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.

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.



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!

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

Life Updates: Charleston, Jobs, Family!

Do I even still have a blog?! Seriously! I miss blogging and updating the world on my boring life. I miss talking about my food and the gym and Jackson and my work and everything else.

But TWO WEEKS until this semester is over. I should be writing papers and working on an e-portfolio but I will in like, five minutes. I’ve gotten totally lazy about school lately. I went to Charleston last week to visit Jon and instead of doing any school work, I pretended I was living that school-free life and watched a ton of TV during naps and Jon and I watched the entire first season of Bloodline. So, now I’m paying for my laziness. But I’m pretty confident that I’ll get a 4.0 again this semester, so I’m not too stressed.

My visit to Charleston was so nice. I hadn’t been back since August since France was thrown into the October mix and made it tough to get back there. It was strange walking back into our house there. I was only there for six months, but it feels like home. Isn’t it strange how that happens? Home is where my husby is!

I had five WHOLE days in Charleston, so that was awesome! We spent Saturday morning at the outlets since we just wanted to go walk around outside. W went to Magnolia Plantation in the afternoon for the petting zoo. If you take non-perishable food, you get a free ticket from November-February, so we took advantage of that deal (it’s $20 per ticket otherwise!). Jackson tried to touch a goat’s foot as soon as we walked in and the goat kind of bucked, so Jackson was scared the whole time. It was a lot of fun though and we spent awhile there!


Sunday morning, we decided to walk around downtown. I wanted Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit and you guys, it took an HOUR to get our biscuits. An entire HOUR. We took turns walking around with Jackson and once we finally ate our biscuits, we headed to Tricera for some coffee. I love their coffee so much, but after multiple visits there, it’s safe to say that a bunch of rude people work there and they don’t have any idea what customer service is.

We went to the beach on Sunday afternoon, even though it was cold. But I’m not passing up a beach trip! It was still a ton of fun and a bunch of wind surfers (is that’s what they’re called) were out there with their parachutes and Jackson loved it.


I had a playdate on Monday with Lisa and Nora. I loved getting together again with them. I have been so busy with work life in Atlanta that I haven’t had time to build relationships with moms who have kids Jackson’s age, and it was just so nice to sit on the couch and drink tea with Lisa while our toddlers played together (Nora is a month older than Jackson).

On Tuesday, I met Lisa and Nora at the Children’s Museum. The kids did their own things for a bit at first but then they were finally both content in the toddler room, so I got to sit and chat again with Lisa. It was dreary at home so I had Jackson sit and watch Teen Mom with me after nap time (#guiltypleasure). I never watch TV when he’s awake, but I was too lazy to care that day.

I met with a babysitter for him on Wednesday so that we have some backup if we decide to keep Jackson in Charleston for a week.

And that was my visit there. This is getting long, so let me keep my other life updates short.

My Job: I applied for a supervisor position in our obs unit, but I have a feeling it won’t work out. If I could work 3 12 hour shifts, I would have the job. Unfortunately, I can’t do that. I had been waiting to see what schedule we could work out, but I just don’t think it’s realistic without putting a ton of responsibility on my mom (no thanks). One of the supervisors from the emergency department just became the manager of the observation unit yesterday, so I plan to use her as my preceptor a lot next semester to get a feel for a manager role. I also think I’m going to fill in as charge on her unit, so I’m starting to orient this Saturday for that role. I have a feeling that I’ll be spending a lot of unpaid time at the hospital to build my resume as best as I can without actually taking on the title of a new role. But I love it. I am so glad that I decided to get my master’s degree in this because I really do love doing this.


Unfortunately, jobs in SC are not looking good. The only staff jobs are nights and weekends. No days. No leadership positions. I have a feeling I’m going to hang onto this job over the next year and do a lot of back and forth and work on building up my resume before I officially move back to Charleston for good. And I’m hoping that something opens up with Jon’s company back in Atlanta or down in Jacksonville, where jobs are plentiful! Ideally, I think a supervisor role would be the best until our kids get into school, but finding that job in a new city is going to be tough, especially when Charleston is apparently inundated with dayshift nurses.

Weekend Fun: Gina hosted a Friendsgiving this weekend. It’s been awhile since I’ve gotten out for some fun without Jackson, so it was really good. Kassie and Laura couldn’t make it, but it was so fun to just get together with her other friends (I know them all after enough gatherings there) and eat delicious food! Jon and I went to Billy and Crista’s afterwards. The guys drank beer and had a bonfire and Crista and I sat inside and caught up. It’s been way too long since I’ve seen Crista!


My Foot: Still in a boot. Still have pain if I’m not in my boot. I have an MRI on Monday. Haven’t been working out at all but after the semester is over, I plan to try and figure out a way to work out still.

Jackson: The cutest. He talks now and says so many cute words. Fire, box, hot, hat, cracker, milk, oatmeal, bath, the list is endless! I still miss spending time with him but I’ve been hanging out in the mornings with him for awhile before taking him to daycare when I can, and the time in Charleston with him was definitely much needed! I’m heading back to Charleston after Thanksgiving for a week, so I’ll soak up more time with my cutest ginger.



Hey guys! I’m home from France! I took great notes on our trip for the first 3 days and then I became a bad blogger and just enjoyed my trip! But the trip was great! I’m happy to be home though! I had a breakfast of nice, fully cooked eggs, my Shakeology with veggies mixed in, and a hot cup of coffee with maple syrup and heavy whipping cream. I also showered in my own shower and slept in my own bed. It was GREAT. Nothing like being home!

We’re about to take Jackson to a pumpkin patch this morning and I can’t wait to get outside and play with my cute little boy!

I did do something to my ankle. Not sure what. I was walking and felt a sharp pain and it has hurt ever since. It was better in the mornings but got irritated as I walked throughout the day. Our last day in Paris, we walked from 7am until 11pm basically, so my ankle was killing me. I’m back in my boot but so bummed because I AM DYING TO WORK OUT! I’m really hoping for a quick recovery but it’s pretty uncomfortable. I may go back to see the ortho doctor who treated my stress fracture instead of waiting 6 months like I normally do.

Anyway, just wanted to say a quick hello while I finish my coffee, but it’s time to go get ready for the day!

The Transition to Motherhood

I just read a birth announcement that had me a bit nostalgic! Now that Jackson is 1.5, he is the best thing ever! Even when he drives me crazy, I still think he is cutest, most lovable little creature in this entire world. I love all the little words he says and all of his screeches. His little smile melts my heart and his little face is so squishy and I could snuggle up with him forever.


But he wasn’t always like that! I know a lot of you were around for my early days with a baby and even though I loved Jackson to bits and pieces, even back then, I didn’t want to snuggle forever! I wanted to put him down and get on with my life. YOLO!


I warned Kassie before she had a baby that the transition to motherhood was the most challenging thing I’ve ever done in my life. Her other best friend had PPD and she never knew it at the time! So she appreciated all of the input, but motherhood was a pretty smooth transition for her. It took a few weeks, but she has really taken on this Mom thing without all of the doubt that I had!


Another fellow blog mom had a baby and I thought her transition appeared to be going really smoothly, but then she came out and admitted she had PPD and that she cried all the time! I had no idea! It’s the New Mom facade, where I think people are embarrassed or ashamed to admit that their lives just kind of suck with their new little human around.


I remember when Jackson would wake up, I just had no idea what to do with him to keep him awake for 40 minutes. Change him, feed him, and then….???? He couldn’t DO anything. Walk around outside for a few minutes. Maybe do some tummy time. The time would drag on until I could just put him back down for a nap and get back to my schoolwork or TV shows (or pumping- let’s be real, I was spending about 6 hours a day pumping back then). The days just seemed to take forever and I couldn’t wait for bedtime at 7pm- at least once he started sleeping all night. The monotony of waking up to feed him and pump and then give him solid foods… Life literally revolved around feeding a child for months.

I actually remember the first time I left the house alone after having a baby! I went to Bookanalia (our book club) at Jessica’s house and I sat in traffic for so long to get there. I cried on the way because I missed my freedom and my old life and wished I could just leave whenever I wanted to! I was even so happy to be sitting in traffic and listening to music without a baby! And then when I got to Jessica’s, I immediately had to pump or I risked decreasing my milk supply.


Running errands with a baby was such a production too! Especially when I was exclusively pumping! I had to take my pump, bottles, coolers with ice packs, diapers, bibs, clothes- the list goes on! And don’t get my started on pumping… Giving up pumping (which I hung onto until 11 months and ended up donating 3,500oz to the cutest adopted baby!) and getting back to working out (I had a stress fracture so spent a lot of my postpartum time in a boot) was KEY in returning to feeling like myself!

I thought maybe we made a mistake and we would have been better off with kids. What if I always just kind of wished we didn’t have him? I knew my love for him would grow, but I had no idea what that even meant back then.


There are still plenty of times where I think about how easy life would be with no kids! How much more I could be working and how I could travel more and we could buy a boat and I wouldn’t feel guilty at all for wanting to work full time!

But now I look forward to getting up with Jackson. He eats his own breakfast while I get my breakfast together. He feeds himself dinner while I eat next to him. He holds my hand (*melts*) when we walk into the store. He keeps me company while he rides in the cart. I get to play outside with him and watch him learn and grow! Before I dropped him off at daycare this morning, I sat with him in my lap and we watched 30 minutes of the Minions. He pointed to the TV and laughed and danced and snuggled me. Even though I can’t wait to explore a new country next week (FRANCE HERE WE COME!!!!!) and nothing fills my soul like leaving the country, I think my sweet, slow, snuggly mornings with my gingery toddler are getting up there with getting off the plane in a new country.



Sorry about the poor photo quality- these are downloaded and resized from FB! Jon is bringing my external hard drive this weekend with all of the original images.