Formerly known as "Cruzers in Korea"

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Summer Vacation Part 3

Saturday, August 8, 2009
So the theme of this blog entry is HOPE.

After hitting south Florida for a few days, we were back in Alabama with Carol's family to finish off our vacation. We visited with family and friends, hit the Alabama Adventure water park in Bessemer, celebrated CJ's 11th birthday, went to a fish fry at Martin and Amy's house and had an awesome time at cousin Leenie's Lake House.

This was while we were picking blueberries. HOPE springs eternal!

There's nothing hotter than a beautiful southern belle driving a big old pickup truck. Uncle Sammy let us use his truck while my car was in the shop.

CJ was HOPING to hit Cracker Barrel on his birthday. We easily acquiesced to his request. We hit Toys R Us, saw the new Harry Potter movie and celebrated with the Alabama cousins. It was a good day.

I like hanging out with cousins too. Here I am surrounded by Carol and her cousins Angela and Diane. Why am I thinking of HOPE chests?

CJ lost a bet with his cousins and had to dress up like a girl. CJ was HOPING I wouldn't post this picture. Darn.

Speaking of girls, CJ does not look forward to getting tormented by some of the younger girl cousins. In the past, Amanda, Madison and Sarah have given CJ a hard time - you know, boys are yucky chants, chasing him around, etc. According to CJ, things were a lot smoother with the girls this year at the family fish fry.

Carol's brother, Martin and his wife Amy hosted a family fish fry. It's become a nice Harmon family tradition. Here's Amy holding a new Jack Russell Terrier puppy. CJ said that dog is so cute, it's ridiculous. He reminded us of Fred as a puppy. Amy, thank you so much for the great food and hospitality. You and Martin are always great hosts! Some of you out there know about the Texas Margarita. We've got Martin and Amy to thank for that awesome yet simple recipe.

Some of the Harmon family at the fish fry.

Carol and her sisters, Julie and Martha. Julie is the proud owner of Loco, the ridiculously cute puppy. Despite being half a world away, through Carol's influence, Martha is now addicted to kim chi.

The Forsyth and Cruz kids.

Uncle Sammy is one of the nicest people you'll ever meet in your life. He's so great with the boys. I always enjoy fishing with Uncle Sammy. We always HOPE to catch a lot of fish, but even if we don't, the company is always great.

This is Uncle Sammy's famous bucket of change. The kids always HOPE he breaks out the bucket for them. The way it works is whatever change you can scoop up with your two hands is yours to keep. It's a treasure chest for the little ones.

Heather and Carol have been friends for a long time. Our families got together for dinner one night. Heather has always had a kind heart. She is currently helping to gather new and used baby and kids' clothes for the orphanage that Carol and I volunteer at. Thank you so much Heather! BTW, if you know of anyone that doesn't need their kid clothes any more (newborn up to age 6) please let me know. Our orphanage can definitely use the clothes. I'm really HOPING that some of you can help with this one. Contact me and we'll set something up.

Chilling with the boys on the lake behind Uncle Sammy and Ruth's place. I caught 9 largemouth bass here one morning. It was awesome!

Ah, the lake house! Carol's cousin, Leenie and her husband own this lake house on Lake Martin. Leenie invited the cousins over to the house for some fun on the water. Fishing, boating, waverunners, tubing, eating and just hanging out with family - it was a spectacular time.

Leenie and Carol. Thanks again Leenie for everything! Leenie runs the Spirit of HOPE Youth Ranch, a great non-profit organization that helps restore HOPE to children that are not in the best situations. Check out the site at You can also check them out on Facebook.

Martin brought his bass boat down to the lake house. Martin, Marty and I got a couple of hours of fishing in that morning.

Got this one on a topwater plug.

Another one on a crankbait.

Carol and Angela are ecstatic after a successful tubing excursion - successful cause they didn't get flung off that thing at high speed.

Here's CJ after tubing solo with Uncle Marty. CJ couldn't get enough of tubing so I took him and his cousin Josh out for one final run together. They both fell off a couple times and went skidding across the water like they were rocks being skipped. I wish I could've taped them. The looks on their faces as they were bouncing up and down on the waves was priceless. They said it was better than any amusement park rides they've ever been on.

Martin's boat goes pretty fast. Hey, gotta get to the fishing spot first.

Chilling on the pontoon boat.

Carol's brother Martin is driving. Sam is on the right. Russell is in the middle while his fiance is at the front of the boat. The reason Russell is not sitting next to his fiance is cause he took her on a crazy ride on the waverunner and scared her silly. She was mad as a hornet.

Don't ask me what Jake is doing.

Totally wiped out after a memorable time at the lake house.

One last picture that I'll close on. It really seemed like Fred was suffering and on his last legs - severe coughing all night long, passing out, getting sick and just barely moving. It was terrible. We were really praying and HOPING for him to get better. Well, after seeing the cardiologist and getting the new medication, Fred is doing great! Here he is having a great time at the lake house. That made my vacation. He was even trying to get amorous with the other dog at the lake house. It was good to see him so happy.

A very sincere thanks to all the Virginia, Florida and Alabama family and friends that helped make this vacation so great. One year down in Korea and less than a year to go. I know it's gonna fly by. HOPE you have a great day. Until next time -- C2


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