Thursday, June 26, 2008

LA Girls!

Wow, these summer days fly by! I'm just finishing a post I started weeks ago....

It was the First Annual Wiebmer Sisters Vacation! Rob took a day off of work and had a great time with Madeline (what a guy!) while I spent a long weekend in Los Angeles with Mollie, who flew in from Denver, and Andi, who is a nursing extern at UCLA Hospital, living two blocks away from Beverly Hills.

Within an hour of landing, we were sipping wine (from a Napa vineyard, no less!) on Andi's rooftop pool deck with her boyfriend Kyle on his last night in town. Andi was a lovely hostess and put so much planning into making our stay fun and comfortable.

The next morning, we walked all over the beautiful UCLA campus -- it reminded me of a tropical University of Illinois with giant fountains. We even walked by the sorority houses; I couldn't resist snapping a photo in front of the DG house. Then Andi treated us to a sushi lunch (can you believe her?) and we jumped on the bus to Santa Monica Beach, where we napped, played in the ocean, and spent hours poking our heads in all the stores (including Sephora, where we were bandits, smearing top shelf wrinkle erasing creams and lip plumping formulas all over our faces). A few margaritas and a little dinner later, and we walked five minutes from Andi's apartment to the swanky W hotel for the best people-watching in LA. On our way out of the club, we saw Ricki Lake valet her car and walk through the velvet rope without a word. She looked like she'd just come straight from a farmer's market. No offense, Ricki.

The next day we hit Hollywood Boulveard to visit the Chinese Theather and see all the A-list movie stars' hand and footprints. We had lunch at an In-and-Out Burger and then went the oh-so-exlusive Beverly Hills Hotel to wander the gardens and try to see a celebrity or two. I'll tell you, most of the clientele doesn't walk into the lobby from the bus station (they valet their porches). I don't think we had them fooled....

Then Rodeo Drive! All three blocks of it! Prada, Louis Vuitton, Versace, Juicy Couture. The window displays alone were fabulous. My Reef flipflops were a little out of place, but at least I wasn't wearing pleated demin shorts with a camera around my neck. That night, we had a mexican feast at a fun restaurant and decided to wander to see what we could find for entertainment. Sure enough, we rounded a corner, and found hundreds of people watching the LA Film Festival's outdoor showing of Planet of the Apes. So we ordered a glass of wine and sat on the patio of a hole-in-the-wall dim sum restaurant and watched too, soaking in our LA experience. Until we got crazy bored, finished our wine and went shopping in the boutiques that were open late for the movie crowd!

The next morning, we had breakfast at an outdoor cafe and talked about taking all our kids one day to the North Woods together. I wish words could capture the amount of laughing we did in such a short time -- being around my sister will always remind of me of exactly who I am.

An hour later, I was on the bus headed back to the airport, eager to see Rob and my little girl!

Here's what Rob said about their special time together: We went on long walks with Maple through Bradley Park each morning and evening. We also played tennis (actually, I hit balls and Maple and Madeline ran around trying to catch them), visited the Botanical Gardens, got ice cream at Emo's, and went to my work picnic, where Madeline had her first experience in a "bounce house" (she was timid at first, but squealing in delight within moments). All told the three of us (Rob, Madeline and Maple) had a great time!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Happy Father's Day, Dada!

Happy Father's Day to all the great dads in our life! We were especially thinking of the Papa's (Madeline's name for my dad and Rob's) and of course, our Rob....Dada!

On Saturday night, Madeline and I playfully gave Rob his Father's Day itinerary for the following day -- we had some very serious fun to keep on schedule...

Sunday morning, Madeline and I quietly snuck downstairs (so Rob would keep sleeping) to start the blueberry pancakes. We even moved the loud coffee maker/grinder out to the back porch and closed the kitchen door so it wouldn't wake him up. After breakfast, he and my dad went out to enjoy a peaceful morning on the Illinois river in the boat that my grandpa told my dad he wanted him to have before he passed away. They had a terrific time -- my dad gave Rob a set of keys and taught him everything he needs to know!

When Rob came home, Madeline and I had a "special performance," which we had sort of rehearsed in the days leading up to Father's Day. We, well....I....dressed up, grabbed giant serving spoons from the kitchen and sang Christina Aguilera's, "Ain't No Other Man," reading the lyrics from a notebook ("You got soul, you got class, you got style with your bad a**"). Madeline, who normally chewed on the spoon or danced (i.e. shook her head) during practice sessions, was a little afraid of her mom in a black wig, sunglasses and sequin, and sat in her dad's lap while I made a fool of myself. But it made Rob laugh pretty hard, and that's all we were going for.

While Madeline napped, Rob washed the cars, enjoying the quiet time to think and be outdoors. Then he came in for hot dogs and we met my dad and Ning at a Chiefs game, Peoria's Cub-affiliated minor league baseball team. The storm came through during the fifth inning, and rather than shy away from the downpour, Madeline insisted on playing in it (which meant Rob and I got just as wet as she did). Within a few minutes, a handful of other children joined in the fun.

That evening, my dad and Ning came over for dinner -- I grilled salmon and made fresh sides from the farmer's market, using basil and oregano from my garden.

To finish off the celebration, I presented Rob with a nomination I sent to Parenting Magazine about him. Here's what I submitted with the following picture:
Rob is the best bath-giving, tickle-monstering, silly-song-singing, pool-tossing, "of-course-I'll-read- you-another-story" dad/ make-believe horse ever. He brings home flowers on birthdays, fixes breakfast every morning and adores "his three girls" (which includes the dog, Maple). He also can't wait to teach his daughter about baseball and finance!
We love you, Rob!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Summer is Here!

Last Saturday, we had a great time visiting with Jamie, Eric and Kainoa, who spent several hours with us on their way up to Chicago from Louisville. Madeline l-o-v-e-d her boyfriend. In her exuberance, she kept hugging Kainoa and squealing "Bab-eeee" -- it must have sounded like a fire alarm to the five-month old, who's used to relative peace and quiet.

With temperatures close the 90's, Madeline's been putting her bathing suits to use. On Sunday, we went to the water park five minutes from our house and tossed her around. She was tentative at first, but warmed up pretty quickly -- I actually thought the lifeguards might give us a warning because of the way she was running around! She's been playing in neighborhood sprinklers as well and helping water the flowers (and by "water the flowers," I mean nailing Maple and me while I try to take pictures...).

This summer is going to be great. Mollie and I are visiting Andi in Los Angeles for a long sister weekend -- we're already planning out our three days, which will definitely include Rodeo Drive and Hollywood. I hope I don't get mistaken for a movie star; happens all the time. (Kidding. Obviously.)

I'm also excited to teach the ACT Writing Review class at Peoria's community college next Tuesday. With the exception of a little Junior Achievement here and there, I've never taught before, and I've certainly never developed a lesson plan to fill two hours. It will be a great learning experience, and if I like it, I may teach other sessions like English and Reading.

Also, my friend Erin just started a blog about her family's adventures with their daughter, Cassidy. Check it out!