new little friends

Thanks to an accommodating husband and a helpful Mom, I had the opportunity to be at the hospital when Mary Cooper was born last Friday night. I was thrilled to be there to welcome her into the world. Meanwhile, the kids and David had been anxiously looking forward to meeting her. So, I piled them into the car and headed across the lake late yesterday afternoon. We picked up David at his office and headed uptown to see them.
Lila and Bennett crashed in the car on the way there (it was such a peaceful ride- I treated myself to a Starbucks and enjoyed the trip over the causeway), and so their usual "warming up period" was a little extended because we woke them up when we got there. But, before long, Gray had them running around like lunatics and playing with fox tails!

Here is our big "family"! Gray and Shelley (and now MC) really are like family to us...even though we don't get to see them as much as we would like these days, we love them so much and are so, so, happy for them and their new family. I must say, parenting seems to suit them both very well!! Shelley looks amazing, and they both seem to be enjoying their daughter immensely.

Bennett admiring the little cutie pie....

She is soooo precious!

We've come a long way since our Millsaps days!!

Even Lila was excited...usually she is not too happy since new babies seem to steal the attention...After a while she did tell me to "give her back". HA!

Gray was on entertainment duty, as usual. He gave the kids "horse rides" on Gus (their 12 year old lab- I'm sure he was thrilled), and let them play with his fly-fishing magnifying glasses---which they loved!

After our visit, we went and grabbed a bite to eat at a sandwich shop on Magazine. It rounded out a fun night!

Elise being a goofball at dinner....
The kids also welcomed a new second cousin into the family this week as well. Sweet little Abigail Grace. We took a road trip with Mimi, Grandpa, and SuSu to meet her at the hospital on Tuesday. It was quite a trip, and a little overwhelming, and so I didn't do a good job of documenting with pictures. Just too many wide open spaces tempting my two 3 year olds to run off!! Had to have my A game!!
We are very happy for Daniel and Steph as well as they become parents for the first time!! Quite an exciting time for them as well...
Hope everyone has a great weekend!
Love, Nicole


filling a void?

We have all been missing having a four legged friend around the house. But, this morning, Lila and Bennett took it to a new level.....

....eating their cereal on the floor, sans utencils.
Happy Thursday!


B Robot

We've had a lazy weekend at home, getting some things accomplished, and David spent some time with the kids swimming so I could get some things done. This morning, Bennett got creative with the blocks and became B. Robot.

As to why B Robot has an apparent aversion to clothes....not so sure. But this seemed to be a theme today as the girls spent most of their time running around in their undies as well. Who knows....
On another note, we couldn't be happier for our friends...as they have welcomed a gorgeous, healthy, and huge (Shelley is the woman!) baby girl into their lives. She is a lucky little one to have wonderful people as parents who are thrilled to have her in their lives. We love her already!
Hope you all enjoyed your weekends!
Love, Nicole


two little monkeys

...in their matching monkey birthday skirts from Aunt Mo and Uncle Phillip!



Happy Birthday, sweet girl.

We love you.


new wheels

We took the kids out to dinner last night to celebrate Elise's birthday. She agreed that we would go out last night, and stay in tomorrow night and have breakfast for dinner (her favorite) on her real birthday. We decided to be brave and took the kids to a Thai restaurant. David and I love Thai food, but our kids are not good about trying new things. Luckily, after the very entertaining owner noticed that the kids weren't exactly devouring the chicken satay and spring rolls (they are insane), he brought out a huge tray of french fries. I would have normally been a little bummed because that obviously completely stopped them from trying anything new (the lemongrass soup was seriously one of the best things I have EVER put in my mouth!!!), but since we were celebrating Elise's birthday, David and I were just happy that the kids were happy and we let them eat fries for dinner.

He also gave each of the kids a balloon- always a hit- and kept us quite entertained throughout dinner- stopping by to sit and chat several times. He says he can read people, and gets feelings (I guess he is some type of medium) and he was zeroing in on Lila. He said she has a big, big brain, and that she is in control...especially of Bennett...then he said something about their past life, and I got a little lost! But, the controlling part was pretty interesting, and that is definitely how she would like to be-- running the whole show!
After dinner, and feeding the coy fish, we piled into the car, where David and I told Elise it was time to go get her birthday gift...

She was pretty excited!!! (Excuse the pics from David's phone...but I love her face!)

She guessed correctly that we were going to let her choose a new 2 wheel bike!
Although our little non-dare devil has been quite content with her tricycle, we agreed it was time for her, at the ripe old age of five, to move on up to a bike. To my dismay, I was completely unable to find an adorable plain pink bike like this:

or like this:

...because they were all either $300 or way too big for her. Apparently it is mandatory that any 16" bike be either incredibly tacky, have a character of some sort on it, or say something totally inappropriate like "major flirt" or "sweet kisses". I'm sorry, I know it is just a bike, but Elise is not riding around the neighborhood on a bike that says MAJOR FLIRT at age five!!!

I was so disappointed in the choices out there, that after discussing it with David we just decided if it was going to be tacky, she might as well adore it, and so we would just let her choose (of course, within certain limits)...

We left Target with this jewel last night:

I will say, that, of the choices, I think she picked the best one. We figure she'll get about 2 or so years out of this bike, and so I think that Barbie is still acceptable for a 7 year old. Regardless, it will have to be for her!
David and I woke up this morning to see her sitting on her bike at the foot of our bed! HA!
David spent a lot of last night putting it together and she came down first thing this morning to check it out...she was so excited that he took her out for her first ride before Lila and Bennett even woke up!
We had a fun rest of the day playing with her new toys..she is loving all of the Barbies! And we all had fun playing the new board games she got- in particular Zingo held all three's attention for quite a while! Bennett is really good!! I took Elise to a friend's birthday party this afternoon, and then, as promised, I watched Annie (another birthday gift) with the kids tonight. David had to go to work for a bit, but I can't wait for him to watch it with us next time. I was crying not 5 minutes in because it reminded me of being little so much. Monique and I used to watch it over and over and over...and I still knew all of the songs!! It was so neat to be watching it now with my own children!! And, they were mesmerized!!
It was also so different to watch as an adult because I had no clue how wasted Ms. Hannegan was for the whole movie!! Elise kept saying, "man she is drinking alot of water".......didn't have the heart to explain....:)
So, a jam packed weekend has come to a close. Looking forward to tomorrow to try and make Elise's actual birthday as special as we can...She is going to be counting down until 5 p.m....when she really turns 5!!


elise's cup of tea

As I mentioned in an earlier post, Elise has been thinking about her 5th party for about 6 months...Today was finally the day!

Her party was at a local place completely catered to her age group. They have about every dress up outfit ever made, and as the kids arrive they get to choose an outfit, change, and wear it for the whole party. They also get a little glitter on their face, if they wish. Then they all do a fashion show, where they announce their name, age, and favorite color. After the fashion show they decorated crowns, sang Happy Birthday, and had a dance party. Right before they left they could get their nails painted. It is all a little much, a little pink, and a little chaotic, but it was also all worth it because Elise, and all of the kids had an absolute blast!!

Here is Elise in her first outfit, getting ready to get her "make-up" on...Sooo excited!

The finished product....

Elise choosing her crown...


Lila's turn! She chose a fancy fairy costume...

And, of course, was all about the glitter...

Our two princesses...

Elise and her friend Madeleine in matching outfits...

And with Ella, in her first outfit, as Alice...

And our superhero Bennett- a.k.a. Buzz....

I must say, a pretty cute Buzz...

I love this pic of my Dad seeing Bennett in his Buzz costume!

Elise's (grocery store) birthday cake! I was so happy with the way it came out...
Elise changed into this fancy ensemble for the fashion show.

The birthday girl blowing out her candles...

All of the girls!! (None of the boys wanted to participate in the pictures!)

Our birthday girl with the tea cart...ready for tea...

Toast time! Cheers!!

Buzz checking himself out in the mirror...

And let the dancing begin...Lila was non-stop shaking it. Bennett even got in on the action a little as well.

Elise getting ready to sing along...

And Lila's turn...she seemed very comfortable performing! :)
Bennett loved the mic as well!

The ball is over and the princesses are turned back into our sweet little girls!
It was a whirlwind morning, and was tons of fun watching Elise and all of her friends. It was the first party we have had that was largely out of my hands, and I think I coped ok with that....although you would have to ask David for the real truth!!
I really, really, like being extremely involved in all of the planning and always want unique touches here and there...but, I knew that this was what Elise really wanted, and so we wanted her to have that...hopefully, we were able to still put a our own little touch with our homemade cupcake-in-a-jar party favors!
Anyway, the most important thing is that all of the kids had a blast, and that Elise felt extra, extra special for her 5th birthday. She is so special to us, that is all we wanted!
We are so thankful to everyone that celebrated with us today, and for all of the parents who spent their Saturday morning in a sea of pink for their boys and girls!!
More celebrating to come....


NOLA adventure

I decided to give us all a break from our summer routine and head to NOLA to stay with my parents for a few days. I had high hopes for a jam packed visit, but, as I should know by now, I can plan all I want....doesn't mean that is what will happen! :)

We started off by heading down Tuesday morning to meet Shelley for lunch.
Poor Shelley.
She chose Slice, which was an awesome choice. So delicious, so cheap (less than chik fil-a for my fam), and so fun!! Well, since we are still kind of potty training Bennett (he is doing great- but still has random accidents), any time he says he has to go, I take him. The girls just love to investigate the bathroom wherever we go. Those two things equalled about 47 trips to the bathroom for me.
The kids started off shy...not really talking to Shelley and sticking pretty close to me. But, by the end of the meal they were all over her and basically climbing up her adorable 9 month pregnant belly!
To top it off, when we walked out of the restaurant (heading to treat the kids to cupcakes) we only made it about 100 yards when Bennett started crying (really crying) that his stomach hurt. I leaned down to pick him up, and a few seconds after I put him on my hip he poltergeist projectile vomited all over the both of us. Lovely.
Still not sure if he was the start of a 24 hour virus (he did get fever later that night), or the fact that he ate a massive piece of pizza, drank about 3 Sprites, went to the bathroom 84 times, and jumped up and down in the booth.
Don't think this was Shelley's dream lunch a week before she welcomes her first daughter into the world.
She was a trooper.

After we cleaned up, I loaded the kids in the car (wisely skipping the cupcakes) and headed to my parents. I had planned on an afternoon at the Zoo or Park, but decided we should lay low instead. So we did. Bennett crashed in the car and took a good little nap. My poor man was so distraught that he had thrown up on me. He's such a sweetie.

The girls, always up for a photo shoot, posed for the camera in front of the cool brick wall at my parents condo.

Later that night, Bennett seemed better (no more puking), and so we decided to take a street car ride down St. Charles Avenue.

We walked two blocks to the car stop....

Lila was not cooperating at this point...a rarity (not the not cooperating, but the not cooperating when a camera is involved)...but here are Elise and Bennett excitedly waiting for the street car. Bennett was so funny...he refused to call it a street car....train to him. :)

Here are my Mom and the girls looking out of the street car window. I really wanted to take a lot more pictures on the ride...but, Bennett started going downhill fast. He was really hot and lethargic, and I was pretty convinced he was going to throw up again. Luckily, he never did. But, he only wanted me to hold him, as much as my Dad tried to help me out, and so, of course, I did. At this point, the girls were starving, and so we went ahead with our plan to eat at Camilla Grill. B was a trooper, but just sat on my lap and picked at some fries. While the girls and my parents finished dinner I took him on a walk with me next door to Walgreens to get some Tylenol (not the recalled kind!) to help his fever.
We managed to survive the street car ride back downtown, even though we were squished like sardines into the car...with no a/c....so, let's just say it wasn't the ideal first street car experience for the kids. But, I think they still had fun!
Wednesday morning we headed to Metairie to visit Grandpa and Virginia. Elise was so excited because they wanted to sing Happy Birthday to her- and thus begin a 5 day long celebration. She is already milking it for all she can..i.e. "Can I sit the front car seat? I mean, it is my birthday..." etc...
Bennett seemed much better by Wednesday morning, and although he wasn't 100%, he was on the upswing!
Grandpa and Virginia always set up this little kid table in their den when we visit. I think it is soo sweet that they go to all of that effort so that the kids have a fun little place to sit!

As you can see, Virginia also let Elise dig through her costume jewelry, where she added a few necklaces, a bracelet, and a big gold barrette to her "collection".

Grandpa and his 3 great grand kids. He looks so amazing for 92!!!! He is an inspiration.
We still took it easy on Wednesday...bedtime had not gone so smoothly the night before and so all the kids were tired, and then with Bennett recovering I didn't think we should push it. So, we "rested" at the condo and then in the evening took Rex on a walk to Lafayette Square. Although it is not at all a playground, the kids made it one!

Notice how I have so many pics of the girls...and then here is Bennett saying, "stop mama! no more pictures!"

The dynamic duo taking a rest on the walk back "home"....
David came and joined us last night, and we put the kids to bed and then ate some delicious brisket from Whole Foods (oh so yummy!) and watched the ESPYs with my parents...
This morning, my Mom and I decided to at least accomplish ONE of the sightseeing goals I had for this trip (seeing Grandpa was really the main goal), and walked to the Aquarium. I really think it was 110 degrees today. Pushing that double stroller was tough....I must say, it is sadly sinking in that I am almost done with strollers. I really can't believe it. But, today I was really glad to still have them, as there is no way the kids could have made that long walk in the heat. My Mom and I even had to stop at Starbucks on the way back for an iced coffee motivation to finish the walk! :)

Making a wish....

Elise and Lila with the sea turtle...

My goofy girl!

Bennett and Elise (in her new prize barrette from Virginia) seeing the penguins....

Lila pointing out the beautiful sea horses...

These are my favorite too...

My attempt to get a good photo of all three....
Elise was in definite movie star mode today, as she kept her sunglasses on- even inside the aquarium.

It was the most crowded I have ever seen it (which is great for New Orleans), but it was a little overwhelming and we didn't last too long....but, I think they really enjoyed the outing, and even the walk there and back.
It was such a nice change of scenery and break for the kids...and a great chance for me to spend some time with my parents and enjoying New Orleans....
Now off to prepare for the big birthday weekend, since, come Monday, we will have a 5 year old in the house!