Week 2 of Social Distancing

It’s only the middle of week 2 of social distancing,l and I’m ready for it to be over. Particularly, I’m ready for life to go back to normal. More specifically, I’m anxiously awaiting my boys return to school. Every statement is a battle. I’m really over having to repeat myself 1,000 times a day.  Obviously, it’s a lot of together time.

It’s been an arduous few days. I dropped my phone in the pool Saturday, so if you called or text me I didn’t get it. My dog, Athena, pulled the leash through my hand causing severe rope burns as she bolted to greet a friend. Apparently, for dogs social distancing is not a thing. Then yesterday I had Maya at the vet because her she cut open her tumor and it got infected.

Fortunately, she’s scheduled to have the tumor removed tomorrow. Unfortunately, if the tumor is a metastasis from her lung tumor (that is extremely slow growing,) her days with us our limited. No sooner had I heard that news on phone from the vet, when I backed out of my spot and the brakes went out. Yesterday was truly one for the books. No wonder I was in bed by 9:30.

Meanwhile at my airman’s base, there are three cases of Covid-19. They’re at HPCon Charlie, but I’m sure with these cases it will escalate quickly. Fortunately, he’s prepared if they are quarantined to their dorms. It sounds like if that happens he’ll still be able to do his training, which is great news. Thankfully, I know he’s being well protected where he’s at. Nevertheless, this is definitely the time I want to have him home.

Since I had no phone the last couple of days, I’ve enjoyed a bit of a respite from social media. Okay, I had my iPhone 6, but with the 15,000 photos I have on it, it was a bit slow going for me. Truly, I needed the break from Facebook particularly. Every post is either fake news, someone sanctimoniously preaching, or a combination therein. It’s annoying and counterproductive. Honestly, I just want to see memes, pictures of your families and know that you’re okay. If I wanted to be preached at, I go to church on Zoom.

The worst offenders on Facebook? By far the neighborhood pages. I’m telling you these people have absolutely lost their minds. Perhaps the most insipid post was from a father, who was asking for advice on how to tell his child he couldn’t play basketball even though other kids were playing at our courts. Obviously, that’s an easy conversation – as parents we make the decisions we feel are best for our kids. Other parents may feel differently. Of course, he had to take it a level up and post pictures he took of the kids playing basketball. I don’t know about you, but taking pictures of minor children without their parents consent is creepy A/F.

Anyway, things are looking up today. I got my new, fully functional phone, which is fabulous. We also got our new butterfly fish and goby for the tank, which is exciting. Excitingly, I got to speak with Jake tonight. He passed another block! I’m so proud of all he’s accomplishing day in and day out. He sounded congested like he normally does with his seasonal allergies, but I can’t help but worry. Thankfully, he was able to pick up some allergy meds and more supplies tonight.

As for me, I’ll be back to the regular tempo of my blog. It remains a healthy outlet for me during these difficult days. Even though times are tough, I’m reminded daily of how fortunate I am to live in a place with beautiful weather. Moreover, my family is incredible and as much as they drive me crazy, I love spending time with them. Last but not least our beautiful dogs remain steady by our side. All three of our dogs are happy go lucky, loving dogs. They brings us joy day in and day out. If anyone is happy that we’re all home, it’s them!  I love my sweet puppies!

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Emotionally Exhausted

It’s only day four of the social distancing/isolation and I’m completely and utterly emotionally exhausted.  Admittedly, I could never be a teacher.  My boys are giving me a run for a money, the thought corralling of a classroom of teenagers is enough to trigger a panic attack.  Frustratingly, I find that much of my day is spent arguing and negotiating with terrorists,  I mean teenagers.  I can’t my imagine it will be worse when both are back in school virtually.

Of course negotiating with my teenage boys all day, is a walk in a park when compared to missing my airman.  I know he’s well taken care of and that the military is taking a lot of precautions to keep him safe and healthy.  Nevertheless, it’s completely unnerving to experience this pandemic with one of my boys out of the house.  Sadly, the worst part is that we now don’t know when we’ll be able to visit him.  We had planned to go up the first week in April, but that will no longer happen.

I almost feel bad complaining as there are many military families and trainees that have it far worse.  We were lucky to be able to see Jake graduate BMT and to experience the amazing feeling that is that first tap out after 8.5 weeks apart.   Sadly, all BMT graduations have been closed to families and changed greatly.  I can’t even imagine not being able to have seen my airman graduate.  My heart would be broken.

Life as we know it has been altered, but it hasn’t stopped.  The sacrifices that we’re being asked to make pale in comparison to the sacrifice our healthcare workers, public servants, our military, the truck drivers making sure our stores are restocked and the folks working those stores.  While I may be emotionally exhausted, I’m sure these workers are being pushed to their physical and mental edge.  So for all who cannot stop working because you’re supporting our community, we thank you!

As for our day, here were our activities:

*reading Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackery

*Conference call with my mentor and fellow marketing executive.  Success here we come!

*yelled at the Mayor to stop playing with frisbee in the house

*yelled at Goalielocks to stop practicing his golf shot in the house and against the house

* 2 mile run with Athena

*1.5 mile walk with my boys and puppies

*Deep Stretch – Total Body Yoga– Yoga with Adrienne

*Watched Miracle because we’re missing hockey followed Cars 2 and 3

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Post Grad Let Down

Since we’ve been back from San Antonio, I’ve been experiencing somewhat of a post grad let down.  After eight weeks of hyper focus on Jake’s progress through BMT and regular updates from my Facebook support groups those days are over.  There isn’t a daily support group for Tech School like there is for BMT.  Fortunately, there is a base group, which I found to be quite helpful.  Tech school is a much different journey than BMT and is more individualized.

As for graduation weekend, it was the most incredible weekend of my life.  The first day began super early with the Airmen’s run.  I know I wrote it about it before, but it was just so cool that I had to mention it again.  I loved seeing Jake running with his flight and singing the Jodies as he jogged. Being on base was just as cool.  Lackland is ginourmous! (Is that even a word?). Afterwards, we watched him become an airman during the coin ceremony.  Before the beginning, there were fight jets and cargo planes taking off and flying over the base, which was wicked cool.

On Friday, we watched the Airman’s Parade, which is when the training squadrons pass by command in formation to be reviewed.  It was such a neat event.  Unfortunately, it was super cold and windy, so we were a bit uncomfortable as the wind whipped against our backs.  Fortunately, for Jake the wind was not as bad on the actual field.  I absolutely loved the parade, in spite of the cold, and was so proud watching my new airman and his wingman on the parade field.

The whole weekend everyone was nice.  Everywhere we went people were nice and happy.  It’s crazy when you think about how much time you spend in line, traffic, how crowded the base was and the tight timelines you’re dealing with.   Amazingly, the happiness and pride that comes with seeing your Airman again and watching them graduate BMT, seems to put everyone in a permanently positive mood.  Even when my hubby purposely took up two parking spots in order to ensure my brother would get a spot, nobody batted an eye.  The only comment was on how smart he was for parking that way.  It is such a unique and uplifting experience!

The first time I saw my Airman’s graduation picture, I cried with pride and joy.  He looks so grown up and confident.  Seeing him in uniform all weekend was incredible.   The transformation he underwent in the 8.5 weeks at Lackland was absolutely amazing.  He left us nervous and anxious.  When we got him back for the weekend, he was happy, confident, self assured, decisive and disciplined.  Thankfully, he made a lot of friends on his BMT journey that will be his friends for life.  I loved seeing him interact with his wingmen.   Knowing and personally witnessing that he is where he belongs was beyond comforting to my hubby and I.

Of course the best part of the weekend was spending time with my Airman and our family.  His girlfriend M travelled with us for the weekend.  Can I tell you how much we enjoyed our time together?  Can I tell you how much I loved seeing my son and his girlfriend together?  Seeing their love and support for each other through the weekend was the stuff mother’s dream about.  I love them together!

Our time off base was well spent hanging out with the grandparents, Uncle Jon and Aunt Brandi and of course J&M2 (my nickname for Jake and his girlfriend- they’re J&M2 because my bro and sister in law are the original J&M.). We played Phase10, Uno, took a trip to the Alamo.  It is small, but the grounds are beautiful.  Friday night we had a wonderful lunch/dinner on Riverwalk.  Everyone was so nice!  They treated Jake like a king!  People were constantly thanking and recognizing Jake for his service and commitment to our country.  Saturday’s food was the ultimate in “everything is bigger in Texas” maxim.  We had a 3 pound cinnamon roll and an 37 inch diameter pizza.  Both were as tasty as they were large.  I’ll write more about that in a future post dedicated to why you should visit San Antonio.  I loved San Antonio!

Nonetheless,  grad week is over and the adrenaline is gone.  I loved my weekend so much and the tap out of my airman was priceless.  There is a lot of worry when your child is in BMT because there’s minimal contact.  That first time you see and speak to them after BMT is magical.  Now he’s in Tech School and there’s still a lot of worry, but also relief in being able to speak with him regularly.  So well I may be suffering from the post grad let down, I am beyond proud of my son and happy that he has found his place in the greatest Air Force this world has ever known.   We are so proud to be Air Force parents!

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My Airman

I am proud to say my son is now officially my airman. Today he and his fellow recruits transitioned from trainees to full fledged airman. It was a culmination of a tough 8.5 weeks. As well, as the culmination of the work he has put in since last summer.

Watching today’s ceremony was incredible emotional and uplifting. Words are not adequate to describe the feeling. Certainly, words cannot describe or fully encompass the emotions that come when you first tap out your airman. As we walked towards Jake this morning, the anticipation was beyond belief. When Mel rapped him out and they were reunited was a priceless moment.

We got to spend our day with our Airman on Base. While there’s plenty of stuff to do, it is also incredibly crowded with every other BMT family. Needless to say, we are looking forward to spending some quality time with Jake off base tomorrow. Of course, we’ll be attending the Airman’s Parade and taking pictures before leaving JBSA. Here are a few of my favorite pictures from today.

We Made It

We made it to San Antonio after a long, but fun day of travel. Our AirBnB is the cutest old house in all of San Antonio and in close proximity to everything. We did a trial run out to JBSA Lackland, so I think we have a handle on where to go early tomorrow morning. And now after a long day of traveling we’re off to bed since we have a very early wake up call tomorrow.

WOT 8

I can hardly believe it, but WOT 8 is finally here!!! It feels like we dropped Jake off at the recruiter’s office a lifetime ago. At the same time, it feels like it was yesterday. Now our count down is in days!! I will see my boy in three days!!! Yahoo!!!!!!  Yay WOT 8!

For our airman trainees, this week is all about wrapping up loose ends and out processing. After all, he’ll be on a bus to tech school early next Monday morning. From a training perspective, they’ll learn about educational benefits, be briefed on town pass and continue to practice for graduation.

As Jake wraps up his BMT journey, we’re busy making preparations for grad weekend. Sadly, it appears that gluten is the devil for my stomach. I say sadly because there’s a cafe in San Antonio that serves a 3 lb cinnamon roll. Can you imagine how aromatic that roll must be? Yummy!!! There’s also a restaurant that serves a 42 inch pizza. Finally a pizza that will serve my entire family!

Lastly, we’re so appreciative of all the support we’ve received since Jake’s departure for BMT. Your support has meant everything. In this vein, I’d ask you to hold Goalielocks’ teammate in your prayers as he begins his battle against Osteosarcoma. Cole is a wonderful kid and his family is fantastic. As he and his family fight this battle it is imperative that they know they are not alone.

Six Days!

Six days until Jake officially graduates BMT!! Only five more days until we’ll see him for the first time since December 10th! We are over the moon excited for our trip to BMT graduation.

The best part of our day today was when Jake called. Unsurprisingly, his call was very purposeful. He wanted to be sure we had all the important information we need for graduation. Fortunately, we now know exactly where he’ll be standing for the coin ceremony and airman’s parade. This makes our graduation experience so much better as we can ensure we’re positioned to see him.

Thankfully, we did have a few moments to chat about how he’s doing and BEAST week. He was disappointed that his squadron took second. His flight did outstanding with only one demerit. Unfortunately, the other flights in his squadron did not perform as well. On more than one occasion he mentioned his annoyance with their performance. His squadron did win the PT challenge at BEAST week, which he was pretty excited about. His flight has performed very well, so they were afforded a third town pass.

I asked him what he wanted to do while we were there. He said the one thing he wanted to try was Whataburger because everyone has been talking about it. Meanwhile our plan for BMT is to ensure we integrate whatever he desires in to our weekend planning. Once we fly back, he will hop on a bus to tech school where he will spend his spring.

Seven Days

Seven days!!! Seven days is the number of days left until Jake graduates basic training. I can’t believe this BMT journey is coming to an end. After next week, I’ll retire the weekly WOT posts.It seems like he just left yesterday, while also feeling like he left a century ago. Admittedly, the last eight weeks have been tough as we adjust to our new “normal.” I miss having him home everyday!

Nonetheless, this transition for him has been fantastic. As the weeks have progressed, he has grown immensely. Truly, every time we talk to him, he sounds more confident and mature than the last. It eases my kind to know he’s found his place in this world and that his future is bright. However, it doesn’t make me miss him less.

Jacob chilling atop Mt. Ulriken in Bergen

As he moves on to Tech School, we’ll be able to have more regular contact with him. I think that will make it a bit easier on mom and dad. In the days and weeks since he’s left, we’ve been enveloped in a community of love and support. Thank you to everyone for your continued love, support and prayers for Jake. They are appreciated.

P.S. the main picture is of Jake and his Uncle Jon meeting an Air Force Pilot. It was taken in 2000 at an air show in Duluth.

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WOT 7

WOT 7 – can you believe it? That means there is only one WOT left! It also means that this week is BEAST week. BEAST stands for Basic Expeditionary Airman Skills Training. Basically, it’s a mock deployment where the airman trainees get to apply what they’ve learned in basic training. It’s basically a simulated war that runs from Tuesday to Friday.

For this week, they’ve left JBSA Lackland and are in the field. Where they’ll sleep in tents in one of four camps at the annex. The tents, in true Air Force style, feature heat and air conditioning. Additionally, while breakfast and lunch will consist of MREs, DFAC will serve them a hot dinner.

Of course, since this is taking place during a simulated war, their meal could be interrupted by incoming fire. The camps could be assaulted by conventional weapons from air or land as well as chemical and biological weapons. Additionally, the trainees are trained to identify IEDs and are exposed to them as part of the simulation.

For the entire time they are in the field, they have ruck sack, mopp gear, body armor and helmet, their canteen, 3 MREs and their M-16 rifle. They need to be ready to respond to any threat to their completion. Moreover, this is more than a simulation for the airman trainees. It is a competition! Doing well at BEAST means additional accolades and hopefully a town pass for Sunday.

WOT 7 is a fun week for the airman. I cannot imagine living in a tent for any amount of time, but I can see how they would enjoy it. I look forward to Jake sharing his BEAST experience with us when we see him in 8 days! Truly, I can’t hide my astonishment or my excitement that graduation is almost here. It feels like time has been crawling since he left!

As an addendum to last night’s post where I proclaimed my hatred of push-ups, I did 60 plus push-ups today. Apparently, Kayla Itsines thinks push ups are great. (I don’t understand her rhyme or reason for this because pushups are awful, but she does love them.) Thus I completed all 60 of the regular push-ups and 60 lay down push-ups that were a part of the circuit. By the way, lay down push ups suck even worse than the regular ones.

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Week 4 of the PT Challenge

It’s hard to believe we’ve made it to week 4 of the PT challenge! Since Jake left for basic it feels like time has both stood still and moved at light speed. What is not moving at light speed is me running. While I had a much better run this morning, I’m still far from the 14:26 needed. This morning my 1.5 mile run took 16:13 minutes. A big improvement over last week, but I still have a lot to do.

Since Jake is graduating next week, vice decided to continue the challenge until I get the required time. First of all, it gives me a specific training goal, which is important. Secondly, I am really enjoying my return to running. I’m not running six days a week like I was years because it would be too much for my body. Additionally, I want to ensure my exercise habits are more balanced than they were before my diagnosis. This means 3 days of BBG (strength training,) 3 days of running and 6 days of yoga.

As for the pushups and sit-ups, I still hate them. However, the strength I’ve gained by completing Kayla Itsine’s Beginner BBG program has helped me succeed here. I’m up to 33 sit-ups and 18 pushups. I could probably do more pushups, but they seriously suck. I did, however, do some vinyasa yoga today and plenty of chaturangas in class. That should make up for a lack of over achievement on the push up front.

Yesterday marked day 1 of the BBG program. After 8 weeks of BBG beginner, I thought I was ready to graduate. However, the first workout of the full BBG program kicked my arse. My legs were super sore this morning. Needless to say, the workout was super effective. Tomorrow will be BBG day two targeting the arms and abs.

While I’m busy trying to meet the PT standards Jake exceeded, my airman trainee is in the field for BEAST week. While he’s immersed in a mock deployment situation with his squadron, we’re counting down the hours until we see him again. My mom and I have been collaborating to ensure we have everything he made need for graduation weekend. I cannot wait! More on BEAST week tomorrow.

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