Today was another beautiful day here..........

We have spent a ton of time outside this week, because for the first time in a LONG time, we can do so without risking a heatstroke!! The kids have been riding bikes, playing on the swing set, exploring our backyard, rescuing imaginary animals (yes, they love Dora and Diego these days), climbing imaginary mountains, and eating non-imaginary fudgesicles....

Speaking of imagining - Elise has been imagining all sorts of things...In fact, I got a hilarious phone call this morning from my friend Stacey that I carpool with to school. She brings Elise on the days I don't have to bring Lila and Bennett, and I pick up her cutie pie daughter (the youngest of 4!) on the days I do bring the little ones. It has been great! Elise and Reese have been in ballet together for 2 years, but this is their first year in the same class at school and they have really hit it off. I am excited that they will be heading to the same school next year together to start Kindergarten, as I think alot of their family and know it will make getting on the bus the first day that much easier for Elise. Anyway, I digress...
So, Reese is a few months younger than Elise, just about to turn 5. And she has a loose tooth. Apparently this is BIG TIME news among the 4/5 year old group. I have a feeling Elise is going to be late in this department, because if I remember correctly she was walking before she had her first tooth! So, when Elise hopped in the car this morning, Reese (of course very proud) showed Elise her wiggling tooth. Stacey said that Elise was immediately awestruck. And then the stories began. She told them that she had actually already lost 4 teeth, but they grew back. And that she had another one that was wiggling right now. And that every night Bennett comes into her room and wiggles her tooth for her so that it will fall out soon, because he wants her to share her gold coins (does the tooth fairy seriously bring gold coins???? I have got to learn) with him when the tooth fairy comes.
Of course Reese believed every word Elise said and Stacey said she was laughing so hard, but didn't dare rain on her parade.......
This comes on the heels of the tall tale she told my Mom about a week ago...that we have a bunny rabbit and a deer in our backyard (this part is actually true) and that they got in a really big fight..that she watched it out of the window.....
And on top of the story she told Kimberly about Bennett having to go in the ambulance after David spanked him too hard!!! (Bennett does not even get spankings...they do not phase him!)
We are going to have to watch this girl!
Don't want to stifle the imagination.....But, when does telling stories cross the line into telling lies???
Think I will go get in the tub and imagine that I am at a luxurious spa.....
Good night!!



Lots to recap from this weekend for the Parnell house, including a few exciting firsts, lots of fun, and little sleep. HA!

We are all happy to have David safely back home with us. He had been out of town since Thursday for work. He got home around 4 today and the kids and I were thrilled to seem him. I must say, my four day stint as a single Mom was pretty exhausting and so I am really appreciating those Moms that run the whole show on their own 24/7.
Feeling really grateful tonight that I have a partner in crime!

And to be truthful, I wasn't completely alone all weekend because my Mom offered to keep Lila and Bennett during Elise's 8:30 a.m. soccer game on Saturday. It would have been doable to bring them, but I wouldn't have been able to watch any of the game. Turns out, it was an important game to watch.....Elise scored her first really legit goal!!! I wish I had video of her face, as the expression was about equivalent to when she realized we were getting to keep Boss! She immediately turned and looked to see that I saw, and when I gave her a thumbs up she ran across the field to me to give me a high five!! Good thing I had sunglasses on to hide the tears that were welling up. And, please do not mistake my pride for being over the fact that she scored a goal- I could care less if she is a good soccer player or not. But, her self confidence has grown, and that is what got me. That and the fact that I was thinking of how devastated David would be to miss it, and the first words out of her mouth were, "I can't wait to tell Daddy!"
She says she is going to score another one next week just for him!

My Mom had taken L & B over to Mimi and Grandpa's house, and so we headed there to meet them and so that Elise could tell them about her game. So exciting! After that we came home so that Elise and I could bathe and shower (so much for "Fall" around here- it was miserable again- even at 8:30 a.m.) and get ready for her exciting night. Ella was coming over and I was taking them to a friend's faux slumber party Saturday night from 5-8. They were so excited!

The kids played for a while, and then we headed out. I dropped off E and E at the party, which was a big deal! This was Elise's first drop off birthday party. I know the Mom well, and it was at their house, so I felt comfortable letting the girls stay. I could tell Elise was so nervous, even though she wanted to go so bad, and I fought back the tears for the second time that day as I drove away. I know the only way she is going to overcome her shyness is to conquer situations like that, and so I was really happy that she wanted to go, and that she had Ella with her to lean on. Turns out there were a lot more girls there that she knew (including the super sweet and motherly "big" Camille), and so she ended up having a blast.

I decided to go on a "date" with Lila and Bennett while the girls were at the party. They were sad they weren't at a party, and I was kind of tired of being in our house and so we went to McAlister's for dinner. Kind of hard to get very stimulating conversation out of two 3 year olds, but they made me laugh a lot and we all enjoyed our food. They ate so well, I decided to give them an extra special treat and we walked across the parking lot to Menchie's to get some frozen yogurt. YUM. They had so much fun picking their flavors and toppings, and then choosing our table to eat at. At one point I looked over as Bennett took a HUGE bite of chocolate with gummi bears and he just smiled and said, "Delicious."
So cute.

We came home, walked Boss, got ready for bed, and then went back to get the girls. When I got there the street was PACKED with cars, and I ended up having to get barefoot-and-pj-wearing L & B out of the car to go get the girls. I pulled right up to the door to drop them off and there had been maybe 8 little girls there. OH MY GOODNESS what organized chaos when we entered that party!! All I can say is that Lindsey deserves some kind of medal for having so many girls at her house! They were having a blast though. They had pizza, pedicures, face painting, made glitter pumpkins, and I am sure much, much more!

Elise and Ella had fun pretending they were twins and were so proud of their blue sparkly toenail polish. Another first was happening that night, Ella was going to spend the night. I was so proud of the girls (really all 4 kids) and how well they cooperated when we got home from the party. We immediately went upstairs, washed off the face paint, brushed teeth, said prayers, and got in bed. I only had to go into Elise's room once to tell them it was time to go to sleep, and they were just whispering quietly while laying down when I did so.

I wish I could say the rest of the night went as smoothly. Would have been a little too good to be true, with 4 kids under 5, for things to be so easy!

In general, the kids do not sleep well when David is gone. Well, really they aren't the greatest sleepers overall. We rarely go more than a 3 day stretch without someone waking up in the middle of the night for something. So, I was not surprised that Bennett was up Thursday night, Friday night, and Saturday night, and also not shocked that Lila got up Thursday night as well. Last night won prize for worst night, and so I am pretty thankful it was my last one solo- at least for a while. Elise started coughing a lot shortly before midnight (and not too long after I had finally fallen asleep) and could not sleep. I let her come down into my bed so that she wouldn't wake up Ella. She just coughed and coughed and coughed. I finally gave her some meds around 2:30 because she was beyond exhausted and frankly, so was I. She finally slipped into a peaceful sleep. About 30 minutes later Bennett woke up. He is usually pretty easy to get back to sleep, but not this time. Afraid he was going to wake Ella and Lila upstairs I brought him down as well and tried to go to sleep. He fell back asleep, but no luck for me. So I headed to the couch! It was like a game of musical beds!! After a short while he noticed I was missing and came out the couch to get me!! By this time it was close to 5, and I think he and I just passed out in my bed (with Elise) out of shear exhaustion!
Whew! Makes me tired just thinking about it!!
(Obviously I am being a little dramatic right now for documenting purposes and I completely realize that missing some sleep a few nights in row and taking care of my own children for a long weekend by myself is not really a huge accomplishment in life! And, I am very grateful for the tiring yet rewarding weekend!!)

I am pretty proud to say I still managed to get all of us to church (better late than never, right?) and Elise to Godly play. Kimberly came and got Ella this morning before we left. Lila, Bennett, and I made a quick grocery run while Elise was in Godly play and then we headed home for lunch and the tough Saints loss.

I must admit that not too long after David got home I laid down for a "power nap" and ended up sleeping for an hour! I appreciate him giving me a little rest and taking over right after he got home!

So, a jam-packed weekend in our house. The one downer was the Saints loss (to the Falcons- yuck!!), but hopefully, like Drew's book, they'll come back stronger.

Hope you all had wonderful, exhausting, exhilarating weekends as well!



I decided to take the kids out to the Lakefront for a bike ride today. It has been so hot, but they have really been wanting to ride their bikes....but after a few minutes outside they are so miserable. There is a nice breeze by the lake, so I thought it would be a fun adventure!
I pictured this awesome adventure and thought the kids would LOVE having a "parade" along the lake.
Not everything turns out how you picture it!
Bennett was not really in a bike riding mood, and Lila and Elise were fighting over who could be the "line leader". Then Lila kicked into high speed gear and got a little too far in front of us. I was proud of myself for staying somewhat calm, and was eventually able to get the group back together!
I had sent Kimberly a text when I decided to take them out there (they live a block away from the lake) and we were so excited when she and the girls showed up with their bikes. So, the kids all found their happy faces (for the most part!) and we spent the rest of the afternoon riding and hanging out.
Even Boss (with his new haircut!) had a fun afternoon! I think he'll PASS out tonight!
Hope the first day of Fall brings some cooler weather this way...


belated birthdays

We all want to wish the best two Aunts in the world happy, happy, happy, birthdays!!!
Love ya'll so much!!



I'm bummed that this is the only decent (and it really isn't decent) picture of Bennett's first day of basketball. I decided that he should have his own "thing", since he has to sit at ballet two days a week for his sisters.
He had fun, and is excited to play bball like G and Uncle Jared. We have to work on his expectations a little, as he was devastated every time he missed a shot. I think he is going to be a little competitive like his Daddy.


sea of pink

It was a sea of pink at Elise's first soccer game of the season on Saturday. David got second pick for the uniforms, so he was able to snag the hot pink, while light pink went to the #1 pick. The two pinks met up on Saturday mid-day for the first game.

Honestly, it was miserable. Poor Elise got so overheated that she threw up and therefore had to throw in the towel a little early! It is a great group of girls, and hopefully with fall weather coming (will it ever?!) soccer will become a little more enjoyable.



My adorable cousin, Deslonde, needed a model for one of her collage art projects. Elise was honored to be asked. Here is a sneak peak at her work:

Can't wait to see the rest!! I'm blown away!

settling in

So far, Boss seems to be enjoying us as much as we are enjoying him...



Something big happened in the Parnell house last night.
Ironically, that something big is something very, very small.

David told the kids yesterday morning that he was bringing someone home to watch the game with us. A "special" visitor.

When he finally got home, and Elise caught a glimpse of the visitor....she ran like the wind...

with a HUGE smile on her face.....

...to meet the newest, smallest, member of the Parnell family....

Can you see him next to David?

Three ecstatic little kids...(who have no idea about the conversations, stress, and emotions involved in this decision, and therefore we will leave that for another post)....

who are all VERY.....


VERY happy to meet "Boss".
Full name Boss Brees Parnell.
Who we welcomed to the family last night, and who helped us cheer the Saints onto their first victory of the season!
And for who we are so grateful to for giving Elise the biggest smile I have seen on her face in a long time....
.....and also because he doesn't seem to mind one bit that she holds him constantly. :)
Welcome to the adventure, Boss!


virginia - part five

It seems crazy that I am breaking up a 3 day trip into so many posts, but we crammed a lot into those three days and I don't want to leave anything out!

After recovering from Maymont, we headed to downtown Richmond to Logan and John's house. They have an incredible old house (oh how I love old homes), and it was filled to the brim with Allisons, Parnells, and Vetrovecs. It was so much fun to spend more time together, as well as to get to know John's family.

The kids picked up where they had left off the night before and immediately started playing...

James gave Elise, Stella, and Judson a wagon ride (what a strong little thing!) down the sidewalk...which was a beautiful herringbone brick pattern....

Elise found some dress up in Stella's room and changed clothes! James was goofing around.....

Lila ended up in the same dress up later on in the night! (of course!)

Elise and sweet little Judson....

James, Elise, Judson, and Stella...

Stella and Elise...

Logan, Whit, and John....

The WHOLE gang!!!!!!!

I was watching the kids upstairs playing in Stella's room and they decided to form a band....
Turner on drums, James on the turntable, Elise on keys, Lila on cymbals, and Bennett on guitar....
Elise would start off the jam with, "1, 2, a 1, 2, 3, 4" and then the "music" would begin....they had a blast, and I had a blast watching them!!
I know it was a lot of work for Logan and John with two small kids to host a party of this kind...we are truly so appreciate to them basically devoting their whole Labor Day weekend to us! Thank you, thank you!!
Monday morning we headed down to David's cousin's coffee shop, The Black Hand, and had a delicious breakfast and awesome cup of coffee....
One last lunch with Kay, Roy, Lee, and Casey, and then it was time for the trip to come to an end.....
So we sadly said our goodbyes!
It was a great way to spend a weekend and we are so thankful to Roy and Kay for letting us basically take over their house for 3 days. We love ya'll!

virginia - part four

Sunday morning we made plans to meet the Vetrovec Family at Maymont Park. It is a HUGE, free park, full of animals and gardens that is absolutely beautiful.. We couldn't have asked for better weather either...

First we got to see some horses....

Then, we passed through a butterfly garden, which the kids adored! David even got the name of the plant that was attracting some, and we hope to plan some in our backyard...there were butterflies EVERYWHERE!

The kids had lots of fun and were such troopers - there was a lot of walking involved!

Of course, every chance we got, we lined up the cousins for photoshoots....

There were tons of birds, including owls, vultures, and eagles, many of which were injured and rescued to live at Maymont...

Another photo op!

And another....

There was a beautiful Chinese garden with a lily pond and waterfall...the kids were so excited abuot walking across the stepping stones....

And Elise enjoyed posing for a picture for her Daddy...

We loved Maymont!
Now it was time to go home and rest up, because the brave Logan and John were having everyone over to their house tonight for dinner!

virginia - part three

After our great morning of swimming Saturday, we headed back to Roy and Kay's to get ready for the bbq that night. They had invited the whole family over for hamburgers and hot dogs, and we were really looking forward to it!!

The kids wasted no time getting to know each other!

Look how precious these kids are! That is James at the top, then Elise and Bennett, then Turner, Stella, and Lila....
James immediately started flirting with Elise...he is 4 1/2, so just a little younger, and he kept asking her, "do you like me?" "do you think I am funny?"
Such a little character! She loved the attention, and by the end of the night they were inseparable!
Bennett was thrilled to have some boys around, and loved following them everywhere!
Lila and Stella bonded, worked on puzzles together, and chased the boys!

Then Logan read all of the kids a story....

We fed the kids, and then when it was time for us to eat, we put on a movie for the kids...
They all laid on the floor with pillows and cracked up!

And, yes, look at our shy little daughter, HOLDING HANDS.....shyness went out of the window this night!!!

So cute!! It was such a fun night! We really appreciated Roy and Kay hosting such a wonderful get together!! The kids had an absolute blast, and I really enjoyed getting to know all of the cousins, and cousins spouses (some of which I hadn't met before) that night. They are such a great group, and David and I felt like we were hanging out with people we had known forever!


virginia - part two

The kids did great on the plane, and we had a relatively uneventful trip to Richmond. When we got to the airport, David's Aunt and Uncle were nice enough to meet us there with three car seats for the kids. It was so nice not to have to lug ours on the plane, and not to have to pay to rent them. We rented a mini van, which David became obsessed with, all piled in and headed to their house.
We met David's cousin Logan, her husband John, and their cute kids Stella and Whit for a pizza dinner in downtown Richmond, and then walked down to a little farmers market that was going on. After a long day of travel, we decided the kids had had enough and headed back to go to sleep.
Saturday morning the kids were up bright and early, and when Uncle Roy mentioned he needed to clean up the patio for that evenings family bbq, the kids wanted to help!

The weather was beautiful, almost chilly, and they loved being outside. It was such a pretty day we decided to spend some time at their country club pool.
Here we met up with some more cousins: Andy & Brooke with their little one Judson, Clay & Stephanie with their two boys Turner and James, and Lee & Casey.
We had so much fun!

Bennett even thought about jumping off of the diving board....

But then changed his mind....

Lila looking at her shadow (this pic reminds me of one of my favs from the Brister Blog)....

And Elise swimming with Uncle Roy and James....

It was a great day at the pool, and a good way to gear up for the big BBQ that night!