August 27, 2012

iFly Seattle - Indoor Skydiving

Tymon's father treated us to an experience of a lifetime this weekend. We went to an indoor skydiving wind tunnel called iFLY. 
Our Little Daredevil Jocelyn
There's pretty much nothing cuter than a 3-year-old daredevil flying around in a pink jumpsuit. Jocelyn's excitement and smile in the air and absolute trust in her instructor etches a deeper love for her in my heart. Makes me just want to hug her and tell the world she's mine. She's so independent. So unafraid to take the world by storm.

Mathilde and Elliott
My first impression of our instructor Matt was that he's a little hyper. I enjoyed his enthusiasm with our kids and was okay with him ignoring us adults and focusing his attention on them. There are only three rules to keep in mind when skydiving. First, smile. That'll keep you relaxed. Second, keep your chin up. And third, stay still.  
Our family with Grandpa Stan, Mathilde and Instructor Matt 
It's good for me to be put in a situation to learn a new physical skill every now and again. It gives me empathy for my driver's ed students who can't seem to slow down and turn at the same time. I only had to remember a few rules for the wind tunnel and I could consistently get a couple of them...but not all of them. As soon as I entered the tunnel, any memory of our introduction class disappeared. Whoops. I did remember to smile pretty for the camera...which caused  bits of saliva to escape my mouth and spread out across my face.

Grandpa Stan has been skydiving for a while. He and Tymon's mother used to do it. Then they had kids and stopped. After he and Tymon's mother divorced, he picked it back up again and took Tymon with him. Several years ago, when we were visiting Tymon's family in Calgary, his father took me skydiving. I went tandem with an instructor. The force on my face was incredible. I watched my flight video and decided then and there that I never wanted to see that one face was totally contorted in strange ways. Weird ways. Alien ways. Yeah. Enough said. We didn't buy it.

But this video came with our package...and the faces are much more normal than skydiving faces. Here's a snapshot of our session. Matt does a demo at the end (3:18). His body control is truly amazing. Makes me want to build a wind tunnel in our house...then I could practice every day. 

August 25, 2012

Welcome Mathilde!

Welcome to the Johns family, Mathilde!
We're a little bit a-lot-a-bit crazy and very different from your family in Belgium, but we know you'll love it here. I think you'll fit right in.

I used to be anxious before meeting people. Not painfully so. I never hyperventilated or threw up. Just a good healthy dose of nerves. I think I mostly faced and overcame that fear when I worked at RedCliff Ascent Wilderness Therapy Program. All field staff worked for 8 days and then had 6 days off. Everyone worked Wednesdays for staff change. Each week when I came to work, I worried about whether or not I'd like the other person I'd have to work with for the next week. 

Every week, I was surprised at how much I liked my fellow staff member. That was a good thing since at any time if any of our juvenile delinquents sensed there was a division between staff members (2 staff to 8 teens), they could turn on us and it could get dangerous. What really boggled my mind was when my fellow staff and I were from totally different backgrounds and lifestyles, yet we still had so much in common. Painted Horse was one such fellow. He had so many tattoos that he could take his shirt off and you'd never know it. The ink started at his collarbone and went down to his wrists. And here's me...I find most tattoos ugly like graffiti on an otherwise beautiful building. They look terrible when exposed by a swim suit, pair of shorts and especially a wedding dress. Regardless of my personal views on tattoos, Painted Horse and I had a great week together.

My perception of exchange students and others guests to my home stays true to my field staff day experiences. I like meeting new people. I like that Mathilde has had so many interesting experiences she can tell us about (she lived with monks for a week this past year and went to Croatia to help some bears in a nature park). Her grandmother is an American who married a Belgian man. Her great-grandfather was a director at General Motors. 

Mathilde's never done laundry before but has already learned how to use the washing machine and dryer. She plays with the kids and they crawl all over her, she's been helpful with Jett's birthday party and jumping right in to do things around the house. Plus, she's got a cute accent. We're looking forward to the new adventures the next few months will bring us. 

Welcome Mathilde! We're happy you're here.

August 13, 2012

Mowing His Beard

I didn't expect to like Tymon's facial hair. But I do. He started growing it when we went to the family reunion at the beginning of July. And I've been encouraging him to grow it out ever since. When we got home from said reunion, Elliott gave his father a little piece of advice: that he should go all summer without mowing his beard. Ha ha ha. Love that boy!

August 7, 2012


With a heavy heart, I took Edenbrooke: A Proper Romance by Julianne Donaldson back to the library today.

It felt like I was saying goodbye to my good friends. I miss them already.

The first time I read Edenbrooke, I started reading at 11pm. I thought if I read a little then I could get my tired eyes to close and I'd happily drift off to sleep. No such thing. About 2:30 in the morning I finished. I even read the thank you section in the back. Then I was surprised to find that I knew the author's sister. So wild. We were missionaries in Slovenia together.

I picked up Edenbrooke again about a week later. I just wanted to read how Marianne and Philip met one more time. She is under duress, throws open the door to an inn and demands the first man she sees come help her carriage driver who had just been shot. He remarks that she must have him confused with the innkeeper. She retorts that she was under the impression that he was a gentleman but apparently she was mistaken. Later when the initial commotion dies down, Philip dines with Marianne and the fun truly begins. She pretends to be a milkmaid and sings a great milking song. Ha ha ha. The dialogue between these two is not only entertaining, it sucked me in, attached me to the characters and kept me turning those pages. So, yeah, I read the entire book again. That would be twice in two weeks. Ehem. I think I have a problem.

I think what I liked best was the flirting that went on between the characters. It's been so long since I've flirted with anyone...I forgot how fun that can be and realize that I need to figure out how to flirt with my husband. But how do you flirt with someone you sleep with every night?

I had to write down Philip's love letter to Marianne before turning in the book. Talk about a fantastic scene! He's teaching her how to write a proper love letter to a theoretical girl, but is actually writing one to her. I'm pretty sure this will be a fantastic movie long as we get her internal dialogue along with it.

I have a plan to follow Philip's excellent instruction and write a fantastic letter to Tymon. A love letter would definitely help met get my flirt on!
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