Monday, January 6, 2014

Best Day Ever!!!!! (besides my Wedding Day, oh, and the birth of each of my children...)

Maybe I should go back and explain how this all came to be. 

Last year when I decided on my Word for 2013 and blogged about it here I chose the word Dream.  I wanted to focus on living my dreams, and helping my children live their dreams as well.  It was important for me to start living them now, and not wait until we are out of school, out of the basement, or out of debt to live. I am very happy to report that my children have had some fun adventures this year (that maybe I will get around to blogging) including taking Gymnastics and beginning Violin lessons.  Both of these are things that my kids have wanted to do, and are things that we probably can't afford.  But in the spirit of chasing dreams, we have made sacrifices so that our kids could believe in the power of Dreaming Big.

As for myself, I really hadn't done much to further my own dreams.  I think reality hit me harder than I expected in 2013.  It turned out to be one of my most difficult, and most trying years.  I often felt like I was in survival mode only.  And that keeping my head above water was going to be my greatest accomplishment.  (I did accomplish one dream; of running a Half Marathon... that I don't think I ever blogged about... but it was a pretty huge accomplishment!) Other than my run, I think I somehow set myself and my dreams aside to get us through this year.

Fortunately for me, JT did not set aside my dreams.

I have always wanted to fly a plane.  I remember the first time I flew in a small plane.  My family was at the Fair in Monroe where there was a tiny plane giving short rides around the fair grounds and surrounding area.  If I remember right, my sister and I thought that sounded like fun, but assumed we couldn't do it because it cost extra.  To our surprise, my Dad encouraged us to take the flight. (We were use to a very a frugal family, so spending extra at the fair was a pretty big deal.)  Thank you, Dad, for encouraging your girls to do something that seemed crazy (like risking our lives in a tiny airplane at a fair). It changed my life.   I loved it.  I couldn't believe how much I loved it.  And I have loved every flight after that.

If you know me, I get almost as excited for the plane flight as I do for the vacation. I love seeing planes flying overhead.  I like to imagine who is on the plane, where they are going, and how lucky they are to be going on an adventure! (I hate it when I realize that someone on the plane may be going somewhere they don't want to go, or leaving people they love.  Usually I just assume everyone is headed somewhere tropical with the people they love.) Basically, I love everything about flying.

As a young adult I met a guy who was getting his Pilot's license and I thought it was the coolest thing ever. And then as an EFY counselor I remember one of the speakers talking about his Dream List.  Where he wrote all of his craziest, wildest dreams.  And how he lived each of them.

I decided then, that I would get my Pilot's license by the time I was 30.  Well, 30 came and went, and I was no where near getting my license.  I was pretty much still day dreaming whenever a plane flew over head.

But last month was my Birthday.  JT told me he had a surprise scheduled for the week after my Birthday.  On my actual birthday, he gave me a gift that was not what I expected.  I was actually disappointed ( I really hate admitting this). The gift felt somewhat thoughtless (probably because I am use to him giving very thoughtful gifts).  I got upset and accused him of not thinking about me. I even accused him of planning this surprise to be something he wanted to do, not me.  After all, I didn't ask to do something for my birthday, I asked to receive something!  My friends tried to insist that he had something up his sleeve, but I didn't believe them, and went to him crying that night. Keep in mind, this is minutes before my temperature spiked and I began throwing up. So I blame some of my obnoxiousness on the fact that I was getting sick and had no idea. The rest of it was me just being a brat, I know. When I cried to JT about how I felt like he wasn't thinking about me, and the gift was about him, he was pretty hurt.  He told me how he had thought a lot about the gift, and all he wanted was to help me live my dreams.

I was humbled.

And immediately I knew what I would be doing. FLYING.

We haven't talked about that particular dream in years, but he had remembered. (Yes, I felt dumb.  Yes, all of my friends were right.  Yes, I constantly underestimate the amazingness of the man I married.)

So, after rescheduling 4 times because of weather.  On January 3, 2014 I flew an airplane.

I had no idea what to expect for the flying lesson.  I was nervous that they would have me do math.  Especially when I saw this picture in a book on the coffee table of the waiting room at the flight school.
This has been one of the things holding me back: Math.

But the pilot came and got us and walked us straight out to the runway.  And there sat the little two seater Cessna that we would be flying. He showed me how to check the plane for safety and the next thing I know, I was inside the plane learning about the instruments. (Luckily there wasn't a quiz, because I was too excited to remember half of it!)
Pretty impressive that my scarf matched my plane :)
I was shocked when Grant (the instructor) asked me if I wanted to take off. Like me, personally, lift the plane off!!  But I had already decided that I would say Yes to whatever he asked.  The next thing I knew I was pushing in the throttle and pulling up the Yoke and we were lifting off the ground.  And that is when it happened.  The feeling of pure freedom rushed over me.  I felt the plane lift off the runway and into the air and I was released from all of the cares of the world.  It was just me and the plane (and the instructor, Grant, of course) and the air beneath us.

I have imagined a million times how wonderful it would feel to soar above the clouds but nothing compared to the reality.  I have never felt so free.  Nothing (but some laws of gravity and physics) connected me to the earth.  I was absolutely free.  No distractions, no stop signs, no boundaries, no limits.  

I was definitely timid at first as I got use to the yoke and the controls under my feet.  But Grant reassured me how safe we actually were. (The scientists who invent and build planes are pretty amazing.) Soon I was comfortable enough to take the yoke and experience the sky for myself.  We flew all around the greater Seattle area and the Puget Sound.  
Out the window, overlooking UW

One of my favorite moments was a deep 360 degree turn, and feeling the force of 2G.  I know I am not a Blue Angel or anything, but even 2G was pretty awesome.  At another point in the flight, he made the plane stall.  I felt like all time stopped.  Everything sat hovering over the Puget Sound, and then all at once the nose began to dive down and to the right, my stomach lurched, and my smile brimmed.  To go from standing still, to diving and then regaining the controls and altitude was one of the most exciting moments.
Sorry, its hard to be a pilot and a photographer.
I took a video, but I can't figure out how to get it on blogger:( so this will have to do.

After gliding past the Seattle shoreline, it was time to land the plane.  Which was also pretty cool, to line it up, and try to set it down smoothly.  (Grant did 95% of the work on the landing, but he let me believe I did more.)

When my feet were back on the ground it was almost a let down.  I was literally out of the clouds, and back down to earth.  I can't believe how much I loved having nothing under me except air and wind. I don't feel like I can adequately explain how incredible it felt!  I don't know what it is about the ground that seems to be holding me back, but there is something about the sky that seems to let me go.  The sense of freedom and being unbound was one of the best feelings of my life.  I am probably sounding really repetitive, because I don't know any more words for amazing. Fascinating, marvelous, incredible, thrilling, spectacular, stunning. It was everything.

It was a dream come true.

Even though it wasn't in 2013 I am counting it for living my dream.  It was the best possible start to a new year. I don't know when I will be able to continue with more lessons, and be able to get my license.  But for now I am content knowing that I am one step closer to one more dream.
The other planes, I have yet to fly.


  1. Awesome! Someday I anticipate you will personally fly both of our families to Utah to get Cafe Rio. Daily.

    No, but really, so cool that you were able to live this dream. May 2014 be filled with more dreams come true.

    1. That is the plan. Cafe Rio first, Puerto Rico next!

  2. You may not have to fly far for Café there is one currently prepping to open at the Alderwood Mall. There's even a sign! :)

    What an amazing feeling. I once dreamed that I was flying--just me, unhindered and not weighed down by cares. (I love to interpret dreams, and I'm pretty sure I know what that one was saying...) Anyway--because of that one dream, that I SO wished were reality, I get what you're saying about the freedom. That's not a feeling we as mortals (or moms) feel very often. How incredible to experience that!

  3. Katie, what an amazing adventure! I've never been in a small plane before - it sounds amazing. I'll have to add it to my dreams list :)