Friday, December 31, 2021

2021 Year in Review

 January 2021

My horse that had been left in Tucson when we moved to Alabama found its new home in my office and got reunited with its hat, which for some reason did make the move.

We skipped the family WDW vacation this year (the others still went). Not worth it before vaccinations and visiting the parks is something we have been starting to not see the value of for a little while now, especially for Mik as rides continue to be added without anything accessible (and the removal of the accessible such as Great Movie Ride). As long as the park reservations and park hopping remain how it is, there is just no value for Mik since the way he loves to do WDW involves going on Toy Story Mania first thing in Hollywood Studios, then taking boat to Epcot for lunch when the World Showcase opens, and then he'd indulge me in going over for Sorcerer's Quest in the Magic Kingdom, which is now also gone, and maybe doing Buzz Lightyear and we be back at the resort before 2pm, which I think is when you can now first park hop.

February 2021

Probably the most fun project I did helping Nora with Kindergarten was the paper bag town.

For Mardi Gras, I made King Cake themed cocktails that Mik had found in a magazine.

I found this Easter egg wood wreath to paint, which led to trying to find and make more for other holidays and seasons throughout the year.

March 2021

Of course, Mik and I had to celebrate Pi Day with Kirsten. Josh, and Nora.

I finally had it with the crappy dishwasher and the oven started to not always work, so I ordered the new appliances and really began the kitchen remodel that we had tried to start with new cabinets and countertops back in October 2020 and had not done, yet, because of store communication problems (not lack of supply like for the fridge). Love having a double oven again, but most love being able to put coffee cups on the dishwasher's third rack.

April 2021

I introduced Nora to The Mighty Ducks. She asked if she could bring a stick in the house and pretend to play hockey and instead I gave her my hockey stick and a tennis ball. Kirsten thought I was crazy, but it's not like we didn't do stuff like that indoors as kids. Pretty sure I actually did it with rollerblades around the kitchen island at least once.

Now that Mik was fully vaccinated, he began to actually get out of the house for more than just doctor appointments and dinner at Kirsten's. First outing besides Food Lion was meeting Kirsten and Nora for lunch from food trucks in Market Commons.

Shed shelves collapsed and I replaced with better shelving.

Mik started looking at tables to put by his chair for his bar. Instead I brought down the coffee table that Grandpa Kjos made for Mom when she was in college, which was in just on top of other storage in my closet. Moving it actually allowed me to find a use for the top of the table Grandpa built me when I was a kid that we lost the legs to.

May 2021

Nora, Kirsten, and I made some solar light pot crafts. I made Grumpy and Sorcerer ones for our front yard.

We went mini golfing almost every weekend in May trying out several different locations and enjoyed using the challenge cards we got from one of the ones that has spinners at some of the holes.

I had been trying to figure out a way to have a place for my piano and my record player in my office. I originally just planned to have it as a way to store the piano when using the couch as a bed for guests, but it ended up being a place I can play it with one of the bar stools, which we actually had one too many to fit comfortably under the kitchen island. Mounting shelves for the iPod/iPhone collection in that area is still on the to do list.

We finally ditched the fabric buckets Mik has been using off and on to store his clothes for probably a decade and replaced them with plastic buckets, which not only look better but also keep there shape better allowing him to be able to actually get the top ones in and out on his own.

June 2021

The summer door hanger I made for our front door.

Before the pandemic, we had booked a Norwegian Fjords cruise for this year to celebrate Mom's 60th birthday. We had long given up on it happening, but it was not until after the 7th month booking window for this summer that I realized I had DVC points I needed to use this year anyways and that I should try to get some nights in Hilton Head for Mom's birthday. The only days I was able to get two nights in a row with an accessible villa was Father's Day weekend, so we celebrated her 60th birthday early. Not the same as a Norwegian cruise, but Kirsten and Nora did help me make some lefse to take with and surprise Mom with.

Dad and I played six courses of mini golf at the three different locations in Hilton Head. We also visited the lighthouse.

Mik enjoyed getting his Mickey waffles at Hilton Head, but he saved them for breakfast the next morning at home as he filled up on the beignets. Of course, I had to have a Mickey bar.

Mik asked for Key Lime Pie for his birthday this year. We went to Red Lobster for Mik & Josh's birthday dinner.

July 2021

Mik found a red, white, and blue cocktail recipe for me to make for us when we watched National Treasure for the 4ht of July. It turned out mostly purple...

Mik got a new TV because he had a green line in his. The attempt to replace did not go well as the Best Buy order did not go through with gift cards and I spent weeks getting the money back on the gift cards meanwhile the eBay one ended up damaged in shipping, but we managed to then find it was available in store at Best Buy, which it had not been when we were first shopping for the replacement.

Mik and I enjoyed watching the Tokyo Olympic Opening Ceremonies live in the morning our time.

August 2021

We got new shelves for Mik's miniature collection and slowly put them up and organized them over the summer.

I gave up on trying to find blinds I liked for the sliding door and got a window cling. Putting the clings on other side and the kitchen window on that wall may or may not get done in the next few days as Dad does some of the last projects for the kitchen remodel.

September 2021

The fall door hanger I made.

Kirsten, Nora, and I drove up to Ohio for Grandpa Kjos' memorial service. We celebrated him with some ice cream down the street from the church after the service. We also spent a day at King's Island before coming home. The shower drain was broken and I had to prop it up with a spoon, which seemed like something Grandpa would have done.

Kirsten, Nora, Mik, and I went to the Blake Shelton concert in Charleston. Nora's first concert was supposed to be Rascal Flatts in the DC area last year. Kirsten has prepared her for that one, but since we never really knew if it was going to actually happen we did not even tell Nora until right before we went. Thus, we went sure how it would go since Nora didn't even know who Blake was until Kirsten remembered she had seen some of The Voice and Nora realized he was the guy that does the finger thing. Nora was all into it as soon as Lindsay Ell came out. She and I were both sad that we ended up having to leave just as everyone was coming out to perform in the round at the end, but Mik's butt was hurting and we wanted to try to deal with the stupid hotel giving away our booked accessible room (that hotel was definitely not joy inducing, which the soap tried to be...).

The fridge we ordered back in March still had not come, yet, but we did finally end up being able to get the cabinets ordered for the kitchen remodel in late July and the install of cabinets part of the remodel got done in September. The countertops would be another ordering communication fiasco that would take two months to complete (lucked out that supply issues did not us beyond the fridge and actually got everything else much quicker than many once we managed to order).

October 2021

Going to WDW for my birthday is something we had planned doing this year for many years as it was also the 50th Anniversary of Magic Kindom's opening. We booked our home DVC resort 11 months out hoping at least Mik and I would go. We went through several different ideas of who would go, but ultimately just Dad and I went. We enjoyed doing all the original opening day attractions that still remain including being on the first ride of Dumbo for the day. We also had fun finding the golden statues. Ultimately, though, I'm good with not doing WDW parks for awhile again and instead enjoying mini golf and just the resorts with our DVC points for now.

During the week in Florida, Dad and I enjoyed mini golf at several different locations in Orlando area and one when we went over to the Tampa area to visit the De Soto National Memorial.

We also had fun spending a day taking the Skyliner around to different resorts and then going over to the Polynesian for a dole whip and to watch the Electrical Water parade.

Mik got new AFOs this year and got serious about actually wearing them daily. Dad and I got him some new socks while at WDW and these are one of his favorites now.

Mik has also started using his powerchair more (had to get new batteries as found them dead when we first tried to use after he was fully vaccinated). I love when I can get him to go to Food Lion and "carry" the groceries home.

November 2021

While waiting for countertops, there was not much I could do to work on finishing the kitchen, but I did add a LED light strip on top of the cabinets to illuminate the insulators.

After Thanksgiving Dad brought Mik and I up to DC with the main thing planned being seeing Chip at The Birchmere. And yes, Chip did come down and say, "Hi" to Mik near the end of his set.

After years of walking by the memorial being built, we finally got to see the finished Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial.

The other main thing we hoped to do while in DC was see the trains at the Botanic Gardens, which we weren't sure was going to happen until a few weeks before we visited. Of course, we were most excited to be able to get the traditional photo by the Capitol display even if it was not anywhere near as good as how it is normally displayed (train display on the other hand was better than normal).

December 2021

While in DC, we thought about doing Enchant at Nationals Park again, but instead we ended up going to LuminoCity at Roer's Zoofari, which was an interesting lighted display to walk around although not always seasonal seeming.

From DC, Mom, Dad, Mik, and I started a road trip to California. First major stop was the Goo Goo Cluster store in Nashville where Mik and I made custom Goo Goo Clusters and stocked up on peanut butter Goo Goo Clusters.
We then began our three day journey on the Natchez Trace Parkway. Day 1 involved getting to Alabama.

It was cold and almost dark, but the most fun was the Tennessee-Alabama state line.

Day 2 of the Trace included some detours including actual detour for closed part as well as going to Brices Cross Roads National Battlefied, Tupelo Battlefield, and the Parkway Visitor Center (off of the closed part, so was more of a detour than a stop off the parkway).

We ended Day 2 at I-20 and went to Vicksburg to start Day 3 at Vicksburg National Battfield before finished the Trace.

We did the last part of the Trace with mainly just a stop at Mount Locust as this the part that Dad and I did last year and we wanted to make sure we got to Natchez in time to do the visitor center there this time.

Family photo at Mount Locust.

Natchez National Historical Park ended up being Ranger Dan's 100th park visited. I knew he was getting close, but had missed counting the Natchez Scenic Trail last year and thought this was only his 99th until a few days later when I checked the spreadsheet before heading to what we thought would be his 100th.

Rainbows as we drove through Texas and New Mexico.

We realized the night we planned to spend in Tucson was on the weekend of the 4th Avenue Street Fair and we made sure to arrive in time to go over to it. Of course, first stop was for some eegees. At the Street Fair, I got cheese frybread. Also, got my favorite peanut butter mocha from Epic (or whatever it is now called...Maggie's?).

On final day of driving to California, we stopped at the Casa Grande Ruins. It was a last minute addition thinking it would be Ranger Dan's 100th unit. I figured out it wasn't before we went, but we still went since Mik had actually not gone with the previous time we had visited this park.

We spent the week in California mostly hanging out in the 3-bedroom villa in Carlsbad that Dad booked using their Hilton Vacation Club points. We visited family and took Mik out for some tacos and beer.

In the middle of the week, we went up to Anaheim and stayed overnight at a Hilton using Mom's points. Mik was not interested in going to Disneyland with the expected crowds even if the capacity is not quite was it used to be. Thus, mostly just Dad and I a day at Disneyland and California Adventure and Mom also had a ticket so she joined us mid-morning to mid-afternoon. It certainly was more crowded and longer lines than even the sold out 50th Anniversary day Dad and I did at Magic Kingdom, but it was fun and we got to do most of the stuff we wanted (focused on the stuff not at WDW). I think the only thing we wanted to do that we ended up not doing was the train. And in California Adventure I almost did not get my dill popcorn because of mobile order only and the stupid Disneyland app refuses to let me do that (could use at WDW, but not a fan of it overall...Disney technology leaves much to be desired and the more they require it the less we desire to go), but we ended up later trying with Dad's login and he was able to. Still much sooner want to revisit Disneyland than WDW parks.
We pretty much drove straight back from California in order to be back in Myrtle Beach for Christmas. We did stop in Tucson, though, so I could make pierogis with Jet and Diane for their Christmas Eve. Also, stocked up on pistachios in New Mexico and soda at Pops 66 in Oklahoma.
We did Christmas Eve dinner at Uncle Andrew's. Kirsten and Nora helped me make blueberry, gluten-free potato and cheese, and regular potato and cheese ones. Dad also made gluten-free Norwegian meatballs. Christmas day was spent at Kirsten's including the hot cocoa bar and games.

Our kitchen countertop and sink got installed while we were out of town (thanks to Kirsten for being there for that and dealing with the plumber). Dad has spent most of the last week of the year doing the painting and other finishing touches including moving the kitchen light switches from living room to kitchen side of the wall, making all the switches smart switches, setting up my coffee area, and putting a magnetic backsplash behind the stove. Main things left are a magnetic wall piece over island and turning the candle holder stand into an insulator light. And Mik making cookies, which back in September he asked about making for Halloween and I told him that we could if he helped make them but then we had not kitchen to use until now. I guess I should also put the rest of the stuff that has been store in my room since September back in the cabinets, too...