Tuesday, December 31, 2019

2019 Year in Review


Our 4th annual family trip to WDW. This year we stayed the Boulder Ridge. The highlight was the character dinner there that included Grumpy.

Snow in DC

Dad and I visited George Washington Birthplace National Monument.


Mom and I visited Tucson to see The Oak Ridge Boys at the Fox Theatre. When I read an article about this year being the 100th anniversary of the Grand Canyon National Park on the plane, we ended up deciding to visit the Grand Canyon while in Arizona. We also ended up visiting Walnut Canyon National Monument when we missed our exit and it was the next exit to turn around at. Also, finally got Ranger Dan to Saguaro National Park.


Peeps S'mores at the Wharf


I enjoyed the Spring Garden Tour at the White House.

We enjoyed several outings including going to the Belmont-Paul Women's Equality National Monument with Dad and The National Garden. Mik went to Awesome Con.


Mik and I choose early May for our just us WDW trip this year as we hadn't been to the Flower and Garden Festival for a few years. We also got to enjoy the 30th Anniversary of Hollywood Studios. I had a fun evening at Magic Kingdom on my own including getting my first ever maxed out score on Buzz Lightyear.

We saw Aladdin for Dad's birthday.


Dad and I saw Tim McGraw's Songs of America book tour at The Anthem.

Mik wanted to trade in his game systems for a new one for his birthday. When we saw the DQ in the same shopping center, we just had to have ice cream, especially since 10 years ago in 2009 during the ballpark trip we got his birthday treat at a DQ.


Mom and I spent several weeks at the cottage. I made some jars and pots to decorate a little for the light up the island they do in July.

Dad, Mik, and I enjoyed the Apollo 50: Go for the Moon show on the Washington Monument.


I went to Warsaw for the 75th Anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising. This time they allowed the family to go with to some of the events. Where we ended up for W Hour wasn't as great as how Dad and I experienced it last time, but it was very impressive to go to the wreath laying and not being able to see the end of the line and wondering if they were ever going to be done laying the wreaths.

Dad and I enjoyed The Beach Boys at the Wolf Trap.


We took a day trip to visit Assateague Island National Seashore.


Dad and I enjoyed some fall colors with a trip to Skyline Drive and the White House Fall Garden Tour.

Mik, in particular, enjoyed rooting for the Nationals to Finish the Fight in the World Series.


We went on a 14-day Panama Canal Cruise for Dad's 60th Birthday celebration.

We flew into Los Angeles a few days and visited the Petersen Auto Museum as well as Mission San Juan Capistrano before leaving out of San Diego, where we had a "fun" fire evacuation at the hotel.

Dad and I did a Port Adventure in Cabo San Lucas.

As Puerto Vallarta was not a tender port, we just got off as a family and went to Starbucks

Very Merrytime Cruise

Dad and I did an emerald jewelry making class. Dad got himself an emerald earring. When we got back to the ship, we found out we could have gotten our passports stamped and ended up getting off quickly as a family to get a quick latte at Juan Valdez and get our passports stamped.

Grand Cayman was a tender port and due to swells we ended up anchored in another bay and had to take a bus into the town, which Dad and I did just so I could play Harry Potter (and then why not some more 60th photos).

In Cozumel, we had booked a tequila tasting tour, but ended up delayed by a parade and the accessible taxi not actually being accessible and bailed on it rather than ending up with more frustration, although we still ended up with that when we found that the elevator was out at the port and the only way we had been able to easily cross the street earlier was because it had been closed for the parade.

During the cruise, we enjoyed the free popcorn we could get as Concierge, celebrating Mickey's birthday, making 3D character crafts, seeing the PremEAR of Frozen II, and drinks in the Concierge Lounge (lots and lots of lattes for me, Prosecco for Mom, and mixed drinks of the day for Mik).


We decorated Mom and Dad's boat with a Southwest theme this year for the Alexandria and DC boat parades. Fingers crossed that next year Third Mate's repairs will be done and we even already have an idea for what the theme will be for next year.

We enjoyed visiting Enchant at Nationals Park.

Mik and I also made our annual visit to the US Botanic Garden's "Season's Greenings," although it was our least favorite theme we've seen.

Dad, Mik, and I saw Chip at The Birchmere. Mik discovered he liked the opener's music and we all enjoyed that Chip mostly performed unreleased music.

Monday, December 31, 2018

2018 Year in Review

January 2018

Another year and another move...but first our annual WDW trip. 

As we had to wait at least a week to solve the power problem on Monticello and were driving down to Walt Disney World before that, we left early to spend a couple days in Myrtle Beach (and watch Nora who ended up with snow days). We then headed down to Florida together for our annual trip, which included Mom, Andrew, and Tammy this year. We enjoyed checking out the new Avatar-themed land, the Festival of Arts again (sad, it's not going to be during for our 2019 trip), and a special DVC Moonlight Magic night at the Magic Kingdom.

We mainly stayed in a treehouse villa at Saratoga Springs. It was fun to have tried, but never again due to how transportation to the parks works. As I had points that I had to use by end of January due to the hurricane canceling our September 2017 trip, we also all stayed another night at the Grand Floridian. It was better than the treehouse villas, but also a never again due to transportation to Magic Kingdom only being monorail for wheelchairs. Mik, Mom, and I also stayed one night at Boulder Ridge. We loved it, and that's where staying for our whole 2019 trip.

As much as we loved the marina, the power problem made us realize we just couldn't handle boat maintenance (or at least not having to rely on Dad when he should only have to worry about their boat). When we returned from WDW, Mik and I moved into an apartment just a few blocks away. Thus, we're still close enough for Mom and Dad to help out with Mik and Mik can still easily enjoys the social aspect of the marina. Mik can also use his powerchair and go to PT and such on his own again.

Mik, Mom, and Dad went to the POWYC change of watch. Mik's wearing the tux Dad wore for their first wedding anniversary in 1985.

February 2018

We slowly moved our stuff into our apartment and got new furniture since we got rid of my bed and bookshelves when we moved onto Monticello. I was happy to be able to get the piano back out of storage.

March 2018

Kirsten invited me to hang out with her during a work trip in Elizabeth City, NC. We decided to meet up in Richmond and Mom and I went down early in the day to be able to visit Black Swan Books (found a Rivers of America book for my collection). Mom and I also visited the Tredegar Iron Works part of Richmond National Battlefield Park and also Petersburg National Battlefield.

I enjoyed discovering some different restaurants in Elizabeth City in the evenings with Kirsten. We immediately found a favorite that we ended up at twice that was in a 1905 house. And of course, we had to get some pies to celebrate Pi Day on March 14.

Mik and Dad picked me up in Elizabeth City and we visited the Yorktown Battlefield part of Colonial National Historical Park (Ranger Dan post here).

Mik, Mom, and I went to the Blake Shelton concert in Baltimore. We disliked the venue, but Mik was glad to finally get a chance to see him live, especially since he also really liked the openers (Carly Pearce and Brett Eldredge). I, of course, would've rather have seen The Oak Ridge Boys at The Birchmere that night...

April 2018

We all went to Opening Day. Dad accidentally didn't buy wheelchair seats. We luckily were able to exchange two to a wheelchair section for Mom and Mik, but in the end, it was freezing cold and we all left early.

Mom and Dad moved...one slip over.

May 2018

Dad and I finally checked out the East Potomac Park Miniature Golf Course.

Mik and I spent a week in Hollywood. We saw Avengers at the El Capitan Theatre, visited various museums (Hollywood Wax Museum, Madame Tussaud's, Hollywood Museum, Guiness World Records), and, of course, did the whole Hollywood Walk of Fame.

June 2018

I spent most of June at the cottage on the island in Michigan.

July 2018

I had originally considered returning home from the cottage after the 4th of July weekend, but then Mom and Dad's boat back porch roof collapsed and we decided that while it was being repaired it made the most sense for me to remain mostly out of town so they could live in our apartment with Mik. Thus, I also spent most of July at the cottage.

August 2018

I spent August in Mom's Chicago condo until Mom, Dad, and Mik came for Grandpa's 90th birthday celebration.

September 2018

I spent most of September staying with Kirsten, Josh, and Nora in Myrtle Beach. Kirsten and I made lefse over Labor Day weekend. I got out of Myrtle Beach right before the hurricane evacuation to go on a Cuba cruise with my godmother.



Santiago de Cuba

October 2018

Mom, Mik, and I took a Baja Mexico Disney Cruise out of San Diego. We flew in a few days early to allow for flight delays (good thing, too, as I ended up having to make two connections to get there instead of just meeting Mom and Mik in Charlotte due to another hurricane canceling flights). Mom and I visited Cabrillo National Monument and also some used bookstores (found the American Guide series books for New Mexico and Iowa and a  Rivers of America book). And of course, went to Del Taco (twice, actually, so we could bring it back fresh for Mik, who didn't want to go to Cabrillo).

Cabo San Lucas was a tendering port. Thus, Mik couldn't get off the ship, but he still got to enjoy the view. Mom and I got off and walked around a little (mainly, to go to Cabo Wabo Cantina for drumsticks for Mik's collection and Starbucks for a mug for Mom's collection).

In Ensenada, we all were able to get off and go for a walk, which, of course, was again mainly to Starbucks for Mom. Mik enjoyed going on the path along the water and playing Pokemon Go.

November 2018

Dad and I went on a fall drive on Skyline Drive and got some apples from a nearby orchard.

Mik and I visited Walt Disney World for Destination D. We enjoyed celebrating Mickey's 90th as well as checking out the Christmas Tree Trail at Disney Springs, the last day of the Epcot Food & Wine Festival, and walking around the Toy Story Land for the first time (sadly, no new accessible rides, but Woody's Lunchbox is a good quick service food spot).

We only got to The Birchmere once this year and, of course, it was to see Chip.

Dad got tickets for us to go to the National Tree Lighting. It was really cold and they left after the tree was lit at the beginning of the event. So did more than half the people there, but I stayed and got to move closer and enjoy the music.

December 2018

Mom, Dad, and I got to take a White House tour (it was another cold day and also rainy, so Mik chose not to go). We enjoyed seeing it decorated for the holidays.

The rainy day we toured the White House also ended up being a great time to see the state trees around the National Tree. I took the opportunity of being pretty much the only ones there to take a photo of Ranger Dan with almost all the trees (a few were unreachable because they were still taking the stage down from the lighting).

Mom and Dad won Best Reflection on the Water in the District's Holiday Boat Parade. (In November, Mom and Dad bought another boat to live on. They're still planning to fix Third Mate, but it's going to take awhile. However, it better not take that long for Mom's shit to get out of our apartment...or the stuff might just mysteriously not be there anymore.).

As Mom's shit was still taking over most of our living room, we couldn't put a Christmas tree up this year (and still be able to get to the couch). However, Mom did take her stuff off our table and I put up Mik's village, which was a tradition we missed out on being able to do while living on Monticello.

Mom and Dad went to Hawaii.

Continuing our tradition for the fifth year, Mik and I visited Season's Greetings at the United States Botanic Gardens.