Productive Monday

I can’t even believe I’m writing this, but I had a productive Monday.  More impressive is the fact that I know it is Monday.  Mostly likely, this is the last time this week I’ll know what the day.  Importantly, it was also the boys last day of spring break, so we spent today getting ready for virtual school as it starts tomorrow!!! Oh joy!

I got an early start to my morning with my coffee plus Vital Proteins and the news.  Quickly,  I remembered why I stopped reading the news all the time.  Usually, my first workout of the day would either be a run or my BBG resistance, but today I began my day with an awesome gentle yoga class via Zoom.  It was awesome!

After yoga, I completed the week six BBG resistance leg workout.  (P.S. if you haven’t seen the Sweat App, it’s slick and worth checking out.).  Honesty, I did more squats and lunges in 30 minutes than should have ever be required in a lifetime.  Should feel awesome tomorrow! I kid, I kid. It was a fabulous, effective workout for my legs and glutes.  I cooled down with a stretch session and quick walk around the circle with the dogs.

In the afternoon, the boys and I took the pups for a walk.  Anakin walked with Goalielocks, while I had Maya and Athena under my control.  The Mayor, however, decided to join us on his rollerblades.  Fortunately, the weather was beautiful with clear, beautiful, blue skies.  Unfortunately, it was pretty hot, so we ended up cutting out walk a little short.  All three dogs did great on the walk.  We had a great time and it was nice to get out of the house.

We ended our night by supporting ordering BBQ via Delivery Dudes.   After a crazy, productive day with two teens and three dogs, I felt a break from the kitchen was not undeserved.  While I prefer eating home cooked food, I feel it is important to support our local restaurants and businesses throughout this pandemic.  In fact, tomorrow is Takeout Tuesday2.  You can support your local restaurants on this day by ordering here: Door Dash

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

*reading Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackery

*Watched The Office season 6

*Watched episode 1 of Balthazar – pretty good

* BBG legs week 6 workout

*1.5 mile walk with my boys and puppies

*Gentle Flow – Fightmaster Yoga

*Set up the boys for day 1 of virtual school

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Hurry Up And Wait

As I write this, I’m sitting at the DMV playing the hurry up and wait game. To be fair, I only got here thirty minutes early, which wasn’t nearly early enough. Apparently, my early arrival was not sufficient to spare me from a 2.5 hour wait in the beautiful DMV office of Delray Beach.

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I had high hopes that the rain and fears of Coronavirus would be sufficient to dampen the crowds, but alas I was wrong. Thankfully, my phone will help me pass my time in purgatory. Thankfully, once this renewal is complete, I should be able to do the next couple online. Can I get an amen?!?

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So while I wait, I’m going to book some travel, play some games and satisfy my social media addiction. Hopefully, they’ll be some entertaining people watching as the DMV usually provides great material. Here’s hoping your Friday is off to a great start.

 

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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Detroit Weekend

Our Detroit weekend has absolutely epic. We ran into a bit of a snafu getting the rental car, but they were able to upgrade us into a vehicle that could actually fit our luggage and handle the snow. Victory! Our hotel was about twenty minutes west of the airport of of I-94. Fortunately, our hotel was on a golf course overlooking Ford Lake, which made for beautiful vistas.

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The weather when we landed was chilly, but not terrible. Our first game was at Yost Arena one the University of Michigan campus in Ann Arbor. I found the arena to be beautiful, but quite a bit smaller than Mariucci Arena at the University of Minnesota. Unfortunately, the boys didn’t play their best hockey and we fell to the Gulf Coast Flames. The irony here, of course, was that we flew all the way to Michigan to play another Florida team.

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As we left the arena, the flurries had begun. In the overnight hours, the storm that had battered Minnesota, dropped eight inches of snow in Michigan. The golf course was absolutely beautiful. Growing up there was nothing better than looking out my backdoor and seeing the pristine, newly fallen snow. Saturday morning those memories came back as I gazed out over the freshly fallen snow covering the hotel grounds.

Thankfully, the roads had been cleared by the time we left for the Mayor’s game. Again it didn’t go great, but was a better effort than Friday night. The weather was perfect with temperatures in the 30s all day long. We enjoyed a quick late lunch at the hotel. That evening we were headed into downtown Detroit to see the Florida Panthers take on ten Detroit Redwings.

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So I had a great rental car, but I didn’t want to drive into downtown Detroit. Clearly, it’s on the list of cities I never want to get lost in. Consequently, I opted to ride with the assistant coaches in their large van (aka Frenchy’s bus.). They had window decals made with the Panthers logo and Frenchy’s and they were on fully display. I had to make fun of them both for being dorks except for….

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When we got to downtown and came to a barricade, our driver rolled down the window to ask security where we should go to find parking. The security guard, seeing the logos, waived us through the barricade. Consequently, we parked right in front of the stadium next to the police van. We all swore on all things holy that the can would be towed while we watched the game.

As for the game, there were some shenanigans with a guy from Windsor. That story from our Detroit weekend, however, will take up a full blog post. The boys had a fabulous time and the Cats brought home the W. Now it was crunch time, would the van still be there? Would there be a ticket on the windshield? How much would an Uber be from downtown to our suburban golf course?

We made our way out of the stadium anxiously awaiting our collective fate. The boys raced to where we parked. Alas, victory was ours and the van was still there. A new problem presented itself, however, in that all the pedestrian traffic leaving the stadium was in the alley where we parked.

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I envisioned us sitting there for hours waiting for the pedestrian traffic to clear. We finally caught a quick break in the traffic and we were able to pull out of the parking spot. No sooner had we pulled out of the spot, when the police cruiser parked near us turned on it’s lights. We were accepting in our fate. Obviously, we were about to get a ticket. Or not… Shortly after the cop put his lights on, he escorted us out of the alley and through the roads of Detroit. That’s right folks we had a police escort leaving the stadium!

The boys were over the moon excited as we ere escorted back to I-94 by the police car. Truly, us parents were also over the moon. What an experience to share with our boys and each other! It was so incredible how it all unfolded. Hockey trips can be expensive, but these moments that create incredible shared memories are what it is all about. I’m incredibly lucky to share this experience with my son.

Of course, Sunday brought more hockey and some hockey drama. The Mayor forgetting one skate at the hotel is going to be it’s on post. In the end, our weekend in Michigan was pure magic. As a hockey mom, I can’t think of any other place I’d rather be than with my kids at a hockey tournament. After all, it only last last for a short time.

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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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