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.

A busy ho-ho is a happy ho-ho

In other news, I finally met Bucky Badger. I grew up two blocks from the UW stadium and I have only seen him from afar. I live in Chicago for a year and a half and I go to a bar to watch the UW band and Bucky dance in the street. Makes sense.

Here is proof. And that girl on the left is moving in a month (and I am pissed about it) – so we won’t talk about her. Ok, her name is Maux and she is awesome. I am still pissed though. The GM is staying put, so I currently am not pissed at her…though she often thinks I am.

Below is the band. I didn’t think they were old enough to drive themselves to Chicago but apparently they go to UW.

 Our friend Austin met up with us after a christening. Do you know you can get cookies made with just about anything printed on them? Like a baby’s face? Because I didn’t know this and am considering either getting Ellis christened just to get said cookies made, or put in an order for face cookies for the hell of it.

That’s all for now.

Everything needs to be perfect!

Another exciting weekend in our nation’s second city. It started with a call from Ho-Ho requesting a trip to Wicker Park fest. If you aren’t familiar with Wicker Park (our neighborhood) – think tight pants, mustaches and single speed bikes. Kind of like this guy… who also happens to be our friend and escort to the festival. In fact he is so “Wicker Park” that he was mistaken for Ira Glass, photographed for a Chicago style blog and with other random people attending the fest. Although I told him he looked ridiculous, it is a pretty sweet ensemble.

Before we could go to the festival we had to pick Ho-Ho up in Oak Park. Upon arriving, we learned that she has disobeyed directions given to her by three different doctors. You can imagine my surprise. You can also imagine my excitement when we had to make a side-trip to the hospital to drop off certain samples that were not labeled. Guess who got hold the pen and the vials. Gross.

Finally, after our little detour, we arrived at the festival. All I can say is that it was very hip; indie tees, sunglasses and free trade goodies filled Milwaukee Avenue. Mr. Swirley was keen on the kid’s area and already has plans to bring baby there next year. Very sweet – though I am not sure how accurate baby Swirley’s aim will be at 11 mos. old unless his pops is sitting on the dunk tank platform.
Ho-Ho seemed to enjoy herself and took in the sights (and give aways). Some of my favorite memories from childhood revolve around going to Chicago street festivals with her. With the exception of a perm (thank God)  and large beaded necklaces, she seemed to be the same lady ogling jewelry and sipping wine samples as her 1987 version. We did lose her once, but that is to be expected. Luckily we nabbed her by the indie tshirt stand (you know, the ONE)  and continued the fun – which included Mr. Swirley being a gentleman.

After three hours at the festival, we headed back to Oak Park, then down to UIC where I dropped Mr. Swirley off to watch a roller derby. He told me the ladies were rough and tumble but he survived. I spent the night doing some very important chores which included the reorganization of our bathroom drawers. I know, a critical duty that needed to be completed pre-baby’s arrival. Also, in case you are wondering, the refrigerator has been scrubbed top to bottom.

Sunday started bright and early at 6 AM with a trip downtown to see the GM run in the half-marathon. I can tell you that watching 25,000 people run past you while looking for a friend makes you want to vomit. That’s fifty thousand legs buzzing past your eyes. Ridiculous. But we found her (white shirt) – so I was pretty thrilled. She probably was pretty happy too – finishing the race and all.

Then off to Schaumberg for some girls high school soccer (they won), Ikea, and a break down that included me saying “you have to let me be a mom! Everything needs to be perfect!” when Mr. Swirley questioned why I needed to sit in the backseat  and assemble the canopy on the car seat while he drove. Sounds about right for a Sunday afternoon. I was of course forgiven and can only assume eyes were rolled (since I was in the back I couldn’t actually see his eyeballs). Four more weeks and crazy will have a friend in Mr. Swirley – though his will be due to lack of sleep and mine is just due to, well, me.

So a polish guy walks into a street fair…

Before I begin, I would like to vent about how much I hate the new flickr format. It’s the WORST. Seriously, the worst. It’s difficult to rotate, edit, and download photos. Well, maybe not difficult, but it sure as hell is annoying. I guess they have created a lifetime customer out of me as I have 7000 photos or some ridiculous number uploaded onto the site and  thus, clearly will not be moving anything over to Picasa. But it’s still crap.

On to more fun things. Like what? Oh, I don’t know...Pierogifest? Yes – Whiting, IN is home to one Pierogifest, and let me tell you, they do it up right. In addition to offering a multitude of  delicious pierogi options, you can get your fill of kielbasa, anything on a stick and very crafty items (e.g., goose outfits). They even had a stage called “Polkahantas”.

In case you don’t know – according to Wikipedia (the GM’s favorite information source), pierogis are boiled or baked dumplings of unleavened dough stuffed with varying ingredients. Some of these ingredients include: “meat”, mushrooms, sweet cheese, kraut, fruits etc.

Below is evidence of our first foray into the pierogifest world.

And below, a dedicated pierogi c/e european food cart ( my dream food cart). Maybe this guy could find his way to the UW campus? I know they have a spot for him on Library Mall. Or, perhaps on the corner near my house next to the elotes stand. Either way, he has my vote.

Clearly I was bursting at the seams given my love for all things Slavic. The streets were lined with flags representing Slavic nations (as well as African? Whatever, that’s cool). There was Polish-themed garb for sale (and adorning visitors) as far as the eye could see and even foam pierogi hats. We also met some ladies dressed up as polish grandmas..including Polkahantas (the one with the big hair pictured below).Offensive? Naw. We are in Chicago – a city that boasts the second highest Polish population outside of Warsaw.

It would, however, be a little more accurate if they took out the curlers and carried around those plastic shopping bags that they seem to love in E. Europe.

I was disappointed that we didn’t meet any of the other pierogifest mascots like Mr. Pierogi, the Pieroguettes, Halupki Guy, and Ms. Paczki…but there is always next year.

Johnny Mic really lived it up by tasting many of the food options, and Mr. Swirley bought an obscenely large mug filled with delicious root beer. I hear it’s a polish delicacy.

And of course, to commemorate the trip, we couldn’t leave home without a little something for baby since he too seemed to enjoy the Pierogis and polka music.

The GM got herself a “2011 Polish Grandma” calendar and Johnny Mic picked up (aside from the obvious risk of heartburn) a tee for his mom and an ornament. Kitschtastic.

I can’t say we will return to Whiting, IN anytime soon – but count us in for next year. Plus, if you go, you can stop by the Horseshoe Casino on the way home…where apparently smoking is still permitted and 2 cent slot machines dominate the betting world.

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.

Ice Ice & Babies

This weekend marked our second Memorial Day weekend back in the Midwest and was a excellent reminder of precisely why we chose to return to the promise land. We departed Chicago early Friday morning to make it to Madison before an 8 AM conference call with work. After working for a bit, we visited the usual State Street haunts and headed to the Memorial Union or some delicious Babcock ice cream and sitting. After a very energy consuming afternoon, we decided to head back to Ms. Kaiksow’s so I could take a nap while Mr. Swirley relaxed and watched an episode of Magnum P.I. Also of note, Friday marked “take your brat to work day” – more on that later.

Saturday we met up with Tbone for a walk around the Capitol’s Farmer’s Market – then with Katie Marie and One T for a little more of the same. Mr. Swirley took off to watch some ultimate and visit with old friends and we just spent time ogling pretty plants and bitching about the crowd. Later on, we all convened and headed out to Elliot and Brooke’s potluck on Lake Mendota. Given that a number of folks were running in the Madison half-marathon/10K early Sun. AM, it seemed like a great opportunity to load up on carbs, celebrate Elliot and Brooke’s engagement and harass each other in general. As was expected, it was a superb evening. Why? Because pretty much everyone we wanted to see was in one spot with lawn games, grills, a ridiculous number of potato salad options and a pontoon boat to boot. If we could only retire now life would be perfect.

Alas, Friday night had to come to an end and everyone prepared for race day. Early Saturday, Mr. Swirley, the GM, KML, the Jeff, one T, JohnnyMic and I met up and headed to the starting line with our crafty signs. I can tell you how to make one if you want to be amazing friends like us.

7:30 AM signaled the start of the race for runners and breakfast time for us spectators. We then ran to catch sight of our very fit friends at the four mile marker. We found ’em and yes, and they were still going strong (as evidenced below by Mr. Swirley’s mid-stride ultra hip thumbs up)

We then headed to the finish line to await their arrival and I am pleased (and proud to report) that not only did all four runners successfully finish, but met (if not exceeded) their respective targeted pace. They also obliged me in sporting their Madison Marathon medal (which apparently weighed about a zillion lbs) for a few pics in the thousand degree weather.

We all decided that we hadn’t sweat enough during the day and headed to the World’s Largest (only?) Bratfest. It is everything you would dream a Bratfest to be and more. It first started as a fundraiser in the Sentry Foods parking lot -$1.00 brats/hot dogs incl. soda. Pretty sweet. It has now blossomed into a full-fledged carnival with multiple music stages and record setting brat sales (world record set in 2009 with 208,752 brats sold in three days). Don’t lie, you now heart WI as much as I do. Although it was hot, my cankles were totally worth it if only to see our friends’ babies – Fi and Mr. D-K. I want to eat both of their little faces.

Once my own face melted off we decided to rest for a bit out in Sun Prarie. After another round of naps, Mr. Swirley and I headed back down to the terrace for a six hour epic sitting venture with the FWC. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Terrace, it is quite possibly one of the best places on earth. It faces the lake, offers beer, brats, ice cream and other treats and above all, an incredibly relaxed and social environment. My only complaint, and it’s a big one, is that until just recently the Rathskellar (adjacent to the Terrace) boasted the best ice on the face of the earth. I don’t even think there exists an adjective to property describe the awesomeness of the ice there. It was my gold standard to which all other ice cubes were/are compared. And last night, I found out that the machine was replaced. I know, tragic. Shook my world for about 15 minutes. I even talked to the cashier about it but he had no idea what in God’s name my problem was. So, I guess I should let it go…and I will, after I show you a picture of the new ice. I hate it.

All in all it was an excellent weekend – a recharge that was sorely needed and a chance to see friends at their best. We are looking forward to seeing everyone again for our baby shower – a Bastille day themed party to celebrate baby Swirley’s liberation from the womb.

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.

God Bless Bill Murray

Had a little IM conversation yesterday with my high school librarian friend, the GM. Went like this:

the GM: so my first two classes of the day have a Jesuit in training working with the classes so there are prayers at the beginning of each class. in the middle of the prayer the teacher asked what the patron st. of libraries is so that they could pray to him.

swirleytime: holy Lord.

the GM: based strictly on close watching of “Ghostbusters” i came up with St. Jerome and it’s right!

God bless Bill Murray.