red balloon that keeps on giving

Sadly, we are down to one red balloon...Bennett's accidentally escaped the car and went "bye-bye up in the sky"- but, Lila has done a great job of sharing hers. With that being said, mornings around here are quite interesting and chaotic, and this morning was no different. Sometimes things are interesting and chaotic in a good way, and some mornings we have mini world war 3 between the 3 kids while trying to get ready for school. This morning went well....it was one of those times where they were all playing together, playing together well, and playing something that I was not exactly sure what it was. From what I could gather, whoever had the red balloon was the engine of the train, and the other two were the cabooses. They followed each other all around downstairs doing this for quite some time. I even fully cleaned up from breakfast before heading to carpool line! Bennett was so engrossed in the game that I even managed to dress him, including changing his diaper, all while he continued playing. What can I say, I've got mad skills.

After an exhausting day yesterday which included no naps for anyone (we were having some work done on our house), and a fun day at school today, the dynamic duo were both wiped out. Elise is resting as well, and when they get up we are going to head outside to enjoy this beautiful weather we are having in South LA. In the meantime I am LOVING the new pumpkin spice candle I got at Wal-Mart this morning and enjoying the peace and quiet.
So nice.
On an unrelated note, I sadly missed my friend (and one of my roommates) from college's wedding in Aspen this past weekend. I got to see the first pics today and they were absolutely breath-taking!!! Congrats Therese and Bush!!!
It's been a great day so far. Hope you are all enjoying yours.


loving the library

Our usual playgroup was cancelled this morning, so Suzanne and I planned a little outing with the little ones to story time at the library. Lila and Bennett were so excited because we were able to pick them up (Jacob can ride in Elise's car seat) after we dropped Elise off at school. They love Jacob. What a fun little outing! I think all three really enjoyed it, and the highlight was that they each got a balloon! What is it about balloons? Instant happiness for any child!

You can see Bennett front and center, while Lila, so typical, had to be right next to Jacob at all times...so cute!

Jacob reminds me a lot of Bennett at this age in that he is totally capable of walking, but just doesn't really seem too interested in doing so! He gets where he needs to go on all fours, so why bother? When he decides he is ready, he'll be taking off...
He is SO ADORABLE! Lila and Bennett cried when we dropped them back off at home...

We got there a little early, and Lila and Bennett had a blast finding shapes and colors on this mat...No shyness here!

It was a fun morning spent with great friends! We'll definitely do it again soon!



such a slacker

I'm pretty disappointed in myself. I have been a total blog slacker! I have got to get back with the program. The weeks seem to just be flying by...as do they days of having three babies..as those "babies" seem to have morphed into three very distinct little people overnight!! Lila and Bennett are now enjoying their own rooms and their independence, as well as talking up a storm...and Elise is completely in love with school and the idea of trying to read books...on her own. Blows my mind!!! Between our busy schedule during the week, our goals of things to accomplish on the weekend around the house (one day we'll be settled, right?), trying to spend a lot of time with Mimi & Grandpa, trying to sew some fall clothes and Halloween costumes, and two you (which has been very busy- thank you!), blogging has fallen by the wayside a little....but, after a few weeks of slacking I am now recommitting to being better. There are just too many funny moments I want to make sure I record for the kids....
Tonight, for example, when saying prayers with Lila, I asked her what she was most thankful for today....her response, "bacon". Well, at least she was honest.
Night Night!
Love, Nic


belated message to mo

I tried unsuccessfully all weekend to post a video of Bennett singing (very seriously) Happy Birthday to Mo...I finally give up!! Sorry Mo, I guess you'll have to just look at these silly pics of Elise! And, on top of that, she DID kick the soccer ball for you in her make-up game yesterday!! It was a breakthrough!!
Hope you had a Happy Day and thanks for being the best Aunt and Sister ever!
We love you!!


she loves to dance

Lila has been loving to dance since she could move!! After watching Elise at ballet this summer she began to beg to go to ballet....David and I discussed it, and although two is a little young to begin extra-curricular activities, we decided to go for it. Today was her first day of class and ANY doubts I had were completely cleared. Not only did she prance her way into that studio like she owned the place, but she participated with a HUGE smile on her face the whole time!!
She looked so grown up in her leotard and tights...she is definitely turning into a little lady....



It has been a while since I have posted pics of my little ones and they were SOOO enjoying their jello dessert tonight and so I snapped some pictures....
I was so glad to kiss these little faces last night!!

Goodnight everyone!
Love, Nicole


multiple blessings

How lucky am I that this has been my view for the past two mornings? I snuck away for a mini-vacation and early birthday visit with my sister, the infamous Aunt Mo. She had an event for work at the adorable Buckberry Lodge in Gatlinburg, and invited me to join her! Although it was hard to leave my little ones behind for a couple of days, it was nice to have some time to rest and just hang out with my little sis. What a blessing.

It was also soooo fun to enjoy all of the LOVE I got from the kids when I got back and to be reminded of how chivalrous my husband can be - when I found him waiting for me at the gate in the airport instead of just picking me up outside like we had planned. I was so happy to see them all! Thanks to both SuSu and Emmy for assisting David while I was gone.
What blessings!

In addition, some very dear friends, The Fields, welcomed their twin baby boys, Wyatt and Dyer, into the world today!! See their adorable pics here. The boys are sooo precious and are so lucky to be born into such a wonderful family! I can't wait to meet them and watch them grow up! Dianne is such a positive person and such the epitome of a true friend, and although I have not known Russell as long, I love every minute I get to spend with them and think he is the perfect match for D. We are just so, so happy for the both of them. What blessings!!!

Feeling extra thankful today.




What a productive weekend in the Parnell household!! Not only did we get some much needed things done around the house (I am COMPLETELY caught up on laundry. I repeat. COMPLETELY...Hoping we don't have an earthquake tonight because that is how rare it is for me to be completely caught up. I mean clothes put away and everything!! But, I digress...), but we had some big changes take place in the house. Lila and Bennett now officially have their own rooms!!
After about a month of Lila refusing to nap, and trying to corrupt her brother (who really needs more sleep than she does), and after several nights where they took turns waking each other up - including Saturday night - and after some good advice from friends and some other moms of twins, we decided it was time. We explained to them that it was time for them to have their own rooms and that they can play together all day, but when it is time to go to bed they will go into their own rooms and into their own beds. They seemed fine.
So, David took apart Lila's crib and we rearranged Bennett's room. We moved all of the crib parts down the hall to the guest room and prepared to take down the double bed we had in there. But, Lila kept saying..I'm going to sleep in this bed. (Side note: In anticipation that this room would eventually become her room and because it has a jack-and-jill bath with Elise's room we painted it pink before we moved in. This proved to be a big selling point as Lila loves pink and is very excited that she is now in a pink room!)
So, David suggested we try it. (In his defense, I think he has, at this point, taken apart and put back together that same crib at least 6 times. Does not look like a fun task.) We have bed rails and he thought it couldn't hurt to just see how it went. I'll be honest, I was not really pumped about the idea. I just assumed it was going to be a nightmare and that we would be fighting with her constantly to stay in the bed (flashbacks to when we moved Elise out of her crib), but I shouldn't have had so little faith.
Our little munchkin went straight to sleep in that big bed, as we sat glued to the video monitor and watching in amazement. Didn't attempt to get out of bed, didn't even call us!!! What a big girl!!!!
Bennett cried for about a minute for his sister (broke my heart) but after that he went right to sleep! By nap time today he seemed pretty pumped that he was not going to have to listen to his sister scream while he tried to sleep. And when I put him down for his nap I think he was out in 5.2 seconds!!
Here is the real kicker-- Lila took a 2 HOUR NAP in her bed today!!!!! I am so serious. (And this would explain the laundry...) What a gift!! And, they were both in the best moods this afternoon and tonight. I am not kidding myself that this is going to be the case every day, but I am so thankful that at least we felt some reassurance that we did the right thing. It was time....

Obviously I am thrilled that they are happy in their new rooms, and thrilled and thankful that we now have the space to give them that option (and I get to decorate another girls' room!!!!!)...I just think sleep is sooo important and want to make sure they are as rested as possible for our busy days ahead. I will admit that I was feeling a little sad as I looked at my "baby" in that big big bed...just another indication of how fast and quickly they are growing up in front of me...
We are enjoying them so much right now and David and I spend so much time with smiles on our faces these days because of them...the things they do and say....just priceless little things that we are so fortunate and blessed to be able to enjoy....

Ok. Enough sappiness for now.
Love, Nicole


i am officially a soccer mom

Not only is it game day for the Tigers today, but it was game day for Elise today as well. The much anticipated first soccer game!!
For multiple reasons we are thrilled that David (as coach) was able to draft some friends so that there are familiar faces on the team. Elise is excited that Amelia and Abigail Spreen are on our team, and as a bonus their sweet Mom (who happens to be a photographer) takes tons of pictures!! This is especially great for us because David is busy coaching and I am busy trying to keep Lila and Bennett from joining the game...which they are dying to do!
Below you can see all of the cuties warming up before the game...They do not have practices during the week in this age group, just a 30 minute warm up before the game each weekend....

Look at the above girls listening attentively to their coach....

Isn't Elise's coach cute??
As I have learned is often the case, things did not go exactly as we expected. We know our daughter, and knew that she would definitely not be one of the most aggressive girls out there. She takes a while to warm up, and even though she knew some of the girls they hadn't seen each other in a while. But, I don't think either of us expected her to be quite as "frozen" as she was today. This is the little one that performed her ballet recital energetically in front of hundreds of people (with an infection in her face..we later found out), and so we thought she would be ok. She really wasn't. It was quite a blessing that David was the coach, and in this league the coaches get to stay on the field. So, I think due to that, she still wanted to play.
She just didn't really ever go near the ball.
Kind of a problem in soccer.
David did a great job of staying completely calm and patient and continuing to encourage her and all of the girls out there. We are very optimistic that each week she will feel a little more comfortable and will be willing to participate even more....Obviously, if that is not the case, then her "rookie" season will be her last. And, we will be proud of her no matter what!

A couple of the little ones have older siblings that play and it really showed. They totally knew what to do and got right after the ball. This is a little more of what I would expect to see from Bennett in a few years. He is DYING to play soccer. He was telling anyone and everyone (who would listen) at the field today that, "I'm a play soccer ball. Me."
I think he got a better workout than Elise, chasing around one of the extra balls.

She may not have been the star of the game, but she sure looked cute!! Like I said earlier, we are proud no matter what. Hopefully she will learn from this and become a little more confident....I have to take full responsibility for this because I have always struggled with shyness and confidence...I am still not fully "cured", but I will say that my job as a sales rep definitely got me out of my comfort zone and helped me become more extroverted....maybe soccer can do the same for Elise. Big dreams. But, you never know.....

Our munchkin and her sweet Daddy...

Juice break....

A little pep talk from her coach....
Next week is a new week. She is still talking about playing, and wanting to play, so that is a good sign....
Hope you are all enjoying your holiday weekend!
Love, Nicole


day four

I'll be honest, I am wiped out!! But, it is actually a good thing. Day four of back to school and it is hitting me....hard. We are all really, really enjoying being back in a more strict routine again. Elise adores school, as do Lila and Bennett. In fact, they are not happy campers that they don't get to go every morning like Elise does! Although we kept our usual eating and sleeping schedule this summer, most days we just stayed home and didn't have to be anywhere at any certain time. I had forgotten what a work out it is to get myself and three kids fed, dressed, packed up, and loaded into the car to be somewhere every morning. David leaves early for work, so I am running the morning routine solo....It has actually gone very smoothly so far. As long as I have lunches packed and clothes laid out the night before, we are ok. Haven't been late yet!!
I should be honest and admit that the other reason I am probably so worn out is that I promised to re-commit myself to exercising when school started. Between the move, Elise's hospital stay, our trip to Nashville, and then to the beach, exercise has totally been put on the back burner. And, of course, you fall out of shape much faster than you get back in to shape. It has been a real wake up call the past few mornings as I struggle to get back into running. I like to go early in the morning, before the kids are up and before David leaves, so that it is over-with first thing, and so that I can't think of excuses not to go later. When I get home I make a HUGE cup of coffee, and gear up for the day. Luckily, the kids have been sleeping late (until 7:40ish), which is awesome because I have time to take a quick bath or shower and get dressed for the day, instead of being stuck in stinky work out clothes all day. Feels good. Then once they are up we do breakfast, get dressed, and out the door we go!!
As I said earlier, Elise is having a blast at school every morning, and I HOPE the twins are enjoying those mornings we are spending together when she has school and they don't. We joined a new playgroup that we are having fun with one morning, and then I am trying to plan things to do with them on the other two mornings...to make the most of our time together.
This morning I took them to get haircuts and they both did so well!!

Lila's haircut may not have been all that necessary, but she got soo excited when we got there and wanted one so bad I hated to tell her no. She does have kind of a mullet going on, and it actually does look better now that they cleaned it up a bit. I really think her main motivation for wanting a haircut was so that she could get a sucker afterwards....
As we were leaving the "salon" and actually as I was trying to think of something fun for us to do, a friend called and said she was headed to the park with her two kids. So, we met them there. They had a blast!!! I ran and got my phone to snap a few pics of Bennett on his "tractor"...once he discovered this toy, he had eyes for nothing else!! Bonnie Kate has one of those super-duper cameras, and she was taking lots of pics..so I can't wait to see!

Our only real hiccup this week has been the nap situation. I wrongly assumed (wishful thinking I guess) that the kids would be so worn out from our new routine that everyone would take a great nap in the afternoon. Not so much. I am not really sure what to do. 2 years and 2 months just seems a little young to me to be giving up naps. Or, am I just being stubborn because I would like the quiet time?? Thoughts??
We'll see I guess. Going to keep trying for another week or so and see what results...
Hope you all are enjoying your week as well. We are so excited that football is just right around the corner!