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.

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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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Broke A Record

This weekend I broke a record. For the first time since I’ve had my Prius, I went through a tank of gas in one day! Needless to say to it was quite the busy weekend. Our weekend started with a trip to Miami for Goalielocks’ hockey practice Saturday morning. It’s always awesome leaving the house before 6:30 am on a Saturday.

Practice was good and ended quickly. Since his game wasn’t until 4:00 pm, we headed back home to relax. I wasn’t feeling fabulous , so I chilled on the couch until it was time to go. To be fair, I also booked a hotel and packed a bag for the evening since Goalielocks and I would be staying in Miami that night.

The game Saturday afternoon was not fabulous. Apparently, the other team added some players from their junior team to the U16AA team we played Saturday. Yeah, it totally made a difference. Goalielocks was mighty busy all game long. The end result was ugly, but I was proud that he never gave up. I did, however, have a proud mom moment as we drove to the rink and the Mayor played some great music!

Post-game Goalielocks took a shower at the rink (a first) and got ready for the hoe-down. He was volunteering with some teammates at the Soroptimist International of Homestead’s annual fundraiser the Blue Jean Ball. This event coincides with the Homestead Rodeo. Naturally, my country boy was loving the theme as the music.

While the boys worked, I hung out with my fellow hockey moms. It was fun to watch the boys work the popcorn and hot dog stand. Every time a patron would ask if the hotdogs were done, one would respond “I don’t know.” Needless to say, they kept us entertained throughout the night. Of course the live music didn’t hurt either. By the time we left the event, hit up the local MacDonald’s and made it back to the hotel, it was already 1:00 am.

My plan was to wake up and make the Mayor’s 8:40 am game in Pompano. However, since we had such a long date and got to bed so late, I decided to let Goalielocks sleep in. Unfortunately, it meant I had to miss all the drama in the Mayor’s first game. Apparently, a mom lost it and had to be kicked out. I can’t wait to see the video of this glorious blunder.

I let Goalielocks sleep until 10:30 that way we could pack up, pick up coffee and head to the next game with time to spare. We made it to the rink with plenty of time to spew. Unfortunately, this means nothing when it comes to picking out the optimal viewing location. Simply put this rink has no good places to watch the game.

It wasn’t the best hockey game I’ve ever watched, but I simply love watching my boys play. Truly, it’s is awesome to watch them working hard with their team and playing the game they love. Of course, I loved watching him score a beautiful goal.

When I see my Mayor play, I have no doubt that he loves the game and his teammates. In fact, we’ve been really lucky this year. Both boys have a great group of parents and kids. It makes for an awesome season.

Our weekend ended with yummy Korean pork sandwiches at our dear friends house. I was especially happy since my girlfriend Hanh and her beautiful baby are back from Tampa! Sweet Ava has grown so much and is still so cute. It was a wonderful evening with our extended family! In the end, I broke a record by driving more than 350 miles in a day.

Meanwhile in San Antonio, Jake has headed to the field for Beast week. This is one of the airman’s favorite parts of basic training. I look forward of hearing his impressions of the week. We may even get a phone call from him on Friday after they return from the field! Only 10 days left until we will see our airman again!

Lastly, I’d ask that you keep my family in your prayers tonight. My uncle Craig lost his battle with lung cancer this morning. We are devastated. I’d also ask for prayers for our family friends that are potentially facing some major health issues. Thanks!

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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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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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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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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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