This whole blog post is a departure...a departure from the normally Parnell-kid focused posts, as well as a true departure for David and I, who returned after midnight last night from our first (real) post-kids get away!

Other than the occasional one night away-- for our 10th anniversary, and when given a free night in downtown NOLA after David's Firm Christmas party-- we have never left the kids together for more than one night. Recently, we started thinking it was maybe about time...And, after realizing we could afford a quick trip to Mexico on points, and getting the ok from my parents (the kids were enrolled in VBS at their church last week, where my Mom was volunteering), we booked it.

Non-refundable, all-inclusive, 3 nights in Riviera Maya/Playa del Carmen...right outside of Cancun.

Booking it kind of close to going was good for me...I have unusually high anxiety (at least I can admit it is unusual!) about leaving the kids (even knowing they were in excellent care), and it didn't give me too much time to worry or over analyze it. And, with all we have had going on this summer, I honestly didn't even start really thinking about it until the day before we left.

We got up super early Wednesday morning, were at the airport by 6, and by late afternoon we were in Mexico! Unfortunately it was pouring when we got there, but we did a little exploring around the resort in the rain and then ate a ton of sushi for dinner. David forced me to go to the resort show that night, and I am so glad he did because it was a Michael Jackson tribute and it was soooo entertaining. Words can't even do justice it was so entertaining on so many different levels......:)

When we woke up Thursday we saw the SUN!!

Kindles and cocktails....what more could you ask for??? Almost all of my time was spent reading while sipping mojitos! I absolutely love to read and do not and have not made enough time for it. But, I LOVE IT. I think I got through 6 books in 3 days.

David did a lot of reading too, but he also likes to join in on the activities (I was totally lazy and pretty much did not get off of the lounge chair unless necessary) so he played some beach volleyball and went kayaking in the ocean.

We took tons of pictures of the iguanas everywhere because we knew the kids would be fascinated. There were also families of a very interesting animal that looked like a cross between a raccoon, a huge squirrel, a monkey, and cat running everywhere in the jungle. Our driver called them "molos", but I haven't been able to find a picture yet online. They were so neat...

The resort had 7 restaurants. Obviously we did not get to try them all...the first night we had sushi at the Japanese restaurant and the second night we chose the French restaurant. The food was not mind-blowing, but it was good, and diverse, and it was so nice not to think about money the whole time we were there. I definitely enjoyed the all inclusive aspect ALOT.

David and I having fun with our version of the cheesy posed photograph. You could take couples pictures at the resort and we often saw couples doing this. David is recreating one of the most popular poses...looking back over his should wistfully at the camera....

The resort really was beautiful...very well maintained, and it was a very enjoyable short walk to anywhere we wanted to go on the grounds.

I wish I had taken more pictures, but as I said earlier, most of my time I had my head in a book (kindle)....:)

Heading to dinner on our last night...

We had such a wonderful time and are so grateful that we were able to take this trip together. We skyped with the kids at least once a day, and although we missed them a lot we also enjoyed the chance to rest, have quiet, and spend time together. We are so thankful to my parents for watching the kids for us so that we could go...in fact, we are already talking about when we can go again.......:)


swim banquet

We had such a BLAST at the swim banquet last Wednesday- I hate that I have not made the time to post about it!!! Needless to say, this summer has been crazy busy, and the last two weeks have been no exception...

As I have mentioned many previous times, all three kids absolutely adored participating in swim team this summer. It was such a wonderful experience. And the end of the season banquet did not disappoint either. Complete with face-painting, a balloon man, chicken nuggets, cake--the kids were in heaven!

This was Bennett's balloon sword, with holster, which he refused to take off the whole night, "In case there was trouble."

That definitely had us all laughing...

Serious goof-ball.

Above you can see Bennett getting his first real trophy (of course, still wearing the sword). He was so excited!! All three of the kids have serious crushes on Coach Kevin, and they were thrilled that he gave out the trophies.

Elise's turn....

And Lila....I love her face in this picture...can't tell if she is thrilled with the trophy, or it is just because her first crush is handing it to her!?

With some other swimmers/friends...

These girls love each other and have lots of fun together!

Elise also got a special plaque to commemorate her Swimmer of the Week award. And the 6 and under coaches presented Lila and Bennett with special kick boards that said "fastest learners". All three got special awards, which meant we left with three happy kiddos!

It was such a fun night....I hope the kids continue to love to swim as much as they have this summer...it definitely makes for a super fun summer!!!



At 5 o'clock yesterday Elise turned 6!

She had a fun filled day beginning with a half-day dance camp...

When David got home from work (he came home early, just for her!) she opened her presents and then we headed to her restaurant of choice- IHOP.

Here is the birthday girl modeling her new fall accessories....lots of navy and white for her new school!

Some "big girl" riding boots, which she had admired last fall. They will be adorable with her khaki skirts in the fall. She was very excited about these!

David and I also decided that she was old enough to recieve a special birthday gift this year, and so we started her a James Avery charm bracelet, with a little schoolhouse charm to mark her beginning kindergarten in the fall. My parents got her a swimmer charm to add to it, and David's parents got her a happy birthday charm! She is also going to add the ballet slippers she recieved on her first ballet recital- the bracelet is filling up already!

Then we headed to IHOP to meet Emmy and Pop and eat lots of pancakes!

Some more modeling after we got home...

Obsessed with her scarf, boots, headband, and crew cuts dress!

Then SuSu and G and some special friends, the Bristers and the Mills, came over to sing one more time!

And, along with some other goodies, Elise got her very own copy of Charlotte's Web. We can't wait to start reading it together.

Her "real" birthday cake.

Candles out! Hope all of her wishes come true!

Jacob and Myrt enjoyed the cake and ice cream as well!

I'd say she had a very, very HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!

We love you, Elise. Seriously can't believe you are 6 years old!!


party time

Elise has been looking forward to her 6th birthday party for months! I really think she started thinking about it the day after her 5th!
David lets me do pretty much all of the party planning, because he knows how much I absolutely love doing it! I had decided it was time for something a little more low key this year, as she had a huge party last year, but I definitely wanted her to be as involved as she wanted to be in the planning.
There were only 3 other girls in her class this year, and since this is kind of a transition year for her, we decided it was the perfect opportunity for a small, quaint party with close friends. So she had 2 of the 3 girls from school (Talia was out of town)- Reese and Farrah, and then invited some of her first friends- Ella, Constance, and Jenna, as well as a friend from both the neighborhood and church- Madeleine. She really wanted a "big" girl party, and so it was...David took Lila and Bennett swimming with Will and Camille, and it was just Elise and her friends. She was thrilled. Not to worry, she's holding out for L and B to sing to her (with more cake, of course) on her real birthday!
For the theme- a few months ago I pulled up a fabric website with lots of Amy Butler fabrics and had her take a look. I had a feeling she would love the options, and she did. Her favorite colors of the moment are turquoise and aqua (is there a difference??) and so I wasn't surprised when she picked a funky geometric floral called Daisy Chain. And that was our jumping off point. I sent trusty Aunt Mo the link to the fabric and she designed a beautiful invite for her. I ordered two yards of the fabric and made E some shorts (her choice rather than a skirt), table cloths, and a pennant banner for above the front door. While Lissa was here she helped me use scrap fabric to decorate the pillar candles I found at the dollar store.
I used milk glass that I have been collecting over the past few years on the table with flowers, and filled some with candy canes, because E is definitely our sweet tooth!

Here is our girl waiting for the guests to arrive!

Each girl had a little straw bag tied on her chair waiting for her, filled with some of Elise's favorite things: lipgloss, flip flops (we would be decorating these later), a small mirror made with the Daisy Chain fabric (etsy find), and some travel kleenex (stumbled across them at target and the colors were perfect on the packaging).

In the corner we had a little pedicure station, with assorted polish in E's favorite colors!

I put her cake in front of this bulletin board with the cute invite and pictures from her prior 5 birthday parties.

Little details like these m&m's made our girl smile!

I also painted "party cups" for each girl with their name on them...and they got to take them home as well.

Elise's face when she saw the table all set up was priceless! Made me so happy that she liked it!

Albertson's Bakery (the best kept secret on the Northshore) did a great job on her cake! She went with me to pick it out and was very specific (surprise, surprise)...and she was thrilled with the result. She chose chocolate cake on the inside with white icing. It was soooo delicious too!

Elise's absolute favorite food is Domino's Pizza. So, guess what was on the menu for dinner?

Then we moved on to fondue...the girls had an absolute blast with this. I think it was the hit of the party! They even climbed up on the table to keep dipping! YUM!

After fondue, we took a little food break, and those who wanted to got their toes painted. Apparently little Elise is a trendsetter (or was last night), because she chose a pattern with two colors and all of her friends wanted the same!

Green and turquoise toes! :)

Then it was time for cake...

And wishes....

And success- all SIX candles out!

The precious group!

Funny faces!

I think (and hope) that Elise had a great time! I know I had lots of fun planning the party for her, and I think she realizes how blessed she is to have sweet friends to celebrate with!

I am sure there will be much more celebrating this week with family and more friends as her birthday approaches!

6 years old....

I truly hope this upcoming year is an amazing one for her...she has so much to look forward to as she starts this next chapter of her life. Can't wait to watch her continue to grow....


It's a Zoo!

We are thrilled to have Lissa and Quinn staying with us this week while the girls are doing Zoo camp. They are having a total blast!!!!!

Much more to come...