2nd Annual Clark Jackson Invitational


About a year ago, right after we had Clark, Bob’s brother Brian was coming to visit (and meet Clark for the first time) from Florida.  He went to Virginia Tech also, so we have a lot of mutual friends that live in the Baltimore/DC area.  As he and Bob were discussing his upcoming visit, they decided to get some guys together to play golf.

One thing led to another and the Clark Jackson Invitational was born!

Last year they played 2-man scramble with about 12 guys and while the men were on the course, the ladies came to hang out with me and Clark and get ready for the BBQ after!  Some pictures from last year:


Original CJI golfers


Bob’s cousin Paul and brother Brian with Clark


Receiving the winning cash


Winners! Jeff and Bob’s cousin, Dave

Because everyone had such a great time last year, we decided to do it again this year.  And we weren’t messin’ around!  I mean, Bob even got a trophy made with the winners of last year engraved on it!DSC03182But we’ll get to that…

This year there were 16 guys and they played 4-man scramble, with some other challenges like longest drive, etc.  We have a really good friend who works as a golf pro in Florida.  He wasn’t able to make it last year or this year, but he has officially been name the commissioner of the CJI and he made awesome score cards again this year using photos of Clark and all the guys playing.  nonameThe girlfriends/fiancés/wives came to our house to hang out with me.  We basically had a baby/dog play date with margaritas!  Seriously, there were 4 girls (and one who came a little later), 4 dogs, and 2 babies.  And we lost count of the margaritas :-)!

We could not have asked for a better day for the guys to golf.  It was just gorgeous!  When they got back, the winners were announced for each of the categories and the 4-some that took it all.DSC03172 DSC03169DSC03174 DSC03179

Oh the winners?  Yea, it just so happens that both my hubs and my little brother were on the winning team.  The 4-some from back left: Andrew Atman, Ben Grossman, Sam (my bro), and Bob.  We’ll get the winners’ names engraved on the trophy each year, but keep it at our house for safe-keeping.

Then we ate!!  DSC03166We had all kinds of BBQ foods, and one girl even brought Georgetown Cupcakes from DC!!!  Those were obviously a hit!

Once the BBQ started and the keg was tapped, I didn’t get a whole lot of pictures.  We had an awesome time hanging out in the beautiful weather, watching babies and dogs play together, and catching up with old friends.  Not to mention eating large quantities of food.

In the end we had 26 adults, 4 babies, and 9 dogs who made appearances at our house at some point on Saturday.  It was a blast!  Let’s just say we were exhausted on Sunday, but we can’t wait till next April for the 3rd Annual Clark Jackson Invitational!



Clark’s SUPER Party!

It is still sinking in that Clark is already ONE!!

We have had such a wonderful year with our boy.  He is sweet and friendly and just so stinkin’ cute!!  We could not be more proud!  So to celebrate, we knew that we wanted to throw him a birthday party.

With a name like his, it’s hard not to think of Clark Kent.  Even Clark thought of himself as Superman. (Remember his 4 month photo?)  So I really wanted his party to have a Superhero theme.  (Which you may have guessed from my hint a couple weeks ago)

Bob found really cute invitations on Vistaprint that totally fit our theme and featured a little boy that we both thought sort of resembled Clark.

I went with yellow, blue and red as the main colors when I set the table with our party food.DSC02980The red table cloth is just one of those plastic ones you can get at any party store (they are pretty cheap and I like to use them when we have parties because you can just throw them away after if any big spills/messes happen).  The blue and yellow “runner” is made out of fabric napkins that I already had.

You can see from the picture that we had a lot of food.  We chose to go with several choices of heavy hors d’oeuvres instead of a meal.  Here’s a menu breakdown:

  • mini pigs in a blanket
  • sausage wontons
  • homemade mac n’ cheese
  • deviled eggs
  • italian pinwheels
  • baked brie
  • cocktail meatballs
  • homemade salsa and chips
  • veggie tray
  • fruit salad
  • potato chips/pretzels

We hung a few balloons over the table and I made some tissue poms to hang above the bay window where we put the gifts.

We sort of have two doors that lead into our house.  The front door that opens to a small vestibule with a coat closet and then a door that leads into the living room.  I decorated the living room door to look like a telephone booth.  Ya know, so everyone could change into their alter-egos before coming in to the party.DSC03022

I hung Clark’s monthly pictures from the mantel by stapling them to a couple pieces of thick ribbon.  I also had a lot of fun making comic book speech bubbles to hang around the house.  (BANG!) DSC02984

See that last picture of Clark on the mantel?  On Friday, my mom and I dressed him up as Clark Kent for a little photo shoot.  I made the blue onesie and he wore it on Saturday for the party.DSCN1817What a cutie!  This picture cracks me up!

On one of the walls in our living room, I wanted a comic book-esque city scape for people to use as a photo backdrop to take silly pictures.

My mom and brother-in-law Kevin did an awesome job executing the project!  It came out exactly how I had envisioned it!DSC02983I made a few props (a cape, couple masks and some speech bubbles to hold) and a few people were brave enough to take some pictures at the beginning of the party.


Bob’s mom, Bob’s sister-Leslie, my sister-Ellen
(Hope my mother-in-law forgives me for posting this picture)


Christine and Dave
Seriously…save the date photo? 🙂


Clark with Christine and Brittany (appropriately in her Clark Kent glasses)


My dad with Clark

And of course I wanted a family photo.  This was the best one we got because Clark thought my mask was hilarious.DSC02998The speech bubbles got used for regular photos too, since some people felt “too cool” for the backdrop.


Kara, Rusty


My Mom and her dog, Jake

Most of the guests were adults.  But Clark got to play/flirt with Izzy (20 months) while we all oohed and aahed at how cute they were.DSC02986DSC02987Oh yeah, and see the TV in the background?  I made a slideshow of pictures from Clark’s first year that we played on mute in the background throughout the party.  (I’ll post the slideshow later this week or next)

Of course, no birthday is complete without cake!  Clarky got his own cupcake when we sang him Happy Birthday.DSC02999 DSC03003He kind of liked it, but by this point, he was pretty tired so he didn’t eat very much.

I had big plans to decorate the cake in some really cool way, but when it came down to it, I ran out of time and ended up with this.DSC03005It’s a double layer yellow cake with chocolate icing.  My mom made it, and the tray that it’s on is the one she always used for our birthday cakes growing up.  Gotta love that 70’s yellow paisley! 🙂

Shortly after cake, Clark went down for a nap, so most guests started leaving.  I made sure guests didn’t leave empty handed.  Everyone got a little bag of sugar cookies that I decorated with a number 1 in the Superman symbol.  This was after the party, when most of the favors were gone.DSC03029

When Clark woke up, we opened his gifts.  (Clark is so very loved by friends and family!!)  Our mantel still looks like this from all the cards he got.DSC03028It was a great day of celebrating our little guy and a full year of being parents!  Thanks so much to friends and family who helped make it so special!!  (And a special thanks to my mom, Leslie, Kevin, and Ellen who REALLY helped with cooking and setting up the decorations!)

Surprise Weekend for Moi

We threw our annual Christmas party this weekend and it was so much fun!  But before I get to that, let’s go back to last weekend.

A couple weeks ago, Bob called me from work and said,

Don’t make any plans for the weekend of Dec. 1.

When I asked him why, he said,

I have a whole surprise weekend planned for you.

Every day until the surprise weekend, he tried to throw me off course.  A few of the fake hints he gave me were:

  • We are flying there
  • He signed me up for a 10K (anyone who knows me, knows that that would NOT have been a good surprise)
  • Aruba

By the time I was supposed to be ready on Friday, I was thoroughly confused.  On his way home from work, Bob stopped to get us dinner at Corner Bakery and after scarfing it down, we loaded the car and left.

I assumed we were driving to our destination, but that wasn’t the case.  I was SO excited when we arrived at the train station!photo-23

 I just LOVE the train!  It feels so urban and old fashioned.


Clark’s first train ride!

We were headed to…DC!  Other than the final destination, I was still in the dark.

We arrived at Union Station (which is beautifully decorated this time of year) and walked just a few blocks to our hotel.  This kid was so excited that he didn’t fall asleep until 11pm!!! photo-24(I have to admit, I was just as excited to find out what else Bob had planned for me/us!)

Saturday morning, we all woke up Clark woke us up around 7:00am.  That was okay, because Bob said we needed to leave pretty early for my next surprise.  photo-25

On our way to my next surprise!

We arrived at The Willard Hotel where Bob had booked me a hot stone massage at the Red Door Spa!!photo-26


After my massage, I used the steam room, showered, and pocketed some of their complimentary toiletries until Bob and Clark made their way back to pick me up.

Then we headed to the spy museum just a few blocks away.  Unfortunately I didn’t get any good pictures there because technically they are not allowed.  It was really cool but Clark was tired, hungry, and cranky so we ended up breezing through most of the place.  We will have to go back when he is old enough to enjoy it also!

By this time, Bob and I were pretty hungry ourselves so we went to Matchbox Pizza in Chinatown for a late lunch.  SO YUMMY!!!DSC02599

photo-27We were all getting pretty tired, so after a quick stop into Urban Outfitters to take some silly pictures, we walked back to the hotel to squeeze in a nap before my night-time surprise.photo-28We had to take the Metro to get there: another first for Clark.photo-30At this point, I had NO IDEA where we were going.  Since we had a late lunch, I didn’t think we were going to dinner, but Bob seemed to be in a hurry so I wasn’t sure.  I wasn’t expecting this:DSC02600

From the end of November till the end of December, the National Zoo puts up more than 500,000 lights of animal silhouettes and musical light displays.  It’s so pretty and…FREE!!!  They even have these warming stations throughout with refreshments you can buy like cookies and hot cocoa, or coffee with Bailey’s for the adults!

It was pretty cold this evening so I used our Moby wrap to keep Clark warm (and I think it kept me warmer too!)DSC02612Here’s a video we took of one of the animated musical displays:

This was probably my most favorite part of the weekend.  Just because it was something different and we could do it as a family.

But the weekend wasn’t even over yet!!  In fact, after ZooLights, we hopped on the Metro and headed to Bethesda to meet my little sister for drinks and apps after she got off work.  I’m glad she got to be part of my weekend.  It’s been so fun having her live so close.  Clark was so tired by this point, though, so this was the best picture I got.photo-33He looks like he’s smiling, but in reality, he was probably screaming in this picture.  Good thing it was pretty loud in the restaurant and we sat next to a couple who had kids, so they were totally understanding!  Sorry we kept you out so late, Clarky!!

Sunday morning, we meant to get up for early service, but it started at 9:00am and we all slept in until 8:45am.  Bob looked up another service for us to go to and we headed to the 11:00am at Capitol Hill Presbyterian.

After, we walked around for a bit.  It was pretty cool because the weather was gorgeous and hardly anyone was outside.  photo-29I was in desperate need of some coffee, so we found a Starbucks, and then Bob said we had plans for lunch.  He took me back to Union Station, so I asked if we were taking the metro again or something.  He said no, and started looking around the train station.  Apparently, he couldn’t find the restaurant.  I have to admit that at this point I was pretty hungry so I started complaining a bit.  As we passed by a Ben and Jerry’s, I even said

Bob, I would take ice cream!!  I’m soooo hungry!

He refused and we finally found B. Smith’s!  And…SURPRISE AGAIN!!!  There were 4 of my friends waiting there to eat with us!  (And way more of them to come!)  We had an incredible all you can eat buffet of breakfast and lunch foods AND bottomless mimosas.DSC02625Because there were so many of us, they gave us our own room.  It turned into a 3 hour lunch!!  Clark of course was the center of attention and absolutely loved it!

After lunch, Bob said our train didn’t head back to Baltimore until 7:00pm so we had some time to kill and thought we would check out the monuments.  Unfortunately it started to rain a little so we decided to change our tickets to the earlier train.

It was only sprinkling on our walk to Union Station, but I didn’t want Clark to get wet/sick so I covered the stroller with a blanket.  Apparently, he didn’t like that he couldn’t see (or maybe that people couldn’t see him).photo-34He’s so funny!

Overall, it was such an awesome weekend and I feel so lucky to have these two boys in cahoots with each other to give me such precious memories!photo-36

Outside the Box

Saturday I went to a bridal shower for a really good friend from college.  When I was wrapping her gift, I wanted to do something different.  Something…cute!

Here’s what I came up with:

And here’s how I did it…
First, I wrapped the gift in brown paper.  I had a whole bunch of packing paper from our Amazon Subscribe and Save shipment this month.  (I always save it to use for stuff like this)  You could also use paper bags from the grocery store turned inside out.

I knew I wanted to spell out “Happily Ever After”, so I cut out triangles from my bag of paint swatches for the little flags.  I cut from a whole bunch of colors and laid them out in the order I liked before writing the letters on them.

Before glueing them to the box, I laid down the yarn and taped the ends to the sides of the box.

To cover the taped ends, I wrapped the box with ribbon.M+J for Mariana and Jeff

…Or as we lovingly refer to them: Spanish and Redbeard!

Cute, right?!?!

Love you guys! Can’t wait for the big day in November!!


Babysitting (x2)

Some friends of our’s recently moved to Colorado.  A couple weeks before the move, they were in need of some childcare and I volunteered to help them out.

Sweet Ainsley was born just 12 days after Clark.  So obviously we arranged their marriage.  I was so excited to get to spend 2 long days with the love birds.  Even if it meant a 6am drop off.  🙂

Ainsley has this adorable “swimsuit model” pose where she kind of lays on her side.  It cracks me up.Bob couldn’t wait to get home from work to participate in the “play date”.  

The kids must have also had fun, because the second day, they were both wide awake for the 6am drop off.This picture is hilarious!  HeheOh my goodness!  These kids are so cute!  It was exhausting keeping up with them all day, but so worth it!

Brittany, Andrew, and Ainsley – we miss you guys already!  Can’t wait to plan a trip to visit!




Pool Day

This past Saturday we made a trip down to Alexandria where our friends live to hang out with them by the pool.  Jen was my roommate and sorority sister in college. Her husband, Justin, is hilarious!  He most definitely coined the term “pinteresting”.  It can be used as a verb, (ex. What have you been doing all day?  Oh…just pinteresting some new dinner ideas.) or an adjective (ex. That camera float strap that you DIYed is so pinteresting!)  

Our other friends, Tori and Stephen, were there too.  Tori was also my roommate and sorority sister in college.

She and Stephen got married in June.  He’s from Ireland so Bob had a pale buddy :-).We got there a little after noon so we had lunch by the pool.  Subs from Harris Teeter with some vitamin water.  And by “vitamin water” I mean some highly frowned upon Sangria.  We actually got busted by the pool nazi.  Whoops.

Clark had a great time swimming.

Me and my buddy.

Justin had an underwater camera that was SO FUN to use.

Underwater Tea Party is always a good one.

Then there’s the sea monster sneak attack.

Tori snagged a great family photo for us.

After a couple hours pool side, we decided to move the party inside where we could legally consume a few adult beverages.  It was great timing, we just missed the rain.

Inside we pretty much just oogled the baby hangin’ with his new friend, Penny…

…and showin’ some Hokie Spirit.

Justin also introduced us to the hilarious Comedy Central show, Workaholics.  So we watched a couple episodes.

It was a fantastic day!  I can not believe I have known these girls for almost 10 years!!

Love you guys!

Thanks for a fun day!!  We can’t wait to get together again soon!!





Epic Week

Last week was kind of crazy.  In a good way though.

At the beginning of the week we really didn’t have much planned.  (as usual)  It was just going to be a dinner on Wednesday night.  But…plans changed…

On Wednesday morning my mom surprised us with a visit on her way home from visiting my sister in Bethesda.  On Wednesday evening we got together with some new friends from church for dinner at their house.  It was so much fun!

On Thursday night we got together with more friends (and Clark’s baby girlfriend, Ainsley) for drinks and dessert at Nautilus Diner.  Yum and fun!

Friday Clark and I made a trip down to Bethesda to visit Aunt Ellen.  She’s a nurse so she often has days off during the week.  It’s so nice that she’s so close.  We just chilled at her condo and hung some frames and skyped my older sister and niece in Memphis.

Saturday we saw more friends and had dinner at their place.  Ben and Melissa are dear friends.  Clark was the first baby that Ben has ever held!  Those boys get along great.  Both of them are big fans of TV!

Sunday after church we got a knock on the door.  My brother and his friend had also visited my sister in Bethesda (she must have had an epic week too!) and stopped by for a quick visit on their way home.  Clark was so excited to see his Uncle Sam that he pooped on him.  literally.  oops 🙂

All the time spent with friends and family made the week fly by.  We were all exhausted by Sunday night but feel so blessed to have such wonderful people in our lives!  What a great week!!!

DIY Changing Pad Cover

When I was decorating Clark’s nursery, I couldn’t find the right orange changing pad cover and curtains.  I knew I probably wouldn’t be able to find what I was looking for in the Big Box stores.  Even after google-ing and searching every website I could think of, I knew I had to make them myself.  The curtains were easy-peasy.  I’m aiming to make some for the dining room (and maybe the living room) eventually, so maybe I’ll post a tutorial when I get around to that.  Till then, here’s how I made the changing pad cover.

*These pictures are of the changing pad cover I made for our good friends’ daughter, Ava.  (due in a couple months)

This changing pad cover fits a standard contour changing pad (32″L x 16″W x 4″H)

First wash, iron and cut your fabric.  The fabric in these pictures are Michael Miller Bella Butterfly: Flutterby Green and Happy Houndstooth Multi.  I used these because Ava’s mom, Katie made her a quilt with this fabric (plus more in the Michael Miller Bella Butterfly line).

You can make a cover out of all one fabric by cutting a piece 48″ x 32″.  If you use two fabrics like me, cut your pieces like this:

Accent fabric (baby’s head will go here): 17.5″ x 32″

Main fabric: 30.5″ x 32″

I cut all my fabric with pinking shears to avoid unravel and cut my fabric a little outside of my measured line (I always do that because I’m paranoid of measuring it too small).  I also wrote my measurements on my main fabric with a pencil so that I knew which side to attach to my accent fabric.

Lay your fabrics together along the 32″ sides with right sides facing in like this.  Sew your fabrics together to get one big piece.

Fold the piece in half lengthwise and then again widthwise.  Measure and draw an 8″ square on the outside corner (with no folds) and cut it out.

You’ll be left with a piece that looks like this.

Bring the two sides of the square together with right sides facing in.  Sew them together and repeat with all four corners.  You’ll be left with this.

Next, on the inside raw edge, fold over about 1/2″, iron all the way around and sew.  Then fold another inch or so and iron again.  You are making a tube for the elastic.

When you sew, don’t forget to leave enough room for your elastic.  Also, leave a hole to feed your elastic through.  I fed my elastic through by attaching a safety pin to one side of the elastic and another safety pin securing the other end to the fabric.

**Update: Elastic should be a piece about 36-38″ long 5/8″ thickness or smaller (I used 1/4″)

Once you’ve fed the elastic all the way through the tube, sew the ends together.

Then sew the hole closed.  The back should look like this.

This is what it looks like on the changing pad.  This is Clark’s room (obviously) but it looks great with his green wall don’t you think?

Hope Katie and Ava love it!  Ava – Bob, Clark and I can’t wait to meet you sweet girl!!