Dad, are you and Uncle Billy really gonna open a miniature golf course?

The Lollapalooza line-up was released today and let me tell you, I am a little disappointed. Well, for $90 per ticket I am a lot disappointed. What does that have to do with my day? Absolutely nothing. Another non-sequitur? Mr. Swirley just pulled a totally frozen bottle of milk out of the freezer. Not in a bag. In a bottle. Excellent.

The last few weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind. We spent Memorial Day weekend in Madison where Mr. Swirley, Pughbert and Susie Q ran a half-marathon in record time, spicy cheese bread was consumed on the square, we picnicked on Kathy’s back porch, celebrated the last few days of Ms. Kaiksow’s bachelorhood and I ruined our new car. Let’s just say the early bit of the weekend involved a trip on the Beltline, an adult entertainment store, an exchange of cash (including two $1 coins), a conversation in broken Spanish and a disbelieving husband. Then we went to the Plaza.

New Union South and some fancy leg work.
Ahh. Home sweet home. Er, I mean the Plaza.

Kids’ table at Kathy’s. Clearly the place to be.
Hippies in Madison? On the Capitol Square?  Weird.

After the race EK hung out with his gramps and Mr. Swirley and I rested. I know Mr. Swirley ran a race and all, but I had to run just to make sure I met up with him to take a few pictures. Can you imagine? And I didn’t even train. I would post said pictures but blogger sucks. Here are some pictures from Tommy D.

EK seemed to enjoy his time at the Children’s Museum with gramps which is a good thing since we spent the rest of the afternoon trying to convince him to nap so we could go to bed. Aren’t we good parents? You know you would do the same.

I recently found the script for Overboard online. Call me if you want in.

http://www.script-o-rama.com/movie_scripts/o/overboard-script-transcript-goldie-hawn.html

I hear geese sometimes fly north in November

My good friend Narguess (aka Goose) visited us this weekend. She hates that nickname so sometimes I call her Nargie or Nargie Nargie Puddin’ n Pie. We met in grad school and she is quite possibly one of the most generous and kindest individuals I know. She also has a mouth like a sailor and a keen fashion sense – a dangerous mixture of fantabulousness.

She and Ellis got on quite well; he even let her bathe him. Additionally, although she wore all black most of the weekend (she is from NY after all) he somehow managed to avoid spitting up on her. I really think he has it out for Mr. Swirley and me.

On Saturday, we decided to beat the Santa rush since Ellis has such hatred for waiting (lines, elevators, red lights…pretty much anything that requires us to stand still) and visited the Michigan Avenue Bloomies to make certain demands. Ellis was the first and only guy in line and I paid $16.00 for a photo that looks like it was taken circa 1974.

Based on the photos below, I am pretty certain Ellis wished for a new mom.

before
Ellis giving santa the business…goose sneakily took this photo of the fat and fatter man.

ellis’ new family

Mr. Swirley looks a little too happy in this one. Perhaps he was whispering into Ellis ear when it came to this year’s list.

We also had some adult time that consisted of pictionary, tacos and cerveza. Johnny Mic, the GM and the Js came over for some fun. Sadly, my team lost the game but we put a good fight. Don’t be impressed that we were up past 10PM as the clock pictured has yet to be turned back.

 
Johnny even wore his lucky “burn it up” socks and yes, whiteboards were involved. We are that bigtime.

We are preparing for long weekend in St. Charles with Ho-Ho and the rest of the crew. I guarantee I will have some quality stories centering around the preparation of food, losing Ho-Ho in the mall and other shenanigans that are bound to occur when you have 15 people in one house.

Today is my last day alone with Ellis until December 9th (daycare starts December 6) and he has the nerve to take a two-hour nap. Damn baby.

I left my wallet at Ho-Hos yesterday. Fingers crossed it doesn’t end up with the tooth and toothpaste…

One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got into my pajamas I’ll never know.

This is my friend John. He is a high-school math teacher. He is also an avid fan of footed pajamas.

I fell and ripped my jeans yesterday. Also skinned the ole knees. Both of them. Ellis, who was in the carrier, was completely unfazed by the fall and continued on with his nap. I, however, am remembering what it feels like to be eight and clumsy…as if I need a reminder.

Ho-Ho called yesterday and told me her toothpaste was stolen. It is definitely November.

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.

“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.

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.

Haugh haugh haugh

I am behind in posting – mostly because i am lazy. I am fat too. But that really isn’t a an excuse. Maybe it is because I cannot be creative during the day when I am awake from midnight to four AM just “hanging out”. Alone. Drinking milk.

Anyway, Mr. Swirley and I have been busy preparing for Armageddon. I should say something about it being a magical time, but really I feel like we need to buy some MREs and hunker down for a few months. I don’t know how moms who are on their second/third + pregnancy do it. I can barely function and I stay home all day solo watching psych on hulu (at 2 AM. See above. And you know you like that show.)

I have also let crazy come out to play a little too much.  You can ask Mr. Swirley but he is probably too polite to say anything. Last weekend consisted of me sobbing at midnight about wanting to keep the baby in my belly and simultaneously needing a smoothie. Apparently this is normal (or at least that is what other moms tell me. But maybe they don’t want to admit my crazy is a special type of crazy that doesn’t come around too often. ) Alas.

However, at 35 weeks I feel like we are in a better place (I now have pants for the baby, lotions, creams, diapers and my old piggy bank). These are all items that I apparently felt that without which the baby could not survive. Especially pants (they key? jumpers!) I also have little litmus strip things in case I decide to have a glass of wine and then nurse. Gifts like that show me that my friends know how to keep crazy at bay.

The nursery is pretty much done and looks badass. At least baby Swirley will think so. Mr. Swirley has spent a lot of time considering color and decorating schemes and I am really happy with the overall product. A little natural baby, a little hodge podge – a whole lot of green.

All this is pretty boring in comparison to last weekend’s festivities. Close friends hosted a Bastille Day themed shower – the actual invite wording was “freeing baby swirley from the womb”. French flags were waving in the summertime breeze; red, white and blue cupcakes decorated the tables; and, mustaches and culottes/manpris were on display. It was amazing. See for yourself.
In addition to fun onesie making and games (and lots of food and drink), we got some really nice swag from the soon to be uncles and aunts. Back to my whole “fake uncle” thing…I hope our baby is fun enough that these friends stick around for 18 years or so so he can someday call one of them for a job, another to do his taxes, and the third for advice. Or money. Or both. It’s cheesy, but I cannot express just how much I adore these people – and I know he will feel the same. Plus they give good presents. 
The night ended early for us (10:30ish) but a few of the dedicated kept going until, um, 11 AM the next day. I know, they are just as excited about this baby as we are. Or perhaps it was the new iced tea infused vodka that Sio found. Either way, this baby Swirley is well loved and that means so much to a crazy, 35 week prego lady (and her husband).
And a little ditty in honor of our friends, les grenouilles.

Ice Ice & Babies

This weekend marked our second Memorial Day weekend back in the Midwest and was a excellent reminder of precisely why we chose to return to the promise land. We departed Chicago early Friday morning to make it to Madison before an 8 AM conference call with work. After working for a bit, we visited the usual State Street haunts and headed to the Memorial Union or some delicious Babcock ice cream and sitting. After a very energy consuming afternoon, we decided to head back to Ms. Kaiksow’s so I could take a nap while Mr. Swirley relaxed and watched an episode of Magnum P.I. Also of note, Friday marked “take your brat to work day” – more on that later.

Saturday we met up with Tbone for a walk around the Capitol’s Farmer’s Market – then with Katie Marie and One T for a little more of the same. Mr. Swirley took off to watch some ultimate and visit with old friends and we just spent time ogling pretty plants and bitching about the crowd. Later on, we all convened and headed out to Elliot and Brooke’s potluck on Lake Mendota. Given that a number of folks were running in the Madison half-marathon/10K early Sun. AM, it seemed like a great opportunity to load up on carbs, celebrate Elliot and Brooke’s engagement and harass each other in general. As was expected, it was a superb evening. Why? Because pretty much everyone we wanted to see was in one spot with lawn games, grills, a ridiculous number of potato salad options and a pontoon boat to boot. If we could only retire now life would be perfect.

Alas, Friday night had to come to an end and everyone prepared for race day. Early Saturday, Mr. Swirley, the GM, KML, the Jeff, one T, JohnnyMic and I met up and headed to the starting line with our crafty signs. I can tell you how to make one if you want to be amazing friends like us.

7:30 AM signaled the start of the race for runners and breakfast time for us spectators. We then ran to catch sight of our very fit friends at the four mile marker. We found ’em and yes, and they were still going strong (as evidenced below by Mr. Swirley’s mid-stride ultra hip thumbs up)

We then headed to the finish line to await their arrival and I am pleased (and proud to report) that not only did all four runners successfully finish, but met (if not exceeded) their respective targeted pace. They also obliged me in sporting their Madison Marathon medal (which apparently weighed about a zillion lbs) for a few pics in the thousand degree weather.

We all decided that we hadn’t sweat enough during the day and headed to the World’s Largest (only?) Bratfest. It is everything you would dream a Bratfest to be and more. It first started as a fundraiser in the Sentry Foods parking lot -$1.00 brats/hot dogs incl. soda. Pretty sweet. It has now blossomed into a full-fledged carnival with multiple music stages and record setting brat sales (world record set in 2009 with 208,752 brats sold in three days). Don’t lie, you now heart WI as much as I do. Although it was hot, my cankles were totally worth it if only to see our friends’ babies – Fi and Mr. D-K. I want to eat both of their little faces.

Once my own face melted off we decided to rest for a bit out in Sun Prarie. After another round of naps, Mr. Swirley and I headed back down to the terrace for a six hour epic sitting venture with the FWC. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Terrace, it is quite possibly one of the best places on earth. It faces the lake, offers beer, brats, ice cream and other treats and above all, an incredibly relaxed and social environment. My only complaint, and it’s a big one, is that until just recently the Rathskellar (adjacent to the Terrace) boasted the best ice on the face of the earth. I don’t even think there exists an adjective to property describe the awesomeness of the ice there. It was my gold standard to which all other ice cubes were/are compared. And last night, I found out that the machine was replaced. I know, tragic. Shook my world for about 15 minutes. I even talked to the cashier about it but he had no idea what in God’s name my problem was. So, I guess I should let it go…and I will, after I show you a picture of the new ice. I hate it.

All in all it was an excellent weekend – a recharge that was sorely needed and a chance to see friends at their best. We are looking forward to seeing everyone again for our baby shower – a Bastille day themed party to celebrate baby Swirley’s liberation from the womb.