Home of the brave

It has been a tough few days for us. As most of you know, we had a terrible incident Thursday night. Our family dog, Baxter, unfortunately bit Elise on the cheek. Although it was definitely not a minor bite, it also definitely could have been much worse. She is doing well and the 6 stitches she had to get are healing well. I will say that the night in the emergency room was I think our most difficult hours as parents yet. Very, very traumatic for all of us. It is a complicated situation, and although a dog bite is never ok, David and I both truly believe that he was scared and was only acting in his own defense. Up until Thursday night, he has been extremely patient and well behaved with the kids. In addition, as you are well aware, we are living in a very chaotic situation right now- are limited to small areas of the house, and have constant (VERY LOUD) workers in and out of the house. This has been not only affecting us, but our animals as well. The usually laid-back Bax has been pretty stressed out lately. I "rescued" him almost 11 years ago and he and Tiger were our "babies" for the first 5 years of our marriage. I have been doing my best to keep it together for Elise, but it has been hard. I have a really bad habit of replaying events in my mind, and although I am so glad that we were right next to her when it happened, I am having a hard time keeping the visual out of my head. Today has been much better. Except for when we have to change the dressing, the tears have been minimal- for both Elise and I. We have been boarding Bax at the vet while we figure out exactly how to handle this difficult situation. We love our dog, but we also know that we cannot keep him any longer. We both agree that it is our job as parents to protect our children to the best of our ability, and that means that Baxter cannot live with us anymore.
In spite of the sadness that has been upon us the past few days I will say that today I think I was the most proud I have ever been of our daughter. She didn't think twice about wanting to be in her ballet recital, and was such a trooper through the dress rehearsal last night. She has been running a low grade fever and technically probably shouldn't have participated, but that was the first thing she asked when we were waiting in the emergency room, "can I still go to my ballet recital and dance with my friends?". We just didn't feel like after what she had been through, that we could take this experience away from her. Her face is quite swollen and discolored, and the bandage is big. She bravely faced her classmates as they stared intently (not maliciously, just curiously) and answered the questions well of those who asked.

And I know I am biased, but I think these are two of the cutest parrots I have ever seen. Their "shake a tail feather" routine was adorable and seeing her up on the stage brought tears to my eyes.

Here are the girls getting ready for their performance....

Checking themselves out in the mirror....
She had so much fun, as has been replaying her performances for us (fully costumed, of course) all afternoon. I am so, so proud of my little lady and I love her so much. I am heartbroken that this accident happened and feel so horrible that she has had to go through so much. I know she will feel better each day, and am just trying to focus on that....
We are having a "slumber party" at my parents this weekend due to the extreme fumes at our house. Last night didn't go so well, and so we are really hoping tonight is better. Lila and Bennett are not great sleepers when they aren't in their own beds, and I think they were confused when they woke up last night (at 2 a.m.). So, between the incident and that, David and I (and my Mom!) are pretty sleep deprived. Hopefully we'll all get some good sleep tonight. On the positive side, the fact that there are polyurethene fumes means we are one step closer to the floors being finished! Can't wait to get into that kitchen!
Going to hit the hay!
Love, Nicole


My big girl

Today my sweet Lila was sporting her first ponytail. She was looking pretty darn cute, if I do say so myself! Think I will try pigtails tomorrow and I can't wait. They are so "her". If that makes sense.

We had a great day trip to Baton Rouge yesterday where we visited with David's parents and checked out some of the furniture that they are so nicely offering us for the new house. We are SO thankful!! We topped that off with a delicious dinner homemade by Su at the Brister's last night. Yum!! This morning we spent some time with Aunt K and this evening with Mimi and Grandpa. I am doing my best to keep the kids busy and out of the construction zone and am so thankful to everyone that is opening their homes to us! :) We are loving our new neighbors..one couple came by with champagne and cookies for the kids, and another with wine and a cake. Drinking and eating- perfect for us. We think we'll save the champagne for when phase 1 (as I have been calling it) of the renovations are done. Which, with the progress they are making on the floors, doesn't feel like it will be too far away!

Time to get to bed!


The good, the bad, and the ugly

The good:

This is what we look out at every morning....all we can see are trees!!! :)

The bad:

This is the current state of our garage. Think it is safe to say that we won't be parking cars in there any time soon.

This is our den. We know one day soon there will actually be room to walk, relax, and play.

And, the UGLY:

This is the current state of our kitchen (and dining room, foyer, and office). Long story short, we had to remove all of the pine wooden floors because water was trapped underneath them. But, we are all dry now, and we are even going to be able to reuse some of the wood.

So, we are all moved in! Ha! Actually, we are technically all moved in, but very far from settled. But, things are going relatively well. The kids have had no adjustment problems at all. We are so glad. Mo was in town this weekend, and she and my Mom helped get the kids' rooms all arranged. So, at least their spaces have some sense of normalcy, and are as clutter-less as possible for now. In fact, Lila and Bennett have been sleeping extra well in their new room. It is nice and dark in there, and they have even taken a few 2 1/2 hour naps this week!! My Mom has been extra accommodating and helpful in the food area since our kitchen is virtually off limits at the moment. We have also had super sweet offers from friends for dinner, which we so appreciate. Then, once everything is done we can't wait to have everyone over here to celebrate!!

Hope you all have a Happy Memorial Day!
Love, Nicole


New Chapter

In a few minutes I will be heading out the door to sell our house. I didn't think I would feel sad, because we are so excited about our new chapter, but I do. I can't help but think about how much our lives have changed for the better in that house. I remember David and I excitedly buying it, talking about how we couldn't wait to fill it up with children. And, we did a pretty good job of that!
I remember the ugly wallpaper, over the top drapes, dated lighting, and blank canvas of a yard. I remember all of the weekend projects and the time and love we put into the house. Most importantly I remember bringing Elise, and then Lila and Bennett, home. And I am so thankful.
Time to turn the page...


Almost summer....

Elise had her adorable Spring Program at school yesterday. Once she warmed up she did a great job performing and really got into her songs! She has such a cute class this year and they have all had so much fun! I am soooo thankful that she gets to spend a few hours a week with a great group of kids her age in a very loving and nurturing environment! She loves school! I know she is going to miss it so much this summer....
On another note, the tradition of a Parnell kid being sick on a holiday is holding true. Ok, so it isn't technically a holiday, but it IS "moving weekend" for us, and Bennett woke up with a fever this morning. He seems ok, so hopefully it is just a little virus...
We are SUPER thankful that we sold our house!!! Yipppeee!! There were a few "catches" that came along with it, the biggest being that we had to be out in less than 2 weeks. But, with a lot of help, we are making it happen and we are so excited! We are moving into a construction zone (new house not exactly ready for us yet! oops) which will one day be our dream house, so the next few weeks should be a very interesting adventure!!
Lastly, I had to share the wonderful (HA) new "trick" that my little lady (I use the term lady very loosely) Lila has been performing at meals. She fills her mouth up as full as she can with her juice or milk, and then leans over and gracefully spits it all over the floor. L-o-v-e-l-y. I am not exactly sure what to do about the new phenomenon. She seems to love the attention, positive or negative, and doesn't seem to mind when I take her drink away for the rest of the meal. So far Bennett has not joined in, but I know it is only a matter of time. I think she may be banned to eat all meals outside at the new house.......
Luckily, she reserves her trickery for meals at home...we ate out the other night and they were such angels that 3 different people stopped at our table to compliment their table manners. I SO badly wanted to say, "oh, thanks, but they are closet nightmares at mealtime"..but instead I just smiled and said, "thank you". (I honestly think they were just so hungry-it was a little later than our usual dinner time- that they were focused on the food...)This one other older man came over and said, "I know you have your hands so full...but enjoy it! They will be big and grown before you know it!"... I know he is right, and so that is what we try to do every day! Even as I am cleaning up milk off the floor for the 3 time in a row.....:)

Hope everyone enjoyed their week....

Love, Nicole



Random Pictures

I was able to get a hold of Emmy's (David's mom) memory card last weekend...She got some really cute pics of the kids playing in the backyard and also had some on there from Jared and Erinn's wedding...So, I thought I would share:

I love this face...I get this look a lot from spunky Miss Lila...


I'm procrastinating from packing boxes (yippeee!!!!)....but, I better get back to work! Speaking of, like my new blog header? We're moving and shaking around here, and thanks to Mo we are doing so in style....Thanks Mo!!!! More on the move to come....

Love, Nic


Almost forgot about Friday...

We spent the morning Friday playing at the Trailhead fountains...The kids loved it! I recruited my Mom to go with me, just in case it was too hard to watch all three, and I was very glad she was there. It is still a pretty wide open space, with lots of room to run, so it is good to have an extra pair of eyes and hands!

You have to step on a button on the ground to get the fountains going. Bennett was so proud when he turned them on! So cute!

Bennett playing with his truck....

My "babies"...who are very quickly approaching their 2nd birthday!!

My little lady filling up her pitcher....

Jacob and Su joined us for a while and he LOVED the water. Definitely going to be a water baby!

We had a great weekend and, as usual, David did a great job of making my Mother's Day special.
I am just overwhelmingly blessed....I love my little munchkins!
Lots is going on, and I'll be posting more about that soon....
Stay tuned!
Love, Nicole


Just a little peek...

into why I love my Mom so much...after posting the pics of all of the crafts the kids had made at school last week for Mother's Day, I got this email from my Mom, which almost caused me to die because I couldn't breathe I was laughing so hard:

I just looked at your blog and can't stop laughing thinking of what Bennett's butterfly would look like. Next year when Bennett makes you a butterfly flag, do you think he could make one for me? I would hang it where I could see it everyday because his big toe butterfly would make me laugh every time I saw it.

Bennett does have an extremely big, big toe. It is one of my favorite little cute things about him. It is one of those things that my Mom noticed in the hospital right after they were born, and it has always made her laugh and smile.
Anyway,this email is so "her". My Mom doesn't try to be funny, but she is often hilarious. She is quiet and shy, but if you listen you will laugh. She doesn't demand attention, instead she spends all of her time giving attention to others. Helping to take care of me, my family, my Dad, brother and sister, along with her parents, and friends. She does little things, like make one of each of every one's favorite desserts at holidays, so that everyone feels special. She is the best. I am so thankful for her every single day.
Love you, Mom!

Happy Happy Mother's Day!
Love, Nicole



Mother's Day is still 3 days away and already I am being spoiled by my three little munchkins!

These flowers arrived today and I can't wait for them to bloom. I am feeling a little badly for the death look I gave Mr. UPS when he rang my doorbell. Poor thing couldn't have known that I had just spent the last hour and a half trying to get Lila to take a nap! Then I felt even worse when I saw what he had left on my doorstep! SOOO sweet!
Every time I walk into my kitchen I get a big smile on my face because this (see above) is what my pantry door looks like. Decorated to the max with sweet art projects that my monkeys have been working on at "school".
Here is a closer view of the original artwork "Rainbow House" by Elise Laurent Parnell.

My sweet Mother's Day card made with her fingerprints.

Lila's hand print is so special to me...especially since she usually isn't into participating in things that get her hands dirty! They attempted a hand print project at Christmas and I only got a fingerprint out of Lila!

My sweet boy's....
I thought this was so cute, how they made a butterfly out of her footprints! I love their school and am so thankful they get to spend time there. I am also feeling extra spoiled and loved today. I've already had a great Mother's Day!
Hope everyone is enjoying their week!
Love, Nicole



...are looking up! Stayed tuned!!
Love, Nicole


I love...

...this picture!!!! David and his Mom took the kids to the zoo yesterday and so I will let him post about the trip...but, since he is busy bringing Elise to TWO birthday parties today (such a social butterfly) I wanted to go ahead and post this picture because I just LOVE it. My two little cuties. They look so much alike in this picture!
Hope everyone is enjoying their weekend!