#WaitinOnAPhillip

It is seriously so hard to believe that The Prince has been home now for as long as he was gone!  Why in the world did his mission not go by as fast as these past two years have?!

We are still reaping the blessings that this two year sacrifice has provided.  We will forever be grateful for all the wonderful people and lifelong friends that we have made, and if we had to do it all over again, we absolutely would!  (I might not have a great attitude about it, though…)

Enjoy a glimpse into one of the best days of my life! ❤

 

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Video by the amazing, Jason Turner of Vidio Lab.

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why you should make yoga practice your new year’s resolution

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Yoga practice has absolutely changed my life (and my body).  I grew up dancing and did cheer in high school.  I didn’t really need to worry about exercising to stay fit because I was always so active.  After high school it was time to try something new.  I hate running (even though I did run track in high school, I only did it because I was good at it).  I’m pretty sure I tried every single fitness class that Gold’s Gym had to offer.  I tried Zumba thinking it was “just like dancing.”  Nope.  Didn’t love it.  Kick Boxing, Spin and Pilates were okay, but just not for me. Honestly, I only tried yoga at first because I was feeling lazy and thought it would be an easy work out for the day.  Now first of all let me just say, no matter what workout you are doing, if it’s easy for you, it’s definitely not considered a workout, no matter how much you try and convince yourself that it is!  Like the great Miranda Bailey once quoted on Grey’s Anatomy, “If it doesn’t feel like work, it’s not going to work.”  Let’s just say the joke was on me when yoga kicked my butt and I felt like crying the entire time!  I only went maybe, MAYBE once a month for the first couple of years because it scared the crap out of me. It wasn’t until I truly committed to yoga and wanted to get better at yoga that I started seeing the results.  Along with eating healthier, my body was completely transformed just by doing yoga (and occasional weights with The Prince).   I really don’t do any other forms of workouts.

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Here are just a few of the hundreds of reasons why I love yoga and why you should too:

  1. I’m a much happier person when I go to class.  Seriously, ask The Prince.  He practically pushes me out the door to get to yoga so that I’m nicer to him.
  2. I sleep better.  And it’s a much deeper sleep than I normally would get,  therefore, equaling a happier Megan.  You’re welcome, husband.
  3. I have more energy.
  4. I’m more flexible.  I’ve always been pretty flexible.  But I swear that “yoga flexible” is a much different kind of flexible, and I’m finally getting it down!
  5. I’m stronger.  My grandma used to be a massage therapist so I had her work on a few of my sore spots once after yoga. She was surprised to find that the places I was most sore were the exact places that the avid weight lifting clients always needed to have worked on.  Yoga has built my strength in some of the ways weight training would.  Cool, right?  Plus, I actually have arm muscles.
  6. Yoga isn’t as hard on my knees as are other forms of exercise.  The bad thing about being a dancer is the crackling and popping of (among many joints) my knees.  When I do go running, especially on the asphalt, my knees hurt.  Same with doing squats.  Yoga doesn’t hurt my knees.
  7. I have better posture.  I don’t tend to slouch as much while sitting and I am mindful of my body’s alignment.
  8. I’m more able to focus on what I’m doing outside of  yoga practice.
  9. I’m better at breathing.  Wait, what?   Someone can be better than someone else at something we don’t even have to think about doing?!  Absolutely.  Yoga focuses on breathing through the different moments.  Breathing is a huge part of yoga practice.  I have found that my breathing isn’t as shallow as it used to be, in turn, I’m much more calm due to taking deeper breaths.
  10. My immune system is stronger.  Well, technically I can’t prove that this is because of yoga, but I can guarantee that yoga is a huge part of why I’ve stayed healthier throughout the last few cold and flu seasons.
  11. I’m not so tense.  I have a tendency to carry my stress in my neck and upper back.  Yoga has helped so much with releasing that tension.
  12. It’s an incredible workout and most of the time it doesn’t seem like it.  When I’m working out, I can’t take my eyes off the clock and time seems to go by soooo slow.  This hasn’t been the case for yoga.  In fact, it always seems to zoom by!  Time flies when you’re having fun.
  13. It has helped me learn to be in the moment.  My favorite instructor, Trish, always shares a thought at the end of practice.  The thought that has always stuck with me is, “Wherever you go, be all there.”  When you’re in yoga class, be in yoga class. When you are at work, be at work and focus on your work. When you’re with your family, put down your phone, leave your work at work, and  be with your family!    It’s not easy to do, but yoga has helped me a ton with this one.
  14. Yoga is for EVERYONE.  No but really!  That’s why it is so unique.    10 year olds can do yoga, and so can 110 year olds.There are ways to adapt each movement to your individual level.  For instance, at first, I wasn’t ever able to add the extra push-up between vinyasa flows.   So I modified it.  The instructor kept saying, “If you can’t add the extra push-up, no big deal, you will get there eventually.”  And I totally didn’t believe her.  I thought there was no way in H-E-double hockey sticks that I would ever be able to add those extra freaking push-ups!  Every class I would try to add one more push-up than I thought my little arms could take.  Low and behold, one day I finished class and thought, “I DID ALL THE PUSH-UPS!”  I was so proud.  Yoga is for everyone.

Make yoga your New Year’s resolution and your body, mind and husband (or wife) will thank you.  Namaste.  ❤

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Let Him In

We were able to kick off the Christmas season by attending Michael McLean’s Forgotten Carols show last week.  If you’ve never been before YOU HAVE TO GO!!  It only happens one night a year (for Utah County at least), and it is the perfect way to feel the spirit of the season and the spirit of our loving Savior.

Each “forgotten” carol that was performed, told a story about a lesser known character or a different side of the classic Christmas story that we so often hear.  The first one is about the Innkeeper that turned away Mary and Joseph, though he felt uneasy about it.  My favorite verse from the song says,

He never would condemn me

I did that all on my own

He offered His forgiveness

And ever since then, I’ve known

He lets us choose

Each hour of each day

If we’ll let Him in to stay

Let Him in

It made me reflect on my week and think about if I’m making room for the Savior in my every day life.  It is nobody’s choice but my own whether I let Him in or not.

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The next one that I absolutely loved was “Homeless.”

Homeless, Homeless

Was His humble birth

He was Homeless, Homeless

And still He changed the earth

Nothing kept His heart from giving

Most of His life was living

Homeless, Homeless

He showed it’s how we live,

Not where

Because of our Savior and his love for all of us, we truly will never be homeless.  We always have a home.  He showed us HOW to live and how to help others and how to stand up for what’s right, but to love everyone while doing so.  He is our greatest example.

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This next one is my favorite song ever!  I get chills every time I listen to it. It’s about Jesus’ father, Joseph.

Then they talked for hours of Jesus

And how he knew He was divine

He said “I was not His father,

He was mine.

For how could one

So foolish and so flawed

Ever hope to raise the Son of God?”

Then he spoke of the misgivings

That he had had

a thousand times

And how Jesus found the tender moments

To let him know

He had done just fine

I always think about sweet Mary and Joseph and all that they had to endure to bring the Son of God into the world, but also what an incredible blessing it must have been to be trusted with such a special assignment. I’m sure their lives were full of heartache from the time He as born, knowing who He was and what He as here to do, yet so many people wanted to hurt Him. But to have the privilege to be around this perfect little child and to be able to learn from Him in every way, WOW!  I would feel inadequate every single day.  I admire Mary and Joseph so much.

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 I sure love this Christmas season and the special spirit it brings.  I love my Savior, Jesus Christ.  I know that He lives.  I know that he is very aware of me.  I hope we can always find a way to “Let Him In.”  ❤

talk disney to me

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****UPDATED****

I guess you could say that I’m somewhat of a “Disney Person.”  Orrrr Disney “Freak” perhaps…but what’s in a name anyway? 😉  If there’s one thing I’m good at-it’s Disneylanding.  Is that a word?  It is now.  My very first Disneyland trip was from inside the womb.  Some of my earliest childhood memories are of riding on my dad’s shoulders down Mainstreet USA.  My first year of college I did an internship at Walt Disney World in Florida.  I think Disney is in my blood.

My boss went to Disneyland last week with his family and so I put together a list of some of my favorite “Disney Hacks” for them, and it got me thinking that I really do have a lot of them to share.  Phillip told me I shouldn’t share them with the world because “then everyone will start doing them…” BUT I have such fond feelings towards Disneyland, and I want everyone else to have them as well!  So here they are.


 

Planning

  • Plan your Disneyland vacation for AT LEAST two days.  We think three days is the perfect amount, but you can accomplish a lot in two days if that is all that you have time/funds for.
  • The park hopper tickets are GREAT, but I have discovered if you are with little kids, it makes more sense to spend the full day in one park.  It’s hard enough walking around one park, let alone bouncing back and forth.
  • If you don’t have a SoCal address, get your Disneyland tickets from parksavers.com.  Trust me, I have done a TON of research, and this has been the easiest, most convenient way to do it.  You’re not really going to find any extremely discounted tickets to Disneyland anywhere.  And if you do, it’s probably a scam!  This website is safe and you can save over $10 per ticket (which doesn’t seem like much, but $10 translates to more churros).  Side note:  Members of the military can get some pretty sweet discounts as well!  Also, with Park Savers, lots of times they will give you one free Magic Morning–meaning you will be able to get inside the park one hour before it opens to everyone else.  Bonus! (getawaytoday.com has some great deals as well)
  • Pick up some dollar store ponchos to take with you.  They’re cheap, light, easy to pack and come in handy if it starts to rain, or if you go on Splash Mountain and Grizzly River Rapids!  Plus, you look super cool.

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We still got soaked even with ponchos..
  • Pack a lot of snacks–especially if you’re driving.  You can bring outside food into the parks, (as long as it’s not like a full-on cooler or anything like that) and that will help cut down on costs.
  • Download the handy dandy Disneyland mobile app.  This has everything from attraction wait times to nearby places to eat to the nearest restroom.  I totally look at this app even when I’m not at Disneyland.  🙂

 

Where to Stay

We personally can’t afford to stay at any of the Disneyland Resort hotels, but there are plenty of hotels close by that are affordable and nice and carry along the Disney theme.

  • Try to find a hotel within walking distance of the park or that has a free shuttle service. Parking at Disneyland is $18 a day!  Crazy!  You can save a lot of money by cutting out the parking fee.
  • Check for continental breakfast.  If you get a good deal on a hotel, but it doesn’t have continental breakfast, thats when the whole “packing lots of snacks” tip comes in handy.  Costco muffins and granola bars work great for an easy/cheap breakfast!

Magic Mouse Townhouse Rental

***update***  This has been our favorite place so far IF the whole family is going!  Within walking distance to Downtown Disney and the Mickey and Friends parking tram.  They have everything you would need in the kitchen and towels/linens for the bathroom and pool.  Plus, they provide a double stroller upon request.  We loved being able to come back here for lunch when the parks were busy, and being able to watch a movie as a family in the living room.

Desert Palms Hotel & Resort

Very large, clean rooms, with the option to have a kid’s suite (an extra room connected to the main room with bunkbeds AND their own tv).  Hot continental breakfast included.  Within walking distance, but shuttle service available as well.

Fairfield Inn Anaheim Resort

Has large, spacious, clean rooms.  Within walking distance of park entry.  Doesn’t have free breakfast.

Sheraton Park Hotel Anaheim

Has large, spacious, clean rooms.  Free shuttle.  Great view of Disneyland fireworks at night. Doesn’t have free breakfast.


 

WE FINALLY MADE IT TO DISNEYLAND!!

  • Make sure to arrive EARLY (or right as the park opens).  You will accomplish more in the first few hours of the morning, than you will for the whole rest of the day pretty much!  Seriously cannot stress this enough!!!!!!!!!!
  • If you have some first-timers with you, or you are celebrating something special, be sure to stop by City Hall (on your left side as you walk through the tunnel into the park) to pick up a free button!  They have first visit, birthday, just married, anniversary, just celebrating in general…you name it!  When you’re wearing a special button it makes it fun for the cast members to point it out (and sometimes even give you some special benefits!).  For instance, when I worked at Disney World and I saw someone wearing a First Visit button, occasionally I would give them free ice cream, just to make their visit more magical.  Disneyland is the same way!  The Prince and I received a free bucket of popcorn by a nice young fellow who congratulated us on our wedding.  Disney takes customer service to a whole new level!  Phillip loved being told by every cast member “Happy Birthday.”

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  • Speaking of celebrating at Disney… I had heard that you could order a custom birthday/anniversary cake to be delivered to select “table service” restaurants.  My first thought was, “how many future children will this cost me?!”  Don’t worry, I did the research for ya, and discovered that it is actually quite affordable and worth every single penny!  The cake was just as delicious as it was pretty.  Post on how this all went down coming soon!disney2
  • Utilize the Fastpass system.  Don’t ever wait for more than 45 minutes for a ride (even 45 minutes is reaallllyyy pushing it for me)!  If you plan your day out right, you should be able to do it.  At the bottom of your Fastpass ticket it will share the time when you are able to get another Fastpass.  Sometimes we will have someone wait in line for a ride, while another person (usually me) takes everybody’s tickets to a Fastpass station of a different ride and gets one for everyone.  That way when we get off the ride, it will be time to go on another ride.
    Speaking of said celebrations.. I had heard that you can order custom cakes for birthdays, anniversaries or any other special occasion you might be celebrating at the parks to have

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(Photo from dlrprepschool.com)

  • Did you know that the mailboxes you see around the park are real?  Like you can actually mail letters from them?  Just a fun fact.
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Mailing a letter to The Prince while he was on his mission.
  • Did you know that you can walk through the inside of the castle?  Yeah, the entrance is in the back of the castle, you will see an open door with a staircase.
  • My favorite place to get a castle pic is on the right side of it (if you are facing the castle). There seems to be less people visible in the background.

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  • Did you also know that you can ask ANY cast member at ANY time where you can find a character that you want to meet?  If they don’t know, they will find out for you and should be able to give you an approximate time and location.  You can get there and be the first isn line to meet Mickey!  Or in my niece, Everly’s case, Judy Hopps from Zootopia.  She was having a sad day at Disneyland until we found Judy. We found out where she would be and waited in the spot for her to come.  

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Disneylanding (with kids)

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Circa 1993 probably!  haha how cute are my brother, Jordan, and I?!
  • Bring a stroller.  This is kind of a no-brainer, but some people think that their 5 or 6 year old is too big for a stroller.  Trust me, after 9 hours at Disneyland, NO ONE is too big for a stroller.  Plus, you can put all of your stuff in it.
  • Bring a small bag for valuables, that way you won’t be as nervous leaving your stroller unattended while you ride rides.
  • There is a baby center located in each of the parks with a lovely, quiet place to change diapers and feed the babe.  There are also items available to purchase.. basically any baby-related item that you may have forgotten.
  • Once you get into the park, head straight through the castle and to Peter Pan’s Flight! Not that it’s a super important ride or anything, but there are no Fastpasses available and there is ALWAYS a long line.
  • After Peter Pan, Dumbo the Flying Elephant.  This one is hit or miss as far as long lines go, but the line can get pretty long for this one as well.
  • It’s best to do most of the Fantasy Land rides in the morning.  They tend to get crazy in the afternoon.  On a busy day, even King Arthur’s Carousel can get a long line.
  • If you have a baby with you or a child that is too small to ride, there’s this super magical thing called Rider Swap.
  • If you arrive to Toontown right when the gates open (1 hour after scheduled park opening time), you will most likely be greeted by a few characters!
    If your littles want to meet classic Disney characters (Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Goofy, etc.), arriving to Toontown at opening time is a good way to get a few photos & autographs checked off their list without having to wait in too long of a line.

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Disneyland is the best at making sure most rides are rideable for little kids as well as babies.  So really, there aren’t too many rides that everyone won’t be able to ride.  We like to take a break in the middle of the day when the crowds and temperatures are high for a couple hours to nap, swim, and eat, then head back when everyone is rested.  It sure makes the visit a lot more magical that way!  If you don’t want to leave the park, the Monorail, Disneyland Railroad, Pirates of the Caribbean, Small World and Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, are all great attractions to relax on.


California Adventure (with kids)

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Radiator Springs Racers..aka one of the best rides ever.
  • GO STRAIGHT TO RADIATOR SPRINGS!  Do not pass go.  Do not collect $200.  Get to the ride OR the Fastpass station. Trust me on this one.  This ride will forever have a long line, I swear!  And the Fastpasses run out super quick.  Just make sure you get there early.  Side note:  Make sure you stop by Cars Land at night!  It’s amazing at night!

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  • After Radiator Springs go and get a Fastpass for Soarin’ Over the World, and then get a Fastpass for World of Color.  Although, technically for WofC it’s not a “Fastpass,” it’s more just like a ticket for the show. You won’t have to wait to be able to get another Fastpass.  World of Color is one of my all time favorites!  It is truly unbelievable what they can do.  Congratulations, Disney, you have outdone yourselves again!

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  • Time for Toy Story Mania.  Another favorite, fun for kids and adults alike!  The line for this one can get really long as well, so it’s good to hit this one in the morning.
  • A few more of our California Adventure favorites are: Monster’s Inc, Little Mermaid, all the Bug’s Life Rides and Grizzly River Rapids (especially if it is a hot day because you will get WET)
  • If mom and dad need a rest and the kids need to get some wiggles out, there is a fun playground area near Grizzly River Rapids that the littles love, as well as a splash pad in the Bug’s Life area and near the boardwalk.

 

Disneylanding with NO Kids (or big kids)

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Now we’re in my element.

  • Three words: Single.  Rider.  Line.  AKA your new best friend!  Lots of the bigger rides have them, just ask the cast member at the front of ride.  This is basically all The Prince and I ever use (unless there is a short line).  Most of the time we walk right to the front.  And most of the time we still get to sit together (or in the same car at least).
  • Take the time to stop and enjoy all of the little things.  We love to sit on a bench on Mainstreet USA and just watch people.
  • Get off a ride, and get back on if the line is short.
  • Explore the California Adventure Animation Academy.
  • Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the new Paint the Night parade and the firework show.  However, if you’re going to be there for three nights, the first night you can fight the crowds and watch the parade and the fireworks.  The second night you can watch World of Color.  And the last night you can ride Big Thunder Mountain Railroad during the firework show, and your life will forever be changed.  Also, you will find some of the shortest lines during the parade and fireworks!

 

FOOD (insert heart eyes emoji)

Disneyland food is one of my favorite things about Disneyland.  I don’t think I have tried anything that I haven’t liked, so it’s hard to choose my favorites!

  1. CORN DOG.  I’m not kidding when I say that Disneyland has the best corn dogs in the world.  There are three places you can get them (that I am aware of).  In CA Adventure you can get them at Corn Dog Castle.  In Disneyland Park you can get them at the Stage Door Cafe (where they come with fries) or the red wagon on Mainstreet.

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2.  CHURRO.  You know that amazing whiff of cinnamon and sugar deliciousness that you get around nearly every corner?  Chances are your nose will lead you to the nearest churro stand.  Do yourself a favor and get one for each hand

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3. MICKEY PREMIUM ICE CREAM BAR.  I think part of the reason that I love these so much is because I basically lived off of them when I worked at Disney World.  Maybe it’s the sentimentality that I love, or maybe it’s the dark chocolate coating and the cold vanilla ice cream center.   I will never know.

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4.  MICKEY MOUSE BEIGNETS from the Mint Julep Bar.  To be honest, I think the beignets from the Jazz Kitchen in Downtown Disney are a tiny bit better…but these ones are still freaking delicious!  We tried the pumpkin ones during Halloween time and HOLY MOLY!

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5. CHIEFTAIN CHICKEN SKEWER from Bengal Barbeque.  This is the perfect savory food to even out all the sweet treats you’ve been eating.  And it has protein.  You’ll need that energy!

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6.   The Coveted DOLE WHIP.  Gosh dang it, these are tasty!  Also, most people don’t know this, but there is a secret line on the inside of the Tiki Room waiting area.  Always shorter than the outside line.  You’re welcome.

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7.  GINGER MICKEY COOKIES.  We only first tried these because my sister, McKenzie is a “ginger,” so we thought it would be funny.  Turns out, they’re freaking delicious!

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8. LOBSTER NACHOS from Cove Bar in California Adventure.  We got there about 10 minutes before it opened so we could get right to a table and order.  The line can get pretty long.  The Prince and I shared a plate and it was plenty.  Especially if you’re saving room for a churro.

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9.  CLAM CHOWDER IN A BREAD BOWL from Harbour Galley (across from the Haunted Mansion exit).  If you keep following the path where the seating area is, it will lead you to a more secluded, quiet seating area that is completely shaded.  If you follow the path even further, you will get the BEST viewing area for Splash Mountain.

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10.  THE TURKEY LEG.  Not necessarily one of my favorites, but it is one of Phillip’s favorites, so it made the list.  I think they smell a lot better than they taste, but they are definitely pretty tasty.

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This is the secluded area from #9 that I was talking about!

*Side Note:  You can ask any quick service restaurant for a free cup of ice water. My fellow water lovers can appreciate this!


Now that you have wasted a good 10-15 minutes of your life reading this, you can go and have a magical Disneyland vacation!  It would, however, be a lot easier if I just went with you on your next Disney vacation to guide you and hold your babies and take your family photos.  Just sayin’!   Let’s go to Disneyland together!  ❤

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“if it’s fair, it isn’t a trial”

It has been 20 years since my mom passed away. I was only six years old, but I remember that day so so vividly. My dad and step-mom were out of town, so we were staying at my grandparents’ house where my mom was living at the time. It was a cold October Sunday morning. We had our primary program that day, and my mom wasn’t feeling well (which wasn’t out of the ordinary), so our grandparents took us to church. I had just entered the phase where I thought it was “gross” to kiss on the lips, so I gave my mom a kiss on her cheek and we left. When we got home, my granny went in to check on her, and I could hear her crying. I remember thinking that she was probably crying happy tears because maybe my mom was up and feeling better. My grandpa went in and after a minute or two, came out and said, “your mother has passed away.”

I was six. I don’t think six year olds even know how to deal with something like that. I remember crying a lot and waking my brother up in the middle of the night because I would be crying so loud and he would have to go and get my dad to calm me down. I was heart broken, and confused and worried and missing my mom. A couple of months after she passed away, on my 7th birthday, I blew out the candles on my Barney cake and wished that I would just get my mom back. Now looking back, it’s not my little six year old self that I feel sad for… I think about my amazing granny coming home from church to find that her only daughter had passed away, leaving four young children behind. I think about the strength of my grandpa who had to tell those four young children that life shattering news, and remain strong for us. I think about my sweet dad, holding me and comforting me night after night, when all I wanted was my mom. And I think about the countless others that Heavenly Father sent to my care during certain times of my life. They are all such gifts to me.

Over the years, I didn’t really talk about it much. I wanted everyone to think that I had a perfect, “normal” life, with a “normal” family and a perfect mother. (Let’s face it though, my step-mom Julie is as close to perfect as they come, we’ll talk more about her in a minute!) I was mostly worried that as soon as someone found out that my mom had passed away, they would start to feel bad for me. I was a strong, independent girl! I can’t have people feeling bad for me! No way! So it was my little secret, and I carried it around on my tiny little shoulders.

As I grew older, I started to truly understand the significance of The Great Plan of Happiness, and what an incredible gift it is to us. When I try to imagine what it would have been like to grow up with the notion that “death is the end,” it makes me physically sick! Can you imagine explaining to a six year old girl who had just lost her mom that that was it? That those six, short years I had to get to know her, were all that I would ever have?! I am so grateful I have been taught since the time I was old enough to talk, that I am a child of a loving Heavenly Father, who sent us to earth and put us with families and provided a way for us to have them FOREVER.

I know that my angel mother is ALWAYS with me. She’s a part of me and has been with me through all of my major life events, and through my small day-to-day events as well. I’ve tried to pinpoint exactly what it feels like having her with me all of the time, but I think I would only be able to adequately do so, if I could remember what it felt like to NOT have her with me. The Lord has also given me so many tender mercies and reminders that not only He is aware of me, but that my angel mother is as well.

angels-among-us

The first week of school my junior year, my seminary teacher kept “accidentally” calling me Karlee. Like seriously, it happened 4 or 5 times! Finally he said “Uhhh! I’m so sorry I keep calling you Karlee, Megan! You just look like a Karlee!” I just had to laugh to myself and think, “He’s right, I DO look like A Karlee! A very particular Karlee at that!” It made me smile.

Of course having your mom pass away when you are six years old is not fair.  I certainly feel that I was ripped off sometimes.  Six years is not enough time to have your momma.  But as Neal A. Maxwell quoted “if it’s fair, it isn’t a trial.”  I am comforted by the fact that I will have those six special years and an entire ETERNITY to love on her!  Now that I’m older I can take a step back and look at all of the wonderful blessings and lessons that I have learned from this.

  • I’ve learned that Heavenly Father is aware of me because He never let me be without a mom.  My parents divorced when I was 4, and now I know why.  My dad met my beautiful step-mother, Julie, and thankfully married her earlier that year.  She is a saint!  It’s already hard enough being the “evil” step-mother, but she took on a whole new role and stepped up to take care of us.  I’m so grateful that Heavenly Father sent her to our care.  I am positive that both of my moms made this arrangement in the pre-mortal life!  🙂
  • I’ve learned that it could always be worse.  Yes, we lost our mom far too soon, it was awful and life altering and so not fair!  But some people never had a chance to know their mothers, or their mothers deliberately left them.  I have been so blessed with an amazing life surrounded by so many people who love me and so many wonderful opportunities.  I have a healthy body and a home to live in and an incredible husband who loves me.  I was raised as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  My life is great!
  • I’ve learned that we absolutely will have to deal with “more than we can handle” sometimes.  It’s hard to believe that I have been without her for 20 years.  When it first happened, I didn’t think I would survive one day.  I would be lying if I said it still didn’t hurt so much that I can’t breathe sometimes.  However, having to deal with something “too hard to handle” has helped me see that we need to learn to rely solely on our Savior, Jesus Christ and use His atonement.  He not only suffered for our sins and our pains, He suffered for our sadness and heartache as well.  He already suffered.  He already paid the price.  We just need to trust  Him enough to hand over all of our burdens.  They are too much for us to bear alone.   “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”  (Matthew 11:28-30)

Jeffrey R. Holland said, “The Savior reminds us that He has ‘graven [us] upon the palms of [His] hands.’ Considering the incomprehensible cost of the Crucifixion and Atonement, I promise you He is not going to turn His back on us now. When He says to the poor in spirit, ‘Come unto me,’ He means He knows the way out and He knows the way up. He knows it because He has walked it. He knows the way because He is the way.”  (Broken Things to Mend)

I know that one day, when my work is done on this earth, I will be welcomed into Heaven by my beautiful mother.  She will hold me and I will forget what it felt like to lose her.

Don’t forget to hug your mommas!  ❤

Mary Claire Photography-78

1 year

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A: Our cake was surprisingly still delicious after one year of being in our freezer.

B: My dress was (not) surprisingly still heavy and uncomfortable, but still surprisingly fit.

C: I have a good husband to get dressed up just to eat a slice of cake.

I think The Prince is slowly learning that I don’t take any sort of celebration lightly.  Any occasion worth celebrating will probably turn into a big deal if I get my hands on it.  🙂

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happy anniversary, my darling <3

October weather can be hit or miss in Utah, but October 11, 2014 was the absolute most GORGEOUS fall day (kinda like today)!  I love having the highlights of our wedding day on film.  Jason Turner with Vidio Lab did an AMAZING job of capturing the emotion of the day, which clearly was just utter and complete excitement and happiness!  Everything went so smooth and it was so fun being surrounded by so many people that we loved.  I very specifically told The Prince that if he messed up my makeup or my dress with cake, he would be in big, big trouble. But me, being the jokester that I am, had a plan all along to tell him that so that I could smash it in his face first.  Wedding dresses are washable, right? 🙂 Yes it was washable, but sadly the buttercream icing wouldn’t come out of the leather shoes (sorry Phillip).

I was always told that the first year of marriage would be the hardest… But so far, it’s been waaaaay better than any other year I’ve ever had!  It definitely isn’t always pretty, and it definitely isn’t always perfect.  There are probably two pairs of Phillip’s shoes on the floor in every room at this very moment.  Buuut my makeup is still spread out all over the bathroom counter, and there is most likely a basket of MY neatly folded clothes (thanks husband) inside of my closet, waiting to be hung up.  Like my favorite, Kid President says, “Before you say something about the BBQ sauce on someone else’s shirt, take a look at the BBQ sauce on your own shirt.”

This is the biggest/most helpful marriage lesson that I have learned so far. And The Prince is the best teacher.  I still need some work on it.

HAPPY YEAR ONE, PRINCE PHILLIP!  Thank you for making me your bride.  ❤