Thanksgiving 2020 Style

Thanksgiving 2020 style is wildly different for most of us thanks to COVID. It also makes our first Thanksgiving with Jake away from home. Last Thanksgiving was wonderful with my whole family in town, so he could have a great send off to BMT. Speaking of which, we are coming up on his one year anniversary. I can’t believe how fast time has gone.

This year has been tough, but there is still so much to be thankful for. First, 2020 was a year of awesome accomplishments for Jake. From graduating BMT and tech school, to earning his SEC+ certification and shipping off to his first duty station. To say he had a banner year would be an understatement. We couldn’t be more proud of the man and airmen he has become.

While our boys continue virtual school, they’re doing while and have managed to stay healthy. Hockey, thankfully, is in full swing. Too often we underestimate the importance that our kids sports and other extracurricular activities are for their development. Now with Covid, these activities are there only lifeline to the outside world. Kids need socialize.

As for Luke and I, we keep trucking on. After a rough fall that saw us replace two failing vehicles, we’re ready for the winter. I should also say we know have an additional driver, Goalielocks, which has helped a lot. I started a new role back in insurance, which I’m loving. Albeit, it keeps me extremely busy. Especially during the long hours of AEP.

To all our friends and family and to all our military families near and wide, we wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving. To military families like ours, who have an empty chair this Thanksgiving, we send our love and gratitude. May God keep our family members that serve safe and sound. To our military folks servicing near and far, thank you for your service!! Today we hold you up in prayer and gratitude.

Happy 73rd Birthday USAF!

Happy 73rd Birthday USAF! This birthday is extra special for me this year as a military mom. I’ve always had a soft spot for the Air Force since my grandfather served in the Army Air Corps during World War II. As we embarked on our new role as a military mom, it has been a beautiful experience to see our son walk some of the very halls his great grandfather walked before heading overseas. Truly, it has created a special connection between my airman and his great grandfather, who he never had the chance to meet. It’s amazing that even though my grandfather passed away nearly 40 years ago, his influence and presence is still felt today.

As for me, the universe continues to correct my overly optimistic view from earlier in the week. Perhaps it is because I’m thoroughly exhausted, but who knows. I had such high hopes for the day when my Hubby brought my coffee this morning. Our wi-fi continued to be spotty today, which makes virtual school and working from home so much fun. Consequently, I had to rearrange my day to accommodate the inconsistent wi-fi. Thankfully, the boys were extremely cooperative all day which was appreciated.

Goalielocks continues to thrive in the virtual school environment. Meanwhile, the Mayor has been attending class, but not following through on the work. Fortunately, he’s committed to correcting this behavior right away. When the Mayor commits, he follows through on it. We had the option to send them to physical school Monday, but have decided to keep them home. In Palm Beach, the only difference between the virtual school and in school experience will be the location. There’s no reason to send them back given nothing would change except geography. Moreover, Goalielocks has the best grades he has had since starting high school. I am in no hurry to send him back.

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

*I read A Room With A View by E.M Forster

*Astanga yoga and teacher training with Monica from Yoga Mundo

*Today I ran one mile and walked a mile today.

*I spoke too soon the universe continues to correct me.

*I learned a new word today agastopia. It means admiration of a particular part of someone’s body.

*After today, my running streak stands at 9 days. Today’s run really challenged and frustrated me.

*I love the footprints the puppies leave on the patio when coming back in every morning. The only challenge is when the footprints consist of dog poop.

*BBG 3.0 week 2 day 5: abs, cardio, and yoga! Today’s run was one mile! It did not go well.

*I took my puppies including sweet Anakin for a walk. Today Anakin is wearing his bow tie and it doesn’t seem to be bothering him.

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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.

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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WOT 6

WOT 6 is here, which means we only have two more weeks until he is finished!!! I can’t believe it’s been six weeks since we said goodbye. This week is a big one! In WOT 6 they take all of their tests to determine if they’ll graduate. Thankfully, he passed both the EOC written exam and clothing inspection. I haven’t heard from him since he took his final PT test Tuesday night.

In a couple of days, we should receive the WOT 6 call. I cannot wait. This is the call where the trainees confirm that they are graduating. Additionally, we’ll be discussing his graduation weekend wishlist. Moreover, we’ll be asking if there are airmen that need to be adopted for the weekend. Unfortunately not all families can make it to graduation, when we adopt an airman it ensures there’s no man left behind.

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In addition to this week’s testing, the trainees are preparing for BEAST week. In week 7, they’ll be in the field putting all their learnings to the test. To get them ready, they’re completing FEST (Field Expeditionary Skills Training) training this week. This training includes basic rifle fighting techniques, crawling through a sand course, moving in columns and using proper hand signals.

Additionally, they’ll be doing CBRE (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and high yield Explosives) training this week. This training includes a trip into the gas chamber. The trainees start their experience with full MOPP gear and gas mask on, but must remove it once the gas is turned on. Finally, they must give their reporting statements before leaving the chamber. Sounds like a whole lot of fun that I don’t want to have, but this prepares them for what they may encounter in their careers.

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Since there is a WOT 6 phone call, you can be sure that my phone will be attached to my hip. I’m so excited to hear how he did on his PT test and if he’s ready for BEAST week. Additionally, I want to be sure we plan his graduation weekend in accordance with what he wants.

So far the only plans we have, outside of the graduation events, is making him homemade cookies. Please keep him in your prayers as he finishes WOT 6 and heads into the field for Beast Week.  Lastly, I have to give a big shoutout to the Air Force MOMS BMT groups for being an excellent guide this process.

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On The Road Again

We’re on the road again! The Mayor and I are on a bird headed to Michigan for a weekend of hockey. This will be my first hockey tournament experience in Michigan, so I’m excited to see something new. As we speak, we’re currently cruising at 36,000 feet and I just finished the Downtown Abbey. I know I’m totally late to that party, but the movie was wonderful.

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Meanwhile my Mayor is excited that the landscape will be transformed into a winter wonderland with a big snowstorm tomorrow. I, on the other hand, am not excited to have to drive in a snowstorm. Part of the reason I moved to Florida in the first place was snowstorm avoidance, yet here I am! Hurray!!!

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The weekend is coming and that means another WOT is winding down for Jake. I can’t believe he’ll be starting WOT 6 on Sunday. Next week he’ll take both the written and physical tests that determine if he’ll pass BMT. Please keep him in your prayers as he and his squadron move into this challenging week. I’ll be posting updates of our trip throughout the weekend. To all those traveling this holiday weekend, please stay safe!

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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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BMT Family PT Challenge: Week Two

Today was test day for week two of my BMT Family PT challenge. Boy oh boy do I have some work to do on my running. I actually didn’t think I could do worse than last week, but here I was slower. To be fair, I ran more this week than last week. However, some may say my new “running pace” was stationary. Perhaps I need to adjust my strategy to include more walk/run intervals to improve my time.

In all due seriousness, the run may have technically been slower, but it went well. I’m using Couch25K to get back in running shape. Today’s run called for five minute warmup followed by running for eight minutes, walking for five, running for eight and a five minute cool down. Since I wanted to get a good time on 1.5 miles, I ran through part of the walking portion. That may not have been the best plan. Clearly, I don’t run like a gazelle.

As for the pushups and sit-ups, they both still suck. Nonetheless, I did make so good headway on the sit-ups. Today’s effort resulted in 26 sit-ups an improvement over last week’s 21. The pushups were a complete struggle, but I still made the cut with 14. Hopefully, I will hit the sit-up standard in next week’s BMT family PT challenge test. Importantly, there are only 24 days until we’ll see our Airman! I can’t wait!

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