Coffee Chat Episode 16 | How we celebrated our 13 year old’s birthday

Welcome to the newest edition of Coffee Chat.

I like to think of us as friends and even though we may never get to sit down with a cup of coffee together and talk about life, this is my attempt to bring that conversation to the blog.

Before we get into today’s episode, can I be honest for a second?

I love doing coffee chats, but I just haven’t been able to record these past few weeks. Sometimes life is just hard and putting on a peppy face and talking about the little things in life has not been where my heart is. Of course there is good mixed in with the hard, and I always want to be a person who can find beauty and joy in all circumstances. But I also need to honor the times in life when peppiness is not genuine. So that’s why it’s been a few weeks since our last chat …

But today I’m back.

We celebrated our oldest son’s 13th birthday last night and it was so meaningful and special that I just had to share.

So today’s episode is about why and how and a few of the wise words that were spoken as we celebrated our sweet teenager.


  • Studio progress is slow, but soon I’ll get it put together.
  • We picked a carpet! Now the hard work of removing all the furniture, taking off the trim and pulling out the old carpet …
  • For more on the Bat and Bar Mitzvah traditions.
  • Paige Knudsen is so wise and loving. Check out her blog for gorgeous images and sweet words about motherhood.
  • BeautyCounter is a skincare and makeup company with the amazing mission to get safe products for our skin into the marketplace. I have used many items and love them all. Right now I’m especially into the lipgloss in peony.

Thanks for watching, my friends!

As always, please leave any questions, thoughts or future coffee chat topics you would like to discuss in the comments.

30 Responses to Coffee Chat Episode 16 | How we celebrated our 13 year old’s birthday

  1. Jess May 8, 2017 at 5:59 am #

    I think sometimes the best gifts are the gifts of time and words! I love this! I think telling somehow what you mean to them, what you love about them, how they use their gifts, etc. needs to be told. It always helps boost confidence and we need more of this!

  2. Meg March 1, 2017 at 7:39 pm #

    This was my favorite coffee chat by far. by 100%

  3. Polly February 13, 2017 at 5:03 pm #

    Thank you so much, Emily, for sharing your faith, grace and inspiration. It’s become a sweet spot in my day to get updates on the blog, Instagram, or a coffee chat. We’re pretty serious DIY’ers (well, my talented husband is anyway….I’m along for the ride) and our family room’s been in a state of change for a year now. The renovation and the waiting wears on us all, but seeing you going through changes in your house has made me more patient with our big project. Thank you! I also loved your idea of a coming-of-age blessing for your son. Our youngest is now 20, but it’s inspired me to do something similar for our children.

  4. nancy February 12, 2017 at 2:00 pm #

    Your father in laws words of wisdom/prayer for your son is awesome. It’s my prayer for my grandchildren as well and thankfully they are being taught truth.
    Also, I found that during every phase of my childrens, and now my grandchildrens, lives, whatever was their interest at the time, whether sports or whatever it was, suddenly became soooo interesting to me. lol
    And…it’s nice to see you new space in use. :)

  5. Tahnee February 12, 2017 at 10:31 am #

    Hi Emily! I love hearing about this new tradition, what a fun and meaningful idea! I always love your positive spirit and encouraging words (loved what your FIL said, SO good)! Xo Tahnee

  6. Kathy Morgan February 12, 2017 at 5:32 am #

    Emily – Thank you so much for sharing about your celebration of your son’s 13th birthday. What a special memory and gift you have given him. The wisdom your father-in-law shared with Ethan speaks so well to the challenges he will face in the coming years. It is evident through your sharing about your family that Ethan (and you too!) has lots of support as he enters this new phase of growing up. Thanks again for sharing!

    FYI…I came across you through listening to The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey. I’m older (age 58) with grown children and it has been a joy listening to and watching the next generation holding fast to faith and truth while navigating this world and creating beauty with your talents. Bless you and know your appeal is not limited to certain age group.

  7. Nicole Z February 11, 2017 at 4:56 pm #

    Cried as you talked about the 13th birthday tradition! My parents did something similar for our 16th birthday and I would still consider it one of the best days of my life. Thanks for sharing Emily :)

  8. Nadine February 11, 2017 at 3:41 pm #

    My oldest, my son, turns 13 in April. It is hard to believe. I love the celebration you had with your son. Wonderful idea!

  9. Linda February 11, 2017 at 8:16 am #

    You have a very wise father-in-law, Emily. I love that you have a new tradition for your family. Embrace it. Thanks for all that you do. I enjoy following your blog, instagram and am enrolled in your design class (sort of hit a brick wall with that in figuring out my style:}). Enjoy your weekend!

  10. Jenny February 11, 2017 at 7:56 am #

    I love your coffee chats! Thank you for sharing that blog, I can’t wait to go check it out. As a Mama to older kids, it’s always fun to find other Moms who have older kids as well. And I love how your office is coming together. It’s looking great!

  11. Jennifer February 10, 2017 at 9:55 pm #

    Emily!!! Thanks for sharing your heart in that chat and giving us a glimpse into family life:-) I also want to say thank you for the lovely little unexpected shout out for Beautycounter and my website! Thank you to the ladies that have already made purchases as well! You will not be disappointed. I am so excited to be able to jump on board with an amazing company, leading the charge for change in the skincare industry. I am confident that these products are not only SAFE but also EFFECTIVE! If anyone has any questions about the product feel free to contact me: jenniferostan@gmail.com I’ll also be on FB and IG soon with a dedicated page with lots of great resources and educational tools on switching to safe skincare.

  12. michelle February 10, 2017 at 8:57 pm #

    Emily, where is your chambray shirt from in the coffee chat? Simply love it!

    • emily February 11, 2017 at 10:13 am #

      It is a few years old from J.Crew – the boyfriend style. I think they still have similar ones!

  13. rachel February 10, 2017 at 7:28 pm #

    Love this idea! Thanks for sharing!

  14. janet February 10, 2017 at 5:50 pm #

    Giving encouragement and loving words are some of the best gifts! We did this with our kids, and then with our in-laws, and now with our grandkids. The first time for our grandkids was when the oldest turned 5. Our SIL’s family was here from the East Coast for Thanksgiving and we went to breakfast in downtown SF (our family tradition) the day after Thanksgiving and we all gave words and verses to her.

    It was so fun to watch her face take it all in and absorb the love from her family.

    Also, I loved having little ones, but as it turned out, the teen years were my favorite! So keep the love and communication going, and you’ve got some great years ahead!

  15. Meg February 10, 2017 at 4:07 pm #

    I’ve been wanting to try Beautycounter in an effort to ditch the chemicals from my make-up products. Glad to know it has your stamp of approval. Is it only available through consultants?

    Thanks for being honest about those hard times, too. Life is full of ups and downs– and sideways moves too! Hope whatever’s been causing your difficulties is smoothed over soon.

    • emily February 10, 2017 at 4:20 pm #

      Thank you Meg! Yes, do give Beautycounter a try.
      As for the sadness, my sister-in-law’s father passed away last week and we will celebrate his life tomorrow. It’s hard to lose loved ones, isn’t it? Thankful he is now healed and with Jesus.

      • Meg February 10, 2017 at 4:23 pm #

        Emily, I’m so sorry for the loss of your sister-in-law’s father. Thinking of your family.

    • Meg February 10, 2017 at 4:22 pm #

      And…. I hit “submit” too soon. I wanted to add that I love the tradition of celebrating your sweet boy with a grown-up dinner and beautiful sentiments. It reminds me of the letters I received from family members while on a faith retreat in high school before my confirmation (Catholic sacrament).

  16. Megan February 10, 2017 at 3:57 pm #

    Our son’s Bar Mitzvah stands out in our family memory. A friend of mine (from my book club) who enjoyed being a guest at all the Jewish festivities did “book mitzvahs” for each of her kids. The gift was bringing them a a favorite book that would be meaningful to that teen. Memorable collections were created for each child, who were all very different. You might consider this for an avid reader.

  17. Jill February 10, 2017 at 3:37 pm #

    I was always that mom that was scared to have teenagers – especially since I had two girls BUT, I can honestly say that the teen years have been my favorite and I just adore my girls at this age – really! As I launch one to college this summer (*sniff*) I am sad that these sweet days are coming to an end….Enjoy your boy! It goes so fast from this point on – really!

  18. Joanne Jacobson February 10, 2017 at 3:33 pm #

    We to wanted something special for our kids when they turned 13 years old. Since we live far from any family members I requested that each family member (men for the boys and women for the girls) write a letter of encouragement, passing along words of wisdom, and their favourite bible verse. We also had close friends and our kid’s youth leaders do the same. Everyone was very gracious and participated in this. They would all send me there letters and I put them together in a book for each child. I’m hoping as they continue to go through life that they will have the opportunity to go back again, and again to these words from people who love and cherish the. This past year my kids lost both their grandfathers but they will always have those letters to remember them and how much they were loved and prayed for. My kids are 20,19,17,15 and I to have loved every stage with them. What a blessing to be called their mom.

    Thank you for your blog I love following you and your real ness .

  19. Jill February 10, 2017 at 2:57 pm #

    So lovely to see you again and glad you found the strength to get back out there, can totally relate to that! Wonderful idea(as most of yours are) for your boys 13th!! I’ve been following your awesome decorating blog since Audrey was a toddler, I a new mom and currently my oldest girl is Audrey’s age and youngest son is turning 5 this summer and always wonder how God will give me the strength to handle their teen years, so very encouraging, thank you!!
    I am also a beautycounter consultant, so very well said, great, great company and peony is my favorite too-it is delicious!! Have a great weekend; looking forward to the next chat!

  20. Candice Hope February 10, 2017 at 2:30 pm #

    I absolutely love this! What wisdom from your Father In Law! Love Love Love!

  21. Monica February 10, 2017 at 2:04 pm #

    What a special new 13th birthday tradition you have started in your family!! I especially loved the words of wisdom your father-in-law shared with you son. Great advice.

    Love your coffee chats, you are so relatable, warm and friendly.

    Have a great weekend!!


    • emily February 10, 2017 at 4:21 pm #

      Thank you Monica!

  22. Meaghan February 10, 2017 at 2:02 pm #

    Such a sweet sweet way to celebrate your son! I was so sweetly moved by your all’s thoughtfulness in celebrating a big year :]

  23. Socorro Larkin February 10, 2017 at 1:58 pm #

    I’ve been missing the coffee chat, so glad you had a bit of time to post one this week! I totally cried when you talked about the beautiful tradition beginning with your son’s 13th birthday. My oldest son is 11 & I think incorporating these details into special days is such a great idea. ❤️ Have a great weekend and thanks for adding value to my life! You are my favorite blogger!

    • emily February 10, 2017 at 4:21 pm #

      Thank you so much!

  24. Ann Marie February 10, 2017 at 1:44 pm #

    I have 4 boys and the oldest turns 13 this year. I agree – I’m loving this age more that I thought I would! Boys can be so sweet to their mamas.

Leave a Reply