So we make it inside the park (contraband metal arm plate and all) and we turn to the girls. "What shall we do first?" we ask, barely able to contain our excitement (we love roller coasters). We point to a racing coaster that sends one spinning upside down. We're so excited we're almost dancing in place. "Shall we start with that?"

Looks of horror covered the faces of both girls. We sent each other a look. Okay, too much. Start off slower.

"How about bumper cars?" we ask, and I stifle a yawn. Bumper cars bore me.

The girls shrugged and wouldn't meet our eyes. "Yes, no?" I asked.

They hemmed and hawed and finally the friend spoke up that she was scared of bumper cars.

Scared of bumper cars? I threw Blair a desperate look. If they were scared of bumper cars what the hell were we supposed to do with them for the next six hours?

We took a deep breath and headed for the games. They each won a stuffed dog which buoyed their spirits enough that they agreed to try bumper cars. Thank God they loved them. The day picked up from there.

We got them to go on a few more rides throughout the day, including a mini roller-coaster. Both girls were scared but said they wanted to try it and I was VERY proud of them. But for the most part we rode the same 4 rides over and over again.

"If we ever have kids," I told Blair in an aside, "we're sticking them on a roller coaster the minute they hit the height requirement."

"What if they don't want to?" he challenged.

I shrugged. "I'm bigger. A little turbulence will do them good."

The highlight of the day was the water ride. Let me emphasize WATER ride. We came out of it looking like we'd just walked through a carwash. We had to wring our shirts out and my hair was as wet as if I'd just come from the shower. Blair was a very good sport and rode the ride twice with the girls. Because of course once we had all finally dried off they wanted to go again. That's a good man.

We almost had to take out a small loan for the price of park food, but it was worth it to see the excitement on the girls faces when they would spot a food stand and cry out, "Oh! Can we have Dippin' Dots?" and we'd say yes. It's fun being the fun aunt and uncle.

On the way out we caved in and bought the photo they'd taken of us when we first came in the park, even though it was out of focus and not a good picture of anyone. Memories, you know.

We hugged the girls goodbye and they crawled into the backseat, laughing and giggling about their day.

All in all, a day trip to Carowinds was a very good idea.