The Year of Motherhood: Full Year Recap

By | General | 7 Comments

This post was written by contributor Jamie Ivey.

December Recap – Jesse Tree

My goal for the month of December was to do the Jesse Tree with my kids during advent.  Last year we read Jotham’s Journey and we loved it, but let’s just say we never found out what happened to poor Jotham because we never finished the book.  I was open to anything for advent and had heard great things about the Truth in the Tinsel advent experience as well.  I didn’t care what we did, we were just going to do something!

My church really helped me out on this one because each week they would send home the reading schedule for us along with ornaments for the kids to decorate.  Oh how they helped out this momma that is not crafty!  Another awesome thing was that most of the readings from our advent were from The Jesus Storybook Bible.  If you do not have this bible for your kids, stop right now and go buy it.  I’m serious.  I have cried when reading it to my children.  EVERY SINGLE STORY POINTS TO JESUS.  It’s an amazing picture of God’s love story for us and him sending us a rescuer.

Anyhow back to advent …. we read the scriptures and created our ornaments.  I’ll be honest and say some days we missed our time.  Some days we did three at once.  The thing I love about advent so much is the anticipation for the birth of Jesus.  It’s all a huge build up and then JESUS IS HERE!

The Year of Motherhood in Review

The Year of Motherhood challenge has been so great for me as a mom.  Am I better mom because of it?  Sure. Was I a bad mom before I started?  No.  

The challenge for me was birthed out of last Christmas season and realizing I wanted to be a better mom.  I wanted to challenge myself in areas that I knew I wanted to grow in.  (I talk more about the challenge on the podcast with Kat.  You can listen HERE.)

This year has shown me three things.  

#1 Being a mom is hard.  No other job in this world is as demanding as raising children.

#2  Being a mom takes work.  I have to think about ways to be a better mom.  Just as you would evaluate your marriage from time to time, or your company would evaluate your performance, we should do that as mothers.  I need to plan out ways to improve.  I need to think about how I can point my children to Jesus better.

#3 I missed the mark a lot on my challenges.  They were hard.  BUT it wasn’t a fail. Never.  I realized how many times I viewed my short comings as failures and they aren’t that at all.  God is working in my life and creating me to be a better mom each day, and that’s not a fail, that’s growing.  I’m a work in progress.  


I’m so happy that THE YEAR OF MOTHERHOOD challenge was a part of my 2012.  I’m for sure better because of it!  What challenge did you complete this year as a mom?  Are you challenging yourself in anyway for 2013 as a mom?  I’d LOVE to hear about it.  I haven’t decided if I’m up for the challenge again, maybe your challenges will inspire me to do this again in 2013!  

Join this conversation HERE and tell us how you will challenge yourself in 2013 to be a better mom!


About Jamie
Jamie lives in Austin with her husband, Aaron, who is the worship pastor at The Austin Stone Community Church, and their four kids. She’s passionate about loving her husband, following Jesus, talking about adoption, and trying to be the best mom she can be to the four cutest kids in the world. She loves family nights, reading a good book, and could eat Mexican food three times a day. You can find her blogging at, or on twitter @jamie_ivey.

The Year of Motherhood: Serving Our City Together

By | Compassion, The Year of Motherhood | 11 Comments

This post was written by contributor Jamie Ivey.

Serving our City Together

In the eleven months of my year of motherhood challenge, I never imagined that this one would give me the most trouble.  I would have looked ahead to November and thought – EASY.  I love our city.  I love to serve.  This will be a no brainer.

Instead it was super hard.  I’m not sure if it was the time of year that made it hard.  Are we too busy now?  Oh that’s a lame excuse to not serve.  Or is it my kids ages?  Are they too young to get it?  Yeah, even lamer.  Kids only know what you teach them.  Did I just not see the value in this?

None of my excuses seem to matter.  I learned a lot about myself and my kids by looking back on this month.  I learned that:

#1 Your kids only know how to serve if you teach them.  When I take a meal to someone after they have had a baby I usually don’t bring my kids.  It’s just easier that way, y’all know what I mean!  But, unfortunately they never see me buy my favorite food for someone else instead of our family.

One thing that we’ve started this year is we have money jars and each of the kids has a spend and a give jar.  They kick and scream each time we have them put money in the give jar, but I know that in a few weeks when we get out the Compassion International catalog and all pick out a goat for a family they will LOVE it!

#2 Kids are resilient.  My kids threw a screaming fit when my mom and I took them shopping to buy presents for other kids for our Operation Christmas Child boxes.  I told them they couldn’t get anything for themselves and you would have though I told them they had to eat broccoli for a month.  They were SO distraught.  And I was SO frustrated with them!  BUT by the end of the shopping trip they were really putting all their heart and soul into picking out gifts for little boys around the world.  I went from frustrated mom to very proud mom during that one shopping trip.

#3 Serving takes planning.  My mom came up one weekend to visit and we took our kids to fill up her shoeboxes.  After that I planned on our family serving with a local business here that serves food to homeless people, and of course I kept forgetting to call and then before you know it, it’s Thanksgiving.  Yes, we served by filling up shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child, but our family didn’t serve together in the way I imagined.  Serving takes planning, it doesn’t just happen.

The Jesse Tree

 My goal for December is to actually do the Jesse Tree with my kids.  Last year I had big plans to do this, and never did and that is actually what inspired the whole Year of Motherhood challenge.  I’m happy to announce that we’ve already started because I have an amazing church that sends home a planner each week on what to read and even the paper to color.  They know moms need a little help sometimes!

Bigger than me doing the Jesse Tree with my kids though is how I want to actually enjoy this month.  I want my kids to love Jesus more after this month.  I want to love Jesus more after this month .  My hope and prayer for all of us in December is that we relish the time with our famiies.  Cherish the small things and let’s show our kids that Christmas is about Jesus and Jesus only.

Join this discussion.  How do you help your kids keep Christmas about Jesus?  Click HERE to share all your great ideas with all of us!


About Jamie
Jamie lives in Austin with her husband, Aaron, who is the worship pastor at The Austin Stone Community Church, and their four kids. She’s passionate about loving her husband, following Jesus, talking about adoption, and trying to be the best mom she can be to the four cutest kids in the world. She loves family nights, reading a good book, and could eat Mexican food three times a day. You can find her blogging at, or on twitter @jamie_ivey.

The Year of Motherhood: Discovering our City

By | The Year of Motherhood | 20 Comments

This post was written by contributor Jamie Ivey.

Bucket List for your city

Not long after we moved to Austin I discovered a blog written by a mom in town that had made a list of all the things to do with your kids around Austin before they go off to kindergarten. It was her own little mom/child pre-school bucket list.

The truth is that when my kids go off to school I lose about 40 hours a week with them that I would have normally had with them when they were not yet in school.  I remember being challenged to actually do the things in my city that people write about and encourage tourists to do.

It was then that I made my own little fun list of things I wanted to do with my kids and this month we were able to scratch some of those things off of our list.  It worked out perfectly for us to be on Fall Break this month, so I was able to do fun stuff with the kids during the day when most kids around us were still in school.  What I discovered was that my kids were eager to see new sights around our town as well.

Out of my comfort zone

This challenge forced me to get out of my mommy comfort zone and do new things with my kids.  If we are all honest, sometimes it’s just easier to do the things we always do with our kids, rather than trying new stuff.  This challenge forced me to think outside the box and not just go to our normal play ground on a day we have together, but yet find a new one to go to and explore something new. 

We visited a museum that we had never been to, climbed a “mountain”, and visited a new pumpkin patch that we had never been to.  This challenge was fun for me and also stressful (because I had to plan), but it was so much fun! 

It’s a joy to see your kids experience something for the first time and have so much fun!

November is for serving

In October, we focused on discovering our city, and November is for serving our city. 

I have always wanted our family to serve together, but each year I feel as though I have that one kid that will ruin it for us all.  I either have a child that’s too young, or one that will surely lose their mind and throw a massive fit during our time of serving. 

This month I’m determined to serve our city somehow together as a family.  This shouldn’t be hard to find somehow to serve, but the hard part will be to make us actually do it.

I would love to hear from you about this!  How do you serve your city that you live in?  Do you volunteer as a family? 

I need tips!  I want my children to love to serve, but sometimes I just don’t know how to do that well as a family.  Leave your comments HERE for me about this!

About Jamie
Jamie lives in Austin with her husband, Aaron, who is the worship pastor at The Austin Stone Community Church, and their four kids. She’s passionate about loving her husband, following Jesus, talking about adoption, and trying to be the best mom she can be to the four cutest kids in the world. She loves family nights, reading a good book, and could eat Mexican food three times a day. You can find her blogging at, or on twitter @jamie_ivey.

The Year of Motherhood: Healthy Meals

By | Guest Posts, The Year of Motherhood | 4 Comments



This post was written by contributor Jamie Ivey.

Teaching Healthy Habits

I try really hard to teach my kids about healthy living.  We play sports, try and work out, and try our hardest to put good foods in our bodies.  It’s important to my husband, Aaron, and I that we try and teach our kids about healthy food so that when they are older they can make these choices on their own.


As a mom that stays home, one of my jobs is to make breakfast for our kids and pack them lunches.  This also means that I need to make sure there’s food in the house to feed my kids three meals a day every day!  Aaron does most of the cooking at night, but I need to make sure that all four kids get a healthy breakfast and a healthy lunch packed five days a week.  That’s 40 meals I’m in charge of.


Why is this important?

I decided to do this as one of my challenges, because I know that sometimes I can send my kids to school with lunch money not because I want them to eat in the cafeteria, but because I chose extra sleep over making lunches, or that I chose lunch with a friend the day before instead of grocery shopping for my family.  I wanted to challenge myself to put something that I value so much, healthy food, as a #1 priority for the month.

This month has been fairly easy because I have made sure there was food in the house when there needed to be.  I have thought of different things for my kids lunches, and have found some new favorite breakfast ideas that we all loved!  Also if you aren’t on Pintrest, welcome to 2012.  You need to be on this!  I have tagged so many fun breakfast ideas and lunch ideas for my kids.  Y’all there are people that only blog about making fabulous lunches for their kids.  These people are great if you are in the rut of PB&J for your kids.


I have enjoyed knowing that my kids are starting their school day with great food in their bellies to help their minds focus and learn.  I also love knowing that I’m making a huge effort to send them to school with lunches that are not only good and healthy, but also exciting.  Every once in a while I even throw in a love note to my kids as well!


October Challenge:  Explore our city together

Next month will be my tenth challenge, and I must say that I’m super excited about the three final challenges for 2012.  They all involve our family and doing things together.  That is something that I love!  Next month our challenge as a family is to try something NEW in our city each week.  I LOVE Austin, and there is an abundance of things that we have never tried.  This will provide automatic family time, finding new things in our city, and hopefully many teaching moments as parents!


How do you and your family explore your city?    Any great ideas for elementary kids?  If you live in Austin, what must we do together?!?!  Click HERE to join this discussion.

About Jamie
Jamie lives in Austin with her husband, Aaron, who is the worship pastor at The Austin Stone Community Church, and their four kids. She’s passionate about loving her husband, following Jesus, talking about adoption, and trying to be the best mom she can be to the four cutest kids in the world. She loves family nights, reading a good book, and could eat Mexican food three times a day. You can find her blogging at, or on twitter @jamie_ivey.

Memorizing Scripture with your kids

By | General, The Year of Motherhood | 12 Comments


Overcoming the hurdles

I’ve heard that your kids can take on your personality, your likes, your dislikes, and your temperaments just from growing up in your household for their first 18 years.  I’m trying to break one cycle for my kids and hoping they aren’t like me in this area, and that’s memorizing scripture.  It is hard for me.  I don’t memorize well.  I don’t know all the words to my favorite song.  I can’t even remember who wrote most of the songs we sing at church, and the reason that’s weird is because my husband probably wrote half of them.


We began this month with working on the 23rd Psalm.  We made motions and practiced, but once again, we hit the ground running hard at the beginning of the month, and our efforts began to lose steam about half way.  I was discouraged and feeling like a failure, which is not what God thinks of me, and not a good way to keep going.  I prayed and asked God to continue to help me with this, and about that time we started listening to our new kids CD that is pretty much straight up scripture to song.  The kids loved it, and it was putting God’s word straight into their heart.  They began to sing the songs even when we weren’t in the car, and I realized that we were putting God’s word all over our lives.


Family devotions around the table

We also tried to be more consistent with our family devotion time.  We continued using our Jesus Calling book, and also incorporated a book that one of you had recommended to me, A Child’s Book of Character Building.  We changed this from at night around the living room to reading these around the dinner table together.  This helped us out with having kids still and in one place, and also our daughter, Story, was missing out lots before because she was in bed already.  I feel that these new books are great together, and bring great discussions to the rest of our lives.


What I learned

Although we didn’t memorize the whole 23rd Psalm, I will not look at this month as a fail.  This month was full of us getting God’s word in our heart.  When we were jamming to our CD in the car one day, one of my kids connected the dots when he excitedly yelled out that this song was about the same armor of God that he had learned about at camp.  My heart was full because he was hearing about God’s word and learning the same truths in a different way and those truths were getting stuck in his heart and brain.  God is working in my kids lives and I’m so happy to be challenged to get scripture to them more and more.


I’ve learned this month that scripture memorization is important for all of us, and not just mom and dad.  I’m getting ready to get another verse ready for this next month for us.  What a joy to write God’s word on our doorposts, okay so it’s just taped to the windows, and talk about it with my kids when we work and when we play.  I kinda remember reading God tell us that this is what we should do anyways.


Next Month

For most of you, your kids are starting back to school and you are getting back to your routine.  For us, we’ve been in school for a month now (we do year round school), so I’m already in the groove of school life.  When school starts back up it always takes me a while to get back to making lunches every day for them to take to school and a good breakfast.  For the month of September I want to commit to not letting them buy their lunch at all.  My kids hardly ever do, unless I’m lazy or have put off going to the grocery store for way too long.  I also would like to spice up our breakfast around here.  I know it’s convenient, but waffles in the toaster and cereal get lots of table time around here.  I would like to do more.  It is going to involve planning, prep, and maybe an earlier alarm setting.

I’ve already been seeing tons of helpful hints on pintrest and many bloggers are giving us their tips on healthy lunches.  I want your ideas.  What’s your favorite lunch routine.  Do your kids make their own lunches?  What are your favorite healthy breakfast’s to make for your kids?  Click HERE to join the discussion and help me make some healthy, fun, and easy meals for my kids this next month.

About Jamie
Jamie Ivey lives in Austin with her husband, Aaron, who is the worship pastor at The Austin Stone Community Church, and their four kids. She’s passionate about loving her husband, following Jesus, talking about adoption, and trying to be the best mom she can be to the four cutest kids in the world. She loves family nights, reading a good book, and could eat Mexican food three times a day. You can find her blogging at, or on twitter @jamie_ivey.

The Year Of Motherhood: Praying For My Kids

By | Get Inspired, The Year of Motherhood | 13 Comments

Praying for My Kids in July

I love the way God perfectly orchestrates things in our lives, and when we realize it, it can bring you straight to your happy place.  When I had this weird idea back in December to spend 2012 challenging myself in a new way each month I had no idea the amount of time I would spend away from my kids in the month of July, but I now know it was no coincidence that God planned for me to spend this month focusing on praying more for my kids.

I pray for my kids a lot, and I try to pray out loud over them every night, but I wanted something different.  I wanted to not just do the normal, “God keep them safe and thank you for another day” prayer, but I wanted to truly petition the Father on behalf of my kids.  Paul Miller says in his book A PRAYING LIFE that “prayer is a moment of incarnation – God with us.”  That’s what I want when I pray for my kids.  I want to be in a moment of God with me.

My Prayers this month

This month I spent 17 out of 31 days away from my babies.  They were at camp, and I was in London (I am there now as you read this!)  That is a lot of days for a momma to be away from her children in one month.  I relied on a lot of fabulous friends to take care of my kids and spent a lot of time praying for them.  I learned this month that while I was away from my kids it took me to my knees a lot more on their behalf.  When I was away from them my longing for them led me to the Father.  I was able to spend time not only thanking God for my blessings in my kids, but also asking God to draw them to him, to change their heart, and to show me ways my parenting could improve with each child.

Let me tell you a cool thing that happened this month with my praying for my kids.  Our boys went to a Christian camp for six nights and they loved every minute of it!  I still can’t believe they made it, but they did! 

While they were there, Aaron and I were on our own little vacation with no kids and during those days I told Aaron a few of the prayer points that I was praying for the kids.  One of them was a “strong biblical self-esteem” and another was “A passion for God”. 

I know that God has been drawing my oldest son, who is eight, toward him for many months now.  The conversations that we have are amazing, and he is truly wanting to know God more, and I believe that his week at camp brought him even closer to God.  He told me when he got home that he had made a decision to follow Jesus.  My husband and I spent a lot of time talking with him about this and showing him ways that we have seen God drawing him towards him and that God had love him first.  It was super sweet and when I look back and think about two of the things I had prayed for my kids while they were at camp, I can see God’s perfect timing over this whole silly challenge that I set out to do.


What’s Next

Next month I’m going to focus on something that should be fun and a challenge not only to myself, but also to my kids.  We are going to do family devotionals more often and work on memorizing scripture together.  I have a few friends that do this well, and boy am I going to rely on them for pointers and tips.  I also have a kids cd that’s straight from the bible ready to blast daily in the car so they can pick up some of God’s word just through song.

How do you do family devotionals?  Do you do them daily?  Morning?  Before bed?  Have you spent time memorizing God’s word together with your kids?  What is your advice for me?  Click HERE to join this conversation!

Note from Kat: Click here to get our free Mom’s prayer calendar.

The Year of Motherhood: Fruit of the Spirit

By | Encouragement, General, Guest Posts, The Year of Motherhood | 18 Comments

Six months into the challenge ….

This completes the sixth month for my YEAR OF MOTHERHOOD challenge that I started this year.  My whole intention with this challenge was not to compare myself to others, or to see how bad I am at certain areas of motherhood, or to point out how good I am at other aspects of mothering; no the whole point in my challenge was to do just that, to CHALLENGE myself to look deep inside myself and allow myself to focus more in depth on certain areas of my parenting each month.

So far, I have gotten up before my kids each morning, not been on the computer while they were awake, spent one-on-one time with each kid each week (attempted to do that!), planned family nights, tried to encourage them daily, and this month we focused on the FRUITS OF THE SPIRIT that Paul laid out for us in Galatians 5.  Doesn’t all that sound like I’m automatically up for mom-of-the-year?!

Talking about the Fruit of the Spirit

This month was so much fun and a big challenge as well.  I started out by ordering a book that would help me plan different activities for the kids to learn more about love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  I basically just used this as a guide to a few activities that I did with the kids.  It was good and I’m sure everything that I did most of you super crafty moms could have come up with on your own, but for me it was a great help.

One night I was talking to Aaron on the phone while he was out of town and he asked me how talking with the kids was going, and I started venting my frustration about how they don’t really listen to me.  I felt like I was trying to give them truths from the scripture and they kept arguing, or fighting, or just not paying me a lick of attention.  I was a bit discouraged.

Two days later he was home and we were all around the table eating breakfast and Aaron asked them what they knew about the fruits of the spirit and to my surprise they all started saying stuff about each one.  I was amazed and super proud all at once.  He looked at me and I’m pretty sure I had tears in my eyes, because sure enough they had been listening even when I thought they didn’t care.


They are listening.

I think this is why God put these words for us in his scriptures, “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.  And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.  You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontless between your eyes.  You shall write them on the doorpost of your house and your gates.

I learned this month that God really knew what he was talking about when he told us to constantly talk to our kids about His Word.  Even when we think they are not listening to keep talking.  Even when we think they don’t care, keep on talking.  Even when we feel as though they are too little to understand this, keep talking.  God commands us to talk about His Word with our kids, and I’m starting to figure out that He knows what He’s talking about and has great reasons for His commands to us!


Next month … lots of praying

For the month of July I’m going to be praying more specifically for my kids.  I pray for them daily, but I’m hoping that in this month I can really identify some specific things I can go before the Father on their behalf about.  I know that once again this will have a huge impact on our home, my kids and especially me as well. 

I’m asking that God opens my eyes to the power that our prayers can have.


How do you pray for your kids?  I know I’ll be using Inspired to Actions prayer calendar for kids that I love already so much.   Join me in this journey this month of going before the LORD on behalf of our kid!  Click HERE to join this discussion!

The Year of Motherhood: Encouraging our kids

By | The Year of Motherhood | 10 Comments

Year of Motherhood by Jamie Ivey

MAY RECAP – encouraging my kids

My May challenge was to spend time daily encouraging each of my kids.

The definition of encourage is this:  to inspire with courage, spirit, or confidence.  To stimulate by assistance, approval, etc.  To promote, advance, or foster.

I sometimes find myself more as an office manager of our company, AKA “team Ivey household”, and not the cheerleader that I ought to be to my kids and even husband sometimes.  I find myself concentrating on making sure this ship sails and doesn’t sink, instead of helping my children learn to sail this ship with me.  Mommy-hood is demanding and often we neglect the little people that we are supposed to be pouring into so much.

One-on-0ne talk time.

This month was a chance for me to literally think about encouraging my kids each day.  The first few days I would sit each of my kids down during the day and find something to build them up about.  Whether it was me catching them help a sibling without being asked, taking turns with a toy, minding the first time, or trying really hard to control their tongue I was praising them about it.  I loved that!  Not only was I encouraging them, but I was spending one on one time with them, and for Amos who needs special moments, I was also holding him in my lap and providing bonding time for just the two of us.

Bed time became my favorite time to encourage.

Then things got busy, and that happening every day, turned in to every few days, or one kid a day even.  Time slipped by and busyness crept in.  What I learned during this time, is that I have a built-in time each day that it’s just me and one kid.  I don’t have to stop making dinner to do this, I don’t have to send other kids to play while I do this, I don’t even have to take a kid on a special mommy date to do this.  This happens each and every day and that is TUCK IN time.  I began to view bedtime differently.  I began to see it as a time to talk to each kid and let them talk to me.  I had their undivided attention and they had my whole attention as well, and for a kid with three other siblings all grabbing for moms attention, they love the one on one time.

This month bedtimes of course included the normal 1,579 questions that they ask me each night about everything in the world, but also me talking to them.  I was encouraging them at night by telling them things I was proud of them about.  I was telling them how I was seeing God work in their lives.  I was talking to them about Jesus and his great big plan for us.  I was trying to give them confidence, guide them, give them my approval, guide them in the ways of the Lord, and foster a bond between us that I pray will grow stronger and stronger over the years.

How I encouraged this month.

This month I left them notes in their lunch boxes, I wrote them letters and mailed them to them (don’t kids just love getting mail!), we made special dinners, we had hammock time together, we prayed together, and I even bought them signs that were designed specifically for them.  I picked words that I thought described my kids well, or character traits that we are praying for them, and a cute little shop called, Doodle Graphics, created a special sign for each of them.  I love these, and although they aren’t the coolest things in the world to my kids, I pray that one day they’ll realize the special words we picked out and how much we love them and wanted to encourage them to grow into these words as well.

I was reminded this month of how great my words can effect my children.  I’m asking God constantly to allow me to leave good words on their hearts and words that encourage them to grow into people who love God and love people dearly.

Next month we’re learning the FRUITS OF THE SPIRIT.

June will be a fun month because we are going to pick some of the fruits of the Spirit and spend time learning and practicing them!  Galatians 5: 22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.”  I think this next month will be a great time for us to spend time learning about how God wants us to act and what he gives us to complete that.  I know that I will be challenged as a mom to live out the fruits of the spirit just as much as my kids will be!


How did you spend time encouraging your kids this month?  Have you spent time teaching your kids about these character traits?  If so, we’d love to hear what you did and how you did it.  Wanna join me this month in teaching and learning with our kids about how these can play out in our lives each day?

Click HERE to join us in this discussion!

The Year of Motherhood: Themed Family Nights

By | Encouragement, General, Get Inspired, The Year of Motherhood | 14 Comments

April Family Night – Recap!

My April challenge was to plan a family night each week that was more than dinner and a movie.

I feel like my husband, Aaron, and I spend a good amount of quality family time with our kids, but for some reason I felt as though we needed a little boost to our nights.  I wanted to put a little pep in our step and bring them up a notch. 

Our first family night was a LUAU FAMILY NIGHT theme and it was so much fun with the kids.  I learned that on one hand it was super easy because it’s food we would have normally eaten, and I didn’t have to buy much to make the night special.  We played limbo with a broomstick I found in the backyard, and silly straws and virgin pina colada’s don’t cost too much these days!  The kids loved it.  At one point I looked at Aaron and thought, I could do this.  I could plan something like this every week and be a really “good” mom!

The next family night snuck up on me and I was not as prepared. Around 5:30pm I was still at the grocery store and texting everyone I knew in our neighborhood asking if they had a tent that we could borrow for our camping theme night.  We finally got a tent, and finally got dinner made and in the end had one of the kids favorite desserts, but it was stressful for me, and I felt like I was more concerned with feeling like we were “camping” than I was with hanging out with my kids.  Sure they ate in the tent, but I’m not sure I talked to them at all during the dinner.  I could check another family night off the calendar.

That family night left me feeling defeated.

Another night was completely unplanned and we ended up making nachos late at night with our boys while watching a movie.  Aaron looked at me and we kind of had the look that we both knew what we were both thinking.  We both knew that this was a memory night.  Completely unplanned and no theme at all, unless you call it a “How-much-gross-food-can-you-eat-in-one-night” theme!  My kids thought it was hilarious that we put a TV in their room and let them eat nachos on the floor while we watched a movie.  It was out of the box and so fun for them.  I didn’t plan this theme.  

It was just life happening and it was perfect.

Themed family nights have been fun and they’ve also been draining.

I’ve learned this month that each mom is different and I need to know my limits.  Planning themed nights is not my thing, and I can say this with all confidence…. I’m.okay.with.this.  For me, I’ll still do a theme night every once in a while, because my kids loved it.  I’ll also not stress about them, because my kids also just love it when we’re together eating nachos on the floor in their room just because.  No theme necessary.  Just because.

The Next Motherhood Challenge

My challenge for May is to encourage each of my kids daily.

To say this out loud seems very elementary, but the point of this month is to stop and really talk to my kids each day.  If you are like me, you wake up; get them to school and when you pick them up from school the whirl wind starts.  The hours between 4 and 8 pm should be the sweetest, but sometimes they are the craziest.  Baseball practice, homework, piano lessons, church stuff, dates nights, etc. etc. etc.

I want to slow down each day and spend time exhorting my children.

I want to look at them and find their strengths and encourage them in them daily.  Unfortunately this will be a challenge for me.  Instead of seeing so many areas that need improvement I’m asking God to help me see the areas they are succeeding in and encourage them there.  In Hebrews the writer tells us to “exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you maybe be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin”.  That’s what I want for my kids.  I want to be their biggest fan and encourager.

Will you join me this month in becoming your kid’s biggest fans?

Together, let’s find ways to encourage our kids every single day.  When they are driving you nuts, find something good in them that is worthy of encouragement.  Let’s cheer our kids on with encouragement this month and all the months to come!

Share with us in the comments how you take special time out each day to encourage your kids.Click here to join the discussion!


The Year of Motherhood: March Update and April Challenge (Family Nights!)

By | General, Get Inspired, The Year of Motherhood | 40 Comments

Editor’s Note: Today we have another motivating read by Jamie Ivey, sharing more about her Year of Motherhood.

The need to schedule.

If someone would have walked up to me eight years ago as I held my precious 2 month old baby and told me that in eight short years you will have four kids and you will be trying to schedule one-on-one time with them each week, I would have looked at them like they had two heads.

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What kind of mom has a hard time spending time with her kids? My mind back then would have said only the “bad” moms have to plan time with their kids! It’s kinda like when you first get married and that sweet couple that’s been married about 10 years longer than you and is chasing four kids around tells you that one day you will schedule sex … you laugh and think NO WAY. Well, YES WAY to scheduling sex and time with our kids!!

This month’s challenge of spending one-on-one time with my kids was harder than I thought it would be.

In a perfect world I would take each kid out to their favorite lunch spot and then we would spend hours at the park talking and sipping cherry coke (although I would really never let my kids drink cherry coke, because I’m the psycho-no-coke-mom) all while the other kids were at home and it was just me and that one kid for a few hours. Y’all that expectation is hard. Very hard.

Throw in a husband that travels, school, piano lessons, homework, a child having surgery, church activities and commitments, a mom volunteering for a big fundraising event, basketball practice, friends and family in town …. the list could go on forever. You know what it’s like with kids and life and trying to fit it all in!

Lesson learned.

What I learned this month was that being a mom takes work.

I know you are on the floor laughing hysterically because you already knew that. Well I already knew that too, but it was confirmed again as I was trying to juggle my commitments in life, my husband’s commitments, and being 100% present and there for my kids.

I’ll say that there were many days that I failed, but there were also days that I succeeded and those days felt so good. I learned that it’s the little things in life that can bring so much joy to my kids.

Yesterday we all went out and got ice cream cones that costs $1 each and they were so excited. I was intentional in my conversations as we sat around the table at the park and talked. I was present. I was there for them. I had nothing on my mind but them.

Moms, I am the first person to say that when life gets busy sometimes my kids get the worst in me. I am on edge, tired, busy, and consumed with my own agenda. This challenge was a huge reminder to me that my babies are precious and are gifts to be treasured. They need me and believe it or not, I need them too.

The March challenge reminded me that the time I invest in my kids has a far greater reward than anything else I could invest my time in.

The next challenge.

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For my April challenge I’m focusing on family nights. We love family nights around here, but they are always dinner & movie. I need to branch out, and make memories with my family through these nights.

This month I want to plan and implement a family night each week that is more than dinner and movie. This is going to be a challenge for this very non-creative momma! Pintrest here I come!!! Leave me a comment with your favorite family night ideas, because truly I need all the help I can get!!!

Wanna join me in planning family nights for your family? I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments.