How in the heck can you wash your neck

Turkey Day 2011 is over and I can prove it by my ever expanding waist line. Similar to tricking myself into thinking soda is healthy, I am thoroughly convinced that holiday gluttony is a requirement and all those smarmy know it all MDs nagging about saturated fat is crap. I ate pie for breakfast two mornings in a row…so you see how I have to rationalize my behavior or risk the realization that I have shortened my life by three years after consuming 12 lbs of cream cheese over the course of the past four days.

Ellis was of course the star of the weekend. It would take about ten hands to count how many rounds of applause he received for various activities. Examples? Eating gets you the laughs/claps, falling too. Picking your nose? Yep. Sharing your Sesame Street characters? Obviously. Etc. etc. He is clearly going through culture shock at home now that we don’t high five him for pulling out all of the Pyrex and slamming them together. But I can’t really complain because the Ho-Hos and Dietrichs love him so much. And they let me sleep in.

T-Bone joined us for the holiday as well as the Great G, Mikey, Kenz, G&G S&G and a few other fun members of the clan. Uncle Don even slept in the garage! And Ellis was considerate enough to wait until everyone was in bed to scream his face off. Whatever, it’s not like 14 people were sleeping or anything.

Ooh, and yes, we (me and two teenagers. what?)  did go out at 5 AM on Black Friday. However, since most places opened at midnight it wasn’t all that exciting. I did get a door buster deal on a vacuum. First, I want you stop and think about the fact that I went out at five AM to purchase a vacuum. Who am I? If anything, I struck fear into the respective hearts of an 18 and 19 year old as to what the future might hold for them.  But then I injected a little bit of “Annie” into the situation and came home with three vacuums. How is this possible? I purchased one, realized it wasn’t the vacuum on sale and tried to return it. However, in the 12 feet from the register to the customer service I lost the receipt. Sweet Baby Jesus was just laughing at me – Christmas isn’t about door busters! It’s about eating pie for breakfast with your family, fool! Carly and Kenz were out in the car wondering why I was taking an hour to get refund and I was sweating bullets because I felt so dumb and could feel all of those already embittered Target staffers judging me with their oh so sleepy eyes. So $700 something later,  I purchased two more vacuums because that is what one does when you have entered crazytown…and hoped Mr. Swirley would like one of them. Luckily Target can look up receipts by credit card number after close of business so I was able to return two of the three yesterday.  Still, seriously? I am an idiot.

Here is Ho-Ho and Carly showing off their pirate smiles. Carly is 18 and will most likely be annoyed that I posted this but how you can you let me take a picture like this and expect me to keep it to myself? Plus she and our cousin Kenz watched 41 hours of Gossip Girl in four days (this is not an exaggeration) and deserve to be called out for their ridiculousness.

Argh!
EK loves his Carly

Three generations enjoying Grover

EK and EK engage in a Sesame Street face off!

But the best part of the weekend (no, not when the Great G took the Elmo and Big Bird puppets and made them fight – “I don’t like you!” ” I don’t like you”…then the sound of plastic eyeballs smacking into each other) was when I captured this little diddy from “Grandpa Peanut Song”

A few more pics to document the holiday weekend…

Mike. Say it ain’t so.

Cousins hard at work during the 12 minutes they didn’t spend watching Gossip Girl.
Mr. Swirley and EK enjoying the unseasonably warm Nov. weather.
A tiny badger in Michigan gear? An angel just lost it’s wings.
Also, on a side note, during our traditional Black Friday shopping trip, Mrs. D and I spent so much time in the changing room with a topless Ho-Ho that the image of her ta-tas are forever singed into our memories. She got her bras and we got a shared nightmare to relive until our dying days.
Gobble gobble.

Body movin, body movin. We be getting down and you know we’re crush groovin

Can I say that I consumed two glasses of iced coffee? Or did I drink them? Maybe both are correct? I mean, you consume liquid right? What is wrong with me? My mind is racing. Usually I  make myself a nice liter of diet Coke in the morning and refer to it as my “energy juice”. Yes, I have fallen off the  no-dark soda wagon in a bad bad way. I try to not drink the entire liter throughout the day but I am not going to lie, it does happen.

Once I found out I was pregnant I cut off all soda. Well, most. I would have a sip here or there, but being the psycho that I am, thought it might make Ellis into a crazy baby. As if that was avoidable. I also thought it was as good a time as any to stop drinking liquid cancer. Clearly I have relapsed to the point that I feel a morning cup of Coke is actually healthy. Like seriously healthy. Unfortunately (or fortunately?) I am out of my little Diet Coke mixer juice (we have one of those ridiculous fizzy water makers) so now I am on to coffee.  I feel like I am cartoon person with a rubber band flinging my heart in and out of my chest. I am not making any sense.

Why do I need so much caffeine today? Oh, I don’t know. Maybe because EK has been sick since Friday and slept for -12 hours. Don’t rolll your eyes, it’s totally possible to sleep for -12 hours. We spent the weekend in St. Charles while Mr. Swirley kicked it with his friends up in La Crosse. Ellis decided it was an appropriate time to get a low grade fever and cling to me like baby chimp. He even needed to “sleep” in my arms. I realize that sleeping with your baby sounds nice and all, but note the quotation marks. His “sleeping” consisted of rolling around, crying, nuzzling, laying on top/across me, pushing me off the bed/couch to the point I had to hold myself up by putting my arm on the ground. We ended up “sleeping” on the floor to ensure that 1) he wouldn’t fall off the bed and 2) my head wouldn’t fall off due to lack of support. I do feel badly for him but know this, I seriously considered dropping him off at daycare at 4AM this morning with a note that said “Good luck. No givebacks.”

During the four minutes that EK slept on Saturday, Mrs. D and I made some fresh pesto and a loaf of yellow squash bread. In usually Annie fashion I overfilled the bread pan and what should have taken 45 minutes to cook took 90. It was actually pretty tasty which was surprising given the length of time it sat in the oven.

See the lump in front of the pan? That is the “overflow” area. This is very common baking method employed
by only the best chefs.

Ellis also took his first steps this weekend – out of sheer panic. Apparently he realized he wasn’t being held and took three baby steps to get to me. He did it again Saturday to get to his cousin Carly. He also busted out some new dance moves; he is a huge fan of classic rock. We now have the left foot toe tap, head/shoulder shimmy (his dad’s signature move) and the booty shake. I will do my best to get these on video so you too can enjoy them

Ain’t no fever going to stop him.

 A dog door? No. A baby door.

Off to the doctor. It’s going to be really fun.

p.s. if you are considering a birthday present for Ellis, I highly suggest these sweet Beastie Boys action figures. Proceeds go towards fighting childhood cancer and EK will be THE COOLEST kid ever.

If I ever die, do me a favor. Go on Oprah and tell the world that I loved kittens.

We are back from our first trip away from Ellis and all three of us survived. I am pretty sure he didn’t notice we were gone, but as you probably expected (though I surprised myself) he was sorely missed by yours truly. Mr. Swirley and I constantly asked each other “I wonder what Ellis is doing now”…because he leads such a wild and exciting life. Apparently so do we if that is the only thing we have to say to each other. We did manage to have some fun in Boston while stepping over piles of Bruins fans’ vomit and kicking garbage into Boston’s lovely gutters. Maybe I should rewind.

Last Wednesday and Thursday were epic. I don’t even really remember them. Something to do with a two-hour trip to Ho-Ho’s, lunch at Whole Foods, class at Gymboree, packing, cleaning (sort of), picking up the car and some other stuff. You know what else I didn’t remember? Ellis’ food.

Yes. After packing up every item in the house and stuffing it all into our recently repaired RAV-4, we drove out to St. Charles (an hour away) and unpacked the car. Twenty-five outfits? Yep. Ten hats? Of course. A bag of blocks? Why not? But no food. NO FOOD. What kind of mother am I? I remember a blog post I read a while back written by my cousin. Well, really it’s my cousin’s wife but I call her my cousin because I feel like we are related. Anyway, she wrote about how whenever she felt like she had a handle on this motherhood thing, she would go and do something crazy that would take her down a few notches. Forgetting your baby’s food has to rank pretty high on the scale of screwing up. So after calling Lady Jayne and NVS and enduring a bit of ridicule, I gathered some info on formula and crossed my fingers. Evidently this is something they expect us to do and don’t know why I am surprised. Touche, NVS, touche.

Friday morning I smelled Ellis’ head one last time and headed out to O’Hare. I have a random tid bit with regard to the O’Hare bathrooms. For those of you who don’t know, the bathroom toilet seats boast a plastic toilet seat cover that changes every time you wave your hand past the sensor thing. Up until this weekend, I was 99% sure that it was a bunch of BS and that cover just goes round and round in a circle but you think it’s super hygienic because there are sensors and movement involved. So this time I decided to test my theory and ripped the plastic. I then realized that I could very well break the mechanism by doing such a thing, but it was too late. I am happy to report that the tear did not show up again so we are good to go to the loo at O’Hare without fear of trading germs with the dirty French lady that arrived an hour ago.

Anyway, on the the way to the airport, I emailed Lady Jayne and asked her to take care of Ellis if we die. I don’t really know if that type of thing would hold up in court, but since we are irresponsible parents and still don’t have a Will, I thought it was worth a shot.

Boston was nice. We figured out the T, went for a walk in Boston Common and successfully avoided most Bruins fans. Don’t get me wrong, I am happy for all the Mass. fans, but they sort of ruined the colonial Boston experience we were hoping for. We did sneak a harbor cruise in because what else should you do when you are a tourist?

Swans and a the world’s shortest suspension bridge ( Boston Public Gardens)

Boston Common House backs the Bruins
Mr. Swirley following the red brick road

View from the harbor

Then we went to a wedding. It was exceptional. Markypants and RR (and their families) were lovely hosts and the venue was spectacular. Four singers, oysters and desserts as far as the eye can see. Uhmazing.

“Look at all the fun you missing, Mark!”
The lovely bride and her papa

Married!
The picture doesn’t do the tent (or the band) justice.
Mazel Tov!

And it wouldn’t be a five star wedding without a photo booth.

G’town (Law). Holla! Sort of.
Us with the photo booth guy. I thought he was as much a part of the wedding as the groom.
We made it until midnight and were the first people on the shuttle home. Then came grandparents. In that order. Dear Lord. The next morning we hiked it to the Silver Line and were at the airport an hour and a half early. According to Mr. Swirley, that is barely enough to time to get on the plane. An episode of “White Collar” later (what? don’t judge. It was a free Itunes download) and we were almost home. We picked our car up in lot E (aka Indiana) and managed to get lost on our way to Mrs. D’s house…not like we live in the Chicagoland area or anything. A swim with EK (he likes to think of pools as large cups from which he drinks), some Father’s Day dinner and back home again home again jiggety jig.

Wedding #4 is this weekend in Milwaukee. That’s Algonquin for the “good land”.

It’s curtains for you Dr. Horrible. Lacy, gently wafting curtains.

This is a boring entry. I shouldn’t post it but it’s too late now. 

Before we headed out to my Aunt Margaret’s 90th birthday party on Saturday, I tasked Ellis with making a “0” birthday card for Ms. Carmen Pickle (his future wife). She was due on the 14th, but decided to bask in the warmth of Little Miss Krissa’s belly just a little longer. However obstinant Carmen may be (I think she is playing hard to get), we still wanted to celebrate her due date. We needed a card. So I took out my magenta stamp pad and embossing powder and got to it. I rolled Ellis’ fat hand in the ink and then tried to press it on to the card. It didn’t go very well and to make matters worse, I was too concerned with fixing the print than with washing Ellis’ hand. So after making the stamp look somewhat like a hand (or elephant), I looked up and Ellis had crawled across the room. On beigish carpet. And to throw salt in the wound, he made perfect little hand prints when it didn’t matter. Whatever, Carmen will still love him.

Then we headed out to Northbrook and sat in the car while Ellis napped. Yes, we are those kind of parents. I finally poked him until he “woke up” and we trekked inside with our caravan of baby items that seems to follow us wherever we go. Upon entering, we were immediately greeted by three adoring aunts that scared the Hell out of Ellis. After a bit of lower-lip quivering and shoulder nuzzling, he finally settled in and enjoyed watching older boys run around, being cuddled by random cousins and participating in the family sing-a-long. This was my first-ever sing-a-long…we had lyric books, enlarged photos that corresponded with certain songs and a set of musical twins that led the exercise. It was a resounding success. How could it not be?

Sunday brought breakfast at our place with FWC folks and then I met up with Mrs. D and we descended upon Ho-Ho’s apartment like the two cleaning fairies you always wish would show up to your door. Mrs. D is a little crazy when it comes to cleaning. Just stay out of her way and follow directions and you will come out alive. Four hours later, mom’s place was sparkling and we found a few “missing” items that will likely go missing again soon enough.

I came home and Ellis was not only pulling himself up on any and everything, but he also has figured out how to open and close doors.

You wouldn’t think I would be so proud of this discovery; it’s like he found another planet or cured a disease or something. I am 95% sure he waved at me this morning and my head exploded.

Since returning home from DC I have become a hardline sleep-through-the-night advocate. This translates to an hour of crying Saturday night while I sat in his bedroom, 30 minutes Sunday and nada last night. I am sure last night was an anomaly and by typing this, tonight I will be faced with five hours of earsplitting, vein-pulsating crying, but what can I do? Sweet dream you lucky scoundrels.

I like to see life with its teeth out.

For the third week in a row my house is once again full of sickness. I don’t want to dwell on it; this is just a general statement of fact. No, actually I am dwelling on it. It’s absolutely ridiculous. Mr. Swirley and I feel like cooked turkeys and Ellis is on his second round of antibiotics – by the end of this whole shebang he will have been on medicine for three straight weeks. To a veteran mom this probably seems as normal as breathing, but I am still easing into this whole “kid sick all the time but happy enough to play while you are sick and want to die” thing. It’s bogus man, bogus.

Last weekend we headed out to Mrs. D’s digs for some dinner, time in the sun and to celebrate the bunny. Tommy D came down from Madison with EK’s sweet new ride. We found it on craigslist and apparently the former owner could be heard wailing from her room, “No mama, no! Don’t sell my car.” Oh how I cannot wait for that day to come to the Swirley household. I hope that sweet little girl can take solace in the fact that her tiny auto went to a good home.

After a thorough inspection, Ellis graciously accepted the gift.
What? No driving gloves. Cheap bastards.

You will be happy to know that Tommy and Ho-Ho got on well and I think she has accepted the fact that although they are divorced, he is going to be a fixture at Ho-Ho holiday celebrations. I often remind her, “You had me. Now deal with the consequences. I have to see both of you regularly. Seems only fair you have to deal with each other.” Nice, I know.

On Saturday Mrs. D, Ho-Ho, Car and I set out to Old Navy to pick up some staples for mom. While we were out hunting for cotton goodies, I tasked the men with a photo shoot of my little man to document his first Easter. Here are a few of my favorites. I obviously love every photo they took but I would shut down the Interwebs if I posted them.

Shopping was as exciting as it sounds. We went round and round with clothes for Ho-Ho. She tends to like to show off “the ladies”, so Mrs. D and I are on a never ending quest to find shirts that are appropriate while not being too stuffy. That bohemian Ho-Ho…and she wonders why she gets men knocking at her door asking to see her “brassieres”.  Most were inappropriate but we did find a few items that she liked. The real excitement arrived on Easter morning like a bright sparkling chocolate egg full of that gross peanut candy some people hand out on Halloween.

Imagine a nice sunny Sunday morning. You are laying in bed with your unusually lazy baby and a large cat to boot. Your teenage cousin (who rarely is up before you) is eagerly anticipating an Easter egg hunt with said baby and your aunt has a nice holiday breakfast planned. Then you find out your mom lost something major and expensive. Yep. Unfortunately for us, we swapped out our Easter egg hunt with a Easter tooth hunt.

Somehow, between 9 PM Saturday night and 5 AM Sunday morning, Ho-Ho lost her bridge/flipper thing that sports her incisor.  Yes, that $500.00 piece of dental gold that we have had for less than three months disappeared. And let me tell you, searching for a glorified retainer on Easter morning is not that exciting. The reward isn’t little neon colored plastic eggs filled with sugary goodness. No, it’s a gross retainer that may or may not show up. And as you frantically search for this tiny piece of translucent plastic, you keep thinking about how much it will cost to replace it and what if she loses the next one and the next one. You can see this can have a real snowball effect on your psyche. Breathe. At one point I stood in the hallway and shook my fists at the sky. I even set Ellis loose in each room she had occupied during the previous 12 hours in the hopes that his weird baby super powers could find that sucker since he seems to find everything else that he shouldn’t. Mr. D took on the nasty task of sifting through the post-holiday dinner trash while we repeatedly dumped out and searched Ho-Ho’s bags, unmade beds, dismantled couches., etc. For no less than four hours we searched that house from top to bottom, but alas, no luck. So now Ho-Ho is back to looking like a pirate (belt and all) and we are praying to God to return her flipper sometime in the next week or we have to shell out another $500 and constantly worry about it disappearing again.

That was the longest paragraph ever. 

Good news is that after a bunch of faxing and research, I was able to get her March ER bill zero’d out. So, if you subtract the new retainer thing, we are still up $600. It’s like I am making money here, people. 

Ellis and I also recently checked out the new Little Beans cafe in Bucktown. Although I think it overpriced, EK enjoyed his time with buddies Tate and Grace and he didn’t make either baby cry. I deem that a successful meeting of the tiny minds.

I am now going to go cough a lung out.

Want a sammich?

My grandma always used to ask me if I wanted a “sammich” when we visited or were up at the cabin. According to the three sisters, grandma hated cooking. I never noticed and I think that by the time I rolled around, she didn’t mind all that much. Especially when my requests centered around Jello with sour cream on top.

Today marks the Ho-Hos’ 60th wedding anniversary (unless my math is off). Grandma passed away in 2007, but it definitely still counts. They grew up in the same CT town and the G briefly dated her sister Glo. Scandalous, I know. Gramps started hanging around the farm and met grandma while she was home from Columbia recouping from a bout with pneumonia.  He accepted the fact that her father painted a horse with shoe polish to sell it to someone who wanted a “black” horse and that her mother’s maiden name was Boyle (Mildred Dorkis). She accepted that his parents eloped and that he was an only child (eee gads!) Twenty ice cream cones later, they were married; EK was a Good Humor man, after all.

The G with Aunt Jo

The G and Wood girls

Vacations, school and baths of ice and vodka in the tiny studio in NYC (don’t ask) filled up the next couple of years.

 
A move to the Midwest and a few years later they had three lovely, albeit wild, girls. Grandma even sewed their Easter dresses. For a woman who probably wouldn’t consider herself domestic, she sure as Hell tried (when convenient).

Grams is holding Mrs. S and Mrs. D while Ho-Ho looks suspiciously into the camera.
Uh. Mazing.

Then everyone grew up and had babies and all the while the Gs put up with us weirdos.

And they went to my wedding.

This photo is up in all of our houses. I can’t even begin to tell you how excited she was for this day. She made the G buy a new suit and she searched for days for her lavender ensemble (much to his chagrin…as he was her chauffeur). CadillacJohnnyMic walked her down the aisle and everyone made a beeline for her after the ceremony. Let’s be honest, she was the bell of the ball.

It’s been 3.5 years (is that possible?) since she passed and overall the G is doing well. He makes his soup and sammich for lunch and keeps himself busy “telling lies” to his friends and flirting with his PT girls. We try to encourage him to move up to Illinois, but like any man in his right mind, he continues to refuse. So instead of harassing him today I am wishing the ice cream man and his lovely red headed bride (aka Killer and Morticia) a happy 60th anniversary.

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.

“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.