Saturday, December 29, 2012

December Highlights

1. A baby shower on December 8th! There were so many people from my new ward in Mesquite who came. I was surprised to realize how quickly we have gotten to know so many people and what wonderful friends we've already got here.

Unfortunately, this was the only picture we got

I also had two showers in Utah when we went up there for Thanksgiving. It was wonderful to see family, friends, and many of my Nauvoo sisters. I got lots of great advice, and Lizzy Jo got lots of presents!

2. Getting my hair cut on December 12th! This is the shortest my hair has been since...birth, probably.

From the front
And showing the back

The first couple of days I kept saying to myself, "What have I done?!" And then saying, "But it will be cute when I figure out how to do it!" I've never had short hair like this, so I am learning. I am totally happy with it now.

3. Christmas with my husband! We realized that this year will be the only year (at least, for a very long time) that we will celebrate Christmas with just each other. In the past we've spent it with his family or mine, and in the future we will have our children to celebrate with. So we just enjoyed each other's company all day long. Slept in, had pancakes for breakfast, opened presents, went for a walk, played with our presents (I got Empire Builder! Fun!!!), ate good food, listened to music. It was relaxing and, oh, so fun!

4. Seeing family before and after Christmas! Dave's sister and brother-in-law came to visit us the weekend before Christmas and we had a lot of fun playing games and going bowling. I won the second game with a 138! That's my highest score ever, I think. But I am pretty sure I strained a muscle in my abdomen/groin during that game because it was kind of tender for a couple of days after. I guess that's what I get for setting a PR throwing a 9-pound ball at 37 weeks!

We also got to see Dave's dad, Geoff on December 26th. He is a trucker and was driving through Mesquite, so we had him over for breakfast. It was a short visit, but it was so good to see him!

5. Reaching 38 weeks on December 26th!

This is actually me today, at 38 weeks, 3 days

6. Getting about 30 seconds worth of small, teeny snowflakes in Mesquite on December 26th!! I NEVER thought I'd see snow in Mesquite. I was so excited, I ran up our stairs and into the house to tell Dave he needed to come out and see. I was yelling his name, and he thought I was going into labor! :D

7. Seeing Les Miserables last night! It was BEAUTIFUL! After reading the book this year, it's hard to fully appreciate the musical, because there is so much that had to be cut out to make it work. But that's how it is with all musicals. You have to make it about the MUSIC. And the music in the movie did not disappoint. I loved Javert/Russell Crowe, and the Friends of the ABC. And I think that some of the music was even more moving to me than when I saw the stage production, because I knew more of the story from the novel, even if it didn't come out fully in the production. All I have to say is, there was a GREAT cast and I am really impressed!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Stew in a Pumpkin Recipe

I forgot that I was going to post the stew in a pumpkin recipe!  So here it is.  I modified it from a couple of different recipes that I found online, so if you don't like this one, just do a quick search.  There are a lot to choose from.

You cut off the top of the pumpkin and empty out the guts, just like you were going to carve a jack o' lantern.  Then you melt a couple tablespoons of butter and mix in about a half teaspoon each of salt, pepper, and nutmeg (or some other pumpkin seasoning that the recipe I found called for).  Put it on a cookie sheet.  Bake it in the oven at 300 for at least an hour.

After putting the pumpkin in the oven, wait for about 20 minutes.  Then start cooking beef stew in a pan on your stove top.  We start with stew meat, and add in onions and garlic when the meat is brown.  When the onions are cooked, add in 3 carrots, 3 potatoes, and 3 stalks celery and add water to just barely cover everything.  Add in whatever spices you want (paprika, parsley, salt, pepper, cayenne, more nutmeg).  Then let it come to a boil.  Once it boils for a couple minutes, turn it way down, cover it and simmer it for 30 minutes (until the time is done on the pumpkin).  During the simmering, add some cornstarch or flour to a small amount of water and mix it into the rest of the stew to thicken it.

Take the pumpkin out of the oven and ladle the stew into it.  Plan on leaving it on the cookie sheet the entire time, since the bottom of the pumpkin will get soft and will give under the weight of the stew if you try to lift it on its own.  Then put it back in the oven to cook for at least another 30 minutes.  When we made it this year we didn't have time to let it bake the last 30 minutes, and the pumpkin wasn't that well cooked.  So it was hard to scrape bits of pumpkin into the stew when we were serving it.  It still tasted good, though.  When you serve it, you can transfer it from the cookie sheet to a serving platter if you have one; but if you do, you should be sure to support the bottom of the pumpkin somehow.  And even then it will probably leak at least a little bit.

You can really do whatever you want with the stew.  I've eaten this as casserole in a pumpkin instead of stew (rice, cream of mushroom soup, and veggies), and I'm sure you can do lots of other things.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

October Happenings

Dave and I are sitting on the porch, enjoying our fall weather (sunny, 72 degrees, a light breeze, a couple little clouds in the sky).  This is how it has been for most of October.  A much appreciated change from the hotter weather that we've had since we moved here mid-August.  We've only had a couple of colder days just this last week, but that was a pretty cold couple of days for this time of year (65 degrees was probably the high).  So we feel spoiled.

Our October has been a lot of fun! I think this is one of my favorite times of year because the weather cools down, there are so many fun holiday activities, and I love all the squashes that are harvested and are so cheap right now.

***Edit!***I forgot to mention that we watched General Conference at the beginning of the month.  I love listening to the words of the prophet and apostles of Jesus Christ.  If you missed some of their talks, or want to listen to them again, you can find them here.

Dave and I went to his work Halloween party on Saturday the 13th.  Guess who we are!

In case you can't tell, he's Shaggy and I'm Velma.  I LOVE this turtleneck sweater that we found for me!

Here I am at  27.5 weeks.

Last weekend we decided to do really get into October celebrations.  On Friday we had our own Octoberfest.  We baked bratts, sauerkraut, onion, and apples and ate them on rolls.  We also drank (root) beer and watched Strange Brew.  This is an absolutely zaney movie that only tangentially deals with Octoberfest, but it is really fun and funny to watch.

On Saturday we took our last dip in the pool in our complex.  It was BRISK!!  They don't heat it at all, and even though the weather is still pretty nice, it is now too cold to swim.  I did a few little laps in it, and then I had to get out.  Dave didn't even stay in that long.  Does this mean that we are becoming true Nevadans???

That night we went to a play in St. George, "Nightfall with Edgar Allen Poe."  It was a play adaptation of "The Raven", "The Fall of the House of Usher", "The Pit and the Pendulum" and "The Tell-Tale Heart."  It was in a small theatre so everyone got to feel like they were close to the action.  It was very well done.  I forgot to take pictures at the theatre, but here are some of the program (I love the artwork on this) and me.

 Here I am at 28.5 weeks.  Officially in the 3rd trimester!

This Thursday we decided to get a 6-month membership at the Rec. Center, since it has so many facilities that we want to use (indoor pool, racquetball court, weights, exercise classes, elipticals and treadmills).  We've gone a couple of times to play racquetball, but it's $5 per person each time for non-members, and a 6-month membership for both of us is only $160.  So if each of us goes 3 times a month, it's already worth it.  And with the cold months coming on, we are planning on using it a lot.

And the food this month!  A couple of weeks ago we bought carnival squash for the first time to use in a stew.  We still have one left and we're going to roast it for one of our meals this week.

Also, Dave had a pumpkin-carving activity at church with the young men in our ward, and brought home all of the seeds for me to roast.  I have given away a few bags of them already, and we still have so many of them.  I love pumpkin seeds!

 And tomorrow we are going to have stew in a pumpkin.  This is one of my favorite meals to do this time of year.  The first time I had it was when I was on my mission, and I was amazed.  I had never heard of something like that.  But I found that I really liked stewed pumpkin, and I try to do it every year.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Survival of the cutest

As most of us know (minus the kids in Alabama and Mississippi) natural selection is generally the means by which speciation of life on the Earth occurs.  The better something survives, the more likely it is to continue surviving and "get busy."  This can be explained by an examination of finches.  Somehow.  You'll have to ask Darwin about that. Anyways, I've realized that--at least for most environmentally minded folks--survival of the fittest has been largely supplanted by survival of the cutest.

For example,the new poster-child for saving the world from global warming, the polar bears, and oh boy aren't they cute!
No one ever talks about saving the walrus because, let's be honest, any animal that bears a striking resemblance to your creepy uncle with the perv 'stache is not the cutest thing in the world.

Anyways, as Merry and I were watching our nature documentary last night, we starting talking about which things will make it under survivial of the cutest and which won't.  We came up with the following lists.

polar bears
baby seals
baby beluga whales
arctic foxes
almost any baby animal
big cats
lady bugs
etc. etc.

Ain't gonna make it:


bugs in general (with the exception of lady bugs)
most people (except, as noted above, babies)



The jury is still out on platypi (sorry Perry)

I think we're drawn to try and save cute animals because we know, deep in our hearts, that if things keep going the way they're going, eventually it will just be us and the cockroaches here on Earth fighting it out for the scraps left over after the boomers have ruined it all.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Money for a Piggery!!!!

I've been meaning to post this for weeks!  My friend Michelle is working hard to raise money for a pig farm in Uganda, a project through Groundwork Opportunities.  The pig farm will teach families about raising pigs, give them their own pigs, and enable them to increase their standard of living significantly.  She and her colleague are trying to raise about $1,000 more for the farm, to reach their goal of $10,000.  They are going to Uganda next month and would like to raise the rest of it by then.

Learn more about the pig farm project and donate to the cause here:

I think that projects like this--where people are benefited with knowledge, new skills, and confidence in their own abilities--are so important, and I hope you donate if you can.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Under New Management

Merry noticed that a restaurant in town had a sign up saying "Under New Management!"  She turned to me and said, "You know what that means? 'We don't suck as much as we used to.'" I thought: how true, how true.  Now that she's got two brains inside her instead of one, she is sooo much smarter.

Also, belly pic from two weeks ago.  As you may have noticed, Merry is getting all "teeny bopper" and taking mirror pictures of herself.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Holy Guacamole!

As promised, a post about Dave the drummer and some pictures!  Dave's new employer has a band, called Running with Scissors.  Their drummer moved several months ago, and they asked Dave to join them for a performance at the high school in Mesquite.  Last Thursday they played for the high school's tailgate party before their first football game of the year.  Here are a couple of pictures of the event:

 Setting up and doing sound checks.

 Dave doing his thing!

 The whole group performing.

Part of the fan club.

There were several (about 5) little girls who were dancing right in front of the stage for much of the performance.  Occasionally they would climb up on the stage and have to be pulled down by their parents.  It was cute!

Overall the performance was good.  I thought Dave sounded wonderful, considering he only had about a week to practice with the band after not playing the drums for 4 years!  Good job, babe!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Belly Reflections

Almost from the first moment that I knew I was pregnant, I looked forward to feeling our baby move.  I mean, I was really excited about the idea!  And for the past 3-ish weeks since my morning sickness stopped, I've seen it as the next sign that this pregnancy is real and is continuing to be healthy.  I know that you don't have to feel your baby move for everything to be totally normal.  But still, I started to think, "Maybe I am just getting fat, and getting over a 3-month bout of bulimia."

No, honestly, I am sure that I have felt the baby moving as far back as 6 weeks ago (around 14 weeks).  I read up a bunch on feeling baby movements, and all of the things said I'd feel gas or feathery feelings.  So I've been waiting for those kinds of feelings.  In the mean time, I started feeling things that were more like muscle twitches in my abdomen.  At first it was not very often at all, just an occasional twitch.  Which made it seem likely that it really was just a muscle twitch.  I mean, my abdomen was going through some changes (Hello, uterus!), and I knew that my ligaments were all getting ready to stretch out, which means that muscles are not supported like they used to be.  So it made sense.

However, like I said, I have been looking forward to feeling the baby like crazy!  So I said, "This is just a muscle twitch.  BUT...I'll remember this and if that ends up being what my baby feels like, I'll know that it was really movement."  Yeah, I'm no dummy.

Fast forward about 3 weeks, and I started feeling these "muscle twitches" much more often.  At this point I was like, "I will bet that this is the baby."  But I had no proof.  They were still pretty light feelings.  They did not feel like they had any more power behind them than the first few twitches had.  And I thought, "If this is the baby, wouldn't they be getting stronger?"  So I again put off a certain diagnosis.  I said, "I am pretty sure this is the baby, but I might be wrong.  I am not going to officially say that I've felt the baby move."  Because a false official statement like that would ruin my reputation.  :D

So, this last week I felt another one of those twitches, and there was a lot of force behind it, and I knew that I had felt my baby.  And then I felt it again.  And again!  I am suddenly feeling it very frequently.  Dave joined a band when we moved to Mesquite (Deserves its own post!), and I went to watch them practice last night.  When they first started playing, the baby went crazy!  She was moving around a lot.  I had earplugs in, since we were in a small basement and the music was really loud.  And I kept thinking, "Maybe the music is too loud for her!  Too bad I can't protect her ears too."  And then I realized that her ears are protected by her placenta, my uterus, and my skin.  Yeah, her ears were fine.  It's just probably the loudest things she's ever heard so even though it wasn't too loud for her she reacted pretty strongly.

All of these movements were only felt on the inside.  I've had my hand over my belly during lots of these, and never felt anything that way.  Until today!  I was sitting working at my computer and felt a pretty strong bump.  I put my hand right where I had felt it and kind of pressed a little, and she bumped it again in that spot.  I totally felt it with my hand!  I pressed around with my hand some more and felt her one more time.  I am in love!

I'm sure that a blow-by-blow of my awakening to the reality of fetal movement was thrilling for you to read, and just what you wanted today!  But just in case you didn't get your fill on the topic, please comment and let me know what it was like for you when you first felt life inside you.  Or let me know if you have any questions about it...Since I'm now an expert!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Just "The Bump"...And Firsts

If you thought the last post was going to be pictures of me all over Pahrump displaying my baby bump, you were probably disappointed.  And the last thing that I want to do is disappoint my readers.  So here is the first picture ever of my pregnant belly, at 19 weeks.

It's not much to look at.  But I hope this satisfies the curious.

These last two weeks have been full of firsts. I went to my first baby blessing in the Gravett family!  Dave's brother Mike and his wife Jac had us all out to Nebraska to see our nephew Avram blessed.  We also visited Winter Quarters for the first time, which was awesome.  I love church historic sites and their visitors' centers!

Proof that Dave was there, holding Avram.

The whole family together.  I have a bump here too, at 17 weeks.

Dave also had a farewell from the first real job he had out of law school.  The people he worked with at the courthouse in Pahrump were all really great, and they will be missed.

Dave and Melissa: They say, "You're in a LOT of trouble!!" to each other any time they see each other.

In case you can't see what they're holding up,  here's a close-up.  Jello made to look like drug court urine samples.

And here is Dave drinking the disgusting stuff!  (Actually, it was really tasty!  Pineapple!)


Another picture with the whole gang and the sign they made for us:


We also found out for the first time what gender our baby is.  We have just moved, though, and I'm sure that our new doctor will want to do another ultrasound.  So it's probably not the last time that we'll be told what we're having.

Oh, you want to find out now what we're having?  :D  It's a girl!!!!

And here's the real view of the belly, since I know you weren't satisfied with the one at the top of the post:

Monday, August 13, 2012


Well, the time has finally come for Dave and me to move on from our home in Pahrump.  That's right, we're moving!  Dave got a new job at a civil law firm in Mesquite, Nevada.  It's on the Nevada/Arizona border.  Dave was interviewed on a Friday (2.5 weeks ago), offered the job Saturday (the next day), accepted the job on the Tuesday after that, we left for a vacation to Nebraska on Wednesday (the next day), and didn't get home until Monday (a week ago). We moved most of our things into our new apartment this last Saturday.  So basically, we did most of the moving preparations in 4 days! I never want to move this fast again!

The last few things we have to do are clean the old apartment (all that's really left is the kitchen and the garage) and have the carpet cleaned.  Then we'll come back in 1.5 weeks to have the walk through with the property manager and we'll officially be moved out.  I am glad that I could have this time to clean while Dave completes his last couple days of work.  It's nice to be moving only 2 hours away instead of several states away so that we have this option to take our time cleaning after our stuff is moved out.

Our ward members have been so nice to help us with things we've needed during this move.  One family came and helped me pack up the moving truck while Dave was at work on Friday.  I could never have done it myself and it would have been very difficult or impossible for me and Dave to do it ourselves later that night (besides the fact that I am 18 weeks pregnant, there was stuff that took 3-4 people to lift into the truck).  There are also a couple of families that brought us meals yesterday and today since all of our dishes are in Mesquite.  And we are sleeping on a borrowed air mattress!  It's a little crazy staying in an apartment that is basically empty, but it just makes me that much more excited to move to Mesquite and enjoy all of my belongings again!

It is interesting to look back at the time that we spent here in Pahrump.  When we first got here, we were so excited about Dave's new job as Judge Lane's law clerk.  We were excited to get to know people in our ward.  And really, the people in our ward are salt of the earth people.  When we think about Pahrump in the future, it will be the ward members that we miss, as well as a few of Dave's co-workers.  We are excited for the new job and for being closer to family in Utah, but it will be difficult to find another ward like the one we've had here.

When we get to Mesquite, I'll find my camera cord and post a few pictures from Dave's farewell party at work.  I'll also post my first belly picture!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Pregnancy Brain = Lame, Lame, Lame!

Just a couple examples of when pregnancy brain has gotten the better of me:

1. The other night, Dave and I were talking about eating some ice cream.  Dave said that he would get it because I had had a hard day.  But we were cuddling on the love sack and, you know, it's hard to get up and get ice cream when you're already comfortable.

So I said, "Are you going to get the ice cream?"

He said, "No, I've decided not to.  But I give you permission to." 

Me: "I don't need your permission to get ice cream!"

Dave: "Fine then, I take away my permission for you to get ice cream!"

Me: "Huh!"  [I got up to get the ice cream.]

Dave: "So, you're getting the ice cream?"

Me: [Realization dawned on me that I had been played.  I had been manipulated into getting up to get my own ice cream after Dave said he would get it!]  "No!!!"

I ended up getting the ice cream anyway, since I was already up, I really wanted it, and nothing soothes hurt pride like ice cream.

2. Dave and I went to Las Vegas last night to meet up with my brother Matt, who was visiting his long-time friend Lindsay (she lives near Vegas).  Lindsay and her boyfriend were going to be joining us for dinner too.  We were brainstorming ideas beforehand of where we should go eat.  Completely forgetting the fact that Lindsay eats Vegan, I suggested we go to Five Guys Burgers and Fries.  Yep.  Lindsay has been a family friend for years, and that's the place I suggest.  Needless to say, I felt pretty dumb.  But we ended up deciding on a fun Indian restaurant instead with lots of Vegan options, and the food was great.  It was a fun evening to spend with Matt while he's here.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Time for a Change

Well, June was less busy than May.  I made a couple of trips to Utah to meet with tutors at Project Read for my master's project. We started telling family and close friends that we were expecting the little bug, as Dave calls our baby.  And Dave decided to cut off his beard!  He rides his bike to and from work now, so it's getting a little to hot for a beard.

He trimmed down to a goatee:

Then shaved so the goatee would show up better:

Sporting the 'stache:

 Still too soon?

And the clean-shaven face:

What do you think?

Monday, July 23, 2012

Where did May go????

I have been thinking that I needed to post about all of our activities in May, but the thoughts were always accompanied with the idea, "I'll do that later."  So, later is now July.  Oh well.  I'm pregnant (And that's an excuse for everything, people keep telling me.).

On May 12th, I waged a personal war against cigarette butts, broken glass, and plastic.  Our stake had a service day where everyone in the stake showed up in Pahrump to clean up the trash in our community!  Our ward was in charge of the area around our church building, and there was so much trash that we really only got to about a third of the streets that we were assigned to in the 2 hours that we cleaned.  But I felt great about picking up all those cigarette butts, and we did fill about 15 bags with trash.  And we got to wear the church's helping hands shirts, which they use for service projects all over the world!

Dave and I went up to Goldfield for a criminal trial on May 16th. Goldfield has an amazing courthouse that was built around the turn of the century, and it was neat to go up there and see it again (We went with the judge up there back in November too).  I sat in the gallery of the courthouse and worked on my project while I watched the trial.  It was the first time I had seen a criminal trial, and it was pretty interesting.  The whole trial lasted just one day, from motions made by the attorneys, to jury selection, to testimony by the witnesses, to the jury deliberation.  Actually, the surprising thing was that the jury took so long to deliberate on the verdict.  They took about 1.5-2 hours to decide, when we thought it would take them about 10 minutes.  So they were deliberating about as long as the rest of the trial time.  Here are a few pictures from the courthouse:

We celebrated Dave's 28th birthday on May 21st!!!  Yes, my incredibly handsome husband is now in his late 20s.  :D  He had to work that day, but we still had a lot of fun.  One of his office mates decorated his office for him.  We ate pizza and watched Star Trek.  And he got to pick out a few presents for himself.

Also on Dave's birthday, he was sworn in as a lawyer in Nevada!  Now he has two states under his belt! Here are some pictures of him being sworn in by Judge Lane.

No, they weren't high-fiving!  Here's a better angle:


And at the end of May (the 25th-27th) my sisters and I had a reunion in Las Vegas May.  I felt really spoiled to have it so close to home.  The rest of them traveled from Utah, California, and Arizona to be there.  All of my sisters were there, and my sister-in-law Megan.  We missed my sister-in-law Pam, but hopefully we can all make the next time we get together.  It was so fun to stay up late talking, eat lots of food, and just have a nice relaxing vacation.

All of us together in the Belagio.

Me playing with Shelby, my newest little niece.

And that was May!