In the building that the office is in there is a daycare on the floor below. I found out just a few days ago that the daycare children come to trick or treat at the office and everyone brings candy or small snacks in for them.
When the knock came and many tiny cries of Trick or Treat came through the door I must say I sort of panicked. It was like I had no children of my own! Leaping to my feet, I completely blanked out and retained enough thought to say "Uhhhh...I could use a little help here!!"
Luckily, my mother in law stepped in to save the day (really me). She's fantastic with kids. =D Soon, the other people in the office were passing out candy as well. Except me. I just sort of quietly sat back down and stayed there looking very dumb. =( The kids were very very cute and I came out of my dumbness in time to snap a picture.
Other than that, I had a good day in the office. Counter to what it seems to be for most people, I'm finding this whole office thing pretty relaxing. Even when I got the stack of claim stuff to do (and had to ask poor Missy a half dozen questions--don't worry Missy, I should be fully confident and competent! soon.) and some filing stuff, and the mail it wasn't a big deal. I think it's relaxing because I know once it's done, it's done. Not like when you pick up the toys for the umpteenth time a day. Wait, I still do that too! Hahahaha.
Today was the kids' school Halloween parade. Children in grades K-3 all get to put on their costumes and walk around the school grounds for all the parents to see. It was very cute.
Kindergarten came out first. It was easy to get a picture of Maia because hardly any of the parents had arrived yet. Plus, the kindergarten students tend to amble along instead of walking briskly like a third grader.
Maia is the snow princess that is waving. I think the other princess is upset because she had to walk near the ninja!
Tristyn is being Bo-ba Fett. Some guy from Star Wars I'm told--I still haven't seen those movies. I had a bit of difficulty getting a picture of all of him because a lot of parents were crowding in front of me and after nearly getting taken out by a falling acorn I didn't really think I could manage to fight my way through.
(Maia at age 2ish at old rented house because I have no picture from yesterday!)
Yesterday was a very full day. From the 6:30 am start to the 11 pm-ish close it was full of go!go!go! BreakfastOrdealofdressingeveryoneGrocerystoreOfficeKidspickupStartinnerandlaundryanddishwasherMakesugarcookiesandFinishuproastingpumpkinseeds(we like ours coated with cinnamon and sugar)---big breath of rest while Tristyn and I somehow sneak in a game of BattleShip---GetmaiafinishdinnerstraightenupGotostoreforcandyandschoolsnacksBackhomestraightenupmoreSqueezeinsoemthingtoeatasImisseddinnerReadbooksforbookreportHelpwithbookreportswhilerunningontreadmillOverseebathsshowersGivetuckinsPackcostumesPacksnacksPackbackpacksPacklunchesTerrorizehouselookingforvelcrostrips
I'll stop right there not because I want to spare anyone from squinting out the screen trying to figure out what I typed but because I didn't realize I had forgotten the laundry until I typed that! I just dashed downstairs to throw the load of clothes I started yesterday into the dryer because otherwise Tristyn will have no pants to wear to school.
And with that---I hear footsteps coming down for breakfast....Gotta go!
Today was filled but nice nonetheless. Except for one small part--the part where I got another 'no, I don't want to see your ms.' in the mail today. That makes 3 'nos' in about 5 days. I think I like my rejections staggered out a little more.
My quads were killing me today. I have been trying not to bore everyone with my daily workout reports but yesterday's workout was pretty good--enough that I'm still feeling it more than 24 hours later! I did intervals on the treadmill for about 30 minutes but I really pushed myself so that my two uppermost speeds were significantly faster than I normally run. I spent all day being psyched at yesterday's workout. =) Tonight I toned it down some--still ran for 30 minutes but kept it all at one pace (which is only a little bit higher than the average speed I have been running at the past couple of months) except towards the end I put the treadmill on an incline for about 5 mins. There is definitely something to be said for finally sitting down to relax and type this up.
Tristyn, Maia and I were invited up to Cathy's to play for awhile, or rather the kids played while Cathy and I chatted. There were some pretty good forts and secret hideouts being constructed by the kids. I think Tristyn and Havoc's fort outdid the girls' secret hideout. We came home with barely enough time for me to start dinner before Rick came home. It's easy to lose track of time when with friends. =)
The kids were really excited to carve pumpkins and were all for putting them on the table among the remains of dinner to get started. It was difficult, but I convinced them to hold out just a little while longer to give me some time to clean up. They did their homework faster than normal--too bad I don't always have a pumpkin to dangle in front of them to speed them along!
They drew the faces they wanted on their pumpkins and I carved out the top. That's about as much as I think I'm capable of. I do best on pumpkin seed making and clean-up crew.
No one likes doing this but since Tristyn and Maia aren't old enough to carve this job falls to them.
Rick does a pretty good job of carving and following the lines the kids drew.
We had to carry the jack o'lanterns outside to test them out. That's very important. Tristyn's is on the left--Maia's is on the right.
A simple but fun decoration to use on our mantel.
Finally, a rousing game of Candy Land to cap off the night. Tristyn elected not to play because he wanted to scope out the kitchen to see what I had tucked away for dessert. It didn't take him long to find it either--neopolitan ice cream sandwiches. He and Maia each had one before it was time to get ready for bed. You can't have too much Halloween--we finished the Junie B Halloween book and they fell asleep to their new Halloween CDs.
I'm not sure how they fall asleep listening to the Ghostbuster's theme song.
Weekends become much more precious when you are sitting in an office 5 days a week. Not that I'm complaining, because I'm rather enjoying being at the office, I'm just trying to make the point that now I'm enjoying my weekends even more than usual.
The kids were away this weekend and Rick and I had a relaxing weekend doing errands at a leisurely pace and going out to have a bit of fun. On Friday, we had a light dinner at Panera, followed by coffee and a shared slice of lemon loaf at Starbucks. Then....I earned Chick Flick Credits...at LEAST two...by seeing '30 Days of Night' with Rick. There were a few parts of the movie that were too gruesome for me and I had to hide my eyes (I'm a wimp) but all in all it was one of the better horror movies I've had to see recently. Rick really liked it and plans to add it to his zombie/vampire movie collection when it comes out on DVD.
We both slept in a little bit on Saturday and spent some time around the house doing nothing much at all--which I think we both needed! I put together a few query envelopes/packages to send out on Monday. Then, we took the dogs for a walk.
Obligatory dog with autumn leaves picture. =P I took this picture (Rick was inside Adam's place talking to him) to amuse myself. Errands came up on our list next and we took Riley and Bob with us while we: went to the office to search for Rick's missing debit card (found it), got gas for the car, got envelopes, paper and copies made at Office Depot for queries, picked out a coat tree at the furniture store and snagged some groceries at Giant Eagle.
Some friends of ours were going to a bar down the Strip and we decided we would get ready and go there too after getting some dinner. On our way to Bloomfield for dinner, Becky, my sister-in-law texted me to show me her and Nate's (her husband) Halloween costumes.
Here's Nate looking snazzy with a headful of curly hair and 'stache. He is some character from a television show that I've never seen which is why I can't remember who he is being.
Becky is being Sandy from Grease after she gives up the good girl image. I've been wondering how long Becky tolerated the long blond hair! Her and Nate were planning to spend their evening in way that was similar to ours--too bad they have to live all the way in Philadelphia. =(
Rick and I didn't exactly dress up in costumes. I wore an outfit that um...isn't the sort my family normally sees me wearing but it was very appropriate for Halloween and a bar scene! Though, at Alexander's in Bloomfield for dinner I was too embarrassed to take off the long wool coat I had on. Too bad I couldn't hide my boots so well! They did get a couple of looks. It's fun to dress up. =)
The place we went to is called the Altar Bar and it's on Penn Avenue in the Strip District. It's an old church that has been converted to a nightclub/bar that has a pretty cool atmosphere. The above picture was taken while Rick and I and a couple of friends were lounging on one of the couches on the balcony. There was a band playing on the stage below and lots of people dancing. Probably about 60% or a little more was dressed in costumes. A lot of costumes were really good but the sort you would expect to see. My favorite one that I didn't expect to see was a girl dressed as a peacock. She had plummage that would have made a real peacock quite jealous!
Today has been mainly a catch up day. We slept in after coming home so late last night and spent most of the day relaxing. Chores finally reared their ugly head. I had to go through my clothes and weed out the things that no longer fit that I've been putting off for ahile and we also got the house pulled together in preparedness for the upcoming week and Rick spent a fair amount of time raking up leaves in the backyard.
I've been sparing everyone what my daily workout has been but today I got a really good interval run in on the treadmill and it made dinner (delivery pizza) all the better for it! Last Sunday night we had missed 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' so we watched that while we ate to get all caught up for tonight's episode.
It's a little past the kids' bedtime but I was waiting for the KidzBop Halloween CDs to burn for the kids (they like to listen to music to fall asleep) so now it's time for me to go read bedtime stories and give tuck-ins. =)
--I'm really NOT a slow learner. I'm not. I learn quite quick. I promise! For example, today I nailed down how to make labels. Keep in mind, that I've only used word to write things like stories and my novel. Oh, and that pesky synopsis thing and it's equally annoying sibling--the query letter. But that's it. I warmed up to my label making by making a cover page for Rick with only a little help. I'd have figured it out! Really I would have but Missy--Word user extrodinaire grew impatient with my one question (it really was just one!) and sent me a file of something similar that I could just swap out the text.
Oh yeah. Back to those labels. I knew there was a way to bring up a label template--no tabbing guesswork for me!--and it only took me a few minutes, okay and one false attempt to find the template thing-a-ma-jig. I also learned that tabbing between columns does not automatically put you inside the next label. It puts you in the space between labels (why??!! makes no sense.) but tabbing from one row to the next puts you very neatly inside of the next label. It only took one time of typing into the ether to remember to tab twice.
This is NOT how you make labels. I didn't have to learn that--I KNEW that. But that dumb printer gave me no indication which way to put the paper IN. Now I know. =P
There was also that blank box in the main program that did NOT have the contact name in it when I looked exactly how Russ told me to and then he told me to hand over the phone to Missy. I could tell he didn't believe me. I even read to him what was in the boxes. After transferring the call, I dashed (fine..I walked quickly but 'dashed' adds much more spice) over to Missy's cubicle thing (Can I have some office people chime in with the proper terminology here please??!) to see where she was looking that I didn't for the sake of learning.
!!!!!It was exactly where Russ told me to look!!!!!
Dumbfounded I went back to my desk to look again in that box. It was NOT there. I closed it and opened it again. Not there. I closed it again. Quite confused and feeling not a little delusional I dialed Missy's line so she could come look at this. She came over and I showed her exactly how I opened it.
!!!!!Don't you know the damned contact name was there!!!!!
So now I'm thinking of requesting "Word for Dummies" and "Applied for Dummies." =S
Today was piano for Tristyn. After I picked the kids up from school we went home and they had a snack while I Bisselled (shampooed) the couch, chaise, living room carpet and the foyer carpet. Tristyn also did his homework and Maia mopped the kitchen floor with a Swiffer because she thinks that it's fun. I swear I'm not making that up! She really does like to do it. It was so cute too, because she was chastisizing both the dogs and Tristyn for walking on her clean floor before it was dry.
Little Mac had a doctor appointment today. =D They ran some tests on it at the Apple Store and determined I need to do a partial re-install. Hopefully, that will take care of the couple of problems I've been having. I tried to go to Coffee Tree Roasters in Shadyside afterwards to have some coffee and a tiny bit of dessert since I had no dinner but they didn't have anything that appealed to me...PLUS...it was freezing in there. I ended up taking my partially yuppie self to Starbucks where I was welcomed by not only lots of yummy desserts to choose from but ALSO a roaring fire in the fireplace with big comfy chairs snugged around it. It boggles my mind as to why some people are so clueless about why some places make it big while other places remain tiny, cold, smokey, dirty cafes that never really prosper and just muddle on by.
It's just so obvious.
I whipped these up real quick this evening to use the rest of the Cheese Danish filling from a few days ago. No sense letting it go to waste! As you can see it's a chocolate cupcake, but not overly sweet with a sweet creamy cheese filling. Little Mac offered to be the 'plate' in case you are wondering what that thing is underneath the wrapper.
Today I learned how to do two new things at the office today. I won't bore anyone with the details but I was excited to get to do something new. I think since it's basically the 'family' business I'm enjoying helping out whereas it wouldn't be so meaningful if it was for some faceless boss. Plus, I get to have lunch with my husband AND my best friend! What more can one ask for? Well--maybe a non-wireless mouse might be nice. ;) But I am getting used to it. Oh--and I got a package delivered that was addressed to me. Granted, it was the boring old forms I had ordered last week but it was almost--not quite!--as much fun as receiving a package at home.
Maia had a great dance class today. She came home very excited and wouldn't stop trying to do various things (splits, leg raises, etc.) that they had been working on in class. One of the girls can do all of the things and I could see Maia's determination to catch up. I don't think it will be long before she can too--I got the privilege of watching each and every practice move. Rick and Tristyn were spared---um, I mean in the other room!
Tristyn and I spent our time at Crazy Mocha. He mostly did his homework and drew pictures but he let me help him out with the horseshoe crab picture he was drawing from his 'Learn to draw' book. Hot chocolate and a mocha once again graced our table which unfortunately was a little too close to an open door. I was freezing and actually put on Tristyn's zip up sweatshirt. Except for the length of the sleeves being a little too short (they were like 3/4 length sleeves on me) it fit pretty well. Disturbing.
The last couple of dance classes I've talked a bit with the father of one of the girls a little bit. Turns out he writes too and also has a blog. He shared the link to his blog with me and I spent some time perusing it earlier this evening. A poem of his had a line in particular that I really, really liked of the 'I-now- have-it-stuck-in-my-head' variety:
"Like words were never necessary, but delicious all the same."
Words have such a strong power over me. Single words. Paired Words. A beautiful string of words.
I'm going to be letting that line tumble over my tongue for at least a couple of days. Thank you Brett~
I got my own bin at work. See it? The one that says 'Michelle.' Lol. You can still see the gummy remnants where someone else's tag was peeled off. I'd like to say that it's empty because i'm that bad-a$$ and get my stuff done (and i do!) but the truth is I've only gotten like 2 things in it so far. Still, I was all impressed at being given a bin. Today a bin...tomorrow an email. =P
Yesterday it was raining and I drove the kids to school. Tristyn snagged my brown umbrella and we thought Maia's was in the car. When we got to the stop, we couldn't find hers though and I gave her my black one to use. They have only a little ways to walk--from the crossing guard where they are dropped off at, across the street and across the school yard--but they still wanted umbrellas. They both looked funny carrying adult sized umbrellas. All you could see were two little legs sticking out from each one. When I got to work it was raining even harder and I was reluctant to get wet so I rummaged around the car and came up with Maia's umbrella afterall. Maia's very pink or should I say berry pink, berry girly Strawberry Shortcake umbrella. I used it. It only got me one strange look from a woman in the parking lot and a horn blast from the passing traffic that when I turned around it was clear the horn was intended for me because a guy about my age grinned and pointed at my umbrella. Oh well, better than wet I say!
Maia had a nice afternoon playing at her friend Macey's house which gave Tristyn a nice chunk of time to do his own things without Maia 'bothering' him. I think he appreciated it. He came down and helped me get dinner started before we went and got Maia which mostly involved him sampling the honey I was using to make Honey Glazed Chicken.
Other than that, it was a pretty typical day. Today is dance class for Maia and that means Tristyn and I get to have our time together over hot cocoa. I'm really, really, REALLY enjoying this bit of time to have with him every week. =D
p.s. Riley is still suffering from his separation anxiety. So far his list of chewed items in the kitchen while I'm gone includes various art work done by the kids, darth vader (who came through unscathed), luke skywalker, and r2d2. As of yesterday, another art project can be added to that (I thought it was pushed high up on the fridge but I guess it wasn't) and the nozzle of the fire extinguisher is completely and totally ruined--unless of course during a fire one likes there fire dousing stuff to come out in a stream that is smaller than the circumference of a pencil lead and aiming strongly to the right. =(
After last year's dissastifaction with Triple B Farms not once, but twice in the same year, we decided to try a new pumpkin patch. We went to Cheeseman Farms and couldn't have been happier! Everything was priced fairly--activities, pumpkins, snacks-- and a lot of fun. Plus the farm was VERY well maintained in all the aspects that we saw. I took a lot of pictures, even more than I'm about to post, so I'll try to keep my words to a minimum
Who can resist sticking their head through a cut-out? Maia can't! Tristyn can--but only because it was a flower cut-out.
The farm had set up a hay maze for the children to go through (but all of the children preferred to run ON it instead) and a petting zoo. I had to get a picture of the goats because I really like goats. Really like them in a would have one for a pet if I could. Weird, I know.
On the hayride to the pumpkin patch...
Rick!!! I <3 this picture even if the sun was sorta kinda blasting him in the eyes when I took it. Lol.
The pumpkin patch! Those little daubs of orange are in fact the pumpkins. My camera was nearly maxed out on it's zoom because we were still on the hayride when I tried to get the shot.
Farmer Tristyn. He told me that ALL farmers walk around with hay in their mouths ALL the time.
Rick explains the rule of the pumpkin patch to the kids. Simply put--'If you can't carry it, you can't have it.' We instituted this rule a few years back after carrying out entirely too many monstrously large pumpkins that came with an equally monstrously large price tag. Mean, stingy parents are what we are.
Tristyn found his quickly. So did Maia. But she couldn't carry it. I shamelessly eavesdropped and heard this conversation between Tristyn and Maia:
T--Maia, if you can carry my pumpkin, I'll carry YOUR pumpkin
T--Can you carry it? (points at his pumpkin he set down next to the pumpkin Maia wants)
T--Well try to pick it up!!!! (exasperation fills his voice)
M--(bends, picks it up) I can do it!
T--Okay then let's go before Mummy and Dad see us switching!
Tristyn considers Maia's pumpkin.
Maia wasn't doing too good carrying Tristyn's but she didn't give up. She really wanted that big pumpkin.
Tristyn wasn't doing so good either but he refused to give up. I intervened at this point and carried it for him because I was impressed at how nice he was being to Maia. Rick sort of raised his eyebrows when he saw me breaking the 'rule' but then when I told hiim why he agreed it was a good reason to do so.
Tristyn, Maia and Havoc's pumpkins get weighed before making the trip home. Weights were 15 (Maia) 10 (Tristyn) and 8 lbs (Havoc).
Imagine that subject line being said by Homer Simpson and you have exactly how I am feeling right now!
First real attempt at yeast raised donuts went really well. (Though the glazing techinique needs a bit of work--The glaze was a bit thicker than it needed to be and should have been in a smaller bowl to create a deeper pool of glaze) It's darn near impossible to find actual lard to fry them in but I fried them in another type of oil that seemed to work just as well.
Maia helped me make another batch of bagels also. We did half plain and the other half with sesame seeds. She made all the holes in the center herself. I'm not as confident with this batch as I would have liked (not because of her help) but because my oven was acting a wee bit wonky after nearly a whole day of working.
I also baked more Italian bread this morning. Two loaves which make a total of 5 loaves baked so far. The kids and I took one of the loaves to my grandmother this morning and we had the other one with our dinner tonight.
I've been in a happy bread baking induced bliss much of the day. Even when the kids and I went to lunch we went to Panera Bread and I found myself eyeballing all of the baked goods and taking mental notes for use at home. Too bad after sharing donuts and bagels with the next door neighbor and the four of us + one extra child for the night I've sorta ran out of room to put baked stuff.
Except...you know...the cookie jar is kinda looking empty......b--u--t it might take a brief hiatus as I'm too wrapped up in yeast breads.