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.

Don’t Go Around Breaking Young Girls’ Hearts

In proper boy fashion, Ellis waited until YESTERDAY to tell me he needed to bring Valentine’s treats into daycare. Can you believe it?  I made some sugar cookies from scratch and then as usual. put them in pan too soon and got icing all over the wax paper. I totally meant to do that. Oh well, they can lick the icing off the paper like the rest of us civilized folk. Happy Cooties Day ladies!

It took me a really long time to get the lid on the pan so you just have to imagine the mess I made with the frosting. I also broke out the stamps and embossing heat gun thing to make some cards. What?!?

And if you need a pick-me-up on this cold, cold Wed., check this out. A little MJ and two Ukuleles go a long way.
Start at :45 if you are impatient like me. Thanks zoogobble.

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.

Swingens!
Ds!

Ho-Hos!
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.

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.

Babies love samoas, right?

So the cat is out the bag. We are cooking up a little one for fall delivery (Aug. 31).

I have been stressed about what to eat since we got the good news. Recommendations of steaming deli meats to consuming a max of 12 oz of fish/week have me running toward the only food options that 1) I am sure are safe and 2) our baby loves: Fruit, vegetables and girl scout cookies. Specifically, baby Swirley hearts Samoas. Yes, each serving (a mere two cookies.. TWO!) offers up eight grams of fat and 30% of your rec. daily saturated fat intake, but I have decided that they also boast a solid dose of this DHA business everyone raves about. look at that noggin – it’s huge (in a good way)! samoas=DHA=smart baby. so i am going to keep eating them.