Actual Christmas 2017

Jackson is FINALLY napping! WOOHOO! We’ve had two napless days around here and he was so freaking tired this morning and fighting his nap, but he finally fell asleep. I feel like I just won the lottery. I can’t decide if I should nap, do schoolwork, clean, or watch Call the Midwife. Or blog, apparently.

I had big plans of finishing up Iceland posts but haven’t. I did upload over 500 photos to Facebook though of Iceland. I’m going to try and upload that whole Facebook album to Shutterfly and make it a vacation album. I want to make sure the quality is okay once it’s uploaded from Facebook though.

I DID finally finish Jon’s Father’s Day album (just a few months late). I need to start on the next one since it took my a full year to finish the last one and I have even more pictures of Jackson this year because he’s just getting cuter and cuter. I’ve also made a tiny bit of headway on some school stuff for the spring but I seriously cannot wait to just have this Capstone project behind me and have my master’s degree. I’m also thrilled to have tuition payments over with! Debt free master’s degree *PARTY HATS*

In other news, I never made it to Florida for Christmas. I got home from work around 8 on Thursday night and went to bed, so I had all of our packing left for Friday morning. Jackson woke up sounding like he was gagging twice on Thursday night but went back to sleep okay. He barely ate Friday morning, but I asked my dad to sit with him while I packed. Jackson was totally happy and started drifting off as soon as we got on the road (3hrs and 15 minutes of packing later, and 4 attempts at leaving the house later…).

And then he threw up. The only good part is that I was just on the south side of Atlanta and hadn’t made it too far. I tried to call Gina since I was right by her house but she was at the zoo. I called Jon panicking over what to do now. In the end, I threw a blanket under Jackson (NOT safe!) to keep him out of his huge puddle of throw up, stripped him down to his diaper, and blasted the heat to keep him warm on our way back home. He never acted sick still, but I didn’t know how we’d make it to Florida like that.

I got home, bathed him, spent 1 1/2 hours cleaning out the carseat and my car (and then another $110 detailing it on Sunday), and of course, unpacked EVERYTHING I had spent hours packing. My dad told me how Jackson ate so well and I was like, “He only ate half of his oatmeal and he always finishes it” and my dad was like, “But when I was feeding it to him, he ate so well!” Ugh. No wonder he threw up! Can’t spoon feed a kid who is clearly not interested in eating.

Jon decided to just come to Atlanta for the weekend since I was over the whole packing ordeal and did not want to deal with that on Saturday morning (not to mention that it rained on Saturday so I couldn’t get my car detailed and I couldn’t get the vomit smell out).

We had a super low key weekend. I had brunch with Gina and Laura on Saturday. I was really excited to be able to get together with them unexpectedly because I still rarely see friends. It was a pretty quick little hangout session, but still much needed.

We tried to find something to do on Saturday night but I wasn’t feeling great for some reason and Jon and I were both tired.

My parents went to Asheville on Sunday so we were alone at the house. We had my rings checked at Zales for the warranty and walked around the mall in the morning and then hung out at home in the afternoon. Everything was closed for Christmas Eve anyway!

We came back to Charleston on Christmas. It was an uneventful day, obviously… I had Jon drive Jackson back so I just got to relax on the drive. It was wonderful! Jackson is always good in the car but when I’m by myself, I can drink whatever I want because I don’t have to worry about if Jackson will be napping when I stop to pee. I don’t have to look at him or entertain him. I just relax and listen to music and drink my coffee. When we got in town, I went to my old gym (it’s a 24/7 gym so I used Jon’s key card to swipe in) and only 2 other people were there. I had such a good workout and got to use the cables. I rarely use the cable machine if people are around because I get kind of shy with it since I don’t have as much experience with it, but I’m working on it!

I’ve been kind of bored in Charleston this time around but it has been kind of nice! My neighbor just had a baby 10 days ago, so her family is in town so I haven’t seen her yet. My other friend is still in Florida visiting her family, but gets back today. But Jon and I leave tomorrow for Florida since we missed it last weekend and then we come back Monday. I plan to go back to Atlanta on Thursday since I work on Friday so I’m not sure how much of them I’ll get to see.

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This is what 2 nap free days look like!

I took Jackson for a coffee date this morning and it was so sweet. He surprisingly did really well, although we didn’t get to sit and relax much. I’m trying to work on getting him to sit in his chair while we’re out and just behave. The place we went was super easy with a kid though since it’s spacious, not crowded, and nobody was working in there so  I didn’t feel bad if Jackson was talking loudly about “fahfee.”

I’m definitely not used to staying home with him anymore and it’s been really cold here so we can’t spend a ton of time outside… We visited the Children’s Museum briefly yesterday but it is so packed with school being out. Everybody must have taken their grandparents that are all in town for the holidays because I swear there were 4 adults for every child. We also went to Barnes & Noble since the one near us has a pretty decent kid area. We’re running out to pick up Jon’s license plate today from his old car (he forgot to take it when he sold his Tahoe and apparently there is a fine in SC for not returning plates) and then I have a massage at my chiropractor tonight! CAN’T WAIT!

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Christmasy Updates

It has been a super busy month around here. What was planned to be a nice, relaxing month, ended up being packed full.

I accepted a new job, so I’ve been balancing my old job and my new job for the month. I’m now a part-time supervisor on our observation unit (falls under the emergency department, but separate manager and totally separate unit). I have my first day alone on Thursday but my job title doesn’t switch until January 1st. I’m really excited for the new job, but at the same time, a little bummed that this means I’ll be in Atlanta longer, away from Jon. Since it’s part-time, I’ll be able to spend more time in Charleston, especially once school is out in April, but it’s still tough to know we have at least another year of this back and forth! But really, once school is out, part-time is golden. I’ll do two 12 hour shifts a week and have one day still that I will probably intern (resume builder) and then I’ll be free to do whatever! I have a feeling I’ll spend a lot more time with Jackson once school is out and I’m really looking forward to that!

Other than that, I spent a weekend snowed in and I spent a weekend celebrating Christmas in Atlanta! Since Jon and I aren’t doing Christmas with my family, we got it in early. I leave this Friday for Jacksonville to go do Christmas with Jon’s family and then on Monday, I’ll head back to Charleston until the 4th.

Christmas is so much more fun with a kid! I had big plans of not buying many gifts, but somehow we ended up with quite a few. My big purchase was a kitchen set (on super Black Friday sale!) and he loves it! The stove makes noise when you put a pan or a pot of water on it (has to be the ones that go to it, obviously) and he thinks it’s the coolest thing ever. I also bought a Thomas the Train track that was kind of a disappointment since it only has one train that is battery operated (otherwise it doesn’t move at all), but Jackson totally loves it. The kid is obsessed with Thomas lately so it was a good choice! Between the kitchen set and the train, he has been awfully entertained with his new toys! Oh, and his new backpack that he insists on wearing all over the house. We had planned on making cookies and having a big Christmas day with Jackson, but my mom, who never gets sick, was sick all day so Jon and I took Jackson to the outlet mall to walk around since it was nice in the afternoon.

I finally made it back to the gym! My ankle still bothers me quite a bit so I can no longer walk inclines and I can’t do a lot of lower body moves. I can squat comfortably and I plan on deadlifting today, but that’s really about it. Anything else causes pain with flexion but I feel like it’s going to be a pretty chronic issue. The ortho doctor recommended physical therapy so I may try that, or he said that he could do an injection but I don’t want that. So I’m making it work for now and just doing quick, easy workouts to ease back into things and I’ve been so sore this week. I think I’m going to try to start really working on flexibility in 2018 since I’m so inflexible naturally and I think increasing my mobility would maybe help prevent injuries. I think I’m going to actually try to go to yoga once a week and maybe even follow some yoga videos off Beachbody and then just spend more time stretching in general. I was watching my dad put his shoes on for work the other day and he can barely get his foot crossed up on his leg anymore when he’s sitting- that can’t be me. (My dad is also 70, but still!)

I was going to add some cute Christmas pictures of my boy, but I had to take my cat to the vet (he needs a toe amputation due to osteomyelitis- FUN- and expensive) and then I had to spend FOREVER on the phone with USAA to sort out our automatic payments and find out that South Carolina had a rate increase and our car insurance is now $500 more a YEAR. So now I need to change and grab some food to head to a meeting at the hospital.

 

Seydisfjordur, Iceland

My favorite town that we came across in Iceland was Seydisfjordur. Most towns in Iceland are super small. The population of the whole country is only 330,000ish, and Seydisfjordur’s population is around 700. We heard the town was a must see though and since we didn’t think we’d be able to access the hike we really wanted to do due to ice (can’t even remember what it was- maybe Glymur Falls- which we later found out WAS accessible), we opted for the safe bet.

We headed into Seydisfjordur from the south and came across some amazing waterfalls along the way, not far outside of the town.

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There are so many waterfalls all over the place in Iceland. You can catch a glimpse in that image directly above of how many little streams run down the sides of the mountains. I’m sure the streams were plentiful as the snowmelt in the highlands was pouring down to the coast while we were there, but it was just so different to be in a country like Iceland.

We found a random parking lot in the town and again, second guessed whether or not we could park there or not. But as we noted everywhere, you can really just park anywhere and nobody seems to mind.

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We were greeted by these kayaks. They seemed so perfect sitting there with the buildings and mountains in the background.

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Seydisfjordur was super quirky. We also walked into somebody’s house accidentally. It was on the backside of a shop and I swore it was the front door of the shop, but it was really the back door of the house. The people acted like we should have known but there were no signs.

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Laura and I walked by two guys trying to take very posed pictures in these chairs. We stopped and chatted with them (they were from Wisconsin- holla!) and took like, 50 photos for them to get the picture perfect for them. It was so funny because Laura and I always feel so bad asking people to take our picture and these guys had no shame in asking us to take a million to get the perfect shot. We didn’t mind at all though and then they offered to take some of us. We let them take two and then we were done. My, how times have changed! My old vacation photos are like, 95% selfies and tripod pictures and now they’re 95% scenery.

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This next picture I saw on Instagram plenty of times (I plan trips off of Instagram now- it’s the best for finding hidden gems). I actually had no idea it was in Seydisfjordur because Laura and I completely slacked on planning, so when we turned the corner and I saw the colorful street leading up to the church, I was completely surprised. It was so picturesque!

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We only spent a half day in Seydisfjordur and really, that was all we needed. The town is small and quaint and offered us some nice down time for a bit. We also ate at an amazing restaurant where I took one super blurry picture of my food. It was the Nordic Restaurant at Hotel Aldan. Laura and I shared the sauteed kale and spinach and both got fish (I believe I got the cod with the buerre blanc sauce) and it was excellent. Also, take note of those prices. Food in Iceland is ridiculous. I’ll discuss the cost of things in Iceland in a later post!

Other Iceland Posts:

Borgarvirki, Iceland
Fosslaug and Bruarfoss, Iceland
The Time I Went to an Eye Doctor in Iceland
Gjain, Iceland

Other Travel Posts:

Short Stop in Richmond, VA24 Hours in Philadelphia
Four Night Camping Adventure in Vermont

Gjain, Iceland

Alrighty, well, I’ve talked about some of my other favorite places in Iceland so far, but Gjain was another one that topped the list for me!

I read about Gjain long before we got to Iceland and we weren’t sure it would be doable. A few places we really wanted to go were still snowed it when we went in May and we heard it may be hard to get to Gjain, especially with out tiny little car that was definitely not a 4WD (and by 4WD, they mean like, big Jeep cars, not just any 4WD).

Since Laura and I like to be adventurous and test our limits, we decided to head out to Gjain anyway. It took us awhile to figure out where we needed to be and I wish I could provide some insight, but I have no clue anymore how we got there. I do know that there are two sides to enter Gjain from (which we didn’t realize), and I have no clue if one is better than the other, nor do I know which side we entered from anymore.

When we arrived to the “parking,” we saw one other car there and a big, long dirt road. We spent a long time contemplating if we should drive down the road or walk the couple miles there, or if we were really even allowed to park where we stopped our car. (“Allowed” is relative in Iceland- people kind of just do whatever since it’s so desolate in most places.) Eventually, we decided not to risk our car and just walk to Gjain.

The walk was long and lonely. One car passed us on the way and we secretly hoped he was going to offer us a ride because we would have been all about hitchhiking at that time. I wish I remembered how long this hike was exactly, but I want to say it was about 2 miles. That’s a short hike, but it felt pretty long in the middle of nowhere, especially because we weren’t actually even sure if we were going to the right place or not.

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After a long walk, we arrived to a “parking lot” and saw 2 or 3 cars and figured we must be close. We also took note of the other small cars that managed to drive the road just fine. We kept walking and saw this view:

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FOUND IT! It was so amazing to walk down such barren land and then come to this magical green area in the middle of nowhere. Iceland never ceased to amaze me! We had to walk down a pretty steep set of natural stairs to get down into the valley.

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It actually ended up feeling pretty warm down in the valley once we were protected from all the wind. We had a little picnic and relaxed for awhile, but only stayed about 1.5 hours since we had to walk back (uphill) and still continue exploring everything Iceland had to offer.

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The deep blue glacial water is so pretty. I loved it when we caught glimpses of the deep blues.

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In the photo below, take note of the photographer to the left of Laura. It looks like a small stream running by Laura, but it was much larger than it looks and she was actually standing at the top of a little waterfall that he was photographing.

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We were hoping to catch a ride with a photographer who was there, but after chatting for awhile, he didn’t offer us a ride and Laura and I were too shy to ask if he could take us back. He passed us halfway through our walk back. Laura and I decided it was karma for passing up a hitchhiker in northern Iceland.

Other Iceland Posts:

Borgarvirki, Iceland
Fosslaug and Bruarfoss, Iceland
The Time I Went to an Eye Doctor in Iceland

Other Travel Posts:

Short Stop in Richmond, VA
Four Night Camping Adventure in Vermont
24 Hours in Philadelphia

 

Borgarvirki, Iceland

One of the things I LOVE about Iceland is that everywhere you look, it is beautiful. I have been to a lot of awesome countries and seen amazing coastlines and countrysides and cute cities, but Iceland was something else. I could spend months getting lost in that country.

On one of our many driving days, Laura and I stumbled upon Borgarvirki. It didn’t look that impressive and I honestly almost stayed in the car for it because I was feeling all kinds of lazy, but I gathered up my energy and got out of the car.

Borgarvirki is an example of things that don’t look that cool, but end up being really awesome. This fortress is made out of basalt strata and has been used by the military for centuries, apparently. It appeared to be much smaller than it seemed once you climb up.

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The picture above is what we saw when we drove up, hence the reason I was kind of like, I could skip this.

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Once we got up into the fortress though, I realized it was HUGE! This is the front ledge from the top picture that you can see (the lower part- not the top part). It was pretty tricky to get up there, but getting down was way harder. Laura essentially had to catch me when I jumped down off that ledge. The pictures can’t even begin to depict what it was in real life.

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The ledge on the right is where I was standing in the picture above, looking in. The grassy area in the bottom left is the “interior” of the fortress.

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From atop the walls of the fortress. The walls looked pretty thin from the parking lot, but they were massive and intertwined with the landscape.

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The view on the other side of the fortress. The road pictured is the road we drove on leading into Borgarvirki.

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A gigantic cairn.

Laura and I probably spent a full hour there and could have stayed longer. That was how our whole trip was though- the land there is breathtaking and I could have spent hours in every location.

I plan to continue with shorter posts about Iceland because with how much that I have going on, it’s hard to get huge posts done and honestly, I forgot a lot of details about Iceland and have no clue what the names of most of these places are. I had a picture of the sign at Borgarvirki to remind me, but didn’t do that in most places.

 

Other Iceland Posts:

Fosslaug and Bruarfoss, Iceland

Thanksgiving 2017

Happy Monday! It’s been such a good week!

Pretty last minute, my entire family decided to come to my parent’s house for Thanksgiving. I actually had to work on Thanksgiving day and that was the only real chunk of time my whole family could be together, so I was bummed. Then I got somebody to cover my afternoon, but then she had childcare problems. But I was in my director’s office (for school stuff) when I got the text that my coworker had to cancel on me and my director said I could still have off at 3.

I ended up getting out at 11am! I was so excited. I got home on Thanksgiving and napped for a little bit until Jackson woke up from his nap. My oldest brother, KJ, got in town right when I got up. My other brother, Jake, and his girlfriend came over a little after that. And then my two sisters (Annie and Tonie) were there too and my nephew, Patrick (Annie’s son).

I’m so not a holiday person but it was so much fun this year. It’s been 17 years since the family has been together so it was so awesome having us all in one place. We had a delicious dinner and hung out in the family room.

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Thanksgiving 2017. DSLRs are too confusing for newbies, so this was the best photo we got.

We hung out around the house Friday morning and then went to the park in the afternoon. It was packed at the park! I guess everybody had the same idea, but it was so nice out so we had to get out and do something. After we got home, KJ made jambalaya for dinner and it was so good (he’s a chef in New Orleans).

On Saturday, I ran to Costco with Annie and Tonie. I got a new external hard drive and am FINALLY in the process of uploading all of my photos again and transferring them to my external hard drives. I have everything on my old one now, but need to transfer all 68,000 of my photos to my new one. I’m halfway done! Then I think I might spend more time writing about trip recaps. My 4 terabyte hard drive was only $95. That’s what I paid for my 2TB one a few years back! I almost got a 6, but it’s way bigger and I need a new fireproof safe for them. I also think I might try to back up to a Google Drive. I just started backing up schoolwork to the Google Drive. Okay, this is boring… Hah.

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Family photo win #2. 

We spent the rest of the afternoon putting up the Christmas tree!!!! My dad really didn’t want to so I thought it wasn’t going to happen, but we convinced my mom that we should. Our weekends are alternating until Christmas (and then we’ll be in Jacksonville) so there was no other time. Like I said, I’m not a holiday person, but having a kid totally changes things. I want all things Christmas! Jackson was so cute putting ornaments on the tree and now I want to put one up in Charleston too since we’re here all week and will be back right after Christmas. I want Christmas music and Christmas movies and the whole season is just so fun! Give me all the Santa PJs for Jackson! Our tree photos are still on my camera and I have 0 space on my computer until I finish transferring photos, so you can’t see those yet. Except for like, two from my mom’s phone.

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I mean, SO CUTE!!!!!!

But anyway, our whole family watched Gremlins on Saturday night. I remember being so scared of that movie when I was younger and always feeling so bad for Gizmo, so it was so weird watching it as an adult. The movie was totally not what I remembered.

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Excited tree photo.

My MAIN GOAL for my holiday break is to get my album for Jon done for this past Father’s Day. I swear I’m almost done but I’ve been dragging my feet.

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Everybody except Tonie was leaving Sunday, so we chilled around the house in the morning. Jon and Jackson headed back to Charleston around 10 and I hung out with my sisters (KJ flew out earlier). Then I went to Lizzie’s to say goodbye to her since she’s moving. I stayed and packed up the truck with her and her mom for awhile, so I had a long, late drive back to Charleston. I hate that it’s dark so early!

I got in and got some stuff done around the house around ten and then we got in bed. I couldn’t sleep. Ugh.

Today I ran to Wal-Mart with Jackson for some slippers for his cold little feet. He was so cute there (probably because I put a new hat on him and let him wear his slippers in the cart). I think we’ll play outside this afternoon and I need to scan some documents in for school. Once I submit my scanned documents, I AM DONE WITH SCHOOL FOR THE SEMESTER! I need to register for Spring and that’ll be my last tuition payment! Hallelujah! I definitely didn’t choose the most expensive MSN program out there, but still, cannot wait to save this money instead of spend it on tuition. If only I could get rid of daycare tuition now! That’d be the real money saver!

I have no idea what our week holds. We’re just chilling in Charleston until Monday. I will probably see Lisa and Nora and Ashley and CJ. It’s so nice out! I want to go downtown and see the train set up at the Charleston Place Hotel (I might totally have that name wrong!) and I’m sure we’ll do a Children’s Museum day.

I should also find out what’s wrong with my ankle soon. I called to make an appointment and the lady said that my ortho doctor’s PA should be calling me with results and letting me know if I need to come back, so hopefully she calls soon. If not today, I’m going to call tomorrow and try to get an update since it’s supposed to be 2-3 days for results and I’m inpatient! I’m so ready to get back to the gym now.

Anyway, time to go start working on Jon’s album or scanning documents. I need to actually be productive this month instead of being lazy while I’m out of school. I have to prepare quite a bit for my Capstone project in Spring, so I’ll be working on that and continuing my internship this month!

Weekend Recap: Work, Walks, & Lights

Hey-o! Happy Monday! It’s been awhile since I’ve actually updated on a Monday! I’m actually about to finish up my clinical log for the semester since I need to get my preceptor to sign off on it tomorrow and I work tonight! Uuuughhh. I have my MRI at 2:30 and am heading to work right after, until 11pm.

I’m so excited about Thanksgiving this week! I don’t talk about my family a ton, but I’m the youngest of 5 kids (my oldest 2 are my half brother and half sister). It’s been 17 years since we’ve all been together and everybody decided to come stay at my parent’s house over Thanksgiving! Except my brother works in a restaurant, my dad works at a hardware store, and I work in a hospital, so we all have to work various hours. It wasn’t going to overlap for all of us to be together for any real chunk of time (like, an hour max, if that) but my friend is going to work at 3pm for me on Thanksgiving! So I get to have a REAL holiday meal with my WHOLE family! We moved away from my relatives when I was 8, so the BIG holidays we’ve had are few and far between. I’m super excited to have everybody together and this will actually be the first time Jon is meeting KJ (my oldest brother- his name is actually Ken, but we’re the only ones who still call him KJ).

I had a decent weekend. I worked all day Saturday on the new unit that I’ll be on. It was pretty good. A totally different environment than the ER, but still good. I’m excited and it’ll be kind of nice to split up my shift between two places. But in the ER, I’m used to getting a quick 3 minute report and I’m out of there by 7:10 at the LATEST. I didn’t leave the hospital until 7:40 and it takes me 45 minutes to drive home. After getting up at 5:10, that’s a long day. That little bit of time makes a huge difference, especially since I was hoping to go out for dinner with Jon but was too exhausted when I got home.

Jon and I watched Bloodline when I got home for a bit. It was a bit of an off night with Jon. We’re definitely in a bit of a tough patch because we both have our own things going on and weekends are not super relaxing for either of us. I also feel guilty getting “me time” over weekends since it’s the only time we get as a family, but I have a child all week too and am super busy. I can’t just leave Jackson all the time, so it leaves me feeling a little spread thin. But I love my job and I love my internship and I don’t want to do less.

Anyway, Sunday morning was cold! I always lay in bed on weekends since Jon gets up with Jackson, so I snuggled in my warm bed! Until 7:20, haha. My how times have changed! I shared a fah-fee with Jackson (he actually probably did get a few sips in- I swear he’s the only toddler who likes coffee) and then we went outside for a walk in the cold weather.

It’s so fun to watch the excitement that kids have. Jackson gets so excited about leaves and running up the hills in the neighborhood. It’s so cute.

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After his nap, I took Jackson over to see Laura and her parents (she was there making bread). We hung out for about an hour and a half. Jackson was pretty good, but our times of sitting at the table and chatting over coffee are totally over. I was playing with toys with Jackson and following him around the house.

And that was really my weekend. Hung out at home, did schoolwork, watched some TV last night… Barely slept and now I am EXHAUSTED. I’m hoping to squeeze in a nap since I’ll be up way past my bedtime tonight and I have a busy day tomorrow, so no sleeping in!

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I know this is blurry but how cute are his PJs and his face?! So excited about “LAAAAA-EEETS!”