Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference. Too bad mine sucks.

Today, Ho-Ho asked me if they make steak baby food.

I also noticed that someone hit our bumper. The NEW bumper that was replaced after our little fender bender. It’s not like a little “tap-tap” dent. It’s a straight up scrape and I am still pissed four hours after seeing it. I know the car has 100, 000 miles, scrapes all over from the time I shoveled snow off the car with an actual shovel (whoops) and a dent from me hitting a nice bright yellow pole while trying to reverse up a parking ramp (they didn’t accept credit cards! what?) But who hits a car and doesn’t leave a note? I bet it was a city plow. City life, yea yea. It’s still garbage.

Parking space dibs is full-out on in Chicago streets. I used to get annoyed by it, but I sort of get it when it comes to blizzards of this magnitude. If you spend an hour digging your spot out and happen to have a random chair or egg crate you can throw in the street, why the hell not?

And good luck to the fellow who decides to ignore dibs; he may end up with a busted window and a car full of water.

This is what it looks like when you walk out of our side door. It’s pretty amazing and getting fairly disgusting as dogs aren’t very discerning when it comes to relieving themselves in public space. I guess I can’t expect them to climb these mounds of snow so it’s OK.

Inside of our house, Ellis has also continued his screaming game. It’s really fun for all of us and I am not sure what to do other than pray it’s a phase. I can’t figure out if he is overtired, likes to hear his own voice or just asserting himself now that he can sit on his own and roll over. Who are we to stand in the way? He still can’t stop me from dressing him up like the awesome baby that he is. I am sure that will quickly change once he can control those dastardly arms.

I apologize for my bad attitude.

I’m like a chocoholic, but for booze

Tonight I decided to drink cold “hot” chocolate because I was too lazy to warm it up. Well I have to say that I am pretty pleased with myself because it’s the closest I have come to Choc-Ola in years. Do you remember that tasty drink? They used to sell it at Ken Kopp’s for .25/can. KJY and I would scrounge around Ho-Ho’s house looking for loose change so we could load up on whatever crap they put in a can and make ourselves sick. It was the best. 

After doing some research, I found out some interesting facts about our favorite “nectar of the Gods” (I am 99.9% sure that is what we called it).
– it has it’s own facebook fan page. If that doesn’t speak to its popularity, I don’t know what does.

– there is an online recipe I am considering trying
         Choc-Ola Recipe:
           1- 15 oz Yoo Hoo Can
           6- Tsp of Non – Dairy Coffee Creamer Makes two Servings
         Take 7.5 oz of Yoo Hoo(half a can) and pour in in a glass. Put 3 Tsp of coffee creamer in. 
        Heat in  microwave for about 50 sec. take out and stir. Chill in freezer for 30 Minutes. ENJOY!!
Count. Me. In.

– Charlie Hustle endorsed Choc-ola and even had his own Chocolatey drink named after him – “Pete”. It failed. Miserably.

– Sons of Bitches – Eventually, in 1985, Moxie decided to sell the Choc-Ola business to The Chocolate Group, which was also the parent company of Yoo-Hoo; one of Choc-Ola’s major competitors at the time. Shortly thereafter, The Chocolate Group shut down Choc-Ola’s Indianapolis plant and moved the entire bottling operation up to their Yoo-Hoo bottling facility in Carlstadt, NJ.

– Amazing and sort of nutso- From 2003 to 2009 Choc-Ola sightings faded into obscurity, while conversely, its fanbase’s desire for its return strengthened. Fans constructed message boards to discuss Choc-ola, they emailed and called the company, and they wondered when, if ever, Choc-Ola would return.
message board 1 and 2

– Road trip – In 2010, a new era for Choc-Ola began. A native Indianapolis man and avid fan of Choc-Ola made it his personal mission to revive Choc-Ola. In early 2010, the owner of the Rock-Cola ’50s Cafe in Indianapolis secured the trademark and is manufacturing and selling Choc-Ola out of his authentic 50s-style cafe.

I know what Ellis is doing this summer. I don’t see anything in The First Year saying he can’t have Choc-Ola. Except for that whole can’t have chocolate thing. I think it’s worth the risk.

Serenity now 50% off

God. Grant me the serenity to wait until Sunday to clip the coupons before I go grocery shopping; courage to accept that Ellis may need to sport a helmet; and, wisdom to know Ho-Ho will go through the Costco-size toilet paper supply by week’s end.

So I am coupon crazy. I mean crazy crazy. To the point that I get anxious if I don’t check for coupons before I go shopping. I event bought a coupon organizer to keep all my crap categorized. And don’t get me started on online coupons. Just yesterday I robbed snapfish.com blind!

I am not sure this obsession stems from being a new mom (though I have always loved a good coupon), managing Ho-Ho’s money and trying to maximize every penny, or being an Earley. Though Earleys are more hustlers than anything. Don’t lie Earleys, you know it. Anyway, yesterday I saved 40% ($70) on groceries. I called Mr. Swirley all excited and he pretended to care. Then he told me that if I buy something for $1.00 and I have a coupon for .50, I have technically saved 50%. Whatever.

So if you are behind a slow moving, coupon carrying person in the grocery line, have a heart and be patient. It’s a sickness being thrifty.

Stink, Stank, Stunk

Recently, Ellis’ head started smelling like that of a wet dog. I regularly give him baths and wash his hair with the usual baby shampoo…and the smell returns almost instantly. I am wondering if it is due to the olive oil we have been using to try to minimize his cradle cap. Or maybe he is half-pup half-baby. Both are lovable. Both are generally gross.

I am sitting so close to the space heater that I believe most of the hair on my right arm has been singed off.

Root gnats have overtaken my house. Maybe there is a correlation between the cause of this and Ellis’ dog smell.

This weekend we went out to St. Charles to celebrate Xmas with Ho-Ho and the Ds. It was great fun and Ellis was, of course, the center of attention.

Ellis hearts Ho-Ho
He also loves him some Auntie D.

During the drive home Ho-Ho told us about how she went through a bottle of gel in two weeks and thus had to spend her laundry money on  more gel.

Breathe.

Renegades of Funk

Ho ho is back to her old tricks again. Today’s call went something like this:

Ho-ho: “Annie, I am going to see a new neurologist.”
Me: “Why?”
Ho-ho: ” I don’t like mine. He wants me to take a new medicine.”
*** note it took SIX MONTHS to get her in to this clinic and she calls him constantly to try new meds.
Me: “What medicine?”
Ho-ho: ” I don’t know.”
Me: “Huh?”
Ho-ho: “God blessed”. Rustling of papers and more cursing. Then some name I don’t remember.
Me: “Why don’t you want to take it? What does it do?”
Ho-ho: “I just don’t. I don’t know what it does but I am smart.So I am going to see this new neuro.”

Yep. It was great and makes a lot of sense. 

Aside from shenanigans such as this, we have been having a great time. Ellis got to meet his 25th cousin twice removed (my grandma’s sister’s great-granddaughter) and I finally met my pen-pal (her mama), Anna. Anna apparently loves Puerto Rico and Sen. Reid. I haven’t seen Doug (my cousin) since we were wee little ones in Orland Park. He is now very tall and sarcastic and seems to have married well.

Here we are on the top of the Sears Tower. This is what a $22.00 photo looks like.

The babies really pushed for the trip. Libby is clearly the bravest of us all.She is also adorable.

Sadly the threesome left only a day later…then Mr. Swirley’s parents arrived for some Halloween weekend fun and Ellis couldn’t wait to get into his Halloween costumes. Yes, he had two.He also finally met his Aunt Jess and new friends Anand and Beth who just moved to Chicago from NYC. It was a very social few days.

                                                    Ellis’ second el trip

                                                    Posing with grams on Daley Plaza

                                          Mad at the world

                                                       Hanging out with aunt Jess

Grams and Gramps Swirley headed out Sunday post-Packer game and it was just the three of us hanging out. That meant I could dress Ellis up again. Here he is looking cozy.

EK has been exceptionally happy the past few days which is pretty much the best. The only rough spots are shopping and driving (he has intense bouts of road rage at red lights)…but I am sure we will work through these “challenges”.

He is sleeping now, so I should probably do the same.

Annie…Goulahie?

Remember when Goldie Hawn sucks up all the cereal on the table with a vacuum in the Oscar-winning film, Overboard  (2:09 if you want to watch)? Of course you do, what I am thinking? Anyway, that is my first thought anytime I see a vacuum with a hose. No lie. Anyway, Mr. Swirley made this beloved movie scene a reality today. It was amazing. He came home early and proceeded to vacuum the entire house. When I say “entire” I don’t just mean floors. I mean the counter tops, stove, front of the dishwasher and plants.

See? And it wasn’t for laughs. He was on a g-d terror.

 (here he is vacuuming the top of the stove)

(and the veteran move of vacuuming stainless steel. Don’t worry, he used the brush attachment).

And they make fun of pregnant women for nesting.

Then we ran some errands and came home. I decided to watch the baby documentary aptly titled, Babies. Can I ask what is going on with the Mongolian baby? He is obviously awesome, however, hanging out sans pants with goats seems a bit questionable. Hometown (our cat) also agreed as he took a keen interest in said babe. I have to believe that after being displaced by a tiny, screaming monster (his words, not mine) he is incredibly concerned about the addition of any more babies to the household…even if they are only on TV. I was too lazy to take a picture of him watching the movie so you will just have to trust me on this one.

On a completely unrelated note, apparently there was a hipster passed out in our mulch this morning.  I am going to take this as a compliment as Mr. Swirley and a few other neighbors purchased the mulch to spruce up our four sad little trees. Mr. Hipster clearly recognized the classiness of our building and decided to settle down in the mulch like Bambi in a deer bed. Bravo Bosworth Flats, bravo.

So a polish guy walks into a street fair…

Before I begin, I would like to vent about how much I hate the new flickr format. It’s the WORST. Seriously, the worst. It’s difficult to rotate, edit, and download photos. Well, maybe not difficult, but it sure as hell is annoying. I guess they have created a lifetime customer out of me as I have 7000 photos or some ridiculous number uploaded onto the site and  thus, clearly will not be moving anything over to Picasa. But it’s still crap.

On to more fun things. Like what? Oh, I don’t know...Pierogifest? Yes – Whiting, IN is home to one Pierogifest, and let me tell you, they do it up right. In addition to offering a multitude of  delicious pierogi options, you can get your fill of kielbasa, anything on a stick and very crafty items (e.g., goose outfits). They even had a stage called “Polkahantas”.

In case you don’t know – according to Wikipedia (the GM’s favorite information source), pierogis are boiled or baked dumplings of unleavened dough stuffed with varying ingredients. Some of these ingredients include: “meat”, mushrooms, sweet cheese, kraut, fruits etc.

Below is evidence of our first foray into the pierogifest world.

And below, a dedicated pierogi c/e european food cart ( my dream food cart). Maybe this guy could find his way to the UW campus? I know they have a spot for him on Library Mall. Or, perhaps on the corner near my house next to the elotes stand. Either way, he has my vote.

Clearly I was bursting at the seams given my love for all things Slavic. The streets were lined with flags representing Slavic nations (as well as African? Whatever, that’s cool). There was Polish-themed garb for sale (and adorning visitors) as far as the eye could see and even foam pierogi hats. We also met some ladies dressed up as polish grandmas..including Polkahantas (the one with the big hair pictured below).Offensive? Naw. We are in Chicago – a city that boasts the second highest Polish population outside of Warsaw.

It would, however, be a little more accurate if they took out the curlers and carried around those plastic shopping bags that they seem to love in E. Europe.

I was disappointed that we didn’t meet any of the other pierogifest mascots like Mr. Pierogi, the Pieroguettes, Halupki Guy, and Ms. Paczki…but there is always next year.

Johnny Mic really lived it up by tasting many of the food options, and Mr. Swirley bought an obscenely large mug filled with delicious root beer. I hear it’s a polish delicacy.

And of course, to commemorate the trip, we couldn’t leave home without a little something for baby since he too seemed to enjoy the Pierogis and polka music.

The GM got herself a “2011 Polish Grandma” calendar and Johnny Mic picked up (aside from the obvious risk of heartburn) a tee for his mom and an ornament. Kitschtastic.

I can’t say we will return to Whiting, IN anytime soon – but count us in for next year. Plus, if you go, you can stop by the Horseshoe Casino on the way home…where apparently smoking is still permitted and 2 cent slot machines dominate the betting world.

What am I supposed to do with that?

Crazy came out to play last night. I was trying to keep her deep down inside of me – only exposing Mr. Swirley to a little of her at a time. But last night was her night to shine. And by shine I mean freak out about not having various cremes, salves, detergents, bags and other items that I felt we should already have for baby. I also got upset because he didn’t know how to install a car seat – clearly an intuitive process that he should be able to explain to me without ever doing it.

I then went on a cleaning rampage where I shoved all of Mr. Swirley’s tools back into the closet under the stairs (he had removed them all to organize the space), folded laundry while talking to myself, put away dishes and considered cleaning the baseboards. Then my spine fell out. So I decided to go to bed and asked that the fan be moved into the bedroom because we apparently live on the face of the sun. My. Swirley obliged my request and brought up the fan and put it on the ground. I walked in and instead of realizing that because Mr. Swirley was not the room, he was likely getting an extension cord and feet for the fan – I loudly stated “well, what the hell am I supposed to do with this.” Hello crazy. How are you? I haven’t seen you in a while. Mr. Swirley appeared and quietly put the feet on and plugged in the fan, laid it on a towel on top of the bureau so as not to accidentally damage any of the wood and pulled the covers down on the bed. I begrudgingly got in fully knowing that I am raging lunatic. Lights out.

My cousin reassured me that this type of freak out is normal. I am not sure if that makes it OK or a terrifying truth that we are all wackjobs while prego (or both).

Today I bought some Corona and limes for my better half so he can at least enjoy the quiet times while I am sleeping/cleaning in the basement in a silent rage directed at absolutely no one. Right now he is drinking my near beer and I don’t think it’s doing it for him.

My mom went all the way to the hospital and all she brought back for me was this unruptured membrane.

Don’t you love those tees? I was thinking of making the title of this posting into a onesie for baby Swirley. I will spare you the details, but today, after first being locked out of the house in a pair of bball shorts (Mr. swirley’s) and tee (also mr. swirley’s) and no, no shoes, I took a trip up to the labor and delivery floor at Swedish Covenant Hospital to make sure that my membrane (can i say that? seems like such a strange word) hadn’t sprung a leak. My MD was being overly cautious, but it was scary nonetheless. Monitors, forms, multiple nurses and my very own arm band. I guess baby can keep that as a souvenir.

Worry not – all is well. I like to think of it as a dry run for the big day.

On the upside, I finally got a peek inside the delivery floor; it is about as difficult to finagle your way on to that floor as getting into a Mormon temple. Unless you are Mormon. I was pretty pleased with the set up – lots of natural light, sconces (i know, sconces?!?), and a TV presumably offering cable (fingers crossed for ESPN or Discovery channel – that will keep Mr. Swirley calm). Best part – my own menu. I am going to live it up while I am there… lunchmeat for everyone! I was hoping for a bonus sonogram, but the RNs were pleased with baby Swirley’s activity (he is a maniac) and all tests were A-ok. So that’s that. We had our first pregnancy “what the hell is going on” scare and baby is safe in his cocoon. Tonight we are relieved that all is right with the world. Well, not the world but at least on Bosworth Avenue.

Bow and arrow always trumps loperamide

This weekend was an eventful one. Met up with some old friends, painted a bit more, shopped and oh, went to the ER after Ho-Ho decided to take 22 Imodiums in 24 hours. That made Sunday something special. I of course sympathize with her plight; no one wants stomach problems for an entire day. However, a massive dose of Imodium doesn’t seem like the answer. Perhaps a call to an MD would be a better option, but unfortunately Ho-Ho likes to live on the wild side. And that meant a call to poison control and an adventure at Rush Oak Park ER.

The last time I was at an ER was this past January when we went during a particularly painful bout of bursitis. Swedish Covenant has a fireplace in the lobby, private rooms with closing glass doors and ….cable! Apparently this is not the norm as Rush offered none of these amenities. But they did boast a wild spitter with a panache for vulgarity…brought in courtesy of the Oak Park police. For five hours, while Ho-Ho’s heart was being monitored (apparently loperamide — Imodium — can cause a sudden and very dangerous drop in blood pressure and heart functioning), we were privy to the spitters complaints and rants while the nurses shuffled in an out of our curtained space doing everything possible to avoid eye contact and answer any questions regarding Ardie’s status. We had an incredible time getting anyone to talk to us and though plastic bucket chairs may be economical, they are not friendly to backs…especially pregnant ones. I did snag a comfy chair for about 15 minutes, but then an MD took it for the rest of the day. Seems about right.

Throughout our entire stay, Ho-Ho maintained that the dosage was a necessary one and that she was fine. After an EKG, about a zillion bathroom breaks and lots of other beeping machines were hooked up to her for five hours (did I already mention that? FIVE HOURS!), I found out that she was apparently fine and dandy. The sensitive, pony-tailed MD barely spoke to us, and when he did, told me that we should call her PCP tomorrow. I asked if she should avoid an diuretics life caffeine – he asked me what I meant. Very reassuring.

Upon departing, she was one IV bag of fluid richer and I was on the edge of going bonkers. When I got home, I talked to my favorite castanet playing (do you play them?) neighbor Jeff who informed me that his cousin has shot himself in the neck with a bow and arrow earlier in the day. I didn’t think things could get any worse on Sunday, but for our hunter friend, they did. I guess it was some necessary perspective. But, I did lock up the Imodium.

**5/26/10 update – Another round of waiting room tours and MD visits has taught us to never take Maalox and Imodium simultaneously as they counteract each other in the worst possible way. You can take up to six Immodiums per day (she looked at me as if that somehow made her ingesting 22 reasonable) and that doctors love to make you wait over an hour to tell you something simple. So there you go. No harm, no foul…except for the spitter.