Friday, January 16, 2009

The Hawaiian Holiday

Aloha! Last week, we were blessed with the opportunity to take a week-long vacation on the Hawaiian Island of Oahu. The first half of the trip, we stayed at the Lodge on the beautiful Marine Corps Base in Kaneohe Bay, and spent the remainder of the trip at the Hale Koa, an exclusive military hotel on the famous Waikiki Beach in Honolulu. The weather was perfect! Above is a nice shot of us in Waikiki with the Diamond Head Crater in the background. Here are a bunch of photos from the trip:

A driving the coolest rental car ever, a Ford Mustang convertible!

Two photos from our hike up Diamond Head (a 1,000 year-old volcano, nice work-out, great view of Waikiki).
A perfectly arched rainbow, as seen from the car window (doesn't really do it justice).

Hanging out at the North Shore (no big waves though).

A on the boat leaving the Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor (the Missouri battleship behind).

L "holding" a rainbow, also in Pearl Harbor (there's a ton of these in Hawaii).
At a traditional Hawaiian luau on the beach at sunset.

The scenic road on the east side of the island, heading up to Kaneohe Bay.

Sunset in the hills, as seen from the east-facing Marine Base (did I mention how much we really liked this base?).

An ocean view from our room at the Hale Koa (not bad for a military hotel!).
We hiked a mile through a rainforest to the Maunawili Falls (although not seen in this photo, the trail was dangerously muddy and we had to maneuver over a stream several times; the best shoes for this would have been combat boots...)

More from Waikiki (we eventually got nice tans).

A typical Hawaiian neighborhood, with the coolest, smoky mountains ever.

We still have too many more photos but this could take all night. Overall, it was a fantastic trip, and we wouldn't mind if the Marine Corps ever stationed us there!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

2008: A Year in Review

Time for the annual look back at this quick year of 2008! Here are some of the noteworthy highlights for us:

- On New Year’s Day, went to the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena to see A march with the Marine Band (and the TV footage zoomed in close on his face!)
- Took a little trip to Las Vegas, Nevada to see “The Phantom of the Opera”
- L started taking a Wado-Karate class on the Marine base
- A went on tour with Marine Band San Diego to Seattle, Washington
- Said ‘good-bye’ to L’s 15-year-old Izusu Trooper and purchased a 2008 Saturn Vue
- A took the extremely difficult Marine Corps Martial Arts Instructor Course and graduated as a Green belt Instructor for his unit
- L performed in her first belly dance performance
- Moved out of our small apartment of 3 ½ years and upgraded to nice, off-base military housing
- A re-qualified as a 2nd Award Rifle Expert on the rifle range at Camp Pendleton
- L started a new harp gig of getting to play for the Tea at the fancy Westgate Hotel
- L earned her yellow belt in karate
- A went on a tour to Albuquerque, New Mexico with the Marine Band
- A performed in several Marine Band concerts between San Diego and LA County

- Went to Chicago, IL, to visit Leah's sister and brother-in-law, and coincidentally attended our Marine friends’ wedding
- Traveled together to London, England and had a blast getting to see all the historic sights
- Celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary on August 6th
- L performed in the Robert Drasnin Orchestra at a Tiki Oasis Convention, under the direction of Robert Drasnin himself, a long-time Hollywood composer
- L earned her orange belt in karate, and danced in the Celebrate Dance Festival in Balboa Park
- L began taking ballet classes
- A traveled to Houston, Texas with the Brass Quintet
- L performed in the musical theater production of “The Light In The Piazza” with Lamb’s Players Theater, 7 shows a week from September to November
- A was promoted to Sergeant (on his 2-year Marine Corps Birthday)
- A went on tour to Chicago, Illinois with the Marine Band
- A went on another tour with the Brass Quintet to Indianapolis, Indiana
- Attended the MCRD Enlisted Birthday Ball to celebrate the Marine Corps 233rd Birthday
- A turned 28 and got his first gray hair
- In the MCRD Christmas Concert, the Marine Band premiered 2 of A’s arrangements and L got to play the harp in the concert as a featured soloist.
- L earned her blue belt in karate, and played a dozen different Christmas gigs
- Had enjoyable family Christmases in several installments.
- L celebrated her 26th Birthday
- Rang in the New Year in Pasadena again to see A march in the Rose Parade (and the TV cameras caught his face a couple of times again!)
And in 2009…
- Beginning the New Year right by going on a vacation to the Hawaiian Island of Oahu!
We're thankful to God for blessing us with another successful year! Happy New Year!