follow the yellow brick road

We followed the yellow brick road last night to the annual "Boo-fet" at our neighborhood country club. They do a really cute kid-friendly buffet, and then top it off with a balloon guy, face-painting, a trick or treat table, and a haunted house.
Elise set the tone for costumes this year when she decided (while we were reading the chapter book Wizard of Oz) that Boss would make a perfect Toto and she would be a great Dorothy! I was thrilled when Bennett, on his own, decided he wanted to be the Tin Man! You know I love some coordination and a cohesive theme! So, Lila decided she would be the good witch. I decided she can think she is the good witch, but the wicked witch costume would be much easier to pull together! :) (She does play a good villain too!) We were able to borrow the Dorothy costume from Kimberly, so I only had to buy the Tin Man, and then the fabulous sparkly red shoes were buy one get one 1/2 off at Target, so both girls got a pair.

Our little good/wicked witch!

Dorothy and Toto

Off to see the Wizard....we would (to our surprise!) be picking up the scarecrow later!

We ran into lots of friends at the Boo-fet, and how perfect that Bennett's new buddy, Jack Ramsey, was the scarecrow! We ended up getting a giant table with the Richardsons, Groners, and Bristers (minus Patrick and Su).

Constance and Elise
Our little witch was feeling much more wicked than good last night and so Lila and I ended up having to go after about 30 minutes. I think she was just really tired, because she passed out before David and the other two even got home. But, Elise and Bennett had a TON of fun, and are already talking about next year!



Lots has been going around here the past few days, and so I have a lot of catching up to do.

David worked really hard this weekend and finished up the bathroom demolition. He definitely saved us a lot of money taking this on. The contractor commented on what a great job he did! :)

The space where our shower used to be...

Walls gone....

And sea shell sinks are gone forever! Yeah!! The contractor started today, and we are really excited. Poor Boss was a nervous wreck with all of the jackhammering! Otherwise, it looks like our plan is going to be able to be implemented. We weren't exactly sure what they would find when they opened up the slab, but it appears that all plumbing can be moved where it needs to be to work with our new layout.

On Saturday, our neighbors invited us over to watch the LSU game. It was lots of fun. The kids got all dressed in their game day gear and so I decided to snap a few pics before we left...This first picture cracks me up b/c it was David expressing his confusion as to why taking a family pic has to be such an ordeal. You would think we were asking the kids to clean the chimney or something.

It only took about 30 shots to get the above pic, and look at Bennett's face.
So funny.

Yesterday, Elise got to wear her Halloween costume to dance class. Isn't her class adorable???

I think she makes a pretty cute Dorothy!

Tonight was Dad's night at the kids' school. David and I both attended and followed our same plan as during Mom's tea, since that seemed to keep everyone happy. It was really cute. Elise told her teachers that her favorite things about her Dad are that he takes her to the bakery on Saturday mornings and reads her stories at night. She also said he is about 4 lbs (yes, four) and has brown hair and blue eyes. :)

The three munchkins and their Dad....Yes, it is October 26, but it was also 87 degrees today (seriously) and so, yes, I let them wear the summer outfits they wanted.

And, a rare family picture!
It has been a fun, full week already, and we still have plenty of days to go!
Hope ya'll are having a good one!
Love, Nicole


Mom's (and Dad's in our case) Tea

Today was one of my favorite days of the school year at the kids' school- Mom's Tea! It is soo precious and I always look forward to it. Unfortunately this year, both the twins' (this was their first year for Mom's Tea) and Elise's (her last year) fell on the same day and at the same time. So, I went with Elise to her tea, and David went with Lila and Bennett to their tea. Last minute we ended up switching half way through, which worked out well because I was able to quickly meet some of the Moms of both classes. We'll be doing double duty on the upcoming Dad's night as well, so I am glad this seemed to work out well, and the kids seemed ok with the fact that David and I split duty.
The kids baked muffins for us and set the tables beautifully. They made precious place mats, table decor, and name tags with their pictures on them. Then they showed us their normal morning circle time routine and sang songs for us about Moms and fall. Too cute!

Making myself be in more pics...even though I hate it! :)
It was a special day and I am thankful to have this picture.

Elise and Reese- they have become great friends this year.

Notice how Elise likes to dress up so much! I love it that she does, and even though the other kids really don't she continues to like to wear her dressy dresses and bows to school! I took Elise to the fair last weekend (it was a fundraiser for her friend Ella's school) and she had so much fun picking out the tea pot hair clip she is wearing...just for the Mom's tea. She had to get one for Lila too, of course.

Couldn't fit the whole class in, but aren't they cute! Their classroom is adorable and I really enjoyed the tour Elise gave me of all of the centers.

Then I headed over to L and B's classroom. This is their fabulous teacher, Mrs. M. LOVE HER.
She had Elise as well, and so I am super comfortable with her and know they are in caring hands. Lila, for a change, was very camera shy today. Not her at all!! She has been in a MOOD lately. I think 3 is the new 2 for girls. Gracious!

It was fun to put little faces with the names they are starting to mention more and more. Here is Bennett making a castle with Hudson and Joy. They both talk about these two often! Precious.

I was really grateful that both David and I were able to be there for the kids today. It was wonderful. I must admit I was fighting back the tears watching Elise...I wish she could stay at this school forever...but, I know she has to (unfortunately) grow up!


bye blast-from-the-past bath

We started a huge project this weekend. We are saying SEE YA to our very strangely laid out, very dated, very poor-use-of-space master bath. Yippee!!! When we bought our house last year, we knew that this would eventually be a project we would like to tackle. I would say it, without a doubt, sticks out like a sore thumb in our house. Obviously we could continue to live with the tacky sea-shell sinks, way too low vanity tops, lack of lighting, and lack of flooring. The main thing that has been bugging us, more than all of the cosmetic issues, is the lack of closet space. I have been doing ok, using the strange "linen" closet for my pjs, lounge wear, and shoes, and using one of the closets for my clothes. But, David's closet situation is pretty sad and pretty inconvenient. So, we decided to take advantage of some good rates out there and bite the bullet. Renovation here we come!

Above is a view of the bath from the back toilet area. You can see that it is a LOT of space, which is awesome. We have enjoyed the huge bath tub- the kids especially used to love bathing in it...basically an indoor swimming pool! HA!
The vanity is fine. It is nice to have two sinks and plenty of space, so that is what we were focusing on, instead of the fact that it is pretty ugly and way, way too low.
Apparently there used to be carpet in the bathroom (sooooo disgusting!) and it was ripped out at some point and nothing was put back. The concrete floor was just a mess with paint spills and so a few months back I painted it chocolate brown, just to give it some sort of resemblance to a regular floor.
It is so strange to me in a bathroom this big to have NO privacy for the toilet area. That is going to change. There is no reason why the whole bathroom should have to be off limits just because someone is actually using the bathroom.

Nothing from the above pic (with the exception of my cozy robe, awesome antique ladder, and braille painting) will be staying in the new bathroom. Bye bye massive shower that is impossible to keep warm!! Farewell "fabulous" brass faucet with faux crystal handles. SEE YA NEVER!!!

As of this weekend, David has already beat this vanity to shreds and the pieces of it are in the dumpster outside of our house!! He also tore out the linen closet, dressing table, and two other half walls. Lots of progress!! He is doing as much of the demolition as he can to help us with the budget.
I am really excited about the direction we are going and can't wait to see everything fall in to place...I know it is going to be quite a process, but we are looking forward to the end result. It is something that we are going to enjoy since we plan on living here for a long time...and, if we ever decided to move, something that will definitely add to the value of our house...
Our main objectives are: to more than double the closet space, to create privacy in the toilet area, and well...to just make it pretty! It is a huge room, so in order to stay on budget (you could go way crazy in a bathroom this size) we are making some different types of choices to make it very "us".
Another exciting adventure in the Parnell house begins....


night school?

Lila is a very entertaining little thing. She definitely makes us laugh on a very regular basis. David came home from the gym last night and noticed that her door was open. He went in to check on her and came out cracking up at what he had seen.
She was passed out on her bed with a whole classroom set up around her. All of her students had a book and they were arranged in a semi-circle on her floor. She requires the LEAST amount of sleep of all of our kids - always has, and so it is not usual for her to play quietly (or sing Annie songs at the top of her lungs) after she is tucked in. But, this is by far the most elaborate situation she has created thus far. As long as she stays in her room and doesn't disrupt her siblings, we just let her play...

I just wonder exactly what she was teaching all of her people???
Too bad we can't collect tuition money from the stuffed animals.


a day

Yesterday it seemed as if we were trying to figure how much we could possibly cram into one day....it was a day!!

David's Mom got here Friday night, and so she was along for the ride yesterday...we started by heading across the lake around 8:45 for a birthday party at the City Park Carousel. We wanted to be there because it is a precious family of four girls...Elise went to preschool with one of the daughters, and still takes ballet with her now, and Lila dances with another one. It was an adorable party, and a gorgeous day.....

Lila, our house crazy-lady, surprisingly is the most hesitant about rides....she preferred to start out nice and safely on the carousel bench!

Bennett, on the other hand, never got off of the carousel. He just went from animal to animal, and was happy as he could be!

She finally decided to try out the camel, as long as her Daddy rode with her....

B loving his horse....

Elise also having a great time....

Two little cuties!!
Camille was hesitant as well, so they had fun hanging together on the bench...
David and I were only disappointed that we had to get back to Mandeville...it would have been a beautiful day to spend in City Park.
But, Elise had another birthday party for a classmate from school to go to at 11:30, so we had to head back across the lake. David and his Mom dropped Elise and I off at the next party, and went on a few errands that HAD to get done yesterday. They stopped home, walked Boss, grabbed Elise's soccer clothes, and then picked us back up at the party to head to the soccer field.
The "Pinkalicious Unicorns" had a great game yesterday! Emmy was so impressed with how much Elise has improved since last year....she is so much more confident and is going after the ball more. She had two awesome assists...almost a goal...but, she really played well and had a BLAST!
By the time we got home from the ball park it was after three o'clock....And this is what a 3 year old who has done too much and had too much sugar looks like by that point:

Ummmm....yeah. It was a little much. I think it is safe to say that we will be taking it easy on Sunday.
Last night David grilled fajitas and his Dad joined us for dinner and the INSANE LSU game. The perfect crazy way to end a very crazy day!

One more pic of Elise and Bananas after her game, as we will be working on his journal this afternoon. We are going to add to his book all of the pictures we took with him this weekend so that E's classmates can see how Bananas spent his time here with us.
Hope you all enjoyed your Saturday as well!


Elise had a holiday from school on Friday and so we had already planned to have a fun day with Shelley and Mary Cooper at the zoo. How much more fun that Bananas would get to come with us and see some fellow monkeys?

The kids have always loved the flamingos, and so they had fun showing them to Bananas...

Next we headed to the elephants...where Elise found it very stinky!!

Lila and Bennett didn't seemed to mind and were already on their first snack of the day (we had been there maybe 10 minutes!)

Shelley, Mary Cooper, and Lila while we were getting ready for lunch...

Lila being silly by the iron cheetah...

The beautiful giraffes....
It was such a beautiful day and we were so glad to finally get to spend some time with Shelley and MC. Seems harder and harder to get schedules to work out, and so we were thrilled to find a day to spend together. I don't know about Shelley, but I slept really well that night...it was hard work with 4 little ones at the zoo.....but totally worth it, as I think they all had fun!



Big news when I picked up Elise and Reese in car line today. "Bananas" was spending the weekend with us!!! Pure joy on Elise's face as she shared the news with me! You see, Bananas is their pre-k classes equivalent to student-of-the week. Whoever is on their best behavior that week gets to take Bananas home for the weekend. Then, their job is to (with parents help, of course) document their weekend with Bananas and add it to the class scrapbook. This is the 4th week that B has gone home with someone, starting with a boy (he alternates boy/girl), and so Elise was thrilled to be the second girl to get a weekend with Bananas! I was also very proud that she had earned that right!
Reece was going to hang out here for a bit after school while her Mom chaperoned a field trip for her older sister, and so the girls begged for the photography to begin immediately!

To be honest, within the hour Bananas was driving me...well, a little bananas. Elise was doing well sharing, but I think I heard "Bananas" 1000 times in the first 30 minutes we were home. Bennett immediately became obsessed, and so it was a constant share game with Elise, Reese, and Bennett.

Meanwhile, my goofball Lila was just going bananas on her own, waiting for me to "PULL MY LEGS MOMMY! BERY,BERY HIGH!!"
I was a little busy taking pics, but patience isn't exactly her forte these days.

She is a pretty cute goofball....

We had to take pics of Bananas on the swing...

And on the slide...
I was going a little cuckoo with the begging for Bananas, and trying to keep the little ones out of the big girls business, and so I decided it was time for us to have our own "field trip". Off to get frozen yogurt! I billed it as Elise's reward for getting chosen to take care of Bananas. It was fun, calmed the kids down, and enabled us to chill outside and enjoy the beautiful weather we have been having.

Then tonight, Elise and Bananas getting ready for her Wizard of Oz chapter...

A group hug before prayers...

And night-night with Bananas (and GiGi, of course!)......
Are you going Bananas from reading Bananas so many times??? Only three more days of this! :)