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.

You don’t know how to make guacamole

Family fun in the country was the name of the game this weekend. That and sweet presents for baby Swirley. And lot’s of food. Mr. and Mrs. D (and of course Carly) hosted a baby shower for Mr. Swirley and me at their lovely St. Charles home. After an incredible amount of planning and hard work (with none of our assistance), Ho-Hos, Swingens, Earleys, Ds and close family friends came to celebrate happy babies and dimpled knuckles. We were fortunate enough to have guests travel from Wisconsin, Illinois (Chicagoland), Missouri and California to join us for a day of bbqing, yard games, frog hunting and fun in the country. Mr. Swirley and NVS also decided to call each other the night before to coordinate outfits.


Lady Jayne brought Sweet Lou and G.U.S. to show us how cute our baby will be after his alien phase.  It was a reassuring gift since all of the books keep telling us to not be surprised if he arrives smushed and baby bird-like. G.U.S. spent the majority of the day hunting toads/frogs (yes, I know there is a difference – but I don’t really care) while Sweet Lou hung out and had his face eaten by us adults (see below. That is me attempting to eat his face). 
The G made the rounds while Ho-Ho met the Swingens for the first time. It was great. In addition, T-bone attended and he and Ho-Ho even reminisced about big she got while prego with yours truly. It was nice to see them chatting it up and I even got the first family photo taken of us since ever. Well, maybe that is an exaggeration, but not by much. Look, I have proof.
My “fake” uncles Jim and Jim joined us as well. As a side note, I think the use of the word “fake” is really inappropriate since I regard them as kin – but always used it to differentiate for confused friends. Since moving back to Chicago, we have seen much more of the Jims (sometimes for not so good reasons like house floods), which has been wonderful. Uncle Rich, the man who has been present at every seminal moment in my life (from a zero birthday party to officiating our wedding) was sadly not in attendance – but talked about (in a good way) throughout the day. 
Jim & Jim!
My  aunt Jo and cousin Z traveled from the Bay area to revel in Midwest humidity and poke baby Swirley.  I cannot tell you how grateful we were to have both of them share the weekend with us. And Aunt Jo made us a lovely baby blanket to boot. Mrs. S couldn’t make it but we know she was poking baby Swirley in spirit. Other gifts included: blankets and sweaters made by baby’s great- grandmothers (Swingen and Johnson); handmade blankets by Ho-Ho, Carly and our wonderful and very thoughtful cousin in North Carolina, Mrs. T; onesies decorated by those in attendance; and, other sweet little items like clothing, toys, stuffed animals and nursery decorations. Baby Swirley is already so spoiled and he is has only just grown large enough to kick me in the ribs. Dang.

We also decided to share the name of young Swirley with our friends and family – Ellis (aka Lil Swings, “L”) and I think it surprised my gramps for the first time since his 80th birthday party. Hopefully in a good way.

Here we are explaining where the baby currently resides to G.U.S.
And here we all are – post-food, presents and fun.

The weekend ended with the moving of a storage unit and Ho-Ho telling me: “you dont know how to make guacamole. I know how to make guacamole” after I questioned her inclusion of mayonnaise in the the recipe.I suppose I still have a lot to learn before becoming a mom; good thing we have so much help.

Plans are nothing; planning is everything. Cats in hats are also everything.

Lately I have been finding myself making a lot of lists. Some contain necessary reminders, others just observations. I don’t know if making such lists allow me to feel more in control of what is going on, or it’s just how I organize my thoughts – as random as they may seem. Here is a sampling:
Things I will miss after baby swirley is born:
1. Access to “employees only” bathrooms
2. Unrequested, but welcome smoothies from Mr. Swirley
3. Baby getting down to business in my belly
4. Eating more food and feeling less guilty
5. The free extra scoops of ice cream from my friends at 31 flavors and Oberweis
6. The G calling me with name ideas (last week – Adolphus and Charlie)
7. Elastic waisted pants
8. Sleep

Driving/Living in Chicago:
1. A one way street only means your car’s nose must be pointed in the direction indicated on the sign
2. Pedestrians are encouraged to wear black and cross major thoroughfares at dusk
3.a Yellow lights are a suggestion
3.b  Red lights require a count to three before accelerating (see 3.a)
4. Potholes add more excitement to your day
5. Mayor Daley loves Chicago but hates Chicagoans (see point #4, doesn’t plow side streets, spends budget on flowers, suit pockets may actually be lined with $100 bills, etc.)
6. Department of Revenue has a sixth sense when it comes to expired meters, but is cool with cars parking in crosswalks. Strollers schmollers.

Stress list:
1. Research cars. Must fit three adults, carseat and baby accoutrements and wheelchair/scooter. Easy peasy for a city car
2. Find a day care provider and actually commit to the idea of putting baby Swirley in daycare without my heart falling out
3. Eat more vegetables (still a challenge)
4. Paint, paint and paint. Never ever use flat paint again (our developer chose it, not us)
5. Finish stripping flat file and sell before baby swirley is old enough to lose an eye on one of the four razor sharp corners
6. Figure out crib and keep our fat, lazy cats off of its inviting belly
7. Continue negotiations with developer. Awesome
8. Meds for Ho-Ho (and figure out post-natal plan)

9. Have a baby

Today, Mr. Swirley added refinance the condo to the stress list. I mean, why not?

Good thing I have the Internets at home so that I can turn to my online friends to avoid a freak out.

a way with words

Today marked the day for our 20-week check-up. While we were waiting to be called in for the test, Mr. Swirley spotted an elderly woman taking charge of a bag of Cheetos. Then he realized she had no teeth. He leaned over to me, and whispered into my ear, “that is going to be you some day.” She had a system that worked, so it’s cool.

Once we got into exam room and my belly was all gummed up, we got to see the little man in action. He was all over the place – throwing ‘bows and playing peek-a-boo (or hiding his face from the pokes and prods of the radiologist.) We were able to confirm 1) his gender and, 2) that he currently looks like He-Man’s arch nemesis, Skeletor. Soon enough those cheeks will be all pudge, but the ultrasounds really zoom in on anatomy (i.e., liver – check, heart – check, fingers- check) —  thus we see a lot of bones and such.

(tilt your head to the right and he is looking right at you)
My favorite image is of his tiny foot kicking my belly.

In  other news, last week I was certain we were in May. This translated to a total freak-out on Mr. Swirley with a “stress list” to boot. The list included: painting the nursery, cleaning the oven (what? don’t worry – it’s done) and eating more vegetables. After we worked on our registries (with help from the GM), he patiently emptied out the office-now nursery, agreed to put furniture up for sale on Craigslist, and painted the nursery. He then informed me that we are in the first week of April. I gained a month and he gained a few more weeks of sanity (or as close to it as we are going to come.) It was pretty awesome.

Pictured below is the evolution of the room. And yes, I did pick out that ridiculous green on a late night trip to Home Depot. We opted for a softer hue, but used the “Japanese Fern” green on baby’s dresser/changing table. It’s fairly badass.

Energy Burst

I keep hearing about this second trimester energy burst. Unfortunately for Mr. Swirley, I don’t expend my energy tackling awesome household chores like cleaning or doing laundry. But today, i decided to bake some cookies. And by some I mean five dozen. Then I ate about a dozen and opened the windows to make everyone jealous of the deliciousness wafting through the air on Bosworth Ave.

1c. butter, 1c. brown sugar, 1c. granulated sugar & 3c. flour (amongst other ingredients). I have to put these maternity pants to good use, right?

*** 4/8/10 update – Visited MD today and found out I have gained six lbs. Six! I am now considering pairing cleaning or some other activity with the baking of five dozen cookies. Mr. Swirley wins.

Sausage Phase – weeks 16 through ?

I guess I have entered this weird phase of pregnancy where my regular clothes are too tight and maternity clothes are too baggy. I am dubbing this the “sausage phase”. Fatty Magoo is starting to come out, but more as a beer gut that cute bump. Muffintop wins everytime I put on a pair of pants. I have tried using the bellaband, but I end up feeling like I am exposing myself to Chicago when I walk around with my pants unzipped. No one needs to see that. So, I guess I will continue to squeeze into my already too tight tees and wiggle into my jeans until maternity clothes are a reasonable option.

Maybe this is what Mariah Carey feels like when she shimmies into one of her tight dresses?

And Happy St. Pat’s Day to my fellow Irishman. Though I have no idea from what County my people originated. Pathetic, I know.

3 AM feedings

So baby Swirley is trying to ease me into this whole early AM feeding schedule by starting now. Well, really eight weeks ago. Apparently he enjoys not one, but two packets of oatmeal, maybe even a peanut butter sandwich and a glass of milk. It’s pretty awesome.

Luckily he gives me little gems like this to keep my frustration at bay (try to ignore the pasty stomach.)

Upside is I can stand post watching our corner and let the cats rest.

Next stop, crazytown.

Evidently all of this talk about pregnant ladies hormones going nutso is pretty much 100% spot on. I have found that I now cry when I read most greeting cards, watch any movie preview or some cheesy commercial. Things generally get out of hand more often than not.

Examples include:
— getting incredibly irate with Mr. Swirley because he wouldn’t watch a particular American Idol contestant perform. Apparently, I felt very strongly that he should enjoy her performance. Funny things is neither of us watch this show consistently.  Worry not, she is still in the running so he has plenty of chances to tune in should he change his mind.

—  alternating between sobbing and laughing uncontrollably last night and repeating “I’m not mad at you” to Mr. Swirley while he laughed until he cried.

— tearing up at the preview for “How to Train Your Dragons” today at the movie theater.  Yes, this is a children’s movie. Apparently I won’t be taking baby Swirley to that any time soon.

There are clearly many more examples; the above listed are just the least embarrassing. 16 weeks on Friday – I am sure the next five months or so will be chock-full of goodies. Luckily Mr. Swirley is very forgiving and seems to find humor in most situations. Insight into my own wacky antics probably helps smoothe things over as well (though I need to keep working on that.)

I have, however, come up with a new strategy to combat this teariness/moodiness: Think of Johnny Depp in “Alice in Wonderland” and assume Mr. Swirley has a 99% chance of looking pretty similar in the eyebrow department in 20 or so years (perhaps more blonde than gingery). Makes me smile every time. But not in that creepy Johnny Depp way.

Fatty Magoo

Mr. Swirley is certain spring is nearly here. High 40s this weekend signal time to get in shape. He plans on running the Madison half-marathon with GM in May, then a 200 mile relay race (Madison – Milwaukee – Chicago) with seven co-workers followed up by a July Dragonboat race for literacy. I am guessing some summer league frisbee will be thrown in there if he signs up in time. He says all of this is to stay fit; I say it’s to make me feel large and in charge. Don’t worry, I will still be cheering from the sidelines in my elastic-waisted maternity capris.