I’ve never been very good at letting things go. I can’t tell you how many times a fun tug of a war with a dog over a chew toy turned contentious. One of always gets mad.

Last weekend, after Ellis decided to quit it with all of this hand, foot and mouth stuff, we got down to business. Although one of us was covered in scabs, we ventured out into the world which began with a trip to Winnetka. Have you ever been? It’s amazing! You can leave your stroller outside and it’s still there when you emerge from whatever store. People don’t let their dogs poop in the park and there are no parking meters! Is this heaven? Almost. According to the ever accurate Wikipedia, Winnetka is “one of the most exclusive and wealthy suburbs in the nation.” They totally want us to move there.

Because I could no longer sit inside our house for fear I would hurl myself out a window, we also decided to: 
– Hit up the Chicago Kite Fest (underwritten by a relatively unknown group that goes by the acronym NATO)
– Engage in a a stare down
– Take EK’s first dip into lake Michigan
– Play with a new outside toys – a gift from his amazing and generous mom.
– and, venture to the zoo to look at ducks and water fountains. What? Summer is officially here.

EK and Uncle Jeff at Kite Fest. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get our kite to fly. Where was dad? At an all day Frisbee tournament lamenting the aging process and making it all the way to the finals.

Game on, buddy – 30 second stare down.
First visit to Lake Michigan…Jeff and Olive lead the way.
OH MY GOD THIS WATER TABLE IS AMAZING! Papi may think it’s too big and misses his patio table…but mom doesn’t care. I think she is the best even if yesterday she held up traffic because she was too busy poking at her belly rolls.
We (and by we I mean Ellis) also spent a little time thinking about our bad decisions, picking thumbs and looking pretty pathetic. Moments before this photo was taken he was standing on a bench and ignoring his mom’s “tushy or knees” request. Next stop, no fun chair.
Like his uncle John, EK enjoys peeling his thumb like a banana.

Do you know what keywords keep bringing people to this blog”
“labyrinth trash lady”. I am actually pretty thrilled about this little fact. Not because I have anything interesting for them to read, but that people are seeking out pictures of our favorite Muppet. Other common keywords include:
– neck wattle
– goldie hawn, jamie wild, toffuti overboard. YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (all separate searches)
– i recently invested in some shirts at a garage sale

Very strange people wandering around the Interwebs.

When I ask Ellis if he thinks I am fat, he responds, “yes.” There is no mistaking that response – he enunciates as if his life depends on it. When I ask him if I thinks I am pretty, I get silence.

Ho-Ho is sleeping over tomorrow night. I am sure I will have some nice updates. Last time she stayed overnight, she put her shoe-clad feet on my wall to push herself up onto our bed. I have a nice little scuff mark to remind me of this little incident and how I need to purchase espadrilles for her from now on. She also enjoys spraying my perfume all over the bathroom each time she goes in – which is 900 times/day. What else? Oh, Ellis will enjoy the TV blaring from midnight-6 AM in the room adjacent to his as that is the only way she can sleep, but then she tells me she can’t sleep. It’s all so confusing.

Then we have a psych appointment where we will experience a lot of circular logic and I will likely slam my face against a door or something. Recently she has reincarnated one of her old “stalkers” that Mr. Swirley and I laid to rest a few years ago with a fake obituary. Modern medicine! Given this fun twist with regards to her psyche,  “we” also might change her drugs which will likely cause major chaos in the short-term and general disappointment in the long. Wah wah. Upside is the G is in town this weekend for my cousin’s graduation and  family shenanigans which include yelling at the top of our lungs so he can hear us, him mocking our parenting style and probably some sort of missing tooth incident. I can’t wait.

It is physically impossible for me to take a bad picture – I don’t know why, just ask God.

Today I decided to get Ho-Ho a new flipper. Am I dumb? Maybe. Yes. But I just can’t deal with the guilt of her looking like a pirate in every photo we take from now until forever. The new plan (suggested by Mrs. S)? Special events tooth!! Yep, I am going to keep that sucker locked up in my house and bring it with me when we have a holiday, dinner, graduation,wedding, etc. I know, we are a classy family that has to keep a tooth locked 360 days out of the year for fear of it getting lost/stolen/thrown away.

I heard on the radio they are predicting this winter to be the worst one in 10,000 years. El nina plus el crappy Chicago weather = something I am too afraid to imagine.

It is 73 degrees outside and I have the air conditioning on. Last night I had the heat on. What?

Bloody Marys, two for tea, Bubble bath and TV

A few weeks ago Mr. Swirley turned the AC on and told me we didn’t have to close the windows near the ceiling because the heat rises and needs to escape. So I complied…for the entire week. Turns out he was just too lazy to pull a chair over to close them and I took his words at face value.
While at Walgreen’s last week, Ellis started to play with the Chris the Pharmacist’s daughter, Ellie. She is 19 months old and pretty awesome. Not only did she share her O’s with him, but when I commented on her heart sticker, she peeled it off, ripped it in half and gave it to Ellis. He then threw it on the floor. 
Recently we figured out that Ellis pretty much only likes cold food. So now we have to cook whatever meal is on the menu for the day, then stick it in the freezer to lessen the likelihood of it ending up on the ground. I love that it took six months for us to identify his food preference.

“It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn’t use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like “What about lunch?””

A few questions that have been nagging me….

1. Is it wrong to think Bachmann is loopier than Palin?
2. How much dirt will it take to fill the planters we just bought? I am thinking approximately 800 bags.
3 How do I put fondant on a cake without it looking like a crackhead made Ellis’ birthday caterpillar?
4. Who stole our grill? I hope it explodes. Then I feel guilty for wishing injury on the cheap bastards.
5. Why are Chicago drivers so crazy that they routinely pop their tires on our curb?
6. As a follow-up, am I a crazy Chicago driver? Should I therefore commence self-loathing?
7. When I spill something, why do I think that if I just brush over it with my foot the floor is clean?

I just stirred my coffee with a pen.

8. Why do I wait to defrost dinner until an hour before Mr. Swirley comes home? Every night. If I make dinner at all. Last night he had cereal.
9. Now that I have pretty much stopped nursing, can I no longer eat chips and/or ice cream for lunch? If so, it’s total crap.
10. At what age will Ellis be embarrassed of me? and why am I secretly excited to embarrass him?
11.Ho-Ho. Many questions – but in general I just think “Ho-Ho?”
12. Where does Jennifer Lopez get off singing about “getting on the floor”? Let’s be honest. She has twins and is getting a divorce. Last time I was on the floor was a few weeks ago when I slept next to Ellis’ crib on a pillow pet pleading with him to stop screaming. Nannies aside, she is old like me.
13. On a scale of one to drowning myself in a bowl of cat water, how much will today suck if we have to go wait at Rush Hospital for Ho-Ho’s prescriptions? One hour of being ignored? Check. Overpriced parking lot? Check. Pissed off baby? Oh, double check.

Dollar Menu

It’s 1000 degrees outside. I am not exaggerating. My fruit snacks turned into a fruit snack. Ellis is currently laying on the floor looking at a block. Just looking at it. You know it’s hot when a baby doesn’t want to move. So today is the day I decide to run a ton of errands with an 11 month old. In and out of the car where I might singe my flesh if I accidentally brush the exterior with an arm or leg. Perfect.

First stop: Walgreens to pick up Ho-Ho’s refills and wrapping paper. We have had a wedding present in our house since, um, May for the Macvages. Just sitting in the living room being chewed on by a hungry child. If you had to wrap a present, where would you do it? Your basement? Living room? Kitchen? How about a parking lot? With the sun beating down on your sunscreen-free neck? Yes, that was me today. While Ellis sat in the AC’d car eating my keys, I wrapped a wedding present on blacktop. And you can totally tell it is a parking lot job. I did plan ahead and brought tape and scissors. Pretty classy, I know. 

On to Babies ‘R Us where there are approximately four spaces for 200 cars. Once we got a spot, we walked for what felt like forever towards the commercial oasis filled with junk made by tiny Chinese children. Ahh. Ellis lasted in the cart for three minutes and then demanded to be carried while he bent over at a 90 degree angle. I found some gifts for my nephews and stuff for EK and headed for check-out. I decided there and then that I needed to fill out Macvages’s card so we could drop the gift off post-shopping. While writing something that I am sure makes no sense and is likely illegible, Ellis proceeded to spill an entire bag of Cheerios on the ground. I am that mom. The one you find simultaneously entertaining and pitiful. I just give in to it and hope that no permanent damage is done to EK and/or nearby children.

We dropped off the present and headed out to Ho-Ho’s because I am a glutton for punishment. Mom was upset about an earring that was “stolen” from one ear while she was napping. She also complained about not being able to hear on her cell phone so I turned the volume up. “I didn’t turn the volume down,” she said.  I guess the most logical explanation is someone came in, spilled blue stuff on her toilet seat, stole her earring and turned her phone volume down. OK. I packed up my bags and baby and left.

On  the way out of town Ellis completely lost his cool. Like head exploding, shreikmonster freak out. Guess what I fed him as a bribe to quiet down:

1. string cheese
2. broccoli bits
3. french fry

Mhmm. I could hear his fat cells expanding as I handed him that one inch long grease stick. But he stopped crying in rush hour traffic, so that was nice. Then we headed to a new indoor playground near our place for some QT with mom. From what I can gather, you bring your kid there, pay at the registration desk and let them run free while you talk to your friends about schools, vacations and the like. Ellis held his own but there were definitely some freewheeling toddlers in there. While eavesdropping I learned that I can enroll Ellis in soccer at 18 months and that these ladies will likely fight me to the death for a spot in a neighborhood magnet schools. Bring it, hussies.