecstatic to find their make believe wasn't just a dream after all!
It was really fun to recreate a relic so fond in my childhood memories and to see the girls' eyes light up as we brought the dream to life. They've been asking to sleep in a tent ever since...I'm sure we'll do it again sometime, but probably not for a LONG time!

Childhood Bliss!!!

Uncle Mike makes the big move out East!

Uncle Mike graduated from BYU-I this last Spring (right, Mike?) and made the BIG move from the great NW to the NE to pursue his dream career with the State Dept. No seriously, this guy knows what he wants to do with his life, and while he realizes there's not a tremendous potential for "filthy lucre" with the government, he is nonetheless really excited and very informed on what this career path holds. He is actual a contractor for the government right now, not exactly the dream job, but in this economy who cares? He is just grateful to be gainfully employed. So, while our days here may be counted, it looks like he's here to stay. He had a long weekend over Labor Day and decided to make the ardous trip to our neck of the woods.
After a 5 1/2 hour bus ride from Chinatown, D.C., to Chinatown NYC, he then hopped a train (barely making it in time) for another two hour ride to the depot nearest us. It's really more like an 1 1/2 car ride to the city, but the train is a little slower and stops several times between Grand Central and our station. Needless to say, he was a wee bit tired and hungry, but once again, he was showered with the attention and musings of his dearly beloved nieces and was also very gracious.
Does this tell you anything? Ever since his departure Macy has longed for her "best friend" as she calls him, and prays that his airplane will land safely so Uncle Mike can come back home to stay. It may seem like this steady stream of guests was a bit much for a woman with first trimester sickness, but I think they were all wonderful blessings. 1). they forced me to to maintain some degree of domesticity and 2). they offered me welcome relief where Macy and Kennedy are concerned. I absolutely love being their mommy and enjoy their daily companionship, but it was sooo nice to have others to share that joy with me and offer a little relief for me, and a little change for them. We had such a great time with all our loved ones and hope they all come again next year!
Of course, while Mike was here, we had to take advantage of having an extra pair of strong man arms around. We tried to decide which project would be best to tackle, and settled on the trampoline. We intended to purchase and set this up at the beginning of Summer...but as you have seen, time got away from us. Mike was willing and able and the boys had almost the entire project completed in about 3 hours! After lunching at Panera and dropping Mike off at the train station (where, for the girls, parting was such sweet sorrow), Jonathan and I finished the job that evening before he headed out of town for the rest of the week. The trampoline quickly became a beloved member of the Cope family, adored by all. The girls because of the endless hours of fun and games, Mommy because of the spare minutes it bought her for doing the many things that needed doing, and for Daddy because it made him the hero once again! Thanks Mike and Daddy for all your hard work. We love you guys so much!

Great Grandma Johns and Uncle Jeff visit

Not long after Nana and Charen departed, we were blessed with the arrival of Great Grandma Johns and Uncle Jeff. They came to town for a long weekend to visit and catch up with a cousin of mine who is a resident in NYC. There trip was brief, so brief, that I forgot to take any pictures. Aarrgh! Uncle Jeff made us a mean dinner of steak and potatoes and once again the girls just showered our guests with adoration! They were both very gracious and accomodating to Macy and Kennedy. It was a sad day when we drove them back to the airport only a few days after their arrival. Hopefully at our next meeting, we'll get to have more leisure time...

Nana comes to town!

My beautiful mother-in-law, Nancee Cope used some of her last few days of Summer before school resumed, to come visit us in our new home in Connecticut. She brought Charen along for the extra fun and gas of it!

We had a great time catching up, and doing what ladies do best, SHOPPING! We found some fun outlets (although I've now found even better about the same distance away!) to browse and while away the hours at. I particularly enjoyed the Michael Kors store and the Off Saks...Charen and Nana came away with several bags as well! Nana was so kind with the girls and they just adored her. Oh how we all missed her when she went away. We enjoyed many of the favorite pasttimes of Cope gatherings...playing cards, shopping, gabbing into the wee hours, eating, and commenting on Charen's aforementioned propensity for voluminous amounts of air! (You get my drift, right!) Sorry, Charen, but these kinds of things must be preserved for posterity, am I right?

Palmyra Township, New York

Well at long last I am feeling a marked improvement and ready to get back to blogging! You're gonna need some time when you sit down to catch up on the Cope family, so there's your fair warning!

When I left off my blogging about our experiences in upstate New York, the last thing you saw were the museum pics. Many of you were probably wondering, so what?? Was the pageant a bust? No, in fact, the pageant was great, I just dropped out of the blogosphere before I got to it. So here we are, rendezvousing back in time to catch up on what was left out! Our last evening and afternoon in Palmyra were filled with the excitement of pageantry and visits to places of historical interest in the L.D.S. world. Above is a picture of the Smith Family loghouse, or at least a replica of the one that once was, on the site of the old Smith homestead. You can see the farmhouse from the trailhead to the Sacred Grove. Unfortunately, the weather didn't agree with us, and we struck out for the Sacred Grove Sunday after church in a literal downpour. Being optimistic, we were undaunted and figured the rains would let up after awhile. Wow! We were wrong on that our soggy trip to the Sacred Grove and homestead was severely abbreviated from what would have been. Here's hoping for better timing next year.
By some stroke of fortune or providence, I had the foresight to pack the girls rain gear, "just in case." They were the only kids who were prepared, and many an envious mothering eye looked at us as we trudged through the muddy trail.
We made a pit stop at the L.D.S. bookstore in Palmyra where throngs of people were doing the same thing we were...killing time until the pageant, of course! We bought a few "necessary" things and took a look at the publication site of the first Book of Mormon. We didn't get to do the tour though, because the girls were both sleeping in the van, so Jonathan and I were swapping places to shop and have a peek around...
This hillarious vehicle was parked not far from us in the parking lot for the pageant. It may be hard to tell, but the proud owners of this ride have plastered all kinds of relics, keepsakes, trinkets, etc. to the body of the car. I'm guessing antics like this are what give us "mormons" such a bad rap, eh?
As the time for the pageant drew closer, the characters came out to meet & greet, sharing testimony of the restoration, as well as inviting us to suggest a friend or two who might be interested in learning more! We picked a couple of dear friends, who we knew would love us whether or not they chose to hear the missionaries (:

Kennedy and Macy were oblivious to the rain, or rather, the rain just made it that much more fun! Who can resist stomping in the puddles when you're decked out like this?
We thoroughly enjoyed this jaunt into our neighboring state, and are looking forward to next year when we'll have another chance to catch what we missed this year!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Celebrating the mess

I've survived yet another bout of pregnancy sickness. Forget the misnomer "morning sickness", because that certainly hasn't ever been true for me. This most recent bout usually started for me sometime mid morning or early afternoon, but peaked right as I was trying to wind down for bed. Jonathan couldn't figure out why I didn't want to get out of bed "early" to jumpstart my day; I explained to him, that when the last sensation you remember before drifting off to sleep is akin to a chemistry- project- gone -wrong- about-to-erupt-in-your-gut feeling, it is such a gift to wake up feeling "normal" for a bit, that I just wanted to savor it until the girls woke me for breakfast. Then it would start all over again. None of the "remedies" that have ever been suggested to me have worked. Soda crackers, nope. accupressure bracelets, uh-uh. Ginger anything..uh, no. Doctors prescribed syrups, not that either. It does make me pause and appreciate the general ordinary things and good health my life usually is filled with. I find it amazing that a little (okay maybe a big) tweak in hormones can have such a profound effect and throw all the wheels into motion to create the right environment for the life cycle to begin anew. Wow! I'm rereading all the articles and books I've read my two previous pregnancies and am no less amazed at all that must go right to produce this new little person growing inside of me. How one cell multiplies into clumps that continue to multiply and spontaneously begin assuming various complicated and very different roles essential for making everything about us that makes us living and human. It is humbling to realize that I am just the vessel; like the farmer, I try to provide the best I can according to my abilities and resources, and then exercise faith and hope that my efforts will yield the desired results.

Yes, that was a big diversion. It started out as an explanation for why I am living in a mess and took on a life all its own. If this were a paper, I would certainly get poor marks for organization. OH well. In any case, I have been pregnancy sickness free for two days. My family is not unscathed by this recent bout. The laundry piles, the dirty floors, the kitchen I haven't kept clean, all ominous signs that something has been amiss around here. The girls have been very good about it, and enjoyed, I must confess, a lot more tube viewing than I like. Things could be worse. To top it all off, Kennedy came down with a fever of 102 last Sat. night and ran one off and on for two days. We kept her home from church, taking shifts so Jonathan could attend sacrament meeting and I could teach sharing time in primary. Come Monday, Macy is hacking, I feel miserable (this time cold/flu like symptoms) , and by that evening we have a bonafide epidemic in the Cope household. Fast forward to today. Jonathan was home sick (he contracted the nasty little virus last, poor chap), and I and the girls are feeling improved though, not fully. I took the opportunity to survey the scene...tissue wads overflowing from bathroom cans, robitussin on the counter, dishes piled in the sink, dirty pajamas strewn haphazardly, the "baby" toys scattered on the bathroom floor, and the fort the girls and I made yesterday, a skeleton of its former grandeur. You get the idea. As I was taking all this in, feeling rather overwhelmed, I mean, where DO you start when It ALL needs doing, I managed to find the silver lining. My kids have really sharpened their cognitive abilities where imagination is concerned. They've spent a lot more time bored ( I haven't been at the top of my game where childhood entertainment and stimulation is concerned), and have made lemonade from lemons. Their vocabulary has exploded; they've got imaginary friends, words for objects that I've never seen, heard, or dreamed of, and don't seem the least bit worse for wear. In fact, I think they've been just fine (besides too much t.v. viewing). I remember the days when I would see the playroom go literally untouched for days. It was so frustrating, afterall, why DID we have all those toys if not for playing with?? Why wouldn't the girls just go and invent spontaneous play together? Would I never have children who played independently so mommy could say, get some laundry done, or scrub a toilet?? I would practically beg the kids to play. As if teaching a puppy to potty train, I'd lead them to the toys, demonstrate some clumsy attempt of pretend play, and then eagerly sit them in front of their literal dream come true playroom and wait...for nothing at all. Alas, I can say, if in every other way we are worse off from the serious backlog of tasks left undone, at least my children learned to play together...for long periods of time. They taught themselves to put on Daddy's t-shirts (yes, I realize perhaps Kennedy should have already mastered this skill), Macy learned to apply mascara all by herself ( and did a fine job I might add), they spent time perusing books and telling each other stories, chasing, doing gymnastics on the couches in the living room, playing in the soil of a failed tomato plant, building forts, and learned the art of Hungry Hungry Hippos!, etc. All this while nurturing their own ability to direct their lives and express their independence through spontaneous play. So that gives me a reason to celebrate the mess. Heaven does understand and give aid...

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Hellooo, is anybody there??

Just a quick post to let everyone know we're still here. We have had a whirlwind of activity this past month, and as you may have noticed, I am expecting and have been feeling "down and out" as is usual for me for the first trimester. I'm giving myself leave of absence for a bit, but plan to be blogging again in a couple of weeks. In the meantime I'll divulge a quick update. Nana Cope and aunt Charen came to visit us for a week. We all enjoyed shopping (duh!), playing cards, and talking into the wee hours. Our visit to NYC was a disaster...more on that later. Shortly after they returned to SC, my grandma Johns ( the girls great-grandma) and my uncle Jeff visited us for a couple of days. I have also been feverishly working on our ward's primary program ( I just got called to this position a month or two ago), preparing games for young ones for an upcoming ward activity, substitute teaching for the entire YW's program, etc. I feel like my life has been unravelling before my eyes. Since the days of being sick started almost two months ago, my house has only been cleaned twice, for Nana and grandma Johns arrivals. I have excused myself from cooking and have avoided the grocery store at all costs, only making absolutely necessary trips, until week 14 of the pregnancy (when I usually recover general good health). In the midst of all of this, Jonathan has been hitting the books for the GMAT every night and weekend. So there you have it; all of my excuses for neglecting the blog...I'll be updating again in September and hope you'll check us out then!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Strong Museum of Play

For one of our day trips while in Palmyra, we decided to visit the Strong museum of play in Rochester, NY. This turned out to be a fabulous day of fun for all, and a great way to tire the kids (and parents) out so we wouldn't mind too much having to sit for a couple of hours on a picnic blanket waiting for the pageant to start later that evening.

Kennedy I enjoyed communicating with each other via the pipe system from the boat (her location) to the helicopter (my location).

It turns out our little introvert doesn't mind a little attention after all. She had a ball putting on a show for us at the little theatre.

Does this bring to mind Elvis for anyone else?

Neither Jonathan or myself were too interested in riding the carousel, so we took Macy and Kennedy into the museum's toy store to convince them getting a souvenir was far better than a ride that lasted only a moment and then was done. Kennedy bought our campaigning, but Macy was undaunted. She wanted to ride the carousel and pointedly turned down any of our feeble attempts to steer her otherwise. When we had first arrived at the museum we saw the carousel and had promised the girls a ride if they wanted one when we were done. So, a promise is a promise and it must be kept. I braved the carousel ride for my little fireball!

Macy making music

Climbing the rock wall. The real rock climbers can cross it horizontally!

Learning about words and letters...

A visit with the Berenstein Bears

Making crafts

More music

Kennedy was fascinated by the silly mirrors that distorted your image. She asked on four different occasions to return to the mirrors. It was her favorite part of the whole museum!

A girls dream. Getting to pick out anything you want in the grocery store with no one telling you to put it back.

Clifford the big red dog came to visit too! We had a great time playing with the girls. What a fun way to pass the day and learn to find joy in the simple pleasures of life again. It is so much fun having children and seeing the world through their eyes. I am so grateful for the joy Kennedy and Macy bring to their mommy and daddy. What a blessing they both are!

This is the life!

I'd say camping was a hit with the girls! They got to indulge in chocolate and marshmallows, hold their own roasting stick, play at the playground until almost ten o'clock every night, walk around barefoot, sleep in a tent, and enjoy the undivided attention of both mom and dad!
Macy has started crossing her legs, as above, and saying, "Look, I'm a mommy!" Apparently that's something I do a lot of.

I beat Jonathan in a game of horseshoe!

There's nothing like the thrill of cooking your food over a campfire...especially if it is Jiffy Pop popcorn.
We all crashed together after a hard day of playing...I sure love my girls! We actually are not posing here...Jonathan found us this way and snapped a pic for posterity.


Our campground also had a modest game room where we had some fun shooting hoops and playing air hockey

The girls enjoyed some quality time with Daddy and loved gaining the confidence to play in the pool without his assistance.

Look Ma, no hands!

Camping is probably the only time parents actually consent to our kids playing with fire!