This week's podcast is with my friends Kimberly and Laura who both live on my street and all of our husbands work together. This was just like a normal conversation that we would have over coffee, except there were no kids running around everywhere. Today we chatted about letting our kids walk to neighbors houses, how we do birthday parties, chores for our kids, and how I hate wearing jackets in the winter.
Although I've been a parent for longer than these two, these women both are moms that I highly look up to as parents and value their thoughts on motherhood, life and living on mission. Love them, and you will too!
Laura is one of my oldest friends and her and her husband, Jimmie who is a worship leader at the Stone, moved here to Austin with us six years ago. They have two two girls, Veda who is three, and Mercy who is one. They live down the street from us and we absolutely love doing life with them.
Kimberly also lives down the street from us, and her husband Stew is also on staff at the Stone. They have four kids, Wesley Grant who is 9, Sally who is 8, Kelly who is 7, and Karis who is six. Their son, Kelly, has been home one year from Haiti.
*Check out the Archibald Project's pictures as they documented their adoption.*
* Mom lets her child play outside and the CPS are called
* We somehow missed Story’s 6th birthday party, and Kimberly helps me solve my dilemma of feeling as though we never celebrated her.
* Laura doesn’t do first birthday parties for her kids, and actually her daughter just turned three and had her first birthday party, and it was precious! Veda wanted a “pink and purple” party and Laura rocked it!
* How we handle birthday gifts for our kids and their friends.
* Kimberly helped me get going with my chore chart and my kids have been doing this for almost 2 months now.
* Why I hate wearing jackets.
* A photo book, with pictures from the child’s last year, where people can write messages to the child.
* Give gifts that are experiences instead of gifts.
* Birthday morning: posters + streamers = anything to truly celebrate each other
*How much free range do you give your kids in your neighborhood?
*Do you throw a big 1st birthday party?
*How do you handle birthday gifts for all the hundreds of parties your kids are invited to each day?
*What are your favorite birthday ideas? Cheap and easy.
Listen to this episode HERE!
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So I was confused on your no gift at parties policy…can you talk more about that?? Do you mean that you don’t have to give gifts because the people throwing the parties are saying don’t bring them, or because you just personally choose NOT to bring a gift…and if so, how on earth do you get around the guilt on that??!! Coming to a party empty-handed seems so strange…but man I would love to do that! I feel like it has to come from the birthday kid whether to ask for gifts or ask for something to donate or to say no gifts, or else they might grow up thinking this God thing that my parents follow equals sad experiences and deprivation. So instead, I always offer no gifts as an option, or donate or whatever, but I let my kids lead on that. BUT – for me to get away with NOT bringing someone else’s kid a birthday gift I just don’t go to the party. That’s the only way I’ve found to get away with it! So how do you do it???? I would LOVE to know!
Jamie, you are the BFF that gets me through cleaning my kitchen each night! I love listening to your podcasts because it makes the chore way more enjoyable. Your guests are always super fun. I love how you delve into real spiritual issues but also talk about light and fluffy topics. It’s the perfect blend of encouragement and fun….and I always am challenged (in a good way). Thanks for all you do!
Hi Jamie, I love the podcasts! Thanks for doing those each and every week.
Can you share more about your chore chart system? I too have not bern the best at getting my kids to stick with it. How is this one different? How do you enforce this and what do you pay the kids etc. Thanks much!
Did you have Story’s 6 1/2 birthday Surprise yet? I loved your friends advice.
So I love that you mentioned how you want to come to Idaho! I live in Boise Idaho and it truly is a very beautiful place. I moved here with my husband and two kids from Portland, Oregon a few years ago. You must come and visit this great state! My good friend (Sara Walker) a fellow Happy Hour follower is the one and only Noonday Ambassador here in Idaho (thanks to your show) and I just hosted my first Truck show last weekend. You have just got us involved in all sorts of things! I also do the IF:equip bible study everyday thanks to your show!
I was so glad you discussed how much free range you and your friends give your kids. I have been needing some direction in that area lately. We live on a quiet loop and its 1/2 mile around the loop. My 8 year old has 3 friends on the loop that she loves to ride over to. Some of the parents don’t allow their kids to ride the loop but I feel it gives my daughter an adventurous spirit. She is naturally a very cautious child so I feel letting her out to explore a little is so good for her. I wont lie though, it is difficult sometimes to loosen the reigns.
Thanks so much for all the great talks. I look forward to being inspired every week!
I threw big fat, 100-guests-strong 1st birthday parties for my first two kids and even with my third we had it at home but still had over 30 people and even rented furniture for it. We are much wiser now, celebrating simply with dinner and a birthday cake for just us and the grandparents. The idea of “celebrating being 6” mid-year is genius and I am fascinated by the optional birthday gift thing. Up here in the burbs of Toronto (where it feels like 39F this morning btw), it’s silently mandatory that you bring a gift to every party, and I struggle to find cool things for $10-15 the day of (bc honestly, I always forget until the day of).
Your podcasts are such a blessing – keep them coming!
Loved this one and loved hearing from wise women. We haven’t done birthday parties for our guy yet (he’s only 2) but I agree – at this age, they seem like they’re more for the parents! I don’t have the time, money or energy to throw together a Pinterest worthy birthday party. But we absolutely make sure his day is VERY special, filled with all of his favorite things. I think that at age 3 we will begin incorporating friends into birthday celebrations. I also LOVED the idea of the book that was given to Amos for his birthday, the one with pictures and words of affirmation…I love that it is still special to him and he looks at it often. Great idea!
Hi Tracy! Jamie asked me to reply here…there are so many chore charts and things, aren’t there?! This is so simple that it is easy!
We choose simple chores that are also things we want our kids to grow at learning. We start simple, teach them along the way, re-name it “job” and pay them. We consider their school schedule and that they are real little people learning lots. We separate helping in the family and jobs. They do set table and clean up dishes, but that is part of being in our family- They don’t get paid for that.
We have 4 kids….we chose 4 jobs…4 days a week (mon-thurs) and they get paid 50 cents for each job/$2 a week. The 4 jobs rotate between the kids and everything gets done every day by one of the kids. (The weekend is their time off or gives them a chance on their own to do extra jobs to earn more money)
The first 2 weeks to a month, I go with the kids to help them and teach them. I take into consideration their age and capabilities. My kids are 9,8,7,6.
If they complain about their job or don’t do it, they don’t get paid. I don’t nag them about it. They get one reminder & after that, I let it go.
On Friday when I pay them, I will let them know if they missed a job or if they complained and use that moment to teach rather than fight when they are complaining.
They often want extra jobs (especially if they missed theirs that week) and those can be done on fri or weekend.
Here are our jobs defined for now:
Trash (looks different for each kid and each day – 1 day is recycling/1 day is clean fridge out/ 1 day is take all trash up and out to garbage/ 1 day is fill trash cans in house with liners
Bathroom- I have a bucket under sink ready to go! They clean mirror/sink – that is it…they often want more $ and will clean toilet and bathtub. That is so much more pleasant when they ask on their own initiative.
Laundry- each kid has own bucket of clothes and does their laundry themselves. They put it away the next day and I let go of how they put it away.
Water garden- this varies based on need…or they sweep the deck in the back
Best thing is to choose simple things, teach them well, get in a rythm and then you can always add more! Or better, they ask to do more on their own initiative!
Hope that helps!
This is Jamie’s friend Laura-I thought I would explain my point of view on the gift thing. I may not be in the majority here but this is just what works for me!
If the invite asks for no gifts, I find the only right answer is to respect their wishes. on wether it comes from the kid themselves or the adult, that is what has been requested.
on birthdays in general, especially kids we do not bring gifts. now, my kids are only 3 and 1 so we are at the beginning of our birthday party career and I am open for shifting this view but I will ask myself the same questions before I buy a gift then that I do now.
1)what is the objective of this party?
2)why was I/my kid invited?
3)is there a meaningful/personal gift I have been thinking of giving the person?
4)what is my goal in bringing a gift?
for me, a child’s birthday will usually garner these answers:
1)celebrate the life!
2)we are consistent/loyal/close friends
3)rarely, but yes sometimes there is something that I know will be meaningful and appreciated by kid and parent.
4)usually this one is the one that keeps me from pulling out my debit card. is my only goal to be social accepted? pride?
I firmly believe that a party is thrown for a child b/c we want to celebrate their life. Any cake, food, drinks, or favors that are offered are to further the celebration and a tool to be hospitable. I really do not think people do this in order to ensure their child is showered in gifts.
As for our own kids, we will not throw parties every year, we will talk through gifts and the fact that we encourage the people that do come to our party to just come to celebrate…again, we are still figuring this part out…
Would love to hear more thoughts sara, good question!
Leah-I would be a total outcast in Toronto!!:) How old are your kiddos? How do you explain/handle them picking out gifts for their friends that are budget appropriate?
awesome Laura, thank you! those are great questions to ask before buying a gift. thankfully my closest friends are the ones i can dialogue with about this kind of stuff, so they are good to go on the re-gift/making your own gift/giving an experience as a gift concept…but for school moms that are just acquaintances, i feel a certain amount of obligation to give a gift commiserate with what they might have spent on my child. oh, and to clarify – i meant that i won’t tell MY OWN children they can’t have gifts but rather ask them “would you like to tell your friends not to bring you a gift but to donate something instead?” so far (and they are 7 and 4), the answer has always been “yes, i’d like them to bring a gift” =) but maybe one day….and because my girls want to have a party (they are social butterflies!), we do our best to put something together that is within our own preset values and limits. the oldest one really does plan her own party activities and even decorates, it’s pretty cute to see her creativity come out. but trust me, as your kids get older (well, i guess this really depends on the circle of friends they end up with from school or church or wherever!) the parties they will get invited to can get ridiculous!! my own policy is that we don’t go to parties on Sunday, and we don’t go to parties for MY friends. i really liked what you said, Laura, about how your daughter isn’t really “best friends” with your friend’s daughter – it’s just because you moms are friends!! so true!!!!
Jamie, glad to know that I’m now not the single worst-at-birthdays mom in the world. We can share the title. I think my problem is that I totally live in the moment – tackling each day as it comes. Parties require planning ahead of time – or facing rejection if you invite people at the last minute. I like the surprise after school pick-up party idea….
My cheap last minute go-to gift – Photo Collages from Walgreens. Example, today is my mother’s birthday, she lives 14 hours away. I remembered yesterday. Usually I get on the computer and find photos since the last holiday – like Mother’s Day – and create an 8×10 collage. You can pay for it online and then send it to their nearest Walgreens and choose the “have a friend pick this up for me” option. Typically I text my dad and ask him to stop to pick up mom’s last minute gift. Today he is out of the country, so she will have to go pick up her own gift. Last year my sister picked it up for me, and they messed up the order – Mom got an 8×10 of a college guy leaning on his car.
This also works well for the friends of my children. I usually have a handful of cute photos of them hanging out together so it’s fun and personal. My 15 year old son’s female friends think he’s so sweet when he shows up to their bdays with cards like that. There are almost always good photo coupons at retailmenot making Mom’s gift today $2.85.
Hi Laura! My kids are now 16, 13 and 10. We have explicitly asked for not gifts or for clothing or food donations for our own parties, but to no avail. Our friends are stubbornly generous I guess! It’s always a panicked negotiation with my youngest when we are gift shopping – lately a couple of packs of Pokemon cards seem to do the trick. My older girls have inherited my love for handmade gifts. Recently one gave her friend a jar of her favourite candies and the other sewed an infinity scarf. They were both hits and cost less than $10 each:)