Thursday, November 29, 2012

Out of the Mouth of my Babies: Elizabeth's letter to Daddy

God does show his kindness to us daily through your daddy, sweet girl.

We are so thankful for you, Jonathan!  

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Out of the Mouth of my Babies: Micah

Out of the mouth of my babies. It's the name of my word document where I've kept a journal of some of the funny things our children have said over the past three years. And it might become a blog series.

Whether it does or doesn't, here is what is coming out of the mouth of my littlest babe.

Micah loves to cheese for a camera, he is overly obsessed with baseball, and his dog impression is so adorable. My favorite is hearing him repeat "say" and then barking.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Introducing our Thanksgiving Tree

This year I wanted to do a Thanksgiving Tree with the girls. So I cut some paper bags in a shape of a tree trunk (with the help of my artistic husband) then we cut out different colors of leaves from construction paper and taped it onto the sliding glass window that leads into our sunroom. Each day I ask the girls what they are thankful for. I have loved hearing what comes to the mind of our children. From Hannah, you can tell this activity happens close to a meal time. And from Elizabeth, you see her imaginative side.

On the trunk I wanted to put some verses about expressing thanks. So far, we've put 1 Chron. 16:8; James 1:17; and Psa. 5:11.

What is Hannah Kate thankful for? For food, milk, library books, toys, lunch, my little pony, bananas, cereal

What is Elizabeth thankful for? For cookies, having fun with friends, a puppy, sugar and potty (indoor plumping), drawing, playing, walking in a forest and picking apples.

What is Jonathan thankful for? For books, early mornings, my girls, coffee, a pile of leaves

What am I thankful for? For a warm house, car, Super Target, my prince, an excellent doctor, for Micah feeling better, my girls' imagination, sunshine. 

And the two extra leaves are from Aunt Brittany, who is thankful for Uncle Joel. And from Uncle Joel, who is thankful for his flower girls.

Here are some more things I've expressed thanks for on Facebook.

November 1- I am thankful for snotty-nose kisses, my girls' wild imagination, and a husband who brings home Chinese food for dinner.

November 2- I am thankful for 18 months with this little sweetheart! 

November 3- I am thankful for these leaves that provided shade for us this summer, for a fearless almost 5-year-old, and for the grandparents that will probably not like this picture.

November 6- I am thankful for the right to vote, for the people who have shed their blood for this freedom, and that God still governs all, no matter who is in Office. 

Monday, November 5, 2012

My Target Tales: A Cart Escapee

We had just turned the girls' favorite corner. The one where the backpacks hang one after another, each decorated with some of their favorite people: Disney Princesses, Dora, Tinkerbell, Elmo. The girls were eerily quiet as we approached the merchandise.  I was deep in thought about what color of pillows would go best in our living room. I barely noticed.

Something else had caught their eye — something more fascinating than Disney Princesses. 

It was Elizabeth's half-whisper, her desperate "Heeeeyyy!", that snapped me out of pillow thought and brought me back. Who in the world would Elizabeth be talking to like that? I looked around as subtly as I could.

Then I saw it: The big two-seater cart was parked in front of us. The seats were empty. But just below, where kids' feet should rest when sitting properly, laid a little boy around Elizabeth's age, frolicking on his back as his mother was shopping her own agenda (maybe pillows, too).

As we rolled near him, Elizabeth, who was securely fastened in the five-point harness of our cart, cupped her little hands around her mouth, and whispered again, "HEYYYY!! TELL US HOW YOU GOT OUT OF THERE??! TELL US!" 

Thankfully the little boy seemed frightened by the urgency in her voice. And he didn't have time to hash out his secrets of escape. Our roll became a jolt (just let me get some distance!) and the girls still have some unanswered questions I'm not in a hurry to fill.

Our other Target Tales:

Friday, November 2, 2012

Michaiah: 18 months

18 months.

18 months of snuggles.
18 months of kisses.
18 months of hugs.
18 months of feeding.
18 months of sleeping.
18 months of breathing.
18 months of smiling.
18 months of loving.
18 months of trusting.
18 months of needing.
18 months of boy-ness.
18 months of laughter.
18 months of sweetness.
18 months of caring.
18 months of beauty.
18 months of joy.

18 months of whispering the wonders of your name, Michaiah: "Who is like Yahweh?" 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

I told Hannah Kate we ate all her Halloween candy

I did it again, y'all. But no worries. Hannah Kate laughs every time she sees the video and they were both heavily rewarded for being such good sports. It's pitiful and funny rolled up in cuteness. And y'all liked how I threw Dad under the bus, right?

I know, I know. It's not my brightest parenting moment.


Until next year...(I'm sorry in advance, my sweet Micah!)

Here is Elizabeth's last year.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Jonathan's Office Make-Over

Here is a picture of Jonathan's office before we moved in. It's located in our basement and shares space with the kids' play area
Where the studs are we had a huge Ikea bookcase acting as wall between Jon's office and the kids play area. I currently can't find a picture of what it looked like with it there.
Drywall Up 
Insulation in
Drywall on back
Taped and Mudded 
The window had a cracked in it and a window fan was installed from the previous owners. We took out the fan and window and insulated and drywalled the hole up. It is a useless window since they added onto the house and that window goes directly under our bedroom. Also, Jonathan was already feeling chilly sitting at his desk from the draft. Now, I have a cute window frame that I have big plans for!
Thankfully there is another window that lets in some some light into the man cave study.
The door frame in
The door on

First coat of paint on. I love, LOVE this color gray! 
Painting done
The outside of the study
What it looked like during the play-offs 
The finished product

We painted the wood paneling in the study before we moved in to lighten up the room. When we added the wall and door we decided to get matching book cases. Of course, my husband had a vision of shelves for his book. It was cheaper and he added extra support to help keep the shelves from sagging once we put the books on it. Also, since the shelves were drilled into the wooden paneling it makes it more sturdy. 

We wanted to leave the staircase open at the bottom of the stairs. We figured this would be helpful if we were moving big furniture downstairs to have the flexibility of the opening. I also just like the way it looks. 
My amazing father-in-law came up for a few days to help us get this done. We were so thankful for his help and for Granna to spare her husband for few days.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Hannah Kate Pre-Birthday Post

Oh, my sweet Hannah Kate! I just love her. Every ounce of her personality and every thread of her hair. She is my sweet middle baby, who gets upset weekly we didn't name her Minnie.

Poor thing was sick yesterday and last night was rough. Rough as in, she woke up four times with a fever and screaming in a panic, telling us something about a beast and asking us to put her boogers in her dresser drawer. She is so hilarious and incredibly unpredictable. I love that about her. Most of the time. :)

Here are some videos of my two favorite words that I hope she never outgrows: Henry and George.

And yet, I know she will one day outgrow saying these words this way. She won't be upset that I didn't name her Minnie. And she won't be talking about hiding boogers in drawers.

So I'm trying to soak it in as much as I can. Even when they happen at the inconvenient times like four in the morning. I'll rant with her that I should have thought of the name Minnie the day she was born, and I'll name every boy character in stories I make up Henry George.

Because next week, Lord willing, I'll kiss my two-year-old for the last time and I'll wake up my three-year-old on Thursday morning, and I'll know that these times are going by way too fast.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

My Target Tales: Working on Proper Pronouns

We were checking out. It was a pretty boring Target run for my group. Well, almost.

Elizabeth is incredibly friendly. She could strike up a conversation with a wall. After asking her usual, What-is-your-name? question, Elizabeth asked our cashier about her favorite color. I was pretty impressed at how naturally Elizabeth was keeping the conversation going.

"Bright Orange," the cashier answered. Elizabeth replied with her own, "Green!"

 Hannah always follows what Elizabeth does. So I wasn't surprised when she piped in her favorite color was: "Pink!" And Hannah, our sweet Hannah,  perhaps with a journalistic instinct, loves to be the one who releases new information. So after telling the cashier her favorite color, she decided to tell her that "Daddy's favorite color is blue."

Then it happened. I could almost see it coming. You see, Daddy's favorite color isn't blue.

But Elizabeth beat me to it. "No," Elizabeth said while pointing at her sister, making her seem even more distance, "her daddy's favorite color is red!"

To which the cashier turns to me a little confused and asks, "They got the same daddy, right?"


In other news, we are now working on proper pronouns. We've now introduced "our". . .  using a simple example: "Daddy is our daddy."

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Toddler Football Camp

In light of football season approaching, I asked Micah if he wanted to wear his Peterson jersey and do a football camp.

He gave me his best game face and indistinctly grunted. I took it as a yes.

We practiced the stance on the line.

And I told him to always look his opponent in the eyes and drool a little. He was quite the natural.

We wrapped up camp by doing some sprints. His 60 yard dash is looking pretty impressive.

All and in all, we concluded camp thinking it was most likely a foreshadowing of a 2020 Peewee Football Championship. But, what do I know? I'm just his mama. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

My Baby Grew up in a Day

Here is his before picture.

But he is just so cute, so I got a lot of "before pictures".
Then I had a hard time deciding between these two so I put them both on the blog.
This is restraining at my best. I really wanted to put them all on the blog.

So, Daddy played the barber. And Micah really liked it.

Then, I made Jon stop.
My heart couldn't take watching him grow up right before my eyes.
No matter how much I tried to convince Jon and the girls how in the mullet is these days, no one listened.

So my baby became my little boy.

My little blonde headed boy.

I spent the rest of the day wondering what on earth we had done.

But he kept flashing his big boy smile at me.
And nuzzling that soft fuzzy head in the crook of my neck.
He will always be my 4 pound baby.

Oh and speaking of growing up.
Elizabeth is letting me put her hair in a ponytail.
Then posing for pictures like this.

What is happening, people??!
My heart can hardly take all this growing up that's going on around here.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

My Target Tales: The Tale of all Tales

So there we were. Again. I was checking out the bottom of the strawberries when a sweet elderly woman approached us. I saw her from a distance. She was kindly admiring my brood from the banana aisle. I love going to our Target this time of the morning. There are lots of gray-haired shoppers and they are generally very warm to us. It makes me miss my own grandparents.

She picked out her bananas and came over. Placing her hand on my shoulder, she squared up with my eyes, just like my grandma would. "Enjoy these days. They go by so fast!" She turned to my children with a big smile, just like any grandma would.

Then it happened. My hallmark moment of wisdom raining down on me in the Target produce came to a halting stop.

"OOOHHH YAY!! YOU LOST YOUR TEETH! GREAT JOB!" my delightful Elizabeth exclaimed.

I don't know what happened next. I think I blacked out a little.

I subtly slipped on to the cereal aisle. I was searching for a particular cereal. Apparently so was the lady behind us. She learned over near us with her eyes squinting, scanning the cereals. And I could see something coming in Elizabeth's eyes. "Maaaammaaa!!" Elizabeth's scared little voice yelled. "Why...why...why she looking at me like that? Is going to try to take me, Mama?" It's these moments when I regret ever letting her watch or read the princess stories.

Oh, well. I don't think I really needed any cereal. But I definitely needed some paper towels. So once again, I slipped away to the paper goods aisle.

Another lady in the electric wheel chair came strolling up behind me. "Excuse me, could you please get that roll of paper towels for me," she sweetly asked, pointing to the top shelf. Of course I could! But in mid-stretch, Elizabeth did it again. "Mama? Why...why...why is she so old?!" Yep. I definitely regret her knowing about Snow White and Rapunzel.

Now it was time to go. On route to the checkout line, my girls started belting out their current (and only) favorite song by Justin Bieber. "BABY! BABY! BABY! OOOOOHH!" And just when I was feeling slightly embarrassed, they took turns shouting, "Jesus is King! Jesus is King!"

And this is the Target run that made us teach Elizabeth the value of whispering. Screen all questions by us first, and don't be loud. 

You can read my other Target Tales here and here.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

My Target Tales: Starbucks Disaster

So there we were. All three of my children in the Target check out line and it was only 9:30am. Feeling particularly good about having the kids dressed, fed, and done with my shopping, I wanted to treat myself to a Starbucks coffee. After all, they were all strapped in "the train" (our name for the three-seater cart).

We stroll over to the Starbucks located near the exit of Target. To put things in perspective of how proud I was feeling, I asked for a grande blonde, instead of my usual tall one. They replied they were out of coffee and asked if I could wait an extra five minutes for a fresh pot.

Of course, I can! What's another five minutes to bask in the glory of being the mom of the morning!?

I snapped this picture.

Then it happened.

In the midst of trying to edit my picture in Instagram, I hear my inquisitve Elizabeth ask, "Excuse me, are you a boy or a girl?" I was a little dazed, trying to wrap my head around the fact that this was actually happening, all while trying to inconspicuously form my answer. And trying to forget how hot it was in there. When Hannah Kate interrupted my thoughts by actually answering her sister's repeated question. "Ger!" Then changing her mind: "No, boy! It's a boy. No, gerl! Gerl. Boy!" 

Yep, I think it's time to get some cream and sugar.

And this is how the mother of the morning award was ripped from my hands. 

Next time, it's straight to the car. This was my gentle reminder of why they make drive-thrus. 

You can read my other Target Tale here

Friday, July 13, 2012

My Target Tales: Daddy's House

Towards the end of Elizabeth's preschool year, I would drop Elizabeth off at preschool and take Hannah and Micah by Desiring God to see Jonathan at work. After a few times of doing it, Hannah would ask if we could go see Daddy at "daddy's house." It was all innocent until Mother's Day 2012.

We had spent the morning out at a park and eating at my favorite restaurant, Texas Roadhose. Later that day, Jon was trying to study for his Hebrew final. I needed to run to Target and decided to take Hannah with me. 

There were moms there with the entire family and some moms there who were grocery shopping in quiet bliss by themselves. And there was me walking hand in hand with my sweet girl into Target. We reached the carts. I broke our cart away from the others. And picked my sweet girl up to ride in the back of the cart. 

Gravity is a strange thing. Somewhere between the ground and being placed in the back of the cart, my precious, sweet little girl flung herself into a terrible-two hysteria. 

Which would have been fine if it would have only been crying. But no. It involved her crying AND screaming at the top of her lungs, "I WANNNNAAA GO TO MY DADDDYYY'S HOUSEEE," over and over again. And it didn't end after a few minutes. It lasted my entire trip to Target.

I was pretty mortified, but one thing that has been a sweet gift in motherhood has been a sense of humor. I came home frazzled but laughing at how ridiculous that scene must of looked as I replayed it to Jonathan. 

That next morning, Hannah asked to go to Daddy's house again, when Elizabeth looked at her in all seriousness and asked, "What does your Daddy's house look like?" Stop. It!

Yep, and it was there in that moment I gained some perspective: that Target run could have been a whole lot worse.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Update on the Parnell Blog

I just wanted to introduce a new tab on my blog called My Amazon. The short of it is, Amazon pays me to refer you to its page. So if you are wanting to buy something from Amazon anyway, just click the Amazon images on my page and shop away. It doesn't cost any extra for you. This whole idea is just a simple way for me to use my blog to bring in some extra cash as a stay-at-home mom. Here's an easy way you can help.

And no worries. There will always be entirely way too many pictures of our precious kids, and of course, my jumbled-up thoughts about this adventure called motherhood.

Thanks for reading my blog and watching our kids grow up!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

A "see you later" to the Lees

The Lord was so gracious to give us these friends when we first moved to Minneapolis. They were some of the first ways we knew God has answered our prayers for community upon moving to a new city. It was incredibly sweet to see God provide for us during first transitional (and often lonely) months after moving from North Carolina.

It all began here, two sides of the country meeting in Minneapolis. Those two and us two, plus our curly-headed 8 month old. We were ready to experience our first real winter together, and then in the summer try to make the most out of what Minnesotans call "beaches."

East coasters and West coasters
I'll never forget getting back from Christmas vacation that first year to hear that the Lees were expecting their first child. And a couple of weeks later we found out that we were expecting our second. Born six weeks apart, Noelle made her entrance in September and Hannah followed in October of 2009.

Steve holding Hannah; Jon holding Noelle

Our second Christmas picture
Play date with Noelle

I was expecting baby number three and we were in NC when we received a Google chat video from Steve and Stephanie. Number two was on the way for them. And later we found out they were both boys! 

Almost 4 months apart. 
Dads teaching the boys how to bump fists.
Fourth Christmas and our growing tribes
Crazy times.
The girls

It's been over a week since Jonathan graduated, but this morning I felt the finality of graduation as we said goodbye to the Lees. They are the first of our friends to set out on the next journey after seminary.

I think of how the Lord answered our prayers for them about this next step in their lives. California? Pennsylvania? Thailand? Church plant with us in the Twin Cities? And I think of how kindly the Lord answered our prayers for them in only sending them seven hours away to College Church in Wheaton, IL. :)


I am so thankful for you! The Lord did exceedingly more than I could of thought or imagined in giving me a friend like you. Motherhood has been sweeter doing it along with you and I've loved watching our children grow together. Your servant heart and organized spirit will be greatly missed here in the Twin Cities! I'm looking forward to the road trips and slumber parties that are ahead, and to how God will use y'all to advance his gospel! 

Love you!