Some flies are too awesome for the wall.

If my computer moves any slower I am going to punch it square in the screen. Good G-d, you would think I am trying to back up ten million gigs of data while removing programs, running ITunes and penning a blog entry. Shut your hole.

I don’t know if you heard about it, but members of NATO are meeting in Chicago and according to every news outlet in existance, the city might be wiped off the face of the planet. If that happens, I take back being mad at Ellis for possibly misplacing my tiny external hard drive that contains our ENTIRE music collection. I would also like to take back actually storing all of our music on a tiny hard drive that a toddler can so easily hide.

Oh, so this week’s misspending adventure- $XXX on daycare services that went unused. I am not sure if that really counts as the “getting locked out, losing the car keys, buying a security camera that costs as much as the grill you are guarding” type of situation, but it’s still spending money on “services” not utilized. Why is EK not at daycare, you ask? Because he is one giant scab. Seriously. It is probably the most pathetic thing I have seen in a while (yes, I know children are starving, puppies are drowning, etc. etc.) I would post a picture of EK vs hand, foot mouth round 2 – but it might make you cry (unless you are empty inside). We have spent the past few days consuming a diet comprised solely of ice cream/Popsicles whilst whimpering, snuggling and pretending to work (I am speaking for all three of us). And of course, we have also sequestered ourselves to the house for fear of turning every kid in Chicago into a crusty, drooling babe. It’s great. Has your kid ever told you “mama, I sad?” or “mama, mouth hurt”? If they have, you know it is pretty much the worst thing you can hear next to, ” Mom, I don’t know why my answers on my 12th grade math test look like my boyfriend’s handwriting” (cough cough). So instead of grossing you out, I will instead let you judge me on being an excellent parent by melting my son’s brain on day three of lock down (i.e., allowing him to watching Sesame Street ALL DAY LONG.) I am pretty sure his eyeballs fell out since he stopped blinking around 10 AM.

I think it is fair to say Mr. Swirley is the better parent of the two of us. And I am OK with that fact.

Luckily for everyone involved, EK was healthy this past weekend while he hung out with the Ds and we spent time with family in LA. It was the first trip since last summer that Mr. Swirley and I ditched our child and although quick (and sadly, for the purpose of saying farewell to a beloved family member), it was beyond a blessing to spend some time with family…and participate in/bear witness to conversations like the ones below.

Here is a video of me getting in trouble but I can’t tell you why.

ABCs from the sweetest Italian cousins ever! 

How many Earleys does it take to fill a bathtub? And more importantly, how often did they bathe? Really.

Facts learned/reinforced while in CA:

1. Santa doesn’t exist (whispered to me by a little pixie of a girl who shares Ellis’ name)
2. Public bathrooms are so out in LA. Having to go to the bathroom while in a public place is so in  for me.
3. My family is the best. Insane, but the best. It is actually pretty amazing how eight siblings can differ so much in terms personality yet remain incredibly loyal to one another and their respective families. Touching, actually. So many (crazy) stories that never seem to get old (e.g., tying each other to trees + firecrackers, beans up noses, driving cars from the passenger side seat, etc. etc.), and enough rolled eyes to power a small town.
3.a I need to be more active in maintaining relationships with said family members…a confusing game of dice and talking until late at night (well – 11 is late for us) is much more fulfilling than “liking” a status or a quick email.
3.b. Annual visits to Cali are in the works. Suckers.
4. My uncle Rich is rock-solid. The rest of his family isn’t too shabby either.
5. I am so very grateful to be a part of all of this.

Ms.  Shierra. I drove her crazy the entire weekend.
Uncle Pat, Aunt Donna and Uncle Henry
The entertainment.
Cooking cousins is way better (and more socially acceptable) than kissing cousins.
Hardy hargh hargh. And Dad’s sorta, kinda twin.
Cousins, uncles and “special friends”
Trouble with a capital “T” and they’re minus three.

And three more Earleys will be added to the mix when they move from Italy to LA next month. I would send prayers their way, but I have a feeling they will do just fine.

I just heard from the Guiness rep. He’s not coming. He’s been fired in what he described as the world’s biggest mistake.

Remember that time that I booked a hotel in Norfolk for April when we were supposed to go in May? On Priceline? $90 well spent. A super deal for a fancy hotel, right? Except for when a room goes unused. Then it’s sort of a rip.

How about that time I took the MARC (local train) from DC to Baltimore and shuttle to BWI only to find out my flight was scheduled to depart from Reagan National? And it was leaving in 40 minutes? Add $100 cab fare to my tab.

And what about that Monday in March 2012 when I looked up previously purchased tickets for a May trip to LA and realized my flight left last Friday. LAST FRIDAY! United Airlines gave me the middle finger when I inquired about a credit (rightly so), but Virgin America was much more accommodating and credited me 75% of our one-way tickets. $bitch and moan later we are back on track for our LA trip and Virgin has added another loyal customer to their roster (they have mood lighting on their planes!). And then I punched myself in the face.

Seriously, I have no idea how I have managed to to survive up until now. A lifetime of lost glasses, keys, debit cards, wallets, bags, camera batteries, tickets (I am that person frantically searching through her pockets and as a result, holding up the boarding/event/bathroom, whatever, line). Even today, I simultaneously called both airlines – and representatives picked up 20 minutes later, within 15 seconds of one another. As I pushed a zillion buttons in an effort to answer one of the calls, I ended up hanging up on both agents. Then I cried a little bit and hit redial. I am starting to think Darwin might have gotten it a little wrong with his theory of natural selection.

On to bigger and better things. Like visiting Navy Pier on a Friday in spring. It’s a million times worse than Union Station any day of the year. Plus, I can’t yell at people to get out of my way like I used to in DC because they just stand around in huge groups and I can technically get by them, but it still pisses me off. Side note – Why is it that tourists seems to congregate at the bottom/top of escalators?

Anyway, we visited the Children’s Museum and ran around the Pier. EK invited himself onto a dinner boat, climbed their ridiculously cheesy spiral staircase and checked out the starlit dance floor. It was pretty awesome. We also met some teens who didn’t heed my unsolicited advice to pool their money to buy bulk tickets for the rides. Aren’t their parents teaching them basic math skills? Jesus. Perhaps they are too busy telling their children to avoid talking to frazzled, unnecessarily pushy strangers.

Big top announcer

Peanut butter man

Papi and EK

First carousel ride EVER.

The Pier.

Saturday was consignment sale day which meant Little Miss Krissa and I got up early and drove to Evanston to beat up some moms for some choice Elmo books and two piece pajama sets with the knees still in tact. You have to spend money to  make it – and I made, um, well Ellis got a sick guitar so that has to be worth something, right?

Sunday brought the extra exciting adventure of cleaning Ho-Ho’s apartment. In case you are wondering, she has 10,000 cans of soup, 100 sleeves of saltines and Ziploc bags upon bags of jewelry and other random items. I have yet to figure out why these bags seems to be the crux of her organization system, but she apparently thinks its the best option out there. Honestly, given my track record, who am I to judge?

Then this happened. Ho-Ho is holding her own while Mrs. D carries the chorus. Note the pant-less groupie (good call uncle Rich!) in the background – dude got nuts when they opened up their encore set.

Ardie set up a little Easter egg hunt for Ellis. He searched the ballroom for tiny goodies wrapped in Christmas paper. Loot collected include: sunflower seeds (planted yesterday), Ziploc full of nilla wafers, Ziploc full of saltines since she has a few to spare, Ziploc full of cheerios, individually bagged bubble accouterments and bubble “juice”, three circus peanuts (where did the rest go?) and some other stuff I can’t remember. She unwrapped the Peeps three weeks ago and was surprised that they went stale. It was a pretty cute scene.

So yea. General takeaways from the past few days:
– Don’t trust me with ANYTHING valuable. Really, anything. But come on, you already knew this.
– Ellis is a stowaway
– Ho-Ho likes circus peanuts.