Sunday, December 31, 2023

2023 Year in Review

January - Vero Beach

This year for our annual family trip we stayed at Disney's Vero Beach Resort. We enjoyed the more relaxing pace compared to doing Walt Disney World, although the studio part was rather small and Mik did not really enjoy it, especially for a trip that we spent a lot of time in the room (and he really did spend almost the whole trip in the room since he wasn't interested in going on any of the outings). I was kind of unsure of how the trip would end up since I do not really like the beach, but I ended up enjoying the resort for the most part including mini golf, crafts, and Dole whips.

A few days we went to nearby parks to do some trails and bird watching. We also enjoyed some family game time (of course, mainly Wingspan...). One night we stayed up late to watch a Space X launch. We actually enjoyed Vero Beach so much that we are going again for our 2024 trip and since Mik and I haven't done a second trip to Florida in years, we have enough points to stay in the Beach Cottage so there should be plenty of space (well, we actually tried to use our extra points for Animal Kingdom Concierge, but that did not happen trying 11 months out and we went with the Beach Cottage at 7 months out when the waitlist didn't come through by then).

January - Huntington State Beach

Back home from the trip, we went birdwatching at nearby Huntington Beach State Park (followed by a Wingspan game night, naturally).

January - POWYC Change of Watch

Mom and Dad at the POWYC Change of Watch.


Found a good backpack not just for Mik's manual wheelchair (it has two loops to go on handles), but the top loop is a buckle so we can also use it on his powerchair by buckling around the headrest pole. Of course, we forgot to plug the chair in the day before and ended up having to use the manual wheelchair the first time we tested it out. Also, later in the year we found it helpful that the shoulder straps are stored in the back and you can pull them out and use it like a regular backpack because I had to carry the groceries home when we discovered that Mik's powerchair was almost dead and did not want the extra weight of the groceries to be the reason it did not make it home. That time we had left with it fully charged and we knew the batteries weren't lasting as long as they should, but we did not realize they were that bad. Luckily, he did make it home without them dying even though he ended up going half a block too far before he realized he missed the turn into our community (I had told him to go ahead home while I was checking out, so I was about a block behind him with no way of telling him he had gone too far because he did not even have his phone that day).

February - DC

Dad came down here and I went back with him to DC for the week to help clear out their second storage unit now that they have their boat back. We then left Mom with Mik and I returned to DC with Dad for another week so Mom was out of the way while he got the stuff from storage more put away. While in DC, we went to a Carrie Underwood concert and I visited some National Park sites with Ranger Dan.

February - Living Room Light

After many months of not having a working light in the living room, we finally found something I liked when Dad was here and we went to a lighting store.

March - Knot Rocket Science

Mom and Dad's boat decorated for Cherry Blossom Festival.

April - Nationals Park

Mom and Dad at a baseball game.

April - NASA

I went on a work trip to Florida.

May - Wisdom Tooth

I got one of my wisdom teeth taken out. And Kirsten had to be the one to take me with her baby only about a week old.

May - Knot Rocket Science

Mom and Dad's boat for Blessing of the Fleet.

June - Ceiling Fans

All our ceiling fans were different and the office one in particular was ugly. We tried for a long time to find ones we liked that could be mounted in all rooms, which includes my bedroom needing an angle mount with a long rod that we never got around to getting and now decided we probably won't change out that fan since it is white and we are thinking of getting a place with garage when Dad retires next year. Dad installed them when he visited for Mik's birthday.

June - Garden

While Dad was here, we also fixed up the garden area. Since I did not get around to doing tomatoes this year, we found some flowers to put in the planters. The Grumpy is also a new addition to the garden.

July - DC

I went to DC for the 4th of July (and Mom came to Myrtle Beach to hang with Mik while I was gone) so I could go to the Capitol Fourth rehearsals and sit on the steps one more time before Dad retires. It was fun to see Chip as one of the performers. Also, watched the fireworks on the 4th from Knot Rocket Science (not so fun when Dad uses his horn at the end).

August - DC

I flew to DC to go to Illinois with Mom and Dad (Dad and I drove, Mom took a plane). As it was Dad's off day, we went to the Mary McLeod Bethune Council House National Historic Site. While Dad was a work one day, I went to the American History Museum.

August - Illinois/Indiana

While in Illinois we went to the Pullman National Historic Park. We also ended up going to the Indiana Dunes National Park, which we had not been to since it switched from a National Lakeshore to a National Park. Mom and Dad also went to a Cubs game at Wrigley Field.

August - Grandpa's 95th Birthday

And the reason we went to Illinois was to celebrate Grandpa's 95th birthday. We also got to see the cards he received from school children in Poland for the anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising earlier that month. Google Translate was helpful, especially on the letter from the President of Poland (or it might have been the one from Mayor of Warsaw) as we found it was actually a birthday greeting and not just related to the Warsaw Uprising anniversary.


Outing to the local coffee shop with Mik getting the seasonal Orange Spice Mocha and me getting the Maple Pumpkin Spice Latte.

October - Pandas

Mom and Dad visited the National Zoo to see the pandas.

October - Mini Golf

Mik had seizures in September and Dad came down in October to help take him to one of the many tests and appointments he had (all tests were normal and he has not had any since being put on meds, so for now he is being kept on them). Since the weather was not too hot, while Dad was here we went mini golfing including checking out the rather recently opened Red Dragon Cove.

October - Knot Rocket Science

Mom and Dad's boat decorated for Halloween and their Halloween costumes.

November - Chip

Annual trip to DC to see Charles Esten at The Birchmere. It was before Thanksgiving, so missed out on our usual seeing the train at the Botanic Gardens, but at least the good experience at the Myrtle Beach airport made Mik less nervous about traveling by plane again, which he had not done since 2019.

November - Christmas Decorations

I put up our Christmas tree with just the lights (did not feel like getting the ornaments out of the attic), Mik's village, and my village. Also, got green spoke covers for Mik's wheelchair to be red and green for the holiday season.

December - Boat Parade

This year Dad's theme for the boat parade was "Joy to the World."

December - Great Christmas Light Show

Mom, Dad, and I did the drive through Great Christmas Light Show and enjoyed the photo ops at Santa's Village.

December - Orlando

We went to Orlando for a week. We all enjoyed Disney Springs one day, especially Mik with his haul of gourmet marshmallows. Dad and I went back another day to complete the Christmas Tree Stroll. We also did some mini golf including the indoor Putting Edge, Disney's Winter Summerland, and Gator Golf. With Mik we enjoyed the Orlando Auto Museum, especially the movie vehicles (his favorite being the Indiana Jones ones). We also had lunch at Ole Red.

December - Pierogi

Dad and I made pierogi with a tornado warning break and without power for a few hours.

December - Christmas Eve

We had most of the pierogi the week before with family at Kirsten's house, but we had some leftover for Mik and I to have for our own Christmas Eve.

2023 Wingspan

And we continued to have many Wingspan Sundays (and other days on occasion, too).

That's a Wrap

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Mini Golf Adventures: Gator Golf

Date of Visit: December 15, 2023

Location: Gator Golf, Orlando, FL

Gator Golf had caught Dad's attention as looking interesting when we had driven down International Drive earlier in the trip. It was interesting in that it did have gators to see along the course. There were some good variety to the hole layouts as well. When you go up the stairs about halfway though the course, it does feel odd that you are suddenly in a farm theme, though.

Final Scores

  • Kjersti - 55
  • Dad - 41

See full list of our Mini Golf Adventures here.

Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Mini Golf Adventures: Disney's Winter Summerland Miniature Golf - Summer Course

Date of Visit: December 13, 2023

Location: Disney's Winter Summerland Miniature Golf,  Lake Buena Vista, FL

Course: Summer Course

After playing the Winter Course, we did the Summer Course. This one has all the holes with a sand theme instead of snow. There are a few similar holes such as there being a sand castle instead of snow castle on this course and the end with a computer, although the Summer one seemed broken and did not give a message like the Winter one.

There were also some different features on this course to go with it's summer theming such as a hole with surfboards standing in the "sand." One of the funniest is with Santa asleep in the sand and you aim to hit your ball to go over him. Hole 17 with trains going around under the tree is also interesting, although the balls seemed to get really stuck up there if you did not manage to get it through between the trains.

Final Scores

  • Kjersti - 42
  • Dad - 41

See full list of our Mini Golf Adventures here.