You know what I don’t get? He never wears a shirt; he never wears shoes: Why hasn’t he died from lack of service?

Today our friends the GM and Johnny Mic moved into their new digs. It was pretty much the best move ever because:
1. Little Miss Krissa hung out with EK all day with her daughter and his future wife, Ingyboo.

Apparently he shared and played nicely with Ingyboo. And he took a nap without much prompting. Why does he hate me so much?

2. The GM aka your friendly librarian, can pack like no other. You know I didn’t even try to unpack her boxes of books.

3. This happened. And no, it isn’t ironic since he wore pretty much the SAME outfit in 1999 during our move from the East Gilman street mansion apartment to the TINIEST apartment on the face of the earth (which stayed in the FWC family for years).

4. Their new house is dope. D.O.P.E.and they have a little room under the stairs (Harry’s place) for us to hide our kids.

Following the move I showed our place to another group of potential renters and managed to make a fool of myself yet again. Imagine your mom, add a twist of intense spazziness and maybe some meth…and you get me…the newest landlord on the block. People are clamoring to sign on with us.

We had a re-birthing ritual in my friend’s hot tub. I’m now a level five laser lotus in my Buddhist community.

I don’t know what to write about so here is our April video two days early. Two days early you lucky sons of bs!. If you can make it through the entire video you will see Ellis performing his rendition of the “ABCs” while holding the camera.

Have you ever driven out to a rummage sale the night before, stayed a hotel and shown up bright and early Saturday morning willing to elbow whoever got in your way? Sort of a “spend money to make money” mentality? I haven’t. But we almost did and it was almost amazing. Little Miss Krissa and I still watched Overboard Friday night and drank some delicious beers, but it wasn’t in a dingy motel room. In six months we will do it for real – this was just a practice run and g-d dammit, we were amazing.

Last weekend Johnny Mic and Uncle Dave watched EK while Mr. Swirley played his hippie sports and I went wedding dress shopping with the GM and Sio. Everyone survived their respective activities and Ellis even picked up a few new tricks like calling people “simple” and pulling his pants up.

Have you checked out this blog? IT’S WONDERFUL and mean! Seriously. And this one.

K bye.

тойдың мезгілі

For a second time in five weeks, I decided to ditch my family for some fun times on the east coast. After only a few days at home following our Memorial Day weekend adventure, the Swingens rolled into the Second City and I rolled out to our nation’s capital. Of course, while I was gone, baby Swirley decided to hit another milestone and started to climb stairs (with a lot of encouragement and can only go up.) Still, what? It’s absurd. He also now (indiscriminately) waves. I missed both of these first, but did get to sleep in until 7 AM three days in a row. Jealous much?  Yea, me too. Of Mr. Swirley. However, I would like to state for the record that I left Capitol Hill. Can you believe it? I am maturing before your eyeballs.

Anywhoo, did I tell you our new office building is amazing? I did? Well I am telling you again. It is just that unbelievable. I almost want to stop working at home and set up shop in a second floor office with a private balcony. Almost. I do like eating cereal out of a box in my pajamajams a little too much to give it up (I will give you one guess as to what I am doing right now).

Blogger still sucks so I can only post vertical pictures.

Third floor walkway and rear offices

Atrium – looking up from the second floor
Atrium – looking down from the third floor
What could have been my 9-5 home.

I also visited with my friends Tim and Karin who reside just across from Barrack’s Row. Tim is a marine and slightly bonkers, but in a good way. He told me that although you can legally purchase a gun in DC, there is no longer anyone that can register it for you. Luckily Artem snuck in before the gun guy quit and purchased himself a fancy firearm to set next to him while he watches PTI. For reals. On a side note, he and his wife are heading to Kazakhstan later this summer and I could not be any more jealous.

Psycho.

On to Friday where I hit up Olney, MD to live the dream. I went to a green belt ceremony; hung out at Baskin-Robbins with a bunch of hooligan kids who refused to purchase anything from BR and were subsequently harassed by a rent-a-cop; and, got my ass kicked in a Cage Fitness class. I loved every damn second spent in the People’s Republic of Maryland except for that part where I couldn’t walk for TWO days after the fitness class. Holy hell people. Have you danced your ass off after a particularly arduous work-out? I mean, I know I am (severely) out of shape, but I imagine I felt like Barbie does when you twist her legs round and round 360 degrees at a time.

I love my co-worker’s kids. A lot. Like I would totally call them up to hang out on any given weekday. I hope EK is that cool or else we might have to start all over.

Baller Berman.

Saturday also marked an important day for my colleague and friend, big Rick (aka Richard M. H.) Dude got married to the Cat in lovely church ceremony and now they can have Jamerican babies who will likely be giant engineers with a passion for the Big Ten. Wedding summary – they went through with it and crab cakes were served at the reception. They also misspelled Rick’s name at the reception site which, combined with the crab cakes, helped me enjoy the event from soup to nuts. I can’t decide if I will continue to call Rich – Rick or Richy – I love both names so very much. I also love the couple.People shouldn’t be this nice.

Bliss. If this were a video you would see them posing for the photo, then Rick hugging me and accidentally pulling my already too short dress up a little higher…in front of Sherman (bossman). Yikes.

Richy.

The years of working with our Russian friends has rubbed off on one of the three guys pictured below. Hint, it’s not the actual Russian.

Berman, Ortiz and Sherman Flirchner

And to document the event for our newsletter – Voila! P.S. That is indeed a dress I am sporting. I wanted to clarify that fact for you, since at first glance you may think it’s a handkerchief. On a scale of zero to tramp I think it’s about a four. Fine, six. 

Apparently I cannot get enough canapes…wedding #2 was scheduled for Sunday. After the crabcake wedding, I took an hour-long metro ride back to DC and had the honor of sitting next to a girl who was telling her friends that she relies on Facebook for all of her news because the regular news is “too depressing.” Although I didn’t drink much at the wedding, I found myself wanting to vomit all over her. I didn’t because, as you might know, that would be grounds for arrest by the Metro police. Fascists. Though I have to say it is an exceptionally clean public transit system. I then took a cab ride with a driver who was texting while driving and I gave him the old one-two. Oh yea, I dropped the “I have a baby at home and don’t want to die line.” Five hours later I was high-fiving team Turner for my DCA drop-off and head to ‘sconsin for some FWC nuptials.

The wedding was perfect. Everyone says that, but it really was. WI countryside + beautiful weather + wonderful friends + super cover band = best night in ages. Plus the Hometown Sweethearts promised to learn “Pony” for the next FWC event. I love me some Ginuwine.

Could she be any lovelier?
some of the Family We Choose
Yes, we match. How ’bout it?
The Andersons roll with their handmade quilts.
What’s on tap for our anniversary weekend? Car repairs and cleaning. Oh yea, we are gabballers. Look it up.

Smelled of Marshmallow and Promises

Yesterday the GM and I went shopping for slinky dresses and then came home and watched Veronica Mars reruns. We specifically sought out the romantical episodes because we are teenage girls. What I like about the GM is that she isn’t one of those people who will say “you will just have to wait and see”, when you ask her a question about a show/movie etc. In the past, she gave me a play by play of the Twilight series via a 45-minute IM conversation, she will tell me the end of a movie if I ask and she was able to provide me the details of the Veronica Mars storyline no matter what episode we opted to watch. Who killed Veronica’s best friend? The GM reminded me. Do Veronica and Logan break up  in the second season? Answered that too. These are crucial questions that will keep me up and it makes me feel more secure knowing she has the answers.

On a completely unrelated note, I think I should clarify that Ellis is not actually crawling but “creeping”. At least that is how the What to Expect the First Year book defines his current state of quasi-locomotion.

Carry the zero

I would describe myself as a fairly anxious person. I mean, it depends on the situation, but I am definitely a hand-wringing, furrowed brow kind of girl.. Take last night for example. KJY, the GM and I headed to the movie theater. We arrived 30 minutes early for Little Red Riding Hood (which I will get to in a moment) and I was walking about five paces in front of the girls because I was so afraid it would be sold out and we couldn’t sit together. I am like this any time I go to a movie/concert/festival. It could stem from going to movies with Tommy D and always arriving 15 minutes later. Of course in this case, the theater was basically empty (for damn good reason) and we sat right down.

A few minutes later three people came in and sat directly behind us. As soon as the lights dimmed, simultaneous interpretation took over. My job has exposed to me a lot of situations where simultaneous interpretation was required and I am cool with it. However, a movie is not the place for such activity. Nor is it a place for kicking my chair or burping repeatedly. I know I am a little sensitive at movies and sometimes open myself up to annoyances (try going to a movie at Union Station in DC), but I figured this theater seemed like a fairly civilized place where I wouldn’t want to turn around and slap the person behind me. Wrong-o.

If I had to choose one word to describe the actual movie it would be HORRIBLE. Two words? REALLY HORRIBLE. I am sure you already know this because you 1) watched the trailer and/or 2) read the reviews. I did neither. Sitting through the first ten minutes is enough to let you know you are in for a total sh!tshow. I think that on some level we were all mildly entertained by the crappy dialogue (e.g., “Get me outta here!), but overall it’s a movie you should boycott. I think my favorite parts included the town scenes where all 20 of the townspeople got together to go fight the wolf and the brooding, obviously not the wolf but wanting you to think it was the wolf, Romeo.

After we finished lamenting the loss of 90 minutes of lives, the three of us returned home to Mr. Swirley and CadillacJohnnyMic watching bad Friday night TV and drinking beer. I complained a bit and CJM told me that it was obviously a bad movie because it’s a four sentence story that cannot be translated into a 90 minute movie. He was a bit more crass, but you get the idea.

This morning we are listening to 90s rock. Here is a Built to Spill song to start off your weekend.

Hey Dems! Ellis will roll over so you don’t have to!

Our household has been following the proposed WI budget legislation and Ellis has become especially infatuated with the unfolding of events in Madison. So much so that he decided to mobilize and take on the brunt of the concessions for the unions. Yes friends, he rolled over today.

In other news, last night Mr. Swirley and I went out and celebrated his birthday. We enjoyed a delicious Italian meal that included bacon-wrapped figs and Stellas. Because he is so old, he opted for a healthier dessert – a banana pudding cake thing. It sort of looks like a steak with mashed potatoes and a candle…which would be pretty sweet if you ask me.

Then we headed over the the Violet Hour and had a drink in exceptionally tall chairs. It was very fancy and hip. Weird for us, I know.

The GM and CadillacJohnnyMic babysat for us so we could get crazy and stay out until, hold your breath, nine. I got a few text message updates that I think you might enjoy:

1. He is being a bit of a jerkface* but it’s all good. I’ve seen worse.
2. He and G are reading now. Mostly he is just staring at me in a surly fashion.
3. It’s possible he is into Jason Priestly. Shannon Doherty made him cry **
*Edited for polite company
** I gave the GM some 90210 trading cards for her birthday and she was schooling Ellis on the genius that is BH90210.

Ellis is currently biting his Chief of Staff’s (aka Sophie) head off because she won’t do anything to help him battle this budget bill. He is one ticked off FIB.

Neither peace nor the U.S. economy respect borders.

Today’s IM conversation with the GM

the GM: yeah. i guy i know from work, his partner works at the uptown borders. when the word officially came down that they were closing he came over and said “gretchen omg all the borders in chicago are closing”

….

the GM: i was not thinking about the bookstore and i was like “omg what happened! am i going to be able to get home!”

the GM: i know. i thought it was biological warfare or something. i’m stupid

“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.