First of all, I seriously cannot believe that Lila and Bennett will be three tomorrow. I know that is annoying when Moms say that. But it is truly how I feel. I have been feeling emotional all day. I know 3 is still so small, but it is sooo big. The time has really flown by.

David and I had a BLAST at my 15 year high school reunion this weekend. Although I was involved in the planning process, I was honestly lukewarm about going. There were some people I was dying to see though and they made it worth it. But, when it was all said and done, even though it was 2:30 in the morning, I didn't want it to end!! I love how easy it is to pick right back up with friends (especially my great group of girl friends) like we had just seen each other yesterday! I really, really enjoyed spending time with everyone and catching up. It was a super fun time!!

Although everyone else is probably sick of hearing about it, we are still in love with the deer that have been visiting our back yard more and more often. Last night we had an all time record of FOUR. Our sweet next door neighbor has a hunting camp in Mississippi and he is going to bring us a feeder and some food so that we can help them out by keeping them fed. All four were doe's and he said this would really help them. Also, Nick Mills stopped by for a second last night and got to see them. He is an expert and told us that all doe's have twins their first time. How cool is that?? So, now I am even more bonded with our backyard bambi's.

We are contemplating beginning our bathroom renovation at some point in the next year. It is really the only area of our house that needs major work. We are pretty sure it was renovated slightly in the early 90's and was most likely a do-it-yourself job. There apparently was carpet in the bathroom (so dated and so GROSS) and so when the house was foreclosed on that was ripped out and nothing was put back. There are still carpet nail strips in our closet and basically we are walking around on the exposed slab. David's closet is teeny-tiny and does not have room for his all of his work clothes. The shower leaks constantly (convenient thing about having concrete floors) and we have already had it repaired twice. We really don't want to spend any more money fixing it. Although it will be hard to part with the seashell shaped sinks (HAHA!) and lovely brass faucets, I have some ideas in mind. We definitely want to take our time and make this a bathroom we will love forever, but without spending a fortune.

If there is one "splurge" that we are able to have, it would be a freestanding tub. I am obsessed with the two below.

To stay consistent with the rest of our house and to blend with all of the lovely antiques we have been given we definitely want a relaxed, cozy, warm bathroom...a la the below picture....AM IN LOVE with the farm table turned vanity.
So, we will see what happens. In the mean time I hope to post about Bennett and Lila's rooms (still works in progress, but getting there) in the near future.
For now, off to another week of swim lessons!!
Happy Monday everyone!


out with an arm

We've had another injury in the Parnell family, but this time instead of it being one of my little kids, it is my big kid, David. He was playing indoor soccer Tuesday night and while playing goalie and defending a shot he broke his left arm. In two places. This is probably because he kept playing after he broke it the first time!!
I could tell just by looking at him that he was in a lot of pain, and so I finally convinced him to go to the ER late Tuesday night. There, his suspicions were confirmed. We are really thankful that he did not require surgery, as the ER doctor thought he might need it. Instead he is in a good ole hard cast for 4-6 weeks.
He has already gotten really good at doing things one handed. He even made our bed this morning! Elise is enjoying being his assistant in the morning and buttoning his shirt cuff and tying his shoes. I guess I need to learn how to tie a tie, because he just brings one with him and has someone at the office do it!
We are just really thankful that it wasn't worse and know that he'll be as good as new in no time. I'm a little sad for him because this rules out golf on our annual beach trip (pretty much the only time he plays unless with work these days) and so I know that is really disappointing for him.
We hope he feels better soon!
The kids are looking forward to decorating his cast, and so I'll have to post some pictures when they get that done!


boot camp

I decided....what better way to kick off the summer than with swimming boot camp?

I have heard rave reviews from many about a particular swim instructor here in town and so I made it a point several months ago to go ahead and reserve our spots for the first two weeks of summer. Since I plan on spending lots of time at the pool this summer (not that I am exactly thrilled about sporting a bathing suit) I felt like it was a necessity.
Day 1 (yesterday) went about as I expected. Total and complete hysteria by all three. Even though we have been going to the pool, and the kids have been doing great in the water...this was quite a change. Their very calm and wise instructor is great with them, but doesn't let the crying phase him one bit. Elise was not talking and whining her way out of this one. So, under the water they go...over...and over...and over....and over.....
So, that is how yesterday went. Them miserable and hysterical, and me trying to pretend that I can't see the fear in their eyes, and repeating internally to myself over and over "this is for their own safety". Even as they screamed, Coach Bill was constantly telling them how well they were swimming. And apparently they believed him because that is the "story" they told David last night when he got home.
Coach assured me that this was a very typical day 1.

Today was about the same for Lila and Bennett. But, big changes took place for Elise. Coach passed the test by not giving in to her and so she knew she had to swim. And so she did! And jumped off the diving board 4 TIMES by herself!!! Massive, massive improvements.

I am so excited to watch their progress and see them improve.....

Now, if they would just nap (like normal children) after the lesson....this would be a much happier house in the afternoon!! :)



We arrived home late this afternoon from a super fast, super special trip to Nashville for Monique and Phillip's wedding. The five of us drove up on Friday and drove back today.
It was a whirlwind.
The kids were so excited to see Aunt Mo and so they were thrilled that she took time out on her wedding day to come to breakfast with us.

I could lie and say that the kids were great and that they had slept fabulously in our hotel room the night before. But that would be so far from the truth that I can't even type it with a straight face.....:)

It was a cute little pancake place where you cooked your own pancakes on a grill at the table...

After that, David and I wanted to take the kids to a park to let them run since they had been in the car all day the day before. There are tons of great parks in Nashville....

After the park, we grabbed lunch and bathed the kids to get ready for the wedding. We then made them take naps so that the rest of the day would be bearable for everyone (and especially for the babysitters that evening!).
Then we headed to the beautiful little chapel on Vanderbilt's campus where the wedding took place. It was extremely quaint and cozy, and a very touching and special ceremony. We were so happy to be there for Mo and Phillip.

Mo looked sooooooo pretty.

After bribing the kids to cooperate with the photographer with ice cream, David and I had to live up to our promise and take them to get an afternoon treat. So, we did that and then got ready for the celebration party Mo and Phillip were having at their house Saturday night. We were so blessed in that their awesome neighbors, who I have met many times and who have two small children the same ages as ours, offered to get two babysitters (both nurses!) and have our kids hang out over there so that David and I could attend the party. The kids had a blast and so did we. It was a perfect set up!
It was a fun night, and a terrific party in which Mo's creative party planning skills were all put to good use. The house looked awesome, the food was great, and everyone had a ton of fun!!

Then this morning it was up and at up early (our kids DO NOT sleep in. No matter how late they stay up!) and back in the car for the road trip home....

The kids were excited to come home and check on our garden....we are making major progress!!

They all chipped in and watered the plants....and watered each other....

Then it was an EARLY bed time for some way-past-delirious-kids!!
David and I have been decompressing, unpacking, and are about to watch the end of LOST.
What a full, crazy weekend.
But, wouldn't trade it for anything!! We definitely made some memories!
Hope everyone else had a special weekend as well.
Love, Nicole


how sweet.....

is this picture???
Welcome to the world Patrick James. We love you already!!


short and sweet

We were so thrilled to have a whirlwind visit from the Fields family this weekend. Dianne, Russell and the boys spent the night Friday night so that Dianne and I could attend Shelley's baby shower on Saturday morning. It was sooo great to see them!!
I think it was one of the quickest visits ever, so I didn't get many, but I did manage to get a couple of pictures of the kids...

Dyer, Lila, Wyatt

Dyer, Lila, Wyatt, Bennett

The Fields boys are absolutely PRECIOUS. So adorable. And 8 months is such a fun age! We were thrilled to see them. I was amazed how interested Bennett was, especially in wanting to help feed their bottles. My normally very rough little boy was so sweet and gentle with Dyer and Wyatt.....but he did snap into gear and body slam Russell a few times!!

We miss them already!!!

Shelley's baby shower was great and she looks wonderful!!! It was great to see lots of friends....
Can't wait to meet all of the babies arriving this summer!! Fun times!


bye bye sweet tiger

Today we sadly had to say good bye to our sweet cat Tiger. He turned 13 in March and was our first pet together. I gave him to David when he started Law School so that he would have someone to keep him company while I was still at Millsaps. I had never really been a "cat person", but Tiger won me over - especially since (in his younger days) he liked to play fetch. Even up onto the loft of our itty bitty first apartment!
His kidneys started failing last summer and he had lost about half of his body weight. But, we were able to get him stabilized and he had been doing really well for the past year. I am so thankful that he fought for us and stuck around until now so that our kids did not have to loose both of their pets at once. But, in the past few days we had noticed a decline in him, and a withdrawal from David and me. Even foregoing his usual race to snuggle with us once the kids were in bed, and his usual tag along as we tucked the kids in.
Seeing him today, I just knew.
I took him to the vet and wasn't shocked to hear that his labs were extremely bad. Dr. Bill, who is a dear family friend, was the most compassionate and perfect I think you can be in that situation. I called David, dropped the kids off at my Mom's, and met David back up at the office to tell him bye.

It was hard. But, we both felt together that we were doing the right thing.

We picked up the kids from my Mom's (by this time it was getting really late) and picked up something to eat. We were worried about them noticing he was gone, but also worried about telling them something like this right before bed. Finally we decided to break the news.
Kids are amazing.
I told them that I had something to tell them that might be sad for us, but that was not sad for Tiger. That he had not been feeling well for a long time, and that although it might make us sad for him not to live with us anymore, he was no longer feeling bad.
They seemed fine with this. It did help that, just as we were finishing up our conversation, two huge beautiful deer walked into our backyard. Quite a breathtaking distraction.
Elise obviously had many more questions than Lila and Bennett, and seems to have a greater understanding of the finality of it. We shall see what the next few days bring, but so far I am really proud of them and how they handled it. Less worried about themselves, and more worried that he is ok.....unselfish children is definitely what we want. Elise even said that she was "sad, but wearing my happy face" because she knew in heaven he would not be sick anymore.

So, we close another little chapter in our life and say goodbye to a sweet friend that we are so thankful to have had in our family....

Tomorrow we have some very special visitors heading this way and we cannot wait!!!!!!
More to come on that....

For now, please say a little prayer for us and for sweet Tiger.
Love, Nicole


mother's day

Happy Mother's Day to all of the Moms and future Moms out there!!
Special wishes to my Mom and David's Mom (SuSu and Emmy)- we love ya'll!!

My family spoiled me today and yesterday. I thoroughly enjoyed it! :)

I even had time to reread my Eclipse book to get ready for the movie release this summer! (So, now you know I am a twilight nerd!) Poor Elise has a double ear infection and is not feeling well. She laid down at 9:30 yesterday morning and didn't wake up until 1:00 pm!! David so nicely offered to take Lila and Bennett out of the house (we have yet to find out if Lila is even capable of an "inside voice") so that Elise could get the rest she needed. So, while she slept, I fought the urge to be productive and instead laid on my bed and read. It was nice.

This morning while I showered, David organized the kids and made me a yummy breakfast in bed. Here they are getting ready...they got me some tulips (my favorite) in pink (their favorite)..which I love...

I got back in bed (wouldn't have really been breakfast in bed otherwise, right?) when I heard them coming...

This is my beautiful card. David said they worked on it when I was visiting Aunt Mo a few weekends ago.

Here you can see my yummy breakfast, and the kids excitedly helping me open the shoe box they gave me! You can never go wrong with shoes!! (*I have a feeling a certain Shoe Fairy named Mo may have suggested this awesome gift...as she has this same pair of Born's that I have always admired! Thanks Shoe Fairy!)
I also got a gift certificate so that I could order a new bathing suit- what I had not so subtly hinted that I really wanted!
But, in reality, my favorite gift was the fake white flowers that the girls gave me. To be honest, not a fan of fake flowers. But, what got me is the story behind them. David took the kids to Target and told them if they were good they could each pick one thing from the dollar aisle at the end. Well...they were good...and the girl's picked the flowers for me!! That little unselfish act really made my day!!

After our nice morning, we headed to church and then went to meet my parents and Jared and Erinn for lunch. I wish I could say the blissful morning had continued on to our nice lunch...but reality kind of kicked back in. Elise is still droopy with her ear infection and Bennett was up a few times last night coughing (hope he isn't getting sick) and so the kids were just not on their best behavior at lunch....but, we made it through and then headed to Mimi and Grandpa's.

The kids also "helped" (I use that term very loosely here) David make cookies for my Mom and Mimi since we would be seeing them today. They were SOOO GOOD!!

3 generations...

Reality of trying to get a group picture. This was honestly the best one.

My little man. Kept saying, "Happy Mutter's Day" all day. Cute.

And my big girl.

Bennett loves playing rough with Uncle Jared. I think Uncle Jared kind of likes it too!
After our visit with Mimi and Grandpa we headed back home. I was able to lay down with Bennett, which meant he went to sleep! So, we both got to nap! We spent the rest of the day just hanging out.
I have a feeling David is pretty worn out from all of his planning, organizing, and orchestrating. I appreciate so much how special he wanted me to feel today. And, he did a great job! Thank you!
Looking forward to some more time with family when we had to Nashville in just a few weeks!!!
Can't wait...



The pool.
This summer.
It is "doable".

It is amazing to me. For so long it was hard for me to imagine taking all three kids to the pool and feeling like I could safely watch all them.
I did it today!!!

The twins and I met Su and Jacob at the pool on Tuesday and it went surprisingly well. They all had a blast and so did I. Gave me the confidence I needed to try it today.
Granted, I limited the kids to the decent sized "baby" pool, but, they were still swimming, still enjoying the water.
All three were doing great putting their faces in and blowing bubbles. I am optimistic about our upcoming swim boot camp. Optimistic that they are ready and eager to learn.

Was a good day!

No pictures, because I was too busy life guarding. That too brought back some memories! :)


a rainy weekend

It was a pretty dreary weekend and so we spent a lot of time inside getting things accomplished...

David cleaned out the garage and I cleaned toilets (wooohooo). Saturday afternoon David took the little ones to Wal-mart for the big grocery trip so I wouldn't have to go this week (he is the one person on the planet I know who actually enjoys going to Wal-mart on a Saturday. no thank you! And, lucky me.) and so Elise and I made a Sonic run (for motivation, of course) and then came home to tackle the ironing.

I spend way too much time ironing.

But, it is my own fault and I own that.
While they are still little I like to dress the girls in dresses, jumpers, and capri sets, and for the most part, they all have to be ironed. I figure they have the rest of their lives for t shirts and shorts!

So, seeing how big my pile is..I was pretty excited at how excited Elise was about "helping". Obviously she wouldn't really be ironing yet...but it got me thinking....wonder how old she has to be to really iron????
Just kidding.

Well, the excitement wore out after about 10 minutes when she proclaimed that she was "tired" and "needed to rest". Words I NEVER hear from this girl. So, she hopped up on the daybed (relocated from Lila's room to the foot of our bed), crossed her legs, and enjoyed her milkshake.
And I ironed.