1 down, 2 to go…

This week our niece Megan had her baby, so on our way to Hilton Head we detoured through Rock Hill to see her and baby Isaiah. He’s beautiful!

Isaiah sleeping like a little angel.

This makes the first of three babies scheduled to enter our family this year. Our other niece Lauren (the Marine) is having a girl in December, and we follow up with another boy in January. Oh, and just to add to the fun, Roger’s sister LaNell is getting married in October. What a happy year for our growing family!

But back to the cuteness at hand…

Big yawn!

Continue reading

Our niece can kick your fanny

Lauren at Parris Island

Last Friday Lauren graduated from Marine boot camp at Parris Island, South Carolina. We’re so proud of her. As her mom said, she’s an adult now (and yes, there were tears soon after). I asked Lauren how the final test (known as the Crucible) went, and she told me it was “fun.” According to Wikipedia:

…the Crucible is a rigorous 54-hour field training exercise demanding the application of everything a recruit has learned until that point in recruit training, and includes a total of 48 miles of marching . It simulates typical combat situations with strenuous testing, hardship, and the deprivation of food and sleep. A recruit is given three MREs and four to eight hours of sleep through the entire 54-hour event.

Yeah, that sounds like “fun.”

We got to the base around 6:00am so we could find a good seat, and the Marines were already up and practicing the ceremony for the 1,000th time. The weather was awful, but we didn’t mind too much. After all, if Lauren could deal with total hell for 12 weeks, we could deal with a little rain.

Early morning graduation ceremony practice

Unfortunately the weather didn’t let up, so the ceremony was moved inside. There’s not as much room inside, so the Marines didn’t march by the crowd as they would have outside. But they still looked great. From my vantage point, graduation went something like this:

  • An officer yells or grunts something I don’t understand.
  • All the Marines move together from attention to saluting to at ease.

I asked Lauren later if she could actually understand what they were saying or if she just knew what to do and when. She said at first, the officers speak normally to them and slowly. Then they speed it up and get louder until you’re used to it. So yeah, she knew what they were saying.

After graduation, we walked down to greet the toughest member of our family. Here she is with her parents and recruiting officer. The uniform she’s wearing is called her “Service Charlies.”

James, Lauren, Staff Sergeant Lawson, Chanell

By the way, the little tag on her shirt is not a name tag. It’s a medal to let you know Lauren knows how to use a gun. She also explained to me a few combat tactics she learned, including her tan belt in mixed martial arts. I’m a little afraid (and totally proud!). Definitely getting my niece whatever she wants for Christmas!

Lauren the Marine

There’s more pictures on our photo site, including some from family day where you can see more of the base.

My old man’s a . . .

On my way to work this morning a random childhood memory soared to the front of my brain. When I was a kid I used to go to summer day camp at my elementary school. The teachers would take us on field trips, play games with us, watch movies, and all kinds of other fun stuff.

One day they taught us the song “My Old Man.” They told us the words were:

My old man’s a sailor, what do you think about that?
He wears a sailor’s collar, he wears a sailor’s hat.
He wears a sailor’s raincoat, he wears a sailor’s shoes,
and every Saturday evening he reads the sailor’s news.
And someday,
if I can,
I’m gonna be a sailor, the same as my old man.

Then they said we were supposed to substitute our own father’s occupation for the word “sailor.” Well I wasn’t sure what my dad’s title was. I guess I wasn’t the only one because the teacher told us we could ask our dads about it when we got home, and we’d sing the song again tomorrow. Continue reading