Monday, June 30, 2008

An announcement for my friends and readers:

Jonathan and I have deliberated for sometime about whether or not to make our blog private. We have decided to make that if you have an interest in viewing our blog in the future, feel free to send either of us an e-mail or, if you don't have our contact info., leave a comment here and we'll be happy to include you on the invited list. I'll probably do this in the next week or so...

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Wedding Bells

Kelli married Brian Whitaker (sp?) in the Seattle Temple on April 26th. All of the week preceding had been dreary and cold, and yet come the wedding day, we were blessed with
the kind of day that beautiful summers are made of...Thank you Kelli, for letting our girls see first hand what a princess looks like on her wedding day, and where real princesses get married to their sweethearts so they can be together for eternity. What a blessing to show the girls the gospel in action and the happy people who keep the commandments!

Gig Harbor on a foggy day in May...
Innocence captured

Our Macy, always full of mischief!

Who on earth is she flirting with? Whoever it is, I'm sure they're smitten!

Kennedy and her aunt Ashley; we miss you Ashley!

Daddy's still a ladies man, he just runs in a smaller circle now!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Johns Family

My beautiful sister on her wedding day; here's hoping for someone special to come into Dan and Mike's lives soon!

We're getting there...

Whoa! Okay, now please don't take offense if avocado is your thing, but this shower fixture has got to be retiled. The previous owners tastefully put hardwood floor throughout the house, but they cut a few corners in "updating this bathroom. They put in a new sink fixture and left the green shower and toilet. I guess it'll keep us humble, right? Oh, and the counter is some kind of a wallpapered/laminated formica material. Really bizarre...never seen anything like it.

Did I mention they took ALL of the bathroom mirrors with them. When we first went under contract, they mentioned a mirror that was an heirloom or antique or something like that which they would be taking with them. At least that was what I understood; you can imagine my surprise when we moved in and none of the bathrooms had mirrors. I thought you were supposed to replace items like that if you had an emotional attachment to the ones you owned? Anyway, it is costing a pretty penny to get mirrors in. So far, we only have them in the master bathroom. Sorry guests! We'll try to get one installed in your bathroom before you arrive!

Another of our close encounters with nature

This is my second house where a bird made its home on one of my porch's. In Texas we had a bird's nest on the fan of our back porch. We had to power wash

all the poop after the birds had this an omen or something?

Our front yard, and the crown jewel as far as the girls are concerned. We plan to put up a soccer goal here, and a trampoline on our side yard. The girls think it's so

cool that we have our own park!

You asked me to keep 'em coming...

The girls' shared bedroom...can I take this moment to issue a call for help. It used to be so easy
to get Macy to sleep; we had a simple routine of reading, cuddling, and then I would lay her down, turn on her lullabye music and leave, closing the door behind me. She never made a peep. Now, every night she pushes the envelope. She needs to go the bathroom, she jumps on the bed, she cries hopelessly for more cuddle time. I usually lay them down around 8:00 ish and she is never asleep before 9:30. I'm trying to walk a delicate line, asserting myself as consistent and authoritative while at the same time letting the girls bond and develop the friendship and memories that only sisters can have. Oftentimes, I resort to putting her in the guest bedroom after several bouts of threatening, spanking, etc. etc. I'm really making myself vulnerable here I realize, but I really want to handle this right. I mean do you let them jump and run and around until they crash? Do you not assert rules and issue consequences? What are effective consequences anyway? I will add that I do manage to keep a cool head through all of this. It is very important to me to not be angry when I am trying to discipline, and that I believe, I manage to do. Macy just seems immune to all of my attempts. I thought about ditching the afternoon nap, but after a few test-run days, I concluded she still needs that to function well. Can anyone provide me with a breakthrough?

Girls room #2

Girls room #3

2nd full bath

Can you imagine what is hiding behind this lovely shower curtain?

Saturday, June 21, 2008

More pics of the house

#1 family room/library

Backard view #1

Backyard view #2: about 1/2 - 1 acre into the trees is still our property

Backyard view #3

The dining room...pretty much the same as in Texas

#2 the family room/library...more to come as we get cleaned up and organized. Will this ever end?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The dangers of living in the woods

I don't really know why I am admitting this, much less making it a permanent part of my family's history by documenting it here, but it just seemed so blog worthy that I had to mention it. As a lot of you know, I am absent-minded. I often lose my keys, my phone, even my purse, and have to frantically retrace my steps to locate missplaced items. I think something went terribly wrong somewhere in my hard-wiring; I don't know if it can be fixed. Anyway, last Friday I came home with the groceries and hurriedly carried them, and the girls, into the house to fix dinner. Jonathan was already home when I got in the door so he never noticed my indiscretion. Apparently I had left the keys in the ignition, AND left the door open to the car...and they remained that way all through the night until they were discovered the next morning. While many of you in suburbia would have to worry about thieves absconding your vehicle, that was not the danger we were susceptible to. We live on three acres, and our driveway winds up and around a small hill. It is easy to miss our house unless you are paying close attention to the addresses and watching for the only sign of life: our delapidated mailbox that has seen more than one collision with a wayward driver. No, we did not have thieves...we had raccoons. They left their tracks all over the car, peed in the backseat, and ate an entire unopened bag of sunflower seeds, leaving a pile of shells neatly stacked beside the car. They punctured the water bottle and siphoned off the liquid, and made off with any other food related items they could find. Unfortunately, Jonathan cleaned all this up before reprimanding me and telling me of the incident, so I have no pictures...but it does make for a good story, doesn't it? I'm not sure exactly what the moral of the story is here...maybe you can help me?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Our new Home

Some folks have asked to see pics of the new house in Connecticut. I say "new", it is actually c. 1978 with some nice renovations that make it feel newer than that. It is new to us though, and we are really enjoying our new home. This is the girls play room; the previous owners used it as a family room, but we needed a place to play and this was perfect. It is just off the kitchen, but you have to walk up a small flight of stair to get to it, which means the mess isn't readily visible from the kithen. I quite like the set up.

Another view of the opposite side of the room. Why you ask did I fix this room up first? Because I can't get anything else done anywhere else in the house unless I have somewhere to send my darling daughters to play and watch movies while mommy is trying to make sense of the mayhem.
This is the laundry room...quite spacious I know. The cupboards were formerly in the kitchen and removed to this location when the previous owners renovated in the early nineties. It's a great space to get organized and I love that it has nice big windows overlooking the front yard where the girls play. Our front yard is actually much larger than the back, at least the grassy space is. The girls love to chase out there and become acquainted with nature. This is very new to them, having trees, and rocks, and animals. They love it and I love that we have been able to provide this new adventure for them!

The very small entryway. I didn't show in the picture, but it does have two separate coat closets on either side of the front door. That is a nice feature. I've discovered in my limited experience as a homeowner that you can never have too many closets in your house.

The downstairs half bath. It is actually large for a half bath and I think it is feasible to put a stand up shower in it someday. Again, we have another closet, how handy! I could either take this picture of the toilet or the sink; I thought the sink was a little more photogenic.

Ode to Fathers

Father's Day was an experiment in ultimate domestication...well almost (: My sister-in-law Brandi's blog about her day sounds a lot like my own experience. I had visions of grandeur (remember I aspire to be a master of the kitchen?), and boy did I pay for my epiphany. I started the extravaganza Saturday night after the girls had gone to bed, and I'm not kidding, I didn't stop cooking from that time until 6:00p.m. the next day with short spells of sleep and church in between. It all paid off though, when I victoriously set the table for the days festivities. Our Father's Day started with pancakes, bacon, and eggs. For lunch Jonathan enjoyed his favorite (mom's recipe) pasta salad, and for dinner we had his favorite chicken (Nancee's marinated chicken on the grill, and yes, I actually grilled it myself), with cucumber cooler, FRESH squeeezed lemonade, and the star of the show, a HOMEMADE strawberry rhubarb pie complete with a homemade crust! I had never made a homemade pie and I had no idea what I was in for. It is an ordeal to prepare the dough and make the crust. That part alone took the better part of four or five hours with all the "chilling" time it required and pre-baking. Anyhow, the good news is the production was a huge success! We all had a great day with our Daddy and are so thankful he's the father he is. I don't even mind that they sometimes seem to love him more than me. I count my blessings everyday that Heavenly Father brought me such a loving, fun, involved father who makes everyone laugh and whose talents are always in demand! He inspires me to be better and do better and I am eternally grateful for his patience with me and his unconditional love.
I have the Breville Ikon juicer which I used to juice 2 full bags of lemons to make this lemonade. It took forever to peel the lemons, and by the time I was finished my fingers and cuticles were burning from the acid. I think I'm going to invest in a pair of latex gloves...

Cucumber cooler of course! How is it that this simple dish manages to make it to nearly ever major holiday in the Cope family?

My triumphant victory; I conquered the elusive perfect pie crust. Okay, so I didn't actually weave the lattice top like you are supposed to, but you can't tell that in the picture! The crust was REALLY yummy and the whole pie was delicious! We polished the whole thing off in three days...I'm glad I don't bake like this too often!

What is this strange looking orb, you ask? It is an ice cream maker! I surprised Jonathan with this little gem ( he already guessed the cologne and he SAW the tent) that you can take on campouts or pretty much anywhere and make ice cream with. It has a center cylinder that you fill with ice and rock salt. Then you flip it over and fill the "guts" with your icecream ingredients. You can toss it, kick it, pass it, and do anything else you would otherwise to with a ball. In about 20 minutes or so, you have your delicious homemade ice cream. Unfortunately, I checked the only two local grocery stores in Newtown Saturday night and neither of them had rock salt. So, we had to eat our pie without ice cream. BUMMER! Where do you buy rock salt anyway? Do I have to special order it somewhere? Anyway, we're planning on taking this with us to camp out in Palmyra for the Hill Cumorah pageant. I'll report later on its efficacy and ease of use.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Tenuta di Ricavo

The breakfast spread was a bounty. They never offered cold cereal, pancakes, waffles, bacon, etc. Their spread included fresh fruit juices, hard boiled eggs, plain yogurt with muesli, various cold cuts and cheese slices, a breakfast cake (delicious!) and sometimes an assortment of pastries or cookies. It was pretty different from our traditional American breakfast, but we enjoyed it.
I love this bell collection. I think I'm going to start one too...

The drive to Ricavo...

One of the many enchanting rooms I mentioned...

The front of our building from the street

Day 8: Castellina in Chianti

Did I mention I was in love? Oh, right. The grounds had a garden of eden type appearance, as if everything just sort of spontaneously grew. Kind of unkempt, but lovely all the same. The kind of garden I've always imagined sharing with Elke. Remember our secret garden we were going to share Elke? This place had gardens like that...places that were mysterious & enticing where you could get lost in imagination and long spells of contemplation...or just take a nap under a wildflower canopied sky.

Kind of ethereal isn't it?

This was the restaurant at Ricavo. Also, I believe the main house where the proprieters live. It had enchanting rooms inside...

The facade of our little house

Here we are! I'm so elated I can hardly stand it!

Leaving Florence for Tuscany: Jonny's camera

Sampling some antipasto Italian style; we always found the cheeses, fruits, and salamis delightful! Oh, and in Italy the only salad dressing we ever had was a combination of the house olive oil and house balsamic vinegar. We grew to love eating salad this way! It really allows you
to taste the salad rather than just the dressing.

Jonathan was so patient with me...This was me EVERYWHERE we went...I had to read every plaque and find out all I could to understand what we were seeing. He really was very patient and sweet about it, though it often bored him to tears.

Here's our car for our Tuscan getaway. We were so glad to finally turn this thing in scratch free.

It was very stressful driving in Italy, and I was the passenger!

Our first glimpse of was love at first sight for me. I really could live this way and

be happy forever
Welcome to Tenuta di Ricavo. Our home away from home in Castellina in Chianti.

Florence: Jonny's camera

The much lauded Michelangelo David was amazing. First of all he is 14 feet tall, so rather imposing, and second the detail is phenomenal. This is the real David; he's in the Accademia museum. The fake is located in the Piazza della Signoria. Michelangelo was 29 when he began this sculpture; WOW! is all I can say. The veins in his forearms and hands, every little detail was masterfully sculpted. Just try to pretend he has a loin cloth on if you need to (:
This is actually one of the wider sections of the stairs leading to the top of the Duomo. The hike was suffocating, the stairs were irregular, and the air was heavy with humidity and the odors of so many people hiking in such a confined atmosphere. It was not pleasant; but the top was a real treat to see the skyline of Florence. Italy is magnificent. What truly amazes me is that it is a mere shell of its former grandeur. If only I could have visited it at the height of the Roman Empire! What a place!

On top of the Duomo overlooking Florence.

Look how close the walls are...I have never seen driving like I have in Italy. Cars squeeze in between places that look fit for a motorcycle only, and they do it at top speed sometimes! We toured on foot in Rome, Cinque Terre, and Florence. We're very glad we did. We only picked up a rental car when we had to, to leave Florence for Tuscany.