Saturday, June 18, 2016

That time I jumped out of a perfectly good airplane... (My Skydiving Recap)

A couple of month ago, my dad had mentioned that he wanted to go skydiving for Father's day and asked if anyone would do it with him. I told him I would, (half joking, half serious) and forgot all about it. Two weeks ago he asked again. Again, I told him I would go with him (still not thinking it would really happen) and no less than an hour later, he told me we had appointments for 8am two Saturdays from then.
A bit of history... I love doing extreme things. I've been on every rollercoaster in Florida, I've gone parasailing, done two of the skycoasters in Orlando (you know, the ones where you are hoisted up 350 feet and then have to pull your own cord to drop down)  & even been hang-gliding (hindsight; dumbest decision ever). I have always wanted to go skydiving and always figured I would at some point, but of course after having Abigail, life meant just a bit more and I put it out of my mind.
For the past two weeks I really went back and forth about doing it. I was absolutely petrified to do it and the thought of jumping consumed my every thought for two whole weeks. The thing that really solidified the decision to jump was thinking about the 49 people who were killed last week who may have wanted to go skydiving and never got the chance. Life is just way too short to let fear stop you from doing something. So I did it.

At 8am Saturday morning, we walked into Skydive Deland to check in for our jump. We signed waivers (aka, our lives away) and sat to watch a very comical video that seemed to have been recorded in 1980. From there, we were sent outside to wait until our names were called, which seemed like took an eternity, but was maybe 5 minutes. We were brought into a 'classroom' where we met our tandem partner (& videographer)  and got dressed in our jumpsuits and harnesses. When we walked into the room, and our instructors immediately asked if this was our first time. When I responded yes and they could see how nervous I was, my (soon to be) instructor looked at me and said 'you're coming with me & we are going to be just fine'. That instantly made me feel better. While we were getting suited up, my instructor, Manny, explained how things were going to work while we were up in the plane and getting ready to jump. He made sure to tell me that it was perfectly ok if I forgot everything he said, and that we would be just fine no matter what.
About 10 minutes went by before we were escorted out to the designated area where there planes picked us up. We took some photos and headed onto the plane.


There was some sort of Skydiving competition happening the same day, so we were in a (bigger than I thought it would be) plane filled with about 20 people. We decided that I would jump first (after all of the competitors) so I was front and center for the plane ride up. We were in the plane for about 15 minutes and felt completely safe the whole time (my logic was... if the plane crashed, we had parachutes on, so I'm good!). When we got to about 10,000 feet my instructor starting hooking and latching things to make it so we were basically the same person. Tandem skydiving means you get all up in each others business!
I will say, skydivers are SO NICE! The competitors in front of us knew how nervous I was and before they all jumped out, made sure to tell me it was going to be the best experience of my life and included me in their own little skydiving handshake!

Moving on (sorry if this is all over the place, my brain is still in the clouds)... once all the competitors were out, it was my turn. My instructor told me to scoot onto the ground (remember, we are connected at this point) and walk my legs to the open door of the plane. I remember not being nervous at all, which is totally bizarre, but I think at that point, I just wanted to get it over with. My videographer went out of the plane first and kind of stood on the wheel while I got situated. Once my feet were out of the plane and I looked down, Manny saw that I kind of freaked and told me to look back behind me to my dad and brother, which produced this gem of a picture below... This was mid screaming 'BYE!'...

And just like that, we were freefalling out of the plane! He flipped me once (which I wasn't expecting but wouldn't have wanted it any other way!) and my face pretty much says it all. It was the most surreal thing I have ever experienced. We freefell for about 60 seconds where I really focused on taking the feeling in. My videographer was in front of me for most of the time, waving, high-fiving and just making it so much fun!
Something I didn't expect; it was really hard to breathe for me during the freefall. I think it had a lot to do with having my mouth open the whole time, and all of the cold air blasting my face, but I had a hard time catching my breath. I'm still feeling the effects of it as I write this and think I may have a wind burnt throat for a couple of days.

Once the parachute opened (which doesn't jerk you as much as you see in movies), I remember asking Manny about 4 times, 'are we ok? are we ok?' and he said 'look up!' and I could see us under the big, beautiful canopy.
I was actually very nervous for the parachuting process because I hated parasailing, but this was so, so much different, in the best way possible.
We soared through the clouds, we practiced my landing, Manny even let me hold the chute handles to steer!
Fun fact: almost immediately after your chute opens, your instructor starts 'adjusting' some of the hooks on your harness to give you more room to breathe. When Manny started doing it to me and told me what he was doing, I responded with 'No, no, I don't need to breathe, keep me hooked!'. He of course still unhooked me and I was fine, but I think that might have been the funniest part of his day.
The only other bother I had with my jump (besides the trouble breathing) was that as soon as the chute opened, I realized how badly my ears were blocked. I told Manny that my ears KILLED and he told me to plug my nose and push, which definitely helped, but I'm still dealing with some pretty bad ear pain a day later.
Manny and I, after I thanked him one million times for getting me on the ground in one piece.
The first thing the videographer asked me when we landed was if I would do it again and I responded with the quickest 'YES' ever. I seriously would. There is nothing, and I truly mean NOTHING that free falling from the sky at 120mph, 14,000 feet up in the sky can compare too.

My advice for anyone who has ever thought about jumping... please do it! You will NOT regret it. It's hard to put into words, but there is nothing more powerful than flying through the sky. Afraid of heights? As weird as this sounds, heights has nothing to do with it. You are so far off of the ground, it doesn't even register, I promise!
To watch my full video, click here :)
Happy Father's Day, Dad! Thank you for forcing me to do this! Best day EVER!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Just sad.. & cutting ties with Facebook.

Just writing to write today. There's probably going to be a lot of grammatical and spelling errors and run on sentences and things that don't make sense. But this is therapy for me, so I'm just rolling with it.
Most of you who read this blog already know that I call Orlando home, but some don't. Orlando has been home for the past 15 years. Fifteen years spent living in the 'happiest place on earth', the theme park capital of the world. And Sunday morning, one man turned the city into a dark place. I did not know any of the victims personally, but I have friends that did and my heart is breaking with and for them. While I don't usually frequent the club scene in Orlando, I do know the last time my friends and I were down there, we didn't think twice about which clubs we were walking in to. We would have walked into Pulse nightclub, knowing it was Latin night at a gay bar and thought it would have been the happiest place to be.

It's just all so sad. I'm sad for the victims, the families, the city.... just sad.

Which brings me to my next topic... Facebook.

I made the decision this morning to deactivate my Facebook account. I removed it from my phone, turned off the notifications and then went online and deactivated it. I did it for a couple reasons, the main one being that it just isn't a happy place anymore.  

It used to be fun. It used to be a place to share funny stories, show cute pictures and announce exciting news. Sure, some people still use it for that, but it is riddled with hate, fighting and politics. Yesterday, I watched friends fight over gun laws and race and sexuality before the dust had even remotely settled from the worst attack on US soil since 9/11. I appreciate that people have strong opinions on such heavy topics, but those opinions mean nothing if you aren't working towards change. And change doesn't happen on a silly website designed to share photos of your lunch and cute babies. Do you want to know the worst time to discuss changes to gun laws? Forty-five minutes after the worst shooting in recent history. Yesterday (and today and the next few weeks for that matter) was a day for mourning the loss of 49 lives, not a day to argue about trying to fix a problem. That should have been happening a long, long time ago.

So it was somewhere between fat fingering an accidental 'like' on a political post that I couldn't have agreed with less (and then immediately un-liking and yelling 'shit, shit shit') and seeing a friend of a friend of a friend say 'it's a shame all those people that got shot won't be going to heaven', I decided Facebook just isn't for me anymore.

Most of my blog views come from my Facebook links, so I know that my readership will go down. And that's ok. If you do want to stay connected here you can sign up for Bloglovin' to be automatically notified when I put up a new post and to continue to see the pictures I post (let's face it 9 times out of 10 they are of Abigail), I am still on Instagram (jenniferhuff13) and Snapchat (jlhuff13).

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Abigail at T H R E E !

Tonight(or like 4 nights ago when I actually started writing this ;) ), as I was tucking her in to her bed, she touched my chest and said 'mama, I love your heartbeat'. After I peeled myself off the floor and straightened out of the fetal position, I thought to myself, ' I never want to forget that' and that's when I decided I need to grab my computer and document my not so little, little girl.

Some tidbits about her: She has the sweetest heart & the fiercest attitude and we usually see both sides of her within seconds of each other. She is definitely my child, my entire family would agree. She is dramatic and playful, demanding and cuddly. She would rather watch tv on the couch all day than play with any of her toys, but she spends at least an hour every night in her room by herself, laying in her bed, telling stories to all of her dolls. She is shy but really outgoing. She clams up around anyone the first few minutes around them (even my parents who she sees multiple times a week).

She is a terribly picky eater and I rely solely on the school she attends 5 days a week for her to get her fruits and veggies. She'll eat a bowl full of fruit, but only if her it was her Nanna's first. She loves ketchup and my homemade ranch dressing, macaroni and cheese and cherries.

She loves to dance. Loves it so much. I do a lot of dancing around the house and after she is done telling me to 'twirl and twirl again!' she goes in front of the mirror to spin and twirl until she's laying on the floor in a fit of laughter and dizziness.

She loves helping me around the house. I give her little projects to do; picking up her clothes and shoes, helping unload the dishwasher and she even loves to give the tub a good wipe down with her washcloth after all the water drains each night. She loves to help her daddy cook and has mastered cracking open eggs, sans shells.  

Things we are currently working on: +Not sucking her thumb. This one is proving to be damn near impossible to break and so far we have it to a point where she asks us before she does it. We'll get there, but probably not before she needs a full fake set of chompers. +Saying please. Ugh, we have been working on this for a year and a half! She says 'thank you' for absolutely everything, but please? NEVER! We correct her every time, and don't typically give her what she's asking for until she says it. She doesn't have a problem saying it, she just never remembers. +Using words instead of whines. We still get a lot of reaching and whining instead of asking a question. It drives me bonkers, so we are working on kicking that habit.

Some of the funniest/mind blowing things she's said to me recently: +In the middle of a tantrum, after I got her to settle down, she looked up at me with the most serious expression you could imagine and said 'mama, you are my life' and just carried on like nothing ever happened. +After she took a sip of water from the glass she had just poured, she exhaled really loud and exclaimed 'It's so cold...It's incredible!'. +And last and possibly my favorite, she was having a hard time going to the bathroom and her belly was really hurting her. She was sitting on the toilet and I was sitting on the floor in front of her, keeping her company, when she looked up at me with pure panic in her eyes and said 'mommy, my butt is NOT working!'. Almost immediately after she said that, she started to 'go' and with the most excitement I've ever seen said 'IT'S WORKING!'. Can't make this stuff up, guys!

I found this survey floating around Facebook not too long ago and thought it would be perfect to close out this post. Here are some answers to questions I asked Abigail:

+What is your name? Abigail
+How old are you? (Held up three fingers)
+When is your birthday? 'Um, um... May and an 11'
+How old is daddy? '1'
+How old is mommy? 'one eleven' - thanks, kid!
+What is your favorite color? 'Pink and Red'
+What is your favorite food? 'Not vegetables'
+Who is your best friend? 'Mallory & Annika'
+What is your favorite song? 'The choo-choo'
+What is your favorite animal? ' Elephants!'
+What are you scared of? 'Crabs' - The little mermaid, in case anyone was confused.
+What makes you happy? 'Elephants!'
+Where is your favorite place to go? 'Disney'
+What do you want to be when you grow up? 'Kitty Cat'
+What is mommy's favorite thing to do? 'Hug me'

Here's to another fun year with my favorite girl!