[This was originally posted on my Instagram account, 1/8/19.]
When I started @Boymoms_Unite, my 3rd baby was an infant and I was still settling into the idea of having all boys. This wasn't super hard for me — I LOVE being a boymom, as I hope you can tell here — but it still took a little getting used to. After all, I'm an indoor girl; I'm really close to my mom & hoped to experience that mother-daughter bond with my own child; AND I've had a bit of a learning curve getting used to all the energy (& potty talk) that comes with raising boys.
At the same time, I've always been a social media fan. I've loved sharing my life and connecting with others online since the days of LiveJournal and MySpace (anyone else??). But over the past few years I'd noticed a strangled feeling coming over the internet — like everyone was fighting, selfie-ing, bragging, comparing.
So, I started Boymoms Unite. I wanted my corner of the internet to be a happy place of support — a collection of quick & easy tips to help me & my fellow moms be more intentional about our parenting without adding more to our already-full plates. While a lot of what I post can apply to girlmoms too, I focused on raising boys because (besides my obvious bias) I think we boymoms have a serious mission to help our boys become good men. There are so many conflicting messages these days for boys, and in a lot of areas they're getting left behind. Strong mothers are SO needed to help these boys grow into strong, honorable, responsible, hard-working men.
And, if you're going to be on social media, you shouldn't waste your time following crap. 😉 I only post here about things that are important to me: suggestions for connecting with your boys, book recommendations, life hacks, Disneyland tips, ideas for dealing with screen time and sibling rivalry and all the issues we moms face every day.
I’m not a parenting expert, I'm not super crafty, I don't take awesome photos...but I really hope that by coming here you can find ideas (and share your own!) that make you feel like a better mom. We’re all in this together — thanks for sharing this crazy ride with me. 💙💙💙
Surprising your kids with a trip to Disneyland? I’ve got something to help you make the announcement in style!
When I was 12, my family went to Disney World for the first time (I’ve mentioned this before — it was epic). But my parents didn’t just say, “Hey kids, by the way, we’re going to Disney World next month.” Ohhhh no. Instead, they planned to surprise us with it at Christmas.
On Christmas morning, we found a giant banner hung behind the Christmas tree with three scrolls tied to it. The banner said “Hey Payzant kids…Santa says you’ve been very good this year. So how are you going to celebrate??” My siblings and I unrolled our scrolls to find Disney World posters that said “You are…….Going to…….Disney World!”
Cue the shrieking. We were so, SO excited — talk about an awesome surprise. Better yet, we had a few months to plan and build anticipation as we got ready for the trip. (Did you know research shows you actually get MORE happiness out of planning the trip, than actually taking it?!) Now, 22 years later, my siblings and I still fondly remember that Christmas morning as one of the best presents we’ve ever received.
So — with that in mind — I want to help you plan the best surprise ever for YOUR family too. I put together a special Family Guide that you can print, wrap up and put under the tree or in a stocking so that your Christmas morning is off-the-rails exciting — but this surprise package works any time of year too! Birthday surprises, mid-winter break surprises, just-because surprises…any time of year!
Here’s what you’ll get in the Disneyland Surprise Package:
A custom cover page with your family’s name on it
A Family Guide to Disneyland, covering every land, ride, and experience at Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure (with all the new info for 2019!) to get everyone EXTRA excited
A printable Disney Day Outline* for the whole family to use in making sure everyone’s bucket list attractions get checked off
This guide is a slimmed-down version of the Ultimate Guide to Disneyland, written in a more kid-friendly way. (Hey, I get it — I’ve got 3 kids of my own.) Flipping through it will get them amped for the trip and talking about all the different things you’ll get to see and do (and eat).
* My #1 best tip for families when planning a Disney trip is to set reasonable expectations up front. There are so many rides, parades, shows, treats, etc. at Disneyland that you can easily feel overwhelmed — but if you choose just ONE must-do thing per person each day, you’ll easily hit your goals and feel like the day was a success. (And anything else you get to do will just be icing on top!) That’s where this Disney Day Outline comes in handy. If you’re a planner like me, you can use the attached Disney Day worksheet to help you coordinate everyone’s picks in an easy way. But, if that much planning makes you want to gouge your eyes out (no shame in that!), I totally get that too — just toss that page and don’t worry about it. :)
Your kids will LOVE learning about the different Disneyland rides and attractions as they help you plan your family’s trip.
So, head over to my Disneyland guides and grab the Family Guide to Disneyland — and let the Christmas morning squeals begin!
My baby turned 2 yesterday! I’d been wondering for weeks about what to give him — let’s face it, with two older brothers, he’s already got a pretty wide selection of clothes & toys to choose from. Plus….he’s TWO. It’s not like he really understand the whole present thing anyway.
I posted on Instagram about this and you guys had so many great ideas! Here’s what we ended up giving him — just a couple simple gifts that are perfect for a two-year-old.
A mini broom & dust pan set — He loooves to “help” around the house and my broom is his #1 joy in life, so I got him his own little set. He’s been walking around the house sweeping things all day so I guess it was a hit. :) (Once the novelty wears off, I’m also planning to make his big brothers use this for actual chores.)
Stack & Count Wooden Parking Garage with 10 Cars — This boy LOVES to stack and line up his toys, so this one is totally perfect for him. You can also talk about colors, numbers, letters, cause & effect…it’s a brilliant toy. And it’s on sale on Amazon right now! (It’s for ages 3+ but there’s a lot he can do with it right now…and I love that it can grow with him.)
Wooden ABC blocks — this was actually a regift, don’t tell. :) I got wooden blocks from Land of Nod (which apparently isn’t a store anymore? So these Melissa & Doug ones are an even better bet, and a better price point) when my oldest was a baby, and they’ve been much-loved over the years. Last year I moved them into our “toy rotation” box in the garage where they’ve been out of sight, so I pulled them out, put a bow on it and said they’re a birthday present. Luke LOVED them! More stacking options.
Royal Kingdom Adventure — You might recall my new-found love of Lakeshore Learning Center. We found this castle while shopping a few weeks ago and Lukie played with it the whole time we were there, so my MIL bought it for him. It’s a little bit of a splurge but you can always find good coupons. This has been a hit with the big brothers too.
Annnnd that’s it! His brothers also gave / made him tiny presents, but that was the extent of this two-year-old’s birthday. Oh, and the Mickey cupcakes he stuffed in his mouth. :)
Today on Instagram I shared about our family’s advent calendar, made by my mom when I was a kid. From December 1st till Christmas, my boys get to pull out a different piece to add to the full manger scene — finishing on December 24 with a tiny, felt Baby Jesus. I love this tradition SO much!
We do a little something extra, too. I also like to add a tiny slip of paper in each pocket with some type of service they can do that day (another idea from my mom). I use the same slips of paper every year with the same service ideas to keep it simple — this isn't about doing something big and complicated, just something small to daily drive home our family’s goal to celebrate Christmas by trying to do good like Jesus did. We’re also participating in the Light the World campaign where you do something kind every week in December, so these little activities keep us on track there too!
Our service ideas are SUPER simple — some take a bit more effort than others, but all can be completed that day with little to no preparation. And the boys LOVE doing their good deeds.
If you’d like to try some of these activities with your family, here’s our list of all 24 super easy service ideas for kids:
Help Mom with dinner
Read a Christmas book to your brother
Sit by someone new at school
Take hot chocolate to the school crossing guards
Read a scripture about Jesus (Luke 2 is a great place to start!)
Give a toy to someone who needs one
Set the table without being asked
Watch a video about Jesus (we love these short ones!)
Do a good deed for a neighbor
Wave at every car you see
Pick up any trash you see today
Write a thank you note for the mailman
Draw a picture for Dad
Pay for the car behind you at the drive-thru (this one is our favorite!)
Give mom & dad an extra hug and kiss
Tell God why you’re thankful for Jesus
Make your sibling’s bed
Clean up your toys
Draw a picture for a friend
Play with a sibling
Call Grandma & Grandpa to say hello
Find a house in your neighborhood with great Christmas lights and leave them a note
Put change in a Salvation Army bucket
Mail a Christmas note to a cousin or long-distance friend
This tradition has made our holiday season so much more meaningful, and our whole family looks forward to it every year. If you’ve got ideas for other easy service ideas, leave them in the comments! We’re always looking for new ones. xo