Happy Easter

Happy Easter to all that celebrate!!! This Easter and Passover season has been unlike any other that I have been around to experience. I love Cadbury eggs and all that jazz, but the holidays just aren’t the same in the era of social distancing. Nevertheless, we’re doing our part to flatten the curve and end this soon.

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The truth of the matter is family is what makes these holidays special. Since we can’t all be together, we FaceTimed my folks and Jake and called my grandma and my father in law. The nice part about FaceTiming my folks is seeing the snow they’re getting as I look out at our palm trees. I’d be a liar if I said I missed April snowstorms. Nope, I’ll stick to our nice Florida weather.

Our adventure of the day was heading down to Boca go pick up our Easter dinner at J Alexander’s. Their Easter dinner deals for carry out were unbelievable. I spent $65 for a 3lb prime rib, mashed potatoes, Caesar salad and carrot cake that feeds six. Oh and let’s not forget that the food tasted absolutely incredible!! We will definitely be going back for more dinners. I highly recommend you check them out for carry out.

This evening we got our regular FaceTime call from Jake, which was amazing. Anytime we get to see and hear our airmen is a happy day! Since we spent last Easter with Mel and her family, it only felt right that we call them too! We had a Easter party on FaceTime, so my Mayor could talk smack about their volleyball skills. Obviously, it was the best part of my day! I love talking to my boy and seeing his smiling face!! Especially since this is our first Easter without him. From our family to yours, we wish you a Happy Easter filled with love and light!

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Here’s a list of our day’s activities:

*Reading To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

*Studied and practiced Norwegian

*Drove to Boca to pick up our Easter dinner

*Watched The Other Guys and National Lampoons Vacation

*Vacuumed and mopped the floors (again)

*FaceTimed grandma and grandpa and Jake and Mel

*Called my Grandma T and father in law to check in on them 

*Took Anakin, Maya and Athena on multiple walks

*Worked on Obedience Training with Anakin inside.

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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 5

WOT 5 is here and I can’t believe if. On one hand, I can’t believe it’s going so fast. On the other hand, I can’t believe it’s going so slow. This week is the last full week of PT before Jake’s final PT test in week 6. Needless to say, this week is critical. As they complete this week, they will also be preparing for the written tests that are administered in WOT 6.

In WOT 5, the airmen are learning a lot including the Air Force’s mission. They’re learning about the laws that govern armed conflict. Additionally, this week they’re learning how to prepare, cope and recover from combat. Moreover, they’re continue to learn about their role as airman and how they are support the mission. It is well known that BMT is very tough physically, but there is a lot of knowledge the airmen trainees must take in and process before graduating.

Week of training five also brings the official “dress blues” photo. I can’t wait to see how he looks in his uniform. Clearly, I’ve already picked out a couple of spots where I can proudly display this photo. We’ll also have an opportunity to buy a disk of the photos taken from WOT 0 to WOT 6 at graduation. Hopefully, we can preview the photos before we have to purchase it.

Today was tough. I found myself missing him quite a bit. Unfortunately, I woke up with a horrible tension headache that left me feeling daffy for most of the day. Thank god I went back to my yoga practice in October. My Wednesday class is all about loosening how tight muscles and improving mobility. My teacher Christine is amazing and I’ve gotten some great tricks from her. Consequently, I used my therapy balls to release my neck muscles. It worked amazingly!

Clearly, today was an emotional day. One of those days that just smacks you in the fsa day for no reason. At any rate, I’m anxious to see and hear from Jake again. He doesn’t have a lot of time to call or write. Although, he should be able to call us during WOT 6.

And now have three more WOTs until graduation week. Twenty two days before we’ll see him in the airmen’s run; twenty three days until he graduates. Unsurprisingly, we’re counting down the days! Lastly, I’d ask to keep Jake in your prayers as he goes into the most critical phase of Basic Training. Please pray that he continues to be physically, mentally and emotionally strong as well prepared for his exams. Thank you for all your love and support. It is so appreciated!

Previous Training Weeks:
Week 0
Week 1
Week 2
Week 4

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WOT 4

WOT 4 is here and I couldn’t be more encouraged. We are officially half way thru- a major turning point. As I noted in an earlier post, I was able to speak with my AB on Saturday. He’s a bit homesick, but loving it. His FLT members have become his family. Unsurprisingly, he continues to love the chow. I guess I would too if someone made me pancakes or waffles every morning. Also, it appears there continues to be chicanery with the protein bars.

This week he’ll be learning about the Airman’s code and how important it is to their culture. He’ll also be learning the different Air Force symbols. Additionally, they’ll be briefed on base liberty this week. In fact, they can also earn base liberty now, which means they may be able to call from the pay phones. If you’re so inclined, you can include a calling card in your letter. As with the previous week, they continue to do PT, dorm inspections, weapons work and their jobs.

Now that he’s in WOT 4 and progressing well, we’re starting to plan our travel. Ordinarily, we wouldn’t wait this long, but the Air Force recommends waiting until this week to purchase tickets. Tomorrow I’ll start looking for hotel and rental car, which will be oh so much fun.

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Meanwhile in Florida, we’re enjoying the cooler temperatures. Piggie and I went for another training run. It was absolutely brutal. Clearly, it’s gonna take some time to get back into fighting shape. Oh well, I’ll keep working away it. Tonight everyone’s home, so we’re just chilling watching Hulu. Have a great night!

Previous Training Weeks:
Week 0
Week 1
Week 2
Week 3

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BMT Family PT Challenge

Since Jake’s in BMT and I’m missing him, I thought it would be fun to do a BMT Family PT Challenge. The only issue thus far is that I’m the only one in the family doing it, but don’t fear the others will soon join the fun. My yoga teacher Monica is joining me as well, so if you’re interested let me k ow. It will be a fun way to get fit for the new year.

Here are the standards (male is first, but not labeled.)

As you can see, the bar is set (by my standards) quite high, but I was hopeful that I retained a decent level of fitness. Spoiler alert: I didn’t. Fortunately, I have four weeks before his graduation to master this stuff. I’ll be posting an update to my PT test challenge every Tuesday.

So here’s how my test broke down today

1.5 mile run: 16:56 – bad enough to get me booted from BMT.

Pushups: 28 – my one bright spot! Yay!

Sit-ups: 21 – disappointing result.

To be fair, I had nobody to hold my feet while attempting the sit-up feet. I should, perhaps, add an asterisk to the push-up total as there was nobody to judge the quality of said pushups. Can we talk about the run though? At least my sit-up performance was good enough to keep me in boot, but man did I suck wind literally and figuratively on the run.

Naturally, I had devise a plan of attack or improve these results. Action one, find somebody to hold my feet during sit-ups. Action two, train using Couch to 5k to regain stamina and speed. Of course I’ll be missing my running partner. For motivation, I’ll ruminate on the 5K we ran through the zoo, which is one of my favorite races. Action 3, suck less on both sit-ups and the run. Action 4, continue to work on my pushups and ensure they meet the Air Force PT standards. Lastly, document the hell out of the journey, so I can share it with my Airman after graduation.

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Road Warrior Weekend

I’m still recovering from my road warrior weekend.  In the course of two days, I put almost 400 miles on my car and visited three different rinks.  I even got to enjoy a weekday morning commute from Palm Beach to Kendall.  Thankfully, it was a holiday week, so traffic was significantly lighter than normal.  Needless to say, I left the house at 6:30 am to get there by 8:45, but since there was no traffic we got there at 8:00 am.  Of course, with Miami traffic, if I had left ten minutes later I would have been twenty minutes late.  Saturday brought four games at two different rinks in central and southern Broward.

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Saturday morning kicked off a crazy day of four hockey games at two separate rinks.  Fortunately, due to the schedule, I was able to see a at least a period of all four games.  It is always hard to divide and conquer with these games.  Honestly, I’d rather get to watch all of both of their games than having a weekend off.   My Mayor plays with such heart and grit.  It is an absolute joy to watch him play with his team.  They’re fantastic together… Saturday morning just wasn’t their time.

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Just hanging around waiting for my airman to call

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The best part of the game was when Jake called from BMT.  We had to fight to get the Hubby’s attention since he was actively coaching a hockey game when he called.  Fortunately, he was able to run over, speak briefly to him before heading back to lead the bench.  Unfortunately, he’s still dealing with a cold.  I asked him if he’d gone to the infirmary, but he hasn’t gone since he didn’t want to miss a moment.  He did get a little choked up telling me that he was homesick and missed the family, but he freaking loves the Air Force.   I shared some mom wisdom. We discussed how normal homesickness was and how important it is to learning how to manage his Air Force experience.  While he has experienced some homesickness, I want to be clear that he is absolutely loving it!

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As I was speaking, I was doing the most hockey mom thing ever.  Grabbing my other hockey player, Goalielocks and running to the car so we could get to his game in time.  Thankfully, Jake understands the madness of his life.  He continues to kick ass on his PT assessments in spite of his cold.  I’m so proud of how hard he worked before going to BMT.  This preparation set him up to be a successful trainee. 

I asked him how he likes his MTIs (drill instructors), his response may surprise you.  In a nutshell, he loves them and says that they are awesome.  Of course, it helps that his flight is the top PT flight in WOT4.  He said that they are helpful, hold them accountable and are invested in their success.   On Christmas, the Air Force took great care of them with a Prime Rib dinner with dessert for everyone.

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He spent a lot of time speaking about the guys in his FLT and how important they are to him.  I’m so glad that his wingman J will most likely be his roomie at tech school.  One of his dorm mates also played hockey growing up.  Jake was a forward and this AB is a goalie, so they’re trying to orchestrate some type of hockey game in the dorm.  At the end of the call, I was so emotional.  We miss him so much, but he continues to thrive and is clearly in the right place. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While he is loving his BMT experience, he will continue to face bouts of homesickness.  This is where you can help.  Every letter counts.  On my call, he mentioned receiving a card from a Senior Airman and was a bit star struck that someone of that rank would write him.  He asked me if there was a program out there for SrA to support the BMTs.  I answered no that card came from a friend of your mom’s.  He responded, “wow, that’s awesome.  Please tell him thank you.”  BG thank you, your card meant everything to him.
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By the time I made it to the rink, this road warrior was emotionally drained.  I miss him so much and worry about him but had to flip back into hockey mom mode.  Plus, Goalielocks and I may or may not have forgotten his stick, which absolutely added to my emotional stress.  I’m pretty sure I walked into the rink looking like a zombie.    Thank god for my hubby because he came to the rescue with a new stick.  And thank god there was a Dunkin’ close by and coffee does cure a lot.  When Goalielocks is in net, I am such a wreck.  The first game we were going to play was going to be a tough one.  I had myself convinced that it would be a blowout, so when it wasn’t I was relieved and happy.  Truly, my goalie played great and the game was entertaining and close.

For some reason, the scheduling gods of Florida hockey think it’s a great idea for U16 teams to play games almost back to back.  There’s no consideration of the physical stress and the physiology of an adult body playing a tough physical game back to back.  Think about it, when is the last time you saw a NHL team play a double header let alone a game back to back.  I bet you can’t remember because I can’t either.  Needless, we had little chance in the matter.  In the fifteen minutes I had between Goalielocks getting undressed and his second game’s call time, I took him and his bestie Leo to Publix.  The only thing they could really eat was fruit or protein bar because they didn’t have enough time to eat anything substantive.   Ridiculous.

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By the time game three of the day started, my emotions have recovered from the fraying of the early afternoon.  I was now annoyed with the nonsense that is Florida hockey.  Our third game of the day, a midget game, was an absolute shit show through the first two periods.  Goalielocks’ team was missing a player due to a skate issue and penalties kept us short handed. Honestly, it was horrible. The great thing about hockey, however, is that there are three periods of play.  After a wacky call on my goalie, a tripping call, from moving across his crease to follow the puck and the opponent falling, our team sprang into action.  Number 18 was back on the ice with working blades and went to work quickly.  In the span of a period, we went from losing a game 2-0 to winning the game 3-2.   Never give up!

Of course, I didn’t leave that rink to almost the next day because my Goalie decided to be the turtle in the race to undress post game as opposed to the hare.  While I waited for what felt like a century, my husband sent good news from the Ice Den: the Mayor’s game had been delayed.  Alas, I may still be able to catch some of his game.  Goalielocks did his best to foil these efforts by lallygagging in the locker room.  Thankfully, this road warrior may or may not have channeled Michael Schumacher as I drove up I-75 to Ice Den.  Victory was mine and I made it to the Mayor’s game by the end of the second period.

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The Mayor’s second game of the day, and our family’s fourth of the day, was a much better effort than his team’s effort that morning.  What I love about his team and especially his line is how they work together to make things happen.  It is clear when watching these boys that they’re playing for each other and not themselves.  What could be bad about that?  In the end, the Mayor’s team came away with a 7-2 victory and a healthy appetite.  Fortunately, there’s a great pizza place down the road where we ended up with some folks from his team.  Great food, great people and the greatest sport in the world, what could be bad?  In the end, we got home close to 11:00 pm another twelve hour plus day as a road warrior.

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Long Day

Today was a long day! Goalielocks and I left the house at 6:30 am, so we’d get to Kendall for practice before 8:45. As it happened, traffic was great and we got there forty five minutes early. Of course if we had left any later, we would have been incredibly late.

This morning’s practice was two hours on ice. Goalielocks got worked hard! He played well and was engaged all practice long. If you’re a goalie parent, I know how much you’d appreciate your goalie being engaged the entire practice. We’ve had past seasons where the goalies were left to their own devices at the opposite end of the rink.

Practice was great. Afterwards Goalielocks headed to lunch to celebrate’s a friends birthday. Fortunately, he was able to shower and borrow some clothes from a friend. He and his boys then headed to Texas De Brazil for a nice lunch. The moms, meanwhile, headed to Cheesecake factory for our lunch.

One of the best parts of hockey is the relationships that are formed and grown season after season. People often think we’re crazy for the amount of time we put in to travel hockey. While we may he crazy for other reasons, this isn’t one of them. I’ve been able to share so many experiences with my kids and my hockey family that are priceless. I have an incredible built in support system, which with recent life changes means everything.

The day will soon come when will hang up the travel hockey parent moniker. Incredibly that day is now nearer than farther. We’ve been in the game for nearly a decade and are grateful for the people and the lessons the sport has taught us. Hopefully, in the far term future we’ll return to travel hockey with the travel hockey grandparent moniker.

Speaking of hockey family, my youngest is back home after a nice sojourn with the K’s. The Outback Bowl was Goalielocks’ Christmas present, but we did give the Mayor and option to stay with his friend. After some deliberation, he decided to stay local. They kindly picked him up Monday night, so we didn’t have to drive South before heading North.

I’m glad to have him home. Truly, I’m incredibly grateful for our hockey family for their generous hospitality and loving our kid. We’re lucky people! Now after a long day on the road, I’m home and able to breathe and relax.

Please keep the airmen, sailors, soldiers and their families as they face deployment.

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WOT 3 is Underway

WOT 3 is underway at JBSA Lackland! This week Jake will take his second official PT test of basic training. While he’s already at the prescribed standard, he and his flight are working towards Warhawk status. This means they have to exceed the PT standards substantially. In his letter we received today, he mentioned that he’s closing in on the number of pushups needed for Warhawk status.

WOT 6, or week of training six, will bring the official PT test. This is the one that will determine whether or not they graduate and if they graduate with Thunderbolt or Warhawk status. For recruits starting after January 1, 20202, their final PT will be in week three. The Air Force made the change because too many recruits were coming into BMT ill prepared. To go from no physical activity to the level of fitness required at BMT is a massive leap. Jacob spent months working out in the gym and running in preparation for his departure.

WOT 3 also brings some changes to the uniform. Excitingly, this week brings the issuance of the dress blues. During WOT 5, they’ll be taking their graduation photos in their new dress uniforms. Additionally, this week they’ll get their names on their ABUs/OCPs. I can’t wait to see my airman in his uniform!

In the classroom, they’re continuing to learn about the Air Force and it’s culture. They’re also continuing to practice disassembling and reassembling their M-4s. Additionally, they discuss cyber awareness, basic leadership and character, and warrior role. And of course, the trainees are continuing to drill. Lastly, the best part of WOT 3 is that he should be able to call us this week! We cannot wait!
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Meanwhile at the homestead, I knocked out my BBG workout this morning before heading to yoga. Can I tell you how much I needed yoga after sitting in a stadium and a car for hours yesterday? Maria’s class was the perfect anecdote. Sadly, I’ll be missing yoga tomorrow due to the hockey schedule.

Post yoga, I headed to Boca to meet Mel’s mom T for lunch. We met at First Watch, which is an awesome breakfast and lunch place here in South Florida. I had a deconstructed breakfast burritos and home fried potatoes with coffee. It was yummy and super filling. We had the best time chatting and sharing in our mutual love of J and M. Jake is lucky that his girlfriend’s family is amazing and loves him dearly. Finally, Jake is loving the letters and asks that we spam him with them. Please consider dropping him a note! His address is below.

Previous Training Weeks:
Week 0
Week 1
Week 2

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Rowing The Boat At the Outback Bowl

We got our new year off to a rousing start as the Gopher football team took to rowing the boat at the Outback Bowl. Rowing the boat is the mantra Coach Fleck brought to the university. In a nutshell, it means never giving up and working hard through adversity. The actual story behind the saying is both inspiring and heart wrenching. You can read about it here.

For Christmas this year, we bought the boys a few small presents. Instead, we focused on getting them each a marquis experience. Consequently, for Goalielocks, it meant a trip to Tampa to see the Gophers end their historic season at the Outback Bowl. The Mayor will be heading to Lake Placid for a special hockey tournament in March.

Going into the game, I knew the stadium would be filled with Gophers. We were everywhere! The Auburn fans, especially in the upper section, sparsely filled seats compared to the Gopher side. Additionally while the fan support is nice, I didn’t think it would be enough to overcome a strong Auburn team that had defeated Alabama.

Getting into the stadium and our seats was super easy. They had no fan shops open on our level, so we headed back to the 100 level. Not surprisingly, the Gopher gear was flying off the shelves. In fact, the first store we stopped at was out of most Gopher items. While the Hubby and Goalielocks waited in line, I went to check our the field. Fortunately, I was able to get video of the Gopher Marching band’s entire pre-game show. They were incredible!

Before the game started, we grabbed some pizza that smelt incredible. Unfortunately, it was probably the worst pizza I had ever tasted. In fact, it was a gross version of the Italian dunkers they used to serve at my high school. Only instead of $1.50, this bastardization of pizza cost $9.00.  Honestly, we all hated it.

We took to our seats, which afforded us a great view. I got nervous when the Gophers QB Morgan through a interception on their first possession of the game. As any Minnesota fan knows, this is usually a harbinger of impending disaster. Fortunately, the squad shook it off and went back to rowing the back. As the half ended, good guys led the game 24-17.

The second half moved quite a bit faster than the first. Auburn tied it up, which sucked. I started to worry that the wheels or oars would fall of the boat. Thankfully, they didn’t. The Gophers sealed the deal with a 73 yard pass from Morgan to Tyler Johnson. It was amazeballs. Speaking of amazeballs, Johnson has a career day with 12 receptions for 204 yards and two touchdowns. He was unequivocally the MVP of the game.

Throughout the game, the weather was perfect. You know the Minnesotans we’re enjoying their escape from the frigid north. We were surrounded by Gopher fans, so we had a great game experience. Yeah, the pizza sucked, but we didn’t park next to Chic Fil-A for nothing. In the end, the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers rowed their boat to a Outback Bowl victory putting the cherry on top of their historic season.

As we move into 2020, we’ll be rowing our boat into a better future for our family. Last year was a time of great change in many aspects of our lives. 2020 is all about renewal and building our collective future. May your new year be merry, filled with learning and most of all love.

All of my Outback Bowl videos can be found here: Outback Bowl Playlist

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