London 2012, here we come!

We've been visiting the UK once every 2 years for the past 10 years or so.  Since Alfie's parents have a guest room, we stay with them, and being the brave souls that they are, they're happy to host us for at least 3 weeks each time.  With such an extended stay, we've managed to squeeze in some side trips while we're in the region -- to Amsterdam, Ireland, France, and places around England.  Each trip has been great-- but this year is going to be truly special, because we're going to the London Olympics!

The evolution of our ride photos at Disneyland

The first time we rode Splash Mountain at Disneyland, the boys were just about to turn 5, and The Pea was 7.   They innocently allowed me to lead them on the ride because they had absolutely no idea what to expect.  Honestly, the look of terror on the kids' faces was so priceless that we absolutely had to purchase the ride photo. 

Now Open: Cars Land Restrooms!

When people visit the Disneyland Resort, they take photos of the rides.  They take photos of the parades.  They take photos of fireworks. They take photos of Mickey, Minnie and the other characters.

I take photos of restroom signs.

From Hollywood, a Side Trip to Scotland

I'm the kind of person who likes to plan every trip down to the last minute (bathroom breaks are scheduled every 2 hours), and when you have limited time and lots of opinions, sticking to a schedule usually works.  But sometimes the best experiences aren't planned; if you're willing to take the opportunity when it arises and go with the flow, you can end up having a great time.

Lunch at the American Girl Cafe

Some women celebrate turning forty by taking a trip with the girlfriends -- to Mexico, Vegas, Atlantic City, somewhere they can run wild.  Some go to a a spa for some pampering.  Some throw a party.  As for me, I celebrated at the American Girl Cafe! 

Hermosa Beach

In my pre-baby, pre-grad school life I worked for a product software company, and now and then I would have to travel for work.  The company made software for financial institutions, so I always traveled to big cities like New York, Houston, Paris, Tokyo and Seoul.  I love traveling, so I always tried to make it a point to stay the weekend and see a bit of the city I was in.

My style inspirations

Yesterday I blogged about things I'm good at, and things I'm not good at.  Let me add another item to the "Not Good At" lists:  Fashion.  I'm not totally hopeless -- I have a good sense of my body type and what I can or can't wear, and I can tell when something fits and flatters me.  However, I am hopeless at putting outfits together.  I can spot a cute blouse, but I will have no idea what to pair it with.  I just don't have the flair for it, so I look to others for fashion inspiration.  Here are some places I find it:

20-minute Corn Chowder

There are some things I'm really good at planning -- vacations, kids' birthday parties, summer activities.  You can always count on me to come up with next summer's road trip through Germany, or a perfectly themed Super Mario Kart party, or the best places to take your child when you're in my neighborhood.

But there are other things that I suck at planning.  Laundry.  Playdates.  And dinner.  My inability to think ahead to dinnertime is one of the main reasons I started my What's for Dinner series of posts -- writing it out forces me to plan ahead.  But even then, I still find myself looking up from my laptop, realizing it's 6 o'clock and remembering that I have to make dinner.  This potato-corn chowder is something I whipped up last night instead of packing everyone in the van and heading to In-N-Out Burger.  When I make soup, it usually takes at least 40 minutes for the ingredients to cook and the flavors to blend, but this chowder only takes 20 minutes to reach a nice, creamy, simmered-for-hours consistency and flavor.  We add a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of cheese on top, and all thoughts of In-N-Out Burger fly from our minds after the first spoonful.