Wednesday, December 26, 2007

"The Best Christmas Ever"

The Christmas season of 2007 started off on a great note with many performances. With the Marine Band's Brass Quintet, A was featured in two concerts playing "The Blue Bells of Scotland," one of the most difficult trombone solos in the world!
Here's a video of A's performance (not the best footage, but every note is loud and clear):
MCRD christmas band concert

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Then, the weekend before Christmas, we celebrated Christmas Eve-Eve with the Meadows Family in Orange County, including the Gees from Chicago. Below are some random pictures from our dinner at the lovely Five Crowns restaurant, though I'm not sure if the photo of us in the old telephone booth can be explained:

And on the day of Christmas Eve, half-sister J joined us with her daughter K, and new baby B.
The remainder of Christmas Eve and Day were spent back in San Diego with the Panos Family, and we stayed up until midnight laughing and opening up presents.

For A, it was a real great treat getting 4 days off from work, and we especially enjoyed our time with both of our families this year. As a result, we have decided that this was definitely the best Christmas ever!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Thanksgiving in Two Parts

This year, our Thanksgiving lasted for the entire 4-day weekend, and what a treat it was to relax with our families! Thanksgiving Day was spent with the Meadows Family in Palm Desert, CA with L's parents and grandparents.

The next day was followed by another blast with the Panos Family in El Cajon, including the "left-overs" extravaganza (which really was another full Thanksgiving meal, many thanks to Mama Freida). By the way, nothing is funnier than watching movies like "Napoleon Dynamite" or "Nacho Libre" with this family. As usual, we had a wonderful time with many laughs. We are thankful for our families!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Marine Corps Birthday Ball

On Friday night, we celebrated the Marine Corps' 232nd Birthday with a traditional ball at the downtown San Diego Marriott. Because Marine Bands all over the world perform at many Birthday Ball celebrations for the next month, this particular ball was for the West Coast musicians, including the bands from San Diego, Miramar, Camp Pendleton, and 29 Palms. It was a special evening full of camaraderie and tradition, including a few speeches, the ceremonial presentation and cutting of the cake, dinner, and dancing. As this was our first Marine Ball, A and I were very excited about the night. Below: L with her friends Maureen and Yvonne, followed by A and fellow Marines.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

A Promotion

Last week on October 1st, A was officially promoted to the rank of Corporal (E-4), also referred to as a Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO). Considering he only joined the Marine Corps a year ago, this is a considerable accomplishment. At 0700, the promotion ceremony took place in front of a battalion of Marines and L got to pin A with his new chevrons. This picture was taken in front of the Band Hall at MCRD where A works.

Here is the Non-Commissioned Officer Creed (which A recited with a raised hand):I am an NCO dedicated to training new Marines and influencing the old. I am forever conscious of each Marine under my charge, and by example will inspire him to the highest standards possible. I will strive to be patient, understanding, just, and firm. I will commend the deserving and encourage the wayward. I will never forget that I am responsible to my Commanding Office for the morale, discipline, and efficiency of my men. Their performance will reflect an image of me.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Chicagoan Visit

As a very spontaneous decision, L flew out to Chicago for the weekend. Friday began at Naval Base Great Lakes where L got to see Jenny graduate from Navy boot camp. Jenny is Leah's best friend from college and she will be playing oboe in the Navy Band in Rhode Island. The graduation ceremony, which took place indoors, was a memorable event consisting of pageantry and Naval tradition, as seen in the picture below. Many thanks to Mr. Brown and Captain Brown, who helped make this trip possible for me!

After spending the day with Jenny and her family, L took a scenic train ride down to Wheaton, IL, where her sister and brother-in-law live. The Gees recently moved to this suburb of Chicago last August, so what a treat it was to see their new, lovely home! That Saturday, L was given the grand tour of the downtown Chicago, which included riding the El (train), Millenium Park, Navy Pier, Chicago-style pizza, and more fun sights.

The remainder of the weekend was spent exploring Wheaton and other beautiful nearby towns, such as Naperville (the #1 most desirable place to live in the USA). A special thanks to M and B for your wonderful hospitality and for truly showing me a wonderful time that I'll never forget! I am so excited about your amazing new home and neighborhood, and I can't wait to come back with A.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Marines and Bagpipers

Labor Day weekend, A traveled with the Marine Band to Pleasanton, CA, to perform at the Scottish Highland Games. With the weather over 100 degrees, it was an interesting experience with outdoor performances that included over 300 bagpipes and drums (and what a deafening sound that is!). The bagpipers, from the Toronto Scottish Regiment, were always in good spirits and were very appreciative of the Marines.

And of course, on the flight home, some of the Marines like to practice interesting grappling moves used in MCMAP (Marine Corps Martial Arts Program), as A and Lance Corporal Parks are demonstrating here.

Monday, August 27, 2007

A Little Bit of Summer

As our first blog post ever, we thought we would post some pictures that seem to sum up our eventful Summer of 2007 (also known as A's first summer as a Marine). The first picture at the top was taken in May on Coronado Island (with the lovely downtown San Diego backdrop) at the wedding of Jessica and Lem, our trombone friends from San Diego State, seen on the right.

Additionally, we found a local indoor shooting range where A (the Rifle Expert) taught L to shoot rifles and hand-guns the Marine Corps way. In the pictures below, the firearms being used are the AR-15 (the equivalent of a Marine's M-16) and the 9mm Beretta.

L got a new 'do and donated another 8 inches of hair to Locks of Love for a 3rd time (organizational the makes wigs for children with cancer).

As A's first summer with Marine Band San Diego, he marched in the 4th of July Parade in Coronado, along many other performances. Notice him in the first row (also known as the front rank). Our good friend Jon Lacy is the sailor playing the French horn with the Navy Band.

Throughout the summer, L also continued to perform on harp all over San Diego, including weddings, private parties, recitals at senior homes, church orchestras, and recording sessions.

Another fun part of this summer was meeting many new friends through the Marine Corps. L hiked up Cowles Mountain in San Diego with friends Maureen (a Marine in A's band) and Yvonne (another Marine wife).

And finally, the world welcomes new cousin B! L's half-sister J gave birth to our new nephew on August 1st. Congrats to the Richardson family!