Monday, July 29, 2013

thoughts | scuba lessons

My brother Daniel and I signed up for scuba lessons last week. We want to be able to go diving with friends later this fall and in order to get all of our practice dives in, we needed to start now. I' m always telling myself that I love adventure, and scuba diving is nothing if not adventurous. Mmhmm. 

We picked up our books and beginners packet, signed our lives away and promised to get everything done before the first class. And being the responsible students we are... Managed to put off our homework until we had something like three hours of DVD classes left to watch and two hours before class started. Class was great. I was so relieved to find that our instructor was a woman (yay!) and actually even a grandmother, she was great. Totally gave off that "I won't let you drown in the pool" feeling. Warm fuzzies all around. 

By the end of the class we'd both nailed our final exams, and, not only, put together our gear several times, but also, knew the proper names for everything. BCD, regulator, alternate, weights, etc.  

Up next was the pool. 

The pool is actually something that the dive shop owner rigged up himself. In a warehouse, above ground pool for dive training. Think "silo" with twelve foot sides, pool liner and pump. Very custom and very brilliant. 

As we got closer and closer to the getting into our scuba gear to go down I was starting to panic. Terrified actually. I'm still not 100% on the whole thing, but I was really not doing well. I knew that I needed to push through, so I kept going.  I had a panic attack at the bottom at one point.  If you ever start to feel trapped and have trouble breathing, the bottom of a pool is the last place you want to be. Of this I am sure. I signaled "not okay" and swam to the surface.  

Our instructor offered to call it a night and go home, but I needed to finish, so back down to the bottom we went. And I did it. We successfully completed our ascent using an alternate air source. Then went back down again to play with a toy torpedo. Because diving is "supposed to be fun"!

Ironically, seven of my friends from around the country are getting dive certified this week. One mentioned that is was the hardest thing she's ever done mentally. I've not done open water yet, but I'd have to agree. I'm finding that so many people I know are divers and that it is very normal to feel really really uncomfortable under water. Like a fish actually. They say it gets easier. I'll keep you posted!


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

quotable | bug bites

Miss Grace (excitedly yells from the other room):  "I HAVE 93 BUG BITES!"

I'm not sure what's funnier, the fact that she thought that was really cool or the fact that she was actually counting ALL OF THE BUG BITES! 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Saturday, July 20, 2013

travels | gettysburg | fourth of july

Just a few snapshots from the day.  I can confidently state that I have NEVER BEEN SO HOT IN MY LIFE!!!  About three hours into our "roam around the battlefield" we pretty much just collapsed into one of the tents and waited for a few more hours until the battle would begin.  And waited and waited and waited...  I could not believe how many people came out for this event.  Hundred of thousands of people. Thankfully I was with some of my best friends in the world, we just laughed all day at how miserable we were in the heat.  Another bucket list item checked off!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

travels | gettysburg | history of america conference

Scenes from the field
I spent the last week traveling to Pennsylvania for the 150th anniversary of the Battle at Gettysburg. We attended the History of America Conference hosted by friends of ours in nearby Harrisburg.  What a fabulous time we had!  The car ride was really long (not that we're not used to that or anything...) but arriving at our hotel and seeing friends more than made up for it!

Me & some little Indians!
  The conference was hosted at the hotel, which was great, except for the fact that nine million people had descended upon the county for the anniversary of Gettysburg and every hotel was sold out.  Not to mention that our group literally had nine hundred people with it, and the staff couldn't keep up.  Neither could the air conditioning, but that's another story for another time...  I have never experienced a hotter week in my life.  Gracious!  Humidity and heat everywhere you turned.

My brother Daniel nailed it as astronaut James Erwin!

I really enjoyed the conference, so many great topics and speakers!  Dad was checking up on notes, so that gave a little incentive to actually pay attention and not chat in the hallways during sessions (who does that?!?).  Marshall Foster, Paul Jehle, Doug Phillips, & Eric Weir were my favorites, per usual. 

Me & the kiddos after play practice!
 My little peoples were in the children's play on Friday night.  Our friend Stephanie did an amazing job of pulling 50+ kids together with only two practices and making one unforgettable show!  The costumes were hilarious and they really loved it.  I was really impressed at the acting skills of some of the kiddos. 

I was one of the official reenactors for the event, playing Gracie York, the wife of Sergeant Alvin York.  It was more than a little out of my comfort zone, but in the end I really had a great time interacting with the children and signing my "autograph" for them.  I'll have to dish on my costume later.

More photos to come.  Soon!