Skydiving!

As most of you know, we went skydiving on April 1.  And it was AMAZING!  We’re going to write this post together to tell you all about our experience.

Staci will be in normal text.

And Michael will be in italics.

So get ready for the jump of our lives!

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I’ve always wanted to go sky diving.  As you can see, it’s on My List.  Michael knew this, and he found an awesome deal for skydiving in Houston and gave it to me for Christmas.

We’ve been waiting since January to “cash it in”.  April 1 was the first time that the weather was supposed to be great and we were planning to be in town.  So we called and set up our appointment, and then drove to Houston!

(Oh. ps… that “Space Jam” picture was supposed to be about us watching that movie because of “Air Jordan” and it was one of Staci’s childhood favorites.  He planned a whole “air” themed day for my present.)

We drove out to Eagle Lake, TX where Skydive Houston is located (not actually in Houston).  We weren’t hungry until we got to the little town.  Sadly there was nowhere to eat except a gas station.  That was gross!  

And it turned out to be a mistake to jump on a semi-empty stomach.  But more on that later. 

As we got closer to the air strip, this is what we saw:

We were almost there!!  Oh–and we were also so excited about skydiving that we didn’t sleep much the night before.

But even amidst the excitement, we decided to call all of our immediate family to tell them we loved them one last time (just in case).   🙂

Yeah, he just said “amidst”.

yes, I am smarter than the average bear!!!!  —-  *cough* Mean *cough*

ANYway…

We finished eating our disgusting gas station food and watched some skydivers land.  We couldn’t believe we were actually about to jump out of an airplane!

AAAAhhhh!

Of course, by saying “about to Jump out of an airplane” she really means that we had to wait like a million years before we got to do it.  First we signed in and signed our life away (literally) and then we watched a video about skydiving narrated by this awesome guy   🙂

He’s not kidding about any of that.  Yes, we signed our lives away–neither we nor our families could sue if we were injured or died due to anything…including blatant negligence.  Yes, we waited a million years (more on that later).  And yes, we watched this guy explain all about the risks and excitement of skydiving.  It was priceless.

– Hey Guy!  Gandalf called… he wants his beard back! –  Oh, and I’d love to see his facial hair flying everywhere as he fell back down to earth from a plane!

After we watched the video, we were told to just sit and wait.

And wait.

And wait.

While we were waiting, we got to watch the instructors getting the parachutes all ready to jump again.  I would NOT want to be liable for putting them up the right way.

We amused ourselves with taking pictures…

Reading…and laughing at this awesome sign that was next to us:

Hehe.

We need that for our neighborhood, by the way.

We finally found out the reason we had to wait so long was that they wait for a lot of people to come, get the parachutes all ready, and then divide everyone into groups so they can do one jump after another.  They want to keep the plane running constantly (getting groups, taking them up, coming back down for the next) so they save gas and time.  So some instructors (like Michael’s) did 3 jumps in a row!  Oh–and a little side note–sometimes they each do over 20 jumps in a day when they’re busy!!

While we were sitting and waiting, one of the instructors came up and started talking with us about jumping.  He answered some of our questions and showed us how we’ll jump and everything.  He said that he’s been jumping for 20 years and he’s jumped 1052 times!

Later I found out that he was going to be my instructor, and I was his 1054th jump!

We got all suited up, and then got ready to head to the plane.

So we were in group 5, I think, so when they finally got around to us we walked out to the runway and then got all geared up to get on the plane. 

The plane is pretty small; it only holds about 22 people.  Our group was only 9 – 3 jumpers, 3 instructors, and 3 videographer/photographers. 

We decided that since this was probably going to be a once-in-a-lifetime thing, we wanted to splurge and each get the photo/video package.  So we had our own personal photo/video person jumping with us too!  They had these awesome helmets that held their photo gear, and they blew in a mouthpiece to take the pictures.

After waiting for so long, the initial excitement we felt when we first arrived had kind of started to wear off at this point.  But as we made our way to the plane it all became more real and the adrenaline started pumping again.  

Can you tell I was just a little excited?!

It’s funny, but I really wasn’t nervous as we flew higher and higher.  I kept on thinking that I would start to freak out (heart pumping, sweating, all that good stuff), but I didn’t.  I was just so excited that it was finally here!  It seemed surreal.

Yeah, I agree… I thought I’d be way nervous, but I wasn’t at all.  I was just ready to jump out.

Of course, then the awkward moment came when we had to sit on our instructors laps so that they could strap us onto them tandem-style.  It was even weirder cause I think I was probably a little bigger than my instructor.  I hope I didn’t break his legs.  

It was pretty funny looking across the airplane and seeing my husband sitting on a dude’s lap who’s around our age.  My instructor was at least 40 and bigger than me, so it wasn’t quite as weird.  Except for the fact that my feet could no longer touch the ground…

Then my instructor started pushing me around and I didn’t know what he wanted.  Then I finally realized that he wanted me to lean over and give Staci a kiss for the camera… they laughed and made fun of me for being so difficult!  But I was just so nervous to do the wrong thing and I didn’t know what he wanted… and it was hard to move around strapped to another dude and all, anyway…

I must say, it took lots of effort on our instructors’ part to get us close enough for this one last kiss before we jumped.  It was definitely worth it though!

Yeah, Just in case  *wink*

As you can see, someone’s about to jump in that last picture.  The other guy went with his photographer and instructor, and then it was my turn!  My photographer hung outside of the plane, holding on to a bar, so he could still film me, and then my instructor and I waddled over to the door.  He reminded me to put my toes on the edge, put my head back, and told me to kick him in the rear when we jumped.

And then it was “One, two, three, jump!”

I honestly didn’t even have time to get nervous.  We were out of that door and flying through the air before I could blink!  I couldn’t believe it–I just jumped out of an airplane!!

That first drop was just surreal.  I still don’t think it really hit me that I’d just jumped out of an airplane.  I have no clue why I wasn’t freaking out.  I mean, I absolutely love the rides where you ride up to the top and then fall down (Superman at Six Flags over TX), but my stomach is doing back-flips while I’m waiting to drop.  But this was completely different.  There was no fear.  I trusted my instructor so much (I mean, come on–he’s jumped over 1,000 times!) and I had been waiting for this for so long that I was just ready.

Then after she went… it was my turn!  So my instructor and I waddled to the exit, and all I can remember was at one second Staci was there safe and sound, then before I knew it she disappeared under the plane as she fell.  It was a pretty weird feeling to watch that; I don’t know that I can describe it, but I know I felt like, “Oh my gosh, she’s gone… and I’m next!”  So before I knew my instructor was yelling “Ready, and, GO!” and we were out the window flying through the air!

ps… I’m really not trying to sound macho, but this picture makes me look way more scared than I felt.  Especially, cause like Staci, there really isn’t much time for you to even think about it.  You just go.

I don’t really know what I expected, but this wasn’t it.  I think I thought I might feel like a graceful bird or something.  But it was actually pretty harsh.  I was falling through the air.  Literally.

But at the same time, it was one of the neatest things I’ve ever experienced.  I was falling through the air.  Literally.  🙂

by the way, they tell you to keep your head up (it has to do with aerodynamics, I think) and I got in trouble –

Hehe

The initial fall was incredible!  It was really exhilarating – not frightening at all.  However, like Staci said above, I had always imagined it to be a peaceful fall.  Well, its not.  It’s actually pretty turbulent!  The wind’s rushing by, the air’s thin which makes it hard to breathe, my mouth dried out worse than it ever has, and, as I describe later, motion sickness started to set in.  But it was definitely the most incredible second most incredible feeling I’ve ever experienced (Marriage is number one)!

(And yes, I know my cheeks are flabby – yours would do the same thing)

Mine didn’t.  Haha.

Since I didn’t look down (I follow the rules…*ahem*), I didn’t see what it looked like below.  But my photograper got an awesome shot of us!

One of the things that my instructor told me was that I needed to focus on breathing when we jumped (he’s also a yoga instructor so we practiced breathing. Hehe.).  I didn’t really know why this was important until I’d been falling for a few seconds.  And then I felt like I couldn’t breathe to save my life.  I was giving myself slightly panicked pep-talks: “Breathe. In. Breathe. Out. Breathe!!”  You can start to see how hard it was for me to breathe here:

Then the motion sickness started to set in a little (I mean “hello?” I only dropped like 7 THOUSAND feet it less than a minute).  You can kind of see the discomfort in my face in this picture.

Kind of?!  You look like you’re dying.

Thankfully, I didn’t suffocate up there, and before I knew it, my instructor was pulling the parachute–which opened just fine, thank you very much. (That’s always the part that people worry about.)

And then as soon as it started and as breath-taking as it was, they pulled the parachute and the free-fall was all over!

It really looks more painful than it is.  I honestly didn’t even really notice when he pulled it other than we were going a lot slower.  (I kind of let my body go limp, so I didn’t strain anything with the tug of the parachute, which is why I look like a dying eagle!)

I agree.  It looks painful, but it isn’t at all.  Even though I really liked the first part of the fall, I was so ready to be able to breathe by this last part.  Being upright was a welcome relief.  Oh–and I also agree that he looks like a dying eagle in that pic.  🙂

Thanks.  It hit me that the “worst”, as some may see it, was over.  Everyone always worries that the ‘chute won’t open, but it hit me that mine had and we were safe.  So at that point I just enjoyed the ride as we floated to the ground for the next 7 minutes.  I even got to steer the parachute a little bit before we got to the ground.

I absolutely LOVED the parachute ride!  I liked being able to look out and see all of the “patchwork” of creation and see the little town slowly come into view.  It was absolutely gorgeous.  And since I was upright and could breathe (oh–and my instructor loosened my chest harness to make breathing easier and unhooked our hips), I could just take it all in.  I kept saying “Oh my gosh.  It’s so pretty!  This is amazing!” over and over.

I think my favorite thing was when my instructor pointed out Michael a little ways away.  We got closer to each other, and it was just SO neat to be able to see him parachuting, knowing that we both just jumped out of airplanes.  Since we do almost everything together now, it was a little weird not being right together when we jumped.  So it was that much more special to be able to see him in the sky.  “Hi, Honey!”

Yeah, since I’m heavier and fell like a rock (seriously, we jumped like 30 seconds apart, I only free-fell for about 45 seconds compared to her minute-or-so, and yet I still caught up to her when we were under the parachute).  I agree that that was my favorite moment.  It was so cool to realize that we were together 1000s of feet in the air, taking it all in.  It was really special and really cool.

As we parachuted, my instructor asked if I liked roller coasters.  I made a mistake in saying yes.  He spun us around in circles (I do NOT do well on spinney rides) and then changed directions and spun again.  It probably wasn’t much spinning at all, but by the time we got closer to the ground I was feeling REALLY sick.  I was scared that I was going to lose what little lunch I ate, and I warned my instructor that I wasn’t feeling so hot.  But thankfully that didn’t happen!

He reminded me to focus on my breathing, and before I knew it, we were heading towards the field to land.

It was SOO amazing.  Even despite not being able to breathe for a little bit and the motion sickness, it was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done.  It was amazing to know that I was in the air and just looking out at all of God’s creation without being behind an airplane window.  I was actually out in the open!

My landing experience was pretty similar.  Luckily, my instructor didn’t spin me around a ton, but I did start feeling pretty sick near the end.  I even mentioned to him that I didn’t feel so hot.  But we landed (which wasn’t difficult or painful), and the ride was all over.  It was so awesome, but I will admit that when I got my feet back on the ground, I thought to myself “This is it?”  Not that it wasn’t incredible or anything, but only that it was all so quick–especially after making the drive out there and then waiting for almost 3 hours until the jump.  I loved it, though.  It was totally worth it!

After we landed, my videographer interviewed me post-jump, and then I got one more picture with my incredible instructor.  I’m so thankful that I was paired up with him–it was a great jump!

You can see Michael walking from across the field.  We made it!  You can bet that big hugs were in store.  And after we got some water and tried to get some color back into our faces, we started talking about how incredible our jumps were.

As Staci said, and as you probably could have guessed on your own,  I made it!  One of the guys that worked there told us before we jumped to be careful or we’ll get hooked.  Now I see why.  Even though I got a little queasy during the ride, it was incredible and if it wasn’t for it being so expensive I would do it again in a heartbeat!  Maybe sometime later on down the road I’ll get the chance to do it again.  But I know that if I do, it will never be like the first time!

I felt pretty sick for about 4 hours after we jumped, but I know most of it was due to me not eating a good lunch beforehand.  So if I ever jump again, I’ll eat a healthy meal, drink TONS of water, and put on chapstick right before we jump.

But honestly, it was one of he most awesome experiences.  I’m still a little shocked that we actually did it.  There was nothing like looking down and seeing all of the tiny little houses and know that I was in the open air!  I would highly recommend it!

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So that’s our little skydiving adventure.  We hope you enjoyed it!

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Q for you:  So have you ever skydived?  Would you?  What’s one thing on your “list”?

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–Staci AND Michael

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About mselizondo

We've been married since December of 2008, and our son, Josiah, was born in July of 2012. We love spending time with family, running, music, traveling, and reaching out to others as a family. View all posts by mselizondo

9 responses to “Skydiving!

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