Iceland Summer Travel

Captain and I went to Iceland for New Year’s this year and enjoyed a beautiful wintry landscape. We loved it so much that we decided to visit again this summer!

In January, we rented an SUV and drove counterclockwise from West Iceland to the southern coast, ending around Jökulsárlón.

This July, we set the loftier goal of touring the whole island by car. So we continued our counterclockwise agenda and left Reykjavík the moment we arrived.

Old turf house/storage

We nicknamed these areas “Troll Dunes”

Beautiful Icelandic horses at every turn

One of the many falls we came across

Little hidden waterfall in Skaftafell – Vatnajokull National Park

Svartifoss

Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon

It is possibly the most beautiful sight in all of Iceland 💙

Diamond Beach

East Iceland – random stop along our drive

Hverir – geothermal spot near Lake Mývatn

Fishing for brown trout at River Laxa

Charming guesthouse at Blönduos

Seal watching commonly done from Hvammstangi

Hólmavík

Western fjords

Wildflowers everywhere! Heydalur Country Guesthouse

Soaking in a hot pot is heavenly

Ended our trip in the lovely city of Reykjavík

We had an amazing time and loved every town we visited. Icelandic folks are kind and welcoming… and made of steel. I don’t know if there are tougher people around!

Eight days is ambitious to drive the whole country but since it was our second visit, we avoided some of the spots we’d visited already. If we return one day, I would love to take my time in the western fjords. So much to see and not enough time to do it all!

Many bloggers helped influence the decision to visit this magical country. So thank you for sharing your travel photos and stories! Feel free to share more Iceland recommendations and thoughts…

Bless, bless!

💙 Athena

How you doin?

Been a minute since I’ve been on here.

How you doin?

I’m good! Finished another school year teaching rugrat 5th graders (that I love). I see myself becoming a better educator and feel proud to have the relationship I do with those kids. 💗

My own kids are getting big! 7&10! Yikes! We are having a fun summer spending lots of quality time and doing fun rambunctious things.

I’m still co-parenting fairly well with my ex, Grayheart. Hiccups along the way, of course, but I’d give it a ratio of 90/10 in terms of the ratio of our positive to negative interactions. I marvel at how little I actually think about my marriage to him. Almost 5 years later and I don’t remember the details I used to. He’s dating a woman that will soon be moving to Miami with her two kids… in with him. She’s nice. I wish them well. I hope he does her better. But I know who he is. And chances are he’ll screw over another nice woman. Oh well.

As for me, I am still in a wonderfully committed relationship with Captain. We continue to drive the hour regularly between Miami and the Keys to see each other. I continue to count my blessings because he is an excellent man and partner.

We have a busy summer planned… Captain and I are going to Iceland, then I’ll be traveling to Nashville for my sister’s bachelorette party (millennials, sigh),  then taking my kids to see my brother in a California, and finally doing a lovely beach holiday weekend with my closest girlfriends. Just writing it down intimidates me! But it’s not a bad problem to have. 😉

Would love to hear how my friends in the blogosphere are. Sending you all lots of cariño.

xo Athena

Marriage after Divorce?

I’ve been with Captain for 3.5 years and have experienced nothing but the best of the best in my relationship. This man has nursed my emotional wounds, treats me like a queen, and loves me down to my soul. Add to it all that he is fantastic with my children, is crazy handsome, and a hard working man… well, I’ve hit the love lottery. I have never been so fulfilled and emotionally complete in my life.

So it’s natural that we discuss marriage and our future together. I only see a future with him. I would love to call him my husband and live a long, beautiful life with him. And he is very much on the same page.

But I do not want to move an hour away to the Keys where there is absolutely nothing to do but drink and go boating. Fabulous if you’re on vacation, dull and slow for a full time experience. I cannot picture raising my children there. I enjoy the network I have here in Miami. My job, my family, my friends, my things… If I was single without kids, I’d just move and suck it up.

The other obvious option is that Captain could move to Miami and just do the hour commute each morning for work. Except it’s draining. He fishes for a living. And getting up at 4 am to get back that way in time to gear up and meet his clients… not very sustainable. It’s not that it’s impossible, but we’ve done it many times over and it’s very challenging. I can’t imagine he would be able to do it full time without wearing himself out. (And just to be clear, the distance is close to 60 miles. It’s not the “hour” that’s the issue, it’s the traffic depending on the time of day that makes an hour anything from 1-3 hours depending which direction you’re heading and time of day. And luck, of course.)

Captain says I talk about marriage and seem all excited but when he starts to get ready to pull the trigger, I give him the big block. I’m not ready yet. (He’s never proposed but I guess I’m inconsistent in how I approach the marriage thing.)

I think I hesitate because our marriage would be “unconventional.” It would be two households, sharing time, going back and forth, etc. We’d be 100% committed and probably do a great job at keeping it exciting and happy because we’d never get tired of each other. (He thinks it’s the perfect setup!) I worry that I would eventually become resentful of having to “rough” it a good bit of the time on my own, even though I wouldn’t be alone. If I was just plain alone, there’s no one to be annoyed with that I had to on my own manage a dinosaur-sized iguana found entwined in the soccer net of my backyard as the maggots and other neighborhood scavengers picked at his dead body. (Yes, true story.)

I’d prefer a more traditional set up. And I know he would, too. But that’s not an option right now for me. So maybe now is not the time? There certainly is no rush.

I know every other aspect of being with him would be perfect. I trust and believe in him… in us. I love him and know we will figure it out, but I’m also at a point in my life that I know Love is not always enough when it comes to marriage.

It would be nice to hear if anyone has experience with or knows of any successful untraditional marriages.

❤️ Athena

Southern Livin’

Captain and I road tripped through the South last week and had such a lovely time! We got our fill of good eats and just truly enjoyed the quality time (sans kids). My man’s been working like crazy so it was nice to see him not exhausted from the physical labor of his job (fishing in 100F weather).

So we left Miami and headed to our first stop…St Augustine, FL:

Then, we hit Beaufort, SC:

Next stop was Charleston, SC:

And our grand finale was Savannah, GA:

Loved, loved, loved every moment of it! I’m still dreaming about the food…

Your biscuit-and-fried-chicken-loving friend,

Athena xo

Too Quiet?

My kids have been on vacation with their father in the northeast for a week and there’s one week left to go. I’ve had a hard time being without them. You’d think I’d be thrilled and make the most of my alone time and appreciate the quiet, right? Ugh. Kinda.

I have enjoyed spending the week in the Keys with Captain. Snorkeling, biking, walking, reading, etc. Alone time with him. We rarely get uninterrupted time so it’s been fantastic. But holy hell is it a quiet life without kids! Too quiet.

I have the summer off and spend loads of time with the kids. So having them gone for so long is rough. And not just because I enjoy them but also because I am neurotic and worry endlessly about their safety while they’re gone. I hate to even put it into words but I have nightmares about kidnappings, trafficking, drownings, car accidents, etc. I try to keep it under control and not be crazy… but man. I’m crazy.

I am not crazy enough to not recognize that I’m lucky they have a father that’s involved. His new girlfriend is with them and she’s been fantastic keeping watch and updating me about them. And at 6 and 9 years old, my kids are very fortunate to visit New England and family all along the northeast US. All good stuff.

So I’m just having a moment. One of those self pitying moments where I hate what comes with divorce with young kids.

On another note, I have realized that I need (A) some other teacher friends that are chilling this summer or (B) unemployed and adventurous wealthy friends, to hang with while Captain is out working. Day drinking is no fun alone. (I kid. Kinda. But, seriously, any volunteers?! 😜)

On a positive note, Captain and I will take a road trip tomorrow! We’re going to drive up to Charleston with several stops along the way. Lots of good eats! I’m currently working on my southern drawl. Saying “reckon” just doesn’t sound right yet with my Miami accent. I’ll get it!

xo

Athena

Shi…ngles

I got shingles, y’all! *slow clap*

It’s kinda fun to say. Shhhh… ingles? Sh-ing-les. Sh-in-gulls. Shin-gals. Shhhhh. Whatever. I got it. 

Apparently, you don’t need to be over 60 to have it. 

Those effers have been living in my nerve cells latent for 33 years and decided to pop in for an uninvited visit this week. Bastards.

I’m annoyed because I’m not stressed and this is usually the cause of onset. I’m actually on summer break from teaching and having a lovely time! 

Only thing I can think is maybe my brain is creeping behind my back and subversively worrying about finances?

Grayheart, my ex-husband, recently quit his long-term, secure job. Why? No good reason. He hated his job and wanted to pursue his business ventures in the restaurant industry is pretty much why. Idiot. 


It’s not my business what he does as long as he parents well and pays for his child support. He will continue to pay his child support as-is but I just don’t trust him. So on a teacher’s salary, you can understand why I might quietly fret? Anyway, I’m pushing it out of my mind and just focusing on the now and not the “what if” of the situation. I didn’t think it was bothering me enough to cause me trouble but it’s possible that my body is just tired of constantly fighting everything over the last 3 years? (This shingles thing is his fault, of course.)

As a side note, Grayheart broke up with Raggedy Ann. I think this is the fifth time? 🙄 (I met her, by the way. Another story, another time. Nothing exciting.) 

Oh! And he then immediately got a vasectomy. I think Raggedy was hinting at wanting her own kids. Lmao!

*Don’t mind me as I snicker at their demise.*


I know, petty. But, fuck, I’m dealing with shingles! Cut me some slack! 

———————————-

So… back to me. Life is pretty damn good right now. I’m heading to the Turks & Caicos in a couple of weeks with Captain. He and I are wonderful! I’m still gushy in love. ❤️ My kids are fantastic and I’ve been doing so many fun things with them this summer! I’ve kept to my resolution of reading a book a month and have been reading the Outlander novels! (And love them!) I’m back to running again after a very long hiatus! And I’ve got 5 more weeks of summer break! Woohoo! Life will be all good again once I’m back to normal. 🙌🏽

Hope everyone is enjoying their summer! (Or winter for you Southern Hemisphere folks!) 

😘 Athena 

Hello from the other side…

🎶 Hello, it’s me… I was wondering if after all these years you’d like to meet. 🎶

A bit dramatic, eh? 🙂

Hello, friends! I’m alive. And well.

I’ve missed my buds here. I hope you all have been wonderful. I have given you guys much thought during my absence. I just have been avoiding blogging much in the same way I’ve been avoiding any additional responsibility in my life.

Let me apologize in advance. This will be a longish post. I’ll try to be considerate of your time… 😉

I am officially a 2nd grade teacher! And, boy, was that an overwhelming change in my life! There wasn’t much training so it was more trial by fire than anything. But I’ve been rocking it. I love it. I love the students and where I’m at. I am by no means the perfect teacher but it’s an incredibly refreshing change from property management. It’s a job that allows me to be a parent and have a life. It’s been a challenge, of course, adapting  to such a busy schedule after having been a part-time worker bee the last 3 years. But it’s nice to feel like my mind is being exercised and I’m earning a real paycheck. (I’m much poorer than ever, though! Man, teachers get paid squat! Lol!)

My kids are great. They’ve handled the transition well. They complain I’m not around as much but everyone in the family steps in when I can’t. 

Halloween 2016 Power Ranger style!

 Grayheart and I have had some serious heart to heart conversations… he’s apologized and cleared up some things from the past. He and Raggedy Ann have been on and off plenty and are currently off. He did try to make his way back “home” but I rejected those attempts. He is my past and will never be my future. Clearing the air has helped, however, and we get along better. He still annoys me, of course, but it’s less tense. Win for everyone.

I’m not divorced yet but we are filing very soon. Paperwork is done, agreements are in place, and I’m insured with my full time job so that’s no longer a worry. =)

As for my love life… Captain is still the most incredible boyfriend ever and never ceases to amaze me with his love. We’re about 3 months shy of hitting 2 years together and it just continues to get better with him. I don’t want to jinx the relationship, but I do think he’s my happily-ever-after. ❤️


As for my personal hobbies… I’ve not been running as much but I have been exercising regularly. I’ve had great out of town trips since I last checked in here. Disney trips with the kids and friends, New Orleans and Virgin Islands with Captain, and a trip to Cuba and Barcelona scheduled for this winter. (Yes, I will get to see where my family is from and am thrilled at the thought!) I’ve also been reading a book a month, I’m proud to report! 



Now, it’s not always sunshine and rainbows. I’m giving the Cliffs Notes version of my life the last several months. I had quite a cry last night and can get overwhelmed with life and parental responsibilities. But I’m wise enough to know how much I have to be grateful for.

I hope you guys had a beautiful Thanksgiving. I look forward to catching up and hearing how you each are! I’m trying my best to catch up on your posts…


Besos y abrazos!  😘 🤗

Athena ❤️

Captain’s Mama

I have now met Captain’s mom and stepfather a few times. They were here last month and met my kids for the second time.

They were wonderful with the kids and great houseguests the couple of days they were in town with us.

We had them over for a big Cuban dinner and then my own mom and stepfather stopped by. We had such a great time! We all talked and laughed and got on incredibly well.

Captain’s mom was so sweet to get us all a cake since she wasnt around for bdays!


Captain looked very proud to show off to his family what he had here. It was as if this was his family, his home… HIS.

Family time with Captain’s mom

And it made me really proud. I had such doubt at the beginning of our relationship about his ability to blend with my family. And yet I’m watching it all with my very own eyes progress in such a natural way. 

At Pinecrest Gardens… I took the photo of the gang!

 

Aren’t these Banyan trees marvelous?!


Pretty damn cool. 🙂

Captain – One Year Later

Captain and I recently celebrated our one year anniversary. It’s hard to believe that what started as a connection on Match.com has turned into a really wonderful and healthy relationship. 

 
Captain was married once before. His ex-wife suffers from bipolar disorder.  He took care of her and they loved each other a great deal.  At some point, though, she was out of town and had an affair/one-night stand during a manic episode there. She, of course, regretted the indiscretion and hid it for some time.  

Well, we all know the saying: The truth always comes out.  It crushed him when he found out. That was the one and only thing he said he’d never forgive. Captain immediately filed for divorce. The marriage lasted about 3 years and she probably hid her secret for almost a year. He couldn’t forgive her infidelity. He felt as if he’d been played for a fool.

Fidelity, loyalty and trust are important traits for him. The lessons he learned from his divorce have given him a no-nonsense view on what to expect and how to be in a relationship. He’s never played games with me and holds himself to as high of standards as he holds me. I appreciate this and easily follow suit.   

  
Most of you know my story and how my husband, Grayheart, broke my heart.  The separation, albeit tough, was not the most devastating aspect of the whole situation since I’d been unhappy for a long time.  It was the start of the emotional affair with his co-worker whore/later-turned-girlfriend, Raggedy, and the sneakiness that really did me in.  

  
I was pushed out of my comfy, predictable life and all of a sudden thrown into a whirlwind of uncertainties and emotions. I didn’t think I would fall in love again and I, sure as shit, did not think I’d ever trust a man.  I figured I’d casually date for years until one day I’d meet a quality guy I’d like to spend time with. And then the universe knocked me on my ass and connected me with a man that made my heart skip a beat.  

Captain’s past experiences, kindness and love for me really have given me faith.  I believe that there might actually be good and valiant men out there that are capable of cherishing a deserving woman.  I trust this man more with my feelings than I ever have any man.  I grew up hearing that relationships were incredibly hard work.  And so I tolerated so much crap from Grayheart thinking that’s what marriage was. But what if they don’t have to be that hard?  

What if good relationships were meant to navigate the tough times together and keep each other lifted when the outside world threw challenges at you?  

What if you could be two different people but co-exist well together without bringing each other down?

I had moments like that during my marriage but the majority of it was weighed down by Grayheart’s negativity.  But I trucked on… because that’s what marriage was?

I am wiser now, I’d like to think. I value things differently and am a better partner as a result of a failed marriage. I’d like to think that Captain and I work so well together because we both appreciate the things we previously took for granted. I promised myself that I will never put my relationship in cruise control. 

So, if there’s one good thing that’s come out of this experience, it’s not just finding but really appreciating a man like Captain. 

 

How did we celebrate our one year anniversary? We re-did our first date. It was just as magical. This time, though, I took him home with me! 😉

  
Thanks for letting me be gushy. Lol! Here’s to love! 🍾
XO

2015 wrap up

I know everyone has been inundated with posts about some blogger’s year in review. This one will be no different. But this post is more for me than anything or anyone else. I felt the need to go back and see how far I’d come from 2014 to help me set new goals for 2016. 

I’d worked on a vision board in 2014 and 2015. 

2015 Vision Board

 
So here’s what I’m proud of in 2015:

  • I survived separation from my husband of 9 years. (I’d like to be divorced by February 2016.)
  • Not only did I survive but I’m better than before.
  • I reached my goal weight of 137 lbs, beat it by 4 lbs at the peak of my fitness routine and then roughly stayed at it the majority of the year (until the holidays hit!) I’d lost almost 30 lbs since I started in August 2014. (My goal is to lose again those darn stubborn 5 lbs!)
  • I blogged on a regular basis and have gained a number of great friends, garnered outstanding support from said friends and allowed myself to use it as a therapeutic and positive outlet.
  • I saw my therapist, DD, on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. Don’t know what I would’ve done without her. Her advice has been golden.
  • I online dated. I spoke to a number of guys, enjoyed the flattering not attention and went on dates with two different men. Both were wonderful but one particularly stood out. My Captain.
  • I found amazing love with Captain. Go figure. Sounds so incredibly sappy. If you’d asked me if it was possible after being with the same man since I was 21 yrs old (I’m now 35), I would’ve laughed at you. But Captain was too incredible to ignore and was everything I could ask for. I didn’t think it was possible to find someone so good hearted and fall so deeply for that person. 
  • I ran a half marathon and just completed another one January 2016. 

    Miami half marathon

     
  • I did my 10 mile race in Paris!
  • I did two mud races! The Rugged Maniac and just recently did a  Spartan (sprint) race!
  • I traveled a good bit. This has always been my passion. I just kind of let it flounder once I had kids. I went to Disney three times, Austin, TX, Key West, Paris, Amsterdam, Munich and the Romantic Road in Germany, Steamboat Springs, CO
  • I went snorkeling and fishing!
  • We sold our house in Virginia and did well. I put that money towards paying off all my debt. I’m broke now but am debt free.
  • I began budgeting myself and am in control of my own money. (Grayheart handled all finances when I became a stay at home mom.)
  • I did laser hair removal for my legs, bikini and underarms. I figured that was my treat to myself rather than going the typical get-your-boobs-done route. 
  • I re-arranged furniture and changed decor in my house. Out with Grayheart and in with things that represent me. 
  • I started substitute teaching and really enjoy it. I might consider teaching as a new profession. (I’ve been offered a few jobs since I’ve been here but I’m waiting til next fall to start anything serious.)

My 2015 focus was about finding myself because I really felt lost when my husband left me. I made it a goal to figure out what made me happy – besides motherhood – and make more time for myself.  

 I don’t know who exactly I am yet but I know that I’ve determined I’m stronger than I ever thought. There are sad moments but I think I am overall a happier person. I don’t feel as if I’m being weighed down by another person. 

As a result of this me time and healthier living and a more interesting life, I think I’ve become a better mother. I have more energy and appreciation for my time with my kids. I cherish every second with them since I’m not with them 24/7.

   

My journey will continue since I feel like the investment is paying off. I hope to have an even better 2016 and am excited about completing my next vision board!

Thank you all again for helping me through this year. There aren’t enough words to describe how instrumental the WordPress community has been to my healing.

In peace and love,

Athena 

XO