happy 13th birthday to Clark!

 Clark...where do I even begin, buddy? From the way that you make me laugh with your corny jokes & quotes from Looney Tunes to the way I miss you with all my heart when I'm not around you all comes flooding back. You have so many great personality traits like saving up for your first car {he's starting early, ya'll}, seeing a need at CBS and willingness to complete the task for someone else, and your aforementioned funniness are just some of them of them. And how can I forget your short and not-so-sweet texts that you send me in reply to my wordy ones? Defintely too many memories to write down here, but I'm sure we'll just make more over the coming years.

I love you little bro. Don't ever change!

We have a rule here at our house: every 3 years we get to have a BIG party. You know, the themed ones...the ones that require some effort, ha! Sure, we have sleepovers with a couple friends & always have cake & presents, but the every 3 year rule has stayed strong over the years.

All that backstory to say, Clark's turn was this year and he opted to have an Amazing Race/campout themed party. We were inspired by a WOL friend's sweet 16 party earlier that summer & used a few of their tasks but Mama and Dad did a lot of the research themselves. It was perfect for the guys, ya'll. Physical tasks meets up with thoughtful tasks? Perfect balance for the party, if you ask me.

8 boys in an 8 man tent. it was cray-cray out there.

They each had bandanas for their teams.

Just as an overview of our tasks {in pictures! and words!} so not to confuse you readers: We had a total of 6 tasks, the first being building a house out of cardboard boxes...and not just any ol' thing would do. Dad had a set of things that each house had to have to pass the test so they could recieve their next clue. This was probably one of my favorite tasks!
the rules. oh father dear is such a teacher. ;)

The second challenge was to go count PO boxes at our tiny local post office. Unfortunately there wasn't enough room for everyone to tag along to, plus, we would have to leave the house attended with a bunch of stuff all over the place, so no pics of that :(

As soon as we saw them pull up {I'm pretty sure we heard the boys before we actually saw them}, I raced out to get my camera & station myself at the next task: finding a dime in a kiddie pool filled with wet play sand and about 100 pennies. 

It was tough, and man did those boys persevere! Poor Nate was looking for 15+ mins for a dime and he did it with a smile on his face. I felt so bad for them I hopped in their myself and went to town digging in the sand. It was kinda weird, but cool at the same time if that makes any sense.

Next up was the obstacle course, comprised of a soccer slalom course...

...a football toss through the now-homeless-since-the-oak-tree-came-down tire swing...

...around the world basketball...

...and a water balloon toss. ::cough cough:: I was the one that came up with the idea for an obstacle course ::cough cough::

Up next we had them dive into the pool {it was COLD, ppl} and grab a water toy that had their team color written on it. I think that was Mom's idea and it was awesome! Those boys were shivering when they got out, I know...whether they admit it or not ;)

Lastly, there were puzzles to put together. When I say puzzles I mean painted cardboard with Sharpie designs on them cut into tiny pieces. It was tough is what all the guys said! Again, no pics of the before but I managed to snap some of them putting them together; look for them later in the post!

So now that you know what the party setup looked like, on to the candids! :)

Sweet Emmylou helped us by being a clue lady with me...

Um, this is a new fave pic of my bestie; she is beautiful inside & out.
As with any gathering of boys, they headed for the football setup in the backyard while we waited for the one lone guest to arrive {don't worry, he had the food so we wouldn't have DARED started without him ;)}. Emily, Elizabeth, and I were the cheerleaders sitting on the bed of Dad's truck.

After they played a couple of games, we explained the rules to them along with passing out the team bandanas...

A little blurry but the look of pure joy on his face is priceless!

The Black Team: Clark & Caleb, buddies for life.

Josh was a good sport because Burton wasn't there but he was still the life of the party!

The Blue Team: Nate & Andrew. A new fave pic of Nate as well; look at that cute face!

The Red Team: Trey & Jonathan. They were called the Blood Muggers, I believe...Silly guys.
There was no shortage of silliness at the party, believe me.

Finally, we're started the race! 

Getting instructions for the house task!

They called that an A frame roof. Ha.

And this was the porch on said A frame roof. Double ha!

On to the post office! 

Oh yeah, the infamous sand pit. Funny story: little Elizabeth saw the pool and said: "Look, they made a beach!" Precious.

At one point there were 4 people in the pool. It was REALLY funny.

Obstacle course time!

Freezing cold dive to the bottom up next!

Some jumped in fully clothed...Jonathan & Clark, I believe. Crazy boys.

Puzzles were last and I think it took them the longest to do this task! 

See what I mean?! Little pieces.

The teams that already finished went back to help the other boys with there puzzles. Melt.my.heart. They look out for each other, that's for sure!

Almost there!

You'd better believe that the boys were starving after all that work, so we pulled out the pizza's Miss Helen & Burton so graciously picked up before they came, set out drinks & grapes and let them go to town in the food. I was hungry too if I do say so myself.

Little Caesars FTW!

After food we went back out to the backyard to play {more} football...then I noticed it was SUPER dark looking north. I asked Dad to check the weather and sure enough, there was a strong line of thunderstorms moving straight towards us. We decided to forego Capture the Flag and eat cake outside while we could...

If you have a Sam's Club where you live, I HIGHLY recommend their cakes. Amazingly good!
Birthday boy thinking about his wish...
The best part of the cake?! Josh stuffed a whole icing balloon in his mouth. Just look at Em's face in the second pic!

As soon as we ate cake we saw the first bolt of lightening & felt the wind rush by us, so we grabbed the cake and began to pick up the things that would blow away...which was everything, ha! Then we realized that all the boys stuff was inside the tent, which resulted in a mad dash for the everything just as the sky opened up. This was our living room:

Opening presents...he got money, money, and more money. Shocking ;)

I asked him to pose with his balloons...and this is what I got.

The gift of the night was definitely his Bengals sweatshirt...He's wearing it right now actually! And I don't think he's ever gonna take it off; great choice Mama & Dad!

Like I mentioned before, it rained for the good part of the night so we trucked inside to play Uno, poker upstairs, have epic Twister tournaments {I won, I won, I won! If you're reading this Burton: good game :)}...

...played Night of the Assains {which is basically hide-and-seek with glow sticks & a Nerf gun} and stuck glow sticks to the ceiling while it was on...

That was probably the best part of the night to me. There was only one word for laying on the ground with the room pitch black staring at the colors spinning: EPIC. For reals.

After it stopped raining, the boys went out to inspect the tent, only to come back in & use every towel we owned to sop up the water. I went to bed listening to the sounds of giggle and poker chips clinking :) It was amazing and made me want to have a houseful o' kiddos.

Thanks for each and every one of Clark's buddies that came; it was a weekend to remember!


  1. It was such a fun party! Glad I was able to be apart of it for a little while. Thanks for sharing all your amazing pictures, bestie. You're awesome.

    Oh...and happy belated birthday (again) to Clark! :)

  2. Aw happy birthday to him!!!

    And don't feel bad :) the things in my photos were holister perfume samples ;) I get some everytime i go to the mall and stick them in my pants draw so they smell nice ;)

  3. happy birthday to your bro!

    i guess little brothers aren't half bad. : )

    it's so sweet that you miss him... my little brother is five years younger and i'll admit, when we were growing up, i missed him too if he was away.