Hold that Tiger, part 2!!

Kate sent Nicole the pictures.
Elise walked around after we left the first tailgate, gripping my hand all the time. Here we are on the way to the hill.

Waiting for the band.

Here is her squeezing me a bit when the players were walking by.

Doing a cheer when the guys were holding the girls on their shoulders.

Here is her with the cheerleader and watching the band.

More from the face painting.

Elise walking towards and entering the stadium. I am not sure why she was holding the number three up with her hands. Probably for the number of national championships LSU has won. On second thought, maybe she was telling me how many times she was about to change outfits. Either way, it was funny.
Great time Elise. Hope you remember it always.


Hold that Tiger!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My most fond memories from my childhood revolve around a few central themes: Tennis, Soccer, a few neighborhood friends in our "gang" (5-year old street thugs roaming Pujo street at all hours of the night), and probably the longest memory of all - LSU football. For those who know me, it comes as no surprise that I am a big fan. No, I don't face paint or shell out tons of money to go to away games. But, i can tell you statistics and memories from seasons throughout my youth. I remember David Browndyke, I remember the Ohio State game in 87, I remember getting beat by Miami by 41 in the pouring rain in 88, and I even remember the 1979 win over Mississippi State in Cholly Mac's last home game. I was a big Charles McClendon fan.

Anyway, most of those memories surround the setting and people involved, and not so much the game itself. My parents always took me with their best friends (Betty and Lehrue Stevens - Lehrue was a groomsmen in our wedding), sitting in Doctor Stevens' 50 yard line tickets. I do not believe the seats changed in the 20 plus years of sitting there. We would load up in Lake Charles around 11, drive to Baton Rouge, and tailgate from Doc's spot about three over from the governor's , next to the bent pole on the west side (If you went to Tiger Stadium before the West rebuild you know exactly where I am talking about). We would hang out, eat, adults would drink, and then I would either sit on a lap or sit on the concrete step next to Doc the entire game. The guy across the aisle had a national championship ring from 1958, and he would show me it every time.

Anyway, being an only child, one of the things I always dreamed of when I was on these trips (probably in later years when I actually understood that one day the roles would be reversed) was bringing my children to games. I thought the world stopped on saturdays in the fall, and I can remember saying to myself that it would be the best feeling to share this experience with my child.

Well, call Oprah, because a dream of mine came true on September 27, 2008. Thanks to the fine folks at England Motor Company in Greenville, MS, Elise and I headed to Baton Rouge. We went with Nick Mills and Kate, and their little lady Myrt. Kate was Nicole's roommate for 3 or 4 semesters at Millsaps, including the two when Nicole and I started dating in 1996. Holy crap, that was 12 years ago!!!!!!!

Here is Elise in her LSU cheerleader dress (with GiGi). Also, Elise and Myrt ready to cheer on the Tigers.

Anyway, the five of us headed to Baton Rouge, drove past my and Nicole's first house on June Street, and parked on the lake. A 10 minute walk and we were at two of my friend's tailgate. Elise's first food at an LSU game - an M&M cookie. She was pretty quiet at the tailgate so we headed to look for Ella. Elise's best friend in the world was supposed to be just across the street. Thank God I didn't tell Elise about Ella because we never saw the Barrios crew.

After walking towards the stadium we headed to a good spot under a tree to wait for the band. I can remember making either my mom, dad, or someone else with them take me to see the band enter the stadium with Mike the Tiger. So we got in line. After waiting 20 minutes, and probably a minute before the band and players were supposed to line up, Elise had to go to the bathroom. We ran over to the port-o-potty, waiting in a 25 person line, and after 5 minutes were in. I told her not to touch anything, pulled down her panties, and held her in the air. Needless to say, this method of going to the bathroom was not sitting well with a 3 year old girl. Then, she looked down into the abyss of the toilet, and we were out of there. She told me that she could not and would not go to the bathroom in there. Instead, she would hold it. Knowing I didn't want her to miss what she was really there to see, I accepted her decision realizing I may be getting wipes and the backup outfit out.

We hurried back to Kate and Nick, and jumped in line just in time to see the players walk down the hill. They were huge, and Elise was pretty much frightened at the sight of them. I have to admit that when Ricky Jean-Francois and Herman Edwards walked by, I flinched for no reason. Anyway, one guy (probably the reserve center) came over and said hi to his parents who were next to us. So she got to see one of them a foot away. She called him a football boy...a fitting description considering his size compared to the rest. Hell, I was bigger than him.

(Kate will be sending pictures to fill in this part of the story).

Next down was the cheerleaders. Elise was so excited to see them doing the thing where the guy deadlifts the girl onto his shoulders and they hold up the T-I-G-E-R-S signs. Then, the girls walked up and down chatting. Two girls probably 10 were in front of us, and a cheerleader came and talked to them. I was holding Elise up and the cheerleader noticed her and told her how cute her dress was. Elise was in shock...but surprisingly answered "Thanks". Not sure how she got that out because she was deathgripping my arm. Then the cheerleader handed Elise her purple pompom and asked if she wanted to help cheer. Elise (with my prodding) reached for it, grabbed it, shook it, and said "Go L-S-U". My heart melted. When the cheerleader left I looked at her and said "You just met an LSU cheerleader!", and reached out my hand for her to give me a five. Without ever taking her eyes off the cheerleader, Elise just slapped the hell out of my hand. It was a spastic motion of the arm, but it summed up her reaction and it is a two-second moment I will remember the day I die. I cannot imagine a two second moment where I feel so happy for her other than when she gets married or has a kid. Nicole will have this moment when they go to Disney some day and she meets Cinderella and Ariel.

After the girl came by a guy cheerleader came by with a megaphone and put it to Elise's mouth. Without hesitation, she screamed "Go Tigers". Again, another high five.
Kate's pictures catch two shots of Elise talking to the girl, and I will share as soon as I get them.

Then the band came down and Elise heard Hold that Tiger live for the first time. She really liked the band, especially the back of the band where the little flutes are. She screamed "Those are wind instruments like Quincy", the musical genius on Little Einsteins. Thought that was funny.

After the band we headed towards Nick's tailgate with his work folks. On the way I had one stop in mind. Not to tick off Nicole, but I wanted those temporary tattoos for Elise to get the full enjoyment out of the game. Instead, I saw a face painting girl. She had little designs, and whole face designs. I had no intention of doing the big ones and kept on turning the sample book to only pages with small things for Elise to pick from. This guy behind me kept saying "There's more on the next page" and "She should get her whole face as a Tiger". In return, I telepathically told him to get the hell out of there. We settled with a tiger paw with glitter, which she loved.

Then we headed to Nick's for a while, where we were able to put the stroller in a friend's car.

We then walked to the gate and I gave Elise her ticket. She had me carry her in, but she scanned her ticket herself. A quick stop to the ladies room (with Kate) and we were headed to the seats. In today's world memories are very easy to make with digital pics, etc. I wish I had a picture of the first time I ever saw Tiger Stadium inside, but I don't. Now, if Elise grows to share my love she will have that memory. I took to pics to be sure, but this was a one time modeling because she grabbed her ticket, walked up the ramp, turned towards me with her ticket, then turned around and was looking for her seat. Truly a memory (more for me than her, at least now).

Once in we were able to see the pregame march of the band, hear Hold that Tiger, and see the players and cheerleaders run out. She was in a great mood for that until the F-16s did a flyover a few hundred feet above the stadium. I saw them before I heard them, and immediately realized I should have warned her. About 3 minutes later she was fine.

Kate has more pics that I will share, but the game for her was pretty routine. I held her up so she could see and she was very into it the first quarter. Uncle Jared was with us so a familiar face was there to help her through the experience of the large crowd. However, as the second quarter started she looked at me, said the sun was gone and it was nighttime, and proceeded to grab her pjs out of her bag. 2 minutes later she had on different panties and pjs.

At half she said she was hungry, so after we watched the band and golden girls, we went to get a "special Tiger dog". She actually ate an entire stadium dog, impressive because that was more than she has eaten after 3:00 collectively for the month of September. She also put down about a 25 ounce sprite (I think that was her first time for Sprite). We got back to the seats, put on her backup outfit ( a white dress), and watched more of the game with her doing some cheers and doing a strange circular wave with one arm that Jared and I could not figure out. Maybe it was a high from the Sprite. She was pretty much collapsing during the third quarter, was hard to hold, and was becoming a bit squirmy in the seat. We left with about 6 minutes left in the game, LSU's 28th consecutive home win in a night game very much intact.

After getting the stroller we rolled back to the car. After talking up Raul's, one of my favorite burger joints in Baton Rouge (on campus next to Chimes), we had to stop. Nick impressively put away a double burger, while Kate and I went for the fit for human consumption size burger with cheese. Elise had some fries and, in her Ariel cup, more sprite. After loading up we stopped near our old house for me to put pjs back on (thinking ahead from when I would be carrying her in later). By the time we hit College, Elise and Myrt were snoring.

When I got her home I carried her straight to bed. I had to put on a diaper which i thought would not pose any problem. Instead, she half-woke up. She was totally out of it but still yelling at me and fussing. I could not wake her, resorting to soft slaps on her leg and cheek as well as (i know, I'm going to hell) spraying water in her face. I just couldn't wake her up out of the half-awake thing. After about 15 minutes up there she was out, and I headed to bed.

The announced crowd of 92,710 included the happiest little girl on the face of the earth, and the proudest and most joyful father in the world. It was truly something I will never forget as long as I live. While every moment of every day makes memories, those are the impromptu moments where something funny is said, something happens, etc. For the planned out memories to be successful, things outside of your control must happen. For the first goal in soccer, the first ballet recital, the first date, the first (gulp) kiss, a little girls' memories are contingent on things outside their control. For this day, there is nothing I would change. Kate and Nick having the tickets and offering them, Elise deciding not to pee so we could make it back for the players and cheerleader, Elise seeing the F-16 rather than being underneath the stadium, Elise turning back to me as I was taking her picture walking in - All of these things had other people involved who played their role in the day (whether intentional or fate). It truly could not have been better. By the way, LSU won. I would be lying if I said a loss would not have mattered for the day. Also, forgot to mention - First LSU touchdown witnessed by Elise was scored by Charles Scott, after which Elise screamed Touchdown and high-fived me and her Uncle Jared. Never forgetting that.

This is long enough. If you are still with me, sorry. But, I hope that you have either had or soon have this day in your life. Nicole will have it when she takes Elise to Disney soon, and now I have something to hopefully duplicate for Lila and Bennett.

Another Fun Friday

We pretty much took over the entire indoor playground last Friday, and we had a blast! I am so thankful for this place! It is such a great escape, and the kids can go wild! Best part is that when you get home they are exhausted, and your house isn't destroyed! Too bad it isn't free, or we would go every day!!
I was so excited that we had such a big group of new, old, and out of town friends meet us! It was so much fun...

Look how big Mary Miller is getting...

Ella and Elise enjoying the bubbles...

Lila climbing over the rainbow...

Mary Miller is also a dancing machine!

Cute little Jack had lots of fun! (Isn't his hair the cutest?!)

How sweet! Elise taking Lila to see the bubbles...

Cutie-pie Jane having some fun!

Bennett was practicing his walking alot Friday!

Camille- she wins the "most laid back baby ever" award...so sweet!

I am sad I didn't get a picture of Pace- I met his Mom, Kristen, through the multiples group (She has Pace (2) and Annie Kate and Kole (9 weeks)- so we have ALOT in common!) and we were so glad they came as well! It was a fun day!

David will be posting soon...He and Elise had a very special "date" this weekend and he can't wait to share!

Love, Nicole


I wear my sunglasses...

After trying unsuccessfully all summer to get Lila and Bennett to keep their sunglasses on, I finally gave up. I told Elise she could keep them in her dress-up box since they weren't using them anyway. Well, suddenly they have discovered them and now they love to wear them! OF COURSE!
Thought these were funny!

We are slowly getting back to normal around here as every one's tummies are feeling much better. Thank goodness!

Have a great day!


Super, then Sloppy Sunday

Yesterday started off pretty well...We were all very excited that David was coming home! In addition, Su Su and G were back from their trip and we were all excited to see them as well. I woke up feeling not so great, so I loaded up the kids in their pj's and took them over to visit my parents. They were happy to see them, and it meant that I could spend a little more time sitting still than I usually get to!

I have been feeling like a bad Mom after Lila and Bennett's 15 month check-up...One of the milestones on the developmental check list was self feeding with a utensil. I was so embarrassed to admit to the Dr. that this is something I hadn't even tried with them!! Since Lila often turns anything with a handle into a weapon, and Bennett turns just anything into a projectile, the thought of putting forks and spoons in their hands, not to mention actual plates or bowls on their trays, had not really even crossed my mind!!!

So, yesterday I decided to bite the bullet and see what happened. They actually did do better than I expected. More than half of the rice ended up on the floor, but that happens when they use their hands as well. And, Baxter doesn't seem to mind cleaning up the mess...

David got home right before naptime, and the kids were so excited!! After the "reunion" we put them down for a nap and then I headed to take one as well. We had a birthday party in the afternoon, and David very nicely offered to take the kids by himself since my stomach just wasn't right. Below you can see everyone all dressed and excited about the party! It was at our favorite indoor playground, and for some friends we met through the multiples group....

The kids had a blast...

For those of you that have kids, you know how quickly things can turn. The kids seemed fine (ok- maybe a little grumpy, but who doesn't have their days?) and then all of the sudden last night things went downhill fast. Both Bennett and Lila had severe "blow-out" diapers (I know it is gross, but really the only accurate way to describe it) before bed....We got them cleaned up and off to bed...Then, around the time the Cowboy game was ending, Elise threw up for the first time...I'll spare the graphic details, but it was not an enjoyable night! I think we were up every hour on the hour the whole night. But, just as quickly as things deteriorate, they can also improve...everyone seems much better already today, and we have successfully kept down toast, crackers, jell-o, and gatorade! Yippee!

I had to snap a picture of sweet Elise. This is the pallet I made for her at the foot of our bed. Throwing up scares her so much- this way she was right by us and we didn't have to run upstairs to tend to her...(If ya'll have seen the stomach flu episode of Jon and Kate- I totally felt like I was a part of it! But, I think she had the kids laying on the laundry room floor!!!- I didn't go that far!) Notice the "throw-up" bowl to the right of her? Well, not the best idea it turns out. At some point during the night, Lila coughed and I thought she was starting to throw up. So, in my state of delirium, and without my much needed glasses on, I took off to run upstairs and check on her. On my dart out of my room I stepped into the bucket and completely went flying in the air and landed directly on my tailbone! OUCH! But, even as it was killing me last night, I had to lay there laugh! I really wish I had it on film....
Oh the memories....

Hope ya'll have a great week!

If ya'll are looking for a laugh today, check out Bring the Rain- completely hilarious!


Happy Birthday Mo!

One day late! We hope you had a great big day! Wish we could have been there to celebrate with you! You are the best and we love you very much!!!

We had a lazy day at home yesterday and I caught the kids playing ring around the rosie...Elise and Lila play often, but this was the first time Bennett joined in and actually stood up! (He usually just participates on the "all fall down" part!)

They also played some sort of "house" under the table in the breakfast room. This basically consisted of Elise taking turns strapping Lila, and then Bennett, into the booster seat. It was actually pretty cute, and it was neat to see that the twins were starting to understand that they needed to wait their turn...

This morning we picked up Grandpa Ray and went to breakfast at McDonald's. It was quite an adventure...I don't think it was quite the relaxing breakfast that Grandpa wished for, but at least he got his craving filled. He is still not driving after his last fall, and I think he misses his special routine that he has - breakfast at McDonald's and a shrimp po boy once a week!

Tonight we went to watch LSU vs. Auburn at our friends, The Plauche's. It was great to get out and see some friends that I haven't seen in a long time, including a couple from high school that recently moved back to town. It was a little on the hectic side trying to watch all three, so I did not watch one play of the game (until I got home) or eat a bite of the food- which looked really good! Even with all of the help of my friends they are just at the age right now where you have to watch their every move...But, it was still worth it to get out for a little while and socialize. I hate that I didn't bring my camera, because there were some super cute tiny babies there! Elise was reading Goodnight Moon to Jacob Brister and just gazing lovingly at him. It was really sweet.

Well, I am exhausted and heading to bed...So glad David will be home tomorrow!
Goodnight. Geaux Tigers!


Misc Pictures

There's just something about Lila....

They love to hide under the table...David took these funny pictures while I was in Nashville...
I laughed when I found them on my memory card today...

I can't believe how much Bennett looks like a little boy now...No more Parnell babies!

I am LOVING our local grocery store for getting a few of these double carts! I was so excited to discover this great invention this morning! They loved riding in it, and I was able to grab a few things I needed without having to shove them into the bottom of the double stroller (while feeling like everyone watching is thinking I am a shop-lifter)!

Have a good day!
Love, Nic


Check Up

I'm back! I hope ya'll enjoyed David's post...I know I did! I have to admit I was a little surprised he went all political on us! But, I think he is a great writer- whenever he posts he always cracks me up, and I remember always getting him to proof my papers for me at Millsaps...he's multi-talented! As my Mimi says, "he's remarkable!" I am so thankful that he held down the fort for me while I got to have a fun night out with the family! I didn't miss him calling me the "fashion dictator" though- I think he thought he slipped that one in unnoticed...but, I don't miss a thing (except David and my little monkeys when I am gone!)!
Lila and Bennett had their fifteen month check-up today. I am so blessed that my sweet Aunt K came with me, as it is getting more and more interesting to try and keep them contained..She was a HUGE help as always! As usual, for some reason I feel the need to give out their latest "stats" (I seriously don't know why I do this- I guess it is to fill the "baby book" area in...if someone posted my height and weight on the Internet I would die):
Lila is 26lb, 12oz and a little over 31 inches long
Bennett is 27lb, 1oz and a little over 32 inches long
So, they are continuing to grow well and hang out in the higher percentiles on the charts. That is great to see! I am hoping that they will start to slim down just a little soon. Otherwise, Lila is going to be the one sending her hand-me-downs to Elise!
They also had some shots today, which is never fun. And, actually, as I was typing this Lila woke up burning up. Her temp is about 101, so I am not convinced that it is from the shots..thinking maybe a virus crept up on us and it is just a coincidence that it was on shot day, but we'll see...Poor little thing...
I'm heading to bed because I am thinking it could be one of "those" nights...The fact that someone has already been up once before 10 o'clock is not a good sign!


While mommy is away....

Nic is in Nashville to party up Mo's 30th a week early. They went to Ruth's, so I am just a little bit jealous. But, don't feel bad for me. I am going to North Carolina next week for "work", a three-day client golf tournament. Anyway, I was trying to remember a few of the things that happened/were said by our budding comedian over the last day, but she really says so many different things that are each funny in their own way that I can't remember them. I have been asking her "What did you say in Lila and Bennett's room that made me laugh so much?". Her initial response is the now commonly used "I don't know Daddy", said in a very soft and sweet voice. This morning before writing this, I asked her again. Her response was "was is about your silly shirt?". I was not wearing anything but a yellow LSU polo, so I have no clue what she was refering to. This morning, Goofy could not get the magic words "hocus pocus" on Mickey Mouse Clubhouse - one of the 5 shows I watch regularly, along with the new 90210 (I admit - It is the 4th best show of all time), The Office, Entourage, and The Good Night Show (Berenstain Bears is prime time viewing). Anyway, I asked her if she remembered the magic words to get the magic trick to work, and she said "The only ones I know are please and thank you...but Mickey says Hocus Pocus. Can I have some more milk, Hocus Pocus?". It is amazing what kids soak up from tv.

I have taken the lack of the fashion dictator being around to either dress the kids as I wanted or, for Elise, let her pick out clothes. The last pick is her party girl Hard Rock Cafe dress. The tattoo is not permanent, although I think she would probably get an Ariel tattoo right now. Would probably get one of her and Ella too. Those are her two favorite people in the world.

More important to her is how her hair is done. I didn't want to cheat her out of that so I tried my best french braid - not even worth a picture. We settled on a pony tail with a rubber band with things on it, all done through an LSU hat. I think it came out great.

We went to eat at Times grill, a good burger joint in Mandeville, and my parents escaped Baton Rouge post-Ike/Gustav and came and ate. Dinner was hectic because the food took a little long. Lila and Bennett ate chips, two orders of chicken strips/fries, and a thing of applesauce. That was after eating cheese blocks and splitting 4 hotdogs for lunch. They also ate an entire pear. Oh yeah, to begin the day they had 14 donut holes at Mandeville bakeshop. And people wonder why they are large, and why they refer to Lila at the doctor's office as being in the 198% percentile for weight.

Like I said, she is CRAZY about food.

On another note, I am going to modify the music a bit. for anyone who actually listens, I am sure you are tired of the Jeff Healey band guitar at the beginning. I will add something a little more subtle.

Also, in case anyone is still reading, I just want to say that it is pretty sad about our country that people like Matt Damon, Charlie Gibson (ABC news), Conan O'Brien, and Lorne Michaels (Sat. Night Live producer) are going to decide this election. Our generation is looking to Damon, Affleck, and other celebrities for advice on who to vote for? That is sad because you know that those folks hate taxes on their 20 mill per movie salary, but can easily afford to give to charity and do things that all of us would love to do but simply don't have the budget for. I just hope that people quit caring that Bristol Palin is pregnant (to her high school boyfriend of 2 years who she is marrying, probably not too uncommon for young adults in Alaska), quit saying John McCain is "milking" his 5 years as a prisoner of war, and actually explain to me something Barrack Obama has done as a legislator to enact laws or improve society, rather than him just being present when Congress was doing something. I just don't get the infatuation with him when, other than being a good debater and, as Hillary Clinton said "No experience other than a good speech at the 2004 Dem convention". I love a good speaker to represent us, but not one who has never made a decision of importance. I would much rather the mayor of a small town turned governor to be steering how we proceed with social policies than someone who can debate the Iranian president with the best of them. Just my thought.

For anyone who cares, Jarett Lee should not be playing waterboy for LSU, much less throwing the football in actual live games. I have a better arm than him, and would be willing to challenge him if need be. Also, Charles Scott is just a beast. If is a shame that he shares the spotlight with 4 other guys. If he were like Knowshown Moreno at Georgia, and carried the ball all 4 quarters and was the feature back, they would rename the heisman. That is all.


Fun Friday Morning

We were so excited to meet up with our friends, the Kitchens, at the indoor playground today! They have been out of town for most of the whole summer, so we have been missing our friends! Elise and Will play PERFECTLY together, and Mary Miller hangs tough with the twins.
One of the highlights is "bubble-time"....all of the kids love it! You can see Elise below dancing away!

Bennett loved this slide, and my little superman even went head first a few times!

All three of my monkeys climbing over the rainbow...

Playing at the Lego table (if you counting chewing on them and throwing them at each other as playing!)

Will and Elise taking a ride...

Mary Miller and Lila stuck in traffic...

It was a great way to spend a rainy day, and by the end of the morning everyone (including me!) was exhausted and ready for a good rainy day nap!

Our thoughts and prayers are with those weathering hurricane Ike tonight...we are so thankful we were spared, but hate that others are having to go through it....
Love, Nicole