Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Neighborly Consideration

We live at the very back of our condo complex.  And because they are condos, most of the units are either unoccupied several months of the year (because the owners are snow birds), or are occupied by the aged owners.  This combination means that it's a very quiet place to live.

However, there are rental units (obviously, since we live in one), and they don't always attract the highest quality of tenants.  There have been rumors of tenants in other buildings running drug houses and things like that.  But I've always felt like our complex was a safe place.  Apparently others do not, as the following story demonstrates.

In mid-October Dave, Lizzy Jo, and I made a whirlwind trip to Arizona to see my parents.  We left Friday at 3:30pm, and got back at 1:15am on Sunday.  We would have stayed longer, but I had to be back at church so I could conduct our church choir.  And we couldn't leave earlier because Dave had to be in court to represent a client on Friday.

Needless to say, all of us were tired and the car was a mess!  10 hours of driving in less than 34 hours is a lot. I decided to go out early Sunday morning to pick up all the water bottles, trash, and various items that were strewn about the front and back seats.  There were also some baby clothes, the hiking backpack, and our ipod.  I decided to shove everything into the hiking backpack since that would make it easier to bring everything in in one trip.

As I made my way from the driver's side to the passengers side to start picking up stuff over there, I noticed a lady walking her dog.  Every retired person in Mesquite owns a small lap dog!  It's like it's written into the HOA rules and regulations.  So I thought nothing of it.  But as I leaned in to grab the next bunch of trash, I heard her ask me, "Can I help you with anything?"

Me: "Oh no that's fine.  I've got it."  I expected her to keep walking her dog, but she just stood there, so I went on: "I'm just cleaning out the car after a quick trip this weekend."  Still no movement.  "We left Friday after my husband was done in court, and got back late last night, so the car is really a mess."

Her: "Does your husband go to court often?"

Me: "Yes, he does! Do you know him?"  I thought that she knew Dave through work and was just figuring out that I was his wife.

Her: "Oh.  No."  She turned away, and I think she started to reach for her cell phone in her pocket.

Me: "I mean, yes he's an attorney.  He goes to court a lot because he's an attorney."  I had just put all the pieces together.

Her: "Oh!  Well, I just thought I'd ask.  There are criminals all around us here!"

She thought that I was breaking into the car and stealing stuff, so she approached me. Then she thought I was admitting to my husband being a criminal! I'm willing to bet that she would have called the police if I hadn't set the record straight!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Busy Bees!

Dave, Lizzy Jo, and I have been busy bees lately.  There has been a lot of travel this summer to get out of the heat.  We recently bought a hiking backpack because we've been hiking a lot and the Baby Bj√∂rn just wasn't cutting it anymore (Lizzy Jo is getting heavy!).  And I am working full-time at my TOEIC Speaking scoring job at ETS during the month of September, due to an influx of test-takers for the Fall.

In addition, Lizzy Jo is really getting into yoga.  Here she is showing me a few poses:

 "frog" pose

"butterfly" pose

"bear" pose

"hungry-bear" pose

"rock-climber" pose

And, in honor of her first time attending a BYU football game last weekend,
the "take-a-knee" pose.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Theological Musings on Transcendental Transformations

The Sunday School lesson at church this week was on marriage and inevitably the statement was made that no marriage is perfect, to which one old codger replied, "Yeah 'cause if it was we'd already be beamed up to heaven."  I turned to Merry and said, "Honey that's why I swear so much because if I didn't I'd be beamed up to heaven and you'd be alone." 

To which Merry responded, "Why don't you give not swearing a try and if you start floating up to heaven I'll let you start swearing again."

So anyway, Lizzy Jo is continuing to explore her world and recently she has discovered the piano and loves it.

As you can see, she is a natural.  Anyway, today we were working on dinner and washing dishes, not paying attention to Lizzy Jo, who was closely occupied chewing on my wallet. Somewhere, out of the blue we heard, as if floating down from heaven, the voices of an angelic choir singing in a perfect triad.  We both jumped, and I said, "Dear, I told you this would happen if I stopped swearing, it was good to know you," but then we both realized Lizzy Jo had started playing the keyboard and had managed by coincidence to play a major chord.  Oh well, the swearing is still off I guess.

Lizzy Jo's also taking after her old man and playing the drums too.

Saturday, August 17, 2013


Last month Lizzy Jo got her first two teeth, her two front bottom ones.  And yesterday she got her third, on the top and right of center.  I can't get a picture of that one, but here are the bottom ones in all their glory (what pictures she would let me take):

 As you can see, I was holding her mouth open to see her teeth.  She is so stingy about showing them!

And here she is with the camera lense cap, which is what I was bribing her with to keep her still.


I love this face!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Lizzy Jo on a Sunday Morning

This morning I was sitting at the table eating breakfast while Lizzy Jo played on a blanket on the floor.  I looked down because she was being quiet, and she was just looking up at me.  After I finished my cereal, I decided to lay down on the floor with her to play.

I picked up her doll and made it give her kisses on the face.  She really likes it when I do that with other toys.  Then I said to her, "This is your baby!  This is YOUR little bug."  We call Lizzy Jo "Little Bug."  "And you are her mama.  Do you love her?"  She lay there, looking at the doll and at me with a very serious expression on her face, like she was pondering all the impending responsibilities and joys of motherhood.

And then she grabbed her doll and bit it, putting as much of its face into her mouth as she could.  After that she swung it around for a while.  So much for girls being born with mothering instincts.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Something Good

[I started this post in September last year.  Then I worked on it some more in December, soon before Lizzy Jo was born.  And now I will finally finish it!  It is more true than ever.]

I have such a blessed life.  It makes me think of the beautiful song "Something Good" from "The Sound of Music."  I love the lyrics:

Here you are standing there, loving me,
Whether or not you should.
So somewhere in my youth or childhood
I must have done something good.
Nothing comes from nothing,
Nothing ever could.
So somewhere in my youth or childhood
I must have done something good.

In an email to my mom's family, my aunt Janice paraphrased it, saying that before she came to this earth she must have done something good.  It is so true.  My life is filled with wonderful blessings that I cherish, many of which I know I don't deserve.


I am still working on my Master's Degree.  I am grateful that I've been able to receive so much education, formally and informally, and I am dedicated to finishing my degree this year!  This is one of my major goals.


This is the most recent picture of my family, missing a few members, at my Grandma Packard's funeral last September.  My parents came home from Peru for the funeral, and all of my siblings were there.  I was so glad to be able to go, to celebrate my grandma's life and to be reminded about the faith and love that are part of my heritage.

This is the most recent picture of Dave's family, taken in April.  If you look closely, you can see that Lizzy Jo was NOT happy.  This was in the middle of her stranger danger phase, and she cried if any family members got near her.  This was the last time all the family has been together.  Now Dave's two sisters are in Texas, and his brother is about to move to Germany.  We will miss seeing all of them so often.


Here is a picture of the love of my life, giving our daughter cream soda (or root beer, I can't remember).  I love him more than I could ever say.  Much more than I imagined I would when I married him almost 4 years ago.  He can make me laugh at almost any moment.  We have a lot of fun hiking, camping, playing games, swimming, talking, walking, encouraging each other to exercise, and many more things.  My life has more meaning because of him and our relationship.  I am so blessed to know and love Dave.


This girl is so precious to me!  I don't love everything about taking care of her (she still frequently wakes up once a night), but I love everything about HER.  She is a beautiful, precious, sweet, happy baby.  As I write this, she's fussing because she wants to be held, but most of the time she is happy, even when she's missed naps and stayed up way past her bedtime, or when I rush her out the door after her nap instead of feeding her right away like I usually do.

Ever since Lizzy Jo was born, I have realized what a privilege it is to be a mother.  Sometimes I think of the song "A Heart Full Of Love" from Les Miserables.  Some of the lyrics seem to describe my relationship with Lizzy Jo, better than they could describe a romantic relationship.

A heart full of love
A heart full of song
A heart full of love
No fear, no regret
I don't know what ot say
Then make no sound
I am lost
I am found!
A heart full of love
A heart full of you
A single look and then I knew
I knew it too
From today
Every day
For it isn't a dream
Not a dream
After all!

I'll post another blog about her growth and development (with lots of pictures!) soon.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Our baby is a redhead!

Needless to say this has come as somewhat of a shock to us, but our baby Lizzy Jo is a redhead (so far at least).  This came as a pretty huge surprise to us because, obviously neither one of us has red hair.  There is red hair in Dave's family (a brother and a sister), but Merry's family doesn't have any red hair anywhere in the family that she is aware of (except maybe a very distant cousin).  Red hair is a recessive trait which means that it won't be expressed unless both parents pass on the recessive trait.  What's ever funnier is that Dave's brother Mike, the one who has red hair, just had a baby boy and he doesn't have red hair.  Ah, the ironies of genetics.

At any rate, the proof as they say, is in the pudding:

Also, please note that she appears to have rabies in this picture.  Her main enjoyment in life these days is blowing bubbles and listening to Dave's whistling.


Monday, February 18, 2013

Fusion cooking

We are taking a break from baby posts for just a minute to update our faithful readers on our continuing culinary adventures here in Mesquite.  Last week as we were making up our menu Merry mentioned that she would like Chinese dumplings.  I thought she was referring to steamed dumplings (Jiaozi) and I was just a little hesitant.  The filling is an easy mix of pork, cabbage, and chives, but the wrappers are made from potato starch and ground tapioca, difficult to find even in a booming metropolis like Mesquite.  Additionally, as anyone who has had dumplings can tell you, the wrappers are paper thin and very difficult to work with.  Nonetheless, I agreed to help her make them.  Merry actually meant (I later found out) that she wanted to make potstickers, which seemed a little easier.  Turned out, no one in Mesquite sells wonton wrappers either.  So...we ended up making our own.

The dough was not difficult to make; it consists mainly of flour and egg.  The hard part is getting the dough rolled out thin enough (which we did not do).

After putting the first "potsticker" into the oil I knew we had done something wrong, it looked waayyyy to thick.  After taking it out and taking a bite I realized that we had taken our first foray into fusion cooking and had combined two of my favorite aspects of latin and chinese food to make Chinese EmpanadasTM!  The spicy pork and cabbage filling blended quite nicely with the fried dough shell. 

They were so good that we've decided to add them to our regular meals.

Next week...back to pictures of the baby.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Our child is a prodigy!

Lizzie Jo is all rolling over! She's done it about ten times now, so, yeah, she's basically prodigy material.  Some of you may doubt the veracity of this account so we've included indisputable photogaphic evidence.

Lizzie Jo is also sitting up on her own and holding her head up.

Also, our baby did her first professional photoshoot.  Merry's friend Amy here in Mesquite did all the photos, as well as the props and the cute hair pieces.  If anyone has any interest, call us and we can give you her contact info.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Family Update (wherein Dave and Merry go crazy with the new camera)

We've had a new baby, in fact its our first one.  We are now conscious of our obligation to provide the world with a photographic record of Lizzie Jo's every move, smile, grimace, and cutesy dress up outfit.  We realized straightaway that our old dinosaur of a camera just was not going to cut it.  We are now the proud owners of a Panasonic Lumix GMX-F5K mirrorless 4/3 digital camera, which is capable of taking over four pictures per second.  Now, whenever Lizzie does anything, we will be there, camera in hand.

As some of you (mainly grandparents) may know, today is Lizzie Jo's first week birthday.  It's been a busy week; she's learned a lot, grown a lot, and has made some major changes in her lifestyle.

 She tried to kidnap us and ransom us for "one meeellion dollars", but promptly fell asleep.
 Her first attempt at whistling was not terribly successful.
 So then she flipped us both off for laughing at her.
 And then karate chopped us.
 She promptly felt badly and hid her face.
 And then started to cry.
 She likes to hang out with her dad.
 She also likes to hang out with her mom.

 First family picture (asleep)!

It's been a busy week for Lizzie Jo but luckily there is a mommy blog and a new camera to keep track of it all!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Happy 2013 (Baby Pics Abound!)

Elizabeth JoDene Gravett (the first) was born on January 1, 2013 at 7:55 PM.  She was the third baby born in St. George in 2013.  Although such a claim to fame would be too much for most newborns to handle, Lizzy Jo is taking it all in stride, mainly by sleeping, eating, and yawning.  Merry is doing great as well and sends all her love to all you peeps out there in the interwebs. 

We knew that 2013 was going to be different right away.  At 4:15 AM Merry awoke me with a hard slap to the face and said, "My water just broke!" (translation: "Time to get your wife to the hospital, WAKE UP YOU IDIOT!!!")  Our delivery hospital was in St. George and we live 20 miles away in Mesquite; not too bad of a drive.  However, we were not in Mesquite; we had gone to Pahrump to spend New Years Eve with some friends from our old ward.  So, we were actually just outside the California state line when Merry's water broke.  We jumped  into the car and drove like manics to the hospital.  When we arrived two and a half hours later, Merry was 2+ cm dialated and fully effaced with contractions coming about four minutes apart (again, I had no idea any of that meant until yesterday, I now know it means, "Buckle up folks, it's going to be a long day.")

Once we settled into the torture room birthing room, Merry declined an epidural and decided to go natural until she hit 8 cm dialation.  Which meant a lot of time in the the birthing pool and lots of quality breathing.  She was awesome and did everything right, I was so impressed by her strength and determination.  She progressed quite nicely, dialating about 1 cm every 2 hours.  At 2:00 PM she hit 7+ cm dialation and got an epidural so she could sleep a little bit prior to the "pushing" phase.  The labor nurse initiated pushing at 7:00 PM.  Seven or so contractions later Lizzy Jo made her entrance to the world kicking and screaming, at 7:55 PM.  Needless to say, we're happily sleep deprived and loving every minute of it.

**Edit**Vital statistics at birth: 6 lbs, 5 oz, 20 inches

Now what everyone skipped through the post for: pictures!

(Merry smiling through a contraction, what a babe!)

(Merry after getting the epidural, so much happier.  This is not an endorsement of epidurals mind you, just a statement of fact.  And, it turns out, the epidural did cause some problems with the delivery down the road.)

(Lizzy Jo getting checked out right after being born, giving a very vocal opinion as to the situation.)

 (Lizzy Jo with her mom, where she wanted to be all along.  For those of you troubled by the immodesty, deal with it, birth is an immodest experience.)

(Lizzy Lo and Merry, both a little tired by their recent battle with each other--perhaps a harbinger of teenage years to come?--but otherwise doing great.

(This just in! The center of the known universe has just been discovered!)