Monday, July 30, 2012

hi family! i just wrote up a post on our family blog and thought i'd repost it here for all to read. i love that we have this blog as a compilation of the whole family's lives! it's such a great way to keep in touch. we had such a wonderful time in utah visiting family and really missed those of you who were unable to come. we love all of you and think of you often!

here's our recap: warning, it's a bit lengthy

four and a half
two and a half
and a half
years old

we spent nine days in utah partying it up at a roper family reunion as well as half-of-the-mccoy-family reunion. only one trip to instacare was required and that wasn't until our last twelve hours in town so all in all i consider the trip a roaring success. we all know that traveling with kids is kind of like really fun torture. taking care of kids is a lot of work. taking care of kids at someone else's house is even more work. through trial and error i've learned two key factors that makes traveling with my minis much more fun:
1) limit it to a week, none of this two week business like in days of yore
and 2) take darek with me. two parents are always better than one.

and i suppose i can throw in a third helpful tip: have very low expectations
ie - roll with it and expect to be beat

a few summers ago when i was breaking my two rules and spending two weeks in utah with atticus and beckett but without darek and i was in the throws of sleepless, funless vactioning with little kids chaos, my sister-in-law (who i consider to be wise beyond her years and secretly wish i were lots and lots more like her) said to me that "traveling with little kids is really a labor of love" and it's so true. at this stage in life, as much as i love to travel to see family and friends and take a break from everyday life, it's pretty exhausting and not always what i remember family trips being like when i was a kid - but that's exactly the point. family trips as a kid, playing with cousins, staying up late, eating popsicles, endless summers, sleeping on the trampoline is magic. pure magic. and that's why we do it. during these years when our kids are too young to realize that traveling is really exhausting and instead just think it's party time from sun up to sun down is creating childhood magic. my most precious childhood memories are of visiting cousins, playing on my grandpa and grandma's farm, going to water parks and lagoon, eating cookies and getting lost in cousinland. nothing is better. and i want that for my kids, especially since we live so far from most of their cousins. and until i had kids i didn't realize that my parents were creating that magical world for me by enduring the weeks of packing and planning, hours of driving, nights of not-sleeping, too much fast food eating, and making major sacrifices just so i would have those memories that i would love forever.
it's a labor of love. so exhausting. and so worth it.

so thank you to our family for hosting us
thank you to darek for helping me
thank you to my kids for loving it
and thank you to my parents for teaching me how to create childhood magic for my minis

atticus and beckett really lucked out in the cousin department on the roper side - eight boys under the age of eight. that makes for some serious little boy play.
trucks and dirt and guns and sprinklers and swings and swords and superheros and snips and snails and puppy dog tails.

four and a half has been both a darling age and a challenging age for atticus
he's so smart and so interested in learning everything there is to learn. he asks the best questions and i can't believe how much he understands and remembers when i explain things to him or tell him stories. he sincerely loves his siblings and is a really good big brother. i've known since his birth that he has a kind and tender heart and i see that in how much he loves to cuddle kennedy and bring her toys and play with beck and (sometimes) share with him. he actually cries at sad parts of movies - ie - when curious george gets sent back to africa - because he's such a tender hearted little soul. he's also so busy and hyper and crazy and fun and laughs and laughs and laughs. and last week as we were leaving the gym he turned back to the little boy he had been playing with and yelled,
"bye bye friend! thanks for playing! i love you!"

and of course it's also challenging because he understands so much
but lacks the emotional maturity that comes with age - which results in lots of whining and meltdowns
and he never, ever listens until i ask/tell him a 50th time
so i just remind myself that it's not supposed to be easy...

crazy atticus being crazy

beckett is the charmer of all charmers
he's a total ham and definitely the family clown
at only two and half years old i can't believe how much he understands how funny he is
and how much he intentionally does stuff to make us laugh

and i've never seen a copy cat like beckett
he will literally watch atticus say/do something then execute the scene exactly
it makes me laugh and it also make me remind atticus 100 times a day to be a good example

until recently beckett hasn't been old enough to understand when he's being left out of something which has been both sweet and sad to watch. i remember one time in recent months going to a friend's house to play and beck was so so excited to get out and run around with the big boys. he literally jumped out of the car and started hopping around in utter joy ready to play with the big boys and when the big boys ran off to play, leaving him behind, he just followed after totally clueless to the fact that he was being left out. he fully believed he was in on the action. it broke my heart in the most tender way. it hurts to see him being left out and so sweet and heart wrenching to see that he thought he was being included. i was relieved that at least he thought he was part of the big boy action. however, last week he figured it out. we had little buddies over and of course atticus and his buddy ran off to do big boy things and leave little brothers behind. beck tried to keep up but to no avail.
finally he came downstairs crying and said, "atticus won't play with me."


i wanted to cry too

 he is the sweetest soul and of course it's so hard for me as a mom to see his little heart ache
but alas, these are the growing pains that build character
so try as i might to protect my babes from any and all heartache,
i know it's good for all of us to have a little taste now and then

sweet beck throwing sand

and kennedy
my half year old
those blue eyes
those elf ears
needless to say she owns every heart of every person she ever smiles at

she rolls and rolls hither and yon to reach whatever object she has set her sights on
and she's so close to crawling that i'm afraid if i blink i might miss the actual moment of the first crawl

she slept like a dream on the vacay which only made me love her all the more. and she just got passed from person to person, winning hearts and she went along. i don't want to jinx myself but she's definitely what the baby whisperer would categorize as an angel baby and even though i had nothing to do with that, since she just came that way, i like to pretend that i did have something to do with that and count it as a parenting success - because it's those successes that keep us going, right?

angel girl

so anywho, we had so much fun on our vacation and i'll have to blog more details this week.
it was so wonderful to see the family that we saw and the few friends were able to see
although we missed seeing so many.

i'm so grateful for this stage of life and the things that i'm learning, although i'm not going to lie - it's not easy.
but it's not supposed to be, so i hope that means that we're doing it right.


Saturday, July 28, 2012

Mini McCoy Bash

We had a super duper fun weekend with Brandon, Darek, Marschell and company last week. We crammed a lot of bodies into this house but wouldn't have had it any other way. Amanda already blogged about it and put up pictures on our blog so click on our link to see what went down.

Oh and Emma's new favorite thing - growling. It's pretty dang hilarious. She does it almost constantly while she is awake. We'll figure out how to upload a video so you can hear and see her in action. Love you guys!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Speaking of food...

So last week turned into classic McCoy food week, check this out:

Sunday night dessert/Monday breakfast:  FRITTERS!  We made grilled pizzas (quite delicious by the way) and so I told Brooke to make extra dough for fritters.  I can't believe I forgot how stinkin' good those things are.  Haven't ever even made them for Brooke so it's been a really long time since I had 'em.  She said she can't believe I hadn't ever made something I knew was so good.  Holy cow, now I want some RIGHT NOW!  The kids loved it and almost got sick cause they ate so much. 

More dessert:  So also one night after dinner Brooke says, "Who wants Oreo Smasho?"  I was like, you made it?  "Yeah, didn't I tell you?"  She's made it a couple of times and it's just one of the best things in history.  Funny, it always make me think of the Damrons (sp?) who used to live next door.  I remember taking it over to their house after they moved and I think that was the first time we had it or something.

Dinner the other night:  Fish sticks!  And of course only with the classic McCoy homemade tartar sauce of mustard and mayo.  Brooke was out and about and suddenly I had a huge craving for fish stick sandwiches.  She bought a huge bag and I filled an entire cookie sheet and we ate every single one.  Kids don't like the tartar sauce tho, they don't know nuthin.

Some of things I've told the kids we used to eat as snacks as kids:
- graham crackers smeared with butter
- toast with cinnamon/sugar
- English muffins with peanut butter

I've told them about the time I'll never forget Dad trying to make homemade V8 (oh, that was so barf) and once making homemade syrup and adding every single sprinkle and candy thing there was in the cupboards, waaay too sweet even for sugar addicted kids.  Also loved the big box of donuts we used to have for dessert after dinner sometimes and we all wanted the maple bars.  And who can forget the Red Baron pizza Friday nights?  I still eat those a LOT, mmmm.  I was just telling Luke, cause he went to Costco with Brooke the other day and was saying how heavy the cart was, that we used to go the store and have two completely full carts at checkout time.  haha, I'd love to see the faces of the people around here if we did that.  I was laughing while at Scout Camp about that Postum crap Mom used to buy, can't believe I used to actually drink that stuff.  They had something like that at the Trading Post.

Ah, fun memories.  And man, I am HUNGRY now!


(tacos, taco salad, shish kabobs, all the knock-off cold cereal brands that came in bags and not boxes - puffed wheat (!), forced to eat squash and broccoli...)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Thank you all so much

Hey, thank you all so much for your birthday well-wishes -- privately as well as on Facebook and the blog.  It was so good to hear from you.  I gave a talk last Sunday (as usual, it seems) about what we know about heaven (which really isn't very much) and who we want to have there with us.  Hearing from all of you and seeing how well you're all doing stirs up deep feelings of love and appreciation for the kind of people you are.  Thank you.  One of my favorite scriptures is 3 John 1:4.  That e-mail chain about life on the ole' Rancho not so Grande was a hoot too.  We love your sense of humor. 

So Sharla's gettin' er done !!  Wow, two babbies in one year.  We're going to make 30 grandkids yet !!  Amanda ?  Amberli?  I think you're being called out.  (I think the rest of you have already limited out.)  Seriously, congratulations !!  Why not -- you all have such cute kids -- shouldn't they be part of our family?  By the way, was that really Beck having a little melt-down?  What a great shot -- he'll appreciate that on his wedding day.  And all the pics of Brynn and Emma as well as the older ones -- Jason & Brooke's kids and Kenzie with her new million dollar smile (at times it probably seemed like it cost a million).  What a great family, if we do say so ourselves !! 

As far as mission news, we've attached a couple new photos -- the first one is us standing out in front of our capilla.  It's really a nice building -- about the size of a stake center, but only one branch meets in it at this point -- attendance has dropped way off in this area, which I guess is why we're here -- to see if we can help re-build the local units.

The second photo is a couple guys trying to bring down a tree next door -- one guy is pounding on the tree with a dull ax while the other one is pulling it down on himself out in the street.  They managed to get it down without killing themselves or anybody else, but it was funny to watch. 

The last one is a "phone booth" in the heart of the city -- of course it has no handset -- somebody I'm sure thought it would work better in their house.

And so is life in Argentina -- everyday brings new (and often funny) experiences.  An example -- just last night this dog next door started yapping at 4:00 am.  It went on and on until I finally got up and went out on our front balcony and yelled at it in English "Shut up you stupid dog"!!  Pretty soon it came around from in front of the neighbor's car and wagged its tail at me and quit barking -- as if to say, Yeah, I understand English too.  (haha)

Otherwise, the work is going great -- it's really fun to see Mom get into it -- her banana bread has become a real hit.  She takes some with her on all our visits and the people just love it and her.
Well, better close this before I do something and erase it all.  Sure love you all.  Keep the posts and pics coming.

Dad & Mom/G-pa & G-ma      

Monday, July 23, 2012


Mom, great inaugural blog post! Cool to see pictures (complete with a classic mom-with-her-eyes-closed in that cemetery pic!) and also get a 'day-in-the-life' of for you guys. Love the details, brings back a lot of memories. Keep 'em coming! Some of those seemingly routine or mundane (at the time) details are what I miss about the mission field and missionary life in general. I totally know what you mean tho...SO much happens in any given day or week that it all blurs by so fast. I remember thinking days felt like hours and weeks felt like days. And exhausting physically and mentally! At least you two don't have to get used to a new companion every few months! "Why does my comp fill up half his socks with talcum powder every morning? What a wierdo! Just buy some dry-fit socks ya goof!"

That's a really nice apartment too. Jealous. Does it have hot water in the shower or just a metal plumbing pipe sticking out of the wall w/ only freezing cold water? The worst!

And fun to see you learning the art of the empanada Mom! Fried empanadas filled with potatoes and shredded beef were the BEST! I think I once ate like 62 in a sitting. Good stuff. Looking forward to the smorgasbord of Argentinean cuisine you've learned when you get back! I'm making my birthday dinner request now. Move over scalloped potatoes.

Yeah like Spence said, what are the Argentinian birthday rituals? We had the same in Colombia...a raw egg smashed on your head followed by a box of flower / baking soda thrown on. We learned quickly to never tell people our birthdays. Or better yet, secretly tell Ward members it was your comp's birthday so they'd waste him.

Well it was good to Skype with you guys Saturday. Sorry it was short and so distracted...but was great seeing you guys. We took some family photos while we were in SLC w/ the Ropers so we'll post some the meantime, had to share one we got from the photographer. She couldn't wait and had to send me and Amberli this shot of Beck. Such a happy go-lucky guy!

(what do you MEAN Santa's not real!?)

Friday, July 20, 2012

Happy Birthday!

Hope you had a great birthday Dad.  Guess I should have included that in the email I sent this week...but figured I should keep well wishes and talk of septic tanks separate.  Anywho, I'm guessing the locals smashed eggs on your head then dumped farinha all over you.  No?  Too bad.

We had family pictures done in Boise but don't have em yet.  I'll post em once we do.  Presley started taking steps, 4 just a minute ago...her personal best.  Speaking of babies, whatcha think of Sharla's announcement. I think it's some sort of belated April's Fools gag.  Well I'm not falling for it Shars!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Happy Birthday Grandpa!

A big HAPPY BIRTHDAY from all of us! The following is Emma's gift to her Gpa. :)

As you can see we are working on the "modeling" business.

We love your guys. Happy 4 months to Emma this week and Happy 30-something to Gpa!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Happy Birthday Pops!!!

Well it's technically your birthday already even tho it's still Tues. here but just wanted to wish you a splendid birthday in the Argentine land!! how do they even celebrate birthdays? do they put weird stuff in the cakes like knives or pickles? better find out before you're surprised with a cut up throat!

So in honor of your birth, i'll share a favorite memory i thought of just yesterday. i admit i kind of miss that you work at the office. b/c i loved calling you there. i knew MJ would be the one to answer, i would ask for you, she'd put me on hold and obviously let you know who was on the line and then you would always, ALWAYS pick up. you never once said you were too busy to chat or that you'd get back to me later. and sometimes you would even call me from the office too just to see how my day was going. It made me feel special that you made time to talk when usually it was probably just venting about school and lack of money.....SO i'm glad you were never too busy and thank you for being willing to listen. Hope you have a great and memorable day!! love you dad!


Monday, July 16, 2012


ok who are you and what have you done with my madre? you blog, text, email, you'll be posting videos to youtube. sheesh, move to a new country and i don't even know you anymore! well sounds like things are going just fantastic. missions are the best. altho we didn't get to take siestas in the middle of the day, no fair.

so i just got back from Girl's Camp and it was a lot of fun. only down-side was lack of sleep, mosquitoes and being away from Brynn. i got pushed into the lake (retaliation from the girls of course) and i didn't even know such cold water even existed!!! plus i was in my clothes and shoes so i had to dry my only bra in the sun. but we had a blast and i'm glad i got to go.

and for the real reason for this post.............BRYNN IS GOING TO BE A BIG SISTER!!!! lame to announce on a blog but i figured since everyone reads this thing. i know, i know she's only 4 months old and i'm already about 10 weeks along which means they'll be less than a year apart but that's how we roll. it's going to be crazy and nuts but also really fun. so who knows? maybe we'll have 3 by the time you're home. plus side: no morning sickness and i'm almost 2nd trimester so i'm glad about that. at least i'm excited about it this time around...just hope my scar tissue has healed enough to not rupture....ok well when we get our camera back i'll post some pics of the little lady, still cute as ever and sleeping like there's no tomorrow! love you guys, miss you and enjoy!


Mom's a blogger!

Mom, awesome first post!  I love all the details, especially about the "uncomfortable" meeting with the ex-bishop!  Glad you are getting into such the swing of things there.  We think about you every day and are in all of our prayers.  It's great to see you with a missionary "chapa" as we called them in Spain.  It must be pretty great to be able to show them your skillz at ping pong and making activity bags!  Glad you humbled Dad too. heh heh  We just watched the video of the Tough Mudder and I'll find a way to post them here so you can see how tough I am, although I didn't feel like the video captured how difficult it was.  I think it compares to, like, 3 Iron Mans, pretty sure.  And love the pictures, what a nice looking place you got there, we'll come visit, I think it'll only take like 2 weeks to drive.  That's really cool too about that English teacher lady going to church too, hopefully things work out, she sounds really nice.  Okay, i'm off to bed now, talk soon!


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Here's a North American - Argentine couple we've become friends with who have been introduced to the art of making activity bags -- like the ones Mom talked about making in RS.   

Thought we'd show you what one of our baptismal fonts looks like -- plastic tarps supported by a metal pipe frame in the only rented hall in the District -- all the rest of the branches have their own building.   

My Maiden Voyage

Dear family and friends - Well, here it is. My first attempt at blogging about our mission.  Our time here has been so challenging and yet fulfilling and yes frustrating at times, that it's hard to know where to begin.  I guess I could start with just this last week.  Last Sunday seems like a month ago just because so much has happened since then.  We went to visit the last of the six branches in our District.  It required a 6:00 AM  bus ride to what we thot was a small little town 2 & 1/2 hrs away from where we live.  It was a really cold day and everyone sat in church with their coats and scarves on the whole time.  No such thing as central heating!  As we're soon to find out, there's no such thing as central air either.  I can hardly wait!  Come to find out ,Villa Angela is no small town but the 4th biggest city in the Province.  The people were warm and friendly as we've found them to be everywhere we've visited.  I got to play the electric piano as well as say a few words and bear my testimony.  Somehow it's easier to do when you don't know a soul!  Afterwards, we went to visit a less-active sister with the District President and then made the 2 & 1/2 hr bus trip back home.  After eating and resting up a bit we walked the 10 blocks to the church for an 8:00 choir practice only to find the building dark and nobody there.  Since we'd been gone all day, we didn't know it had been cancelled and had to walk the 10 blocks back home.  Needless to say, it was a rather exhausting day.  The up-side of all the walking however, is that we've both lost weight!

The very next day, Mon., was not only our P-Day but Argentina's Independence Day.  We had a get-together at the church with the Branch members which included a spaghetti dinner [lunch] , a short lesson and then games such as ping pong and soccer.  Yours truly managed to beat Dad a couple of times as well as a couple of others.  You guys had no idea your good ole Mom was good at a sport, did you!  We spent the rest of the day and it was very enjoyable.

Tues. we had an interesting invitation from the director of an English language school here in Saenz Pena where we do volunteer work.  It's their winter break and she invited us to go along with her when she took her two boys to the zoo here.  She speaks very good English and has a delightful personality besides.  It was nice to get better acquainted and see some of the local culture besides.  The next two days we made some more visits and did catch-up here at the apartment.  One visit was notable to me at least.  We were visiting an older couple [yes, older than us!] who have been less-active for l5 yrs.  He's been a Bishop and in the District presidency and yet here he is out of the church for many years.  Well, even tho I couldn't understand all the words, I could tell that Dad was starting to ask the hard-core questions and the tension in the room began to rise.  The other two brethren who had gone with us were looking down and figeting with their hands. After a few more minutes I could hardly stand it any more and wanted run out the front door, but with the 3 locks on it, top, middle and bottom there was no escaping!  It actually ended well with both the man and his wife receiving priesthood blessings.  Dad discribed it to me later as excising an abcess to let the poison out, which can be painful but then allows the healing to begin.  It was painful alright!

Fri. was a really wonderful day.  Lorena [the school director] had invited us to meet her husband and go with them to his parents cattle ranch.  We haven't eaten much Argentine beef yet but we've seen it on the hoof, up close and personal!  After a small tour of the ranch [they have over 2,000 acres], we were served a light "tea" and were having a nice visit when the conversation turned to religion.  Well, did we have something to share with them!  Dad basically gave a first discussion and the conversation was very positive.  We'll keep you updated on any developments.

Sat. Dad had Presidency and District Mtgs. [he's been asked to be the District executive secretary] and I had been asked by the R.S. Pres. to teach the sisters how to make the childrens activity bags like I was making at home.  My interpreter couldn't make it so I "managed".  In spite of the language barrier we managed to make five bags.  The only sisters who showed up were the wife of the Branch president and her four daughters, but they each went home with a finished bag!!

Well, were up to Sun. again and the end of this saga but what a day it was!  We had been asked to speak in church and when we walked in, who should be sitting there but Lorena, our non-member friend!!  That wasn't the only surprise.  When Pres. Avalos announced the meeting, my name wasn't mentioned.  There were several others speakers already so I saved my talk for another time.  When I told the missionary who spoke I had enjoyed his talk, he said he had no idea ahead of time that he was supposed to speak!!  Go figure.  But that's how it is here in Argentina.  That's only one weeks worth of experiences [thank goodness, some of you might be saying!] but I'm really loving it in spite of some of the frustrations. 

Thanks for hanging in there with me.  I love you all and appreciate all your help and prayers in our behalf.  I'm sure it's part of our success.  Write when you can and we'll talk again soon!!


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Photos anyone?

OK, let's see how this goes -- our first attemp at posting photos.

Hey, looks like it worked !!  The first one is our apt building - a newer condo style building -- we're on the second floor left side.  Next photo is us at the funeral/cemetary -- quite the place.  Next is our living room -- not bad for just the two of us.  Last is Mom/G-ma helping roll out the dough for some empanadas at a fiesta.  We'll see if we can post some more a little later.

Winter in Argentina

Hey, thx everybody for posting such great photos -- what a bunch of good lookin' kids and parents !!  You guys look like you're just having altogether too much fun.  Glad you're enjoying the summer so much -- and you still have half of it left !!  (Oops, sorry mom's -- those of you who have all your kids home under foot.)
So this week's segment is about Argentine weddings and funerals.
First, weddings -- engaged couples do send out wedding announcements with stores listed where people can go buy gifts for them, and the strores display little announcements in their windows that so-and-so is "registered" there.  But beyond that, they include their bank account number in the announcement so people can deposit cash gifts right into their accounts !!  Trouble is -- they don't know who deposited anything until they get their bank statements and then it doesn't identify who deposited the money, only how much.  So the idea of sending out thank-you cards is a new concept -- they just don't do it.  Pretty funny.  I told them (the folks who were explaining all this to us) that in the States NOBODY puts their bank account numbers on anything -- it's called identity theft and we're very careful about it.  But they didn't seem concerned at all -- I guess thievery here hasn't reached the level of sophistication it has in the States.

Next, funerals -- we went to a funeral recently and it was another interesting lesson in local culture.  The body of the deceased was first just wrapped in a decorative blanket and placed in a temporary casket in a "salon de velatorio" -- a municipal viewing facility since the surviving spouse was basically penney-less.  The next day the body was placed in a nicer casket purchased with donated funds and taken to the public cemetary where it was slid into an above ground cement tomb already occupied with other remains, but not before the casket was soldered shut on-sight by a team of grave attendants with a portable soldering iron and propane tank.  The family then had a "grave side service" conducted by an evangelist preacher (who carried on at length) after which one of our priesthood brethren at my suggestion pronounced the grave dedication.  The whole cemetary was a sight to behold -- large and small above-ground tombs of all different designs and finishings depending on how much money the family has.  Those with no money get buried under ground with nothing more than a stake to mark the spot.

All in all, it served to give us a renewed appreciation for the gospel and our eternal perspective of both marriage and death.  In the meantime, we've been busy gathering people up trying to qualify to become a stake.  One family we visited the other day had a dog that chased bricks and rocks instead of balls and sticks since the former were in much greater supply.  We've had some sweet experiences though giving distressed people priesthood blessings and encouraging them to persevere. 

Well, after I wrap this up, I'll try to attach some photos and hopefully show you some of what's it's like here in the mission field in south America !!

Love you all very much !!  And thanks again for all your posts -- we really appreciate them. 
Dad and Mom/G-pa and G-ma                    

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Happy 4th of July!

Happy 4th of July to everyone! It was a nice, hot day here in P-town. Amanda got up and ran the Freedom 10K, then we went to Amanda's aunt's for a BBQ and pool party. Emma is a little fish and could stay in the water all day if we let her. It's actually quite hilarious to watch her kick her legs and splash the water and cry when we take her out.

Our Bishop had a huge neighborhood party at his house in the evening with food, blow-up toys, pinatas, and lots of fireworks. That was another thing Emma LOVES - fireworks. She was so bright-eyed and smiley watching all the colors. The loud noises would occasionally make her jump but never cry.

We love and miss you guys! XOS