Wine and Dine Half Marathon {race recap}

In November, Heather and I ran the Wine and Dine Half Marathon! This was my second Run Disney race and yet again, it did not disappoint.

I headed down to the expo on Friday night after work. I went by myself which gave me some time to browse the booths and do a little bit of shopping, but the expo closed at 7pm, so I didn’t have a ton of time.

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It was a good thing I didn’t have the kids, because there was a lot of walking involved between picking up the race bib and the race shirt. I’m talking two completely different buildings here…in the rain.

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We did not stay on Disney property for this race as Greg had to work the whole weekend. Thankfully, my mom came to town to watch the kids while I ran. We started the morning around 3:30am and headed down to the Epcot parking lot and finish line to park the car. From there, we hopped on a bus to take us to the Magic Kingdom parking lot to start the race.

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Since I registered for this race well enough in advance, I was able to submit a proof of time earning me a spot in corral C. We started the race after about only 20-25 minutes of waiting. Oddly enough, it started raining when we were in the corral.

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Our first park was Animal Kingdom! We took a slightly different route through the park and were able to run through Pandora at dawn. It was the perfect amount of light, but it was also dark enough to see the glow of the lights through Pandora. The picture doesn’t do it justice.

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From Animal Kingdom, we had several miles of open road before reaching our next park. Along the way, we saw a toy soldier! We were in line to get our picture with him, but then he started making the runners do push-ups, so we were out!

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We entered Hollywood Studios around the ten mile mark. It’s amazing how the worst part of the race (miles 10-13.1) is filled with the most fun stuff! It’s such a great distraction. We ran through the back of the park by the Tower of Terror and saw Mr. and Mrs. Incredible just as we entered. Hollywood Studios is our favorite park, so we stopped a couple times for some pictures before heading out.

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We made our way through the Boardwalk on our way to Epcot and most importantly, the finish line. We saw the Swan and Dolphin resort, the Boardwalk resort, and lots of spectators!

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We entered Epcot at the entrance coming from the Boardwalk and ran down through England. We circled back towards France to run through the rest of the countries around the world.

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As we made our way towards the finish line, we passed the giant golf ball and headed into the Epcot parking lot.

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We unintentionally timed our finish perfectly and headed into Epcot as soon as the park opened at 9am. We celebrated with mimosas in the Wine & Dine Festival Center.

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One of the best perks of the race this time around was that I was able to download all of my race photos since Photo Pass is included with our annual pass. We made every effort to get our picture taken by every Photo Pass photographer we saw!

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It ended up being my worst race on the clock, but my best race on the course. I absolutely love running though the parks, seeing all of the Disney characters, hearing all of the entertainment, and enjoying the entire Run Disney experience!

Christmas in Chicago {2018}

We started our Christmas break with a lovely Christmas service at church on Friday night.

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Saturday morning came early and we hopped on a plane to head to Chicago!

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Michael and Rachel showed us around the city while the kids headed back to the house to bake cookies and see Arie.

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We stopped at Macy’s to get warm and check out the Christmas tree and beautiful decorations.

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Afterwards, we hopped on over to the Christkindlmarket which was packed the moment it opened. I got a cute mug full of warm goodness, then we headed out.

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Our next stops included Garrett Popcorn, Ballast Point to taste some beers, and Au Cheval for the best burger in the entire city.

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Finally, we met up with the kids at Forge Brewery!

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The next two days, we had a wonderful visit with family.

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We were hopeful for more snow, but she was thrilled to at least see this much.

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Christmas morning was full of coffee and opening presents before we packed our bags to hit the road.

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Our first stop was in Lafayette for a short, but sweet, visit with the cousins.

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After one more stop in Indy, we were on the road. 14 hours later, we arrived in warm Orlando to continue our Christmas break!

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We had such a wonderful time in Chicago and we already can’t wait to plan our next visit. To say that Michael and Rachel were amazing hosts would be an understatement. We had such a very, merry Christmas!

2018 by the numbers

Our 2018 by the numbers:

1 bowl game attended

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1 new pair of glasses

4 lost teeth

1 new cavity

2 lice treatments

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8 running races

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13 birthday parties attended

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16 breweries visited

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2 trips to Sarasota

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10 years celebrated

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17 flights taken

5 states and 1 U.S.V.I visited

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1 bachelorette party

1 wedding

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3 UCF football games

0 UCF losses

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4 Disney birthdays celebrated

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2 professional sporting events attended

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3 soccer seasons

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1 tee ball season

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1 swim team

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Countless trips to Disney

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happy new year!

***

a look back.

my weekend in photos

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friday morning run.

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saturday night movie. i cannot recommend this enough! it was so good and so funny for all ages.

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a foggy six miles on sunday.

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sunday soccer!

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cheering on sister.

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a quick stop at a new brewery.

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our first ucf basketball game of the season. can you tell it’s winter break on campus?

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a fun afternoon with friends!

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knightro!

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we had some festive fun after the game.

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“daddy’s work” from the ferris wheel.

we cancelled our disney plans on saturday to lay low which was a great decision. we were still tired by sunday night! how was your weekend?

my weekend in photos

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lauren daigle at the bobb carr theater. an amazing christmas concert to start the holiday season.

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the perfect girls night.

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christmas party with some friends!

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christmas crafts.

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chili night!

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8 miles from the new starbucks!

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new socks. new shoes. great run.

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thank goodness she plays indoors as it poured all day.

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sweet little brothers

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happy birthday ashlyn!

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we had an action packed weekend with parties on parties on parties. i think i’m still recovering! how was your weekend?

Minnie’s Halloween Dine

Crosby’s birthday landed on a Saturday this year and it was our last birthday celebration of the month, so we decided to do our first character dining experience. I knew we wanted to go to Hollywood Studios for his birthday, so I looked at the options there first. Hollywood and Vine is usually an experience with the Disney Junior characters, which would not be my first preference but for the month of October it turns into Minnie’s Halloween Dine at Hollywood and Vine. I immediate jumped on this because of the character line up and the Halloween costumes!

We opted for lunch so we could start our day around noon and end the evening with the Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular show.

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Since Minnie was the star of the show, we were able to get our photo taken with the Disney Photo Pass. All other photos were from my phone on our own.

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Mickey was Crosby’s favorite!

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Goofy asked Crosby how old he was and was being a jokester.

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Donald’s costume was my favorite.

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Kenley’s shirt was the hit of the day! Daisy played with it and she got several comments about it! Daisy and Minnie were Kenley’s favorite.

We had a great time! It was the perfect way to celebrate Crosby’s day and cap our month-long birthday festivities!

my weekend in photos

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s’mores by the christmas tree on friday night while watching the grinch.

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five miles with the girls.

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lego building and beer drinking.

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saturday night fun after watching the intense ucf football game!

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kenley started a new soccer league today, indoor!

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reunited!

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living their best life with matching christmas pajamas!

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we had a great first weekend of december!
bring on all things christmas!

how was your weekend?