Welcome to Fat City.

We are back from our sweet little vacation in Branson, MO – America’s Show Capital a.k.a. the G’s stomping grounds. The Branson airport looks like a log cabin. How have you not have visited this place yet?  A LOG CABIN? COMBINED WITH AN AIRPORT? Amazeaballs.

 Ellis enjoyed his first flight – and since there were approximately -2 people on the plane, he even got his own seat. Not that it really mattered since he crawled all over the entire time but it was fun to strap him in like a little man for .05 seconds. We also pumped him full of food so his head didn’t explode. And then he threw up. I guess we should have seen that coming.

 
The purpose of the trip was to spend time with the G and take care of estate matters (cue Debbie Downer “wah wah”.) Mrs. S made the trip from Phoenix to kick it with EK and high-five the rest of us. Ellis totally didn’t get any attention. 
Upon arrival Ellis spotted his new pool. I know, it’s pretty amazing and you wish you had your own pool. Unless you do have a pool. In that case he won’t trade you because he loves his pool.
Such a baller. 
While in Branson, we went to the Walmarts (a.k.a. “fat city” according to the G), got ice cream from a shop that shared a door with a residence and met my grandpa’s angels. 
The angels have been taking care of the G as far back as six years ago when both Ho-Hos were working on their bikini bodies for summers at Table Rock Lake. As expected, the winged-lovelies (RNs) had heard a lot about little EK and seemed fairly enamored (if not a little amber alerty) about the baby.
Ellis working on his guns.
Note to mom – Ellis is not so into Ozark men
I am currently eating frozen yogurt out of the carton.
Mr. Swirley worked a bit on the G’s house since it is up for sale and I did nothing except for force little EK on big EK. I don’t think the G minded too much. Especially when he had his hearing aid turned off. Which is always.
Matching shirts courtesy of L & L

Partaking in some sort of man project.
EK & EK
Friday we left for O’hare and didn’t have the easiest flight back. But our real return to reality happened when I had a little run-in with Ho-Ho Sunday night. We took a late-night family trip out to Oak Park to rescue a $300 car key I left at her place. As we left, she handed me an envelope and told me it has something to do with Roswita (her Swiss friend). I opened it up and inside was packet of Swiss-Miss hot chocolate. I knocked on her door and asked her to tell me what I was supposed to do with the packet. She gave me a knowing look and told me to “read the package.” Obviously it is a coded message about Ms. Swiss Roswita. Not a packet of hot chocolate someone thought she might enjoy and left in her little inbox next to her door. Then today she told me she stopped taking her Ritalin because it wasn’t working and now she is sleeping all the time. Who would have thunk you would be tired if you stopped taking a drug that helped keep you awake?
Oh Branson, I miss you so.
Chickie Chickie Parm Parm.

A bunch of weirdos

Turkey day is over but the fun continues. This morning we couldn’t find the remote and I jokingly opened Ho-Ho’s purse only to find it securely placed on top of the pile of stuff she carries around.

I have been keeping track of some of the conversations held over the weekend. Here is a taste of what goes down in St. Charles.

Me: Mom, what are you doing?
Ho-Ho: Knitting.
Me: You ok?
Ho-Ho: Yes, just mad.
Me. Why are you mad?
Ho-Ho: I’m not mad. I’m tired.
Me: Why are you tired?
Ho-Ho: I’m not tired
——————–
the G: Where is Kurt?
Mrs. D: He went to get chicken broth and beer.
the G: What?
Mrs. D: He went to get chicken broth and beer.
the G: What does that have to do with Kurt?
——————–
Ho-Ho looking at the sales papers
Ho-Ho: I need a dremil rotary tool kit. It’s on sale for $24.99.
Me: Why?
Ho-Ho: For my feet.
——————–
the G watching Carrie Underwood perform in front of a live audience
the G: Look at at these kids. I can’t understand a damn word she [Underwood] is singing and they [audience] know all the words.
George: It could have something to do with your hearing.
the G: It also has something to do with the fact that they are a bunch of weirdos.
——————–
Ho-Ho and I were making appetizer trays. Mrs. D told me to watch Ho-Ho since she tends to lick her fingers and stick them back into food.
Me:  You just licked your fingers
Ho-Ho: No I didn’t.
Me: Yes, you did.
Ho-Ho: It’s just my thumb. I’m not using it.
…then she picks up a date and holds it with her thumb while she spreads peanut butter on it.
Me: You are using your thumb. Can you wash your hands?
Ho-Ho: I will wash my hands when I am done.
Me. Gross.
Ho-Ho: Then you can do it yourself.
…then she gets up and washes her hands.
——————–

Let’s see what today brings.

Happy Thanksgiving from your neighborhood sociopaths.

and you smell like one too

This weekend marked Ho-Ho’s 52nd birthday and her second spent in FIB country. On Sunday, we Swirleys headed over to her digs to meet up with Mrs. D and Car. We got there early and scoped out the place. Apparently Ho-Ho is back to wanting to smell like a lady of the night and has gone through 1/5 a bottle of perfume in three days. Impressive, even for her. Once the Ds arrived we headed out to lunch. Here is an exciting picture of folks walking in Oak Park.

Mrs. D smushing EK

group shot to commemorate the occasion

What you can’t see in the above picture is that Ho-Ho is wearing not one but TWO belts.One to keep her pants up and the second for flair. If I could pick one word to describe my mom, it would be: pizazz. If I could pick a whole sentence it would be: what’s in God’s name is going on?

Today I called her and she told me she wants to go the “bone doctor” to look into getting her knees replaced. Awesome. We can totally afford that after the $1700 we are spending get her ONE tooth taken care of. Sometimes I think she likes to make appointments with doctors just to tell her story or to make a new friend. I wouldn’t care if we didn’t have to pay 20% of all bills and the taxpayers were picking up the other 80%. That and the fact that she may be making ailments up as she goes.

I also just realized that Mr. Swirley and I missed our fourth second anniversary (second wedding in Tucson). It was on Oct. 14. So happy four year and one month second anniversary Mr. Swirley!

And I miss the G a lot lately. I mean I miss her all of the time, but especially when I think of family events and of course during the holiday season. Sometimes I call my grandpa and hope he doesn’t pick up so I can hear his message:
Hello. We can’t come to the phone right now so leave your name, number, whatever you want to leave and we will call you back”.

The “whatever you want to leave” part is clearly my favorite but the “we” makes me feel better.

And I am pretty much 100% certain she would be absolutely thrilled with this new baby and agree with my description of Ho-Ho. Oh well, someday we will find the old reel videos and transfer them to DVDs so you can too can see just how wonderful she was. Plus you can see Ho-Ho, Mrs. D and Mrs. S show off their sick skating skills circa 1968.

These are two  of my favorite pictures of my grandparents. I know you love them too. I could post a lot more but that would get annoying. Well for you…I like looking at them.

 first post-retirement trip

fun in the kitchen.

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.

I ain’t no Martha Stewart

Holy hiatus (again). Every time I think about logging on to write some inane entry, something like laundry or vacuuming or showering seems to take precedent. Or I just stare at the wall and decompress. Regardless of the excuse, I have been fairly pathetic in documenting the past few months.

Ellis is now nearly eight weeks old and totally mature for his age. Well, he does think the blanket on the couch is hilarious – perhaps it’s the contrasting colors or he is already aware of my lack of taste when it comes to interior decorating. I am guessing it is probably the latter. He also agrees with me that sleeping is for suckers – especially during the day.

Aside from mocking our decorating scheme, I have learned a lot about young Ellis in these short eight weeks. Like what?  Well, he likes to shoot milk through his nose sometimes. The first few times this happened I was completely terrified; now it’s a parlor trick. He also enjoys projectile vomiting and could give Linda Blair a run for her money. He falls asleep when pretty much anyone but Mr. Swirley or I hold him and has honed his nuzzling skills. He loves being outdoors…taking after his uncle Austin in his affinity for the sun. Bath time is fun time. Dad is INCREDIBLY slow to put on clothes. Ellis can go from zero to 100 in less than a second (this means translates to peach to fire red in the face) and I have yet to figure out the difference between his fussy, tired and hungry cries. Gas is the enemy of all enemies and is the main culprit for me watching infomercials at 3AM. He still likes to snort. A lot.

He is also growing too fast. I know he still is a peanut, but he seems so much bigger than when we brought him home. I am pleased with his roly poly legs, but would rather he grow out more than up. Alas, short of somehow binding his appendages there is little we can do.

We found a daycare and he is excited to go to starting December 1. The first place we interviewed refused to give us references so we decided that probably wasn’t a safe bet for a pet daycare let alone our child.. Ellis agreed and told me to keep looking. We finally settled and he is thrilled to meet some new friends and show off his spit-up skills…so hopefully we will be ready to go when the day comes. I foresee the staff prying him from my hands but who knows, maybe I will be ready for him to kick it with some other people.

I  know it’s obnoxious, but I have to post pictures as I am now a mom and that is apparently what we do. I am like that woman at the grocery store who whips out her wallet to show you pictures of her kid and the little plastic case thing falls all the way to the ground. Except I am on steroids and can do it virtually. Lord, I already have approximately one million pictures to share. Annoying for sure, but get used to it.

                                           week 5

                                          week 6

                                            week 7

In other news, our cats love saltines. I woke up to crumbs on the floor this morning and teethmarks in the bag.  Part of me still thinks it’s OK to finish off what is left of the sleeve.

And dad finally got his teeth back. After a hernia operation gone awry (don’t ask), he was rendered toothless (front four) for two weeks. He really lived up to the Earley name. Unfortunately, Ho-Ho lost one the day he got his back. I am pushing for a nice, shiny gold replacement.

"Elvis King? They must be big fans"

Holy three week hiatus. We are on day 21 and it feels like young Ellis (aka Mr. Amazing) just arrived. He is currently napping in his vibrating chair and I just washed a night of spit up out of my hair. Glamorous, I know.

The quick story of his arrival: Mr. Swirley and I spent Saturday at the Chicago Art Institute, Millennium Park, Bucktown Art Festival, movie theater and out to dinner with friends.

I guess that was enough to get young Ellis on the move. I woke up Sunday morning around 4 AM, took a shower and decided to hit up the hospital. A few contractions later I was ready for an epidural and after the nurse who typed with one finger entered me into the system (it felt like it took a zillion years) we were ready to go. Fast forward to 12:34 PM on 8/29/10 and Mr. EK Swingen joined us on the outside world. I have to say our experience at Swedish Covenant Hospital was spectacular and we are so grateful to have such a healthy baby and relatively easy labor. I also would like to announce that after the baby was born, I also lost all common sense and am anxiously awaiting its return.
Grandpa Tom visited along with the Ds just a few hours after he was born. It was a big day.

Two days later (after Mr. Swirley changed all the diapers and I continuously called the nurses in to make sure I wasn’t somehow killing our baby), we were kicked out of the hospital and were astounded by the realizationn that we were actually allowed to take this little man with us. Within minutes of arriving at home, I passed out and Mr. Swirley was simultaneously spit-up, pooped and peed on. It was enough to send him in to a mini-panic attack but he has since gotten used to it. He really is a great dad and is enjoying (for the most part) this entire experience. He has even outsmarted the baby a few times.

The next day (Wed.)  Mr. Swirley’s mama arrived (much to our relief) and stayed until Sunday. It was so wonderful to have extra help – especially during my regular freak outs when the baby decided he didn’t want to nurse and I thought he was starving. Of course he wasn’t and after I slept for what felt like the first time in a few days, we came up with a plan. As a side note, he also continues to breathe normally though I am often sure he has stopped and have to put my giant face next to his tiny head (luckily he was blessed with a Swingen head) to confirm he is indeed alive.

Ellis’ namesake and great grandpa also visited three times this week, along with grandma arden, grandpa bob, lady jayne, NVS, sweet Lou, G.U.S., the GM, Johnny Mic and J&J. The kid has more friends than Mr. Swirley and I combined..

During week one, we took our first trip out of the house to the corner diner and we all survived. The great G seemed pretty pleased with young Ellis and got more and more comfortable holding him with each visit. Now I just need to be a good granddaughter and send updated pics to the old man in my spare time. Easy peasy.

Week two rolled around and our next house guest was my aunt, Mrs. D. who stayed with us for a week. Again, we were so grateful for all of her help and reassurance that the baby was not going to explode from gas at 3AM. You may laugh, but I was pretty sure this was going to happen and even went as far as calling the hospital to ask.

Mr. Swirley and I had the weekend alone and even ventured out a bit to visit the GM and Johnny Mic for brunch. Ms. Kaiksow and Uncle Austin stopped by and taught us some baby yoga positions to help Ellis avoid exploding.

Then our good friend Ms. Meghan and her sweet little man, Kaden, visited us last week and once again helped out so much.

Here are Ms. Meghan and Mr. Swirley are looking all domestic after a trip to the park.

As an added bonus to week three, Mr. Amazing decided to start nursing. This has cut my work in half since I spent approximately one bazillion hours pumping (nice image, I know) and harassing him to try to jump on the boob. It’s pretty awesome. And Mr. Swirley is a fan since he doesn’t have to get up 3x/night to make a bottle for our guy while he screams until his head just might fall off.

We visited the pediatrician on Friday (end of week three) and found out he has gained 1 lb 3 oz and 1 inch since his birthday. He is in the 50th percentile for weight and height and 25th for head size. Soon enough baby and dad will be able to share hats. Mr. Swirley may even be able to wear this little one sported by EK.

I am still amazed at all of the love and gifts that have poured in before and after Ellis was born. It it is wonderful to know how many people care so much for him and spent so much time making gifts, providing encouragement and advice and sending love.

Below is EK with his biggest fan on this three week birthday. And his dad.

Please pray for my sanity and waistline to return in good order. The snorter is awake.

“Elvis King? They must be big fans”

Holy three week hiatus. We are on day 21 and it feels like young Ellis (aka Mr. Amazing) just arrived. He is currently napping in his vibrating chair and I just washed a night of spit up out of my hair. Glamorous, I know.

The quick story of his arrival: Mr. Swirley and I spent Saturday at the Chicago Art Institute, Millennium Park, Bucktown Art Festival, movie theater and out to dinner with friends.

I guess that was enough to get young Ellis on the move. I woke up Sunday morning around 4 AM, took a shower and decided to hit up the hospital. A few contractions later I was ready for an epidural and after the nurse who typed with one finger entered me into the system (it felt like it took a zillion years) we were ready to go. Fast forward to 12:34 PM on 8/29/10 and Mr. EK Swingen joined us on the outside world. I have to say our experience at Swedish Covenant Hospital was spectacular and we are so grateful to have such a healthy baby and relatively easy labor. I also would like to announce that after the baby was born, I also lost all common sense and am anxiously awaiting its return.
Grandpa Tom visited along with the Ds just a few hours after he was born. It was a big day.

Two days later (after Mr. Swirley changed all the diapers and I continuously called the nurses in to make sure I wasn’t somehow killing our baby), we were kicked out of the hospital and were astounded by the realizationn that we were actually allowed to take this little man with us. Within minutes of arriving at home, I passed out and Mr. Swirley was simultaneously spit-up, pooped and peed on. It was enough to send him in to a mini-panic attack but he has since gotten used to it. He really is a great dad and is enjoying (for the most part) this entire experience. He has even outsmarted the baby a few times.

The next day (Wed.)  Mr. Swirley’s mama arrived (much to our relief) and stayed until Sunday. It was so wonderful to have extra help – especially during my regular freak outs when the baby decided he didn’t want to nurse and I thought he was starving. Of course he wasn’t and after I slept for what felt like the first time in a few days, we came up with a plan. As a side note, he also continues to breathe normally though I am often sure he has stopped and have to put my giant face next to his tiny head (luckily he was blessed with a Swingen head) to confirm he is indeed alive.

Ellis’ namesake and great grandpa also visited three times this week, along with grandma arden, grandpa bob, lady jayne, NVS, sweet Lou, G.U.S., the GM, Johnny Mic and J&J. The kid has more friends than Mr. Swirley and I combined..

During week one, we took our first trip out of the house to the corner diner and we all survived. The great G seemed pretty pleased with young Ellis and got more and more comfortable holding him with each visit. Now I just need to be a good granddaughter and send updated pics to the old man in my spare time. Easy peasy.

Week two rolled around and our next house guest was my aunt, Mrs. D. who stayed with us for a week. Again, we were so grateful for all of her help and reassurance that the baby was not going to explode from gas at 3AM. You may laugh, but I was pretty sure this was going to happen and even went as far as calling the hospital to ask.

Mr. Swirley and I had the weekend alone and even ventured out a bit to visit the GM and Johnny Mic for brunch. Ms. Kaiksow and Uncle Austin stopped by and taught us some baby yoga positions to help Ellis avoid exploding.

Then our good friend Ms. Meghan and her sweet little man, Kaden, visited us last week and once again helped out so much.

Here are Ms. Meghan and Mr. Swirley are looking all domestic after a trip to the park.

As an added bonus to week three, Mr. Amazing decided to start nursing. This has cut my work in half since I spent approximately one bazillion hours pumping (nice image, I know) and harassing him to try to jump on the boob. It’s pretty awesome. And Mr. Swirley is a fan since he doesn’t have to get up 3x/night to make a bottle for our guy while he screams until his head just might fall off.

We visited the pediatrician on Friday (end of week three) and found out he has gained 1 lb 3 oz and 1 inch since his birthday. He is in the 50th percentile for weight and height and 25th for head size. Soon enough baby and dad will be able to share hats. Mr. Swirley may even be able to wear this little one sported by EK.

I am still amazed at all of the love and gifts that have poured in before and after Ellis was born. It it is wonderful to know how many people care so much for him and spent so much time making gifts, providing encouragement and advice and sending love.

Below is EK with his biggest fan on this three week birthday. And his dad.

Please pray for my sanity and waistline to return in good order. The snorter is awake.

Whoever says “Don’t cry over spilled milk” has never nursed.

I should be napping right now but instead am on the Internets. Big news around here is Ellis King has arrived. Born on August 29, 2010 – he weighed in at 6 lbs 13 oz and just about 20 inches long. His first few days were quiet ones, but the kid now has a yell that can make your heart fall out. He is also very cute. 

I have a lot more to say but my eyes are crossing from lack of sleep so it will have to wait.

U-G-L-Y – you aint got no alibi

Saturday was a proud day on Bosworth Avenue. Not only was banana bread baked, but Mr. Swirley returned from his Ultimate Frisbee tournament with the high honor of “team spirit award winner”. To many, this may come as a surprise. Yes, he is positive, but often the quiet guy. The guy who leaves a bar because he gets too frustrated when people keep yelling “what?” after he says something. I, however, have always known Mr. Swirley to be full of spirit. Just last week, he and the lady ringing the cowbell were vying for a spirit award at the four mile marker at the Rock and Roll half marathon. This is big time.

To commemorate this prestigious title bestowed unto him, Mr. Swirley was gifted a regulation summer league 2010 frisbee. Fancy, I know. I might even keep it in the plastic wrap so as to preserve its value. And as a bonus, I bet most soon-to-be/new moms don’t have the comfort of an award-winning cheerleader at their bedside. He may not have won his first case at the Nevada Supreme Court (kudos, Doug), but he certainly is still very impressive.

Happy Birthday Sweet Lou!

Today is my nephew’s first birthday. I am sad we aren’t in Madison to celebrate with the Swingens – and to check out their new digs (I am especially excited about the built in recycle and garbage cans. Seriously). Instead, I get to look at pics of Lou and squish him through the computer. I will have to be content with the knowledge that he loves me more than Mr. Swirley.

Happy bday, man.