You just finished your first year of flag football which was quite an experience for you and for your parents.  Flag football is very, very intense and the parents get very, very into the games.  You’re obsessed with sports, man.  You’ve already played soccer a few times, a season of T-ball, and now football.  You aren’t even seven years old yet!  Slow down, buddy.  I think you want to play every sport in the world, but you just don’t have the time with, you know, first grade and everything else a six-year-old kid has to worry about like jumping on the trampoline and playing video games. 

Anyway, the thing I love most about watching you play sports, especially this year in flag football, is that you always have this look of determination on your face that I think has to scare the other team.  Plus, you’re wearing eye-black to make yourself look extra intimidating.  Yesterday, your coach had the team over at his house and gave out awards to everyone on your team.  You won the Valuable Player Award, and your coach told everyone how well you played by covering receivers, grabbing flags, and blocking for your teammates.  He said that no matter what you decide to do in life, you’re going to be successful, and I absolutely agree with him.  When you set your mind to something, you are laser-focused on being the best at it.  You landed yourself a full-time safety spot on defense because your coaches said you were like a hawk going after the ball.  A hawk!  You weren’t the biggest kid on the team or the fastest, but, man, you gave it you’re all and I was proud to watch you play this year.

Your team won a few games, lost a few games, tied once, won two playoff games, and was very close to going to the Super Bowl this year.  In your last game, your mom and I stood in the stands with our blood pressure through the roof.  We wanted your team to win so badly because the other team had what looked like sixth graders on the team and their coaches ran the team like boot camp.  They yelled a lot and threw their hats down if a penalty was called.  It was pretty ridiculous.  You guys almost won, but it doesn’t really matter because you’re six right now and probably won’t remember much about the season anyway.  But, let me tell you, football in Texas is no joke, even flag football for first and second graders. 

I hope you learned a lot about sportsmanship, teamwork, and winning and losing gracefully.  I hope you had a great time, too.  You’re a very strong-willed, determined kid, and I’m looking forward to baseball season next year.  Right now, we can’t play baseball in the backyard because you hit it over the fence too often and I’m worried you’re going to break a window or something.  You just love sports right now, and I love playing and watching them with you.  Good luck with baseball and with whatever else you do in life.  You’ve got s bright future ahead of you, man. 

Harlow at 11 months

It’s hard to believe that next month we’ll be celebrating Harlow’s first birthday – I swear it goes faster with each child.  Where is Harlow at 11 months?

She is walking, running, jumping, and wrestling like her brothers and keeps up with them pretty well.  Harlow crawled at 7 months and started walking on Father’s Day – she was 9 1/2 months old and our fastest walker.  Honestly, the boys try to ride her like a puppy so she had to start walking quick – being upright was a matter of survival!

Harlow still has just a touch of peach fuzz and is in the 95th percentile for height and something like the 80th percentile for weight – she’s in 12-18 month clothes and can sometimes fit in bigger sizes.  She says “Dada” “Mama” and “Emma” but is pretty good at getting her point across without words.  There is such a big difference between boys and girls – this girl is a DIVA.  I hate that word but, truly, there is no other description.  She loves her daddy best of all and does whatever she has to do to get his attention.





Speaking of, is this not the classic Justin Parish “what? there’s a camera around?” look?  Mercy.  <3


Harlow is 6 months old!


6 months old = a baby that can get into her cake before you have a chance to snap a picture.

Big Brother Love

Can you guess who Harlow’s favorite person in the family is?

I’ll give you a hint: it was Weston’s favorite person, too.

Jaden sure has a way with babies.


DSC_0137 DSC_0140 DSC_0141 DSC_0142 DSC_0145 DSC_0147 DSC_0154


This girl LOVES her big brothers.  Weston will talk to her every now and then but is pretty ambivalent about her right now.  But Harlow LOVES when Jaden pays attention to her.  He pats her head and says “hi” in a funny voice and Harlow just goes nuts.  She grins bigger for Jaden than for anybody and he always turns her attitude around if she’s cranky.  She is crazy about him!

A little February for you

It is February in Illinois and, by far, the coldest winter anybody in our family has ever experienced.  We haven’t had much time for blogging, but here’s a quick snapshot into our days.


Playing with their Jake match game:

DSC_0007 DSC_0013


A rare shot of our crazy crew:

DSC_0041 DSC_0049


Miss Blue Eyes is growing faster than ever!

DSC_0082 DSC_0090 DSC_0115 DSC_0076


Jaden is learning to play independently and likes to make patterns and shapes out of his match game cards.



The younger (and tamer) two sometimes hop into the bath together:



While Jaden shaves.




OH, Friends.

We are SO bad at updating this little piece of the internet.  It might have something to do with having 3 kids and running a business but we are just consistently awful at keeping this website in order.

Forgive us?

Here’s a teeny update.

A couple of weeks ago, Justin & I had the pleasure of a week without kids in Las Vegas.  Justin’s parents came to Normal to love on our kids while we had a bliss-filled vacation, just the two of us.  It was wonderful.  It was not so wonderful for Johnny & Rita who had to deal with 3 kids and a nasty stomach virus complete with puking and the hershey squirts.  Yuck.  Sorry, guys.

Justin & I had some amazing dinners, saw some incredible shows, did too much shopping, played slots, and lost money at the blackjack table.  We also stayed out late, slept later, and reconnected as a couple.  After 3 kids in 4 years, it was just what the doctor ordered.  Here is a snapshot into our time in Vegas:


We used the $20 trick and were upgraded to a sweet suite at Caesar’s Palace.  Complete with a jetted jacuzzi, marble everything, a huge sitting area, and a view of the pools.

IMG_4513 IMG_4514

Oh yes, we saw Rod Stewart!  And he was actually pretty awesome.  We had a blast.

IMG_4515 IMG_4516

The view outside our hotel.


IMG_4517  IMG_4519

The Beatles Cirque de Soliel was the most incredible show we have ever seen.  From the opening sequence we both sat with our mouths wide open.

IMG_4520 IMG_4523 IMG_4524 IMG_4525 IMG_4526 IMG_4527 IMG_4528 IMG_4529 IMG_4530 IMG_4531

Did you know that in Vegas there is a huge Coke store where you can sample different Cokes from around the world?  We would NOT recommend Beverly from Italy.

IMG_4533 IMG_4534 IMG_4535 IMG_4536 IMG_4537 IMG_4538 IMG_4539 IMG_4540






Halloween 2013

Well folks, it’s 8:17 and our kids are in bed, coming down from their collective sugar rush.  We had a pretty excellent Halloween and, just like that, it’s over.  🙂

I made all of our family’s costumes this year – the boys have been crazy about Jake and the Neverland Pirates so we all went as characters from that show.  The boys went as Jake & Cubbie while Justin & I went as Captain Hook and Peter Pan.  Harlow wore a sweet little sleeper from her Aunt Emma and a teeny tiny witch hat.  She was pretty darn cute.

We invited the families from our small group over and had a little party with plenty of pizza and cupcakes.  It was rainy all day today but we managed to get out and do a little trick or treating during a break in the drizzle.  After going to a few houses the rain picked back up so we headed home.  Justin went back out with Jaden and went to all of the houses around the block.  They came back proudly bearing a treasure chest full of candy.  DSC_1297




























Big News on the Homefront

We made it to church today as a family of FIVE!

Got the boys dropped off in Sunday School and sat down with 5 minutes to spare.

Parenting WIN.  It’s definitely not easy getting out with 3 crazy little kids, but we’re starting to get the hang of it.  Last night we made it into Target and Barnes & Noble without losing anybody or our minds.


Sorry for the lack of updates, we’ve been a little bit busy. :)

DSC_1262 DSC_1190 DSC_1235 DSC_1272 DSC_1183 DSC_1280 DSC_1275 DSC_1264 DSC_1283 DSC_1286 DSC_1309

Snow Day

A week – SEVEN DAYS before Easter – this was our backyard:

IMG_4481 IMG_4480 IMG_4477 IMG_4476 IMG_4475 IMG_4473 IMG_4472 IMG_4466 IMG_4464 IMG_4460 IMG_4459 IMG_4458 IMG_4454