Blog Archives for category Firsts

We all flew at iFly!

Today was the day I got to cross something off my bucket list—skydiving!! Or at least a close enough approximation of it to satisfy me!

We had about a 15-minute prep class where we saw a video on the basics, saw a brief demonstration of proper form, and learned the hand signals that they would use (since you can’t hear anything in the chamber).

There were only a few hand signals and basically you relax in the tunnel while bending your arms and legs a little and keeping your chin up. Easy, right? Of course! (Until you step into the tunnel, but I’m getting ahead of myself.)

After the class, it was time to get suited up. We all got jumpsuits, plastic goggles, ear plugs, and a helmet. I asked how to best wear my hair and was told braided or in a low ponytail so I took the easy way with the ponytail (I actually tried a quick braid but it wasn’t working and we didn’t have THAT much time to suit up). And I have to say: What a joke. They really should have stressed wearing a braid, wearing a cap (which I would have gladly done), or at the very least putting the ponytail inside the helmet. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

We were each slated for two one-minute flights, plus Tom and I had added a “high flyer” package which meant the instructor would take us up higher towards the top (instead of staying at or below chest/head level); it also came with a photo.

There was a group of about 10 of us and we filed into the chamber. Katie was the youngest and there were a few older than us—and everything in between. A set of grandparents and a granddaughter went before us. The granddaughter was a previous flier because she started out with a bit more advanced moves which was fun to watch. Soon it was my turn—and as soon as I stepped foot into the wind tunnel my mind kind of went blank. How was I supposed to bend? What were my arms supposed to do? What did the hand signals mean? It’s amazing what 120-180mph winds will do to your brain as you’re being blown around like a leaf! :) (I never once felt unsafe—the instructor is RIGHT THERE with you and your jumpsuit has handles on it for the instructor to grab—but it was FREAKY.) It probably took a good 20-30 seconds to calm down (maybe less, but time almost has no meaning in there) and start thinking more clearly, but by then you’re on the downswing of your allotted time. Needless to say it was VERY, VERY cool and I had A LOT of fun and my first minute was over too quick.

Katie was next and HOLY COW she REALLY flew around like a leaf! (They can adjust the wind speeds on the fly, so they probably calmed them down a bit for her once she got in, but she took off like a shot!) She did very well and appeared to be having a good time…but after her turn was over, she said she didn’t want to do her second flight, so I would use her time instead and get a two-minute flight for my second time!

Then it was Owen’s turn. He actually did better than I expected, considering he’s generally afraid of anything out of the ordinary.

Then it was Tom’s turn. Then it was time for the second set of flights. And let me just say that two minutes practically feels like an eternity in the wind tunnel! But, since I was now somewhat experienced and was getting the hang of it, the instructor let me do some hand movements that made me spin around. It was completely amazing how the tiniest of finger tilts could send you spinning around and around—tilt to the left, spin to the left; tilt to the right, spin to the right. It was also super cool to be zoomed to the top of the chamber with the instructor—we did that two or three times in fairly rapid succession (as seen in Tom’s video after mine below).

Then it was Owen’s turn again, and he didn’t have as good of a time on this go-round. His legs were like spaghetti and he just couldn’t seem to get them under control. Again, there was no danger and he didn’t seem concerned or scared, but the instructor pretty much had his hands on him the entire time.

Then it was time for Tom’s second flight. This is a picture from his instructor-assisted high fly as they came down to the bottom of the chamber:

So, you may be wondering why there is no good picture of me. Funny story, but I’m getting ahead of myself. :|

So after all the participants were done flying, we filed out, received our certificates, and eventually disrobed.

We also took some pictures. :)

And it was at this point that I realized my hair had a big knot in it—I had tried to take out the ponytail to wear my hair down (we had plans to meet friends for lunch afterwards) but it was nothing I could fix with my fingers so I just put it back up in a pony tail and honestly didn’t think much of it.

Of course they had a sales pitch at the end as well, offering more flight time at a pretty good discount. With the assurance that we could use it at ANY location…and since there are three in the Chicago area…we went ahead and bought it. The kids aren’t interested, but I certainly am. Tom might or might not—he enjoyed it, but it really messed with his back (though he thinks that if he stretches out more ahead of time it might be better).

So we left and I was excited to get home and check out our photos and videos—remember, our package had come with one video for each participant plus Tom and I each upgraded to the high fly which came with a photo. But first we had to go meet friends for lunch…

And you will have to keep reading to find out what happened with the photos and videos…

This won’t be happening again.

Katie didn’t like dinner tonight (sloppy joes) but she wanted more chips and the M&Ms Owen got for dessert so we told her she had to finish her sandwich half. She didn’t HAVE to finish, though…just if she wanted the extras. 

Guess how long she sat there eating her half a sandwich? Ten minutes? Twenty? Thirty? Ha! Try ONE HOUR. (And I think it only ended then because I told her it was getting ridiculous and I was setting a timer. So she had five minutes to finish or lose the extras.)

This is the first time she’s sat there/we’ve let her sit. Normally the table is cleared when dinner is over and if she’s hungry later she can eat her dinner then. This hour business won’t be happening again, that’s for damn sure. 

 #tinybabybirdbites #whymomsdrink

Owen is getting slightly more adventurous. 

That’s his friend Jackson on the roof. Before this year there was no way Owen would have climbed up there.  


Katie’s new trick 

This has come about over the last few days. She gets braver each time. 

The usual view: Katie swinging and Kayleigh being pushed.


Our Florida adventure begins!!

Tom parked at one of the Pentagon lots near the metro (but not at the metro) so the three of us walked to the metro station while he walked over to meet us. This is walking through the Pentagon bus depot.

On the metro!

Katie: “This is fuuuun!”

Since we had two hours to kill at the airport, I dropped a Lure. :)

This may look like a lot of stuff, but we normally drive and take four times as much stuff! This time? We each have a carry on and personal bag.

They’re more than ready!!

First plane ride selfies!

Our route! I liked this plane—it was newer so had touch screens, movies or TV to watch (free), and multiple USB charging outlets per seat!

Owen was amazed by the outside temperature (-74°F if you can’t see it).

Owen read all the way so he could do less homework at the condo (he finished two books!). :)

After snacks it was time for drawing!

Then we switched planes (and kids!) in Atlanta…so I got Katie.

Gum for takeoff. She was super excited as she rarely gets gum. :)

Katie, looking out the window as the plane was climbing: “I can see the world.” :)

Tom, to Katie: I’m glad you like flying. 
Katie: Totally awesome.

Katie’s very first Lego sets she built all by herself!

The first was a Christmas present from Grauntie Marge—a supermarket!

I only had to put about three pieces together (and I had to keep prompting her) but she did it!!

The second one was a present from Gramma Jean—Arial!

The kids put on a gymnastics show!

They were busy busy busy in the basement this afternoon and they finally told us they were putting on a gymnastics show. So we went down before dinner. This is what we saw…

At the top of the stairs:

Gymnastics show 6:00–6:30pm

Gymnastics show 6:00–6:30pm or 6:30–7:00

At the bottom of the stairs—see it?

Directional arrow!! :)

Another arrow!

The stage…

…and labeled audience seating area.

Afterwards we went to look at the label on the bounce house:

And then we noticed this afterwards (not sure how we missed it):

I :heart: these kids!

Owen just got his first phone call from a girl.


  1. He had no idea how to talk on a phone because we apparently only use Skype or FaceTime.
  2. Apparently they set up a play date at school today and he gave her my number.
  3. He couldn’t remember what they said and the call only lasted about 28 seconds, if that.
  4. I gave him a lesson on how to use a phone, she happened to call back, they talked for a few minutes, and she’s calling back when her mom gets home.

We finally made it to the National Zoo!


The panda watch center. Amazing.






























Lunch after we left the zoo…


And of course we were Pokemoning the whole day…and these are the two gyms we overtook!

Pokemon gyms

Katie’s very first school picture!

She is just so unbelievably photogenic… :heart:


And we didn’t order any of the additional backgrounds, so these are just the proofs off the website.


And a comparison:

siblings at pre-k

Tom taught Katie something new today. 

It was either this or have her completely in the way helping to push the cart. :) 


Katie’s first day of pre-k, year 2!

Of course, she hasn’t been sick in AGES, so the night before her first day she started to get a runny nose and cough. It might be allergies but who knows. She didn’t have a temp, though, so it was off to school!




And daddy hugs since he came home early!

This year she is going two days a week. We had thought it would be three days a week again, but apparently the classes are a bit bigger this year so they don’t have as much room for peer models (?) but they know we’re ready and willing to go to three (or four! or five!) days if they need her!

First day off the bus as a 2nd grader!

Katie was so excited to be waiting for him. As soon as she saw him she was yelling “Owen!! Owen!! OWEN!!”

He did say hi to her…

And then he saw daddy and bypassed her without a second thought. :)

Katie had wanted to put on her matching shirt for him (if you recall, she had her ballerina skirt on this morning).


On her way to ballet!

We had to take a picture like me and Owen did as we were on our way to her first real ballet class. She’s taking ballet instead of gymnastics now.


Owen’s first day of second grade!

A few test shots with the camera:




Owen was super excited about school. And his new Pokémon shirt and socks. :)




It was brighter than it looked!





He had to take some Pokémon cards with him…

There were only two kids at the bus stop this morning instead of the normal 15 or so!? I figured some were being driven (first day and all)…but turns out the bus was early! The published time for our stop is 8:48 and he was pulling away at 8:44! I talked to a neighbor later and she had to chase down the bus…and another posted they missed the bus. So hopefully they get things straightened out.


Click on photo for larger version.

I may end up redoing this one because I’m anal and I didn’t take the right photo for this—there wasn’t enough space on the side for the text box so I just covered up Katie and it’s touching him and makes me a bit twitchy. :)



Play dough with friends!

Today we had a play dough play date with some new friends…the kids played with homemade play dough…and even MADE play dough!




King of the playground!

We met our new friends at a new playground this morning!

Katie performing with Olympians!

Live in our living room!! :)

Needless to say she had a blast watching the gymnasts and the floor routines were her favorite because she could dance along with them! She also liked the swimming, which is how the video below starts. 


I figure we’ve lived here two years, it was about time.

We finally went to The Cheesecake Factory for lunch after swim lessons and errands. I’m not sure how Owen looks so angelic here. :)


Owen’s personalized puzzle

I had him draw on the back side of one of his puzzles. He thought that was awesome.