The Munchkins

Life with identical twins

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas! I hope everyone who celebrated had a great day. Let’s start with Christmas Eve. My parents came up in the morning. We made one last trip to Target, got everything set up for dinner that night, and then realized we still had a few hours before church so we headed over to the sledding hill. It was the last day it was supposed to be even a little bit warm, so even though the snow wasn’t the best, we went for it. It was so fun! We’ve lived near this sledding hill for the last 10 plus years and have never gone sledding, so it was definitely time.

The long sled definitely worked better than the disc sleds on this hill, since it kept you going straight. The discs spun you around which Caden loved, but Delaney and I hated.

Caden could have done this ALL. DAY. LONG.

The hill wasn’t too bad to climb up, but we were all worn out by the end of our time there!

The most fun was definitely putting two in this sled. With a little more weight, you really got going!

Once home everyone warmed up and then got ready for church. The girls wanted their hair in curls. While we were all in my bathroom I told them they could wear lipstick to church. Oh my! That was 10 minutes of them opening every lipstick I own and asking if I thought that would be a good color to wear. It was the best. They finally settled on fairly neutral colors and we headed upstairs to get a quick family picture.

Dinner was roast chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, and corn. It was amazingly good. I have perfected that meal! The problem was, I ate a little too much of it and a few hours later my stomach was protesting. I’ll skip the details and instead say it was a very long night with not a ton of sleep and I felt awful for most of Christmas Day. It sucked. I pulled it together and slapped a smile on my face, but I was only able to eat small bites of food all day which meant I skipped all of the fabulous meals I had planned (including my favorite salad from the golf club!). I did eat a piece of gluten free pie after skipping dinner. That gf french silk pie is so good I figured it would be worth it even if it made me sick again.

Here are the two pictures I did take Christmas morning! This year was really great. Lots of joyful present opening, so much happiness over their presents, and just lots of smiles. They picked out quite a few presents to give to other people which was really fun, and they both helped me make a few diy presents to give to our families. Their big presents were extra riding lessons, beyond that it was all small stuff. I actually kept it reasonable this year!

She was SO excited! I think she woke up at 5 and 6, then finally knew it was safe to get up at 7!

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Happy Fourth of July!

Happy Fourth of July everyone!

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Sledding into the New Year

We headed up to my aunt and uncle’s house for New Year’s Eve. They live on a lake and have snowmobiles so the girls were hoping to FINALLY get in some sledding. The one thing they wanted to do over winter break was go sledding, but it has been cold and windy and rainy and I just couldn’t make it happen. But Uncle Jeff made it happen!



A few years ago we sledded down the hill. We tried again this year, but for some reason, we were in a much steeper spot. It was too much of a drop off so they put their feet down so they wouldn’t go over the edge.


While the snowmobiles were elsewhere, they took turns pulling each other on the sleds. I tried pulling both of them but they’re heavy!


It was COLD out. In past years it’s been around 30 degrees and we were able to stay out there most of the day. This year we lasted an hour, with most of the people heading in after 30 minutes. It’s always the wind that gets you! Once everyone else headed in, Jeff pulled them behind the snowmobile. There wasn’t much snow so he went really slow. They loved it and could not stop grinning.



Every year Jeff gets rockets to set off. This year he had the Big Daddy! With the wind we had no idea where the rocket would end up, so the first few times they set it off they took it farther onto the lake.


The last time he brought it in close and let the girls push the button. It must have caught the wind just right because of course it blew over the neighbor’s house and broke a fin. I feel like we break the rocket every year though. Sorry Jeff!

After our outside time we headed into the house for games and food. Growing up, every family gathering involved either dice or card games for money. I loved sitting in on these games and listening to everyone talk smack. This year my girls got to sit on my lap while we played dice and cards and talked a little smack. It was so fun! After the drive and the cold weather, I was exhausted by 10:30pm, so we celebrated the New Year with the east coast ball drop and then headed back to the hotel. I think next year I need to hit the caffeine because I heard things got crazy after we left.

Thanks Jeff and Sheila for hosting!!

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4th of July!

Picture heavy post warning! We headed up to my aunt and uncle’s house for our annual 4th of July family gathering. We’ve been doing this for a few years now and I feel like we have a nice routine down. Lots of lake time, lots of game time, the meals are covered, fireworks from North Dakota, and everyone has fun.

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We had gorgeous weather for Saturday (Sunday was a cloudy and windy but we didn’t let that stop us) so we spent a lot of time in the water. My uncle has a nice pontoon, but since there’s a lot of us and the kids like to tube, my cousins both bring their boats too. We got to see Alyssa’s new boat! It’s so nice. Such a smooth ride and the perfect place to chill. Captain Dood thought so as well.

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Missing one sibling, but here’s the group that brings us all together.

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A lake selfie. We took a few this year.

The girls love my aunt and uncle’s house. First off there’s a lake, so that’s huge. They also have chickens that lay eggs (they got to collect four!) and a huge garden. Delaney kept talking about how peaceful it was, which is what she says when she wants to move somewhere. That kid seems to be a country girl at heart!

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This was the first year in a while that water volleyball made a comeback and it was a huge hit! When forced to divide into two teams Coach told us line up shortest to tallest and number off. Dane, I’m not sure you belong at the end of the line.

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Our family is a little bit competitive, and whenever there is a lull we immediately bust out a tournament bracket and throw down. Water volleyball was no different. I am sore from diving after balls and my swimsuit had a fair amount of sand in it! Still can’t believe we lost both games.

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Sunset cruise time. The lake they are on is small, but there are always a ton of boats out! We’ve been coming up here for 30 years, so it’s fun to see what’s changed as we cruise around the lake. 2016 will forever be the year of the new canal.

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All three of our dogs stayed behind with the dog sitter and we missed them! Luckily there were a few dogs around for us to love on. Asa loved Caden. He was a big, sweet boy.

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The swan floatie that is everywhere! It’s everywhere for a reason people, this thing was awesome. Super fun to play on, and also super fun to just hang out on.

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My aunt and uncle got a jet ski this year and everyone was excited about this new toy! Both girls rode on it and loved going super fast.

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A little blurry because the sun was going down, but the younger cousins swinging. These kiddos had so much fun! And even though Sam is the oldest, he still hangs with them and indulges them.

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Happy Easter!

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I’m going to preface this with the fact that I am exhausted, so this post may be more pictures than words. Both girls were SO excited for the Easter Bunny to come to our house, that they couldn’t sleep and climbed in bed with me. Three people and three dogs is too many! Midas had to sleep on my chest so he wouldn’t get smooshed! Onward.

Saturday we headed out to my aunt Lisa’s for Easter with the family. The girls helped dye eggs, I stayed out of it.

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After eggs was the craft! I will probably not explain this well, but we put drops of nail polish in hot water. They mixed together and created kind of a film on top of the water, and if you dipped a coffee mug in just right, the nail polish clings to the mug and you have a pretty design!

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This was definitely a craft where you learned from your first round and made adjustments. Some nail polishes worked better than others, smaller drops worked better than big drops, and some people went with just one color which looked super cool. Super fun craft!

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We did an egg hunt outside, then the kids got Easter baskets. This picture is a bit blurry, but the photo bomb was too good to leave out! Dinner was my uncle Stan’s ribs and I definitely out ate everyone at my table. Word.

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The girls are super into Star Wars still, which made Easter Baskets easy. The Easter Bunny hid plastic Star Wars eggs with stickers in them, they got totally amazing marshmallow Storm Trooper and BB-8 things, Star Wars eggs, and some paper Storm Trooper things that I’m leaving for the babysitter to do with them today.

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Best gift? Light saber bubbles! They light up! So totally amazing (found at Walgreens). Because no one got much sleep our morning was a little slow. We hit the late service at church, then had brunch out and about. Our church is trying to make services more family friendly so they have replaced some of the chairs with round tables that the kids can color at. It worked perfectly for us. We were kind of off by ourselves, the girls brought books so they could read (and listen), and I didn’t feel like we were bothering anyone around us. Two thumbs up.

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Epcot – Friday

Our last Disney day!

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Our final day was at Epcot. Because we knew we wanted to try to stay until the fireworks, I didn’t schedule our first Fast Pass until 11:10am. Laying in bed that morning, I had to give myself a little pep talk. My hips were hurting from standing so much the night before at the fireworks, and I was not looking forward to another long day of walking. Advil and Starbucks at the park got me through! We took our time around the house in the morning and got to the park about 11:30. All of the rides are near the front of the park, so I knew we’d have plenty of time to get to Test Track. The wait time for Test Track was 60 minutes, so I definitely recommend using a Fast Pass! (Mission Space never had a wait time over 20 minutes).

So Test Track. All I knew was that you designed a car, and then it was a simulator? My dad kept asking if this was really a ride. Once we saw the sign that said it was a turbulent ride, we knew. The girls had a blast designing their cars, but I had no idea what they would think of the ride. You get into a real car, and then it simulates different road conditions. We were indoors at first, but then it started going really fast and the next thing I knew we were outside banking a corner. Everyone loved it!

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Caden really, REALLY wanted to do Mission Space so she could be the commander of the spaceship. We went with the non-spinny version of the ride which was perfect. Delaney got a little nervous before we went in, but once we were inside she was fine. I got a little nervous once we got inside, but once the simulation started I was fine (although sweaty). This was super fun as well! Loved it.

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Our second Fast Pass was for Spaceship Earth. The great thing about Epcot was that we hadn’t been there in 20 years? So everything was new. The journey through history was maybe a little boring, but the girls loved at the end when they got to see what their future would look like.

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My mom is a huge gardener, and when we found these we all went nuts! Can you believe we were there one week before their big garden show??

We had dinner reservations for 6:15 in Mexico, which is the last country in the World Showcase. We headed to Canada about 3:00, which was perfect timing. A friend had told me that Epcot has little crafty things for kids in each country, so we found the Kidcot spot in Canada (why oh why do they hide them?) and the girls colored their little bears. We hit the Kidcot spot in each country and the girls LOVED this little activity. It was definitely worthwhile to hunt these down.

Around this time I was starving, so we hightailed it to the UK so we could grab a drink and some food. We absolutely should have eaten outside of the World Showcase. Once you’re in there it’s mostly sit down restaurants, and everything was full. We ended up getting fish and chips from a little booth. The guy told me I could have the fries, but they made me sick. At that point, I had to eat and all of my snacks were gone so I took all of my pills and hoped for the best. The pear cider I drank eased my pain though.

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I was super fascinated with the topiary characters in each country!

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We started in Canada at 3:00 and had to skip Norway to get to Mexico for our 6:15 reservations. If you want to drink your way around the world, you definitely need to leave yourself some time. We shopped in China (Caden loves pandas) and Japan (so many cool things to buy!), and hit the candy store in Germany.

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As we sat down for dinner my mom and I looked at each other and knew we weren’t staying for the 9:00pm fireworks. We’d had a great day, the fireworks the night before were amazing, there was no reason to push it. Dinner was fabulous! I had done my research, and Mexico labels the gluten free and dairy free items which was so nice.

Caden had found a souvenir in China, but Delaney still had money to spend. She really, really wanted us to go back to China to shop some more, but I really just wanted to head out at that point. I offered her $10 to do her shopping in Mexico, and the deal was done. They both found cute jewelry boxes and were very happy with their purchases.

Epcot was the perfect ending to our trip. We definitely could have spent more time there! I loved that it was almost like two parks, with the rides up front and the World Showcase in the back. Total steps for the day – 14,826.

disclaimer – it was super sunny out that day and it doesn’t seem to matter what I do to edit my pictures, they are all coming out green. Sorry!


Birthday Parties

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Their sleepover birthday party was Friday night. I picked up the girls from school (they each got to invite one friend) and they were all so excited! So excited that the first 20 minutes they ran from one activity to another, and the next thing I knew Caden was crying. I sent them to the basement where things calmed down a bit and they played with legos and had a dance party.

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I ordered pizza, made popcorn, and they watched Diary of a Wimpy Kid. It was all free of drama and I’m not going to lie, I was nervous going into this! My kids are not known for always playing well with others at our house. Someone gets left out, someone cries, rinse and repeat. I was so happy they had fun and everyone got along. I even thought they might go to bed early! But they were having too much fun. They finally fell asleep about 11:00pm, and of course woke up around 6:30am.

Saturday morning I made french toast while they watched Harry Potter, then drove the girls home. It was lovely.

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The family party was on Sunday, which gave us all day Saturday to clean the house, run errands, bake the cake, and sneak a nap in. When I asked the girls what kind of cake they wanted they said chocolate, with strawberry filling. I showed them pictures of a few different cakes to figure out what strawberry filling meant, and we came up with this cake! I followed Martha’s recipe and it was ridiculously easy.

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The family party was small and relaxed this year. My parents came up that morning to help pull things together. Normally we’re racing around trying to get everything done, this year we had plenty of time. We even figured out the kitchen remodel!

Thank you to everyone for making their birthday so special!


Off Day + Magic Kingdom again on Thursday

Just as I was pulling my weekend pictures off my phone, the battery died! It died doing the same thing when we came back from Florida, so I have a feeling a trip to the camera store is in my near future. While it charges, we will head back to Disney.

Wednesday was our off day with no parks planned. This day was key. By this point, we were all pretty tired. My brother and his family headed to Cocoa Beach, while the rest of us stayed back at the house. It rained in the morning, so we slept in, read books, and played foosball. Once the sun came out we headed to Downtown Disney. I loved it! Great shopping, and it was super fun to walk around. If you are gluten free or vegan, head straight for Erin McKenna’s bakery and buy as much as you can! I’m still thinking about that cupcake. We spent the rest of the day swimming in the pool, throwing steaks on the grill so we could just hang at home.

Thursday morning we headed out bright and early to Magic Kingdom, while my brother and his family headed to the airport to head back. Since our group was now just five people, I was able to get Fast Passes for the Seven Dwarves Mine Train (this is easily the hottest ride ticket. I saw the wait time get to 170 minutes one day). The rain storm on Wednesday ushered in a cold front and it was chilly! We knew it was going to be colder and thought we packed for it, but once we got to the park we realized our thin sweatshirts were not going to cut it. We bought sweatshirts to layer over our other clothes for everyone and thank goodness we did! We wore them most of Thursday and Friday, without them we likely would have been pretty miserable.

So, we did the mine train right away. I liked it, the girls hated it. That said, it’s fairly tame. After that my dad and I headed to Space Mountain. He didn’t get a chance to go on it when we were there on Sunday and since the wait time was 10 minutes, we figured it was the perfect time. Tomorrowland was empty! The girls and my mom did the Buzz Lightyear ride twice since there was no line! We joined them and rode it one more time, since I needed to redeem my awful first score.

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The girls really wanted to get some autographs this time around, so we waited for Alice and the Mad Hatter. It was about a 20 minute wait, and while they loved it, they both agreed they’d rather ride the rides.

Since we were right next door, we went to the Starlight Cosmic Ray’s cafe for lunch. I was able to get a cheeseburger with a gluten free bun AND fries! I can never eat the fries because they’re always cross contaminated, but she assured me I would be good. They were amazing.

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Caden requested that we go on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride again, and I really wanted a Dole Whip float, so we headed back that way. While cool, it was a beautiful day! So we stopped and took some pictures.

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In case you love the Dole Whip as well, we all agreed that plain is where it’s at. No one loved the float.

I waited way too long to write this, so I don’t completely remember, but I think we headed back to the house at this point? Our goal was to leave around 2:00, in order to get a few hour break in, and come back round 5:30pm.

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At some point during the day I switched out last Fast Pass to the Tinkerbell meet and greet. This was a clutch decision. We walked right in! And she was amazing. Perfect voice, super sweet, chatted the girls up, I loved it. Totally magical.

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Because the park opened at 8am, the electric parade was at 7:00 and fireworks were at 8:00. Thank goodness. We thought we had a good spot for the parade, but a park worker told us to head to Liberty Square. It was more crowded than we thought it would be, but we did get front row spots so it was perfect. The girls were able to sit on the ground and everyone around us was nice and not pushy.

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After the parade we booked it to get in front of the castle. I LOVED the Celebrate the Magic show before the fireworks! What maybe killed me a little was holding Caden for that show. It’s only 15 minutes, but I could really feel all that standing and holding the next day. The fireworks were also amazing, and I’m glad we were able to come back for them.

Total steps – 17,731! Our biggest day!

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Animal Kingdom – Tuesday

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Animal Kingdom! This is one of my favorite parks. As we walked into the main area of the park we had to stop and get some pictures in front of the Tree of Life. Sidenote, last time we were at Disney, PhotoPass photographers were everywhere. It was super easy to have them take your picture. This time around? Only saw them in a few places, and there was always a line. Not a fan.

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We made our way into Dino Land to hit those rides first. The kids did this ride first, then we went on Primeval Whirl. It looked like an easy ride, but they really whipped you around those corners!

After wandering around a bit, we headed to Expedition Everest for our first Fast Pass. I love this roller coaster. You are going along all easy and you think it’s nothing! Easy peasy. And then the tracks look like they were ripped apart and you remember YES! We’re going backwards! Might have been my favorite roller coaster of the trip!

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It was the perfect day for the Kali River Rapids ride, except it’s closed. We watched the monkeys for a bit, then wandered along the trails. Caden loves maps, so we let her be the navigator. They do such a great job with the variety of animals that they had. Even the birds were beautiful and birds I hadn’t seen anywhere else.

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This picture really sets the tone for Caden for the day. It was our third park, and she was tired. I felt about the same at this point, so we found a place to have lunch and sit down for a bit. Animal Kingdom gets the highest scores for food at any of the parks. I had plenty of gluten free options, everyone else loved their food, and there was plenty of shaded tables to sit at.

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Right as we got into our safari vehicle it started raining. Pouring down rain! It was perfect timing since those vehicles have roofs. Our driver said the rain might even make for better animal watching. Obviously I have to include a picture of the giraffes. There were so many, and they were so close to the truck, and they are so beautiful!

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And then, the elephants. My other favorite. The kids were beyond thrilled!

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After the safari we hiked along another trail. This one had bats (I skipped), hippos (under water so cool!) and a gorilla. The gorilla was so cool and so chill. I swear he posed for us.

Kristina had been seeing a train that took people behind the scenes of the park, so we hopped on that as our last thing. Luckily, it took us to Rafiki’s Planet Watch which is where Delaney wanted to go. They talked a lot about wildlife conservation, and had goats for the girls to brush.

As we were taking the train back both of my girls had meltdowns. They were both exhausted (I was too, it had been a long three days at that point). Delaney was mad at me because I had said we would circle back to these carnival games in Dino Land if we had time (which we didn’t). I ended up carrying Caden out of the park. From the look on her face I knew she was done and luckily, she doesn’t weigh much.

Total steps – 14,198.

I promise to completely drag this out next week too, no worries.

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Hollywood Studios – Monday

First things first. Both girls had zero cavities! This has never happened in our dental career! Also, we caucused. We’ve talked a lot about the candidates so I really wanted to the girls to be a part of the entire process.

Back to Disney!

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We were there right at park opening again. We walked down the main street to get our bearings, then separated out. Roller coaster riders to the Rock ‘n Roller coaster, everyone else to the bakery. I knew going in this roller coaster was crazy, but I was still unprepared for it. The speed that you take off with immediately knocked the wind out of me and I got a little nervous. After a few deep breaths I started to enjoy it but oof, not sure I could do that one more than once. Once Samantha and my dad did the Tower of Terror, we met up with everyone for our Fast Pass at Star Tours. I had only a vague idea of what this ride was, which was perfect. It was so amazing! When they said they were searching for a rebel spy, they showed my mom’s picture! I loved it, although I have a feeling if you went on it again it wouldn’t be as much fun. Afterwards, we watched a bit of the Jedi Training before moving on.

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The thing I like about Hollywood Studios is that it’s a smaller park, so you feel like you have time to do things like let the kids get their faces painted.

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And take lots of family pictures.

We had a little time to kill before our Toy Story Fast Passes, so we wandered through the Walt Disney museum. I am so fascinated by him! It’s really amazing to see someone with so much creativity, and so much vision.

Since we had done the Buzz Lightyear ride the day before, everyone knew what to expect from the Toy Story ride. I wanted to make it into some sort of competition for highest score, but we all knew my brother would win so instead we decided that the adult with the lowest score had to buy drinks. My mom lost – womp womp. That ride is still top of my list for non roller coaster rides. I love it!

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Since we’d done the rides at this point, we split up. Kristina and I took the kids to the Under the Sea show, and my parents and brother went on the great movie ride. Since the show was only 15 minutes long, we knew we had enough time to meet Chewbacca! He was awesome! Hugged everyone, and took tons of pictures with us. Definite highlight.

The last thing on our list to do was the Beauty and the Beast show. So well done! There are some amazing performers at Disney that’s for sure.

We left the park about 4:00 or so? Which gave us enough time to hit the pool and hot tub for a bit before heading out for dinner. There were a lot of really great restaurants near the house which worked out perfectly for our evenings.

Official step count – 11,273.

Tomorrow will be a break in our regularly scheduled Disney posts for BIRTHDAY FUN. I cannot believe I have eight-year-olds.

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