Yesterday I debarked from The Disney Wonder. Today, I'm going to tell you everything about it!

This was our first Disney Cruise Line (DCL) experience, and I want to say that we are self-proclaimed Disney Junkies, so in some ways I feel my opinion may be slightly bias. But I'll definitely be honest in everything that I tell you about DCL and our experience on The Wonder.

Here's the gist of itinerary:
February 8: Drove from Greenville, SC to Cocoa Beach, FL
February 9: Embarked and departed on The Disney Wonder from Port Canaveral, FL
February 10: Day At Sea
February 11: Castaway Cay
February 12: Debarked at Port Canaveral and drove to Greenville, SC

Here are the Cliff Notes for those of you who just want the quick run down and don't care about the details. Also down below I have some tips for you!

The Good:
  • The atmosphere is amazing
  • Everywhere is incredibly family friendly
  • Service is absolutely amazing (although we had some mishaps with dinner service)
  • Free sodas!
  • The staterooms are amazing
  • The shows!
  • Castaway Cay is so fun, especially with the smaller ship
  • Character pictures!
  • Participate in Fish Extender Exchanges at least once!
The Bad:
  • It's expensive (at least in comparison to Carnival)
  • Our dinner server and assistant server was a little off - I'll go into that in more details below but this is apparently NOT the norm.
  • You'll want to go back.. seriously. Is this a bad thing or not?
  • If you participate in Fish Extender Groups, you may need another suitcase!

  • We've heard that the food is so much better on DCL. We loved the variety of food, but felt it was on par even with Carnival. It wasn't worse by any means, we just didn't find it that much more spectacular

Now for those of you who really want the details.. this part is for you!

Sometimes waking up and getting ready for a 3-hour church day, by yourself, is hard.

Sometimes walking into church with your 10 year old son in tow, as a part-member family is hard.

Sometimes listening to people give beautiful talks about how grateful and blessed they are to have been sealed in the Temple with their eternal companion is hard.

Sometimes having to prepare a lesson to teach the youth about the importance of Temple marriages, when you haven't been married in the Temple, is hard.

Sometimes wanting a simple blessing, but not wanting to bother your Home Teachers or others in the church is hard.

Sometimes trying to teach about the Priesthood to your 10 year old son, is hard.

Sometimes going to the Temple by yourself is hard.

Sometimes trying to make spiritual lessons a priority in a household that doesn't put spirituality as a priority is hard.

Sometimes trying to justify the word of wisdom for the 100th time is hard.

Sometimes, everything seems so hard.

And then sometimes I just have to pray for help to just continue and to get through the things that I feel are so hard. And sometimes, I feel the overpowering love that my Savior has for me during these times and I am reminded that I have a divine privilege of teaching my son the gospel.

And then sometimes church isn't hard at all.

This past Spring Break, we sprung a surprise on Nikk.

But let me backup for a moment....

We decided to go to Disney, kind of on a whim. My husband had always been hesitant about Disney because of the cost, so it rarely came up in vacation conversation. But somehow, it came up and literally my husband and I were saying, "Let's do it!" (of course, the husband had a caveat that this will be a one-time trip and we probably won't ever go back... remember he said that)

Our first trip to Disney World consisted of our me, my husband and son (naturally), my Mom & Dad and my Father-In-Law. But the more the merrier right? So we planned the trip along with our close family friends who have a son the same age as Nikk, and so they had a set of Grandparents to come along.

Considering the large group we were planning to go with, it really went smoothly.

My friend and I had an absolute blast planning everything from the drive down, to the Fast Pass selection to dinner ideas. I don't know, I love planning these types of things. It's exhilarating to see a plan come together.

So, the way our trip worked was that we left on a Saturday, just around noon. We drove from Greenville, SC to Jacksonville, FL. We stayed at the Hampton Inn - Airport in Jacksonville that night, which was a nice layover spot for us. The next morning we promptly checked out and made our way to Disney World. Of course, upon getting there we surprised the kiddo.

We stayed checked into Disney's All Star Sports Resort that Sunday afternoon and got settled into our room and hung out by the pool and got acquainted with the resort that evening. Starting that Monday, through Friday night - we partied hardy Disney style. I have so much that I could talk about with each Disney Park that I honestly think I could dedicate a post or 2 to each one. Then that Saturday morning we checked out, and drove home.

Fast forward about 4 months (to today)....

I'm about to book our next trip to Disney World again. My husband came back from our vacation totally pumped about Disney and was probably more gung-ho about booking again from the minute we stepped back into our house.

So.. here we are again... we're going to Disney!!

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Last Wednesday night was the Spartanburg 2nd's New Beginnings for our Young Women. New Beginnings is a wonderful way to start the year (I know, it's March), and welcome any new Young Women that may be entering the program this year.

This year's theme for Young Women is Mutual Theme is "O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day" D&C 4:2

The theme of "Embark" is really a neat one because you can encompass into so many things. Our Young Women President really found a beautiful way to use it in this year's New Beginnings and to help us with our Young Women in Excellence program that happens in November. She made all of the girls "Spiritual Passports" to use as we "Embark" upon our journey in Young Women this year. She tied the video below into the program and I think it was perfect.

Our Young Women's Second Counselor created a beautiful, big ship (like the one in the Embark logo) and the Young Women introduced the Young Women values on flags and hung them on the ship. It was a great introduction into my talk, about what a fun way to start "sailing" through Personal Progress!

Also during the night, we had three Personal Progress Recognition Awards and medallions handed out. Myself, and beautiful Young Woman who recently moved into Relief Society and her mother! I loved doing Personal Progress and frankly, I'm a little sad that I've completed it. Although, I supposed my Personal Progress journey isn't ever really over, even if I'm not recording it all in my book. However, I can say from my heart that it is a wonderful program that I would welcome any Young Women (or in my case, not so Young) to strive to finish. You will come out at the end with so much growth. Spiritually, educationally, physically. The church truly knew what they were doing when they put this program together and I'm grateful for it.
My Young Women necklace and my Medallion
I am grateful to be serving these beautiful Young Women. I'm grateful for the opportunity to learn and grow along with them. We have a small group of girls but each one of them have touched my heart and blessed my life in ways I can't even begin to go into in this forum.

Now.. time to work on getting my Honor Bee!

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I'm just totally failing at blogging.
It's not that I don't have things to talk about.. it's just I don't have time to compile all of these thoughts and get them down.

However, I am writing in my journal much more... you know, those paper things that we used to all keep hidden under our pillow where we talked about how much we loved Bobby and couldn't live without him (spoiler alert... we lived).

I usually keep up with friends and family on Instagram and FaceBook and Twitter so I feel like my poor blog is just neglected.

I'm a bad blog-mommy.

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Happy New Year!

2014 has been a wonderful year. Here is wishing everyone a prosperous and happy 2015!

Do I have resolutions? Of course!

I resolve that in 2015 I am....

.. going to focus on my family
Not that I don't know but I sometimes feel we have so many priorities that I feel our family time becomes strained. I want to make sure my focus is on my family in all that I do.

..  working on my marriage
Marriage is work. Sometimes it's easy and other times it's not. It's been easy, but I don't want us to fall into a rut.

.. going to continue working on my health
Because I want to live.

.. going to grow
In every way possible.

So... enjoy the remaining time in 2014 (if you haven't already rang in the new year) and see you next year!

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Tonight is our annual Young Women in Excellence program where we get to recognize our wonderful young women and all the things they've accomplished this year. The Stake recently announced that they will stop doing the Young Women recognition ceremonies, which I like, because now we get to recognize our girl's in our ward and by their own leaders instead of Stake leaders. Not that it wasn't nice, but I feel like this is much more personal.

It's a special celebration tonight for myself as well, I'll be earning bookmark ribbons for personal progress along with some of the girls. Granted I'm at least 20 years older than most of them, but hey, it's never too late I suppose.

I've been involved in the Young Women program for about a year and a half. It's very time consuming and it can be really stressful sometimes. But frankly, it's totally worth it. I feel like I've managed to connect somehow with each of our girls in some way and I really like that. Each one of them is unique and it's so interesting getting to know them.

During this time I've also been actively involved in personal progress and at this rate, I'll be completing my own personal progress program by the end of the year. I'm grateful for the opportunity to be involved and to be able to participate. It really has been a blessing in so many ways.

If there were one thing that I could leave with the girls, it would be that they are loved. By me, by all the leaders, by the Bishopric, by their family and friends. But most importantly, by their Heavenly Father. 

And on another excellent note, yesterday my kid rode his bike for the first time with no training wheels. He told me now that he did that, he's a man. I told him he has to kill a bear and grow a beard before he can be a man, because until then, and even after then, he'll be my little boy.

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