Tuesday, December 28, 2010

More Christmas Festivities

This year was mine to host the "Dieckhaus Girls Family Ornament Exchange." It's my mom's side of the family. We started the tradition not long before my grandma passed away. Each year, we honor my grandma. In addition to swaping ornaments, each person brings an flower, which are arranged and brought to her graveside.
Well, since it was me hosting it, only my family that actually likes me showed up, and there were zero girls with the last name of Dieckhaus. The others didn't even bother calling to say they couldn't come. I didn't blog about this earlier because, well, my feelings were really hurt.

Regardless, I had a blast!I think everyone else enjoyed themselves as well.
I got a super-cute puppy ornament that Vincent insisted on trading me for his cute Santa. I didn't take a picture of the food, but we had a delicious chocolate fountain, sweets, salad, a greek pasta and more.

I was glad to see my aunts and cousins and other family and spend the afternoon with them. Thanks to those who came!
Also, I wish a very happy birthday to my cousin Nicole, who spent her birthday with us.
Ms. Makenna
Me and my puppy ornament. My sis and her ornament.
Me and my sis with cousin Sarah shortly before she shoved an entire cupcake in her mouth before the cupcake eating contest began.
The only boy at the girls ornament exchnge.
Aunt Michelle and Makenna.
Our pretty arrangement.

Oh, Christmas Tree!

I love our Christmas tree!
When we got out tree we were going to try to do a theme, green, silver and snowmen. Each year we got further from our theme, but I'm totally okay with it. My obsession is birds. I had seven at the beginning of the season, but I think I got one or two more this year. I will have to count when I take the tree down.
I also love our tree being set up in front of the picture window.

Here is one of the birds in the tree.

This is my artistic shot. And another.Here is my goose and his purple tree. He loves decorating it all by himself.

He also helps with the big tree.

Next year, I want to get a rotating base so all the sides can be seen equally. Merry belated Christmas!

A Visit to Whittle Shortline

G had heard about this train place from a friend. The friend said there was a ton of trains kids could play with, as well as a factory you can tour and other things. Naturally, G wanted to take Vincent.
We set off for the Whittle Shortline Railroad Factory and Store in Valley Park. Unfortunately, when we got there we found that the factory had been moved elsewhere, but the store and trains were still there.
There were trains everywhere. They were all the magnetic trains though, and they only sold magnetic trains. Of course, if we had done any research whatsoever, we would have known this. Vincent has the Thomas Trackmaster motorized version. We didn't do that on purpose. He got his first one as a gift and we just started expanding on it, not realizing that it was a lot less common than the magnetic version.
Vincent still had a blast though. We stayed for a half hour or so and then did some Christmas shopping.
Here are a few pictures:

Outside the store The traintable, one of several, took up a good portion of the room.
There were plenty of trains for the children.
There were a lot of accessories too.
Um... I can't get Vincent to look at me.
Although we couldn't buy any new trains, the store also featured some awesome, American-made wooden puzzles. The puzzles have 2, 3, or 5 "layers." The first layer has to be down before the second layer can be added so what seems to be an easy puzzle is trickier that you would expect.
We ended up getting Vincent a 2-layer cat puzzle.
Here, you can see the first layer of the puzzle and then the finished puzzle. 10 pieces altogether.

The cashier said they can even (sometimes) send in requests to the puzzle maker for future puzzles. I think that rocks!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Gingermen House

This morning I awoke to Vincent tugging at me asking if we can make the "gingermen house" I picked up shopping with a friend yesterday.
After getting him to snuggle for a few minutes I finally acquiesced and we set to work on our Mrs. Field's Gingerbread Cottage kit.
Only two hours later, we had created a pretty cute house! Vincent did most of the work and only ate a little bit of icing and candy. Although, he already wants to tear it apart and eat it. I, on the other hand, think we should wait at least a few days! Here is what we came up with:

Ignore that Vincent is eating icing straight from the pouch...
A close-up of our house
The other side
Our snowmen are a little lopsided...

We later had to move the right snowman because he kept falling over.

Anyway, the house looks nice and I think this might be a fun family tradition. And we'll let dada help. He was making us pancakes this morning.

Friday, December 17, 2010

From A to Z

Things I love, am thankful or like for from A-Z. Some of the more difficult letters are a bit of a stretch.

a- animals, amusement parks
b- beaches, babies, books, Blue October, birds
c- cat (Leo), crafts, crochet
d- dog (Lexi), dancing, dreams
e- energy, education
f- family, friends, flowers
g- Gary, giggles, guinea pigs (Gus, Jerry), God
h- holding hands, hot tubs, health
i- ice melt, (especially on a day like today), Ice cream!
j- jokes, jewelry
l- lip gloss, Leo
m- moms, music, MyMO
n- naps, newspaper
o- Old Navy, opportunity
p-pets, pictures, playdates, Pandora, peacocks
q- quilt, quote
r- rain, roses
s- sunshine, swimming, shopping, shoes, sister, smiles, stars, spring
t- twins!, toddlers, tickle monster, tattoos
u- United States, ukelele, umbrella
v- Vincent
w-weddings, water, waffles, waterfalls
x- Xanadu
y- youth
z- the zoo, zzzzz

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Santa's Magical Kingdom

Hmm... what to say about Santa's Magical Kingdom? Well, G and I have been wanting to take Vincent for awhile, and we finally did. I won't ruin it for anyone, because its hard to get pictures, but here are a few.

Ignore the conversation in this video. Vin is talking about "spotting eyes, as well as some other wierd things. lol.

Anyway, It's $18. Vincent liked it, so it was worth it. It is what it is.

Botanical Garden at Christmas

Around this time of year, the Missouri Botanical settles down for the winter. But there's always something amazing there. Today, my family and I visited to see the "Gardenland Express" or train exhibit they have each year. They also had a Gingerbread exhibition and carolers. Just going there makes me happy and alive. I wish I could buy one of the houses across the street and go every day. A little obsessed? Nah... Here are some photos for the day.
On our way from seeing Santa

I got to sit with Santa too!

Vin finally got to see an elf! He has been wanting to.
He's still unsure of Santa, but sat with him without crying for the first time ever.
So intricate...
There goes a train!

We ate at Sassafras...mmm...
Rudolph Gingerbread exhibit
Sorry, forgot to flip this picture...
Gingerbread rocking horseLittle gingerbread houses
Awesome gingerbread nativity
Santa going down a chimney! Again, forgot to flip.
Even Rudolph was at the Garden!
Vincent liked him too!

What fun!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Cowardly Customers

It's been awhile since I've had a negative post about work, so here goes.

In the past eight years, as a food service employees, I've served all kinds of customers: Tall, short, fat, skinny, ones that cried, ones that talked your ears off, some that don't want you to say a word. I've served perverted, mean, and downright slimy customers.
I've served smelly customers, needy customers, customers who complained a lot and ones who came in planning to get a free meal.

Don't get me wrong, I've also served sweet, nice and polite customers, but that's not the point. By far, my least favorite of the customers are the cowardly ones.

I had one such example on Sunday. Sundays are notoriously bad tipping days. They used to be decent, but I think only because there were so many customers that things evened out. I'm talking, less than 10 percent for a group and sometimes less than 10 cents per person. It's frustrating. Especially when you're busy and trying to take care of everyone at once. And I'm not trying to brag, but I don't usually get stiffed and I haven't been for the past several weeks. But I have been so many times, by so many people, that it doesn't really phase me anymore.
Sometimes I deserve it, most of the time I don't.

This Sunday, I had taken very good care of a table. I did the obligatory, "aww... your baby is so cute!" and made sure their drinks stayed full. At the end of their meal, there were only three glasses on their table and no dishes. For a buffet that's pretty good.

I'm pre-bussing, or collecting large amounts of dishes to bring to the dish room. As soon as I get a full tray and walk back, the cowardly customers get up and practically run out the door. When I told another lady about it she said "they know it's wrong." Honestly, I think they do.

Sometimes customers really do just forget, and I understand that. Sometimes they thought they had more money, but they don't, which I also understand. If this were the case though, I wish they would have the courage to say something, rather than trying to hide or get out before I can see them. It's almost like they're like "okay she's in the back! GO!"

On the flip side, if I did something to piss you off or ruin your dining experience, tell me that too. I might not be happy about it, but at least I would know why you weren't tipping me and I might be able to work on whatever it was.

Here are a few general rules:

If you don't have money to tip, stick to fast food restaurants.

If you are already out and find out you don't have money to tip, apologize to your server. They will say it's okay. What else would they say? They have to be polite. Or find an ATM and go back, something to show that person that you're not the huge douchy a-holes you're about to portray yourself as.

And most importantly: Don't be a coward. Cowards suck.


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