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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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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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2019 is Coming to An End

2019 is coming to an end. After the insanity of the year, I’m not quite sure how to classify it. Was it good, bad or a mixed bag? I started the year with an incredibly hyper thyroid – thanks RAI. By the time mid February arrived, my thyroid and the associated hormones were dead and gone. Therein started the process of bringing my thyroxine levels back to normal.

In November, my last appointment, my levels had stabilized and were within the normal range. Victory was mine or at least partially. It will still take one to three years for the Graves symptoms to abate. Meanwhile, my antibodies are high, so the disease is still active. My goal is to find remission in 2020. Nevertheless, partial victory or not, it is still a victory. Mark one for good year.

In July, I transitioned from working mom to stay at home mom after nine years three hundred and sixty two days with the firm. It was a decade of achievement, change and philanthropy with some of the of the best people I know. Obviously, I was sad to leave the friends and relationships behind, but it had become untenable. I guess initially this could be marked as bad except for….

My oldest decided in June that he wanted to join the Air Force. We were thrilled he had a roadmap for his future, but sad that he may be moving away. As you know, he’s now left for the Air Force and is kicking ass at basic training. If I had been working, I would have regretted every day I didn’t spend with him. Fortunately, I wasn’t working so I got to spend my time with him.

One of my favorite memories from this year is the trip we took home, aka Jake’s Farewell tour, in October. The sole focus of the trip was to connect with our family, especially the grandparents, before he left for basic. Our grandparents, including Jake’s great great Grandma, are getting old. There is no telling when Jake will be able to return to Minnesota to see them.

This trip was soul nourishing. Words cannot describe the emotions I felt as my Great Grandma held Jake’s hand and told him she loved him and was so proud oh him. Or the emotions I felt when Luke’s grandfather afflicted with Alzheimer’s beamed with pride and remembered Jake as Steve (my FIL) told him Jake was joining the military. Unquestionably, these moments will reside forever in my heart.

Jake and I had so much fun with his cousins, aunts and uncles and grandparents in Minnesota. It really would have been hard for it to be a better trip. We got to see my a Uncle Craig and even his new grandson Grayson, who is just the cutest. Additionally, we were able to spend a lot of time with Grandma T and uncle Mark. Jake has always had a very special relationship with his great Grandma T as she babysat him while I was in college and throughout my early career. Their bond is special.

The trip ended too soon and we were soon faced with the Thanksgiving holiday and his impending departure. My whole family had already plan to come to Florida for Thanksgiving, which was perfect. We celebrated all the big holidays in one weekend and even got family pictures.

No matter what else happened this year, Jake leaving for BMT was a seminal moment. The days leading up to his departure flew by while the days after have dragged. We’ve cried copious tears of happiness, pride, sadness and longing. Sometimes the tears combine all of the above emotions. Our family will never be quite the same, but Jake is on his way to a bright future and we couldn’t be prouder.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t give mention to our newest family member. Our dear friends John and Hanh has their beautiful, sweet Ava on the 15th of December. She has brought so much love and light into all of our lives. We’re blessed to be a part of all of their lives. Meanwhile, Ava and I are best buddies. She’s in Tampa visiting her auntie until January, but her beautiful mama sends me pics so I can see her.

As 2020 begins, Jake’s career with the Air Force will figure heavily in the happenings. Of course, there will be several hockey tournaments and games interspersed in there as well. 2020 will bring graduation from BMT, tech school and FDS. FDS you ask – it’s final duty station. Later this spring we should find out where Jake will be stationed.

2019 is coming to an end. This year there’s no grandiose resolution. Instead, I’ll be focused on getting my health back on track, staying fit and being the best damn hockey/Air Force mom that I can be. As for 2019 being good or bad, I’d have to say it’s been challenging yet stellar! Happy New Year from our family to yours!

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Week 2

Week 2, WOT 2, is coming to an end today. For us, week two brought a Christmas Day call that was simply the best. Of course, their are mixed feelings of joy and missing him, but we’re grateful that he is doing so well. Ordinarily, the trainees don’t get to call home to week 3. Hopefully, we will get another call in the coming week. This call can come any day before lights out. Needless to say, I will be carrying my phone everywhere next week.

In week 2, airman are given their weapons and they start learning to assemble and dissemble them. Jake said it was relatively easy save for some rust on the weapon. Their practice weapons are fake m-4s and are kept in their forms. Next week they’ll start going to the range to practice with their M-16. They’re also learning to march and working on drill. Here’s a video on week 2: WOT2

This week they spent their classroom time learning about the core values of the Air Force, history of the Air Force, human relations and the organization of the Air Force. Additionally, the ABs have started their BMT jobs. Jake’s job is chaplain guide. He is responsible for marching the “baby flights” to chapels and helping the chaplain as needed. He loves it!

As for us, the Air Force Mom BMT group continues to be a saving grace. It’s nice for us to understand what he’s experiencing week by week and on a daily basis. Finally, tomorrow will usher in WOT3 and bring us one week closer to graduation!  We love you Jake!

Term guide:

AB: airman basic, his rank during basic training.

BMT: basic military training

MTI: military training instructor aka drill sgt.

WOT: week of training

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Introducing Flat AB Jake

Introducing Flat AB Jake our personalized, more handsome and improved version of Flat Stanley. Let me bring the uninitiated up to speed. For those of us whose kids went through elementary in the last decade, we were subjected to literary character Flat Stanley that travels the world. Each kid in class brought a paper Flat Stanley home for a weekend to take wherever they went. The kids would then take pictures or document their travels in a journal. 

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I got the idea for Flat AB Jake through the Air Force Moms BMT page on Facebook. By the way, This group has been a godsend. Instead of the character, you make your airman into a paper “Flat Stanley.” You take them where ever you go and then take pictures. When you write your airman next, you include the pictures of you and your Flat AB.

We made them up on Christmas Eve. I printed two versions a large headshot and a smaller standing pose. I printed it on card stock, so the paper would be relatively firm. My hubby, who is a rockstar, cut them out using an exacto knife. Needless to say they came out better than I expected.  Since we were going to church with Mel, Jake’s girlfriend who we adore, and her family I was able to bring her both versions. She loved them! Fortunately, I was also able to get a picture of Flat AB Jake enjoying her duet (O’ Holy night and it was awesome.)

As we move through the weeks of training, you’ll see AB Jake make numerous appearances. It’s beneficial to always have him near, but it’s more beneficial for him to see he’s always in our hearts and on our minds. We had our first Christmas without him yesterday and that was tough! As a family we did, however, get some pictures with Flat AB Jake.

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We did get the best present a parent could ask for yesterday: a call home from our airman. I was near tears as my phone started to play Teen Spirit, which is my custom ringtone for him.  It was a spiritual experience.  He sounded amazing. To hear the confidence and happiness in his voice was beyond reassuring. I felt a weight literally being lifted off my shoulders as he told us he had found “where he belongs.”  He met the PT requirements his first week out and is now working with his FLT to exceed them together. He is wearing the blue belt as described in my week one post.  Jake described with joy how close he and his fellow airman had become. It was clear in that phone call that he had made several life long friends.


Perhaps the best part of the call was that it happened while we had Christmas Company. Jake has a lot of people in his corner and a lot of them were able to speak with him and wish him well. My sister in law, who is a genius and makes the best cheesy potatoes, suggested conferencing my parent. We were able to do that successfully and my parents were able to hear first hand how well he is doing. More than anything hearing his happy voice made our Christmas wonderful. It’s still tough to imagine that he’ll miss most Christmas celebrations in years to come, but he’s a part of something bigger than himself, loving it and service his country. We couldn’t be prouder of our AB Jake!

Blue Christmas

It will be a blue Christmas in our household as we celebrate our first holiday with Jake away from home. We’ve never been apart on a major holiday like this, so undoubtedly it will be tough on all of us.  I’ve found it hard to get into the joy of the season.   In fact, I haven’t even decorated the tree or put the tinsel on the railings.

For Jake his blue Christmas will likely include the issue of his dress blues, but also the loneliness of celebrating Christmas away from family and friends. This holiday season keep the airmen, Coasties Marines, sailors, and soldiers serving our country away from family and friends in your prayers. Being lonely during the holiday season is the worst! If you’re so inclined, please send Jake a holiday cRd at the address below.

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Week 0

Week 0, otherwise known as the first week of basic, is underway for my Airmen Basic (AB) Jake. During this week, Jake is getting all his paperwork completed, moving into his dorm, getting his vaccinations, his new clothes including his ABUs (camo,) starting PT and of course getting his first Air Force haircut. Unfortunately, the Air Force no longer posts pictures from BMT during those time at JBSA Lackland. I’ll have to wait until graduation to see his new haircut.

While Jake is adjusting to life in the Air Force we’re trying to adjust to our new life at home. To keep myself occupied and sane, I’ve been spending a lot do time at the yoga studio and in the gym working out. During this time, my phone and pocket notebook have been close at hand in case Jake called with his address.

Last night I met friends from Kaplan for dinner and drinks. I sure do miss my colleagues tremendously. It was a welcome distraction for this new military mom. I enjoyed a nice sirloin salad and a vodka soda. The bar had both the Florida Panther game and Thursday night football on, which was awesome.

Undoubtedly, the best part of my day yesterday was when Jake called home with his address. Clearly, this is the best part of week 0. I had my notebook with me and was ready for him. Of course, my dogs thought this would be the best time to bark incessantly at a falling leaf. Nevertheless, I was successful in getting the address. For this call, the ABs have to stick to a script. Fortunately, the recruiter prepared us for this call, so I wasn’t taken back by it. Nonetheless, it would have been nice to ask how he was doing.

One of the most important ways to support ABs during basic training is by sending cards or letters. I know Jake would appreciate hearing words of encouragement from all our family and friends.

Here’s his address:

AB Lorbach, Jacob L

331 TRS/FLT 147 3D1

1320 Truemper ST. Unit 369571

JBSA Lackland AFB TX, 78236-0609

Here’s a brief look at week 0.

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