2023 was an exciting year. First in our minds is the joy of watching Alice grow from a 2-month infant to a 14-month almost walker. And Anna doubled-up on her stay-at-home-mom duties for the first couple months of the year by babysitting nephew Xander as well.
Anna's grandpa in Minot passed away at the end of January so she spend almost a week in Minot spending time with far-flung relatives and planning the funeral. Aaron went up a couple days later, having used his evenings alone at home to work feverishly on installing a new range hood.
Next on the project list was installing radiators in the nursery and guest bedroom. The baby was getting cold! With that plumbing work done we were able to close up the wall in the dining room and mostly finish the built-in cabinet below and surrounding millwork.
It was a winter with a lot of snow! We were very thankful to have a snowblower and completely filled the backyard with snow. As a fun winter activity Aaron made an effort to make bread once or twice a week, and eventually found some good recipes. Aaron also started some purple coneflower seedlings from seeds that Grandma Jean had picked.
In April we closed on the shared purchase with Aaron's parents of a 10 acre lot in south Bismarck. Aaron's sister and parents simultaneously closed on an adjoining 5 acre lot. Due to some complications this closing had been in process for exactly one year so it was a relief to finally have it done. We hope to build a home there in about 5 years.
In June Aaron traveled to Daytona to be best man in Simon and Madalyn's wedding. The wedding of course was great and exciting, but also Aaron rented an electric car so had some fun with that new experience.
Early summer saw a lot of changes to our front yard. Aaron fixed many leaks on the sprinkler system and moved many sprinkler heads that the new (2-year-old!) fence interfered with. Then he dug in landscaping edging for flower beds around all of the front yard fence and for mulch circles around a few trees. New grass in the front yard sprouted nicely and now we finally have no dirt piles up there. Eight new daylily varieties purchased at the annual Daylily Society auction went into the new flower beds along with some hostas, and then they were completely filled when the neighbor started thinning out her greenery and brought over ferns, irises, daisies, and many more. The highlight of the flowers this year was trying dahlias for the first time.
The porch had one remaining project—the skirting. Through July and August Aaron worked away on that and it turned out great. So the porch is officially complete now.
In the back yard, the eye-sore shed was torn down with Eliot's help when his family visited. But we didn't get that corner of the yard completely cleaned up yet...maybe next year! Now with no shed, garage space is more valuable. Aaron sold a motorcycle which helps with that.
Anna met her friends from Minnesota and Colorado in Medora for a long girls' weekend and had a lot of fun. We also went out on the pontoon a few times, including sandbar play time.
We bought part of a tractor for use at the south Bismarck lots. We planted some oak trees there and rigged up a watering trailer for the tractor. Aaron moved his horseradish plant there and also started some rhubarb there which was donated by a neighbor.
Over Labor Day we spent a full week visiting Eliot, Caroline, and Felix in the Boston area. They were just moving into a new house, extensively renovated in the previous weeks with more to do. So we had a lot of fun enjoying the new scenery and helping out with many projects and unpacking boxes.
Alice had a big birthday party in November and it was great to have so many friends and family join in the celebration. Also Anna's grandma Isabell has been visiting frequently. She comes from Minot on the senior bus with door-to-door service so it is very convenient.
We had a great Thanksgiving in Rosemount, MN with Anna's family, and Christmas in Mandan was a lot of fun too.