Monday, January 19, 2015

Lily and the Ant Hill

Lily is a big helper. She loves to help me with anything she can.

For the past few weeks she has been helping me take the doggies for walks. Usually she will hold on to Bentley's leash while I hold on to Layla's. She's really good at staying with Bentley, and staying a pretty good distance away when Bentley goes number two. She lets me pick up the doo doo (with a doggy bag, of course), and then we go on our way. We go over to the doggy doo trash can, or "bahbidge", as Lily calls it, then we walk for a little while longer before going back home. It's a nice little routine. 

Today we changed the routine slightly and went to the pond to see the ducks for a little while before going over to a different doggy doo trash can. This trash can has a couple of ant hills in the grass, and I never thought to warn Lily about them. Well, today she decided to barrel right through one. I didn't notice until she came over to me and whined a little, and pointed at her foot and said, "ouch!"

I of course freaked out. I ran her over to the road, ripped off her shoe, and frantically brushed all the tons of ants off her foot. She had several welts. 

I got the rest of the ants off her shoe and then told her we should go home, wash up, and have lunch. 

I got one ant bite during all of this. It's not super painful but it does itch and sting.  Lily must be made of stronger material than I am if she can handle a foot full of bites with nothing more than a small whine! It's the wasp stings all over again! Although, I wasn't as crazy and frantic this time as I was with the wasp stings, because I'm not terrified of ants like I am of wasps.

After we took the dogs home, I decided to walk back over to the anthill with Lily and observe the angry ants. And also to tell Lily not to step on mounds of sand in the grass. I showed her the other anthills in the area and hopefully now she knows to leave them alone. 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Enrichment Night / Goals for 2015

Sometime in my life they changed the weekday Relief Society gathering from being called "Homemaking Night" into "Enrichment Night."

Probably because "homemaking" implies that all members of the relief society are homemakers, or are striving to be homemakers. I can see that. I agree that not all women are homemakers or that they even want to be.

Anyway, I went to "Enrichment" night for the first time (in my current ward).

I strongly dislike social situations when have no idea who will be there, who I will sit by, who I will talk to, or what we are doing. But, one of my goals for this year is to attend Enrichment night every month.

I had a good time. I talked to a few ladies. I said some stupid stuff that I'm playing over and over in my head. I had some awkward conversations.  And I snuck away before anyone else left.  In my defense I had to work. I had asked for permission to be late, but I didn't want to be later than an hour and half.

First off we played Two Truths and a Lie, to get to know each other a little better.

Of COURSE I thought about not participating. But I participated anyway.  My statements were:

I have had my hair every color of the rainbow.

I had braces for 6 months.

I've known my husband for 14 years.

If you're reading my blog, I assume you know me, and the lie is probably obvious. But, no one there really knows me, so I think it was a pretty good introduction of myself.

By the way the lie is the braces. I've never had braces.

Our activity was making simple calendars using things we found around the house.  My friend Jill is in the Relief Society presidency, and she was in charge of the activity.  She brought a lot of cute stuff.

I got teary eyed though, when she showed us a strand of crystals and talked about how she remembered buying it for her wedding.  They had vases filled with water, and floating candles in them, and the crystals were wrapped around the vases.  Jill got choked up, and I did too.

Jill's husband suddenly passed away almost 5 months ago.

Anyway, I think if I go more often I'll be able to open up and be myself.  I'm not an awkward babbling idiot when I'm comfortable around people.

I think next month I will take advice from Kid President.  I'm going to walk in, find someone I've never seen before, and say, "Hello person I have never met before. Here is a high five!" *slap*

Now that's bad A.

But what if they're in shock and don't lift their hand to reciprocate my high five?  That could be awkward.  I'll have to think of a way to get out of the awkwardness.  Maybe have glitter in my pocket and throw it in the air and walk away.  Something epic like that.

You know, so I can make a really lasting and awesome first impression.

I'm totally off track.

Here is a picture from my first Enrichment night!

From left to right: Becky, Gisela, Jill, and me!

I really like Becky.  She's a little outspoken. She says what comes to her mind, and I really love that in a person.  At one point in the eveing she was talking about a movie, I think it was My Fair Lady, and I said something about Bette Middler.

I know, I'm so embarrassed.

I was thinking about Hello Dolly (And Barbara Steisand, don't even worry).

Anyway, Becky was like, "WHAT?!  Bette Middler, NO WAY!"

I just laughed and I was like, OMG I'm so embarrassed.  And we all kind of laughed.  It was fine. This didn't bother me at all.

Then I went to go get some cake and Becky came up to me and said, "Hey, I'm sorry."  I was like, "For what?! I'm not offended!"

I know Becky from primary. Her youngest son is in the CTR 4 class.

I also really like Gisela.  She is the bishop's wife.  She is pregnant with her fourth child.  I think Gisela is the same age as I am.  Four babies at 26!  What a lucky girl!  She has her hands full, but her kids are adorable.  I also know her from Primary.  She was also the Nursery leader for a while, and Lily really loved her.  Gisela's family watched our dogs when we went to North Carolina for Christmas.  She said her kids had a lot of fun with our doggies.  Gisela is really upbeat, and she makes you feel special and important. And she's hilarious.

Then there's Jill.  Jill was the first woman I met in the ward. She immediately invited me to her Christmas party at her house.  She made me feel so welcome and special!  She truly has an amazing spirit about her.  I'm probably a totally creepy stalker, because I'm just drawn to her, but I never know what to say around her.  I want to blurt out, "By the way Jill, you're probably the hottest woman I've ever seen in my life."

After Jill's husband, Jim, passed away, I took Jill a couple of meals. That's really the only one-on-one time I've had with her.  But for some reason, I still consider her a friend. We barely know each other.  I just like her.

I didn't fully participate in the craft.  It was mostly because I'm really... how do you say... stubborn about crafts, and I really like to spend a lot of time and effort on them. I knew if I fully dedicated myself to doing the craft, I would not be making it home in time to work at all.  So, I just cut down a 12X12 page of pretty paper, and put it in a picture frame.  I'm using that picture frame in Lily's room to write notes on.  I might add stuff to it later, but, that's a project for another day.

So there you have it.  There's me, putting myself out there.

I'm contemplating sharing my blog with more people.  It's not that I necessarily want more readers, but I want more people to be able to get to know the real me.  And I think I share the real me on this blog more than anywhere else in my life.

I feel like if you read my blog, you know me better than most people in my life.  There's something therapeutic about typing out my feelings and impressions.

Not to mention I'm much less awkward behind a computer.

Because backspace.

And I can put time and effort into what I want to say.

And I can delete things that come out wrong, or sound weird.

But sometimes I WANT to sound weird.

So, I dunno.

Here are some of my other goals for the year:

  • Cook dinner 3 times a week.
    • I used to cook 5 nights a week, but I got out of that, and I've developed some terrible habits. So I'm going to slowly ease back into cooking. 3 times a week seems decent enough to start.  We'll go with Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday.

  • 52 Week Money Saving Challenge
    • This is more of Lance's idea than my own. But we are BOTH doing it.  What you do is you put $1 in savings the first week of the year, the $2 the second week of the year, until on the 52nd week you put in $52.  So since Lance and I are both doing this. We put in $2 the first week, $4 the second week, and we'll put on $104 on the 52nd week.  Should be interesting.

  • Monthly date night
    • This includes finding a babysitter.  Yes, I've lived here for over a year and I've never found a babysitter.  If I go to Enrichment, I can get to know the moms, and I can find a mom who has a daughter who can be my babysitter. Right? ...Right?

  • Weekly crafts with Lily
    • Nothing fancy, just simple things like... out of paper plates, or whatever.  I think Lily would really enjoy that.

  • Clean something (in my house) every day
    • Seriously, I am the worst homemaker.  The worst. I don't cook, don't clean, don't do laundry.  Do I feel guilty? Yes. I want to change.  This week I've deep cleaned the kitchen and Lily's bathroom. Lily's bedroom is next.  Her bedroom isn't really messy. In fact, it's the cleanest room of the house, because Lily insists on cleaning before bed. It's an awesome thing she was just born with, and it's something I need to learn.  I've started doing it with dishes. I have to have no dirty dishes in the sink before I go to bed. That's my new rule.  Anyway, Lily's room just needs her clothes gone through, and the ones that are too small to be donated.  I need to get rid of toys she no longer plays with. I need to organize the toys she does play with. And I need to sanitize some things.

  • Remember friends' and family members' birthdays
    • This means without Facebook. I want to remember their birthdays in advance. I want to send people cards and maybe a little something. Nothing fancy, nothing expensive. Just something to show them I'm thinking about them and I care about them.

Ok, this post has been long.  So.... bye.

Friday, January 9, 2015

2014 Year in Photos

At the beginning of 2014 I told myself I would take it easy. I didn't set any goals, and I just let life happen.

I have to say, it was a very good year. There were no extreme ups or downs. It was pretty boring, but in a good way.

January 2014 - I gave Lily crooked bangs. Go me! Look how little my baby is!

January 2014 - We were often stranded at home with no car. We went to the park a lot, and Lily loved it.

February 2014 - We went to Tampa for the first time. The ocean was beautiful, and Lily wanted to hop in!

February 2014 - My mom came to visit, and Lance and I got to go on a date! We went to a nice dine-in theater.

March 11, 2014 - My baby girl turned two!

April 2014 - I had my first Florida haircut, and it was bad. The haircut itself wasn't bad, but it was bad if you compare it to what I asked for. The color was horrendous. She burned my scalp, and my hair was orange. Thanks!

April 2014 - For my birthday we went to Beast's Castle for lunch. We made these reservations 6 months in advance.

April 2014 - Beast's Castle

April 2014 - We made an attempt at potty training. And failed.

May 2014 - Warm enough to swim!

May 2014 - My girl is getting bigger and bigger.

June 2014 - We took Lily to Chuck E Cheese. She still talks about it, even though we haven't been back.

July 2014 - I got a surprise pixie haircut.

July 2014 - We moved from our first apartment, into our current apartment. This is our old apartment.

August 2014 - They had some snow we could play with at Hollywood Studios. Lily loved it!

August 2014 - Lily's first roller coaster! She was tall enough for the Barnstormer. She was nervous, but she liked it and wanted to ride it again.

September 2014 - Lily loves Cici's Pizza. Here she was adding "spicey" to her pizza.

In September, Lance quit his job at Spears to stay home so I could sleep during the day, since I was working all night long. Literally. I worked 7pm until well after sunrise. If not for Lance, I would have gone crazier than I did.

September 2014 - I worked a lot. How do you hair?

October 2014 - The struggle IS real.

October 2014 - Lily reads scriptures

October 2014 - I lost my mind (working more, and more).

October 2014 - We went to Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party

November 2014 - I began slowly recovering from insanity. Slowly being the key word there.

November 2014 - Lily likes us to video her, and then show her the video.

November 2014 - My family visited for Thanksgiving!
December 2014 - Snoap in Celebration. Lily LOVED it.

December 2014 - Went went to Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

December 2014 - We went to Utah, and Lily got her first haircut!

December 2014 - Christmas in North Carolina

Something not captured in photos from 2014 is how successful Lance was at his arbitrage!  He quit Spears in August, and focused on selling items on Amazon, and it really helped out. He did a great job!

2015 will be interesting. We may or may not have another move this year. In July our lease will be up on our apartment, and if the price to renew is too high we'll be finding a new place to go. I'll worry about that when it happens.

We're still trying to have another baby. I think it's probably time to visit a doctor to see if there's something serious going on.  Two years is kind of a long time to be trying.  (I'm trying to sound less emotional than I feel.)

Lance got his job back at Spears and he starts on Monday. They also had a supervisor position open up and he will be interviewing for that soon. I hope he gets it, that would be awesome.

We just got a second car. We wanted something affordable that would get Lance to and from work so Lily and I wouldn't be stranded at home all day.  Lance had his heart set on a convertible. It's not really practical for a family, but it is fun to ride around with the top down, in January. Lily loves it. And there is room for a second car seat in the back.

Happy New Year!

We got back from North Carolina on December 30.  New Year's Eve was, obviously, the next day.  We had plans to go to our ward's New Year's Eve party, however, Lily was feeling under the weather and we were tired from traveling, so we decided to stay home and have our own party.

We went out and bought some of our typical party foods such as chips and dip, vegetables, crackers, soda, and a couple types of candy. I made some dip for the veggies, and a cheeseball.

Lily colored pictures, and played with some of her new toys, and Mommy and Daddy watched Shark Tank.  Love that show.

It was laid back, and chill, and a perfect way to recover from our recent adventures.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Christmas in North Carolina

Two back to back trips!  That was an adventure.  We got home from Utah, did laundry, cleaned the house a little, and then packed up to go to North Carolina.

We were on a jet for the short plane ride from Orlando to Raleigh. There were only 2 seats per side, so I sat in front of my friends. They were so cute!

We stayed at a beach house in Atlantic Beach, North Carolina. It's about a three hour drive from the Raleigh airport.  The beach house was very, very nice!  There were 5 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms.  3 of the bedrooms were considered master suites, since they had bathrooms attached.  Super awesome!

The house had three separate decks. Two in front and one in the back.  You could see the ocean from the house, but the house was not right on the ocean.  There was another row of houses between this house and the water.  So while we weren't on the water, we were very, very close to the water!

If you can see past my adorable child, notice the ocean!

On Monday we mostly hung out. We made a menu and grocery lists for our Christmas Eve and Christmas Day food.

Tuesday we went shopping!  I went to Ulta with my sisters which is basically my dream come true. I helped Elise find her perfect lipstick shade, and that was really fun.  (And she looks so amazing in that lipstick, by the way! It's Native by Urban Decay if you're wondering.) We also went grocery shopping on Tuesday, which I hate, but it wasn't too bad.  Since the shopping was split between me, my mom, and my sister Elise, my list wasn't too long.

Wednesday was Christmas Eve. Christmas Eve is so exciting. My family has a tradition where we eat pizza by candlelight.  My mom's family did this when she was growing up, so we have carried it on. It's a lot of fun to get in the kitchen together and get creative with pizzas, and then eat together in the dim lighting of candles and the Christmas tree.

My parents bought a fake Christmas tree since the beach house didn't just magically have one. :)  It was really plain though, so we drank a lot of soda and decorated with the empty cans.  I have to say, I love how the tree turned out!

Lance and I do the Christmas Eve jammies thing, so Lily opened those and was really excited about it. "Clothes!" she said.

Christmas morning came, and it was wonderful.  My family takes turns opening presents. We go from youngest to oldest, and you open one gift on each turn. We go around and around until we're out of presents. It makes Christmas morning last a long time, and it's fun to see everyone's reactions to their presents, and see what they got!

Yes, I am holding a bag of  brown rice.  When Jared was here for Thanksgiving, Adree dropped her phone in water, so I gave them what was left of a bag of rice I had, to hopefully revive her phone. This was such a funny surprise for them to give me!

Model it, Aziz! He's doing "blue steele" here.

Elise made the hat and the scarf.

Jess was really excited about this gift. :)

This was Lily's present. I was helping her. I love how focused she is!

"Night night Dita"

We had more of a Christmas lunch than a Christmas dinner. But it was wonderful.

After our big meal, we all went to the beach for a walk.

The water was very cold.

Later that night, I went to my first movie in about 10 months!  We finally saw Mockingjay.

We had a great Christmas. It was really nice to be with so many family members!  All four Keele sisters were together!  I hope one day we can get all six Keele kids together.

On Friday we drove back to my parents' house in Raleigh.  We stayed there for four nights.  It was nice to not have to rush home and to take our time on our vacation.  It was a total of 8 nights away from home!  We haven't had a vacation that long in a few years.

We ate some good southern BBQ

We ate at Red Hot and Blue as well as Que Shack. Both are great restaurants.

I was cleaning up after Lily one night, and I thought this was really cute.  It looks like Olaf and the teddy bear were watching a concert together.
At the end of our stay, it was hard to go home. It's hard to leave my family. And the pictures that follow pretty much sum up our flight home.

Lily didn't have a nap that day, and she was very tired.  Mommy couldn't keep her happy.  She was happy while sitting on my lap, but then the flight attendant came and said Lily had to sit in her own seat.  Then the crying started again.

I didn't really give a crap about what the people around me thought. To be brutally honest, I had it the worst. :-)

All in all we had a great Christmas and an amazing Christmas vacation.  Staying in that beach house was awesome, and I hope we get to do it again at some point in the future.