more first

Today Lila and Bennett have their first day of 3 year old preschool. They are going two half days a week. I can't wait to hear about their day. Lila was super excited this morning...Bennett was a little more hesitant, as he really likes to hang with me. :) But, I know they are going to have sooo much fun, and it will be nice to have a small amount of time to get things done, schedule appointments for myself, and run errands without my mini-entourage.

Elise was a great big sis this morning and asked if she could walk her brother in sister in as they had walked her in yesterday. She gave them big hugs and then said, "Don't worry, I'll see you on the playground!". So cute! I'm glad they have one more year together before E heads off to kindergarten! I hope they always love each other as much as they do now...



Today is Elise's first day of Pre-K. She was SOOO excited this morning about school!! I can't wait to pick her up and hear about her day!!

I feel bad that I didn't post any pictures of our meet the teacher visit from last Friday. We had a great meeting and are thrilled with her teachers for this year. I know she is going to have a great year.

It was a long, rough, weekend, which included a trip to the ER for David Friday night. No broken bones this time, but an extremely severe ear infection- to the point that his ear and face were so swollen it looked like he had been attacked by bees. According to the E.N.T this morning, neither the Dr. he saw last Thursday, or the Dr. he saw in the ER Friday night handled his case correctly, which meant he was in excruciating pain all weekend. Hopefully the Dr. this morning now has him on the correct meds and he will be feeling better asap. The kids missed out on their usual bonding time with their Dad, and I must admit that I got a little reminder of how much I should appreciate my husband. He usually takes a lot of the parenting lead on the weekend and it is my time to get chores done, recharge a little, and have some breathing room. I definitely won't be taking his help for granted anymore.

Lila and Bennett are (im)patiently anticipating their first day of school tomorrow....and missing their sister. We have been an inseparable foursome this summer, and so it is a little weird without our 4th "team-mate". But, I know she is having a blast!!

Hope everyone has a great week!


meet and greet

Lila and Bennett were thrilled to go to school today and meet their teachers for Mother's Day out this fall. They each got to bring a special toy to show the teachers. Lila brought LuLu and Bunny, and Bennett brought his big Buzz (no surprises there!). They were a little shy at first, but quickly warmed up, and were NOT happy when it was time to leave. I know they are going to have a fabulous year this year because they have two wonderful teachers- I couldn't be more happy!

This afternoon I am taking Elise with me and we are both going to get our hair "done". She is pretty excited. Her hair hasn't been cut in forever. I have a feeling she is only going to want a little trim...nothing drastic.
Then (as is evident in the above pic) I need to find time to squeeze in a back to school hair cut for Bennett as well!

Exciting times around here!


pool fun

I love Bennett's infectious laugh and this video captures a little of it. They had such a blast in the pool! He is really swimming like a fish....swim team, here we come!


all things must come to an end eventually...

We arrived home safely this afternoon from our wonderful week at the beach. The kids (and myself!) had a wonderful time. We are so thankful to my parents for the gift of this vacation...what a great way to end the summer!



Playing with the dogs...

Pool races with G...

Looking adorable in shades...

Eating "sicles" on the beach...


And being sassy....
All those things, plus missing David, Jared, Erinn, and Phillip......
That's how we spent our day....
Happy Thursday...can't believe the week is almost over already!


sun, sand, and storms

We are really enjoying the big purple house. The kids are at the perfect age for this type of vacation, and they are just enjoying it immensely. Their major strides in the the pool have made for a much more relaxing vacation for everyone. Although they still need to be watched closely, there is not the amount of anxiety there has been in the past having a pool on the premises. I even spent some time laying out (right) next to the pool today while the three of them swam!
We have been spending some time at the beach, but the extra windy conditions have made that a little difficult. The flying sand kind of feels like little needles hitting your skin, so our trips to the beach have been short and sweet. On the positive side, the wind keeps it pretty cool..even to the point of being cold in the pool when the sun goes behind the clouds...so the heat has not been an issue at all!
It has rained on and off, and we had such a bad storm Sunday that our wireless router blew. They just brought us a new one today...

Here our some pics from our first day at the beach....I'm a little behind, but will catch up!

David's arm has healed well enough for him to get lots of golf in with my Dad and brother, and I've been enjoying spending time with my Mom, sister, and sister-in-law. We even "escaped" for a few hours last night during the rain to check out the nearby outlet malls. We are sad that David, Jared, and Erinn have to head back to reality today, but thankful for the time we have had with them. We have loved it!


the adventure begins....

We packed up the car this morning and headed out on our annual family beach trip! We have all been eagerly anticipating the trip, and it is so exciting that it is finally here.

David decided he wanted to make the ride there a little more fun for the kids so we decided to take the ferry from Dauphin Island to Ft. Morgan....

One of the ferries was out of service (unfortunately they do not update their website with this info) and so we had a little time to kill waiting for our ride...

The kids found hundreds of crabs under the pier....

posed for pictures...

learned about wildlife with their Dad...

posed for more pictures....

...and then FINALLY enjoyed our short ferry ride to Ft. Morgan. It was worth the wait!!

Mom, Dad, David and I just finished eating some awesome steaks that David grilled and are about to head to bed (we are such partiers around here!)..... and we are looking forward to Monique, Jared, and Erinn arriving tomorrow!
We are so grateful for time with family at the beach!



We have been playing a TON of zingo around here!

It is such a fun game....the box says 4 and up, but it is definitely fine for the just turned 3 year olds and I would bet many 2 year olds as well.

Elise has a touch of a stomach bug (she doesn't look sick, does she?) so we have been laying low. And, with the rainy afternoons, zingo is the perfect way to kill some time. It was after lunch entertainment today...before lunch we went and got an oil change. Exciting days around here, right? :) We had fun!

Lila is the most competitive- telling everyone, "i'm gonna beat you!" before we start...but then her softer side often slips her twin brother a piece he needs. That totally describes her! Tough, wild, and crazy on the outside, and incredibly giving (and a little cuckoo) on the inside!

Board games are the best! This one will be coming with us to the big purple house!

So excited for the Saints first game tonight! Even though it is preseason it still gets us all pumped up!! GOOO SAINTS!


ladies man

Last night, after Bennett finished brushing his teeth (extra thoroughly I might add) he looked at himself in the mirror and said, "Now, all of the girls will kiss me."

I have a feeling he didn't come up with this on his own.......:)

Happy Wednesday!


fabulously five

{excuse the old pic - figured it was better than nothing}

Elise had a great five year old check up this morning! She has come a long way since last summer, and has really grown to trust our pediatrician. She was very brave and cooperative.
The fact that she didn't have to get any shots definitely helped the situation.

Lila has had a slight fever and I wouldn't have normally taken her in, but since we were there, I decided to get her checked as well. So, then, of course, Bennett told the Dr. that he had a cough also (totally not true). Just proves that at their ages they are jealous of anything- even been checked by the Dr.!! Luckily we have a very patient Dr. who humored Bennett by checking him as well, and then rewarded everyone with suckers and stickers.
As expected, Lila just has a summer virus and will be fine in no time.

So, since this blog is my baby book, here are her stats:
She is now 42 inches tall (approx 50%) and weighs 36lbs 12.8 ounces (approx 25%). According to my Mom she is about the exact same size Aunt Mo was at this age- and we called her peanut! So, for our family, she is definitely a petite little thing.
All three are in the same shoe size right now, so I am pretty sure the older sister is going to end up being the shorter sister in the Parnell clan. :)
Dr. R gave her a pep talk about trying new foods (pretty sure that went in one ear and out the other), but said her growth is actually perfect and she would much rather her right where she is than heavier. She had high praise for her fine motor skills and encouraged me to make sure that she does not get bored, as she could sense her desire for knowledge and new things.

I can sense this as well, and she continues to keep me on my toes and challenged. I am seeing a lot of maturity lately, and it is making me realize just how grown up she is getting. She helped me all day yesterday clean out the playroom, and seemed to actually love sorting out the toys into keep, donate, toss piles. We have been reading Peter Pan, one chapter a night, and I am absolutely amazed at the depth of her questions, and her desire to know what each and every word means. I must admit, it is an exercise in patience, as a 4-5 page chapter sometimes takes us an entire hour to get through. But, I do feel like it is expanding her vocabulary greatly. She shocked me last night, when several times, after I gave the definition of a word, she then used it in a sentence to practice. On her own.

Her extreme sensitivity is also very evident, and for this I have no one to blame but myself. I was talking to my Mom the other day about it and my Mom just smiled and said, "She is you."
She still often has crying spells about missing Baxter. She seems to have dealt better actually with Tiger's death than with Baxter's relocation. She often begs for him to come home, and this, of course, kills David and I, but we still feel good about our decision, and know that at some point, we will get another dog. She doesn't forget anything, and when something bothers her, it bothers her...

Her imagination is amazing, and she loves to do anything creative. She picked out a book of paper dolls at Barnes and Nobles after story time this week and literally played with them for 6 straight hours when we got home. I sooo wanted to eavesdrop to all of "their" conversations, but also wanted to give her space to be free and creative.

One of my biggest challenges continues to be her extreme shyness. It is not an issue at all around people she is very familiar with, but often times in public she just totally shuts down. For example, we will be at the pool and she will see a friend (who she talks about at home all of the time) but cannot make herself go approach her. I am walking a fine line with this. I don't want to give her a complex about it, but I have also tried to explain, gently, that if she doesn't talk to people (or at least say HI) when she sees them, that they will think she does not want to be friends with them. I am hoping the extra year of preschool will help with this and her confidence in general.

So, yes, she is fabulously five. We are enjoying her so much, and watching her grow is such a blessing.....

On another note, Happy Happy Birthday to my little brother Jared! We hope you have a wonderful day!
Love, Nicole


more little ones and a song

We had a last minute get together with some more of our extended family last night- The Bristers and The Mills. We had not really seen Baker since our visit to the hospital, so we were all so excited to see him. The kids were swarming as soon as they walked in the door...

And Miss Myrt is turning into such a big girl...we have figured out that she and the twins will start Kindergarten together in a few years, and we are slightly scared!!! :) Especially of she and Lila working together! But really, she is such a cutie pie, and they had lots of fun dressing up and playing....

I am so sad that the few pics I got of Jacob and Patrick are totally blurry. Don't know what is up with that. I swear Patrick grew a ton while they were at the beach! I, of course, loved having the chance to hold the babies- as much as I could!!
The Mills brought cupcakes, which were a huge hit with kids!

And afterwards, the Dads and kids played a game of zingo while the Moms took their turns to eat. I can see lots of fun game nights in our future as the kids get older!!
Such a fun night...and great to have friends that can come over last minute, and who I know don't care that there are spiderwebs in my corners and hand prints all over my windows! (Cleaning definitely hasn't been at the top of the priority list this summer.)

Elise had a fabulous time attending Vacation Bible School at my parents church last week. So, this morning we went to church with them so that she could sing one of her songs with the kids who also attended.
I didn't realize that they were supposed to wear their VBS t-shirt, but she didn't seem to mind and got really into the song. She had so much fun, and can't wait to go back next year.
It has been a nice weekend spent with friends!