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8 Is Great Party- What It Is and Why We Do It

March 30, 2020

We started a tradition 3 years ago when our first child turned 8. From the day she was born, we always said we wanted to be a really intentional family. From family dinners, to special birthdays, to making memories in the mundane, we wanted to be intentional with our time with our kids.

As she was approaching her 8th birthday, we realized that she was literally transitioning right in front of our eyes from our toddler little girl, to a big girl. Our conversations turned from silly to more meaningful. The way we interacted was changing. We knew her “baby days” were in the rearview mirror and we were turning the corner to “big girl days”.

And we wanted to stop and take a moment to acknowledge her growing into a beautiful young lady. To point out certain character qualities that we saw in her. To discuss certain things she was going through like navigating friendships, being the nice girl, and more.

All that to say, instead of having a birthday party with friends for her 8th birthday, we had a special “mommy/daughter” birthday called “8 is Great”.

And since that time, two of our other kids have turned 8 and we had a special “mommy/son” 8 is Great birthday as well.

What “8 is Great” looks like is that they can choose whatever they want to do (within reason and within budget) and we get to do it together. Just mommy and child. And then after our fun day of activities, we sneak away to a hotel (might be right down the street from our house) and we bring games and our bathing suits and we swim in the hotel pool and play games and more. Once we snuggle back into our hotel room, I take a moment to simply speak life into them. To talk about how generous my daughter is. To talk about how thoughtful my son is and how he goes out of his way to make others feel included. To talk about the kindness I see in my other son and how encouraging he is to others. And more.

I talk about how they are no longer babies and toddlers. That they are growing into big kids. And how proud mommy and daddy are of them. What a joy it has been to watch them grow up.

One of our favorite verses we pray over our kids is from Luke 2:52 as it talked about Jesus: “Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all the people.” In other words, “Adelyn grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all the people.” “Colton grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all the people.” Etc.

We have loved this “8 is Great” tradition and we look forward to having 3 more “8 is Great” mommy & son parties in the future. I don’t know what the future birthdays look like, but we do plan on having other intentional parties for their 13th and 18th birthdays as well. We are grateful for these memories and traditions with our kids.

Here are few pictures from Adelyn’s “8 Is Great” time with mommy from 2017. The main thing she wanted to do was to go to the American Girl Store. The closest one was in Dallas so we packed our bags and headed to Dallas.

We went to the American Girl Store first and had the best time. She picked out her doll and then we went upstairs and had lunch with her dolls (she brought one from home).

After lunch we went back to the hotel and we went swimming and we played cards and played with the dolls in the hotel room. Then we gave each other makeovers. These are memories that I will cherish forever.

After our fun time at the hotel, we snuggled into bed and that is when I shared some encouraging words with her about who she is and the amazing character qualities I was already seeing in her. It was very special and I pray a memory she will cherish.

The next day we made a little detour on our way home to Waco and checked out all of the fun things Magnolia had to offer.

She was my Fixer Upper buddy and we always watched it together. I will never forget when we were homeschooling during this time, and her spelling word was “chip” and she had to use it in a sentence. I thought she would write “The chip was so yummy. I love eating chips.” Instead she wrote “Chip and Joanna are so funny. I love watching their show.” She thought of chip more as Chip Gaines than a chip you eat. Ha!

All of that to say, memories were made. I will never forget our “8 is Great” special time with mommy. I will also never forget my special time with Colton in 2018. When I asked him what he wanted to do, he said he wanted “to go go-carting and play laser tag”. I found a place in Oklahoma that had both and we headed to Andy’s Alligators in Norman.

I will never forget racing him in the go-carts. I will never forget him smiling from ear to ear as this was his first time to drive a go-cart and he LOVED it. After we got done driving the go-carts, we played a round of mini-golf, then we hit up the batting cages, and then we went inside to play arcade games.

After all of that, we did more inside games like laser tag, rock wall climbing, and more. Another memory I will never forget was watching him play laser tag. It was his first time to do that and he absolutely loved it. So much fun and such a sweet memory.

After all that was done, we went to Chick-Fila and then we went to Target to buy a lego set that he wanted to build at the hotel. We checked into the hotel and went swimming first! Then we built legos and hung out. That is when I took a few minutes to speak life into him. I remember it feeling different than when I did it with Adelyn. Boys definitely handle “words of encouragement” different than girls. He got a little awkward and kind of embarrassed. Regardless, I let him continue to build legos while I spoke about his heart and his character and how proud I am of him. He is no longer my “little Coco”, but growing into a big boy and I want him to know about all the amazing traits I see in him.

Last but not least, the most recent “8 is Great” Party with our Caden man. He turned 8 in January and we celebrated just a few weeks after that due to our schedule. When we asked him what he wanted to do, laser tag came up again since Colton did it, but he kept on saying he wanted to go to Main Event. So we loaded up and went right down the street to Main Event.

First we went bowling, and then played some arcade games. Of course, he wanted to play the “grabber machine” to get a stuffed animal. Which is normally a waste of money, but he got a dinosaur and was so happy! He named the dinosaur and that thing came with us everywhere (see picture below). After the arcade games, we went and played laser tag (which I don’t have any pictures of but I have the best video). Then we did the gravity ropes which was super fun!

After that, we headed to a hotel that was right down the street from our house, yet it always feels like we are out of town. We checked in, and of course, went swimming first. My kids have a deep love for hotel pools. Bonus if there is a hot tub, and there was!

Then we played Battleship (that we brought from home) and please notice his new dinosaur that he won from Main Event that is playing with us. 🙂 Then we had our special night of speaking words of life and encouragement into him as he is growing from a “little kid” to a “big kid”. He got all squirmy and said “mom, stoooppp.” But I continued on and let it be weird for him because I want him to know about all the amazing traits I see in him.

I am so grateful for these amazing kids God has entrusted me with. I want to be a life-giving mom, and this is just one tradition that has been special for our family for many years and will continue to be. My hope in writing all of this is to challenge and encourage you to be intentional with time with your kids. It might look like an “8 is Great” party or it might look different. But try to always be a life-giving and intentional mom. It makes all the difference.

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